Clan Short Pacific Rim Division

Chapter 11

C.S.P.R.D. C.I.C. Dining Room

Friday, November 5, 2004 5:35 PM

Adults and parents arrived at the dining room while the Core Rimmers were mingling, stopping at tables to ensure their Clan was doing well. Time was specifically spent with the eighteen refugee center helpers. Some of the kids felt their leaders needed hugs and embraced them. The parents of the Core Rimmers went to talk to their boys. On the way, the Rimmer adults got surprising hugs from many kids. The hugs were left-over from the morning's compassionate gathering. For the kids, the best part was the adults knew their names to thank them.

Judy Faris went to where A.J. and Jerry were sitting, and Troy, Sean, Kaleo and Tory were standing. Jim and Jen Hundser went to Prez and Keith. Kathleen Marr spoke to John and Stephen. Bill and Lanna Seaver chatted with Drew and Corey. Anna and Carl Seibert, and Laura and Rob Gibbons spent their time visiting tables where the refugee center helpers were sitting. Kaleo and Tory went to share a few whispered words with Keith and Prez. The latter two then went to the table where A.J. and Jerry were sitting. While all this was going on, many of the kids were making their way through the kitchen, and then to tables with their dinner or second helpings of pizza.

Having spent the last hour unpacking and setting up their temporary residence at the third condo, King Aalona and Queen Adamina entered the dining room. Eating pizza, Prince Kaimi was already sitting at a table with Bruce, Richie, Dillon, Geoff, Lenny, Kokaku and Dewi. The Royal couple mingled among the parents. The parents gathered their sons, and the other Core Rimmers together for a discussion with the Royal Couple. They softly spoke for about ten minutes, then Prez asked John, "Levitate me about a meter, please, bro?"

Nodding, John did the honors and teased, "Any higher and some of the little kids will be able to see what's underneath that shower wrap."

Stephen helplessly giggled, "Italian or Irish sausage?"

'My German sausage is for you, baby,' John smirked.

Rising up off the floor, Prez smirked at his youngest brother and brother-in-law. He then had Alden connect him to the P.A. "I'd like to make some announcements," Prez began. "First of all, for those that aren't sure or don't know at all, Reyes Taraschke was made a Core Rimmer last night." Prez waited for some clapping and remarks to dwindle, and then explained, "Reyes' primary job will be Toy Rimmer, with Drew and Corey, but he's a backup for his dad and pop too, as Analyst Rimmer and Clan historian.

"Next, I'd like to thank all of our helpers today," Prez continued. "Eighteen of you guys stepped up to the plate to help with refugees, and according to Aunt Lanna, a bunch of teens and tweens split the day to watch our little tikes at the playground. Reyes has said that the quadruplets and their friends from Des Moines and Las Vegas were very helpful with a rescue in Colorado today." Watching the quadruplet brothers, Prez chuckled, "You're not here a full day yet and already making waves." Getting nudges and pats on the back from their friends, the boys blushed and giggled. Prez playfully sang, "We're watching you."

After a momentary pause, Prez sighed, "When you think about it, this place could've been out of control, but you guys took care of one another, and everybody did more than their share to keep things running smoothly. I didn't do that, you guys did, so give each other a round of applause." Prez started clapping as did the other twelve Core Rimmers and all their parents, and the King and Queen.

When the applause faded, Prez smiled, "Right now, we have some changes to announce. Relud and Inoyra Glith have elected to join John's Intel team." More applause traveled around. Prez then said, "Nell Deckert, Mollie McElhannon, Horacio Sulin and Sonia Baugh would like to become dorm one leaders. When you guys in dorm one need help, Nell, Mollie, Horacio and Sonia are your contacts. Over at dorm two, Corbin Sancho, Dominic Crassus, Adrienne Norensis and Bianca Heres have agreed to become dorm leaders. For the time being, the twenty boys at dorm three can also contact those eight leaders for help, until we find four more who would like the job at dorm three. Those twenty at dorm three have only been here a day, but if two are interested, just let any Core Rimmer know.

"Thanks to some glowing recommendations from team mates and from two adults, we have two new Core Rimmers; Ensign Jerry Hebda and Ensign A.J. Smithson are now Mouth Rimmers, reporting to Kaleo," Prez shared. More applause and congratulations were passed. "As I understand it, since yesterday's meeting in the auditorium, Jerry and A.J. were only considering becoming dorm leaders. However, while helping with refugees today, each proved that he can make himself clearly and loudly understood." Chuckling, giggling and laughter erupted in the dining room. Widely smiling, Jerry and A.J. turned scarlet red. Locking eyes with Jerry, Prez teased, "Now I know what I look like when I blush."

Nodding, Jerry loudly giggled, "But we are not related."

Prez nodded and sniggered, "Not so far as we know, any how. We'll let our doctors do a quick DNA scan to determine if we're distant cousins or something." Prez grinned, "The last announcement is that our division's web site will be up by morning. If your laptop is already active in your room, your browser home page will be changed to this division's home page. The Mouth and Toy Rimmers will get these last announcements added tonight. Before I turn over to Drew and Corey, I'd like to remind everyone that school starts Monday morning. Our placement tests will be in two sessions, from nine in the morning until eleven, and from one in the afternoon until three. Sunday night, all the Core Rimmers and the dorm leadership will be making sure that everyone gets a good night's rest."

John lowered Prez to the floor, and then levitated Drew and Corey. The four televisions in the room changed to the division's web site home page. Everybody saw the moving ring of fire graphic surrounding the Clan Short Crest. Pointing at the nearest TV's, Drew began, "Alden's helping us out with this quick introduction. That's our home page." Still eating, many of the kids watched the monitors as Drew explained, "By midnight, all the Clan Divisions around the world will be able to access our site. No one else, anywhere on the planet, can access this site. It's for internal Clan use only because we have your photos up on each of your personal pages. The idea was for you guys to share interests, start personal blogs, and get to know other Clan kids that share your interests. By clicking anywhere on the graphic, you'll be presented with a few menu options; Announcements, Blogs, Command Team, Education, F.Y.S., Maps, Other Divisions, Our Clan, Platinum Habits, Recreation and Site Suggestions."

Corey took over, saying, "Alden, let's start with the announcements menu." The screen pointer moved to 'Announcements', the letters flamed up, and then presented the menu beneath. Many kids giggled at the flaming graphic. Corey giggled, "Yeah, the Clan started with two gays dudes, so I ran with it."

"I can see you guys aren't worried about being formal," Thanh sniggered.

Corey smiled, "Course not. Announcements are from the command team, so we have Head Rimmers, which is stuff from Prez and Keith; the historians are under Analyst Rimmers, mostly to introduce newbies; communications are from the Mouth Rimmers, so we'll all be looking there to read about stuff that they have to tell us. Right at the top of the Mouth Rimmers section is a link to a listing of available odd jobs and a place where you can sign up for those odd jobs. Since we're on the subject, just to make sure the newbies are aware, you'll be getting ID and debit cards in a few days. Your debit cards hold your weekly allowance and all you've earned from doing odd jobs around the base. Specifics about who can sign up for what jobs are listed on the odd jobs sign up page."

"Soul Rimmers are the Intel department," Drew said, "so anything security related will be in this section. Sean and Troy are Morale Rimmers, so any activities, clubs, or events they want to announce will be there; then we have all the tech stuff from the Toy Rimmers, me, Corey and Reyes. There are places where you guys can send us notes in each of those sections. Please use them when you have a question, comment or suggestion directly related to command, or history, or communications, or Intel, or Morale or geeky stuff. Right off the bat, Prez has arranged for all of us to get comm-badges. When they arrive, Sunday or Monday, we'll get them distributed.

"Also, in the Intel section there's a listing of blocked sites," Corey added. "Many of those sites are pornographic. We know most of you aren't too interested in that stuff, but we do allow a large selection of sites that Mr. T has reviewed and considered educational. If there's something you'd like to visit, but can't because it's blocked, the best place to make the suggestion that it be reviewed is under Soul Rimmer's Intel section. If it passes John's team, then we'll talk about it and check it out. The last step is when Prez says, 'okay, pass it up to headquarters in Orlando with our comments'. Sometimes, you mistype stuff and go to bad sites. That's no biggie; you'll simply see a screen telling you that the site was blocked and why. However, if you constantly try to access blocked sites, one of us Core Rimmers will be having a chat with you, especially if you haven't sent us a suggestion to modify the blocked sites list." Glancing around, Corey paused then queried, "Kewl?"

Seeing only nodding heads, Drew took over again and explained, "The Blogs section is sorted by individuals and is completely searchable. If you like American football, and want to get to know others that are too, search for football. Results will be broken up by division, and then by the person's last name. Whatever the topic, if the person has added that to their list of activities, hobbies or interests, you'll find them, so you can e-mail them or participate in their blog, and they can participate in your Blog too. Each of you can add stuff to your personal page; each of you can start a Blog. We've started a few basic Blogs for Art, Movies, Music, Musicians, Sports and Television. As you can see, each selection will open in new browser tabs, so you can find where you started and can get back to it easily. It's common Net-iquite to participate in someone's Blog first, so they get to know you and you get to know them, before you e-mail the Blog's owner, for a more personal friendship to be established."

"The Command Team menu option is strictly for you to get to know us," Corey instructed. "Right now, it doesn't include Jerry or A.J., but we'll get those pages loaded tonight too. Our pages are in the 'Our Clan' section too, but this way you guys don't have to remember our surnames." He giggled, "We've only been together a little less than a week, and some kids still confuse Seaver and Seibert."

"It's a blond thing," Mike softly sniggered. Corey squinted at Mike. Without a word spoken aloud, Mike vanished from the dining room. Kids began chuckling and giggling.

Corey laughed, "I did not do that!"

Bouncing his blond eyebrows, Derrick grinned, "I did." Still gathered together, the Core Rimmers cracked up.

Reappearing in the dining room, dripping wet and freezing cold, Mike bitched, "Nice! I know what an iceberg looks like now, in the dark, from up close!" The entire dining room seemed to explode with loud laughter. Mike left to go change into dry clothes and un-shrivel his bits.

Drew giggled, "Speaking of education, the Education section is for you to get to know our teachers, do homework assignments or send essays and such to the teachers. F.Y.S. is Federation Youth Services. That's where you can get to know any of the adults, from our parents to the doctors and nurses, and even our housekeepers, grounds keepers and chefs. The 'Our Clan' menu option has links to other divisions so you can search there. The majority of the screen is an alphabetical listing of kids in this division. You can change the sort order, from the default of last name to first name, or by age, ascending from youngest to oldest, or descending from oldest to youngest. To make it a little easier, we've added labels to search for kids, ages up to nine-years-old; tweens are ages ten through twelve, and teens, for thirteen and up. You can also search by name, age, birthday, interests and hobbies."

"Maps are printable graphics of our bases and all the Clan bases," Corey explained. "Some of you guys may be taking classes at other bases. That's why you all need comm-badges. Of course, once you're there, it would be nice to know where you are and where you need to go to. The Other Divisions option simply makes some stuff available that we've already shown, all in one place without digging into other menu options. There are links directly to their site, maps, their leadership teams and searchable lists of kids.

"The Platinum Habits section is for the band and where they may be performing concerts. The band doesn't consider performances here for us as concerts; they're rehearsals, so they won't appear. It also allows other divisions to request that the band perform for some function there. Recreation lists all the stuff we've got here and at our other bases. Maybe you don't like playing soccer, but you enjoy watching the game. When there are those sorts of activities going on, we'll list them here and you can go watch the game. The last little section is simply a form to fill out for site suggestions. If you have a good idea that we include, you'll get credit for it and a money bonus on your debit card too."

Drew smiled, "That's all we've got for you. I would like to know if any of you haven't tried powering up your laptop computers yet though. Just a show of hands, please?" Glancing around, Drew and Corey saw mostly newbie kids, and those that had only been around a little more than a day. Drew nodded, "Kewl. Remember, if you're having some laptop problems, Alden can help you and so can we; just let us know if you need it." John lowered Drew and Corey to the floor. The Core Rimmer team went into the chow line to get their dinners.

Around the dining room, the chatter level rose. Some were talking with the new dorm leaders. Others were talking about going back to their dorm rooms immediately after dinner, to investigate the new division web site, update their personal information with activities, hobbies and interests, and perhaps start a blog. Also, some of the teens were discussing the limited access to porn sites.

Overhearing the conversation, Aaron Farris excused himself and reminded, "Some of us have been through that, having our pictures taken and being prostituted by adults for other adults. We never saw a penny of the money made."

Stephen Wickes agreed with his partner and added, "We're all naked half of every day. What can you see at those sites that we don't see all the time?"

Twelve-year-old Chiba Atsushi smirked, "Prob'ly stuff a lot of us wouldn't like to see, that we've experienced, and would just as soon not have any reminders of."

One of the teen girls nearby, Vera Kirkwood wondered, "Why look at pictures?" When she got no reply, she shrugged, "Some of us have partners and some don't. I'd think having a real person, as a boyfriend or girlfriend matters more. There are gays, lesbians and straights here, so why look at what you can't have, when there are kids here that might like having a partner?"

Coming out of the kitchen with their dinners, John, Stephen, Drew and Corey overheard parts of this debate. Clearly, without using the P.A., John said, "It's not a matter of disallowing porn completely, without regard to content, it's more like who's got a bad reputation; who's really mistreating or capitalizing on the models without proper compensation."

Drew nodded, "There are sites you can visit that are kewl, with good stories and good pictures. The sites we don't want you guys visiting are the ones that want money for nothing, or sites that go phishing for e-mail addresses, so they can share your address with another porn company and start sending you spam."

Sean walked out of the kitchen with Troy. Hearing the debate, Sean sighed, "Ya know what, guys? This is kind of silly and I'll tell you why I think so. Let's say you're developing and not certain where your interests really are; as in you haven't decided if your gay, lesbian, bi or straight. Everybody is at least a little bisexual, so it can be really confusing for some of you. Please come talk to any of us. If you need something that will help you grow and learn, we'll get it for you."

Troy smiled, "And that's from a guy who is as shy as I can occasionally be. Growing up here, you've all got the best people working for your benefit. Maybe you're one of the really shy ones that can't figure out who to talk with. The truth is that you can talk to any Core Rimmer, dorm leader or any of the adult employees, in complete confidentiality. I know Kaleo has rubbers and lube, free for the asking for anyone that needs or wants them."

"I don't ask questions either," Kaleo offered. "You want it, and you've got it, plain and simple. If you think that you might be gay, but aren't sure, ask me and Tory, and then watch how many suggestions we give you. If you want a dong or a dildo to figure it out, I'll get you exactly what you want. The same goes for you girls. We're purposefully choosing girls as part of the dorm leadership teams, so you can get what you need, without worrying about being embarrassed. What we don't want is for any of you to become like the pedophiles many of us had to deal with."

"Maybe some of you are scared, because of your experiences at orphanages, foster homes or out on the street," Tory explained. "Let me address that right now. Me and Kaleo are married now, partially because we were good friends at the orphanage. We discovered right here what it really means to be in love and make love. It's nothing like what those jerk-offs at the orphanages put us through. Yeah, you feel that same twitchy, anxious feeling in your belly, but the aftermath is completely opposite what it used to be. Instead of feeling worthless and valueless, you feel more deserving, worthy and valuable; that's caring and loving."

Sitting down beside Jonah, Reyes leaned over to whisper, "Listen and learn, bro."

Jonah whispered back, "I am. I'm pretty sure I'd like a boyfriend, but the past is still messing with me too."

Reyes nodded and softly said, "He'll fix that too, one way or another."

Before sitting down with his dinner, Keith grinned, "What have we been saying all week about giving and receiving abundantly? A sexual relationship is only part of that idea. It also applies to parents, children, friends and acquaintances; relationships that aren't sexual at all. When someone gives you something, you return something else to show your appreciation and thanks. We can't all be the best of friends, but those that do become best friends just so happen to be on the same page; the turnabout of giving and receiving is more meaningful. It's what makes us individuals and not carbon copies of each other."

Over at the table where the quadruplets and double twins were sitting, some giggling and loud laughter broke loose. Keith sniggered, "Even you guys aren't carbon copies. I see three different hairstyles and one with almost no hair. Earlier today, I saw all eight of you in the pool and could only positively identify Robbie. It won't be that way in a couple o' days." Before sitting down, Keith noticed Prez had started eating, but remained standing. He softly huffed, "Right after we're done eating, we're going home to the townhouse and you're getting a pill."

With his mouth full and chewing a bite of pizza, Prez obediently nodded.

At the tables where the adults were sitting, Jennifer Hundser heard her PADD chiming, alerting her that an e-mail had come in. After a few minutes to eat and converse, she checked the e-mail. Mr. T had responded and would be available Sunday evening for about two hours. Jennifer let Jason and Trinity know when their final interview with Mr. T would be. She also sent a text message to Mrs. Diaz, so she would be available and on base too.

A.J. and Jerry were at a table with Nick, Roger, Aaron and Stephen Wickes. This evening, Aki and Hajime asked if they could sit with the six older boys. They all lived in the same hall of dorm one and had made some educated assumptions about one another. Continuing beyond the topic of internet porn, the eight gay lovers spoke of their relationships and pasts, and where they hoped to be in future weeks, months and years. Twelve-year-olds Aki and Hajime got some verbal lessons from the six older and more experienced thirteen-year-old boys. On the topic of oral sex, Aki and Hajime learned it was actually way better to kiss and lick private parts; that way the whole experience lasted longer than when simply sucking like mad at the glans 'knob'.

"Make love to your partner's body," A.J. softly instructed. "Jerry knows I'm all his. I know he's all mine. It's totally awesome when, after about twenty minutes of little kisses and touches, another simple something pushes you unexpectedly over the edge."

Jerry grinned, "It's very kewl to ask afterward, 'what did I do to cause that?' Even better is the answer, 'everything!'"

Aaron whispered, "We had to do stuff with men and women that we didn't want to do. I think that's when rushing through it is actually appropriate. With Stephen, I don't want any reminders of that noise."

"It's like what the Core Rimmers say, give today, but be ready to receive tomorrow," Stephen softly agreed.

The conversation got silly and talking led to demonstrations, using folded slices of pizza to instruct Aki and Hajime on the finer points of rimming, which the two younger boys hadn't tried. It was all a matter of personal cleanliness, they learned. On occasion, it was necessary to take a quick shower before returning to their room and making each other messy and sweaty. All six were soon loudly laughing. It was no longer anywhere near serious by the time the crisp pizza crusts were soggy wastes of bread. So all eight went to the kitchen and asked for Italian sausage links to continue their goofy competition.

At another table, Judy Faris, Kathleen Marr, Jason and Trinity Taylor shared a table with the King and Queen. The monarchs were completely amazed with the entire leadership team. Although they had previously spoken with Lieutenant Vorik on the same subject, the dinnertime announcements and subsequent sexual discussion pushed the Royals beyond the logical chat with the Vulcan man. Now they were curious to learn the perspectives that the other parents had.

Judy Faris smiled, "I've always known where Troy was at. As a young boy, about Kaimi's age, he might go out and play with other boys, and come home filthy and bruised, but then he would poke at the Casio keyboard I got him, figuring out melodies by ear. He was a boy that enjoyed being with other boys, but also had a sensitive side."

Nodding, Kathleen agreed, "Stephen is very sensitive too. However, he's participated in more here these last few days than he has his entire life."

"Robbie's somewhere between those two examples," Jason simply offered.

Queen Adamina asked, "When did you tell your sons the facts of life?"

Trinity answered, "On Robbie's tenth birthday."

Smiling and nodding, Jason recalled, "He treated it like another present. With that information, he could understand what older boys at his school were really saying."

"Troy asked me when he was about nine-and-a-half," Judy smiled.

Kathleen sighed, "Other boys were mocking Stephen. When he told me that, I began the process when he was nine-years-old."

Jason frowned, huffing, "That's sad, and I can guarantee that the boys mocking Stephen had less knowledge than Stephen had."

Trinity nodded, "You probably saved him from some battles with ammunition to protect himself."

Quietly absorbing the conversation, King Aalona said, "Earlier today, Kaimi asked to be allowed to go to school here. I had several good reasons to allow it, but I also had reservations, because of the histories of many of these children. This evening's conversation and what the leadership team said has greatly reduced my concerns. This environment would be progressive for Kaimi." He wiped his mouth with a napkin, then said, "Excuse me, please." The King stood and went to Prez.

Wide-eyed, the Queen smiled, "It seems that I must prepare to get Kaimi's school transcripts."

Seeing the King approaching, Prez wondered, "How can I help you, Majesty?" King Aalona told Prez of Kaimi's requested school change, and his own observations, made during the course of one of the most difficult days in history. He asked that Kaimi be permitted to attend school on base, and Prez quickly agreed. King Aalona also asked if Prez could join him at the time of the press conference he had scheduled for seven that evening. After mulling it over a few seconds, Prez smiled, "I'd be honored to do that, Majesty, but there are two problems with it. First, I can't be dressed in much more than I'm wearing now. Also, I need to take medication right after dinner. I don't want to make you appear bad, so, if it's acceptable, could Keith take my place? As assistant director, he knows all that I know, and is equally capable."

King Aalona nodded once, saying, "Again, you have impressed me. Yes, Keith can take your place at this evening's press conference."

After wiping his mouth and standing, Keith asked, "How would you like me to participate, Majesty?"

King Aalona smiled, "Join me in my condo apartment when you're done eating, Keith. I'll review my speech notes with you, and then we can discuss what you may want to add."

Keith nodded, "We'll have security for us available before we meet with the press."

"Very well," King Aalona smiled, and then walked away. Keith sat down again to finish his dinner. King Aalona stopped at the table where he had been eating, shared a few brief words with the Queen and other adults, and then left the C.I.C.

Wearing a Cheshire cat grin, Prez glanced down at Keith and softly sniggered. Keith grinned, "Very funny! What the heck am I going to say?"

Prez chuckled, "I didn't know what He wanted. Having you do it was logical. I can't stand there in my Clan Short robe with only a shower wrap underneath, and I sure as hell can't do it on pain meds."

With his eyes spinning, Keith started singing the Celtic music that was played in the Command Center only a few hours earlier. Mike, Derrick and Reyes cracked up. Looking around the dining room, Prez found his and Keith's security sitting together, and then walked over to them. He told them what was planned, asked them to get changed into dress uniforms when they were done eating, and to be prepared for anything during the press conference. Getting positive replies from all six, he thanked them, then went to the table where his parents were sitting, to let them know what Keith was about to do.

Naturally, those sitting nearby overheard the King and Prez. Soon everyone knew that Keith was going to be on television with the King. When Prez got back to his table, Kaleo offered, "We should prob'ly get the auditorium powered up to show a movie."

Prez nodded and smirked, "I'd doubt the little tikes will understand the content of the press conference or care, for that matter. That's a good idea, Kaleo." He then asked, "Troy, where's Uncle Colin?"

"His sleep schedule's all messed up," Troy answered. "The last I heard, he was taking a nap, before his swearing in ceremony. All of the press are staying at hotels off base, Prez. The only additional guest we'll have here is the Federal Judge and his wife."

Prez nodded, "Let Uncle Colin's secret service know what the King is doing. Maybe Uncle Colin will want to be there, or at least watch it on TV. Then you and Sean can give Kaleo and Tory a hand at the auditorium. Get a movie set up for the kids."

"Kewl," Troy smiled.

Sean whispered to Troy, "I'll get us a cot." Troy's smile widened.

Turning to where John was sitting, Prez said, "Be there with Keith and the King, bro. We don't need any more drama today."

With his face stuffed and chewing his food, John gave a thumbs up and sent, 'No problem, Prez.'

Prez nodded, "Wear your Clan Short robe too."

'I'm bringing Stephen too, to add to his training,' John relayed.

Tilting his head, Prez asked, "You're training Stephen?"

John nodded, "With me, he's telepathic, but not generally. Having an empath there is still good. Besides, I want him with me."

"Grrr," Stephen softly growled. Covering his mouth, Frankie went into a giggling fit.

At the young family's interaction, Prez grinned, "What about Jerry and A.J.?"

"They've got the dump," John assured, and then recommended, "Give them tonight to sleep on it. A snap quiz in the morning might be good, just to be sure."

Prez nodded, and then went into the Command Center. The moment he stepped in the room, Paulie giggled, "You're starting to act telepathic, Prez."

Prez grinned, "I only came in here to ask Lieutenant Vorik to get personal security assigned for Jerry and A.J." Vorik immediately contacted the Rapid Response Base to complete that task.

Paulie smiled, "We just got a call from Des Moines. They've got more kids for us."

Curling his lips inward, Prez hummed, and then asked, "How many?"

"Nine in this group," Paulie answered. Checking his computer monitor, he continued, "Three sets of brothers. The first are a fifteen-year-old and a twelve-year-old, the second set are eight, six and four, and the third are all seven-years-old." Paulie sniggered, "It's another set of quadruplet boys."

Prez smiled, "Well, I was hoping to let Jerry and A.J. have the night off. I guess that's shot now."

Paulie shrugged, "It's an easy pickup, boss; there and back in five minutes. They'll spend more time in the basement store."

Prez nodded, and then locked eyes with Lieutenant Vorik. Before being asked, Vorik said, "Additional security will be available within the hour, Sir."

"Okay," Prez sighed, "I don't want to delay this mission, and there are some very young kids too, so I'll send A.J., Jerry, Drew and Corey along with their two boys." He turned around and walked back out of the Command Center. On his way across the dining room, Prez thought of a better plan. Stopping at the table where his sons sat, Prez explained the situation. He asked, "Richie and Gage, would you go along to help?" Both happily agreed.

Dee frowned, "Why can't me and Sammy go too?"

Prez smiled, "Because daddy will be busy for the next hour or two with the King. I need you two here as witnesses, so daddy knows for sure that I took my pills."

Standing with gathered trays to take to the kitchen, Keith smirked, "Yeah, as a matter of fact, take Poppa to do that now. I'll see you guys later."

At Keith's suspicion and Prez's rolling eyes, Dee cracked up. Sammy giggled, "Okay, dad. We'll make sure pop pops his pills."

Heading for the kitchen, Keith said, "And make him relax for a little while. Sit down and watch TV for at least a half hour." He told Prez, "Mike, Derrick and Reyes can take over."

Softly chortling, Mike locked eyes with Prez. Wishing he had never chanced running through flames, Prez shook his head and sighed. Derrick smiled, "Go take a break, Prez. We'll keep the place running."

Prez sighed, "Come on Richie and Gage, let's go get the rest of the team." Heading towards the table where Corey and Drew were sitting, Prez shared the plan. Soon, Geoff, Lenny, Jerry and A.J. were informed. Prez leaned over to kiss his sons and thank them.

Gathered with Corey, A.J., Jerry and the four sons, Drew called Conner, Chuck, Ata and Baakir to join the away team. Once the group was together outside the C.I.C., Drew tapped his sub-vocal, calling, "Alden, take us to Des Moines, where we've got kids to pick up."

They had only just vanished when Prez felt hands sliding into his. Looking up, Sammy smiled, "Let's go, pop. None of us really want to see dad having a hissy fit."

Arriving at the Wells Fargo Arena, Drew glanced at Jerry and A.J., asking, "Would you like to run the show?"

Before either teenager could answer, Grandma Morrison laughed, "Drew and Corey are back again, already?"

Spinning around toward the sound of the woman's voice, Corey hurried to her, giggling, "Hi Grandma," and gave her a hug.

Drew approached more slowly, but still wore a wide smile. "You know we couldn't have stayed away from you for very long." He gave her a hug, then gestured to the others they arrived with, introducing, "Grandma, this little guy here is our son, Geoff, and beside him is our other son, Lenny."

Grandma had squatted down and opened her arms to meet both boys. "Oh my goodness!" Grandma heartily giggled, "They're so precious."

While she was down, Drew smiled, "The red haired boy is our nephew, Richie. He's Prez's and Keith's son, and so is the next dude, Gage, with chestnut brown hair."

Hugging the two boys, Grandma looked up and joked, "Is every boy at Ewa Beach this handsome?"

Drew giggled, "I guess." When Grandma stood, Drew smiled, "These last two dudes are new Core Rimmers, Grandma. The red haired dude is Jerry Hebda. The one with brown hair is his partner, Arnold James Smithson. We call him A.J."

"My Lord!" Grandma gasped. She then smiled, "Yes, I will be making a quick trip to Hawaii tonight. Come give me a hug, Jerry and A.J."

Shyly, both teens stepped forward to be engulfed in Grandma's embrace. When they were sufficiently deprived of oxygen, she released them, smiling, "Let me introduce you to your new brothers."

Shortly after starting the walk, Richie and Gage stayed with Grandma, but the others remained with Drew and Corey. Jerry tapped Drew and whispered, "Is she always like that?"

Rapidly nodding, Drew softly answered, "I'm sure she's knocking back her enthusiasm a notch or two, because the refugee kids are victims, and she knows a lot of Clan kids have had bad times."

An adult man's voice called, "Mom, we've got another boy that chose to go to Hawaii." Immediately veering off course, Grandma led the pack in that direction. Walking with a boy of about twelve or thirteen, the man said, "This is Raymond Varga, from Los Angeles. His father was a county sheriff and a casualty of the riots there."

"Yes, you definitely need to go to the islands; you are too handsome to be wasted on the continent." Grandma stated matter-of-factly. "Drew, introduce your brother to his family. Then you need to see your Aunt Nancy immediately for your evening shakes."

Corey howled laughing. Drew giggled, "Grandma, we just had dinner, ten minutes before we got here! I had four big slices of pizza!"

Nudging A.J., Corey cackled, "She's warming up now."

"You are nine minutes overdue, young man. Now move it before I decide that you and Corey need to expand your family even more."

Losing control, Corey laughed himself into a case of hiccups. Richie, Gage, Geoff and Lenny were giggling. Jerry widely smiled at this madness. A.J. simply appeared astonished. Drew sniggered, "And what about Raymond and the other nine we came here to get?"

"Georgie, could you please send that nice young boy Leo over here, that Jeff and Brian just processed?" Grandma said sweetly into her comm-badge.

"Yes, Grandma." George responded amazingly quickly. About two seconds later, a skinny white-blond nine-year-old boy with ice-blue eyes appeared next to her.

"Leo Daniel Scott, meet your new parents, Drew and Corey. Jeff said that you wanted parents like the ones you just lost, ones that like being funny."

After pausing long enough to ensure Leo was sufficiently glued to his new parents, Grandma added, "I instructed Nancy to ensure that your other nine additions were comfortable. They are waiting for you with her."

Shyly saying, "Hey," Leo glanced up at Drew and Corey.

Unable to catch his breath from laughing through his hiccups, Corey wobbled and fell down. Wide-eyed and grinning madly, Leo silently wondered what was going on. Geoff and Lenny went to help their pop, but they were too small and Corey accidentally pulled both down on top of him. All three became hysterical. Trying desperately to maintain composure during his first Core Rimmer mission, Jerry sputtered. Richie and Gage were happy to join Grandma for milkshakes. Seeing his partner was having fun, A.J. tickled Jerry while simultaneously telling him to "Stop laughing!"

Pulling Leo close, Drew sniggered, "Is this the best part of your day?"

Leo nodded and giggled, "Beats the heck out of waiting around here, doin' nothin'."

Raymond grinned, "So, umm... is it like this in Hawaii?"

"Nah," Drew giggled, "it's better." Noticing Grandma walking off with Richie and Gage, Drew smiled, "Let's follow Grandma, dudes." Drew, A.J. and Jerry helped get Corey, Geoff and Lenny off the ground. The group hurried after Grandma, Richie and Gage.

Jogging along, Leo remained close to Drew, asking, "Do you think I could get a charger for my iPod Nano?"

"Not a problem," Drew answered, and then sniggered, "Remind me later, when we get home, with twenty more kids than the nine we came here to get."

Back at Ewa Beach, at his family's townhome, Prez had taken his pills. He sat down in the living room to watch TV with Dee and Sammy. What they saw and heard on the TV was all of what had just occurred at Des Moines. Catching his breath, Prez chuckled, "Alden, who is Grandma?"

Alden giggled, "Genetically speaking, she's the grandmother of Adam, Mark, Brian and Jeff. She believes that Ralphie, Richie, Robbie and Ronnie are her grandsons too, since Ronnie and Adam were, and still are, foster brothers. As you can see, the kids like her, so she's basically adopted all of Clan Short."

Dee giggled, "Should we tell our grandma about Leo?"

Prez smiled, "Let's wait and see what Leo, Drew and Corey want to do."

Outside by the pools, the Des Moines group and Brandon were ready to head home. It was after eleven o'clock in Des Moines. Brandon hugged and kissed his cousins, but instead of saying goodbye, he said, "I'll see you tomorrow." The quadruple R's said goodnight to the double-twins, Garrett and the rest of the group. Colin ordered Kerry to grab Brandon's suitcases and gym bag. As soon as all the farewells were done, Alien told Kerry to take their group home.

At the Wells Fargo Arena, Grandma and Nancy had gotten everyone milkshakes and introduced the new boys to the Ewa Beach group. There were the Hunnicutt brothers, four-year-old Shaun, six-year-old Michael, and eight-year-old Kenneth, from New York City. The seven-year-old Steib quadruplets were Kelly, Lawrence, Matthew and Nicholas, from Washington, D.C. The Nash brothers were fifteen-year-old Craig and twelve-year-old Phillip, from Los Angeles. Grandma and Nancy went back to work with refugees, allowing the boys to get to know one another.

Beginning the transition to Clan life, Richie and Gage talked with the Steib brothers; Lenny and Geoff chatted with the Hunnicutts; A.J. and Jerry oriented Craig and Phillip; Corey and Drew spoke with Leo and Raymond. All the boys were told that there was pasta and pizza waiting for them at Ewa Beach. Still, they liked the shakes, so they wanted to finish them.

During the day, Corey and Drew learned not to dwell upon the Battle of Earth. Refugees craved normalcy. While they were chatting with Leo and Raymond, they learned that both were into music and water sports. Leo had played water polo at his school and preferred Top 40 radio hits. Ray liked to surf and para-surf and liked alternative music, like Toad The Wet Sprocket and The Lemonheads. With Craig and Phillip, Drew and Corey spoke of favorite sports, learning that the two brothers really enjoyed soccer and played on their schools' teams. The Clan leaders asked that, once Craig and Phillip got settled, they start teaching the game to the others at Ewa Beach.

Sitting on the ground in a circle, Richie, Gage, Geoff and Lenny spent almost all their time assuring the younger group of rescued boys that life was really very good at Ewa Beach. Little Shaun Hunnicutt went to Jerry and held his arms out and up, wanting to be held. Grinning at the rug-rat, Jerry squatted down, lifted Shaun and parked him on his left hip.

Grandma returned and saw that most of the milkshakes were near finished. She prompted, "If you boys are ready, let's go to Hawaii."

Corey smiled, "You're coming too, Grandma?"

"Of course," she answered, "I've always wanted to visit Hawaii, and from what you boys said during the day, it sounds very different from the Des Moines neighborhood I'm at. Besides, I'd like to meet some of your parents, leaders, and some of my other grandchildren." She pointed at trash cans, so the boys could dump their cups. As the boys gathered around her, she wondered, "Is there someplace we need to be?"

Drew nodded, "First stop is our C.I.C. dining room."

"Kerry, do the honors, please," Grandma called.

Upon arrival, A.J. and Jerry got the newbies over to the chow line. Richie, Gage, Geoff and Lenny joined the group. Drew asked Grandma, "How about I get my mom or dad to show you around?"

Corey quickly added, "If they're busy, my folks, or Mike's or Derrick's could give you a tour, Grandma?"

"Thank you," Grandma smiled. She went over to check on the new kids in the chow line. Corey and Drew called their parents. In moments, Jim Hundser as well as Bill and Lanna Seaver were transported to the dining room. Corey and Drew took their parents to the kitchen, where Grandma was helping little Shaun Hunnicutt.

Drew said, "We'll take over, Grandma. Let us introduce our parents." When the woman looked over and Corey had taken over with Shaun, Drew introduced his dad and Corey's parents.

The adults shook hands and Grandma began chattering, praising Drew, Corey, John and Stephen. Leaving the boys in the kitchen, the adults started giving Grandma a base tour. The sun had set, but all the automated lighting had turned on. From the C.I.C., they followed the sidewalk through the dormitory 'quad'.

There was a knock at the front door of Prez's townhouse. Since Prez was drowsy and relaxing, Dee shouted, "I'll get it, Poppa," and hurried to the door. He opened it and found Lindsay Gibbons standing there. Dee giggled, "Hi, Linds!"

Lindsay smiled, "Hey, Dee. Is Prez awake?"

Dee nodded, "He's just watchin' TV with us." Stepping back, Dee waved Lindsay inside, and then closed the door behind her. Dee returned to the sofa, where Prez and Sammy were lounging.

Prez smiled, "How're you doin', Lindsay?"

Lindsay shrugged, "Okay, just a little confused, Prez."

"About?" Prez prompted.

Lindsay shuffled her feet and rambled, "I was talkin' with my mom after supper. It's a little strange, we think, that other girls are being made leaders. Remember Saturday at the beach, almost all the girls were naked, no matter how old they are? How often have you seen a completely naked teenage girl since then?"

Prez blinked, "Never naked, only topless, and even that's pretty rare."

"You know why, don't you?"

Shaking his head, Prez heard John's voice in his mind, loudly hollering, 'Oh shit! We're in trouble now.'

"I did that," Lindsay frowned. "I taught them that their bodies are theirs and not to make boys happy. Boys show off, but girls shouldn't and don't really need to be like boys that way. They used to think differently, ya know? Now they know better and ya know what? Some are getting boyfriends too! The boys like them more this way, at least the straight ones do. The F.C.C. girls were the exact opposite; they were taught that liking boys was bad. I told them and showed them that boys are boys, they act different, but they're just like us with different parts, and when we grow up, maybe we'll marry boys and have babies with them."

Prez nodded and grinned, "That's great. I didn't know that."

Lindsay scowled, "So how come you made other girls leaders and not me? I was thinking you were making only boys leaders, which isn't fair, but you're the director, so..."

Holding a hand up to signal a pause, Prez sighed, "I'm sorry, Lindsay. I had no idea you had done anything. It's not a secret that girls need girl leaders for some stuff." He then called, "Alden, get a comm-badge for Lindsay." The communications device appeared on Prez's shower wrap on his lap. He picked it up, offering it to Lindsay, smiling, "You're now a leader too and definitely deserve it. When I call for a leadership team meeting, that'll include you. You're not a Core Rimmer and won't be doing rescues, so tell your mom and dad that your duties are strictly limited to our five bases." Prez then gently explained, "Doing rescues, so far as I've seen, really requires boys. It can be rough and very distressing. After Wednesday night's California orphanages, we all had to have Vulcan mind melds to cope with what we had seen and done."

Pinning the comm-badge onto her shirt, Lindsay nodded and sighed, "John only told me a little bit. He wouldn't even say it aloud or why he wouldn't tell me more. My brother ignored my questions."

"It was that bad," Prez firmly assured.

Realizing that Prez wasn't going to say more, Lindsay sighed, "Well, thanks Prez. I'm going to go over to the dorms to let the other girls know. They're all really happy that you're making us leaders. Then I'll go home and tell my family." She giggled, "I can't wait for Mike to find out."

Prez laughed, "Neither can I."

Waving, Lindsay said, "See ya later," and went to the door. She stepped outside and closed the door. Dormitory one was closest and the second floor was filled so she jogged there.

Prez glanced at Sammy and Dee, wondering, "Did either of you know any of that?"

Dee shook his head. Sammy shrugged, "I've seen Lindsay going in and out of dorms with other girls, but I wasn't around Saturday either."

Only moments later, while Sammy was channel surfing for something on TV to watch, there was another knock at the door. Again, Dee bounded up off the couch to answer it. He opened the door and recognized the two teen boys standing there, wearing Clan cloaks with dirty and tattered suits beneath, but had to search his memory to remember their names. Dee muttered, "Harry and... uh?"

Prez leaned forward and looked over at the door. Standing, he excitedly called, "Jonas and Harry! Damn, I'm glad to see you two in one piece. Several times last night, Keith and I wondered if you were safe."

"Jonas!" Dee giggled and blushed, "yeah, that's it, sorry."

Harry gave Dee a quick hug and warmly smiled, "A week is long time when things are always changing."

"Can we come in and talk?" Jonas asked.

"Sure, dudes," Prez warmly smiled. Dee stepped aside, allowing the taller Clan leaders to enter. Once they were inside, Prez gestured to chairs and prompted, "Please have a seat, you look like you need to."

"We've been on the go since about five this morning," Jonah wearily offered, "and we left Washington at midnight. The place looks like something out of a disaster movie. And there's more people dead or homeless than I even want to think about." Two younger boys followed Jonas and Harry inside.

Dee giggled and hugged Peter Lambert before the shifty Mikyvis could vanish to prevent it.

"This is Galen, Kurt's nephew from the new compound in upstate New York," Jonas introduced the other boy. "He was dead earlier today."

Squinting suspiciously, Sammy muttered, "Rapid recovery?"

Releasing Peter and lunging for Galen, Dee said "Hi," and told Sammy, "see the purple eyes, bro. They're Mikyvis'. Remember me telling you how bad my butt hurt Saturday? It was Peter that fixed me, so I could have fun the rest of the day."

Peter giggled. "Yeppers! And I couldn't let somebody as cute as Galen stay dead." He blushed, and the two Mikyvis hopped onto the couch, one on either side of Sammy, cuddling him.

"The Capitol is in ruins, dude," Harry softly told Prez. "So's the Pentagon, and part of the White House, and a whole bunch of office buildings, stores, homes, condos, and you-name-its all over Washington. Most of Congress is dead, so're the President and Vice President. We had Romulan moles in government positions. Jonas shot one of them, and the V.P. was another. And you wouldn't believe how many, um, rectums were trying to 'follow standard procedure' when that would benefit nobody but the Romulans."

"We came here because you guys are playing host to the guy who is now the new President, to let him know," Jonas added.

Nodding, Prez sighed, "Keith told me about some of that." He then asked, "Please relax a few minutes? Are you hungry?" When his two worn out friends nodded, Prez called, "Alden, get a pizza and two Cokes here for Jonas and Harry. Then contact Uncle Gordon, or any of Uncle Colin's security. Let them know I'm coming for a visit with two additional Family Clan Short leaders, and give them Harry's and Jonas' full names. To make this clear to you, them and Uncle Colin, this is not a social call; it's business, so there's no choice. The most we're doing is showing our ID cards, but we are going to talk to Uncle Colin. They've got about fifteen minutes to get ready. As soon as Harry and Jonas are fed and ready, we're there."

"Full court press?" Jonas asked, referring to Prez's tone.

Prez explained, "It's not been a great day. You two look like something that cat dragged in, played with and left to rot on the floor. Be that as it may, you guys were there, in Washington, where Uncle Colin eventually must go back to. He needs to hear what you have to say."

Interrupting Prez, Lay's potato chips dropped from near the ceiling onto Prez, Jonas and Harry. Alden giggled, "There, now you guys can say you got leied in Hawaii. The pizza and Cokes are on the table."

Harry asked, "Alden, are your circuits waterproof?"

"Um... no."

"Well, then no dunking until after you get your body," Harry warned. "But just remember, we owe you!" Turning to Prez, he smirked, "So, is this the new 'in' thing for Clan leaders; T-shirt and short terrycloth sarong?" Harry quipped about Prez's outfit.

"And it looks like you're shaving your legs now too!" Jonas chuckled.

Prez grinned, "Do you want to eat or see my burned butt? I'd think eating might be a little more important, but it's your appetite."

Over on the sofa, where two boys and two Mikyvis were sitting, Dee burst into giggles. The three teens glanced over to find billows of smoke rising off the front of Sammy's board shorts. Blushing, Peter giggled, "That's what're known as hot pants, hot stuff!"

"We're eating!" Jonas replied to Prez, scarfing down pizza. "Seriously, how bad was it?"

"Second degree on my feet and tush, first degree on my legs," Prez answered. "Earlier today, I was in a robe that kept slipping open. Today, I've accidentally exposed myself to three dignitaries. At least a shower wrap keeps my dick out of everyone's sight. The worst part is the pain pills have codeine in them, so I'm not all here, really. I'll probably escort you to the condo, introduce you and then excuse myself to return here. Keith told Dee and Sammy to make sure I relax. Rather than get my sons in trouble, or make an ass out of myself in front of Uncle Colin, I'll avoid all that. I can see you're tired, but when you're done with Uncle Colin, please come back here?"

"Glad it's getting better, and that plan sounds good," Jonas said. "'Uncle Colin,' huh?"

Prez chuckled, "Troy, one of my new Core Rimmers, made the mistake of calling him 'Mister President'. Don't go there, or risk a ranting ex-four star general. He prefers Uncle Colin."

"Got it," Jonas and Harry said. They each finished a third slice of pizza and drank down some Coke.

In short order, the pizza was gone. Prez led Jonas and Harry to condominium C. All three showed their ID cards to the secret service men at the entrance. Since they were expected, they were quickly allowed inside and went up to the tenth floor executive condo. Uncle Colin was awake, but wearing a robe, proving that he had been asleep. Prez introduced Jonas and Harry as Family Clan Short Northeast Division director and assistant director. After briefly explaining his own situation and that his sons were expecting him home, Prez left Uncle Colin, Jonas and Harry to their discussion and returned home.

At half past six that night, Mike made an announcement over the P.A. to the entire base that was heard in the auditorium, C.I.C., the dorms, the homes, the rec center and outdoors. "Attention all Rimmers; we will be receiving guests over at the F.Y.S. Building. They are news reporters who will have cameras, for our King's announcements. The reporters will be warned not to take photos; however, to be sure all of you are safe, please do not go anywhere beyond the C.I.C. and auditorium. For your own safety and security, do not go near the shuttle pad, the F.Y.S. Building, or the parking garage. Stay to the south side of the base, in the housing area, by the playground, the pools or indoors. You can do whatever you like, but we'd like to be sure you're all safe. Our base security are concentrated north of the C.I.C. If they see you there, they will turn you around, so just don't go there. In a few minutes, Derrick, Reyes and I will leave the Command Center and be available to answer your questions. That's it, guys. Get back to having fun."

Roaming around their new home only to get familiar with it, Lance Kinchen and Scott Shetley were chatting about their favorite music CD's. They paused their conversation to hear Mike's announcement. In the trees to the northwest of the shuttle pad and realizing they were where Mike had said they shouldn't be, they started jogging toward the driveway leading to North Road. Lance grinned, "So the top five CD's are?"

Scott answered, "Number five is The Beatles White Album. Number four is Deep Purple's Machine Head."

"Number three is AC DC's Back In Black," Lance offered.

Scott said, "Number two is Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti."

Together, they cheered, "Number one is Zeppelin's fourth, ZOFO," and started laughing.

Scott chuckled, "It's so amazing that we never knew each other, but have the same taste in music."

"I wouldn't have listed The White Album at all," Lance truthfully admitted, "but you're right, there are too many classic rockers on those disks to ignore. Helter Skelter was one of the first metal songs ever written. That song alone gets it on the list." Taking an easy tangent, he started singing, "Why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road?"

Joining with Lance, Scott sang, "No one will be watching us, why don't we do it in the road?"

Seeing the two security guys at the checkpoint were grinning at them, Lance cracked up and slowed to a brisk walk. Chaz asked, "Are you newbies all right?"

Also slowing his pace, Scott chuckled, "Just at the wrong place at the wrong time... again."

"For the second time today!" Lance laughed.

Chaz wondered, "Where are you from?"

"New York City," both teens answered.

Billy smiled, "That tells us why you're still wearing jeans and long sleeve shirts."

Lance smirked, "Now we're sweaty again."

Nodding at Lance, Scott asked the two security guys, "Is there someplace we can take a shower?"

Billy smiled, "There are showers in all the dorms, in the pool house and at the rec center."

Tapping his comm-badge, Chaz called, "Alden, can you keep an eye on these two and get them clothes appropriate for the climate?"

"No problem, Chaz," Alden replied.

Lance grinned, "We've been to the store and already got new clothes, just before dinner."

Scott offered, "We didn't want to put clean clothes on when neither of us had the chance to shower before evacuating Manhattan."

Nodding understandingly, Chaz explained, "It's not a problem, dudes. Wherever you decide to shower, Alden will get you what you need."

Lance and Scott thanked Chaz and Billy and introduced themselves. Billy pointed out, "That first building is dormitory one. The first floor is already filled with guys, and the second floor has girls. This is your home, so take a look around, grab a shower and make yourselves comfy."

Scott grinned, "Reyes showed us around. When we were done with dinner, we decided to go for a walk to digest."

"This base is huge," Lance smiled. "We just discovered that all the buildings are in the center of the lot."

Chaz nodded, "We've got room to expand, if we need to, after we get the other four bases filled."

"Thanks for everything," Scott warmly smiled. He turned to Lance, asking, "Wanna check out the dorms?"

Lance nodded, "It's closest and I'm long overdue for a shower." He waved at Billy and Chaz, saying, "We'll catch ya around later." Following the driveway, Lance and Scott walked toward the C.I.C. and dormitories. Once they were alone, Lance asked Scott, "Is it just me or is everybody very kewl here?"

Scott chuckled, "It's a far cry from the city life we're used to, huh?"

Lance giggled, "I know they're really busy, but I'd really like to talk to more of the leaders."

"I can't wait to hear their band," Scott admitted. "I know what a virtuoso is, but I couldn't name one, and I don't think I've ever heard a virtuoso band."

Thinking about it for many moments, Lance turned to his new friend, wondering, "What kind of music do you think they play?"

Shrugging, Scott answered, "To be virtuosos, they could probably play anything and everything they want."

Walking around the C.I.C., they continued chatting about Derrick, Mike, Reyes, Kaleo, Tory, Drew, Corey, John and Stephen, the leaders they had already met and talked with. They walked into the nearest dormitory. In the first room, number twenty-six, two older teenagers were watching TV. Three rooms down the hall, two pre-teens were sitting on the floor and playing video games. In the next room, there were four young boys. They had double-sized bunk beds, four desks and chairs. A few doors further down the hall, two slightly older boys were naked and sitting at their desks browsing the Pacific Rim Division's web site.

Lance and Scott walked into the common room, where two teenagers and two pre-teens were watching the big television. Roger Mosqueda, Nick Shavers, Jerry Burk and John Huth introduced themselves to the two newbie teenagers. Lance and Scott told them why they were there and asked some general questions about the rooms. Roger and Nick led Lance and Scott down the other hall to their room, allowing the two newbies to get a good look around. Standing in the center of the room, Lance and Scott realized how large the rooms really were. Roger pointed out the stereo, thirty-two inch television, X Box game station, and the two laptop computers. Nick opened his closet, his dresser and night table drawers.

Scott grinned, "This room is expansive!"

Nick nodded and explained, "When we moved in, the beds were under the windows. We moved them to the adjacent walls. So it would all fit, we had to move the dressers closer to the desks."

Roger added, "The TV and stereo have timers, so we can watch TV or listen to tunes while we're going to sleep, and they'll turn themselves off. Even in the mornings, we'll turn on the TV, set the timer, hit the bathroom and shower, and go to the C.I.C. for breakfast, knowing that the TV will turn itself off."

Nick said, "There are solar panels on the roof, so the building has it's own power source. The hot water is also solar and heated more by electric water heaters. There are over a hundred kids living in this dorm and we've never run out of hot water."

At the enthusiastic descriptions, Lance chuckled, "We're guitarists and will hopefully have amplifiers pretty soon. I can easily see how we could set up a room so that we have space for all that stuff and still have plenty of area in the middle of the room."

Taking Roger's hand, Nick grinned, "We're a couple, which is why we came to the Clan; our parents couldn't deal. Are you dudes gay too?"

Scowling, Lance blinked at Scott then softly sighed, "I always considered myself straight, but honestly, I really don't know."

Scott nodded, "Same here. I've been concentrating on learning guitar since my tenth birthday."

Lance giggled, "You've been playing since ten too?"

Scott smiled, "I had an acoustic that I messed with before that, but got seriously into it when I turned ten."

Roger grinned, "The greatest thing about the Clan is we can figure everything out; sexuality and our education goals too, so we can choose good careers. You dudes are gonna flip when you hear Platinum Habits play for us."

Slightly out of sync, Scott and Lance uncertainly repeated, "Platinum Habits?"

Nick giggled, "The Core Rimmers' band; Prez plays bass guitar, Mike plays guitar, Derrick and Reyes on drums and percussion, Keith and Troy play keyboards."

"Troy also plays guitar, saxophone and harmonica," Roger smiled. "They're awesome! After your shower, come back here and we'll play a recording of their wedding concert for you."

"Thanks!" Lance happily cheered. "We've been hoping to hear them soon."

At Lance's enthusiasm, Scott chuckled, "Give us ten or fifteen minutes, and we'll be right back."

"Take your time," Nick giggled, "we'll be here."

Scott led the way from the room and Lance followed. Just a little further down the hall was the lavatory. They walked in and went directly to the commodes. Sitting on a toilet, Scott said, "Tonight's dinner was fantastic. I didn't expect good New York style pizza, but it was awesome."

Letting a loud one rip, Lance giggled, "Gotta love Italian food and garlic!" Scott roared laughing. About a minute later, when Scott had quieted to soft chuckling, Lance giggled, "Do you want to be room mates, Scott?"

"On one condition."

"Name it."

Scott chuckled, "You always fart in the bathroom!"

Lance giggled, "When I'm awake to control it, I promise to try."

"Beware my silent but deadly farts, pal," Scott sniggered.

Seconds later, noxious fumes drifted beyond the wall separating them. Lance squealed, "OH MY GOD!" and Scott cracked up.

Hurrying to finish, Lance laughed, "The ceramic tile is melting, man!"

"And this cast iron bowl is a little less white too," Scott sniggered.

"No doubt!" Lance giggled. He flushed and pulled his jeans up, but left the zipper and button undone, and then went directly to the mob shower changing area. He started to strip and heard the other toilet flush. Scott stepped out, holding his jeans up with one hand. Lance giggled, "You could at least blush!"

Shaking his head, Scott entered the changing area, sniggering, "Ya still wanna be room mates?"

Nodding, Lance grinned, "I know now to give you space after eating Italian food," and padded naked into the mob shower. He looked around the new environment. About three feet off the floor, there were soap dispensers on the pale blue ceramic tiled walls between every shower head. "For the little kids," Lance softly muttered, and turned on a shower.

Entering the shower in his birthday suit, Scott asked, "What's that?"

Pointing at the soap dispensers, Lance repeated, "They're pretty low for us, but for little kids, it's a good height."

Turning on the shower across from Lance, Scott offered, "I guess we need to get into big brother mode somehow."

Stepping under the warm water, Lance shared, "I had some younger cousins out on Long Island. It won't be too big a problem. Mostly, we just need to keep them entertained, even when you're teaching them stuff." Rather than stare blankly at his new friend's admirable body, Lance turned to face the wall, wet his front and got a palm full of soap. Scott had a really nice body to match his great personality, Lance had to admit to himself. He had a nice thick uncut dick that hung just a little longer than his sack. He also had wide shoulders and a torso that was appropriate for a guitar player; not too muscular, but certainly not beanstalk arms and legs, like on his own wiry frame. Then again, Scott was about a year older. After grabbing another palm full of soap, Lance turned around asking, "What's your birthday, Scott?"

"May second, 1990," Scott answered, and then asked, "What's yours?"

"February sixteenth, 1991," Lance replied. He grinned, "We're only about ten months apart, man."

Turning to the wall, Scott checked, "You said you're from Chelsea?"

"Yep. You lived in Kips Bay?"

"Yeah, barely a mile from you; it might as well have been twenty miles."

Forcing himself to stop staring at Scott's muscular ass, Lance turned again, asking, "Would I seem fickle if I said I already like it more here?"

"Nope," Scott quickly responded, "I like it here too. The climate is awesome." He turned around and closed his eyes to wash his face, thinking, 'God dammit! What the fuck is wrong with me? I never looked at any other guy like Lance. So he's got a longer snipped dick! Good for him! He's been a great friend all fucking day. If I hadn't met him walking out of the city, I might've gone insane long before now. Don't screw it up by imagining he's gay. I have to keep my bisexual past secret or I'll lose a friend and damn good guitar player in one swipe.'

Breaking Scott out of his thoughts, Lance started singing; "Oh Yeah, yeah. We roll tonight, To the guitar bite. Yeah, yeah, oh. Stand up and be counted, For what you are about to receive. We are the dealers. We'll give you everything you need. Hail, hail to the good times, 'Cause rock has got the right of way. We ain't no legend, ain't no cause. We're just livin' for today."

Sliding around and playing air guitar like Angus Young, Scott faced Lance and joined him, singing; "For those about to rock, we salute you! For those about to rock, we salute you! We rock at dawn on the front line, Like a bolt right out of the blue, The sky's alight with the guitar bite, Heads will roll and rock tonight!"

Lance shook his butt around and played air guitar too, continuing the chorus with Scott. "For those about to rock, we salute you! For those about to rock, we salute you! For those about to rock, we salute you! Yes we do! For those about to rock, we salute you! Oooh, salute! Oooh, ooooh yeah!"

Simultaneously, both teenagers cracked up laughing. Neither could bring themselves to admit the right thing to do was hug each other tightly and say thank you for turning a horrible day into a good one. Instead, Lance giggled, "That was too much fun for the fuckin' shower!"

Nodding, Scott chuckled, "Yeah, but we definitely need to practice singing."

"That's why we decided to come here," Lance reminded.

Rinsing his back and butt, Scott smiled, "I really needed this shower. All day I've felt so funky, man."

Lance giggled, "Let me just make sure I got all the soap rinsed from under my balls and we're outta here."

Feeling half his blood supply surging into the middle of his body, Scott adjusted the water so it was much cooler and faced the wall again. About a minute later, Scott and Lance turned off the water and then returned to the changing room. On the wooden slat bench, they found neatly stacked board shorts, underwear and T-shirts. Blinking and scowling at each other for a few moments, they grabbed towels and started drying off. For the first time, Scott uncertainly called, "Alden?"

Alden giggled, "Hi Scott."

Still toweling off, Scott wondered, "How'd you know what size clothes to get us?"

Alden answered, "For now, I'm an A.I., without a body. The cameras in the corner let me see you and the speakers allow me to speak to you. I've got lots of jobs around here, but mostly I keep my cameras on all the kids to make sure you're all safe. Soon, I'll be like Reyes, an android, walking around with you guys." He paused and then giggled, "Maybe I'll even get to dance naked in the shower and play air guitar with you!" Suddenly and very loudly, AC DC's For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) played from the ceiling, with Alden singing along.

Covering his blushing face with his towel, Lance giggled, "Oh God!"

Scott chuckled, "He could've played the recording for us."

Having never spoken with an A.I. before, Scott grinned at Lance and tapped him on the shoulder. Pulling the towel off his face, Lance cutely smiled, "This will take some getting used to."

Nodding, Scott suggested, "Let's get back to Nick and Roger so we can hear Platinum Habits." They hurried to finish up, got dressed in clean new clothes and rolled up their dirty clothes then went to room eleven. Soon, the four boys were listening to the Wedding Concert. At first, Lance and Scott didn't believe it was their leadership team, but Nick and Roger were there. Jerry Burk and John Hoth joined the group in the room, also confirming that they had been at the concert too and it was Platinum Habits they were listening to. Completely captivated and enthralled, Scott and Lance remained there through most of the recording, until hearing their names called by Drew.

At the Iroquois Avenue gate, newspaper journalists, television news reporters and cameramen started arriving. Each vehicle was stopped and the base security checked all their identification cards. Standing nearby, in their Clan Short robes, were Nathan, John and Stephen, empathically and telepathically scanning each individual in the cars and vans.

Chefs were rolling carts of coffee and tea into the nearby Federation Youth Services Building, where the King would have his press conference. The largest first floor conference room had been set up for the dozens of men and women. Passengers in each vehicle were told that no one would be allowed beyond the F.Y.S. Building. Anyone caught filming or taking pictures outside the F.Y.S. Building's conference room, or anywhere outdoors, would be summarily removed from the base and the camera would be confiscated. Extra security was at the family housing checkpoint, around the F.Y.S. building and around the parking garage. Seeing many armed gorillas and G-Cats around the driveway, no one in the vehicles argued.

A call came into the Command Center from Gordon Rice, the head of Uncle Colin's secret service detail. Derrick took the call. Mr. Rice had a list of names for Uncle Colin's Inauguration, including a U.S. Federal Judge and three dozen news reporters and cameramen. Only the Federal Judge and his wife would be staying at Ewa Beach for the day, and would fly back to the United States Saturday evening. All the reporters would be at hotels in Honolulu. The Inauguration was scheduled for ten o'clock Saturday morning, but reporters and the judge would begin showing up by nine o'clock in the morning.

Also, Uncle Gordon told Derrick that the White House damages would take at least a week to repair. That meant Uncle Colin would be remaining on base until the White House repairs were completed. Preparations would need to be made to allow Uncle Colin and his secret service to transport out and back to Ewa Beach. Derrick recommended Clan comm-badges and the Family Clan Short bases in the United States as secure interim locations and Uncle Gordon agreed. To get the ball rolling, Derrick contacted Seth at Orlando HQ. Mike and Reyes worked with Ewa Beach UNIT Security so that they were equipped for more reporters and the Federal Judge.

Prepared for their meeting and dressed appropriately, King Aalona and Keith stepped out of the Royal family's condo apartment. Waiting there in the hallway were Keith's enhanced security, Danny, and Prez's enhanced security, Chris. Down the hall, Keith saw the elevator doors opened and locked, with Matt and Justin waiting inside. All of them were dressed in formal uniforms. This seemed a little extreme to Keith. Following the King into the elevator, he grinned, "What's going on, dudes?"

Unlocking the elevator, Chris shrugged, "Prez told us to keep you and King Aalona safe." He pressed the button for the ground floor. The elevator began its descent.

Danny nodded, "Gamba and Nasir are waiting outside. Like we did at school, we'll surround you and our King. The gorillas will lead the way. The four of us will be to the sides and behind you."

King Aalona noticed, "You're not armed." Wearing cute grins, all four boys began whipping out collapsible batons, automatic hand guns and extra clips. At the King's shocked expression, Keith sputtered, then helplessly cracked up.

Matt chuckled, "The gorillas have MP5-AX rifles and Lord knows what else."

Justin nodded, "Derrick and Mike added to our orders. Regardless of what either of you say during the conference, no one is getting within arm's reach of you. This will be an orderly press conference."

"Or else," Chris seriously warned. The elevator doors opened. Chris and Danny led the group out into the hall. King Aalona and Keith walked out next, with Justin and Matt bringing up the rear.

"Mike and Derrick have all of the gorillas and G-Cats posted north of the C.I.C., beyond the housing checkpoint," Justin continued. "With the attacks here last night, and all the Battle Of Earth crap, Mike and Derrick asked us, UNIT security and Kekoa, how to keep everyone safe. They're following the plan to the letter."

King Aalona grinned. Keith noticed, but he also heard noises in the air conditioning ducts above his head. Knowing it was the Scooby Gang, Keith sighed and thought, 'great, everybody's at high alert again, for a friggin' press conference.'

Stepping outside, Keith and the King noticed Colin Powell's secret service holding open the doors. The two gorillas were also dressed in their formal uniforms. Not only were they carrying their rifles, but also had their sheathed swords wrapped around their waist-belts. The gorillas sharply turned about-face and started walking the path toward the F.Y.S. building. The other four took their positions to the sides and the rear of Keith and the King. Keith wondered, "Nasir, is that sword ceremonial or what?"

Keith's gorilla didn't pause, but unsheathed his sword. Passing a tree, he jumped and took a swing at a low hanging branch of fair diameter. The branch fell to the ground. Returning the sword to its sheath, Nasir shrugged, "Or what, it seems."

Pulling his robe hood over his head, Keith covered his face with his other hand, softly giggling, "Omigod."

Over at the F.Y.S. Building, a female reporter from the Tribune-Herald went to the ladies room. On her way out, she noticed a door left ajar and pushed it open. It was one of the doctors' treatment rooms with two bio-beds. She took her cell phone out of her handbag and snapped a photo. A gorilla and a G-Cat converged on her. The gorilla took the cell phone, held it in front of her face and crushed it. Little pieces of plastic and microchips fell to the floor like dust. The G-Cat informed her, "You're out of here. Let's get your things."

"But my job is to report this press conference," the lady meekly reminded.

The gorilla snarled, "Your instructions were no photographs beyond the conference room."

"What if a doctor was in there with a child?" the G-Cat hissed.

Without answering the question, the lady complained, "My editor won't be happy."

"That's not our problem," the gorilla indifferently said. "If you still have a job, next time you'll listen to instructions and follow them."

The woman was escorted to the conference room to retrieve her jacket and other belongings, then led to her car. She drove off base, certain that this would be a major problem at the newspaper and she would likely have to find another job.

Only moments later, King Aalona and Keith arrived at the F.Y.S. Building. By this time, the gorillas had confirmed proper protocol with the King. Entering the conference room, Gamba and Nasir stepped to the sides of the doorway. Gamba loudly announced, "All rise for His Majesty, King Aalona, King of the Jeweled Isles, Lord of Hawaii and Protector of the Pacific Rim."

Everyone stood and applauded. King Aalona entered the room and wordlessly went to the podium at the front of the room. Keith followed with the four security boys. Televisions around the R.O.H. were tuned in at homes, in the dorms, and at the C.I.C. Since he was still awake after meeting with Jonas and Harry, Colin Powell was watching from his condominium. Those watching saw Keith take a position to the right of the King and only a step back. Keith appeared very unhappy, like the room of reporters were enemies to be carefully watched. The security personnel took positions near the front row. Other gorillas, G-Cats and human base security were along the sides of the room.

One of the teen boys gathered in the C.I.C.'s rec room, Peter Dano noticed that "Keith looks really annoyed."

Hugh Gartrell nodded, "After all the crap last night and into today, with Prez's ass blistered and burned, I can't blame him."

Peter sniggered, "I wonder if the security dudes look that intense. Screw taking names, Keith looks ready to kick some ass."

The stress of the last day was clearly written on the King's face. He prompted, "Please be seated." Once everyone had returned to their chairs, King Aalona began; "Aloha, citizens of Hawaii. The scope and severity of events here and around the world have left me officially dumbfounded, and personally outraged. As a race, acting as one with our off-planet allies and friends, we managed to fight off our attackers, and triumph, winning our right to exist as a species, with our freedoms, without their interference. We have won back our world. Those celebrating have good reason. I am also pleased and relieved with you."

The King looked down at his notes. With fire in his eyes, He looked up again and loudly raged, "These events started here, in our wonderful small nation, AT MY HOME! Violence started here, BY HUMANS! Humans, acting alone, without Romulan interference or intervention, ATTACKED MY HOME, PUTTING MY WIFE AND MY SON IN DANGER!" The King's words seemed to echo in the conference room. Several of the reporters visibly jumped in their seats at the strength and fury the King projected.

Taking a deep breath, King Aalona more calmly explained, "I was attacked because I chose to accept help from our Vulcan friends and allies, to reform our damaged government. For no other reason, but to tell me to break off relations with Vulcan, I was attacked. For the same purpose, those people attacked Honolulu Airport and The Hyatt Regency at Waikiki. Innocent lives were carelessly taken. Those responsible have been identified and they are being brought to justice. They will be held accountable for two deaths at my palace and one-hundred-seventy deaths at the Hyatt. The penalty is death. By my standards, by our society's standards and by the standards of Vulcan, mass murderers must pay with their lives. Does it give me my palace guards back? No. Does it alleviate the pain and suffering of the families of those men? Not entirely. Children are still without their fathers. Wives are still without their husbands. However, they do know that those who have harmed them have been dealt justice.

"If you are asking, what is justice, then I'd like for you to consider the similar attack on an abortion clinic last month. What did those women, doctors and nurses do to deserve being killed and maimed? Citizens of Hawaii, I am done with this. Enforcing your beliefs in that militant fashion will not be condoned in this nation. If you do not believe in a women's right to choose, that is your problem. If you do not like Russians, or Americans, or Vulcans, that is your problem. If you encroach on another in this nation, you will be dealt with, in as severe a manner as you dealt with others.

"I am working with our Vulcan allies, and with diplomats in Japan, and with diplomats in the United Kingdom, and with the United States of America. Our laws will be changing, in a logical manner. Justice will be served, in all cases. Prove yourself a bigot, and you will pay the price, as a criminal, in a detention facility, where other bigots can treat you in a bigoted manner.

"Since last night, I have been here on this Clan Short Base, with over two hundred children, of varying ages, nationalities and races. I have watched them interact. Prior to having my crown restored last week, I have seen adults in many of our cities acting less mature than every child on this base. And these are children that have been abused. I defy people to try to make excuses and justify their actions when these children are more mature.

"No longer will this be the case. My innocence was lost with gunfire through windows of my home last night. World wide change is upon us. The attacks, battles, riots and the resulting changes were instigated. We were taken advantage of, and we have responded as one world. I will see this country through our changes, giving support where it is necessary, and delivering justice, with a logical perspective.

"To my right is the Assistant Director of Clan Short Pacific Rim Division, Keith Hundser. He is with me because the Division Director was injured last night while helping people evacuate the Hyatt Regency. Someone please explain to me why three hundred Clan boys assisted and not one additional adult, beyond our police and firefighters, even offered to help?"

The King waited for a response for almost a minute. He then grinned, "These boys assisted me at my palace, they dealt with those that were attacking, they helped evacuate innocents at the airport and at the Hyatt. Most of the day, Clan Short military assisted in winning battles and Clan Short civilians helped relocate refugees. If you find fault with Clan Short, then I must state that your priorities are severely warped. I can foresee a world where neighbors help each other, where disasters as have been experienced around the world are met with thousands of helpers. Just as Clan Short was there for us in our time of need, we should be proud of them, and try to act like them, and help them as they have helped many others." Turning to Keith, King Aalona asked, "Please tell the press how many children have been rescued, Keith?" The King stepped back to allow access to the microphone.

Pulling his PADD out of his robe pocket, Keith stated, "Pacific Rim Division started with eighty-seven last Saturday. We've rescued at least ten per day on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday night, we returned from California with thirty-six. Thursday morning, we received the first of the Level One California orphanage kids, another thirty-six. During the day Thursday, we picked up eight more. Thus far today, we've added twenty-five American kids whose parents lost their lives. Currently, we have two-hundred and sixty-four children on base." Keith stepped back.

The press corps softly muttered amongst themselves. King Aalona stepped up to the podium. When the chatter dwindled, King Aalona said, "Yes, they have the resources of all of Clan Short available to them. Yes, they have Starfleet and Vulcan backing them up; however, let me say that those are material matters. Thirteen boys manage all these children, and the rescued children managed themselves today, while many of their leaders were busy with Battle of Earth repercussions, namely, dealing with the refugees, providing safety for me and my family, and the American Secretary Of State, Colin Powell has also benefited from Clan hospitality.

"I wish you could have heard the conversation that I heard, in their dining room before dinner this evening. The discussion started on the topic of restricted access to Internet pornography. It blossomed into a more serious discussion that I have never heard from adults anywhere. Children under ten were present. Children ten and older participated, as well as the leadership team of this division. No one was rude. No one was dirty. No one mocked anyone else. The many adults and parents present didn't interfere, because there was no reason to.

"What a world we could have if we all treated each other similarly. If this is an indication of our future coming out through our children, then I say, it's about time."

After a brief pause, the King said, "I will be releasing further specific information about changes to our Nation's laws as time progresses. That is all I have for you this evening. Thank you for your time. Aloha, citizens of Hawaii." The King stepped away from the podium. The press corps stood. With a wave of Keith's hand, the security team converged, again surrounding the King and Keith as they walked from the room.

Out in the hall, Keith glanced at the King, completely surprised with what He had said. Noticing Keith's glance, King Aalona smiled, "Yes, Keith?" The door was held open for them and they walked outside, back around the path toward the C.I.C. and the condos.

Keith shrugged and softly admitted, "I'm just surprised, Majesty. I was with you when you prepared a great deal of your speech. You were calm the entire time."

"That was appropriate at the time," the King stated. "I would not show anger in front of you, Keith. My anger is not directed at you, but it was directed at those imbeciles that attacked my home, and at those adults that do not know how to act in public, and those who believe themselves better than other races and species. If I could have done so, I would have directly told those that believe in that arrogant manner to leave my country via the next available ship or plane. That was not possible, but I have made my intentions crystal clear. If I have my way, there will be new laws put in place so that bigots are arrested, perhaps overnight for the first public offense, three days for the second, and so forth, increasing the incarceration time with each public offense. I will push for something like that, but we'll have to see how that progresses."

Keith sighed, "It's really sad that laws have to be enacted so that people learn to grow up. I can't imagine what my life would be like if I had to get repeatedly grounded to learn a lesson. I sure wouldn't be playing piano as well."

"You wouldn't be here as a Clan Short leader either," King Aalona stated. "I believe it is a small percentage of people that will need to worry about such a law. It would be a considerably smaller number that would go beyond the first slap on the wrist."

"I sure hope that's true," Keith smirked. "Adults spending days in jails, eventually losing their jobs, and completely messing up their lives, all so they can complain about abortions or gays or other races publicly, or in militant fashions. Where is their self preservation instinct; out to lunch?" Nodding, the King softly chortled. Approaching the C.I.C. doors, Keith told the security team, "You dudes are dismissed. As usual, you did an awesome job. I need a soda, and then I'm going to check on Prez."

Waving, Chris, Danny and the gorillas went to change out of their dress uniforms. The King, Justin and Matthew followed Keith into the dining room. There they found about half of the Rimmer teens and tweens, all the chefs and housekeepers, the Queen and Prince Kaimi, standing proudly and quietly at attention. Keith, Justin and Matthew also stood quietly at attention for the Monarch. The King drank in this show of respect for a few moments, until Kaimi ran to his father. The King squatted down and caught his son, then stood, lifting Kaimi and planting the Prince on his hip. Everyone applauded. Queen Amadina approached her husband. The King smiled. Tapping Justin and Matthew, Keith jerked his head toward the kitchen. The three of them went into the chow line, leaving the Royals to receive the congratulations from the kids.

Grabbing a cup and starting to fill it with 7-UP, Keith told Justin and Matthew, "Prez and I are planning on spending time with all our security tomorrow. The week's been so busy, we simply haven't had the time to get to know any of you very well, and we're sorry about that, but we'll make it up to you. Either me or Prez will give you guys a call the first chance we get tomorrow."

Surprised, Justin and Matt glanced at each other. Justin smiled, "Thanks, Keith. That would be very kewl. We'll look forward to it." They heard the King thanking the Clan and the applause dwindling.

Keith smiled, "Grab whatever you came in here for, and then get out of those dress uniforms. Through tonight and into tomorrow, I suspect we'll only be dealing with refugees. Since Prez can't do a hell of a lot in a shower wrap, we'll let the other Core Rimmers deal with that. I don't want to see any of you dudes in uniforms; board shorts, T-shirts and sandals are the uniform of the day. Not once have I seen any of you acting like a teenager. That stops now. Off duty, you're like everyone else. If I see you by the pool, it'll be like the other kids, naked and having fun." Nodding, Justin and Matt softly sniggered. Keith chuckled, "See ya later. I've got to go check on the Head Rimmer, and he had better be relaxing. If I have to tie him down, things could rapidly digress from there." Justin and Matthew cracked up.

Leaving the C.I.C., Keith went directly to his townhouse, sipping his soda and wondering what Prez was doing. Stepping inside his house, he was surprised to find Prez kicked back on the couch, watching TV with Dee and Sammy. Keith asked, "Gage and Richie aren't back yet?"

Shaking his head, Prez answered, "Drew gave me a call a little while ago. Thanks to Grandma Morrison, the nine they went to get became eleven. Most of them are under ten-years-old; four seven-year-olds, a nine-year-old, an eight-year-old, a six-year-old and a four-year-old. I had Drew call Doc Wiener and Doc Andrews to join them in the store. Drew said he would also call Derrick's folks too, so the kids could start to adjust, separately from the others. They'll prob'ly be there a while longer."

Nodding, Keith put his cup of soda down. He took off his Clan robe, suspiciously wondering, "What have you three been doing?" Prez sniggered, gesturing to his two sons.

Looking up at Keith, Sammy grinned, "Pop's been good. He took his pills and we've been here ever since."

Dee nodded, "Uncle Drew called and Lindsay stopped by. Poppa made her a leader and gave her a comm-badge. Jonas and Harry was here too. Poppa took them to Uncle Colin and came right back home. That's all the work he's done, Daddy."

Bringing his cup of soda to the couch, Keith sat down next to Prez, softly asking, "How're you feeling?"

Prez shrugged, "A little drowsy, but okay for the most part."

Keith wondered, "Why aren't you in bed if you're drowsy?"

"It's only seven-forty," Prez reminded. "If I crash now, I'll be awake, wandering around, at three in the morning."

Keith sighed, "Betchya you'll sleep longer if you'd just let it happen." Prez whimpered. Dee and Sammy giggled. Grinning, Keith asked Prez, "When does your body do most of it's healing?"

Dee and Sammy chorused, "When you're sleeping."

Prez whimpered louder. Keith sniggered, "A nine-year-old and a ten-year-old know what you don't, baby." Standing up, Keith offered his hand to Prez. Stubbornly, Prez wrapped his arms around his chest. Dee and Sammy watched their pop and dad squint at each other for a few seconds. Keith warned his sons, "Watch out, dudes." Giggling, Dee and Sammy scurried off the couch. Leaning over, Keith took one of Prez's arms and pulled him up off the couch. With their sons starting to laugh, Keith got most of Prez over his shoulder, and then stood.

Prez hysterically bellowed, "KEITH!"

"It's bed time, T'hy'la," Keith sniggered, and then carried Prez to the stairs. Keith started climbing steps.

Waving at his sons, Prez giggled, "See ya in the morning."

Sammy giggled, "G'night, Pop."

"Good night, Poppa," Dee laughed.

Sliding his hands into the back pockets of Keith's board shorts, Prez copped a feel and grinned, "You looked yummy on TV, T'hy'la."

"I had my Clan robe on."

"Really? I didn't notice," Prez giggled.

When Keith and Prez were out of sight, Dee turned to Sammy, softly wondering, "Should we leave?"

Sammy shrugged, "Why? It's not like we don't know what they'll be doing. Since pop's hurt, they can't get too busy."

Dee grinned, "Do you like boys more than girls?"

Nodding, Sammy smiled, "Yeah. You?"

Dee shrugged, "I don't know yet."

From upstairs, the boys heard Prez loudly giggling, "Oh God, Keith!"

Sputtering, Sammy picked up the TV remote and turned up the volume. Facing Dee, he giggled, "Until dad comes back down here, we'll leave it loud."

Nodding, Dee smiled, "So are you looking around for a boyfriend?" Sammy nodded. Dee giggled, "Any ideas of who you might like that likes you too?"

Blushing, Sammy nodded, "Yeah."


"I'll let you know after I let him know," Sammy sniggered.

Down in the C.I.C. basement store, the group of youngest boys had succumbed to Doc Wiener's gentle prodding and questions about their families. The crying and tears lasted a while, even with the Rimmer sons gallantly making themselves available for hugs. It caused the older boys to open up, softly sharing their losses and pain with A.J., Corey, Drew and Jerry. Strangely, Leo cried but never explained what had happened to him. When the older boys calmed themselves, A.J. and Jerry went to help the younger boys.

As it worked out, the four Steib brothers stayed with the two Seibert adults and the Rimmer sons. The three Hunnicutt brothers happily trailed Jerry and A.J. through the store. While assisting Craig, Phillip, Leo and Raymond, Drew and Corey happened to notice Jerry carrying Shaun Hunnicutt. After his emotional outburst, the four-year-old was tired and getting cranky. Having dealt with little ones often enough at the orphanage before he was fostered, Jerry held Shaun with one arm, got him clothing, and occasionally blew raspberries onto the boy's arm or belly. Corey and Drew could see what was happening, but wondered if Jerry or A.J. realized it.

At a convenient moment, while they were at the checkout counters and Shaun was snoozing on Jerry's shoulder, Drew approached Jerry. So he wouldn't wake Shaun, or be overheard, Drew softly checked, "How do you feel, Jerr?"

Widely smiling, Jerry whispered, "Like me and A.J. should've done this days ago, even though we didn't really know what we wanted to do, or if Prez needed the help at the time."

Drew nodded and smiled, gently offering, "You and A.J. are ensigns in Starfleet now. Talk it over, spend the time alone that you need to, but if I were you, I'd adopt all three Hunnicutts." Jerry grinned. Drew softly chortled, "I know, it's weird when you first think of it, but Shaun's out cold, in your arm and on your shoulder. They like and trust you and A.J. That's the way it happens. More importantly, for those three, they need that return to a regular life. Tonight, come back to the nest, ya know, after you and A.J. take care of each other and talk it over. Then, if everything's kewl, ask them tomorrow."

Jerry nodded and then wondered, "What's it like?"

Drew smiled, "Do you really want to know?" When Jerry rapidly nodded, Drew led him a few paces away, and then softly admitted, "I've always loved Corey, since I was five and he was four. We started making out and trying stuff about a year ago, but never went for intercourse until Monday afternoon. We had already adopted Geoff on Saturday, so it was like nothing I ever expected. After we got married Tuesday night, we did it again. That's when Corey told me that he wanted my babies. When he made love to me the next day, I told him the same thing. Yeah, it's silly, but that's where we're at; so completely committed that we want to reproduce. Having kids makes the act something so intense, it's a wonder neither of us passed out."

Jerry smiled, "I never thought you and Corey swapped places."

Nodding understandingly, Drew grinned, "We're hearing that a lot from you dudes that were literally fucked with, and now getting into gay partnerships. The simple fact is, we've got the same equipment, so why shouldn't I give Corey what he needs? I don't want him looking for that somewhere else. He's mine, and I'm his, every way we need and no matter what one of us needs. If A.J.'s not sure, then let him make love to you, and then you tell him how much you want his babies. He'll climax like a volcano, and then watch how fast he changes his mind. Prez will gladly do the adoptions for you."

"Thanks, Drew," Jerry smiled.

"Anytime," Drew softly giggled. "We're brothers now, and our sons are cousins. It's so kewl, for all of us." With a nod of Drew's head toward the checkout counters, they went back to help get the kids' suitcases packed.

Suspiciously, A.J. eyed Jerry. At first Jerry smirked and shook his head, but then he mouthed, "I love you so much."

Feeling his heart race and his face flushing, A.J. silently smiled, "I love you too."

Into A.J.'s and Jerry's new sub-vocals, Alden giggled, "Thanks so much, guys. That's really nice to know. Three's a crowd though, so I'll bow out."

Grandma Morrison's tour wrapped up. All the available adults met Grandma over at the Seavers' home. They had tea and chatted about their sons, grandsons, and what it was like to be Clan adults. Grandma especially liked Corey's light-hearted personality. All one had to do was make Corey giggle and soon he would be laughing. Twice that day, Grandma had seen Corey laugh himself into hiccups. "His laugh is so infectious too," Grandma happily relayed. "He made other saddened refugees laugh, adults and kids alike."

This didn't surprise any of the Rimmers' parents. Lanna Seaver smiled, "Corey was an only child. When he was alone, he wasn't especially sad, but he wasn't the same as when he was with the Hundser boys and their friends. He's always been especially attached to Drew, but in larger groups of boys, Corey really glows. Since becoming a Clan leader on Saturday, Corey's been in heaven."

With all the suitcases packed, the Seiberts and Doc Wiener said goodnight to the kids and departed. The Clan leaders prepared to get the newbies out of the basement store. Over all their comm-badges, Alden said, "Weather forecasts have a greater than sixty-percent chance of rain during the night. If it's alright, I'll transport the luggage down into the Hundsers' basement."

Drew nodded, "That's kewl, Alden. Since the Gibbons and Seibert kids have all moved on, we've got the space. Put the suitcases along the back wall beside the fridge."

"It's done, Drew," Alden said, "they're only two rows deep, and the smaller suitcases are in front of the larger ones."

Glancing around the group of newbies, Corey asked, "Are you guys very tired?" One after another, the Steib quadruplets and youngest two of the Hunnicutt brothers all answered they were tired. Corey said, "Kewl, then we'll put off your base orientation until tomorrow. Alden, transport us to the Hundsers' basement, dude."

In a blink, they were all standing in the Hundsers' basement. Gage said, "We're gonna go home now, Uncle Drew."

Drew smiled, "That's kewl. You guys were a big help. I'm going to tell Keith and Prez what awesome jobs you did too."

Kenny, Leo, Raymond and the Nash brothers warmly thanked Gage and Richie. Giggling, Richie and Gage hurried to the stairs and up.

A.J., Corey and Drew started pulling padding down from the stacks to rebuild the nest. Leo and Raymond helped with the mattresses. Craig and Phillip decided to help by grabbing blankets and pillows. Once there was sufficient padding on the floor for the seven boys, A.J. asked the younger boys if they needed to use the bathroom. The quadruplets silently checked with one another before nodding and chorusing, "Yeah."

Saying, "Follow me, guys," A.J. led a pack of six upstairs.

Gently and softly, Jerry called, "Shaun?" When the boy hummed, Jerry asked, "Do you need to go to the bathroom, buddy?"

"I guess," Shaun yawned and wiped his eyes. Jerry followed the pack up the stairs.

A.J. led the quadruplets to the ground floor bathroom saying, "If any of you need to do more than pee, follow me upstairs. Without a word all four shook their heads and gathered around the toilet. Still carrying Shaun, Jerry closed the basement door.

In the basement, with the bedding prepared for the little guys, Craig thoughtfully hummed. He called, "Hey, Drew?"

Heading to the other side of the basement, Drew cheerfully asked, "Wassup, Craig?"

Following along, Craig stammered, "Umm... I uh... who else will be down here?"

Turning to face the older boy, Drew shrugged, "Me, Corey, Geoff, Lenny, Leo, all the new guys, and a couple of other new kids we picked up the last day or so."

Corey nodded, "Travis is fifteen, Scott and Chris are fourteen, Fred, Chauncey and Lance are thirteen, and eleven other boys are Drew's age and younger." Corey told Drew, "We should probably go find them. Almost all of 'em are from the East coast of America. They're probably getting tired too."

Nodding, Drew held up an index finger to signal Corey to wait a moment. Drew asked, "Is something wrong, Craig?"

"I'm not sure," Craig sighed.

Seeing his big brother at a loss, Phillip grinned, "Think about it, guys; Craig's a couple of years older than us."

Corey began giggling. Seeing the light, Drew grinned, "Betchya I've got almost as much pubes as you do, Craig." Phillip and Raymond cracked up.

Seeing few light brown hairs on Drew's arms and legs, Craig smirked, "I'd doubt that."

Drew chuckled, "Corey's got pubes. I'd bet Ray's got at least a few too." Blushing, Raymond nodded. Moving closer to the taller and older boy, Drew smiled, "It's kewl, dude. We've all got dicks, and we all wake up with morning wood. This nest is for us to get to know each other a little better, nothing else. Guaranteed a bunch of you older dudes will want a dorm room for tomorrow night." Waving an arm around and spinning in place, Drew rambled, "We've got this awesome TV, a bunch of PlayStations and X-Boxes, the fridge is loaded with sodas and juices, and a couple of microwaves for popcorn when we get the munchies."

Going to Craig, Corey wrapped his arms around the oldest newbie and smiled up at him. "You're my big bro now, just as much as every other older dude on this base. Every other younger dude is my little bro. I've got your back, as much as Phillip, I promise."

Craig grinned, "That's why you were giggling?"

Corey nodded, "Last Saturday night, our first night on this base, we had over a hundred boys and girls down here. That other side of the basement was wall-to-wall mattresses, blankets and kids, boys and girls, from four-years-old to fifteen-years-old."

Relaxing a little, Craig glanced around, blushing, "I'm not sure if I'm straight or bi."

Drew shrugged, "It's a big group. You'll figure it out when the right guy or girl knocks you for a loop. Pick your butt up and go get yourself that really special guy or girl."

Corey nodded, "Nobody here will give you a bad scene, dude." He released Craig and stepped back.

The Steib quadruplets came back down the stairs. Drew said, "Craig, if you'll hang out here with Phillip and Raymond for a couple of minutes, Corey and I can go find our other newbies. Whoever is tired, we'll bring back here. Is that kewl?" Craig smiled and nodded.

Going over to the nest side of the basement, the Steib quadruplets stopped a few meters away from the bedding to kick their sneakers off. They got undressed to their briefs, and then chose a place to sleep together.

Phillip asked, "Can we play video games?"

Corey nodded and smiled, "Sure, or watch TV; just keep the sound low on the TV's so the little guys can sleep."

Taking Corey's hand, Drew suggested, "Help yourself to the fridge and popcorn too. We'll only be gone about ten minutes."

Craig nodded, "Kewl." He and Phillip went to the row of game stations. Corey and Drew climbed the stairs with Geoff, Leo and Lenny trailing along behind. Raymond chose to turn on the big wall mounted television. At the top of the stairs, Geoff and Lenny tickled Leo. All three giggled. Returning the favor, Leo tickled Geoff and Lenny back.

Hearing A.J., Jerry and the Hunnicutts coming down from upstairs, Drew and Corey waited. Now A.J. was carrying Shaun and Jerry was carrying Mike. Corey giggled, "Are daddies and their boys ready for bed?"

Nodding, A.J. and Jerry smiled. Kenny glanced around and loudly wondered, "That can really happen here?"

Drew chuckled, "If you want dads and dads want sons, sure."

"Awesome!" Kenny and Mike cheered.

In A.J.'s arms, Shaun nodded and yawned, "Kewl."

A.J. smiled, "We'll talk about it tomorrow, after a good night's sleep."

Drew explained to A.J. and Jerry what he and Corey were heading off to take care of. Jerry nodded, "We'll hang out downstairs with our favorite boys."

Innocently, Mike checked, "We're your favorites?" When A.J. and Jerry nodded, the six-year-old in Jerry's arms squeezed him tight.

Heading for the kitchen sliding door, Drew smiled, "We'll be back in a flash." A.J. and Jerry nodded, then took the boys downstairs.

Drew led the pack outside. The back porches of the four homes had lights, and there were additional bright pole lamps scattered around the walkways of the housing area. As soon as he slid the door closed, Drew tapped his comm-badge, calling, "Keith?"

Keith's voice replied, "Wassup, bro?"

Drew wondered, "Is Prez awake?" Over his comm-badge, Drew heard four giggling boys in the background.

"Nope, I wore him out," Keith sniggered. "Even on pain pills, it took some effort."

Corey started giggling. The next thing he knew, three sets of hands, Geoff's, Lenny's and Leo's, were tickling him. Drew chuckled, "Oh well. We'll get adoptions done tomorrow."

Keith wondered, "Who this time?"

"One for me and Corey," Drew smiled. "And, believe it or not, A.J. and Jerry found the Hunnicutt brothers and they latched onto each other."

"That's great!" Keith cheered. "I knew those two would make awesome additions to our team."

Watching Corey overcome with tickling hands and falling down again, Drew chuckled, "Yeah, they're just like Kaleo, Tory and Sean used to be, a little unsure and quiet."

"We'll get that corrected soon enough," Keith assured. "I just sent an e-mail to Donnie to get them and Reyes phaser training."

In the background, Sammy suggested, "Get A.J. and Jerry married, Dad."

Further away, Gage shouted, "Sean and Troy need to get hitched too."

Keith hummed, then said, "Yeah, let me see what I can do about that."

"Kewl," Drew grinned, and called "out".

Slowing his tickle-attack on Corey, Leo looked up and meekly asked, "Do you really want me?"

Drew confirmed, "Do you really want me and Corey for fathers, and Geoff and Lenny as little brothers?"

Leo stopped tickling Corey, and so did Lenny and Geoff. Kneeling on the grass, with his hands on his knees, Leo thought aloud. "Grandma's kewl; she wouldn't set me up with bad guys, and you've all been really kewl to me." He looked at Lenny, and then Geoff, and then Corey. He smiled, "Yeah, this would be an awesome family."

The words had barely left Leo's lips when Corey, Lenny and Geoff attacked, tickling him down flat on the ground and hysterically trying to block three sets of hands.

Scratching the side of his head behind his ear, Drew softly giggled, "I guess it's settled then." Noticing Leo's iPod Nano and ear-buds had slipped out of a pocket and onto the ground, Drew picked them up and pocketed them. He then ordered Alden to get a charger. A moment later Drew stuffed the charger into his back pocket.

Drew hadn't noticed, but Lanna Seaver saw the young family out her kitchen sliding glass doors. She called Jen and Grandma over to see the boys first tickling Corey, then after about thirty seconds of calm, the new boy was being tickled. Grandma smiled, "I simply had a gut feeling. The one flat on his back is Leo Daniel Scott. If he's not already your grandson, he will be soon enough."

It became obvious to Drew that they weren't going to make it to the pools or C.I.C. anytime soon. Recalling the names of the newbies rescued during the afternoon, Drew called, "Alden, hook me up to the P.A. around the base, dude."

Alden replied, "Go ahead, Drew."

Drew announced, "This is for our newest Rimmers only. Albert and Charles McPhearson, Toby and Tanner Stoeher, Nate, Sal and Rickie Ramos, Jimmy Carr, Scott Deaver, Billy Whitmore, Jason Mullins, Patrick O'Hara, Scott Shetley, Lance Kinchen, Rafe Montigua, Chris Stokeley, Travis McAuley, Fred and Chauncey Eckhart, please meet me at the lawns between the four Rimmer homes. Thanks. That's all."

The tickling on the ground suddenly stopped. Four smiling faces with mischief in their eyes looked up at Drew. "No," Drew giggled, and backed away. Corey, Geoff, Lenny and Leo started to stand and Drew jogged away. In moments, Drew was being chased around the lawn by his husband and three sons. Noticing the gathered adults sitting at the Seavers' kitchen table, Drew waved as he ran by.

The Stoeher twins, the Ramos brothers, Jimmy Carr, Scott Deaver and Patrick O'Hara, with Ralphie glued to his side, were the first to arrive at the lawns. Seeing the chase, they all started giggling. On his return trip around the lawns, Drew laughed, "Are any of you tired? I sure am!"

"We can tell!" The twins loudly giggled.

Ralphie checked with Patrick, "Are you sleepy?"

Making a crooked face, Patrick reluctantly answered, "Yeah, I guess I am. It's been a crazy day." He smiled, "Thanks for making it easier. I really like you a lot, Ralphie."

Widely smiling, Ralphie nodded and giggled, "I'm right there with ya too, Pat. Let me just tell my brothers, I'm gonna be with you until you fall asleep, okay?"

Rapidly nodding, Patrick grinned, "Can you be good?"

Ralphie giggled, "I told you, I'll be kewl until we both decide it's time."

Pat nodded, and then gave Ralphie a quick hug, whispering, "Hurry." Ralphie stepped back and was off like greased lightning.

Jason, Billy, Chauncey, Fred and the puppy, Rikko, ran up to the group. Seeing Drew still being chased, Fred giggled, "What's goin' on?"

Rikko whined and barked, "Play time! Let's go!" The pup bolted for the group of boys running in big circles.

Pointing across the lawns, Toby shrugged and sniggered, "With them, we have no idea."

Pat grinned, "Are any of you tired?"

Fred turned to Chauncey, saying, "You should be by now."

Chauncey wondered, "What time is it?"

"Here, it's a little after eight o'clock," Fred grinned, "In Colorado, it's after midnight."

Lance gasped and checked his Casio wristwatch. "No wonder I feel run down," he muttered to Scott Shetley. "I'm still on New York time. To us, it's quarter after two in the morning." Pressing buttons on his watch, he reset the time to Hawaii Time Zone. Off to the side, Billy and Jason decided to be roommates at the dorm, and then asked Jimmy and Scott Deaver, their foster brothers, if they would mind sleeping in the nest if they moved into the dorm that night. Jimmy and Scott had no problems with Billy and Jason moving to the dorms, but they were looking forward to another night in the nest.

Running up to the lawns, Travis McAuley, Chris Stokeley, and Rafe Montigua, only a meter or two behind the former two, all loudly asked, "What's up?"

"Us, just barely," Tanner joked.

Fred smiled, "It's only quarter after eight Hawaii time, but after midnight in Colorado and after two Eastern time."

Rafe softly giggled, "Damn! My parents would've had a fit if they saw me awake this late."

Coming around the lawn again, Drew was laughing too hard to maintain his lead or say anything to the gathered group. Corey loudly ordered, "Catch Drew, dudes!"

The oldest boys in the group grinned and nodded at each other. Chris and Travis went one way. Lance and Scott took the opposite direction. Wide-eyed and knowing he was screwed, Drew slid down to the grass, curled into a fetal position and waited for the onslaught. In moments, he was surrounded by his husband, sons and twelve newbies, being tickled to tears.

After about a minute, Drew managed get only two words out clearly. "ALDEN, HELP!" He disappeared from the bottom of the pile.

Still curled up and laughing, Drew reappeared on the basement floor, not a meter behind Raymond, who was on the couch watching TV, and also behind Craig and Phillip. All three turned around and grinned.

Shaking his head, Craig sighed, "This place is a trip."

Phillip giggled, "Are you okay, Drew?"

Still catching his breath, Drew couldn't answer, but nodded.

Kneeling on the couch cushion and looking over the back at Drew, Raymond teased, "So, umm... I can only wonder."

Drew gasped between giggles, "They couldn't catch me. Corey cheated... and got the teenagers... to block me... sixteen hands... tickling me at once."

"Well, yeah, that would do it," Raymond smiled.

Dizzily sitting up, Drew wondered, "Where are Jerry and A.J?"

Raymond pointed to his left, answering, "Laying in the nest, with the three Hunnicutt brothers between them."

Drew looked up at Raymond, asking, "Have people called you Ray, for short?"

Nodding, Raymond smiled, "All the time. My folks used to call me Raymond. It drove me nuts. I always thought I was in trouble. Don't do that anymore, okay?"

Knowing that dealing with the memories had to be rough, Drew answered, "No problem."

Craig softly sniggered, "Fill 'er up, Phil."

"Shut up," Phil giggled.

Standing, Drew put Leo's iPod, ear-buds and charger in the end table drawer. Turning around, Drew grinned, "Are you that well hung?"

"He'd like to think so," Craig teased.

A little more loudly, Phil laughed, "Shut up!"

Corey had already warned the boys he was with that the little guys might be asleep, so he quietly led them in the house and down stairs to the basement.

Seeing legs on the staircase, Drew suggested, "Craig and Phil, hit pause, please, so we can get some introductions out of the way." Even Rikko padded quietly down the steps. He went to the nest, sniffing around to get the scent of the new kids.

Drew and Corey swapped the job of introducing all the newbies. Once that was done, Drew asked if anyone needed a bathroom. Only two did, Rafe and Ray, but the other newbies went for the tour, so when they did need to go, they wouldn't be completely lost in the foreign and very large home.

When the group came back downstairs, A.J. and Jerry were up and out of the nest. Jerry told Drew, "All the boys are asleep. We're gonna take that time you mentioned now."

Nodding, A.J. cutely smiled, "There's not much to talk about, which is good."

Blushing such that his freckles could barely be noticed, Jerry giggled, "We'll be back well before eleven." Corey and Drew nodded. A.J. and Jerry went upstairs, and then out of the house, heading to their dorm room.

Wordlessly, Pat led Ralphie to the nest. For the first time, Ralphie got to watch Pat undress to his underwear. Seeing his new boyfriend rapidly shift from blushing to leers, Pat tossed his shirt in Ralphie's face. Ralphie giggled and pulled the shirt away from his eyes, but then he realized how good the shirt smelled, just like Pat, and lifted it to his face again, inhaling deeply through his nose. It was Pat's turn to fiercely blush. Giggling at each other, they got two mattress pads, blankets and pillows from the piles, then got situated in the nest. They lay on their backs for a while, each completely amazed with the other and absorbed in his own thoughts.

Fred led Chauncey over to the nest. They set up two more spots, so they could be close together. Chauncey undressed and Fred softly reminded, "I'll be awake for a little while longer, just to run myself down a little more, so we wake together. I'm not leaving this house without you."

Chauncey smiled, "Brothers forever."

"And then some, big guy," Fred warmly assured. Once Chauncey was laying comfortably, Fred whispered, "Sleep well, with only the best dreams. Everything's going to be very kewl now, bro."

"I know," Chauncey yawned. Slowly spinning in a circle, Rikko settled down next to his favorite human companion.

Fred left the nest area. Rafe went to the nest with Chris. While Rafe undressed, Chris got his young friend's bedding prepared. When Rafe stood on the fresh bedding, Chris softly confirmed, "You're good?"

Rafe nodded and sighed, "Better, but something still feels weird. It's not being here, it's not anything else that happened today. I can't figure it out. We're together in a kewl place, but..."

Chris nodded understandingly, gently assuring, "It's big changes happening fast. Don't let it mess with you."

Pat softly reminded, "I'm right here too, Rafe."

"With your new boyfriend," Rafe giggled.

Ralphie smiled, "I'll be going home as soon as Pat's asleep, Rafe. Chris can take this spot between you."

Chris chuckled, "I'll see you guys in the morning," and returned to the other side of the basement. Fred challenged the older boy to play Sonic, knowing he could easily beat him, but also sure that he could at least make it interesting. Chris nodded and smiled. They got a TV turned on and a game started.

The Stoeher twins and the McPhearson brothers couldn't keep their eyes open. Jimmy and Scott Deaver had played a few video games, yawning all the while. All six went to the nest and got settled in too. In a few more minutes, every thing was quiet. Pat shifted onto his side, facing Ralphie. Looking over, Ralphie whispered, "Can't sleep?"

"Guess I'm over tired," Pat shrugged.

Thinking of what he could do, Ralphie wished Pat was just a little telepathic, then he would know exactly what to do. So, he sent out a telepathic A.P.B. to his brothers. He soon heard the three-fold response; 'What's wrong, bro?'

'Pat can't sleep. What should I do?'

'What is he doing?'

'Laying on his side, lookin' at me.'

'Hold his hand.'

'Ask him what he'd like you to do to help.'

'Jump his bones.'

Rolling his eyes, Ralphie smirked, 'Not funny, Ronnie!'

Hearing the chorus of giggles in his mind, Ralphie combined the first two suggestions. Reaching over and gently laying his hand on Pat's hand, Ralphie asked, "How can I help?"

Pat hummed then smirked, "It's silly and you'll laugh."

Ralphie promised, "I'll never laugh at you."

"You'll do anything?"

"Anything to help you sleep. I want you wide awake tomorrow and spending the day with me."

Pat sighed, "Roll onto your side and scoot back a little, with your back to my front?" Wordlessly, Ralphie did just that. Scooting closer, Pat prompted, "Just a little closer, please?" Ralphie shifted closer. Pat hesitantly put an arm over Ralphie.

Taking hold of Pat's hand, Ralphie asked, "Better?"

"Way better. Thanks."

Thankful that he was still dressed and had only taken his sandals off, Ralphie smiled, "It's what boyfriends do, I think."

Pat inhaled deeply and relaxed. After about a minute, Pat breathed, "You really love me?"

"I think so."

"I think I love you too."

Not another word was spoken for many minutes. Ralphie realized that Pat was breathing slowly and evenly. Pat's arm was still over him though, so he couldn't get up. Not that he really wanted to get up and leave, but that would eventually have to happen. So Ralphie just lay there, enjoying the closeness, listening to the television, sounds of games being played and soft chattering from the other side of the basement.

Corey and Drew checked their PADDs for messages about other activity that might need to be taken care of. Other than messages from Kaleo, Keith and Derrick, all asking about updates to the Rimmer web site, there was nothing else going on. Corey and Drew replied to the messages with instructions needed to get the updates done. Drew then went upstairs to his bedroom and logged on the server, so he could amend the inline instructions. Thirty minutes later, he returned to the basement, Corey and the newbies. Many of the kids were in the nest, except the oldest boys. Having lost interest in video games, Chris Stokeley seemed to be losing his fight to remain awake. He sat on the sofa and blankly stared at the television.

At the end of the movie The Incredibles, Kaleo and Tory led a large pack of rug-rats from the auditorium back to the dormitories. It was almost ten o'clock and dozens of kids were over-tired. Among the last kids to be dropped off at dormitory three, were level one orphanage boys Mark Fikes, Marv Perkins, Russ Pass, Leonard Santana and Stan Given. Once alone in their room with the two Core Rimmers, Marv Perkins yawned, "It's kind o' scary here."

Taking his shirt off, Russ muttered, "We're the littlest dudes in this dorm."

Kicking his sandals off, Mark locked eyes with Tory and asked, "Could you stay a little while, please?"

With his puppy dog eyes in full operation, Leonard told Kaleo, "Yeah, we're liking havin' the kewl stuff in our room, ya know, but when the lights are off, we sometimes hear older dudes."

Tory knelt down to help Mark undress and assured, "We'll stay until you're asleep, okay?" As soon as Tory had taken Mark's shirt off, the little boy flung himself against his leader and held on tightly.

Seeing his partner taking care of little guys again for the first time in a week, Kaleo helped Leonard get ready for bed, wondering, "Do the older boys do stuff that scares you?"

Shaking his head, Leonard sighed, "Not really, I guess."

Marv frowned, "They stays awake later and we sometimes hear 'em laughin' and talkin'."

"It wakes us up," Mark smirked.

Nodding understandingly, Tory smiled, "How about we talk with them for you? That way they'll try to be a little more quiet."

Mark shrugged, "We'd still get scared."

The oldest of the five, but not one of the four that slept in this room, Stan innocently grinned, "We want dads." Tory's jaw dropped, pushing Kaleo into loud laughter and the rest of the boys to giggles.

Breaking into giggles, Tory gestured with his index finger for Stan to come closer. The small eight year old slowly approached. All four boys and Kaleo watched with great interest. Even Kaleo wasn't sure what Tory was going to do next. Tory smiled, "You're from one of the Anaheim orphanages, right, Stan?"

Nodding, Stan answered, "The same one as Marv and Russ. Drew and Corey saved us. Leonard and Mark are from San Diego."

Tory prompted, "Since things have obviously changed, can you tell us what the deal is?"

He sighed, "We like our rooms, they're awesome compared to where we was, but since we moved in, it's like... not so kewl to use the bathroom here. It makes us nervous, around all the older, bigger dudes. It's not because they're bad or nothin', it's just that we're smaller, ya know? Me, Marv and Russ learned Leonard and Mark felt the same as us, so we stick together, especially in the shower. We're happiest around dudes our age, at the playground and pool. And when you dudes are around, all the Core Rimmers, but especially you two, everything's way better, ya know? I heard what you and Tory did this afternoon in the dining room, when trays fell. Tonight, you took us to the movies. During the show, we talked, and decided it's you two we want to be with."

Seeing Tory smiling, but with shiny, tear filled eyes, Stan softly asked, "What's wrong?" He checked with Kaleo, wondering, "Did I say something bad?"

Slowly and deliberately shaking his head, Kaleo grinned, "We're just beginning to consider maybe trying to be fathers. We were orphans too, rescued by the Clan just last week, guys. I guess we're seeing now what the other Core Rimmers have told us; that kids choose the parents all by themselves. We're surprised that any kid is choosing us. That's why Tory's crying happy tears; because he's happy and scared at the same time. Honestly, I'm feeling the same way; a little worried that I might not be the best dad for the best five boys on the planet."

Russ giggled, "Since we ain't the best five, then we all must be right for each other."

Covering his eyes with both hands, Tory whimpered, "Oh my God!"

"All of you, come here by me," Kaleo gently prompted. The boys gathered around Kaleo. Only Stan was fully dressed, and the other four younger boys were in various undressed states. Working his way around the line of boys, Kaleo gave each a kiss on the cheek, then firmly assured, "To us, you are the five best boys on the planet. Don't ever doubt how totally awesome you are, okay?"

Starting with Leonard, each boy smiled or giggled, "Kewl, dad."

"OH MY GOD!" Tory loudly cried.

Kaleo sniggered, "Give your pop a hug, before he flies to pieces." Enthusiastically, all five hurried to Tory. In their haste to give hugs, they knocked Tory off his knees and onto his butt. Kaleo roared laughing and all the boys began giggling. The only reason Tory didn't collapse onto the floor was the five boys holding him upright. Standing up, Kaleo went to the group saying, "Tomorrow, we'll get Prez to do some adoptions."

Marv giggled, "Is that hard to do?"

"It's Prez's favorite job of all," Kaleo brightly assured. "He'll ask you guys if you want us for fathers, and then he'll ask me and Tory if we want to be dads. All we have to say is, yes, and it's done." Since Marv was the only one of the five down to his briefs and ready for bed, Kaleo lifted the boy and put him on one of the two double size beds. For the first time in his life, Kaleo looked at a boy as a special gift that was his to care for and protect. Similarly, for the first time in Marv's life, he could see a warm joyous smile on someone he could proudly call his dad. Kaleo kissed his youngest and got a kiss back.

Over on the floor, Tory had pulled himself together enough to ask Stan, "Why don't you sleep here with your brothers tonight?"

Stan squealed, "Yeah? Could I really?"

Mark, Leonard and Russ giggled and crowded around their new big brother. Mark kneeled down to take Stan's sandals off. At the same time, Leonard and Russ took Stan's shirt off. Watching Stan unsteadily wobble and giggle, Tory cracked up. In minutes, the three smallest boys were in one bed, and Leonard and Stan were in the other bed. Once all had been kissed goodnight, Kaleo went to turn on the television and turn off the over head light. Kaleo and Tory stayed in the room with the boys, watched TV and quietly tried to get used to the idea that they would soon have five sons.

Still in their dorm room bed together, Arnie checked with Jerry, "You really want to adopt kids?"

"Not just any kids," Jerry smiled, "those three kids. Not only have they already given themselves over to us, we can actually adopt them."

"We're considered adults and Starfleet officers." Arnie admitted, "That's just blowin' me away." Lying on his back, with his left arm wrapped around Jerry, and Jerry resting against him, Arnie couldn't decide if he enjoyed this more than when their positions were reversed. There wasn't any rhyme or reason to which would be resting against the other. Whether Arnie was top or bottom, he could find himself in that very same place and enjoying it just as much.

Jerry chuckled, "When Aunt Laura and Uncle Carl mentioned the possibility, you said yes first."

Arnie giggled, "I did, didn't I?"

Looking up into his lover's eyes, Jerry grinned, "And what happened when I told you how much I wanted your babies?"

Arnie sniggered, "Complete and total loss of all control. Did I last another thirty seconds?"

"About that," Jerry chuckled. "But ya know what? It was the very best sex we've ever had. What was already good became awesome. I experienced every bit of you, Arnie. When you came inside me, for those moments, I really wished I could get pregnant and have your babies."

"I found out what it was like too," Arnie contentedly sighed. "It was like it was you and more than you too. We've felt like one while we made love before, but this time was way more profound."

"So, we've been best friends since we met. When we were separated, we really missed that friendship. We were reunited, rekindled that friendship, admitting that there had never been anyone any where near that close, so we became boyfriends, moved into this room and made love a couple of times and different ways."

"Now we're Core Rimmers too. Three completely awesome and adorable boys were placed before us. Now it's up to us."

"And them too. I really hope they weren't just over-tired and saying stuff that they thought we'd like to hear."

"That would hurt."

"And make me want to work to get them back to wanting us as their dads."


"Yeah, Arnie?"

"Why do we want them so much? There's a bunch of other little kids right here already. None of them made me feel this way."

Jerry thought a long minute before answering, "They're just right for us. The other little kids that have looked up to us did it like little brothers to big brothers. As Core Rimmers, we're big brothers on a larger scale. Those three Hunnicutt boys just hit the mark. They kind of look like us, like they really could be our sons."

"They make me want to protect them, as much as I want to protect you, maybe a little more, because their so small, and they've been hurt so badly today. We have to be the best fathers for them."

"We know how not to act; like those fuckers we dealt with the last five or so years. The rest, we'll learn from our Core Rimmer brothers and their families."

"We'll grow into parenthood and they'll become more our kids."

"They'll need special attention, Arnie. We need to learn what they saw today and cuddle them through nightmares and stuff like that."

Arnie shrugged, "Like we do for each other; no big deal." Arnie began giggling.

"What?" Jerry sniggered.

Shaking his head, Arnie giggled, "The way Shaun held onto you, and then held onto me. And Mike too. And Kenny is at that age, making the transition from little boy to big boy. He wants and needs us too. With Kenny, it's in his eyes when he sees us with his younger brothers."

"So it's happening tomorrow?"

"I sure hope so."

"Let's go shower," Jerry suggested, and rolled to the edge of the bed.

Sitting up and propped on his arms, Arnie nodded, "There's one thing I want to do differently."


"We wash the sweat off, but what's still inside us stays there."

Shivering with glee, Jerry gushed, "Oh-ho, dude! You make me feel so freakin' amazing."

"Round four?" Arnie giggled, and then spread his legs and bent his knees. Not really interested in a fourth round of love making after three incredible times, Jerry rolled over onto Arnie, causing that closest leg, partially in the air, to bend over, making entry impossible. They held onto each other and rolled around, laughing into kisses.

In the basement nest, the oldest boys were still awake. Geoff, Lenny, Leo, Lance and Fred had made themselves comfy and were asleep, but Pat still hadn't moved. Of course, Ralphie was still lying there. His hand holding Pat's hand had gone numb and his feet had fallen asleep too. There was one thing keeping Ralphie lying there, unwilling to move. In that first thirty minutes or so after Pat fell asleep, Ralphie felt his new boyfriend's hardening dick shifting and poking against his rear end. For Ralphie it was a blessing and a curse; that boner meant that Pat was gay, which was kewl, and it might even be from a dream Ralphie was in, which was even kewler. This got Ralphie hard too, but he was nervous, which kept him exceptionally still. Any movement might cause Pat to have an orgasm, which Ralphie feared would upset his new boyfriend. Wanting to see and touch his boyfriend's erection, but also being troubled about Pat's possible reactions, had Ralphie sweating like he had run five miles.

The A.P.B. went out again. 'Help!'

'Are you still in the Hundsers' basement with Pat?'

'Or are you wankin' somewhere?'

'The white gooey stuff is normal, bro.'

'I love you guys, but I'm gonna kill you if I get out of here.'

The triplet giggling response was; 'What's wrong now?'

'Pat's asleep and has been for over an hour. Laying here, perfectly still, both my legs and one arm are completely asleep. If I tried to stand, I'd fall on my face!'

Triplet loud laughter filled Ralphie's mind. He couldn't help it and softly giggled with his brothers for a little while, then loudly sent, 'GET ME OUTTA HERE!'

'You wanted a boyfriend.'

'You've got him.'


'I'll tell mom and dad you can't make it home and why.'


'Have you got a better idea?'

'If I could reach my comm-badge, I'd call Alden, but I can't. That arm's numb from the shoulder down to each finger. Have him transport me, lying down, to my bedroom.'

'Lying down we can understand, but why your bedroom?'

Ralphie huffed, then admitted, 'Turtle status isn't my problem anymore.'

Again, triplet loud laughter filled Ralphie's mind, and then 'Oh shit!' Like an old black and white movie with poor sound, Ralphie experienced what all three of his brothers heard and saw; Jason and Trinity were standing in a bedroom doorway.

Grinning, Jason wondered, "What are you boy's doing?"

Trinity asked, "Where's Ralphie? Is he not home yet?"

Robbie innocently assured, "Ralphie's fine."

"He's over at the Hundsers', with Pat still," Richie giggled.

Trinity gasped, "Still?" She worried, "Patrick must be dead on his feet." All three brothers cracked up at the choice of words.

Jason suspiciously smirked, "Okay, let's hear it, guys."

Trinity huffed, "I'll go get Ralphie, Jason."

The triplets jumped off the bed, loudly chorusing, "No mom!"

Robbie sweetly asked, "Mom, could you leave us alone with dad for just a few minutes, please?"

The two adults wordlessly checked with each other, and then nodded. Trinity warned, "Five minutes, and Ralphie better be home in six minutes."

"It's a guy thing, mom," Robbie explained.

Nodding, she left the doorway and seemed to be going downstairs.

Robbie, Ronnie and Richie pulled Jason into the room and closed the door. The threesome explained what was going on; that they were telepaths, that Ralphie was still with Pat, and excited, and his legs and one arm were asleep, to Ralphie's infinite mortification.

Thankfully, Jason took it well. He chuckled, "Do what your brother needs and asked you to do."

Richie tapped his comm-badge, calling, "Alden, do you see Ralphie in the Hundsers' basement?"

"Sure do," Alden replied. "He's asleep."

"Only partly," Ronnie giggled.

Robbie sniggered, "His legs and one arm are asleep, Alden. He couldn't stand up if he tried."

Richie smiled, "Leave Ralphie laying down and transport him to one of the beds in here, please, Alden?"

Alden giggled, "One quarter quadruplet, comin' up."

Ralphie materialized on the bed. He chuckled, "When I can walk, you three need to run." His brothers cracked up.

When the laughter and giggling subsided, Jason confirmed, "You're all telepaths?" The boys nodded.

Tilting his head, Robbie wondered, "Why would we fake it, dad?"

"Yeah, it's really happening," Ralphie smiled.

Richie suggested, "Call mom up before she melts down and really gets angry."

Quickly jarring his head because the boys had read his every thought, as soon as he thought them, Jason turned around, opened the door and called, "Come on up, Trin. Ralphie's home."

Standing and coming up the stairs, Trinity huffed, "Thank goodness." At the same time, the quadruplets duplicated her words and in the same exasperated manner. Jason grinned at them.

Trinity didn't hear them repeating her words, so the quadruplets loudly confirmed, "Yeah, we know it's getting late, mom." All except Ralphie smiled, "We were just having a little fun with Ralphie, cos his feet and arm fell asleep." Ralphie started wiggling his toes and fingers to stop the pins and needles.

Stopping two steps short of the second floor landing, Trinity glared at Jason for an explanation.

Jason shrugged, "They're telepaths."

"We kind of thought maybe we were just imagining it," Robbie loudly added so his mom would hear.

Ronnie nodded, "But then we heard Cesar and Felipe this morning."

Still wiggling his toes and fingers to wake them up, Ralphie grimaced; "And then we heard the double-twins, Adam, Mark, Brian and Jeff too. We've been practicing mind-talk with them most of the day. Most people we can hear, if they're just a little telepathic or empathic. The rest can't hear us, but we can hear them. That last bit is the case with Patrick. I can hear him, when he's awake to hear. He was behind me too, so..." Richie, Robbie and Ronnie softly sniggered. Trinity climbed the last two steps and looked in the bedroom.

Richie cheered, "It's so awesome. My imaginary brothers definitely weren't my imagination. I heard them, from miles and miles away. Now we're together, at last." As soon as he stopped speaking, Richie scowled.

"Uh oh," Ralphie, Robbie and Ronnie simultaneously grunted, and turned to face Richie.

Like a light switch had been flipped, Richie palmed the sides of his head at the temples, loudly crying, "No! You frigging jerk, they were real! They are real! Get outta my head, you wacko!" In a heartbeat, Robbie and Ronnie sandwiched Richie between them. Ralphie struggled to sit up and get over to his hurting brother. He ignored the pain of numb legs and got to his brothers as quickly as he could. Telepathically and aloud, three brothers comforted the fourth, who was still hearing the words that he was taught to repeat for years.

Trinity shrieked, "What's happening?"

Recalling some of what Richie told them about the shrink he had seen many years earlier, Jason realized that was what was happening and hollered at the ceiling, "Alden, get Doc Wiener here, now!"

"Doin' it," Alden confirmed.

A moment later, the base child psychologist was standing behind Jason and Trinity. He tapped Jason on the shoulder, asking, "What's wrong?" Jason briefly explained what Richie had been through.

In that minute, the three boys had gotten Richie onto a bed and joined him, Robbie and Ronnie on either side and Ralphie on top. Richie was still crying, but it was as much for fear as it was the aching in his head and heart. Richie softly sobbed, "When's it gonna stop?"

Doc Wiener sighed, and then softly told Jason and Trinity, "The best treatment for Richie is right there with him. If you'd like, and if Richie wants, I can have Doc Andrews prescribe a sedative, so he can sleep whenever this happens late at night?"

Trinity nodded and nervously begged, "Please?"

Jason went in the room with Doc Wiener, asking, "Richie, would you want to take a mild sedative to help you sleep?"

"He don't want to, dad," Robbie frowned.

"It's only a little before eleven o'clock," Ronnie added.

Ralphie assured, "We can take care of Richie."

To Richie and the adults, the other three loudly confirmed, "We'll always take care of each other."

Jason thoughtfully hummed, then told the boys and Doc Wiener, "Leave us the pills. We'll leave only one with the boys. If it gets very late and Richie needs it, Robbie, Ralphie and Ronnie will get Richie to take it."

Doc Wiener looked up at the ceiling, ordering, "Alden, have Doc Andrews approve thirty Ambien, two-and-a-half milligrams."

"On the way," Alden replied.

Doc Wiener told them all, "Richie is not to do anything the slightest bit dangerous, like making a sandwich with a knife, or showering, where he could easily slip, after he takes a pill. He'll get to sleep in thirty minutes or less, so restricted activity once the pill is taken. Preferably, he takes a pill and goes directly to bed."

Three boys confirmed, "Got it covered, Doc."

The pill bottle appeared. Alden told them, "Done. They're on the dresser."

Doc Wiener picked up the bottle, then gave it to Trinity and guided the two worried parents into the hall. Pulling the door closed behind him, he softly explained, "One only. These aren't mild sedatives. Two and he'll sleep for twelve or more hours. Three would put him out for an entire day. Four, and we all go into emergency mode. Five or more could be deadly."

Both parents nodded. Trinity said, "I'll keep these hidden in a secure location, so Jason or I have to give them one." She went directly to her bedroom. One pill was put aside for that evening. The remainder of the bottle went into a lock-box on the top shelf of the master bedroom closet. The pill was put in a small disposable paper cup. Another paper cup was filled with cold water. Trinity took both cups to the bedroom where all the boys were still piled on and around Richie. Jason and Doc Wiener went downstairs.

Before she could say anything, all four boys chorused, "On the desk with the water too. Kewl, mom."

Rolling her eyes, Trinity smiled, "We'll be downstairs for a short while if you need anything."

"Good night, mom," came the quadruple reply.

Trinity closed the door and went downstairs. She thought, 'No wonder they're in sync all the time. If they were any closer, they'd all wear one pair of pants.'

The four boys softly giggled, picturing themselves waddling in unison in a really big pair of pants.

Richie smiled, 'Speaking of pants, Ralphie, no bone?'

'My legs really hurt just standing. Guess it shriveled when I forced myself to stand.'

Ronnie frowned, 'You scared us, Richie.'

'It's good we're staying together,' Robbie sent. 'The Doc said we're helping Richie as much as anything he could do.'

Richie seriously sent, 'You drowned out the thoughts, in my ears and in my mind. You guys are awesome.'

The other three replied, 'We think you are too. We all knew about this last night, Richie. It don't change a thing.'

Richie confirmed aloud, "I'm better now, bros."

Robbie smirked, "About this particular headache you are."

Ronnie asked, "So what do you want to do about Carrol and Terrance?"

"As if we don't already know," Ralphie grinned.

Richie smiled, "We've gotta get them to want to move here, and adopted by Jason and Trinity too."

Ralphie deepened his voice and ordered, "Bros, project foster brother retrieval has officially begun."

Ronnie giggled, "Tomorrow, Richie will call Carrol and Terrance back here again."

Mysteriously shifting his eyes, Robbie giggled, "Richie and I will spend as much time with them around dad and mom as possible. Mom will flip over Terrance and dad will see Carrol as Richie's brother. By the time the day is done, and Carrol and Terry go back to Vegas, they'll be thinking about it. Sunday morning, at breakfast, we'll push it home, telling dad and mom that they need to adopt them too."

"A couple o' days of that, and our mission is complete," Ralphie assured.

Glancing at his three brothers, Richie saw devious expressions on their faces, but twinkles in their eyes that told him there was nothing more to worry about. He smiled, "Ya know, there's something about the way we are, right now, on this bed, with Ralphie on me and all of us snuggled together."

"We've been like this before," Robbie recognized.

Ronnie softly shared, "In our real mom's belly, before we were born."

Four wide smiles spread across four faces. They knew it was true. The brother in the middle changed, but the other three simply shifted around the womb. Carefully and uncertainly, Richie asked, "Do you think we could sleep like this?"

Wordlessly, Ronnie slid off the bed and started undressing. Ralphie followed, and then Robbie and lastly Richie. When they were all naked, the television was turned on, the sound turned all the way down, and the lights were turned off. Richie pulled down the blanket and sheet on the bed. Robbie and Ronnie got two pillows from the other bedroom and returned. All four returned to their previous positions. Warm and comfortable, they didn't need the sheet or blanket.

Forty-five minutes later, Doc Wiener went to his condo. Jason and Trinity walked up stairs. They peeked in the room and smiled. All four were sound asleep, but seemed completely relaxed and even satisfied. Two of the twelve-year-olds would've been plenty in a full-sized bed for any other set of brothers, but not for their boys. Trinity checked the cups on the desk, confirming the pill had not been taken. Leaving the boys alone, Trinity pulled the bedroom door closed, then went down the hall with her husband to their master bedroom.

All was quiet around the Ewa Beach main base. The only Core Rimmers still awake a little after midnight were Derrick, Mike and Reyes. At half past midnight a call from Des Moines came into the Command Center. While that call was being processed, another came in on the toll-free phone line. Before those two calls completed, a third call from Hector in Los Angeles also came in. To get these retrievals done quickly, Derrick, Mike and Reyes decided to split up. Derrick went to Los Angeles with his security. Mike went to Des Moines, and Reyes went with his new security team, to the island of Hawaii.

In Los Angeles, Derrick and his team went to a warehouse in Downing. Waiting outside and smoking a cigarette, Hector chuckled, "Big D! Long time no see, dude."

Derrick sniggered, "I knew you'd be a good Clan Liaison, Hector. Who have you got for us tonight?"

"Me and my homies found two tonight," Hector smirked. "The first, an eight-year-old blond named Jimmy Matos, was shell-shocked from the riots or somethin'. After a short chase got us nothing 'cept winded, we decided to encircle him. Not our best move, but he wouldn't believe that we had no intention of killing his scrawny ass. He's a fighter when he needs to be, fer sure. The other," Hector paused to chuckle, "thirteen-year-old Tony Lanning, he's wearin' a T-shirt that reads 'Here Comes Trouble'. He walks right up to us lookin' for food and weed." Derrick cracked up. Hector knocked out a syncopated pattern on the warehouse wall. A few moments later, both boys were led outside by two much older men, probably in their mid-twenties judging by thick beards and tattoos. To the boys, Hector said, "Yo, this dude here is Derrick Seibert, from Clan Short. He's your new big bro. What he says, you do, as of right now."

Derrick smiled, "They look pretty good, Hector."

Shrugging, Hector said, "We fed 'em and cleaned 'em up. The riot fires got both their houses. Neither have seen their folks all day."

Tony went right to Derrick, holding out his fist to knock knuckles. Jimmy only waved to Derrick and walked right past him to the gorilla, Talib. Jimmy suspiciously eyed the large gorilla, dressed in fatigues and carrying an M-5 rifle. Talib grinned, "How's it goin', little man?"

Jumping back three feet in a single surprised leap, Jimmy gasped, "What the fuck?"

Derrick and his human security, Dave, lost it and howled. Hector and the two men softly snickered.

Pointing at Talib, Jimmy glanced around, grinning, "Now that's kewl!" Talib bared a toothy smile.

"YO!" Hector yelled. Both boys jumped and gave all their attention to Hector. "You dudes are safe, like I promised. What's my payback?"

Tony recited, "We make something of ourselves, out of this town, in Starfleet or any thing we want."

"Just don't make you look bad," Jimmy added.

Slowly nodding, Hector promised, "Derrick tells me you're slackin', and I'll bring you right back here."

Tony promised, "We'll be kewl, dude."

In Des Moines, Mike met with Bob Busch and was introduced to twelve-year-olds, Bob Wheeler and Paul Eliason. They didn't learn about refugee facilities until late in the day. They were amongst the last from New York City.

Reyes and his security went to the Police headquarters in Hilo to retrieve eleven-year-old Hawaiian twins, Anakoni and Kapena Hiram, originally from Keaau. After running away from home because their parents didn't give a damn what the boys did, ate or even if they went to school or not. They had been caught shoplifting at the Safeway store where Mrs. Marr was found. With this rescue, word would get out around the islands that when the Clan said they'd handle something, their word was good as gold.

A little after one in the morning, the three Clan leaders and the six boys returned to the C.I.C. After a brief orientation discussion, and quick meals of burgers and fries, they all went to the Seiberts' home. Derrick and Mike went to their room. Reyes led the six pack to the large room his brothers were already sleeping in, had Alden get some extra bedding, and then they all got undressed to crash for the night.