Local Falcon Health Technology Entertainment Queen releases "Face It Alone", a rediscovered song with Freddie Mercury Packers fall to Giants
Local Falcon Health Technology Entertainment Queen releases "Face It Alone", a rediscovered song with Freddie Mercury Packers fall to Giants

Mikyvis Chronicles

Concert Series: Chapter 1

Timeline Beta alpha 4: New Boston, American Colonies:

Outside the Queen Elizabeth Gardens Arena:

The two boys got off the bus and quickly tried to blend into the crowd moving towards the arena. This was not as easy as it sounded, though. Despite it being October, the evening temperature was almost 90 degrees. While most of the crowd was in shorts, both boys wore trousers and long-sleeved shirts, wearing their long dirty blond hair loose to hide all but their faces.

"I hope this band's as good as the kids at school say they are," the youngest of the two commented. "It'll make the visit to the hospital worth it."

The older one nodded. "I hope it's just a trip to the hospital, and not the morgue," he commented with a fleeting frown.

The two boys carefully made their way through the crowd, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. A sudden movement of the crowd caught the attention of the youngest boy, whose face paled instantly.

"Syd, I think we've been spotted!" The younger boy stated suddenly.

Syd quickly glanced in the direction his little brother was looking. "Crap, Drake. It's Dad's drinking buddy, Julius!" He quickly glanced around for an escape route.

As if knowing the thoughts going through both boy's heads, Julius loudly proclaimed "You two, Sydney and Draken! Stay right there, don't move! Clear the way, people, Arena Security."

Any thought the two boys might've had of slipping into the crowd vanished as they found themselves standing in a rapidly-expanding empty circle. Julius strode up to them, and put a large hand around the back of the necks of the nine- and eleven-year-old boys. "March," he stated gruffly. "Security office, and don't try anything."

The pair knew quite well where to go, having spent a good portion of time in the building when they were considered too young to fend for themselves at home alone. Neither said a word, experience having taught them that was the fastest way to a broken bone or ten.

As soon as Julius escorted them into the secure office area, he released his grip on their necks. With a suddenly caring tone that shocked both boys, Julius said, "Grab a drink from the cooler, boys. I have to make a call."

Afraid to do anything other than what they were told in this situation, both boys quickly grabbed drinks. Julius noticed that they just stood there, not taking any initiative at all, so he added, "Have a seat, relax, and drink up. This won't take long."

"What's gonna happen now?" Drake risked asking meekly, unconsciously cringing at the expected retaliation.

"I'm going to do something I should have done years ago," Julius stated firmly as he lifted his radio. "Mister Richardson, you are needed in the Security Office. Code R One. Mister Richardson to Security Office, Code R One."

"On my way," a young sounding voice replied.

All three were surprised when, thirty seconds later, an obviously enraged seven-year-old with purple hair appeared between them. Seconds later, he was joined by a ten-year-old boy with light brown hair, who seemed even less happy than the first boy. Both boy's purple eyes seemed to be blazing. "Investigation completed," the purple-haired boy growled. "Custody terminated effective immediately." Looking over at the two boys, his voice softened as he said "I'm Dylan, and this is my little brother Sky. Welcome to Paradise; you just got a new life."

"Yeah, that waste of human DNA you called a father's gonna meet some of our uncles," Sky added. "I don't think he'll like his welcome much, though."

"Sky, do you really have to classify it as human?" Dylan asked with a smirk.

"Only genetically." Sky replied. "I think a certain Director needs to vent before he hits the stage."

"I second that, don't forget to record it for Uncle JJ," Dylan replied before turning to Julius. "I hope you're not attached to this universe. After this, their male genetic donor or one of his cohorts is going to kill you unless we intervene. I assure you that our stage story has more truth than fiction to it, as a few people are about to find out the hard way. Will you consent to uprooting yourself and your family to return with us, ultimately to come home with us to a much more advanced universe?"

"What about these two boys?" Julius asked with concern.

"They're coming with us," Dylan replied. "They would have been killed within the next twenty-four hours, even if they had not snuck out, by the creature that sired them. I'm under orders from a being you've never met to prevent that. Trust me, you DON'T ignore those orders."

"Wha... WHAT are you?" Julius stuttered.

"I'm one of many examples of what humanity in this universe could become - IF they ever get their shit together and don't kill each other with their stupidity and greed first." Dylan replied with a smirk. "Fortunately for you, Sky and me've been told to liberate a few of you from Hell and take you home with us. You're getting the chance to live with some humans who actually don't generally use their navel as someplace to see out of because their heads are stuck in their butts."

"Why me and my family, though?" Julius mused.

"Easy." Dylan explained. "I'm able to read minds. Normally, I ask permission before I do it, but since Sky and me needta watch out for our cousins, we ain't taking chances on some idiot doing something stupid that hurts them. I was here before you saw me, and after picking up on the surface stuff from Syd and Drake, I gave you a full scan, then Sky snuck over to check your family. Despite the culture here, you were looking for a way to get these two out of the clutches of their tormentor. You picked up on the hint I dropped during the briefing, and made sure that you could catch them if they tried to sneak into the concert. If you had not seen them, you planned to get a message to me during the concert to see if there was any way I could help. Based on the information I know about the immediate future, you're being taken somewhere that your compassion for others is not a hindrance."

As Julius pondered the words he'd just heard, he glanced over at the boys. He froze when he saw Drake standing there in his undershorts, his body covered in scars and bruises from his neckline to his ankles. What really made his mind reel was the way that Skylar was helping Drake. Sky was running his glowing hands over Drake's body, leaving flawless healed skin in the wake of his attentions. "H... H... H... HOW?" Julius stuttered as he watched in awe.

"You know, it's really too bad the recording equipment here broke down..." Dylan giggled as the digital recorder on a nearby shelf began arcing and sparking inside. "Really too bad, maybe someone woulda learned that there are beings more powerful than them," he added as a purple halo appeared above his head. "Like I said, we're onea the possibilities of what humans can become. My little bro is doing a local rewind and replay of time, which is fixing up Drake."

"LITTLE brother? He's gotta be three years older than you!" Julius observed.

"Naw, he just likes being a big goof." Dylan grinned. "He's learning good though."

"Just how old are you?" Julius asked.

"Now you did it!" Sky giggled. "One temporal headache coming up!"

"Bite me, brat!" Dylan laughed. "It matters how you look at it. I've experienced somewhere around forty-eight years so far, yet in my home universe I'm less than a month old, and in this timeline I'm about negative twelve years old. Our big brother has me beat though, he's experienced over a hundred years already. He's a few days older than me."

"Yep, I'm up to about fifteen years now, and my twin bro just passed his first year." Sky added helpfully. "Not too bad for less than a week old, is it?"

Feeling pity for Julius, Dylan finished. "Don't worry, most of the people in our universe are what you would consider normal, even though normal is a theory which has been proven false and should never be referenced. You'll fit in just fine; Grandma Teri will help you, she's good at that fake normal stuff."

The last part broke the spell of the overload, and Julius laughed. "Little guy, with you around I have a feeling I'm going to totally forget the idea of normalcy!"

"Yep, Daddy and Pop taught me good!" Dylan laughed. "Hey lil' bro, you done yet? There's a jerk in the ticket office who has an appointment with his worst nightmare!"

"Just about. I gotta go grab some clothes so these two fit in." Sky replied. "I got them so they're safe to meet Timmy, Joey, and Pauly."

"Good; we don't need Timmy hitting the stage in a bad mood," Dylan replied. "Uncle Russ made me promise not to let it happen again; Timmy took it out on himself onstage, and it took a week for him to recover from pushing himself too hard. He actually missed two concerts."

"Couldn't you have fixed him up too?" Drake asked.

"I could have," Dylan replied seriously, "but then he wouldn't have learned anything from it. When you have a lot of power, you gotta make choices to avoid becoming a semi-God to those with no power. Sky fixed up what was done to you, but if you did something stupid on the way to the stage and broke your arm, all either one of us would do is first aid to keep you from bleeding to death. You'd still have to suffer through the normal stuff for a broken arm."

"That is the most impressive thing I've heard since you arrived." Julius stated. "Very few adults could restrain themselves like that. If the rest of your species is like that, you have all earned my respect."

"Grandpa Dan's a head shrink, and he says that's why all of us are kids. We think fair like kids, not power like adults." Sky inserted as he reappeared with a pile of clothes.

"How did you follow the conversation?" Syd asked. "You weren't here!"

Sky grinned. "Since Dilly and me are working together, we've got a link in each other's heads so no matter what we're doing or when we are, we can keep up with what the other one's doing."

"Sweet!" Syd and Drake exclaimed in unison.

Julius shook his head with a grin, the realization that his life was about to radically change due to one small decision he'd made in compassion making his head swim. "I think your Grandpa may be exactly right little one."

Dylan and Sky exchanged glances. "That makes two times he's called us 'little one'," Dylan stated with a grin.

"Yeah, he's getting all parental on us. Should we?" Sky grinned back.

"Yep, it's our duty!" Dylan replied with a giggle.

"CUDDLE TEST!" both Mikyvis exclaimed in unison as they launched themselves at Julius.

Julius laughed as he wrapped his arms around the two purple-eyed angels now latched to his sides. "If being kids is what makes you guys special, don't ever change!"

"Wow, smart AND an awesome cuddler!" Sky purred.

"Yeah, he's a keeper! The Tribe's gonna love him!" Dylan purred in response.

"And the two of you have a mischievous streak a kilometer wide!" Julius laughed.

"Told ya he's smart, he's already figured us out!" Sky giggled.

Dylan just giggled his agreement. After another minute of cuddles, they broke loose and began to finish what they'd started.

"I'm gonna grab Prez and Keith to take out the trash." Sky stated. "See you guys backstage?"

"Yep. Remind them if they judge that he's to be executed, it needs to just look like his body failed." Dylan replied. "While him turning to ash instantly might be funny, it'd ruin the concert. Police can be a pain about that, and Uncle JJ ain't here to straighten them out."

"Got it." Sky replied before vanishing.

Dylan turned to the two boys now standing there awestruck, outfitted in shorts and Clan polo shirts, the shirts stating "Time Touched Staff" in block letters on the back and on the opposite breast from the crest. "Guys, things are still gonna be weird for a little bit. Since Sky and me ain't never been normal humans, we can't judge the actions of a normal human. Your sperm donor is about to be tried by humans based on the laws of your land and the laws of the Creator of the human race; and, if deemed appropriate, he will be sent to the Creator for the ultimate judgment. It does not matter that the local laws are not enforced until it is too late; the fact those laws are in place and observed is enough to use them in the trial. I research local laws before I book a concert, so his judges are fully informed."

"What if they decide that he lives? Do we have to go back?" Syd asked, obviously worried.

"No; as far as he'd be concerned you ran away." Dylan replied seriously. "I operate under Universal laws that override any local laws in certain situations. You guys are one of them, you're a piece in a very big puzzle that I'm supposed to make sure is in the right place. What happens once I do that is completely up to you, but I have to do my part because of what I am."

Beginning to understand the weight the two Mikyvis carried on their small shoulders, Julius asked "So while you can put the pieces in place, you're not allowed to make sure they do what is needed?"

"Nope; that would take away their free will, and that's really bad," Dylan replied. "Besides, I can see futures, but I can't tell you which one will happen. Sometimes I don't even see the one that is gonna happen. I ended up adopting a son because of one of those; you'll meet him after the concert, he stays at my place on one of our planets until he's ready to come to our main home universe. That time went really bad, and we're both still recovering from it."

Julius reached out and pulled the suddenly frail-looking Dylan into his side. "You're a lot more human than you think, Dylan," he stated softly. "It sounds like you're playing an important part in a really intricate inter-universal game that affects the lives of countless people. Things are going to happen that nobody can foresee; the fact that you took responsibility for another being because of one of those things says more about you than a million words could even touch. While it is good to remember and learn from it, if you let it eat you up inside you're going to hurt yourself, and hurt the one that you adopted because of it."

Dylan nodded his head silently, flagging Julius' words in his head to come up any time he felt like he did right now. "Thank you," he whispered once he had his emotions back under control.

Platinum Habits Dressing Room Backstage

Completely unaware of what had been happening outside, Derrick, Mike, Keith, Prez, Troy & Reyes had changed from the various board shorts they had been wearing, and into the black shorts with rainbows across the rear. They were still shirtless and in very good moods, entertaining John, Ryan, Stephen, Sean, Lance and Scott with their silly version of Abbey Road album tracks. With Troy playing acoustic guitar, and desperately trying to keep a straight face, Derrick and Mike slinked out from behind the clothing rack toward Keith and Prez, singing:

Mean Mister Mustard sleeps in the park
Shaves in the dark trying to save paper
Sleeps in a hole in the road
Saving up to buy some clothes
Keeps a ten bob note up his nose

All six band members sang:

Such a mean old man
Such a mean old man

Reversing the playful attack, and fondling their best friends and lovers, Prez and Keith sang:

His sister Pam works in a shop
She never stops, she's a go-getter
Takes him out to look at the queen
Only place that he's ever been
Always shouts out something obscene

This time, everyone in the room sang through their giggles:

Such a dirty old man
Such a dirty old man

Troy had just begun playing the introduction to 'Polythene Pam', when Skylar popped into the room. Everybody noticed their playful Mikyvis seemed to be in an uncharacteristic foul mood. The song fell apart. John inhaled deeply and then groaned, "Uh oh."

Telepathically sharing the knowledge with all the Core Rimmers in the room, Skylar prompted, "This won't take very long, and I'll make sure you can get on stage without destroying anything."

Mike incredulously hollered, "Whaddaya mean he's gotta look like he died a natural death?"

Troy grumbled, "It would look completely natural, with an entire Les Paul shoved up his ass."

Sean smirked, "If we snipped the ground wire and plugged it in, the jolt would do the job."

Sadly shaking his head, Lance groused, "I'm not cleaning or restringing that. It could stay there and we'll replace the axe."

Reyes sighed, "What I want to know is why we never get to Polythene Pam dressed in drag?"

"Well," Prez huffed, "after this task, I think we'll dress in drag polythene bags, just for grins." Glancing around the room, Prez offered, "Execution is appropriate, but phasers at any setting won't look natural." He turned to John and grinned.

"FINALLY!" John cheered. "I've been wanting to implant those thoughts since the California orphanages. If he doesn't really have a heart attack on his own, that's an easy job, and I won't feel like I actually killed him."

Since he hadn't participated and wasn't even Clan at that time, Scott wondered, "Which thoughts are these?"

Derrick smiled, "Maggots eating him alive from the inside."

"ACK!" Scott loudly laughed, and then began scratching and squirming where he sat.

Skylar giggled, "Don't wear yourself out, Scott. I'll be back with Prez, Keith, and John in a couple o' seconds. Since I know you guys very well, I know this sort of stress can only be worked out as couples. I'll create a time bubble for you, then you guys can take care of each other, and not miss a moment of the show."

John gave his husband a tender kiss, and sent, 'Let Reyes and Ryan cuddle with you, and I'll be back soon to take care of the rest.'

Stephen nodded, returned the kiss, and then softly ordered, "You be safe, hon."

Troy put the guitar down in a stand and then reached for Sean's hand. They went and sat on the sofa with Scott and Lance. At the same time, Reyes and Ryan went and sat on the love seat with Stephen. Derrick and Mike embraced and sighed, silently wishing for one universe where asshole adults didn't exist. John, Keith, Prez, and Skylar popped out of the room and into the ticket office where the sadistic parent of Sydney and Draken was working.

In the ticket office, Sky immediately created a time bubble. The people in line never saw them arrive, and no one would hear a word said.

"Ugh!" John groaned, "He even smells bad." The father of Draken and Sydney turned in his chair, rapidly blinking and wondering how four boys quietly gained entrance into his locked space.

Keith yelled, "DUDE! Hot dogs, beans, and beer? You low-life fuck, I guess it's too late for you to have a little consideration for someone else."

"Get out of here before I call security," the obnoxious man firmly warned.

Sadly shaking his head at the short obese man, Prez gathered his Vulcan training, bellowing, "Lewis Koluth, you are charged with twelve counts against the Safe Haven Act and the Crown's Anti-Abuse laws, perpetrated multiple times, and summarily found guilty. You have no remorse, actually take pleasure in and are proud of your offenses. Thankfully, the sentence is death, so the boys you sired will never see your skanky ass again. My instincts say I should kill you with my bare hands, but we've got better plans for you."

Prez glanced at John, wordlessly ordering him to proceed.

John nodded, his eyes shining with a blue glow as he focused on the defendant.

Beginning to scratch and tear at his own flesh, Lewis Koluth bounded out of his chair and screamed. He bounced against the walls of the ticket office and soon collapsed to the floor in an adrenaline induced fit. Not wanting to hear anything more from the man, John stopped his respiration. In about two minutes, Lewis Koluth was dead on the floor of the ticket office. His final act of inconsideration was the complete release of all bodily waste.

Grimacing like Prez and Keith, John sniggered, "If I ever have to do this again, I'll implant the bugs and stop his breathing at the same time."

Keith smirked, "I'd dance on his corpse, but it stinks even worse in here now."

Turning to Skylar, Prez prompted, "Get us out of here, Sky."

Nodding, Skylar smiled, "A short detour first, just for you guys." Instantaneously, all four were hovering in space. Before them were many moons, each of brightly shining colors against the dark, star-speckled vastness of space. Beautiful tones faded in and back out. The vision and sounds brought wide smiles to the faces of John, Keith, and Prez. Skylar giggled, "Yeah, I thought you'd like this."

Prez asked, "Where is this place?"

"Rosseau Five," Skylar answered. "After doing something ugly, I thought you needed to experience something beautiful."

Keith whispered, "I'll be planted in front of synthesizers trying to reproduce this sound, but never completely match this."

"Do it for the concert," John suggested. They remained there for many more minutes, listening to the harmonious chordal sounds and watching the moons dance.

Seeing the peaceful expressions on the faces of his three friends, Skylar nodded and returned them to the dressing room. From the perspective of those in the room, John, Keith, Prez, and Skylar were only gone about five seconds.

Troy asked, "The bastard is dead?"

"Painfully for him, and thankfully for us," Keith nodded.

Skylar giggled, "I've gotta help Dylan with some stuff, but I'll be back before you guys are ready to hit the stage." With that, he popped out of the room.

Security Room

Sky popped back into the security office, immediately noticing that Dylan was still cuddled against Julius while Syd and Drake watched with concern. "He'll be okay, guys," Sky said softly. "This is the first time he's talked about what happened with someone who wasn't there. I just let Daddy and Pop know what's going on, they say that we need to just wait and he'll be better."

Drake smiled. "When Syd cuddles me, I feel lots better. So being superguys don't stop that?"

"No, actually we need more cuddles because we gotta do stuff that would give you nightmares." Sky admitted. "I'm gonna be collecting some soon after having to watch a good friend deliver a death sentence."

Hearing the tone in Sky's voice, neither Syd or Drake needed to ask for clarification. Instead, they moved as one and silently sandwiched Sky between them, sharing with him the comfort that until just now had been reserved for just between them.

Outside the room, Time slowed to a crawl as a voice not heard in this particular timeline in eons intoned "You have earned this respite, little Time Wizards. Take this Time that you would not take on your own accord, Princes of Time Flow."

It took a half-hour of time in the office before Dylan and Sky separated from their respective cuddles. Both grinned as they lifted the necklaces that had suddenly appeared around their necks, each bearing a prismatic ∞ symbol made of some clear crystalline substance.

"Leev's gonna be so proud of us!" Dylan giggled softly. "Congrats, lil bro; you're official now!"

"Why me though? I'm just learning from you." Sky mused.

"Don't bother trying to figure it out; Uncle G gives Uncle Galli headaches!" Dylan responded, this time giggling normally.

"Good point!" Sky shot back. "We ready to finish up so our cousins can start singing?"

"Yep." Dylan replied. "Julius, we're gonna go meet up with the rest of your family. Sky's gonna take Syd and Drake to meet his friends from Hawaii, then they'll catch up with us in Time Touched's dressing room after they get checked out by Uncle 'Tonio."

"If John blows a hole in the roof, I'm blaming you!" Sky laughed. "C'mon guys, you get to have your first Mikyvis Taxi ride!"

"I'm more worried about Keith!" Dylan giggled. "Have fun guys, see you shortly."

Once Sky vanished with the two boys who were responsible for the recent intervention, Dylan turned to Julius. "We'll appear in your garage; I've already made sure it's going to be clear."

"I'll just have to trust you on that one," Julius observed. "I'm ready when you are, this should prove interesting. Today is my son's birthday, he wasn't happy that I had to work today."

"I know; I hope he likes my present!" Dylan giggled before they vanished.

Julius led Dylan through the door into what Dylan would call a 'ranch' style house. As soon as they entered the kitchen, a young boy screamed "Daddy!" as he launched himself from the table in a very good pounce.

"I thought you hadda work! Who's the kid with purple hair and purple eyes? You gonna stay for my party? Why does he have purple eyes? Can I make my hair purple like his?" the newly-turned-eight-year-old boy rambled quickly.

"Slow it down, Crezzy." Julius laughed as he adjusted his son to sit comfortably on his hip. "Creston, this is Dylan; he's visiting from really far away. Dilly, this is the birthday boy, Creston. He's turning eight today. The wonderful lady who is about to strangle me is my wife, Viola."

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Ma'am." Dylan said as he bowed slightly in Viola's direction. "Please don't kill him just yet, I really hate having to call in favors to reincarnate someone."

Viola stopped, stared at Dylan for a second, then began laughing. "Proper one second, and outrageous the next? I can see why you're with Julius; you two came from the same mold. It is a pleasure to meet you too, Dylan. Would you like to join the rest of the boys? Crezzy was just about to cut his birthday cake."

Dylan's eyes lit up at the offer. "Yes, please! May I get the present I picked out for Crez first?"

"Sure," Viola replied with a smile as Julius chuckled in anticipation of the next trick he assumed Dylan had up his sleeve.

"Hmm, where'd I put it?" Dylan muttered as he scratched his head and checked his pockets. "Oh yeah, I remember!" he exclaimed as he turned, reached up the back of Creston's shirt, then pulled out a flat package about the size of a notebook, wrapped in purple foil. "Got it!" he giggled.

"How'd you do that?" Crez laughed as he wiggled down from his Dad and turned to Dylan. "That was cool!"

Dylan grinned. "My Pop taught me some magic tricks," he explained as he handed the package to Crez, "Happy Birthday!"

"You can do magic tricks? AWESOME! C'mon, you gotta meet the rest of the guys!" Crez stated as he took Dylan's hand and began dragging him to the dining room.

As soon as the two boys were out of hearing range, Viola asked Julius "How did you escape from the labor camp, and where did you find that little angel?"

Julius smiled. "The bosses are too busy dealing with Lewis. It seems he had the gall to die while on the job; I feel sorry for the maintenance crew, word is he left a mess after passing. I'll explain more later, but for now I'll just say that I finally found a way to intervene and rescue his sons; they're meeting their new family now. That little angel that you just met is responsible for finding a place where his sons are safe and will be cared for. Let me give you a tip, if his face is serious when he tells you something, believe it no matter how impossible it seems."

Viola raised her eyebrows. "Just what do you mean by that? Is our son in danger?"

"Crez is safer right now than he's ever been since he was born." Julius assured his wife. "I've seen things today that boggle the mind, but I can't doubt them. Things like watching Dylan's little brother heal the injuries to Lewis' sons with his bare hands. Right now, that boy knows more about everyone in this house than we do ourselves. He has offered to give our family a chance at a better life; he has also warned me that due to my stepping in to try to help Lewis' sons, our family will probably be in danger from Lewis' cohorts. He's offered me a chance to avoid that, and I'm accepting his offer."

"If it wasn't you telling me that, I'd be laughing. What is he, some sort of secret agent?"

Julius shook his head. "The best way that I can explain it is that he's a future mutation of the human species from another universe. After what I've seen, I now believe the line that Time Touched uses about being a band that crosses universes isn't just marketing."

"Considering the fact he just pulled a large package out of our son's shirt, I believe you," Viola stated. "Just what did you agree to?"

"Our family is going to join them in their home universe. Dylan says that most humans there are still what we would consider normal, so we should fit in." Julius explained. "Based on what I've seen, their universe is a lot better off socially that this place is."

"If he's still getting along with Crezzy like they were while they were with us, I don't think that there is going to be a problem." Viola said as she looked toward the dining room, where a burst of loud giggles had just erupted. "Should we see what kind of trouble they're getting into?"

"This should be interesting, seeing as Dylan is involved." Julius chuckled.

They walked to the dining room, only to see ten seven- and eight-year-olds with cardboard swords 'fighting' an obviously illusional dragon. The grins on their faces showed that they were having more fun than any of them expected. Julius and Viola exchanged glances, then smiled as they realized their little visitor was up to more than it appeared.

"Got him!" Crez exclaimed as he drove his sword into the dragon.

Dylan giggled as he put his 'sword' in his belt and made the illusion vanish in a ball of illusionary flame. "Way to go!"

"That was FUN!" Crez giggled. "Mom, we ready for the cake now? We're hungry!"

"Find a seat, boys," Viola replied with a smile. She turned back to the kitchen, and returned a minute later with a large round cake with eight candles on top. As she set it in front of Crez, she said the universal phrase "Make a wish and blow out the candles."

Crez closed his eyes tightly, then opened them a few seconds later before blowing out the candles. Julius happened to glance at Dylan, and the mischievous grin on Dylan's face told him that this was one birthday wish that would turn out to come true.

As they watched the boys eat the portion of the cake that didn't end up on their faces, hands, or clothes, Julius and Viola had a premonition that things were already in motion for some big changes in their lives. As if on cue, Dylan stood up. "Hey guys; I've got an announcement!" he stated seriously.

All of the boys turned to the strange new friend that they just met, wondering what magic trick he was going to do now.

Knowing he had their attention, Dylan continued. "All of you visit here a lot because this is a place where you feel safe and loved. Julius and Viola are what my uncles call a 'safe haven magnet'; kids who have problems at home somehow know they can come here to be safe. I can't take care of all of your families to fix them directly, but if you accept what I'm gonna offer they will sort themselves out and stop the cycle of abuse that you suffer through. After Crez opens his presents, I'm gonna have my cousin come over and we're gonna do a super-big magic trick... we're gonna fake an alien abduction, and this house is gonna be the spaceship. Any of you guys that want to come along for the ride, just say yes and I'll take care of making sure you get a real family to take care of you. There won't be any coming back though; while the people where you're going will understand, the people here will think you're crazy when you tell them where you've been."

Dylan locked eyes with each of the boys at the table, getting a 'yes' from each almost immediately. He then looked Crez in the eye. "Your wish is granted, cousin."

Crez had a huge grin on his face as he looked around the table at his friends, friends who were now joining him on a very big adventure. Everyone in the room could feel the excitement, as the boys quickly demolished the last of their cake before rushing to the pile of presents in the chair.

Crez first opened the presents from his friends. It was the normal assortment of music tapes and small toys. His thanks to each boy were genuine though, as he knew they had to fight to get that little bit for him. He then opened the presents from his parents; as expected, they were mainly clothes and more expensive toys. Crez knew that anything bigger would normally wait until later; his parents tried not to show up the presents he got from friends. He then moved to the present from Dylan, which somehow seemed to have grown as it waited. As he ripped off the foil wrapping paper, he found two boxes inside. The top box had a note attached:

This box is for you and your new brothers.
The other box is your birthday present.

Happy Birthday, Crez!


Really getting into the surprises that Dylan had presented since arriving, Crez ripped open the top box. Inside were nine things that looked like the electronic notepads on the science-fiction shows on television. Crez took one out, and pressed the only button he could see. He almost dropped it when it started speaking.

"Biological scan completed. Identity confirmed as Creston Schaffer. Please stand by as I load your inter-dimensional profile, Crez."

"Whoa!" Crez exclaimed.

"It's the real thing; we call it the Inter-dimensional Padd." Dylan explained. "It's a real computer that will connect you to our home timeline. It operates by voice or by you touching the little pictures on the screen. You can even talk to each other on it."

Before Crez could reply, the Padd spoke up again.

"Crez, I have noticed that none of your brothers have activated their Padds yet. If you would pass them out, I can run all of you through a quick tutorial to help you understand how to use us."

"Okay, I'll pass them out," Crez replied in amazement.

"Thank you," the Padd replied.

In what had to be record time, all nine boys were huddled over their new toy, learning how to operate it. As Dylan watched them, Viola walked up and asked "Are we going to get some assistance understanding where we are going, too?"

Dylan nodded. "Uncle Russ is going to get you two set up. You're going to have some access these guys don't have yet. Trust me, making this special for them works out in the long run."

"I figured as much. It seems like you're focused on looking out for these boys."

Dylan nodded. "It's a family thing. My Dad and Pop had it bad before Uncle Cory, Uncle Sean, Uncle JJ, Grandpa Dan, and Grandma Teri stepped in, so all of us kids look out for other kids to make sure they don't suffer."

"Considering the lengths that you're going to right now, I don't think I want to know. Another question, why are they being referred to as Crez's brothers?"

"Ummm... Time loop!" Dylan giggled. "They'll ask soon enough, and you'll say yes."

Viola rolled her eyes. "You HAVE to be related to my husband somehow! Fortunately, you little schemer, we have already discussed the idea and were going to ask if it was possible."

"Uncle Russ will explain the details," Dylan said as he tried his hardest to look innocent.

"I'm a mother; that innocent act doesn't fly," Viola laughed. "Go wow your fan club, munchkin."

Taking the chance to get away, Dylan giggled as he wandered over to the group.

"Is this really what our new home is gonna be like?" Crey, the youngest seven-year-old there asked as he brushed his brown hair from his eyes.

Dylan glanced at the screen, which showed the Orlando compound. "As long as that is where your family settles, yes. There are other compounds too; you guys all have a voice in where you end up."

"I like this one; it's got real Indians!" Crey stated. "I hope we get to live here."

"Me too; that's my parent's house there," Dylan said as he pointed at the screen. The entire group began giggling when the Padd responded to his touch by announcing "No fair trying to show off your family, Dilly! Busted!"

Remembering that he still had one more box from Dylan, Crez popped up and ran over to retrieve it. He sat down again with the group, then quickly opened the box. Inside was an aluminum box about the size of a legal pad, with a white apple inset into the center of it. Curious, especially after seeing the Padd, Crez took it out of the box. Once realizing that it opened, he opened it and exclaimed, "It looks like a Padd with a typewriter!"

Already prepared for the tech-shock, Dylan explained. "It's a lot more powerful than the Padd. That is what we call a laptop computer. It still responds to voice, but instead of touching the screen it has a little arrow that you move around to choose stuff."

"I thought computers were as big as my bedroom, this is awesome!" Crez announced as he found the power button. His face broke into a huge grin as the laptop powered up and immediately recognized him, going into a quick visual tutorial on the differences in how it operated compared to the Padd.

"The Padd and your laptop can talk to each other, so if you are doing something on one of them and want to finish it on the other, you can do it," Dylan explained. "Right now, the laptop is using the Padd to link to the information you were looking at; when we are at home, it can access it directly and it will be a lot faster."

"Wow, thanks, Dylan!" Crez exclaimed before going back to the tutorial.

Dylan looked around at the rest of the boys, happy to see that they obviously held no jealousy over the extravagant gift Dylan gave Crez. "Okay, are all of you still wanting to join us?" Dylan asked.

"YEAH!" all of the boys exclaimed in unison.

"Okay, it's show time!" Dylan giggled as he pulled a phone out of his pocket and dialed a number from memory.

"Quintessential Quantum Quality Quonstruction Group, this is Eli. What did we already do that you want to ask us to do?" a young voice stated over the speaker.

"Hey Eli, it's Dilly. You guys up for pulling off an alien abduction in Beta alpha four?"

"Sweeet! Yeah! We ain't done one of those since next month!" Eli giggled back. "Leg just finished his pedicure, we'll be right over."

Seconds later, Peter, Galen, Eli, Benji, Sammy, Sebastian, and Leg appeared next to Dylan. "Hey Dilly, are you aware that this is the only house on this planet that's glowing purple? You've got half the firemen in the state sitting out on the road trying to figure out what to do!" Eli giggled.

"Yeah, and most of the local police force!" 'Bastian added. "You trying to create a scene or something?"

"Yep!" Dylan replied. "Gonna send a message to a few parents who ain't learned from the mistakes of their parents."

"Ohhhh! I like!" Peter giggled. "Babe, you think you can handle a rocket engine illusion with the group outside?"

Galen nodded with an evil grin. "Oh, yeah. They're easy!"

Eli was thinking. "Hmm, Petey, grab Robin. Dilly, are John and Stephen in this loop? I think we could get a couple thousand feet up if they help before transport."

"Sky's asking them now... yeah, he's bringing them over. The four of us should be able to land it in Alpha Prime easily."

Platinum Habits Dressing Room

By now, everyone in the room had confirmed that John, Keith, and Prez were okay, and were hearing about the minutes spent at Rosseau Five. The trip had so completely relaxed all three that Stephen, Mike, and Derrick were of primary importance to them. Reyes knew exactly what to do; he took advantage of the free space on the love seat, pushed Ryan down and lay on top of his partner. Left a little on the fringe, Lance, Scott, Sean, and Troy meandered back to the sofa. Soft chuckling erupted and then the four teenagers were levitated into the center of the group and embraced.

Prez's eyes danced and he playfully told Troy, "Your plan for an electric guitar enema wouldn't have worked, bro."

After faking a gag, Keith sniggered, "He was plenty stinky when we arrived. With John's implanted thoughts, it was far worse."

John giggled, "I think we'll rename a bad case of the runs back home as a killer-Koluth."

No sooner had John finished his joke, Skylar popped into the room with Sydney and Draken. The circle around Lance, Scott, Sean and Troy opened and all eyes fell on the nine- and eleven-year-old boys. Skylar giggled, "Syd and Drake, these guys made sure your old dad won't bug you anymore." Rather than embarrass his best friends, Skylar simply went down the line of Core Rimmers to introduce them to Syd and Drake, giving everyone a chance to hug the stuffing out of the rescued kids.

Immediately thereafter, jokes flew, suggesting new last names for the two boys, and of course, possible parents for them. The kids had some color on their cheeks, but they were shorter and thinner than they should be. With Skylar's help, soon there was a small party going on. Syd and Drake got McCoy milkshakes and cookies by the score.

Skylar got John's attention. Going to Syd and Drake, John explained, "We need to take a brief tour, dudes. The cookies and your milkshakes will still be here when we get back. Then you can go to the concert that you came here to see. Kewl?"

After swallowing big mouthfuls of their shakes, Syd and Drake chorused, "Kewl."

Peter flickered for a second, and Robin from Des Moines appeared next to him.

"Nice!" Robin giggled. "This is gonna be more fun than when I helped Jules get that disco ball!"

"Hey! Great idea, Robin! We can phase the bubble so it reflects like a disco ball!" Peter announced with a grin. "Let's move it outside, we can phase out until we're ready to launch."

"Okay!" Dylan agreed. "Guys, we're going to be outside, but you won't be able to see us until we're ready to launch the house. Sammy, you want to run interior watch, and then 'Bas can work outside relay?"

"Yeah, that'll work." Sammy grinned. "Try not to squash anything!"

"We won't!" Dylan giggled as the launch team relocated to the front yard.

Arriving on scene with Stephen and Skylar, directly behind Peter, John tickled some Mikyvis ribs. Peter squealed, jumped and spun around, giggling hysterically. John grinned, "We'll need purple hardhats all around. Give some to the cops and firemen too."

"Don't forget the little ones; that'll confuse them!" 'Bastian giggled.

Watching the four Mikyvis speed around the block passing out purple hardhats for large and little heads, John turned to his fellow N-Gen's, playfully suggesting, "How about we reproduce the show we did at the Hyatt? This planet needs to chill out. I think seven of us floating and orbiting each other might make an impression."

Stephen began cracking up and pointed at the house. At the living room picture window, a bunch of boys were standing there holding Padds, watching the proceedings from the inside and outside perspectives. John giggled, "So, maybe we'll make the news. That was bound to happen anyway, at least in the obituaries."

"Yep!" 'Bastian stated. "Utilities going off now; I tickled a few firemen to save me the work. Sammy warned them inside."

"The grown-ups here ain't too bright!" Peter giggled as the group rejoined them. "We hadda explain to them what the little hard hats were for! Galen, you ready to dazzle them with bullcrap?"

"Yeah, even though burying them up to their waists in it sounds fun too!" Galen replied. "Let's all go visible, we need to put on a show that'll make Uncle Russ proud!"

Inside the house, Sammy was talking to Viola and Julius. "Usually when we move a house, nothing gets damaged. If you've got something really valuable, I still recommend that you place it somewhere safe and wrap it. Mattering when it breaks, it might take a little work to repair it."

"You talk like you do this every day," Julius commented in amazement.

"We do, Dilly called in the pros," Sammy replied with a small grin. "Moving the house is easy; the second floor and east wing that we're adding after it lands is a little more work. That one might take us a whole fifteen minutes!"

"How long do we have?" Viola asked as she glanced around the room.

"You have until I tell them you're ready," Sammy assured her.

"Thank you," Viola replied. She and Julius began moving through the house to ensure their irreplaceable items were safe.

Outside, the N-Gen contingent had taken to the air, their eyes glowing blue. The Mikyvis and 'Bastian were also airborne, Peter ensuring that the pink flamingos in the yard joined them. "Fire Stage One!" Peter announced.

"Stage one going live!" Sky replied as a reflective bubble encased the house, including the basement.

'Go ahead and lift to hover, the interior is in the process of final prelaunch check,' Sammy sent to the group outside the house.

A minute later, the basement of the house had cleared the ground. To the Mikyvis, N-Gens, and Power Rimmer, the bubble around the house was transparent. Holding on tightly to John, Stephen howled, "All the boys inside the house are flippin' out! They're showing each other the view from Padds, looking out the window and down toward the ground, running around and completely out of control!"

"They'll fit in perfectly in our universe," John giggled.

"Oh yeah, wait until they see the Compound pools!" Dylan giggled. "Hey Petey, I'm firing Stage Two, the Disco Ball outer shell. Galen, add some stabilizer thrusters as soon as the ball goes live."

"Got it," Galen replied. "Peter, you wanna have those flamingos start orbiting the equator?"

"I like it, hit it!" Peter giggled.

All the N-Gens and Stephen began giggling. Instead of orbiting each other, they began orbiting the levitating house and apparently chasing the pink flamingos. They turned occasionally, only so those with cameras could see their eyes glowing azure. The citizens of Boston witnessing this event began fervently praying.

"Okay, I think all the news crews have their cameras focused," Eli announced.

"Sammy says the interior is ready to go. Crez has his new laptop tuned to the news reports, I think the adults are about to hyperventilate from laughing." 'Bastian added. "Leg helped them out."

"Interior atmospheric pressure is stabilized." Sky verified. "We ready to stop hovering and give these guys a real show?"

"I'm ready when y'all are!" Dylan announced as he tagged a flamingo. "You're it!"

"Clear for launching!" Peter announced. Each of the boys grabbed a souvenir flamingo, then shifted back to allow the house to pass them, Galen providing real fire, including the roar, as the house went from hover to in-motion. As soon as the house cleared the treetops, all of the boys dived inside the bubble except for Galen, who shifted out-of-phase and provided the outside eyes for the rest of the group.

As the group took seats on the grass inside the bubble, Eli commented "You know, we really shoulda thought of hearing protection. Most of those guys on the ground are gonna have sore ears for a while."

"I think right now their hearing is the least of their worries," Dylan replied. "Clean undershorts are probably a higher priority! Don't worry too much; this is playing out according to what Uncle G wants. I'll explain it later."

"Okay, cuz," Eli replied. "We just hit two thousand feet, three-quarters the speed of sound. Gravity is starting to become less of a factor."

"You guys think you can break Mach One by fifteen thousand feet?" Dylan asked with an evil grin.

"Easy!" John smiled. "The only reason we started so slow was so the wood and plasterboard didn't destroy inside the house from the ground separation. Friction is no longer a problem."

"Kewl; let's end this show with a bang!" Dylan giggled. "Ezzy says Mark's got us a spot picked out in Orlando. We're to drop it in that open spot by Youth Services; Ezzy is going to keep it clear for us."

"Got it," Peter replied. "I think they'll like the location."

"Twelve thousand feet. Hit it guys, max lift." John interrupted. "Robin, you've got interior stabilization."

Robin gave John a thumbs-up as everyone inside the bubble felt it accelerate. Gavin popped inside, grabbing a seat by Peter as the outer bubble began the harmonic vibration that signaled that they were approaching the speed of sound.

Seconds later, the city of New Boston was rocked by the sound of a one-hundred and twenty-foot diameter bubble breaking the sound barrier before it suddenly vanished from sight.

Orlando, Alpha Prime, Clan HQ:

"You know, Grandma Lizzy, we really need to give Dilly credit; it's gonna be hard to top an alien abduction as a method of rescue!" Antonio giggled as he adjusted his newly-issued crown for the twenty-fifth time. Chris giggled as well, while putting his new crown on after once again looking at the inset that indicated that both him and Antonio were recognized by the Royal College of Medicine.

Grandma Lizzy smiled. "I must agree, Doctor Barnes. I see that Prince Dylan was being extremely thorough; did you discover any possible medical issues with our incoming subjects?"

Antonio shook his head. "Dad and I looked everything over. There is a genetic drift that is accounted for by the subtropical climate that extends past what we consider the Canadian border in their home Universe. Other than that, their makeup is close enough to ours to be safe for both sides. Doc Austin is handling the immunizations of Syd and Drake as we speak."

"Thank you for being so thorough." Grandma Lizzy replied. "Prince Christopher, I assure you that your crown has not changed in the last two minutes. Our guests will arrive shortly, and you will make a much better impression if you are wearing it instead of staring at it."

"Sorry, Grandma!" Chris replied with a blush as he quickly adjusted the new headwear.

As if on her command, a large bubble containing a house appeared above the area they were watching. At the same time, the rest of the welcome committee exited CIC and hurried over to join them.

"My bros and cuz are doing an air exchange before landing." Ezra explained as they two groups merged into one. "There are so many hydrocarbons in their normal air that it stinks!"

"You... you're the QUEEN!" Syd suddenly exclaimed as he spotted Grandma Lizzy. Immediately, both him and Drake dropped to one knee and bowed deeply. "Our apologies, Your Highness." Syd intoned as they both focused on the ground at her feet.

With a twinkle in her eyes, Grandma Lizzy silently held out a hand towards Ezra. Ezra grinned, and a second later two circlets appeared in Grandma Lizzy's hand. "This will not do," she stated. "Those who are welcomed into my family are not to fear me." She placed a circlet on each of the boy's heads, then announced. "Let this be a reminder to you that you are family, not subjects. Arise Princes Draken and Sydney, and receive your welcome hug from your Grandma Lizzy."

Both boys stood, shock registering on their faces as they allowed Grandma Lizzy to gather them into a welcome hug. Grandma looked over their shoulders at Seth. "I expect that you will fulfill your new duties and ensure our new family are assisted in adjusting to their new home, Seth?"

"Yes, Grandmum," Seth replied, ignoring the snickers from Antonio and Chris.

Just then, all of the abduction team except Dylan appeared next to the group. Sky spotted the two boys being hugged, along with the circlets on their heads, and commented "Dang Grandma Lizzy! You move quick! You sure you ain't a Mikyvis?"

"I am sure, just as I am sure that if you plan on making these abductions a habit you will seek advice on how to prepare the abductees for their new home." Grandma Lizzy replied with a smile.

Sky nodded. "Yeah, Ezzy told us. Dilly's giving them a quick rundown inside the bubble before we finish up."

"I just checked in with Dad," Galen added. "They're gonna come up and introduce themselves. Since we've been through this, Dad can help with adjusting."

"You are doing well, boys." Grandma Lizzy replied.

"I agree." Doc Austin stated. "Your idea of having us scan these two to give us a baseline was pure genius, Sky. I think that we are medically prepared for just about anything we find with the rest of the new additions."

"Thanks." Sky replied as a soft purple glow surrounded him.

"Micky Mouse Blush!" Robin giggled, looking over from where he was relocating soil to allow the house someplace to settle into. "Who brought the hot dogs and marshmallows?"

"I think the hole is deep enough..." Sky muttered with a grin. The next thing everyone knew, Robin was standing there soaking wet, holding a baby otter in his arms.

"I'm telling Mick that it's all YOUR fault that Johnny's got an otter!" Robin giggled. "Hey Peter, I think we can land if you're ready."

Peter turned to the three techbots that had just joined them. "49, 72, and 96? I think you guys will enjoy this one! You've already got the plans for the additions; get with the residents after basic utilities are connected and verify any requests they have for upgrades and any areas that they wish to remain untouched."

"We will do that." 49 replied.

"Thanks!" Peter replied before turning his head to John. "Bring 'em down John; I think it'd look nice if we give it an angle to the rest of the houses since it's a corner lot."

Just as the bubble settled into the ground, Seth commented loudly "I really need to talk to Prez... should we add the title 'Extraction Rimmer' to you John, or should we make it 'Abduction Rimmer'? Maybe both?"

Evilly grinning, John glanced at Seth, playfully assuring him, "Prez has plenty of names for me already. Stephen calls me the Insertion Rimmer." Turning ten shade of red, Stephen held off and slapped John's ass. Seth, Robin, Peter and everyone nearby howled laughing. With his TK powers free for the first time in a while, John giggled, "That slap was all your fault, Seth." The sixteen-year-old, wheelchair-bound HQ leader rose steadily up, and began bouncing in the air.

"TOSS-THE-KID!" Eli, 'Bastian and Robin howled, and pointed to the compound pool.

As requested, John launched Seth towards the pool. Seth hit the water, dropped below the surface, then popped back up a second later, his wheelchair now surrounded by flotation pontoons and a little propeller moving him toward a ramp on the shallow end.

Grandma Lizzy shook her head with a smile. "I am not sure that you are qualified to dunk my grandson's future partner, John." She sat a circlet on his head, then continued. "I hereby proclaim that you are His Highness, Prince John, Prince of the Empire and Defender of the Commonwealth Alliance... oh, and we dub thee Sir John, The Royal Rimmer!" Knowing what Drew, Keith, and Prez would have to say about John's new title, Stephen howled laughing.

Still smiling, Grandma Lizzy handed another circlet to John. With an evil grin, John waited until Stephen was hunched over, then placed the circlet on his hubby's head.

Stephen's hands shot up to his head, and his eyes shot to Grandma Lizzy in shock. He didn't get much chance to respond, as Robin, Eli, and Benji did their royal duty, proceeding to levitate the two new Princes and drop them in the nearest pool... three times.

Seth rolled up, grinning at his tormentors getting their own. Peter glanced over and asked, "Did the flotation deploy better this time?"

"Yes, thanks for adjusting it," Seth replied. "It was perfect; just after my head was under water."

"Kewl!" Peter replied with a smile. "Dilly says they're ready to come out; get ready, I'm dropping the bubble."

Almost as soon as the bubble dropped, the front door flew open and, led by Leg, eight boys clutching Padds to their chests came running out. Crez was only seconds behind them, protectively carrying not only his Padd but also his new laptop. Once the way was clear, Julius, Viola, Sammy, and Dylan came out of the house at a much saner pace.

Seth rolled forward to greet the family. Taking Leg's hint, the boys gathered in front of him and waited for Julius and Viola to catch up. Once they were all together, Seth spoke up. "Welcome to Orlando, Florida, Mr. and Mrs. Schaffer. I am Seth Metronome, Family Clan Short Comptroller. Please excuse my appearance; the two imps about to join us thought I needed to take a short swim. Anything that you need, including advice on adjusting to your new home, you can come to me about and I will make sure that you're assisted. As you were shown, this is a secure installation; yet you will find that you will probably rarely be able to tell. I noticed that Leg has already assisted you with being entered into the security system; that is why the laptop did the scan on you. Do you have any questions before we go inside to talk in a more comfortable setting?"

"Orlando, Florida?" Viola said in surprise. "Florida hasn't been a territory since almost twenty years ago! The ocean covered all but a few kilometers of it. When I was really little, we used to go to the beach in Orlando on vacation."

At Seth's confused look, Sky giggled. "Okay, this is gonna be fun. Unlike we have here, their old timeline is still running on a hydrocarbon-burning based technology. They suffer from an excess of carbon dioxide and other gasses in their atmosphere due to their industries being unwilling to produce cleaner technology, since it would reduce their profits to develop it. Their planet was already entering a natural warm cycle, their stubbornness caused the natural cycle to go to extremes, which has resulted in an extreme rise in ocean water levels. Boston is behind a seawall, and what used to be the upper border of Florida is also a seawall. Mississippi and Louisiana no longer exist, and Texas is a peninsula about the size of Indiana. The water got into the San Andreas Fault, so now Nevada has beachfront property."

"Ahhh!" Seth acknowledged. "Our technology is based on nitrogen-oxygen and fusion, so we don't have those issues."

"Is that why the air smells funny?" Crez piped up. "It smells nice, but still funny."

"Told ya you needed a shower, Dilly!" Sky giggled.

"Actually, what you're smelling is nature; from Sky's description I'm betting the pollution in the air masked this quite well." Seth replied, ignoring the Mikyvis being their normal selves.

Julius glanced over at Dylan and Sky, who had decided that, since they were not needed at the moment, it was a good time to have a friendly wrestling match in the grass.

"They'll be fine." Grandma Lizzy commented. "A little brotherly bonding is good for them. Shall we retire indoors? If the young ones will assist me, I believe it is time for a tea while we get acquainted."

"I get the hint, Mum!" Seth grinned. "If you will just follow me, I will give you the quick tour on our way to the Rec Room."

Julius and Viola were sitting with Grandma Lizzy and Kurt Farnsworth, having a lively discussion about the peculiarities of jumping from one universe to another. Crez and his friends were busy comparing notes about the new swear words from alien languages that Antonio had taught them while examining the eight boys that had tagged along. Syd and Drake had just finished a counseling session with Gabe and Travis, and both boys now felt much more secure in their new life. Dylan and Sky kept themselves occupied as only Mikyvis kids could, spilling and then unspilling drinks, refilling snack plates when nobody was looking, making Seth's printers run backward halfway through a page, and generally being mischievous.

Seth shook his head in exasperation as the picture he was trying to print made its seventh trip through the printer. "Guys, if you're that bored, let this print job finish and then I'll give you a whole pile of paper that can be un-printed so that it can be reused."

"Sweeet! Thanks Uncle Seth!" Dylan giggled as the twenty-page print job finished in just under half a second.

"Smart ass." Seth muttered as he passed the two Mikyvis a pile of paper almost a foot tall. "Take your time, guys," he said with a grin.

Skylar blinked and wondered, "What do you mean by that?" He turned to Dylan and asked, "Was that a joke of some sort?"

"I think he means do it like Dad and Pop would - have fun at a speed he can see." Dylan replied with a tilt of his head.

Skylar impatiently huffed, "That's still subject to interpretation! Let's just do it OUR way!"

Dylan giggled. "You sound like I did a few days ago, little bro! Trust me, it's even more fun this way; you get to see everyone watching it happen."

Dylan and Skylar began putting piles of paper onto the out tray of the printer. The pages whirred back into the printer and landed in the feeder tray, clean of ink, fingerprints, wrinkles and looking like fresh unused paper. They both started bitching because the feeder tray only held about two-and-a-half inches of paper.

"Don't forget to re-seal the cartridges after they're full." Seth chuckled as he passed a box of empty toner cartridges to the whining boys.

Over in the conference room, Syd and Drake finished their shakes and joined Gabe and Travis as they headed back into the main CIC.

As soon as he spotted Sky and Dylan playing with the printer, Drake hurried over to join them. "Hey, that looks cool!" he commented. "Can I help load the typed-on stuff? I've never seen a machine that can take typed stuff and pictures OFF of a page before!"

Sky grinned. "That's because they ain't made one yet! We're doing stuff with the paper like I did to get rid of what that asshole did to you."

Dylan nodded. "If you wanna help, we'll pull you into the time loop and you can help get the old stuff ready to load."

Drake's eyes lit up. "AWESOME!" he gushed as he quickly got in position to help his new, weird, friends.

Syd, on the other hand, was staring in shock at the console where Seth was now sitting. Next to one of the screens, a large dog's head and front paws were sticking through the panel above the counter. He had his head laying on his paws, calmly letting Seth scratch his ears. After sticking his tongue out to grab the treat Seth had laid on the counter, the dog looked up, caught Syd's eye, barked 'Good Morning!', then slid inside the console, walking calmly out of the end a few seconds later and directly through the wall leading into the kitchen.

Noticing the newbie was becoming paler by the second, Seth grinned, "That was Slider. He's a bit miffed you didn't say good morning back to him."

Seth's attempt to assure Syd that everything was fine and dandy fell on deaf ears. Syd began stammering; "Dog... through... in... TV... out... wall..."

Sighing, Seth pressed the white button, setting off a silent alarm. Twenty 'Rat Pack' members strolled into the command center, evilly squinting their eyes at Seth, and gathered Syd in their midst. They led Syd to the kitchen where hopefully a McCoy milkshake might avert a pre-teen Valium addiction.

"I don't know who is worse; Dan's son or his son's pet!" Doc Austin muttered as he stood to go help assist.

Drake giggled, having been filled in by Sky and Dilly as to what was happening. While they were at it, Sky gave Drake the language dump on Dylan's orders, so now Drake was busy testing his new languages with the two Mikyvis while they decimated another pile of used paper.

Kurt laughed, turning to Julius and Viola. "Like I said, expect the unusual around here. Slider is Kyle's pet, and he's been on the prowl over all of the divisions while Kyle is away. Nobody but possibly Kyle knows just how Slider does what he does, but he's even managed to visit a starship while cruising to beg treats from the Captain. All we can guess is that Slider is a gift from Someone to the first of the Mikyvis for keeping his heart despite what he went through."

"Dylan mentioned that his Dad had went through a lot too, but didn't give any details," Julius noted.

"For your own sanity, hope that it stays that way," Kurt stated seriously. "I know more than most here because I was able to read about in it the universe we came from. What has happened since isn't pretty, and the parts of his history that are known have made a lot of us lose our lunch. There are a lot of things which only four people know, and none of them are going to put him through them being mentioned."

"That bad?" Viola asked.

"Sky told me all about Drake and Syd's lives," Kurt responded seriously. "Think of your worst suspicions about their lives until now, double it, and you have what they went through. Now, in comparison to Kyle, they had charmed lives with a loving father."

"Holy Shit!" Julius gasped as he turned pale. "How did he turn out two sons like Dylan and Skylar after all of that?"

"When you meet him, you'll understand. Kyle's the sweetest little eight-year-old you'll ever meet, as long as you don't cross him. If you cross him, you'll see a side that no kid his age should have. Those two 'angels' over there with Drake are just like their parents; fun loving until you cross them, but more dangerous than a thousand-foot tsunami when pissed."

Kurt stopped, due to a squirrel carrying a large cookie wanting to climb up on his lap. Once Kurt lifted him up, the squirrel chattered "Slider says you're a good grown-up and just earned a cookie for what you said about his friend."

"Thank you, Quincy," Kurt replied in squirrel as he took the cookie and broke off a chunk. "It's chunky peanut butter, do you want to share?"

"Thank you!" Quincy replied as he carefully took the chunk of cookie and made himself comfortable on Kurt's lap before daintily beginning to eat his portion.

Time Loop: Later for those involved, earlier for those watching:

"You WHAT!" Russ groaned as he looked for a nearby wall to bang his head against. "And it's going to happen WHEN?"

Presenting Russ with a standard four foot wide by eight foot tall piece of plasterboard, Skylar giggled, "In fourteen minutes, just as Time Touched takes the stage. We figure, after a sonic boom no one will complain about the sound system volume, so crank it up!"

"Besides, Uncle Russ, we hadda make sure they were safe from that idiot that provided half the genes for Syd and Drake!" Dylan added helpfully.

Russ made sure the plasterboard was stable, then proceeded to put forehead-shaped dents in it as a response.

"Okay!" Skylar evilly grinned at his big brother, "Now that our audio engineer is clearly satisfied, I think it's time to check on the bands. They're together, with Syd, Drake, and the other Core Rimmers and their sons from Archnania." Dylan nodded and the two Mikyvis popped away from Russ and his new hobby.

They appeared to find KC immediately staring at them with his arms crossed over his chest. "Alright you two; what is this B.S. about staging an alien abduction and not inviting us to watch?" he asked, somehow managing to keep a straight face.

"There's nothing that says you still can't watch, bro, if you really want to?" Skylar cutely blinked.

"We're getting some really good video; if you guys wanna watch what's gonna happen, I'll supply the popcorn!" Dylan added.

"Time bubble, so we ain't late?" KC asked.

"Of course, it'll only take a second or two!" Dylan grinned.

Failing to hide his grin, Prez called for Skylar and simply pointed at Bruce, who was laughing into a pillow and turning purple.

Skylar popped over to his breathless partner and gave him mouth-to-mouth. Across the room, Syd and Drake were being paraded around the group by Drew and John to be introduced to everyone.

Giggling at his cousins, Dylan set up an ancient projector, which he threaded with film, his tongue hanging from the side of his mouth. Once it was ready, he called Russ over from the now-pulverized plasterboard, gave him the seat of honor, then invited everyone else to take a seat in the chairs, each of which held a large tub of movie popcorn.

While everyone seemed to be occupied with various tasks, Prez picked up a washcloth and towel, went to Russ, and started wiping the layers of plaster dust off the man's bruised forehead. Prez softly instructed, "Load Pissed Off Chickens on your Padd, Uncle Russ. I think you'll be pretty good at shaking your chicken, and it's far less painful than destroying walls."

"Just remember that I was shaking my chicken before you were born!" Russ chuckled. "I'll do that, thanks Prez."

"The first few days at Ewa Beach, I considered the wall therapy idea numerous times," Prez easily admitted. "Then I remembered some awesome words from a poem that my real dad had framed and given to me." When Russ looked up expectantly, Prez recited:

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;"

Dylan and Skylar began arguing over which was Triumph and which was Disaster, but Prez continued on;

"If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!"

(by Rudyard Kipling)

While Prez and Russ discussed the poem, Sky and Dylan finally agreed to take turns being Triumph and Disaster. With that important matter settled, they made sure their cousins were ready, then started the projector running. As always, Dylan made sure he got smiles, because he started it off with a Bugs Bunny featurette.

For the most part, the Time Touched crew egged on Bugs Bunny, booing at Elmer Fudd. (The fact that Timmy and KC were leading in the cheering had absolutely nothing to do with it, all of them swear it's the truth!)

Russ remained calm through all the craziness around him, but happened to notice Prez, Keith, Mike, Derrick, Jay, and Chris acting out the cartoon's scenes, primarily for Syd and Drake. Drake had made a home on Lance's lap, and his big bro Syd was sitting on Scott's lap. The four of them were laughing hysterically at the six Core Rimmers who were reciting the cartoon's dialogue verbatim. Concentrating mostly on Prez, the Clan Divisional leader who had a philosophical streak and habitually played Pissed Off Chickens, Russ could only contemplate the fine line between genius and insanity. Prez had clearly found a way to straddle the line.

Once the featurette was done, Dylan turned to Sky. "Hey, lil bro? You want to cover the stuff the reporters missed, and I'll keep the speed right so nobody misses anything?"

Sky grinned, obviously liking the feeling of having a big brother who wanted to share duties with him. "Okay, bro. That sounds sweet!"

As he watched the two Mikyvis, DJ smiled while thinking back to his first meeting with Sky. With the concerts being Skylar's first really big project, the young Mikyvis had been, understandably, very timid (on the Mikyvis scale). After having watched KC learning the art of being a big brother, Dylan had took the lessons to heart. From the first day, Dylan made sure Sky was included in whatever he was up to. He listened to Sky, offered advice on his ideas, and generally made one-half of the latest batch of Mikyvis feel truly wanted. Even though DJ was sure that somehow Kyle already knew about Dilly's generosity, he couldn't wait to get the chance to tell Kyle and Tyler in person just how admirable Dilly was treating his younger brother.

DJ had been even more amazed about a week after they had started practicing. He needed something from the equipment room, and had walked in on Dylan and Ezzy having a conference. To his surprise, they were discussing Sky and his twin, Xavier. That is when DJ found out that Dylan was keeping his eyes on Xavier as well, and was working with Ezzy to help the introverted brother of the pair find his place in the family scheme. Ezzy had taken Xavier under his wing, following Dylan's example, and was now helping Xavier learn his own personal balance.

DJ's attention was drawn back to the screen as he heard his brothers start laughing. Sure enough, one of the many cameras had caught the Mikyvis passing out purple hard hats. As soon as he saw the mini ones also being passed out, DJ cracked up. The socially unacceptable comments the Rimmer group were making after Sky notified everyone that they had to explain what the little ones were for almost made DJ fall out of his chair.

A few minutes later, Dylan had to rewind and replay the house launching fifteen times before the cheering group was satisfied and let them continue the video. Everyone appreciated the special effects that were used, including the sonic boom as the house exited the universe.

Dylan and Sky had to completely stop when the landing was being shown, courtesy of George's cameras. Something about both bands exclaiming in unison "Sir John, the Royal Rimmer!" told the Mikyvis boys that things were about to get fun.

Holding his belly, Drew mumbled, "I feel ill."

"NO!" Keith shouted, and searched the room for something to swat his youngest brother with. Redder in the face than his hair, Prez picked up his PADD to start a new Pissed Off Chicken tournament. Alas, with the first shake, his PADD broke into three uneven pieces.

Seeing Keith approaching John with a pole lamp, Skylar hurried over to put a time-bubble around John and Stephen. Effortlessly, Skylar, John, and Stephen simply stepped aside and allowed Keith to wear off his stress, and destroy the lamp.

"He's now a right Royal Rimmer!" KC exclaimed in a fair Old British accent.

Derrick and Mike sighed, got their PADDs, and went to Troy and Reyes. Quietly, they started scratching out all the ballads and love songs from the planned set list, and replaced them with hard rockers to burn off excess energy.

Dylan re-assembled Prez's PADD, adding some extra molecular strength before handing it back to its owner. "You're set up for the beta of Advanced Mode Chicken Shaking now, Prez."

Still swinging the remnants of the pole lamp, Keith realized his mother and father were now standing inside the time bubble with Skylar, John and Stephen. Tossing the twisted hunk of metal down, Keith bitched, "Ma, the Queen made John a Prince!"

Jen Hundser sighed, "John is no more princely than thirty-eight other leaders of our division. He simply met Her Highness before you or any of your teammates."

Jim Hundser told John, "It would be appropriate to limit your Princely persona to territories of the United Kingdom."

"Do I have to?" John cutely whined.

Nodding, Jim reminded, "There never have been and never will be favorites in our family. We won't have it, John. Our families have grown exponentially, and there can be no favorites."

DJ joined the conversation. "All of us in the Clan are Princes, no matter if Grandma Lizzy has made it official or not. All any of us has to do is ask, and an official title will be given. Tanner and I have our crowns, yet KC hasn't asked for his... yet. He's equal to us in Grandma's eyes though. All of you are Princes just because you are part of the Clan's family."

With the wind taken out of his sails, John grinned, "Maybe if that was mentioned first?"

Jen, Jim, Keith, Prez and Drew incredulously yelled, "You knew?" Nodding, John giggled.

Jen smirked, "Those Cream Puffs that Kathy was making aren't for you, your Highness."

John giggled, then pulled a large cookie from his pocket. "Okay, Mom!"

Skyler giggled as well, then the cookie vanished and appeared in pieces in John's brothers' hands. "You should share your cookie stash more, bro!"

Dylan noticed the looks from the adults, and explained without them asking; "I told everyone not to worry as soon as the tempers started flaring. I knew that Sky and I could handle it so that their stress would be worked off without anyone getting hurt. Just so you know, Keith wouldn't have actually hit John; he cares about him too much. He woulda been a wreck with stress if we didn't do what we did though."

Fifteen minutes later:

Jen smiled as she escorted Syd and Drake down the catwalks to the Clan Balcony. The layout for this particular concert had the VIP section suspended above the floor, located in such a way as to not block the view of those in the upper rows behind it. Large screens were mounted panoramically on the back, rear corners, and sides, giving the concert goers in the cheap seats a much better view. The actual seating area was three rows, elevated in such a way as to give all of the Clan guests the best possible view of the entire stage. The entire thing was encased in transparent aluminum, with special monitor speakers controlled by Russ to give them a quality experience without causing hearing damage.

'I wonder if the abused kids here are drawn to each other like they are at home?' Jen thought to herself as she watched Syd and Drake stop for the fifth time to wave at someone they knew. The VIP section was definitely unusual, so the concert goers were paying attention to who they saw entering it while they waited for the show to start.

"Yes!" Skylar giggled from off to her side. "Should I tell Peter to start on your house now, Momma, or do you wanna wait until it's official?"

"Don't even think about it!" Jen replied.

"Don't worry; I'm sure they'll be okay." Sky replied, not really sure if Mikyvis were immune to the 'Wrath of Moms'. "You will be seeing them though. They are on the list of kids that we need to relocate. It's kinda like the Clan; they were all brought together to get ready for this. Every few seconds, Dilly and I are taking turns getting things set up. We're almost done; mostly we've found honest cops who 'somehow' got a lead which will lead to the abusers being prosecuted. We kinda tweaked the guys who decide if they need to press charges; they're hot to make an example outta whoever they get, so the normal payoffs ain't gonna work this time."

Nodding, Jen watched all the kids interacting. Angelo and Reggie seemed particularly close to Kassidy and Matt. Similarly, Scott and Lance were very good friends with Erik and Travis. Jen couldn't help noticing all the couples had found other couples that they were fond of. It reminded her of the relationship between Keith and Preston, and Derrick and Mike. Like a bolt of lightning, an idea struck her.

Skylar began giggling and sent to Jen, 'That's an excellent idea! We'll build four new larger homes, over on the lot where John blew up the twenty-one trees. Each new home can house two Core Rimmer couples and all their kids. With your okay, I'll tell Peter and Uncle Carl?'

Smiling down and nodding at Skylar, Jen watched her Mikyvis son-in-law phaseout and back again in under a second. To her, Skylar hadn't even left, so she asked, "Do you have a question?"

"Nope!" Skylar giggled, "Uncle Carl has an idea for a thirteen bedroom, ten bathroom house that he's been drawing. After the condos are built, he'll have it ready, and they can start on them."

Jen blinked, considered her sons and grandsons, and then grinned, "It's a start, I suppose."

Skylar giggled, "The best part is, the basement will be huge, Uncle Carl said; about ninety-thousand square feet. They could have divisional nests of all two thousand kids at once!" Jennifer cracked up.

While grinning at his future (at least in her eyes) mother-in-law laughing, Sky giggled as two boys, twins, about Drake's age, suddenly appeared on the catwalk. "Hey, Krane and Grant! We'll let your so-called father try to figure out where you ran off to while you're watching the concert from up here! He's got a surprise coming when he gets back from the bathroom!"

"Can you teach us how to talk in heads like you do? That was awesome!" the two new boys exclaimed in perfect unison.

"Later," Sky giggled, "That's John's job."

"Is there any way to tell you two apart?" Jen asked, almost immediately regretting the question.

"Yep!" both boys exclaimed, both unashamedly pulling down the front of their shorts to reveal distinctively different birthmarks at the point where their legs joined their pelvis. Krane's was on the right, while Grant's was on the left. By the insane giggles, it was obvious that they used this shock tactic quite often whenever asked how to differentiate them.

Drake came over and put an arm over each of the twin's shoulders. "Momma Jen, these two nuts are my best friends. We comforted each other a lot when our former parents did stuff. Sometimes we'd have sleepovers so we looked normal to other families; those nights nothing happened with the parents and we got to just cuddle with each other."

Not bothering to lift their shorts back up, both twins nodded their heads. "Can you tell us apart yet?" Krane giggled.

Hysterical, Chris collapsed onto Jay. "FUZZIES!" Jay loudly laughed, "They need Mr. Fuzzies, immediately!" Skylar obliged, getting Mr. Fuzzy puppets for the twins and Drake. Each of the twins got twin Mr. Fuzzies, which they kept on and tried to pull their shorts back up, but they kept falling down again. Drake uncontrollably giggled at his two buddies. Unwilling to slip the puppets off, they kicked their shorts off, and then went to Jay and Chris to introduce themselves. Still giggling his butt off, Drake dropped his shorts and followed the twins. All Jen could ponder was the number of bedrooms in the new homes being designed.

Glaring at Skylar, Jen wondered what had happened to the twins. Skylar replied telepathically, so the party atmosphere wouldn't be disturbed. Jen's temper flared, and she thought of the appropriate punishment for the boys' father. With a nod of Skylar's head, and another quick phase-out and back again, sentence had been passed. The twins father was abandoned, in the center of this planet's South Pole continent, where he could be cold and uncaring for the rest of his very short life.

Syd grinned as he watched his little brother. "Now we're in trouble. If you got the three of them together in private, you couldn't keep them dressed. Now they can do it in public?" His eyes grew wide as the twins suddenly noticed Drake's lack of scars. Almost instantaneously, Drake's shirt was lifted off, and the twin Mr. Fuzzy puppets were put to use to check out every inch of his body, their owners fascinated by the change.

Drake explained how his various bruises and wounds were healed, and called his big brother over to show how even Syd's skin was free of marks. Chris caught Jen's piercing eyes. With a small nod, Chris asked Grant and Krane to lift their shirts. Unashamedly, both boys removed their shirts. Nearest to Grant and seeing a huge bruise and several welts covering the boy's back, Erik shed tears and turned to Travis. Jen had been watching also. Wiping a few tears from her eyes, she again looked to Skylar.

The twins were on the laps of Chris and Jay, with Drake sitting between the couple and his friends. Skylar walked over and created a time bubble around all five, so he could accomplish the twin's healing before the concert began.

Skylar returned to his seat beside Bruce. Erik and Travis wandered over to the refreshments bar, mostly so Erik could pull himself together. Kassidy, Matt, Angelo and Reggie had made themselves comfortable on one of the sofas. Nathan, Brice, Aaron, Stephen, Keanu, Liki, Tony, Ray and all the rest of the Core Rimmers and dorm leaders were chatting, drinking and snacking while anxiously waiting for the concert to begin. Jen took a seat between Bruce and Skylar, and then wrapped her arms around both boys, pulling them close in a reassuring, motherly manner.

A few minutes later, Dylan appeared. "Everyone find your seats; Deej told me I could have some fun!"

As soon as everyone scrambled to their chosen spot, Dylan nodded before his face became serious. "Showtime!" he exclaimed in an ominous tone, his voice suddenly gaining an unnatural reverberation. Suddenly, a deep purple halo appeared around his entire body as every single light in the entire arena fell black. Across the arena ceiling, lightning bolts began jumping from rafter to rafter, increasing in size and frequency every few seconds.

Timing it exactly, multiple large lightning bolts struck the stage at the instant the arena was shaken by the sonic boom from the alien abduction. Before anyone's eyes had a chance to adjust, every light on the stage came online as Joey and Pauly hit the opening beats of "Bang Your Head". A few beats later, KC and Timmy came up on lead, with Toby and DJ on rhythm. As Fife ran in with an opening yell, CD and Brandon fired up both basses in unison.

Having never heard anything so loud before, Drake, Syd, Grant and Krane hollered, "HOLY CRAP!" Almost all the rest of the gathered kids broke down into giggling fits.

Scott and Lance showed the newbies how to form horns with their fingers and bob their heads in time to the song. Muffled sounds of the screaming crowd of twenty-thousand outside and below the VIP booth could be heard. Soon, almost all the boys in the room were bobbing their heads and displaying their horns. Jen cracked up laughing at the enthused group.

Onstage, without a pause, Time Touched immediately launched into "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", with DJ joining KC and Timmy up front. The two righties and one mini-lefty on guitar made quite a sight, and it was obvious they were playing it up for the crowd.

Drake told Scott, "I've never heard either of these songs before."

"They were pretty big hits on our home world," Scott replied. "Making horns and bobbing your head are very common things to do."

"It's called heavy metal music," Lance told Krane.

Krane giggled, "It's so loud and kewl!"

"I heard some of the guys at school playing their 'Time Touched' tapes, and these two songs got played the most," Syd added. "They're really popular for a new band."

Scowling, Lance and Scott glanced at the three boys. Jen giggled, "That's ancient technology on our world. When I was a little girl, your ages, I had some cassette tapes, and then compact disks came out when I was about twelve years old."

Passing up the easy retort, the boys turned their full attention back to the stage. The band was just hitting the final notes of "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", and CD had already passed full bass duties to Brandon so he could get ready for the next song, picking up Brandon's Ibanez RG3550 and donning the talk box. He finished his sound check with Russ, and as the last note was played he stepped forward to join DJ as DJ hit the first notes of "The Zoo" while Timmy and KC slipped into the darkness offstage.

Both in the VIP box and out in the crowd, the audience was now wound tighter than the rubber band on a ten-year-old's toy airplane. The song wound down finally, and CD hit the opening notes of "Welcome To The Jungle" as KC swapped duties with DJ. KC took over lead, while CD provided rhythm.

A few minutes later, as Fife snarled the last words, "It's gonna bring you DOWN! Huggh!", the stage went black. A few seconds later, the stagefront spots lit up, illuminating the entire Time Touched band. "Hey Boston!" Fife yelled. "Lock up your parents and prepare to party! You've... just... been... 'TIME TOUCHED'!"

"Oh, Lord," Jen softly giggled, "please forgive them, they know not what they do."

To Be Continued...

Clan Short Archivist Review Notes:

This is a very interesting and heart-wrenching look at inter-dimensional child abuse and the laws surrounding that issue. There are some disturbing scenes in this chapter but there are also some very heart-warming scenes as well. This chapter continues the humanizing the Mikyvis. The humanizing of the Mikyvis is a very important part of the return to the core values of the original Clan Short Universe Story. Seeing the Mikyvis only use their powers when there is no other way to accomplish something is a wonderful thing. The fact they withhold their powers when it is for the good of a person also shows that they are growing into their species. I am looking forward to more of this type of storytelling.