Memories Part 3: And A Child Shall Lead Them

Chapter 28: Past to Present


I hadda do that; it was funny! Yep, Ezzy here, I thought I could help de-confuse you a little bit. We're still finding things that somehow slipped into side branches of Time that really should have already happened in real time. I know it gets kinda confusing, but once we're done we can all relax and we ain't gonna need to jump around so much! The next couple of chapters are gonna fill in a couple of really big things that are happening, including more about the latest mall invasion. I'm glad I did good on my Mikyvis Multi-tasking, because this could really get outta hand if I didn't concentrate on multiple things at once.

After we check in on the mall. we're gonna look into something that happened in the Orlando CIC just before the birthday party for Uncle Cory's cousins. Something went really wrong with Time back then, and it hijacked a whole bunch of things that were supposed to happen. I found the branch before anything happened to it, so now you get to see it being put back where it belongs.

Enjoy the show, a bunch of these guys are about to have some fun! 


"... and you need to stay right here, Damon." Kandra told her seven-year-old son. "I'll be back out of the bathroom in just a minute.

"Okay, Mommy. I'll wait here," Damon replied as he sat down and pulled out his iPad to play a game. A few minutes later, he was totally absorbed in his game when an adult hand grabbed his shirt and pulled him off the bench. "MOMMY!" Damon screamed at the top of his lungs, his twist as he was hitting the floor ripping his shirt and causing his attacker to lose his hold.

The sound of two hissing cats signaled that all hell was about to break loose. From under clothing racks on either side, the twins pounced the prey they had been stalking since he had been detected by John. With claws extended, they hit their prey from both sides, instantly taking him to the floor and causing blood to flow from multiple puncture wounds. "Run, please!" Loki growled, "We like playing with our prey!"

Kandra had came running at the sound of her son's scream, and was watching in shock as Damon stated "That bad guy tried to steal me, but the kitties got him!"

Terry came running over with Mags. "What'd he do, cutie?"

Loki looked up from watching his brother tease their prey by drawing a smiley face on his cheek with the point of his claw, just light enough to not break the skin. "He just tried to kidnap the little guy over there. He's no fun though, he won't try to run away from us!"

"Got it, I'll add it to what the telepaths got while you were stalking him and waiting for the go ahead," Terry stated, now fully into the mindset that Kyle had taught him for trial situations. "William Davis, you've been apprehended and detained based on detected surface thoughts indicating a history of abductions of dozens of youth under the age of fourteen. These abductions and the aftermath of each have been verified by deep scan from Vulcan trained telepaths, and you are now being brought to trial on said offenses. This Court hereby finds you guilty of thirty-seven counts of abduction of a youth, forty-two counts of attempted abduction, fourteen counts of accessory to murder, seven counts of rape of a minor and murder, and fifteen counts of accessory to child slavery. You are herby sentenced to life on a Class III Federation prison planet, with parole denied indefinitely. If you would prefer, you can try to run; my brothers won't be limited to just capturing you if you do, they'll be allowed to assist you in going to your final judgement. Your choice, buttwipe."

As the rest of the group joined them, Loki and Lorin 'assisted' their target to his feet. As he stood their looking back and forth between the two furry boys with fear in his eyes, the boys wiggled their ears and licked their lips, flexing their legs in anticipation of another chase.

"He's choosing jail guys," Cris giggled. "Sorry!"

Jordan tapped his commbadge. "Clan Short to Terra Main, we have one volunteer for the next shuttle to a class III."

"Terra Main acknowledged. Can you identify the prisoner?"

"One moron flagged, energize at will." Jordan replied.

"We got him, energizing. Have a great day, Sir. Terra Main out."

Noticing the mess on the floor, John announced "Emmy, cleanup in aisle eleven!"

Seeing as his pending fun was ruined, Loki went over to Damon, who was securely latched onto his mom. "You okay, lil' dude?" Loki asked softly.

Eyes wide, Damon nodded his head before breaking loose from his mom and latching onto Loki. "You're awesome! You NAILED that bad guy!"

Blushing, Loki grinned as he said "C'mon, I'll introduce you to the guys!"

As Loki escorted the wide-eyed boy around the group, Mark came over with surprise written all over his face. "Kandra Jones? Is that you?"

"Mark? Mark Williams?" Kandra replied, her face unreadable. "When did you get back?"

"I'm on the Iowa, so I'm here permanently when not out to sea," Mark replied. "When did you get married and have a kid?"

"I'm still single, and Damon was born nine months after we graduated," Kandra replied carefully.

Mark did the calculations, and his eyes grew wide. "Is he...?" Mark asked, almost afraid to know the answer as he shifted his gaze between the little tow-head and Kandra.

Kandra nodded. "The pill didn't work. He's yours."

"Why didn't you write me and tell me?" Mark whispered.

Kandra bowed her head. "I still have to live with my parents to support the two of us, and they told me if I told you we were on the street."

"SKYLER!" Mark yelled, his face turning red. "Get all of Kandra and Damon's shit from their old home and drop it in our stateroom on the ship."

"Gotcha Uncle Mark," Sky replied before vanishing. A second later, he re-appeared, giggling "They really need to change their huggies! I dunno WHY a seven-foot tall gorilla appearing in their living room would scare them or anything?"

"What just happened?" Kandra asked.

"We'll sort out how we feel for each other later," Mark replied, "but no matter what happens you're NOT going to be held hostage by anyone. Damon lost seven years of having a father because your parents are stuck in the ancient past. I ain't gonna stand for that shit, and since I'm an officer in Clan Short I can make sure that you don't have to either."

"So the Navy hasn't cured your hard-head?" Kandra asked with a small smile.

"NO!" Brian and Terry giggled from the group of boys welcoming their new little brother.

"Bite me, brats!" Mark shot back. "Damon's getting a few very special big brothers, Kandra. When I never heard from you, I pretty much gave up on us despite still having feelings for you. What do you say to giving it a chance?"

Kandra smiled for real. "Yep, still hard headed! Hows this going to work, do you already have a place off the ship, or do we need to start hunting for an apartment?"

Just then, Quint popped in and informed Mark "Your new wing on your stateroom has been added. I accept payment in cookies. You're welcome.", then vanished before a word could be said by anyone else.

"What the Hell?" Kandra exclaimed in shock.

"You'll get used to it!" Mark chuckled. "Sanity has been outlawed in Clan Short; I'm guessing that living arrangements are already handled onboard the ship."

"That isn't safe for Damon, is it?" Kandra asked.

"He's not the youngest living onboard," Mark explained. "There's classes going on for the kids to teach them about shipboard life, and to get them ready for any training they might be interested in. This isn't the US Navy; the kids are just as much part of the crew as us old salts."

Kandra was obviously still skeptical, but she figured that at this point it couldn't hurt to at least see how things looked. "I'll give it a chance. So, just what brought you and your army to Macy's?"

"A limo!" Mark chuckled, then ducked the expected slap. "Actually, it started out with Bri and Terry needing to stock up on normal clothes. They invited their friends from Hawaii, and then our security detail arrived. Things went downhill from there!"


"Yep," Mark replied, "I'm the Public Relations Officer for the Clan Short Atlantic Fleet."

"I didn't know that Clan Short was that desperate for help," Kandra quipped, which caused every Clan member within hearing range to fall to the floor laughing.

After scowling at the boys rolling on the floor holding their sides, Mark shook his head. "Now you've done it; they'll never let me live that down. Help me with the clowns, and we can get back to shopping. Whatever Damon needs, just put it on the pile at the register. He's my son, which means Clan Short covers all his cost of living expenses now. Yours are covered too."

"Don't you have to get someone to approve it?" Kandra asked.

"I approve already!" Prez announced as he he tried to regain his feet. "This Director stuff comes in handy sometimes!"

"There you go, thanks Prez!" Mark chuckled.

The pair gathered up the pack of boys, Kandra doing a very good job of hiding her shock as Damon introduced her to each of his new brothers. Once the boys all took off to attack the clothing stock once again, with Damon happily getting a piggy-back ride from Mags, Kandra pulled Mark off to the side. "Would you care to explain why most of those boys are far from normal kids?"

Mark motioned to a nearby bench. "Take a seat; this isn't a light subject."

As they both sat down, Sky popped in. "I'll bubble you so that you can talk privately. You finished a couple of minutes ago, but I needed a cookie break before I could get over here to let you start."

"Thanks, Sky," Mark replied as he tried to clear the smoke from his ears, "I'll see you last week."

Once Sky vanished, Mark answered before Kandra could even ask. "He's a new sub-species of humanity, his parents evolved into what he is. They're called Mikyvis, and their specialties are manipulating Time, cuddles, and eating cookies. Just consider them normal kids, they usually are unless there's something they really need to get involved in."

"Okay, at least there's a reasonable excuse," Kandra replied. "One down...."

Mark nodded. "Trust me, that was the easy one. The next most difficult are the furry guys, and my personal security, Cris and Jordan. In one way or another, they were all affected by the same rogue organization, one which has been permanently taken out. That group was genetically altering humans, trying to make super-soldiers. The furry guys were modified at fertilization, combining animal genes with human genes to get the traits they were shooting for. Jordan and Cris were modified after being found as orphans; from what I have been told, they literally went through Hell."

"Oh my God! Those poor boys!"

"I couldn't agree more. At least they were not awake through the worst of it. Terry wasn't so lucky. He's lived through torture since just after birth, and it took medical procedures that only Clan Short has access to to save his life. He was in such bad shape that even with the abuse stopping, his body couldn't recover. That's why his color is off; he had to undergo a medical procedure that safely converted his blood to a totally different metallurgical base. The conversion allowed his body to heal what it couldn't have healed otherwise, but it has the side effect of extending his natural lifespan... by over four thousand times."

"Did you say FOUR THOUSAND?" Kandra exclaimed.

"Actually just over forty-five hundred, but at that rate the hundreds don't really matter," Mark explained. "The good news is that a support group has formed for the guys who have had the procedure, as well as their family. The Mikyvis can outlive even them, so there's a community forming of long-life species."

"At least someone's thinking about the long-term effects," Kandra observed. "What about Brian?"

"He's an advanced human," Mark said with relief, "Brian's a natural mutation of humanity, an empath. Not just sensitive to emotions, he can feel them and affect them. In fact, he used to only be Terry's cousin, and back then he was unknowingly keeping Terry alive by absorbing his emotional distress. I've been told that subconsciously Terry is going to pay that back by somehow not letting Brian get old and die. Nobody has any idea how it'll happen, but considering the source of the rumor was one of the Clan's Guardian Angels, I'd say it's possible."

"Okay... last I heard, nobody's talking regularly to Angels besides maybe the Pope." Kandra stated, obviously skeptical.

"Angelgram!" Davie announced as he popped in, wings extended. He handed Mark a plate of cookies, gave a VERY surprised Kandra a hug, then popped back out after giggling "Believe, Aunt Kandra! Uncle Mark, Emmy's ordered a scratching post for your kitties!"

Kandra looked at Mark with wide eyes, only to have Mark hold out the plate and offer "Cookie?"

"How can you just sit there and act like this is normal?" Kandra asked. "Angels popping in with cookies giving cryptic messages and passing out hugs isn't normal!"

Mark shrugged his shoulders, taking a cookie for himself. "Neither is Guardian Angels piloting a ship out of Charleston Harbor at high speed, but Davie's done it. He's a good kid, and like any kid he likes to have fun. I've met a few kids that he's helped with adjustment to having a new life where they ain't abused; if the boys turn out anything like him I'll be a happy father."

"Just how did you end up with the boys, anyway?" Kandra asked, almost afraid to know the answer.

Mark smiled, "Just after we started taking on the survivors from the cruise ship during the Battle of Earth, I was heading down to the mess deck with KT to see how it was going; KT's the kid in charge of the Atlantic Fleet, by the way. He's one of Davie's success stories. We got down there, and were just getting an idea of what was going on when I came across this kid rolled into a ball on the floor crying. I didn't even think about it, I just coaxed him to sit on my lap and comforted him. Once I got him calmed down some, we learned that his name was Brian, and his dad was asleep right in the area hit on the cruise ship. His only surviving relative was an uncle, and his opinion of him was less than desirable. KT made a call and sent some of the Clan guys out to check on the report Brian made about his uncle. While we were waiting for the report, KT made me Brian's legal guardian. We got the report back in the form of KT's Clan brothers bringing Brian's cousin Terry back to the ship; Terry's former father was convicted of torture, which left him with no surviving adult relatives as well. I decided immediately to give Terry the same gift I gave Brian, so KT did the adoption for him too."

"You gave up being a Navy bachelor just because you found two boys who needed a family?" Kandra queried.

"Actually, I gave it up because I found two boys who needed to know that someone was there for them. The family part is just a bonus. After hearing Doc 'Tonio give every sailor in the room language lessons when he started checking out Terry, I realized just what I had taken on, and it made me feel better about myself than I've felt in years. There's nothing like the feeling that you get when a kid comes to the realization that you'll stand by their side no matter how their life changes. I just hope that you'll give me the chance to let Damon know I'll be there for him because I want to, not because I have to."

Kandra smiled. "Damon's a lot like you, and he caught on early to the fact that my parents were going out of their way to make you look like a total bum. If I know him, he's grilling Brian and Terry to find out what you're like, and he's going to take their word over anything even I could say. What's the situation with the twins?"

"Lorin and Loki are in the process of me adopting them. As soon as I found out that they have never had a family, I decided to change that. I've given the rest of the security detail the same option; something tells me that the twins need it more than the rest do though."

Kandra nodded. "I got that feeling too; I just want to cuddle them and tell them they're not alone. They're a couple of little cuties when they aren't hunting people."

Mark nodded. "I guess the real question is, are you willing to give up the life that you're used to so that we can give it a go? Do you think that you can learn to adapt to the insanity of Clan life?"

"I'm not going to give up that much," Kandra admitted. "My parents wouldn't let me continue my education, so I'm still doing low paying jobs to get by. It's almost like they wanted to tie me down so that there was no chance I'd look you up and introduce Damon to his father. They wouldn't even let me put your name on the birth certificate."

"They just think they did," Mark smirked. "KT's been giving me lessons on undoing stupidity. If you're willing to give it a shot, I'll call for our cookie monster to return us to reality."

"Go for it, I'm looking forward to seeing how life will work out living with you like I'd wanted to." Kandra replied.

Before calling for Sky, Mark commented "Kan, the first son of the Patriarch once said 'Some times bad things gotta happen so good things can happen'. Don't try to change what was, because that is what made what will be possible. I learned that lesson really quick from the Clan boys, and it explains a lot of my life."

"It sounds like I'm going to have a lot to learn," Kandra admitted. "How are you going to get Skyler's attention?"

"Easy!" Mark sniggered. Holding up a cookie, he announced "Oh, Skyler! I've got Angel Cookies!"

"ANGEL COOKIES!" Skyler exclaimed in glee as he popped in next to Mark, accepting the offered cookie with a huge grin. After taking his first bite, he almost purred as he added "Uncle Davie made these; his cookies are always special."

"Told you it'd work!" Mark laughed.

"Skyler, can we return to normal?" Kandra asked with a smile. "After you finish your cookie, of course."

Nodding his head in thanks, Skyler blissfully finished his cookie, then commented "Do you want me to take you back to normal, or back to where the rest of your family's at?"

Kandra shook her head. "You're definitely a normal boy, don't let anyone tell you different! You know just what I meant, angel."

"I like you. you're gonna be a great Clan mommy!" Skyler giggled. With a wave of his hand, the time bubble dropped. "You asked for it; your boys are taking their final load up to the register now."

As Skyler vanished, Mark and Kandra headed towards the front of the store. As they were walking, Mark tapped his commbadge. "Emmy? Could I get a badge for Kandra, and could you help me with an error on Damon's birth certificate?"

"Hold out your hand, Uncle Mark!" Emmy giggled.

Mark did as he was asked, and a commbadge dropped from nowhere into his open palm. Stopping long enough to hand it to Kandra and explain the basics to her as she placed it on her blouse, Mark finished with "Just give it a tap, Emmy will register it to you and you'll be linked with him from now on."

Following instructions, Kandra tapped the badge, asking "Hello?"

"Hi Aunt Kandra!" Emmy's voice replied instantly. "I got you all added and stuff! You're good to go! Is it really okay for me to fix my new cousin Damon's birth certificate? I like messing with county clerks, they confuse so easily!"

Despite her doubts that this little boy she was talking to could do anything, she figured there was no reason to not let him try. "Go ahead, have fun Emmy," she replied.

"AWESOME!" Emmy exclaimed. "Thanks Aunt Kandra!"

"How do I turn it off when I'm done?" Kandra asked Mark.

"Just tap it," Mark explained. "That puts it into a semi-standby mode. The Clan AI systems monitor it at all times with secure subsystems, so in an emergency they can get you help without you having to do anything. Since you're under the Alligator Alley divisional coverage, Emmy's going to be your primary AI contact."

"Emmy's just a little boy, how can he be there all the time?" Kandra asked. "There's no way that wasn't a real kid."

"Oh, he's real!" Mark snickered. "He just doesn't have a flesh-and-bones body. Do you know anything about androids?"

"Just what they taught us in History about the Vision Industries failed experiment," Kandra replied.

"School was wrong, VERY wrong," Mark explained. "One of the Clan's divisions is dedicated to the rescue and support of the remaining Vision Industries androids, and has taken on the role as developer of the next generation of the species. I do mean species, since even though they were originally built by humans, they attained self-awareness and have developed their own souls. Emmy's one of the newest additions; he was brought online, given the choice of a body or a base station, and he decided to become the AI for the Alligator Alley Division. He has a twin that decided to get a body; that twin is now the son of the top two android boys in the division."

Kandra smiled, starting to finally understand just how much things were changing. "I guess I'll have to get used to a nephew who is always hanging around then. I'm sure I'll find out more about all of this, but there's no hiding the fact he's happy with what he's doing."

"That he is," Mark chuckled. He was going to continue, but got sidetracked by the sudden sound of a seven-year-old growling 'Wrarrrrr!' as he launched himself from under a nearby clothing rack. Mark's sea-legs came in handy, as he barely managed to stay on his feet while catching Damon.

"It looks like somebody's taking pouncing lessons from his new twin brothers!" Mark chuckled as he shifted Damon to ride on his hip.

"Uhh Huh!" Damon nodded. "Terry says that you're my Daddy now and that I get to live with you and Mommy on a big ship and we get to go hunt bad guys and go swimming and watch really big guns go boom and that him and Brian and Liko and Lorin and Cris and Jordan and Mags and Cal are all my brothers now too!"

Suddenly thankful of the courses on 'Advanced Kidspeak' that Teri insisted all of the crewmembers who had taken in orphans take immediately, Mark grinned as he watched Kandra clear the smoke from her ears. Using his free hand to coax Damon to look him in the eyes, Mark softly replied "You have most of that right, son. Even though I didn't know it, I've ALWAYS been your Daddy. Your Mommy wasn't able to tell me that you were born, but that doesn't change the fact that you are my son. Before you get mad, just remember that even though I missed the first seven years of your life, if I had been there you wouldn't be getting the great big brothers that you've got now. I promise they'll help make up for the first seven years of your life; all of you together get to build a real family with two parents who love all of you."

Damon seemed to study Mark's eyes for a full minute before simply stating "I love you, Daddy" before cuddling tightly to Mark's chest. At that point, Mark realized two things; the first was a warm sensation that he usually felt from Brian, and in a lesser sense Terry, when they felt the need to bond with him, and the second was the fact that he'd felt it before with Kandra, which explained his comfort level when the boys did it.

As if they were called, Brian and Terry turned around from 'helping' the cashier sort the clothes pile. After a quick exchange of glances, they made their way over to Mark, Terry dragging Loki along with them. As they got close, Brian's eyes seemed to dart between Damon, Mark, and Kandra; once he was within a few feet his face broke into a huge grin. Tapping his commbadge, he announced clearly "Brian to Ty; Dad pulled a Matt Barnes, and I think he made a second gen transmitter. Our new mom is first gen, I think. You up for a mall visit?"

"Sure!" Tyler giggled as he suddenly appeared next to Brian. "Who's the victim, and which one is the result?"

"That's Mom," Terry giggled as he pointed to Kandra, "and Dad's holding our little bro, Damon."

Tyler tilted his head as he looked at Kandra. "Has anyone cuddle-tested yet to make sure she qualifies as a Clan mom?"

"We were kinda busy teaching Damon how to freak out store clerks!" Loki purred. "Oh, and giving him pounce lessons! I think Sky did a quick test though."

Tyler nodded, "Great! Keep it up, I'll give him his intro dump to help out once I certify your Mom!"

Still trying to find the words to ask what was going on, Kandra suddenly found her arms full of an eight-year-old Mikyvis. Instinctually she pulled Ty into a cuddle, her face softening as she got her official welcoming to the Clan indoctrination from Tyler via telepathy. After about a minute, she placed Ty back oh his feet, then gave him one more hug as she said "Thank you for filling in the blanks, Tyler. I think I understand why Mark is so passionate about being part of your family now."

"You're welcome!" Ty replied brightly. He turned to Mark, who was trying not to chuckle at Damon's expression. From the point Tyler had initiated the cuddle, Damon was glaring at him for stealing attention from HIS Mommy; fortunately for Tyler, the glare was not as deadly as it looked.

"Why'd you scare my mommy?" Damon growled.

Tyler looked Damon in the eyes, "I had to make sure she'd never be like your Grandma and Grandpa. If she did that kind stuff, she'd hurt your new brothers a lot."

"Howda you know what they're like?" Damon challenged.

"I'm Sky's pop, Tyler," Tyler replied, surprisingly calm despite the attitude of Damon. "I checked on everything they've done since you were born before I came over here. I saw the stuff that you made sure your mommy didn't have to see. Don't worry; the next time you see them will be when your Daddy's Captain has a little talk with them about being bad people, then you'll never have to see them again."

Damon wiggled his way down from Mark, then stood in front of Tyler, staring him in the eyes with a serious expression on his face. "You're mad but ain't looking mad. Why?"

Tyler raised an eyebrow in a very Vulcan expression. "I know what it feels like to be abandoned by parents. Being told from birth by your grandparents that you were abandoned by a father that they made sure wouldn't even know that you existed is just as bad. The last time I felt this mad we had to rebuild a building after I lost my temper, I'm holding it back now, but I'll let it out before I go back home."

"Go let it out," Damon ordered, very clearly taking charge no matter what anyone else thought. "Now, or we don't talk."

"Prez is going to kick himself for missing this to check out a music supply store!" Jordan chuckled, earning him a matching set of glares from both Tyler and Damon.

Damon turned back to Tyler, crossing his arms as he stated firmly "I said now, Tyler!"

Realizing that if this went much further he's blow his top, Tyler popped out.

Brian shook his head, stating "Lil' bro, that was one of the top kids in Clan Short you were ordering around!"

Damon shrugged. "I don't care. That much mad makes people bad if they keep it in."

"Yep, you're definitely my blood!" Mark chuckled as he rustled Damon's hair. "You need to remember that you have to listen to your brothers, though. They've talked with the guys running the Clan about things I'm not allowed to know about, since I don't deal with them. Things aren't done the same in Clan Short as they are in the rest of the world, so you'll need to learn to look at fixing them differently. I bet that you and Tyler could be really good friends if you let it happen. From what I know about him, he's not going to hold a grudge unless you hurt someone."

Damon tilted his head, then turned to Brian and Terry. "Does Dad always do this if you mess up?"

Both of them nodded. "Yeah," Terry admitted, "instead of yelling at us, he tells us what he thinks we missed then tells us what good thing might not happen because of what we did. Sucks, doesn't it?"

Damon nodded back. "Yeah, I think I like being yelled at better!"

At that second, Tyler popped in, took Damon's hand, then stated "We'll be back" before popping back out.

"That's not good," Jordan stated seriously.

"What?" Kandra asked. "Just WHERE did Damon get taken to?"

For possibly the first time in his life, Jordan decided to reply to an adult as an adult would. "Mom, the only time Kyle or Tyler will ever grab someone like that without warning is if there is an emergency that only they can help with, or if something's happening to the person that needs fixed immediately. I don't know if Damon has any special head skills, but I bet Tyler does."

"Damon's an empath, just like Brian." Mark interrupted. "And I do mean JUST like."

Brian's eyes got wide as he added "They went to Archnania then; Tyler took me there for training, since everything there can help. Mom, trust me; if Damon's anything like I was, right now Ty's the only person who can really help him learn control."

"Couldn't he have told us that?"

"Mom, if Damon was doing what I think he was, there wasn't time to," Brian tried to explain. "Some people are on the edge of evolving, and they can fracture their brain if they push too hard. All the pieces ain't there yet. Ty knows how to fix it so they can't hit that limit, or if only a piece or two is still missing he can finish the puzzle and assist them in moving up. Empaths are one of the oldest sub-species of humanity, so since Ty is one himself he takes helping one of his kin seriously."

Time Branch Shift: Orlando CIC

Note: This is the missing event branch from near the end of Part 3, Chapter 13

"All it took was the right words from a few of my friends to get the crabs to let go of Seaver's clothes." Ranger was heard saying in the hallway.

"But, what did you have to promise them?" Jackie quietly asked.

"All we had to promise was that they would not end up in our crab bake. Our friends explained to them how to stay away from the traps."

Jackie groaned, "Great, now we won't to be able to catch any crabs for the crab bake."

Seaver was giggling as he walked between his dad and pop.

As they rounded the corner into the Rec room, Ranger, Jackie and Seaver stopped in the doorway. After taking a glance around the room, Ranger gave a small courtly bow, then with a small smile and a slight tilt to his head Ranger said, "Bonjour la famille et les amis."

Those who never saw the boys that just entered the room stared at the difference. They could tell both boys appeared to be fourteen years old, yet, one was dressed in black, pinstriped dress slacks with a stark white, high collared shirt, cavet around his neck with a vest and pocket watch. This boy had white hair and dark brown eyes.

In contrast was the other boy, he was wearing black jeans, black t-shirt, black hiking boots and had waist length black hair, tied back at the base of his neck with a leather strap and had light, bright green eyes.

What struck everyone was where one boy was light the other was dark. Standing in between the two boys was a boy around ten years old with dirty blond hair, hazel eyes and a smattering of freckles across his nose and cheeks. He had on black jeans with a bright white t-shirt and was wearing an arrow head around his neck held by a leather band. What no one could miss was the large, bright smile on the boys face.

Timmy, Ron, and their victims came in fresh from their shower. Spotting his parents, Ron yelled "DAD! POP! Timmy taught me and Orin howta wash weiner forth-skins!"

Seaver's mouth dropped wide open as the smile left his face. Ranger clamped his teeth together, trying to stop himself from laughing. Then every one heard Jackie as he leaned down and loudly whispered, "It's alright son, and I believe the young boy meant foreskin. Which we already taught you how to properly clean it."

Seaver turned bright red and whined, "Daaad!"

Ranger and Jackie stood up straight as they noticed a tall Vulcan male walking towards them.

"Director Sabre, Sir Ranger Lowell, welcome to my family." Spock said as he reached them. "The Clan Intel team informed me that your new son could use my assistance."

Ranger hid the shock of being called Sir, it had been so many years ago when he was knighted that he didn't even think of it any longer. With a slight nod to acknowledge that he had heard what was said, he asked, "Thank you kind sir. May I ask in what manner you would like us to address you?"

"Well, duh, poppa. He said welcome to my family, so you call him daddy." Seaver stated with a sigh.

Spock raised an eyebrow. "You have a grasp of logic well beyond your age, young Seaver."

Seaver shrugged, "Umm, thanks, but I don't know where I get it from. Can you help me get my memories back?" Then he sighed, "but since things have been so good, and I got a new, wonderful family, I don't know if I want to 'member."

"Grandson," he said softly, noticing a small grin play over Ranger's face at the automatic acknowledgement he had received in these few seconds. "Grandson, I can walk you through your past if it is still possible to regain your memories. If it be possible then they will return, but if the Mind-Healing we do still leaves wounds too big for you to bear then I can lock away your pain, or even those memories again, leaving you as you are now. You will simply retain the knowledge that you do not what those memories. Do you understand, child?"

Seaver scrunched up his face in thought, then he looked at Ranger and Jackie, "Can I try, daddy and poppa?"

Jackie leaned down, "I believe that with the offer being there, there is no reason to not try. And with the reassurance that if the memories are too big for you to bear the memories can be locked away is good to know."

Then Ranger added, "And know that it is your grandfather assisting in your healing, he will not allow you to be hurt. Also, your daddy and I will be right here for you."

Seaver looked over at Spock, "'Kay, let's try. One Vulcan mind healer tried but he couldn't help me. He couldn't find no memories."

Spock sat down and gestured for the young boy to come stand by his knees. "I must tell you a few things, child. One, I cannot guarantee that I can do this. Every hurt is different. Two, even if I can or cannot do this, it will feel strange to you. A meld is the most personal type of telepathy there is. It is not even classed as telepathy. My katra, my soul and mind, will enter and join to your soul and mind. You will feel naked before me, with nothing held back. If this makes you uncomfortable, there is one other that can be here to do this. He may even have more chance to regain what has been lost. And he is only a few years older than you, and has been through what you have but that you don't remember. My son, Sa'ren Joel. Your uncle. So... think carefully and take your time, grandson."

Seaver looked at his grandfather and for some reason, somewhere deep down inside, he knew, really knew, that he could trust his grandfather, but something told him he really didn't want to be 'naked', so to speak, with an adult ever again. "Umm, no offense, grandpa, but I really don't think I want to ever be that naked in front of an adult again."

Spock smiled, "I thought as much. I shall call Sa'ren."

The boy nodded, and tension he didn't know had been there seemed to release from his stance. Spock called out, "Cory, where is your second husband?"

"Chasing clouds again with some of the younger dragons!"

"Thank you," Spock grinned. Then he closed his eyes and called out, "Kal'Ras! I have need of you, my son!"

< < I know. Seaver... Do you want to play with the Unicorns first? And how would you like to see what it is like to ride the rain with the Lord of Dragons? > > came a voice that spoke as if from all around the boy in question.

Seaver didn't even realize that he snuggled closer into Spock until he sat up and the biggest smile ever shown from his face, "Did he say Unicorns and ride with the rain. Oh, can I daddy and poppa? Can I go, please, pretty please? I promise to be good!"

Ranger and Jackie laughed, "Of course you can go son. You need all the fun and happiness you can get." Jackie said as he gave a soft smile to his new son.

< < Then come outside... and if you think, Brothers Ranger and Jackie, that I will let your son have ALL the fun... come outside all who wish to fly with the wind... > > came the same roar that Seaver had heard the day before as it pounded throughout the Earth. And he was the first one to get outside... with Spock, for he had not ceased to hold onto his new Grandfather's hand.

There, in the only available space that could hold them, Seaver saw one Dragon-God and fifteen youngling Vol'Kier (all in full Dragon-Form). Also, there were winged unicorns that numbered well beyond what any could count, due to them shifting between mist and solid and mist-form repeatedly. The Dragon-God, Kal'Ras, Seaver had seen on monitors as he and the Golden King had fought in the Battle of Earth. Having met that Golden King, his new Uncle Cory, he was more than happy to now meet Kal'Ras... who was ALSO HIS UNCLE, SPOCK'S SON, SA'REN.

Seaver was suddenly so hyper that he couldn't keep still and started to run laps around Spock in joy.

Jackie and Ranger looked at each other, so many things starting to make sense. "I think I am going to get a spinning headache watching him spin around Spock the way he is. You would think that he would be happy just knowing the we have two of the Vol'Kier living with us already."

"True, but they just arrived today when Ulee and Marco came home from Des Moines, so I don't think it all had time to set in yet." Ranger commented.

Jackie thought for a moment, "That is true, they just arrived as I was in the bathroom, again, when the call came to come here; and then we were trying to get the crabs to let go of Seaver so we could leave. So, we really didn't have enough time to even welcome them to the family."

Justy, who was sitting with one of the unicorns, looked over with a small smile. "Who installed a warp core on the new guy?"

"I..." zoom "... believe..." zoom "... it was..." zoom "... a natural..." zoom zoom zoom "... phenomenon!" Spock managed as his eyes darted around trying to follow the speeding boy.

"If Liam catches it, I'm blaming Cory." Justy replied.

With a mischievous giggle, Liam jumped up from where he was feeding a large cookie to his unicorn and started to zoom around his dad, with his unicorn following him... whinnying.

Seaver, still running rapidly, yelled, "Dragons, and Unicorns and my Uncle!" over and over again.

Laughing, the Silver Dragon shimmered and changed form to a more humanoid version, still towering over all at twelve feet. He bend down and lightly and deftly caught the hyper Seaver in his three clawed hand. "Calm thyself, little nephew," he grinned as he brought the boy up to sit on his shoulder.

Seaver threw his arms around the Silver Dragon's neck and hugged him as tight as his little arms would let him. "I love you, Uncle!" And then the tears silently started to roll down his face as he felt love flow into him.

"And I you.... Child of Timeless Joy, Heir of Love and Power... I have thy desire to ride with me clearly given. However, I need permission from my Rider. As with all bonded Vol'Kier, in battle flight we lead, but in the riding only the Riders may give leave. Jak'Laran, do I have leave to fly with this youngling and his parents?" Kal'Ras asked of the Dragonson, Cory.

"It'll cost you two cuddles and a dozen cookies." Cory laughed as he waved his hand to say 'go ahead'.

"Deal!" Kal'Ras roared before flipping the crying, happy boy into the air, and changing back to full, massive Dragon-Form. As Seaver landed on his back, laughing and giggling and wiping his eyes and snotty nose on his tee-shirt, Kal'Ras turned his long neck and huge head to Ranger and Jackie. "Climb on up, children. I shall never let thee fall."

Ranger and Jackie looked at each other, Ranger smiled and took Jackie's hand, "Let's go. You need to learn to have some fun, douceur.

Jackie smiled and saw the shocked look on Ranger's face, as it was Jackie that pulled Ranger towards the dragon.

"That's it... don't worry, my wings are unbreakable... boy, Jackie, you've got a catch with Ranger, don't you? Phew, nice bum! There ya go... Got your laughing boy held tight? Good. Your legs are now bonded to my scales, so you won't fall... hey! You lot! Wake up and find someone to take for a joy-flight," Kal'Ras grinned as the other fifteen young-wings started flapping. They all stopped and grinned back before stampeding into the crowd of Clan-Kids and tossing various ones up and onto their backs.

"Nice bum?" As he tried to look behind him at his rear end to see what Kal'Ras was talking about, while at the same time he wrapped his arms around Jackie.

Jackie leaned back into Ranger, "Oh, yeah, nice bum. I hate to see you leave when you have to go sometimes, but I love to watch you walk away. Yummy!"

Ranger just shook his head, and laughed.

Once the fifteen young-wings had all found someone or three to fly with them, Kal'Ras roared, "TO THE SKIES!" and he and the rest leapt from the Earth at something close to Mach-5. It was only due to the very nature of the Vol'Kier that they and their passengers felt only a strong wind over their faces and bodies. As they hovered a mile over the Clan Compound, Kal'Ras turned his head back to look Seaver in the face, "Pick a place to go to, young nephew. It has to be on Earth as my companions are only six and cannot leave the atmosphere yet... where on this wonderful world do you wish to see?"

"Umm, I don't know Uncle. I don't remember places around the world to see." Seaver almost started to panic when he remembered something, "Oh, wait, can we go to Honah Lee? I think I remember something about a dragon that lived by the sea."

Everyone who knew the quote started laughing. "Oh, cariad," Kal'Ras smiled, "That is just a place in a song... but I'll see what I can do..."

For a few seconds he closed his eyes. Then, when he opened them to see the hopeful yet now pensive look in Seaver's face, he smiled. "I have gotten permission to take this lot on a single Dimension Shift... Universe Shift, actually... here we go... One Honah Lee and a Magical Dragon called Puff coming up!" he giggled...

Then the Earth and Sky and Sun and Universe melted away in fire that raged out of Kal'Ras mouth, and reformed into a new world, a different place... they were all flying about thirty meters off the Earth along the coast of an unknown see, following a little boy below who was playing with a huge, green dragon in a pirate hat.

"Oh Daddy, the boy has the same name as you! Could that be you in this Universe?" Seaver asked and then started to sing the song from a long ago forgotten memory of his daddy singing it to him when he laid little Seaver down to sleep.

"Yes," Kal'Ras said softly. Then he sang along, "... little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff..."

Seaver sang, "Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail

Jackie kept a lookout perched on puffs gigantic tail,

Noble kings and princes would bow whene'are they came,

Pirate ships would lower their flag when puff roared out his name. Oh!" Seaver then leaned back into Jackie's arms, "I remember a little of my real daddy, daddy." he started as he continued to sing the song while happy tears ran down his face.

"Do you think my Daddy knew you would be my daddy someday and that you would be a Director and poppa would be a knight and that we would be flying with dragons when he sang this song to me when I was little? It is so beautiful here."

Jackie squeezed the boy tight, "I think love can see things that our minds can't, baby-boy. So yeah, I think he did know..."

Seaver glanced back, "Then I'm glad he sang that song to me. Can we go down and frolic in the sea?"

"Don't ask me, ask Sa'ren... or Kal'Ras... what do we call you, bro?" Jackie asked curiously as Kal'Ras' head turned to look back at them.

"I have many names, both known and unknown. You may call me whatever you wish, so long as you love or like me. But my given names are Sa'ren and Joel. My eternal name that is known is Kal'Ras. There are more from the mists before Time Was, but they are not known yet, even to I. 'Joel' is my favourite, though, even if I more identify with Sa'ren in the minds and hearts of existence."

Seaver just accepted this statement for what it was. "Uncle Joel, can we go down and frolic in the sea?"

"Sure," came the booming response as all the Vol'Kier turned and dove for the shoreline. The great splash as Kal'Ras landed in the surf flowed around Seaver's senses. He slipped down and into the lapping waves, his clothes flying in different directions, save for his underwear. Then he sat in the water and smiled wistfully at the horizon, a single tear starting in the corner of his eye.

Jackie and Ranger sat down behind their son and wrapped their arms around him as they watched the others start to run and play in the waves.

Another small person came and sat next to Seaver, dressed in just a pair of boxers. His olive green skin shimmered, and the point's of his ears wiggled. "Hi, Seaver. I'm Sa'ren Joel," Sa'ren smiled as he interlinked his fingers with the boy.

Seaver smiled at his new uncle, "Hi! That was so much fun and this is so pretty. I feel safe here."

"And safe I shall keep you, all of you," Sa'ren nodded gently. "Child of Timeless Joy, fear not for what is locked in your mind. We can help you with all of it, for it will not just be I melding with you. Ask your Uncle Cory, or Sean or any that have melded with me. I can take as many as wish it into a Meld with you. Your parents, if you wish them to be your Strength and Shield."

Seaver squeezed Joel's hand and smiled, "You can bring my daddy and poppa? I would love to have my daddy and poppa with me. I don't know anyone else, so I don't know who to trust as much as I trust them, and you for some reason I can't say, but trust you I do."

Sa'ren grinned. "I have been with you all the days of my future," he quipped cryptically. He looked at the two older boys, "Place the flats of your hands onto my back or chest."

Jackie and Ranger nodded, repositioned themselves so that a part of them was still touching Seaver while Jackie placed the flats of his hands on Joel's chest and Ranger placed the flats of his hands onto Joel's back.

"Are you ready?" the Vulcan asked softly.

Jackie, his lower lip starting to quiver in nerves, nodded. He had no voice due to the growing dread at what might be revealed.

"Shhhh," all three said at once as Sa'ren brushed the side of the boy's face lovingly. Then his fingers found the points needed on Seaver's temple and jaw. "My heart to your hearts," he said to them all, "my soul to your souls..."

It was quiet, and still. Warm and cool at once, with love and life and power all around them. They held each other's hands, two fathers, one son, as their soul-eyes became aware of where they were. Sa'ren, it seemed, was not with them, yet also with them. Then suddenly he was there, with a gentle hand on Seaver's shoulder. "Your mind has been attacked so often, little one, that I must use all that I am to find and rebuild you. But I can do this, for I am Sa'ren, Redeemer, Kal'Ras, Broken Soul... we shall walk your life, from birth to now... and as you walk it, we shall hold you up. And as we see your demons, I shall slay them. Behold my true form, Children of Earth."

They looked at him in that moment and saw him as he would always be. Yet from that moment until It would be in Time revealed they would not consciously remember it.

The True and Terrible form of the Shaper of Destiny.

"All your yesterdays, all your tomorrows... I see them all, and will fight for them to be. Come, follow me to see first the Love that you, Child of Joy, were born from... and to find your full name... Benjamin Joel Seaver-Carson..."

"My.... my name is... Joel? Benjamin Joel?" the boy trembled.

"Yes: Child of Joy, Benjamin. Joel, One who Redeems. It is why you trusted me, for my name rang in your heart, which remembered it. Now I shall give thee reason to trust me in truth. There is pain at the first, yet love, for your mother died just after you came into this world. She named you Benjamin, and your father named you Joel... he was of a linage unique... for he could see me and you and Ranger and Jackie. It is why you so fear the past and future... your power is locked but can be released... Founder."

"What's Founder mean?" Jackie asked.

"An ancient bloodline, over sixty thousand years old. Your little boy will, once released and trained, be able to see the past and the future. He will be like Kyle Richardson was before he changed to a Mikyvis," Sa'ren smiled.

The now revealed Benjamin Joel half smiled and cried at the same time. He cared not about Founders or power. He had his names back. Then, over the sounds of his quiet sobs a baby's cry was heard. Light came up around them, and they saw a hospital room, with a doctor holding a newborn up while the nurse cut the cord. "Your life... walk with me, children..." the Shaper of Destiny said in a voice that held all the wonder and sorrow Ranger had ever heard from one person.

They sat on the beach for a long time when they came out of the meld. They laughed and cried and rejoiced in Seaver, now Benjamin's, new found memories. Then Seaver asked, "Can we get back, cake and ice cream sound real good about now, I'm hungry."

Then Jackie pulled Sa'ren into another hug, "Thank you so much for healing our son's mind and giving him his life back. Helping him place all those bad memories into a room so he can still see them and not have them hurt him." Jackie let more tears fall, "The things they made our son do, when I find them...."

"I shall not have your hands sullied by them," Sa'ren said softly from the hug. "Unless you truly insist, I will have the Vol'Kier, the Lords of Justice, deal with them..."

Jackie looked over at his son and Ranger, "Let me think on it for a while." Then Jackie hugged Sa'ren, "how about we take this motley crew and get back to the birthday party."

With a grin, Sa'ren whistled and a thrumming blue police telephone box appeared on the beach. "You know, I should charge for all these taxi rides I have to make," the Doctor grinned out of the door at them.

{ What do you mean, you have to make. I am the one doing all the work here, Doctor! }

"Hush, you!"

As the young-wing Vol'Kier, now in humanoid form, squeezed into the Tardis, with all the kids and teens there giggling, the Time Lord smacked his head, "Oh, I forgot something... wait, get your fat butt inside, bro..."

"Twerp!" Cory giggled as he poked his 'irritating' brother in the ribs.

"Now then, here we are... come on, beautiful," the Doctor smiled as he led out a golden Alanakon mare.

Mist flowed from her hooves, and her wings seemed to drip sparkling diamonds of water drops as she trotted out of the Tardis and over to Benjamin. She lowered her nose and sniffed at the boy's hair before wiggling her lips on his left ear by way of a horse-kiss.

"Her name is for you to give her, should you accept to be bonded with her, Benny-boy," the Time Lord smiled. "She will ever be with you, through all life can throw at you."

Benjamin rubbed her nose and whispered, "Hello Timantti. You are such a beautiful lady." Then he wrapped his arms around her neck and hugged her, pulled back a bit and kissed her nose.

Timantti whinnied, then sent images into her boy's mind to calm him for what would come. He nodded as she pulled her head back and impaled his heart with her horn.

Ranger near lost his shit as this happened, but the look of peace that came over Benjamin's face revealed no pain. As Timantti pulled the horn free, no sign of damage was on the boy. Yet he threw his arms around her neck and sobbed, cries of joy and pain, and she (somehow) got the boy up and on her back.

"Some warning would have been nice," Jackie wheezed, his skin clammy in shock.

"My thoughts exactly." Ranger glared at everyone that was smiling and didn't warn them what was going to happen.

Sa'ren grinned at him, "They all went through it themselves. You should have seen Cory when Kyle released the Bonding once more. He near went critical!"

"Yeah, I still owe a certain bratty brother a few dips in the oceans of Jupiter for not warning us." Cory said as he glared at Galli. "He shoulda known to warn me."

"I was busy with the Q," the irritating Time Lord grinned. "Besides! Wasn't it fun?!"

"Almost as much fun as you're gonna have swimming in methane." Cory replied, his smile giving away the fact he was playing.

"The heck with the food, for once in my life, I think I need a good shot of some very old, aged, brandy to bring warmth back into my being." Ranger exclaimed as the color was still drained from his already pale face.

"Here," Sa'ren said as he held up a strange looking cookie. "This is a rum-cookie. I like the taste, but since I'm a Vulcan, human alcohol doesn't affect me. Shhh, don't tell my hubby, but Timmy snagged one earlier... oh, HI Cory!" he giggled as Cory glared at him.

Ranger took one of the cookies and took a bite, "Oh, this is very nice, full rich flavor." Then Ranger hummed, took a deep breath, "Very good, indeed."

"Wait for it..." Galli grinned.

After finishing the cookie, Ranger raised an eyebrow at him. "I've been drinking longer than most. If I can hold moonshine, this..."

BAMB. Faceplanted into the sand.

"Oh, didn't I tell you?" Sa'ren giggled as he helped the blasted Ranger to his feet. "It was Gallifreyan rum... Timmy stole the Earth Rum one..."

"Poppa? Poppa? Daddy, is Poppa gonna alright?" Seaver asked as Jackie shook his head while he picked up his husband to carry him.

"Yesh, I'll be fine... *hic!*..."

"Yes, Benjamin, your poppa is going to be just fine, once he sleeps it off for a bit. You would think that someone that has been alive for two hundred and thirty six years would remember that he doesn't know everything." Jackie smile down at his husband as Ranger snuggle into his arms.

"No one warned me that it wasn't Earth liquor!" Ranger tried to argue.

"Um, you might want to get him into the Tardis and to a private room for some 'snuggling'... Time Lord liquor doesn't make one floppy, let's say!" the Doctor grinned.

"Can I get about three dozen of those for the Rimmer parents?" Cory asked with an evil grin.

"They're already on Time Lord Nerve Tonic! Come on, Cory! That would just be too much!!" the Doctor said with as straight a face as he could manage,

"You DO realize that it's your fault all my Division Heads play 'Pissed-off Chickens', don't you?" Cory teased.

"No more cookies here, I need to keep my mind clear so I can keep practicing 'Pissed off Chickens', or maybe I should let Ulee take my place, that boy loves those kinds of games." Then Jackie asked, "Does anyone have any coffee?"

"NO, GALLI! We don't need Ranger going all 'Energizer Bunny' on Jackie in front of the kids!" Cory quickly yelled.

"But I might learn something," Benjamin said sweetly, showing how far he had come in that meld.

"Argh, no...I don't want that either, how about just something to sober Ranger up so he can enjoy the birthday party when we get back. And no, Benny, you won't be able to learn anything when poppa is like this."

"Except how rabbits mate." Cory muttered under his breath.

"Come on, in the Tardis... let's get you back to the party. Here, Ranger. Drink this. You won't even have a headache," Galli said as he shooed everyone in and passed a small pill to the drunk Ranger. "It's an oxi-pill. Works wonders."

Jackie had to help his hubby, due to the fact that Ranger was attempting to shove it up his nose. "No, babes... here, open... good boy!"

"Wait, what time did this come from and what will side effects be?" Ranger tried to ask as the pill was placed in his mouth.

"It's from the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire, from the Universe I was stuck in a while back, and trust Sa'ren, it works..."

"Trust Sa'ren? After that cookie?"

"You're already talking better, and it's just been sitting on your tongue, now swallow!"

"And he's had enough practice at that with Jackie."

"Daddy and Poppa, sitting in a tree, S U C K I..."

"Enough, Benny!"


Jackie blushed, knowing that he and Ranger hadn't had much private time.

With that, the Doctor managed to get them all in the Tardis. "I love this Clan!" he giggled as the doors closed behind him.

From up the beach, Puff looked down at Jackie Paper, and Jackie Paper looked up at Puff. Ah well, off for more adventures...