Clan Short Pacific Rim Division

Chapter 9-A

Ewa Beach, C.S.P.R.D Main Base

Thursday, November 4, 2004, 07:09 AM

In the Hundsers' basement nest, John woke to find Stephen's head lying on his chest. John remembered the faces of the people he had executed. He knew his actions were justified, but couldn't shake the images in his mind. John thought, I've gotta get out of here. Using telekinesis, John gently moved his husband aside. He wondered, now what do I do? Where can I go? Confused and frustrated, John stood and looked around the nest at his husband, son, brothers, sisters, friends and nephews. Certainly, none of them would ever look at him the same again, John strongly felt. He had the ability to cause other minds and bodies to experience pain; he could make furniture fly around as if caught in a tornado; he could lift a house and drop it, turning it into a rubble pile; he had killed four people. Mixed bad emotions bubbled forth from the ten-year-old N-Gen and he wiped tears from his eyes. He hated the sadistic assholes he killed and he hated himself for murdering them. All the people closest to him would certainly have good reason to mistrust him, John believed. Inner turmoil blazed forth bright blue when John dropped his hands from his eyes. Without consciously wanting to, John levitated and floated up the stairs.

Busy in the kitchen preparing coffee for themselves and breakfast for the kids, Jim and Jennifer Hundser listened to the morning news on the radio. Zorro Communications Corporation stock was in a free-fall, dragging other stocks and global markets down with it; the result of orphanage raids in California performed by their boys. Civil unrest was breaking out in London, New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tokyo and, to a lesser extent, in Honolulu. Crowds were gathered in front of American embassies all around the world, demanding explanations why one of their companies abused, mistreated and killed children. While the coffee brewed, Jim Hundser hurried to the living room and turned on the television to learn more about the prior night's events. Once the cinnamon rolls were placed in the oven, Jennifer Hundser carried four boxes of cereal to the dining room table. Putting them down, she went to the living room and stood beside her husband watching the news.

On the TV, the screen was split in thirds. On the bottom was the standard stock ticker. On the left were summaries of the London, New York and Tokyo stock markets. The London exchange closed two hours earlier, down over one-thousand-five-hundred points. There were still three hours left to the New York trading day. ZCC stock was down sixty percent and still declining. The Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 were all negatively effected. The largest section of the screen showed the released night-vision camera views from the Clan Short Pacific Rim Division raids. A list of those arrested was shown. Hearing about company executives and civil servants that were missing and assumed executed for their crimes, Jim and Jen returned to the kitchen to gather bowls, plates, glassware and silverware for the kids.

The basement door seemingly opened then closed of its own accord and John floated through the kitchen dinette. The two Hundser adults didn't see or hear anything. Invisible to the adults and John, Peter Lambert sat at the dinette table, slightly out of phase, insuring the adults didn't see or hear John. Jim and Jennifer returned to the living room, but only briefly stood there trying to absorb what had occurred. The commentator said that two hundred and eighty-four children had been rescued. Clan Short Headquarters in Orlando, Florida had reported at noon Eastern Time that fourteen kids had died from their abuses. The oven timer beeped, breaking the two adults away from the television. Returning to the kitchen, they worried about their sons and questioned whether to allow any of their young kids and grand-kids know what was going on.

Peter popped out of the kitchen and outside then followed John. Sitting in the C.I.C. dining room having breakfast were Viccy and Riti Evans. Peter, Viccy and Riti were there in Hawaii to make sure nothing upset the rescued kids or freaked out the Rimmer adults. John floated past the four Rimmer family homes, beyond the indoor rec center and dropped to his knees in the grass on the southwest perimeter of the compound, on the far side of the basketball courts and soccer field. Shedding bitter tears, John reached down and pulled up fists of grass then took a deep breath and screamed. Nearby birds flapped off for safety. The ground beneath John quaked as ten large trees in front of him uprooted themselves and shot skyward then exploded into splintered wood chips and leaves. Twice more John screamed, uprooting and destroying seven trees and then another four trees before his eyes changed back to light brown. Peter hurried to John. Kneeling in the grass together, John and Peter clung to each other while John sobbed.

The Hundsers' phone rang. It was Lanna Seaver, asking if they had seen the news. Worried about Corey and their newly adopted boys, Lanna asked if she and Bill could come over to be there when the kids awoke. Jen agreed, and no sooner did she hang up, the phone rang again. This time it was Rob Gibbons, also asking about the news and wondering about their boys. Jim Hundser overheard that the Gibbons' would be coming over too. For a few moments, Jennifer stood by the phone, daring it to ring again. Fully expecting the Seiberts as well, Jim found a carafe to hold the remainder of the first pot of coffee then started another pot.

Outside, John and Peter were pulling themselves together. Seeing the large area of wood chips and leaves where many trees had previously stood, John hummed thoughtfully then turned to Peter, wondering, "Did you make that happen?"

Breaking into gales of laughter, Peter poked John in the chest, giggling, "You did it! I just made sure you didn't cover the whole base in bits of trees. Viccy and Riti made sure no one awake saw or noticed it." Peter paused and grinned, "You'll have to decide what to have built here. There'll be a major termite infestation if we don't clean this up."

Absorbing that, John smirked and admitted, "I don't even remember coming out here, Peter. I knew I had to get out of the basement, away from my husband, son, brothers and parents, but that's about it."

Peter giggled, "This is Viccy's idea of a controlled tantrum." He then shrugged, "At least you didn't blow the roof off the C.I.C. like Tyler did. You floated out here, John."

Frowning disbelievingly, John gasped, "Please don't say Stephen saw this."

Shaking his head, Peter said, "Nope, you did it without Stephen." Standing up, Peter then popped away, to the Hundser's basement. Seeing that Stephen and everyone was asleep in the nest, Peter popped back to John and assured, "Still sleepin'." He offered John a hand up.

All eight adults gathered in the Hundser's kitchen. Once everyone had coffee, the four men went to the living room. Listening to the radio news in the kitchen, Anna Seibert began preparing batter for pancakes while Lanna Seaver prepared batter for waffles. Jennifer Hundser prepared a larger tray of cinnamon rolls. Laura Gibbons made a third pot of coffee.

The men in the living room could barely believe what they were seeing and hearing. Their sons and Clan Short were responsible for more than a hundred people being either executed or arrested; the world markets were in a tail-spin centered upon the devaluation of Zorro stock; sixteen California cities were without many public servants and almost three hundred children were rescued.

Fed up with commercials and second hand information, Jim Hundser tried to recall the name of the new A.I. and asked, "Was it Alfred?"

Carl Seibert scowled, "Or Albert?"

Searching his memory, Bill Seaver smirked, "Alex, Alfons, Alister, Alan?"

The Clan A.I.'s were in silent fits of hysterics when Rob Gibbons finally shouted, "Alden!"

From the living room ceiling speakers, Alden giggled, "Yes Sir?"

Rob ordered, "Enough of this watered down bullshit. What were our boys doing last night?"

Carl said, "Let our wives hear this too."

Connecting to the ceiling speakers in the kitchen, Alden summarized the entire fiasco for the adults, beginning with the initial anonymous phone call, the investigation and the raids the boys had performed. With unedited video displayed on the television, Alden outlined what each team had done in California. Several minutes later, when some of the little kids in the basement nest woke, Alden cut off the remainder of the summary, explaining that kids were climbing the stairs. The last thing Alden said was, "All the Core Team members and many of the strike team members have already had Vulcan mind-melds for healing. Your sons will be fine." The television was switched back to the news. The four men went to the kitchen and their wives.

The somber mood was replaced with joy as Carmella, Dewi, Kokaku, Dillon, Geoff, Richie and Aaron Pendergrass emerged from the basement. Loudly cheering, "G'mornin' Momma. G'mornin' Daddy," Carmella went to Jim. The boys waved at the assembled adults and hurried into the bathroom.

Lifting his daughter, Jim smiled, "How's my princess?" then landed a kiss.

Carmella kissed him back, giggling, "Good. I gotta go though, Daddy." Jim nodded and put the girl down. She raced through the dining room, living room and upstairs.

John walked into the kitchen from the sliding door followed by Peter. Seeing the adults, Peter hurried to his Aunts, giving each a hug. More than a little surprised to see a morning gathering of adults, John closed the backdoor. Having never seen him leave, Jim and Jen were equally surprised to see John come in from outside. Trying very hard to act as if everything was normal, John said, "Hey," and went to refrigerator for juice.

Jennifer asked, "When did you go outside? You haven't been out there all night, have you?"

The half gallon bottle of juice almost slipped out of John's hand, but he caught it with his mind and made a show out of carrying it towards the counter. John shook his head and softly answered, "Only a little while, mom."

Jennifer reached for a glass from the cupboard and handed it to her youngest son. Avoiding making eye contact with his mother, John took the glass then began pouring. The glass slipped and fell along with the plastic bottle of juice, but neither hit the floor. Peter had stopped time for everyone in the house except himself and John.

Peter instructed, "You pick up that glass and bottle now, John."

"I can't, Peter," John whined, "they're all gonna look at me funny from now on."

"That's a bunch of bull puckey!" Peter vehemently said. "All these grownups have heard the news already, John. They know what happened from TV, radio and Alden. They're here because this is where their sons, the Core Rimmers are. They're parents who love their kids unconditionally. If you had only looked at them, you would've heard their surface thoughts; love, pride, concern. They don't care about nothin' 'cept you and your brothers. That's why they're here. Nobody's gonna look at you funny. They don't have any idea how those trees got blown up. You're almost done, bro. Now you only have to tell them the little details. You guys made a huge impact." Peter then teleported himself and John into the living room where the TV was still on the news. In a flash, they were at Charleston A.I. Hospital, where a boy was cleaned up and resting comfortably with a new leg attached. Then they went to Camp Bam Bam, where a girl slept in a bed for the first time in years and was being nourished intravenously. Finally, Peter took John to Terra-Main Space Station. They remained invisible and silent to the diplomats, Mahael and Du'ualloxat Tam, who were discussing the future care of the feral kids on Betazed.

Returning to their previous positions in the Hundsers' kitchen, Peter said, "It hurts to kill, yeah, I get it. Colin and the Dutchmen, Vic and Strike Team Tango from the Des Moines Division, High Priest Dave and the ferrets, killed all except one of the Board of Directors. All but that one of the board was involved. None of those guys on the teams were happy about it either, but how many did that company kill and not care about?" John shrugged. Peter said, "The number you're looking for is sixty-three. Over the last four years they existed, sixty-three kids at those orphanages died before we got to them, John. Add in the seventeen that died overnight now. Those that survived to leave those orphanages at eighteen left without educational and social benefits we all have. They did it to rid the world of unwanted kids. They'll never do it again either; thanks to you, the other Core Rimmers and our brothers and sisters around the world.

"Sometimes bad stuff has to happen so something good can happen. Now all you feel is the hurt. In a little while, the kids Mike and Derrick rescued from L.A. will wake up. Then there will be the first thirty-six new Rimmers showing up. They don't know it yet, but they need you, bro. I know what you've been doing all week; helping all these kids of different races and nationalities get along together. Just like with Bruce last Friday and Saturday, you do it without giving it any thought at all; for you it's easy and effortless. Instead of arguing and fighting, they talk to each other; each and every one of 'em share their pasts and listen to other kids sharing their pasts. Thanks to you, they're healing. All you have to do is get the last of the tears out with your mom and dad." Peter gave John a tight and very non-random hug.

John nodded and sighed, "Thanks, Peter."

Peter confirmed, "Ready?"

John said, "Set." Peter snapped his fingers, just to signal John. Three of the four women gasped and jolted to try and catch the falling glass and bottle, but John had them already, in his telekinetic grasp. "That was a close one!" John smirked. Peter laughed so hard that he might've wet himself, if Mikyvis actually peed. John set the glass and bottle on the counter.

His mother placed her hands on John's shoulders. Jen gently asked, "Are you alright?"

John peered up over his shoulder at his mom and admitted, "A little shaky still." In that one brief glace at his mom, John felt her concern.

"Obviously," Jennifer sighed, and then offered, "Let me pour the juice for you."

John stepped aside, saying, "Thanks, mom." The boys came out of the bathroom. Anna and Laura led the boys to the dining room for breakfast. Lanna got the milk from the refrigerator then went to the dining room too. John glanced at all the adults in the room; feeling their concern and impatience, waiting for their sons to wake and prove that they had recovered from the California Orphanage rescues.

Jim approached his son and asked, "It hurts, doesn't it?"

John took a deep breath and nodded. Looking up at his dad, John sent, 'Twenty-four feral kids at the first place I was at. It was horrible. There were twenty at the other place, just as smelly and almost as bad.'

Bending slightly, Jim picked his son up and softly instructed, "Say it aloud, let it out."

Holding on to his dad tightly, John sobbed, "There were twenty-four feral kids at the first place I was at. There were twenty at the other place, just as smelly and almost as bad. It was so different than when somebody is threatening you, like on the Enterprise, Tuesday." John shuddered briefly then continued, "This time, four were tied up. They couldn't have hurt me, but they had hurt so many so slowly, by starving them and treating them worse than bugs. Two of 'em wanted to hurt me and Stephen, like the other kids. They didn't deserve to live another day. I killed them, all four, turned 'em to dust."

John searched the faces of the other adults. All he saw was sadness on their faces. From their minds, John heard only concern for himself and the other Core Rimmers; their sons, still asleep in the basement. Mr. Seaver and Mr. Gibbons felt like they had failed their children by allowing such greed and selfishness to exist. Turning to face his mother and seeing tears streaming down her face, John sighed, "Sorry, mom."

Violently shaking her head, Jennifer cried, "Don't be sorry."

Jim added, "We have the most reason to be sorry. As parents, it's our job to protect our kids."

Wiping her eyes with a tissue, Jennifer wept, "Where heartless people like that come from, I have no idea."

Rob Gibbons softly said, "Generations try to make the world a better place for their kids. No matter how hard we try, something always gets missed; someone gets away with murder. You boys have done what we couldn't, what we didn't even know was going on." Jim put John down. John went to his mother and they tightly held each other, sobbing their eyes out.

As if their little butts were on fire, Cesar and Felipe ran up the basement steps and flew into the kitchen. The twins removed any doubt that they were telepaths by loudly demanding, 'Stop crying and stop worrying!'

Glaring at Bill Seaver, Cesar sent, 'We told you last night it was real!'

Squinting at the other adults in the kitchen, Felipe continued, 'This is what the Clan does!' Anna, Laura and Lanna came out of the dining room and into the kitchen. Quickly, Peter covered his mouth before he laughed out loud at the adults' stunned expressions.

Cesar added, 'They save kids, like us! Get over it already!'

Felipe loudly shared, 'You want them to stop so you won't hurt! Little kids ain't stupid, ya know.'

'Dewi, Kokaku, Aaron, Dillon, Geoffy and Richie are freakin' out!'

'Carmella's upstairs, wonderin' if she should come downstairs.'

'Somebody better start tellin' them the truth, fast!'

'Be glad we know you people are nice.'

Together, they assured, 'We'll fix it so no one hears what happened this morning.'

Jim half sighed and half groaned then turned and started for the stairs. Returning to the dining room, the remaining adults, except Jen Hundser, who was still with John, began explaining the situation and their own reactions to the six worried boys. Finding Carmella sitting on the top step, Jim sat several steps beneath her and explained what had happened and how families work.

Turning in his mother's arms, John wiped his eyes then grinned at the twins. 'Jeez, guys. Got something to say?' Giggling, Cesar and Felipe nodded. More footsteps could be heard on the basement stairs. John asked the twins, 'Who's comin' up from the basement?'

Cesar replied, 'Randall, Alan, Latoya...'

'And Murakami, Shimizu, Don and Lenny,' Felipe finished.

John cheered, "Excellent!" The basement door opened and six boys filed across the hall, through the dinette and into the bathroom. Latoya hurried down the hall and upstairs on her own potty mission, unaware that Carl and Anna were there.

Cesar proudly smiled, 'Jamie, Jacob and Beau was teachin' us.'

Felipe nodded, 'They says maybe we could help some day.'

John grinned, 'That day has come. Do you want to join my Intel team?'

Wide-eyed, the twins nodded and shouted, "Yeah, that'd be awesome!"

John giggled then sent, 'It's our secret for now. I'll tell Prez later then we'll tell your folks, okay?'

"Okay!" the twins chorused.

John suggested, "Let's get some breakfast." The twins hurried to John and gave him a hug. Together, the three boys joined Carmella and the others at the dining room table. The first plate of cinnamon rolls was placed on the table. Soon, ten of twelve cinnamon rolls were being dunked into bowls of cereal and milk.

In the basement, the last of the youngest boys were waking up. Randy Beale woke Jonah. Jonah woke Reyes. The three brothers put clothes on then went upstairs and were surprised to find all the adults there. Pancakes and waffles were prepared for the next crew of hungry kids. Chad Bunting woke Herbert Trumbo. Hearing their new brothers, Sung and Kawazoe woke. Smelling food cooking, they hurried up the steps. Waking in an upstairs bedroom, Bruce, Dee, Gage and Sammy came downstairs. The first group of kids finished their breakfasts then went to watch TV. John flipped channels to allow the kids to watch something more entertaining than news. The second group of kids overflowed to the kitchen dinette table. John invited Peter to join him downstairs, but Peter wanted to stay upstairs with the kids. So John went down to the basement before Stephen woke and discovered him missing.

Peter sat near Bruce and softly offered, "I can help find out what happened to your mommy and daddy."

Remembering some of what he learned of Mikyvis skills on Saturday morning, Bruce excitedly cheered, "Would you, Peter?"

Smiling widely, Peter nodded, stood and compassionately assured, "Be right back." He popped out of the Hundsers' dining room and onto a boat, out-of-phase so he would not be noticed, with four adults, two of which were Bruce's parents. The boat was stopped and drifting, many miles away from the east coast of O'ahu, while the adults were chatting. In the distance, Peter could make out the peak of Diamond Head.

As one of the men started the engine, Peter heard the 'pop' of a fuel explosion. He rewound this time frame, and went to a point where he could look at the engine. After referencing Cory's knowledge of internal combustion technology, he quickly realized that this particular model of power-plant was using a version one nitrogen extractor unit, with a hydro extraction unit to provide the oxygen for the nitrous-oxide fuel mix. He slowed time, and watched as the engine was cranked by the man up top. He got his answer quickly, as a seal failed on the oxygen separation unit; the failure spraying liquid oxygen directly on the magneto. The liquid oxygen quick-froze the primary ignition lead, causing it to crack and spark to the nearby engine block.

Peter nodded his head in understanding as he left the boat and watched from the water as the scene played itself out. He then went back to the maintenance facility which took care of the boat between rentals. After an in-depth check, he found that the company actually went over and above the factory recommended preventive maintenance procedures for their equipment; the failure was definitely not due to anything that they had done.

Returning to the Hundsers' living room, Peter waved Bruce over. The two boys then went to the kitchen and stood before Rob Gibbons. Peter reported, "I saw what happened to the Downings, Uncle Rob." Turning his attention to Bruce, Peter sighed, "There was an explosion from a small oxygen leak. It got real bad, real fast. None of the four grownups had a chance. I even checked out the boat rental place. Everything they did was right; it was only an accident and no one's fault, Bruce."

Amazed that little Peter knew as much and more than he did, Rob Gibbons nodded and sighed, "Honolulu Police are already investigating the business, but not finding anything incriminating."

Bruce wiped his eyes. Peter hugged Bruce and gently assured, "It was their time. There was nothing anybody could've done." Bruce understood, but it barely made a difference. Releasing Bruce, Peter stepped back. Jim Hundser picked up Bruce a second before Bruce began bitterly crying. Jennifer joined them and softly rubbed her son's back. Carmella was the first to stop eating and go to Bruce. Soon all the kids were gathered around Jim, Jen and Bruce.

Peter spoke to Rob Gibbons so a report could be made to the engine manufacturer that would prevent future failures and loss of life.

Over at the dorms, kids were waking too. Some went to the bathrooms for showers while others wanted food first and would shower afterward. Liki and Hank went for their first early morning jog around the perimeter fence of the base with some of the UNIT boys. The televisions in the C.I.C. dining room were turned on to the local news, which included an abridged version of the California Orphanage raid in the world news segment. As more kids gathered and watched TV while drinking their morning milkshakes, the conversations revolved around what the Core Rimmers had done. Awestruck, they could barely believe what was reported. Teenagers explained the news reports to the younger kids, who didn't fully understand how this rescue operation differed from others the Core Rimmers had performed.

Remaining in the basement nest were the six Core Rimmer couples and Frankie. At first, John lay quietly between his husband and son, reviewing the events of the morning. First and foremost on the list were the reactions of his parents. John expected they would be, at the very least, disappointed. However, they weren't the least bit disappointed in any of their sons. If anything, they were disappointed in themselves. John's parents still loved him and agreed that the lives taken in California were justified.

Next, was discovering how he had floated without Stephen, and how he had uprooted twenty-one trees. A single tree weighed way more than ten or twelve people, John reasoned. He began by trying to levitate himself. It took several minutes for John to gather enough emotions and channel the power to actually begin to float, but once he started, it seemed that it was suddenly easy and he rose all the way to the ceiling. Controlling the emotions so he could lower to the nest again took almost as long as rising had. When he made it down to Stephen's side again, his head tingled, like it had when he first became N-Gen. The second attempt at levitation was much easier and more controlled.

Feeling what was happening with Bruce and Peter upstairs, John reached out to his new brother. Although Bruce was very sad, he was relieved that there were no human failures involved in the accident. John sent to Bruce, 'I know what happened and I feel you, bro. I'm not gonna do anything to change how you feel, unless you ask me to help.' Bruce simply thanked his new brother and continued to cry in Jim's and Jennifer's embrace. John flipped over onto his belly and floated up a third time. Hovering about three-feet above the nest, John floated above his husband and softly called, "Hey, baby. I need to show you something."

Only beginning to become conscious, Stephen smiled and turned onto his side, reaching for where he thought John was. Finding only pillows and a blanket, Stephen opened his eyes. Believing that John's voice was a dream, Stephen grunted.

John giggled, "You're so cute when you first wake up." Stephen slowly rolled only his head. Seeing John floating above him, Stephen gasped and lay flat on his back. John lowered himself onto his husband then stole a kiss before pulling Stephen up with him. John sent, 'I figured it out, Stephen. It's all emotions at once that make it happen; love, hate, fear, joy, sadness, anger; all of 'em at once until they fill me up.'

Frankie shifted in his sleep, wiped his eyes then saw his daddy and poppa floating above the nest. He began giggling hysterically, not realizing that anything was different. John lifted Frankie and telepathically shared knowledge of his newly discovered power.

Waking and seeing his little brother and brother-in-law floating again, Drew groaned, "Can't you find a new way to wake up?"

John began giggling then powered up. Drew, Corey, Prez, Keith, Mike, Derrick, Kaleo, Tory, Sean and Troy levitated quite easily. John also levitated the stacked cases of drinks, the boxes of snacks and the basement refrigerator. With a thought, the remaining basement furniture on the other side of the basement floated up in the air. Releasing Stephen and Frankie to gently float down to the nest, John felt no additional strain and he was holding almost a ton of people, appliances and furniture in the air.

Realizing what was happening, Keith sighed, "This is getting monotonous."

Troy rolled over and reached for Sean. Discovering that he and Sean were hovering several feet above the nest, Troy gasped then shouted, "Is this how you guys always wake up?"

"Look closer," Stephen prompted. All eyes turned to Stephen, down on the floor, and then to John, still horizontal and five feet above the nest.

Prez asked John, "You can do it alone now?"

John nodded, "No sweat." Prez smiled and hummed thoughtfully.

Seeing everything on both sides of the basement steps hovering, Corey gasped, "Omigod!"

Returning everything and everyone to the basement floor, John concentrated on Stephen, about to ask if his husband wanted pancakes or a breakfast shake from the C.I.C. Stephen was concerned that John didn't need him anymore, now that he could float on his own power. So that Stephen and all in the basement could hear, John said, "Don't think that, baby. I didn't marry you only because we can float. You're the one I want to be with, on the ground and above it. For better or for worse, I love you, Stephen."

The others in the basement giggled, "Aww!" Smiling and standing up, Stephen pushed John into an upright and vertical position. John pulled Stephen up above the floor then they hugged and kissed.

Sean told Troy, "This is why I didn't mind sleeping here. The love in this house covers the entire base."

John said, "All our parents are upstairs. Breakfast is being made. And you'll probably want to see what's going on in the world news too." He then floated up the steps with his husband and son. By this time, Richie, Carmella and all the other fed tots were dressed and heading over to the playground with Peter. Frankie took an empty chair at the table. Anna placed a plate of two waffles in front of the boy. Covering the warm waffles in softened butter and then drowning them in boysenberry syrup, Frankie dug in.

Having heard the news, Stephen's and Troy's mothers arrived at the Hundsers' home. Stephen proudly told his mother what John had done the previous night. Kathleen Marr couldn't believe that John accepted the burden of executions rather than allow Stephen to take a single life. She pulled both boys into her embrace and warmly thanked John. Going to Jim and Jen Hundser, Kathleen expressed her sincere gratitude for what John had done. While his mom was busy, Stephen took hold of both of John's hands, and then led him out of the room. Passing by the dining room, John started giggling. The giggles were echoed by Stephen and then by Frankie. Stephen led John upstairs to their bedroom.

The remaining Core Rimmers got dressed then hurried upstairs. Judy Faris hugged the breath out of her son and Sean. All the other parents expressed their concern and pride for their sons. While the eldest eight sat down for breakfast, Drew tapped his sub-vocal and asked Alden to include Corey for a status update. Other than world-wide outrage over the orphanages, all was quiet around the Pacific Rim. California's Governor and Attorney General had a press conference to talk about what had happened in the Golden State, and how they were preparing laws and regulations that would prevent it from happening again. Alden added, "Cory Short and Logan Hayes have approved acquiring Zorro Communications Corporation's stock."

Drew thoughtfully scowled, "What's that mean to us, Alden?"

Alden explained, "At the rate ZCC stock is being sold off, the company would be out of business by tomorrow evening. There are several thousand employees, not to mention contractors, around the world that had nothing to do with the orphanages, who would be devastated if the company were to go out of business. Also, there are millions of ZCC network devices installed around the world that would have no support, rendering all those devices as liabilities. Mr. Takamura and a small group of Clan investors are going to save the company and take over, saving jobs, saving the retirement accounts of countless innocent senior citizens, and ultimately, we come out of this in a much better light; we identified a problem, resolved it and save the company from bankruptcy."

Drew nodded and smiled, "That's excellent news. Thanks, Alden."

Alden giggled, "Any time, Drew. We'll chat later."

Drew said, "Probably so," then went to the adult men gathered in the living room to share the news. Corey went to tell the women in the kitchen. Prez and the eldest Core Rimmers listened and heard the latest status update. Prez and the Core Rimmers agreed to put funds into acquiring additional ZCC stock. Deciding to use a quarter of the Core Rimmer's personal funds, Prez ordered Alden to execute the trades five minutes before the New York Stock Exchange closed, at whatever current market value. Drew and Corey met in the dining room to have breakfast. Drew wondered, "Where's John?"

Still chowing down, his face smeared with boysenberry syrup, Frankie smiled, "Upstairs with poppa." Stephen's implanted 'therapy' was being accomplished privately with John. Considerably more aggressive than typical, Stephen made John repeatedly giggle, shake and shiver. Things they hadn't had the chance to do during their brief honeymoon Tuesday night, Stephen enthusiastically did.

A devilish grin spread across Drew's face. He shifted his eyes mysteriously, causing the others at the table to begin softly chuckling. Leaning forward to help himself to a waffle, Drew was surprised when the platter slid away from him. Drew grumbled when the platter went airborne and floated up toward the ceiling. Soft chuckling around the table turned into loud laughter. Drew sighed, "I can't even think of pulling a practical joke on him anymore."

John sent, 'You can think it, but you'll pay.'

Judy Faris went to the dining room to tell Troy she that was about to begin her work day, but hearing laughter and seeing a platter floating above the chandelier, she came to an abrupt halt.

Taking pity on his brother, Prez chuckled, "Come on, John, let Drew eat. He's acting director for today."

'Really?' John teased, and then levitated the chair Drew sat in and sent to the other Core Rimmers, 'All hail the chief!'

While the others laughed, Drew only covered his eyes and shook his head, softly muttering, "And I was worried about him."

When Drew was lowered back to the floor, Judy kissed Troy and Sean on the cheek then said goodbye to the other adults. Huffing impatiently, Drew hollered at the ceiling, "Waffles, brat!" Drew heard John's laughter in his mind as the platter lowered back down to the table. As rough as the early morning had been for John, the day was shaping up very nicely indeed.

Keith downed the last of his juice, wiped his mouth then told everyone at the table, "We've got about half an hour to get our buns in gear and get to school."

Standing up, Derrick and Mike nodded. Derrick said, "We'll meet you in the center of the lawns."

Mike tapped his sub-vocal and said, "Alden, contact our school security teams. Have them meet us at the circle in back of our houses in about twenty-five minutes." Alden replied affirmatively then Mike and Derrick left the house with their parents, sons, brothers and sisters.

Glancing around the table at the other Core Rimmers, Prez confirmed, "You guys are kewl for a while?"

Kaleo nodded, "We've got it covered, no problem, Prez."

Troy also nodded and asked, "Are we gonna jam later today? For some reason, I feel like that's really important."

Prez and Keith agreed; they would get together in the auditorium right after lunch. At that time, they could greet the Latin King kids and the others from the level one orphanages. Keith pulled Prez by the hand upstairs so they could shower. Kaleo and Tory excused themselves to get cleaned up then made a point of thanking the Hundsers for breakfast. Jim got a hug from Kaleo and Jennifer was hugged by Tory. Sean and Troy were the last to leave, telling Drew and Corey that they would also be showering and getting clean clothes. Drew asked that they be prepared for orientations of the newest Rimmers.

During the time Corey and Drew were alone in the dining room, the Hundser and Seaver adults talked to the boys about the prior night. They weren't looking for additional details, enough had been seen and heard already. The only thing the adults cared about was what the boys thought of the experience.

Drew shrugged, "What's there to think of? They didn't like kids and never should have been put in a job to care for kids."

Corey wondered, "I can't understand why they hate kids so much though. That makes no sense at all to me."

Jen said, "I think it's the way they were raised; perhaps the way they were as children themselves."

Jim calmly offered, "From what I've seen of criminals and court cases, there really isn't a rational explanation. Some people were abused and become abusers themselves. Others are so selfish, nothing else matters except what they want; whether it's a man that kills for petty cash at a convenience store or an adult desiring sex with little boys and girls. They don't know they need help and never seek it, so they follow their desires."

Bill smiled proudly at his son and son-in-law. "You boys dealt with everything perfectly. I don't think I could've done as well." Bill Seaver was a tall man that Corey and Drew believed was almost infallible. At six and a half feet tall and almost two hundred and forty pounds, he once played college football. He got his education and degree in Business Administration at U.C.L.A. through a football scholarship. His wife, Lanna was also tall compared to the other three mothers. Corey was destined to become a tall, handsome man. That final simple statement from Bill Seaver was empowering for Corey and Drew.

Lanna told her son and son-in law, "I would be much happier if you boys could take a short break from Clan Leadership for a while." The idea was echoed by Jim and Bill.

In that motherly fashion that made it an order, Jen told the boys, "Make it happen, soon."

Drew and Corey sweetly smiled and sang, "Yes, mom." The two women rolled their eyes. Biting their tongues, the two men forced themselves to not laugh.

Showered, dressed and ready for their school concert, Keith and Prez galloped down the stairs. They said goodbye to their parents and Mrs. Marr then hurried outside. Meeting Derrick, Mike and their security teams, Prez called Alden and had them transported to school.

Jim and Jennifer Hundser decided they had delayed going to the F.Y.S. building as long as was necessary. They went upstairs to prepare for their day. Kathleen Marr decided to clean up the vestiges of breakfast while she waited for her son and son-in-law.

Although they had showered the prior night before joining the nest, Corey suggested that he and Drew get some shower playtime before kids began showing up. Drew agreed, but his comm-badge chirped as they were climbing the stairs. Corey groaned, knowing his chance for a little bathtub fun had passed. Drew answered the call. "Pacific Rim Division; this is Drew."

A woman's voice said, "This is Doctor Darcy Ester calling from Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa."

Turning around and pulling Corey with him, Drew smiled, "Yes, Doctor. Are the kids ready to come home?"

"Yes they are," Doctor Ester replied. "Two Starfleet security personnel will join them. They will bring the childrens' medical records."

Heading for the door, Drew replied, "Please inform Starfleet Security to transport the kids to our C.I.C. dining room." Exaggerating a frown, Corey dragged his feet. Drew pulled Corey out of the house, giggling, "I'll have our Doctors meet us there."

"Very well," Doctor Ester said.

Walking toward the pools, Drew said, "Give us about five minutes to gather a welcoming committee."

Doctor Ester replied, "Thank you, Drew. I'll inform Starfleet and the children. Goodbye."

Noticing Corey rubbing the front of his shorts, Drew helplessly laughed, "Thanks, Doc. Bye."

Once the call was finished, Corey whined, "I wanna play! I wanted to play when we woke in the nest. But no-ooo! John had us floating around, wasting time instead of making time! And where is he? With Stephen, playing while we work!"

Drew kissed Corey's hand and promised, "Tonight, I'll turn over to Prez and then we are gone. I'm gonna do unspeakable things with you, dude."

Corey whimpered and begged, "Speak a few?" Drew cracked up laughing. Approaching the pool and calming down, Drew tapped his comm-badge, saying, "Drew to Doc Andrews and Doc Howard."

One after the other, the two doctors replied. Drew informed them of incoming kids and asked if they would come to the C.I.C. dining room. Once the doctors had answered, Corey hollered, "Geoff, Lenny, Renee?"

Drew called for Richie, Bruce, Carmella and Kokaku to come help them greet new kids. While they enthusiastically agreed, Corey scanned the area for Kaleo, Tory, Sean and Troy. Since they were nowhere in sight, Corey made his lower lip tremble, reverting to five years old and preparing for a tantrum.

Lenny noticed and asked, "You sad, Poppa?"

Corey quickly flipped his dramatic frown into a grin. Hugging his boy, Corey assured, "I'm fine, pal."

Shaking his head, Drew giggled, "Poppa's bein' a bad boy." Purposefully avoiding Corey's gaze, Drew called for Reyes, Randy, Jonah and Dillon to join the welcoming committee. Not one to be avoided or ignored, Corey began tickling Drew's ribs and chased him all the way to the C.I.C. The welcoming committee followed and giggled at the two out of control leaders.

Dressed much more comfortably than he had been for about fifteen years of employment, Jim Hundser stepped out of his house, ready to start his work day at the F.Y.S. building. Before he could step off the porch, two squirrels scampered towards him. Jim hadn't seen a squirrel in years, since he and his family arrived in Hawaii. The squirrels stopped before him and began squeaking. Jim nodded and replied in squirrel, "Yes, I'm a lawyer." The squirrels squeaked and clicked then pointed towards the south side of the base. Jim queried, "How many trees?" Outraged, the squirrels repeated the count then complained that they had just barely gotten their friends and families out in time. Walking by on his way to the F.Y.S. building, Rob Gibbons saw Jim and overheard the two squirrels bitching about how they came to Hawaii from Orlando, because Timmy Short said they would have no competition and a warm, safe place to live. They hadn't had their new homes for three whole days and now their trees were destroyed. The squirrels wanted to press charges and file lawsuits against the boy responsible.

Listening carefully to squirrels, Rob noted the description of the boy; Caucasian, brown hair with eyes that shone blue, as bright as street lamps. "Uh oh," Rob grunted.

Jim sighed then told the squirrels, "There's a problem, but we could work our way around it, if you'd be willing?" The squirrels wondered, what sort of problem. Jim answered, "A conflict of interest. The boy you've described is a Clan Short leader and my son." The squirrels were now annoyed that justice would not be served, and in their frustration spun around, loudly squeaking and clicking. "Wait, relax!" Jim squeaked and clicked, "We can take care of this in a way that will benefit everybody." Jennifer Hundser stepped out onto the porch in time to hear her husband explaining, in squirrel, "Our son was upset over lives taken the prior night. I can personally guarantee that John won't be blowing up any more trees. For the safety of your family and friends, can I recommend that you build new homes around the perimeter of the base?" Scurrying around in a fit, the squirrels squeaked and clicked, complaining that they might never be safe. "Yes, you will," Jim assured. "We would always keep the trees at the perimeter for privacy. You would always be safe there and on this base. Honestly, we didn't even know you were here and therefore couldn't have prevented it." After another short exchange, the squirrels were satisfied and scampered off towards the trees.

Turning to his wife, Jim smiled, "There, problem solved."

Shaking her head, Jen cackled, "I certainly hope so. Besides your own testicles, there are at least a hundred other boys that are in danger of having their nuts stolen."

Rob cracked up laughing and Jim snickered, "The girls are safe though." Together, they started for the F.Y.S. building, wondering what more the day might offer.

Over by the diving well, Peter Lambert motioned for Robin to join him. He led Robin over to where Carl Seibert was reclining on a chaise lounge, working via his cell phone.

Finishing a call and glancing up from his phone, Carl Seibert smiled, "Hi boys. What's going on?"

"We're gonna go over to see what we can do with Kahoo... Kaho... um, that other island," Peter said cheerfully. "You wanna come with?"

Carl chuckled and easily pronounced, "Ka-ho-o-la-we." Behind Carl, his security gorilla, Joseph, who had been deep in conversation with another gorilla, perked up his ears at this.

"That's the one!" Peter cheered. Robin giggled. Peter smiled, "Anyway, me and Quint got the island workin' right yesterday, with water and stuff, and now we're gonna go fix it up with some infrastructure and housing and stuff."

Carl gasped, "That old rock has water on it? Do I even want to know how you managed that? It was financially prohibitive, the last time any study was done on it."

"Simple, if you have a Q on call," Peter giggled. "He converted some of the rock under the old peak into a filtration system that produces good fresh water, under enough pressure to get it up to the top of the peak. We got rivers and streams flowing down from it."

Standing and clipping his phone to his belt, Carl grinned, "This I gotta see for myself."

Robin reminded, "First of all, Uncle Carl needs his security, second of all, please don't start us off at five thousand feet. Let me handle the telekinetics. I've grown accustomed to hearing people speak."

Joseph tapped his comm-badge, calling, "Fernando, we're going off-base."

Fernando wasted no time or energy, transporting from the Rapid Response Base, where he had been getting in some target practice, to poolside in Ewa Beach. He tapped Joseph on the shoulder and wondered, "What's the hold-up?"

"Smart-alec," Joseph replied. Fernando cheekily smiled.

The other gorilla who had been talking with Joseph spoke up. "What are you planning?" he asked.

Carl smiled, "Come along, Leo." Speaking to Peter, while Leo checked with Sean, Carl explained, "I learned when I met Leo yesterday, that he has civil engineering skills. I'd hire him, so his input might be useful."

Once Sean cleared him to leave, Leo asked Peter, "What do you have planned?"

"We need to run water, power, and sewerage lines to handle any development we do over there. I was thinking of putting a main road from the northeast corner, where there's land suitable for an airstrip and harbor, down the length of the island to the beaches at the southwest end."

"You could basically use a gravity feed for the water if it's really coming out at that peak; that's fourteen-hundred feet high, if I remember right," Leo said. "What did you figure for power?" Peter shrugged. Leo suggested, "Put in two microfusion generators, one at each end of the island. That gives you fallback power sources and extras for any emergencies that might crop up."

Carl asked, "The intended purpose of this island is?"

Peter shrugged, "We're not sure. The King gave it to Prez, and Prez gave it to the Clan through Cory Short. I guess we should estimate how big the clan is."

Fernando offered, "All the divisions included, I'd guess about fifteen thousand."

"More than that," Joseph said, "I'd guess more like thirty thousand."

"For the sake of argument, lets go with twenty-five thousand," Carl suggested. When no one argued, Carl rambled, "A windmill farm of about forty windmills for a gigawatt of power, supplemented by an acre solar farm for another ten gigawatts, with the two microfusion generators should be adequate for our current size and a fair amount of growth."

Leo asked, "Why are you considering an airstrip and a harbor, Peter?"

"Umm... it's an island," Robin giggled. "It's cutoff from the world without something for normal people transportation." To both Leo and Robin, Peter nodded and smiled.

Leo grinned, "So the two microfusion generators should be placed such that the important stuff always has power."

Peter agreed, "Yeah, to the north by the airfield and harbor, and to the center of the western side for whatever else, residential and commercial, primarily, I guess."

"Even for our own people, we need emergency services," Carl reminded.

"So for hospitals, fire stations and police all over the island," Joseph softly summarized.

Nodding, Carl asked, "How're we going to ascertain what goes where?"

"We'll go there now, if you're all ready?" Peter offered.

Smiling at the small Mikyvis, Carl Seibert suddenly didn't recognize where he was. Off in the distant eastern horizon, he recognized Mount Haleakala on Maui the same moment Fernando pointed it out. Fernando noticed Carl's apparent confusion and checked, "Are you okay, Carl?"

"I'm fine," Carl sighed. He grinned, "It took me those few seconds to realize where we are. Kaho'olawe didn't look like this the last time I was here."

Peter giggled. "Me 'n' Quint got busy yesterday!" He motioned Carl to turn around, where he saw water gushing out of a spring near the mountaintop and forming a large lake. Then he led the group to the east side of the lake, where a 'bridal veil' waterfall dropped down the almost sheer cliff.

Robin looked over and smiled, "Uncle Carl, has John ever levitated you?"

Nodding, Carl answered, "Briefly, while I was on a poolside lounge chair."

Robin grinned, "Kewl, this will be the same, without the chair. You might feel a little weird, because there won't be nothin' under your feet, but I'll be supporting you. Just don't worry, okay?"

"I'm not afraid of heights," Carl assured, at the same moment his feet left the ground. All six of them were rising off the ground and into the air. Carl nervously muttered, "normally," as they continued levitating. What was weird was his feet weren't dangling; Carl felt like he was still standing on something, yet there was only many meters of air between the soles of his shoes and the mountainside.

"Okay, Leo, Carl, this is where we're gonna need advice," Peter said, sounding as professional as a nine-year-old floating in midair can. "What we thought is to pretty much leave the mountain area natural, with the water source, a wind farm and such located there, but no other development. Up here to the north, though," and they floated off in that direction; "we figured would be the right place to put the airstrip and harbor, and one of the microfusion generators."

Leo nodded and checked with Carl, saying, "It's a close point for boats to make the twelve kilometer jaunt back to Maui."

"And air traffic wouldn't be flying over too many homes or businesses," Carl added. "Good plan, Peter."

"Then we figured a road more or less following the north coastline - 'Broadway'," Peter giggled. "That would run all the length of the island to the beaches on the southwest shore." He turned serious again. "Since the Clan doesn't have any real major plans for it right now, we thought it could be a place where all the Divisions could get together at once. I looked into what Starfleet can do, and we can house everybody at once."

Carl asked, "You mean a main northeast to southwest thoroughfare, like a highway, with parallel smaller avenues and roads?"

"Exactly," Peter said. "And we could run a monorail down the median too!"

Peter and Robin started the floating man-and-gorilla group moving up and westward.

"Okay," Peter said as they hovered over the western part of the island, "what we had figured is to put in quads of dorms up and down the main road along here to the north, and maybe in from there a bit. Down here along these cliffs on the south shore, and one row inland from them, would be the big single family houses. And just north of that the townhouses would fit. In the area west of that we put up the condo buildings, some ten-story ones and some new twenty-story ones. In the curve to the east between the townhouses and the barracks-style quads we could have some commercial and community buildings."

Carl glanced at Leo. Leo explained, "There should be strip malls interspersed along the main roads in residential areas. No one should have to go far to get the basics, like groceries. Also, since we're planning a population of mostly kids, each strip mall should have a video arcade."

"A larger mall, centrally located, would be a good idea," Carl added. "In that mall, we could have a movie theater, with eight or more screens, so folks have entertainment choices. Along the same train of thought, we'll need a large auditorium, so division leaders and Cory Short can meet with the entire Clan at once."

Pointing down and toward the western shore, Leo asked, "Is that a beach area?"

Peter nodded, "Yup, Quint added palm trees."

"We could build another entertainment area there," Leo offered. "With smaller concession stands and the like nearer the beach. As we move inland, we could have restaurants and night clubs for the adults."

Carl nodded agreement, saying, "Emergency services should be near where the people are; fire stations and medical clinics between the residential and commercial zones, and definitely one of each by shoreline resort area."

Leo added, "Don't forget water treatment facilities. Twenty-five thousand toilets flushing means there needs to be at least one sewage treatment center; two would actually be better, one north by the airport and harbor, another south, a fair distance away from the shoreline resort area."

Considering the intended use of the island, Carl thought aloud, "I can easily foresee Preston, Cory or any of the division leaders having meetings at the auditorium, but once that's done, the kids are free to do what they like. Some would head to the beach, some would go to the mall, some would go back to their residences, satisfied with reading or watching television. We'll need a communications tower on the mountaintop to relay television and radio broadcasts."

Joseph told them, "The entire Clan constitutes a small city. Those of us from the Special Forces division would act as police for the island. Perhaps three 'police stations' where there are emergency services might be a good idea."

Carl and Leo smiled and chorused, "Good idea."

Joseph shrugged and grinned, "The UNIT has medics that could easily serve as paramedics or assist in the medical clinics with the hired doctors and nurses. The Clan as a whole already has support staff of every sort."

Carl nodded and laid out a plan, "Centered along the primary highway and monorail system would primarily be residential, close to the shoreline and on both sides of the transportation system." He paused and pointed down, gesturing and explaining, "Along Broadway, we'll centrally locate our larger malls and commercial areas, with emergency service facilities there. A little further inland, nearer to the mountainside, we could have condos, townhomes and single family homes. To the north, the airport, harbor, water treatment and more emergency services. To the southwest, near our resort beaches, place more light commercial areas. Off to the east of the beaches, at least three kilometers away, place a second water treatment facility. On the mountainside, we'll have a wind farm, solar generating facility and the communications tower. The two microfusion generators would be north by the airport and harbor, and the other to the south, between the water treatment center and the beach resort."

"Here, sketch it," Peter said, handing Leo a laptop that hadn't been there before. Leo nearly dropped it. "Hey, let's get these guys down on the beach," Peter told Robin, who giggled and settled them gently onto the beach.

Three beach chairs popped into existence. "Relax," Peter told Carl and the gorillas. "C'mon, Robin!" The two giggling boys popped out, returning a few seconds later.

"Where are the microfusion thingies?" Peter asked. Joseph began to answer, but Peter said "thanks," and vanished again. Robin giggled.

Peter popped back, collected Robin, and they vanished again. When they reappeared, Carl asked, "What the Sam Hill are you boys doing?"

"Puttin' what you said in place," Peter sniggered. "Hey, you got a crew available to put in concrete?"

Nodding, Carl grabbed his cell phone, saying, "I can get a team of fifty put together within the hour," but then realized he had no signal on the island. Carl and Fernando were transported back to Ewa Beach by Alden.

"I knew I forgot something!" Peter grinned. He and Robin vanished again. When they returned, there was a bright red flashing light in the east. "One comm tower, check," Robin giggled.

"I need sand," Peter commented.

"You're standing on a sand beach," Joseph reminded him.

"No, I don't wanna take it from here," Peter answered. His eyes went unfocused, then came back. He flickered in and out of existence a couple of times, then said, "That other universe, where they used this island to test bombs, they'll never miss it."

He tossed Robin a purple hardhat, which predictably made him giggle, then they disappeared again. When they returned, Robin commented, "Those were HUGE!"

Peter nodded. At Joseph's quizzical expression, Peter grinned, "Sewer mains." He then asked Leo, "Think about sewage treatment for a minute, please." Leo looked quizzically at him.

Leo sighed, "For now, since there's no sewage to treat, just place the lagoons and feed them water."

"Okay," Peter cheerfully agreed, vanished and quickly returned. "Done."

The boys vanished again. Looking off to the east, Joseph pointed and said, "Look!" The two gorillas watched as windmills began sprouting along ridges on the mountainside in the distance. After about a minute, a wind-farm had been placed. Only seconds later, another tall tower sprouted up, then Leo and Joseph saw reflected sunlight as sufficient numbers of mirrors were placed around the aforementioned solar collector tower.

When the boys returned, Robin looked a bit tired. "Cookie break," Peter announced, pulling out four enormous cookies from seemingly nowhere, and handing them to Robin and the gorillas, starting to munch on the last one himself. After their cookies, Peter and Robin took a swim.

Leo continued working on the laptop, drawing out his plans for housing and commercial area placement. Joseph kept on eye on the swimming boys. Having only arrived at Ewa Beach the prior afternoon, Leo remarked, "Carl seems like a very nice man."

Joseph smiled, "He is. Since you don't know him very well, let me just say that Derrick had an older brother, many years ago. Carl Junior passed away, which has severely impacted Carl and Anna. Having lost a child, both of Derrick's parents are loving the Clan situation. Derrick now has three little sisters and four younger brothers." Joseph then asked, "How do you like Sean?"

Leo shrugged and grinned, "He's definitely nice. As shy and soft spoken as he is, I was surprised with him last night. Sean went right into Clan brother mode and did most of the talking to the kids rescued from the orphanages we were at."

The two gorillas continued chit-chatting about the Core Rimmers, their families and some of the other rescued kids for many more minutes. Peter and Robin returned to the beach from their swim and put their clothes back on. After being gone for a little more than an hour, Carl and Fernando arrived at the beach, with two-hundred-fifty men, ready to be allocated to perform the necessary work.

"You know, don't you, that it'll take several days for the base layer of road to cure sufficiently to put the surface coat on?" Carl asked.

Peter chuckled. "Mikyvis can handle time better than that!" he said. "Soon's your guys get it rolled and tamped, I'll be right behind them compressing time. By the time they get the main road laid, the end they start at will be ready for the surface coat."

Carl smiled, "I've already organized the personnel," and turned to the large group of men, saying, "Let's break into our groups of twenty-five, as we discussed, gentlemen. We'll get you transported to work sites. Five of us will be transporting to and fro with supplies of concrete and anything else needed to accomplish as much as we can today."

Peter said, "I've got an eight-inch gravel sub-base layer in place for you already." He then led the two-hundred-fifty men, Carl, Robin, Fernando, and the two gorillas up to where the road was to begin at the western, beachfront end.

Carl checked with Peter, "We'll handle standard fifty meter segments?" When it was confirmed, Carl called Alden to transport the first set of heavy machinery and concrete trucks to begin this section. In a matter of minutes twenty-two teams of ten men were working on the roadway. The last thirty men were transported to the airport and harbor area to begin work there. For the next several hours, Carl, Fernando, Robin and the two gorillas transported back and forth between Oahu and Kaho'olawe with additional concrete trucks for the workers.

Peter pointed to the area near the end of the road, where the downward slope to the beach began. "I thought we could put a two-level parking deck there. Have one ramp from the road stay level, to lead onto the top deck, but excavate and run another ramp down to the lower level. That way we get parking without blocking any views or taking up too much land area."

Leo nodded and replied, "An excellent plan." He opened his laptop and pulled up a set of plans for a sizable parking garage.

As each fifty-meter section of highway was completed, Peter applied a bit of "Mikyvis time magic" to it to speed up the time needed for the concrete to cure. Meanwhile he called Starfleet to alert them to prep for the massive order of modular housing elements that would be needed from their fabricators.

Things began to fall into place. Peter popped over to the microfusion generator that had been positioned between what would become the sewage treatment plant and the community center area, and charged himself up from it for some heavy-duty TK work.

True to their word, Starfleet began transporting modular units one half hour after Peter's request. Between elements of "road aging" he lifted things into place in accordance with Leo's plans. Just to the east of the beach area, a boardwalk was put in place, where visitors could get food, bicycles, surf boards, or simply get out of the sun at an arcade or souvenir shop.

Just east of the boardwalk, two "streets", as yet only gravel sub-base, were lined on both sides with sets of ten townhouses, producing forty dwellings close to the beach. The south end of each street emptied onto the boardwalk as it curved around to the south.

The next two streets were set up similarly, but also featured one or two of the large single family homes, south of the townhouses, or rather, this was the case on both sides of one and one side of the other. At the north corner of the final side, though, where it intersected 'Broadway', there was a small supermarket and a few smaller stores, including a pizza shop and a video arcade with snacks, set up to be a teen hangout.

North of 'Broadway' were located dorm quads, resembling the ones at Ewa Beach and the as-yet-unused satellite bases. But unlike them, the central grassy area was here developed. The central quad of every set of three had a dining hall serving all three quads. The western one had basketball or tennis courts or a soccer field there, while the eastern one had a pool with diving well and a playground for the younger kids. A chain link fence blocked the quads off from the cliffs behind, with occasional breaks leading to steps down to the narrow northern beaches.

In the center of 'Broadway', Peter and Robin began work at the shore. The streets were still sub-base, but Peter began naming streets as he worked. "This first one I'll name after Bruce's parents," Peter told Robin. "Welcome to Downing street," he giggled. Nearest to the cliffs, they built a single family home and numbered it 'ten' when it was done, then broke into a fit a laughter. "Wait until Prez learns I built him a house at number ten Downing Street! He'll flip!" At the next lot, Peter built a row of townhomes. At the next three blocks, dormitory quads were built. At the south side of Broadway, Peter set up a strip malls, facing the main roadway. Beyond that to the south and starting to climb in elevation, the first ten-story condominium was built. Peter and Robin staggered the building profiles such that all residents would have nice views, unobstructed by taller buildings. They finished Downing Street with two twenty-story condominiums that were based on the original design Peter's company developed for Ewa Beach. The first six floors were single bedroom efficiency apartments, the next seven floors were two bedroom, two bathroom units, and they were topped with seven floors of five bedroom, four bath penthouses.

When the first street was done, he cured some roadway then began on "O'Brian Street", the same way as they had developed Downing Street. During the course of the day, Peter and Robin developed "Hundser Street", where at the intersection Broadway a small medical clinic, fire station and police station were built. Much the same way, "Gibbons Street," "Seaver Street" and "Seibert Street" were developed. At the southeast corner of Seibert Street, just off Broadway, a large mall was built, named Seibert Plaza, complete with movie theater. When that task was finished, Peter returned to the corner of Broadway and Downing Street, where he built an auditorium similar to that at Ewa Beach. He even named it Downing Gardens and dressed up the exterior with a plethora of fountains and flora. The design of the Gardens was evocative of a Japanese botanical garden, simplistic but functional. The final step was a bronze plaque memorializing Bruce's parents. At the end of the day, Peter intended on bringing Bruce back here to show him the length of Downing Street, culminating the little tour with this spot.

Transporting in with the last load of concrete, for the crew working south from the north of Broadway, Joseph turned in place, drinking in the sight of the work already done. He gasped, "I would've never believed it was possible." As the paving crews approached Seibert Plaza and Downing Gardens, Peter then suggested the names for the streets down by the beach. "From the east, there would be Furst Street, then Short Street, then Richardson Street and lastly Thompson Street. Peter conferred with Carl and Leo. Several teams split off to pave the side streets, while the others went back to the ends of 'Broadway' to put the surface coat on the island's main road.

Near six o'clock that evening, Peter, Carl and Robin gathered and looked over the incredible amount of work accomplished in a single day. To the large group of men that had worked so hard, Carl announced, "Gentlemen, congratulations on completing a phenomenal job. Each of you have earned your days pay and the incentive pay I promised. Funds will be transferred into the bank account numbers you've provided on your employment forms. As similar work is required on any of Clan Short's other properties, I will be calling on you again." The men were then instructed to split off according to island of residence. Carl, Peter, Robin, Joseph, Leo and Fernando split up to have men from each island state their name. Since all the personal data was electronic, AI's listened to stated names as they were spoken and each man was transported as close to their homes as was possible. In about two-and-a-half minutes, all the men were transported to their homes.

Taking a final glance around the now developed, but still unpopulated island, Peter proudly giggled, "If everyone's ready, let's go back to Ewa Beach?"

"Sounds good," Carl agreed, and Peter transported them all back to Ewa Beach, right in front of the C.I.C. building. As the others went inside, Peter looked around. The sun was setting, and the street lights were flickering on. Peter hit himself on the forehead, and concentrated. Over on the now-deserted island, street lights sprung up along Broadway, on Downing Street, and so on, and began glowing softly.

Ewa Beach, C.S.P.R.D. Main Base

10:11 AM HTZ

Barreling into the dining room with their ten person welcoming committee in tow, Drew screeched to a halt before the Starfleet security. They were startled by the sudden, rapid entrance and Drew recognized that immediately. "At ease, Ensign," Drew smiled, and then introduced himself, Corey and the rest of the welcoming committee.

Ensign McGrane began introducing the rescued kids while Drew and Corey greeted each and asked their ages. The tallest was Mike Busse, age fourteen. Then there was David Lydon, age thirteen; Ryan Caswell, age twelve; Matthew Cottingham, age eleven; Rodney Castaneda, age ten; Jeremy Catlin, age eight; Leonard Santana, age six; Mark Fikes, age five; Robyn Ashe, age fourteen; Claire Endsley, age twelve; Lillian Fitts, age nine, and Glenda Keeling, age seven.

Doctors Andrews, Howard and Wiener walked into the dining room during the introductions. Drew softly and sincerely apologized to Doctor Wiener. "I'm sorry, I should've called you too. Guess I always make assumptions."

Patting Drew on the back, Doc Wiener grinned, "It's called a positive attitude, Drew. Keep it that way."

So that the business formalities could be taken care of, Drew loudly asked, "Who's wants a milkshake?"

All twelve newbies politely raised their hands, but the other Rimmers shouted, "ME!" Corey and Reyes began laughing.

Drew giggled, "Reyes, show everyone where to get their shakes, please, bro?"

Reyes nodded and smiled, "Right this way guys," then led the pack to the chow line, explaining all about the shakes and the flavors available. Doc Wiener followed and closely watched the new kids interact with the others in the welcoming committee. Like any new kid might, they warmed up slowly to the Clan Short veterans that were now, after only six days, more outgoing kids.

Drew and Corey stayed with Doctors Andrews and Howard while medical records were accepted and reviewed. Afterward, Drew thanked and dismissed the Starfleet Security team.

John, Stephen and Frankie ran into the dining room, on the ground, for a change. They waved at Corey and Drew then went to the chow line to meet the kids. With little else to do, Drew called Kaleo and Corey called Sean. The echo of the mob shower made it obvious where Kaleo and Tory were. Kaleo assured they would be in the dining room in five or ten minutes. The length of time it took for Sean to answer his comm-badge made it equally obvious to Corey what they were doing. Sean estimated fifteen or twenty minutes before they could be at the dining room. Frustrated, Corey whispered to Drew; "I'm gonna go beat off." Smiling widely, Drew locked eyes with Corey and shook his head.

When the newbies, John and Stephen came out to the dining room, Drew pulled his brother aside. Immediately upon looking at Drew's face, John giggled, "Go, I'll get started with the kids." Drew and Corey transported to their townhome's master bedroom.

Ten minutes later, Drew returned to the dining room with a much more mellow Corey. Kaleo and Tory were there and sitting near the tables with the newbies. These were the kids from the level one San Diego orphanage that Kaleo and Tory didn't get the chance to meet. While telling the new kids more about the base, John teased Corey. 'At least twice a day, every morning and night or it's cranky bitch mode, huh?' With any will to argue greatly diminished, Corey rapidly nodded and giggled. Drew sat down and pulled Corey onto his lap then they joined the orientation discussion.

Lenny sat back, smiled at Corey and rubbed his tummy saying, "I'm so full, Poppa." That sent the conversation off in an entirely new direction.

John told the new kids, "All of the leaders are Starfleet Officers and considered adults. We're all Lieutenants." Stephen picked up the story from there, telling the kids about the marriages and introducing Frankie as his and John's son. The kids were all shocked that other kids were married, considered adults and had adopted other kids.

The kids still hadn't finished their milkshakes and the conversation was still in progress when Drew's comm-badge chirped. Tapping it, he answered, "Pacific Rim Division, this is Drew."

"This is Doctor Janet Hayes, at Camp Bam Bam."

Getting up and stepping away from the chatter, Drew said, "Hey Doc. How're you?"

"Very good, thank you. I have a dozen children with me, anxious to see you, Corey and Hawaii."

"Great!" Drew cheered. "We're in the C.I.C. dining room with the first dozen now."

Janet said, "I'll have Daileass transport them."

"Are you coming too?" Drew wondered.

Janet replied, "There's no need." A moment later, all twelve kids were standing in the dining room, not far from where Drew and Corey were, near the first batch of kids. Each of the kids were holding envelopes containing their medical records and wearing new clothes appropriate for the Hawaiian climate. They were excitedly looking around the C.I.C., drinking in their new environment.

Rolling his eyes, Drew giggled, "Don't say anything, Daileass!"

Over the dining room ceiling's speakers, Daileass imitated the character Carol Ann, from the movie 'Poltergeist'. "They're here!" Daileass giggled.

Shaking his head, Drew stood and told Janet, "They look great, Doc. A heck of a lot better than they did last night. Thank you." The three doctors went to the kids then began gathering the envelopes and greeting the kids.

Janet said, "The kids will be fine, Drew. The rest of their treatment can easily be handled by your medical team." She paused then wondered, "Where are Preston and Keith?"

"At a school concert this morning," Drew answered. "Prez needed time off. He put me and Corey in charge for the day. John, Stephen, Kaleo and Tory are here too."

Janet hummed then said, "I understand. I'll let you get to work, Director Hundser."

Drew giggled, "Thanks again, Doc. Have a good day."

"You too. Janet out."

At the F.Y.S. Building, while Jim and Jennifer Hundser were doing interviews, Anna Seibert, George Lu and Tamara Hekekia were assigned the task of contacting the parents and care-givers of some of the recently rescued children. First on the list were the kids from Sunday night. Gage Lundberg's parents never answered their phone. A message was left for them to contact F.Y.S. regarding their son. Aki Hikada's parents were contacted and scheduled to meet with George Lu. Hajime Sato's parents were also contacted and scheduled to meet with Tamara Hekekia. Aki and Hajime were called to the F.Y.S. building, where they rehashed the circumstances that brought them to the Clan. Aki wanted to remain with Hajime and recognized that opportunities in the Clan were far better than he could expect otherwise. He hoped for visits with his parents in the future, but only if they could cope with his relationship. Hajime didn't ever want to return home. He knew his parents would not ever accept his gay relationship. Immediately recognizing anger management issues with Hajime's parents, Tamara went to Anna Seibert to request additional security be present for their interview. Anna agreed with Tamara's assessment and called her own security to be available at three that afternoon.

Sean and Troy walked in the dining room and went directly to the kids. Drew and Corey hurried over, quite obviously pleased to see kids they had personally rescued. Again, another group of kids were led through the chow line for their first vitamin fortified milkshakes. Having had to perform executions, Sean and Troy were happy to see all of the kids. The kids were equally happy to finally be at their new home, but because of their care-givers, were careful what they said. While the second batch of kids made their way through the kitchen chow line, Drew tried to relax them by telling them that their orphanage care-givers were sentenced to life imprisonment and would never set foot on the Earth again. Corey prompted each kid to say exactly what they thought of those adults and then made a point of introducing the on-duty chefs. Drew made contrasting statements, describing the good grownups working at the base verses the evil scum at the orphanage.

Soon, they were out in the dining room again, sitting at tables near the other twelve newbies. Drew's comm-badge chirped once more. While Drew and Corey handled the third incoming group, Sean and Troy began telling the second group about the base. Having heard much of it already, kids from the first group began adding their own remarks. Within fifteen minutes, the third group of kids were seated with their milkshakes. Kaleo led the third orientation conversation and encouraged kids from the first and second groups to answer questions for the third group. At eleven-thirty, small packs of Rimmer kids began arriving at the dining room for lunch. A quick tour of the dorms and the base was done with the newbies.

Over at James Campbell High School, Keith, Prez, Mike and Derrick decided to remain at school for a little while longer, during the lunch period. They chatted with Mrs. Diaz and some of their band-mates about that day's concert. This day, instead of playing 'Weird', as was originally planned and done the prior two days, the four boys talked their teacher into allowing them to play a different song. She approved, with the caveat the lyrics were not rude or volatile. Of course, they assured her it would be something along the same lines as 'Weird', but they hadn't actually agreed on the song. They were also hindered by the capability of the school's P.A. system. Keith only had an upright baby grand and an older synthesizer too, so their choices were limited.

Ever since Troy mentioned the need to perform, Keith and Prez recognized it wasn't a simple desire to practice or perform for their Clan. It was more a requirement they had to meet. Derrick and Mike admitted to having the same perception. It wasn't until they had finished playing 'The In Crowd' that a spur of the moment song was chosen. Keith began playing the piano introduction to Can't Fight This Feeling, causing Derrick, Mike and Prez to break into fits of giggles. Mike easily provided the counterpoint guitar harmony. Derrick added cymbal swells and Prez filled out the bottom then Keith began singing. "I can't fight this feeling any longer. And yet I'm still afraid to let it flow. What started out as friendship, Has grown stronger. I only wish I had the strength to let it show.

"I tell myself that I can't hold out forever. I said there is no reason for my fear. Cause I feel so secure when we're together. You give my life direction, You make everything so clear.

"And even as I wander, I'm keeping you in sight. You're a candle in the window, On a cold, dark winter's night. And I'm getting closer than I ever thought I might.

"And I can't fight this feeling anymore. I've forgotten what I started fighting for. It's time to bring this ship into the shore, And throw away the oars, forever.

"Cause I can't fight this feeling anymore. I've forgotten what I started fighting for. And if I have to crawl upon the floor, Come crashing through your door, Baby, I can't fight this feeling anymore."

Mike played the guitar solo flawlessly, note-for-note, and made an act of it for the students, although he was actually bored.

Keith sang, "My life has been such a whirlwind since I saw you. I've been running around in circles in my mind. And it always seems that I'm following you, girl, Cause you take me to the places, That alone I'd never find.

"And even as I wander, I'm keeping you in sight. You're a candle in the window, On a cold, dark winter's night. And I'm getting closer than I ever thought I might.

"And I can't fight this feeling anymore. I've forgotten what I started fighting for. It's time to bring this ship into the shore, And throw away the oars, forever.

"Cause I can't fight this feeling anymore. I've forgotten what I started fighting for. And if I have to crawl upon the floor, Come crashing through your door, Baby, I can't fight this feeling anymore."

The song was a statement of what the four Core Rimmers felt and wanted to share. What they had experienced the previous night was a whirlwind of memories that were, thankfully, much less painful. At the song's end, clapping, cheering and whistling erupted. The Junior class present in the school's auditorium thought the boys did an excellent job covering the song.

In a grand mood after the show, the four boys were goofing around the school's outdoor lunch area. Near where Mrs. Diaz and many of their band-mates were sitting, they had finished an a Capella rendition of 'Sh-Boom' and were in the middle of singing 'Blue Moon' when suddenly their eight security guards closed ranks around them, with their collapsible graphite-composite batons fully extended, creating a barrier such that none of the four Core Rimmers could be reached. A large group of boys and even some girls began shouting challenges and threats, obviously unhappy about Clan Short and the effects the prior night's activities had upon their families and the world. Caught in the maelstrom, Mrs. Diaz threatened detention. When that got nowhere, the Vice-Principal came over, threatening suspension of the entire group.

Disgusted, Prez spoke up. "It's alright, Mister Dela Cruz. If people knew the facts instead of jumping to conclusions, they wouldn't have any problem with the Clan or what happened last night."

Some of the group wanted explanations of the raids while others began shouting insults. Keith and Derrick answered some valid questions honestly, but with little detail. Fuming, Mike kept control of his tongue only because this was school property.

His patience exhausted, Prez tapped his sub-vocal, silently mouthing, "Alden, set local condition yellow. Lock down the Command Center and transport everyone within twelve feet of me there, right now." Alden followed the order. Everyone, including Mrs. Diaz and Vice-Principal Dela Cruz, suddenly found themselves in the Command Center. Lieutenant Vorik and the six on-duty UNIT boys shot to their feet and drew their weapons.

"Lieutenant Vorik," Prez bellowed, "show our visitors the unedited video and audio from Fresno."

Vorik nodded, "Aye, Sir," then turned and entered commands to complete the ordered task.

Vice-Principal Dela Cruz said, "This is inappropriate behavior, Preston."

Keith challenged, "No Sir, what's inappropriate is ignorant people making stupid statements when they have no idea what they're talking about. They want an explanation. They're about to get it."

Prez smiled at his partner then calmly stated, "This is no longer a school issue. This is a human rights issue now." Prez emphasized, "I am in charge here. I could have each of these kids arrested as fast as we transported here. Instead, I'm going to teach a lesson they can take home with them." Vorik turned to face Prez. Prez nodded, "Play it." Immediately, the large video display behind Prez showed the greenish night-vision video from the Fresno Level 4 raid. Everyone that knew better turned away and didn't watch. The first minute or so was no big deal, just the strike team entering the premises with remarks that each room had been cleared. Then the strike team began climbing the stairs. The two bathrooms were cleared and efforts to open the triple-locked bedroom doors were made. The small, floor level food slots were shown and commented on by the strike team. Images of naked, feral kids soon filled the screen with more remarks from the strike team.

One girl, already revolted, covered her mouth. Prez locked eyes with Jimmy and said, "Show our guests where the lavatories are, bud." Jimmy was followed down the hall by two girls. Within another minute, the partially cannibalized corpse was shown. The remaining girls, Mrs. Diaz and three of the boys had hurried down the hall. Prez said, "That's enough, Lieutenant." A moment later, the screen went blank.

Prez announced, "That's what the four of us had to deal with last night. While you were having a reasonably decent time at home last night, me, my friends and my younger brothers were in California dealing with that... sixteen fucking times! We were expecting one-hundred-ninety-six kids. We found two-hundred-eighty-four, in accommodations that were vile, to say the least. Seventy-two of the kids were exactly like what you just saw. We'll never see those kids on this planet again; fourteen of them have already died. With all Starfleet's advanced technology, we can't un-do the damage to those feral kids. Over a hundred and fifty others require up to a week of recovery time." While Prez was speaking, Mrs. Diaz and the others that had left the room returned.

Intently staring down the group of high school students, Prez complained, "All we wanted to do was spend a few extra minutes at school with our teacher and friends. You just had to cause a problem though."

Mike growled, "The four of us had to execute adults that were supposed to be caring for those kids. Not one of you had a friggin' clue. All you cared about was how it effected your family's bank account. People died last night, you selfish shits! Does any one have any more complaints?" Mike was ready to call his dad in to have the entire group of kids arrested and it clearly showed. However, heads shook and no one said a word.

Prez asked, "Before I send you back to school, are there any questions?"

One older boy said, "On TV, you said that Clan Short is here for the community; any one that needs Clan help."

Prez nodded, "True."

The same boy asked, "Gays too?"

Sadly shaking his head, Prez loudly sighed. Derrick calmly answered, "What does it matter who anyone chooses to love and have sex with? They're not raping, murdering or hurting anyone. It doesn't directly effect you. Gays, lesbians and transgenders are people too. Let it rest, dude. If you want something to bitch about, then bitch about the sadistic assholes that starved and abused those kids in California."

"Or the one's right here, discovered last Friday, who sexually abused and molested kids," Mike growled.

Keith reached for Prez's hand saying, "We got married Tuesday night."

Prez nodded and proudly smiled, "As Starfleet Officers, we're considered adults. We adopted four great boys, two of which were sexually abused by adults, discovered in last Friday's Clan raids. Richie is five and Dee is ten, but looks more like eight, because of the poor diet he was provided."

Mike took Derrick's hand and confirmed, "We're gay, married and adopted kids too."

Derrick said, "Misses Diaz? Mister Dela Cruz? I can't speak for Mike, Keith or Prez, but after this, I'm in no rush to ever go back to James Campbell High. You can't control this. Our presence there is dangerous for us and for everyone there. I quit."

Mike nodded, "Me too."

Keith nodded at Prez. Prez said, "Us too. God forbid there were a letter bomb attack at school in an attempt to get at us. Cancel tomorrow's concert for the seniors and the Saturday concerts. We won't be there."

Mister Dela Cruz nodded and softly said, "I understand, but I'm very sorry to hear it."

Mike explained, "We put on concerts for our Clan almost every day. If it's a choice between school band or saving one additional life, the life matters more." Keith and Derrick nodded agreement.

Prez said, "If everyone is ready, I'll have you transported back to school. You'll be able to make your next classes."

Mister Dela Cruz asked, "Can you transport us to my office?"

Prez answered, "Sorry, no I can't. I can get you to the main entrance."

Mister Dela Cruz angrily eyed the assembled kids saying, "A week of Principal's detention so we can all discuss this in depth is appropriate."

"And another week's detention with me," Mrs. Diaz added. "I now have to hold auditions to find an entire rhythm section."

The four Core Rimmers said goodbye to Mrs. Diaz and wished things had happened differently.

Mrs. Diaz nodded and smiled, "The band will eventually find musicians like you boys again. It's been a pleasure. I hope we meet again someday." All four boys agreed.

Prez called, "Alden, transport our guests back to James Campbell High, please." A moment later, the Command Center was cleared of all non-Clan persons. Prez said, "Stand down from condition yellow."

Sadly shaking his head, Jimmy smirked, "You scared the piss out of us!" Taking his seat, Jimmy softly grumbled, "Flashing yellow light, locked doors and a room full of people."

Prez shrugged, "I might not be able to change the world, but I can try in my little corner of it."

Keith sighed, "I hope it was worth the effort."

Derrick nodded agreement then added, "At least we won't have to worry about anyone there getting hurt."

Heading for the Command Center door into the dining room, Mike said, "Tengo hambre! Me pregunto qué hay para comer?" (I'm hungry! I wonder what's for lunch?) Stepping into the dining room, Mike shouted, "Oye, los Latin Kings! Lo siento, te perdiste esta mañana. ¿Qué está pasando?" (Hey, Latin Kings! Sorry I missed you this morning. What's happening?)

Several of the Latin Kings kids stood at their tables. Ten-year-old Bennett De Aquila replied, "Tuvimos batidos para el desayuno. Estamos teniendo queso y tocino para el almuerzo." (We had milkshakes for breakfast. We're having bacon cheeseburgers for lunch.)

Fourteen-year-old Dominic Grassus asked, "Cuando estamos recibiendo ropa nueva, Mike?" (When are we getting new clothes, Mike?)

Heading for the chow line, Mike loudly answered, "Más tarde esta tarde. Todo lo que los novatos se trajo a nuestra tienda donde usted puede escoger su propia ropa." (Later this afternoon. All you newbies will be brought to our store where you can pick your own clothes.)

Derrick asked, "Have you met all the Core Rimmers?"

Dominic replied, "Sí, nos encontramos con Drew, Corey, Kaleo, Tory, Juan, Esteban, Sean y Troy. (Yes, we met Drew, Corey, Kaleo, Tory, John, Stephen, Sean and Troy.)

Prez waved, "Bienvenido a Hawaii! ¿Ustedes dormir bien?" (Welcome to Hawaii! Did you guys sleep alright?)

All the Latin Kings kids nodded and many disjointedly replied, "Si."

Dominic added, "Son habitaciones muy agradables y cómodas camas." (They are very nice rooms and comfortable beds.)

Keith said, "After lunch, we'll all meet in the auditorium. We'll get to know each other and play some music for you."

A lot of kids, newbies and old-timers alike began cheering. The four boys went to the chow line. Once they had their lunch trays, they checked on their kids then went and found a table near the other Core Rimmers. Drew swallowed what he had been chewing then told Prez, "Everybody's here. Including the Latin Kings, we've got seventy-two newbies."

John added, "We told them about the nest and Kaleo showed them the dorms. We might have some of littlest kids in the nest, but almost everyone was looking forward to choosing dorm rooms."

Stephen nodded and explained, "None of 'em seem too scared. As long as they're close together, they'll be happy."

Sean smiled, "They're happy to be out of the orphanages they were at."

Mike asked, "What've the Latin Kings kids been doin' today?"

Kaleo answered, "When we were showing the other kids around, they were all over; some were playing basketball, some were playing volleyball, a bunch were at the pool and diving well."

Derrick wondered, "They're mixing in with the rest of the kids?"

Tory nodded, "Oh, yeah. It wasn't like they were keeping themselves separate. Just the usual stuff; everybody sticking in the same age bracket."

Troy grinned, "One of the youngest, Russ Pass, climbed up the ladder for the five-meter board. When he saw how high up he was, he turned around and climbed back down again." All the Core Rimmers began chuckling and laughing.

Keith suspiciously eyed John and wondered, "You've been staying on the ground?"

John was munching on French Fries so he sent, 'So far, so good.' When he swallowed, he said, "I've already shared languages with the newbies." Turning to Prez, John said, "I need your approval for two new members of my Intel team, bro."

Raising his eyebrows, Prez asked, "Who?" then took a bite out his cheeseburger.

John grinned, "Cesar and Felipe," and Prez abruptly stopped chewing.

Keith loudly reminded, "They're six!"

John shrugged, "The Terrible Triplets trained them a little bit when we weren't looking."

Keith groaned. Prez turned to Corey and asked, "What would your mom think?"

Corey smiled, "My folks guessed they were telepaths. I think as long as the circumstances are safe, my mom won't become a Valium junkie." All the Core Rimmers began laughing. Tory almost gagged on his hamburger and Kaleo pounded on his husband's back.

Waiting for a decision, Keith turned to Prez. Swallowing his food, Prez shrugged, "Don't ask me. Drew and Corey are in charge."

"Oh-ho no!" Drew laughed, "You're not really dropping this in my lap?"

"Why not?" Prez grinned. "This is exactly the kind of decision I deal with every day."

Rolling his eyes, Drew smirked, "At least give me a clue what to consider."

Kaleo said, "The limits are already in place. Keep them safe. On base stuff at the F.Y.S. building would be kewl. Anything on any of our bases, like Monday night with Bill Devine, would be kewl." Still eating, Prez smiled, nodded and gestured to Kaleo.

Checking with the older team members, Drew confirmed, "Limited duty, safe stuff that won't freak out Corey's mom?" Seeing nodding heads around the tables, Drew turned to John saying, "Get 'em trained, bro."

"Sweet!" John chirped.

Having a revelation, Keith hummed then grinned, "When we get some kind of off-base, division day trip planned, who would suspect two little kids could discern between good guys and bad guys?"

Troy smirked, "Stealth telepaths," causing another round of giggles and laughter.

Turning to Drew, John said, "Mom and dad are doing interviews today. I could get them trained this afternoon? You don't need me at the auditorium or in the store, do you?"

Drew said, "That works, bro. Go for it."

John said, "I'm also considering the Betazoid twins, Inoyra and Relud Glith. They're fifteen, but I haven't talked with them about it yet."

Drew hummed thoughtfully then realized, "We just rescued them Tuesday night. Give them another few days to chill out."

Prez smiled, "That was easy, wasn't it?"

Drew rapidly nodded then became very serious and told Prez, "There's one other thing to report. One of the girls got sick this morning. She's pregnant."

Prez asked, "Which girl?"

"One of the street kids picked up Tuesday night. Susana Gault." Drew answered.

Keith wondered, "What's the scoop?"

Drew nodded and frowned, "It's probably from one of her johns. She don't want it. Doc Howard says she wants an abortion."

Everybody was obviously saddened at the news. Prez sighed, "Even though we're capable of handling an infant, she's made her choice?" Drew nodded. Prez huffed, "Whatever and whenever Susana and Doc Howard want to."

Mike excitedly asked, "You're not going to even talk to her about it?"

"No," Prez firmly said. "It's not my choice or ours. Susana knows where she is. I can understand her reasons easy enough." Glancing around the table, Prez asked, "Would you want a reminder of meaningless sex?" Seeing only slowly shaking heads, Prez said, "Then let it be. Have Doc Wiener ready for whatever Susana might need." Drew nodded then he and Corey went to the doctors' table.

Finished eating, Derrick stood and went over to where Reyes and their boys were sitting. Noticing Dillon's burger was only half eaten and most of his French Fries were untouched, Derrick worried, "Aren't ya feeling good, Dillon?"

Stuffed from enormous amounts of food over the prior days, Dillon huffed, "I'm fine, daddy."

Jonah smiled, "We just had milkshakes about two hours ago."

Reyes grinned and added, "We were part of the newbie welcoming committee. We had big breakfasts, milkshakes and lunch in four hours, dad."

Derrick chuckled then asked Reyes, "How're ya feelin'?"

Reyes nodded and smiled, "Awesome!" then he stood, turned around and pulled up his shirt. All the marks and welts from his orphanage abuses had completely vanished. Lowering his shirt, Reyes faced his dad and blushed, "I even can sit comfortably for extended periods without squirmin' around."

Thankful that Reyes' android recovery systems were functioning beautifully, Derrick cracked up at Reyes expression, but still remembered the sorry state of Reyes butt Friday night. Calming himself, Derrick asked, "Feel like jammin', Reyes?"

Enthusiastically, Reyes answered, "With you guys? Always!" and then hugged his dad.

Derrick kissed his son's forehead then said, "We're gonna play Latin rock, of some sort, probably Santana."

Reyes looked up and grinned, "Head, Hands and Feet?"

"Ooo!" Derrick half moaned and half laughed. "I like that idea." They shared the plan with Mike, Prez, Keith and Troy. During that little conversation, a few other tunes were mentioned, prompting another call to Alden and more changes to the stage setup. Primarily, a set of Roland electronic drums, on risers equivalent to Derrick's, were added for Reyes. An electric guitar, effects unit and amplifier were set up for Keith, should the need arise. Keith's guitar skills were nothing like his piano skills, yet he could manage a strong rhythm guitar part easily. Another set of three electronic keyboards were added to stage right, so Troy or Mike could get to them without racing across the stage.

Corey and Drew finished eating then took their trays of plates, glasses and silverware to the kitchen dishwasher. Returning to the dining room, they helped Geoff and Lenny with their trays. They hadn't realized it, but they were being watched by the Anaheim kids. And the San Diego kids were watching the Anaheim group and the Latin King group. The latter group had followed Mike and Derrick from L.A. and were still doing it, but to a lesser extent than the two former groups. In a new place with new people, all the newbie kids were looking for examples of how to act. The Ewa Beach base wasn't anything like the homes they had been at.

Sean noticed what was going on, because he had done it himself less than a week earlier. He told Troy, "It's newbie syndrome, round two. Follow the leader of choice."

Troy asked, "Is that what you did the first few days?"

Sean nodded, "We spent most of Saturday at Anahola Bay, pretty much doing whatever we wanted. Prez, Keith, and most of the Core Rimmers were busy with every one of us and at least a hundred Clan guests. When I wasn't surfin' with Kaleo and other teenagers, I did what they did; spent time with our little kids and tried to get to know some of the visitors."

Prez and Keith overheard Sean. Keith asked, "What made the biggest impact, Sean?"

Sean blushed, "I'm not sure I understand."

Prez reminded, "Sunday night, you were among the first to move to the dorm. How did you get to that point?"

Turning redder, Sean smiled, "Well, Kaleo and Tory wanted to move, but wouldn't if they were alone. If I had to say which things mattered most, it was the stuff said Saturday night, before and after the concert, and that we had a little sing-a-long in the dorm common room. You guys just went in and made use of what was in there. That made it home."

Tilting his head, Keith repeated, "Common room?" and then asked, "It's not a rec room to you?"

Sean said, "It's more than a rec room, but not like the indoor rec center, or the rec room here. Now it's more a common place for both halls to gather. Yeah, we watch TV and hang out there, but we talk there too." Seeing Keith and Prez share an uncertain glance, Sean explained, "Monday night, when more kids moved into the dorm, we were watchin' a movie in there. When the movie ended and we were searchin' for something to watch next, some of the new kids wanted to watch American football. So we turned it on. Other guys saw it and joined us in there. I wasn't too interested so I left with Kaleo and Tory. I went to my room and played video games for a while. Later, when the football game was over, I wound up back in there with Horacio, Kaleo and Tory. Horacio was basically in there for several hours. It's a common room, whatever the most want to do is what goes on in there. This morning, Troy and I found Makan Kama in there, at the easel, painting with water colors." Eight-year-old Makan was one of the original eighty-seven. At last, he felt comfortable enough to choose to paint rather than play at the playground or pool.

Absorbing and considering what Sean had said, Prez asked, "So I need to have a chat with the newbies?"

"Oh, hell yeah," Sean smiled, and then stipulated, "Derrick, Mike, Corey and Drew need to say something too. Make it so it's just not the newbies though. Stuff that needs to be directed more towards them can be said another time."

Troy suggested, "Maybe down in the store, where it's only us and them."

Prez and Keith nodded. Keith asked, "Is there something else you guys would like in the common rooms?"

Sean shrugged, "I don't think so, it's a kewl place to just be together as it is. We'll see how it goes, but I don't see a need for video games or anything like we have in the rec room here. When Troy and I were there yesterday morning, some kids were watching a movie in there. The sound was turned way up and they were having fun."

Prez glanced around and saw that most kids were finished eating or were finishing up. Standing, he tapped his sub-vocal and asked Alden to be connected to the P.A. systems. "Attention all Rimmers," Prez announced, "It's meeting time. If you're not otherwise occupied, please join us in the auditorium. After we chat, it's jam time."

Drew and Corey hurried to the auditorium to get everything powered up. Twenty-four Anaheim kids followed them and waited in the lobby while Corey and Drew flipped circuit breaker switches. Several of the older boys closely watched what Drew and Corey were doing, including Jake and Terry. Jake softly wondered what Drew was doing. Drew answered, "Powering the place up. All the basic stuff is at the top of both panels; lights and stage power outlets. As you move down the panels, there's special stuff like the concession stand equipment, the P.A. system for the band or the movie screen, film projector and the associated sound systems. We keep the refrigerators on so we always have ice and cold drinks. Other than those few things, almost everything else is turned off when we leave."

Corey noticed Jake's confused expression and smiled, "It's not that hard, dude. If ya want, you guys can come upstairs with us? Once you see what's what, it'll all make sense." Jake and Terry checked with each other then nodded.

Carefully carrying his tray, Richie came towards the table Keith was standing at, asking, "What's wrong, Daddy? Why're we havin' a meeting?"

Keith took Richie's tray. While stacking stuff on his own tray so he could carry everything for his son, Keith explained, "We just need to make all our new kids feel comfortable, Richie. Until now, we've brought home ten or twenty new kids at a time. Today, we added almost as many as we started with last Saturday."

"Oh!" Richie giggled. "They're nice, but so quiet."

Keith grinned, "A few days ago, you were kind of quiet too."

Richie blushed and smiled, "It's home now."

Suddenly, Prez snapped his neck turning to Richie. He softly mumbled, "Out of the mouths of babes."

Richie's face grew stern and he complained, "Poppa, I ain't a baby." Carrying their trays to the dishwasher, Sean and Troy heard Richie and began giggling.

"Definitely not," Prez smiled. "You just gave me a great idea."

Richie's mouth dropped open then he squealed, "I did?" Hurrying after Prez, Richie repeatedly asked what he had said. Prez cracked up and Richie caught the laughter infection, but still wondered what idea he had given his Poppa.

Standing at the dishwasher station was Horacio, busily pushing large plastic racks of plates into the machine. Prez smiled, "Awesome, bro."

Horacio nodded, "I'll be in the auditorium when I'm done here, Prez."

Putting his tray down, Prez explained, "This is mostly for the newbies, so they feel included." He then swept up Richie and planted a kiss on his son's cheek. "Three little words," Prez grinned, and then slowly repeated, "It's home now."

"Well it is!" Richie giggled.

All the Core Rimmers and all the rescued kids gathered in the auditorium. The only adults in the auditorium were Kathleen Marr and some unfamiliar adult faces of recently hired staff. The Rimmers assumed the new adults were those of off-shift housekeepers, chefs or other new employees. John, Stephen, Cesar, Felipe and Horacio seemed to be the only one's missing. The Core team went up on stage then sat at the edge. Once the chatter dwindled, Prez lifted the microphone then asked, "How is everybody?"

A lot of positive chatter erupted, but Relud Glith loudly asked, "Shouldn't we be asking how you guys are doing?"

Roy Angulo added, "Today's news was pretty intense, Prez."

Prez nodded, "It was intense," and the auditorium became extremely quiet. Prez sighed, "Suffice to say, we found things worse than we expected. The results of those raids are lives saved. Seventy-two of those lives are with us today. Within the next few days, we'll have some more brothers and sisters joining us. By next weekend, we'll have most of the California kids here with us. We're going to make this a home that we can all feel safe at and be proud of. That's what it's all about; home, safety, family, brothers and sisters, everybody helping each other in little ways that add up. Today, Corey and Drew have been in charge, helping me and the rest of the core team unwind. Horacio's in the kitchen helping out too. Has anyone else signed up for some of the miscellaneous odd jobs?"

Lance Elling shouted, "I'll be relieving Horacio at two, Prez."

Cody Padro yelled, "I've got the four to six shift."

Roy added, "I've got the job from six til eight."

Matthew Juckett said, "I'll be mopping the kitchen floors after eight."

Prez cheered, "Guys, that is awesome! And the best part is, you'll get paid for helping each and every one of us out. Remember, there's a bunch of other stuff you guys can do too. Even you little tikes can make extra money by picking up litter around the base. I just want to remind you all that our employees are the best. We don't hire people that hurt kids, so there's no reason to be scared of any of the adults. Do you guys know how we're so sure the adults are kewl?"

Since no one else was saying it, Jonah stood and said, "John's an empath and telepath."

"Amongst other things," Keith softly muttered. Some of the kids in the front row heard though and began giggling.

In his mind, Keith heard his youngest brother, warning, 'That's one you'll get away with and not get dunked.'

Jonah sat back down and Prez said, "That's correct. We have a bunch of telepaths in the Clan and they help us make sure only the very best people are hired. And guess what?"

Many kids around the auditorium wondered, "What?"

Prez said, "If any adult ever hurts you in any way, all you have to do is tell me or any of the Core Rimmers. Just like those adults in California we took care of last night, we'll take care of adults here that hurt our kids." Looking to his left, Prez asked, "Right guys?"

Keith took the microphone and said, "Quickly, in a minute."

Mike took it from Keith and assured, "They'll lose their job here. My dad is Clan Liaison to Honolulu Police."

Derrick took it from Mike and said, "Then they'll be tossed in jail for a very long time."

Drew took the microphone next, saying, "Ask the guys and girls from Anaheim. We sent the adults there to prison."

Corey took the microphone next and said, "They're lucky that's all they got."

Kaleo took the mic and admitted, "Tory and me were at one of the worst places in California. We beat the crap out of those two then sent them packin'."

Tory passed the mic to Sean, who said, "Kaleo, Tory and me are orphans too. We had it bad, but the kids in California actually had it worse."

Troy took the mic and explained, "Sean's my boyfriend now. I wanted to be part of this team because I don't think any kid should ever have to go through bad stuff. We're here to protect all of you and make your lives better."

Drew asked for the mic back and instructed, "Look around at people near you. You never know, that person sitting near you now might be your best friend tomorrow."

Prouder than ever of what the team had contributed, Prez asked for the microphone back. He watched as kids looked around and behind at other kids. He then said, "Your best friend might be one of those that stands out. Kaleo knew Tory stood out and here he is now. I knew Sean stood out and Sean knew that Troy stood out. Now they're up here on stage, ready, willing and very able to help any of you.

"Just because you were an orphan yesterday doesn't mean you're less capable of accomplishing anything you want. You only have to want it and put forth a little effort. That goes for you little tikes too. Cesar and Felipe are two six-year-old orphaned boys. They're with John right now, learning how to be part of John's Intel team. Little does not mean less important, it only means it'll take time for you to get big. If you stand out, one of us will see it."

When Prez finished, Derrick took the microphone and said, "Our Clan started with eighty-seven rescued kids only six days ago. Now we're up over two hundred. Our five bases can handle two thousand easily, without adding any more buildings. Eventually, we're going to need leaders at the dorms, someone you could go to when there's a problem or something special that you need. Those would be the people that would get you to a doctor if your sick. They would be the ones that come to us so that you can get what you need. Right now, we're a close nit family and things are pretty easy. As we grow, we'll need those stand outs so that everyone still has that safe, happy, home feeling."

Derrick handed the microphone back to Prez. "This is our home. Home is a place of safety; a place where you want to be, but not because you have to be there, it's a feeling deep inside. While we were out last night, I couldn't wait to come back here, to my home, where my friends and family are. To all you newbies from Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Diego... welcome home."

The auditorium erupted in applause, cheers and whistles from two hundred and thirty kids. Prez pointed at Richie and mouthed, "Your idea." Richie giggled while Dillon proudly patted his friend on the back. Drew and Corey hopped off the stage then started up the aisle. They gathered Geoff, Lenny, Jake and Terry, and then Alden transported the six of them to the P.A. room. The remaining Core Rimmers stood. Troy kissed Sean, and then Sean, Kaleo and Tory walked down the steps, off the stage to join the audience.

At the F.Y.S. building, John caught his mom at her desk between interviews. "Did you know that Keith, Prez, Mike and Derrick quit the jazz band?" Jen's mouth hung open in surprise for a moment. Before she could say anything, John sent, 'They were confronted at school. It wasn't terrible, but their security had to protect them. Prez got mad and transported all the kids, a teacher and the Vice-Principal here. He showed them how bad things really were last night. Because of that, they decided it would be safer for everybody if they just quit and went to school here on base.'

"I've changed my mind, mom," John said. "It wouldn't be good for me to go to my old school either. Stephen, Frankie and Lindsay will be here so, could you make a call and get my school records?"

Jennifer nodded and asked, "How're you and the core team doing?"

John smiled, "I'm good and so is Stephen. Prez and the rest of the team are about to finish their healing tasks now, in the auditorium." John giggled, "Ideas were implanted for each of us; a way to blow off steam. We're fine, mom. Don't worry so much."

Jen smirked, "I can't help worrying." John hugged his mother and pushed warm, loving emotions to her. Squeezing John tight, she purred, "Remarkable." She had always taken great pleasure giving and getting hugs from her boys, but being the youngest, she thought John's hugs were something special. Now she knew it wasn't her own perception; it was John.

John laughed, "I wish I could take all the credit. It's not just me though, mom. A big part of it is from all the kids in this Clan. Imagine being a teen prostitute and not having to do that anymore; imagine living in a slum, and wondering if you might get shot and die every day, then not having to worry anymore. The kids from Anaheim and San Diego got to go to school, but didn't have any other activities or life at all; just school and then back to the orphanage. The kids here are relieved and happy. Some are making friends, others are showing interest in stuff they were never allowed to do before."

Just before lunch, Rob Gibbons had received six Clan Short Security emblems to have stitched on his police uniform shirts. He had Alden place the first emblem on the shirt he was wearing, and later that day he would get the other emblems stitched onto his other uniform shirts.

Anna Seibert went to the auditorium to find Jerry Burk. Outside the auditorium, in the lobby, Anna had a brief, private conversation with Jerry regarding his circumstances. Learning of the foster mother's attempt to harm the boy with a knife, Anna began planning her intervention in this case. She asked Jerry, "If we could guarantee your safety, would you want to go back there again?"

Running his fingers through his brown hair, Jerry sighed, "Ya know what, Aunt Anna? When I got here, I thought, yeah, maybe, if she was gone and I was safe, I might like to be with my foster dad again. Now though, I've got so many friends here, I'd be sad if I could only visit occasionally. As much as I like my foster dad, I'd rather be here. Could he visit me here once in a while?"

Anna smiled, "If you would like, certainly, we could arrange that for you."

Jerry nodded, "Please, ask if he'd want to visit me. Somehow, I'm not sure if he'll want to or not."

Nodding understandingly, Anna offered, "If he does want to visit, I'll call you to the FYS building." She then instructed, "Go join the Clan now, Jerry. We'll talk again later today."

Platinum Habits gathered center stage and began listing songs they wanted to play. After about two minutes, Derrick went to the edge of the stage and shouted, "Reyes, we need you." Reyes stood, got pats on the back from his brothers then shuffled down the aisle and hurried up to the stage. Waiting for his eldest son, Derrick loudly asked if Reyes knew the intended first song. Running up the stage steps, Reyes said that he hadn't ever heard of it. While gear was being powered up, Derrick began clapping his hands to a tempo and singing what he needed Reyes to play. Keith and Troy began working out the keyboard parts while Mike and Prez figured out their parts. The first tune on the list was a song that the original four had messed around with before, but no matter how hard they tried, it would always be missing important parts. With Reyes and Troy, they could finally play it right. Drew, Corey, their boys and the two newbies, Jake and Terry, arrived at the P.A. room. Drew pulled the desk mic over and, through the stage monitors, told the band that he and Corey were ready. The band members signaled with thumbs-up gestures that they were ready too. Corey lowered the audience lights and turned up the blue and green stage lights.

In the audience, the original eighty-seven had tried to prepare the newbies for what was about to come. Few of those kids had ever been to or seen a concert of any sort though. Spotlights turned on and Mike began chopping away at heavily distorted guitar chords. Reyes played two explosive timpani beats and the rest of the band joined in for another measure. Another spotlight shone upon Derrick and he sang;

"Home by the sea. Home by the sea. Home by the sea. Home by the sea.
Creeping up the blind side, shinning up the wall,
stealing through the dark of night.
Climbing through a window, stepping to the floor,
checking to the left and the right.
Picking up the pieces, putting them away,
something doesn't feel quite right!

Help me someone, let me out of here!
Then out of the dark was suddenly heard,
welcome to the Home by the Sea.

Coming out the woodwork, thru the open door,
pushing from above and below.
Shadows with no substance, in the shape of men,
round and down and sideways they go.
Adrift without direction, eyes that hold despair,
then as one they sigh and they moan!

Help us someone, let us out of here!
We’re living here so long undisturbed,
dreaming of the time we were free.
So many years ago, before the time when we first heard,
welcome to the Home by the Sea.

Sit down. Sit down. Sit down, Sit down. Sit down,
as we relive our lives in what we tell you."

All the spotlights went out. Awash in blue and green lights, the band played the middle instrumental break. Around the audience, jaws hung open. The stage presence of the band members seemed to have changed as drastically as the type of song; from love to hate and from contentment to anger. Derrick seemed to be singing of the rescues the prior night, from their own perspectives and those of the rescued kids. Snapping the kids out of their thoughts, suddenly Reyes played those two thundering timpani beats again. Spotlights blazed and Derrick sang;

"Images of sorrow, pictures of delight,
things that go to make up a life.
Endless days of summer, longer nights of gloom,
waiting for the morning light.
Scenes of unimportance, photos in a frame,
things that go to make up a life.

Help us someone, let us out of here!
Cos living here so long undisturbed,
dreaming of the time we were free,
So many years ago, before the time when we first heard,
welcome to the Home by the Sea.

Sit down. Sit down! Sit down, Sit down, Sit down. Sit down,
as we relive our lives in what we tell you,
let us relive our lives in what we tell you.
Sit down, Sit down, Sit down!
cos you won't get away, no with us you will stay for the rest of your days
Sit down! As we relive our lives in what we tell you.
Let us relive our lives in what we tell you."

The spotlights went out and the band played the ending instrumental section bathed in blue and green lights.

Reyes walked off and waited at stage left. Troy moved from keyboards over to the electric guitar. A low pitched rumble filled the auditorium. Within seconds, the original eighty-seven recognized Lunatic Fringe and became excited, sharing stories about the luau concert with the newbies. With Troy's additional electric guitar part, the song sounded even better than it had the prior Friday evening. Two hundred and thirty kids plus the few adult housekeepers, landscapers and parents that had entered the auditorium clapped furiously at the end of the song.

Putting down his Stratocaster, Troy picked up an acoustic guitar. Then the band played Too Many People, with Troy providing lead vocals. Reyes came back on stage to play tambourine and maracas. Although the song was very much jammed, with only Troy and Prez having previously practiced the song, it came across beautifully, making it obvious that the band was having a good time. Screaming, 'too many hungry people losing weight', Troy seemed possessed, but then he softly sang the bridge. Mike played a solo different from the record, but kept the same attitudes, moving from enraged to gentle and melodic.

Dirty Laundry was next on the bands' off-the-cuff play list. Reyes sat behind the electronic drums. Watching his dad closely, Reyes and Derrick counted off and they started the tune with Keith's syncopated B-3 organ part. Switching between verses, Keith and Derrick handled the lead vocals. The first time through the chorus, the band members prompted the kids to sing, "Kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down." The second time through the chorus, Derrick and Reyes held the beat while the rest of the band were only singing. The girls were prompted to sing, "kick 'em while they're up," and then the boys were prompted to sing "kick 'em when they're down." At the end of the song, the girls and boys continued singing the parts they were taught until Prez told them "one last time", and then the band ended the song to more applause and screaming. Reyes took a break and stepped off to the side of stage left.

For a brief change of pace, Platinum Habits then played I'd Love To Change The World. Since it was one of the songs mentioned by the kids Saturday morning, before they officially became a Clan, the band thought it appropriate. The original eighty-seven appreciated it. Returning to heavier rock, they pressed forward with Rescue Me, also from Friday night's luau. Within seconds of the start of the song, Kaleo clapped and loudly cheered, "YEAH! RESCUE ME!" Over the music, even Drew and Corey heard Kaleo up in the P.A. room, so Drew turned up the volume a little bit. Kaleo even got some of the kids around him to stand up, bopping and singing along with the choruses. Seeing Reyes return to the electronic drums, the volume got turned up again before the band played One Thing Leads To Another. Reyes stepped back off stage. Drew inched the volume a little higher for Wildest Dreams, with Prez singing powerful lead vocals. With some knowledge of the orphanage operations, to many of the kids, the song was so much more compelling than it had been, telling a tale of battles forcing changes in attitudes across nations. Again, a lot of kids sang along with the choruses. Applause broke loose for their leader and the performance.

Derrick called Reyes back on stage then they began playing Soul Sacrifice/ Head, Hands and Feet, extending the drums and percussion introduction a few minutes. Mike and Troy tossed tambourines across the stage, catching and shaking them on the beat before tossing them again. Shaking maracas, Prez and Keith got the audience up on their feet, clapping their hands, stomping their feet and keeping tempo. The four of them put down the percussion instruments then went to their primary instruments and joined the tune in progress. Mike's lead guitar part blew everyone away because he was hardly ever watching what he was playing. His eyes opened only when he walked about near the edge of the stage. Then, Derrick and Reyes took over and played another extended percussion solo, causing the Latin Kings kids to dance, scream and shout. In a circular fashion, Keith, Mike, Prez and Troy tossed the maracas and tambourines to each other. By the time the rest of the band rejoined, kids were hoarse. The song lasted an incredible twenty minutes, six minutes longer than the original recording, due to the drum and percussion solos. At the end of the song, Randy, Jonah and Dillon jumped up and hollered "YEAH, REYES!"

Derrick tossed a tambourine to Reyes. The band began playing Urgent with Keith playing keyboards and providing lead vocals. Shaking the tambourine, Reyes moved towards the front of the stage. With Prez and Mike, Reyes helped get the audience revved up. Troy picked up his tenor saxophone and played the solos. Reyes left the stage again. For the next tune, Troy moved to acoustic guitar and handled the lead vocals for Tell Me What You Want, with Keith singing backup vocals. Many of the older ex-prostitutes wondered how the two dudes could sing that high without hurting themselves. One boy suggested that their cock-rings were just a tad too tight and a group of them cracked up laughing. Nearby teen girls heard the remark and the laughing boys. They smirked and sadly shook their heads, returning to their previous argument over which of the six band members was the cutest.

Troy switched from acoustic guitar to electric guitar. For the first time the kids had seen, Keith picked up an electric guitar. Then the band played Revolution, with Mike handling lead vocals. During You've Got Another Thing Coming, all five boys sang lead vocals during all verses and choruses. Then Troy melodically wooed into his microphone moments before the band kicked in for Heaven's On Fire. Troy sang; "I look at you and my blood boils hot, I feel my temperature rise. I want it all, give me what you got, there's hunger in your eyes. I'm getting closer, baby hear me breathe, you know the way to give me what I need, just let me love you and you'll never leave."

Out in the audience, Sean rolled his eyes, grinned evilly and pushed his erection into a more comfortable position. All five boys sang the chorus. "Feel my heat takin' you higher, burn with me, Heaven's on fire, Paint the sky with desire, angel fly, Heaven's on fire." Making Sean's predicament worse, Troy began pointing at him or making hand gestures whenever his hands weren't busy on the guitar. By the end of the song, Sean was sweating and squirming uncomfortably in his seat.

Switching things up and changing instruments again, the band then played Can't Find My Way Home, with Keith singing lead vocals and handling the keyboards part. Wake Me When September Ends was the next tune played, with Mike singing lead vocals. After that song the band gathered around the drums, away from the microphones. Troy shared a few private words with his band-mates that set them off in hysterical laughter. Troy put his guitar down then hurried off stage, still giggling and flushed bright red.

Prez stepped up to a microphone and chuckled, "Troy's got an issue to deal with, but he'll be right back." With a deliberate stride, Troy went out to the audience and pulled Sean out of the auditorium, causing a stir of giggles from the kids as they ran out the lobby doors.

Reyes moved behind the electronic drum kit again. Coming out from behind his drums, Derrick went to forward center stage. The stage lights changed to blues and reds. Beginning the drum part of In The Air Tonight, Reyes was the only band member that had a spot light on him. The moment Derrick began singing, another spotlight was added on him. At the second verse, Corey flipped the switch for fog to begin pumping out onto the stage. Prez and Mike sang backup for Derrick during the first chorus, while Derrick strolled around stage. Drew began adding flangers and digital echos to the vocals. At the start of the third verse, Derrick began moving backward, away from the edge of the stage. By the end of the verse, Derrick was sitting behind his drum kit. He and Reyes played the thunderous segue into the second chorus. Minutes later, the song ended with the same thunderous drum beats. All the kids stood and roared their approval. Sweating from the stage lights, Reyes took another break off to the side of the stage.

The remaining four members of Platinum Habits played a song they had occasionally tried before; Asia's Time Again. Now that Derrick had gongs and a bigger drum kit, they could manage it. The song opened with Keith, Mike and Prez playing cadence and Derrick joined. Prez sang lead vocals. Keith, Derrick and Mike all sang backup vocals. Playing the intricate lead guitar part on his Randy Rhoads Les Paul, Mike actually watched his hands on the guitar neck. In awe, Reyes watched Derrick from backstage.

The next song began with a single distorted guitar chord and synthesizer notes that seemed to revolve around the auditorium. Keith set up his synthesizers to play electronic arpeggios then stepped away from the rack, strutting towards center stage, leaving the electronic wash of sound going. For the song, Drew activated the 5.1 system on the keyboard tracks then ran his finger over the electronic pads that caused the sound to travel around the venue. The final song of the day's jam session was Won't Get Fooled Again. Corey had bright white lights flashing into the audience and lasers intermittently hitting the spinning mirrored ball high above the audience. After about a minute of this guitar feedback and keyboard wash, Mike and Prez strummed another set of thunderous guitar and bass chords. Derrick played in a way Reyes hadn't seen since the seventies, when he saw The Who on television. All four band members performed in ways not seen since the luau, strutting around the stage and having fun engaging their audience.

Tossing his wireless microphone up in the air and catching it, Keith handled lead vocals and Derrick backed him up. Prez had a blast playing the bass guitar part for the song. Having no backup vocals to worry about, Prez and Mike stayed near the edge of the stage, playing directly to the kids. It was an angry song, encouraging a youth revolution, the teens and many of the tweens realized. Suddenly they were back to the spacey middle section with Keith simply hitting notes that took the repeating keyboard arpeggios into different directions, all the while Drew swirled the sound around the auditorium. Ending the song, bass, drums and guitar played the final chord and Keith stopped the keyboards. Corey flipped the off switch on all the stage lights, leaving them in the dark for several seconds. The kids stood up, clapping and cheering. A few seconds later, Corey turned on only the spotlights at center stage. Sweating and much happier, the band gathered center stage and bowed then yelled, "That's rock and roll!" Platinum Habits had played for more than an hour and a half.

While the audience was still clapping, Corey turned up the audience lights. Prez said, "One other thing for you newbies; if you feel like having a family will make you happy, then that's what you need to do. The way the Clan works, kids choose the adults and then the adults accept the kids. It has to be a two way street. Richie, Dee, Frankie, Gage and Sammy, come on down and stand in front of the stage."

As the kids made their way down the aisle, Mike called, "Jonah, Dillon, Randy and Reyes, you guys come down too." Reyes went down the steps to stand with his brothers and friends.

Keith reminded, "Frankie is John's and Stephen's son. Drew and Corey have kids too, Geoff and Lenny. They're up in the P.A. booth with their dads right now."

Derrick grinned, "The line-up of boys in front of the stage have stolen our hearts. They're our sons and we're really very proud of them."

Prez added, "Ask the old timers, we're in here almost every day. We're done for now though, so all you newbies, please stick around so we can get you clothes and miscellaneous accessories. The rest of you are free to go have a good time. We'll catch up with y'all before dinner time." Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike walked down the stairs to the auditorium floor. The majority of the kids started to shuffle out of their seats.

Tapping his comm-badge, Drew told Keith, "Hey bro, two of the Anaheim dudes are with us. We'll get the place powered down then catch up with you in the store."

Standing before the rescued kids, Prez, Keith, Mike, Derrick, Kaleo and Tory couldn't help smiling. Prez tapped his comm-badge and called, "Troy, I hate to interrupt you, but we're almost ready to take the new kids to the store."

Giggling such that his blush could actually be heard over the comm-badge, Troy replied, "Let us jump in the shower real quick. We'll meet you there in five minutes, Prez. Troy out."

One of the girls raised her hand. Keith smiled, "This is your home, Lillian. You don't need to raise your hand. Just call out one of our names, okay?"

Eight-year-old Lillian Fitts, rescued from San Diego, nodded and meekly wondered, "Why are you guys smiling at us?"

Keith chuckled, "Because we're so glad to see you here."

Mike said, "So all you guys understand, the rescues last night were much more difficult than we expected. All you guys being here makes the effort worthwhile."

Derrick added, "During the next few days, more California kids will be showing up. They need more medical attention first though."

Prez asked, "What do you think of your new home?"

The first to answer was Corbin Sancho, a fifteen-year-old from Los Angeles. "It's kewl. We got pools, basketball courts and so much stuff, I don't think we'll ever get bored around here."

Fourteen-year-old Mike Busse, rescued from San Diego, enthusiastically said, "The dorms are real nice. Two per room, huh?"

Kaleo answered, "Whatever you feel comfortable with. We have some younger kids that chose to have four to a room, two to a bed or sharing bunk beds."

Going over to his newly adopted son, seven-year-old Randy Beale, Mike smiled, "Just because you move into the dorm doesn't mean you'll stay there. We picked up Randy and a few others Sunday night." Derrick and Mike prompted Randy to tell the newbies where he's slept.

Blushing and nodding, Randy giggled, "I slept in the nest that night and Monday. Tuesday night I moved into the dorm. Yesterday, I was adopted and back in the nest, with my bros and dads."

Keith asked, "Did Drew show you our basement?" Heads shook, so Keith said, "We know you guys must feel a little weird being in a new place with so many new people. Any of you that want to can sleep in our basement nest. Our friends in Wales call it a puppy pile, where all you guys can feel comfy for as long as you need."

"It's a great way to get to know people," Tory interjected. "Once you've got friends, everything gets easier."

Prez said, "Our basement is fully furnished. It's not like most basements; it's got paneled walls and carpeting. It's warm and very comfortable. The choice is yours. If you'd like to join the nest tonight, then tell one of us. If you'd rather choose a dorm room and bunk with your friends, that's kewl too."

"We had over a hundred down there Saturday night," Mike said. "We can easily fit all of you."

Thirteen-year-old Calvin Heres' voice cracked mid-question. "Girls and boys together?" The Rimmers nodded and Calvin grunted, "Nuh-uh, no way." Only a few of the older boys and girls softly sniggered.

Derrick chuckled, "That's kewl, bro. The dorms are co-ed, boys downstairs and girls upstairs."

The stage and audience lights began turning off. Prez quickly said, "Let's finish this chat in our store. Everyone stand-up and get ready for transport." Once all the kids were standing, Prez tapped his sub-vocal, saying, "Alden, get a fix on the kids and transport us all to the front of our basement store."

Alden giggled, "As you wish, Prez." As soon as he had finished speaking, everyone was standing in the basement store. Some of the kids looked around uncertainly, but Bonnie and Janice, two of the youngest girls from Anaheim, wobbled unsteadily.

Prez and Keith hurried to them, making sure they were alright before letting go of them.

Just as Bonnie and Janice felt stable again, Drew, Corey, Jake, Terry, Geoff and Lenny transported into the store. Derrick explained, "This is just like any other department store. Everything is free, so don't be shy. Anyone that needs help choosing sizes, let one of us know. You'll all need at least a week's worth of clothes."

Drew quickly emphasized, "A week's worth is not what those butt-heads at the orphanage gave you guys. There are seven days in a week, so a minimum of seven pair of boxers or underpants and seven pair of socks. A change of clothes for every day is normal."

Corey nodded, "Everybody gets a pair of sandals and a pair of sneakers. Basically, concentrate on everyday clothes. Here in the R.O.H., that means T-shirts, shorts, boardies, swimwear, light blouses for you girls. Get jeans, sport shirts and jackets or ponchos too, cos the rainy season here can start in late November."

Prez nodded and instructed, "Big guys and gals, help the little tikes. And we'll help whoever needs it, whenever needed."

Richie gushed, "We can help too!" then took a shocked Marvin Perkins by the hand and pulled him to the shopping carts.

Prez cracked up laughing at his boy. Keith smiled, "Everybody follow Richie." The Rimmers' sons split and found small groups in their own age bracket to help. Soon, all seventy-two newbies had shopping carts. Troy and Sean transported into the store while kids were grabbing carts and separating down the girls' side or boys' side of the store. For the next two and half hours, the kids were helped through the store. The Rimmers' adopted kids did a lot of the work with the other boys. Prez, Keith, Mike, Derrick, Kaleo and Tory looked after the boys to make sure correct sizes were chosen. Drew, Corey, Troy, Sean and Reyes looked after the girls for the same purpose. Kids were measured for correct sizes and many went into the dressing rooms to try on their new clothes.

Drew stepped aside briefly, only to chat with Doc Howard. He informed the doctor that some of the girls hadn't been taught the first thing about biology or their bodies. Doc Howard assured him that the girls were now aware, but she could join them if Drew felt it was necessary. Before the girls got to their toiletries department, Drew had Doc Howard transport to the store, saving him from repetitive, infinite embarrassment.

Kaleo and Tory had similar discussions with the boys, informing them that condoms and lube were available for anyone that wanted them. Naturally, many of the older orphanage boys were very embarrassed. Prez, Keith, Kaleo and Tory assured them that there was nothing to be embarrassed or shy about. A detailed and humorous discussion about dicks, masturbation, puberty and sex relaxed many of the teen and tween boys. The Rimmers also reminded them that they would be showering at the dormitory mob showers with other naked boys, and on occasion, even the Core Rimmers and their sons used the mob showers. The boys were told that nudity in the R.O.H was common and everyone could feel comfortable at the pools with or without their boardies on.

While the Core Rimmers and their sons were busy in the store helping the newbies, the C.I.C. kitchen phone rang. Lifting the handset in the kitchen, Charles Plungis answered; "Hello?"

The male voice on the other end of the line said, "Hi Charles. How's your new job with the Clan?"

Recognizing the voice of his old boss, Roy Combs, the assistant manager of the Halekulani Resort, Charles smiled, "It's been very pleasant, Roy. You wouldn't believe how nice it is to work for these people. The best part is the kids actually appreciate every morsel of food prepared. There hasn't been a single complaint from anyone all week. The kids had a leftovers food fight after dinner last night, but even that was understandable, given the histories of some of these kids."

Roy smirked, "I can understand, better than you might imagine."

Charles asked, "Are they still trying to cut corners there?"

"Of course," Roy sighed, and then seriously said, "The reason for my call is actually two-fold, Charles."

"I'll try to help any way I can," Charles responded.

Roy explained, "Last Friday, a boy arrived with his manager. The boy has been here all week, but we haven't seen or heard from the manager since Friday. Of course, we needed to have him sign the credit card approvals for their continued stay with us..."

"But no man, no signature, and the boy has been left there without supervision all this time," Charles finished.

"Exactly," Roy grumbled, "To make matters worse, the boy was orphaned and had been living in Erie, Pennsylvania, with his aunt prior to the trip here. We've been unable to reach the aunt for three days. Today, the number is disconnected."

Concluding where this topic was heading, Charles confirmed, "So we have an abandoned boy with no other living adult relatives to care for him?"

"Yes," Roy answered.

Charles sighed then said, "I'll contact someone from the Pacific Rim Division command team as soon as we hang up. Expect a small group arriving at your location within the half-hour."

"That would be a relief," Roy smiled.

"It's not a problem," Charles grinned, "that's what we're here for." After a brief pause, he asked, "What was the other purpose for your call?"

Since the boy was sitting in the office with him, Roy nervously chuckled, "Get me the hell out of here." Both men began laughing. Roy offered, "You know me, Charles. As assistant manager here, I have the contacts to arrange for any electrical or plumbing maintenance, appliance or furniture acquisition, or anything Clan Short might need."

Charles nodded and grinned, "The hiring process here is more involved than most places. You'll be telepathically scanned, Roy."

"I have nothing to hide and wouldn't anyway," Roy reminded. "I have a wife and two young sons."

"I'm sure you'll pass the test with flying colors," Charles grinned. "I did feel it necessary to tell you about the hiring process though."

"Understood," Roy agreed.

"Okay," Charles began, "I'll contact our Clan leaders to get someone there to pick up the boy this afternoon. What's the boy's name?"

"Ralphie Bonham," Roy answered.

Jotting down the name on a pad of paper, Charles nodded, "The boys will ask for you by name and say it's regarding Ralphie."

"That's fine," Roy said.

Charles asked, "When you get a day off, or can disappear for about three hours, come to Ewa Beach for your interviews and telepathic scan." His voice dripping with sarcasm, Charles evilly smirked, "Let's get you out of the world's most prestigious resort and here, helping kids quickly."

Roy asked, "If tomorrow around noon is agreeable, I'll see you then?"

"That would be fine," Charles smiled. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Thanks so much," Roy softly cheered.

"Anytime," Charles said. "Expect Clan representatives there within the next half-hour."

Wondering how the boys could get to Honolulu so quickly, but not wanting to delay things or hold Charles on the phone any longer, Roy said, "Thanks again. Goodbye."

"Goodbye," Charles replied, and then hung up the phone. Charles called, "Alden?"

"It took you twenty-eight milliseconds, Charles," Alden giggled. "What took you so long?"

"I had to breathe," Charles chuckled.

"Organic life forms," Alden teased, and then asked, "Which Core Rimmer would you like to speak with?"

"I'll defer to who you see is most available," Charles smiled.

Alden answered, "Mike Gibbons is available. Stand by, please." In the basement store, Mike's comm-badge chirped. He tapped it and identified himself. Alden giggled, "I have Charles in the kitchen needing a Core Rimmer, Scooby Daddy."

Surprised that Charles would need assistance, Mike smirked, "You're on my list, Alden, right behind your daddy. Go ahead and connect Charles."

"I can't connect him; he ain't got a plug! I can initiate a conversation between you though," Alden giggled.

"Wise ass," Mike softly muttered.

In the kitchen, Alden called, "Charles, Mike is available now. Go ahead."

Charles said to the ceiling, "Mike, I got a call from my old boss. They have a boy there that's been unsupervised for a week. There's no family to care for him."

"Gotchya, Charles," Mike replied. "The thing is, we've got seventy-two newbies here, getting clothes and stuff. Let me see if John Hundser is available and I'll get right back to you."

Charles nodded, "Thanks, Mike. I'll be waiting."

"John or I will be right back with ya in a minute or two," Mike said. He tapped his comm-badge and called, "Mike to John."

Already aware of what was going on, John telepathically sent, 'I'm on it already, bro. This would be a great opportunity for Cesar's and Felipe's training. I'll talk to Charles and go with the twins to get the kid.'

Mike only thought of three little guys going off base and said, "I'll send the Scooby Gang with you too."

"Lucky's gonna be very disappointed," John giggled.

"Take Lucky too then," Mike chuckled, not wanting to deal with the wrath of a four-hundred-pound security gorilla.

"Sweet!" John chirped.

Simultaneously, Mike called Spike to gather his brother and sisters, while John spoke with Charles to get the name of his boss, the boy they were picking up and the location. Mike made sure to tell Spike to listen to John's instructions, but to insure John, Cesar and Felipe were safe at all times.

Concentrating hard, because he was at the pool, a fair distance from the FYS building, Stephen telepathically asked John, 'DO... YOU... NEED... ME... TO... COME... ALONG, HON?'

'Whoa!' John laughed, 'You're coming in loud and clear, baby.'

Stephen giggled, 'Sorry.'

John instructed, 'This will be a quick and easy extraction. Stay at the pool with the others, sexy. You're the only Core Rimmer available for the kids not in the store. Is that kewl?'

'Yeah, I was just checking,' Stephen replied, and then warmly added, 'I need you, John.'

'I need you too, baby,' John smiled. 'We'll be gone and back real fast. Meet me in the store later, okay?'

'Kewl,' Stephen giggled. 'Be careful. See ya later.'