As Julio and his family beamed in from the Pacific Rim division to the Des Moines Command Center, Julio looked around to make sure there were no surprises waiting for him. 'Sweet, after the orphanages, I really don't want any more excitement.' Julio thought to himself. His eyes fell on Jesse, who somehow ended up in a very skimpy purple speedo during the transport. 'On second thought, I CAN handle THAT kinda excitement!' he added as he reached out to pull Jesse over and began making out on the spot, not even worrying about their new son in his arms that they had adopted during the orphanage raids in California that they helped the Pacific Rim Division with. The little blond seven year old's green eyes sparkled as he giggled "You sure kiss noisy!"
Julio and Jesse broke their kiss long enough to give both of the boy's cheeks a quick peck. "Wait until you hear Grandma and Grandpa, Terry!" Jesse giggled. "Your Dad and I just love each other a lot!"
"I might have to steal your Pop for a little 'parent time' though!" Julio added with a grin.
"My new brothers said they're gonna help me set up my room, you can have parent time while we do that." Terry offered helpfully.
"Thanks, buddy." Julio replied as he gave Terry a squeeze. "You want to let the triple twins give you the grand tour? I'm sure they've got hiding spots they want to show you."
"You don't haveta be with us? We can go 'round without you watching us?" Terry asked.
"You're home now, Son." Julio replied seriously. "If I need you for something, and you're off somewhere, I can ask Kerry to tell you I need you. He's Alden's brother, and he's able to do everything Alden and Daileass were doing in Hawaii."
"Why hasn't he said anything?" Terry asked.
"Because once your Dad starts talking, he never shuts up!" Kerry's seemingly ten year old voice announced over the speakers. "Don't worry, I've already found some new places to find quiet time when you want it; there are a lot of kids here, so I'm gonna help make sure that all of you have someplace to either be alone or just meet with a few of you without everyone else getting involved."
"Now who's talking a lot?" Julio teased.
"Hey, I saved up those words; I had to get them out while I could!" Kerry shot back.
"Go have fun, buddy. Pop and I will catch up with you after we grab a quick nap." Julio said with a smile. "Then you can help us plot revenge on a certain AI who is a little too sure of himself!"
Terry giggled. "Thanks Dad!" he replied as he climbed down. "That Vulcan dude told me that you and Pop need to go try to make babies a lot when he was helping my head. I'll be good while you're tryin' to make little brothers for us!"
Terry scampered off, not concerned at all with the fact that he had not only made Julio blush, but even Jesse had a glow to him. "Nap time?" Jesse asked hopefully.
"Let's see what we missed real fast first." Julio replied. "Then a long shower with lots of soap...."
Jesse grinned, obviously liking where this was going.
"How they can be horny after what we just did, we have no idea!" Lucas and Logan exclaimed in unison.
"Don't worry about it, freakaziods, Julio's always been weird." Mini said with a grin as he put his arms on his brother's shoulders. "I honestly think he completely skipped the 'normal' table when he was born."
"No, he just learned way too well from Mick." Janice chuckled. "Blame him for the bad example!"
"That's it, I'm gonna arrange to adopt twenty more kids to spoil rotten." Mick threatened.
"Won't do you any good; Johnny and Eddie are on my side." Janice shot back, the grins and nodding heads from two of her young sons giving her words the needed impact.
"Umm, Johnny... I need you over here." Colin announced from the main console, where he was reviewing logs. The tone of his voice told everyone who heard it that he wasn't happy.
Johnny's smile dropped and he rushed over to the console. After only a few seconds, the room fell silent as he exclaimed "What the HELL!" in a very loud voice.
"Johnnyyyy...." Janice said in a warning tone as she joined the boys. After one look at the screen and the information that Johnny was flying through, she stated. "I believe the word 'Fuck' would have been much more appropriate!"
Without letting go of Jesse, Julio led the rest of the group over to see what was winding everyone up. "Tell me I'm not seeing what I think I'm seeing." Julio stated, his mind already switching from husband mode to Director Mode.
"Give me a few minutes." Johnny muttered as he went through screens like lightning. "Hey Kerry, stop playing twelve-dimensional chess with Ezzy and give me a hand here!" he said out loud to the recently-installed AI.
"You're lucky; I just won... finally!" the young voice of their AI responded. "What you got .... oh ... I see what you're doing, this looks like it could be fun!"
"Talk to Alden and see what he can give you on Ralphie, I wanna compare files." Johnny ordered. "And if this is your idea of fun, I'm gonna find out if Vulcans can meld with an AI."
"Already on it, and here's some school records while you're at it." Kerry replied, ignoring the threat. "You want me to do a Level Nine Biometric scan on them?"
Johnny just grunted and nodded, his mind totally focused on the records he was comparing. About a minute later, he was once again interrupted by Kerry. "I just pulled genetic samples, Aunt Janet happened to be near some lab equipment, she's running a compare now ... hold on ... we have a 99.87325 percent match. Momma Janice, I think you were right; the 'F' word fits well. Colin, you might want to look at Terminal Three, I found some information that Ark had recorded which I believe you are gonna be very interested in."
Colin glanced over at the screen, read two paragraphs, and spun around. "Dutchmen, Suit up - we're goin' hunting!" he exclaimed. "Someone decided to let the assholes all out at once, we're about to deliver a group enema."
"Okay guys; give me a dump so I ain't got to read all that crap." Julio ordered. A few seconds later, his eyes went wide. "Pack it up and send it to Alden, then connect me to Prez, Kerry."
"You got it, Boss." Kerry replied. "Connecting."
Prez chuckled, "... He just left and he's calling already?" he said, unaware that the connection was already live.
"Yes, Jesse and I wanted to invite you to a threesome." Julio deadpanned. "Look at your PADD, dude."
Prez joked, "Can we make it a foursome? I happen to know things work really well that way." Then Julio heard Prez call out, "Alden, get me my PADD, dude." After about a minute of read, Prez shouted loud enough for the entire room to hear, "You've got to be shitting me!"
"Dude, I've got a hot boyfriend in purple speedos hanging on me, do you really think I'd be taking the time to bug you if this wasn't real?" Julio stated.
Prez seemed to think for a moment, then softly told Julio, "We've obviously gotta get these two together. I'll need to chat with Ralphie and let him know, but let's consider when, where, and how we're allowing them to meet, so they're not as shocked as we are."
"First we need to get him... and his little brother." Julio stated. "Colin's assembling a hunting party, anyone there interested in joining?"
Prez replied after a quick pause, "Ya know, I'd really love to go, but with seventy-three newbies here, I should stay. Let me get Kaleo and Tory. Alden, notify Nathan to get to Des Moines Command Center ASAP."
After a few minutes of planning and some brotherly teasing of Prez by Julio, the team began assembling. First, the Dutchmen came back into the room, Mini and Alien outfitted just like the rest of the team right down to the weapons. Julio looked at his two long-time friends, and saw something in their eyes which had never been there before the recent orphanage problems in California; the best way he could explain it in his own mind was 'the word for today is Justice, and we're damn well gonna spread the word'. A chill ran down Julio's spine as he realized how the last two days had affected his friends... their threshold of tolerance had all but vanished after the abuses they had witnessed in the orphanages.
Nathan popped in from the Pacific Rim Division, along with Kaleo, Tory, and their enhanced human security, Mark and Bayani. The two gorilla hybrids, Rasul and Zareb, were dressed in black three-piece suits, carrying what looked like small cannons. Colin, Jesse, and Eddie rejoined the group. Julio grinned as he noticed that under Eddie's Clan robes he now wore Unit-issue body armor. "Thanks for thinking of my little bros, Colin!" Julio said, noticing that Johnny was also protected under his robe as well.
"I ain't gonna let anything happen to them, if I can help it. I like these two rugrats!" Colin replied as he reached in the hoods of both robes and rustled their hair.
Julio's response was cut off by the "Thump thump thump" of helicopters moving low over the top of the building. As they faded, Colin's communicator activated, Herman's voice clear to all. "Air Wing Charlie hot and in the air; awaiting your orders." It was obvious that Herman wasn't sitting at home, going by the background noise.
"Thank you, General." Colin replied. "Stand by for rapid-deploy mode, five miles from the coast. Notify Kerry when ready to activate, monitor Command Channel Seventeen for tactical updates. You have the ball, General."
As Colin was talking with Herman, Julio was calling Sammy Reynolds. "Des Moines to Sammy; drop the kitty, I've got a hot one!"
"Kewl! I haven't had my fun today..." Sammy's voice came back, then in a much quieter voice he said, "Sorry Vish, duty calls." Julio almost died when he heard the quiet disgust filled moan from the hybrid Cougar.
"Seriously, sorry to bug ya, but we're in the process of deploying to Michigan. We've found a twin of a kid that was just rescued by PRD." Julio said quickly. "I'm going in with one strike team and air cover, Benton Harbor, Michigan."
"Gotcha... how long do you think the op will last? Should I get coverage for you just in case?" Sammy asked as he dropped easily into his role of Director of Operations for all of North America. His main job was to make sure that the divisions had everything they needed, even if they didn't realize they needed it yet.
"I should be good, but I'm planning on having some stuff for you that we ain't set up to handle yet afterwards." Julio stated. "Johnny'll pass you the Intel. You at HQ?"
"No... Home. However, Logan made sure that I was all decked out here. Give me a minute and I'll be ready." Sammy said as Julio could hear him rushing out of whatever room he was in.
Julio looked over at Johnny, who was already back at his console and entering commands. "Our prelim stuff should be there by the time you reach your terminal." Julio announced.
"OK... walking in now..." A few moments passed before they heard Vishnu start to growl. Next they heard Vish's voice distantly over the com. "Guys, suit up... Sammy says we're going to HQ. We might even get to play some if someone needs back up."
Sammy's voice was heard next, even without being able to see his face, Julio knew that the boy was scowling. "We'll be standing by at HQ ready to go if you need help, or uncover something else. Just let me know if you need anything." Julio was about to reply when Sammy broke in again. "Oh and leave some for me."
"Does it have to be whole?" Julio asked, "You know the Mad Irishman and the Dutchmen don't like sharing unless they get their licks in first."
"Just enough so they ain't dead yet." Sammy said with quiet anger. "I gotta go... I'll talk to you in a bit."
"Des Moines out; thanks Sammy." Julio stated. He then looked over at Nathan and his group. "You ready?" he asked as he put on his own Clan robe.
Nathan nodded, his mouth thin after reviewing the latest intel. After one last look to make sure everyone was ready, Julio nodded at Colin. "Okay Colin, you got it, let's roll."
Colin nodded, "Kerry, take us to wherever the caller is at who reported this."
"You got it." Kerry said as the group vanished from the room.
Bob, Mick, and Janice looked at each other and then counted to make sure their newest kids did not sneak off with their brothers. After having Kerry do a head-count of their grandchildren as well, Janice asked "Don't you think they might be over-responding a little bit?"
Bob and Mick shook their heads. "After those orphanages, I think our boys all learned there is no such thing as taking too much power into a situation. I don't think you'll ever see them trying to do another rescue without taking the group that just left." Bob thought for a second, and then added "More accurately, I'd say the group that just went with them isn't going to let Julio and Jesse do anything without them backing the two of them up."
"Well, at least I know they're safe...." Janice said as she gathered the rest of the remaining kids with Kerry's help to give them a late-night snack while they waited for Julio and crew to return.
Graham McNae, one of fifteen Berrien County Youth Services case workers, was just finishing off his very long day. He had sent everything that had made him uneasy about two of his charges to the nearest Clan Short division; considering the time, he did not expect to hear anything back from them until at least tomorrow morning. He left his office, and was facing his office door as he locked it when a noise behind him made him turn his head. "Holy Mother of God!" he exclaimed as his keys and briefcase dropped to the floor. When he had come out of his office, the outer office had been completely empty; now, despite the outer door to the waiting area being locked, it was filled with over a dozen boys, two gorillas in suits carrying what appeared to be small cannons, and two raccoons armed to the teeth, literally. The tallest of the robed boys stepped forward, a raccoon holding a very menacing weapon staying at his side.
"Graham McNae, I am Director Julio Hernandez, Family Clan Short Des Moines Division. I am preparing to take custody of two of your clients." Julio stated formally.
"Ronnie and Adam?" Graham asked, still in shock. At Julio's nod of assent, Graham added "Damn, you guys move fast!"
"Actually we were delayed; we just got back from Hawaii." Julio said with a small smile, inwardly enjoying the fact he had just blown the mind of a government official. "Would you be accepting of a Vulcan-certified telepath verifying what you have told us of the situation of Ronnie and Adam?"
Finally over the shock of their sudden appearance, Graham thought for a second, his mind going over what he had heard about the Clan and comparing it with his first official dealings with them. One thing was for sure; none of the kids in front of him were in any way timid about protecting anyone. The gut feelings that had helped him rise to the top of his career were telling him only one thing; these boys were going to accomplish their goal, and trying to stop them was a sure recipe for trouble. "Feel free, I've got nothing to hide." he responded.
Eddie stepped forward, Graham slightly shocked that he was going to be examined by the youngest member of the group. "I don't need to touch you, but thanks!" Eddie said as Graham started to kneel down. A minute later, Eddie turned to Julio. "Ready, bro?"
"Yep, Colin too, he'll need the detailed house layout if you have it." Julio responded.
"Got it bro; he's got a great memory for details." Eddie replied as he began passing out the requested information.
After reviewing the info he received from his little brother, Julio turned to Graham. "Thank you for your help. If you don't mind hanging back with Jesse and I, you can watch the fun... you have no idea what you just uncovered. Let's just say that you're looking at an ice cube, we think we've found the iceberg it's attached to."
Graham's eyebrows rose halfway up his forehead. "I think I might find this interesting!" he commented, the opportunity to watch a Clan operation in progress irresistible to him.
Julio nodded his head as Colin keyed up his communicator. "This is the Lost Dutchman. All personnel, switch to active status. Kerry, initiate Operation Twin-seek. Charlie; stop teasing the fishing boats, heat it up and yell at one click. GO! GO! GO!"
The room echoed with the sounds of live rounds loading into chambers and power units coming online. As he prepared himself, Colin held one fist in the air; as soon as Herman reported the birds were passing the one-mile marker, he dropped his arm sharply and the office emptied of people in a flash of light.
The ground team appeared on the beach just as Eoghan's gunship crossed the coastline and took up station over the alley behind the house. The rest of the helicopters took up positions at compass points that ensured a 360 degree overlapping view of the target house and surrounding area. "No Aces... Clean and mean!" Doug exclaimed as he led the Dutchmen in a sprint towards the house in front of them, the team splitting into two as they vaulted the wall in front of the house. Logan and Lucas led their part of the team to the back door, while Doug's team headed to the front. With only a few seconds of delay between them, both doors became splintered scrap as the team entered the house on their own terms. "Clan Short Special Forces!" Doug's voice yelled as he passed through the doorway, "This is a raid! On the ground, NOW, arms and legs spread!"
Out front, both Eddie and Johnny were scanning for surface thoughts which could endanger the team. They picked up on some stray panicked responses to Doug's yelling from the houses on either side, responses which all but guaranteed that at least some of the neighbors were involved in the situation which had been uncovered. After a quick relay of the information to Colin, Nathan, and Julio, they returned to watching the main house as the older boys took over.
"Nathan; you take the left house with your guys." Colin ordered quickly. "Tucker, Kris, Rocky; you're with me on the house on the right. Ricky, take the Command guys in our primary target as soon as Doug yells clear. Bring all suspects to the middle house. MOVE!" Colin took off at a run as he finished, Nathan's team sprinting towards their assignment. As Colin ran, he announced on the command channel "Charlie, target has expanded to three, I repeat target is three. Houses north and south now in the game."
"Acknowledged," Herman replied as the air cover shifted to take the other three houses into account. As Colin advanced on his house's front door, a forty-ish man ran out of the back door of the house. A quick warning shot from Eoghan's chopper that hit three feet in front of the man was all that was needed to convince him that he would be much better off lying on the ground than to try to continue to run. "Chicken!" Herman chuckled over the channel as the man quickly laid face-down on the ground, taking the safest option under the watchful eye of the gunship.
As the group in front of the house watched the houses carefully, the expected police cruisers arrived on the scene; stopping a respectful distance away due to the presence of multiple gunships over the area. As the officers exited their vehicles and took position behind the doors of their cruisers with weapons drawn, the lead Sergeant walked warily toward Julio's group with both hands in plain view.
Fully in his element after the experience he gained from the orphanage raids in California, Julio stepped forward a few steps to indicate that he was the one to talk to. As the officer got within hearing range, Julio announced "Family Clan Short of Vulcan. We are in the process of responding to a Safe Haven violation. Please inform your officers that we are on their side."
The Sergeant's expression changed immediately from caution to grim determination. He nodded his head to signal that he had heard, then grabbed his radio. "All units, Dispatch information has been confirmed, this is a Clan Short operation. Seal the area." he quickly ordered. He then walked up to Julio, extending his hand. "Sergeant Jeff McKinley, Berrien County Sheriff's Department." he stated as way of introduction.
"Julio Hernandez, Division Director, Des Moines Division, Family Clan Short of Vulcan." Julio replied as he shook Jeff's hand. "Going by your communication, can I assume that Dispatch relayed our intent of operation notice?"
"Yes, and once we received reports of choppers in the air; we decided it would be best to be available if needed." Jeff replied. "I learned long ago that things go wrong quickly if you gather a crowd, and choppers will do just that."
"I appreciate the assistance." Julio replied with a smile. "This is Graham McNae with Berrien County Youth Services; thanks to his worry about one of his clients, we have uncovered an arm of an infant abduction ring. At this point in time, we have determined that the three houses in front of us contain a combination of suspects and victims."
"When you're done here, stop by the station." Jeff replied. "There are some abandoned cases that are not on the systems, they're still in paper files. If you guys can close them, you'll make a lot of people feel better. Tell your air wing that we'll back them on the perimeter; I cede jurisdiction to Clan Short as of now."
"Thank you; our Communications people will link you in; Command on your Channel 17 and general on Channel 24." Julio stated, his information about which channels the force used coming from Kerry over his subvocal.
Jeff nodded his head, and began issuing orders as he turned and headed to take up station at his own cruiser. Julio smiled as he heard Kerry inform the teams in the houses and in the air of their extra support. Within seconds, Eoghan was requesting an officer to restrain and "detain with prejudice" the man behind the house; all the while complaining in barely coherent words about 'babysitting' the suspect when he could be doing something productive.
As the teams came crashing through the doors, they quickly realized that the first floor was empty except for a maid. After doing a quick scan and clearing her of any wrongdoing, they warned the group in front then sent her out to join them so that she would be safe. Once she was gone, Christian tilted his head, and then silently told Doug "Kids upstairs, adults below."
Doug nodded, his face showing that he wasn't going to play games anymore. He motioned for Lucas, Logan, Mini, and Alien to head upstairs to retrieve the boys, while the rest of his team dealt with the adults. After a few minutes of searching, the team found the trap door that led into the basement. They opened the door, weapons pointed to make sure they would be on the winning side of any attack from below. Once they had it open, they could see the entire area. In front of them was a pit with no signs of anyone in it; as Doug prepared to drop into it, Robin grinned and held up his fingers to wait a second.
Suddenly, their ears were assaulted by a stream of vulgarity which had Daileass taking notes of the new words he was hearing. Sure enough, an extremely pissed Malcolm McCullough and his wife came floating out of the trap door a few seconds later; both covered in dirt with their clothes torn in various places by the not-so-gentle extraction from their hiding spot that Robin performed.
"I think I'm going to bring you along more often!" Doug said with an appreciative grin to Robin, causing Robin to grin widely in response. Doug then turned to the two adults now floating in mid-air in front of him. "Malcolm and Judith Jenkins aka Johnson aka Smith aka McCullough; based on evidence uncovered during a recent investigation, you are under arrest for thirty-seven counts of Child Abduction and Child Trafficking at the federal, international, and interplanetary levels. Congratulations assholes; under Federation law, I get to award you a one-way ticket to a Clan Short trial!"
"Burn in Hell brat; you have no idea what you're talking about." Malcolm spat, his wife just glaring at the boys as she tried to hold her clothes together.
"But I do..." Doug replied with an evil grin. "You see, ass-wipe, I'm telepathic. Just the surface thoughts of you two thinking about what you've done has already sealed your fate. But I'm a fair guy, so I'm gonna do this all legal like; as part of your prize package you get to be scanned by a Vulcan-Certified telepath!"
Lucas took the lead in taking his brothers upstairs, listening carefully to catch any issues before they became problems. As the group reached the top of the stairs, Lucas grinned and walked up to the door on the right side of the small hall. "Clan Short Security!" he announced, straining his voice as he knocked on the door, ignoring the confused looks on the other three's faces. The door was opened by an eleven year old blond boy, his blue eyes glowing with mischief as he stated "Took ya long enough!"
Lucas grinned back. "You didn't have to wait up here ya know." he stated as they followed the boy into the room. "I'm Lucas, these are my brothers Logan, Mini, and Alien."
"I'm Adam, and this is my brother Ronnie." Adam stated as he motioned towards the dirty blond, brown-eyed twelve-year-old boy sitting on the bed next to four packed suitcases. "We had to wait for ya to get up here to help us take our stuff."
"How did you get packed so fast?" Mini asked. "And how did you know what we were here for?"
Ronnie had a small smile as he answered. "Something about Graham saying he had to call Clan Short about some pictures he found, then we saw the lights of helicopters chasing fishing boats."
"Yeah; when the choppers headed our way, we started throwing our stuff into suitcases." Adam added. "We've got pretty good at it, since we've lived all over the coast of the Lakes since we were born. What's going on? Does it have anything to do with us always having the same neighbors?"
"Kinda." Mini giggled. "I'm gonna be blunt; those ain't your parents."
"No shit!" Ronnie stated sarcastically. "We figured that out when I was six, they musta adopted us when we were babies."
"Try they stole you... as babies." Alien interjected seriously. "They kept you two, but there were lots of others who got passed on to someone else. There's a lot more to it, but you gotta wait until we're downstairs to hear it."
"I knew they were assholes!" Adam and Ronnie exclaimed in unison, causing them to look at each other and break out in laughter.
Lucas and Logan exchanged knowing looks. "Kerry, would you please transport these guys' belongings to CIC?" Logan asked into his commbadge.
"Sure!" Kerry replied with a curiously evil giggle. The reason for the giggle became quickly apparent as everything in the room, including the bed that Ronnie was sitting on, vanished.
"What the Hell!" Ronnie exclaimed as he started to fall, only to find himself landing on a bean-bag chair that appeared under him in place of the now-missing bed.
"Sorry!" Logan replied through his giggles. "Kerry's kinda new at this; I think he took me a little too literally!"
"But you SAID their belongings!" Kerry interjected. "They worked to buy that bed, so it's theirs! Just like the nails holding up the pictures that I took."
"Okay, I'll give you that one." Logan replied, the expression on Ronnie and Adam's faces telling him that what Kerry was saying was the truth. "That was still mean though!"
"You're just mad that you didn't think of it first!" Kerry shot back.
"Busted lil' bro." Mini giggled, earning himself an 'I'll get you later' glare from Logan.
Alien was shaking his head, a big grin on his face at the antics of his three brothers. "C'mon guys, let's get downstairs before we miss the main event. I'm pretty sure that Ronnie and Adam would like to see just what happens when we catch someone messing up kid's lives."
As Colin led his team through the front door, his senses told him that this particular situation would not be what they expected to be going into. Fully aware of the man who had ran out the back door, the team really didn't expect what they found as they cleared the entryway and entered the living room.
Sitting in front of them on the couch was a petite woman in her mid-thirties with three boys, a set of ten year old redheaded twins on one side and a nine year old strawberry blond on the other. "... do you understand why I'm not going to be your mom anymore?" she asked the three boys, all of who had tears running from their eyes.
Kris exchanged knowing glances with Colin, who nodded his head as he reformulated his strategy. 'I'll explain it, then each of you pick one of the boys to verify what we're uncovering.' he sent mentally to his team.
Once everyone was ready, Colin addressed the remaining family in front of them. "Ma'am, we are all telepaths and can hear surface thoughts without trying, in fact we usually filter them out when we are not on an operation. What I'm hearing from you and the boys could be making your goodbye a bit premature; but the only way that I can determine that for sure is by performing a deeper scan into your memories. Boys, you have the choice as well to be scanned to give us more information, and what we find may help us decide on what happens with your mom. Each of these guys is willing to scan you if you agree to it."
"I'll do it." the woman agreed quickly, realizing that Colin was being fair instead of being on a witch-hunt like her husband had exclaimed before running out of the room.
"Us too; if Mom trusts you we trust you." the three boys said in unison, sure that their mom had done nothing wrong in their eyes.
"Okay, we'll do our best to make this as comfortable as we can." Colin stated as he motioned for his team to begin. A couple of minutes later, with all of the scans completed, they began comparing notes, Colin's face emotionless as he compiled the readings and then followed up on some things that had been discovered.
"Okay, I've reached my decision based on the facts which have been retrieved." Colin stated. "Sherry Daniels, you have been found to have been acting as an accessory to the abduction of multiple children. Your youngest, Jack, is your genetic son. The twins, John and Jake, were abducted by yourself and your husband and kept by you. Your inclusion in this crime was based under the false information you were given that your soon-to-be ex-husband was infertile. He has been scanned without his permission due to criminal information discovered while scanning the boys; I will deal with him personally."
Colin paused, then continued. "I have determined that the abductions performed after the abduction of John and Jake were assisted by you only because of threats to the lives of yourself and the boys. John and Jake were chosen as your first victims as their mother died in childbirth; a piece of information that you were not aware of was that your husband 'arranged' for her passing to force your assistance on future abductions which he planned. As the boys have no living relatives, it is my duty to ensure that they are placed properly with someone who I can count on to raise them in a safe and secure environment."
Colin paused once again, his face still set in stone. "Sherry, based on the blackmail used to force you to continue the illegal actions, and based on your interactions with not only your biological son but also the twins, you are acquitted on the condition that you perform community service at the Des Moines compound of Clan Short as determined by the Director. In addition, based on the feelings of the twins and the bond they have formed with their step-brother, I am ordering that all legal documents bearing their names be made binding as filed by Clan Short. Based on your past interactions with all three boys, I am officially giving you full sole custody. Your ex-husband's name will be removed from all records as a courtesy to the boys to remove future reminders of his actions."
Sherry nodded. "Thank you; but may I ask why you refer to Ulysses as my ex-husband?"
Colin's expression didn't change as he stated "I am about to perform a community service once we are finished here; if you would like to know what his sideline was, I will tell you at a point when the boys don't have to hear more about his misdeeds than they already know. Once he's been dealt with, at some time in the future I think the boys might become comfortable enough to tell you what they went through when you were distracted by situations that he set up. For now, if you would please, follow Tucker, Kris, and Rocky out to meet our Director. As part of my job, I am required to be the one that must deal with the reason these three have trouble sleeping at night."
Kris looked over at Colin. "You sure you don't want backup?" he asked, somehow knowing that this was not going to be handled under normal Clan or Unit protocol.
"Go." Colin growled, which caused Kris to involuntarily shudder from the pure ice in the tone.
"May God have mercy, because Colin won't." Kris muttered under his breath, now sure that the information Colin had received had placed the suspect under a totally different jurisdiction. In a more normal voice, he said "Let's go catch up with Julio; I think you'll thank me later."
Once the group was out of sight, Colin tapped his subvocal. "Daileass, initiate the Dreamscape protocol. Get me into my official gear. I'm about to initiate a very deep mind scan on a very sick asshole."
"Oh crap... this ain't gonna be good; Dreamscape activated network wide." Daileass acknowledged. Colin then flickered for a second, his clothing changing to a one-piece flat black suit that covered everything but his face. Over the one piece suit was a floor length hooded cloak, also flat black, with a single insignia on it - the scales of Justice with the Unit, Starfleet Security, and Clan insignias in the background. After checking his weapons, Colin pulled a set of dark glasses out of one of the many hidden pockets inside the cloak, put them on, and then strode purposely towards the back door as he pulled the hood over his head.
As he walked outside, he noticed that all but two officers, Detectives Rodney DeYoung and Chet Simpson, had vacated the area; those two were standing with guns targeted on the head of the man lying on the ground. Even Eoghan had pulled back to be out of direct sight, obviously warned by Daileass that the shit was about to hit the fan and be accelerated to warp speed.
Colin walked over and calmly planted his foot directly between the man's shoulder blades, applying enough pressure to ensure he wasn't going anywhere. He glanced at the two officers, then stated in a monotone voice "This man has been scanned telepathically. Under the authority granted me by special order of the Federation Department of Internal Affairs Security Council, I hereby take custody. You have three choices; you may leave now, you may stay but agree to telepathic hiding of things which you are not cleared to be aware of, or you may stay and become permanent employees of myself; if you choose the third option, you and your families will be relocated to Des Moines for your new job."
"You ain't the only telepath around here." Rodney stated, aware that they were dealing with someone who wielded a lot of authority. "Me and Chet's been arguing over which one of us is gonna have his trigger finger slip. This bastard is sick."
"I know; that is the only reason you get a choice." Colin stated. "I see you've both made your choice; follow me." he added.
Both officers nodded their heads, fully aware by the blank slate that Colin's mind was presenting to them that the boy in front of them's skills dwarfed their natural talents. Their appreciation of his abilities increased when they saw Colin hoist up the grown man by his belt, carrying him with dragging feet back into the house.
Once securely out of sight from others in the center of the house, Colin had Rodney help him hang the man by his belt on the stairway bannister, arranging him so that he was somewhat upright. "You try to escape, I'll rip off your balls and shove them down your throat." Rodney stated factually. "And before you think I'm bluffing, I'm a Black Belt, and my hands are registered as weapons."
The new puddle below their prisoner indicated that he understood. Colin stepped back, motioning for the two officers to take positions on either side of him. Once in position, Colin began. "Ulysses Daniels, you have been telepathically scanned and found guilty of multiple violations of local, State, Federal, and Federation Youth protective laws and codes. You have repeatedly abducted babies for resale; have committed murder to allow yourself to illegally take custody of a set of twins which you then used to create pornographic films. You have committed murder via 'snuff' films of thirty-seven children who were getting too old for your customer base. You had just signed a contract to involve your blood son, the abducted twins, and your wife in a new 'snuff' film due to the three boys' ages and the impending danger of you being exposed by them. The identity of the person who pays you for these films has been extracted from your mind, I am sure that he's going to be surprised when he gets invited for dinner tonight. In addition, you have been found to be guilty of multiple interstellar trafficking violations and are guilty of performing and ordering the death or injury of multiple persons on and off planet, including Starfleet personnel from multiple planets."
Colin paused, and the ice in his tone turned to glaciers when he continued. "You are a heartless bastard who only cares about his own profit with no remorse over the damage and death caused by your actions. You've managed to exceed the heartlessness of my own sperm donor, which is an achievement that you will regret making. You are found guilty of all charges, and your sentence is ..." Colin's hand shot out at the speed of lightning, entering Ulysses' abdomen just below the ribcage. "Death." Colin finished as his hand pulled out, holding a quivering heart. "You're going to be as heartless in death as you were in life. Tell Satan that Colin said 'Merry Christmas'." Colin added before Ulysses lost consciousness.
Colin then calmly walked into the kitchen and disposed of the now lifeless heart in the garbage disposal, flushing the ground-up pieces down the drain with plenty of running water. "Impressive, neither of you lost your dinner." he commented as he cleaned off his arm.
"Daileass, please ensure that the Sehlat Division receives my contribution to their nightly snack." he stated, before turning to the two officers. "Questions?"
Chet nodded. "I grew up in Detroit." he stated, as if that answered everything.
"And I'm from the South Side of Chicago." Rodney added. "What now?"
"You two have some training to attend, it'll take an hour. By the time that you arrive in Des Moines, your families will be moved in and waiting for you. One of my associates is talking with them now to make the move go smoothly. Your resignations from the department have been approved." Colin stated. "My little brother Daileass will be helping you get everything done that is needed; as soon as you say that you are ready, I will pass you to him."
Rodney and Chet exchanged glances. "Do it." they both replied firmly.
"Daileass, two for training, you know the drill." Colin replied. "I'll see you two at home, good luck." he added before both men vanished. Once he was alone, he relaxed slightly. "Hey Kerry, you wanna grab Lucas' toy box and send it over?"
Kerry's response was overshadowed with a mixture of concern and compassion. "I got ya, bro. You ready to shift gears back into family mode? I've got your stuff ready, I don't think our brothers should get the hint that you answer to more people than they realize already."
Colin's eyes rose. "You watched? I thought that you guys were included in the Dreamcatcher mode block."
"We are." Kerry stated. "But you're family, so I worked out an override tagged to you that lets me watch out for you without compromising your security. No record exists where any member of any of the known - or unknown - universes can access it... it is keyed to me, and auto wipes if I'm compromised or lose communications."
"Why did you go to that much trouble?" Colin asked, no question in his mind that Kerry was telling the truth.
"Like I said, you're my family. I'm not gonna let my family drop out of my sight, ever."
"Like father, like son." Colin said with a shake of his head. "Thanks Kerry; I'm still working this family caring stuff out in my head, so forgive me if I seem a little weird about it."
"I know, it's okay." Kerry replied, his tone showing that he really understood.
"Okay, I'm ready to change back into normal clothes." Colin said with a smile, the conversation with Kerry having helped his mood shift back to normal.
"Here ya go." Kerry said, repeating the process to return Colin to the uniform he was in on arrival. "Julio's still out front if you want to catch him."
"Thanks ... bro." Colin said, turning towards the front door.
Julio had just finished catching up with Sherry and the three boys, now aware of their side of the situation they had been living through. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Colin coming out of the house, his posture telling Julio more than any report could have; the last time he had seen Colin walk like that was after Mini's parents had been dealt with.
Colin's voice appeared in Julio's head, confirming Julio's suspicions. 'Suspect acquired and terminated in accordance with established protocols due to nature of crimes.' Colin stated telepathically.
Julio gave Colin a 'thumbs-up' to show he had understood, figuring it was best to not ask details, at least not if he planned on sleeping later. Just as Colin joined them, Doug announced over the command network "House is clear with suspects present, detained, and awaiting trial."
The group headed inside as one, even Sherry and her boys. As they all got settled into seats, Tucker picked up Eddie and put him on his lap. "You wanna take a break and let me and Lucas handle this?" he asked softly.
Eddie smiled up at him. "Yeah, theys got really nasty minds. I'm gonna help the kids then, okay?"
"I think that's a great idea!" Tucker replied. "You're doing awesome, Eddie."
"Thanks!" Eddie beamed, then scrambled down to start making the rounds of the new kids, Jesse at his side.
Julio allowed himself a smile as he watched his husband and little brother playing welcome wagon. His face once again became serious though as he turned to the two remaining adults awaiting trial. Knowing that the two adults from Nathan's house were not going to attend, one due to an 'accident' with the butt of a .50 cal, and the other due to suicide, Julio had Nathan send the information pulled from them before death directly to Daileass. His voice lost all emotion as he stated "Malcolm and Judith McCullough, based on evidence found during previous investigations and on-site testimonies already received, I hereby order as stipulated under Federation Law and the Safe Haven Act that you submit to Vulcan-Certified telepathic scanning immediately as stage one of your trial for multiple offenses."
"Make me, brat." Malcolm spat.
"Gladly, asswipe." Julio replied. "Lucas, Tucker... I believe your services are now needed."
Tucker bowed to Lucas. "You take the gentleman first Sir, and I shall interrogate the lady."
"Splendid idea, dear chap." Lucas replied in a very bad imitation of an English accent. "Shall we begin?"
"We shall." Tucker replied, both boys then turning serious as they each began the scans of their chosen person. Once done, they swapped targets then repeated the process. From the expressions on the adult's faces, it was obvious that both had tried to fight the scan, and both had lost the fight twice. Tucker and Lucas took a minute to compile the information they had extracted, and then notified Julio that they were ready.
"One sec." Julio stated. He looked around at the new kids assembled in the room. "Okay guys, what you are about to see is how the Federation has authorized us to deal with those who abuse children and teens. Just so you know, I'll probably be listing out a few things that you might not normally want made public. I need to do that, and there is nobody in the Clan who will hold it against you."
After getting nods of assent from the group, Julio accepted the information found by the telepaths. The only saving grace he could find was that Ronnie and Adam had not been included in the 'projects' that the three houses were involved in; after what he learned from the scans, he was glad that Colin had saved him from presiding over the trial in the south house.
Eddie and Jesse were with Sherry and her sons. Jesse looked over, obviously having been added to the conversation in the group's heads by Eddie. "Hon, you can tell about these guys; we guessed you might find something about what their former male family head was doing, so they've shared the basics with their Mom. Eddie and I are helping her deal with it."
"Thanks, Babe." Julio replied. He then faced the two suspects and began; it took ten minutes before he was done listing their various offenses. Once that was done, he paused, then in a neutral voice he finished. "Malcolm and Judith McCullough. I hereby find you guilty of all charges as stated in this trial. Based on your resolve to refuse the use of not only your own illegally acquired children, but your attempts to prevent others from becoming the subjects of the 'features' that your neighbors were invested in, I am reducing your sentence to life on a Federation prison planet. You will be transferred to Federation custody immediately for transport. All documents, false or legitimate, stating custody or relationship to Adam and Ronnie are hereby declared null and void; Clan Short hereby takes temporary custody of both boys pending investigation into reuniting them with their blood relations."
Kris did not wait for orders. "Clan Short Security to Terra Main Security."
"Go ahead Clan Short. Don't you guys ever sleep?"
"No, bad guys don't sleep, so neither do we. I've got two new presents for Bubba; they've been assigned to him for life. Tell him I said be gentle, they actually managed to prevent some abuse while breaking just about every other law on the books."
"I'll pass the message; you've got a pretty big group there, can you flag them please?"
"Flagged. Energize." Kris stated as he marked the two.
I've got them. Take a break already!"
"I'll consider it." Kris replied with a giggle. "Thanks! Clan Short out."
"You're welcome; Terra Main out."
Julio nodded his thanks to Kris, then turned to face the witnesses. "Let's get outside, it's kinda crowded in here."
Colin grinned. "Anyone who has anything they want kept from the houses, grab one of the raccoons and they'll arrange to have it transferred to Des Moines. I'm gonna have a quick talk with the police to clear the area, then I think that Lucas is overdue for a little demolition practice."
"But I don't...." Lucas said softly.
"Your toy box is outside, little bro." Colin interrupted, which caused Lucas to begin grinning like a Cheshire cat.
"One through street coming up," Jesse laughed.
Colin nodded, and led the group outside. Jeff had been called by Colin over the command channel and met him on the street. Once Colin had explained what was planned and why it was being done, Jeff nodded his head and began the evacuation of the surrounding houses for safety. While this was going on, Doug led his team as they scrambled up poles and opened ground level access ports to disconnect all the utilities from the three houses in a way to ensure there were no chain reactions. Sherry had an old schoolmate friend who was in the paving business that she called on to expedite the process of ensuring nothing was built on the three properties. Once he heard it was for Clan Short, he immediately called in his crews for emergency service and began rolling trucks towards the site. Having all of the utilities disconnected, Doug then coordinated with the local police to set up a safe zone for the quickly expanding crowd; word had got out from the neighbors, and the neighborhood was turning out to watch the spectacle.
Lucas grabbed Mini and Alien, enlisting their help as he began preparing a precision destruction of the properties. The three boys were completely silent as they worked, Lucas switching to mental communication to make sure that his instructions were followed exactly. Once everything was in place and the air wing was grounded on the beach, Lucas had his brothers gather the new kids and Sherry at a safe spot just inside the barrier.
As Lucas manned the arming board, Alien explained what was about to happen. "Since you guys were the victims of this, including you Sherry, it is only right that you make the decision to destroy these buildings. Each house is wired separately so that only the occupants of that house can make the decision." Mini passed out some controls to each of them, the buttons labeled 'Abort' and 'Arm'.
"Okay," Alien continued once everyone who needed a button had one, "Once Lucas signals to go, if you don't want the house blown up press 'abort'; if you want it destroyed press 'arm'. Once all of the remotes have reported in, Lucas will approve the sequence and it will automatically do whatever the input from the remotes tells it to do. One abort vote will save that particular house."
Everyone nodded, and watched for Lucas to signal that he was ready. Once the diagnostics of the network completed, Lucas gave the victims a thumbs-up. Almost instantly, all of the green 'ARMED' lights across the top of the board lit. He glanced at Mini, who lifted a bullhorn with a grin.
After sounding the alert tone, Mini announced "ONE MINUTE WARNING! All persons will be transported out of the target zone immediately!"
Almost in unison, both Kerry and Daileass announced over everyone's communicators "Targets are clear of all lifeforms!"
"THIRTY SECONDS. SPOTTERS SEEK COVER."
"FIRE IN THE HOLE!"
Mini's grin was huge as he watched their work do its duty. All three houses were affected, the shaped charges doing their job as each house folded in towards the center, smaller charges disintegrating the walls as they collapsed in. The entire event took a minute to unfold; but once done, all that was left was a pile of lumber in what used to be basements. The assembled crowd exploded into applause at the precision work; even the rose bush of the northern neighbor that sat right on the property line was completely undamaged.
"Hey Kerry! Cleanup in Aisle 21!" Doug joked. "Awesome job guys!" he added as he joined Mini, Lucas, and Alien.
Kerry transported out the scrap, and transported in fill for the basements. The road crew came in and immediately began marking out and preparing to extend the former dead-end street behind the properties to create an intersection on Lake Michigan Street.
"Doug, you wanna help out the officers with cleanup while Jess and I take these guys to CIC?" Julio asked. "Colin, could you get with Jeff to sort out those records he wants us to look at?"
Both boys nodded, and as they split off to take care of their tasks, Julio signaled Kerry to take them home.
Mick and Janice shook their heads with huge grins on their faces as the kids appeared in CIC. "Nine kids and two adults," Mick chuckled, "I think you guys need to get immunizations for your people collecting disease!"
"Bite me, Dad!" Julio giggled. "Those four are Nathan's; I had nothing to do with them!" he added, pointing at the four boys hanging on the two gorillas.
"Does Prez know that you've taken up kid collecting?" Janice asked Nathan teasingly.
"No, I think I'll surprise him; he hasn't had a surprise in at least fifteen minutes!" Nathan responded.
Kaleo smiled, "We've got plenty of space at four other bases."
Tory giggled, "Besides, they've taken to the gorillas, so we'll take 'em home with us."
Jesse motioned for Julio to join him at the terminal. After a few seconds of going over the information, Julio turned back to the group. "I've got some news. Adam, you have three brothers, an identical twin to you and a set of fraternal twins to you. They live in Naples, Florida with your real parents. Ronnie, you have a twin brother who lives at the Pacific Rim base."
Adam and Ronnie looked at each other in shock, not sure if they should be happy for each other or defensive about being split up.
Julio spotted the possible problem immediately. "You two are brothers by experience; I'm not gonna allow you to lose that. We're gonna make sure that you two have easy ways to be together while still getting to know the rest of your family. Any separation is temporary, and I'm going to issue you both communicators. All you have to do is ask to talk to or go see your brother, and one of the AIs will make it happen for you."
Glancing at Ronnie and Adam, Nathan added, "Right now, Pacific Rim Division is on lockdown, because of the rescue of some street prostitutes. I'll clear it with Prez and you'll have immediate clearance to see each other whenever ya want."
"You're not gonna split us up then abandon us, are you?" Adam asked, obviously speaking for both of them.
"ABANDON YOU?" Kaleo and Tory incredulously hollered. Nathan softly giggled.
Kaleo smiled, "At last count, we had about two hundred kids at our Ewa Beach base, all between age four and fifteen. Believe me, you'll have so much to keep you busy there and here you won't have time to worry about feeling abandoned."
Julio's eyes got wide. "If you ever feel abandoned, you can call Cory on your communicator, or the Unit hotline from any phone or terminal. We DON'T abandon ANYONE!"
Tory explained, "Me and Kaleo were orphans less than a week ago. We've got pools and rec centers and so much cool stuff, not to mention the coolest people, and five of our leadership team have a great band. They play music for us almost every afternoon. Neither of you will ever feel lonely ever again."
"And you will be able to share that with your families -- both of you, together or separately, mattering on what the two of you decide between yourselves." Julio added.
Garrett spoke up from where he was listening by the doorway. "They're right, all that stuff is kewl. The kewlest part is that when they tell you that they've got your back, they ain't kidding. You guys got adult parents... instead of sitting in some crappy jail, I've got the entire Clan as parents. I can call every one of these guys Dad, even the babies. Ain't a single one of these guys that's gonna screw you around; I'm the perfect target if they wanted to try."
Laying a hand on Garrett's shoulder, Nathan smiled and gently prodded, "Why don't you tell them why you're the perfect target?"
Garrett shrugged his shoulders. "I guess, since they're my family now too. I killed my sperm donor, shot him 'cuz he thought my butt was his playground, then came here and turned myself in. Alien took care of getting me straightened out legally without having to use any of his overrides, then Colin called in a Vulcan to heal my head when I started to go nuts from what I'd done. They coulda turned me over to the cops, or let me go nuts; instead they've done everything they can think of to give me a life again. There's a house above this command center; I live there, with Julio and the rest of his family, blood and adopted. I'm in this room because I've figured out that I like to help the Intel guys with their stuff; not everyone can just walk in here without someone giving their okay. I accept the fact that I'm a murderer, it don't matter that even the prosecutor said it was justified. I ain't proud of it, and if I could change things I woulda just came here that day. I've fucked up more than most of the people in this compound, but they still treat me like their common son."
Alien walked over to the side of Garrett that wasn't occupied by Nathan, and added his own comments as he added his arm on Garrett's shoulder. "Yep, and that includes gentle reminders that feeling down about what happened is not going to make things better, is it Garrett?"
Garrett stuck his tongue out at Alien. "Sorry Dad!" he added, the tone jovial yet still showing that he was listening.
Adam looked around for a second, then walked over and wiggled his arms through until they were around Garrett's lower ribs. He then pulled himself in close, giving Garrett a heartfelt hug. "Thanks for sharing that, you didn't need to but you did it anyways." Adam stated softly. "You can call me Dad any time you want; you ain't as bad as you think you are."
Garrett locked eyes with Adam, and saw something that he never expected; compassion. He returned the hug, never breaking eye contact. "Thank you," Garrett whispered, unable to find any better way to express how he suddenly felt.
Ronnie joined his brother, and without disturbing them said, "Adam's never been wrong about anyone; if he says you're good then you're good. I wanna have you visit in Hawaii, I can teach ya' how to hang out on the beach; once I figure out the ocean waves we can even try surfin'. He says you're family, you're family to me too."
Garrett nodded; while he had felt a lot of acceptance since coming to the Compound, there was something different about it coming from these two, a special caring that seemed to heal the rips in his spirit from what he had done.
Ronnie smiled, understanding that Garrett was speechless. "Kewl; can you add Garrett to the list that can come and go, Nathan?"
"I like that idea; I think you'll like your family over there, Garrett." Julio quickly commented, telling Nathan without words that Garrett was not under any restrictions about travel.
"No arguments here, I'll add him to the list," Nathan replied. "Hey Mini, you figure out where those new communicators are at yet?"
"I've had them for five minutes." Mini replied. "You guys talking with Garrett was more important, I wasn't going to interrupt you. Garrett, I added another channel to yours; it's the same channel these guys have reserved for them. They have all the standard channels, but I figured they'd want one that just had people they knew on it."
"How'd you know I was gonna ask how I could call him?" Ronnie asked in shock.
Mini giggled. "When you have twin brothers who can catch stray thoughts like a pro outfielder, you get a lot of help makin' sure things are right the first time!"
"Jeez! Has anyone invented a telepath-proof hat yet?" Ronnie joked, obviously not worried about what other thoughts he might have unknowingly transmitted.
"Yeah... I had to relocate him to another planet." Logan deadpanned. "Colin helped."
"The scary part is, I'm not sure if he's joking or not." Julio added as he pulled Logan into a cuddle. "Ronnie, if something happens and things don't work out, you are more than welcome to come back here. I'll be keeping in touch with Nathan to make sure that you're happy there; you're not being passed off, you're being given a chance to see if you can become family with the brother that you've not seen since you were born."
Ronnie sighed, "Ya know, I've had these feelings there was another, sorta like Adam, from time-to-time." After a moment to think, Ronnie smiled, "Thanks for the offer, Julio. I'm sure Adam and me will bopping back and forth often enough. I have to admit, I'm a little anxious and equally scared to meet him, after all these years."
Tory checked, "Are you ready, Ronnie?" Ronnie nodded.
Kaleo smiled, "First stop is the store, where most of our Core Rimmers already are, and so is Ralphie."
"I'll give you a call in a little bit to see how things are going, Ronnie." Julio added. "If you need anything from here or Michigan while we're helping Adam, just call Garrett; if he don't know how to do it, he knows who to ask."
Adam let loose of Garrett with one arm, and pulled his brother into the hug, turning it into a three-way. "I love ya, bro. You're gonna meet my brothers before we all go to bed tonight, and I'm gonna meet yours. You think our bed can hold all of us, Garrett included?"
"We'll sure try!" Ronnie said with a giggle, totally ignoring the fact that Garrett was doing a very good imitation of a fish out of water.
"Give each other a hug, we'll get together tonight." Adam said with an evil tone in his giggle.
Both boys looked at Adam, rolling their eyes as they saw the smirk on his face. They complied anyway, and once they broke their hug Nathan took advantage of the pause. "Let's get home, guys. I think Prez is starting to regain his sanity, and I can't allow that to happen."
"I'm gonna make SURE he hears that!" Kerry laughed. "All aboard for the Coconut Express!"
"Go for it!" Nathan laughed. A second later, the Pacific Rim detachment, with Ronnie, vanished from the room.
Once they were gone, the Dutchmen began working with the Intel operators to disseminate the information to various sections of the Clan for follow-up. Julio and Jesse quickly filled the parents in on the basics of what happened while Garrett began indoctrinating Adam in what it means to be Clan. Five minutes later, Janice led Bob and her youngest kids out of the room; leaving Mick there with Julio, Jesse, Adam, Garrett, Eddie, Johnny, the Dutchmen, and the CIC staff.
"Julio, you've got a green light on Adam's blood relation." Christian announced from his seat in front of a terminal. "All background checks are clean. It wouldn't hurt to get HQ involved, Naples is in their zone."
"Thanks Christian." Julio replied as he glanced over at Garrett and Adam. Garrett was just finishing up telling Adam the basics, and sent him to join Julio as he saw the glance in their direction. Seeing Adam coming over, Julio added "Could you patch me in from the Conference room? I doubt Adam's parents would be very impressed if they overheard you guys dealing with the Michigan leftovers."
"You got it, Boss!" Christian giggled. "You afraid we might teach them some new words?"
"YES!" Julio laughed, which caused most of the room to either chuckle or giggle. He led Adam to the room, and quickly got set up for the call.
"Do you think they remember me?" Adam asked, his insecurity beginning to show now that he was actually beginning the process of being reunited.
"I think there is a good chance of it." Julio replied. "I saw a few things when we first found info on them that I think you'll like. I want you to find out for yourself though; it'll be more special that way."
Adam gave Julio a small smile. "Thanks. I'm feeling kinda weird right now; I ain't never been this far away from Ronnie."
"If you think it'd help, you can have Kerry ask Garrett to come in with us; I saw how you two were bonding with him."
Adam nodded, and asked aloud "Kerry, could you ask Garrett to join us?"
"He'll be right in." Kerry replied.
Garrett walked through the door, and after giving Adam a hug of encouragement he took a seat just out of camera view. "I'll be right here; I think the less people they see the better it'll go." he said with a smile.
"Thanks." Adam replied, his posture clearly showing that while he was still nervous, he now at least felt like he had someone supporting him.
Satisfied that Adam was now ready to begin the process, Julio announced "Okay, connect me with HQ please."
"Hey, how's the new division coming together Julio?" Seth asked as he appeared on the screen embedded in the wall.
"I'm going to strangle Justy next time I see him." Julio replied with a small grin. "You got George online yet?"
"Unfortunately, yes." Seth replied with a smile.
"Good... George, could you get the background info from Kerry and display it for Seth so we can save some time?" Julio asked, trying to save Adam as much stress as possible.
As they watched, Seth scanned the information as it was sent to him. "Shit... you've really dug up a hornet's nest." he said with disgust. "You want to handle this? I'll sit on the side and monitor it for you, and I'll step in to help if you need it."
"Thanks; I think that will work. I wasn't sure how to handle this since it's in your area." Julio admitted.
"Don't worry about it; as long as you involve the people responsible for an area it's not an issue." Seth stated. "Is that Adam standing there behind you?"
"Yes; I really hope that this works out. He's felt like he was missing something all his life, and now I think we'll be able to help him find it." Julio replied as he motioned for Adam to come closer.
"We will. How is yet to be seen, but it'll happen." Seth stated. "Double Trouble will kill me if I don't make sure that happens. Selling kids... I really feel sorry for the parents. Adam, you're gonna remember today forever; I'll make sure of that."
"Thanks, Sir." Adam replied softly.
Seth set his jaw. "Stand by; I'll pull you in once connection is established. George looked up the house; they have video capabilities, so I'm going all out."
As the screen switched to show they were on hold, Adam reached out and grabbed Julio's arm. "Is this really happening?"
"Yes; and you've got the best intel guy in Orlando helping out to make sure things go right." Julio replied.
Adam stepped back a couple of steps. As they both watched the screen, suddenly they saw a mirror image of Adam appear on the screen, with a blond-haired set of twins who looked quite similar to him on the floor behind him.
"Just a minu .... Oh ... my ... God ...." the twin to Adam said as his eyes fell on Adam over the connection.
All three boys in Naples stared at the screen, screaming MOOOOOOMMMM!!!!! at the top of their lungs in unison. A woman came running into the room, asking the boys "What's wrong?" As her eyes fell onto the screen, her eyes shot wide open as she saw Adam.
"Can they hear us?" Adam asked softly.
"Not yet; Seth has us muted still." Julio replied. "Watch for the bottom bar on the screen to turn green, then we'll be live on audio."
"Okay." Adam replied, "I just wondered." He fell silent as Seth continued the call.
"Mrs. Nancy Morrison?" Seth asked softly.
"Yes ... sorry, this can't be real... I never expected...." she stated, her shock plainly visible to Julio, Adam, and Garrett.
Seth smiled on his side of the screen. "We're Clan Short, reality is just an inconvenience. The young man on the other side of the screen is Director Julio Hernandez, Family Clan Short Des Moines. If you're ready, I'll let you two talk, but I'll be here if you have any questions Julio can't answer."
Nancy nodded, her head seeming to clear from the initial shock. "Please, my husband needs to be here for this. I'm a mother, and I know what I'm seeing. Excuse me for just a second."
"I want to talk to my brother!" the twin to Adam exclaimed, obviously convinced on sight alone.
"If it is okay with the Clan Short gentlemen, you can go ahead, Mark." Nancy said from just off-screen. "I'm going into the dining room to call your father."
"Julio; you're live." Seth said with a chuckle.
Julio smiled as the screen changed status. "I'm guessing that you're Mark by what your Mom just said."
Julio glanced to his side, and saw an extremely nervous Adam standing there with Garrett by his side. He placed a hand on Adam's shoulder. "Thanks to some tech the Clan has available, I can say this with certainty. Mark, I would like to introduce you to your twin brother, Adam. Adam, there is no doubt, Mark is your brother. So are the two other boys on screen; I'm sure Mark will introduce you."
Adam nodded. "Ummm ... Hi Mark. This is my friend Garrett, these guys rescued him too."
"I knew it! I KNEW you were still alive!" Mark gushed. "Garrett! That's my BROTHER!"
Garrett grinned. "Yep, you're definitely related!"
Garrett's joke diffused some of Adam's nervousness. "You knew I was still alive?" he asked.
Mark nodded. "We could feel you. It's like you were with us even though you wasn't."
Adam smiled. "I ... WE have another brother, Ronnie, him and I grew up together. We're not related by blood, but him and I are like that a little bit, it's like we can feel each other."
"Where's he at?" Mark asked.
"He's meeting his twin in Hawaii right now. We're planning on all of us brothers getting together tonight." Adam replied, already feeling more comfortable with Mark.
"Awesome!" Mark exclaimed, his words echoed immediately by the brothers behind him. They then joined him at the screen. "This is Jeff and Brian, they're our brothers too."
Adam's smile grew wider. "Wow! All my brothers have kewl names!"
"When do we get to meet you in person?" Jeff asked. "We wanted you and Mark to talk first since you're part of each other, but we all wanna give ya a hug and welcome ya home!"
Julio interjected the answer into the conversation. "We've already ran the background checks on everyone there, but we need to have one of the Clan telepaths do a final check before Adam can come over. It's to protect you guys too; if we find something wrong, we can look at other ways to get you together. As soon as your Dad is there, I'll bring the team over and we'll get things going."
Garrett saw the looks that flashed on the faces of the three boys in Florida. "Chill guys; I've met a few kids here who were not aware that one of their parents was a criminal. A few others, like me, found out the hard way that the parent they loved turned into a monster once they reached a certain age. These guys can usually catch that stuff, and will either help prevent there being a problem or will get you safe before it happens."
Adam nodded, suddenly serious. "Yeah, three of my friends that lived next door were about to be killed by their father, he had signed a contract. Them and their Mom are safe here tonight and are gonna be living here."
Mark, Jeff, and Brian exchanged glances; the realization that their brother had seen things they had never imagined sobering all three of them. Nancy came into the screen's view, and added her own comments. "Boys, I don't know how much you know about Clan Short, but your Dad and I have discussed them quite a bit. I heard a lot of what was said; they take protecting kids and families seriously. I know that you want to actually be in the same room as your brother, but we need to follow the procedures they use to make sure all four of you are safe. Not all kids have nice families, and I'm in agreement with the way the Clan tries to make sure the kids they deal with are not going to have a repeat of what they were just rescued from."
"I thought that stuff didn't happen much, that it was all being made more than what was really happening." Mark stated softly. "All the stuff they warn us about in school really happens?"
"Yeah," Adam replied before anyone else could. "Garrett gave me the quick rundown of what he's seen here. There's stuff that happens that they don't tell you about, and sometimes stuff you won't believe unless you see it. He says the Clan works because the guys who have been through it know how to spot it, so they know who needs help."
"That's right," a man in police uniform said as he walked quickly into the room. "Victims of abuse know the signs...." He paused, staring at the screen. "Thank you Lord!" he whispered as he saw Adam for the first time.
"Dad?" Adam asked as he stared at the older version of himself.
"Yes... son." he replied. "What name are you going by?"
The man smiled. "They kept your first name ... we named you that because you were the first one ... it was our way of remembering what order you guys were born in." He paused, then shifted his attention to Julio. "Director, I'm Frank Morrison. Thank you for finding our son."
Julio smiled. "You're welcome, Frank. I am Julio Hernandez, Director of Family Clan Short Des Moines Division. How did you figure out that I was the Director?"
"It was easy, Director Hernandez. You were not worrying about my son, instead you were watching what was going on here; looking for any signs of a problem. Between that and the way you hold yourself, it was obvious that you have Vulcan training."
Julio nodded. "You're very observant. Since it appears that most of your co-workers have decided to join you for this, at least that's my guess by the amount of officers entering the room, I believe it is time for me to visit to perform verification of conditions. Once that is completed, if we find no issues you will get to see Adam in person."
"Telepathic scan I presume?" Frank replied. "Please feel free. I've waited eleven years for this day; I'm not going to do anything to delay it one more second than needed."
"Thank you, this is always easier when everyone understands." Julio replied with a smile. "Please stand by, we shall be there shortly."
"I'll be waiting." Frank stated.
Happy 10th anniversary Memories!!!
I'm not gonna be evil; Chapter Two has been posted along with this chapter! Look for my notes at the end of it!
Rats, Rats, Rats!!!! I hate it when AC Fan does that. Darn cliff hangers!!! But, what a great start to book 2!!! Could you ask for any more action and see Julio in Division Leader mode? Wow, and Colin, he is something else! I am glad he was able to take care of things then and there. What a nasty mess. It will interesting to see how wide spread this goes. Can't wait!!!
Your friendly neighborhood editing puppy!