Clan Short Pacific Rim Division

Personal Log - Reyes Taraschke, Part 1

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Life has been amazing these last two days. This is the first chance I've had to write about it since my new daddies suggested the idea earlier tonight. They said that it would be good for me and for them too, if anything ever happened to my memory, to have a place outside my own positronics where everything I think and feel is stored. Almost everyone is down in the basement chatting or nesting or playing video games. Mike, one of my new daddies, asked our new leader, Prez, if I could use a computer to begin telling my story.

Yesterday morning, about ten, my life and the lives of all the kids at the orphanage changed dramatically. Our lives were terrible at the orphanage. We were all slaves to the adults. They had us cook, clean, paint walls and ceilings, repair anything broken, mow lawns, perform sexual acts for them, with them and with other adults. The days all ran together in a never ending blur of nightmarish images.

The strange thing is, I know my name is Reyes Taraschke; I know I'm an android; I know that I appear to be thirteen; I know that I have friends and I know their names. But I do not know my own birthday; the day I was first activated. I do not know how long I was at the orphanage; everything before June first, 2004 is a blank.

Even more distressing, my friends can tell me stuff about me that I have no recollection of. According to Jonah and Kaleo, I've always been at the orphanage. Jonah became an orphan at age three and is nine now, but he says that I've always watched out for him and been his best friend. Fourteen-year-old Kaleo had been at the orphanage since he was a baby, and he says that I was there as far back as he can remember.

Who am I?

I do not really know. I only know what others have said about me, with very few exceptions.

My two best friends are Kaleo Palakiko and Jonah Desak. Tory Burgas and Liki Kealoha are also good friends. Between Kaleo, Tory, Liki and myself, we kept the adults at the orphanage from having their wicked way with the younger kids. We couldn't keep them satisfied all the time, but we really tried. Mostly, the kids were photographed. Sadly, the pedophile adults liked the little kids because they were young and hairless. That was something Kaleo, Tory, Liki and I couldn't satisfy because we're all pubescent adolescents. But we could at least try to wear the old folks down enough where photography sessions were the worst they could dish out to the little kids.

A simple knock at the front door yesterday morning changed all that. I wish I had seen it but I was upstairs, tied up and getting my ass whipped at the time. I hadn't done anything wrong to get punished, but I did push Jonah aside so he wouldn't get sexually abused. Suddenly, there was a loud crashing sound and what I can only describe as an ear-splitting roar. Then the whole house seemed to shake, like a downstairs wall had been knocked down. Starfleet Vulcans beamed in and stunned the asshole that was whipping me, then set me free. When I made it downstairs with Jonah and some other kids, I found Kaleo, still naked but wide-eyed and smiling like I've never seen before. A wall wasn't knocked down, but Mister Kanes, who had locked himself away with Kaleo, was lying unconscious on the floor beyond the wall he had been thrown through.

We were herded into a room where a little boy, as small as Jonah, said, "My name is Joel Short of Clan Short. You are safe now. You won't be hurt any more." Oddly, the boy was wearing Armour and a Crown, and a large Sword seemed to be slung on his back. When he turned to talk to a large bear-like beast that was standing behind him, I could see that the Sword had nothing holding it on his back; and it was in pieces, but the pieces seemed to keep themselves together. Kewl! Weird but very kewl!

I silently wondered, who are Clan Short? I had never heard of them. We were never allowed to watch television or listen to radios at the orphanage so I had no idea. I was still thinking and trying to figure out what was going on while Joel was talking to other kids and with Vulcans. The next thing I knew, all the kids and I were standing on the lawn of a beautiful house. There was an older man sitting on the porch drinking from a cup.

We spent a good part of the day there with Uncle Iokii. Our orphanage had about thirty kids. Arriving intermittently over the next hour or so were more kids, until there were more than eighty kids at Uncle Iokii's house. The Vulcans had doctors that checked us out, gave us hypo-spray inoculations and healed our many wounds. Like me, many of us had bruises and other "soft tissue" injuries that would have to heal naturally over time. We were fed as much as we wanted and even had cookies and brownies for dessert. We were bathed. Soon we had real clothes, not the kind we were used to, that you can see through, but real clothes – underwear, board shorts and shirts. They even gave us sandals for our feet. It seemed that no sooner did we all have clothes to be proud of, than Joel's Sehlat, I-Cheya was stripping them off, giving each of us tongue baths and then tossing us in Uncle Iokii's pool.

While Joel was sitting alone with Kevin, I took the opportunity to go over and thank him for rescuing us. At that time, I learned a little bit about Clan Short and even asked about his Armour, Crown and Sword. I cannot say that I understood the explanation entirely because it had to do with Vulcan history, but the general idea was that Joel was an heir to an important Vulcan family line. Therefore, the Armour, Crown and Sword respond to his commands.

Around the time all eighty of us had been tossed in the pool, trucks began rolling by the house. Some of the trucks stopped at Uncle Iokii's and delivered more food and drinks. I am certain that I had eaten a week's worth of food in a single afternoon. Jonah and I found a nice spot under a tree where we took a nap. As far as Jonah and I were concerned, this was all too good to be true. We were actually afraid to fall asleep as we might wake up back in the orphanage.

Kyle, Levi and Tyler woke us up. Kyle smiled, "Come on, sleepy heads. We're going to make a small change of location. There's gonna be a party tonight."

Between munched cookies, Levi corrected, "A luau."

Looking around quickly and realizing that we had, in fact, been rescued, Jonah squealed, "It was all real? We was taken away from there? It happened?"

Tyler rapidly nodded and smiled, "We said that we'd take care of you guys. Everything's falling into place."

Jonah and I got up and followed the three purple-eyed boys. It seemed we had just arrived with the larger group of rescued kids when we were someplace else, away from Uncle Iokii's house and pool. How we moved or where we moved to, I had no idea, but at least we were all together. People were setting up tables and tents. Other people were cooking more food, and truckloads of food and drink were being prepared for the luau. A stage was being erected in another field. Speakers and video screens were being setup at other areas. We went down to a beach where I-Cheya played Toss-The-Kid some more. Once again we were naked. I almost wanted to ask why they had bothered getting us clothes, but there were no creepy adults around and we were all having fun. Then we went back over to the fields where we ate again. Afterward, my belly felt like it was holding a month's worth of food.

"Pay attention to the band tonight, guys," Kyle grinned.

I couldn't help but wonder "Why?"

"They're that good," Kyle giggled. I noticed Kyle glancing at Tyler and Levi, then all three began giggling.

They were Clan and saved us, so I trusted them, but I could tell they knew something we didn't. I was about to ask what they were hiding when suddenly my lower abdomen twisted and growled. After all that food, I had to find a toilet, so that's what I wound up asking about. There were rows of Porta-Potties along the eastern bluff. Jonah and I raced in that direction with lots of other boys and girls following us. Considering how much I ate and how much my belly ached, I was prepared to fill the portable toilet to overflowing but I didn't. When Jonah and I were kidding about it with Kevin, another Clan kid named Kai explained, "You guys weren't being fed right. I know what that's like. Your belly gets full fast but your body is absorbing all you need that it hadn't been getting." He blushed and giggled, "You feel like you're gonna shit a mountain but hardly anything actually comes out. That means you're gonna get healthier faster so it's kewl, bros."

Kevin paused and seemed thoughtful for a few moments. He grinned and nodded, then looked at us again, saying, "Come on. Let's get a welcoming committee together!" and started running. Jonah and I followed, not knowing where we were going or who we were welcoming. Kevin gathered almost half of the kids and he led us west, across a road and beyond some trees until we were standing on a bluff overlooking a beach. Kevin had us all crouch down and hide. Even his dog was lying down flat on the ground.

We watched I-Cheya, way down the beach, tossing more kids. They were all boys except for the older woman with them. These weren't rescued kids though. They were naked and walking in the surf in our direction. Compared to Joel, they were tall. There was a redhead, two blonds and five brown haired dudes. Kaleo tapped Kevin on the shoulder and whispered, "Who are these guys?"

Kevin smirked and softly replied, "Friends."

I wondered, "Are we hiding to surprise them and if so, why?"

Kevin giggled, "It's all very kewl, even the woman. When I say go, run down the bluff and say hello to the guys." Kaleo, Tory and I uncertainly glanced at each other and shrugged. They were still quite a distance away. I thought to ask Kevin more about the group but I didn't get the chance. He suddenly jumped up and yelled, "NOW!" Following his lead, all of us ran, slid and fell down the bluff to the sand below. We could hear the other guys laughing at our large group. Kevin was heading directly for Joel shouting "Sa'r!" while the rest of us were stripping our clothes off and heading for the water.

Joel hollered, "Kevvy!" and ran to his new husband. They spun each other around and hugged, then joined the rest of us, approaching the new guys. Kaleo, Tory and I were the first to meet Prez, Keith, Mike, Derrick, Drew, Corey, John and Bruce. All these new guys were exceptionally cute! As usual, Kaleo was spokesman for our group. The new guys seemed more concerned about where the stage was than they were about food. Seeing them up close, it was obvious that none of these guys were orphans or abused.

As it turned out, the red-haired dude, Prez, was an orphan. His parents died in a plane crash two years earlier, but he was adopted by his partner's parents. What was most surprising was that the new kids didn't know that Clan Short was in the Republic of Hawaii or that they had rescued over eighty kids that day.

I was walking beside Drew and asked, "Don't you guys get to watch television either?"

Drew tilted his head curiously and softly replied, "Sure we can, when there's something worth watchin'."

Taking Drew's hand, Corey grinned mischievously, "Me and Drew needed some private time alone after school though."

Blushing intensely, Drew shook his head and smiled so wide that his face seemed to split in half. Drew giggled, "Corey's my boyfriend."

"Oh," I droned. "That's really sweet. How old are you guys?"

Corey answered, "I'm eleven. Drew just turned twelve, in August."

Drew asked, "How old are you, Reyes?"

"Thirteen," I answered, but didn't elaborate. I didn't know them or if they might have a problem with androids so I didn't tell them.

Both Corey and Drew scanned my body briefly. I was taller than Corey and about as tall as Drew, but Corey had as much hair around his dick as Drew and I. Locking eyes with me, Corey asked, "You're a late bloomer?"

Drew giggled and teased Corey, "You're just an early bloomer, dude."

"That's your fault too!" Corey softly giggled.

Drew's mouth hung open and he turned even redder. The three of us cracked up. Jonah laughed too and I think that surprised Corey and Drew. Jonah's nine but small for his age. Walking ahead of us, Kaleo was explaining to Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick that we were sexually abused at the orphanages. They were not only shocked but obviously disgusted. Kaleo then explained how we were rescued by Clan Short and that I-Cheya had "picked up a fat man at our orphanage and threw him through a wall." Kaleo cracked up at the memory and loudly laughed, "It was great! Exactly what that overstuffed, tiny-pricked bastard deserved!"

Almost all of us, except the very youngest kids, lost it and cracked up. Using space between my thumb and forefinger, I showed Drew and Corey about how small his cock really was. Corey absolutely howled laughing and staggered around.

Then the woman called us to her. We found out she was Keith's, Drew's and John's mother. She was also Prez's foster mom. With a nod from Kaleo, we all started walking up the beach.

Mike smiled, "They all listen to you?"

Kaleo shrugged, "Mostly; I'm one of the oldest and have been watching out for them the best I could, so...."

"Kaleo in Hawaiian means 'the voice', and man, does he use it!" Tory interrupted.

Kaleo chuckled, "Shush!"

"WHAT?" Tory incredulously giggled, "Just cos ya can't ever shut up!" Kaleo took a playful swing at Tory but Tory ducked away and ran up the beach.

The woman had us get dressed, explaining that it was time to eat. I wondered where Corey's mom was, and Corey said she was on her way with his dad. Unfortunately, I never got to ask where Derrick and Mike's parents were as they were helping load I-Cheya with little kids. In only a few minutes, we were all dressed again. The little kids got a ride up the bluff from I-Cheya. The huge Sehlat left nice, deep indentations for the rest of us older kids to easily climb the steep bluff.

While we loaded our trays with food, Kaleo, Tory, Liki and I were keeping watch on the new guys. It could easily be seen that they were very close friends. We couldn't hear exactly what they were saying to each other, but they occasionally leaned against each other and more often broke into fits of laughter. We found a table and sat down to eat. Two teenage boys from another orphanage, named Sean Moorhead and Horacio Sulin, joined us at our table. The orphanage Sean and Horacio were at was like ours. They weren't fed well and were sexually abused like we were. Prez stopped by our table and asked if he and his friends could join us.

It was a little strange at first. Us orphanage kids were eating fast until they sat down with us. We slowed down a little and Kaleo even passed a comment. "Is this the greatest food ever, or am I just underprivileged?"

Prez said that it was really good food, "some of the best I've ever tasted," making us feel better. The four guys made us feel more relaxed and talked to us about the Clan, told us they were musicians, and then said that they'd like to help us recover from the abuses at the orphanages. They had us watch the sunset. It was the most colorful sunset we'd ever seen, with reds, yellows, greens, and purples washing across the western sky. Keith suggested that we wake up early the next morning to watch the sunrise on our first full day of freedom. Mike and Derrick began playing catch with their food. In moments, all of us were doing the same. Jonah was tossing tiny cakes up for me to catch in my mouth.

They weren't just nice guys; they were great. I could easily see myself becoming friends with any of them. While we were playing, Keith's mom came by our table. She didn't know how badly we were abused. Learning of our sexual and physical abuses made her very sad. All of the Ewa Beach boys surrounded her and tried to make her feel less sad. Ultimately, it was little Levi that made her feel better.

Arriving at the luau, after we had finished eating for the fourth time that day, were Mike's, Derrick's and Corey's parents. Derrick, Mike, Keith and Prez stayed with us while the adults ate. They were getting anxious about the concert and began singing for us.

Prez sang; "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay. I sleep all night and I work all day."

Derrick, Mike and Keith then sang; "He's a lumberjack, and he's okay. He sleeps all night and he works all day."

Prez then sang; "I cut down trees. I eat my lunch. I go to the lavatory. On Wednesdays I go shoppin', And have buttered scones for tea."

While we were all giggling about Prez going to the lavatory, Derrick, Mike and Keith sang; "He cuts down trees. He eats his lunch. He goes to the lavatory. On Wednesdays he goes shopping, And has buttered scones for tea. He's a lumberjack, and he's okay. He sleeps all night and he works all day."

Joel and Kevin joined us. Again, Prez sang; "I cut down trees. I skip and jump. I like to press wild flowers. I put on women's clothing, And hang around in bars."

Appearing very uncertain and shifting their eyes back and forth, Derrick, Mike and Keith disjointedly sang; "He cuts down trees. He skips and jumps. He likes to press wild flowers. He puts on women's clothing, And hangs around in bars? He's a lumberjack, and he's okay. He sleeps all night and he works all day."

We were all laughing and giggling when Prez sang; "I cut down trees. I wear high heels, Suspendies, and a bra. I wish I'd been a girlie, Just like my dear Papa."

Kaleo and Tory, and Jonah and I were in tears laughing harder than ever as Derrick, Mike and Keith reluctantly sang; "He cuts down trees. He wears high heels, Suspendies, and a bra?"

Shoving Prez, Keith complained, "What's this? Wants to be a girlie?! Oh, My! And I thought you were so rugged! Poofter!"

Joel and Kevin were rocking each other while laughing hysterically. Kaleo fell on the ground and roared laughing but Derrick, Mike and Keith finished the song. "He's a lumberjack, and he's okay. He sleeps all night and he works all day. He's a lumberjack, and he's okaaaaay. He sleeps all night and he works all day."

Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike finally broke down laughing and bowed while we all clapped and cheered. Then they huddled up. We had just stopped laughing and caught our breath when they lined up and began singing: "Down at an English fair one evening I was there, When I heard a showman shouting underneath the flair. I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts, There they are all standing in a row. Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head. Give them a twist a flick of the wrist. That’s what the showman said." While they were singing, they were making hand gestures in front of their crotches, showing us the size of their 'coconuts'. All of us were cracking up, leaning against each other and falling down to the grassy ground while they sang this silly tune.

We didn't even realize that their parents were now watching and listening to their sons. While we all hiccuped and tried desperately to catch our breath, the four boys changed out of T-shirts and put on silver-gray polo shirts. Prez explained, "We've got to get ready for our act now, dudes."

Mike added, "Round everyone up and hurry over to the stage. Get the best seats you can."

Breathlessly, Kaleo giggled from the grass, "Please sing those songs again! That was great!"

Derrick shook his head and sniggered, "It's time to rock!"

All four boys enthusiastically shouted, "ROCK AND ROLL!" then walked off with their parents. Joel, Kevin and more of the Clan Short boys went with them back stage. Other Clan boys and G-Cats joined us gathering the rest of the rescued kids. We were given the first two rows of the audience chairs and were looking up at the six-foot-high stage. The only people that might have had a better view than we did were those watching the show on television in their homes. None of us had ever been to a concert before. The stage was pretty with colored lights shining down from above and across from the sides of the stage.

The music that had been playing through the speakers stopped. All the stage lighting went out. A minute or so later, a Hawaiian radio disk jockey came out and outlined the night's entertainment. Then he introduced the band from Ewa Beach, "Old Habits", and left the stage. Mike came out first, jogging all the way across the stage to the guitars. He was followed by Prez, who picked up another guitar. Derrick was next and went to the drums. Keith came up and stood before a rack of keyboards. Green and yellow lights around the stage turned on.

Keith played the first notes that rumbled across the fields and swirled from the left speakers to the right and back again. Soon, Mike, Prez and Derrick joined in. With a spotlight on him, Keith sang lead vocals with the others singing background vocals. The fields seemed to be alive and awash in sounds. It was LOUD! It was hard to believe that the same four goofballs who were singing to us minutes earlier were now on stage playing and singing. They were very good musicians and vocalists. Derrick caught my attention though. He was a great drummer! Sometimes he seemed to be easily moving from drums to cymbals, but other times I couldn't even see his hands; they were moving so fast that they were a blur.

Every now and then, between songs, they talked to the audience. When they weren't singing, Keith, Prez and Mike were dancing around the stage. When they sang the first ballad, lots of the girls began moaning and groaning. Immediately after the ballad they played an awesome song about rescues. That's the song that got me up and bouncing with Jonah. Every time they sang "Oh oh, rescue me," I felt my heart race and my dick throb. All of the songs were brand new to me and probably to all of us rescued kids.

For some reason, I wanted to be up there on stage with them. As far as I know, I've never played an instrument and I only would've made a fool of myself, but I did want to play. Of all the instruments, the drums interested me most. I couldn't figure out why I felt the way I did so I just watched them enjoying themselves while they played for thousands of people. At one point, during an instrumental, I looked over my shoulder to one of the field video displays. A camera was on Mike while he played the melody of the song.

Keith sang the next song and was really getting into it. A whole bunch of us kids in the audience were up on our feet, dancing and clapping in time to the music. Prez sang the lead vocals on the next song that was about friends and friendship. Mike was instigating the audience to sing along during that song and many did sing. Unfortunately, we didn't really know the words and only sang a few words now and then. They then played another ballad. All around the fields, couples were slow dancing. Again, some of the girls in our group began moaning and squealing.

Mike sang lead vocals and played an acoustic guitar for the next song. He was obviously enjoying himself because he was hopping during almost the entire song. My attention kept getting drawn back to Derrick though. He wasn't just a good drummer, he was fantastic! I could see the face of the bass drum moving while his right hand hit cymbals and his left hand moved around the other drums. After dedicating the next song to Starfleet, Mike played and sang another song about star riders. Derrick's hands were blurs again. And the sound of the drums through the speakers were shifting left and right, back and forth.

The whole concert was nothing short of amazing! Pictures and videos were flashing up on the backdrop behind the band. The words were perfect for us rescued kids. Keith sang another ballad that had some of the girls in tears. I think Keith noticed them because he shifted focus and looked way out into the audience. They didn't get a chance to stay all lovey-dovey though because the next song Keith sang was a rocker. Mike and Prez were bouncing around while they played, then stopped and walked up to a single microphone to sing the backup vocals. When Keith sang the next verse, they started bopping around again. Derrick was singing background vocals too. How he managed to sing and play like he was, I may never know. They played so many great tunes, I think each of us had our favorites and our favorite band members. While I obviously liked Derrick, Jonah thought Mike was the best. Kaleo was pointing at Keith during several parts of the show. Tory was actually following Prez's every move. Sean, the kid from the other orphanage, danced almost the entire time.

During another song, the four guys were singing different parts at different times. Keith would sing a part, Mike and Derrick would come in singing another part and Prez would add another part. Again, I wondered, how they could do that without messing each other up. They did it though and seemed to enjoy doing it, watching our eyes dart from one to the other. They then played another dance song that got us all up on our feet. Again, they sang different parts at different times, making our eyes dart around.

A harder rock song was played next, with Mike and Prez leaning back-to-back against each other. Jonah pointed them out. But again, I was watching Derrick and pointed him out to Jonah. Almost as if I had queued him, Derrick said, "Ask not what your country can do for you!" then they finished the song. I picked up Jonah and sat him up on my shoulders, then we both began clapping furiously.

They played another ballad, then started another spacey song with a low rumble through the fields. Without warning, they all fell into the groove and began rocking again. Derrick sang that song, occasionally asking, "Can you hear me, can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?" It was another really great song. I happened to look over my shoulder and, on the video screens, saw a close-up of Derrick playing and singing. I pointed it out to Jonah, Kaleo and Tory.

As if that song wasn't enough, Prez began slapping the crap out of his bass and sang lead vocals on the next song, which I think was titled 'Wildest Dreams'. Prez has a deeper voice and he sang it like he was leading an army into battle. And Mike was getting really animated during the guitar solo. It was all phenomenal, as if they had chosen the songs specifically for us. I know they couldn't possibly have, but it sure seemed that way.

During one instrumental song, Brant and Matthew were flying around way above the stage. The entire audience gasped then cheered. Derrick had a drum solo during the song that almost pushed my positronic matrix to overload. How was he controlling those drum sticks and hitting the drums so precisely, I wondered. Brant and Matthew landed on the stage, then disappeared. It obviously broke the band's concentration but very briefly. They then continued playing and finished the song to a roar of applause and cheers. Something was happening on stage though. They were all looking back stage and shouted something. Then they all reached for their mouths and started laughing. Again, each of the four of them spoke to the audience and joked around. They were truly artists and musicians that loved what they were doing.

They played two more songs before jogging off stage. The disk jockey came back onstage and prompted them to come out again for an encore. A minute or two later they came back onstage, waving to the audience and thanking us. They played an awesome instrumental where Mike roamed around the stage playing directly to us. Then they played one more ballad that had the girls screeching and couples dancing. At the end, they gathered center stage and bowed, then hurried off stage. The whole concert lasted over two hours. Remarkable!

I know it was my first concert, or at least the first one I could remember, but it was all so great. While I was trying to work my way backstage with Jonah, I overheard something from one of the Clan boys. They were planning on making a new Clan Division right here in Hawaii, and the Ewa Beach boys would be our leaders. The only question was, which would be the leader of the new division? It was to be kept a secret until morning though, until Joel could figure out which would be our new leader.

I never did manage to get backstage, but soon all the Ewa Beach boys came out from the pack of people surrounding them. Catching up to Derrick, I smiled and told him, "That was a completely awesome concert, from beginning to end!"

Derrick chuckled, "Thanks, Reyes. I saw you watching me."

"You're a great drummer."

"I try," Derrick simply stated.

Shaking my head, I giggled, "You do more than try, you are! Seriously!"

Moving over by Mike, Jonah asked, "Where are we going?"

Mike said, "We're gathering the little kids so we can get them to bed." Looking down at my friend, Mike asked, "How're you feeling? Are you tired, little dude?"

"I guess," Jonah shrugged. "But it's been such a great day. I don't want it to end yet."

"We're getting a bus to take you guys to Anahola Bay," Mike explained. "Starfleet's got a rec center there. Joel and the Clan have everything set for us."

Jonah looked up and almost begged, "You're coming too, aren't ya?"

Mike nodded, "Yup! First the younger kids go, then us older kids."

Jonah asked, "Would you stay the night with me and Reyes?"

Mike chuckled, "Derrick's gonna be with us too."

Before I could stop myself, I giggled, "Oh, sweet!"

Walking behind us, Mike's dad chuckled, "That settles those sleeping arrangements!"

We started finding other kids and walked over by the Porta-Potties to find some more. Each kid we found thanked Mike and Derrick for the concert and excitedly overflowed about their favorite songs. Soon, we had a bunch of kids with us and were heading back across the fields when we found a little girl crying. Her mother had been snagged by a transporter beam.

While Mike's father got the kids loaded on the bus, Derrick and Mike led us teenagers back to the food. I was more thirsty than hungry though after four meals in a single day. In a few minutes, I was sitting at a table with the Ewa Beach boys, Jonah, Kaleo, Sean and Horacio. We were all just relaxing while Prez explained that teenagers would buddy-up and share rooms with the younger kids. Of course, us rescued kids didn't know how to sleep with less than three or four to a bed, never mind four to an entire room. We let them know we were nervous about sleeping in a strange place.

Mike sighed, "It's a Starfleet facility. None of us could possibly be safer. I know it's something new to you, and we can fully understand how you feel, but this is really kewl, dudes."

Derrick nodded agreement, "Sleeping three or four to a bed isn't normal or right. Mike and me have our own beds at our houses but the last two years, since we hooked up as a couple, neither of us can sleep well alone anymore. So I spend a few nights at his place with him, then he comes over my house and spends a few nights there with me. You'll see, it's way more comfortable to share a bed with someone else and still have room to move around, without having someone knock you out of the bed and onto the floor."

We all began giggling and nodding because we had been in that situation before. Only to change the subject, I began talking with Derrick about drumming and asked him to teach me to play. He promised that he would, no matter where we wound up with the Clan. Unable to hide my disappointment, I frowned, "But I really wanna be with you."

"And I have to be with Reyes," Jonah added.

Derrick nodded understandingly and smiled, "We'll find a way to make that happen."

Relieved, I said, "That would be very kewl." I felt like Derrick was the kind of person I would definitely want to emulate; not only because he was a drummer but just because he was the kind of person I wanted to be like.

Uncle Iokii came over with some beers for the band members, which they happily accepted. Joel came over and started to greet us, but then seemed to turn pale and hurried off, burying himself against I-Cheya. Two of the G-Cats went over to see what was wrong. "That was weird," Keith sighed.

The Prime Minister went on stage and began delivering his speech. It was quickly apparent that he was speaking of the Clan Short rescues. Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike began goofing on him and we all smiled at their wacky remarks. John walked over to our table and said, "Something's wrong, Prez. I..." Never taking his eyes off the Prime Minister, John shook his head and offered, "He don't feel right."

Prez put his beer down. Wrapping an arm around John and pulling him closer, Prez wondered, "What do ya mean?"

John shrugged, "Him... he feels bad. I dunno why, he just does."

Keith explained, "He's a politician, bro. He'll kiss anyone's ass to get the brownie points." Hearing that, Kaleo, Tory, Sean and Horacio cracked up.

Kyle growled, "It's him, Elf. He's 'The Boss' behind it all!"

Then Joel called over, "Get the kids safe, Preston."

Keith muttered, "Preston? Since when?"

But Joel was already giving orders to his team. I could not believe what I saw when Kyle plainly disappeared from where he had been standing! I mean it; not a sound or anything; he was there one second and gone the next! While I was still searching the area for Kyle, Prez stood and shouted, "All you guys and girls, I want you over behind the video displays and speakers." He pointed and screamed, "MOVE! NOW!"

"Oh crap!" I hollered as I stood, and quickly grabbed Jonah, then raced to where Prez had pointed we should hide.

"What the hell is goin' on?" Jonah screamed.

I frantically explained, "Clan Short found 'The Boss' behind the child sex ring!"

"I wanna see!" Jonah hollered.

"Are you nuts?" I ranted, "You saw what I-Cheya did to Mister Kanes!" Parking my butt behind the speakers, I forced Jonah down into my lap and held him there.

In less than a minute, all of us were gathered behind the speakers. Prez, Keith, their father and Mike's father counted heads to make sure we were all safe. Mike's dad, still wearing his Police uniform, said, "Stay here and stay down low in case things get ugly," before running around the speakers.

Mike shook his head and grumbled, "If he gets hurt, my mom is gonna kill me!"

Derrick disbelievingly glared at Mike. "Oh," Derrick droned, "she'll break your heart." Mike nodded, then rested his head on Derrick's shoulder. Wrapping an arm around Mike, Derrick shifted closer and kissed the top of Mike's head.

Hearing that short conversation, I realized that Mike and Derrick were virtually inseparable. They knew each other so well that they could almost read each others minds. I wondered what it might be like to love someone that much; how wonderful that must be.

All I've ever known was physical love, the sexual acts, but not the emotions that should be behind them. At the orphanage, if we didn't have sex with the adults as we were told, we wouldn't be fed a meal. And the 'meals' were small to begin with. I wanted to spend a lot more time with both of them but didn't know how to accomplish that. Under no circumstances did I want them to think I had sexual desire for them because I honestly did not. I simply had a need for exposure to that sort of love. My dilemma was figuring out how to tell them what I wanted since I couldn't really describe it in terms other than 'to learn the emotion of love'. And that's a really poor description, considering they were already obviously in love with each other.

We heard Joel challenging the Prime Minister. We heard the Prime Minister say, "I think not." Then there were shouts, gunfire and other sounds that might've been phaser fire followed by a man's scream.

After a few seconds of silence, we all heard Joel say, "You are sentenced to death... in case you didn't know it... but I think you did... okay, that was a total waste of breath. Blow your nose, Bo-Bo." Joel called, "Your Majesties. Will you come up here, please?" and we all followed Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick around to the front of the speakers to see what would happen next.

Kaleo joked, "Music, politics, violence and vaudeville! That's what I call entertainment! What a night!" Knowing Kaleo too well, I lost it and cracked up. At least I wasn't laughing alone though, almost all the kids were giggling.

When I looked up at the stage again, the King, Queen, Kyle, Tyler and Galli were on the stage with Joel. "Yes, your Highness?" the King prodded.

Joel said, "The Islands and Republic of Hawaii need leadership, and the Government has been found lacking. Are you prepared to regain that which was taken from you?"

"I... I do not know, Highness. I never expected for this to be a possibility," the King answered.

Joel clasped his hands together and said one word, "Sa'ren."

Before the King, the Shattered Sword of Surak appeared in the young Vulcan's hands.

/Are you willing to rule with compassion, to guide with wisdom, to be the first in defense and the last to have comfort? Are you willing to be all you can be?/

The King blinked and stared at the light-pulsating Shattered Sword. He nodded slowly, "I will try... but I don't think I'm ready."

/That is why you are the perfect choice. I Crown you King of the Jeweled Isles, Lord of Hawaii and Protector of the Pacific Rim./

The Sword burst out in brilliant light. Around the heads of both the King and Queen beautiful Crowns appeared. On the apex of the brow of each, the Royal standard of Hawaii was clearly visible.

"Welcome back, Your Royal Majesties," Joel grinned as he bowed from the waist. Everyone in the audience stood and applauded.

Then I remembered that Hawaiian television crews were on location and everything that we didn't see would likely be shown on the news that night. I reminded Derrick and Mike of that, and we were looking forward to watching it on TV at the hotel.

That's what my first day of freedom and as a Clan Short kid was like. For another hour and a half, we gathered back at the dining fields and relaxed, waiting for our bus ride to Anahola Bay. The stage was cleaned up and the final entertainment of the evening began, consisting of traditional Hawaiian music by Ho'okena. All the Ewa Beach boys sat with Kaleo, Tory, Jonah and I. Joining us were Sean and Horacio, who introduced us to two of their friends, Hank Leve and Keanu Hekekia.

I found myself knee-drumming to the Hawaiian music and Derrick noticed. He smiled, "You seem to know a least a little of what you're doing," and then glanced down at my hands and knees.

Still, I wasn't quite ready to announce to everyone at the table that I was an android. I had good feelings that no one would really care, but I didn't want to ruin a very good day. I shrugged, "I guess there's some old Hawaiian blood running through my veins."

"It's very kewl bro," Derrick smiled. "When I get around to showing you some drumming, I think I may start with hand drums like bongos and congas. What do you think?"

Excited about the opportunity, I squealed, "Would you really?"

Derrick nodded and chuckled, "Music is the same all over the world. Drum kits are only one facet of the art. I can play bongos and congas too. It's just not a big part of most rock or jazz, until you start getting into Latin rhythms, anyway."

I was so happy, I could only nod but honestly, I wanted to hug Derrick so much at that moment. In only a few hours, he had become so important to me, I hoped that we would see a lot of each other in future days and weeks. Derrick and I began discussing drum kits. Derrick's kit was a Pearl Vision set in metallic silver-flake. It had a bass drum, five inch deep snare drum, two mounted tom-toms and two floor tom-toms. His cymbals were all Paiste and he was most proud of his "sound edge" hi-hats. His own kit at home was big but not as big as the one he played on stage. He wanted a set of "roto toms" and more cymbals, like he had on the set on stage that night.

When the bus showed up to take us to Anahola Bay, thankfully Jonah and I got to sit nearest to the Ewa Beach gang, at the back of the bus. It was after midnight and everyone was tired, including myself, but for me it was nice. Even better yet, Mike, Derrick, Jonah and I did get to share a room together like we planned.

Derrick and Mike went directly to the bathroom to take a shower. After the concert, they said that they felt slimy and sweaty. Jonah got settled in one of the beds and I turned the television on. But I didn't know which channels were where, so I flipped channels until I found the news. By the time Derrick and Mike came out of the shower, Jonah was asleep. They were only wearing towels though and I uncontrollably blushed. There was no denying they were very cute, but I knew they were a couple and I sure didn't want to have sex with either of them. Sadly, they programmed my android brain like any other human boy's, and my dick started getting hard anyway.

"Relax, Reyes," Mike softly chuckled. "We made love in the shower so everything's kewl. Get yourself comfy and ready for bed."

Shaking his head sadly, Derrick chuckled, "Mike, give him a break."

Noticing Jonah asleep, Mike shrugged and removed his towel. Placing it across a chair to dry, he whispered, "Like any one of us doesn't know. Our things have minds of their own most of the time! I'll bet even Jonah knows." For some reason, even though what Mike said made perfect sense, I really felt uncomfortable seeing him naked. From his long brown damp hair to the bush around his circumcised dick to his feet and toes were all really cute. Thankfully, my dick realized the rest of me was uncomfortable and shrunk back to it's normal state.

"He should only just be starting to ask questions to figure it out though," Derrick reminded.

Mike turned to me and asked, "Did they show anything from the luau yet, Reyes?"

Shaking my head, I said, "I think this is a United States channel."

"Because of the information blackout, they won't have nothin'," Derrick explained. He then asked for the remote control. I gave it to him. Sitting beside me on the edge of the bed, still wearing only a towel, he flipped to channel nine saying, "They'll replay the local eleven o'clock news in a few minutes." Mike sat on the edge of the other bed naked and Derrick was sitting beside me, on the same bed Jonah was sleeping in. Derrick softly asked, "They sexually abused you too?"

I nodded.

Mike asked, "Have you ever liked or loved someone your own age?"

I shook my head and answered, "Never," even though I really couldn't recall if I had or had not.

Derrick asked, "They fucked with Jonah too?"

"As little as possible," I replied. "The older kids at our orphanage took care of the adults as often as possible, so they wouldn't mess with the kids too much."

Making a crooked, unhappy face, Mike grunted, "That means yes?"

I nodded, "I was getting a beating this morning for taking on an adult so Jonah wouldn't have to. The bastard liked beating us and got off on doing it too. Then the Clan showed up and Vulcans beamed in, saving me from the worst part."

Uncertainly, Derrick repeated, "The worst part?"

I nodded, "After my backside was good and red and I was crying, he would've fucked me."

Scrunching his face, Derrick shook his head and grumbled, "That's so friggin' kinky and plain ol' wrong!"

"Reyes?" Mike softly called. I turned to him and he asked, "Take your shirt off, please?"

Vigorously shaking my head, I said, "I'm marked and bruised, if that's what you're asking. The Vulcans fixed up what they could. The rest will heal in time."

Derrick asked, "Are you sleeping with your clothes on tonight?" I shook my head and he said, "Then we're gonna see you either tonight or tomorrow anyway."

"We're prepared for it now," Mike added. I couldn't see any fault in that reasoning so, I took my shirt off. Mike groaned then leaned forward and rested his head in his hands. When I turned to Derrick, there were tears rolling down his cheeks. Mike got up and went to the bathroom. I heard water running and he returned with a hand towel, saying, "This is gonna feel cold, dude." He gently laid the towel on my back and I flinched.

Derrick softly shushed me and wiped his eyes, saying, "You're covered with bruises and welts. Never again, Reyes. You'll never have to deal with that shit ever again."

I began to cry because they were being so nice to me. Mike worried, "It hurts?"

Shaking my head, I sobbed, "This is the sort of stuff we did for each other at the orphanage. You guys weren't there but you know what to do. I can only wonder why you care so much?"

"Because you're obviously hurtin', dude!" Mike firmly said.

Derrick added, "Real human beings don't do the shit that was done to you or any of the other kids. Anyone with an ounce of consideration in their body would do what we're doing."

Mike softly said, "I'm gonna remove the towel now before it starts to dry on you and hurts you more. It might sting a little as I remove it though, okay?"

"Okay," I said, and tightened my jaw in preparation. More carefully than anyone had ever done it before, Mike removed the towel and returned to the bathroom. It didn't hurt a bit.

While Mike rinsed out the towel, Derrick gently turned my head to him. All he said was, "I feel for ya, dude," and I lost any chance of controlling myself. Not once in my memory had I cried so hard. I felt ashamed for showing them, for accepting their kindness, for allowing what happened to ever happen, but I only cried on Derrick's shoulder and didn't say a word. I wanted to tell him everything but couldn't make myself speak. If I had any human courage at all, while I was at the orphanage, I would have stuck my finger in a two hundred and twenty volt outlet and fried every circuit in my positronic brain. With my luck, it wouldn't have destroyed me though. It might have left me blind, deaf or mute and still a fuck toy for those perverts.

Mike came out of the bathroom and gently laid the cold wet towel on my back again. I looked up just in time to watch him run out of the room naked with an ice bucket in his hand.

Forcing a weak smile, I reminded, "He's got no clothes on!"

"So what?" Derrick smiled. "We want you to sleep tonight."

Finally, after another quiet minute, I grew a human pair, stood up, then took my shorts and underwear off, explaining, "My butt hurts worse than my back."

Derrick gasped, then growled, "They used a belt on you too?"

Taking in a deep, quivering breath, I nodded, "After it was red, sore and I was crying, he would've..."

"My God!" Derrick croaked, and shot up off the bed so fast that his towel fell off. Seeing that my entire front wasn't too bruised or battered, Derrick pointed at the bed and ordered, "Lay down, face first."

I did as I was told and Derrick got another cold wet towel from the bathroom. He returned and put the second towel across my battered bum. The news program started on the television. Mike walked in with two buckets of ice in time to hear the news lady say, "Our top story tonight, the R.O.H. Prime Minister was found guilty of organizing and profiting from a nationwide child sex scandal and was executed by representatives of Clan Short of Vulcan. More on this story and others after these commercial messages."

Mike smiled at Derrick, "You got him to take his drawers off. Excellent!"

Shaking his head, Derrick frowned, "No, dude, not at all excellent," and then lifted a corner of the towel covering my ass.

"Jesus!" Mike gasped. He then started cussing up a storm. "I hope every one of them God damned sons of bitches were killed slowly and as painfully as fucking possible!" Then Mike squealed, "Oops!"

"Nice goin'!" Derrick chuckled.

"Reyes?" Jonah called, and then squatted on the floor before me at the end of the bed. "Are you all right, bro?"

Reaching for my best friend, I assured, "They're helping me, Jonah. Just like Kaleo, Tory and Liki did."

Looking around anxiously at all three of us, Jonah wondered, "They didn't try to..."

"NO!" We simultaneously shouted.

Beginning to laugh, Mike howled, "Oh Jesus Christ! We're all naked! Of course he thought we were fuckin' around!"

"We honestly never even considered it," Derrick chuckled, and pointed at his own flaccid dick, then at Mike's.

Mike smiled, "In the state Reyes is in, no one's gonna be messing with him for at least a week... maybe two!"

"That's fine by me," I giggled.

Derrick called, "Jonah?" My friend looked up and Derrick said, "Stand up and turn slowly in place, please?" Jonah was only wearing white briefs and did as Derrick asked. Derrick sighed, "You're bruised, but nowhere near as bad as Reyes. Do you hurt anywhere?"

Shaking his head, Jonah giggled and shamelessly pushed his briefs off, then turned around again. Mike cracked up and fell back on the bed laughing, "If any of the Clan dudes walked in on us now!"

We were all laughing when the news started and we missed at least half of what was said. Even after a parental discretion warning, they blurred out the picture of the Prime Minister. We could barely see anything but his form falling down. Then they moved on to an interview with the King. Mike loudly complained, "What about our concert? Fuck me! That's way more important than this shit!"

Giggling hysterically, Derrick went over and kissed Mike hard. When they broke their kiss, they each said, "I love you," then returned to caring for my back. Once the towels were replaced and ice was applied, Mike changed the channel on the television. He found cartoons and settled there. Until about two in the morning, we watched TV while Mike and Derrick periodically replaced the towels on my back and butt. I don't believe that I've ever felt so cared for, peaceful or content.

As I drifted off to sleep, I finally figured out that Derrick and Mike weren't like boyfriends or brothers to me. They felt more like parents. That was a stupid idea. I was thirteen and would always appear thirteen. How could two fourteen-year-old boys be fathers to me? Once they discovered that I was an android, they probably would not want to be anything more than friends. I would have to be satisfied with them as friends. Maybe even best friends. It wasn't all I wanted but it would be enough.

Saturday morning, I was woke by Levi calling my name and finger-combing my hair. He said, "The sun will be rising soon, Reyes. Do you want to see it?"

"Yeah," I croaked, and then called, "Jonah?"

Jonah groaned, "What?"

"Sunrise, bro."


I giggled and sat up. Levi softly said, "There's French toast sticks and juice on the dresser. Let Derrick and Mike sleep until you get out of the shower."

I stretched and yawned, "Yeah. They were so great last night, Leev."

Levi giggled, "So I heard."

"How did you hear?" I wondered.

"You were talking in your sleep," Levi giggled.

Stunned because no one had ever told me that before, I asked, "Was I really?"

"Well," Levi giggled, "it's my good hearing, I guess. No one else heard, I'm sure."

I leaned forward to turn on the light, but the bathroom light turned on behind me. Levi was standing over there. I could have sworn he was standing right in front of me a second ago! I exclaimed, "How the heck?"

Levi held a finger to his lips and giggled. "Shhh! Don't wake up your dads."

Standing up and heading for the bathroom, I whispered, "You're so weird!"

"Boy, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that!" Levi giggled. "What you wish for could become your reality, if you want it enough." He then ran to the door and waved. I went into the bathroom and tried to look at my back. Then I stuck my head out the doorway to call Jonah again, expecting Levi would still be in the room, but he wasn't there. I never heard the door open or close but he was gone. I shook Jonah and walked to the door. It was double-locked and the security bar was still in place. I hummed and wondered, how did Levi get in the room in the first place? The dead bolt and security bar can only be done from inside the room. And he called Mike and Derrick my dads! Did I really call them that in my sleep? If I did, I could only hope that I didn't say anything about being an android, or that they slept through it and didn't hear.

Standing by the dresser and watching me, Jonah called, "Reyes? Come on, bro."

Smiling, I whispered, "Since when am I 'bro'?"

"Since last night," Jonah reminded. He then offered me a French toast stick. I took it and began eating. After more than a few of them and finishing one of the glasses of juice, Jonah seriously said, "There's no one I want to have as a brother more than you. We gotta stick together."

Feeling incredibly intense chills race up and down my spine, I softly said, "I promise, we will." Gesturing to Derrick and Mike, I asked, "What do you think of them?"

Jonah brightly smiled, "They're real nice. I can't believe we spent almost an hour awake together naked and none of us got hard!"

I led the way into the bathroom so we could talk behind a closed door. Once there and in the shower, I shared my hopes with Jonah. "I want them as our fathers, Jonah. It would be so kewl if you, me and them were together, every day and night, just like last night."

"Could that really happen?" Jonah wondered.

I began soaping up while Jonah shampooed his hair, saying, "I don't think so, but we could treat them that way anyway."

With his eyes still closed as he was shampooing, Jonah said, "You know that little kid that was following us around yesterday?"


"Uh huh. He was fostered and messed with like we were. He's really nice."

After thinking for a minute, I offered, "Well, they're gonna create a new Clan Division here. All the Clan guys consider each other brothers so we could add Dillon to our family easily."

Rinsing his hair, Jonah wondered, "Who do you think they'll make Division leader?"

I shrugged and picked up the bottle of shampoo giggling, "I hope it's Derrick."

Jonah laughed, "I hope it's Mike!"

For the rest of our shower, we let our imaginations run amok. I sniggered, "It's Keith!"

"Nope, Corey!"


"John!" Jonah howled. He then loudly said, "Oh my God! He's so drop dead cute too!"

I mooed and teased, "Jonah's got a boyfriend!"

He smirked, "In my dreams maybe."

"Then why have you popped a bone?"

Giggling, Jonah explained, "Because when he hugged me last night, I suddenly felt so much better about everything. It was like, for a few seconds, nobody ever fucked with me. Whoever gets John as a partner is gonna be the luckiest person on Earth."

"So you do like him that way?"

Shaking his head, Jonah said, "I don't want a boyfriend or a girlfriend yet. All I want is a big brother and a little brother. Two fathers would be pretty kewl too."

"They don't scare you, do they? I mean, after the orphanage?"

"After last night, watching them with you, not at all."

I suggested, "Let's start showing them how we really feel today then."

"I'll talk with Dillon about it too."

"Kewl. I'm done."

"Me too."

We got out of the tub, dried off, brushed our teeth then went to get our clothes. I picked up my underwear and slid into them, then grabbed my shorts. In the light from the bathroom, I noticed that there weren't any grass stains. The little bit of barbeque sauce that dripped onto them during the luau was gone too. As I pulled them up, I watched Jonah dressing. His shorts were clean too! After sleeping under a tree in the grass and wearing them all last night, our clothes should have seemed at least a little dirty, but they weren't. Picking up my shirt, I raised it to my face and inhaled through my nose. It didn't smell like me at all. It didn't smell of anything, as if it were brand new.

Jonah incredulously giggled, "What're you doin'?"

Raising my index finger to my lips, I softly shushed him and grinned, "I'll tell ya later."

We slid into our sandals, then Jonah started to wake Mike and I woke Derrick. Once we got responses from them, we reminded them of the sunrise and begged them to please come watch it with us. Mike groaned. Jonah giggled at him, then leaned over and kissed his cheek. Mike shuddered and giggled. Derrick reached for me and asked, "How're ya feelin', Reyes?"

"Much better," I answered. Taking a lesson from Jonah, I leaned over then kissed Derrick's cheek and whispered, "Thank you, for last night."

Derrick smiled and opened his eyes saying, "Any time."

Jonah told them, "There's food and juice on the dresser."

Mike threw the sheet and blanket aside, then sat up in bed. Again, he groaned and leaned to one side, collapsing back onto the mattress. Jonah and I cracked up. Derrick looked over at Mike, then goosed his partner's ass. Mike squealed and lurched, then giggled. Tossing the covers aside, Derrick sat up. For the first time, I saw him with a morning erection and turned away. Seeing him hard felt so wrong! I didn't care about seeing Jonah's little boner or seeing any of the other teenagers at our orphanage with hard-ons, but seeing Derrick that way felt so weird. I told myself, if I really wanted him as a father figure, I had better get used to it. I asked, "You'll watch the sunrise with us?"

Derrick nodded and grinned, "We'll meet you at the beach. It's right across the road. Lemme just get lazy-ass motivated."

Mike smirked, "Bite me!" Without delay, Derrick leaned back and bit Mike on the tush! Jonah and I cracked up again, then left them to get dressed.

Closing the door behind me, I saw Mike and Derrick start wrestling around on the bed. We could hear them laughing as we walked past our room.

I cheered, "They're so great!"

Jonah nodded and smiled, "I know it."

Breathing deeply in through my nose and smelling the fresh salt air, I told Jonah, "We're free, bro."

He nodded, "No more whoopin's, no more sex, no more pictures, nothin' to be scared of or worried about. It seems soooo... different."

"I'm liking this a lot," I admitted. "Have we ever woke up talking and laughing like this before?"

Shaking his head, Jonah reminded, "We'd be making our own breakfast, cleaning it up, doing chores or worse."

"Not today, not ever again."

Crossing the parking lot, we could see other rescued kids at the street. It was still dark and the street lights were on. There wasn't a car in sight, so kids were walking across the street in groups, except for one. When we got closer, we recognized Dillon. He obviously recognized us too and ran to us. I expected him to run towards Jonah and he did. After they greeted and hugged each other, he then grinned and jumped at me, forcing me to catch him. Again, another pleasant chill raced up and down my spine.

"Did you sleep well, Dillon?"

He giggled, "Yup! Derrick's mommy and daddy is real nice!" Bursting at the seems, Dillon rambled, "She put me in the tub and washed me, but didn't play with my pee-pee! He helped me dress and didn't play with my pee-pee either! They says they didn't want to, that it was bad for my other mommy and daddy to do that!"

Jonah grinned and wiped his eyes. Leave it to a five year old to make the truth plain. For the first time, to me anyway, my body was mine. I could choose my friends. I could choose whether or not to have sex and who I wanted to have sex with. I wondered what it would be like to want to masturbate. If I wanted to, I could do that now too. I had never wanted to before, that I could recall. The world was a different place suddenly. With that, I hugged the little boy in my arms and kissed his cheek. Dillon ate it up and hugged me back with all his strength.

Arriving at the beach, we joined with the others and sat in the sand together. Seeing some other kids coming, Dillon raced to them and brought them back to us saying, "Jonah and Reyes, this is Geoff, and this is Richie, and this is Dee, and this is Kokaku. They's my friends and ya know what? Nobody played with their pee-pees either! Not once! All night long!"

Helplessly giggling at Dillon's enthusiasm, Jonah instructed, "Breathe, bro!"

"Bro?" Dillon squealed. He stood there glancing between Jonah, his other friends and me with his mouth hanging open.

From behind us, Kaleo loudly said, "We're all brothers and sisters now, in case no one has figured it out yet." We all turned and watched him approach with Tory, Sean and Horacio. Stopping nearer the larger group, Kaleo said, "Pay attention, guys. I learned a little something last night. Today, we're going to become a new Clan Short Division. They don't know it yet, but the entire Ewa Beach group are going to be our new leaders." Excited gasps, exclamations and squeals erupted. Kaleo widely smiled at the enthusiastic response, then said, "All of you have choices now, choices we never had before. The best part is, when the Ewa Beach group are made our leaders, they'll automatically be able to adopt kids. If you want to, you can choose any of them, or their parents, to be your parents. It's totally up to you, but I just wanted you all to know, you have choices. No one's forcing anything on us any more. What makes you feel good is probably good for you."

Hearing that, Jonah and I locked eyes. Slowly, our smiles spread. My only worry was whether Mike or Derrick cared that I was an android. That meant I had to tell them that before telling them that I wanted them as fathers.

The sky was changing from black to dark blue. Minutes passed and, far out on the eastern horizon, shades of purple and red began to appear. Behind us, we heard harmonized singing. "Good morning mister sunshine, you brighten up my day. Come sit beside me, in your way. I see you ev'ry morning, outside the restaurant, the music plays, so nonchalant, ahh!"

Tory giggled and Kaleo laughed, "Good mornin' to you dudes too!"

"How is everyone?" Prez smiled.

"Fed, clean and dressed in clean clothes!" Kaleo excitedly answered.

I so badly wanted to jump up and run to Derrick. There was something about him that was so kewl. It was the way he walked and spoke. He was quiet but not shy. He was taller than me but not taller than Prez or Keith. Just watching Prez, Keith, Derrick, Mike, John and Bruce walk nearer to us and knowing what they didn't know, set my heart racing and made my skin crawl with gooseflesh.

From the northern end of the beach, we heard the sound of bongos being beat and turned to see Kyle, Tyler and Levi marching toward us. Suddenly, Derrick had a set of four tenor drums before him and drum sticks in his hands; Mike had a snare drum before him and Keith and Prez found themselves holding pairs of cymbals. Where and how in the hell that happened, I have no idea!

Following the tempo and rhythm being set by the three purple-eyed boys, Derrick and Mike played along. Kyle, Tyler and Levi loudly sang: "Why don't you ask him if he's going to stay? Why don't you ask him if he's going away?

"Why don't you tell me what's going on? Why don't you tell me who's on the phone? Why don't you ask him what's going on?

"Why don't you ask him who's the latest on his throne? Don't say that you love me! Just tell me that you want me! Tusk! Just say that you love me! Don't tell me that you... Real savage like! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk! Tusk!"

Just as quickly as the drums and cymbals appeared, they were suddenly gone. The sun was fully above the horizon. It was a bright clear morning and I didn't imagine it. What kind of magic is this, I wondered. So many remarkable things had happened since we were rescued, I couldn't begin to list them all. But it wasn't over yet.

Two girls got up and ran to stand before the four members of Old Habits. One asked, "Are you stayin'?"

The other girl said, "You can't just go away now; we need all of you."

Walking up and joining in, Kaleo said, "Tell us, what's really going on."

"I really don't know what to say," Prez stammered.

Keith nodded and explained, "We're not Clan Short. We rescued a handful of kids off Ewa Beach, but that's nothin' compared to the Clan."

"I strongly disagree," Galli said. How he appeared with the rest of the Clan Short group is beyond me! But there they were, standing just a few yards to the side of the Ewa Beach group. Geoff ran over to Drew and Corey. The little guy practically dragged them, John and Bruce over to us and began his introductions again.

"So do I," Joel added.

Kevin offered, "You just don't realize what you've done."

"Last night, while we ate, you told us how you'd like us to be," Tory reminded.

Kaleo clarified, "We're here because you suggested it. You made us really notice the sunset; you entertained us and for lots of us, it was the first time we really listened to music and paid attention to the words. The lunatic fringe you sang about – the low-lifes that made us service their perverted wants."

Tory remembered, "Takin' care of business? Well, ya have. Time? The time is now."

"You dedicated a song to the Clan last night," Joel said. "I'd love to change the world but I don't know what to do?"

"Tell me where is sanity?" Kevin asked.

Kaleo recited; "I'm destitute, I'm looking for protection, I want love, And physical asylum, A vagabond, Running from destruction, Cover me, While I seek defection. Rescue me... rescue us."

"Didn't you know what you were singing?" Tory excitedly asked.

Keith stammered, "Uh... you... you're inviting us into the Clan then?"

Joel grinned and exchanged another look with Kevin, Kyle and Tyler. All three nodded at him. Joel turned back to the four boys before him. Rather than speak to them, he raised his voice, "Corey, Drew, John and Bruce! Front and center!"

The four boys left us and gathered around Keith, Prez, Derrick and Mike.

Joel clearly said, "Let it be known that as of 6:54 AM, Hawaii Time, on the 30th of October, Clan Short Pacific Rim Division has been established by the authority of the Acting Patriarch of Clan Short, me! Sa'ren Joel Short, son of Spock, son of Sarek of the House of Surak of Vulcan. Also, by my authority, I now appoint the Division Head - until it can be ratified by Cory Short when he takes up his responsibilities..."

Joel let his voice trail off as he looked up at Prez.

"YOU'VE GOT TO BE JOKING!" Prez bellowed. He turned to Keith then stammered, "No, not me, a leader?"

Shaking his head, Keith chuckled, "Well it ain't me!"

"Don't look at me!" Derrick and Mike chorused.

"Prez?" Joel called softly.

Prez turned and looked down at the small thirteen year old Prince.

"Keith is just as able as you to lead these guys. But he'd jump in before thinking everything through. You... you would think more carefully. With Keith at your side, both traits - which are both good - will guide and guard this Division. And so, you are the Division Director."

Looking up into the morning sky, Prez loudly cried, "MA-AAAAA!"

From the tree line behind him, standing amongst the group of eight adults, Jennifer Hundser answered, "Sorry, hon... I agree with the little elf!"


"Thank you, hon!" Mrs. Hundser giggled.

"Are you sure, Joel?" Prez softly asked.

"Yes," Joel nodded. "But, if you think it'll help, would two others telling you help?"

"What do you mean?" Prez asked with worry.

I-Cheya moved into the center of the group and breathed on Prez, causing him to tremble violently.

From out of nowhere, we all heard a man's voice say; "Son, I agree with Joel. You are all I could wish as a son and heir."

Then came a woman's voice. "You make me so proud. You will always make me proud. These children need you, Preston; more than you know. Be a father to them all. I love you. We love you so much."

Prez fell to his knees as tears poured from his eyes. He reached and pulled Joel into his arms, barely managing to say, "I... I accept, elf," before dissolving into gentle sobs. The other seven boys quickly moved to surround them with hugs. I was up and racing to Derrick and Mike like my shorts were on fire. In no time, all eighty-seven rescued kids were gathered around the Clan Short boys and our new leaders.

Joel lifted his voice as he looked around at the group surrounding him and Prez and started to sing: "Well, I know this life is filled with sorrow, And there are days when the pain just lasts and lasts, But I know there will come a day, When all our tears are washed away, With a break in the clouds, His glory coming down, And in that moment, Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, That God is love and love has come for us all. Every heart set free, every one will see, That God is love and love has come for us all."

Joel lifted Prez' tear stained face and kissed his nose, then sang the next verse as if for Prez alone. "For anybody who has ever lost a loved one, And you feel like you had to let go too soon, I know it hurts to say goodbye, But don't you know it's just a matter of time, Till the tears are gonna end, You'll see them once again, And in that moment, Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, That God is love and love has come for us all, Every heart set free, every one will see, That God is love and love has come for us all."

Everyone gathered there easily picked up on the words and sang the last line a few times. From some unknowable place, a tremor ran through me. I looked at Jonah and Dillon and could tell that they felt it too, but we all continued singing: "Love has come for us all, Love has come for us all!"

We stopped singing, then glanced around at our new Clan brothers and sisters. Overwhelming cheers and applause erupted from the crowd of almost one hundred kids and adults on the beach. We were all so happy. Having never known ecstasy, I wondered if that was what we were all feeling as us rescued kids mulled around hugging and kissing each other. I didn't know the names of half the people that I was hugging, but it didn't matter in the least.

Keith asked, "What's so funny, Prez?"

Prez shrugged and softly chuckled, "We are The Rimmers!" Burying his face in Prez' shoulder, Keith cracked up.

"I knew I should have named them something else, Kevvy," Joel giggled.

"I don't know," Kevin mused, "it does have a certain poetic charm to it, don't it?"

Bruce innocently asked, "What's a rimmer?" Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike blushed scarlet. Smiling widely, I wondered how they might explain this remark away.

"It's because of their taste in steakhouses," Drew explained. "Because they like to eat Outback." Corey laughed so hard that he could only stagger around dizzily.

John pointed at Prez and laughed, "You're a real Queen and a leader now!" Drew and Corey howled laughing.

Prez playfully counted down; "Five.. four... three..." Giggling, John and Bruce backed off into the pack of kids.

Derrick asked, "What's the first order of business, Prez?"

"Good question," Prez replied and glanced around thoughtfully. "What do you think, Keith?"

Keith shrugged, "Everybody's in such a good mood, we should let them be kids first. Then we can get some organization."

Prez shouted, "Let's go swimmin'!" We all hooted and hollered. Prez then loudly added, "Clothes optional!"

Once again, I hadn't been dressed much more than an hour and I was stripping down with Jonah, Dillon, Geoff, Richie and Dee. In less than a minute, we were down at the water line, kicking cool water at each other. Every now and again, I'd look up and check where Derrick was. As long as he was nearby, I was happy. Jumping onto my back, Jonah held on tight and giggled, "It's gonna happen, Reyes! I can feel it like it already has happened; we're brothers!"

Before I could reply to Jonah, Dillon was barreling towards me. It was a good thing I was hunched over with Jonah on my back, or my nuts would be rattling around in my throat! Jonah jumped off my back and gathered Dillon in his arms. All three of us were happier than we ever had been and told each other so. I explained my concern to Jonah and Dillon; that I was afraid Mike or Derrick wouldn't want an android son. Of course, Jonah knew me but Dillon was stunned, then thrilled to learn I was an android. He took my hand and inspected it, then lifted my arm to see underneath. Dillon's hand was reaching for my crotch, but thankfully Jonah stopped him and laughed, "His dick is real flesh and blood too!"

Blushing intensely, I smiled and explained, "Only my brain is positronic. The rest of me is human. I eat, drink, pee and take a crap just like you, bro."

Looking up at me, Jonah assured, "That's exactly why I know it won't matter to Mike or Derrick that you're an android. You have feelings, bro. In every visible way, you're human. And they proved it last night. They care about you and they care about me too."

Above our heads, Prez flew naked over us, screaming in a mixture of fear and pleasure. Jonah and I laughed hysterically while Dillon giggled and clapped his hands. All of our new leaders were first to be tossed by I-Cheya. All of us gathered around the Vulcan beast and anxiously waited our turns for a tongue bath and to be tossed into the bay. After I had been tossed, I waited in the bay for Jonah and Dillon. What was amazing to me was that both of them landed about a meter in front of me. It was no problem to make sure they were both perfectly fine and we started swimming back to the beach.

We had barely arrived when Richie, Geoff and Dee came and pulled Dillon along with them to I-Cheya. The massive Vulcan bear was in the water with Joel and Kevin. A horde of little kids were climbing up to I-Cheya's back. Then I-Cheya swam out and caught a wave, giving the kids the thrill of their lives and their first surfing lessons. It was a little too exciting for a few kids. They hurried up the beach to the adults and soon a bunch of them were heading back to the hotel. Jonah took the next ride with I-Cheya, Joel, Kevin, Cesar and Felipe. This was a much bigger wave though, perhaps six or even eight feet tall. Riding surfboards on the top of the wave were Prez with Levi on his shoulders, and Keith with Tyler on his shoulders.

After riding that wave to shore, Jonah hurried to me and laughed, "You have got to try it," then pulled me over. With me on I-Cheya's back were Joel, Kevin, Drew, Corey, Bruce and John. I-Cheya paddled out again and we lined up with Mike, Derrick, Prez and Keith for the next ride. Kyle was on Derrick's shoulders, Tyler was still on Keith's shoulders but Levi was now on Mike's shoulders. Suddenly, the water level lowered by at least three feet and we were being hurled forward on a wave that never seemed to stop growing.

Standing with Tyler on his shoulders, Keith hollered, "I said ten feet, Ty!"

"This is ten feet!" Ty giggled.

"Oopsie!" Kyle laughed, "Plus my ten feet!"

Almost in unison, Keith, Prez, Mike and Derrick screamed; "SHIT!" while Levi, Kyle and Tyler giggled hysterically. I-Cheya huff-huffed his chuckles.

From I-Cheya's back, I could see Kaleo, Hank, Liki, Keanu, Sean, Horacio and all the bigger kids grabbing little kids and scurrying out of the water. Somehow, and I still don't know how it happened, the wave began shrinking down and down until it was barely three feet high.

"Spoilsport!" Joel whined.

I-Cheya just huff-huffed his laughter.

Prez raced out of the water with his surfboard. Derrick, Mike and Keith came to me. Derrick asked Keith to give me the surfboard he had been using so I could go out and learn to surf. Keith happily gave me his board, then my favorite two new leaders showed me how to paddle out and stand on the board. Strangely, I had absolutely no problem surfing, even though I was scared and thought I might not be able to do it. We only got two rides together before Prez and Keith called Derrick and Mike to shore. It then became my task to teach Kaleo, Sean and Hank how to surf. As it turned out, I was teaching all of the older kids to surf for the next twenty minutes or so. Now and then, I noticed all the new leaders talking with Uncle Iokii.

We were then all called together for a beach meeting. Even the adults were there with us. Prez loudly announced; "You've all been told to think about where you'd like to live and friends you'd like to stay with; now I'll explain why. We just had a talk with Uncle Iokii. Clan Short Pacific Rim Division will have bases on four islands. On Hawaii, we'll have about two square miles of land. On Maui, we'll have another large lot of land. On O'ahu, we'll have three more large lots of land; one in Ewa Beach for our base of operations and the other two for whatever purposes we decide. Finally, here on Kaua'i we have the land south of the wildlife refuge, where we had the luau last night.

"Our goal is to make certain you all have the best possible living arrangements; no more than two to a bedroom so no one will ever feel alone or cramped; you'll all have recreation facilities and easy access to beaches; and if there's been some hobby or special interest you have, let us know what you need, we'll do our very best to supply it. When I asked Uncle Iokii how we could ever repay his generosity, he only asked that we care for and help each other. We can always try our best to do that, can't we?" A roar of affirmations exploded from all us rescued kids.

Keith leaned over to Prez and whispered something.

Nodding, Prez waited for everyone to chill then said, "Being the generous and humble man he is, Uncle Iokii has left but he has promised to visit us often. When we see him again, we're all gonna show our gratitude the best ways we can, won't we?" Everyone nodded and again agreed with Prez, albeit more softly.

When the sounds died down, Prez said, "Soon, more of our Clan brothers and sisters will be visiting us. We're gonna show them the paradise we've always dreamed of, aren't we?" Another enthusiastic cheer burst forth.

Mike chuckled, "You're more of a ham than I am!" and Prez playfully shoved him.

"I only have one more announcement," Prez began and watched the group of adults carefully. "Since all our lives are changing for the better, Uncle Iokii also wanted to make sure our parents could devote their skills and time to the Clan. Towards that end, all their mortgages are paid in full." Eight adult's mouths hung open in amazement. Prez laughed, "Now all you guys have eight real parents that care, and our parents have more kids than they can count!" Almost all of us rescued kids laughed and surrounded our new surrogate parents. Jonah and I moved closer to Derrick and Mike.

Tapping his shoulder, I called, "Derrick?"

He spun around and faced me smiling widely. "Wassup, Reyes?"

Uncertainly and with all my hopes bunched into a knot in my throat, I asked, "Can Jonah and I stay with you and Mike, please?"

"'Course!" Derrick quickly answered. "We kind o' figured and hoped you'd like to be near us."

Relieved, I hugged him tight and laughed with tears running down my face. Jonah went to Mike and hugged him. Derrick softly shushed me and whispered in my ear. "Lives of pain and suffering are over now, big guy. We're gonna replace pain with joy and suffering with comfort. You'll see, I promise."

Excitedly, Prez rambled, "We need buildings for them, we need schools, the kids need clothes..."

Joel interrupted, "You'll get all that and more. Trust us, Prez; we've done this before."

Kevin handed Prez a Starfleet communicator and explained, "Just open this up, tell them who you are and let the Vulcans do their bit."

Joel nodded and smiled at his husband, then looked up at Prez. "Soon after that, more Clan will be showing up. Anything you need, just ask and it's yours."

Prez sighed, "It just feels like so much and I really don't feel prepared."

Keith took hold of Prez and repeated, "You will never ever be alone, baby."

Derrick said, "You've got us too, bro," and took hold of Mike's hand.

"And Corey and me too," Drew reminded.

"We're the core Rimmers!" Corey giggled. The group around Joel heartily laughed; even I-Cheya huffed a few more chuckles.

Relieved, Prez finally smiled. "Don't be a stranger, Prince. As hectic and odd as it's been, we're really gonna miss all you guys."

"Prez, we've really gotta go, now," Joel said with a small smile.

Prez's face fell slightly.

"Don't worry, doofus!" Joel giggled, "In a few hours you'll be meeting most of the Clan. You'll either see me later today, or sometime over the next few days - I might be busy making Kevvy squeal!"

"Hey!" Kevin protested as he blushed bright red.

"Oh, okay... Kevvy might be making me squeal!"

"Sa'ren!" Kevin groaned, "You're making it worse!"

"I know... but you still love me, right?"

"Grrrr..." Kevin managed through his giggles.

Joel kissed Prez on the cheek before slipping over to where I-Cheya, Brant, Kyle, Tyler, Kai and the two Lions were. "See ya soon, guys!" They vanished.

While I was still processing the disappearances, Galli, Levi, Kevin, the two Cheetahs, Aphrodite, Blackie, Artemus, and Matthew all waved and folded away.

While my mouth hung open, Derrick and Mike turned to Jonah and me. Mike laughed and Derrick smiled, "Give us a few minutes, please, dudes?"

Speechless, I nodded. Jonah and I walked away from the new "Core Rimmers". Jonah looked up at me and asked, "How?"

I shrugged, "How has anything happened since we were rescued yesterday? How were we being moved from place to place? How was it that the guys who just happened to be musicians here to give a concert wound up being our leaders? How did Levi get in our room this morning? How were our clothes from yesterday cleaned?"

"HEY!" Jonah screamed, looked up at me and stopped walking.

Thoroughly confused, I confessed, "Magic or destiny?"

Shaking his head slowly, Jonah then reached over and tickled me then took off running for the water. Dillon caught up with us just as I caught Jonah and was mercilessly tickling him. He laughed at us, then began splashing us with water. We rounded on him. I held the little boy still while Jonah tickled him. The next thing we knew, a bunch of kids were around us, all tickling each other. Hank, Keanu and Sean were back on the surfboards and paddling out.

Our new leaders came down to the water. I introduced a bunch of kids to Derrick and Mike. When they moved off with a few kids, Drew and Corey came by and I performed introductions for them and did it a third time for Prez and Keith.

Dillon decided he wanted to stay with Jonah and me. Richie, Dee and Geoff, wanted to be wherever the Core Rimmers were. Over the next few hours, we all decided that we wanted to stay together and near our leaders. I noticed Prez and Keith were out surfing with Kaleo and Tory. They then handed their boards to Sean and Keanu.

For a while, Richie and Dee were playing in the surf with Prez and Keith. Drew and Corey were with Geoff, Lenny and Kokaku. John was building sand castles with Bruce, Carmella, Cesar, Felipe and other little kids. Derrick and Mike returned and spent time with Dillon, Jonah and me. There was a brief pause in our playtime when Mike asked Derrick, "Where are Prez and Keith?"

Checking his wristwatch, Derrick chuckled, "It's after eleven." Turning to me, he asked, "Did you see where they went, Reyes?"

Shaking my head, I shared, "The last I saw, they were with Richie and Dee."

"I hope they're getting food," Mike smirked as he moved to my other side. "If I'm hungry, then all you dudes must be too." The next thing I knew, Derrick and Mike had taken hold of me and were lifting me up. Mike evilly sniggered, "You thought you were too big to get dunked, didn't you?"

As I started laughing, Derrick slyly stated, "Think again!" They reached down and cupped my feet in their hands, then walked with me to waist-deep water before sending me flying. By the time I rose above the water, Derrick had captured Jonah and Mike was carrying Dillon like a surfboard. One after the other, Dillon and Jonah were sent flying and landed a meter or so in front of me. Our little game was soon being copied up and down the beach. Teenagers were sending little kids flying out into the bay.

Derrick pointed and shouted, "They're back!"

Mike frowned, "I don't see no food, dammit!"

A small fish swam by me and I grabbed it, then held it up suggesting, "Lunch!" Derrick and Mike howled laughing, then went to where Prez was chasing Keith in and out of the surf.

Mike shouted, "Where the hell did you go?"

Ducking away from Prez, Keith laughed, "Aboard the Endeavor."

"You know what this means?" Derrick queried.

"No, what?" Keith giggled.

Derrick snickered, "Prez was flying!"

Coming to an abrupt halt and realizing the truth, Prez hollered, "OH MY GOD!" Keith, Derrick and Mike roared laughing, then raced away. Tables appeared on the beach, and a few of the adult men, including Derrick's dad and Mike's dad, hollered, "Food's here!" Everyone hurried towards the tables. Once again, it was meal time and the amount of food available could have easily fed three hundred. Without trying, I became one of the servers with the other teenagers and adults helping the little kids. At first, I was getting Dillon and Jonah trays of food and drinks, but little kids seemed to come forward in a never-ending wave. It all worked out for the best though, because I got to have lunch with the Core Rimmers and was amongst the first to learn about our new bases.

Sitting around in a large circle, we were just finishing up our lunch and joking around when behind Prez and Keith appeared another large group. I was looking up the beach, towards the dunes, where Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike were sitting. I am not lying or stretching the truth; at least a hundred appeared out of thin air! And among them were more G-Cats and gorillas! Wide-eyed, Jonah and I gaped at each other. Since when do gorillas stand upright, wear military clothing and carry weapons?

Being Clan is so much fun, but it's so weird sometimes too.

The new group were Clan Short Special Forces Division and were assigned as security for us. Gorillas, G-Cats and armed kids jogged off in all directions. Prez called all the Core Rimmers over to meet the security team.

They were all shaking hands and greeting one another until, from further up the beach, Keith's mom screamed, "PRESTON!" This nice lady, who I had spent most of last night and the whole day with, appeared ready to burn down buildings with the fire blazing from her eyes. On one side of her was a gorilla. On her other side, and struggling to keep up in the sand, was a boy about eleven years old.

Keith's mom was having a very animated discussion with Colonel Donnie when Keith giggled insanely and shook his head.

"Oh man!" Drew whined, "We're all in trouble now!"

Jonah worried, "She won't hit us or nothin', will she?"

Drew shook his head and grinned, "Never, but she just learned the hard way that she's not in charge anymore."

Corey nodded, "Prez will never have an issue talking with any of us, but Drew's mom has ways of making her unhappiness clearly known." He then laughed, "As you can plainly see!"

Keith, Mike, Derrick and Prez began snapping their fingers and singing: "We've got a gorilla for sale, Magilla Gorilla for sale. Won't you buy him, Take him home and try him, Gorilla for sale. Don't you want a little gorilla you can call your own, A gorilla who'll be with ya when you're all alone?"

They're goofy! All four of them have a never ending supply of goofy songs stored away in their organic brains!

Mrs. Hundser shot flames from her eyes at all four, causing them to turn away and snicker. Smiling widely at us, Derrick held a finger to his lips. Before Jonah or I cracked up, we too turned and faced the sea.

Still facing seaward, I was struggling to not laugh, but I kept seeing Derrick's hazel eyes and wide grin in my mind's eyes. I heard John ask, "Can I have a gorilla?" This I had to watch, so I turned around.

Prez chuckled, "What do ya say, Donnie? John's another foster brother, but a little too young to be a Core Rimmer."

Donnie grinned, "Sure, but only if you teach him to surf!"

"Sure!" John excitedly answered. "I can surf... a little bit."

Keith reminded, "A gorilla's gonna need a much bigger board, bro."

Derrick scanned the nearest great ape and estimated; "About fifteen feet long, four feet wide and a foot thick."

Looking up at Prez, Bruce whined, "Can I have a gorilla too?"

"Donnie, this is Bruce," Prez smiled, "John, Drew and Corey rescued him from Ewa Beach yesterday. We're still looking for his parents so we've kept him with us."

Donnie turned to the assembled gorillas along the dune and said in a loud clear voice, "Okay. You heard the little guys. Which of you wants to belong to which boy?"

The gorillas all turned their eyes in the direction of Bruce and John and looked down. They began to eyeball the two boys and baring their teeth.

John and Bruce stepped back. John gasped, "Err... umm..."

A pair of young Silver-backs stepped forward and the larger of the two began to speak. "Me and my little bro always wanted a boy of our own. We'll take 'em!"

"They speak?" Bruce and John chorused. Glancing at each other, wide grins spread across their faces.

"How totally kewl is that!" John loudly giggled. The next thing John knew he was being swept up by the larger Silver-back. Wide-eyed, John laughed; "Who-o-oa!"

Busy laughing at John, Bruce didn't notice the younger Silver-back until a massive arm wrapped around and picked him up. "AHHH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAAA!"

"Of course we speak," the larger gorilla grinned. "You don't think that those dumb cats get to talk and us hugely intelligent apes don't, do you?" Two gorillas carrying the two younger boys walked down the beach, away from our group.

Seeing cookies and brownies remaining on John's and Bruce's trays, Jonah and Dillon practically dove for them.

While my two younger friends were scarfing down treats, Donnie scowled and shouted, "YOU THERE! HALT!" A ferret spun around, stood upright and pointed at himself.

Shaking his head sadly, Donnie softly grumbled, "Sonofabitch! Why me?"

"Cos you led us to SHINYS!" the ferret giggled, then sped off and dove into the bushes. With their faces stuffed, Jonah and Dillon stopped chewing, then looked up at me. Raising both my hands to shoulder height, I shrugged, shook my head and grinned. Now we had speaking ferrets!

Donnie tapped a communicator on his shirt. "Daileass, how many of the ferrets are in Hawaii, and how did they get here?"

"Well... all of them," Daileass giggled. "Dave thought it would be a nice holiday for his flock. As for how? I sent them. The base is peaceful and quiet right now. Isn't that nice?"

"You bastard," Donnie grumbled.

We heard high pitched singing. "Onward, Shiny soldiers, marching as to war, With the Shiny Warrior going on before. Dave, the Shiny Master, leads against the foe; Forward into battle see His Shinys go! Onward, Shiny soldiers, marching as to war, With the Shiny Warrior going on before. At the sign of triumph, Hater’s host doth flee; On then, Shiny soldiers, on to victory! Dull’s foundations quiver at our Shiny praise; Ferrets, lift your voices, high your Shinys raise. Onward then, ye Ferrets, join our happy throng, Blend with ours your voices in this Shiny song. Glory, laud, and honor unto Dave our King, This through countless ages men and Ferrets sing."

A mass of fur broke from the bushes and departed in all directions, muttering comments about needing to find shinys. I looked down in time to notice a ferret gathering all our forks and spoons.

Donnie turned to Prez and snapped to attention saying, "Director O'Brian?"

"Uh oh!" Prez grunted. Closing his eyes and sighing, Prez opened his eyes again and said, "We have a problem, don't we, Colonel?"

Looking down, Derrick and Mike were spinning around, watching ferrets steal anything and everything that shined.

"This is not good!" Keith hollered. Prez had obviously given up. He covered his eyes, shook his head and began laughing.

Up and down the beach, kids were screaming and hollering as ferrets snatched their silverware, some right out of their hands. One ferret stopped beside Mike and reached it's thin claw into his shorts' pocket.

Keith hollered at Donnie, "What do we do?"

"Pray," Donnie shrugged.

I tried to catch a ferret as it ran by, but only wound up missing and landing on my belly in the sand, then smiled up at Derrick.

Worried for all the kids, Derrick asked, "Do they bite?"

Donnie sighed, "In the worst way."

Stunned, Keith incredulously asked, "What? There's nothing we can do?"

About ten meters away, another group appeared. One of the older boys in the group was obviously stunned, watching ferrets scurry around Anahola Bay beach. He screamed, "WHAT THE FUCK? DAVE! Get your ass over here and bring your entire flock!" If a single ferret paid him any mind, I didn't see it.

Ferrets were everywhere! Some were in the water gathering seashells and stones. I went after those that were standing still, but I guess they saw my shadow and ran away before I had a chance of catching any of them.

I heard a small 'pop' and thought someone was firing a weapon at the tiny scavengers, but when I looked up, there was a flare shining in the air above the new older boy. Every ferret on the beach had stopped where they were though.

The same older boy shouted, "NOW! Get your asses over here, or I'll have Daileass transport your Shiny Vault away!" From all corners of the beach, ferrets hurried over and sat on their haunches before him.

Prez carefully sidestepped closer to Donnie and exclaimed, "Who is that?"

Donnie turned towards the Core Rimmers softly saying, "That would be General Adam Casey, the head of the UNIT; also known as the Clan Short Special Forces, with the rest of his family."

Adam walked up to Prez and held out his hand. "I assume you're Preston O'Brian?" Prez nodded and shook Adam's hand. Adam grinned, "Welcome to the Clan. Uhh.... would you excuse me one second?" Adam then turned his attention back to the ferrets.

"Okay," Adam loudly said, making sure they all heard him. "Here's the rules. You may NOT steal any shinys from the Shiny Haters for at least twenty-four hours. You may however feel free to take any and all shinys you find out there," he said, and pointed towards the ocean. "If you dive to the floor of the bay, you might find little oysters." Adopting a reverent voice in a much lower tone and volume, Adam instructed, "Inside those oysters are pearls; bright shiny pearls, that can be made into adornments for your belts and hats. However, I must warn you, the oysters should be treated properly, as they are the ones who create such shinys for you to find. Treat them well and they will make more for you."

The entire flock turned and started to run away, rambling excitedly. "SPIKE!" Adam bellowed, and one of the younger ferrets with spiky fur stopped dead in his tracks and looked back at Adam. It was the ferret that had reached his hand into Mike's pocket. Adam ordered, "Give him back his guitar pick!"

Mike's right hand dug into his pocket. He softly grumbled, "Dammit!"

"But... but... he has not taken the pledge!" the young ferret whined.

"He is a member of the Clan," Adam reminded. "What have we said about Clan members?"

Spike grudgingly whimpered, "Weez can't steal their shinies unless they have been in the Clan for more than a week."

"Right," Adam droned. "So why?"

The young ferret quickly ran up to Adam and dropped to his knees. "But.. but... it's so... SHINY! It begged me to liberate it from the dull one. How could I live with my faith had I not done as the shiny had asked?"

The blond haired boy that was next to Adam softly offered, "I understand. But how would the shiny feel if you took it from someone who would become a shiny lover, and perhaps be able to create wonderful music in the name of shininess, but now he can't because his shiny guitar pick was stolen. Don't you think that would make the shiny sad?"

The ferret seemed horrified, then ran over to Mike, upending a small bag he had tied to his waist. He dropped to his knees and rifled through all the different baubles that fell to the sand. He found the guitar pick and carefully cleaned it off before offering to Mike while still on his knees. "Please, mister; can you make shiny music with this?"

"I can now," Mike smiled at the thieving little ferret. Bending down and retrieving his pick, Mike then asked, "Did you know that shiny guitar picks can only make shiny music for a little while before they wear out?" The ferret seemed to gasp in horror and shook his head. "It's true; the music gets less shiny over time. When this one wears out, I'll give it to you only if you use it as a shiny adornment that I can see. That way, I'll know its shininess has not been completely used up and worn out. Every now and then you'll get a used shiny pick, then I'll get a new shiny pick to make shiny music with until it wears out. Then you'll get another, and another; soon you'll be wearing so many shiny picks that people will come from far and wide to see your shiny adornments."

Great! One of the guys I wanted for a father was certifiably insane!

"Oh! Thank you, mister!" Spike squealed in delight. Looking between Mike and Adam, Spike asked, "Uhh.. can I go look for other shinys now?" Adam nodded his head and the little boy was off like a shot.

Adam then turned to the group and grinned, "Okay, crisis over. Now, where were we?"

Kaleo, Keith and Derrick were laughing hysterically over Mike and Spike. Prez snickered, "We were just getting to know each other, oh leader of the Shiny Tribe!" The rest of the Core Rimmers, Donnie, Jonah and I howled laughing.

I picked up Jonah and softly giggled, "This cannot be real! Do you think the abuses at the orphanage pushed us to insanity?"

Jonah nodded furiously and laughed, "This day is like those cartoons we were watching last night!"

Adam, the UNIT Team and the Core Rimmers were introducing themselves so I put Jonah down, then he and I listened as we finished our lunches.

Leaning closer to Jonah, I whispered, "Do you think Mike is a little whacky?"

Jonah giggled and soda shot out of his nose! I cracked up while Jonah rubbed his nose and groaned. "No!" Jonah finally laughed. "Smarter than the average ferret, that's all!"

"Oh, yeah!" I droned. "So he was playing to Spike's weakness. Perfect! I'll remember that."

Jonah tilted his head curiously. He leaned closer to me whispering, "Isn't that what you did to the pervs at the orphanage? They wanted dick and ass and you knew it. Rather than have them fuck with me or the other little kids, you forced us out of the way and gave them yours."

I was just about to say no, that was different, but realized it really wasn't too different after all. Words versus actions; I had to be sure to remember this stuff. Naturally, for me anyway, I attempted to save it in my archive storage so it wouldn't be lost. I told Jonah, "I've lost too many... mem... o..."

Suddenly, Jonah was shaking me and softly sobbing, "Reyes? Oh shit, please speak!"

Looking around nervously, I softly said, "Something's wrong, Jonah. I can't store to my interpersonal storage archives."

"What's my full name and age?"

"Jonah Desak, you are nine years old."

"Good," Jonah smiled, and then pointed asking, "Who are they?"

I rambled, "Kaleo Palakiko, Derrick Seibert, Michael Gibbons, Preston Albert O'Brian, Keith Hundser, Drew Hundser, Corey Seaver, Donnie Williams, Adam Casey, Logan Hayes, Nathan Hayes..."

"Good," Jonah said, and huffed in relief.

Prez turned to us saying, "Guys, excuse us for a little while, please? We're just gonna have a little pow-wow here." We nodded understandingly, then went to gather our lunch trays and began the trek back to the food tables. On the way, we heard Prez tell Kaleo, "You're being promoted to Core Rimmer. Since you were rescued by the Clan, there may be something you could ask or offer that none of the rest of us can."

Jonah looked up at me, then turned to Tory, saying, "It happened again, Tory. Reyes zoned out on me for like thirty seconds."

Shaking his head, Tory grumbled, "Those fuckers messed with your memory so many times, it's a wonder you know yourself. I should've taken that little memory zapper thingamabob from the orphanage before we left. Maybe it could've helped, if we showed it to the right person." Tory paused and smiled at me, saying, "Then again, it's gone and can't ever be used on you again, Reyes."

"There's a malfunction though," I worried. Worst of all, it didn't even register as a malfunction. I simply got stuck, then was suddenly unstuck. We dumped our trash, then went back to the table for more cookies and brownies.

After we were a good five meters from the table and alone again, Jonah looked up at me whining, "We've got to trust Derrick and Mike."

"I do mostly," I assured. "Right now they don't know and they treat me like any other kid. I'm afraid if I tell them, they'll treat me differently."

Tory shook his head, then said, "Listen, Reyes, and think about this. They're our leaders now. For you to get help, they need to know."

"I know," I whimpered. "But I don't think of Derrick or Mike as leaders."

"We want them as our dads," Jonah told Tory.

Tory giggled, "Oh, it's like that, is it?"

Jonah excitedly asked Tory, "Wouldn't you want a father too?"

Tory thought a few seconds then replied, "Nope. I don't really know what I want right now, but it sure isn't parents." After another bite of his brownie and glances between us, Tory mumbled, "Think of this then; these kids here are white, brown and black skinned. Jonah, you're white and Reyes, you're brown. If any of them is any kind of a bigot, then it's gonna be known and their leadership value goes directly into the toilet. If they consider you differently because you're an android, they are all fucked. Nobody will pay attention to them." He paused, swallowed the last of his brownie and pointed to the Core Rimmers, saying, "See Kaleo over there? Brown skin, exactly like yours, and our new communications officer; a Core Rimmer." Tory turned me to the group of Core Rimmers and UNIT guys, saying, "Look and listen. They're talking and joking around, right?"

I nodded and smiled, "Yup."

Tory explained, "I may not be the sharpest tack in the drawer, but I see no reason to worry. I don't see bigots over there. If I'm wrong, then we need new leadership fast. Agreed?"

Jonah and I nodded. Tory said, "I can't and won't make you do it, but you have to, Reyes. I've known you for years and so has Jonah. We're buds, right?" I smiled and nodded. He asked, "Can you make it happen today?"

I sighed explosively and nodded, "I will, as soon as I gather the nerve and balls."

Glancing down at my naked body, Tory giggled, "You ain't no manikin, bro. You got balls, dick and a little hair too! I see a human boy in front of me. When you get a cut or scratch, you bleed red."

Taking my hand, Jonah reminded, "You're our friend, Reyes."

"And always will be," Tory reminded. He waved down the beach then said, "I'm gonna try surfin' again. I will stand on that damn thing today!" Jonah cracked up.

I giggled, "Ya want more instructions?"

Tory shook his head answering, "The knowledge is there, my body and mind ain't connecting fast enough, though. I'll get it right. See ya later?"

"Kewl, bro," Jonah and I replied. Tory jogged down the beach and caught up with the other guys surfing.

Alone with Jonah again, I looked down and smirked, "With all the Clan magic goin' on, I do need to take advantage of it, don't I?"

"I'm gonna be there with you when you tell them, bro. They say one wrong word to you and it's time for new leadership... new father figures too."

"I'm sorry I scared you, Jonah. That and the fact that there's no warning at all is what really bothers me."

"Baby steps, Reyes. First you tell them the truth. If that goes okay, you can add tiny bits now and then. They were concerned about your body, they'll be concerned about your brain too."

I sighed, "I want them as fathers, Jonah. I don't know why, but I wish I did."

"Reyes?" I turned to Jonah and he said, "My earliest memories are of you. Even then, when I was four or five, you protected me and other kids. If you want my version of the truth, Kaleo, Liki and Tory learned from you to protect us younger kids. You did it for them too, remember?"

"I only know what you guys told me since June."

"None of us lied, bro. Three times I've seen you walk into rooms introducing yourself like we didn't already know you." Breaking down in tears and hugging me tight, Jonah sobbed, "Each time, you were the same guy and acted the very same way. You just had to get to know us all over again, like it was day one for you. You want your memories back and I want you to be happy, but memories hurt too, ya know? What if those things you can't remember make you sad? What if they make you different? It scares me, Reyes. I don't know how to live without you!"

I held onto my friend and little brother as if both our lives depended on the contact. After a long few minutes, Jonah wasn't crying any more. Derrick and Mike were still sitting with the other Core Rimmers and UNIT guys. "I'll tell them, Jonah." He looked up at me and smiled from ear-to-ear. I confessed, "The longer I wait, the more scared we both get. It's making us a little crazy."

He cheered, "You're the best, Reyes; the only brother I've ever known."

With a nod, I gestured to the leadership group sitting in the sand and suggested, "Let's keep an eye on them. As soon as we're alone with Mike and Derrick, I'll tell them." Jonah nodded and smiled. I led him out into the water, which seemed like the best idea until Jonah blushed. Grinning at his exceptionally pink face, I wondered, "What's wrong?"

He softly giggled, "Now that I've pissed, I really gotta take a dump!" I roared laughing, then we hurried out of the water, up the beach and towards the road. A gorilla and G-Cat stopped us, but Jonah danced in place saying, "Bathroom, NOW!" Remarkably, the gorilla and G-Cat easily kept up with us running at top speed to the public restroom near the hotel. With that disaster narrowly avoided, Jonah came out of the bathroom giggling, "It felt like all my insides were comin' out, but what happens? Marbles!" I nodded and laughed because the same happened to me. Our escorts found the remark funny too.

Back on the beach, we noticed that our leaders had moved and gotten partially dressed while we were gone. Now they were eating a second lunch and chatting. Since it was kewl to sit with them, we did so. Jonah sat near Mike and Adam and listened intently to their discussion about guitars. Derrick and I chatted about drummers. What was really kewl was that Derrick was left handed when he wrote but generally ambidextrous, so he played his drums as a right-handed person would. I didn't know it until Derrick told me that Ringo Starr was also left-handed and played a right-handed kit. That's how he was able to do tom-tom rolls so effortlessly. Derrick demonstrated by knee-drumming. It all made sense to me, but because I was right handed, imitating him was difficult.

After lunch, the UNIT guys wanted to learn how to surf. Honestly, I was becoming a little frustrated because I had something to say, wanted to say it, but now I was being delayed. A whole bunch of surfboards appeared on the beach so I could at least spend time with Derrick surfing. A little time is all I got too because one of the UNIT kids used underwater explosives to create our waves!

"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING?" Mike bellowed, and we all jumped up on our surfboards. Several of the surfing newbies didn't manage to ride the whole wave, but those of us that remained upright were joined by ferrets that were popping up out of the water and onto our boards.

Far to my left, John screamed, "WAAAAAA-HOOOOOO!" from atop his gorilla. After that frightening ride, I went back to the sand and Jonah, passing my surfboard to Keanu.

After the second ride, all our Core Rimmers and the U.N.I.T leaders disappeared from the beach and didn't return for an hour. During the time they were gone, some crazy people were getting pulled on surfboards by helicopters. Jonah and I hung with Dillon, Richie, Dee and Geoff while the daring got their jollies. I did a little regular surfing on two and three foot waves with each of the little kids I was with, but had no intention of getting dragged around Anahola Bay by a helicopter. My systems were screwy enough, I did not need to destroy my body.

When I noticed that the Core Rimmers had returned, Derrick and Mike were already talking with Nathan Hayes. I handed off my surfboard to Kaleo, then Jonah went with me so I could finally talk with them. But once again, there was excitement. One of the teenage rescued girls needed a second rescue, this time by helicopter. When the helicopter landed, with the girl safe and sound, Derrick waved to me saying, "Com'ere, Reyes."

Jonah followed and Mike joined us too. "Confession is good for the soul," Derrick slyly stated.

Mike nodded and teased, "You got something to confess, Reyes?"

They were making it so easy for me. I'm an android, was what I wanted to say, but instead, what actually came out of my mouth was, "I'm gay." Quite simply, I balked at the last moment.

Taking Derrick's hand, Mike smirked, "Good for you."

Derrick grinned, "We'll see what we can do about helping you find a boyfriend. We might get lucky, he could even be an android."

Stunned, I squealed, "You knew?"

Derrick and Mike nodded. Glancing at me and then Jonah, Derrick sounded disappointed saying, "You can tell us anything, any time. Did you really think we'd be the least bit bothered about it?"

Looking down, I shrugged, "I didn't know, only had hopes."

Placing his other hand on my chin and lifting my face up, Mike locked his eyes with mine and firmly assured, "After Vulcan Sehlat tossing, Mikyvis waves, underwater explosions, how could you believe for a second that being an android matters? It doesn't, not in the least. You have hopes too, just like any of us."

Beginning to break down emotionally, I tearfully admitted, "I'm a damaged android. At the orphanage, they messed around with my memories. I don't even get a warning or error when I try to store something in my archives; I just freeze up, then become unstuck. If it weren't for my friends' actions and descriptions, I wouldn't even be aware something went wrong. Assuming what I've been perceiving from human reactions is correct, I go into a loop trying to read from or write to any archived storage."

Jonah nodded, "He just zones out for a little while."

Surrounding me and Jonah, Derrick and Mike hugged us. Derrick said, "We learned the Clan has experts that can hopefully help you, Reyes. We'll get you all the help we can, I promise, first opportunity we get." I began shedding happy tears and Jonah looked up at the three of us, giggling his little butt off.

I smiled, "Thanks."

"Not necessary," Mike assured.

Derrick nodded, "That's part of what we're here for; to help. You'll all get what you need."

Somehow, I managed to not blurt out, "We want both of you as our fathers!" I only held onto Jonah with one hand, and Derrick with my other hand.

Mike confirmed, "We're good now?"

I nodded, "Excellent!"

Jonah giggled, "Better than ever."

Derrick suggested, "It might be a good idea for you to write down your memories; ya know, like what you've experienced the last two days? That way, when we get you fixed up, anything you may not have stored is safe."

Nodding agreement, Mike said, "Come hell or high water, we're getting you back to normal, Reyes. It's a good idea to be as prepared as possible."

"Can I ask a favor please?"

Mike answered, "Anything, dude."

I sighed and shared, "Let me tell the others my secret? I'm not comfortable with everyone knowing."

Jonah impatiently whined, "Reyes?"

I shrugged, "Everything's so new to me still. Once my memory access issue is solved, I'll probably feel better."

Derrick began nodding his head, then said, "No sweat."

Locking eyes with me, Mike said, "Prez needs to know. He'll be kewl about it too. It's just that, if we're gonna use Clan resources to get ya fixed up, he'll have to know." I nodded but dreaded telling our new director.

Jonah then asked a valid but silly question. "Why's nobody got a boner?" Derrick and Mike cracked up laughing. Rolling my eyes, I giggled. "What?" Jonah squealed. "The four of us are sandwiched together!"

Still laughing, Mike pulled Derrick's face closer and planted a kiss. He assured us, "Derrick's got everything I want and need."

Derrick continued, "None of you guys need to worry about forced sex any more. Like Tory said during lunch, sometimes our dicks get hard but for no real reason. That does not mean the dude is hoping for action. It's just what happens to teenage boys."

Jonah nodded and smirked. Then Jonah paid for his innocence. Mike already had a hold on him and Derrick let go of me to hold Jonah's other arm. They lifted my little friend up, carried him further out into the bay and tossed him. They turned to face me, grinning evilly. Giggling hysterically, I started to back away.

Mike shouted, "Ya wanna go para-surfing, Reyes?"

"Not really!" I laughed.

Not far away, Dillon, Richie and Geoff hollered, "Toss me too!" Saved by the midget brigade, I waded back up onto the shore where I watched Derrick and Mike send little kids flying. Soon, some older kids, about ten and eleven years old, wanted in on the fun. I could tell Derrick and Mike were getting tired and giggled hysterically as they finally worked their way out of the water towards me. Before I could react, they each wrapped an arm around me. I expected to get tossed but instead, I got a kiss on the cheek from each of them. Stunned, I stood there with my mouth agape like a fool. They simply kept walking further up the beach until they met with Keith and John.

We remained at Anahola Bay beach for a few more hours. I told Jonah that Derrick and Mike kissed me. That was really the highlight of my day. It felt so good to be cared for by two guys that I really cared about too. Another little purple-eyed boy appeared between Jonah and I. He healed all Jonah's welts and bruises. Even his scars faded away. Jonah wanted Peter to fix me up too, but he couldn't, explaining that my android systems would take care of all that.

"Who told you Reyes is an android?" Jonah impatiently asked.

"No one told me," Peter smiled. "I just know stuff like that."

I wondered, "What else do you know?"

Smiling even wider, Peter hummed then held up two fingers. "Good stuff, tonight and two more days," he giggled, and then he vanished.

Frustrated, I wondered, "What the heck does that mean?"

Jonah hollered, "What's happening tonight and in two days?" He then looked up at me and warned, "Don't you dare try to store that!"

Shaking my head, I assured, "Two days doesn't deserve long term archiving."

Relieved, Jonah smiled, "More cookies?" I nodded and Jonah took off for the food tables. Giving him a five-step lead, I then raced after him, caught up and carried him to the snack table. We had sodas too. We weren't allowed sodas at the orphanage. Juice was allowed only twice a week. Mostly we drank water. Then we went for another walk to relieve our bladders.

When we returned to the beach, the food tables were gone but replaced by tables of clothes. Jonah and I helped Dillon pick out clothes and got his suitcase packed with Derrick and Mike's help. Then they helped us choose clothes and got our stuff packed. Soon, we all had suitcases of clothes and the little kids had new Teddy Bears too. Dillon introduced us to his new Teddy he had named Niles. Groups of us rescued kids gathered around our new leaders. Prez called, "Daileass, transport all the kids around me to the outdoor recreation area at our main Ewa Beach base, please." They vanished then Keith said the same thing and another group disappeared. Derrick called Daileass, and the next thing I knew, we were all off the beach and standing in a grassy field. Mike and Kaleo showed up next with the adults and our luggage.

Glancing around, the first thing I noticed was a huge domed building, a few large houses and what appeared to be an office building. All around the perimeter of the new base were trees. Emily and Donnie walked up and began tours. The Core Rimmers and their parents went to the homes with Emily. Donnie led all us rescued kids to the domed C.I.C., past the dormitories, then to the pool and diving well, where there was a pool house and an indoor recreation center. Again, I was amazed at all the great stuff. The pool house was basically boys' and girls' locker rooms, bathrooms and saunas. The indoor rec center had a weight room, bowling alleys, handball courts and a general purpose gymnasium that could be used for wrestling, basketball or gymnastics. Donnie then showed us the soccer field and the outdoor basketball courts. They had solar powered lights that worked on timers.

With the tour finished, we all went swimming in the pool. I tried out the diving well with a bunch of other teenage boys and a few of the more daring kids. At the diving well were three diving boards; one meter, three meters and five meters above the water. Everything we could ever need or want was there. Drew and Corey arrived by the pool and we showed them all the great stuff we were shown. After Drew and Corey left, Derrick and Mike came over. Finally, Prez and Keith were shown around. For most of us, it was like nothing we had ever seen before.

Some of the fostered kids remarked that it was better than the facilities their schools had. We had all gone from having virtually nothing to all this in a day. The sun set on our first full day of freedom without us even noticing until the lights had automatically turned on. Overflowing with joy, a bunch of kids wanted to go find our leaders to tell them how happy they were. Smelling the food cooking at the barbeque grills, we went around the indoor rec complex and over to where our leaders were. Richie and Dee peeled off to Prez and Keith. Dillon, Jonah and I went to Derrick and Mike. Geoff went to Corey and Drew. Carmella, Kokatu, and a bunch of other kids went to the adults.

"Dinner will be ready soon, Kaleo," Prez said. "Get the tribe over to the C.I.C. dining room. Let them get started on the salads or whatever else is there...."

"No snack foods, Preston," Mrs. Hundser forcefully reminded.

Prez giggled, "Mom says no cookies or other snacks, real food only."

"I'll try to control their sugar addictions," Kaleo snickered; "it'll prob'ly be a lost cause though."

"Do the best ya can," Prez smiled. "If I see you running from a pack of hungry cookie monsters and their Teddy bears, I'll know you lost the battle." Richie had wrapped an arm around Prez's thigh. Prez smiled down at the boy that had attached himself.

Kaleo laughed, "Over and out!"

Suddenly we heard about sixty kids holler "YAAAAAAYYY!" from the pool area.

"We're going to be over run!" Mike's dad nervously laughed.

Dillon, Jonah and I decided now was the time to make our feelings known. We couldn't wait to tell them but were nervous that they might not want us. Dillon and Jonah went to Mike while I went to Derrick. He was busily flipping burgers on the grill. When he finished, he wrapped an arm around my shoulders asking, "Everything kewl, Reyes? Do you like your new home?"

I nodded and gushed, "It's awesome in so many ways. There's only one thing missing to make it the best."

"What?" Derrick quickly asked and offered, "Anything you need, let me know and I'll get it here."

Wrapping my arm around his back, I grinned, "I want you and Mike as my fathers." His head bounced and jaw dropped.

Derrick smiled, "You know I'm not even fifteen yet?"

Before I could reply, Richie and Dee cheered and hurried to each other. Richie laughed, "You're gonna be my big bro soon!"

Dee giggled, "And you're gonna be my little bro!"

"It don't matter to me," I assured Derrick. "It's all been building since the concert. Last night you and Mike took care of me and Jonah just like any real fathers would."

Coming over with Jonah and Dillon, Mike giggled, "We have an unexpected issue here."

"You're tellin' me!" Derrick laughed.

Looking at Dillon and Jonah, Mike smiled, "Please don't misunderstand; it's not that we don't want to, we do, but it's not usually allowed."

Noticing how disappointed we were, Derrick offered, "Tell ya what; we'll act just like fathers if you'll all promise to act like our sons."

Dillon, Jonah and I gathered and wordlessly agreed without any delay. Speaking for my two younger brothers, I assured, "We want to spend time with you two guys, as a family."

Jonah said, "Reyes has always been like a brother to me."

Dillon offered, "Jonah and Reyes is real nice. I was with 'em lots yesterday and today too. They can be my big bros too."

Derrick nodded, "Then we'll act like fathers, no problem."

From behind us, Mike's dad softly groaned, "Oh my God!"

Mike spun around and began laughing at his father. Mike's mom loudly whined, "Janet! Medication please!"

Holding a finger up, Doctor Janet smiled, "Just a moment," then went towards Dee. Dee and Richie hurried away, hiding behind Prez. Janet and Prez had a whispered conversation.

Only a few moments later, Prez blushed and giggled, "Sorry. Go ahead and give that doc a ring."

"Don't worry about it, I would probably have done the same thing," she said, and tapped her communicator badge. "Doctor Janet Hayes to Orlando C.I.C.."

"Go ahead, Doctor," a boy's voice responded.

"I was wondering if 'Tonio was available to check out two kids," Janet softly said, "Both suffering from at least undernourishment, but there may be other things going on. Neither child will allow an adult anywhere near them. I know he's probably asleep, and if he is, don't wake him, but if he's up, please get him for me."

The boy asked, "Doctor Hayes, do you believe this to be urgent?"

Doctor Janet considered for a moment, then said, "Yes, I do."

"Very well, 'Tonio will not mind being woke up for that. I will let him know, and he will be there shortly. Orlando C.I.C. out."

I whispered to Derrick, "Any doctor checks me out and everybody's gonna know."

Nodding understandingly, Derrick softly asked, "How do you feel? Is there any reason a doctor should check you over?"

Frantically shaking my head, I answered, "I feel fine. It's just like big lessons, stuff I want to save away so I don't have to relearn it, that's when I freeze up for a few moments. It's all automatic too, so I have to consciously remember to not do that. At least half the time, it's too late."

"Don't worry," Derrick smiled, "No doctors for you. We'll find an A.I. Engineer to get your problem resolved. If anything else starts acting flaky, let me know. I sure don't want a bad scene to get worse for my boy."

Hearing that, I smiled and happy tears flowed. Hugging him tight and with my face buried in his chest, I giggled, "Thanks, dad. I love you so much."

Squeezing me back, Derrick assured, "I love you too. We're gonna have lots of fun together."

"I know it."

A little boy appeared with cookies in one hand and a glass of chocolate milk in the other. His clothes consisted of sandals and Transformers boxers, with a med kit on a belt around his waist. "Kewl! Burgers to wash down my cookies with! Who are the kids that need a real doctor, not a fossil?"

"I HEARD THAT!" Doctor Janet laughed and ruffled the little boy's hair. She then pointed him towards Dee and Richie.

"Oh! You still have your hearing? Kewl!" He giggled as he ran over and away from any form of retaliation.

"And I still have my memory too, you little brat. I get kids like you back!"

Handing his cookies to Dee and Richie, he whined in his best little boy voice, "You pwomise?"

Janet reminded, "You're almost as old as I am, little man!"

I wondered, how in the world could a little boy about Dillon's size be as old as a grown woman.

"Yes, but I, unlike you, haven't let myself go yet!" the boy giggled, causing all of us kids to laugh loudly.

Janet stood there speechless for a moment, then, "You're grounded, mister. No cookies for a month!"

He took another bite of his cookie, then he took a long slurp of his chocolate milk. Putting the empty glass down in a safe spot, he grinned, "Right." He giggled as she also cracked up. He turned back to the two kids, "Hi! I'm 'Tonio."

"Hi 'Tonio, I'm Dee."

"And I'm Richie, Dee's brand new li'l bro."

Dee offered, "Prez and Keith are our new daddies. They says that we gotta all get checked up by a doc. Do you know any good docs?"

'Tonio giggled. "Kinda! You wanna help me check out this new toy Doctor McCoy gave me yesterday? We can see what it does!" He glanced up at Prez and Keith. "Daddies, huh? When?"

"About fifteen minutes ago!" Keith chortled.

"It was a short pregnancy!" Prez joked.

"Hey great-great-great-great-great Granny Janet! Did you make it official?" 'Tonio said loud enough for almost everyone nearby to hear.

"Nope. Didn't know it happened. Give me a moment." She made a few entries into the tricorder. "Prez, Keith, you want the rug rats?"

'Tonio rolled his eyes and sighed, "Memory issues, you get that when you are old."

"Yeah, but we kinda need to be married first," Keith grinned.

Prez laughed, "We had the kids on the sly! What's the diff?"

Janet looked at Tonio. "Can it, runt!" She looked at the kids and softly asked, "You want Prez and Keith as daddies?"

"You're just jealous because Doctor McCoy likes me!" 'Tonio giggled.

"YES!" Richie loudly stated.

Dee nodded, "Yup, me too!"

"Hmmm.... how many times did he pinch your butt? He's got mine at least fifty times." She said as she entered a few things into the tricorder, then looked up with a smile. "Congratulations, Keith and Prez, it's boys. And it's official."

"Official?" Keith and Prez incredulously repeated. They can adopt kids? What was this going on? All of the leaders could adopt too, I remembered. Now there were no secrets.

'Tonio giggled, "Next time, just do it yourselves. Old ladies talk too much!" and hid behind Prez.

Prez asked, "Don't we need to be married first?"

'Tonio giggled, "Nope! I've got a son, and By and me ain't hitched yet!" He reached into his bag and pulled out eight cards. "Uncle Harrison sent these to H.Q. to pass on to y'all."

Prez and Keith looked down at the cards they were handed.

Keith wondered, "We're Starfleet Ensigns now, huh?"

"No. You're cooks now, you're Starfleet all the time," 'Tonio grinned. Dee and Richie held onto each other and shared a belly laugh. Mike and Derrick also began laughing.

Prez smirked, "Mike and Derrick, com'ere a sec." Keith handed Mike his Starfleet ID. Prez handed an ID card to Derrick and playfully saluted, "Ensign Derrick Seibert, now you and your boyfriend get to adopt Dillon, Reyes and Jonah!" I almost shouted, YES!

"Oh yeah!" Janet said, as she pulled out some papers from her bag. She then handed them to Mike and Derrick. "Here are your official papers making you the Shiny Daddies to the Scooby Gang."

Mike and Derrick's jaws were now hanging on the ground. Surprised, they looked at each other and silently mouthed, "We're really parents!" Dillon, Jonah and I smiled widely.

"I told ya, memory fails when you're OLD!" 'Tonio giggled.

"Yeah," Janet smirked, "keep at it, you little runt. You're only nine months younger then I am."

"And ninety years cuter!" 'Tonio shot back.

Janet smiled, "Yup! Oh and by the way, you're hanging out of your boxers."

"Hey, if you got it, why hide it?" 'Tonio blushed and giggled.

Dillon, Jonah and I surrounded Janet, giving her no escape. Mike smiled and Derrick prodded, "Since you're in the adopting mode, would you do the honors for us too, Janet?"

Janet nodded and wondered, "Which kids?"

Breaking down in a fit of giggles, Mike answered, "The three that have you trapped seem to want something."

Looking around and behind her, Janet noticed the three of us.

Derrick sniggered, "Just give us a few minutes before these burgers turn into hockey pucks." While Mike and Derrick got burgers on buns, Janet faced us and asked our names. She seemed to look at me for a long few moments as if she recognized me but never said a word. Relieved of their cooking duties, Derrick and Mike joined us. With Prez, Keith, Dee and Richie watching, Janet confirmed that we wanted Derrick and Mike as fathers. Derrick and Mike confirmed that they wanted us as their sons. Our new family wandered away from the grills and went to the C.I.C. dining room, where most of the other rescued kids were already being fed.

That dining room was huge! There were easily a hundred tables that could seat eight teenagers or ten little kids comfortably. Directly across from the entrance were a pair of doors labeled "Command Center". To our left were two more sets of double doors. Derrick and Mike led us there where we found another huge room filled with billiards and Foosball tables, dartboards, arcade video games and wall mounted televisions. On our way back through the dining room, Dillon got tired so Mike lifted him up and carried him. Dillon poured on the charm. He whispered, "I love you, Poppa," and cuddled close to Mike. Mike ate it up and held on to Dillon like he was the happiest guy in the world.

Smiling up at Derrick, I shared, "I love you too, dad."

Derrick chuckled, "I'm trippin' so bad now!"

Mike laughed, then wondered, "How're you feelin', Jonah?"

Jonah giggled, "I'm the middle son. I love all of ya!"

Ruffling Jonah's hair, Derrick chuckled, "The perfect answer."

"Let's get dinner, dudes," Mike suggested.

As we arrived in the chow line, Derrick told us, "After we eat, us Core Rimmers are gonna get our own orientation from Lieutenant Vorik. It starts at eight o'clock, but should only take us about an hour or so."

"We'll be in the Command Center," Mike added. "You guys can hang at the pool with your buds."

I told our new dads, "We hung out with Dee, Richie and Geoff today, so we'll probably be with them."

"Kewl," Derrick chanted. Mike was busy helping Dillon choose chicken and macaroni salad. I got a cheeseburger, a hot dog, a sausage in a bun, a little macaroni salad and a little potato salad. I carried my plate and Jonah's. Mike carried his own plate and Dillon's. Dillon carried his own soda and Mike's while Jonah carried his own and mine.

Settled at our table, we began eating and chatting. Once I had shared that most of my memories prior to June first were inaccessible, Jonah picked up the story. What we hadn't shared with them before about life at our orphanage was told. We all learned that Dillon had been fostered by a horrible couple. The little boy was only six years old, but he was being sexually fondled and photographed. While Mike helped Dillon slice his chicken, he explained that "little dudes shouldn't ever have to play sex games with anyone." When Derrick and I finished eating, I got my first drumming lesson. In the meanwhile, Mike was singing with Jonah. Mike would sing a line then Jonah would copy it.

"Guess who just got back today?
Those wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven't changed, haven't much to say
But man, I still think those cats are great

"They were asking if you were around
How you was, where you could be found
I told them you were living downtown
Driving all the old men crazy
The boys are back in town."

Donnie and Emily came by and talked with all the Core Rimmers about stuff that had to be moved from their old homes to their new houses. Mike is a sentimentalist! I never would've guessed. Too quickly, dinner was over and our new dads went into the Command Center. Jonah asked, "What do you think is in there?"

I shrugged, "Clan Short stuff, I guess." Seeing Jonah's head tilt and knowing another question was brewing, I giggled, "I dunno, bro. How did Clan Short know about our orphanage or the others, or the fostered kids? I'd bet it has some kewl Starfleet stuff though. The Vulcans and Starfleet were involved in all of it."

Satisfied, at least for the time being, we went with Richie and Dee over to our new grandparents. Corey's dad, Derrick's dad, Mike's dad, and Prez and Keith's dad took us into the rec room beside the dining hall where we learned to play pool and tried our best at various arcade games. Soon, a bunch of other rescued kids were in there with us. Televisions were turned on. One had cartoons on it and another had a situation comedy on it. It was too kewl! We were not only allowed to play but encouraged to play. At the orphanage, we'd be cleaning up after our meager meals and then sent to bed or sent to play with some old man or woman.

In under an hour, our dads were out of the Command Center and gathering us together for a trip to check out the auditorium. Once there, Derrick helped Drew get the place powered up. I opened the lobby door to peek inside and couldn't help giggling hysterically. Scattered around the auditorium and the stage were all the missing ferrets, dressed in aprons and polishing everything in sight!

Carrying Jonah on his hip, Derrick followed me inside. Mike had Dillon on his hip. Grinning at the ferrets handiwork, Mike hollered, "Spike!" Drew, Corey and Geoff followed us into the massive auditorium.

Standing up on his hind legs, Spike gleefully cheered, "Shiny Daddy!" and began scampering up the aisle.

"We've been looking for you guys for hours," Mike told Spike.

Stopping and squatting, Spike looked up and explained, "We was exploring. When we found this place, High Priest Dave said we should always keep it SHINY!"

Mike smiled, "You guys did an excellent job too!"

"We won't even need spotlights," Corey snickered.

Drew nodded and joked, "The audience might even need sunglasses!"

Bouncing slightly from the compliments, Spike begged, "Will you make shiny music for us tonight?"

Derrick nodded, "We're already gathering our Clan and all the visitors."

Mike explained, "Our Shiny leader Prez might have a few things to say first, but I'm sure we can talk him into playing some shiny songs. I've got some special ones already picked out for all you ferrets."

"You do?" Spike happily squealed. Mike nodded and Spike reminded, "We have your special Shiny Robes ready too!"

"Excellent!" Mike cheered. "I'll even wear 'em whenever we perform."

Speechless, Spike hurried over and grabbed hold of Mike's leg, looking up with happy shiny tear-filled eyes. Mike bent down slightly, softly petting the small ferret boy's head, and assured, "I love you too, Spike."

When we got to the stage, I looked back at the room and estimated, "Fifteen thousand could fit in here easily. I can't even see all the balcony seats either."

Derrick nodded his agreement saying, "That's enough for most of the Clan, I think... maybe."

Surprised, I asked, "Clan Short is that big?"

Derrick answered, "About eight thousand in Utah. I can only guess that all the other divisions combined would double that number but, I'm honestly not sure. Our Rimmer Clan is already over a hundred kids, adults and staff."

Shaking my head, I giggled, "Rimmer Clan! That's so wrong!"

Bouncing his eyebrows playfully, Derrick chuckled and put Jonah down, repeatedly saying, "Rimmers!", then Derrick, Dillon and Jonah began tickling me. While I was somewhat indisposed because I was still giggling from the onslaught, Mike knelt down before all the ferrets and accepted his Shiny Priest robe.

The large ferret standing before Mike said, "It is with great Shiny pleasure, that I bequeath to you, Michael Gibbons, with the robes of your new office. That of a Priest to the all great and powerful SHINY!"

Mike smiled, "Thank you, High Priest Dave. I will wear this proudly tonight and always." He then stood and put his Shiny Priest Robe on for the first time. The ferrets all clapped and squealed happily at how perfectly it fit and, of course, how big and shiny the eight-pointed stars gleamed on the white robe. Our new family, Drew, Corey and Geoff witnessed this and began clapping and cheering. Seeing other Rimmer Clan kids and Clan visitors entering the auditorium, Mike suggested that the ferrets take seats in the front rows. Picking up Dillon, Mike went to greet the people coming in.

Prez, Keith, Dee and Richie entered the auditorium and looked around much like I had. Keith came down the aisle with Richie but was met halfway by Drew, Corey and Geoff. He came down to the stage where Derrick, Jonah and I were waiting, softly giggling, "Shiny Rimmers!"

"Not goin' there!" Derrick chuckled.

Keith went up on the stage with Richie. They sat at the piano, then Keith began playing. It sure wasn't rock or anything like what the band had played at the concert Friday night. Derrick led us up the stage steps, then we sat at the edge of the stage. Drew, Corey, Geoff and Kaleo joined us there. After at least ten minutes, Keith ended the song, then started playing another different song. Mike, Dillon, Prez and Dee joined us at the edge of the stage. The center seating area was filled about twenty rows. The three hundred people, gorillas, G-Cats and ferrets barely made a dent in the total floor seats available. When Keith stopped playing, everyone clapped, then Prez began speaking. He started by thanking all the visitors for their help setting up our new Clan Division. He also thanked Doctor Janet "for helping us adopt our kids and forming families. It feels great."

From the audience, Mrs. Hundser hollered, "It won't feel so great tomorrow!" While Prez and many of the Core Rimmers chuckled, she loudly teased, "You're all grounded for a week!" Most of the audience erupted in laughter. Further down the row of seats, Richie and Geoff were assuring some kids that Mrs. Hundser was really nice. The cranky act was her way of teasing her sons.

Prez joked, "Sorry for making you a grandmother before your time! I'm sure you'll enjoy having our little ones around to spoil rotten."

"We've already begun!" Mr. Hundser loudly admitted.

"I don't doubt it!" Prez snickered. He then said, "Thanks to all the ferrets and High Priest Dave for making everything in here sparkle."

All seventy-four ferrets stood and sang, "God save our Gracious Shiny! Long live our Noble Shiny, God save the Shiny, Send it victorious; Happy and Glorious; Long to Shine over us; God save the Shiny!"

"Okay!" Prez chuckled. He then continued, "Since we can use this place as a movie theater, I thought we might begin tomorrow night with some movies appropriate for Halloween. We'll need one or two projectionists and three or four to serve snacks and drinks at the concession stand. If any of our new clan members are interested in those jobs, just let any one of us in the Core Team know.

"One last thing since it's getting late and we've all had a busy day. For all our new brothers and sisters now part of the Pacific Rim Division Clan; we've been considering alternatives for bed time tonight, but ultimately the choice is yours. Choice one: whoever wants to can start moving into the dorms; and, choice two: we can divide ourselves up into groups of twenty or so and spend the night together with our parents in our new homes. The choice is yours. Let us know what ya want to do."

Tory and a bunch of other kids hollered, "We want a concert!"

Prez giggled, "Was that one of the choices I mentioned?"

Doctor Janet and her husband loudly added, "We've heard Keith, now we'd like to hear your band."

Prez looked left and right at his bands mates. Mike grinned, "I already promised Spike we'd play a few songs."

"We really should try everything out," Derrick agreed.

"Sweet!" Drew chirped. Prez smiled at him and Drew offered, "It's a five-dot-one surround system." He and Corey jumped down off the stage. Drew helped Geoff down saying, "Give us a few minutes to make it upstairs, Prez." Drew, Corey and Geoff started back up the aisle on their way to the room where the P.A. system was set up.

"Okay then," Prez smiled, "One impromptu concert comin' up." Turning off the microphone, Prez asked Dee; "Ya wanna stay on stage with me or watch from the audience?"

Shrugging, Dee thought for a few seconds, then wondered, "Would you be mad if I watched?"

"Not at all," Prez honestly said, "Whatever makes you happiest."

Overhearing them, Kaleo came over, held his arms out and said, "Jump, Dee." The boy pushed off the stage and Kaleo caught him, then spun him around before putting him down on the floor. One after another, Kaleo helped the little guys down the same way, then we went back into the audience and found seats.

For a few minutes, while our fathers got their act together on stage, Dee, Dillon, Jonah, Richie and I chatted about them. The consensus between us was that having family and them as fathers was the best possible choice any of us could have made. The greatest part was that the five of us were rapidly becoming close friends, just like our dads were close friends.

Kaleo, Tory, Sean and some of the older rescued kids were sitting in the row behind us. Kaleo leaned forward and tapped me on the shoulder. He whispered, "Some of the other kids are gonna be closely watching you dudes." When I uncertainly locked eyes with him, Kaleo whispered, "Others are gonna want families too. You guys are the examples or the pattern; how you guys act around your new dads is gonna show other kids whether it's kewl or not."

"What should we do?" I wondered.

Kaleo shrugged, "Show your dads that you love them so the kids can see how their new leaders react to that love. Then they can find parents they may want to have adopt them too."

I nodded, "That's simple. I just don't think I'm ready to be an example for anyone." Realizing my main concern, I worried, "You don't think they'll treat us like leaders, do you?"

Kaleo grinned, "Ya never can tell if that might happen. For now, you're definitely examples."

Turning around again, I softly shared with my brothers what Kaleo and I were talking about. That got the little guys giggling. Of course we were going to show our new dads how much we loved and wanted to be near them as much as possible. As for other kids watching us when we were with our dads, we couldn't help that. All they would see was what they'd likely already seen; that we were their sons.

Mike began playing guitar with the older man in the wheelchair. All the chatter in the auditorium stopped. It was so pretty and sounded really great with the two of them playing the same song.

While we all clapped and cheered, Jonah turned to me and grinned, "He's such a great player!" Mike switched to a red guitar, then checked with his band mates.

Then the auditorium lights dimmed but only slightly. Green and blue lights draped the stage. A spotlight turned on Keith as he began playing. Another spotlight turned on to Derrick when he added chimes. Mike began playing and another spotlight turned on him. Spotlights turned off and the stage lights changed to only blue while a single tone played. A shiver ran up and down my spine that only got more intense when Mike played four notes with a spotlight on him. Twice more he played the same four notes, then Derrick began pounding his drums and the lights above him seemed to flash in time with his drum beats. I had no idea what the song title was but it was awesome! I looked around and saw everyone transfixed on the stage, smiling or grinning and enjoying the song as much as I was.

Old Habits played for about an hour. With prompting from us rescued kids, they performed a few songs from Friday night's luau. Then they called Adam down to jam with them. In a few minutes, they began playing two more songs with Adam. Finally, they played another song with the man in the wheelchair. Watching Mike and him play together was great!

After the audience had quieted and the lights were turned up again, Prez walked up to the microphone and asked, "What's it gonna be tonight; does anyone want to sleep in the dorm?" He watched carefully as heads shook. "Okay, the answer is no then. So shall we split into groups of twenty or just guys and girls?"

Kaleo stood and answered, "We'd like to stay together, Prez."

Prez smiled and nodded, "Okay, are separate bedrooms in the same house acceptable, or do we create one big nest in the basement?" Kaleo and Prez looked around. Of course, the five of us had no input on the decision. We knew we were sleeping with our dads. Prez then asked, "Those of you that aren't sure, give me some kinda clue. What's the deal?"

Lu Guerrieri admitted, "Just wanna stay with you, Prez."

Chiba Atsushi said, "Same here."

Makan Kama said, "Me too."

For the next few minutes, Prez organized sleeping arrangements for all the visitors and us rescued kids. The auditorium began emptying out, but Kaleo and the six of us adopted kids went to the stage and waited for our dads. Dillon and Richie were very tired but neither wanted to leave.

When the ferrets tried to leave without us, Mike was a little put off, I think. Mike shouted, "Spike! Where are you going?"

Spinning around, Spike answered, "We're going to find a place to sleep."

"You've already got a place," Mike said, "with the rest of us."

Spike stammered, "But... but... my litter mates?"

"They're sleeping with us too," Derrick said. Xander, Faith and Willow looked around uncertainly.

"But... but... we-we're n-not hu-hu-human!" Spike stuttered, tears forming in his eyes. "We... we've never been... been allowed...."

I almost groaned aloud. Wherever they used to live, they were treated more like animals than like humans. How unfair! They're so little; smaller than Dillon or any of the smallest kids.

"You're not only allowed, you're expected to be with us," Mike interrupted.

"You just gotta be good," Derrick softly reminded. "No stealing any shinys in the house."

Confused and not believing it could be real, Spike said, "But.. but if we really are your family, then the shinys are all of ours. We don't steal shared shinys, that would be wrong."

Carrying Dillon over near his ferret kids, Mike smiled, "Then everything's kewl and you can definitely stay with us at night, and eat with us too."

The last thing done that night was a trip to the field where we had all been transported with our suitcases. The original idea was to drag all the luggage to the Hundsers' house, but our leaders realized we would need to help the little kids and could be doing that for a long while. Finally, they called Daileass and had him transport the suitcases to the house. All eighty-seven of us and our leaders went down to the basement.

While popcorn was popped and sodas were passed around, my brothers and dads surrounded me. In a quiet corner of the basement, my dads said they were still trying to find someone that could help my memory access issue. Since I didn't want to forget anything that had happened and we all wanted to remember our first days together, I was led upstairs by Mike and sat before a computer. I've been up here almost three hours. Computers are easy but this word processing program leaves a lot to be desired. Why I can't simply speak into a microphone and dictate, I don't know. Typing can be done quickly but a vocal interface would be faster; at least that's my point of view.

I'm going to go downstairs now. My brothers are probably asleep by now, which means I get to spend a little time alone with my new dads; the two best guys I could ever hope to have as fathers. I never did get to tell Prez my secret. If not tonight, I'll get around to it.