Memories Part 3: And A Child Shall Lead Them

Chapter 27: Please rewind before returning


Kyle here, you know, the cute one of the group! You know, being looped by Mikey has its good side; I'm gettin' double the cuddles from Ty! I know a lot of you are wondering if me being in Alligator Alley and Orlando at the same time is causin' any time issues. Normally it would, but Mikey did somethin' to make it work. Ya know how Tyne sometimes splits into a buncha personalities? Me and Ty are kinda doin the same thing; it's like we are experiencin' both places at once. I don't wanna ever do this again, cuz it gets confusin' quick, but since I got brothers that need cuddles I'll just have to live with it until things settle down.

Trace and Karl are gonna have to chill a bit though; I think Trace is a lot like Cory sometimes. That's okay though; I know how to speak Cory (I use small words, he IS blond!), so I think I can get him to chill.

Okay, let's see what the Alligator Alley bunch is up to!


Alligator Alley, Director's Complex:

Pablito was in the middle of his hourly rounds while his charges slept. Being temporarily solid didn't change the fact that he no longer needed sleep, so he kept himself occupied by watching to ensure that everyone had a peaceful sleep. The first stop was Tracy and Karl's bedroom, where it was obvious that once again their dreams were starting to re-live the previous few day's events. "Stop that shit already!" Pablito muttered as he touched their foreheads, a golden glow showing that he was effective in redirecting their subconscious minds.

Satisfied that his two problem charges were handled, he headed over to Cameron and Teddy's room, finding the two androids cuddled with their son Erin. Pablito smirked as a thought hit his brain, a thought that he wouldn't have considered himself unless he needed to get even for something. "Can I, Boss? Please?" he muttered, looking skyward.

His answer came with the sudden appearance of his wings. "Ohhh! Thanks, Boss! This is gonna be FUN when they wake up!"

The next morning;

Tracy and Karl had just finished their morning shower when Emmy's voice came across the speaker in the bathroom. "Uncle Tracy? Uncle Karl?"

"Wazzup lil' guy?" Tracy replied, curious as to the cause of the worry in Emmy's voice.

"Dad and Pop need ya'. Something weird happened last night." Emmy replied. "I think Uncle Kyle might be needed too."

"On our way, kiddo," Tracy replied as him and Karl quickly threw on some shorts. As they walked out of their room, they found Kyle and Ty already waiting for them.

Kyle grinned "Vic's making breakfast, so food'll be ready when we get back."

Tyler quickly added "Just so ya' know, Trace, right now there's some time loop fixin' goin on; you slept while Orlando got fixed, and now they're sleepin' while we help Pabs make sure all your loops are fixed. The London battle really screwed some stuff up, but it's bein' fixed by the Angels now. Once it's all fixed up, there's gonna be a new door between your house and Cory's house."

Tracy rolled his eyes. "Food? Good. The rest? Whatever!" After giving the pair of giggling Mikyvis a quick hug, Tracy added "C'mon, Rats, lets see what's happening over at Cam and Teddy's place."

As soon as Tracy said the word 'rats', Cody, Adrian, and Jason ran up to join the group. Figuring it'd be best to get moving before the rest of the tribe joined in, Tracy quickly led the assembled group over to Cameron and Teddy's side of the condo.

As they entered, it was obvious where the family was at by the voices coming from the bedroom. With Tracy in the lead, the group headed towards the room, with Tracy announcing "Bros, get decent, y'all's got company!"

"Unlike you two horndogs, we can sleep without humpin' each other half the night!" Teddy shot back. "C'mon in!"

As they entered the room, Karl glanced around and commented "Emmy said something happened, whazzup?" Before anyone could answer, Karl realized that Teddy was cuddling Erin, while Cameron was holding a boy that they'd never met. The boy appeared to be about ten, with long dusky red hair and green eyes. He somehow seemed familiar, yet Karl was not sure from where. "Who's the new guy?"

"Daddy K and Daddy T hadda baby while they was sleepin'!" Erin piped up. "I woke up and was watchin' it, it was THE AWESOMEST! I even gotta help 'im pick his name; he's my big lil' bro Evan!"

"Ummm... since when do android males give birth to ten year olds?" Tracy asked, glancing at Kyle for help.

"I dunno," Kyle said as he seemed to be concentrating on something. "Hey, no fair! That's OUR trick!" he added, obviously having seen something from the night before. "Glowy effects with a kid appearing outta thin air is our trick, get your own!"

"That's NOT in the spec sheets on the CS series androids!" Adrian giggled. "Go check his cuddle training, bros; I'll call for a Doc."

A few minutes later, the entire med team consisting of Dustin, Aedan, and Daivik showed up to find the subject of their concern being cuddled into submission by his Uncle Tracy. Jason interrupted his cuddle-test of Erin to comment "Aedan, you might wanna do a meld; I'm getting some really weird stuff from his head. Before you ask, yeah, he let me look."

"Thank you," Aedan replied as he started over towards where Tracy and Evan were sitting. "Dustin, can you guys get the physical readings while I meld?"

"Yeah; we got those new filters working finally, and you're in the database." Dustin replied as both him and Daivik booted their non-standard tricorders.

"I know all about melds, Uncle Aedan!" Evan giggled from his perch on Tracy's lap. "I'll be right back, Uncle Tracy; this is gonna be fun!"

Everyone watched carefully as the three boys started their examination. Eyebrows shot up throughout the room as both Dustin and Daivik muttered in unison "What the Hell! That's not possible!"

"What?" Tracy asked in a worried tone.

As Daivik continued to scan, Dustin stopped to explain. "His genetic profile is half Cam and half Teddy; it is just like they were his birth parents, and it is random instead of structured like a programmed DNA profile comes up; there are actually recessives in there in spots that neither the Invision series or CS series bother with. On top of that, his internals are a merger between Invision series and the CS series; he's totally unique, since there was never a model built with his specs, not even the alphas!"

Daivik added his findings. "It appears his cortex is unique as well; it contains functionality never before seen in either series. His brain is a combination of positronic, nanotronic, and biological... and somehow, all three are working together as one. I believe Grandpa Marc and Grandpa Danny are going to have heart attacks when they see this. Patriarch Cory will just have an orgasm, however."

Just then, Aedan finished with the meld, and turned to his cohorts with a grin. "I believe Uncle Spock would classify this newest grandson 'fascinating'! Not only does he check out, but he's been given the full Clan dump ahead of time; plus a few things that are better kept between him and me. I do believe that we have an explanation for his appearance, however... I found a note in his head that stated 'The Boss sent a wedding gift, He hopes you enjoy him! Mandates are great!' that was signed by Pablito."

As if he'd been called, Pablito walked into the room, his wings once again hidden. "Hey Evan, how's the new family?" Pablito asked with a grin, pointedly ignoring the glares from Tracy, Karl, the Rat Pack, the new parents, and the Alligator Alley Medical Team.

"Hi Uncle Pabs!" Evan giggled. "They're AWESOME! You didn't tell me that my little bro was a cuddle monster, though."

"Ya' gotta learn stuff like that on your own," Pablito explained. "You were Given what you would need to fit in with your new family at your apparent age, but learning is part of life, so you gotta learn to learn."

"Okay, Uncle Pabs, whatever you just said!" Evan giggled as he noticed Cam wasn't paying attention. "DADDY POUNCE!" Evan exclaimed in mid-air, just before knocking Cameron halfway across the bed.

"Okay, featherhead, explain," Tracy ordered.

Pablito stuck out his tongue, then replied "Just after I fixed you two screwballs from having bad dreams FOR THE THIRD TIME, I got a Message from the Boss giving me a Mandate. I accepted it, and then used the same trick Kyle uses to merge their souls into a new soul. Talk to the Boss about the configuration though, He did that, and didn't tell me shit!"

Tracy nodded. "Okay, I can live with that. Cam and Teddy, however, might need more convincing."

Pablito rolled his eyes. "Naw, they already love him. Us Angel types can see that kinda crap, ya know."

"Smartass," Tracy muttered.

"Yep!" Pablito nodded, before popping the entire group in with the rest of the families. "Y'all's gotta be here, not there." he stated as the rest of the room recovered from the shock.

Once everyone was glaring at him for the unannounced relocation, even the people already there, Pablito stated "Everyone, the new guy is Cam and Teddy's new son Evan. He already knows what names match what faces, so I don't gotta sleep through boring ass introductions. Now where's the damn food? I miss eating, so I'm doin' it while I can."

Vic looked over at Cody and Adrian. "Is this normal?" he asked with raised eyebrows.

Cody nodded. "Yeah, at least when our Guardian Angels are hanging out. If they're not around it's just crazy, not insane like the last day or two. Enjoy it though; the nutty stuff always ends up being good when they do stuff, even Pablito."

"Okay," Vic replied with a shrug, "Now when did those two go out and rescue a kid, and why does he look so much like them?"

Cody giggled. "File it under 'Insane Guardian Angel Escapades'. Basically the Great Spirit decided that they needed a son, so He had Pablito do a Miracle and they gave birth in their sleep to a newborn ten year old android."

"They WHAT?" Vic exclaimed.

Cody turned his head. "Kyle? Ty? A little help here, lil' bros?"

"Sean's goin' swimming for not being here to do this when we get back to normal!" Kyle giggled. "Okay, all the new guys, gather around for Clan History 101! You old timers might wanna join for updates too. I'll Time-bubble us, that way the food'll stay hot."

Seconds later, the indoctrination was finished, with all the new guys awestruck at their new knowledge of the family that adopted them. As they returned to their seats to resume eating, Vic pulled Tyler into a cuddle. "I've been there, lil' guy," Vic stated as he gave Tyler a firm hug. "The longer you're away from the abuse, the less it'll mess with you. Anytime I started feeling worthless, Hart and Gar would pull me out of it by reminding me I was the reason they were still alive. It sounds like you're the reason that Kyle and your brother Adam are alive, so just remember to look at them when you feel down. It helps, sometimes a lot."

"Thanks!" Tyler replied with a smile as he returned the hug. "I'm usually the one tellin' others it'll get better; you're the first guy who has survived it longer than me."

"I'll be around any time you need me to help someone," Vic stated. "I hear that you're the one who picked up on the buttwipe driving our car, so I guess you can add that you saved the lives of me and my new sons as well."

"You're gonna fit in really good here," Tyler grinned, "thanks for giving us a chance."

An hour later:

With breakfast over, the entire crew relocated into the living room. As soon as Wayne discovered his new cousin had no knowledge of Looney Tunes, it was made a priority for him and Erin to rectify the problem. At times it was a toss-up as to which was funnier; the cartoons, or the explanations by Wayne and Erin.

Bryant and Clyde chose that point to come in and check on their sons, both worried about them after seeing the fragile condition their minds were in when they arrived home the previous evening. "How's everyone doi..." Clyde managed to get out before the pair found themselves being pounced by an even dozen kids yelling 'Grandpa'. The fact that they only recognized eleven of the boys stuck in their minds as they landed on their butts, as well as the fact that Looney Tunes was playing.

Once they got in the requisite 'grandpa cuddles' and were allowed to regain their feet, Bryant looked over at Cam and Teddy, who somehow had halos over their heads. (Courtesy of Tyler) "Could the two of you explain why I feel like I've done this before?" Bryant asked as he pointed at the ten-year-old who decided that he wanted a piggy-back ride from Clyde.

"Well, Dad, we kinda had a baby Android in our sleep last night!" Cameron giggled. "Teddy's REALLY good!"

Dustin, Daivik, and Aedan were quick; Bryant never hit the floor before the first two had caught him and Aedan had the smelling salts under his nose. Once Bryant had recovered, Dustin gave him a serious look. "Sir, you are to report to the Klaus compound within the next forty-eight hours for a full workup to examine the root cause of this issue and to accept treatment to prevent injury to yourself. Failure to follow through will result in you being assigned permanent bed rest status."

Bryant's first thought was to give Dustin a piece of his mind, but the rational part of his brain held it off long enough for him to actually think through what was being said and how it was said. "Before I respond, give me a moment," Bryant stated in an even voice.

Now taking time to think, Bryant went over what he'd been told by Teri and Spock. Due to the way that Family Clan Short was structured, in Vulcan society Cory was technically his own grandfather in family matters. One place where Cory declared he had absolute jurisdiction was the health of his family, both blood and clan. Any medically certified Clan member had the full backing of the Patriarch, and were given unilateral power to speak as him on medical issues. With that in mind, Bryant realized he needed to ignore the fact Dustin was a teen; by the way Dustin phrased his statement, it would take Cory himself to override it. After comparing notes with Teri, it was obvious that Cory and Tracy were mentally almost twins, so Bryant could easily use Tracy's expected reaction as a gauge of what Cory would say. Bryant didn't even have to guess; the look on Tracy's face right now told him that arguing wasn't an option. "Please make the arrangements, Doctor." Bryant finally replied, resigned to having no other option.

"Pop, you're going too," Tracy stated firmly. "Dustin, inform Klaus I have authorized ensuring that both adults are brought to optimum health and equivalent lifespans."

"Yes Sir," Dustin replied before activating his subvocal and silently relaying his orders.

"He's in Director mode, don't bother," Bryant said as he placed a hand over Clyde's mouth. "We've got bigger things to deal with, like magically appearing cute grandsons."

The grandson in question was watching curiously from Clyde's back, his expression showing he was concentrating on something. As Dustin finished relaying his orders, Evan asked "Uncle Doc Dustin? What's wrong with Grandpa?"

Dustin studied Evan's face for a second, then asked "Are you trying to look it up? I'm guessing you have the same medical program as your parents were given."

"Yeah, I wanna know what's happening," Evan replied seriously, his eyes reflecting the worry he felt.

Dustin nodded. "His main diagnoses is 'Vasovagal Syncope'. As he's had it all his life, I wouldn't normally be worried. Even the smelling salts don't worry me; they probably are not needed, since normally the issue resolves itself, but they do keep a certain high-strung Director in this room from joining his father on the floor. What DOES worry me is the increased frequency of the attacks lately; that could indicate that something else is going on that is not bad enough yet to stand out on its own."

Bryant was now fully paying attention. "Dustin, you've only been around for a couple of them. How do you know how frequently they happen?"

Dustin smiled. "You're the father of the Divisional Director. I have one of Emmy's VI cores dedicated to 24/7 medical monitoring of ALL of Tracy's family, and I get daily reports of anything unusual. The commbadge that you got has a really good microphone; with a few filters it is easy to sort out heartbeat and respiration without invading the privacy of your conversations. When you're asleep, the microphone that Emmy uses to hear you call him can be filtered the same way; he don't hear your snoring, but he does hear heartbeat. Last night you had three episodes in your sleep; thats not normal, and I want to know why."

Bryant nodded. "When you put it that way, I see your point. I wasn't aware of the monitoring, but considering what it turned up I'm glad you outdo Tracy for being overprotective."

Both turned their heads when they heard Evan say "Here Grandpa, you can have your subvocal thingie back. Ark's sending me my own, it says I'm fun to talk to."

"You called Ark?" Dustin asked with a grin.

"Yep!" Evan giggled. "Earth and Federation medical procedures say avoid the stress and maybe increase salt intake. I know too much salt ain't no good, and Uncle Tracy's a walking stress magnet according to Uncle Antonio. I like Uncle Antonio, he's funny! Anyways, Ark helped me with the secret stuff, and we think we got one if our guesses are right. Klaus is gonna get it ready just in case, and Uncle Antonio said tell ya' to hang here to keep Uncle Tracy and Uncle Karl from freaking. He's gonna go help with our Grandpas."

Off to the side, Kyle, Pablito, and Tyler were comparing notes. With a confused look on his face, Kyle asked "Okay featherhead, how is Evan contacting Ark happening inside a time sync, and why is it that neither one of me can see anything past or future right now?"

Pablito shrugged. "Fuck if I know! I'm as blind as you lesser beings, which means the Boss is screwing with shit again." Pablito paused, then grinned. "News flash from Up High! The boss says chill, He is undoing some seriously fucked up shit from the battle so He's suspended timeline formation for a little bit. I dunno Why He gets so pissy about the Fallen violating Mandates, but He does. Hang on, it's been eons since the last time He did this!"

Ty tilted his head. "Okay, so basically we gotta sit back and just let whatever happens happen?"

Pablito nodded. "Yep. I can't wait to hear the Guardian once this shit settles; He'll teach me some words that JJ don't even know!" After a pause, Pablito asked "Kyle, did you just update yourself in Orlando?"

"Uh huh!" Kyle nodded. "Cory's head is a constant right now, so me and me are comparing notes! I had fun while I was asleep here, I was meeting all kinds of new guys in Orlando!"

"What the Hell! That's not supposed to be able to happen!" Pablito muttered. "These are locked bubbles; even the Guardian can't go in and out of them."

Mere seconds later, a note appeared between the three boys and drifted to the ground. Tyler picked it up, reading it just loud enough for Pablito and Kyle to hear. In a flowing script, the note read:

Angel Pablito, do not feel concern for the Binding of the Nexus, as their interactions take place on a plane well above your station. As each balances their Gifts with their Humanity, Windows shall open allowing things which None but the High Host can comprehend.

Kyle and Tyler, your choices have been most pleasing, even when you faced Trials that were not Yet To Be in the Plan. Continue your quest to find the Selves that Events tried to rip from you with the Highest Blessings now Given to ensure your success.

Within second of Tyler finishing, the note morphed into a butterfly which somehow flew out through the wall. Eyes wide in shock, Tyler asked "Was that...?"

Pablito nodded, his eyes almost as wide as Tyler's. "Yeah, congrats guys, that came from The Top."

"Wha'did that last part mean?" Kyle asked.

"It means you 'hanging up your cape' was the right choice," Pablito explained. "I think you're supposed to be little brothers that just happen to have special skills, not kids with special skills that happen to be brothers."

"This must be serious, Pabs just completed a complete thought without swearing!" Tyler giggled.

"Yeah, He tends to do that to me," Pablito grinned. "Fortunately, it wears off after about ten minutes!"

Kyle grinned as he added "Cory thinks that me finally keepin' my promise and lettin' him share what's in my head is parta what the Note meant."

Pablito raised his eyebrows, the fact that Cory was now involved just adding to the weirdness. "I think I'll join the munchkins watching cartoons, it's saner over there!" he quipped before turning to rejoin the little ones.

Ty giggled as he gave Kyle a hug. "I'm glad you did it, cutie; you're happier now."

Kyle gave Ty's nose a kiss, then replied "Cory's better too, he missed us havin' time to talk 'bout stuff. Save me a seat by the TV, I gotta go tell Trace sumthin'."

Kyle made his way towards the back row, where Adrian and Cody had decided that Tracy and Karl needed cuddle therapy. Smiling, Kyle took a seat next to them before passing on the message. "Trace, Cor says tell ya' you did right when you said Uncle Clyde's gotta go too."

Tracy raised his eyebrows and tilted his head. "When did you talk to Cory, lil' bro?"

"We're always talkin' now!" Kyle giggled. "When I finally gave in and let him into my room in his head, it did somethin' so him and me are in each other's heads always."

"Sweeeeet!" Tracy giggled. "You're pretty lucky, Kyle."

"Cory says somethin' else too," Kyle stated, locking eyes with all four of the older boys. "Trace, Karl, and Cody? All three of you gotta remember one thing. You guys are all BLOOD brothers to Cory, no matter how it happened. That means in the Vulcan family, you are almost his equals. Cory says don't be afraid to use your place in the family when somethin' needs done to protect other family members. Adrian, that means that you're kinda like Sean; which means you have just as much say as Cody , Trace, and Karl do."

"Thanks, Kyle," Karl replied, "we all kinda needed that confidence after the last day."

"I know, Ezzy told me!" Kyle giggled. "You know how Mikey says me, Cor, Sean, and JJ are somethin' called 'the Nexus'?"

All four boys nodded, wondering on the sudden change of subject.

Seeing the nods, Kyle continued. "Ty and me saw somethin', and we've been talking it over with Cor, JJ, and Sean. Anytime someone talks about it, we kinda feel an itch in our heads like we're missin' somethin'. We finally figured it out; the four of us ain't all of this Nexus stuff, we're just the original core. Justy, Jamie, and Jacob are core too, they just wasn't ready until now to take their spots. After this weird loop stuff is over, we gotta get the shell together."

"What's that gotta do with us?" Adrian asked.

With a surprisingly serious expression, Kyle replied "The inner shell is Ty, Trace, Karl, Cody, Adrian, Adam, and Beau. The outer shell is Trace's friend Jerry, Ezzy, Cory's twin cousins with their partners, and Dean. Each of us in the Core has one of the inner shell for support, and each of the inner core is teamed with someone in the outer core. We're not sure who matches up with who, we just kinda feel that the group is right."

All five felt a warm glow in their chest at that last statement. After exchanging glances, Tracy spoke for the rest as he stated "We're there lil' bro. Tell our big bro to stop with copying Mikey, though."

Kyle grinned. "Cory's gonna have LOTSA bite marks on him once we get together! Ty's lettin' the rest know in his head, and he's tellin' them Cor ordered us to bite him if we don't like it!"

"You're EVIL!" Adrian laughed. "I'm glad your my brother!"

Kyle quickly slipped onto Tracy's lap and cuddled into Adrian's side. "I'm glad you're my brother too." he whispered. "Forever glad."

Gaussman residence:

As Gary reached the top of the stairs, he could't help but smile at the scene he walked into. The boy's 'playroom' had underwent a major transformation since they moved into the house; no longer was it a clean and organized tribute to the horrors of 'the witch', it now was quite obvious that youth lived here. At this moment, it appeared that a major construction project was in progress, as the open floor space had been dedicated for the layout of a massive race track for the RC cars that Glenn picked up for a welcome home gift for his new brothers.

Currently, Glenn was carefully assembling what appeared to be an overpass for the winding track, while Jerry was busy running some wires for lights. Heath, Sawyer, and Linos were working on landscaping, placing model houses and trees. DB, Liam and Javon were carefully laying out the track sections, Javon connecting them as DB and Liam decided what they thought would be fun to do next. Charlie was acting as a runner, grabbing parts for the rest.

"Guys?" Gary asked over the music playing in the background.

"Yeah Dad?" Glenn replied as they all looked up from what they were doing.

"Are you where you can take a break? It's almost time to head over to visit Tracy and Karl." Gary asked with a smile.

Glenn quickly made eye contact with his brothers and future in-laws before responding "Sure Dad, we'll be right down!"

"Okay, I'll see you downstairs," Gary said with a nod. "I can't wait to see that once it's done, you guys are doing a great job."

"Thanks Dad!" the boys chorused as Gary turned and headed back downstairs.

Gary reached the bottom of the stairs, only to find the entire group waiting for him, all with glowing halos over their heads. Shaking his head, Gary chuckled "DB, you should know by now that halos and your buddies are incompatible!"

"No dunkings until AFTER we get back!" Doug announced as him, Jessica, Greta, and Barnaby joined the mob in the dining room. "You hear me, boys?"

"You're no fun!" the boys exclaimed in unison.

"I'm a parent, I'm not supposed to be fun!" Doug replied with a grin.

"I think I'll need to enquire if towels are provided by the Divisional headquarters," Barnaby deadpanned. "It seems that Doug and Gary are trying to use them faster than we can dry them."

"Whose side are you on?" Gary sniggered.

"Whichever side results in the least laundry!" Greta stated seriously, before turning to Charlie. "You having fun up there, Charlie?"

"Yeah Mom!" Charlie bubbled. "I'm gettin' to pick out what houses get put in next!"

"That sounds like a really important job," Greta smiled, "I can't wait to see it!"

"He's been a lot of help, Greta," Glenn stated with a smile, "it's making things go a lot faster with his help. We might be done in a couple more days with how all the guys are working together."

"I'm proud of all of you; you've got the brothers helping brothers part down great so far," Gary commented. "That includes you, DB; you're doing great learning how to interact with others."

At that moment, Peter popped in, gave Gary a hug, then turned to DB. "DB, you need to handle transport, your Uncle Pablito has control of a loop right now, and he's gonna let you bring them in. Don't worry if you see yourself at your Uncle Cory's; right now Pab's Boss has us all double looped, so He won't allow it to become a paradox."

"Okay, Dad!" DB giggled as he popped into Peter's arms for a quick cuddle.

Gary tilted his head. "Peter? When do I need to arrange for DB to come home?"

Peter grinned. "He is home! Don't worry about him not spending time with us; he sneaks in long visits with us whenever he's not doing something here. There is a really good reason he's here; not only is he learning about humanity by experiencing it, but he's assigned himself to this Division as his personal responsibility. Each of the Mikyvis kids except Ezzy has picked their own areas that they watch over; Ezzy was born to watch over the core of the Clan, in fact it was Mandated by Up High upon his birth."

Gary nodded his head. "While that makes sense, I still don't feel right not seeing him interacting with his parents, or knowing that he's there with them. If you'd humor me, I would like to at least have you and Galen visit to share in his discoveries. Having Luke join you would be best, as there are things DB has been doing that I'm sure he'd like to show his brother."

Peter grinned. "I think we can do that. One thing I wanna say though is I really want to thank you for what you've been teaching him. I spent a lot of my life sick, so I'm still learning kid stuff too, and I didn't get to see a lot of normal parenting either. I'm learning as you teach DB stuff, since he shares what he learned from you with his family when he visits us."

"In that case, I'll make sure he is brought up just like the rest of the boys," Gary stated. "You're welcome to ask for guidance at any time on parenting issues, between all of us I'm sure we'll give you ideas to try."

"Thanks!" Peter giggled, "Mom says that the Clan parenting way of everyone working together saves a lotta mistakes. Me, Galen, Kyle, and Ty compare notes on the Mikyvis stuff, but we're still picking people for teaching us how to parent the human stuff besides Aunt Teri, Uncle Dan, Mom, and Dad."

"DAAAAD!" DB interrupted, "You already got the parents talkin' too much when the kids need to be somewhere now! We gotta get goin!"

"As you can tell, the boys have been teaching him too!" Doug chuckled.

"Yep!" Peter giggled. "You wanna finish this conversation earlier yesterday a week from now, Uncle Gary?"

"I'll see you an hour ago," Gary smirked, causing his sons to roll their eyes.

Peter laughed. "That works!" he replied before popping out.

"Could you drop us with the adults, DB?" Gary asked with a grin. "I'm sure Tracy and Karl don't want us old folks hanging around."

DB seemed to concentrate for a second, then replied "Yeah, Pops G, you ain't needed in Tracy's apartment. I'll take the grownups first, since that's a different bubble. You ready?"

After exchanging looks with the rest of the adults, Gary nodded, and a second later the adults vanished from the room. As soon as DB re-appeared, he giggled "FINALLY! I thought they was NEVER gonna stop talkin'!"

"Did you really have to take them separately?" Jerry asked with a grin.

"Nope!" DB admitted, "but if I didn't they woulda talked another ten minutes, that's FOREVER!"

"Way to go, bro!" Glenn laughed. "We ready to hit it?"

DB nodded. "I need to wait five more seconds, then we're clear." He held up his right hand, counting down on his fingers, and as soon as he folded down his last finger the room emptied of its last occupants.

Tracy's Apartment:

DB's group appeared suddenly in the middle of the room. Everything came to a stop as all present suddenly paid close attention to the new arrivals.

"Umm, DB?" Glenn asked as he stared at Liam and his companion, both of which were intently checking out each other's features.

DB stared at the extra person as well. "Uncle Kyle? Where'd he come from? He wasn't with us when we left!"

Kyle shrugged. "I dunno! Hey Pabs, you know anything about inter-dimensional hitchhikers?"

Pablito grinned as he replied. "Ya know, this is gettin' to be fun! We getta go on a field trip! C'mon Kyle and Ty, I'm curious too."

All three vanished, only to re-appear seconds later eating ice cream sundaes. "That's a new one, but it makes sense." Pablito commented.

Kyle nodded, and quickly explained before half the room decided to do JJ impressions. "Welcome to Alpha Prime, Fyrlenn! Okay, what happened is that he was being transported in his home Universe right when something happened to cause that timeline to terminate. Somehow, he was picked up by DB bouncing over here, and joined in with the group. I dunno how it happened, but since he's got nowhere to go back to, it looks like he's stayin'."

While Kyle was explaining, Pablito was making sure that Fyrlenn made the transition safely. After a minor tweak, he added "Okay, now for the fun part. Technically, due to where he came from he shouldn't be able to survive here more than a couple of minutes. The good news is that something happened in the way he was picked up that tweaked his biology just enough to make him not need the loose energy that was part of life in his old home. The bad news is that he's not going to age like you mortal types... he'll give Vifers a run for their money. Whose turn is it to adopt a long-lifer?"

Teddy shook his head as he joined Pablito. "You know, they give courses in tact in some schools." Ignoring Pablito sticking out his tongue, Teddy took in the new arrival. Fyrlenn looked to be about the height of a normal ten year old, but with the waist and chest measurements of a seven year old. His skin had the coloration of someone suffering from oxygen deprivation, yet it was obvious that he was healthy. His blueberry blond hair just touched his shoulders, and his aqua eyes were obviously questioning what would happen now.

"Are you my new Daddy?" a clear, bright voice asked in Teddy's head. "Why does everyone make noises instead of talking?"

Teddy's eyes got wide as he quickly realized why Fyrlenn had been so quiet. Hoping for the best, he thought 'Can you hear me?'

"YES!" Fyrlenn replied with a huge grin.

Teddy smiled, then said 'Most of the people here communicate using those noises that you were hearing. How can you tell if someone is talking to you this way?'

"Easy; when you want to talk to someone, that someone can feel you talking and they hear you." Fyrlenn replied.

'That makes sense,' Teddy replied with a nod. "Were you able to understand what Kyle and Pablito said out loud about you being here?'

"I heard the funny noises they were making while they were talking to everybody. Where will I live now?"

With a smile, Teddy replied 'I need to ask my partner, but I think it would be great for you to live with us. Those funny noises you heard were vocal words, which is how we are used to speaking. There are a lot of people in your new extended family that can also talk like you are used to, so you're not gonna be alone. In fact, I think a couple of them might be able to help teach you how to understand the noises as words so that you can enjoy some of the entertainment that is common here.'

"The answer's yes!" Cam interjected. "Kyle's helping fill me in, so just follow your heart, Teddy."

"Gotcha, Cam!" Teddy shot back. "Okay, to answer your first question, Cam and I wold love to be your new daddies if that is what you want."

Teddy's answer came in the form of a sixty pound cuddle monster trying to attach himself to Teddy's chest. 'I take that as meaning you approve?' Teddy giggled as he wrapped his arms around the newest addition to the family.

As Teddy welcomed his new son, Tyler filled in the group on the latest findings. "Okay, while Fyrlenn's not really a telepath like we're used to, his culture went to a type of mental communication that all of us can handle a long time ago. We're gonna help him with understanding words, but he's probably never gonna be able to speak like we do; you doctor-types would know better than me on that. When you hear him in your head, you're not imaginin' things. He don't read your mind, but he 'hears' it when you think towards him something you want him to hear. Don't push hard, just think like normal. Teddy and Cam are adoptin' him, so you'll get a lotta practice."

Taking the hint, Dustin and Daivik quickly fired up their tricorders and began scanning Fyrlenn. Within seconds, both sets of eyebrows on the medics had migrated to the crowns of their heads, as they began to get warnings that they never expected to see. After less than a minute, Daivik turned his head towards Dustin. "The next time I comment that I have seen everything, please beat me to a bloody pulp. This is not possible!"

"You're the Archnanian, so you'd know!" Dustin agreed. "This craps WAYYYYY above my paygrade; we need Bones here to sort this out!"

"I'll second that," Daivik replied as he rotated his tricorder to see if the readings made more sense upside-down.

"That help?" Dustin asked hopefully, noticing Daivik's experiment.

"Nope, still more confusing than Aunt Teri's family tree," Daivik grumbled. "Oh! That looks... obscene!"

"What do you mean about Aunt Teri's family tree?" Dustin giggled as he noticed what Daivik was seeing.

"Have you seen it? That thing would make Saint Peter take up drinking!" Daivik sniggered.

While the two medics dug holes for themselves, since Emmy was helpfully recording all of it to update his Grandma Teri about his new brother, Teddy glanced around to find that the Gaussman boys were spread out around the room getting updated on the insanity since they were last involved with Tracy. Just as he turned back to his newest son, Teddy caught Pablito appearing with Dr. McCoy and a younger version of Fyrlenn.

"Thanks for the background, Pablito," McCoy commented as he made his way over to where the younger version of Fyrlenn had just silently tackled Fyrlenn and was now latched securely to his chest. Noticing Teddy's expression, McCoy stated "I hope that you intend to keep these brothers together, Theodore."

Teddy grinned. "Uncle Bones, we both know that you wouldn't give me a choice!" After a giggle at the glare he got, he added "If thats what they want; I need to talk it over with them once they stop microwaving each others heads!"

After a warning glare that clearly said it better be sooner than later, Bones joined the confused medical team. After a minute of studying the display on Dustin's tricorder, Bones grumbled "Dammit! What ever happened to research instead of trusting overgrown pocketwatches? You two are coming back with me for training, you would've murdered the kid if you followed these instructions!"

"That's why we wanted to talk to you," Dustin said in defense of their actions.

"Not even in the right mode for a new lifeform..." Bones grumbled as he pressed a series of controls. "Try that!"

Dustin's eyes went wide. "Antonio not only warned he'd castrate us if he caught us using those options, but he graphically described the entire procedure!" he explained as one hand cupped same genitals protectively.

"For most youth your age, that kind of dare would be enough to make you curious and lead you to explore what they do, since none of the documentation is worth a shit," Bones challenged.

"No way, 'Tonio'd actually do it!" both medics exclaimed in unison.

Bones looked up at the two panicked boys, grinning as he said "You're right, he would. I think him and I need to develop an advanced course over some Kentucky Bourbon shakes. That boy's a chip off the old block!"

Noticing neither boy was trying the new settings, Bones added "Get off your asses and get to scanning, I'll make sure Antonio doesn't schedule any microsurgery on the two of you!"

Fortunately, glares are not life threatening, but Dustin and Daivik tried their best to disprove the theory. As they did very accurate JJ imitations under their breath, both started exploring the new features that Bones had unlocked.

"Now you sound like professionals," Bones sniggered as he turned around. "Teddy, Pablito has already made sure Eiyythos is updated for his new home. You and Cam need to have Emmy give you the updated medical procedures once these two chickens finish their scans."

"Gotcha, Doc," Teddy replied. "Fyr and Eyth are just about done catching up, I'm answering questions when I can."

Just then, Dustin's exclamation of "What the FUCK!" got everyones attention. Before anyone could ask, he added "Emmy! Uplink to screen 3!"

'This should be fun,' Teddy explained to his new sons, 'Doc Dustin is going to show everyone how you guys are made differently. This is good, because all of us like learning new things!'

"But we don't want to be different," Fyr replied.

'Everybody is different, guys. Right now there are at least four different variants of humans in this room, you're just making it five. Don't worry, your extended family values how everyone is different, that's what made us all family in the first place.'

"Okay, we'll trust you, Dad," both boys replied.

Everyone turned to the screen, watching as Emmy translated the data and put it on screen.

Medical Scan results:

Detected Species type: Humanoid - Bipedal

Lifeform basis: Carbon-based

Species identification: *UNIDENTIFIED*

Blood base: Beryllium

Respiratory basis: Nitrogen

Physical Characteristics: Alkaloid circulatory system

Musculature comparable with human

Heart size: 1.5x human

Lung Capacity: 2x human

Vocal Range: No vocal organ configuration identified

Digestive System: Dual inline stomach, intestinal tract minimal

Skeletal: High tensile reduced diameter, 35 ribs, Double joints

Nervous system: Redundant pathway

Genetic Data: DNA 23 chromosome pairs, apparent human compatibility 67%

Reproductive method: Indeterminate, insufficient data

After regarding the data for a minute, Bones stated "Thank God you gave me a heads up, Pablito. In general, normal Clan nutritional standards apply for these two. Nutritional supplements will be required, but they are not urgent. Teddy and Cameron, you will report to me with your sons in two days for a physical to see how their digestive systems are adapting."

"Yes, sir!" Cameron and Teddy replied seriously.

"Me too?" Evan asked as he decided to cuddle-test the youngest of his new brothers.

Finally noticing the other new addition, Bones borrowed Dustin's tricorder and scanned Evan. After a minute, he turned towards Pablito, his glare demanding an explanation.

Pablito shrugged. "My Boss likes screwing with shit. Good luck figuring it out, He don't tell me a damn thing! All I can tell you Evan really is their son in all meanings of the word."

Bones rolled his eyes. "And I retired for this? Evan, I expect you to join your brothers. Also, I am putting you in charge of keeping track of anything you notice about how they are adapting to their new home."

"Okay Uncle Bones!" Evan replied with a smile.

Tyler spoke up from his seat nearby. "I just finished mapping their brains, Uncle Bones, all three of them. You'll have the standard report by the time you get back, but it looks like I can update Fyr and Eyth so they'll understand verbal speech and will be able to communicate in all seven known mental protocols. I'm starting that now."

"That sounds good, Tyler," Bones replied. Noticing Bryant and Clyde off to the side, Bones added "I'm taking Bryant and Clyde with me for their pre-procedure workup. Antonio's waiting for both of you, so no arguments. Get over here already, give your new grandsons some cuddles so that we can get moving."

Both men rolled their eyes as they stood to come over. Under his breath, Bryant muttered "Is there a doctor in the clan who isn't pushy?"

"I think it's a job requirement," Clyde quipped.

"Just remember, I know how to give old-fashioned prostate exams," Bones warned, having read their lips. "I've taught Antonio as well, problem is he has to use his whole hand on adults. I'm sure he'll appreciate you volunteering to let him practice on a living person."

"I think we'll pass on that!" Bryant and Clyde exclaimed in unison, just the thought of the possibility causing their rectal muscles to clamp down. They quickly made their way to the group of new grandsons, Bryant picking up Fyr while Clyde picked up Eyth. After a few minutes of cuddles and silent communication, they swapped grandsons, repeating the cuddles and welcoming to the family. Not to be left out, a line formed of grandchildren wanting grandpa hugs. As each of them got Grandpa hugs, they took a turn with their new brothers/cousins giving them a classic clan welcome.

Once Erin led his brothers to their reserved front-row seats in the cartoon viewing arena, Bones motioned to Pablito "I believe we're ready, Pablito."

"One taxi ride, coming up!" Pablito giggled, vanishing along with the three adults. Seconds later, he returned, grinning as he commented "Antonio asked them if they were allergic to latex gloves as soon as they arrived! I didn't know adults could squeak like that!"

"Just HOW did Antonio know about Uncle Bones' threat?" Tracy giggled.

"I have NO idea!" Pablito replied as his halo became visible.

"You're nuts, Bro!" Tracy quipped. "Sammy's pretty lucky to have you as a brother."

Pablito smiled as he replied "I'm lucky he's my brother; he's the best! Someone's gotta keep Popa in line!"

"You know, after this loop crap is unwound, I expect you to go visit your family while you're solid," Tracy stated seriously.

"Is that an order, Sir?" Pablito replied in a cocky tone.

"Yes!" an echoing voice answered out of nowhere.

Pablito rolled his eyes. "Thanks Tracy; if I wasn't gonna have time to do it before I will now! I'll make sure Papa knows it's your fault that he gets to catch up on cuddles with me!"

"Glad to help," Tracy giggled. "Let me know anytime you wanna vacation, I'll put in a word for ya!"

"The scary part is that it might work," Pablito laughed. "I'm gonna make my rounds to straighten out any crap left in anyone's heads from the battle junk. Thanks, Trace."

"Have fun, Pabs," Tracy replied with a smile. "I'm proud of ya, lil bro."

For a split second, the emotional fortress that Pablito still hid behind, even after death, slipped. No words were needed, as both Tracy and Pablito felt it when Pablito shared a rare bond with Tracy. Tracy just nodded and smiled, accepting the honor of being added to Pablito's trusted list.

With a smile on his face, Pablito turned to start his rounds. Still smiling as well, Tracy took the chance to look around the filled room. Most of the younger kids appeared to have taken it upon themselves to welcome the three newest additions Clan style, as they were all piled on the couches talking among themselves. Obviously Tyler's teaching had worked, since both Fyrlenn and Eiyythos were now paying attention to speech and responding with Federation Sign Language. Considering that he'd never learned FSL himself, Tracy decided that since he now understood it that he owed Kyle and Ty some extra cuddles for planning ahead in the language dump.

"Earth to Tracy!" Jerry's voice giggled, breaking Tracy's train of thought.

Tracy jumped, only to find Jerry and Glenn standing there grinning at him. "Hey guys, grab a seat!" Tracy grinned. "Sorry, just plotting out who gets cuddle tortured next."

Glenn shook his head. "Take a break already, dude!"

"No way!" Tracy laughed, "Last time I tried that, I got nine more sons!"

"Told ya' he won't stop!" Jerry smirked. "He usedta' discuss the answers to homework on the way home from school!"

"We'll just have to fix that," Glenn stated, obviously already plotting.

"Did y'all just come over here to pick at me?" Tracy pouted, obviously not serious.

"Naw," Jerry replied, "We came over to see how all y'all were makin' out, and to say thanks for y'all gettin' our family together."

Glenn nodded as he pulled Jerry into a one-armed cuddle. "Yeah, Jerry's a better brother than even Liam remembered. I just wish I didn't have to go through all that crap to get these great brothers."

Smiling, Tracy replied "Hey, what good is all this stuff I can do now if I can't help my friends!"

Jerry and Glenn exchanged glances, then Glenn spoke for both of them. "Ya need to pick your battles, Tracy. You've got a lot of guys wantin' to help too; let them help and just come to you if they're stumped. We're not gonna let you drive yourself nuts doin' it all; we owe you for makin' us a family, and we're gonna pay you back by makin' sure that you're there for yours as Tracy, not as a Director."

"Jeeeze!" Tracy giggled with a roll of his eyes. "I created monsters!"

"Bullcrap, Trace!" Jerry stated. "Dude, y'all gave me the big brother I dreamed of. He's teachin' me to chill on tryin' to do everything, and now I'm seein' that I learned it from you. Both of us gotta learn to back off some, and if it takes us findin' you a big bro to make you settle down, we'll do it."

"Thanks, guys," Tracy replied seriously. "Y'all ain't the only ones tryin' to get me to relax. Cory's already taking the big brother position seriously, even though work seems to find us even when we're avoiding it. Even our Guardian Angels can't stop it; we had two of them with us on our trip to Naples. Even though I thought I wasn't ready to be a parent when Wayne was given to me, I couldn't help myself when I had the chance to adopt the rest of my mob."

As if they were summoned, Trey and Torrey squeezed past Jerry and Glenn to take up positions on Tracy's lap. As Tracy wrapped his arms around the pair of six-year-olds, he asked "How ya' doin', guys?"

"Doing okay, Daddy," Trey replied. "Why can't Eiy and Fyr talk like us? Are they broke? Can't Uncle Kyle fix them?"

Tracy gave his sons a squeeze. "Where they come from, they ain't talked for a really long time," he explained carefully. "It's been so long that their bodies never grow the stuff in their throats that make it possible to talk."

"So they ain't broke?" Torrey asked.

"No, son, they're just what they're supposed to be," Tracy replied as he gave them another squeeze. As both little blonds snuggled closer to their Daddy, Tracy introduced them. "The little guy on my right is Torrey, and his twin brother is Trey. Guys, the big guy over there is your Uncle Glen, and the other guy is your Uncle Jerry."

"Hi!" the twins said shyly, holding Tracy's arms securely across their little bellies.

"Hi guys," Glenn said, recovering first from the obvious change to Tracy's stress level as soon as the boys had climbed up. "You've got yourself some really special daddies, you need to give them lots of cuddles to keep them happy."

"Yeah, especially Tracy!" Jerry giggled. "Did you guys meet our little bro Liam?"

"Yeah, he's fun!" Trey giggled. "You're the big brothers he was braggin' 'bout?"

"Yep," Jerry snickered. "If y'all decide you guys are friends with him, y'all can visit us next door. You're allowed to drag your Daddy along if you want!"

"Okay," Torrey replied, his expression conveying that they were not ready to venture far from home just yet.

Sensing the discomfort of his sons, Tracy whispered "Don't worry guys, I'm not planning on sending you off anywhere but school. We're all going to visit over there pretty soon, so you'll have all your brothers with you."

"Thanks, Daddy," both boys purred as they relaxed and snuggled back into Tracy's arms.

Jerry smiled at the sight in front of him. "You got the dad job down good, Trace."

"Thanks, Jer," Tracy replied, leaning his head just enough to kiss the tops of his son's heads. "Hey, could you guys do me a favor? Vic and his boys are kinda new to all this, I think you guys could help them adjust better than any of the Clan officers."

Glenn grinned. "That's better, you're asking for help! No problem, Tracy; knowing your group, they're still probably questioning reality!"

"Why not, I am!" Tracy giggled. "Thanks! I've got some cuddle time to catch up on."

"You worry about your boys, we got the new guys!" Jerry quipped. "Torrey, Trey? You're in charge of making sure your Daddy doesn't work anymore today, okay?"

"Okay Uncle Jerry!" both boys giggled in unison.

FCS Pier, Fort Lauderdale Port Authority:

"So Prez, do you like what we're doing with the Iowa?" Mark Williams asked as him, Prez, Keith, Brian, and Terry reached the gate to exit the pier.

Acting unimpressed, Prez muttered, "Kyle said there's a Pissed Off Chickens Tournament here?" Seeing Brian and Terry rapidly blinking and failing to process Prez's humor, Keith sputtered then howled laughing. Grinning at his beloved, Prez then blew kisses at Brian and Terry.

Mark chuckled at the humor. "You didn't notice the radar screens in CIC? Kyle had Emmy upgrade all of them to support tournament mode!"

"Sweetness!" Prez loudly cheered, which pushed Keith over the edge, almost completely, as he staggered nearer to the precipice and possibly slipping into the water. Prez's and several more pairs of hands reached and grabbed him before taking a premature swim. "There's no surf or boards here, lover," Prez chuckled.

Rolling his eyes, Terry giggled "Are all Directors and their boyfriends weird?"

A resounding "YES!" was heard across the ships. Oddly enough, most of the answers came from people that weren't even close enough to hear the lad's question.

Mark shook his head, then looked for the transportation that Prez had promised would be waiting at the gate. Spotting the armored stretched Jaguar, Mark's eyes bugged out. "Jesus! We're going to the mall, not into a war zone!"

"There's a difference how?" Prez and Keith chorused.

"Dad? Can I have onea those guns?" Terry asked, puppy dog eyes on full.

Noticing Mark's concerned expression, Keith answered, "That's an MP5-AX, Terry. It can fire an electrical charge, or switch to Starfleet phaser mode, or switch to a ballistic rifle and fire real bullets.

"Really big bullets," Prez eerily added, and then leaned over to softly describe, "they'll go in as little holes." He swiftly began tickling Terry, and sniggered, "coming out as much bigger holes, here, here, here and here too!"

"Kewl!" Terry laughed as he tried to fend off Prez's attack. "Do they come with gorillas?"

"I'll have to check on that," one of the aforementioned gorillas stated as he joined them. "Prez, the rest of the invasion force is waiting in the car, John says you're getting slow in your old age."

Rolling his eyes, Prez sarcastically said, "Gamba, you're on my side. Try to remember that."

"Sir, yes Sir!" Gamba cheekily replied.

Peeking in the car and seeing John, Keith huffed, "When were you invited?"

"Before you, actually," John giggled. "Skyler and Bruce got me and Stephen first."

Stephen giggled, "Prob'ly by a fraction of a millisecond in Mikyvis terms, but still..."

John seriously asked his hubby, "Mikyvis terms or Mikyvis time?"

"Same difference," Stephen answered, and then launched himself at John for a few minutes of limousine rolling around time.

"Now I see why Directors are insane," Mark laughed. "My condolences for your suffering, Prez."

Sliding a few steps closer to Mark, Prez whispered, "Maui is on the agenda."

"I'm there; I'm still recovering from one of my sons becoming Vifer," Mark replied seriously.

Keith climbed into the limo and tickled Stephen. He got no giggling or laughter and scowled before sitting down. In his mind, Keith heard John teasing, 'We're at Anahola Bay, practicing snorkeling.'

Gesturing for Mark to enter the limo with his kids right after Keith's security, Prez said, "The list is growing in leaps and bounds daily. We're gonna have to get Peter to construct us a chill out hut. Twenty rooms might be a good start."

Mark tilted his head towards Terry, who had decided that Nasir looked like a comfortable seat. "I'm sure that Antonio put Terry's medical records where you can access them as a Director. Look them up some time, but have a trash can nearby to puke in. I'm not sure I'll be able to control myself if anyone hurts him again."

In the time it took for Mark to get in the car, Prez got a summary from Alden. Gamba told Prez, "I will transport to the mall, rather than make this Jag sag down to the blacktop."

Nodding, Prez stepped closer and softly ordered, "Get a gorilla for Terry while your at it. Make it look official, like the security is for Mark's family and we'll see you at the mall."

"Security for a family of three, comin' up," Gamba acknowledged.

Galleria Mall, Fort Lauderdale:

The limo pulled up to the main entrance of the mall, where Gamba, two early teen boys, two young cats, and a pair of younger gorillas were waiting for them. For some unknown reason, other patrons of the mall were deciding to use alternate routes to enter and exit the mall, much to the amusement of the waiting guards.

As soon as the door was opened by Gamba, the others heard singing. Leading the way out, one of Keith's security sang,

You gave the best you had to give
You only have one life to live

Danny sang.

You fought so hard you were a slave
After all you gave there was nothing left to save

Joining up with his security, Keith sang,

You've got nothing left to lose (you've got nothing left to lose)
No you've got nothing left to lose (who'd wanna be standing in your shoes)

Matthew stepped out of the car singing,

You read the book you turn the page

Followed by Chris singing,

You change your life in a thousand ways
The dawn of reason lights your eyes

and Prez sang his way out into the daylight

With the key you realize
To the kingdom of the wise

Mark exited with his sons, who were giggling at the exhibition. Brian looked over at Gamba, saying "You ain't gotta have a radio with these guys! They sang the whole trip!"

One of the cat boys grinned. "Yeah, they're kinda like that a lot. Something about being in a band I guess!"

"Ya think?" Brian smirked.

Terry, meanwhile, made a beeline to Gamba. "Who're your friends?" he asked as he gave Gamba a hug.

"They're your new security," Gamba explained. "Both you and Brian are getting protection as befits core Clan members. The twins are Liko and Lorin; even though they are runts, they're bobcat hybrids so they pack a lot of power."

"Watch it, Gamba; we'll take out your kneecaps!" one of the twins threatened, trying hard to look ferocious.

"I'll schedule being scared next month, Liko," Gamba chuckled. "Liko's with you, Terry, and Lorin's with Brian."

Brian tilted his head. "Why do we need security?" he asked as he headed towards Lorin.

Lorin answered for Gamba. "Your new Dad opened his mouth and put himself in charge of Fleet Public Relations. That means he's a target, which makes you bigger targets. We like people who think that you're a target, they're fun to play with as they bleed to death."

Brian grinned, "I like you, lil' guy!" he stated as he reached out and scratched Lorin's ear. "How old are you? You're just about the same size as Terry."

"I'm ... eleven ... scratch ... a little ... to the ... right..." Lorin purred, a silly grin on his face. "We ... won't ... get ... much ... bigger."

"A cuddly bodyguard?" Brian giggled, "I think I can learn to live with this!"

"I'm ... not ... cuddly!" Lorin protested weakly between his purrs.

"If I say that you're cuddly, you're cuddly!" Brian laughed. "Never argue with an empath, you'll lose."

"Cheater!" Lorin snickered.

Mark smiled as he watched the interaction between Brian and Lorin. Turning to check on Terry, he almost fell to the ground when he found Terry busy scratching Liko's belly, with Liko blissfully purring. All three gorilla hybrids had their hands over their mouths, obviously trying not to laugh out loud. "You know, I'm pretty sure the Clan Navy isn't ready for this invasion!"

"Does it really matter?" Skyler giggled as he popped over with his boyfriend Bruce. "Take good care of the twins, Uncle Mark. They ain't got no family yet. They're the only two G-cats of their kind, they were a new experiment that got broke up by the Unit shutting down operations. They were the latest attempt at making intel operatives."

Mark took a closer look at the two young bobcat boys. While both were the size of nine-year-olds, the visible part of their bodies were covered with a grey fur mottled with darker spots and random stripes. their thin faces seemed larger due to the tufts of hair on either side, and their feline ears sported black tufts of hair at the tips. Both boys had large yellow eyes, and sported long whiskers off their cheeks. Their hands and feet, while generally human shaped, were proportionally much larger than a normal human of their size, with shorter fingers and visible dark pads. As Mark was watching, Liko's claws extended for a split second when Terry hit a ticklish spot, revealing inch-long built-in weapons on all four limbs. "Please tell me they aren't conversions," Mark whispered.

Skyler smiled, his senses telling him that Mark had took his hint. "They're lab kids, not conversions Uncle Mark."

Mark nodded. "Get that little multi-dimensional brain of yours in gear, kiddo. I want legal identities and custody paperwork by the time we get back to the ship."

Skyler giggled as he pulled Bruce into a cuddle. "Already on it!" he exclaimed as they popped back to the car.

Gamba chuckled as he joined Mark with the two normal-looking boys. "Ya gotta love meddling Mikyvis, don't ya?" he asked.

"Actually, yes you do," Mark nodded. "Let me guess, he told you to bring the twins along?"

"More like he added them mid-transport," Gamba admitted. "Mark, these two have been assigned to you, I think that posing as your sons will be the best way to give you close protection." Placing his hand on the shoulder of the smaller of the two blond boys, Gamba stated "This is Tactical Specialist Cristobal Godwin, he's twelve and proficient in close combat and infiltration. His night vision and reaction times are highly enhanced, and he is a natural telepath."

"Get over here, Cris," Mark stated as he held out his arm towards Cris, who was obviously trying to keep a professional demeanor.

After getting a nod from Gamba, Cris slowly moved within reach of Mark. Once he was close enough, Mark pulled him into a cuddle. "Relax, Cris, you're one of the family now. You're not going to be pretending, though; whenever you're ready to accept it, you've got a family right here for you."

Cris turned his grey eyes up to check Mark's eyes to see if he was serious. As his eyes bored into Mark's soul, he slowly relaxed as he found acceptance that he'd thought he would never find again after the Genesis project. A small smile graced his face as he finally gave in and relaxed against Mark's side, his head resting on Mark's shoulder.

With a smile, Gamba placed his hand on the shoulder of the remaining boy. "Mark, this is Weapons Specialist Jordan Skerritt, he is proficient in small arms and carries a Sharpshooter certification. He's fourteen, and has enhanced night vision."

Jordan lifted his dark glasses long enough to get a good look at Mark and Cris, then smiled as he covered his bright green eyes once again. "Specialist Skerritt reporting for assignment, Sir!" he exclaimed with a smirk.

Mark grinned as he replied "You're assigned to assist your little brother in performing a cuddle test, smartass! Get that skinny butt of yours over here and take your station."

Jordan's eyebrows raised in surprise, not expecting his prospective charge to fire back at him with both barrels. "I like you, even though you're old and squishy!" Jordan giggled as he quickly followed 'orders' and claimed Mark's other shoulder.

"Ask Leon about being a smartass on his ship when we get back," Mark advised Jordan with a chuckle. "You ain't done nothing yet that I haven't done myself, to a superior officer, in front of his superior. You'll fit in just fine!"

"Yeah right," Jordan replied, "There ain't no way you'd still be in the Navy if you did that. I only act military, so I can get away with it."

"When did I get someone pregnant? You sure sound like my offspring!" Mark chuckled. "You'll like Leon; even though he had to bust me down a few .. dozen .. times, he kept me around because I was usually right. As soon as we became Clan, he gave me my rank back and put me in charge of moving the ship over to Clan procedures. The same offer I gave your little brother here goes for you; you've got family just as soon as you give the word."

"We'll see," Jordan giggled, "Once I find out if you can keep up with me!"

"Give it your best shot!" Mark challenged. "C'mon, lets check on your little bros."

Both of Mark's guards rolled their eyes, but pulled away enough to walk alongside him to locate Terry. They found him on the other side of the car, standing with Liko hand-in-paw while talking to one of the teen-aged gorillas. Somehow, Terry realized they had company coming from behind, and he turned his head with a grin. "Dad! C'mon over! You gotta meet Mags! He came with the really big gun!"

"I think you're getting a little bit fascinated with guns, kiddo!" Mark laughed as they joined Terry's group. "Who's gonna do official introductions?"

"I'll do it, Pops!" Liko purred. "My new boyfriend here is Terry, I'm Liko, the big furry goof is Magilla Gorilla, the big blond pain-in-the-butt is Jordan Skerritt, the littler big blond is Cristobal Godwin, and the big guy is our Pop, Mark Williams."

"Pops? Boyfriend?" Mark asked with raised eyebrows, surprised that the gorilla teen wearing a pinstriped suit and dark glasses seemed to have chosen Terry as his protectee.

"It seems that Liko and Terry have hit it off," Mags explained. "And before you ask, yes, I'm named after the cartoon. I had just got done binge-watching it before I was asked what I wanted for a name, and I thought it worked so I chose that one."

Mark nodded. "Okay, at least your name has an explanation! I guess we'll discuss the rest later, it might be safer that way."

Brian joined them, Lorin riding on the shoulders of the remaining gorilla boy, who was outfitted in a bright Hawaiian shirt and neon green board shorts. "Hey Dad, this is Callum Martins. He's really kewl, and he promised to teach me to surf!"

"We'll definitely discuss THAT later!" Mark said with a grin. "Welcome to the mayhem, Lorin and Callum! Lorin, I've already started arranging for you and your brother to be able to say that you have family. The rest of you, the offer is open for you to join us as well. Now, I believe we have a mall to invade!"

With Gamba and the rest of the Pacific Rim contingent leading the way, Mark and his expanded group made their way to the main entry of the mall. "Macy's first, guys; a few boys need some everyday clothes!" Mark announced, getting nods from the group.

To Mark's surprise, the group seemed to be generally well-behaved as they decimated the clothing racks in the Macy's boys and youth sections. He was just adding the seventh load of clothing to the pile on the checkout lane that had been reserved for the group after it was revealed they were with Clan Short, when an alert tone sounded in his ear. "Alligator Alley set Condition Yellow. Serial kidnapper identified and in process of being apprehended in Galleria Mall Macy's."

Mark spun around, quickly trying to locate his charges. As Jordan and Cris slid up to either side of him, both now armed with phaser rifles, he spotted the telltale barrels of the 'big guns' favored by the gorilla hybrids reflecting the ceiling lights in three different areas of the store. "Who's with Brian and Terry?" Mark asked with worry. "Is anyone protecting John, Stephen, and Bruce?"

"Mag and Cal are on their primaries," Jordan stated, all business. "Rimmer contingent is under full protection. Anyone tries to touch Bruce or Stephan, they're in for a world of hurt - Sky and John have no sense of humor when it comes to anyone touching their boyfriends."

"What about the twins?" Mark asked with worry still evident, "are they safe?"

Jordan started to answer, but was interrupted by the sound of a young boy screaming 'Mommy!' followed by the hisses of two very angry kittens...."