Adam woke up in pain worse then he thought he had ever felt before. For a time he couldn't even remember anything that had happened in the last few years, and he found himself back in the lab, reliving the horror of his existence there. He tried to think back to what caused the pain this time. What injury had they inflicted now, that they wanted to see how he healed from this time.
He started to run through the process of figuring out how bad he had been hurt before he even showed signs of waking up. He had learned to do this early on, because the doctors would want to know everything about how he was feeling, and if he didn't have the answer right away, they would get upset, and that usually meant more pain, and with the way he felt now, he sure didn’t need any more.
He knew he wasn't stabbed as this pain was totally different from the times he'd been stabbed. No, this was defiantly a gun shot wound. A wound to his side, and he figured by a shot gun. They had done that to him before, but this was SO much worse. This was like nothing he'd ever felt before.
He tried to take a deep breath, and groaned out loud with the pain it caused him, fear flooding his system. Did they hear him? What would they do now? Then suddenly, that's when it all came flooding back to him. The Unit, and their base. The other kids that they'd helped rescue. And finally, there was Jeremy and how he was injured, how they both had been injured.
He loved Jeremy, and due to his own actions, he'd almost lost the younger boy. He didn't love Jeremy in the same way that he loved Logan, but it was close. Jeremy was so much like him that it was scary sometimes. He had decided almost as soon as he got to know the younger boy, that he would try and mold and shape him into a leader. If anything ever happened to Adam, he would want Jeremy to take over.
The fact that Jeremy had done exactly as he would have in giving his life for another, just proved his feelings about him were right.
He groaned aloud, again, when he tried to move, as the last events he remembered rolled though his mind. He didn't regret his decision at all, even with the pain in his side flaring up like a wild fire. It meant that Jeremy survived.
“Adam, you okay?” He heard Logan ask, as his lover came around to the side of the bed that Adam was now sitting on.
“Yeah.” Adam managed to croak out, but the wincing, and the pain filled look on his face told Logan a different story, no matter how much he tried to hide it.
“Here, take these, Mom left them for you.” The blond boy said as he handed Adam a small cup with two pills in it. Adam was so used to taking pills, that he didn't even need water anymore. He just dropped them in his mouth, and swallowed.
He then thought back to the training he had been given on how to ignore pain and began to put that training into much needed use. Slowly, the pain started to fade, and he opened his eyes. He was met by the wonderfully caring eyes of his lover, and for a moment, he became totally lost in those deep blue pools.
“Logan, are you sure your okay with...” Adam started to ask, fearing he might lose the best thing that ever happened to him.
Logan sighed, and sat down next to Adam. Gently taking the other boy’s hand and giving it a squeeze, he placed his other arm around Adam’s shoulder and pulling him close softly said with all the feeling he could put into the words, “Adam, as I said in the waiting room, I don't care what you are, I love the you that's in here...” and with that, he patted his life’s love’s chest. That released the floodgates and all the fear and worry he had been holding began to pour forth as the tears started to flow freely. He couldn't begin to describe the amount of love that wanted to burst from him, so he did the only thing he could. He threw his arms around his lover, and cried into the other boy's arms.
A few minutes, or was it years, later the tears stopped and the two boys just enjoyed the closeness they felt to each other with their arms wrapped tightly around one another. Finally though, Logan gently pushed Adam back, and looked into his lover’s eyes once again as he said. “Adam, there's something you need to know.”
Adam simply raised an eyebrow in question so Logan continued. “Last night, after you passed out again, everyone went to bed. So far, everyone has said the same thing. They... we... all had the same dream. Adam... what I'm trying to say is... everyone knows what you did for Jeremy.
Juan was sitting next to Joe's bedside in sickbay. He, like Adam, had been there every day for the last, almost, five months. He had talked to Janet about it right after Joe slipped into a coma, and found out that some people say that people could actually hear what people were saying to them while they were in a coma, so Juan had started talking to Joe about everything that was going on. He didn't know if it did any good or not, and he really didn't care. This was the only man he had ever called Dad, and if nothing else, it helped Juan deal with things.
“Hey there Daddy, it's me again. Oh boy, has a lot of stuff happened over the last few days. Sorry I didn't tell you about it till now, but I really had no idea what to make of it. You would be so proud of both Jeremy and Adam.
I told you about Jeremy, he's the one that we rescued from the group home, and was this Mike Reynolds' nephew. Well, we went and rescued Ronnie and the other kids, and everything was going fine... till we were about ready to go. We were all trying to do what mom had told us to do, and be nicer to the kids that we were rescuing. Well, it took our minds off of what we were doing, and the dangers that could still have been around, and Jeremy paid the price. Jeremy saw the guy first, and jumped in front of the shot gun blast that was aimed at Adam.” Juan stopped for a moment as he fought back the tears. Very few people knew just how closely attached Juan had become to Jeremy. He respected the older boy in a way that he didn't many other people. Jeremy had gone toe to toe with Juan, and fared a hell of a lot better then a squishy should have. Juan couldn't help but respect that a lot. And from that respect grew a close friendship. Outside of his brothers, Juan thought of Jeremy as his only real friend.
Finally, after getting his thoughts back together, he continued his story for the unconscious man. “It was bad, Daddy, Jeremy got hit in the side with a load of buck shot. Chang and mommy worked as hard as they could... but they couldn't save him.” Juan couldn't keep going. The memories of what had happened were still too fresh in his mind. He took a minute and let the tears flow. He would never allow anyone to see him crying like this... at least no one outside the family. But here, he just let himself go, he put his head down on Joe's chest, and cried like the little boy he really was.
“Adam... Adam talked to an angel... and the angel brought Jeremy back. But, Adam's... Adam's human now. That was the price the angel wanted, and Adam paid it. Everyone knows what happened, we all had a dream last night, that showed the angel coming to Adam, and Adam agreeing. Then... then Jeremy wasn't hurt anymore, but Adam was... and Adam isn't healing like he should be. He's healing like a squishy.” Juan paused, not really sure what else to say. He didn't know if talking to Joe really made any difference, or not, but it was really all he could do. He put his head down on the man's chest, and soon he fell asleep.
I guess ya know me and Jeremy got kinda close, almost like he was one of my brothers, that kind a close” Juan said to his motionless dad.
Taking a deep breath, Juan continued, “Well I guess ya might have heard about me and the sex stuff that happened to me in that place.”
“It was real bad, Daddy, and it’s another reason I love Jeremy so much, him and Tyler…well, something happened a while back…..
I thought I heard crying from Daddy Joe’s room and turned back towards it stopping in the doorway as I saw what it was and heard what Juan was saying.
I guess ya know me and Jeremy got kinda close, almost like he was one of my brothers, that kind a close,” Juan said to his motionless dad.
“It was real bad daddy, and it’s another reason I love Jeremy so much, him and Tyler…well something happened a while back…..
It was obvious that he couldn’t continue and I didn’t hesitate but walked into the room and took him into my arms hugging him tightly.
I knew how hard this was for him, as I softly asked him “You want me to tell him for you Juan?”
The little guy just sobbed into my chest and nodded his head so I began
“Well Daddy Joe, a while back, me and Tyler were…..”
We had finally gotten to bed for some cuddle time and hopefully more.
Things had been so busy around here lately I thought looking at Ty and leaning down to give him a kiss as he smiled up at me.
So much had been going on and it seemed like there was always something that needed to be done or someone who needed us for something.
Alone time had been a bit lacking to say the least recently and other than the occasional hug or touch we hadn’t been ‘together’ in a while.
Sometimes we were so tired that all we could do was drag our clothes off and fall into bed in each others’ arms and nothing more.
A few times we had tried but fell asleep in the middle of it, which is real embarrassing for someone our ages who are supposed to be able to always be ready and willing if ya know what I mean.
Of course the worst was when we actually thought we might stay awake long enough and began to have some fun and one of the little ones would come in wanting to sleep with us and of course giggle at seeing what we were doing.
They just didn’t understand closed doors or more likely they didn’t give a flying fig.
Sometimes Ty and I thought they were doing it on purpose and knowing them they just might be, too.
At last tonight all the little ones were over with Tommy and Jory in their nest and we were alone, alone at last.
“You thinking what I’m thinking?” He asked, his smile changing to a very naughty grin as I let my hand reach down and take hold of something that was already clearly happy to see me, make that very, very happy.
I just returned the grin as I felt his hand move downward and take a hold of my equally excited and oh so sensitive friend.
“Yep!” he said, or more like moaned, as our touching became more intense.
Oh, this felt sooooooooo good.
“Yes!” I felt myself moan as I heard “Whatcha doin?” from the doorway, followed by an “Oh,” as I thought, ‘Ya gotta be kidding me.’
We quickly pulled apart, breathing quickly to find Juan standing there with the strangest look on his face that seemed almost one of disgust mixed with fear.
Juan afraid, I thought, that didn’t make sense, Juan wasn’t afraid of anything.
“Sorry” he muttered and began turning away as I looked quickly at Ty before saying, “Juan wait.”
He turned back around slowly and I asked, “What’s wrong, little guy?”
“Nothin,” he muttered, acting even more strangely than before.
“You want some cuddles?” Ty asked, and Juan actually looked up with a panicked look on his face as his whole body got stiff as a board.
I was up and out of the bed in a flash heading for him, but he backed away like he was afraid of me.
“Juan, what is it?” I asked, again stopping at seeing his reaction.
“I gotta go” he said, moving towards the door again.
“Wait, tell us what’s wrong,” I said, as I felt Ty join me.
I could see him stealing glances at Ty and me and it was then I realized that the glances were not at us so much as at a certain part of us, one that was still wide awake.
Whoah, wait a minute; it was something about what we were doing that had him so freaked out.
I didn’t know much about Juan’s past except what most everyone here knew, and that was that he had been an experiment of the US Government.
I also knew that they had put Adam and his brothers through hell in those places, but I hadn’t heard anything about sex really, except for the thing with Janet teaching certain things to Adam that still made Logan blush whenever it was brought up.
That type of thing shouldn’t be freaking Juan out like this though.
I mean for us, it might be embarrassing to have our parents teach us how to masturbate, although Dad had talked about it lots with me, he’d never actually taken matters into his own hands, although I think it would have been fun if he had.
The closest it had come was me going to him and by demonstrating, I asked him if I was doing it right and that made me feel even closer to my dad and certainly not something bad.
Juan though, like Adam and the others, never knew that it was unusual so an adult telling them to get naked and then taking hold and showing them how to get ‘relief’ as they called it was looked at as just as normal as everything else in their lives.
So what had made Juan so upset?
This didn’t make any sense.
I looked at Ty and he just shrugged his shoulders as I turned back to the obvious freaked out little boy who was now trembling.
“Whatever it is, it has something to do with what we were doing, doesn’t it?” I asked and could see that trembling increase at hearing the question.
I moved forward quickly and heard him gasp “No” as I took him in my arms and hugged him to me, while Ty joined in the hug.
“Juan, you know I’d never hurt you and neither would Tyler, you know that,” I told him.
He felt like a piece of wood in my arms; he was so stiff as I just kept saying “It’s okay, it’s okay. We’re not gonna hurt ya,” over and over again.
Finally, I felt the shaking die down and a distant mumble, “You promise?”
This wasn’t the Juan I knew and what was here now scared me.
I wish Adam or someone were here, cause something was very wrong with this picture.
It was like another kid was standing here with us and it was so different than the Juan we all knew that it was starting to freak me out more than a little bit and looking over at Tyler, I could see it was him too.
“Of course I promise,” I said, as reassuringly as I could.
“Me too, we’d never hurt you, Juan” Ty added.
After a while of just holding him and rubbing his back gently, we could feel him calming a bit as the shaking got less.
“Tell us what’s wrong, Juan, we can’t help if we don’t understand,” I told him.
He pulled back and looked at us carefully, almost as if he expected us to do something to him, before he finally said,
“You…you love each other.”
I looked at Ty, completely baffled again, before he said, “Yeah we do,” while I just nodded my head.
He looked back and forth between us and said, “But…but…you…you…were…you were gonna do…” and stopped looking down at the floor.
“Gonna do what, Juan?” I asked him.
In a whisper that I almost couldn’t hear, he said, “S…s..sssex stuff.”
I could feel my eyes go wide in surprise at that, since we had been doing ‘sex stuff’ when he walked in, there was no ‘gonna’ about it.
The question was why was this bothering him so much.
Could he feel left out, maybe that’s it, maybe no one does those things with him.
Yet if that was true, why did he seem so afraid?
Maybe he’d been told it was bad or bad for boys to do stuff together.
“Yeah we were,” Ty replied.
He looked up at us with a look of disbelief on his face.
“Why would you want to do that?” and he said ‘that’ as if it was something nasty, “if you love each other?” he asked.
I could see and just about know what Ty was thinking with the look he gave me.
'Nine years old and he doesn’t know why you’d want to do that?
Wow, that place sure messed him up.
Maybe they didn’t teach the ‘relief’ thing til the kid got older or something.'
“Cause we like it,” Ty told him and got another look of disbelief on the younger boy’s face.
“You like it?” he asked, in a shocked voice.
“Oh yeah, it’s the best feeling in the world,” I said, as his face went white.
Tyler was looking at me and I could tell what he was thinking again as I said to Juan, “Would you like to join us?”
Ty nodded his head and Juan looked back and forth between us before saying “You want to do sex stuff with me? I thought you liked me?”
“We do, or we wouldn’t offer to share that with you, Juan” I told him.
He looked down for a minute then straightened up and said “Alright, I’ll be right back,” and walked from the room.
We both watched him leave and just stood there in silence, shocked at the look on his face as he left. It was almost like he was going to die or something.
“What the hell?” we both said at the same time as we fell into each others arms and headed back to the bed.
“I don’t know love, something strange but I don’t know,” I said.
“I thought maybe he’d never done nothing before but now I’m not so sure Jer,” Ty said to me.
“Yeah, there’s something we’re missing here,” I replied looking at the doorway in thought trying to figure out what the hell was going on.
Some of it could be explained by what Ty and I thought, but not all of it.
He was afraid and afraid of sex for some reason and the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it wasn’t more than just not having done it or being told it was bad.
Then I had a thought and turned to Ty “Do you think someone abused him in that place?” I asked.
“I don’t know. We know kids who were messed with and even though they didn’t like it when they got made to do stuff, they did know how good it felt and didn’t mind doing stuff as long as they wanted to,” he said.
“Yeah you’re right,” I replied, still thinking.
“Remember Mark though. He had been raped and forced to suck his stepfather. He was really freaked out by seeing the guys messing around until we took him someplace private and explained then showed him what it’s supposed to be like,” I added
“Yeah, his stepfather had never made him feel anything good while doing that stuff to him, and him being so little, he never had learned how awesome it can feel,” Ty said.
“Maybe something like that happened to Juan. Maybe someone there forced him, and he’s little enough that he might not know how good it can feel,” I said.
“Well, we’ll show him then, he’s like a little brother to me,” Ty replied.
“Yeah, me too, we’ll make this the best in the world for him,” I told him giving him a kiss.
We were lost in that kiss and hard as rocks when Juan came back, and we only knew when we heard the gasp from the doorway.
“Mmmm, you ready Juan?” I asked, as I broke away from Ty’s sweet lips.
Juan had walked over to the bed as I turned around to look up at him smiling only to have it change into a look of horror as I saw him.
Tyler gave a strangled gasp as he said, “Oh my God.”
“Y…yyy..yyes” Juan stuttered at that point.
Standing before us was Juan, naked and holding things in his hands with tears running down his face.
He looked lost and alone and he looked completely terrified, even as he tried to be brave.
In one hand was several sets of handcuffs and in the other….
“Oh Jesus!” I cried, as I got a better look at what was in that other hand.
Both of us sat up and Ty angrily said, “What the hell is that stuff for?”
Juan just looked confused but finally answered, “Y…you…said you wanted to do s…ssssex…ssstuff”
I could see the anger drain out of Ty’s face as it went white in horror and disbelief and I knew my own matched it, as I reached out striking the metal plate and sending it and all it’s contents flying across the room to Juan’s stunned look.
I saw Tyler take the cuffs from Juan’s hand and throw them to join the rest, both of us with tears running down our faces as I pulled Juan down unresisting into our arms crying, “Oh Juan, no, no, no, no!”
We wrapped our arms around him and held him tightly to us, hugging him with everything we had as we asked, “Why?”
I almost wished I hadn’t, as over the next little while he told us exactly why he’d brought the handcuffs and the metal plate full of things to our room.
For on that plate were surgical instruments.
Knives, things that pulled, things that pinched and things of which I didn’t even want to know what their purpose was.
Seeing those things in his hands, Ty and I both understood why Juan seemed so afraid, we would have been too.
Much later, all of us crying, his story had been finished, and I now knew why he was regrowing something when I met him.
“We’re so sorry Juan, we never knew,” I said, as we lay there still holding onto him tightly.
“You seem surprised; is there some other form of s..ss.ssex that doesn’t involve…well, pain?” he asked shyly.
“Sex isn’t ever supposed to involve pain Juan, ever. It’s not something that anyone should ever force someone else to do, and it should never hurt,” I told him while Tyler added, “It’s the best feeling in the world, and even better if it’s with someone you love.”
Juan looked at us, clearly not believing it, yet I could see something buried deep in his eyes that said he desperately wanted to.
I looked at Ty and he nodded, smiling as I turned back to Juan and said, “Little brother, let us show you what it’s supposed to be.”
He looked at us with trusting eyes, although the fear was still there but finally nodded and with a smile, our hands went out and began touching him.
His cheek, his forehead, his arms, his chest and legs and finally after a long, very long time of just gently caressing his entire body, everywhere except the center we moved down there.
It was all ready for us as we knew it would be and it hadn’t been touched yet as my hand found it and Ty’s went to that which lay below both of us giving those areas gentle loving for the first time.
Juan’s response was everything one could hope for, and everything we had hoped as he gasped, crying out in surprise as he arched his body at that first long awaited touch of that area that he hadn’t even known he was waiting for, but it was the smile that was on his face, the smile and the look of wonder that I would remember for the rest of my life as we showed him exactly what it was really supposed to be like.
If I or Ty had thought the beginning was good the ending was fantastic.
I had never seen anyone actually pass out from that before, at least until now.
When he woke up, the look in his eyes was so full of love, disbelief, wonder and gratitude that it made me feel like a king for having been able to give this gift to him and cause that look.
I could see the same thought in Ty’s face as we looked at one another and knew that it was something that would always stay with us as one of the most profound things to ever happen to us in our lives.
“I never knew….” Juan said softly in the afterglow
“Now you do bro,” I told him as he smiled up at us with a look of contentment and peace on his face.
“Yeah and I think I’m gonna really like sex from now on,” he said and I could see some of the old cocky Juan back now.
It was damn good to see it too, I thought as Ty and I looked at each other thinking the same thoughts, as we turned our gaze down on what awaited.
Reaching across, we each took the other into our hand and with all that had gone on, quickly gave the other the same joy as we had just given to Juan moments before while he watched without fear now, as we pleasured each other.
That in itself was worth it all; to see him watching with love in his eyes but not the other that had been there.
As we were lost in the feeling and coming back, we heard our old Juan back and couldn’t help but giggle both in relief and in joy.
“Ewww did ya have to make a mess all over me?” he said before adding, “Next time, point em somewhere else, gross.”
We wrapped our little brother once again in our arms as we giggled at his indignation, and we all fell asleep sometime as the giggling stopped, but not before telling one another between the laughter, “I love you.”
As I finished, Juan pulled away and giving me a kiss on my cheek, took his father’s hand saying softly, “I understand now Daddy, I really understand,” as he turned a smiling face back up at me.
I think this was the final thing he needed, to tell his dad.
Kevin, Keith, and Karl were all walking from the room they shared, into the dinning area. They still couldn't understand why the people here were so nice. They had only been here a few weeks, and everyone here had accepted them in with open arms. Kevin was sure it was because of the old Japanese man that had showed them where this place was.
He still wasn't sure about everything that was going on here. He had been warned by the old man that they would see strange and wondrous things here, but they were still a bit hard to believe. Who would actually believe genetically engineered people, and cat hybrids, not to mention the dream they had a few nights ago, where an actual angel came down and saved someone's life.
They ate quickly as they were scheduled to do some firearms training today. All three of them eagerly accepted the offer to train with the kids here, and learn how to be soldiers. Their mother didn't like it much, but their dad was okay with it, since he spent lots of time with Will and Bill in the hanger. He was a pilot in the military and then spent time working on aircraft after he got out. Mom, for her part, spent most of her time working with the kids that had problems to talk out. That was something she was always good at, and since she had given up her job as a social worker, this was her only chance to do what she liked to do.
“Hey guys, over here!” They all turned and saw Sean Patrick standing there with the other members of their “team.” Everyone had taken to calling their “Strike Team” the “Tiny Terrors,” as Sean, the oldest of them, was only fourteen. The other two members were Tyler Morse, and Doug Crawford. Tyler was still a little bit shaken from almost having lost his boy friend Jeremy, but they all thought some extra training might help him take his mind off what had happened, so they were here just for that.
When they all got out to the firing range, they noticed that Sammy and his dad were there. Sammy seemed to be a bit out of it, and they all knew what it was. None of them had ever had to kill someone before, but they all knew that it took it's toll on someone.
We watched as Mike placed his hand on Sammy’s shoulder and lead him off to a private corner where they spoke together for a few minutes.
“You okay son?” I asked as I placed my hand on his shoulder and gave it a squeeze.
He looked up at me with a lost expression before mumbling something unintelligible.
“Come on baby boy.” I said leading him off to a corner that afforded some privacy.
The old Sammy was gone and had been since the night of the rescue.
He’d also avoided talking about it too, but that was about to change.
“SamSam?” I asked softly when we had gotten out of earshot.
He looked up at me and he looked so lost at that moment that I just pulled him to me and hugged him tight for a few moments before letting go once again.
“Dad, I don’t know what I’m supposed to feel. I’m glad I shot him. I’m glad the guys are alive and he’s not yet…yet it makes me sick thinking about it. I can’t stop seeing him. Even when I’m asleep I see him.” he told me.
“I know baby, I know.” I said.
“What do I do?” he asked.
“Go on, realize you didn’t have a choice and go on. He made the choice, not you honey and you have to realize that deep down.” I told him.
“How?” he asked
“Let’s go somewhere more private.” I said
“Later Dad, I think I want to shoot now.” he replied and before I could say anything, he moved off towards the firing line.
Vishnu came out of the shadows where I hadn’t noticed him before now and after giving me a hug said, “He’s hurting inside because he shot that man?”
“Yes honey, he is.” I said.
“Why? He did what he was supposed to.” he replied.
“I know that, but taking a life isn’t easy, shouldn’t be easy and he’s finding that out.” I said.
He looked after Sammy for a moment and then said, “You do what you gotta do,” as he walked off.
I knew he’d been trained to take lives, but I hoped he would never have to, because he would lose something if he did, something Sammy lost the other night, his innocence.
Adam was sitting at the table, talking to both Logan and Janet about everything that had happened. Janet still wasn't happy with what Adam had done, not because it saved Jeremy's life, but because it had hurt Adam.
“Adam,” she began, “I want you to know that I'm really proud of you for what you did, but...” She trailed off not really knowing how to say it. She just couldn't vocalize the feelings she had when she had thought that Adam was going to die. Even the thought of it was just too painful, she couldn’t lose him, and more, Logan couldn’t either.
“Mom, I know what you mean, but... But he did what he had to do.” Logan said, before Adam could respond. She saw the tears threatening to spill in Logan's eyes, and knew how much it was affecting him. He had almost lost his boy friend, but again, she knew he had to do it... that was just the way Adam was, and if it meant his life to spare one of his own, then...
Adam was about to say something, when suddenly he clutched his head and screamed out in pain. Logan and Janet were out of their seats in a flash and at Adam's side with Logan crying “Adam, what’s wrong?” but Adam was lost in the feelings coursing through him, still clutching the sides of his head as he whimpered in pain.
“D...Dad...” he barely got out as he struggled to his feet. Logan helped him up and they all started to run to the room where Joe had been in a coma for the last four months. Both Logan and Janet fearing the worst, that Joe had finally died.
Adam was barely able to keep running, leaning on Logan heavily while still holding his head and saying “Dad...Dad!” over and over again. Still it didn't take them long to make it to the hospital section of the complex, and to the room that Joe was in. Adam seemed to regain a bit of his strength as he got closer, and because of that, he made it to be the first one in the room.
“DAD!!!” Adam cried as he entered the room, and saw Juan lying across the bed hugging Joe gently, yet very firmly. The little guy had tears running down his face. He barely even noticed the others in the room till Adam was right next to him hugging Joe as well. Janet, meanwhile had pushed past Logan who had stopped dead in his tracks at the sight which confronted him, to get to Joe's bedside fearing the worst, mumbling “No, please no, not again,” the whole way.
Her hand flew to her mouth as she choked back a sob as she heard. “Hell... I always knew I'd end up in Hell.” Joe said, in a very raspy voice, and all three boys now covered him up in hugs. “Easy guys... I still feel like shit.” He added, at his sons’ exuberance.
All three boys jumped off of him at once, and began apologizing profusely. The door opened, and in came Chang, followed by the rest of the Unit boys rushing in with Donny and Emily right on their heels. Everyone was overjoyed to see that Joe was awake, and Janet gave them a few moments with him before she started to chase everyone out of the room so she and Chang could look him over. She was surprised to see even the usually emotionless Chang had a tear in his eye at watching what was going on.
Everyone got their chance to give Joe a hug, but then Janet and Chang made them all leave while they checked Joe over. It was a much happier group sitting in the waiting room than had been there in the past. Someone had told Alvin what had happened, and the next thing they knew, an announcement was made throughout the base. Of course, that meant that everyone that knew Joe, flocked to the waiting room.
It took Chang and Janet over an hour, but they finally came out to the waiting area. Janet looked around, smiled, and a cheer went up in the room. Once everyone quieted down, she began to tell them what was going on. “Joe is indeed awake, and doing well. It will take some time to know the full extent of his injuries, but so far as we can tell right now, there is no brain damage.”
Another cheer went up, and when Logan looked at Adam, he had tears openly streaming down his face, but those tears were on a face that was smiling finally. Logan was so happy to see the face splitting grin that was on his face that he had begun to wonder if he would ever see again, that he couldn’t help but shed his own tears, both for Joe and for his love. He looked back just in time to see his mother raising her hand to quiet everyone down.
“He's still very tired, and needs a lot of rest. For now, I would like to try and keep the visitors down to a minimum. What I would ask is that you keep the visits short, and keep in mind that lots of people want to see him. Joe asked that Adam, Logan, Juan and Emily be the first, so I'm sorry, but the rest of you will have to wait.” With that, she led the four kids back into the hospital ward.
When they walked into the room, Joe was sitting up in the bed, reading from his medical chart. Emily and Juan rushed over and gently hugged Joe. When they broke from the hug, Joe looked up and saw Adam standing in the background, with tears running down his face, and a slightly worried look on it now.
“Come here son, every thing's okay.” Joe said, and that broke the dam that had been held in check for so long. Adam rushed into Joe's arms, and began crying. Over and over again he kept saying how sorry he was, and Joe just kept holding him and telling him that everything was going to be okay. Once Adam calmed down a little bit, Joe looked at Logan, opened his arms to him and smiling said softly, “Come on Logan, he’s not my only son you know, and I want a hug from one of my other ones now.” Logan smiled as even more tears came to his eyes as he went over and joined the hug with Adam and Joe.
Janet was smiling as she walked back to her room. Right before Joe's accident, they had been talking about relationships, and where theirs might lead. She was really starting to love Joe when the accident happened, and for the last four months, she wasn't sure if he was even going to live. She was starting to have some major doubts about relationships with what had happened. She thought back to the only other man she had ever loved, Brent, Logan's father. She also remembered the day, when Logan was barely two years old, that she got visitors to their home... two men dressed in full military dress uniforms. She knew immediately what that meant, she had been bracing herself for it since she married Brent. She knew all too well the dangers of loving a military man.
Twenty six year old Janet Hayes was sitting in the living room of their home on Fort Bragg Military Base. Her two year old son, Logan, playing contentedly at her feet. She had a smile on her face as she watched her son playing with the Lincoln Log set he had gotten for Christmas. Once again, she thought about Brent, and knew he would have loved to be here to see this. Logan was his life, ever since the little boy was born.
The last time Brent was home, all of the men in his unit said they knew more about Logan then they did about her. Of course they would always laugh when they said that, but she had no doubt that it was true. She didn't have to doubt Brent's love for her, but she also knew that his eldest son was the center of his universe. Of course that will all change in about three months. She patted her stomach, thinking about the baby that was growing inside of her. She and Brent had both decided that they didn't want to know what the baby’s sex was, they both wanted to be surprised. Janet was sure it was going to be a girl, but Brent had insisted it would be a boy.
Janet was suddenly brought out of her thoughts by the sound of car doors closing outside of their little house. She got out of the chair she was sitting in, and walked to the window to see who it was. Her hand shot to her mouth as a gasp escaped. Walking up her walkway were two men, both dressed in their full military uniforms. She had heard about this plenty of times, but somehow she had never quite believed it would be she who was seeing it on her walk, and knew that it could only mean one thing. Her beloved Brent was dead.
Even though she had been watching them, she still jumped slightly when she heard the knock on the door, but she couldn't move, she didn't want to answer it.
“Mommy, soweone's at da door.” Logan said from his place on the floor. She looked over at him, and he jumped to his feet. “Mommy! Whad's wong?” He asked, as he toddled over and hugged her knees, instinctively sensing that something was wrong, as only the very young can.
She couldn't say anything, as she slowly moved to the door. When she finally was able to open it, the two men were standing there with their hats in their hands. “Mrs. Hayes?” The one asked, and she could just barely nod. “May we come in?” The other one asked, and numbly she nodded, and let them in.
They sat down, and proceeded to tell her that Brent had died in an attack on a Federation Embassy in Europe. Brent was in command of the Embassy's Security, he and his troops had held back the attackers while the Federation Personnel were evacuated. Somehow the attackers had made it impossible to beam everyone out, so they had to fight their way to the shuttles. Brent made sure all the civilians had escaped, before he ordered his troops to fall back, and escape as well. Unfortunately, he didn't make it out alive.
Janet sat their in shock the entire time the men were talking. She just couldn't believe that Brent was dead. Logan, not really knowing what was going on, was still sitting on the floor playing. How was she going to explain to him that his daddy was not ever coming home. She knew he was smart, but he was still only two years old... how do you explain death to a two year old. Suddenly, she cried out in pain and doubled over on the floor. All she heard was Logan screaming, then it all went black.
She woke up some time later in the base's hospital. She cried when she found out that she had lost her child. The doctors said that the stress of losing Brent had sent her into pre-mature labor, and the baby didn't survive.
Brent had been right, it would have been his second son.
Adam walked into Joe's room two days after his dad woke up. Adam hadn't been this happy in a long time, and although he was still very sore, he almost never seemed to not have a smile on his face. “Hey Dad,” he said, as he walked into the room, and over to the side of Joe's bed.
“Hey there Adam, you look happy.” Joe said, putting the papers he was reading down. Adam saw that they were the reports that Adam had written about the incident, many months ago.
“Yeah, I really am. I really didn't know if I would ever get to see you again.” Adam said, and Joe saw that the tears were getting ready to spill from Adam's eyes again. Joe just opened his arms up, and Adam fell into them, and again Adam cried tears of joy that he had his dad back once more, after all this time.
It took a few minutes, but the tears finally ended, and Adam stood back up. Joe sat back on the bed, and patted the side of it for Adam to lay down next to him. The boy happily hopped up on the hospital bed, and cuddled into his father's arms. “So Adam... I understand that a lot has changed here lately. Why don't you fill me in.”
Adam smiled up at him, and nodded his head. “Well, lets see... a few things have changed. We now have over two hundred people here.”
“What?!?!” Joe exclaimed. Janet had said that things changed a bit, but she told him that Adam would be the best one to explain. He didn't think that they had changed that much though.
Adam just giggled, and began to tell Joe the events of the last four and half months. “Well... it started out when we found a boy at the mall being harassed by an old guy who wanted to rape him. Juan put an end to that real quick, and we ended up bringing him, and the other people that lived with him here. You see they were all homeless, so we gave them one.” He said grinning at the look still on his dad’s face. Adam then went on to tell Joe as much as he knew about all of them, as well as Martha and Sam, who everyone has taken to calling Grandma and Grandpa. At some point, Adam moved to sit in a chair next to Joe's bed.
Next, Adam went on to explain about the four big helicopters that came and landed near them, and how the kids that were on them were Genesis, and how their Intel Team actually found out where Adam and the group were at, then staged an escape so that they could join up with them.
He explained how they were all part of the project that produced his brothers and himself. How none of them were on the same level as The Unit, but they were still more than a normal human. He then went on and told Joe about how they had spent the last months doing some massive training, and refitting the helicopters the way that Will wanted them.
He also told Joe about Logan's brothers. To say that Joe was shocked would be an understatement. Thirteen more Logan's... that had to be interesting. He then explained about the cloning and about the real past to project Genesis.
Joe was told about their old Master coming and staying with them, as well as those he brought with him. But he saved the two best things for last. “There's two more things that I haven't told you about yet.” Adam finally said, almost an hour later.
Joe, who had listened to everything in amazement, just nodded for Adam to proceed. Adam jumped up from the chair he was sitting in, and went to the phone. He picked it up, and punched the buttons for the intercom system. “Attention on base, would Khan and Vishnu please report to the hospital ward as soon as possible.” Adam said into the phone, then hung it up. He stood there for a few moments thinking about everything that had happened, and how happy he was to have Joe back. After a minute or two, he turned to go back to his chair. He had barely gotten back there, when there was a knock at the door.
Joe sat there waiting after Adam made his announcement. He was really curious as to what else had happened since the accident, and if Adam had waited till now to tell him, it had to be good. Soon a knock came at the door. Adam turned back around and went over to the door, opening it to allow two figures to enter. Both were dressed in blood red robes which covered them from head to toe, so Joe couldn’t see their faces but the thing that shocked Joe right off the bat was the size of one of them.
Adam introduced them as Amur Khan, and Vishnu. Vishnu wasn't all that large, but Joe just couldn't get over how big Khan was. He had to stand seven and a half feet tall, and Joe could easily tell just by the way he moved that he was a VERY dangerous person.
“You asked to see us, Sir,” came the rumbling from behind the hooded Khan.
“Yes I did, please, be at ease.” Adam said, and Joe saw both of them relax visibly. “I asked you both here, so I could introduce you to my father.”
They both nodded, and Joe worked hard to keep his face neutral as he saw furred hands reach out from the clocks, and pull the hoods back. Unfortunately for Joe, he couldn't keep the gasp from escaping when he saw Both Khan and Vishnu's faces.
Joe couldn't believe what he was seeing. Humanoid cats... that just wasn't possible! Ummm... Ummm... Damn... This is some good shit that Janet's got me on.” Joe said, knowing it had to be the drugs that were making him see things.
Adam busted out laughing, and Joe looked back and forth between him and the cats. “No Dad... it's not the drugs, they really are cats. They were a part of Genesis too, but a different part. They're trained to be an all out assault team, and are very good at what they do.” Khan stood there stone faced, but Vishnu gave a boyish grin, that while it looked totally innocent, Joe couldn't help but notice the very sharp teeth that hid behind the smile.
Joe took a few moments to gather himself after being introduced. “Ummm... Nice to meet you.” Joe said, as he extended his hand. Khan gave a small smile as he shook it, but Vishnu absolutely glowed as he grabbed Joe's hand and shook it, then carefully hugged the man.
“The commander's told us so much about you. I'm so glad to see your gonna be okay.” He said, and Joe couldn't help but chuckle at the little cat's enthusiasm.
“Okay Adam, you said there were two more things, this was one, what's the next... I'm almost scared to find out.” He said, looking back to Adam.
Adam grinned, “Well... there's one more person you need to meet. You'll have to ask Logan, if you want specifics.”
“Ooookay.” Joe said, now getting really confused, Adam walked over to the computer monitor and turned it towards Joe. “Hello Daileass.” Suddenly a face appeared on the screen. It was a boy, about thirteen years old, with blond hair and brilliant blue eyes. “Hey Adam, what's up?” The voice came from the speakers in the room, and everyone stood there slack jawed.
Not even Vishnu or Khan knew about Daileass yet.
“Well, it's time for you to start meeting people, and I figured you could start with my dad.” Adam said, while motioning to where Joe lay.
The face on the monitor looked over, his eyes landing on Joe, and his face lit up. “Cool, I'm so glad to see that you’re awake. Adam's been driving everyone nuts worrying about you.” The boy said with a smile, and Joe just shook his head.
“Yes Dad, he's an AI that can see and do anything in the base.” Adam turned his attention back to the screen. “Hey Daileass... where's Logan at?”
Daileass got a look of concentration on his face for a moment, then said. “He should be here in about three point two seconds.” He grinned, and just then a knock came at the door, and everyone let out a bit of a chuckle.
Adam opened the door and let Logan into the room. All eyes were on him, so he stopped and looked around to see what was going on. “Hey Logan.” Came the voice from the speakers, and Logan just grinned.
“Hey there Daileass... I see Adam is starting to introduce you to everyone.” Logan said as he walked over to the monitor, and patted it on the top. The face on the monitor looked extremely pleased, and Joe could have sworn it was the look of someone who just got patted on the shoulder.
“Yup, but I think he had more in mind than this... but then again, I know everything that happens here, and I know he has something else in mind. Yes Adam, it is ready for you.” The voice said, and everyone could clearly hear the excitement in his voice.
All eyes were now on Adam who had a silly grin on his face. “Okay... he's right... there is one more thing that I've been hiding from you guys, but let's wait till everyone else...” Just then a knock came at the door, and into the room filed Juan, Jory, Emily, Donnie, Will, Bill, and Chang.
It was chaos for a few minutes as everyone got a hug from Joe and asked how he was doing. Once everyone was convinced that Joe was doing fine, he looked over to Adam. “Okay, so what's this surprise of yours?”
“Well, while everyone was busy over the past few months, I've been working on something, with the help of a few select others. This was kept top secret, and they were not allowed to mention it to anyone until I made it known. So, except for five others, you will be the first to hear about it. After I explain it to you guys, I will be making an announcement for everyone in the base to assemble outside, so that everyone can see it.” Adam paused and looked around to make sure that everyone understood what was going to happen, then he started to tell them what his big surprise was. By the time he was done, every single person there had their mouth hanging open in shock. Adam just grinned, grabbed Joe's wheelchair, and after he had helped Joe get into it, he led everyone out to the front of the complex.
He knew that his sudden announcement that anyone wanting to see a big surprise should meet out front had taken most everyone by surprise and he couldn’t help but grin to see their curiosity at what it was, because very few actually knew what it was about. He almost laughed out loud at seeing the bundles of excitement that were Juan and Jory, especially considering how hard he had worked to keep it from seeping through their link and giving it away to them.
What made people wonder even more than being called outside, was the fact that Adam had told everyone to bring the new body armor they had gotten just a few weeks ago. This was very high tech armor, and looked almost futuristic. It was based off of what the cats wore, and was all black including the helmet and full face shield.
But what was really interesting was just how high tech the armor was. First off, the helmet's face shield actually had a heads up display. On the arm, there was a small computer, that could be used to bring up different maps and such on that display. But the real advantage of the body armor was that while it was extremely flexible and allowed for full range of motion, it was just as tough as the harder body armor out there. It really was the best you could get.
“Hey, has anyone seen the Cats?” Adam asked, once everyone was out there. He was looking around for Khan, but didn't see him or any of the others.
“Don't worry about it Adam, they'll be here... just go ahead and start the show.” This coming from the radio on Adam's side, it was Daileass' voice. Adam just shrugged and raised his hand to quiet everyone down. It took a few minutes, but it was soon quiet enough for everyone to hear him.
“Okay everyone, thank you for coming out here. I know many of you are wondering why you are here, so instead of blabbing at you, I'll just show you.” Adam grinned and heard a few laughs as he brought the radio to his mouth. “Okay Phantom, you’re on.”
A few seconds later, everyone could start to hear the sound of a helicopter in the distance, then quite suddenly, the MI-26 popped up out of a canyon and continued to gain altitude. Underneath it, everyone could see something huge being suspended. Adam raised his voice to be heard as the helicopter started to come in closer.
“I would like to present to you the U.N.I.T's Mobile Command Center!” Just then, the Helicopter flew over head of them at full speed. Adam looked puzzled because this was not what was supposed to be happening. He saw that the back hatch was open, and just as he was about to radio Charlie and find out what was going on, he saw ten figures jump out of the back. Everyone gasped as they were not wearing parachutes... not that there would be enough time for them to deploy and slow them down before they hit the ground anyway.
Adam could only watch what was unfolding. He couldn't believe that they would just jump from that high.. I mean they were over one hundred a fifty feet off the ground! Not even they could survive hitting the ground from that height.
Suddenly, every single one of the cats brought their arms and legs together, shifted them around for a moment, then spread their legs and arms out as wide as they would go. In between their arms and legs, Adam could see some type of material that was catching the wind and slowing them down. “HOLY SHIT!!! They had made themselves gliders!”
The Cats glided down to the LZ as the Helicopter banked and came around for another pass. When they hit the ground, all the Cats rolled and came up with their rifles drawn looking for targets. “CLEAR” Adam heard them call out one by one. It was a perfect show of how to secure an area.
Then Charlie brought the 26 in low, stopped and hovered with the command center about ten feet off the ground, and then he slowly came down till the command center touched down. Once it was down, the cables released and Charlie banked to the right and sped off.
Adam just shook his head and grinned as everyone else erupted into cheers. Finally, Adam turned to Logan, “Well, what do you think?”
Grinning, Logan shook his head as they started to walk forward. “What did you do Adam?”
“WHAT?” He asked with a grin, “We needed one, everyone else was busy, so I made it. I think you'll like it too.”
“I'm sure I will. Why don't you tell me what I'm seeing then, that way I can know what I'm supposed to do... since I figured this is for us Intel people.”
“Right you are, Babe. Okay, first, as you can see, the main floor is about five feet off the ground. Under the floor are the power generators, air conditioning and ventilation units. The flaps there, drop down to add extra armor to protect those areas.” They had been moving around the outside, and had just got to the main door in the back when Adam finished up.
“Now, watch this.” He said, as he brought the mic back to his mouth. “Okay Alvin, go for it.”
Just then, the main door lowered, making a ramp. Alvin, sitting at the controls of a small Bob Cat Front End loader, rolled out. “That's for digging in, if we have the time, and want to, we can use this to actually dig a hole big enough for this, and put the generators and such under ground. Of course, that's why you have the stacks on the side, so they can breath and the exhaust can be diverted out.”
Logan just nodded and moved out of the way as Alvin drove the bob cat out a little ways, shut it down and jumped out. He ran over to Adam, “Every thing's set up Colonel.”
Adam nodded, and led Logan up inside. Logan had just passed the entrance when he came to a dead stop at seeing the set up that was inside. “Holy Shit... This is almost as good as the Intel room in the base!”
Adam grinned and nodded, as he then went about and showed Logan all the different computer terminals and what each one did. Logan was more and more impressed as he went on, but he nearly fainted when he got to the main control terminal.
“Hello Logan,” said a voice from the terminal, and Logan knew right away it was Daileass.
“Daileass? But, how?” He asked in amazement.
“That's simple love,” Adam said, as he sat down in the commander's chair. “This thing has satellite up link capabilities. Once the up link is in place, Daileass can operate anything here, just as if it were in the base. Who do you think taught me how to do all the computer wiring and what not?” The grin on Adam's face was huge as he kicked back, and put his feet up on the terminal.
Logan pulled Adam up into a tight hug, and started to kiss him deeply. The love he felt for Adam was boundless and this just made him love Adam even more. Logan had said that they should make one of these, but was complaining about not having the time to do it. So Adam had done it for him, even taking the time to learn how to do everything that was needed.
“Will you two knock it off already, you can christen that place later on. GEEZZZ!!!! It's not like you guys haven't had sex in almost every other place on base.” Daileass's voice rang out, and the two boys jumped apart, blushing, much to the amusement of everyone else that was there.
Adam looked at Logan and grinned. “Man... did you have to put cameras in everywhere, including the kitchens.”
“EWWWW!!!!!! Don't tell me you did that in MY Kitchen!” Came the high pitched voice of little Ray. Everyone dissolved into laughing fits at that.
Janet was sitting in her office, talking to Clare. She had called her down to the office to talk to her. The girl had been feeling ill lately, and had gone to the doctor to see what was going on. “Well Clare, we got the tests back, and... well... it looks like you’re pregnant.”
“WHAT?” The girl asked in disbelief. “I... It's not... I... Can't be...”
“Sorry hun, but you are. I did the test myself.” Janet said, trying to reassure the girl. She knew it had to be hard to find out you’re pregnant when you’re only fifteen.
“But... you don't understand... I CAN'T BE Preg...” Clare was stammering now, she couldn't even bring herself to say the words.
“Clare... you did have sex, right?”
“Well... yeah.. but...” She said blushing a bit
“Well, even if you used birth control or condoms, they don't always work. Trust me... I've seen it before.” Janet said in full mother mood now.
“No... you don't understand... I CAN'T be pregnant... I don't even think it's possible.” Clare was saying when they were interrupted by a knock at the door.
Chang walked in and stopped, seeing that Janet was busy. “Oh, I am sorry Mother, but I have something you need to see.”
Janet nodded and Chang walked over to her, handing her a piece of paper. “I just got done testing Father's blood.”
Janet took the paper and started looking at it. Her face took on a look of stunned disbelief. “This... this can't be. Are you sure these are right?”
Chang nodded, “Yes mother, I have rechecked these results nine hundred and seventy two times... all with the same readings. Father is beginning to think he is a pin cushion.”
Janet's face had drained of all color as she read over the report one more time. 'This simply isn't possible' she thought to herself.
“Can I have everyone's attention please.” Jack spoke into the microphone, and then waited as the room quieted down. “I want to thank all of you for coming tonight, even though it was an order for you all to show up.” Everyone in the room chuckled politely at Jack's poor attempt at humor. “I would like to ask all of you to find your seats, and as soon as everyone else shows up, we will begin.”
People started to move to their spots when a voice spoke up from the doorway. “Hey, you guys don't have to wait for us, you should know that it takes forever for a woman to get ready.” That did bring the laughs that Jack had tried to get before, as everyone turned to see Joe being pushed into the room by Janet. She paused just long enough to playfully slap him in the back of the head.
Adam couldn't resist, as he spoke up. “Hey mom, don't hit him, you just spent the last four months trying to fix him up.” That brought another round of laughs as Joe flipped Adam the bird. The two adults made their way up to the front table, and took their places.
About five minutes later, it looked like everyone was in their place, so Jack stood and again took his place in front of the podium. “Okay, it looks like everyone is here. Before we begin, I just want to tell all of you to have fun, I know most of you have never been at a formal dinner before, so I'll give you this little tip. As far as the silverware goes, just start on the outside and work your way in. Other than that, don't worry about it, as Janet has already said that she will not be grading anyone on their performance tonight.” That did get everyone to laugh, and broke the tension in the room as a voice from one of the younger boys in the back rang out. “Okay, enough talk already, lets eat!”
That set the mood for the evening, and over the next hour, they were all treated to a wonderful meal that was prepared by David and his crew. They had a nice salad to start things off, and the meal just got better from there. After the meal was over, the serving crew came out with bottles of wine, and proceeded to fill everyone's glass with some wine. Everyone was told that they would only get one glass of wine, and they were told to hold off on drinking it till they were told.
After the serving crew disappeared again, Jack took his place behind the microphone. “Okay everyone, it's going to be about ten minutes before we start so that the serving crew can have time to change and join us. Now would be a good time to get up and stretch your legs if needed and hit the bathroom. The official part of this evening will take a little while, and I would prefer that no one have to run to the head in the middle of it.”
Ten minutes later, Jack again stepped up to the microphone. “Can I have everyone's attention please.” He had to wait for a few second while everyone found their seats and quieted down. Once he saw that everyone was ready, he spoke. “Before we begin, I would like to express our appreciation to Major Hathaway, and the entire Domicile Staff for their hard work to put this meal together. From what David has told me, they started this morning at 05:30, and have been working hard ever since.”
The auditorium erupted in applause as the eight kids and one adult stood up and took their bows. Everyone could see that all of them were exhausted from a long days work. When the room quieted down again, Jack started up. “As much as I am sure all of you would love to hear me talk all night long, I think I will turn this over to our Master of Ceremonies. Please welcome Colonel Adam Casey.”
The room again erupted in applause as Adam took the mic. Once everyone settled down, he started. “You know, it's hard to believe that seven short months ago, this place was nothing more then a dust covered secret, and all of you were nothing more than either, a bunch of homeless kids, barely getting enough to eat, while you hid out from people who would try and hurt you, or locked up in some laboratory somewhere. It's hard to believe that only eight short months ago, I was sitting in a different, laboratory waiting for the next test that they wanted to perform. It's also hard to believe that just a few short months ago, I didn't know I had a family. Now, I have a real father, a person who may not be my birth mother, but she IS my mother. Now I have four brothers who have gone through a lot of what I did in the labs. I have a boyfriend that has stuck by me through everything that has happened, both good and bad. And, as I found out just a few short months ago, I have two half brothers. One of them is here, the other one we are still looking for. I would like to ask for everyone to take a moment to send their best wishes to Jimmy. Know that we are still looking for you, and we will find you.” Adam paused, and bent his head. He didn't want everyone to see just how much pain he was in both physically, and mentally.
After a few moments, he looked up, and spoke again. “Most importantly, beyond those I just mentioned, is that I have found something even more incredible and that’s all of you, you have become my family just as much as my original brothers and half brothers.” Adam had to stop at the thunderous applause that greeted his last statement and he also had to fight back the tears to see the love they held for him in their eyes as he looked out over the assembled group, but finally he began again. “Okay, now onto the rest of the evening. As I am sure many of you may have noticed, we have video cameras set up all over the room. The reason for this, is I have asked Logan to record tonight so that we can all remember what happens.”
Adam nodded over to Logan, who got up and went to the back of the room where they had a video camera set up. Adam took a few moments to adjust his uniform so that it was exactly how he wanted it, then nodded to Logan. Logan gave a thumbs up and Adam began.
“Thank you all for coming tonight. My name is Colonel Adam Casey, and it is my honor to preside over this awards ceremony taking place at Camp Casey. This camp is named after the man that made this camp possible, a Mr. Joseph Casey Sr. This is the first awards ceremony to take place at this camp. Every award that is to be given this evening has been approved by a council of officers, namely Major General Jackson Bryce, Commanding Office of Camp Casey, Brigadier General Joseph Casey the third, Executive Office of Camp Casey, and myself, Colonel Adam Casey Sergeant at Arms of Camp Casey. They were also approved of by the civilian representatives in Camp Casey, Mrs. Janet Hayes, Mrs. Martha Jackson, and Mr. Samuel Jackson.”
He then paused there and took a sip of water. This next part was something that only his brothers and Logan knew was coming. They had all agreed to it, and it was now time to spring the first of many surprises he had for tonight. With a nod to Logan, he started to record again. “My next announcement is something that was not discussed with the adults, as we felt that they did not really have a say in this. This was a decision that was made by Chang, Jory, Juan, William, Logan and myself. As you all know, we have come to call ourselves the U.N.I.T. Which stands for the Universal Next-Generation Infiltration Team. We have all decided that we would be honored if all of you would consider yourselves part of our Unit. Each and every one of you has worked hard to get to where you are, and I speak for all of us when I say that you all deserve to be recognized for your accomplishments.”
With that, Adam stepped back, and started to applaud. He was soon joined by his brothers as they all stood up and applauded as well. After a few moments, the adults also stood and joined in. Adam could see that there were many people that had tears in their eyes, as the hard work that they had put in over the last several months was realized. The kids seemed to know that this was meant for them, and not a single one of them moved until the people at the front table stopped, and re took their seats. Adam stepped back up to the microphone.
“I would like to start this off, by calling up each person, stating their rank, age, and position at Camp Casey. This may take a little while, so I ask that you bear with me. Everyone will be receiving a new beret. There are four different colors of berets. First we have the Black berets. They will be worn by the strike teams, and the intelligence teams. Second is the Blue berets, they will be worn by the non-combatants. Third, we have the red berets that will be worn by the aviation wing, including pilots, aircraft crews, and ground crew. Lastly, we have the green berets, they will be worn by the assault teams, which include the Feline Assault Team, and the original five members of the U.N.I.T. First, I will start with the strike teams. Lieutenant First Class Donald Williams age seventeen, commander of Alpha Team” When Donnie walked up, Jack was waiting for him. He handed Donnie a Black colored beret. Donnie came to attention, returned the salute, then after Jack dropped his hand, Donnie followed suit. That was repeated as Adam kept calling people up. “Lieutenant Second Class Jeremy Rose, Age eleven, Second in command, Alpha Team.” Adam continued until everyone's name was called, and everyone received their beret.
“Now, I promise this is almost over, but there are a few more awards that need to be handed out.” Adam reached down onto the table and picked up a small box that was sitting on it. He opened it up to make sure he had the right one, then moved around to the front of the table, and for the first time using the small microphone that was attached to his collar. “Would Lieutenant First Class, Ronald Tompkins please step forward.”
Ronnie was surprised when his name was called, but recovered quickly, and the nine year old moved to stand next to Adam. Adam turned the boy around to face the rest of the Unit, and everyone could see the little guy blush as all eyes were now on him. “Lieutenant Tompkins, from the moment that we started this new Unit, you have been right there to help everyone who needed it. It has come to our attention that you have gone many nights with little or no sleep so that you could get all the supplies that have come in, sorted and put in their proper place. We had given you the title of Quartermaster thinking that we would need to help you out when things got rough. Not only did you not need our help, but you performed above and beyond the call of duty. For this, you are being awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.” Adam then bent down, and pinned the medal to the front of Ronnie's coat. He then stepped back and saluted the younger boy. Ronnie returned the salute, and when Adam dropped his hand, Ronnie did as well. “Now this next part is not anywhere near as happy. You are also being awarded with the Purple Heart. The Purple Heart is... 'Awarded as an entitlement entitled upon being killed or wounded in a manner meeting the specific criteria of AR 600-8-22: sub section 9, 'While being held as a prisoner of war, or while being held captive.” Adam again pinned the medal on the younger boys coat, and saluted. Ronnie saluted back, and even though there were tears in his eyes, Ronnie's face stayed neutral. He then executed a exact about face, and marched back to his seat. The room was silent for a moment, but then someone started to applaud. Soon the noise was deafening, and everyone was on their feet.
Adam had joined in the applause, and as soon as it died down, he reached back on the table and pulled up another box. He again opened it up, and looked to make sure it was the right one. The room was deathly silent as everyone waited to see who would be the next one called up. “This next one, is rather special to me. Even though the circumstances of how this person earned this medal may be humorous, the fact that there is such a medal is not. Would Corporal Zachary Tanner please come forward.”
Adam was pleased to see that while there were a few smirks, as everyone knew why, the thirteen year old, Zach would be getting a medal, no one out and out laughed. When Zach got up there, he was a bit red with embarrassment, but he was taking it well. “Corporal Tanner, while you were assigned to Delta Team, you were sent on a mission to extract a youth from a household. During that strike, you were confronted with an adult female who was being very confrontational. While you were under orders to not use deadly force unless needed, the situation has been reviewed, and force would have been authorized. However, you had decided to try and subdue the adult in question, and in the process, you were stabbed with a kitchen knife. It is with a great deal of honor then, that I am presenting you with the Purple Heart. The Purple Heart is... 'Awarded as an entitlement entitled upon being killed or wounded in a manner meeting the specific criteria of AR 600-8-22: sub section five, As a result of any action by a hostile force. I will always be thankful to you as the military action in which you got injured was the one that helped to reunite me with one of my brothers. I will be forever in your debt.” With that, Adam stepped back and snapped a salute. Zach returned the salute, and then returned to his seat.
Adam turned and reached for another box. He opened it up to make sure it was the right one, then turned back to the crowd. “Now, I would ask that Samuel Patrick Reynolds please come forward.” Sammy looked rather shocked to be called up. He stood up, and walked up to the front. He stood next to Adam, and the older boy rested his hand on Sammy's shoulder.
“Now Sammy, I understand that you are not officially part of the Unit, however, we decided that you and your entire family will become honorary members of the Unit. Less then one week ago, you participated in a mission with the Unit, even though you have minimal training for such operations. While on said operation, you were forced to kill someone. We know that being forced to do something like that is never easy, but due to your quick actions, the threat was neutralized. For your actions, you are hereby being awarded with the Distinguished Service Medal. This medal is awarded for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force.”
Adam then lowered his voice so he was talking directly to Sammy. “I know it is never easy to take someone's life, nor should it be. But understand that what you did probably saved the lives of many others, possibly including myself. I am forever in your debt.” Adam straightened back up, and did a very crisp salute. He dropped it after Sammy saluted himself, and retreated from the stage.
Adam turned back around, and felt a lump form in his throat as he knew what the last four boxes held. He took a second to regain his control, then picked up the first one. He turned back around, and spoke in a very serious tone. “Would Brigadier General Joseph Casey the Third please come forward.” No sound was heard as Joe wheeled himself over to where Adam was standing. Janet had started to get up to help him, but Logan's hand on her arm held her in her seat.
“General Casey, normal protocol would have the highest ranking members be the one to bestow these honors, however, I was given permission to be the one to give these to you. General Casey, on June second of the year, two thousand and four, you preformed an act of extreme heroism. During a parachuting training exercise, in which you were acting as the Jump Master, you noticed that one of the jumpers had not properly had his chute checked by someone else as is required, and as you had instructed. Because of this, that soldier jumped with a faulty chute. Upon realizing that the chute was not functional, and that the soldier could not perform the needed break away to activate his secondary chute, you took it upon yourself to break away from your chute, and attempt to rescue the stricken jumper. You were able to reach this jumper, and extract him from his faulty chute, you then had the presence of mind to realize that this person was close to blacking out, so you also pulled his reserve chute. By the time this was all done, and you were far enough away to activate your own reserve chute, you were too close to the ground to get away without injury. Because of your actions, that soldier is here with us today. But because of his actions, you were grievously wounded. It is because of these actions, that I am honored to present to you the Distinguished Service Cross. This is an award to you for gallantry in action.”
Adam was surprised that he was able to get all of that out without breaking down. He reached down, and pinned the medal onto Joe's chest, but did not salute.
“There is one other medal that you have earned due to your actions. It hardens my heart to have to present this to you because of my own actions. General Casey, I also award you with the Purple Heart.” He again bent down and pinned the Medal on his chest. Then he stepped back and saluted. Joe returned the salute, and Adam dropped his hand after holding it for a bit longer then he had with the others. He had tears streaming down his face as he turned back to the assembled crowd. He took a few minutes to regain his composure, and after taking a few long sips of water, he turned back to the crowd.
“The last two medals go to one who, without a second thought, threw himself in front of a bullet meant for me.” Adam had half a smile on his face as he finished his sentence. “Now, I don't know why it is, but everyone seems to get hurt trying to save my sorry ass... and I'm the one that’s designed to be tougher than the rest of you.”
That got a small laugh out of the crowd, but soon Adam turned very serious again. “Would Lieutenant Jeremy Rose please come forward.”
All eyes were on Jeremy as he slowly got out of his seat and walked forward. Everyone could tell by the way he was walking that he took this just as seriously as Adam did. His back was straight, and his head was held high. He had gotten a second lease on life, and vowed to himself that he would not let it slip by.
When he got to the front, Adam saluted, and Jeremy returned it. They both turned towards the crowd, and Adam started. “Lieutenant Rose, on October 18th, you were involved in an action that resulted in the rescue of members of our family who were kidnapped and assaulted. During that action, you observed an enemy combatant who was about to fire a shotgun at me. Without thought for your own life, you attempted to knock me out of the way of the blast. Thankfully you were able to do that, but in the process, you took the shot. For your actions, you are being awarded with the Distinguished Service Medal. This medal is awarded for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force.”
Adam leaned in and pinned the medal to Jeremy's chest, then reached down and picked up the last box. “Also, due to your actions, you are being presented with the Purple Heart. As you know, this award signifies that you were wounded in battle. While I am grateful you are still here to receive this, I do not want to ever have to award this one again.”
They both had a few tears running down their faces as Adam once again pinned a medal on Jeremy's chest. He stood back up full, and saluted. Jeremy responded with his own, but then Adam dropped his and grabbed Jeremy up in a hug. When the hug broke, they were both crying more openly.
Again, Adam took a few minutes to compose himself as Jeremy walked off the stage. He then turned back to the crowd, and motioned for Chang. “I would now ask the Lieutenant Colonel Chang Casey come forward to award the last items.” Adam barely got it all out before he walked off from in front of the table. He made his way behind the curtain of the stage and stayed there for a bit to get his emotions under control.
Chang cleared his throat to get the attention of everyone, as they watched Adam leave the table. Once he had everyone's attention, he walked over to where he and Juan had placed the box on a table, and opened up the top of it, showing long objects wrapped in silk. “It is customary for officers to wear a sword on their side. Adam and I already have our Katanas, however, I have noticed that none of the other officers have one. It took some doing as I did not want to involve Logan in this, as it was meant as a surprise.” Chang looked over at Logan who just stuck his tongue out at the younger boy. Everyone in the room chuckled a bit at Logan's antics, and Chang had to clear his throat to calm everyone down again.
“As I have worked with each of you in the art of sword play, I can say that it is time for you to each receive your own blade. Now you must understand, I am not just giving you a piece of metal with an edge to it, I am giving you something that took over one thousand hours each to craft. They are not the display swords that one might find in the local sword shop. These were hand made, in the traditional Samurai style. It is said that a Samurai's sword is an extension of his own soul, and I believe that. Please do not dishonor the crafter of these fine blades by misusing the sword.” Chang was speaking in an almost reverential tone, and when he finished, he reached into the box and withdrew one of the wrapped swords. He opened it up just enough to see inside, then closed it again.
“Juan, would you please step forward.” Chang asked, and Juan stepped forward. This was one of the few times that Juan did not have his characteristic grin on his face. He knew this was serious business, and he stepped forward, and bowed in front of Chang. He stayed bowed until Chang also bowed, he was happy to see that his youngest brother knew the proper way to handle this situation.
“I hereby present you with a blade that was made specifically for you. It has etched into the blade, the marking of an Eagle. May this blade serve you as you serve your fellows.” Chang withdrew a sheathed Sword, and presented it to Juan. Juan took it with a bow, and exposed the blade just enough to see the markings on it. Right below the hilt was an eagle in flight. He pushed the blade back into the scabbard, and then moved back to his seat. This was repeated for all the officers, and Strike Team Commanders. Once everyone had their sword, he stepped back to his seat, and Jack took the podium again.
“Okay everyone, that part's over with, and we are about to begin the party. I just have one quick announcement before the party starts. Janet has just informed me that she is canceling all classes for tomorrow.” This had the desired effect, and the room erupted in cheers. As the cheers were starting to die down, the sound of a guitar was heard coming from the speakers spread throughout the room.
“Adam, do you have a minute?” Mike asked Adam later on that night. Adam had been talking to Logan about the party, when Mike had found them.
“Of course Sir, what can I do for you?” Adam said, coming to attention.
“Mike... Just Mike. Sir makes me feel like an old man,” he said with a grin.
“Alright Mike, what's up?”
“Well, I was just thinking, you boys have worked hard here lately from what I've heard, and I really don't like the idea of leaving Billy and Ronnie here after I just found them. So why don't all of you come up to my place for a bit. Call it a vacation of sorts.”
Adam pondered for a second, then grinned. “I think that would be nice, but, would you mind if I turned it into a working vacation. Most of the kids here have never gotten to train in a forest environment before, and from what I understand, your place would be great for it. It's certainly big enough.”
Mike thought for a second, then nodded. “Sure, why not, but I do have at least one condition to it... do not blow anything up... I like my property the way it is.” He added the last part while chuckling.
Adam couldn't help but laugh as well. “No problem, Mike... I'll make sure we don't blow anything up. But you know... it does get hard to control Jory sometimes. Especially at a new place. He'll want to play with his new creations.”
“Adam...” Was all Mike said before Adam busted out laughing. Mike just grinned and shook his head. “You’re as bad as Sammy!”
“Hey! I think that's a good thing.” Sammy said from behind Mike.
Mike turned around and smiled at his boy as Sammy pushed into him under his arm. “Well, that’s a matter of opinion there kiddo.” Mike said while hugging the boy to him. Adam thought it was really good to see Sammy smiling again.
Vishnu, watching from a short distance away, thought he knew why Sammy was smiling now.
A short while earlier as the party began, Sammy had suddenly got up from the table and walked silently away with Mike looking after him worriedly then following.
What they hadn’t known was that Vishnu also followed them out of the hall.
The music started and I saw Sammy look down for a minute before suddenly standing and walking away.
He hadn’t been the same in days and now this happened.
I thought I knew what was wrong, and I knew that “later” had become now.
I quickly got up and followed in the direction which he had gone beginning to look for him as I left the Cliff side.
He was standing on an outcrop a little ways off, staring at something in his hand and I kind of knew what it had to be.
As I reached him he softly said without turning. “They gave me this for killing someone.”
I wrapped my arms around him bringing him back against my chest as I saw the medal he was now holding in his hand, staring at it, and I could hear the confusion and pain in his voice.
“They gave you that for saving people.” I told him just as quietly.
“But I killed someone. I know you’ve trained me and all, but…” He said, then fell silent.
I knew what he wasn’t saying.
I had trained him, in firearms, martial arts and some combat skills, but all the training in the world didn’t bring it home until or unless you actually had to put it to use and Sammy had done exactly that.
Eleven years old and he had been forced to take a life.
It didn’t matter if the guy deserved it or anything else, Sammy had killed someone and even for grown adults that was hard to take.
“Yes you did. There is no changing that, but what you have to do, now, is ask yourself if you had any other choice. You saved lives the other night. If you hadn’t killed him he would have killed others maybe even including you,” I said
He turned around in my arms and looked up at me and even in the darkness I could see the tears glistening in his eyes.
“Why does it hurt so much then?” he asked, in a lost voice.
“Because you have a heart and no matter what the circumstances were, it still was taking a life. That’s never easy nor should it be. I’ve killed people Sammy, quite a number of people, in fact, and it never ever gets easier. I don’t want it to get easier either, because it shouldn’t be. I was trained to terminate the enemy with extreme prejudice, which means that was what I was supposed to do, kill people, but all the training for it in the world doesn’t make it any easier to actually do when the time comes. You were faced with a choice that night, kill or let him kill your friends and family. It’s a choice that no one and especially a child should ever be faced with, but you were and you made the right choice, never doubt that for a second, Son, you made the only choice you could. That medal is about the choice you made, the lives you saved, the people here now because of what you decided out there that night. It’s not about killing that man, it’s about Adam, Ronnie, me and who knows who else who are still here because of you. It’s about life, not death, SamSam.” I said, trying to get through to him.
He didn’t answer me for a while, just kept his head on my chest, but eventually he said, “It’s all mixed up, Dad. I don’t regret killing him cause it saved people, but I also hate that I had to kill him. Does that make any sense?”
“Yes, Honey, it does.” I told him
“The thing that scares me, Dad, is that it was all so easy. It was like it wasn’t real, it was just like training and he was a paper target or something. It shouldn’t be that easy, Dad, it just shouldn’t,” he said.
“Was it easy or was it that you didn’t have time to think about it and just reacted with the training you had?” I asked him.
It was very important that he see this, because it would make all the difference in the world for him.
He didn’t answer for a while again, as he thought about it, then he said “You’re right. I just reacted the way you trained me. I knew what to do and it all went in like slow motion or something. Seeing him, bringing up my gun, taking aim center mass, then firing three rounds and waiting to see the effect, it was just like in training.”
His voice had taken on a tone of almost wonder at discovering this, and I knew it was a major turning point for him.
“Many times when someone is confronted with using deadly force against an opponent, there is no time to ‘think’ about things. Most times you have seconds or less to react or die, and all you have to rely on is your training, which is what you did. You didn’t stop and think about it; you just reacted and that saved lives. It’s now, after the fact, that you’re thinking about it and beating yourself up over it,” I told him.
“Hold me, Daddy,” he whispered, as I sank to the ground with him in my arms. “Just hold me, please,” he added.
“I will, Baby, always,” I replied, as I hugged him to me.
I watched as Mike sank to the ground with Sammy cradled gently in his arms and I wondered what I would think if I ever had to do what Sammy had. I had been trained all my life along with my litter mates to kill, but as I was seeing now, doing wasn’t the same as training for it. Would I be able to do it when the time came, which I thought sooner or later it would, or would I freeze? Would I be able to deal with it afterwards or would it bother me like it bothered Sammy? Mike was right, no kid should have to face that decision, but then again we lived in world that didn’t seem to care a whole bunch about us kids. I had the feeling that at least some of us would, someday.
They stayed that way for a long time before heading back inside, with me quietly following them.
It was later that night as I was getting ready for bed that Sammy knocked on my door.
“Come in,” I called out.
“Hey Vishnu,” he said, as he walked into the room, shutting the door behind him.
“Hello,” I replied.
“I just wanted to say thank you,” he said, smiling at me.
“For what?” I asked, confused.
“For being there tonight, for guarding us, for caring,” he said.
“You knew?” I asked, wondering how he could possibly have heard me.
“Yeah, I knew,” he said, as he walked forward and wrapped me in a hug.
“Thanks, Little bro,” he said into the top of my head.
I pulled back and looked at him as he smiled down at me then let me go and quietly left the room, shutting the door behind him.
I sat down on the edge of my bed thinking about that hug.
I found that I rather liked them, especially from him and Mike, and that they were different than the touching that all of my litter mates always did between us.
It had always been just us, but with Mike and Sammy, along with his family, I felt something different, something that I couldn’t name but something that I wanted more of, a lot more of.
Mike was always hugging me or holding me and I noticed he did it with all the kids too.
They seemed to like it as much as I did, although I didn’t understand why I did so much, but it was another thing I wanted much more of.
Then I thought of his last words to me, ‘little bro’, he called me ‘little bro’ and for some reason, that made me feel all funny inside.
He called me ‘little bro’, I think I like that.
Adam was sitting in the co-pilots seat in the Black Hawk thinking over all the events of the last week. Of course, there was everything that happened with Jeremy. He had absolutely no regrets for what he did, although the really fast healing would have been nice. He’d never had to nurse a wound before, and it really sucked.
He was really glad that Billy and Ronnie had found their father. Adam knew it had been really hard on the boys not having a father around. Joe had tried to fill that role for so many kids, but, then again, he'd been in a coma for the last few months.
He still couldn't believe that his dad had finally woken up. He had been so worried that Joe might never wake up, and if he did, what condition would he be in. Well, all those questions had been answered. He woke up, granted he couldn't walk, cause of how bad his back had been broken, but he was mentally okay, and that was the most important thing.
I was Joking around with Logan when suddenly a voice came over the radio. “Man Down!” The voice shouted. It only took Adam a split second to realize that it was Ronnie’s voice on the other end of the radio. “We need help! It's a damned war zone down here! Adam, can you read me?!”
Adam snatched up the radio, “I've got you Ronnie, what's going on?”
“Adam, we got a lot of tango's here, Dad's down, and just about everyone's been shot! I don't know what the....” Adam heard Ronnie's voice fade out, and Adam was sure that someone was now jamming communications.
“RONNIE!!!!!” Adam shouted, as he felt the Black Hawk tilt forward, he already knew that Will was accelerating to full speed, and he could hear Will shouting orders over the radio.
“Viper, lead to all Birds, dump your tanks, and take it up to full speed, we got an unknown situation with at least one man hit. Drop to tree top level, and fly at full speed, Vipers three through six, stay with the others, they're your cover; contact me when you get to five miles out for further orders, we should get there about five minutes before you do.” Will was calmly talking over the radio as he was flipping switches. Everyone felt the bird jump a bit as Will dumped the fuel from the external tanks, before dropping the tanks.
Bill came over the radio, on a secured channel, after he was done doing as ordered. “Will, what the fuck's going on, was that Ronnie?”
Will knew that this had to be tearing Bill apart, since he had always taken care of Ronnie and protected him. Now he wasn’t there when his brother needed him, and it was showing in his voice.
“Yeah, love, it was, Adam's still trying to raise him, I'll let you know as soon as I know anything. Just stay calm, and get there in one piece, okay, don't over fly that thing.” Will was trying to comfort his boyfriend as much as possible. If there was shit going down there, they were going to need everything that Billy was carrying, not to mention everyone on board.
Billy was starting to get hysterical, and Will knew he needed to get him under control. “Billy! Listen to me! If you wanna help Ronnie, then you gotta make it there in one piece. I need you to get everyone there suited up and ready to go into a hot LZ. Can you do that for me?”
Will heard nothing for a few seconds, then Billy came back over the radio. It was clear that Billy was struggling to keep himself focused, but, for now at least, it seemed to be working. “Copy that, Viper lead. Dumping tanks now, adjusting course for a tree top run, will report at five miles out. Everyone will be ready for a hot landing.”
Will sighed with relief, and then turned his concentration to flying his helicopter. Right now, they were skimming the ground, only about ten to fifteen feet above the tree line, doing just in excess of two hundred miles an hour. It was times that these that he was very glad that he and Charlie had tweaked all their birds a bit.
Meanwhile, in the back of the helicopter, everyone except Janet was getting into their gear, and checking weapons. Adam had already climbed out from the co-pilots seat, and was checking his gear. He looked around, as a plan was starting to form in his mind. He had no real idea what was going on, but he was now planning for the worst. “Mom, can you do me a favor and jump in the co-pilots chair, Will may need another set of eyes.”
Janet nodded, and climbed up front. Adam moved up next to her, and helped her strap in as well as get the helmet adjusted for her. Once that was done, he gave her a brief run down on how to operate the communication equipment, that way she could hear what was going on, as well as talk to Will without shouting.
For the next ten minutes, Will was busy weaving his way through the mountains, and everyone else was busy checking and re-checking their gear. The tension in the air was almost palpable, as everyone was running different scenarios in their minds about what they might find when they got there.
Finally, Will came over their radios, “Five minutes out, got nothing on radar, we should be in visual range in three. Ascending to ten thousand so we can come in high.” The helicopter then tilted up, and they all held on for dear life.
They all got a shock when they heard Janet come over their radios. “Adam, could you come up here, and teach me how to use this big gun?”
Adam shook his head, but moved forward, and gave her a crash course on how to use the nose mounted turret. “Mom, all you gotta do is use this to keep them pinned down,” Adam said, after he was done. “You don't have to worry about actually shooting anyone, we'll take care of that.”
Janet nodded, just as Will came over the radios, “coming into visual range just over the next rise.” Everyone crowded forward so they could see what was going on. They all gasped as they saw what looked to be a full blown war going on below, as they crested the rise.
Adam took stock of what was going on. He saw that there were guys in black armor fighting other guys that looked to be in star fleet uniforms. Adam was a bit surprised to see that a bunch of the people with phasers looked to be nothing more then kids themselves. He also saw that there was a group of people huddled down next to a shed. They were taking heavy fire from the black armored group, trying to advance on them. He thought back to what Clint and Ian had told him about the clan they belonged to, and suddenly knew what was going on. Someone was attacking the clan.
“Will, fly over that shed, Mom, Vic, Toby, target the guys in the black armor. Will, I want two passes made, then hover over the shed. We'll jump out there. After that, cover the Star Fleet guys. I'll give you further orders once I figure out what's going on. Everyone else, when we go, Juan, I want you to get on the roof of the house. Chang, Jory, Logan, I need you with me for now. Logan, get your rope ready.” Everyone nodded and held on as Will started to make the passes. They couldn't hear much, once Janet started opening up with the turret, then it was even more deafening when Vic and Toby opened up with their machine guns.
Once both passes were made, Will brought the helicopter to a hover right over the shed. Adam, Juan, Jory and Chang, jumped from about forty feet up, while Logan dropped his rope, and slid down that.
The five boys hit the ground, rolled and came up with their weapons at the ready. When they saw that everything was clear, Adam nodded to Juan who took off at a fast run. He then made his way over to the first person he saw. He looked to be about fourteen years old, with blond hair, although he was covered in dirt. He had his right arm hanging uselessly at his side, and an open wound on his left leg. Adam nodded to Chang who moved with him, shouldering his rifle, and grabbing his med pack.
“Hey there, you okay?” Adam said, when he got close to the boy.
"I'm Cory Short, Patriarch of Clan Short. Which one of you is in charge?" The boy asked, the pain he was feeling evident in his voice.
Adam's eyes widened for a second, and he took a moment to look the kid over. Adam had a lot of respect for this kid, after everything he had been told about him by Ian and Clint. He popped to attention and saluted. “I'm Colonel Adam Casey, commanding officer of the U.N.I.T. We are ready to assist in any way sir.”
Cory weakly returned the salute. "At ease Colonel." He seemed to think for a second then added "You're the guys Ian and Clint told me about. They recommended that we invite you to become an independent branch of the Clan; you just earned that. I'm in no shape to continue out here on the field; will you accept a commission as the first division of the Clan Short Assault Group?"
Adam was momentarily stunned by the offer, but nodded his head. “It would be my pleasure, Sir. If you could just attach someone to us so that we can get a sit rep, and also to coordinate with everyone else, I would be happy to relieve you of command.” (Author's Note: Sit rep, stands for Situation Report.)
Cory nodded. "You have command, Commander Casey. One second, I'll get a rep here for you." Cory paused then said, "Ark, I need JJ here as soon as it is safe to do so." Adam was a bit confused as to who Cory was talking to, and then jumped slightly when suddenly a young boy, no more then twelve appeared next to Cory. He had what Adam assumed to be a Phaser at the ready. ”Stand down JJ." Cory quickly ordered.
Adam took the boy in and saw that he had strawberry blond hair, and hazel eyes. The kid looked at Adam then back to Cory, before saying, "Are these the guys that just saved our butts?"
Cory nodded. "JJ, this is Commander Adam Casey, he's heading up the new Clan Assault Group. Anything he needs, give it to him. Contact CIC immediately and inform them that anything he needs he gets." Cory then turned back to Adam. "Commander, this is our head of security JJ Richardson. If he does not know an answer, he can find it for you."
Adam was confused about the whole “Commander” thing, but figured he could deal with that later. He nodded to JJ, and extended his hand. After the other boy shook it, he looked around, noticing that the fighting was dying down. “Okay, it looks like things are calming down. Are we expecting more attacks?”
JJ nodded. "They haven't stopped yet." Adam noticed Cory starting to sway next to JJ. The other boy noticed this too, and put his arm on Cory. "Mr Short; give Commander Casey your communicator."
Cory complied weakly, passing his communicator to Adam.
As soon as Adam had the communicator in his hand, JJ nodded. "Ark, emergency transport of the Council Crafter to the AI hospital immediately." As soon as Cory disappeared, JJ turned to Adam. "What do you need to know?"
“Well,” Adam replied, while taking in a report from his brothers, “Juan says that he doesn't see any more targets, Will says the same thing, I think we're clear for now. What I need to know is how many people you have on the ground, and what their capabilities are.” Before JJ could answer, Adam held up his hand to stop him.
Will was talking to him through their link, 'Adam, the other birds should be here in about five minutes, where do you want them?'
'Stand by Will, I'll let you know in a second.' Adam then lowered his hand and looked at JJ. “Sorry about that, just found out that the rest of my team will be here in about ten. I have a total of thirteen full teams, and eight other helicopters inbound, roughly two hundred.”
JJ looked a little shocked at the number, but didn't have time to say anything, Adam was already moving. He grabbed his radio, “Will, I want the Command Center dropped just north of the barn. I want the LZ just in front of that. Off load Viper five first, then six. Teams in five need to secure the area, teams in six help get the command center set. All non-combatants get their asses into the barn!”
'God damn, it's a fucking war zone down here.' I thought to myself as I banked the black hawk hard to the right, and opened up with the 20mm cannons on the side. Mom was doing the same with the turret, and she had gotten to be pretty good at using the thing. I heard Vic calling out for a re-load on one of the flank guns. I still can't believe they haven't melted the barrels down on those things.
“SHOTS FIRED, SHOTS FIRED!!!!! 100 CHARLES, WE’RE TAKING AUTOMATIC WEAPONS FIRE OUT HERE, SHOTS FIRED!!!!”
Who the hell was that?!?! I looked down and saw that it was from the radio that was monitoring all the local channels, so I knew it had to be close. Frantically, I started looking around.
“What was that?” Mom asked. She had this sort of wild look in her eyes, but her color drained face, and the lines around her eyes told me just how scared she was, and to be honest, I was too. This is more then any of us had ever dealt with before.
“Some local cop or something, close by... I'm trying to figure out where.... THERE!!!! over there!” I finally spotted them, and banked hard to the left, and threw the throttle stick all the way forward. I saw Billy doing the same thing, and knew that we'd have plenty of cover for what ever was going on over there.
“Oh my GOD!” Mom gasped out, and I knew why. Sitting in the middle of the road, with it's barrel slowing turning was an old style Russian TANK!
Grinning, I flipped the selector switch, and activated the Hell Fire Missiles. “WILL!!! Don't you fucking dare! That's MY TANK!!!!” Juan yelled through our link, and I laughed saying, “Sorry little brother, but that thing's about to fire on friendlies.... I gotta take it out!”
“Billy, Adam, help us please, they’re shooting us.” A young boy’s voice sounded over the radio and in shock I realized that it was Kevin’s voice. He was down there in that vehicle and in trouble. I knew that they needed help, so I keyed the mic. “Coming right up little brother.” Then I pulled the trigger. Juan screamed 'NO!!' just as the Hellfire Missile slammed into the side of the tank. Oh, it was a pretty picture, the thing exploded in a great pretty fireball. “Finally I got to use one of those suckers! YEAH, burn baby burn!” I just couldn't help myself, I was actually starting to feel giddy... this was cool.
“100 Charles warn your people off this area and stand by for evac. Kev come on we’re coming in hot.” I heard Billy say, and saw him go in for a landing. I turned back towards where Adam was, knowing there wasn't much that 'Janet' couldn't handle.
There wasn't much left for us to do, so we went back to fly cover for the 26's that were just starting to come in. I had already relayed Adam's orders, and saw that they were all in formation to carry them out. 'UMAA', our med chopper was just getting ready to drop the command center in place, and 'The Mule' and 'Phantom' were in line ready to off load.
I could only imagine the chaos that was going on in the back of those helicopters. Obviously no one was prepared for combat when we left this morning, so while they had their gear with them, they didn't exactly have it ready to go. I know they spent the last few minutes scrambling to get into the gear, and get their weapons checked. The biggest concern I really had then was the fact that all the little kids and the non combatants were in those two helicopters as well.
“Command center's down, we're outta here!” Dierdre said over the radio, before she gave the huge helicopter full throttle and banked to get out of there.
We flew a few circuits around the area looking for bad guys, and thankfully we hadn't seen anyone, maybe they finally got the message that they had bitten off a bit more than they could chew.
The teams that were in the Huey's had to fast rope down, but from the smiles I saw on their faces, they loved every minute of it. 'The Mule', was circling a ways away waiting in line to drop it's people while, 'Phantom' dropped it's back hatch and everyone was getting ready to egress, as we made another pass and we able to look right at it when Juan's scream came over the radio.
“SAM Incoming!” I banked the Black Hawk as hard as I could while scanning my screens. “FUCK! It's heading right for the 26!” I shouted, and heard Janet gasp in shock.
Charlie was a damned good pilot, and did exactly what we was supposed to do, he gunned the engine and banked as hard as he could to get away from the SAM. But it wouldn’t be enough, I realized. You just can't turn that much helicopter quickly enough.
I switched the control stick, and depressed every trigger I had. Both the cannons on the side, and the nose turret started to whine as I fired every bullet I could at the SAM. It's a one in a million shot, but maybe... just maybe I can hit the missile.
“Oh God... Please no.” Mom said softly, as everyone watched. I could see the kids in the back of the helicopter screaming as it banked hard. Some of them falling out, as Charlie tried hard to get out of the way.