Copyright © 2012 - 2015 by Darkstar and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
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A little over two thousand miles away.
"I want that fucking signal traced! You hear me?" the man screamed while making his way through the winding halls toward a highly secret and secured site.
"We've been doing that since it began, Sir." a frightened female voice responded.
"Good, then when we get situated behind closed doors, there'd better be some damned good answers for me, hadn't there?" The man stated in a menacing voice. "We pay too much in salaries for this to ever have gotten this far in the first place. I want to know who goes home with no paycheck! Now, why isn't someone getting things ready for us instead of following me like a puppy waiting to be kicked?"
"Ahh…Yes Sir, Mr. President, sir." A man next to President Ashwood replied as he took off at a run towards where they all were going.
"Sir, you do realize they have probably screened and diverted the originating point if they are any good at all." Edgar Recore, The Vice President, pointed out to Ashwood, although this was done with a note of caution in his voice.
Almost snarling, the President yelled, "I have the best fucking intelligence agencies money can buy not to mention plenty of them and we've even redone the budget so they could all talk through Homeland Security, too; are you really trying to set me up to tell me they don't know?"
When there was no answer, Richard Ashwood glared at the Vice President, "AREN'T YOU?"
"I am simply stating a fact, Mr. President." Edgar responded with a degree of deference, "But before you start chewing my head off, remember, me and most of the others here are on your side, and you still need the press, my press."
Richard's eyes bored into Edgar's, "Your press is currently smearing shit on my face in just over half the states in this country, so why don't you get to work on controlling them again, and shut the fuck up." He then turned to a man in an air force uniform. "Any news on those 'Military' attack craft who interfered with our operation?" the President said in a deathly quiet voice this time.
"No, sir, other than the one radio message where the pilot identified himself as General Casey, none at all." The air force colonel replied. "Signal intelligence is still working on it.".
"That had better fucking change, and real soon. We have spent enough on fucking satellites, we can spot a mole on some guy's dick just about anywhere on this planet, but we can't pick up a couple of fucking military aircraft who assisted that self righteous prick, Bryce, to escape? Is this what you're really trying to tell me?!" the President snarled with a bit of spittle spraying the colonel's face
Before anyone could even answer, President Ashwood slammed his hand down the nearest surface he could find. His strength showed as the wood on the antique desk made a cracking sound. "What in the hell do I pay you all for?" His voice dropped and took on a much calmer, yet far more sinister tone. "Yesterday, we have massive intrusions into just about every department I own, and FCC emails are spilled over this whole god forsaken world. Then some high paid jackasses in my intelligence networks lets someone open up a hole in our security net, so the Fucking Russians can get in. Now we seem to have totally lost control of our airspace… My airspace… I want answers and I want heads, and I will pay to get both and pay well. Now, someone within my reach better get me some answers."
"All I can tell you is that they are still working on it… sir." The Vice President replied with a note of disgust. It was only partially directed at the situation. The rest was actually aimed at President Ashwood. Fortunately for the Vice President, this was missed by the normally extremely observant man.
President Ashwood moved up to a woman who he knew was part of communications security detail, "Saundra, give me some answers, or so help me, you will go home to an empty house tonight!"
The woman's eyes went wide as her face went pale, "Richard, you can't; I've done everything…"
The President's eyes narrowed, "I can't? Did you seriously just say I can't?"
The woman started to shake and reached out to grab President Ashwood's hand, but didn't make it. Instead, he back handed the lady with his right hand sending her into the far wall. Richard then pointed to one of his Secret Service agents with his left. "Shut this crazy bitch's mouth and get her the fuck out of my face." He delivered a hard kick into the woman's gut preventing her from wiping the blood off her now crooked nose, "And make sure to lock her someplace where she can't fuck this up any more than it already has been."
He then turned and shouted to another agent, "Let's get my V.P. back on my side. Sandra's twins should do the job." Seeing Edgar's eyes glint, he managed a smile before turning to the others around him. "The rest of those in this hall… you are either with me and get perks associated with it, or you are a walking blowjob that is totally disposable. Get my drift? Now someone find me some jack-off from the NSA to take her place. I need someone who is more interested in finding the problems and plugging the leaks than having my cock in her mouth! Those are dime a dozen."
As the man in a colonel's uniform quickly exited the room and a secret service agent tasered the woman, then dragged her out, President Ashwood slammed his hand back down on the small desk, this time snapping off one of the legs, "There best be a voice showing me the amount of money I have spent on this damned team wasn't pissed into the fucking wind!"
A young looking man gulped but found the balls to speak up, "Sir, I can tell you a few things…"
"Kid…" Edgar warned, "You're here by invite of Saundra, so if you don't have something really impressive to say, it would be in your better interest to wire your mouth shut."
"Fuck you." The nineteen year old fired back. "I know more about what is going on than every pencil dicked press prick you know, Mr. Recore, so back off."
President Ashwood saw Edgar's face turn bright red while others moved well away from the young man, giving Ashwood a clear line of site to the thin kid with sandy colored hair and bright, yet very intense, green eyes.
Richard snickered, "Damn, this is a first! The little fuck is not even flinching! Ok, kid, let's hear this!"
The kid glanced over to Edgar and flipped him off before turning his full attention to the President. "First, the cluster hacking yesterday definitely originated in Austin. It was crazy good and used wi-fi hot spots with some kind of booster we have never seen or even heard of before. They hit literally hundreds of connections into the web and many of them were secure. We aren't dealing with amatures. Hell, we are not even dealing with professionals. We are dealing with someone of my caliber and that should scare the shit out of all of you."
"They didn't just go after the FCC; they blitzed everything they could find and they found pretty much everything. They lashed out at our FBI cyber crimes tracking team in Texas and cut them to ribbons. It's like our guys never stood a chance. The attack ended only after they burned a hole though our firewalls and yanked just over a hundred gigs of information out, and let the whole world see what you have been up to. The problem is, the way they did it, actually gave it more credence since they pulled this off by using the Homeland Security's and FBI's own cyber crimes link as our guys were trying to track them. That's how they opened the hole for the Russians and why it looks like almost everything was leaked directly from us, since it was. It came from our servers, not theirs.
"Once they got in, they went after other information, some of which I didn't have access to, nor could I get it, since Saundra refused to authorize it. If she had, I would have been able to back trace them quicker and would have probably gotten our teams to the Burger King in Austin in time.
But I didn't, and they realized I was closing in, so they dropped all connection points, and somehow I can't even fathom, opened up more than sixty others simultaneously; they then crushed us which caused Saundra to order me to pull the plug, in and around Austin, even after I told her it was a stupid idea."
The nineteen year old pulled out a flash drive and tossed it over to Ashwood, "Here is the whole conversation. I told her what would happen and she told me to do it anyway. Then she tried to blame me when it happened. What a stupid bitch…' The young man let out a long sigh, "She wouldn't even let me… never mind, not important. Anyway, after they killed all cyber resources in the south central U.S. they moved their cyber attacks. They switched focus to Alliance Nebraska. The attack there lasted for another sixty seven minutes, pulling everything they could on your bother, Owen, and his kids. Someone had a serious hard on for Owen's son, Owen Junior. I don't think you will even be able to get him off, after all the shit he has done was leaked to police and press, both at state level and local level. That bad press is probably going to hurt you just as much, if not more, than the FCC shit. Why you didn't make a hit and run take out on Owen Junior is a total mystery to me, but you need to find a way to quell it now, cause he is now in the local jail bragging about some of the shit he did which no one knew about until now."
Richard shot Edgar a nasty look which caused the Vice President to pull out his cell phone and make a call. Satisfied, he turned his attention back to the teen. "OK, this is ten times more than all the fuck-wads I pay a total of several billion in tax money to have been able to tell me. Keep going."
The teen smiled as he focused in on Ashwood with a large degree of hero worship. "The attack in Nebraska also targeted shipping records for your brother's company and uncovered a Homeland Security contract worth millions. Again, I was not allowed to find out what this was about, but I don't think they did either, since we all hit a very secure server, operated by something called 'SAFES' which I took as an acronym of some sort, but couldn't pull more. I'm pretty sure Saundra didn't even know what it was, since she just gave me a blank stare."
At the mention of SAFES, Ashwood's eyes went wide and three others turned pale. The young man instantly picked up on these nonverbal cues and moved on, "Like I said, they hit the same brick wall I did, but I am betting, like me, they discovered the server was in Argentina…"
Ashwood held up his hand, "That is not a discussion for out here, kid. Continue, but for the moment, forget to mention it or anything surrounding it again. As a matter of fact, I want to continue all the rest of this behind some very thick closed doors."
The teen nodded while holding up his hand, realizing he had stumbled on something he figured was something worth being killed over for just knowing what he did. Because of this, he moved on and provided the best information he could. "Totally understood, Mr. President."
It took only a pair of minutes before the group reached the destination the President's assembled team had been heading towards. Four heavily armed and armored men stopped them with raised weapons. Each then had to be checked by the guards stationed there before being allowed entry into that most secret of places, the elevator to the actual situation room.
It was certainly not the one showed to the public, or in any pictures the White House had ever released. Truth be told, this one was not even know to former presidents, since Ashwood had pulled money from dozens of different budgets to get it built and designed it to his needs.
This was Ashwood's situation room, which no one but President Ashwood and his closest and most trusted and vetted advisors plus a few key military men had ever seen. As a matter of fact, several of those now with the President had not known about this place until this instant.
Most of the room was so highly classified and a good deal of it was technological in nature, that access was highly restricted to almost everyone. No one came here unless it was by direct invitation only, or because it was in your duty assignment, but breathing one word to anyone else or anything else was considered treason, and met with swift and permanent justice, the type of justice not involving a trial.
Once everyone had identities confirmed, other than the teen, the President nodded to the guards while putting his arm on the young man's shoulder. The guards chewed on their lips for a few seconds, but one of them finally nodded to the other and keys were inserted. As the door opened to reveal a large elevator, Ashwood handed several hundreds over to the for the men. "Get his retinal scan and DNA into the system. He gets full access."
The lead man moved forward and put a device up to the nineteen-year-old's eye while another jabbed a needle in and drew a sample of blood. A second later, the men stepped out and the door closed. The elevator started moving a moment later, but this one didn't behave like a normal one. It went down and sideways at the same time, and did so very quickly, forcing all those in the moving room to hold on. A series of warning beeps sounding almost a minute later, warning those on board to brace for stopping. Richard shot a smirk at one woman who ended up tumbling to the floor, while he reached out and protectively prevented the teen from joining her. The doors then opened on the opposite side, to a room sized elevator. The group stepped out to another set of doors; these were clear ones. What was beyond looked to be out of some kind of science fiction movie. It was this room the President of the United States now entered, yet even he had to pass the additional security checks in place, not that this President was particularly happy about it; at this moment, as he wasn't real happy about anything which had happened within the last few hours, starting with what was supposed to be the simple clean op, of taking out Bryce and his group.
Yet even as he passed though the security checkpoint, he eyed the young man who had so boldly spoken. "You just earned a permanent spot in my world. You keep gathering information, and your bank account will have several zeros added to it by the end of the day."
"Sir, I don't have…"
"The fuck you don't!" the president growled, while pausing for his identity to be confirmed. He glanced over at the lead security guard with a hard stare, and then back to his advisory team. "One of you get this pup all the top clearances, and pop his pay-grade up to god level. He is with me from here on out, since he is the only one here who doesn't look like a complete jackass at the moment!"
The tone alone caused one of the guards to the room to do an extensive search of the 19 year old intern, before shoving him into the room.
President Ashwood nodded and shoved a wad of hundreds into the guard's hand as well. His mood changed back to cravenly angry as he stepped though the door and glared at the rest of those with him.
Once the doors closed behind him, now making the bunker completely soundproof, he screamed, "I am going to hear what my newest Cyber Security Advisor has to say, then I will turn my attention to the rest of you. SO… while he talks, get your shit straight and get ready to give me real reports… If you need to get on the secure phones, do so, because by the time I focus on any of you, you better have some fucking answers ready!"
The teen saw beads of sweat pop up on many and others reached to phones with shaking hands. There was now no doubt, some of them feared for their lives. Taking this as a bad sign, but a possibility of infinite power, he took a breath and started speaking again. "So, anyway, Mr. President, before they crashed the FBI's field offices, from Texas all the way to Nevada, up to North Dakota and over to parts of Ohio, they also put a great deal of effort into unlocking information on files marked as Undesirables and totally ripped into an area north west of Austin. With the effort they poured into Breckenridge Texas, they must have wanted something there. The problem is, I was not able to find out what, or even if, they got to it, since Saundra made me pull the plug which cut my access to Texas and allowed them to kill all the mobile Tactical Access Controllers or TACs and Tactical Operations Centers or TOCs. We are only just now getting them back on line, sir. The real problem now is, whoever did it, managed to pull off a memory dump, so we are going to need to install full backups of all data to every field office down there, before they are even kind of useful to us. Unless I totally miss my guess, the super secret hub outside of Breckenridge was their goal and something else there also may be a target, but I didn't find what was there, and I don't think Saundra knew what else you may have stashed there, either. Those who attacked us might, though."
Ashwood shook with rage at this information. "Mother-fucking, cock sucking shit faced bastards! Did they get to Lawrence? Somebody fucking tell me if they got to Lawrence!"
When no one answered, Ashwood grabbed the nearest woman and started shaking her so badly here earrings ended up halfway across the room, "I need some answers! He was promised to Imir!"
Most of those in the room looked decidedly uncomfortable, others outright scared.
"One of you ignorant pricks find out!" Ashwood commanded. "The rest of you tell me how that gay -loving jackass, Bryce, got out of Texas with his head on his shoulders, and give me options for getting him before the day is over."
Most turned with blank looks, clearly having no clue what to do or say about this latest demand. One man, however, spoke up after a few tense seconds of total silence.
The Chairman of the JCS stood at the other end of the room and point blank said, "I'm sorry, Mr. President, but you're not going to get them." This was met with another round stunned silence which didn't last long.
"Excuse me?" the President finally spoke in a flat and arctic-cold voice.
"I think you heard me, Mr. President." The man answered, "Whoever rescued President Bryce and his family knew what they were doing, not only militarily but covertly as well. Even your new young pup has to admit we were royally bitch slapped with some of the wildest stealth tech we have ever encountered. We lost track on them almost immediately, and could not pick them up again…." his words ended as Ashwood crossed his arm in front of himself and cut him off
Ashwood shouted while making his way over to stand toe to toe with the man. "YOU MEAN TO TELL ME, WITH ALL THE TECHNOLGY AT OUR DISPOSAL, SOME REDNECK YAHOOS WITH A FUCKING HELICOPTER MANAGED TO DISAPPEAR OVER MY SOIL?"
"Yes Sir, that is exactly what I am saying," The Chairman responded way more calmly than anyone in the room felt, while not backing down or breaking eye contact. "Whoever they are, they beat and punched through every bit of our tech and got away, but did so only after they kicked our asses and handed them to us. I mean one, only one, Hind Gunship took out four of our best fighter aircraft. That's just not supposed to be possible. Satellite imagery, infrared, radar, Doppler, and everything else we had at our disposal at that time, couldn't lock on and track anything once they left the crash site. When I say everything, I am including visually, in any spectrum. So, be angry if you want, rant and rave if you feel the need, but the fact is, we'd really like to have a talk with them to see how they evaded everything we've got. Because, like it or not, they shouldn't have been able to pull this off. Furthermore…." he tried to add, but the President interrupted him yet again.
"I don't believe this, I don't FUCKING BELIEVE THIS!!!!"
"Well your belief isn't required, as what happened still happened." The JCS Chairman responded with an acid laced voice. "As to the live feed a short while ago, once again, they're damned good. We've tracked the thing on some mil-sats and then back to military lines at our top secret base in the polar region. That is all we've gotten to at this time, but it's unlikely we'll ever find the source the way they've set the whole thing up." the Chairman finished. "As the new pup noted, someone just took out a quarter of our FBI field offices, and did memory dumps on all their computers. So, Redneck, maybe. Yahoos, not even a little bit."
"Then WHAT FUCKING GOOD ARE YOU IF YOU CAN'T EVEN FIND A SIXTY YEAR OLD MAN AND A FORTY YEAR OLD ONE PLUS A BUNCH OF FUCKING KIDS?!" the President roared.
"We've done what we can….Sir." the Chairman replied, not too happy right now himself. He wasn't used to being screamed at by anybody, much less this popinjay of an idiot sitting in the President's chair at the moment. "If you had taken my advice, and hit the base with a tac-nuke and blamed it on terrorists, this would be over."
"ARE YOU TRYING TO PISS ME OFF?" The President bellowed as he put his face only centimeters from the JCS's face.
"Absolutely not, sir." the Chairman replied with an almost disinterested voice. "Just saying you need to listen to advice a bit more often, if you want this plan to work."
"It's my money and my country, I'll decide what advice to take and when to take it. I have no desire to use a nuke on my soil! But since you actually have some degree of intestinal fortitude, and at least speak your fucking mind when almost no one else around here will, get back to work and send some fucking people in there, I don't care how many it takes and find the whole FUCKING LOT OF THE BRYCES AND FINSIH THE JOB! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?" the President shouted once again.
"Yes, Mr. President," The JCS answered. "Already on it. We've had teams in there since about thirty minutes ago, all they report so far is a lot of blood in the downed craft. We found copious amounts in the cockpit plus a whole lot more between the front and rear compartments."
"Yeah, we got his wife and one of his brats, but we sure as hell didn't get him." Ashwood grumbled.
Nobody said anything to his stating of the obvious.
Suddenly, his head snapped up and he looked straight at the Chairman and asked, "Why in hell did it take until thirty minutes ago to get personnel into the crash site?"
"We had to send personnel in from other areas, sir," the Chairman responded.
"Other areas?" President Ashwood asked softly as he felt a shiver down his spine. Even though he already guessed at the answer he didn't want to admit it. To hide his fear, he allowed anger to take over again.
"Yes sir, mostly from DAC 2 but some from 3 as well," the Chairman replied.
"I"VE GOT FUCKING MILITARY BASES ALL OVER THE GOD DAMMED WEST AND SOUTHWEST!!! WHY IN HELL ARE WE SENDING IN PEOPLE FROM FUCKING CHICAGO, WHEN I HAVE THEM ALREADY NEARBY?" The President yelled yet again.
"From what I understand, there were no personnel available to deploy into the crash area," the Chairman informed him coldly.
"No personnel to deploy? FROM THREE FUCKING DACs, AND ALL THE OTHER MILITARY AND NATIONAL GUARD UNITS. THERE WERE NO FUCKING PERSONNEL TO DEPLOY?" was the angry President's only response.
"Such is my understanding, Sir," the Chairman said in reply. "It's not like I didn't warn you of this possibility, sir."
Everyone one could see the prominent vein throbbing on Ashwood's head as he turned to the man who came in with him and repeated "Three DACs and no military or NG's had ANY personnel to deploy on an order from the President of the United States?"
"Indeed, sir, it would seem not," the man replied with tight lips knowing in the pit of his gut what this would mean.
The President sat down and looked at nothing in particular before saying, "It has begun, then."
"Yes sir…" several voices replied sullenly, as they glanced up from where they had been trying to get him other information.
"Fine, they want to play, then let's show them just who they're playing with. Start working up opening scenarios on Operation Starshine, find out what we hold and what it looks like they do and or will. Be ready to present them to me by 2300 tonight, for implementation of them in the very near future. I still want to wait out the election, but I don't think I am going to take it, not after all this."
All was quiet for a few seconds before the Chairman spoke again. "A target Sir?"
"A target…" Ashwood breathed out while thinking, before a smile crossed his face. "Austin Texas. They've been a thorn in my side for way too long."
"Yes, sir." The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, before turning on his heal and picking up a phone. "Put me through to the Secretary of the Navy." He said quietly.
"Sir," the 19 year old intern spoke up, "May I point out something?"
Richard Ashwood turned and eyed the young man for a moment, "Sure, why the hell not."
"Well, Mr. President, I'm not sure what this Operation Starshine is, however, we have a lot of federal agents with nothing to do, since all our field offices in and around Texas are down. If you want to launch some kind of quick strike in and around Austin, or better yet, Breckenridge since their primary target seemed to be there all along. If I had known we had something there worth protecting, I could have tried to counter it better, by the way." The teen paused and looked at the older men and women. "It would give us a chance to get to the bottom of what hit us and who. Besides, The manpower is there, sitting on their butts waiting for Quantico to figure out how to restore all their data."
"Fuck… I could really get to like you, kid." Ashwood stated with a sinister smile. "Someone get this kid up to speed. I have a new close advisor. The rest of you, get your sorry asses busy. We don't have much time. Starshine plans for us holding the East Coast needs to be implemented starting now! I want everything to the Mississippi, preferably the Missouri River. The rest of you get with…" Ashwood glanced over at the teen, "What in the fuck is your name, anyway, kid?"
"Trevor, Trevor Longway, but those on the net know me as Ace Bomber, spelled 'Ac3 Bomb3r'."
"Elite, huh." One of the men stated from the station he was working at.
"Elite are pussies." Trevor responded.
"But your pay won't be, kid." Ashwood stated with a snort. "The rest of you, Starshine, now!"
Again there were some "Yes Sirs" and "Yes, Mr. Presidents" coming from the people present, only this time, there was an undercurrent in their voices that hadn't been there before… heart crushing terror.
05:30 MST…. Jack's POV
As we sat there just letting some of the last few hours' horror escape and holding onto the boys for dear life, I thought back to what Sammy had said a few minutes earlier and how, somehow, I believed him.
I couldn't tell you why, but I did.
When he spoke, he tended to be right about things. I don't know what it was about him, but I knew he was a very special little boy. They were all special, as a matter of fact, and I felt blessed to have them and know them.
Yeah, Sammy was surprising in so many ways. He seemed to be made up of nothing but pure love, yet I'd seen him break several bones and put a guy in the hospital who'd grabbed Kelly, one day.
The protective detail around me had to pull him off the guy, or I think he might have been dead. Sammy had just said, 'He touched Kelly', and that was that.
Kelly had been lagging behind and looking at stuff while the detail had been focused on me and Linda, primarily.
Suddenly Sammy took off running, screaming "NO FUCKING WAY!" and the next thing I knew was, this guy was getting the shit beat out of him by a ten year old boy.
Kelly had been scared to death, but Sammy had pushed him away hard from where he and the man were, getting him to safety so he could take on the man.
Mike said later, Sammy had told him some of the things the man was planning on doing to Kelly, and I didn't doubt what he'd said for an instant.
There was no logical reason to listen to stories of a ten year old kid, 'Knowing' what someone was thinking, but with these kids, including mine I didn't have the slightest problem in doing so.
After having the twins, I learned very quickly that there was something special about them, and it had only gotten more special as they grew up.
That day had cost several people their jobs, and I had placed more of 'My' men into place to ensure something like that never happened again.
Mike had also, over the years, told me of other incidents where Sammy had gotten involved, but as he'd said, it was always for a damn good reason and it was always to protect others or sometimes even himself.
My kids had started taking martial arts classes when they learned Sammy was, and soon enough, Brian and Scotty came along and joined them.
Sammy had been taking them since he had been adopted by Mike and Eric and everybody else just followed after him.
One thing I can say is that Sammy was a natural born leader and although he never claimed credit or anything, he just did it, as he would say, but still, he was all that and more.
Mike and Eric had not gone into a lot of details, but what they had said convinced me that the five years Sammy had spent in the 'System' wasn't very pleasant for him, nor was it for Scotty and Brian. As loving and sweet as they were, there was something also there that was hard and could be considered cold, by some. All of us knew it had come from those years. That they could love and be so gentle and caring at all was testimony to Mike and Eric's love for them along with Eric's boys' help. Plus I think that there was a lot of love both for giving and receiving that lay buried within all three boys, just waiting for the chance to truly come out and partake of it.
I don't know how long I'd been sitting there, still hugging the boy in my arms while softly caressing his back, but finally I suggested that maybe we should head down and try to get some sleep.
After getting okays from everyone, I stood up, taking Sammy with me and noticed Mike had Brian as well, and was smiling down fondly at his boy as he looked up and nodded his head.
We went on down to the sleeping quarters that Adam and Co had provided and were shocked when we entered, to find kids flung all over the place, including a few wrapped around Eric, who was also asleep.
Sammy was snickering while Brian was simply smiling a big grin at the sight.
Mike just shook his head in wonder, disbelief or maybe both.
"I think I'll take a shower first, then join them," I told Mike who nodded and said he was just going to crash down here with Eric.
"I will, too, just to be there if and when any of them wake up." I replied while he simply nodded.
Sammy shimmied down my front and said quietly, "Come on, Uncle Jack, I'll show you where your room is, where the shower is, and where to put those clothes, plus where some more are."
I bent down and kissed the top of his head and told him, "Thank you little one, for everything."
He just smiled, then grabbed my hand before leading me upstairs to where my room was situated and proceeded to show me the room and spacious shower inside.
Then he showed me where to put my dirty clothes as well as where to get some clean ones. I grabbed what I needed from it, before giving him another kiss and telling him to sleep well and thank you again.
He just hugged me tightly to him before turning around going to the door and looking back long enough to smile before going through it and shutting the door behind him.
I just shook my head in something akin to wonder, as I could still feel the love in that hug like a physical presence still running through me.
With those thoughts running through my head, I headed off to a shower and sleep, if I could get some.
The shower had done wonders for me, although the nice hot water made sleep look even more pleasurable a thing to come, soon.
I put on pajamas that actually fit me, once I got out of said shower, and grabbing a blanket from stack of extras plus a pillow, made my way down the stairs to where everyone was already sleeping.
I could tell Mike was out, with Brian buried into his side like a growth growing from it and had to suppress a laugh at the sight. Sammy was half lying in a chair and I grabbed a spot on a couch to set up shop on.
Just as I was lying down and about ready to pull the blanket over me, I suddenly had a warm squirmy little thing wiggling itself into my arms and getting quite comfortable.
"I love you, Uncle Jack." Sammy said softly as I kissed his forehead and told him that I loved him, too. With that, I settled down and soon drifted off to a merciful sleep.
I waited, and once I knew he was good and asleep, I real careful like, got out from under his arms. I walked over to where I'd put some clothes and shoes, and very quietly got dressed before heading to the door.
A soft voice entered my head asking What are you doing and where are you going? as I turned to look at Scotty, who's eyes were staring straight at me.
Its time Dad and Uncle Jack got some real help, I replied just as silently.
What do you mean? Scotty asked next, and with a grin I knew he could see, I said, Time to bring some family in for a visit. As I went out the door.
I heard snickering in my mind and then quiet, as he fell back asleep while I headed up to their control room.
I ran into a problem as soon as I began walking though, the detail. "And where do you think you're going, young man?" the agent asked.
All I could think was why the hell we had to have Secret Service, instead of our usual military detail right now.
"Out" I replied as I kept walking, only to feel a hand reach out and grab my shoulder.
I just didn't have it with in me, to deal with this at the moment, I spun around and glared hard at the agent that had grabbed me. "First off, Uncle Jack… YOUR BOSS, said that the people here were to be trusted. There ain't no one here that's gonna try and do anything."
The man stood there looking me right in the eye, and trying to decide what to do. Finally he let go of me as he squatted down in front of me. "Look, I don't have the choice of who I protect and who I don't. However, I have come to respect and like your Uncle, and the rest of you guys. I don't have a choice of IF I take a bullet for someone, it's my job to do it. But for you guys… you guys, I would do so without hesitation. I couldn't live with myself if one of you guys, especially you younger ones, got hurt." I was about to protest when the man put up a hand to stop me. "I'm not saying you can't go, but I want you to promise me that you'll be careful, and not leave the base, no matter what."
I solemnly nodded, and the man continued. "You and your family are really the only hope this country has, and with Chris and Linda both being hurt, your Uncle isn't at his best. He doesn't need you hurt as well. So please be careful, okay?" I nodded and smiled. This man, I remembered his name was Adrian, was known as a hard ass, but I knew better. This man was a good man, even if it was hidden at times. I just reached out and hugged the man, before I turned and walked quickly away.
Once I reached their control room, which I was glad I remembered the way to, I found the three young triplets working away on the computers. One of them, turned as he approached and arched an eyebrow. "Uhhh Hi." I said, suddenly feeling a bit nervous.
"Hey." The kid said, even though the boy was only about eight, I couldn't help but feel like he knew a lot more then it showed. Which wasn't all that surprising, with what I've seen so far. "What cha need?" He asked peacefully.
"Well, I was kinda wondering if ya'll might have a phone I could use for a while?" I asked in reply.
"A phone?" He asked, looking at me strangely.
"Well, we got rid of our cell phones a long time ago, and only Dad, Uncle Jack and Aunt Linda have secure cells, now." I told him.
"Okay, I can set you up with a secure line, but who do ya wanna call?" He asked gently.
"Some family that could really help out, right about now and I'll also need someplace for them to go where you guys can pick them up when they get there." I said.
The boy chuckled with a smile, and I got confused. When he started talking I got even more confused. "Let me guess," he said, "you wanna call in a few 'uncles'?" He said the last part with his fingers making quote marks. I was stunned, but silently nodded.
"Okay… Here's what we got." The boy said, as he turned back to his computer screen and his fingers flew over the keyboard. A few moments later, he handed me a printed piece of paper that I looked at. "That's where we want them to go, tell them to meet us in the food court. When they get there, call the number on the paper, and leave a recording. We need their names, contact numbers, and passcode, which I printed out as well."
I looked at the paper, and then towards the bottom, where the word 'passcode' was printed then the word 'Pegasus' written next to it. I nodded understanding, then he took me over to another terminal, handed me a headset, and pulled up a program with a phone style number pad. "Just dial like a regular phone, it's not only encrypted up the ass, but it's being routed to hell and back then back to hell, so they'll never be able to track it at all. Also, each time you hang up, wait for the green light to flash twice, and it will be ready with all new encryption and different routing, too."
"Cool, thanks" I told him as I looked at the piece of paper with Gateway mall written on it and below that, GPS coordinates, which was marked 'pick up point'.
I knew all the family I would be calling had secure phones, and this made it much easier as I dialed the first number and heard it ring.
Once answered, I said, "This line is secure," and waited for him to repeat it back to me and when he did, I simply said, "Queen to Queen's Level Three" and his response was the start of the calls going out.
Finally when all the calls were made, I turned back to the boy, and told him, "Some of them should be in today or tonight, others will let me know when they expect to get here, if they have to. I might not hear from them until they actually are here."
"Okay, I'll keep that in mind, and contact you if anything comes in."
"Thanks…." I said, but trailed off, cause I didn't know his name.
"Alvin." The boy said with a smile. "The other two are my brothers, Simon and Theodore." He said, and I couldn't help but giggle. Before I could say anything though, he jumped in. "Yes… we took the names for the reason you're thinking." He grinned, and the other two giggled as well.
I just shook my head, and was about to say something, when a huge yawn forced itself out. "Well… I guess I'm going to try and get some sleep."
"Sounds like you need it. If you need anything else, just let us know." Alvin said with a smile, then turned back towards his computer as I walked out of the room.
It didn't take me long to get back down to the room we had, and Adrain smiled and nodded to me as I passed him without a word. I stripped down to my briefs before I climbed in and snuggled up next to Uncle Jack. Before I knew it, I was asleep.
'God, I don't know if you're listening to me anymore, but, I have to believe that you are.' I said in prayer, as I sat next to Linda. Chris was back asleep, after Andy woke all of us, saying that Chris was awake, and we all rushed down here. The boy, Chang, was talking with Chris, and checking him over when we all rushed in. He simply smiled at us, and backed away, as the boys all gathered around trying to hug and touch their brother.
The boy came over to me and whispered softly. "He is doing very well. If things work out the way I expect, he will be staying with you this evening. I will go over instructions for his care with both you and him, later on."
I just nodded, tears falling from my eyes, as I watched the son I thought I had lost, hugging and being hugged by his brothers. "Thank you…" I said, hoarsely. To which the boy smiled, nodded, and backed out of the room.
I shooed the boys out of the room shortly after that, and Chris soon fell back to sleep. That's when I sat down between them, and just thought. Thought about my past, the mistakes I made, and the treasures I was able to find. I was the luckiest man on earth, but then, I had to run again. It's cost me and my family so much to do it. It almost cost them their lives. It wasn't worth it.
'I can't expect that much out of you, and I guess my past sins are coming back to bite me, but please, I beg of you, don't let it cost my family their lives. If anything, take mine, instead.' I couldn't help the tears that were falling from my eyes, and I didn't care. 'I've always tried to do the best that I can, do what I thought was best for everyone, and do what I could to help. I've made mistakes, but… well, I don't know. I just pray that you won't take my Linda, and the baby.'
"I thought I would find you here." A voice said, and I turned to see Adam standing there. "I understand Chris woke up for a little bit, and Andy woke the world up trying to get to his brother."
"Yeah." I said with a half smile. "He woke up and tried to run out of the room in nothing but his briefs. Thankfully, he made enough noise that it woke Mike, Eric and me up. We made him put some cloths on, then brought him down here. You're brother Chang was here when we got here, and allowed the boys to spend some time together. He said that if things work out right, Chris'll be staying with us tonight."
The boy smiled as he put a hand on my shoulder. "That's good news. I'm glad to hear it."
"Yes it is. And it looks like Linda and the baby are doing better. According to Chang, he is 'cautiously optimistic' about her chances." I said as I took Linda's hand again, and squeezed it. "I.. I just don't know what I would do if I lost her."
I got lost looking at my sleeping angle, and couldn't help it. The words just came out of my mouth. "You know, it's kinda funny." I half laughed. "She almost cost me my first re-election."
"How's that?" Adam asked curiously.
"Well, my first wife died trying to give birth. The doctors told her that she shouldn't have children, and when she ended up pregnant, they advised her to abort. But we wouldn't. We were so happy about having a child, and with me having just won the presidency, we knew we'd have the best doctors in the world. The entire country was abuzz by it, and frankly, she had better approval ratings then I did. Even when she was stuck in bed, people came by to see how she was doing. She even did an interview with Oprah, from her bed." I didn't even care that I had tears rolling down my face. "Then it happened. I was away at Camp David, entertaining some foreign diplomats, when I found out she had been rushed to the hospital. I… I didn't get there in time, even though we left right away. By the time I got there, she'd already.. passed."
I faded off for several moments, before I wiped away the tears with my free had. "Linda was only 23 at the time, and I was almost fifty. She was a staffer at the white house, and tried to console me. Neither one of us were really looking for a relationship. She was on the fast track to a high end government job, and I was a widower, who threw himself into the job of running the country. But I knew… I knew Nancy would want me to find someone else."
"I almost didn't run again, but Linda.. she kept telling me about how much good I was doing for the country, how I was the best man for the job. She kept pushing me to run, and finally I did. But then, I also found myself doing something I never thought was possible. I was falling in love again."
"The night I won the primary, is the first time we made love. It was beautiful… it was… well it was as if Heaven opened up and sent me another angel. I mean.. men like me don't get a third chance. Not when it comes to love. But… well, hell, you know about Dave. I didn't think a woman could fulfill me like he did, then I met Nancy. When she died, I knew… I mean I knew deep down inside, I would never find anyone to love again. Then Linda fulfilled me like no one else ever had.
When the news broke that we were seeing each other, it almost cost me the election… it was a 'scandal' some said. But she went out there, and told them everything. She told them how we have many nights of talks, how we connected. How she was as surprised as I was that someone so much older then her, could capture her heart the way I had. She said that she knew she could never replace Nancy, but she would do her best to live up to the grace and poise she brought. It was her idea, and she was oh so right about it. If we were going to get married while I was president, then we would have to bring a new meaning to the term 'First Family.' Our lives would be completely open, for everyone to see. We would never be able to be completely private. And if we were willing to do it, then we needed to do it big, and do it right. The day after my second inauguration, I proposed to her. She was young, beautiful and oh so smart."
I couldn't help the grin that was on my face as I reached over and stroked her cheek. "She had the whole country eating out of her hands… but the best thing was… she wasn't playing a game. She never put on a show for the people, she was very much like I am… put it all out there, and if they don't like it, too damned bad."
I looked over at Adam and saw him sitting there totally entranced by the story. Then I looked over at Chris, and took a deep breath. "Then, early in 2002, she came to me one morning…" I couldn't help the chuckle. "I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting in the oval office, going over some stupid treaty that the UN was trying to shove down our throats, when she walked in. She had this silly little grin on her face, and was holding something behind her back. I put the papers down, and stood up. 'What?' I asked, and she walked up to me, and handed me this little plastic thing. I didn't know what it was, till I really looked at it… that's when I saw the little plus sign in the middle of it. I.. I dropped it and picked her up in a hug. I remember swinging her around a few times, before I almost dropped her. I was so happy.. then suddenly, I was so scared. All I could think about was losing her, too. I started to cry, right there in the middle of the oval office. You know what she did?" I asked the boy sitting next to me.
"No sir… what did she do?" He asked smiling himself.
"She slapped me…" I chuckled as I ran my hand over my cheek, still feeling the slap as if it had just happened. "She slapped me hard. Then she looked me right in the eyes and told me to get over the past. Nancy was a great woman, someone she would always respect. What happened to her was horrible, she said. But we can't allow the past to blind us to the future.
That was the vow she made me take, when she agreed to let me run for the presidency again. That no matter what happens, no matter how bad things get, we can not let it stop us from doing what we need to do for the future of our family, of our country. I can see that in your eyes, Adam. That same fire and love of life that she has. Don't ever let anyone take that from you. No matter what happens, no matter how bad it gets… pick yourself up by your bootstraps if needed. But push on.. always push on."
Adam stood up after a few moments, and moved in front of me. I was looking up at this boy, looking into the eyes of a boy who was every bit as much a warrior as I had ever seen. The eyes are the gateway to the soul, they say, and this boy's eyes could tell stories. After a moment of looking into each other's eyes, Adam finally opened his arms and hugged me, hugged me hard.
It was a release for both of us, tears cleansing our souls. "Thank you, sir." Adam said, as he pulled back, and I immediately shook my head.
"No, son," I said, wiping tears out of my eyes. "Thank you, and everything your family has done for me. I know that things could get bad for us, but I honestly never expected them…" I said, nodding to Linda, then Chris, "to have to pay the price."
"That's the burden of leadership." Adam said, and I could see in his eyes that he knew exactly what he was talking about.
I took Linda's hand again, and spoke to him, this time as a president to a military officer who needed to be brought up to speed. "This whole race has been fucked up from the beginning. Ashwood has done things that no one, not even someone like me, who's been around politics for a long damned time, could even imagine." I paused, trying to figure out how to best show what I was talking about. "June 11th…. Ashwood announces a major press conference from the oval office. All the networks were there. He was signing executive orders, 'since the congress refused to act.' He gave this long drawn out speech about how, since congress refused to act quick enough to save this country, he would have to do it through his own powers. The first one he signed, saying that he needed to 'save the soul of this nation', revoked all the rights that gays had gained. They could no longer adopt, foster, work around, or even have any contact with a child, since they were 'perverting our youth'. He ordered all CPS agencies around the country to immediately remove any child that had been placed with a gay person or couple. Any gay person who didn't immediately stop any and all contact with a minor was to be arrested and investigated." Adam looked horrified, and I couldn't help but laugh.
"I almost felt sorry for Ashwood. He was slammed by everyone, and their mother. The supreme court came out the very next day, saying that the executive orders were not only illegal… they were immoral. Not to mention, forty three states came right out and said, no.. we're not enforcing that."
"The other order he signed that day, he said it was in response to the 'over abundance of gun violence that has been plaguing our streets.' He ordered that all private citizens who owned or possessed a fire arm, had 30 days to turn them in, or they would be committing a felony, punishable by a large fine and up to ten years in prison. He said there was no reason for a private citizen to have a fire arm, unless it was to commit some act of violence. And even if the owners themselves weren't planning on committing a violent act with it, the fire arm could be taken by someone who was. It would be better for everyone, especially the children, to not have to worry about guns.
"You know, some people even bought into it. Not many, but some did. Thankfully, the people in power told the president to go shove it. In Texas's case, they said it literally. They also said that any federal agent caught trying to enforce either of those laws would be arrested. Ashwood almost had a stroke, he was so pissed.
"Then in September, Ashwood crossed the line, big time. We hadn't been doing much campaigning… I mean there really wasn't any reason to, but…. well you know how it is. The people like to see the candidates. Anyways, we were at a fund raiser in New York City, all of us, Me, Linda, Mike, Eric, all the kids, everyone. When the event ended, and we were getting ready to leave, a whole bunch of federal agents showed up. They said they were there to take the kids away, and to arrest Eric and Mike, for not following the law of no gays having contact with Children, and Linda and I for harboring felons, and over 100 counts of endangering the welfare of a child."
I couldn't help but shiver as I thought back to how close I came that night, to losing everything. "It turned into a Mexican Stand off. We were standing outside of the hotel, the kids behind us… Our agents with guns drawn on the other agents. If anyone had pulled the trigger, it would have been a blood bath. It was actually the local police that ended up saving our asses. They showed up, surrounded the federal agents, and made it very clear that if they pursued their course, the locals would open fire on them.
They let us go, but the next day… the Chief of police got 'killed in an apparent random mugging'."
Adam just shook his head sadly. "If that's not bad enough, as soon as we left the hotel and got back on our plane, we found out that our house and offices, everything we had, had been gone through. The feds had ransacked our houses. The next day, Ashwood came out saying that they found 'evidence of child sexual exploitation', in both my house, and in Mike's. He also said that they had found evidence that linked me to terrorists in Russia that 'would like to do us righteous US citizens, grievous harm'.
"Of course, when pressed to release the information, all he could release was pictures of the boys playing around in their underwear. The rest he claimed were still being investigated, and he could not release them due to executive privilege."
"From then on, we had to be in hiding. It's been real rough on the kids. They didn't have many friends outside of the family, but the ones they did have, at school and such, are gone. They haven't been anywhere outside of a military base since then. They…" my voice broke, and I had to clear it before I could continue. "they've given up so much… all because of my wanting to try and fix this country. To try and fix what Ashwood has done. And now…" I really broke down now. "Now… Chris and Linda…. My God, I could have lost them…"
Adam was about to reply, but before he could say anything, another voice broke in. "Stop your whining…"
We both gasped as I looked towards Linda, who was looking back at me. "Oh God!" I cried, as I gently took her into my arms. Tears falling down as I spoke to her. "I thought I'd lost you."
"You couldn't get that lucky." She said softly, and I couldn't help but laugh. I leaned in and gently kissed her. When I pulled back, she was smiling, but had that fire in her eyes that told me she would be okay. "Now quit worrying about me." She said, then pulled me down close, so I could hear her more clearly. "That asshole almost killed our son. You know what's gonna happen when the election results come in. Get ready, because he's not gonna stop, nor is he gonna go quietly."
"Excuse me, sir, but I really need to check your wife out." I heard Chang say as I hugged Linda.
"Yes, ma'am." I whispered softly to her, then stood up and took a step back.
Chang moved in, and began to pull the curtain around the bed. "I am sorry, sir, but I need some privacy with her." He said apologetically. I simply nodded, and smiled at him.
When the curtain was fully closed, I looked back to Adam and smiled at him. "I have a lot of work to do, if there is a place where I can have access to a phone, and a computer?"
"Of course, sir, please follow me," Adam said then turned and left the room.