As Kristopher got ready to update everyone on his history, they were interrupted by the sound of the front door crashing against the wall as it was thrown open. A few seconds later, two boys dressed in togas ran into the room, both giggling madly as they raced to be the first one to the bed.
"Beat ya!" the smaller of the two laughed as he landed on the bed after a flying leap.
"That's okay; I'll get you later!" the taller boy responded with a mischievous grin.
"Promise?" the small boy laughed as he wagged his eyebrows.
Julio shook his head. "Hey Bat-boy! Off the bed! Now I gotta get the sheets sterilized!"
"Bite me, Julio! I think one of your crusty spots cut my arm!" the boy shot back.
"Guys, the twerp that just flew onto my bed is Spencer. Just call him 'Mini'; it's the nickname he got for playing with his bat in public."
"That is a BASEBALL bat, freak!!" Mini replied with a grin, obviously enjoying an ongoing sparring contest with Julio. "You're just jealous 'cuz the only so-called sport that you can handle consists of running around a field kicking balls like a little girl!"
"Dude, you guys gotta wear oversized gloves because you ain't skilled enough to catch a little ball!" Julio shot back with a grin.
The taller boy laughed. "Yeah, but you gotta have a goal the size of a shed because you can't aim worth a crap... even though the ball is the size of your head."
As Julio responded "Bite me, Alien!", Mini added, "It's full of the same stuff too; stale air!"
A man's blond head appeared in the still-open doorway. "Hey Mini-Me and Alien, I can hear you guys teasing the poor soccer boy in the living room! Tone it down some, you might give his friends the right idea about him or something!"
"Sorry, Dad!" the two toga-clad boys giggled.
"You're a LOT of help, Bob!" Julio laughed. "Don't you and Dad have some plotting to do?"
"Already started," Bob replied with a grin as he pulled the door shut.
Mini and Alien settled onto the edge of the bed, Mini comfortably under Alien's right arm. "Hey, Julio, did you know there are a pair of HUGE raccoons in your room?" Mini giggled as he finally looked around.
"Julio?" Ricky asked seriously, his eyes the only hint that he was not totally serious, "I know of a few cat hybrids who like to play with their food before eating. Would you like me to call them to handle the rodent problem?"
Julio shook his head. "Naw. He's a cute little rat; I'll keep him. One of these days, I might even break him of his insistence on running in circles."
Ricky grinned, his spirit bolstered by his first attempt at the 'game' that Julio and Mini were engaged in being accepted without question.
Kristopher laughed. "Hey, Boss, does that mean we have to protect his skinny butt?"
"HEY! His butt is mine!" Alien interrupted forcibly. "Anyone wants to get to his butt, they gotta go through me!"
"Ahhh, I see..." Kristopher giggled, "does he blush like that often, Alien?"
Julio shook his head once again. "Kris, while they are both on the list of people I'd expect you guys to watch out for, I think you'd be surprised at just how much damage those two could do."
Colin glanced at Kris, then spoke up. "Hey, Mini, could I please have a look at your back?"
Mini smiled as he wiggled out from under Alien's arm. "Sure!"
Colin waited patiently as the skinny, green-eyed, curly-haired twelve-year-old blond stood up and turned around. He leaned down slightly, pushed Mini's long curls out of the way, and closely inspected the markings that he had spotted on Mini's shoulder. "This is a real tattoo....." Colin mused out loud. "Camo butterfly holding a rifle ... seventeen small butterflies with red 'X" marks over them, two of them freshly added ... 'LLWS 2003 2004' over the top ... is this for real?"
Mini nodded seriously. "Yep; I earned each and every one of them. Alien too, he has his own set."
Colin looked over at Kris. "Remember that kid in Jersey earlier this month? The one who we helped get his friend out of a bad situation?"
Kris nodded. "Yeah, he really had some balls the way he charged in and got his friend out while we dealt with the perv."
Colin nodded. "Butterfly Hunters," he stated as he pointed at Mini and Alien. "Just like Marko."
Alien's eyes lit up. "You guys met Marko? Kewl! How's he doing?"
Kris's face got serious. "He's kicking ass and ordering those behind him to take names. You guys really Hunters?"
Mini nodded. "Yep, the first and the best. Little League World Champs two years in a row."
Tucker tilted his head. "Just what is a 'Butterfly Hunter'? Last I heard, Earth butterflies were not exactly dangerous."
Julio held up his hand. Once Jesse was done sucking on his tongue, Julio answered the question. "The term don't refer to the bugs, Tucker. When someone gets nervous, the flip-flops they feel in their stomachs are called butterflies. You saw Bob a few minutes ago; he's the manager of the local Little League All-Stars, as well as the foster dad to Mini and Alien. He's been managing the team since they were nine. Just after they started their first year together, he gave their team a speech about beating the butterflies they felt when playing the game, and explained that the season is not over for any of them until the lights go out in Williamsporte. He started giving out little temporary tattoos of butterflies that he put on the players' arms each time they beat their nerves and made a big play. When they made it to the World Series, the word got out about their inside nickname for themselves. The newscasters made a big deal out of it, and when they actually won the whole thing, the nickname became official. After the team got back, they all talked their parents into letting them get a tattoo on their shoulder to commemorate being the first Urbandale team in history to win the World Series. They repeated it this year, and on public TV they gave the Jersey boys membership."
"What did they do that was so 'special, bro?" Eddie asked.
Julio smiled. "Last year, the Jersey kids ended up in fourth place because they choked during a couple of key games, including the final one they played. Bob went out and talked with the team just after they lost. The Butterfly Hunters had already become a legend among the kids, so it was a big thing for him to talk to them. He told them the same thing he told our guys about beating the butterflies, and made it clear that he expected to see each and every one of them this year in the final game. They listened, and before the final game this year Bob and our team made them 'Butterfly Hunters' in front of the cameras. After he gave the Jersey boys their first official butterflies for beating the odds, he told both teams that they were brothers now, so go play like family. It ended up being an eleven inning game before Alien knocked one over the fence to break the tie. The highlight of the game that everyone remembers though was when one of the Jersey guys got hurt...."
Alien interrupted. "I'll tell that one, Julio." He swept his brown hair back, then began. "In the fifth inning, Marko had hit a triple, but twisted his ankle when he slid into third. He was trying to hide it from his coach, but I saw it and called for a conference with Mini on the mound since he was pitching. We thought about what Dad had said about us being brothers, and decided that we needed to show the world why Butterfly Hunters are so special. We had Brick tell the next batter to keep the ball away from third, and we kept an eye on Marko. Chad hit one down the first base line that would have easily let Marko make it home, but Marko started to fall about ten feet from third base. He never hit the ground, because I was right there and grabbed his arm and put it over my shoulder. Andy came over and covered third base, while Brick came up and helped me get Marko to home plate. That tied the game, and it stayed that way until I knocked that one out of the park in the eleventh."
"So THAT is why he was limping," Kris commented.
"Yeah, you shoulda seen the Ump's face when we reached home plate!" Alien giggled. "We had to remind him to call Marko 'safe', he couldn't believe we helped the other team score!"
"Yeah, we were watching it on a big screen in the high school gym," Julio added. "We were all cheering you so loud for being more concerned about playing fair than winning that the adults all had to put their hands over their ears!"
"It was the same on the UNIT base," Colin replied. "That was awesome, guys."
"Soooo ..... where are you guys from, and how much did Julio have to pay you to be his friends?" Mini giggled as he looked around the room.
"HEY!" Julio giggled as he returned to cuddling Jesse.
"What? I gotta make sure that you ain't cheatin' me outta good money!" Mini laughed as he stuck his tongue out.
"Is he always this nuts?" Kris asked Julio.
"This ain't too bad, you should hear him when he gets wound up!" Julio laughed.
Jesse laughed, then decided to help steer the discussion back to pre-invasion. "The big furry guy is Ricky, he's the bodyguard for my hot boyfriend here. The middle sized furry one is Rocky, he's my bodyguard. The little furry guy is Fisher, he's one of Johnny's friends. You gotta know Johnny and Eddie since you know my sweetie. The kewl kid in the black cloak is Tucker, he's from Halanan. We don't know much about Kris and Colin yet, since they were about to tell us more when you got here."
"I can see you needing a bodyguard, you're pretty hot!" Mini commented, then continued as he tried to avoid multiple slaps upside the head from Alien, "But why a bodyguard for Julio? He's about as sexy as a empty soda can!"
"I love you too, midget!" Julio shot back with a smile.
"Alien don't complain!" Mini giggled as he found himself being attacked by Johnny and Eddie as well. Within a few seconds, he was speechless due to the three boys tickling him mercilessly.
Once things calmed back down, Kris tried once again to catch everyone up on his history. "I'm from Clan Short Special Forces, otherwise known as the UNIT. I've been through combat and command training, and have been assigned here as the Division Commander for any UNIT forces assigned to the Division. I've been 'enhanced' to improve my speed and reaction time above what is normal for a human. I don't have any living parents; they were killed in a crash when I was a little kid."
Even Mini had a serious expression after hearing Kris's story. "Welcome to the family," he stated factually.
"Thanks," Kris said with a small smile, knowing that Colin would be next.
Colin stood up and looked around the room. "I'm also from the Unit, and I've been screwed with genetically pretty much the same as Kris. I'm here as the Special Forces Security Director. As far as the trash that provided sperm and an egg to form me, they are no longer breeding ... death tends to prevent it ... I took care of that problem personally."
The few words that both boys had just said, told Julio more than he wanted to ever imagine about their pasts. Just based on what he had been told about the UNIT, he knew that the two boys had already led rough lives. In Colin's case it went even deeper; the ice in his tone made it clear to each of them that any discussion of his birth parents was quite likely to be the cause of many nightmares.
Julio smiled at the two boys, "Welcome to my family, guys; you're our brothers now. I've got a better idea than some of the guys about what your life has been like up to now; I'll leave it up to you to tell them when or if you decide to. I'm pretty sure that you've been told this already, but I'll say it to be sure. My Mom and Dad are actually okay adults; they're probably going to treat all of you just like you're their own sons. Bob's the same way. Any time that you need an adult to have your back, you can count on all three of them."
"That explains why Momma Janet told us we'd be safe in our new assignment," Colin mused. "She was always telling me that I needed to learn what real parents are supposed to be."
His musing was stopped by Eddie walking up to him, his arms outstretched in an obvious 'lift me up' pose. Colin complied, and was surprised to find Eddie immediately snuggling into him tightly as soon as he was lifted up.
"Don' be thinkin 'bout them bad people," Eddie said softly. "They's gone, an' you gots a good family now. Gimme some brother cuddles an the goofy brothers can tell you what theys been through."
"You've got that right, little guy!" Ezra commented as he appeared by the door. "Did someone call for a Mikyvis Mind Translator Specialist? Ezra Richardson Short, mind leech extraordinaire, at your service!" he finished with a giggle.
Mini and Alien stared at the new arrival in shock. "What the hell...?" Mini exclaimed. "Where did you come from, and how did you get here!?"
"He's a Mikyvis... kinda like a human, but better," Johnny giggled. "If he's like his daddies, he's really kewl! He can go 'bout anywhere with a thought! You got a pet dino yet, Ezra?"
As both Mini and Alien stared at Johnny like he'd just grown a third head, Ezra giggled and opened the door behind him a crack. "Hey Johnny, your friends are done cleaning out the food supplies! Brace yourself!"
Johnny grinned, and began giggling as Cinnamon and Charlie raced through the open door and pounced their human friend. "You're a pair of silly kitties!" Johnny laughed between face lickings.
Julio saw the expression on Mini's face, and answered the pending question. "Yes, that is a sabre-toothed kitten, and yes, you are safe! His name is Charlie, and he's a gift from Ezra's parents, Kyle and Tyler. They helped my two little bros a lot, and Ezra is their son so you can trust him."
"He's right," Tucker interjected. "Gavin and Justy keep us updated on everything that happens here on Earth with the Clan, as well as Kyle and Ty liking to bring their kids over to meet us after they are born. Every one of them are awesome. Ezra, have your Dad and Pop decided to listen to all of us? We keep telling them to stop sleeping, because every time they do another kid gets born!"
Ezra giggled. "It's only every OTHER time now! Can I map your head while we're talking? Dad never did it because he had too much fun visiting Rigel and didn't want to ruin it by doing Mikyvis stuff."
"Go ahead," Tucker replied. "try not to blush though!"
A few seconds later, Ezra giggled, then turned to Johnny and Eddie. "You guys ready for an upload? His brain is pretty easy, it maps like a cross between Human and Tesnian."
Both boys nodded, and within seconds they both grinned. "Wait until I tell Uncle Cory that you think he's hot!" Johnny giggled at Tucker.
Tucker smiled. "I think he figured that out already... at least Sean did, and he hasn't let me forget it!"
They all settled down, and Mini stood to give his history. He stuttered for a few seconds, then the confident boy they all knew whispered something that nobody had heard from his lips in years. "I ... I ... can't ... sorry ... I ...it ... hurts ... too ... bad ...."
Mini collapsed back onto the bed, and began to roll up into a ball. Ezra was at his side in a flash, moving even faster than Alien. ""Can I see? Maybe I can help," Ezra whispered to Mini as he pulled him into a hug.
Mini nodded, tears running down his face. "Please? It hurts!" he whimpered.
Ezra quickly pulled Mini tighter to him. Within a minute, Mini was noticeably calmer, but the ever-present smile was now absent from Ezra's face. "This is no longer your problem alone, brother," Ezra stated formally. "There is one here who has shared your pain. I will show you how to shield yourself the same way my Dad shields himself from the past, and with your approval I will ask assistance from Colin."
Mini nodded silently, his recent pain still affecting his speech.
Ezra nodded, and quietly assisted Mini in leashing the demons of his past. He then moved to allow Alien to take his place in the cuddle, then walked over to Colin. "Lieutenant DeYoung, are you prepared to receive official testimony?" Ezra asked formally.
Colin gently placed Eddie on his feet, then stood tall in front of Ezra. "I am prepared for the report from Clan Short Intelligence."
Ezra nodded, and proceeded to give the details to Colin. As soon as he was done, a now visibly pissed-off Colin spoke. "Thank you; this matter WILL be dealt with. Daileass, I need my full fucking kit in here ... NOW!" At the same time, Colin made use of the UNIT telepathic network. 'General Adam Casey, with all due respect, I need to speak with you ... NOW.'
'What do you need, Colin?' Adam answered almost immediately.
I'm in the room with the older brother of my 'twin shadows'. I have just been given information via Mikyvis which shows that the twins got the better deal being sold than their brother did. He is unaware of them being alive at this time. Request permission to exterminate the vermin which have violated the rights of Spencer, Logan, and Lucas,' Colin replied, the venom audible in his thoughts.
There was silence in the link for a moment, as Adam reeled from the shock of the information. Colin, who had gone through the 'conversion' just like the twins did, would never say that they had it better just on a whim. The information that Colin had must have been horrendous for him to so easily say that the twins got the better end of the deal. 'Lieutenant DeYoung, I am activating the on duty ASSAULT team to assist you. They will be told you are the on-site commander. I want these people taken out with extreme prejudice... use your imagination. Just make sure it hurts.'
Adam paused for a moment to let his temper simmer down some before he continued. 'I will deal with the twins; it might be touchy for a bit, but I'll see what they want to do. Depending on their reactions, I may be making a trip to Des Moines to talk to this Spencer, and let him know what happened to his brothers. Keep me up to date if you need anything else.'
'I will do that, Sir. For reference, Spencer required a Kyle-level mind tuning to deal with the memory. I believe the only materials I will need are ziplock baggies, Colin replied icily.
'Hold that thought there, soldier. Do what you want to them... but I want them alive by the time you are done. UNIT Justice demands that the twins have the option of dispatching them personally.' Adam stated, now thinking clearer.
Could you please define what state of 'alive' you wish, Sir? Colin asked seriously.
Adam couldn't help but giggle slightly at the question. 'Alive enough so that they will know what is happening to them if the Twins decide to take their vengeance. Remember, you're the one that's gonna have to look the twins in their eyes if you take away what they feel is their just deserts.Adam paused, then added, 'Also I will instruct the Assault Team to secure the house in case any of the three want anything from it. So don't destroy it. If they don't want anything, we'll just sell everything off and put it into a fund for them.'
"Understood, Sir, Colin replied. And if a certain oversized pocket calculator don't hurry up with my kit, I'm going to tell Dave where his power switch is."
Daileass jumped in at this point. 'I was waiting for you two to stop blabbering. You may want to warn everyone that you're gonna blink out for a second.... Oh, the hell with it!'
In the room, everyone was shocked as Colin seemed to fuzz out for a second, then was suddenly standing there in flat black full body armor. Colin turned his helmeted head towards a speechless Mini. "Brother, those who hurt you have been slated to appear before the ultimate Judge. Your job is to heal; my job is to ensure their appearance."
"Do I even want to know?" Julio asked hesitantly.
Colin was already out the door, but Kris answered seriously for him. "His codename is 'Nightmare', and those who cross him know why. I don't know the details, and really don't want to... but the last time he was like this, his parents were found in Nevada ... and California ... and Utah ... and Washington ... and Texas ... and there are still pieces missing."
"Oh shit..." most of the room exclaimed under their breath.
The ten members of Strike Team 'The Flying Dutchman' were all gearing up to go on duty in their pod, when a tone came over the speakers. They all stopped what they were doing and looked up towards the ceiling. The tone was the one used to alert people that Daileass was about to talk to them, rather than the 'alert tones' that indicated a pending mission. About two seconds after the tone died out, Daileass's voice came over the speakers. "Hey guys, hate to do this to you, but your 'on duty' time is being covered by the Grave Diggers. You lot have been asked to dress out in full class 'A' Uniform, and report to the General's office ASAP. He wanted me to pass this along. 'Don't take your time, but make sure your uniforms are spotless.'"
First Lieutenant Doug Wilser, the commanding officer for the strike team, looked just as confused as the rest of them. Finally he spoke up. "Any chance you can give us a hint as to what's going on?"
"Sorry, Lieutenant, I am under specific orders not to reveal anything else. Although, I will say that it is something big, that I really think you guys will enjoy. At least, I am sure some of you will enjoy it." Doug knew the second that Daileass called him by his rank, that something big was going on.
"Well, guys, you heard him. Strip out of the cammies, and let's get our inspection uniforms on. Whatever's goin on... it's gotta be big. I want your boots shined to perfection, and everything on your uniform perfect. We've never failed an inspection before, so I know you guys know what to do. Get to it!" They all popped a quick salute, then ran off to their bedrooms to change. Nine-year-old Second Lieutenant Logan Darwin, the strike team's second in command and the youngest command staff member in the entire UNIT, looked over to his twin brother Lucas and mentally sent to him, 'so, what do ya think's goin on?'
Lucas, who hadn't spoken a word verbally since he woke up after the 'conversion', shrugged. 'Don't know, but I bet it's gonna be big. General Adam doesn't normally call people to his office 'less he's got a specific mission that's pretty important. Just wonder what it's gonna be....' His face fell a little towards the floor as he sent the next bit. 'Not sure why he'd want us, though, especially with me being...'
He never got to finish what he was saying, because Logan slapped him hard across the face, sending his 'younger' brother sprawling towards the floor. "How many times have I told you; I don't want to hear you talkin' shit about yourself. You're just as important to this team as everyone else!" Logan said emphatically, then threw himself at his brother when the other boy had gotten to his feet and pulled him into a hard rough hug. "Damnit bro, it kills me to see you bein' so down on yourself. I know you hate some of the shit that's happened, and the shit you gotta deal with, but I've told you a million times, I don't care if you never talk out loud again. It don't matter here. We're all as much family here as you, me and Spence are!" Both boys teared up slightly at the mention of their long-lost big brother... the one who used to protect them from their parents before their parents sold the twins. Neither one of them remembered too much about the time before they entered the 'program', but they both remembered their big brother, and a little bit of what their parents tried to do to them that Spence stopped.
After a few moments of hard hugs, hugs that would have crushed a normal squishy, Logan pulled back. "Now come on, and let's get dressed. General Adam wants to see us, and we better not make him wait. And if you don't hurry up, I'll tell Mama Janet that you've been down on yourself again." Lucas knew that would mean another session of hugs and cuddles with the UNIT mom, but also a good talking to.
Less then fifteen minutes later, the 'Flying Dutchman' strike team assembled outside of Adam's office. Doug took a moment to look them all over, making sure he was satisfied with the way the looked. After making at least one tweak to every person's uniform, Doug stood back, giving them one final look before he nodded. "Okay, let's get in there and see what we've gotten ourselves into." The last part was said with a grin as he turned and walked into the General's outer office.
Aiden looked up from the desk where he was tapping away at the computer and smiled. "Hey, guys. Go right on in, his grand pooh-bah-ness is ready for you." It took the entire ten man strike team almost three full minutes to compose themselves after Aiden's comment. Of course, Aiden never did more then crack a small smile, knowing there was almost no one else that could get away with addressing Adam that way.
As soon as Doug led them into the office, Adam stood up from behind his desk. Logan Hayes also stood up from where he was working on something on the desk next to Adam's. Doug was probably the only one of them who could tell that Adam's smile of welcome was more than a little forced. They all lined up in front of Adam's desk, went to attention on Doug's command, and saluted. When Adam returned the salute, they all let their hands fall to their sides and stood in perfect formation. Without a word, Adam clasped his hands behind his back, walked around the desk, and took a good two minutes to look over each and every one of their uniforms. Still not saying a word, when he got done, Adam went back around to behind his desk and looked them over critically for a moment. "At ease," Adam finally said, and the entire strike team snapped to parade rest at the same moment.
After a few moments, of trying to figure out exactly what to say, Adam finally spoke. "Your strike team has been slated for possible temporary assigned duty elsewhere. Lieutenant Wilser, please see Aiden outside; he will have your new orders ready for you." Adam paused briefly and then barked out, "Dismissed!" The entire group snapped back to attention, snapped a salute, then made a perfect about face, and started for the door, before Adam spoke up again. "Lieutenant Darwin, Sargent Darwin, please stay behind." The two boys immediately fell out of line, and moved back to in front of Adam's desk, once again at attention.
Adam waited until the rest of the team left, and shut the door behind them, before he spoke again. "First off, guys, why don't you two have a seat? What we need to talk about is not from a commanding officer to his troops, but as an older brother to his younger brothers. Okay?"
As if a switch had been flipped, both boys relaxed and sat down in the chairs in front of Adam's desk. Adam and Logan both came out from behind their desks, grabbed a pair of chairs, and set the chairs in front of the twins before they both sat down. Adam smiled at the two boys, and this one wasn't as forced. When he spoke, it wasn't verbally, but mentally to all three in the room with him, but he also added Daileass, Aiden, Dr. Phil, and Janet into the conversation. For a full-on Squishy, Dr. Phil had gotten surprisingly adept at handling mental conversations. 'Okay, guys... I was just given some information that, even though I am not entirely sure how you guys will handle it, needs to be shared with you two.' Adam never even mentioned the fact that they were speaking mentally in deference to Lucas, but the fact wasn't lost on the boy, who smiled softly in appreciation.
'There's two parts to this, and I don't really know how to soften this any, so I will just be frank. I think you both can handle it. Twenty minutes ago, 'Nightmare' was dispatched to arrest, detain, and bring back to the UNIT base...' He paused for a very brief moment before he dropped the bomb on them. 'Your previous parents.'
Logan looked stunned, but Adam was more concerned about the snarling smile that came across Lucas' face. 'In following with UNIT Justice,' Lucas spoke softly and dangerously, 'I DEMAND right of the injured to try, convict, and carry out fitting punishment.'
Logan stared at his brother for a moment, stunned, before he hesitantly nodded. Adam sat back in his chair and looked hard at Lucas for a long moment. The small nine-year-old boy never let his eyes waver from Adam's until Adam finally sighed deeply and nodded. 'So is your right.'
Lucas sat back but still had a bit of the snarl on his face, although this time it was tempered with a bit of satisfaction. Adam then decided to throw the other bomb on them. 'We've also located your brother Spencer.'
Both boys immediately jumped from their seats. Logan almost shouted out loud, while Lucas almost shouted mentally, the same thing. "Where is he... is he all right... can we go see him?"
Then Lucas dropped to his seat sobbing. Adam, Logan Hayes, and Lucas's twin Logan immediately jumped to him, but Adam was faster as always. Adam had Lucas in his arms before the boy had a chance to really sink back into his chair. 'It's okay, Lucas...' Adam said soothingly, 'I know what you're thinking, and I will guarantee you this. If your brother really loves you guys like you know he does, he's not going to care what was done to you. He'll love you like he always has.'
'You... you really think so?' Lucas asked in a small voice that seemed like it came from a dying man finding out someone could save him.
'I know so. Colin's met him, and likes him. I'm gonna go right now and talk with him. He's actually part of the Des Moines Division, so he already knows about us. But I'm gonna go talk to him and make sure. Then I'll have you guys come in.' Adam paused for a moment, hugging Lucas hard enough to make sure the boy knew he would be there for him. 'But I gotta warn you. I don't know any of the specifics, but Colin said specifically that you guys both got the better end of the deal. You guys may have to be strong for your older brother at times. You think you can do that?'
Both boys stared at Adam with disbelief, which quickly turned into hardened resolve. Logan was the one who spoke for both of them. 'As you've always taught us... family first, no matter what.'
Adam smiled as he nodded. 'Very good. Now, Mama Janet's in the other room. Why don't you two go wait with her while Logan and I go talk to your brother. When we're ready, we'll call for you two. Okay?'
Both boys just nodded, Lucas stood up and wiped his eyes before he and Logan moved off to the other room. Adam looked to Logan and spoke softly after the door closed. "Lets go get this over with, and hopefully we'll have a happy tale to tell when this is over."
The entire group of boys were still quietly comforting Mini when Colin reappeared in the room. Colin removed his helmet, nodded at Julio, then quickly changed into the dress uniform which had appeared on the floor next to him.
Once he was changed, Jesse came up to him, Rocky at his side. "I don't know what they did to Mini, but he's too nice to be hurting like this. Did you find them?"
Colin nodded. "At the request of my superiors, they are detained for final judgment before meeting their Maker. I can promise that their wait is most uncomfortable; they have been given a taste of what is to come."
"Why do they call you 'Nightmare'?" Jesse asked curiously.
"Because that is what I gave my instructors," Colin stated, figuring it best not to go into detail.
"And what he gives to his targets... when they have time left enough to sleep, that is." A new voice said, causing everyone to turn in that direction. Standing there were two boys, both in military uniforms. One had long black hair tied back in a pony tail, with arresting grey eyes, while the other's hair was not quite as long, golden blond, and he had deep blue eyes. The dark-haired new boy walked up to Julio and stuck his hand out. "General Adam Casey at your service." He motioned to the blond with him and kept the introductions going, making sure everyone that was paying attention could actually hear. "This is my Chief Intel Officer, and more importantly my better half, General Logan Hayes."
"I'm glad to meet you." Julio replied. "I think a few of these guys want your attention before I introduce everyone!" he added with a smile, nodding his head at Ricky, Rocky, Kris, and Colin, who were all at attention and holding a salute.
"At ease, guys," Adam replied. He then turned to Colin. "You know why I'm here... wanna pave the way a bit for me?"
Colin nodded. "Yes, Sir." He then walked over to the bed. "Alien, can I borrow Mini for a few minutes? Adam has a few things that Mini really needs to hear."
Alien looked over into Colin's eyes. The cloaked reserve that had been there since their first meeting was gone, and replaced by what could only be described as compassion mixed with hope.
"Come on, babe; let's see if you can get some good news," Alien said softly as he helped Mini off of the bed. Colin gave him a smile of thanks, and gently pulled Mini's back against his chest while wrapping his arms around him.
"Adam, this is my brother, Mini. You know of him as Spencer," Colin stated. "Mini, when I found out what had happened to you, something came up that involves some friends of mine, friends that I consider my brothers."
Adam looked at Spencer, also seeming to be called Mini, and took a deep breath. "My mom always yells at me for not having any tact, but right now, I think that beating around the bush would be a bit of a miscarriage to you. But... before I go into that..." Adam said with a grin that quickly faded. "Boy, I guess I won't get any humor points. Okay... before I can go any further, I need to know if you understand who, and more importantly what, we are?" He was speaking right to Mini, and moved around to sit in a chair because he figured this might take a bit.
"Ezra filled me and Alien in on all of the Clan and UNIT stuff when Colin was away," Mini replied in an uncharacteristic soft voice.
Ezra was watching carefully, and his eyes shot up as he picked up a thought directed at him by Logan. He quickly acknowledged it, then placed a message in Alien's head.
Alien looked at Ezra to confirm his mind was not playing tricks on him, and once he saw the nod from Ezra that it was for real, he shot from his seat on the edge of the bed to the intercom by the door. "Dad, get your ass in here, and bring the butterflies!" he commanded into the unit.
The sounds of four adults running to the room quickly assaulted the boys' ears. With Bob leading the way, all four slammed through the door. "What's wrong?" Mick and Bob exclaimed in unison.
Alien took charge. "Sit and listen. Mini needs all of us, and you'll understand soon enough."
Mick and Janice started to respond, but Bob held up his hand. "We need to listen to him. The only time he's ever cussed at me is if there is something that he thinks might become too big for him and Mini-Me to handle together. I learned one thing early from these two; when they want me there as support, they do their best if I'm passive about my opinions unless asked otherwise."
Alien made quick introductions. "Adam, Logan, the big blond version of Mini is our foster Dad, Bob Busch. The lady next to Bob is Robin's mother Marcie. The other two adults are Julio, Jesse, Johnny, and Eddie's parents, Mick and Janice Hernandez. Dad, Marcie, Janice, and Mick, this is General Adam Casey and General Logan Casey of the Clan Short Special Forces, or as they're also known, the Unit."
"Robin's visiting with Unca Cory!" Eddie added helpfully.
As Marcie, Mick and Janice nodded their understanding, Bob spoke. "Mick was just telling me and Marcie about your organization, at least the parts parents are allowed to know. I defer to you, General Adam Casey, and will be here to support my boys however I'm needed."
It took Adam a brief moment to put things together. Logan grew up in Des Moines, and less than 2 months ago, Logan made him watch the Little League World Series because they were from his home town. Thinking back, he now recognized Mini, Alien, and the Coach.
Before Adam could say anything, Logan looked over at Bob and gave a slight smile. "Hey, Coach. Hope you got some more stickers with you."
Bob's eyes shot wide. "I always do... why do I get the feeling this could be a very long day?"
Adam spoke up to answer his question. "Well, sir, here's the thing: in order for a lot of this to make sense, you need to have some more detailed information than what you probably already have. To make it so we don't have to repeat things, if you all are okay with it, I'll have my Chief Intel Officer give you the information mind to mind. It will not take any time, and it will give you four probably a better understanding of us than the kids have."
"Take him up on it, Bob," Mick stated seriously. "I like their way of passing out info a lot more than a bunch of reports."
"Same here," Janice replied.
"It's better than listening to Mick," Marcie said with a smile.
"Then I'd say all of us are game," Bob replied. "And all of it without Mick's jokes... the day got better!"
The last part got a small giggle out of the boys who knew Mick well; it even managed to relax Mini slightly.
Adam nodded to Logan, who nodded back, then Adam turned his attention back to Ezra and had a quick conversation with him about how much he had told the boys here about the UNIT. Nodding his head, he knew he had a few more things to cover to make what was to come mean much. "Okay, guys, I am going to ask that you bear with me a bit. There are a few classified details that Ezra hasn't filled you guys in on, details that I think you'll need for things make sense."
After getting nods from the kids, Adam took a deep breath and then started in on his explanation. "If you have any questions, or don't understand what I am about to explain, hold onto them, 'cause I may answer them before I'm done. About fifteen years ago, a General in the US Army stumbled on something that he had been searching for for a very long time: the ability to genetically alter humans to make them into super soldiers. He called it the Genesis Project. To date we have recovered just shy of seven thousand Genesis or 'G' Kids. The reason they are all kids is because in order to make the changes that are needed you need someone who has not yet reached puberty. Anyways, the first Group of G-Kids actually escaped and came to our base. No need to get into the hows or whys, but they found out about my escape, and the rescue of my brothers, and decided they'd had enough, and broke out of their base/lab."
Adam paused to draw a breath and make sure he still had everyone with him. "Those kids that came from that base were mostly human-born that had been 'recruited' by the military by lies and 'other' means to get them there. Then they started the 'conversion.' What that means is this. Every Genesis kid has at least some animal DNA in them to help augment their strength, speed, and endurance. Now, what do you think would have to happen to take someone who is fully human and re-sequence their DNA to the point that it had some Animal in there, and to turn them into more than the Human DNA was ever supposed to make them? And do it while they remain alive?"
Alien uttered one word that echoed everyone's thoughts. "Hell."
Adam sat there for a moment staring at Alien. "You know, I don't think anyone who hasn't been through it has given an answer that is as close as what you just said. If you really want to have some nightmares, feel free to ask Colin or Kris what it was like. They were from that first batch I was talking about. However, I do need to give a few details just to make sure you understand what is to come next. The best out of the first batch is what we call rank A-5 G-Kids. The 'A" meaning they were converted after birth, and the 5 means that they average out to being 5 times stronger, faster, and/or more durable than a normal human of the equivalent age. The lowest would be a rank A-2. I doubt I need to explain that any more."
After getting shakes of the head from everyone, Adam continued on. "The Conversion lasted roughly the first two months that they were at the base, then they went into some serious 'SHIT'. By SHIT we mean Super High Intensity Training. Most of the G-Kids could handle that, because on top of the physical training, they also received several mental additions as well. Such as, every G-Kid has a photographic memory. We're all telepathic, to one degree or another. And you need to understand that speed means more than just how fast someone can run, it also includes their reflexes, and how fast they process things mentally. Now, the SHIT lasted until they were ready to be 'activated' and sent on assignments."
"Now, unless I have lost anyone, I think I've covered enough to get to the real reason that I'm here." Adam paused and looked around to see if anyone had any questions.
"They're understanding it a little too well, Adam." Ezra said seriously. "But it was needed to be that way."
Adam sighed. "Yeah, they probably do understand better than most of the people in the Clan do, but you're right, they needed to." Adam got up, and moved over to be in front of Mini. He then got down on his knees in front of the boy, and took one of his hands. "Mini, while I can never take away what was done to them, just like all the G-Kids I made a promise to do everything I could to help them out. I make that same vow to you. You're gonna need help with this, and I want you to know that you can call on me at any time." Adam took a deep breath to steady himself. "Spencer Darwin, With your permission there are two G-Kids that I want to bring here right now. Their names are Logan and Lucas Darwin."
The room fell silent as Mini stared at Adam in shock. The few seconds of delay gave Colin just enough time to prepare as two things happened at once. The first was Mini falling limp as he screamed in agony and broke into tears. The second was much more audible, and much more ominous. It started with growls and hisses from the four-legged occupants of the room, expanded with the kids using language that their parents had no idea they knew, and culminated with said parents using language that had never passed their lips in the presence of their children. There was one common thread to all of this... the desire to brutally and permanently damage the people responsible for putting Mini's brothers through their nightmare.
Ezra moved quickly to Mini's side, and began to glow as he siphoned off the emotional overload from the small twelve year old. A few seconds later, the sound of thunder in the clear midday sky told those in the know that Ezra was having some success in his efforts. "He feels responsible," Ezra stated as he started helping Mini to stabilize his emotions.
"Oh Hell... I knew this would happen. Okay, Time for Plan 'B'!" Suddenly Adam's eyes started brightly blazing a brilliant blue color and Colin's hair started to stand up on his arms and the back of his neck. Adam was pulling power from all around him as he hammered into the guilt that Mini was feeling and tried to make the boy understand it wasn't his fault.
"Thanks," Ezra sent. While he could easily have done this all himself, the lessons that Kyle had learned about not playing superman were fresh in his head. One thing he realized as he watched Adam at work was that there were other ways to use power to help, and he mentally took notes so that if Adam wasn't around next time, he would know this new way of doing things.
The combined efforts did their job, and Mini's body started to show signs of recovery. After a couple more minutes, he was once again able to stand on his feet without assistance, even though Colin insisted on keeping a hold on his chest. The glow faded from around Ezra, and the young Mikyvis stepped back to give Mini room to breathe.
"They ... they don't hate me?" Mini whispered.
Adam shook his head, but it was Colin who answered. "Oh God, no! They still worship the ground you walk on. You're about all that they would talk about at first."
"Mini, understand, before I came here, I told them about finding you. The only thing they were worried about was if you wouldn't want them anymore 'cause they're 'freaks'."
"They've always been my freaks, why would that change?" Mini asked, completely serious.
Adam couldn't help but laugh at that. "They're waiting to know if you want to see them. Should I call them in?"
"Hurry up before I sic Colin on you," Mini replied, still serious. His eyes communicated that it was a promise that he intended to keep if he was separated from them any more than required.
Adam chuckled for a brief moment while he stepped back with his hands held up in the air. "No worries, man, but... just so you know. Well, Colin wouldn't stand a chance. Ask him sometime to show you the vids of the sparring matches. But seriously, there is one thing you need to know before I call them in. Since the 'conversion', Lucas has not verbally said anything. He speaks very well telepathically, and there is no doubt he could talk to everyone at once. His telepathy is rather strong. But he's kinda down on himself 'cause he doesn't talk. Do you understand what I am saying?"
"I don't care... I ... WANT ... MY ... BROTHERS!" Mini stated, now starting to get agitated.
"Fine," Adam said as he backed up a few more steps, then looked around. "Please clear out by the door. I'll want them to come in from there; that way they have an escape route. I don't think that anything will happen, but you all must understand, these kids are highly trained killers who have had their humanity stripped from them. If they feel threatened they could attack." Once everyone had moved away from the door, Adam went to stand by it, then called out to Daileass, "As soon as they're ready, Daileass... Transport them in."
Less than a minute later, two small figures started to appear in the doorway, both of them in perfect UNIT uniforms and looking around nervously, until their eyes fell on Mini....
"Oh SHIT!" Colin exclaimed as he saw Mini opening his arms. That was the last thing heard from his mouth, as the two young boys launched themselves at their big brother. A second or two later, Colin and Mini were both driven back onto the bed by the impact of the two enhanced kids.
"I'm fixing the injuries as fast as they cause them!" Ezra stated quickly. "On BOTH of them, Mini and Colin!!"
Adam chuckled for a moment, then lifted his hand reflexively. Suddenly the two nine-year-old boys started to float into the air, their arms uncoiling from around their long-lost brother. Once they were floating in the middle of the room, Adam spun them until they could see him. "Okay, guys, I know you're excited, but you don't want to kill your brother now that you've found him. Remember, he is a full Squishy."
Both boys nodded their understanding, then gave Adam pointed looks that clearly showed their wish to be returned to their brother's arms.
Adam nodded and set them back down on the floor after turning them so they were facing their brother, who had just pulled himself back to his feet.
What happened next caused the room to fall into dead silence. In a soft voice, scratchy from years of not being used, Lucas asked, "Spence... do... you... still... love... us?"
"I ALWAYS loved you, even when I thought both of you were dead," Mini replied as he walked over and pulled them back into a hug, tears running down his face. "I've always loved my little freaks, ever since the day you were born," he added softly.
"But we're really freaks now," Logan whispered.
"You're the same freaks that I've always loved," Mini stated, a little more force in his voice. "Nobody can change the real you."
"Mini-Me is right," Bob added.
"Why does he call you Mini-Me? And why does everyone else call you Mini?" Logan asked.
"That is our new Dad, Bob... he's our foster Dad, maybe someday he can be our real Dad," Mini and Alien both answered in unison, which caused all four of them to smile.
"You found a new Dad?" Lucas whispered.
Bob held up his hand. "He found a Dad for ALL of you. Last year, he told me he wished you were here to share in the new family him and Alien found. I told him then, and I'll repeat it now. You are part of my little Mini-Me... if you're here, you are just as much my sons as him and Alien are. If I knew a judge I could pay off for a short-notice adoption, I would adopt all four of you right here and now."
"Funny you should mention that..." Adam said with a grin. "Julio... would you care to do the honors?"
Julio grinned. "Robert Busch, do you take these four kids as your sons, to love and protect them, in sickness and in health?"
"I'm not marrying them, you little rat!" Bob chuckled. "I'm adopting all FIVE of them, if they agree."
"Five?" Julio asked, his joke slightly derailed.
"Yes, I've heard Colin refer to Mini as his brother at least three times, not to mention the fact he considers the twins his brothers," Bob explained. "That's enough for me. Besides, every father needs a son who can spread dirty scum over at least five states."
Everyone heard Adam's whispered response of "Not to mention three countries, and two planets.... he still won't tell me how he did the last part though."
"Even better!" Bob grinned. "What do you say, Colin, you up for having an insane blond, whose most stunning achievement is the forming of the Butterfly Hunters, as your old man?"
Before Colin could reply, Logan kissed Mini's cheek. "Can he? Please? He took care of us when you didn't know how to find us."
Mini looked at Colin, appreciation written on his face. "You did that?"
Colin nodded. "Yes; in fact they're known as my shadows on the base."
Alien smiled. "You're already our brother then; please share our Dad too?"
Colin looked at Adam and Logan, seeking his superior's decision on the appropriateness of the adoption.
Adam moved over to Colin with a smile on his face. "Listen, bro. We'll be your family no matter who you call dad. We're connected by something that will never break or falter. We've bled together, we've fought together... NOTHING will break that bond. If you wanna do this, go for it. Just don't forget about us," Adam said that last part with a grin.
"If he tries to I'll kick his butt!" Mini stated.
Adam threw his arm over Mini's shoulder and hugged the smaller boy to him. "You know something Mini... I think I'm gonna like you. If you ever feel like a few weeks of some real SHIT... let me know, and I'll personally see that you're trained by the best we got. Speaking of which, you can learn a lot from your brothers if you want. Logan is the youngest command staff person we got. He's second in command of his strike team, and to be honest, the only reason he's not in full command is I'm molding him to take command of an Assault Team when one comes up. And Lucas..." Adam chuckled lightly, "well... let's just say you gotta watch out for him. Last week he finished up his doctorate in Molecular Chemistry. He's the Strike Team's explosives and ordinance officer." Adam grinned and waited to see what, if any response that would get.
"Kewl! Maybe we can work out a way to wake up Dad every time he snores!" Mini replied, his sense of humor starting to return.
"Hey, I'm not THAT bad!" Bob chuckled.
"Yes, you are, Dad!" Mini and Alien replied in unison.
Julio shook his head and giggled. "Colin, yes or no?"
"Yes!" Colin replied, trying not to laugh at Bob's expression.
"Daileass, log it!" Julio laughed. "Kids, you may now maul the dad!" he added as he quickly moved as far as he could from the adults.
Before the room could descend into chaos, Adam held up his hand. "After the mauling, I have one more thing I need to do."
The boys all nodded mid-flight as all but Colin pounced on Bob. Colin, using his training, managed to restrain himself long enough for the first wave to get out of the way before launching himself at his new Dad. Once they had all settled in, each having given Bob a strong hug of gratitude, Bob finally had a chance to respond to the events leading up to today's reunion.
"I think we're going to need to visit a tattoo artist shortly," Bob stated seriously as he glanced at each of his new sons. "Normally this would be a team decision, but I doubt that any of the guys would argue after finding out what has happened. Is there any way to get my briefcase from the house?"
"You're a Squishy that actually survived an attack of the Twins!" Daileass announced with a giggle. "Juan lost five hundred dollars due to you being able to walk after that mauling! Which one? I'll get it for you!"
"The grey one," Bob replied, not really sure as to the wiseness of inquiring who Juan was or why he lost money.
A second later, a grey briefcase appeared next to Bob. "Draco and I are both archiving this," Daileass commented. "We both keep records whenever one of our brothers gets honored for something."
"Thanks, I hope this meets the standards," Bob replied as he opened the case. He took out a sheet of something, then commented, "I always hoped that I would never have to use these in a situation like this. The only saving grace is that the people I am awarding are still alive." Bob looked at each of his new sons, mentally deciding how to proceed. It didn't take more than a couple of seconds before he spoke. "Lucas, could you please stand up in front of me, and extend your left arm?"
Lucas glanced at Mini, and at his big brother's nod did as Bob had asked.
Bob stood as well, and began speaking softly. "Lucas Busch, you have underwent trials that would defeat most men. Through it all, you remained true to your family, both blood and declared. The Butterfly Hunters have an award which is only given to those who have endured conditions over and above that which would overcome a normal grown man. This award has only been issued one other time, posthumously, to a teammate who perished after rescuing his neighbors from a house fire. Today I hereby declare you a 'Butterfly Ace' and authorize you to acquire a permanent tattoo of the image I am about to apply to your arm."
As everyone watched, Bob carefully prepped Lucas' skin, then applied the single temporary tattoo on the paper to his arm. Once he peeled the paper away, the group was able to see the award. The image was the expected camo butterfly, except that this one had blood red eyes and was holding crossed swords with blood dripping from their edges. Across the bottom, in red letters with a yellow border, was the single word 'ACE'. "This is not an award which brings congratulations," Bob said solemnly. "I am honored to have been able to present this to you, and will do everything in my power to ensure I never have to issue you a second one."
Lucas looked at his arm, and then looked into his new Dad's eyes. The sorrow and resolve that he saw proved to him that Bob was not just spouting words. After a few seconds of concentration, Lucas croaked out, "Thank you ... Dad." before wrapping his arms around Bob.
Unknown to all except Logan, Adam had something transported in while Bob was talking. When Logan looked down and saw the small box that was now in Adam's hand, his eyes got huge, and he immediately started 'talking' to Daileass to make sure this was being recorded properly. Again, unknown to the others, suddenly four small helicopters were in the room, all outfitted with cameras making sure that every detail of what was about to happen was properly recorded.
In the Utah base, most of the Unit members were stopping to watch, or heading off to a monitor so that they could watch, what was going on. Due to the importance of what was about to happen, at Logan's request Daileass made a base wide announcement, informing all non essential personnel to immediately report to the nearest monitor to watch what was about to happen.
Adam drew a deep breath not really liking what he was about to do, but feeling his chest swell up with a bit of pride at the honor of doing it. "ATTTENN-HUT!"
Instantly, reflexively, every UNIT member there went to attention before they even realized it. What surprised Adam slightly was that the two male adults also reflexively snapped to attention. Knowing that something was going on, most of the rest of the people there moved back slightly.
"Specialist Lucas Busch, Front and Center!" Adam barked out, still in his military commander's voice. Lucas immediately rushed over to stand in front of Adam, who had moved to the center of the room. Snapping back to attention, Lucas stood there, wondering what was going to happen next.
Adam stood quietly for a few moments before he clasped his hands behind his back and started to pace back and forth in front of Lucas while he spoke. "On Friday October 29th 2004 during Operation Lighting Freedom, Strike Team 'The Flying Dutchman' came under heavy enemy fire, which ended up wounding two of the members of the Strike Team badly enough that they had to be pulled back. Under the orders of his strike team commander, Specialist Lucas Busch stayed behind to help ensure that his fellow strike team members could make it to safety. After successfully ensuring their arrival to the medical unit, Lucas then ran back to meet up with his strike team.
"During that time, the remaining members of this strike team pushed forward to try and relieve some of the pressure that two other strike teams were under. However, they ended up getting pinned down as well. Regardless of his own safety, Specialist Busch single-handedly opened up a path for the rest of his team to escape. By this point, every single member of the strike team was wounded in one way or another.
"Living up to the creed of the UNIT, that 'no one will be left behind', Lucas made his way to the two teams that were pinned down, many of whom were too wounded to make their way out by themselves. With his strike team providing cover, Lucas carried out UNIT members who would not have been able to make it out by themselves. Through a narrow pathway, and with bullets raining down on him, Specialist Busch made not one trip back to retrieve an injured UNIT member, not two trips, but six. During which time, Specialist Busch was wounded eight times, including having a bullet lodged into his hip which took three hours of surgery to remove and repair.
"At one point, he directly disobeyed an order from a superior officer who told him to hold back until backup arrived. Simply stating that they didn't have that much time, Specialist Busch made his way back in there yet again."
"But he did not stop there. Once everyone was safe, and was falling back, Specialist Busch left his team, and went back towards where the enemy was holed up. Armed simply with a single sidearm and his UNIT sword, Specialist Busch was responsible for more than thirty-five enemy deaths."
Adam stopped his pacing directly in front of Lucas, looked down slightly at the boy who was standing at attention in front of him, Adam let a small smile pass his lips. "For actions that exemplify what it means to be UNIT. It is with the greatest of Honor and Pride that I award to Specialist Lucas Busch this Medal of Honor." Adam opened the box and pulled the large medal out and showed it to the small crowd before gently laying it around Lucas's neck. "May you serve as an inspiration to all that know you, for you sure have to me."
Adam stepped back and saluted, which Lucas immediately returned. When Adam dropped his salute, Lucas went back to attention, albeit with tears running down his cheeks. Adam then stepped up to the boy and pulled him into a hug. When he broke the hug, Adam gently turned Lucas around and said softly to him, "Go on, I think you have four brothers and a Dad that want to share this moment with you." Lucas shakingly stepped up to his twin, his re-found brother, his two new brothers, and his new dad, and fell into a family hug, at which applause broke out in the room.
Once everything had calmed down, Bob repeated the ceremony with Lucas' twin, Logan. While shorter, it was not identical, as Bob brought up the extra support that Logan had provided to Lucas. Colin received one as well, for not only his own experiences but for the support he provided the twins and the immediate response he provided upon learning of Mini's past.
Bob then pulled one more tattoo out of the case. "Mini, please stand in front of me." he asked softly.
Mini stood, but immediately began talking. "I don't deserve one, Dad. I broke down and cried, I didn't do nothing."
"You're right on one point, you didn't do nothing. You did something very important. You survived treatment that nobody that I have ever known before today could have even imagined. You kept your brothers' memory even when you thought they were dead. You welcomed them back, with no concern for any changes which happened to them during their trials. Let me take a vote here from the people who have earned the award," Bob stated.
He didn't need to ask, because Colin spoke up immediately. "I'm the only one of his brothers who knows the full details of what Mini went through. If Mini was eligible for the medal that Adam awarded to Lucas, I know he would have it. I said this to General Adam, and I will say it again. If you compare what happened to Mini with what Lucas and Logan went through after they were sold, any sane person would determine that the twins had it easier than how Mini had it over the same time period."
Logan stood up, a frown on his face. "You earned it before we were sold, Spence. Take it, or we'll BOTH kick your squishy butt!"
Mini glanced over at the two Generals. "I don't deserve it! I failed my brothers!"
Adam moved himself to the couch and sat down, motioning for Mini to come sit next to him. Once Mini was seated, Adam spoke softly. "Mini, how much do you really know about telepaths?"
"I know that Ezra was able to help me lock up the bad stuff and then told Colin about what happened," Mini responded.
"Okay, then you know that we telepaths can look into someone else's mind and see what they have been through. Would you permit me to do this? Would you allow me in to see what you have been through?" Pausing briefly, Adam spoke with as much caring and compassion as he could. "I know what you're thinking, Mini; you're thinking that 'I could have done something to help my brothers.' Let me see what you went through, and then I swear to you, I will show you and make you understand just how much you HAVE done."
"Go ahead, I didn't do anything," Mini stated softly.
Adam slowly entered the boy's mind so as to not cause him any distress. What he saw took almost every ounce of self-control that Adam had. He clamped down so hard on his emotions that it almost hurt, but if he hadn't, he could easily have been pushed into a murderous rage. He sat there with his eyes closed, not moving, until he was sure that he could actually speak without his emotions taking over. Finally he opened his eyes and looked at Mini; however, no amount of control could keep all the tears from running down his face.
"Mini, I am not going to give you a medal or anything like that. Not because you don't deserve it, but anything I could give to you would belittle what you have accomplished." Adam placed a finger lightly on Mini's lips when the boy started to protest. "Please let me finish," Adam said, all previous happiness gone from his voice. "We have rescued close to fifteen thousand kids from all over the world in the last week. Some of the things I have seen those kids put through would have given me nightmares if I didn't know how to deal with things properly. Hell, my own brother, Juan, went through things that I really doubt I could have handled. He literally went insane because of what was done to him. Until now, I thought he was one of the strongest people I had ever met."
Adam slid off the couch to kneel in front of Mini, and took both of the boy's hands in his own. "I've met someone stronger in some areas than he is now, someone who started with less yet survived a torture that only three other people I know can even comprehend. The very fact that you are not completely insane is a testament to how strong you are. The fact that you have as much love in your heart as you do shows the world that no matter what those... people... did to you couldn't destroy you. I simply can't put into words the admiration I have for you right now."
Adam saw Mini start to cry, and pulled the smaller boy into a tight hug. "When you say you didn't do anything, you couldn't be more wrong. You took everything those people had to throw at you, and you threw it right back at them, all the while holding onto the love that is in you. You not only have my admiration, nor just my respect, Mini, your strength is something I will be striving to emulate."
Adam pushed the boy back a little so he could look into his eyes. "I was thinking of making you an honorary UNIT member, but I've changed my mind. When you are ready, and IF you want, you come to me, and I will PERSONALLY train you in what ever you want."
"But, I let my brothers get hurt," Mini whispered.
Colin walked over and tapped Adam's shoulder, indicating that he would like to answer the statement.
"Do you know something I don't?" Adam asked.
"Yes, I scanned the minds of the piles of shit who gave life to these three angels," Colin stated, a scowl on his face. "Mini, do you want me to answer that out loud, or in your head?"
"You can say it, I know I messed up," Mini said softly.
Colin put his hand on Mini's shoulder and caressed it gently. "You can forget that line of thought forever, bro. Every time that they tried to do things to the twins that you were enduring, you stepped in and took it yourself instead of letting your little brothers suffer. The twins were getting old enough that they were becoming a danger to the adults being exposed, and due to you the adults did not have the fear factor to prevent them from talking. Your former parents were trying to have the twins killed to cover what they were doing to you, but instead they ran across a way to sell them and have them vanish. If it wasn't for you, either the twins would have suffered what you did or they would have died. The new occupants of detention cells Delta Three and Four used their money to buy a lot of blindness; thanks to you being so protective of the twins, the greed of your former parents was able to allow the twins to be placed in a situation where they at least had a chance at survival."
Alien came over to the other side of Mini and wrapped his arm around Mini's chest. "You've helped a lot of the team too, even if you didn't know it. Remember when you told everyone about always bein' taken to a skin doctor to make sure you didn't have scars? You told us how you couldn't say anything because he sent a note to the school telling them you had a skin condition that required medical stuff to be done. After hearing that, three of the guys were able to get help for their parents who had been given too many drugs by doctors, one of the guys got help when his dad lost his job and started taking it out on his family, and one of the guys busted a teacher who had the wrong idea of what it should take for girls to get an 'A' in his class. That's just the ones I know of."
"I wish I could get my hands on that so-called 'Doctor'," Bob stated angrily.
"Block Charlie Seven," Colin replied evenly. "You'll have to settle for a verbal assault though; that one is being saved for JJ to prosecute."
"Why JJ?" Adam asked.
"What he did to Mini was bad, but he's also 'seen' Kyle," Colin replied. "The charges against him on Kyle's behalf are bad enough that I refuse to take away JJ's rights as brother to try the asshole."
Ezra winced as he spoke up. "I just had a private conversation with Uncle JJ. He says to tell you he's going to have me and Poppa Ty take him to handle the trial tomorrow just before we leave Des Moines."
"There goes my idea about asking for a tour of the base tomorrow," Mick quipped. "If you've got someone there that hurt Kyle, I don't want to be anywhere NEAR there when JJ gets his hands on them."
"CHICKEN!" Julio giggled, causing the mood to lighten in the room as the rest of the boys joined in the giggles.
Even Bob was smiling as he kneeled in front of Mini once again. "What do you say, son? Do you still think that you don't deserve this?"
"I ... I guess I do," Mini whispered. "I ... I never tried though ...."
Bob leaned forward and kissed Mini's forehead. "Nobody who gets one of these tries to get it, son. Just like Lucas didn't try to get that medal that he was just awarded. He did what he knew to be right, and didn't back down until he was done. I know where he learned that, too; he learned it from his big brother."
Mini gave a small smile in response to the compliment, then slowly put his arm out for Bob to place the tattoo. Out of respect for what they had just witnessed, the room stayed silent; none had words that would do anything but lessen the moment.
Once it was done, Mini gave Bob a hug, then held out his arms for his little brothers. Almost instantly, the twins were latched to his side once more. Mini looked over at Alien, and almost begged, "Hold me babe, please?"
Almost instantly, Julio's bed was vacated for the four boys. Alien laid down first, then Mini let go of the twins just long enough to lay chest-to-chest. He then held out his arm, silently beckoning the twins to join them. A few seconds later, they sorted out positions; Alien with Mini securely in his arms on top of him, and a twin on either side being clasped in Mini's arms as tightly as he could. Julio got a cover out of his closet, and put it over the four boys.
"Julio, have Dad fill in the guys about my history, please?" Alien asked softly. "My angel is hurtin' and he needs me."
"Don't worry, just take care of your brothers," Julio replied.
"Well, before we go, there are a few more things I need to do. I was gonna do them later, but what the hell, no time like the present, right?" Adam said, and once again all eyes were on him.
"Due to the large influx of people in the UNIT, we've had to do a major restructure. Colin, Kris, neither of you are aware of this, since you've been here for the last several hours, and since we only rolled this out UNIT-wide about three hours ago. There are now four levels within the UNIT... you have the strike teams, which are ten-person units. Then you have Assault teams, which are again ten-person teams; however, they have either received more advanced training, or they have proven themselves and have been upgraded. Above them you have Divisions, which consist of ten strike/assault teams. Then you have a Battalion, which consists of two strike/assault divisions and one medical/air wing division."
"Okay, now that all of your heads are spinning, there is one last piece of information I need to make you all aware of, so you know what is happening. When a Division is assigned to a base, they will have two primary areas of responsibility. The first is base security, and the second is operations. It's pretty self explanatory; however, security deals with base security only, while operations deals with any operations that will be conducted out of the base. Everyone with me so far?"
Getting nods from most people, Adam smiled mischievously at Colin, who immediately started to protest. "OH HELL NO!!!! I am not gonna be some gad-damned paper pusher!"
Adam started to burst out laughing, then leaned in and whispered conspiratorially. "Just do what I do, and hand all that shit over to your Intel officer... that's what they like!" Colin couldn't help but burst out laughing with everyone else as Logan slapped him upside the head.
Adam took back up talking as he rubbed the back of his head with a grin. "Anyways, yes, Colin... Congratulations, you are now the commanding officer of Division Alpha Seven. Kris will be your XO and responsible for the Operations side of things, while you will directly handle Security. On top of the eight strike teams, and two assault teams, you will also be getting a complete Air Wing, as soon as there is room for them. The Air Wing commander..." Adam couldn't hold his grin on this one, "Will be Eoghan O'Reilley. Congratulations Colonel."
"And just WHO did I piss off to get stuck with the 'Mad Irishman'?" Colin asked with a grin.
"Weeelllll... actually... he requested the assignment. He said he liked the way you operated."
"Just because I'm about the only person who hasn't chewed his butt for doing practice strafing runs on the playground doesn't mean that's the way I run things!" Colin protested.
"Well... you'll just have to try and rein him in some.... Good luck with that, though."
"There's about as much chance of that as there is of you two giving up barbecue sauce!" Colin stated as he quickly moved out of striking distance.
Well... anyways... you got him and the rest of his wing... all hand-picked by him, of course, ready to come by as soon as you guys are ready," Adam said, trying to ignore the comment. "And with that... I think it is best for us to get home now."
"With all due respect, sir ... Chicken!!" Colin giggled as he grinned at his commanding officers.
"Well, I think that's our cue to head back home. If you guys need anything, just call for Daileass and he'll let us know." Adam started to walk towards his lover when he stopped and turned towards Bob with a grin on his face. "Oh yeah.. I almost forgot. In about ten minutes, the remaining eight members of the 'Flying Dutchman' strike team are gonna show up. Do you got room for them all, or do we need to get Peter over here for some quick renovations? Oh.. and you need to pick a place for them to store all their weapons and other equipment. Not to mention that Lucas is gonna need a reinforced room for his lab and explosives storage. But, I'm sure that can all be worked out. CYA!" With that both Adam and Logan disappeared.
As Bob and Colin sat on the edge of the bed containing the rest of their family, Bob looked around the room. "Okay, we've all heard, or have been reminded of, too much bad crap today. It's time for a positive history, one that so far has a happy ending. It's the story of Tracy Perkins, known to y'all as 'Alien'."
Bob watched with amusement as Fisher carefully made his way up Colin's leg and made himself comfortable on Colin's lap. "Looks like you've got a new friend, Son," Bob chuckled, gaining him a smile from Colin. "Okay, everyone, except for details which are private between Mini and Alien, here is the story of how we ended up with an alien in our family. I've heard this hundreds of times, since when Mini is feeling down he always asks Alien to repeat it. Alien was born as Tracy Perkins to Mark and Charlotte Perkins twelve years ago on Colony Bravo Five. For the first year of his life, things seemed to be going okay. But then he became a statistic, one that would change Mini's and my lives for the better."
Bob paused, then continued. "Alien is the unfortunate victim of Murphy's Law. He suffers from an affliction which only affects one out of every five thousand residents of the Colony. One of the unique elements, common during growing season in the atmosphere of Bravo Five is tribromofluorohydrate. In most cases, it has no effect on humans, but a small percentage require the equivalent of an allergy shot to prevent their body's pancreas from self-destructing. There is one serious side-effect to the antitoxin; it pretty much blocks the onset of puberty, so it is usually reserved for pre-pubescents and adults. The recommended action once the child is eight is to get them off-planet until they have completed puberty. This is important in one way, and if you all understand it, I can continue with telling you how this led to Alien becoming one of us."
He looked around the room, and once he was satisfied that there were no questions, he continued. "Just after his seventh birthday, Alien's mom brought him to Earth to raise him through puberty. His Dad had to stay on-planet, since the colony is still small and they need every person they've got. The thing about Bravo Five is that its gravity is slightly higher than Earth's; just enough that there is a noticeable difference in strength between those born there and those born on Earth. To keep Alien 'in shape', his Mom arranged for him to be active in summer sports as well as martial arts training and swimming. Once a week, the family would get together over subspace and spend 'family time' together, updating each other on what was happening in their lives. Charlotte took advantage of the time here, and updated her studies by taking courses while Alien was at school."
"And you guys complain about ME being long-winded!" Mick quipped, earning him multiple soft objects flying through the air towards his head.
"That's because I stick to interesting subjects!" Bob laughed. "As I was saying. At that time, Mini was pretty much a loner at school. Somehow, he and Alien clicked and began spending time together during recess and lunch. Based on some of the comments that Alien made during the family meetings, Charlotte began to wonder about Mini's home life and started trying to steer Alien into getting his friend to get out of the house. Occasionally she'd manage to convince Mini's parents to let him visit overnight on the summers, which I now know they only gave in to in order to appear normal. Mini started to take an interest in Alien's attempts to learn baseball, so sometime during their second school year they decided to go out for Little League... a decision pushed by Charlotte insisting on watching Mini's little brothers while the older boys practiced and/or played games. That eliminated the only argument that Mini's parents had, so they agreed to it just as sign ups began."
Bob wiped his eyes. "About a month before the first practice, the twins vanished. By the first practice, the only thing keeping Mini going was the support that Alien was giving him. As a side note, that first season was the only break Mini had from his abuse; that much he has said. Alien all but dragged Mini to the first practice. The two of them were in the back of the group, sitting quietly, when I came out. I had just taken over management of the team, and had brought in a new coach who I had a lot of confidence in. I had a son myself once; he was taken in a freak car accident. Jake was the same age as the twins, nine, and loved to draw. His favorite two drawings are both on Mini's body now; they were his 'killer butterfly' collection."
After a pause to collect himself, Bob went on. "I had a dream that Jake visited me. In my dream, he insisted that I get temporary tattoos made of these two drawings, along with his little butterfly he signed his drawings with. He insisted in the dream that I use his drawings to form a club with my new team called the 'Butterfly Hunters'."
As Eddie decided now was the time to crawl into Bob's lap and cuddle, a rustling behind Bob made him glance behind himself. To his surprise, the four boys that were laying down previously were now sitting up, tangled in a giant cuddleball, listening intently to his story.
Bob turned back and continued. "I came out and introduced myself, then to lighten the mood, I asked if there were any aliens on the team. To my surprise, one hand was raised... and a new nickname was born. As soon as he told me where he was from, I told Coach Roberts to look up special training to help him. Next to him was a quiet little guy, almost hiding as he tried to be invisible. The boy reminded me so much of what I looked like as a kid that I jokingly told him 'if you don't tell me your name, I'm going to have to just call you Mini-Me.' That made the little angel crack a small smile, probably the first one since his brothers vanished. When he said 'go ahead, I hate my name', the legend of Mini and Alien began. I didn't think much more of it, so I went ahead and gave the butterfly speech that the boys love repeating, then informed everyone that they had made the team by just showing up. By the third practice, both boys had started hovering nearby when we were not actually on the field. Charlotte took me aside one day after practice, and got me in the loop about her suspicions about Mini and the situation with Alien. After that, I took more of an interest in the two boys, and got their teammates to help watch out for Mini."
"Yeah, you cheated," Alien giggled from behind him. "It was a good cheat though."
"I'm glad I did," Bob replied. "Up until last year, we never had enough evidence to get Mini out of his situation. Two weeks after we won the World Series the first time, we were having a team dinner to celebrate after returning home. Charlotte had completed her studies, and since I had become such a good friend to her and her husband, they sprung a surprise on me a week before the dinner. They had made arrangements with one of the other boys' moms who works for CPS. Before you get the wrong idea, remember that Alien understands the sacrifices that his parents had to make to keep him healthy. As colonists, the entire colony depends on each person, just like the Clan depends on every member. The three of them decided that, if I was willing, it would be in all of their best interests if they were to give me custody of Alien so that the rest of his family had a better chance of survival on their home planet. Since Iowa is one of the signers of the Displaced Explorers Act, CPS had an express lane to help fast-track the paperwork for foster care. I was told I could adopt Alien if I wanted to, since neither one of his parents expects him to return to the colony unless he can bring Mini along. I think Mark figured it out first, when he told the boys on one of his calls that they were either brothers or boyfriends, and once they figured it out, let him know so he could plan for either one or two weddings."
Eddie peeked his head over Bob's shoulder, and asked the boys, "Have you figger'd it out yet?"
As the rest of the room smiled at Eddie's innocent question, Mini snuggled tighter into the ball, then softly answered, "Yeah, Eddie. Me and Alien are gonna marry someday."
Eddie smiled back. "Kewl! You's a nice couple!"
Bob tousled Eddie's hair as he guided him back to his seat. "Can I get back to the story now, rugrat?"
"Uh-huh!" Eddie replied with a grin.
Bob shook his head with a grin. "Just before the party started, I was taken aside by Doctor Chazwick, he's our catcher's dad, and Jackie, who is the one that works for CPS. That is when I found out why I had not seen Mini in a week; it seems that Mini had a broken arm... and Doctor Chaz was extremely suspicious about it because of the type of break. Unfortunately, Mini would only say 'he fell' at the hospital, so nothing concrete was known about it. Since they knew I had a habit of gaining Mini's trust, they hoped I could get him to tell the truth about what happened to him. His parents dropped him off and left immediately, since they felt that 'our type' were not high enough on the social scale for them. That was their second mistake... their first was also not telling Alien that Mini had been hurt. The second Alien saw Mini in a cast, he taught most of the adults in the room some very ... picturesque ... words. By the time he had cooled down enough to start using words from the dictionary again, it appeared to me from Mini's expression, that he had just figured out how much Alien really cared for him. This was totally unplanned, but I blurted out, 'Mini, if you don't tell us what happened, we're going to be visiting you at a funeral home soon. I'm pretty sure Alien will be right next to you; it'd kill him if he couldn't protect you.' Mini stared at me for a second, then tears started running down his face as he started muttering, 'They'll kill him...' over and over."
Bob paused for a breath. "Doctor Chaz took the break to tell all of us just how bad Mini's arm was; and how we'd have to help him learn to compensate when he was batting. By the time he was done, the entire team had turned into a lynch mob wanting to hold batting practice on whoever hurt their Mini. As Mini insisted once more that 'they'll kill him', Jackie told him, 'No they won't. If I need to, you'll be going home with Alien to Bob's house tonight... with a twenty-four-hour police guard.' I'm not sure if it was that or Alien growling 'tell us', but Mini walked over to me and wrapped his good arm around me. 'It hurt... I left my window open... Dad said I was gonna get taken like my brothers ... he hadda teach me a lesson ... he closed it on my arm ... really hard ... five times ... he said I'd learn to listen ... an' if I told he'd ... he'd ... he'd kill Alien.' He then broke down and really started crying."
Bob wiped his eyes, then continued. "That was the fastest I've ever seen a doctor dial a phone, but Jackie was even faster. Within the next minute, I found out that one of the boys' moms had brought her detective boyfriend with her, that CPS had been standing by with paperwork for just this possibility, and never cross a doctor who is friends with the Captain of the State Police in Des Moines. Especially if the Captain overhears a detective stating he witnessed it being said. Within thirty minutes, we were informed that the parents were in custody; and I was informed that I would be taking two kids home that night who were permanently placed in my care."
"We still ended up having the dinner that night, but the team insisted on it being dual purpose; celebrate our win and show Mini our support of his bravery in speaking up. That is when they came up with the tattoo idea, and one of the dads offered to do it for them, as long as each parent signed a permission slip in person in front of him before it was done. He's actually the only one any of the boys will let do it; even the Jersey boys parents paid for him to fly out there to give their sons the badges. Mini's parents managed to find a lawyer who was able to twist things enough to get them off with counseling and classes, with a no-contact order until both were satisfactorily completed. The judge wasn't stupid though... he had CPS select the psychiatrist. Jackie is high enough in CPS that she was able to make sure the Doctor assigned for the counseling was fully aware of the entire situation. Needless to say, last I heard they still had not been cleared."
"Just because they're gonna miss the rest of their appointments...." Colin stated with a satisfied grin.
"That's beside the point," Bob chuckled. "As of this morning, we still have weekly conferences with Alien's parents. Just this morning, we got to meet Alien's new little brother... who checks out just fine; he does not have the allergies Alien does. He's been named after me for some reason."
"Maybe it's because you're a lot better person than you give yourself credit for," a female voice announced over the intercom.
"Charlotte? How'd you get here?" Bob asked in shock, as Mini and Alien stared at each other.
"I'm not here; a nice boy named Daileass arranged for us to listen in while Mini was being reunited with his brothers. We can't wait to re-meet the twins in person; you two have grown to be a lot like your big brother from the sound of it."
"Thanks, Ma'am," Logan responded for both of them.
"You can call me Mom like your brother does if you want," Charlotte replied. "I'm sure Mark won't mind you calling him your second Dad too; he'd tell you himself, but right now he's working off his anger at what happened to you by making trees into toothpicks."
"He's pissed... he HATES chopping wood," Alien confided.
Lucas giggled and stage whispered to Alien, "Tell your dad if he wants, I can send him a good easy recipe that'll make splitting wood as simple as lighting a match."
"I heard that," Charlotte chuckled. "Wait until the next time we have a family meeting; I'm sure he'll take you up on it." She paused, then added, "I really missed getting to know you two better before you vanished. You guys are Mini's life; even while you were gone he never stopped talking about you with us. The slim chance that you guys would be back one day is the only thing that kept him fighting after Bob became his foster father. He told us millions of times about how he wanted to share his new family with you, and no matter how depressed he got, especially when his arm gives him problems, he wouldn't give up just in case you were still alive."
As the twins smiled and cuddled their brother, Ezra walked over to the trio. "Can I see what he did to your arm?" Ezra asked seriously.
"You can look at the outside, but how can you see what was done?" Mini asked.
Ezra smiled. "I can control energy, which means I know how to look at stuff at a tiny level. Uncle Danny let Daddy copy the medical books in his head, so all of us know what bodies are supposed to look like inside."
"He's okay, bro," Logan added. "We've trained with some of the Mickys, they're awesome."
Mini nodded at Ezra to take a look. A few seconds later, Ezra's smile was gone as he finished inspecting the arm. "Plastisteel rods in place of three inches of both bones. Unrecoverable damage to forearm muscles and tendons. Forty-seven percent loss of the nerve bundle in the carpal tunnel. I'm not allowed to judge a human, since I've never been human and can't comprehend human motives. The creature that did this to Mini could get an antimatter enema and I wouldn't shed a tear." Ezra paused to regain his temper, then took Mini's weak hand. "Uncle Bones could probably fix you up so things don't get worse; he might even be able to make them better. I just told Daddy about your injuries, an' he said that Uncle Bones would chew me a new butt if I didn't ask you this. I can make your arm like it wasn't damaged. I won't take your memory of it, but I can fix it. It'll be weaker than your other arm for a while until you build it up. Do you want me to do that for you?"
"Doc Jones said he couldn't fix it really good even with all the new stuff he's getting to play with," Mini replied. "He was gonna see what he could do next week, but he already told me that there was so much damage done that I was lucky I still have an arm at all."
"That's all I needed to hear. Do you want it fixed?" Ezra asked once again.
"You can try," Mini replied, not really believing that the possibility existed of once again having full use of his right arm and hand.
Ezra nodded, then put his hands around the worst area of Mini's injury. A blue glow appeared over Mini's entire forearm, masking the view of what was happening under it. Ezra regressed the injury to before it happened, then regressed again six more times until he finally reached a point where the arm internals had no evidence of being injured. He then accelerated the regrowth of everything, bypassing the injuries that happened over Mini's short life. Once the arm was at the same growth stage as the rest of Mini's body, Ezra returned it to normal time and took a step back. "Try it out," Ezra said with a sad smile.
Mini flexed his fingers, then wrapped his arm around Lucas, slowly squeezing his little brother tighter and tighter. Lucas smiled as he felt the hug actually starting to cause discomfort despite the enhancements he'd been subjected to. "Works ... almost ... hurts ... but ... a ... good ... hurt," Lucas croaked.
"Why the sad smile, Ezra?" Bob asked.
"I had to go back to when he was two to find a time when the arm had not been injured," Ezra stated. "If you'd like, I'll provide the antimatter for that enema ... I fixed a few other things that were really messed up that Mini doesn't tell you about while I was at it. Anything that's left, doctors can fix."
A second later, a glowing bag encased in a magnetic transport box - of the style used by Starfleet to move their 'fuel' safely - appeared in the room at Bob's feet. "There," Ezra said with a stiff smile. "I decided not to wait for a 'yes' to my question."
"What is it?" Bob asked.
"Liquid anti-matter," Ezra grinned evilly. "We don't urinate, but you could think of it as "Mikyvis-piss' if it would make you feel better!"
"You said you fixed other stuff. Is that why my hip feels funny?" Mini asked seriously as he watched Bob shake his head in wonder.
"I know you don't remember it, but your sperm donor and egg donor decided that you were too mobile when you were about eighteen months old. They dislocated your hip, then the sperm donor used his acupuncture knowledge to numb the area. When you learned to walk, you unconsciously learned to compensate for the fact that it was never properly reset, and now that he's not screwing with your body with his needles, you were feeling so much low-level pain from all of your injuries that nothing stood out to tell you it was messed up. You need to tell Doctor Jones about anything you still feel; there are a lot of things left from your years of torture that you're going to notice now that I've fixed the really messed-up stuff." Ezra then turned to Bob. "Tell Doctor Jones to keep needles away from all three of these guys. The twins have seen the misuse of them, and Mini has experienced more of them in his life than everyone else in this room put together."
"That is one order I'll personally ensure is followed," Bob replied, his face white from the shock of the latest revelations of Mini's past.
While this was going on, Lucas had been mentally holding a conference with some of the other telepaths in the room. As Lucas wiggled out of Mini's embrace, Eddie hopped down and grabbed his cloak from the closet that he, Julio, and Johnny shared. Lucas stood up and pointed at Kris then Eddie as he locked eyes with Colin. Despite his obvious pain in doing so, he spoke for the entire room to hear. "The game is over. We are going to hold the parents' trial. NOW! All five of us, we demand justice as a family."
The room shivered at the expression on Lucas' face. There was no anger, no revenge, just an ice-cold determination that clearly said he was determined to ensure his big brother's ordeal was absolutely over... permanently.
"Daileass, do you need a list?" Colin asked, knowing that delaying it was not a good idea.
"Of course not. I helped select the telepaths!" Daileass replied. "That's what you get for not participating in our mental pow-wows. Tell me when you're ready, Wet Dream."
"I'll give you a wet dream..." Colin replied. "Smart-ass."
"I've seen your hardware, it's not up to my standards!" Daileass giggled.
'If you start giving my boyfriend wet dreams, Colin, I'll personally beam your boy-bits to the moon... leaving YOU behind!' another AI giggled from the communicators scattered around the room.
"But... but... I don't dream of anything other than you, sweetie!" Daileass replied sheepishly, but with obvious laughter.
Before Colin could think of a comeback, Daileass added, "Ezzy, you're on your own for transportation. Initiating transport." As the seven boys vanished, he added,"They'll be back shortly; this shouldn't take long."
"I'll be right back," Ezra stated as he too vanished.
Mick looked around the room, and chuckled at the lost expressions on most of the faces. "Teri warned Janice and me about this. Welcome to 'Introduction to Chaos 101', everyone! It gets better, she promised... either that or you get used to it."
Julio shook his head. "It's not just that, Dad. How come I never caught on to just how bad Mini had it?"
Bob signaled to Mick to let him answer. "Julio, coming from someone that has a slight idea about it in comparison to Mini, I can probably answer that. Someone who has been abused all of their lives tends to put up walls. If you can't see physical damage, sometimes it is hard to tell unless you've been there. I was as surprised as the rest of you today; Mini's walls were really strong, and he never dropped them after he was safe. My guess is that there are at least four faces of Mini. His public face for those he don't know, his face for his friends, his face for his family, and the face we all first saw today... the hurting little boy who is afraid to reach out because all he knows as reality is pain. I've never seen today's face... I think the only two people who might have ever saw it are his little brothers."
Marcie nodded. "He's right. Mental abuse is known for doing that; in fact in severe cases it can actually lead to multiple personalities if the brain is destabilized enough."
"So I didn't screw up?" Julio asked softly.
"No, you didn't," Marcie replied. "You might start noticing things in the past that you think should have told you. That is just your brain finally figuring things out now that it has a comparison. Don't beat yourself up over it; just take mental notes so that if you see it again, you can be on your guard to help out. Secrecy is a serial abuser's best friend; if you can sidestep it, then you've beat them."
"One other thing," Bob said as he looked around the room. "Mini was damn good at hiding, but he made one mistake which got the attention of those who've been there. It's simple once you think about it. He portrayed his home life as too perfect. He never had the little complaints about parents that every kid has. It's not something that you'd think about unless you're made aware of it or you've done it yourself."
"How are we going to help kids who are hiding like that?" Jesse asked.
Eddie raised his hand. "I can tell sometimes. Unless they're really hiding hard like Mini was, they always think about trying to keep people from knowing. Even Mini's public thoughts, his thoughts on the top of his head, were not like Julio's or yours, Jesse. He wasn't always thinking kid stuff is the best way to say it."
"Good catch, son!" Mick stated, which gained him a glowing smile from Eddie. "I think we've all learned something today; and from now on we'll all be able to help better."
Ricky nodded. "Part of the issue with my training is that the creeps running the project didn't think about teaching us anything but how to kill effectively. Adam and Logan taught the troops a lot since we became Clan Special Forces, but nobody has really had the time to sit down and explain it like was just done. Daileass, could you please make the conversation we just had into a training vid for the rest of the troops?"
"And could you send me a copy, please?" Charlotte asked.
"You got it, Kris. I will arrange for a courier to deliver a set of the videos to you, Charlotte." Daileass responded.
"Thank you, cutie!" Charlotte replied, causing everyone to giggle as they heard what could only be an audible blush from the young AI.
"Not to change the subject ... but ... INCOMING!" Daileass announced, a split second before the group re-appeared from their trip to the UNIT base.
Bob scanned the faces of his sons. Colin's face was absent of emotion with the exception of a gleam of satisfaction in his eyes. Alien seemed shocked, but was caressing both twins' shoulders; his actions those of someone proud of what was done. Both of the twins were obvious; their satisfaction clearly read in their eyes and posture. Then Bob tried to look at Mini's face, and received the shock of his life. He couldn't see Mini's eyes for one reason; Mini was lovingly staring at a newborn baby wrapped in a blanket that he was carefully holding in his arms.
"Bobby's crib is set up in your bedroom, Mini," Ezra announced as he appeared with a second crib. "Where does this one go, Julio? Bobby's gotta have a place to sleep when he visits with his brothers."
"Bobby?" Bob asked, confused.
"Yeah, he's our new little brother. Really sad too, she died after being in labor for three hours... I think it was too much for her," Mini stated, not even a trace of compassion in his voice.
"Once the trial and birth were done, I brought the guys back in time to the point they were needed, to here," Ezra replied to the unasked question. "I was able to bring her body to the point of going into labor, but for safety I wouldn't accelerate time while the baby was being born. The labor was natural. And just a note, humans are wayyyy too messy giving birth! Ewwww!"
"She was sentenced to death, but had an aneurysm just as our doctor cut the umbilical cord," Colin explained. "Mini requested that we let her die instead of trying to revive her to kill her. We agreed with him, and told the doctor the reason why. Mini and Alien went with the doctor to check Bobby's health, while Lucas and Logan delivered the sentence to the sperm donor."
"What was Eddie doing?" Mick asked, his worry about what his youngest might have seen plain in his voice.
"Reloading needle-guns," Colin replied. "Somehow, his ex-father was transferred to the UNIT holding cells." Ignoring the halo that suddenly appeared over Ezra's head, Colin paused to decide how to phrase his words. "Eddie requested a telepathic review. We found quite a few 'interesting' things that nobody knew about. At Eddie's request, Lucas and Logan carried out his sentence as well; once I tried him for his crimes."
Johnny stared wide-eyed at his little brother. "He's really gone? Not just sittin' in jail?"
Eddie nodded. "Yeah; after he was really really dead, Colin showed me howta use a phaser an' I got to vaporize his body. My tummy feels better now that I made sure he couldn't come back alive again."
Seeing the expression on Mick's face, Colin quickly added "Doctor Phil checked over a telepathic and empathic read of Eddie before we considered the idea. It was his professional opinion that doing such would aid greatly in healing the trauma which Eddie still suffers from his own abuse."
"Doctor Phil?" Mick repeated. "Not the Doctor Phil, the one who wrote 'Untangling your troubled teen'? Dan Richardson recommended that book to me when we picked up Julio from that last party at Teri's before they moved."
"One and the same," Kris and Colin replied in unison, causing giggles through the room.
As Julio and Jesse quietly argued over the best place to put the crib, Marcie walked over to Mini. "He's cute, just like his brothers," she commented as she lightly stroked the baby's head. "May I hold him?"
Mini looked up at her. "Yeah," he replied softly. "I gotta get Doctor Jones over here. I promised Lucas that I'd get fixed up so that I can be there for all three of them."
As Marcie carefully took Bobby from Mini, she smiled at Mini. "You're a great big brother. Don't change, and don't let anyone convince you otherwise."
Mini smiled, a genuine smile that had been missing most of the day. "Thank you. Lucas and Logan kinda showed me that too in my head. They've been tellin' me all the good 'big brother' stuff that they remember us doing."
"That's great," Marcie replied with a smile. She made sure the twins were paying attention, then added, "After seeing Lucas and Logan's reunion with you, I can say with certainty that there is one thing they never lost. They never lost the ability to love, which is something that they could have only learned from you, Mini. I've heard enough about your previous situation to be able to say for sure that you had to be the one who taught them that."
Mini turned his head to look at his little brothers. "They taught me, too," he said with love, causing both boys to smile back at him. "Extra cuddles once I call the Doc," he added.
"He's on his way already," Daileass announced. "He insisted on walking, then insulted me by saying there was no way he'd trust his life to being transported by an oversized transistor radio!" he added with a pout.
"While we're waiting..." Kris chuckled, trying to keep from commenting about the medical profession's dislike of transport, "has anyone figured out where the strike team is going to stay?"
Marcie reached into her pocket and pulled out a purple business card. She smiled as she read the text on the card, then spoke out loud. "Daileass, can you connect me to Peter?"
"Sure!' Daileass replied. A few seconds later, a young voice came over the speaker in the room. "You have reached the Mikyvis Construction Corps, a division of the Quintessential Quantum Quality Quonstruction Group. At this time, we are caught in a time paradox, and are unable to take your call. Please leave a message with your name and Division location, and we will get back to you within thirty seconds. Thank you."
Marcie smiled at the humor, not really expecting that fast of a response. "This is Marcie at the Des Moines Headquarters. It appears that we have a sudden expansion in kids here. Please get with me as soon as possible."
A nine-year-old blond boy wearing a purple hardhat popped up in the middle of the room, accompanied by two boys with sandy blond hair and gray eyes and a prosthetic leg. "You rang?" they chimed.
"What took you so long, Petey?" Ezra giggled.
"I had to stop off and collect these guys - and Leg needed to get his toenails trimmed," Peter giggled.
"Excuses, excuses!" Ezra giggled. "You're such a queen, Leg!"
Everyone in the room had turned to see the new visitors, and they all collapsed in laughter as Leg flipped upside-down and folded over all but its middle toe at Ezra.
"So what do you need, Mrs. Wilson?" Peter asked.
Marcie put her finger to the side of her head in thought. "It seems Bob has adopted an entire strike team, which means his house is definitely in need of expansion. I'll probably need a bigger kitchen already, and that nice boy Adam said something about explosives and places to put weapons...."
"That's all fixed," Eli said.
"Enlarged kitchen AND dining room, twelve new bedrooms, and an armory - and a direct connection under the Wilson house to CIC," Peter said.
"You need to register the rifle range with the Urbandale City Hall, though," Benji added.
"We got that finished on our way here," Peter concluded. "Anything else?"
Leg took a bow.
"A baseball field so we can teach these guys a real game?" Mini asked with a smile.
"Look out the window," Benji giggled.
"Any chance we can get a proving ground near by?" Lucas mentally sent to everyone in the room.
"I think you already proved how much mayhem you can create!" Eli giggled. "Look out the window already!"
Mini grabbed his little brothers' hands, and ran over to the window. The first thing he noticed was that their house was no longer directly behind the CIC property, it was now off to the left side, making the complex an 'L' shape. The streets had been rerouted, turning the combination of wooded areas and former yards into one big property. Directly outside the window, there were now three new additions. On the left, workmen were in the process of laying stripes on a brand-new baseball field. In the center, a new soccer field was also in the process of being striped. On the right, a fenced-off area where a sturdy block building was in the process of getting signage warning of explosive and ballistic hazards in the area.
As Mini grabbed his brothers' hands, Peter took a hard look at him, then turned to Ezra. "Nice work, bro!" he said with warmth.
"Thanks," Ezra answered, blushing.
"Lucas says all we're missing is a hanger so he can harass the flyboys!" Logan giggled.
"How big, and where?" Peter giggled back.
Logan giggled as Lucas relayed his answer. "He says far enough away that our house does not get hit by shrapnel, and big enough that it takes a while for the flyboys to evacuate!"
"Naah, the chopper pad and hangar are on the roof of the new addition to the Busch house," Benji commented straight-faced.
"No way!" Mini exclaimed as Logan fell to the floor laughing. "I ain't listening to someone beating their rotors first thing in the morning! That's what Lucas said will happen!"
Leg hopped to the desk, grabbed a pencil between its toes, and studiously wrote for a second, grabbing the slip of paper between its toes and bringing it over to Mini, who read it and began laughing.
"What's it say?" Alien asked.
"Ever hear of soundproofing?" Mini replied.
Eli of course was looking innocent through all this.
"Just what did you add to my house?" Bob asked with a chuckle, not believing the boys would be that cruel to each other.
"Oh, twenty bedrooms, each suitable for two boys in bunk beds, an armory, a properly reinforced area in the basement for Lucas's explosives work, a lounge or meeting room for the guys, and of course the helipad and hangar. Oh, and we enlarged your kitchen and dining area." Peter ticked the additions off on his fingers.
Logan spoke up with a grin, "Don't forget the oversized litter pan for the kitties."
"Kitties?" Bob asked, as Mick began rolling on the floor in laughter. "And why so many bedrooms? I HOPE each one has a bathroom!"
"Bathrooms?" Eli said in shock.
"I knew we forgot something!" Peter added.
"You expect all of us to use litterboxes?" Alien exclaimed.
"Well, it might be funny!" Eli giggled.
"Hey Lucas, I know where Eli sleeps!" Ezra stated between giggles.
Lucas grinned as he had Logan relay his response. "Kewl! Better warn Starfleet about a bed being launched into orbit!"
"Don't be picking on my team, Ezzy," Peter replied, sticking out his tongue at his fellow Mikyvis.
"Okay, I'll ask Dylan to do it for me!" Ezra replied.
Bob was still shaking his head. "That house has two bathrooms. How in the ...."
"Psych!" yelled Peter, Benji, and Eli together. Mini, Logan and Lucas were rolling on the floor in hysterical laughter.
"It has twelve bathrooms, sir," Peter told Bob. "Mostly a bathroom shared between each two rooms, with two rooms having private bathrooms. We figured you might have a couple or two that needs privacy."
"Privacy? Where have I heard that word before?" Bob mused. "Oh, that's right... that was one of the things I had before I took in the two rats giggling with their brothers."
Both Mini and Alien blew raspberries at Bob before Alien replied "Hey! YOU are the one who snores so loud that the neighbors complained to the police about you revving your Harley in the house at 2am!"
"You don't think I know who put the microphone under my pillow, put the speakers in the window, then turned the amp all the way up?" Bob replied with a grin, one which dissolved into laughter when Ezra assisted the boys by giving both of them halos.
Not to be outdone, Peter and his two buddies began wearing halos as well, but also shining with a subdued golden glow. "Umm...: Benji said, hastily crossing his legs.
The escapades were interrupted by a loud yell from the entryway. "What in the Sam Hell! Daileass! I'm going to turn you into scrap, you overconfident reject from the LED watch factory! What did you do to my clothes!"
"Um... I think we're needed back in Syracuse," Peter said hastily, as he, Benji, Leg, and Eli vanished.
"CHICKENS!" Mick chuckled as he headed for the door. "It sounds like the Doctor is in the house!" A few seconds later, Mick's laughter could be heard throughout the house as he greeted the visitor. Shortly thereafter, Mick ran into the room, Doctor Mike Jones hot on his heels swinging a pink purse at Mick's head which perfectly matched the tutu that the doctor was now wearing.
"I'll give you a seven, Daileass!" Ezra laughed as he 'assisted' Mike by returning him to his normal clothes. "You forgot the high heels!"
"It was worth it watching him chase Mick!" Daileass giggled.
"I left a set he can borrow in Bob's entry closet, if they fit!" Charlotte added in helpfully.
"Just remember, Char, you have to get a physical if you come back to Earth!" Mike growled.
"You know, Mike," Janice managed to get out between sniggers, "If you ask nicely, Daileass might give you pictures! Your patients will be laughing so hard they'll forget that you're a doctor!"
"The prints are in your desk, Doc!" Daileass announced cheerfully. "Personally, I think the best one was when you had the direct hit on the back of Mick's head!"
Mike shook his head, finally letting a grin appear. "All those guys who listened to the teachers at Med School who said steer clear of Pediatrics don't know what they're missing. Boring is definitely NOT part of the job!" He looked around the room, and spotted Mini being supported by his little brothers, his eyes running with tears from laughing. "I do believe little Mini is multiplying!" Mike stated with a grin. "I had a message that you wanted me to come over, Mini. Is there something wrong?"
Mini glanced suspiciously at the bag in Mike's hand. "You don't got any needles in your purse... umm... I mean your bag, do you?"
"No needles, promise," Mike replied seriously, ignoring the giggles about the 'purse' slip.
Mini found himself being 'escorted' by his little brothers to the Doctor's side. "You're going to give him a full physical," Logan stated matter-of-factly. "Right now, and he IS going to let you fix whatever you find."
"A mini Mini with an attitude!" Mike chuckled. "What do you say, Mini?"
"He can kick my butt without breaking a sweat, I'm not arguing!" Mini giggled as he put his arm over his brother's shoulders. Mini paused, then added with a grin, "Mike, these are my little brothers Logan and Lucas. When you're done with me, I'm pulling the big brother card; you get to see if you can help Lucas out. He hasn't talked for a long time, and now when he tries it hurts him."
At the sight of Lucas glaring at him, Mini giggled. "Fair is fair, Freakazoid Two."
Lucas's glare immediately vanished, and a smile appeared as he melted against Mini's side. "I missed you calling me that, bro," Lucas forced out, his discomfort obvious as he wrapped his arms around Mini.
Mike's eyebrows raised as his expression softened. "Stand still, let me scan all three of you," he stated as he pulled a tricorder out of his bag. A few seconds later, his professional demeanor vanished. "Son of a sheep screwing moose sucking anal rejected waste of a sperm cell bitch! Find me the worm sucking bastards who fucked with these three... when I get done with them, there won't be enough left to be sent to their maker for final judgment."
Logan looked over to Lucas and stage whispered, "You know... he's almost as good as General Juan is when he gets mad." Lucas agreed with a very telling nod.
"Daileass, where is the nearest open online biobed?" Mike asked.
"We just brought the fourth one online at Blank," Daileass replied, realizing that right now was not a time to joke with Mike.
"It's mine," Mike stated. "Excuse me, but I have two boys to enter into my database and one boy who is alive by the grace of God. We will return shortly. Daileass: Medical code Alpha Three Nine. Why in the hell are we not there yet?"
"Because you're talking," Daileass replied just as the four of them vanished. After they were gone, he giggled. "Doctors are weird... they only like transporting and teleporting if it suits them, otherwise they whine like little babies!"
Code Green, Trauma Two Alpha. Code Green, Trauma Two Alpha. Trauma teams report to Alpha Two and Alpha Three.
Doctor Chuck Wilson threw his clipboard on the desk and sprinted out of the staff lounge. Thank God the Starfleet trainers are still here, he thought to himself as he sprinted down the hall, dodging nurses and interns who plastered themselves against the wall as soon as the call went out. Our first trauma Code Green since the biobeds came online, and it's a double.
As he ran into the Decontamination room, another recent upgrade provided to the hospital by the Federation since the designation as a FYS branch hospital, he quickly switched into his scrubs and burst through the doors into Trauma Two. He scanned the room quickly. Bed one was in use helping a young burn victim, monitored by one of the Starfleet Docs. Beds Two and Three were gathering staff quickly, and Bed Four was quickly being given a once-over as if it was about to have it's first occupant.
Thirty seconds later, all hell broke loose. As Mike appeared by Biobed Four with the three boys, two gurneys crashed through the doors one after the other, each holding a seven-year-old boy covered in blood. "What have we got?" Chuck asked loudly, as everyone scrambled to get the two young boys onto a biobed each. Mike turned to the twins and Mini. "I need to help the trauma team; you guys stay over here."
"Screw that; we're both trained as field medics by the UNIT," Logan stated. "Spence, wait here. Daileass, scrub us; we're going in."
Mike nodded, never one to argue with qualified help in a trauma situation. as the twins flickered for a second, then appeared in scrubs.
In answer to Chuck's question, the lead EMT replied, "Excessive internal and cranial trauma due to a plane crash outside Creston. The entire extended family was on a flight to a reunion cruise. One of the inboard engines failed, taking out the wing. Everyone but one of the pilots and these two were declared DOA on site. FYS has verified no surviving relatives, and is notifying the local Clan Short office of the situation."
"Consider them notified," Logan stated. "We're going to telepathically scan these guys as we're working. If we tell you something is wrong, don't argue, fix it. Clan Short hereby takes custody."
Logan's words added even more energy to the room, if it was possible. The Doctor from Bed One assisted with interpreting the biobed readouts on both boys, as the teams performed as many repairs to the young bodies as they could at one time.
Over by bed four, Mini was watching his little brothers with pride. It was clear that Logan, and Lucas through Logan, had taken charge of the situation. While not overriding the senior medical staff of the hospital, Logan coordinated the two beds like clockwork, ensuring that no time was wasted.
"You have some pretty impressive little brothers," the tech checking Bed Four commented as he moved over to stand next to Mini.
"Thanks; I didn't know they knew this stuff!" Mini replied, inwardly glad that he wasn't the only one impressed by the twins.
"Do you think that you could help me out?" the tech asked. "I'd really like to verify the scanners on this bed before it has to be used for helping someone like those two that are on Two and Three. Since it appears Doctor Jones is going to be busy for a little bit, it couldn't hurt to run some test scans on you while we're waiting."
Mini nodded. "I'm supposed to get a full physical anyway; he probably won't mind. It don't use needles, does it?"
The tech smiled. "No needles; that is old tech. Nothing that even looks like a needle."
"Okay, I'll help," Mini replied with a small smile.
As Mini got ready to climb on the bed, the tech noticed the fresh temporary tattoo on Mini's arm. Before he could ask, a voice in his head explained more than he ever wanted to know. 'Our brother is a Butterfly Ace. He has faced Death and walked away.'
The tech nodded his head, then moved to the controls to run the bed through it's paces. "You ready?" he asked.
"Go for it," Mini replied.
Fortunately, Mini was not able to see the tech's face over the next thirty seconds. As the screens filled with diagnostic information, the blood drained from the tech's face. Halfway through the scans, the tech placed Mini in a suspension field to allow for a full deep scan. "Doctor Jones, while this is your patient, may I have permission to initiate medical procedures on several Grade Two issues detected by the bed?"
Mike glanced up. "Proceed, Doctor. I was notified of your qualifications when the biobed installations began."
After repairs to 143 misaligned fractures that had never been properly set were completed, he instructed the bed to begin repairs to various organs that had been damaged by impact at one time or another over Mini's life. At the same time, the bed began filtering multiple toxins from Mini's body that had built up from a systematic long-term poisoning regimen.
Over at beds Two and Three, all of the life-threatening injuries had been successfully mitigated. Under order of Logan, the teams were now doing everything they could to ensure the boys were in good health once released from the biobed. While the doctors worked on the physical side, Logan and Lucas were working mentally with the two boys to help them deal with the loss of their parents and their new family situation.
"Hey, guys, I've got an update for you," Daileass announced, interrupting the small talk between the boys in the room. The parents had decided to escape to the saner confines of the living room, while Ezra had returned to his parents. The rest of the group were sitting there, tossing ideas around as to why Mike had been so insistent on taking Mini immediately.
"Good news, I hope?" Julio asked.
"Yep!" Daileass giggled. "Mini's doing fine; it'll be a few hours until he's ready to come home though. Colin, Alien? Get ready, your little brothers seem to be getting some littler brothers for you! Right now, I'll guess that you'll meet them tomorrow; they've been hurt pretty bad in a plane crash."
Jesse giggled. "Can I do the adoption this time, sweetie?"
Julio smiled. "Sure! I can watch Bob's face; two more in less than a day should be funny!"
"Shouldn't you warn him?" Tucker asked, smiling because he knew the probable answer.
"No way!" Alien giggled. "We owe him a few... hundred... thousand... paybacks!"
ACFan has done it again, created an chapter full of emotional turmoil that we have to deal with! LOL It was really interesting to get to know more about Alien and Mini. The dedication that Mini had to Lucas and Logan. Bob is going to have a heck of a family once they all get settled in. Now I can't wait to see what ACFan has in store for us next!!! We have loads of things to watch out for and this new division is taking off at hyper speed.
From you friendly neighborhood editing Puppy!