Jigsaw

23

As they went out the back door, Jonas grabbed a football and three hoodies, tossed two of the hoodies to Danny and Harry and pulled the other one on. For the next half hour they simply enjoyed themselves in the warm-but-brisk fall weather, throwing passes back and forth and simply having fun. As both Harry and Danny began showing signs of tiring, Jonas called a halt. "Rest break! Harry, wanna grab some sodas? Danny, what's your pleasure: Coke, ginger ale, Dr. Pepper, or Mom has a couple of Diet Pepsis if that's your thing?"

"Coke, please," Danny answered. Harry slipped into the house and returned with the sodas as the other two sat at Maureen's redwood picnic table, Danny across from Jonas. Harry sat down next to Jonas.

"Thanks," said Danny, popping his Coke open. He took a sip. "Um..." he said hesitantly. Both teens' expressions encouraged him to continue. He pulled his courage together and continued, "I don't get this - any of it. Mom and you say you're my brother," he said, looking at Jonas, "and you two are kinda like in Starfleet, and we're here in Maine with relatives I never met, and, well, I'm just all kinds of confused."

Harry chuckled. "You know, thinking back on this past month, I can sure sympathize. I sure didn't expect to be doing the things we're doing when we went to shoot baskets with Mickey, what was it, three weeks ago, Jonas? How about we take it one step at a time, and see if we can come up with your answers?" Jonas nodded agreement; Danny looked on expectantly.

"Okay, let's start with relatives," Jonas said. "Your mom grew up here, in Arkham. You haven't met your Grandmother O'Ryan yet, right?"

"Uh, no," Danny answered.

"Lucky you!" Harry grinned. "She's kind of an old termagant - nobody and nothing pleases her. We kids always kept as clear of her as we possibly could." Danny's face took on a fearful look.

"Not to worry!" Jonas said. "You'll have to meet her, sooner or later, of course. But your mother and your Aunt Kait and Uncle Bri will make sure she doesn't hurt you. They're pretty decent people - I got to know them pretty well when I was going out with Tanya."

"We'll have to deal with her sooner or later, Jonas," Harry noted.

"My grandmother?" Danny asked.

"No, Tanya," Harry answered.

Jonas wrapped a protective arm around Harry. "I know you don't care for her a lot, and I sure can't blame you," he said to Harry, "but there's more to her than the teenage flirt act she put on at school. And something's telling me it will all work out fine in the long run - she'll accept our relationship, once she's had a chance to get used to it." Harry looked skeptical.

Danny looked nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. "Um, Brett said that you two....." He stopped short, and looked down at the table, unsure how to continue.

"Would it help you to know we started today by going down to get our wedding license?" Jonas said with a gentle smile.

"You mean you're really....?" Danny looked up, startled.

"Yeah, we are," Harry said. "And, um, I know how Brett feels - am I right that you feel the same way?"

Danny blushed deep scarlet and suddenly found the bark on a nearby elm tree totally fascinating. "Um, well, I don't know." He drew a breath. "He's my best friend, and I miss him!" he said, his eyes starting to water.

"Believe me, I know how you feel," Harry said compassionately. "Trust us, it will work out. I never expected to be as happy as I am right now - but it happened! I don't understand yet how these things fall into place, but, thank God, they do." He reached over and squeezed Jonas's arm.

"There's time yet for you guys to work things out between you - and we've got ways to make sure that the fact you're here and he's there is not a problem," Jonas added. "Just let me know when you want to go visit him; we'll arrange it." He paused. "Probably be a good idea to hold off for a day or two while things get settled, though."

Jonas decided a change of subject was in order. "You want to know about the brother thing, right?" he asked. "That's something I can give you a bit better answer on." Danny nodded.

"Well, you know, of course, Stan was not your father?" Another nod. "My parents went to high school together, and married right after graduation. I just barely remember my father holding me; I was real little, just about two." He drew a breath. "Grandma - my mother's mother - didn't like him very much, said he drank and wasn't good enough for mom. For all I know, she may be right. Mom wouldn't say a whole lot about him. But she missed him." Abruptly, Jonas shook off the distant look, and focused on Danny. "What is true is that he had an affair with your mother, who was a couple years younger than mom and him. And they ran off together."

"That's where you came from, Danny." Jonas's voice was low and compassionate. "What I've been able to put together, they split up before your mother knew she was pregnant. His life spiraled downhill, drink and drugs. And eventually he got involved with the I.R.A., the Irish Republican Army, and ended up back in Ireland. That's where he died."

Jonas drew a breath. "From what Mom said, Dad was an idealist, a dreamer - somebody who wanted to do the right thing but had a hard time figuring out what that was." He paused, and looked Danny in the eyes. "This next part is going to be hard to believe, so I won't blame you for being skeptical, but I'm telling you the truth as it happened." Another breath. "Last Saturday morning, six men from here in town tried to kill us, using contraband Starfleet phasers. By sheer luck, we survived and took them out instead. But our father's ghost appeared here, and told us, among other things, how he died, trying to disarm a bomb that was set to blow up an orphanage when a guy the terrorists wanted to kill was supposed to visit and dedicate it. Then Monday morning he showed up again, as Harry and I were getting up, and told us we needed to go save you. Up until that moment I had no idea that I even had a brother." He gave Danny a warm smile. "But I do now, and I'm not going to let you go, bro!"

Danny's eyes were enormous. "I thought it was just me and Mom, and Annie of course." A pause. "You're really my brother?"

"Yep," Jonas said. "Different mothers but the same father. Your mom gave you her maiden name, O'Ryan, but you're just as much a McConnaghay as I am. I think our father had no idea you even existed until after he died - but he made sure to let me know you needed help."

"How'd you guys get phasers?" Danny asked.

"Well, remember Harry mentioning about going to shoot baskets with Mickey, three weeks ago, when we started this conversation?" Jonas answered. "That's where it all began...." And he continued, with occasional interjections from Harry, telling Danny about finding Jed and C.J., and joining Clan Short.

"You mean, the cops and courts will let you step in to help kids in trouble?" Danny asked wide-eyed.

"'Let' is probably not the right word," Harry answered. "The way the law's written, we're entitled to do it - to the extent we can, we're required to. And they're obligated by law to back us up - or else they're the ones breaking the law."

"There's something like 750,000 homeless kids in America," Jonas added. "We have no idea how many are neglected or abused, but the number is likely to be in the millions."

"But how can you guys ever hope to handle anything like that?"

"Well, we're growing rapidly," Jonas answered. "Three weeks ago, nobody in Arkham was in the Clan. Today, there's ten of us. Worldwide, the two Clans - Short and Evans - have more than five hundred people between them, all our age or younger, give or take. And the whole thing only started at the end of August."

Harry interrupted. "There's a story that you need to hear, bro. It was written back in 1979 by a man named Loren Eiseley. I ran into it as part of a story on the Internet called 'Just Hit Send'. And it pretty much answers your question."

Harry relaxed into storytelling mode. "Once upon a time, there was a writer who used to go down to the ocean shore to work on his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

"One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure who was apparently dancing. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance on the shoreline, and walked that way.

"As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a boy, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. What the boy was doing instead was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

"He came closer still and called out 'Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?'

"The boy paused, looked up, and replied 'Throwing starfish into the ocean.'

"'Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?' asked the somewhat startled man.

"The boy replied, 'The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them back in, they'll die.'

"The man said, 'Don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly save them all!'

"At this, the boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one!"

Jonas was smiling as Harry finished the story. He reached out and hugged him. Danny slowly nodded his understanding.


Smiling, Josiah Brewster, Judge of the Family Court, walked out the door of the Franklin County Extended Care Facility after thanking the director for the use of the conference room. Even with his exposure to Kyle and Tyler on the vacation in another timeline's Florida, he was still having trouble getting used to the idea that he was adopting a nine-year-old Mikyvis who could effectively work miracles and teleport people around. But Peter's skills had pulled a rabbit from a top hat one more time, and the custody conference had worked out better than he had allowed himself to hope. Little Drew Wentworth tagged along behind him, grinning, clearly happy to be going for a ride with him back to his father's office.

His cellphone rang. Uttering a mild curse, he answered it. "Josiah Brewster."

Josiah? George Wentworth here. I've got some information I need to go over with you - or rather, my boys and I need to go over it with you and your boys. Some of it affects one of them, and some of it's 'burn before reading' stuff that Randy says is Clan Short jurisdiction.

"Of course, George. I was about to run back to the courthouse to drop Drew off."

"Well, both Jonas and Peter need to be involved. Any chance you can pick them up?"

"I could do that. But why don't you come to our place after dinner, instead?"

"That's a good idea. I'll take the boys for pizza, and then swing by."

"Pizza, eh?" Drew's eyes lit up; Josiah noticed, and chuckled. "I've got a little redhead here that seems to approve of the idea." Drew was bouncing. "Tell you what, George. Why don't you phone for a good big order, my treat? I'll take Drew with me and pick them up when we get into Arkham. You, Randy, and Philip come straight to Maureen's and join us. We'll have dinner together and then go over what you found."

"That works for me. Drew won't be a problem?"

"Of course not. I like kids; why do you think I got into this job? I can use his help carrying the pizzas." Drew nodded exuberantly.

"All right. I'll phone. But on the condition that I pay half."

"Stipulation accepted, counselor. See you then!" Josiah clicked off his cellphone, motioned Drew to the passenger seat, and slipped into his car.


Peter delivered the McKendricks, Rina, and her boys to Sylvia's yard, popped onto her lap and gave her a big hug as she looked up in surprise. "Gotta get back home; Daddy said so," he said, hugged each of them in turn, and vanished.

"No giant lizards, now; go straight home!" Mickey teased him as he collected his hug.

"Well, it looks as though things went well for you!" Sylvia said as everyone settled down into lawn chairs and the picnic table.

"Yes, it certainly did," Rina answered. "It's quite a story."

"C'mon, Raff," Jared said. "Everyone want sodas?"

"Refill my iced tea, if you don't mind," Sylvia answered, holding out her glass to Raffy.

"Same for me," Rina echoed. And she, Mickey, and Jed began to tell the story of their afternoon.


Maureen's Living Room, that evening

"And to think I was afraid I had ordered too many pizzas!" George said, as the boys cleared away empty pizza boxes and soda cans, while Abbie quickly sponged off tabletops. Everyone was relaxing after dinner; Randy took Abbie's sponge and the others settled down to join the adults. George and Abbie sat in chairs, Jonas and Maureen sat together at one end of the couch with Jonas and Harry at the other. Philip occupied a third chair. Peter plunked himself on Josiah's lap, Randy on George's, and Drew on Harry's.

"Well, that just proves you haven't been feeding boys very long!" Maureen said with a grin.

"Guilty as charged, ma'am," the prosecutor rejoined, laughing.

Turning serious, Maureen said, "You gentlemen have serious business to discuss. Would you prefer that the boys, Abbie, and I occupied ourselves elsewhere?"

"Um, no," George answered. "First, a part of this is Clan business - Randy made it clear to me that if anyone were to be excluded, it would be Josiah and myself, not them. He was polite about it, and looked scared out of his wits to be telling me that, but the boys in Orlando made it quite clear to him that it was definitely Clan business. They want our help, but the Clan, or possibly Starfleet, is in charge."

"As for you, Maureen," he continued, "part of it affects Peter, and with you and Josiah adopting him, you both need to be a part of that discussion. I suppose I don't need to tell you that a lot of this is going to be highly confidential, bordering on top secret if I don't miss my guess?"

Maureen smiled. She motioned Peter over to her, and whispered in his ear. Suddenly there appeared on her head a fedora of the sort a man might wear in a 1940s movie, with a card reading 'PRESS' stuck in the hatband. The 'PRESS' card flew up into the air, shredded itself into confetti, and in the hatband was another card reading 'MOM'.

"I trust that makes the point," Maureen laughed.

"Emphatically!" Josiah said, chuckling.

"Okay, then," George said. "I've been spending my day sorting out what our two local crooks were up to, so far as that can be pieced together from their records. Both Randall Scordo and Jordan Eccles were out to make a fast buck, at everyone else's expense - including each other. And it looks like little old Franklin County furnished some of the evidence to crack open a conspiracy that was nationwide in scale - if not Federation-wide, which may be the case. The boys in Orlando are following up on that, but they told Randy to make sure that Northeast Division knows what was going on - I guess that's you and your friends?"

"Yeah - as of this afternoon," Harry said. "They just named Jonas Division Director at the wedding reception today."

"Congratulations, son," Josiah said to Jonas.

"The most important part of what I have to tell relates to that conspiracy," George said. "And Philip was the key to breaking that open. But if you don't mind, I'd like to take it in order, and start with what involves you two" nodding at Maureen and Josiah "and little Peter."

"I'm all ears," Josiah said. Peter giggled and gently kissed his father-to-be's left ear.

"Well, let me start with the Lambert Hill Subdivision," George said.

"That's up on the northwest side of town, right?" Abbie asked. "Never amounted to much, far as I could see."

"That's where Mickey's parents lived," Jonas volunteered.

"Right," George answered. "Scordo was developing that. He bought the land off old Zechariah Lambert about five years ago - or rather, he contracted to buy the land, by deed of trust. Zech was to get payments as he built and sold houses. But he only built about five of them, the McKendrick home being one of the first."

Peter's nose was scrunched up as he tapped old memories. "That's my grandpa," he piped up. "But he's dead now."

"Yep. Your family history of aggressive lymphoma finally got him - along with most of the rest of your relatives." George's tone was compassionate. "Philip and I spent some time going over your family's death certificates. I thought at first there was foul play involved, especially after George and Rhonda Templeton's deaths, but it turns out it was that propensity for cancer that killed them all."

"First was Peter's father, Michael," George continued. "And his wife died in childbirth, along with the baby that would have been Peter's little sister. I suspect that's what made him give up the fight. Then old Zechariah passed on. He was a cagy old rascal, and a fighter, but he couldn't throw off a cancer his genes made him susceptible to."

"Next was Mary Burns, who was a Lambert by birth - Zech's daughter, Michael's sister. I gathered she took you, Peter, after your parents died."

"Uh huh," Peter said sadly.

"I'm sorry to bring up unhappy memories, Peter,' George said. "But this is leading to something important."

"After Mary died," he went on, "Pete Burns remarried - that'd be your Aunt Beth, Peter. And then Pete got killed in that DUI accident back on Labor Day."

"Yeah," said Peter with a long face. "It was right after Uncle Pete got killed that I started getting sick. And Aunt Beth took me down to the hospital, and said she'd be back. But she never came back!"

"Yep," Philip interjected. "She left town right after she dropped you off, with what was left of Pete's bank account and insurance. Randy and I had a word with Jamie and Jacob, though, and the cops down in Mobile are going to find there's a child abandonment charge pending against her."

"It's not a good idea to mess with one of our Clan brothers," Harry said with a slightly vicious smile. Jonas, Philip, and the twins gestured agreement.

"Here's the kicker, though," George resumed. "The reason I dragged Peter through all the relatives he's lost. First, old Zech was a pretty sly old bird. When he sold that land to Scordo, he had a pretty good idea of how crooked Scordo was, and he took steps to protect himself. So he had his lawyer write up the land sale contract as a deed of trust, where if anything happened to break the deal, it would all revert to him, along with any mortgages involving the property he was selling. That clause is important, for a reason I'll get to in a minute."

"Scordo, meanwhile, had negotiated a construction loan mortgage with Western Maine State Bank." Josiah was nodding as George said this.

"And if it works like most industry construction loans, he pledged not only the land he was building on but also his company assets, to get the big sums necessary to develop a subdivision?" Josiah asked.

"Exactly," George said. "Scordo was no dummy; he made sure those payments went in on time - until he got arrested."

"Oops!" Drew said with a giggle.

"Right - oops, indeed!" his new father agreed with a smile. "That would have meant that Scordo Construction and the unsold land went to the bank, when he missed the October payment. Technically he still has time to redeem that default - but I don't think the Federation is going to look kindly on any subspace messages trying to transfer money from a convicted felon serving a life term for conspiracy to commit two murders."

"You said 'would have'," Jonas noted alertly. "So it didn't revert to the bank?"

"Correct, and good catch!" George answered. "Philip, you figured out this part; want to take over?"

Philip blushed. "It was obvious, once you looked at the accounts," he said.

"What was obvious?" Abbie asked with a touch of frustration.

"Well, Pa Eccles was skimming money at the bank right and left," Philip said. "I didn't realize it at the time. but with what I know now, it was obvious."

"Some of it went into his own pockets," Randy threw in. "More went to the church. What they did with it, we'll get to in a bit."

"Anyway," Philip said, "with Peter's grandfather dead, the payments Scordo was making were fair game - the money that should have gone to him, went into Pa's pockets instead."

"Now, remember that clause in the deed of trust I mentioned earlier?" George picked up the explanation. "Failure to make those payments meant that the land defaulted back to old Zech, or rather to his estate, since he was dead. And that went with any mortgage tied to the land as well."

"What all this is amounting to," Philip said, "is that Zechariah Lambert's estate owns not just all the unsold lots in the Lambert Hill subdivision, and the mortgages on the sold properties, but also Scordo Construction."

"And," George added, "Zech's will ensured that anything from his estate went to the heirs of his body. With both his kids dead, that leaves him with one heir - his only grandson. You, Peter."

"I own a whole bunch of land and a company?!" Peter exclaimed. "What am I going to do with it?"

"Well, you'd either have to sell the company, or get someone to run it for you," Josiah said. "I don't think those construction crews are going to look kindly on having a nine-year-old boss, even if he is a Mikyvis." He smiled.

Harry's mind had been processing all this information. "I may have an idea about that," he said. "Judge, Peter, can I talk with you after?" They nodded agreement.

"Okay, that's the fun part," George said. "Now comes the nasty bit."

"You guys already know," Randy said, "about the scam with the Welfare money - how old man Scordo put Miz Oakridge in as Welfare Officer, and with Pa Eccles's help, they stole Welfare money for the three of them, and for Pa's church. But it goes a whole lot deeper than that."

"I'd stopped thinking about what life was like with Pa and Ma Eccles," Philip said. "What happened to me hurt too much. But Mikey had Peter tell me I needed to, and when we got back and Dad was working through all the files from Pa's office, I started recalling some of the stuff."

"Pa Eccles wasn't just skimming money off accounts to help his local church here," Philip continued. "He used his bank position to launder a lot of money for the national church, passing it through accounts so it couldn't be tied back to where it came from. The guys in Orlando think there were a couple of other church members who were in banking or finance doing the same thing. But what we're sure of is that Pa was one of them."

"That's why Pastor Friendly was so anxious to take you guys and Dad out last Saturday," Randy put in. "He thought you were close to finding out about what the church was doing, when you had Pa locked up."

"Truth be told," Josiah said, "I had no idea it went beyond how he was treating you three and the Welfare fraud."

"Yeah," Randy replied. "But he thought you were onto what Pa was doing with the national FCC, which would have blown their cover."

"It goes deeper than that, too," George added. "Remember all that to-do about selling used parts back to Starfleet, earlier this month?"

"I sure do," said Jonas. "You guys know Lawrence, right?"

"Yeah..." came from Philip and the twins hesitantly.

"Okay, his little brother is in a Starfleet mentoring program, on board the Yorktown," Jonas explained. "As Clan members, we're all his foster fathers in a way - the Clan as a legal entity undertook to serve as his guardian, sort of, so that he could go into that program. It was him and a crewman he works with who first uncovered the evidence that led to them finding out about that scam."

"Really?" Drew said. "I didn't realize that!"

"Anyway," George continued, "when Randy sent a copy of an interbank transfer down to the guys in Orlando, it tied that into the other scam, and a couple more things besides."

"Captain Matlock, that heads up Starfleet Engineering, is a really nice guy," Philip continued. "Or at least the guys from Orlando that have dealt with him think so, and that's good enough for me. But Commander Doncaster, his adjutant that handles a lot of the paperwork for Starfleet Engineering, including Ordnance, is definitely not."

"Once Philip saw his name and remembered Pa talking to him on his home terminal," Randy interjected, "we had something to go with. The Double J's, Sammy and Sebastian, and I, started scanning minds."

"This is the part that's top secret, or pretty close to it," George interjected. "The boys won't move on this until they've got all the necessary evidence. But it looks like there was a two-way conspiracy in Starfleet Engineering HQ. Some of them were just in it for the money. But some of them had even darker motives. We think that's where the restricted Starfleet weaponry that was used against us here and against Sgt. Reynolds and his family up in Montana, came from."

"Justy's putting all the evidence we've got so far together," Randy added. "After he's got everything, he'll go to Cory or Sean with it, and then they'll take it to Admiral Morrow."

"So why are you telling us all this?" Maureen asked.

"Well, first, us guys are all Clan, and entitled to know," Randy answered. "And Justy said to be sure that Jonas knew, since it involves stuff going on up here."

"I advised my boys to let the rest of you know, too," George said. "It looks like Josiah and I may need to be ready to use our legal positions on a moment's notice to back up the Clan locally, and you two" nodding at Abbie and Maureen, "as the mothers of their leaders, need to be prepared for whatever may break that might draw Jonas and Harry in." He smiled. "One other thing: Maureen's job. Having the best reporter in the county knowing the full facts, including what can't be permitted to break to the public yet until the case is solid, is better than having her in the dark while her sons are neck deep in the issue."

"This is pretty unnerving," Josiah said. "I feel like that judge back in 1945 that found out about the Vulcans before they went public that we had contact with them."

"Exactly," said George. "We're sitting on a rather big secret for the moment. That's why I felt you all ought to know what we found - so we're all on the same page in how we react. Imagine how you'd react, Abbie, if Harry suddenly told you one morning he was going to San Francisco to testify at a Starfleet tribunal, and you had no clue what was going on before that."

Abbie nodded grimly. "I don't like having Harry mixed up in this stuff," she said.

Jonas looked her in the eye. "'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil,'" he quoted, "'is for good men to stand by and do nothing.' Aunt Abbie, you and Mom raised us better than that. I'll admit freely I'm just a little scared, myself. But the time has come for us to stand up for what we believe in. We'd be letting you down if we didn't act like the men you raised us to be."


Ops HQ, Camp Bam Bam, Utah - Kevin Carlson's perspective

"Okay, you guys ready?" I asked and got nods and a frown from Dad.

"Kev, I really don't like this," he said to me.

I smiled as I went over and gave him a hug and told him, "I know, Dad, but it's gonna be okay. Mikey said we were needed up there, and we'll be careful. Plus we got Jonas and Harry if we need help."

I could tell he didn't like it, but all he said was "Promise me you'll be careful…I just almost…"

I interrupted him and said, "I know, but you didn't, Dad."

He didn't say anything, and I looked back at Randy and Danny, who nodded yes.

"Alvin, did you find him yet?" I asked of the Chipmunk working ops.

"Yeah, I think so, but he's in his police car and it's moving," he replied.

"Can you put us in the back seat?" I asked, smiling, while Randy and Danny giggled at that.

Alvin turned and looked at me, startled, for a minute before laughing and saying, "Sure, just a sec."

I moved over to my brothers and stood by them to wait, and thought how great these uniforms were that Sammy came up with, working with Ronnie.

They fit so nice and tight, and with our guns right at where our hands rested, it reminded me of the Old West movies Dad used to rent for us to watch.

Then the cloaks like the Cats had over it all made it really cool.

"Got it, you ready?" Alvin asked.

"Yep," I replied.

"OK, Daileass, transport 'em," Alvin called out.

"Energizing," the computer kid replied, as Alvin said, "Don't scare him too much or he'll wreck," and then the sparkles took us.


Meanwhile in Maine the Sheriff, Oliver Winfield, was driving south from Arkham towards Farmington when he picked up his microphone and radioed dispatch.

As the sparkles faded the policeman in the front seat was just speaking into his radio

"Winfield to dispatch - 10-8 en-route to county seat. Any traffic I should be aware of?"

"Well, Oliver, you got a 390, 314 down outside Murphy's. It's old Hank again in front of God and Country," the dispatcher came back, and I couldn't help but giggle and ask, "Is that what I think it is?"

That didn't go over well as Sheriff Winfield looked into his rear view mirror and, seeing us, cried "Holy…" as he slammed on his brakes and went into a skid, coming to a stop on the shoulder of the road, barely.

As he stared at us, I couldn't help but ask, "Gee, was it something I said?"

'This was fun,' I thought as the others giggled

"What the he..." Winfield began, then paused, swallowed, and said, "And just WHO are you boys? Not to mention, where'd you come from?!"

"Oh, sorry, Dad always says I got to work on my manners some," I said, smiling, then adding, "I'm Kevin, and these are my brothers Randy and Danny," as he still stared at us in shock.

"Um, that's nice, Kevin, but would you please explain what you're doing in the back of my patrol car?" he said, his voice getting louder as he finished the question.

"Comin' to see ya," Danny said, grinning impishly at the older man in front of us.

"Danny," I said loudly to him as he turned that grin on me and asked, "What?"

"We were." he added.

I was about to answer the Sheriff when he looked back at me and said, "'Comin' to see ya'? Let me guess, any moment now I'll see Allen Funt and the Candid Camera truck somewhere up ahead?"

I looked at my brothers before turning back to the Sheriff and saying "Huh?" What the heck is he talking about?

"Never mind," he said disgustedly. "Willya please answer my question and explain why you showed up in the back seat of my patrol vehicle - besides the fact you were coming to see me?"

"Oh, that. Sure, but don't ya think ya should go and get Hank to put it away before he scares all the little old ladies or something?" I said, grinning at him again.

Both Randy and Danny giggled at that, although I don't think the Sheriff found it quite as funny for some reason. Grown-ups!

The Sheriff picked up his mike and said, "Dispatch? Do you have another unit to cover that 390, 314? I seem to have encountered a problem here."

"You can go cover it. We've seen one before, ya know," Randy said, giggling now as I added, "And we're not a problem either, at least most of the time."

I gave him my best sweet and innocent look, but it didn't seem to be working very well.

"Not a problem? More like you're little terrors! And just how did you know what those codes were?" he asked.

"Hey, how'd ya know?" Danny asked, leaving him with a confused look on his face as I giggled, then replied, "Our dad's a cop too, and we learned a few things."

He just sat there doing a slow burn, then got a glimmer in his eye and said, "Let's try another question. Who sent you to come see me?"

I looked at Danny and Randy before turning back to the Sheriff.

This oughta be fun -- not!

"Well…" I started, then stopped.

"Ah, it's like this, ya see…" Randy started, then he stopped too, looking at me.

"Ummm, well… a friend," I finally mumbled.

"What kind of a friend?" he asked, sounding just a little irritated now.

Okay, well, how can I explain this now?

"Well, it's kind of hard to explain. I mean, he's older and the brother of a good friend of ours, and said we needed to come see you," I finally got out.

No way was I gonna tell this guy an angel sent us up here to talk to him!

"Uh, huh," the Sheriff answered, and he was definitely not smiling now. "Can you describe this 'brother of a friend' for me?" I thought I detected a flash of a smile when he asked that, but it was gone real fast if it was one.

"Uh huh," I replied.

He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel a minute, then said, "Please do so."

"Okay, well, like I said, he's real older than us, like eighteen or something and has brown hair. He's tall too and well nice," I told him as Danny just looked at me and Randy giggled.

*Well, what am I supposed to tell him?* I sent quietly.

*Oh gee, I don't know; maybe try 'Oh and he's dead too'* Danny sent, and Randy busted out laughing while I started choking.

"Any special characteristics I might notice?" he asked, a smirk on his face now. "Like was he wearing jeans and a T-shirt, or a tuxedo? Baseball cap? Halo?"

"Well sometimes he wears…" I started to say when the last thing he said hit me, and I just stared at him with my mouth open as Randy muttered "Holy…"

"Told ya," Danny said, as I turned and glared at him.

"Yeah, 'holy' probably would be an accurate description of your friend." The sheriff chuckled. "Okay, NOW can we get down to, what are you doing here in the back of my vehicle scaring the crap out of me?" he asked.

"How'd ya know?" I asked, before saying, "Sure. we came to talk to you about Vulcan law and all. We heard you were having problems up here with deciding about local stuff and Vulcan stuff and wanted a second opinion 'bout it all."

"Well, yes," he answered. "I did say I was looking for a second opinion -- but I didn't expect it to come from three little boys popping up in my patrol vehicle! he said, making us all laugh.

I finally stopped and had to say, "But it was so funny to see your face!" as the other two chimed in with "Yeah!"

He tried to keep a stern straight face, then lost it and started laughing. "Yeah, I suppose so -- from your side of the picture." Then he said, "And just why should I listen to you three about Vulcan law?"

I looked at my brothers before looking back at the Sheriff, and knew fun time was over, as I reached out and opened the door, climbing out of the car, the others following and standing next to me as the Sheriff got out and stood looking at us.

As one we pushed the cloak back onto our shoulders, exposing our uniforms and their shoulder patches as I began to speak. "My name is Kevin Carlson, and these are my brothers Danny and Randy. We are the head of Intelligence for the North American Division of Clan Short of Vulcan, and that's why you need to listen to us."

"Vulcan law supersedes Federal, State or local laws, and Maine as of last Sunday adopted Safe Haven Status, putting it under Vulcan law, which means those laws which conflict with Vulcan law no longer apply or can be applied," Randy told him.

"That means whatever your local laws say don't matter no more," Danny added, grinning.

"I suppose that explains why you're kids carrying guns?" he challenged us.

"Yes, it does. We always go armed now, and since we haven't had the Starfleet Phaser training yet and have been trained on how to use these, these are what we carry, and we know how to use them as well. No one is going to hurt our family again if we can help it," I replied, staring at him.

"Hurt your family again?" he asked, his mannerism switching to concern.

"They attacked us Saturday and killed a lot of our family. It WON'T happen again," Randy said coldly.

"What? Were you in Montana?" he asked.

"Yes, we were, that's where we're from. They shot our Uncle Mike and Aunt Samantha along with our brother Sammy and some others, then they killed a bunch of new family to us from the Unit. We fought with Adam and watched them die. Randy's right; it's not gonna happen again!" I said

"Kevin almost died saving one of the little kids from the helicopter that was shot down. Lots of kids died up there. We're under orders to go armed, and we do whenever we go outside a Safe Haven in order to protect ourselves or others if they need it," Danny added, all of us fighting tears as we remembered.

"You poor kids!" he said, then added, "What you said before matches what the judge had to say. Okay, let's assume I accept what you have to say, for the moment. You know I'm going to need to see some proof, eventually. Now, my problem is, I've got a department where the sheriff and desk sergeant were arrested just last Saturday, and I was just promoted to fill the vacancy. They're all old line cops, and you can imagine how thrilled they're going to be to be taking orders from a bunch of kids."

That pissed me off and I just looked at him for a moment before telling him, "The patches on our shoulders are all the proof you need, and we have ID as well. They don't have a choice. They'll take orders if it's needed or they'll be in a starship brig. If you want, I can have Starfleet Security down here in about 30 seconds," as I reached down and brought out my communicator.

"I owe my job to two teenagers and Starfleet Security - *I* believe you. We're on the same side here. But I'm going to have to drag some by-the-books deputies into the 21st century with them dragging their heels. And three little ten-year-olds, no matter what official status you have, are not going to impress them. Let's work together on this - how can I deal with their attitudes and get them enforcing Vulcan law, not what old Sheriff Burton wanted them to do?"

I still wanted to be pissed, but I could feel he was telling the truth; he was one of the good guys, and I couldn't stay mad at him.

"Jeez, ya asking us to figure out grown ups?" Danny said into the silence, causing all of us to giggle.

"Yeah, just telling em what to do is much easier," Randy added.

"If you do figure 'em out, let me know what you figure out!" he grinned back at us. "It'd make law enforcement so much easier!"

"And I can just imagine you three wrapping a grown-up around your little fingers!" he added.

We all laughed at that, thinking about Dad, then I got a bright idea. "Hey, what about Dad, he's not a kid or nothing and he's a cop too. Ya think they'd like that better?"

"Fill me in -- why would they be impressed by him?" he said, all interested now.

"Well, he's our Dad," Danny said as if that should explain it all, as we giggled and I told him, "He's the Sheriff out in Campbell County where we're from."

"Yeah, and they say he can charm the rattles off a snake too," Randy added, not mentioning that it was a creep Dad talked down one time into giving up, and the guy wasn't being nice when he said it -- but it sounded good anyway!

"Well, can you bring him here too?" the Sheriff asked us.

"Sure," I said as I flipped open my communicator and called "Hey Alvin, you there?"

"Yeah, Kev, what's up?" he replied.

"Ya think you could find our dad for me?" I asked.

"I don't have to," he told me.

"Huh?" I asked, confused.

"He's been standing here staring at the comm. console since you beamed out," Alvin replied, giggling.

I couldn't help but giggle at that, and Randy and Danny joined me.

"Well, see if he would mind coming out here with us and helping the Sheriff out, would ya?" I said.

Suddenly there was a hum and sparkles from a transporter, which when they stopped left Dad standing there as Alvin muttered "I don't think I have to ask. Alvin out."

Then dad was hugging all of us and asking if we were all right. I wonder how long he was going to worry like this for?

"This is our dad," Danny said once Dad calmed down some.

Dad just looked at Danny and said, "Hi, to everyone else I'm Eric Carlson, pleased to meet you."

We all giggled a bit at that, which got us The Look from dad, but oh well.

"Pleased to meet you, Sheriff Carlson," the local sheriff said. "I've been having an interesting talk with your boys," which got us all giggling again.

Dad just looked at us before asking, "Do I even want to know?" as we all shook our heads rapidly

"Why don't we go to a diner and have a chat?" the sheriff suggested.

"Diner?" I asked, as Randy added "Food?" and Danny put in "I'm hungry."

Dad just said, "Oh Lord!"

"Oh, they can't be that bad!" the sheriff said.

"You have no idea. The manager of the local Dennys out where we live quit and in tears after they got done there," Dad told him.

"HEY! Sammy was there too!" Danny cried out.

"And Peter!" Randy added.

End of Kevin's perspective


C.I.C., Orlando mid-afternoon

"Bro?" said Jacob.

"Yeah?" came the response from Justy as he toweled off his hair.

"What Phil and Randy found is pretty big. Here, take a look." And the little telepath did a data dump into his older brother's mind.

"Hooo-leee!" Justy exclaimed. "You guys found that many people on the take in Starfleet?"

"Yeah … and it looks like the F.C.C. may have slipped a few ringers in to the lower ranks, and paid off the guys that would have caught them and decided their attitudes made them unfit." Jacob was startled by what they had found.

"You know," said Justy pensively, "maybe we ought to get Jase and them involved. It sounds like it needs covert action -- and that's Jason's thing."

"I thought Nath had charge of Jase's thing," giggled Jamie.

"If we hadn't just been in the bathing pool, you'd be going swimming, little brother," Justy laughed.

Jason Evans, Patriarch of Clan Evans, wandered into the room, also drying off.

"Um, Jace? Where's your clothes?" Justy asked curiously. "And weren't you already dry?"

Jace grinned. "I-Metri felt I'd not cleaned up quite enough, so I was waylaid, de-'furred' and bathed... again..." He glanced behind him and a Vulcan robe flew into his hand. "Your kid bro is having a blast with Bel and Ross, lil' cousins," he giggled at the twins.

"Division Commandeer Evans, we've got something that you need to see, here," Justy said to Jace.

Jace jumped into his robe and moved over to them. "Okay, hit me with it, Commander," he said, fully serious.

"Our brothers Philip and Randy, and their father, have uncovered evidence of corruption in Starfleet Engineering. May we seek the assistance of VSO Dragon Division?" Justy requested formally.

Jason quirked an eyebrow. "Our orders are to defend Vulcan and assist in defence of the Federation. Internal Starfleet is part of Section 31's area. Do you have any evidence of direct action taken against a Vulcan interest? If not, I shall contact my opposite number in the Section."

"We have evidence that suggests the FCC are involved with the corruption of Starfleet, and may have been the motivating factor behind it. IF the FCC was involved, then yes, it would be an act of war against Vulcan, in the form of our Clan. If not, then we can leave it to Section 31 -- but reserve the right for the two Clans to be involved if the evidence of FCC involvement proves to be accurate." Justy responded calmly and equally formally.

"You are sure about this evidence? That it points to a tie to the F.C.C.?" Jace asked intently.

Jamie nodded, "I'm sending what we have to you now, Jace."

Jamie did so, and Jace' eyes widened. He tapped his comm, "Voice to Fire Eagle; have you got any leads on the Target yet?"

"Yes, Voice," Oliver's reply came as he Sent what he had found to his father. "This is what I have so far, and I don't like it. Do you have anything that adds confirmation?"

"That is confirmed; Big time. I shall Send what I have in a few moments, just get your team to San Francisco Academy and await my orders. Also, contact S-31 and have as many teams as they can spare to join with you there. I shall be making a request of VSO Command."

"Dad, does this mean...?"

"Yes. Code Red-Red-001."

"Confirmed Code Red-Red-001," Ollie replied, his voice both excited and nervous. "Let the Enemy Beware the Dragon. Fire Eagle out." and the comm went silent.

"Commander Dodds, Captains, your request is granted," Jace said formally as he faced his cousins.

"What does that code mean?" Jacob asked with interest.

Jace replied. "The F.C.C. have not only struck out at Vulcan by attacking you, they have also tried to undermine Starfleet. What my son has just sent me fills in some of the holes in the information you have. Vulcan's High Command is at War with the FCC. The VSO now join with the High Command. We are at war."


That night, at Sylvia's

Once again, Jed's scream woke the household. As Rina and Mickey hurried to the room Jed and Jared shared, Jared pulled Jed close and tried to calm him. "Another nightmare?" he asked as Jed's breathing became normal.

"Yeah - one of the worst ones," Jed answered shakily.

"Are you OK, Jed?" C.J. asked, scurrying in.

"Yeah - another bad dream, bro," Jed answered.

"Do you need to talk about it? Dan said that might help," Rina said anxiously.

"Yeah," Jed replied. "I don't understand it at all." He drew a breath, and began.

"There was a glowing force dome, sitting on red sand. There were powerful beams shining down on it, like a starship's phaser banks. And standing just beyond where they hit were Kyle, Tyler, and Levi, watching intently. Then as the dome dissolved, what terrified me was the look of absolute horror on their faces."

"I'll take you over to talk to Dan about it tomorrow," Rina said, "For now, try to relax and go back to sleep."

Jed lay back and tried to calm himself. "What scares me," he said, "is that my other nightmares have come true."


Afternoon, Throxton Mansion

"C'mon!" Pen said as he ran out the door of the room he and Doug shared.

Doug thought quickly. Both boys were still naked from their lovemaking, and Pen had taken no thought to that when he ran off after detecting across the house network that his webcam had been activated from Jenkins the butler's computer. 'I promised to protect him,' ran through Doug's mind; 'never mind any embarrassment, I need to stay with him,' and he leapt up and followed Pen. The whole thought sequence had taken no more than a fraction of a second.

Down the great stairs they ran, through the main hall, heading for the suite in the rear wing set aside for the longtime butler.

A door opened - the door from the passage leading to the garage area, and in walked Pen's father, accompanied by another man, both in suits. "For heaven's sake, Pen," he called out. "I know I've told you I have no problem with your and Doug's relationship, but running naked around the house is really a little bit too much!" The man accompanying him seemed to be trying to suppress a chuckle as he looked at Doug and Pen.

Pen gasped for breath after his frantic run. "Father," he said, "Doug and I were up in our room when we noticed the webcam on my computer was running. I ran a trace and found it had been activated from the computer in Jenkins's suite. I ran down to confront him." He blushed as he tried to cover his private parts.

His father's face was set in stone. "You and Doug, go directly to my study. Don't bother dressing. Francis, will you please join them?" He turned on his heels and walked towards the back of the mansion.


Pen sat in one of the easy chairs in his father's study, embarrassed. A throw pillow inadequately covered his mid-section. "Francis, I am so sorry this happened. I just reacted to what I found out, with no thought for anything else." Realizing that Doug would not know his father's guest, he turned and said, "Doug, this is Francis Lagrange. He's a partner in Lagrange and Halstead, down in Boston, and they buy a lot of Father's products. Francis, may I present my ... uh ... very good friend, Douglas Murdock?"

"If you two are running around the mansion naked, I can conclude that 'very good friend' was a bit of a euphemism," Francis said. "But Pen, it's I who owe you an apology. Your father has been telling me a bit about what's been happening in your life, and Bernie and I should have spoken up long since and offered our help and advice." He looked at the two embarrassed boys. "Stop trying to cover yourselves up, boys. You're two very good looking young men; be proud of it."

"Bernie and you should have...?" Pen was confused.

"We're partners; you know that," Francis said.

"Well, yeah - Lagrange and Halstead is you and Bernie's business, I realize that. But...."

"Pen, we're partners. Not just business partners. We've been together since college; when Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, we made official what we'd promised each other twenty years before."

Pen's face was startlement personified. Francis went on, "I should have realized you were gay, Pen, and been the friend I gather you needed, to help you deal with it. I had a suspicion, but I didn't feel right saying anything - and it looks like that was a big mistake on my part, and Bernie's. I'm sorry."

Pen's father stalked in just then, followed by Jenkins and Mrs. Newton. A chime announced someone at the front door. "Get that, Doug, please," said the stern-faced senior Throxton. "It won't matter that you're naked."

Shocked, Doug walked sheepishly to the study door, returning moments later with Arkham Town policeman Phil Clancy at his heels.

"Thanks for coming so quickly, Phil," Mr. Throxton said, with a nod to the policeman.

"My duty, Pen," Clancy replied to him. With a small smile, he added, "Is this the new uniform for your doorman?" nodding at Doug's nakedness. Mr. Throxton allowed himself a small chuckle.

"I'm just putting together what happened while I was down meeting Francis and bringing him back here," Mr. Throxton said. "Pen, perhaps you might fill me in on what you two were doing? The truth, now."

Pen gulped. "Um, Father, Doug and I were up in the room we shared, and made love."

"Hmmph!" Mrs. Newton interrupted. "What he means is that that young hoodlum you let in here was taking advantage of young Pen for deviant sex. We saw the whole thing! It was disgusting!"

"And may I ask why you were watching it?" the older Throxton asked, resuming his stern expression.

"Why, it was Jenkins's idea," Mrs. Newton said. "He was taping it to show you the sorts of things that you're allowing to happen here."

"Shut up, Beulah!" Jenkins exclaimed.

Reading the faces of father and son, Francis decided it was time to intervene. "Pen," he said, addressing the teen, "was it oral or anal?"

"Anal," Pen said abashedly in a near whisper.

"And you were bottoming?" Francis asked compassionately. A small nod was the only response.

"And you enjoyed it? Probably, in fact, asked Doug to do it to you?"

"Yeah." Pen's voice was so low it could barely be heard.

"Pen, look at me," Francis said urgently. "There is nothing in the world that feels quite as good as Bernie inside me. You have nothing to be ashamed of." Jenkins sniffed.

The senior Throxton turned to his computer and retrieved the network file hierarchy. He frowned, clicked on three directory displays in sequence, then executed a command.

"I have the file showing the boys locked away, Phil," he said.

Officer Clancy took charge at that point. "Pen," he said, addressing the millionaire, "do you wish to proceed with charges?"

"Yes," the senior Throxton said, stone-faced.

Addressing the younger Throxton, Clancy asked, "How old are you, Pen?"

"Sixteen" came the quiet answer.

"And you, Doug?"

"The same."

"Did you two enter into your sex act consensually, with no force or coercion?" The cop was all business now.

"Yes" Pen said. Doug fearfully nodded.

"And you recorded this sex as a computer file, to show Pen's father?" Clancy asked Jenkins.

"Yessir. That sort of thing should not be permitted to go on," Jenkins said defiantly. "You are going to arrest them for it?"

"Pen," Clancy said to the teen, ignoring Jenkins, "did either you or the Murdock boy consent to your sex act being recorded by webcam?"

"No, sir!" Pen said, wondering where this was going.

"I guess I need to do my duty, Pen," Clancy said to the older man, who nodded grimly.

Clancy turned to face Jenkins and Mrs. Newton. "Horace Jenkins, Beulah Newton, the making of a video recording of sexual activity involving persons under the age of eighteen without their consent or for financial gain is a felony. You are under arrest for the felony crime of producing child pornography. You have the right to remain silent...."

Jenkins lunged for the door. Francis stood and quickly flipped him to the floor. "Guess that old judo training came in useful for something after all," he remarked to Pen senior.

The millionaire nodded. "I'll never make fun of you about it again," he said.

Clancy handcuffed Jenkins and then Mrs. Newton, and marched them out the door to his patrol car.

"Damn!" the older Throxton said. "Now we need to interview for a new butler and a new cook. I'd hoped they would turn around and accept you, Pen and Doug. I'm very sorry you had to be put through this." He smiled grimly. "You can go get dressed now. Francis," he continued, turning to him, "it appears the four of us will need to go out for dinner after all. I'd counted on being able to treat you here, but..." his mouth quirked "my cook had to go commit a crime, and against my boys at that!"

"Oh, I don't know," Francis said, smiling, "a couple of naked teenage boys is more eye candy than I've had recently. And you have to admit, they're a fine looking couple."

"I will tell Bernie on you," the older Throxton said jocularly. "And they're committed to each other. That's my son you're ogling, Francis!" He smiled.

"My god, I thought sure we were in big trouble!" Doug exclaimed.

"Nonsense, boy, how many times do I have to tell you I accept what you are to Pen before it sinks in?"

"You're not upset?" Pen asked his father.

"Oh, very upset," he answered. "Angry with myself at not having been a better father to you, irate at Jenkins for what he did." His gaze softened. "But never at you, son, nor at the boy who has your heart." He looked at Doug. "I hope you'll realize, I've had a couple of years to come to terms with Pen being gay, even though he didn't realize it until Sunday. You've stood up for him when it counted, you've treated him with the affection I let myself get too busy to give. You're the best thing to happen to the Throxton family in a long time." He paused. "But dammit, good help is so hard to get these days!" he said in self-mockery, quoting an old movie line.

Francis laughed. "Go throw on some nice casual clothes. Dinner tonight is on me; you three have been through way too much already."

Meanwhile, at Slim's Diner, Arkham - Eric Carlson's perspective

We all got into the Sheriff's car and he headed out. A little while later, he pulled up in front of an old fashioned diner, the kind you don't see a lot anymore, the kind that usually had really good food too. I could see the brats salivating as we stopped and got out, being led inside by the Sheriff. I swear you'd think they hadn't eaten just a short while ago, the way their eyes were bulging out and drool almost falling from their mouths, as we were led in and to a booth where we all sat down.

"Well, sir, I suppose you're wondering why I asked the boys to bring you here," the tall, graying man in the sheriff's uniform said to me. "I was told earlier today that with Maine under Safe Haven status, Vulcan law overrides our state laws where they conflict. The boys tell me that they're in Clan Short Intelligence, and that what the judge told me is correct."

"In a nutshell, yes. If any law on Earth in a Safe Haven state conflicts with that of Vulcan, then the Vulcan laws takes priority and completely overrides it. It's more than that though, because even if Maine weren't a Safe Haven state and something was going on here involving kids that was detrimental to those kids, then Vulcan law would allow the Clan to step in and take over. If this judge you're talking about told you that then he is correct. As to the kids being in Clan Short intelligence, that's true as well. They are the head of it for the North American Division of Clan Short, which oversees, as you can imagine, all of North America, which Maine falls under," I told him.

The sheriff didn't seem at all surprised by this, which surprised ME. His next question explained that, though: "What connection do you boys have to Jonas McConnaghay and Harry Johnson?"

"They're in the Clan along with us, although part of Orlando Headquarters, not North American Division," Kevin told him.

"That makes them our brothers as well," Randy added.

"The Clan is like one big family, and everyone in it are now considered related as brothers if I have it right. They may be part of different divisions but they are still that one family," I told him.

"As I told your boys, the two of them and a lieutenant from Starfleet Security are responsible for my having become Sheriff here - I have sixteen years in with the department, but I've only been sheriff since Saturday," he said.

"Ouch, if they were involved and Starfleet, then I have to assume you took over in the middle of a firestorm of some kind," I said.

"Right," he replied. "The last sheriff was running it as his personal fiefdom, and Harry got his nephew arrested, so he tried to frame Jonas and Harry in revenge. It backfired on him. But that's my problem," he continued. "I'm suddenly the boss of men I've been working with -- and they're used to enforcing Maine statutes. They're not going to be enthusiastic about enforcing Vulcan law in place of the State of Maine law they're used to, and I expect quite a bit of digging in their heels when they get told about it. Plus, of course, I'm not totally familiar with what Vulcan law overrides, or even how it applies to everyday life here."

"Well, if you've got sixteen years in, then you have the experience, and those men who are used to working WITH you shouldn't have any problem working FOR you, since they know you and that you can do the job," I said. "As to your other problem, well, all I can say is that if it were my department, then I would sit down and have a heart to heart talk with them, and explain that this is the way things are going to be and to decide now, because if they can't live with it, then there's the door. I'd also make it abundantly clear that 'Digging in their heels,' as you put it, will land them in a Federation jail and most likely end them up in a penal colony somewhere. I wouldn't give them any choice in the matter, and see if you can get rid of the troublemakers before you have any trouble. As to Vulcan law, I'm not an expert either. It would seem that much of it is based on logical actions being taken to a situation. The Clan can help you there a lot more than I can, I think."

"So Jonas and Harry can be my resource on Vulcan law?" he asked?

"Yeah, they can," Kevin replied before asking, "You want us to have them come down here too?"

"You know, that might not be a bad idea," the sheriff said.

I watched as Kev pulled out his communicator and called into it, "Carlson to McConnaghay," and got a reply of "Jonas here."

"Hey, Jonas, you and Harry free for a few? We could use your help," Kevin asked.

"Yeah Kev, what's wrong?" Jonas asked, concern evident in his voice.

"Nothing, we were just talking to your Sheriff, and he thought you might be able to help out some," Kev told him.

"You're here?" Jonas asked in disbelief.

"Uh huh. Mikey asked us to pay the Sheriff a visit, so we came on up," Kevin said.

"Oh, okay, where are you at?" he asked.

"Umm…" he started to say before turning to the Sheriff and asking, "Where are we?" which caused all of us to start laughing.

"I don't know but they got great Cheeseburgers," Danny said while munching away.

"Where Harry's mother works," the Sheriff said, himself chuckling.

"The Sheriff said where Harry's mom works," Kevin told him.

"Oh, well, that explains those cheeseburgers then; we'll be right down," Jonas replied.

"Just call Daileass for transport; he'll have us locked in," Kevin said.

"Never mind Daileass, we'll just use Peter," Jonas said, causing the boys to have another giggle fit.

"Mikyvis TAXI" they all screamed out, while I just shook my head.

Moments later, two teenage boys, two women, and a boy about the age of the Terrors wearing a taxi driver's hat and holding a taxi meter popped into existence. "Your fare is..." he got out before bursting into giggles.

Kevin reached out and pulled the giggling Mikyvis into his arms giving him a big hug, and I watched as Randy and then Danny pulled him around, doing the same before letting him up.

"Dad, this little guy is Peter and that's Jonas and that's Harry. Guys, this is our Dad," Kevin said, pointing to each as he introduced them, since the boy Peter had found his way back to Kev's lap for the moment somehow. The weird thing was that I hadn't even seen him come back around. For some reason though he just looked at me and started giggling again.

"And this is my mother, Abbie Johnson, and Jonas's mother, Maureen McConnaghay," Harry added.

"So what brings you folks up here?" Maureen asked.

"Eric Carlson, pleased to meet you," I said as Kevin spoke up.

"Mikey asked us to come see the Sheriff 'cause he was having questions about enforcing Maine laws or Vulcan ones so we stopped by then he wanted to meet dad cause he's got grown up troubles so we brought him too and then we told him you could help him with the Vulcan law stuff since you live up here and are part of the Clan too and then we called you and now you're here."

"Remember to breathe, Kev," I said, laughing as everyone just stared at him for his rapid fire recitation of events.

"What?" he said, looking at me, then everyone else.

"Well, of course we will!" Jonas said. "Any help he wants from us..."

"But it's not quite that simple," Sheriff Winfield said. "You know what my deputies are like, boys. I need to give them a good boot in the behind to get them following the program and enforcing Vulcan law. Any thoughts on what might work?"

"Ya can always call SamSam," Danny snickered, causing the other two to start giggling.

"I think he would prefer a less… traumatic solution," I said straight faced.

Jonas and Harry burst out laughing; their mothers looked mystified.

"What's trau…trau…what's that he said?" Danny asked.

"I'll tell him you said that, Dad!" Randy said, giggling.

"It means he might want a few of them left to actually work for him," I replied.

"Why, if they're not gonna do what they're supposed to?" he asked.

"Never mind," I said as this just kept getting worse.

I looked at the two confused women a moment before saying, "SamSam is my nephew, and let's just say his desire to deal with BS is rather on the low side, especially if it's from people being stupid."

"Yeah, and he always wears cowboy boots too," Kevin threw in, causing more snickers and outright laughing as Danny said, "With pointed toes."

"Well," said Harry, "maybe I shouldn't volunteer him, but what if a veteran Sheriff that's been on national TV were to be there when Sheriff Winfield lets his deputies know the new way to do things?"

"Well, it'll either help or piss them off no end," I said bluntly. God, that kid must be rubbing off on me or something.

"It certainly can't hurt, and might help," Winfield said.

"Good idea; some of those men haven't had a fresh idea since 1980," Harry's mother said unexpectedly. "It might just light a fire under their tailbones."

"I'll be glad to help in any way I can," I told them, chuckling at her comment. I just hope her and SamSam don't meet up anytime soon; I bet she could give him lessons, and that's one thing he sure didn't need.

"And if you guys need any back up from a division just give us or Main a shout and we'll be right there" Kevin told Jonas and Harry

"Well, don't forget that we're Northeast Division up here now - there's ten of us here in Arkham," Jonas said, causing my three to stare at them in shock before Randy squeaked out "What?"

"There's ten of us up here, and J.J. just told us we were designated Northeast Division at the wedding reception," Jonas told him.

"Wow! Congratulations bros, that's totally awesome," Kevin said, grinning widely as the others added their congratulations as well.

"Guess you don't need division back-up then if you are one," Kevin added, smiling at the two teenagers as I finally got a chance to throw in my own congratulations into the mix.

"I'd appreciate your help," Winfield said to me. "Would Thursday morning be a good time for you? That was Roscoe's usual department meeting day, so they'll be expecting it then."

"As far as I know that'll be fine," I answered. "I can let you know if anything comes up. With everything going on lately, it's a bit chaotic, but right now I don't see any problems with that," I told him.

"Good enough," he said. "You all want some dessert, my treat?"

"No, we're full," Kevin said seriously, causing me to turn and stare at him in shock. He just looked back at me as I stared at him and his brothers for several moments.

"Yeah, right, Dad!" he said as he busted out laughing with the other two as well.

The women burst out laughing at that. "You boys like chocolate cream pie?" Harry's mother asked. "I just baked a couple this afternoon; it looks like there's plenty up there."

"Oh yeah, please," they all chorused together, turning on the puppy dog eyes in full, as I mumbled, "Don't count on it."

"Hey, Slim, dessert over here!" she called out. "Start dishing up that chocolate pie; you have boys to feed!!"

To be continued....


Authors' Notes: Many thanks to Dark Star and Iluvantir for co-writing portions, to ACFan for not only hosting us but friendship and guidance and many other gifts, and to the whole CSU team for affection and support. I can't wait to see what happens next!


Archivist Note:

Thank goodness! I'm glad that pair got what was coming to them - Jenkins and Mrs Newton, I mean... man, you people have dirty minds!

Keep this coming, D&B. I'm hooked!

Ilúvantír