New Beginnings Book II: Dogs of War
Copyright © 2015 by Roland and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
All Rights Reserved
Logan jumped out of the back of the Dragon, and ran over to the Hind, he had to bodily push a few people out of the way, but made sure not to remove any of the medics. First out of the back of the Hind were the three Chipmunks, followed by Daileass. When the older of Logan's brothers jumped out, he quickly turned around to grab Khan. Without even looking at who was around, he shouted over the Hind's quickly slowing rotors. "He was placing the satchel charge under the tanks tread when the thing turned. His arm was pulled under it by the charge." Logan couldn't help but cringe, even more so when Daileass finally pulled the limp form of Khan out from the helicopter. "I'm doing everything I can to keep him unconscious, but I don't have much left." Daileass said as several of the medics grabbed Khan and pulled him out, and onto a stretcher.
"Get him into the Dragon!" Janet shouted over the whine of braking rotors. She didn't wait for her orders to be followed, because she knew they would be. She turned and ran to the back of the Dragon, knowing that this was going to be a long morning.
Logan watched Khan get wheeled off, before sighing, and turning to the rest of the UNIT members that were milling about. "When the ground troops get here, please send Major Guilipo to the Dragon. Load everything up into the C-5, we leave as soon as they are here. If we have to leave vehicles, we leave them. Make sure to stabilize the wounded as much as you can, and the dead..." Logan choked for a brief moment, before continuing. "The dead, load them into the back of a Stryker, load it onto the C-5, and we will deal with them later." Logan turned and ran back towards the Dragon, wanting to see if he could help at all.
He jogged up the back ramp of the Dragon, ignoring everyone that was there. He did pause long enough to tell everyone to stay in their seats, since they will be leaving shortly. He took a moment to look over the prisoners. He still couldn't believe that Ashwood's goons had forcefully conscripted kids to fight. From what little he'd taken from their minds so far, they were all street kids, yanked off the streets in South America, and forced to learn how to fight. Hell, the training they got, if someone wanted to call it training, was pitiful at best. Now here they were, captured prisoners, sitting in the helicopter, in handcuffs, and the oldest one was maybe sixteen. The youngest, younger than Logan's thirteen years. Logan just shook his head, one other thing he would have to deal with, but Khan first.
He walked into the medical suite, only to hear his mother curse. That told him all he needed to know about the condition that his friend, his brother, was in. Logan nodded as he moved over to a locked cabinet. He quickly entered a code, and the door popped open. He reached in a withdrew three large hyposprays, the last of the ones that came with the Dragon. He sighed as he shut the door, then turned and moved over to the bed. "We need to wake him." He said, and waited while Janet covered the arm, and nodded. He closed his eyes for a moment, when he opened them, he was looking down into Khan's eyes as the large hybrid began to open them. "Where... what happened." Khan asked.
"From the sounds of it, your arm got pulled under the tank as you set the satchel charge." Logan said. Immediately, Khan looked over at his left arm, but was unable to see anything due to the trauma covering that Janet had just placed over it.
"I... I don't feel anything." Khan said worriedly, as he looked at Logan.
"That's because I am not letting you. Trust me, you don't want to." Logan said as he moved around the table to Khan's left side.
He lifted one of the hyposprays full of pico-bots and adjusted a setting on it. Khan followed his movements, and while Logan was working on the spray, Khan swallowed and then spoke up. "What are you going to do?"
Logan paused and looked at Khan, then spoke. "Pico-bots are the only thing that is gonna save your arm. Hell I am not even sure if they will, since we never tried them on crushing damage like this. But between them, and your natural healing ability... well, it's the only option we have."
Khan closed his eyes and spoke without opening them. "No..."
Logan stopped, and looked at Khan completely confused. It was actually Janet that spoke first though. "No? Khan without them, you'll lose the arm. We can't fix this kind of damage. As Logan said, even with the pico-bots you might lose the arm, but at least this way you'll have a fighting chance."
Khan opened his eyes and stared directly into Janet's eyes, then turned his head to meet Logan's. "Didn't you say that the pico-bots are the only thing that could save Daileass or the Chipmunks if something hurts their brain?" Logan was silent for a moment before he simply nodded. "If you remove the arm, chances are it will grow back right? I mean we've all heard about how Juan's testicals grew back after they were cut off."
"Probably..." Logan said slowly, then rushed to continue. "But Khan, you'll be completely out of the fight for a while if we don't do this."
Khan closed his eyes again, and for a moment no one said anything while they watched as Khan struggled with the decision. No one, outside of the room, would ever know that they saw a tear leak from Khan's closed eyes. "No... Don't use the pico-bots." He opened his eyes and looked directly into Logan's again. "If something happened to one of them, and they died because we didn't have enough pico-bots, I would never be able to forgive myself." Another tear fell even as he grinned a toothy grin. "Besides, I know you and Adam well enough to know that you'll find a use for me. Now, get it done before I have the chance to reconsider."
Logan smiled as a tear fell from his eyes. He reached up and patted Khan's shoulder and nodded. "Okay." He said simply before he sent Khan into a deep sleep, where he would not feel any pain.
No one spoke for a few moments before Janet wiped away her tears on her shoulder. "Okay, let's do this. I want all the major cutting done before we take off....." Janet said, but Logan tuned her out as he walked over to the case, and returned the hyposprays. He then watched for a few moments before he left the room. He didn't need to be here to do his job.
Major Anthony (Tony) Guilipo sat in the seat of the Humvee he was riding in, completely lost in thought. He had just taken his unit into a battle that turned out very bad for them. Or at least it was until help arrived. However, the shape that help took, gave him more questions than answers. He had been somewhat warned by his old friend Tom Larkin. Had it come from almost any other source, Tony wouldn't have believed it. Now though, that he'd seen it in the flesh, so to say, he truly believed it. But he still had questions... so many questions.
"Sir we're here." The driver said bringing Tony back to the here and now. He looked around and saw a bunch of people running around, a C-5 being loaded, and the strange helicopters sitting on the ground, rotors still spinning. Tony exited the vehicle, and went over towards the C-5 that was being loaded up, since that is where most of the people were at.
Before he got there though, one of the kids in body armor jogged up to him. "Sir!" The kid said as he snapped a salute. By instinct, Tony returned the salute. The kid grinned at him then spoke. "Sir, General Logan Hayes has asked that you join him on the Dragon." He said while pointing to the huge helicopter that still had it's rotors turning. "That's also the helicopter that picked up your rear guard team."
"Thank you..." Tony automatically looked at the kids rank insignia, just like he would any other soldier, "...Corporal."
"You're welcome sir. If I may, it's good to see you here." The kid said, causing Tony to look confused as the kid ran off to do something else. If he didn't know better, he would have said that the kid knew him, somehow. He shook his head, and jogged over to the waiting helicopter.
He saw two guards standing outside the back of the helicopter complete with rifles in their hands. Both of them were young, maybe fifteen or sixteen, and they both snapped to attention and saluted when Tony approached. "Sir!" One of them said, after they dropped the salute. "Welcome aboard the Dragon sir. General Hayes has asked that you join him in the front communications suite, after you have spoken with your son of course. We estimate it will take us about two hours to get to Kingston Air Force Base."
"Thank you." Tony said as he moved past them only to stop cold about halfway up the ramp. "Kingston..." He said to himself before he turned around. Both soldiers were still looking outwards, obviously searching for anything that did not belong. 'How did they know we were going to Kingston?' He thought to himself, before shaking his head. He turned back around and went fully into the back of the huge helicopter.
He hadn't gone more than two steps into the cabin when he heard a familiar voice call to him. "PAPA!" Paul shouted as he jumped out of his seat and ran to his father, who grabbed him up in a hug.
"You okay my Pablito?" Tony asked gently.
"Aww Dad!" Paul whined while giggling. "Don't call me that anymore!"
Tony pushed him back a bit and looked him over. "You okay?" He asked suddenly getting serious.
"Yeah." Paul said blushing a bit. He then leaned in real close and whispered into Tony's ear. "What's up with these kids?"
"I don't know..." Tony said as he looked around. "But I plan to find out." His eyes fell onto the kids that were in handcuffs and looked back at Paul. "What's going on with them?"
Paul shook his head. "Not sure, they haven't talked to anyone yet. They were part of the ground troops that passed us. When this chopper set down to pick us up, they came running up asking to go with us. I guess the guy in charge had no idea who they were, so played it safe and handcuffed them until they got answers."
"Sounds wise..." Tony said as he tore his eyes away from the kids, some of whom were silently crying. "Well, I better go see what the guy in charge wants with me."
Paul nodded then leaned in again. "They kinda freak me out. Especially the big ones. I think they're aliens..."
Tony laughed while shaking his head. "They're not aliens, that much I do know. You're Uncle Tom gave me a bit of intel on them, I just didn't think we'd meet them this quickly." Tony pulled Paul into a hug then pushed him back a bit to look into his eyes. "Do me a favor, once we're in the air, why don't you go talk to those kids, and see if you can figure anything out. They'll probably talk more with someone their age, than an adult." Paul nodded, looked at the kids, then went to take his seat. Tony meanwhile looked towards the front of the cabin, sighed, and made his way forward.
Runt kept his eye on the radar screen as the Chinook came in to land near the site where the Russian pilots had crash landed one of the Huey's. This was the only one that they had to worry about scuttling, since the pilot did a rather good job of landing it, even with having lost most electronics.
He watched as people ran from the back of the Chinook, and over to where the Huey was. He wasn't sure why, but it took them a while to get the pilots out of the cabin. He was starting to get nervous, even though they were under stealth at the moment, it wouldn't take much to bring down a bunch of Ashwood assholes on them.
"Think they're alive?" Tommy asked over the internal radio.
"I hope so. They did a hell of a job, and we've lost too many already." Runt replied, knowing that they already lost a few good pilots and soldiers in this rescue.
"Yeah..." Tommy said as he trailed off, then finally spoke again. "I still can't believe we survived that."
Runt couldn't help but laugh a little. "I hear ya. I think this was a successful test of this helicopter. What do you think?"
"If it wasn't, I sure as shit don't wanna know what someone would consider a success."
"Looks like they got the pilots out." Runt said as he circled overhead, watching what was going on.
Nothing else was said as they both watched what was going down below. A little over two minutes later, they watched as two people ran from the wreckage, and jumped into the back of the Chinook. "Let's clear out!" They heard over the radio as the Chinook jumped into the air, and started to fly back towards Camp David. Runt took up position above and to the right of the Chinook. They had only gone a few miles away when they were both rocked by the explosion behind them.
"Holy Shit!" Tommy exclaimed. "How much explosive did they use?"
"Well..." Runt said through giggles. "Remember what Jory always said, 'Better to use too much, than too little'."
Tony knocked on the side wall as he moved to the front of the cabin. Off to his right and left, people were working on computer stations. Had he not known better, he'd almost wonder if this was the same type of set up that they had on Air Force One. A blond haired boy turned around and smiled at him. "Major Guilipo." The boy said as he stepped over, and extended his hand. "It's great to meet you."
"You too." Tony said a little hesitantly, not sure about a kid who only might be in his teens, being the one in charge.
"I am General Logan Hayes, and before you ask.... Yes, I am 13, and yes, I am in charge, at least right now. My boyfriend Adam is actually the commanding officer, but he's currently on his way to Daytona." Logan grinned at the man, then leaned forward. "You know, I hate to say it, but I love that reaction." Tony quickly closed his mouth, and chuckled a bit. "Come on, let's go in the armory, so we can talk privately." Tony nodded, and followed Logan back down the hall a little and then into a side door. Logan entered the security code, then motioned for Tony to go in.
Once inside, Logan motioned to one of the seats, and took another one. Just about this time, they both heard and felt the rotors speeding up, and a few moments later the helicopter lifted off. Tony looked at Logan and sighed. "Well I guess first thing I should do is thank you guys for saving our asses."
Logan nodded, smiled, then said. "Consider it payback." Which got a completely confused look from Tony. "I know you don't understand, but hopefully by the time we get to Kingston you will."
"Okay." Tony said slowly. "You have my attention."
"I know that General Larkin told you some, but you need to know a whole lot more." Logan said seriously.
"Why's that?" Tony asked. "My group understands top secret, and need to know."
Logan shook his head as he sighed, running a hand through his long hair. "It's not you, or your people I'm worried about, but mine."
"I don't understand." Tony said now completely lost.
"The reason has nothing to do with you, or your people. Well not all of them." Logan said, as he struggled to figure out how to say what he needed. "No, it's your son..."
"What do you mean?" Tony asked suddenly defensive.
"Tell me something Major. Do you like Science Fiction movies? Specifically the ones that deal with alternate universes, and what happens when you meet people you know?"
Once the helicopter was up in the air for a few minutes, Paul undid his straps and moved over to one of the boys who looked to be about his age. He had been watching the boy as they took off, and saw the tears finally stop. He knew the look all too well. The boy just simply did not have any tears left.
Before he got there, he stopped next to one of the kids that was standing guard over them. "Hey, do you think it's necessary to keep them handcuffed? I mean, I doubt they're gonna try anything."
The big kid turned and had a look of annoyance on his face. That was until his eyes fell on Paul. The annoyance turned to shock, then to a smile. "Yeah. No problem." The kid said before he took the keys out of his pocket and handed them to Paul. "Would you mind doing it, that way I can keep an eye on them, just in case."
"Sure..." Paul said a bit confused, wondering why the kids attitude changed. He was used to it in Blood's Honor, since his dad was the commander, but he didn't think these people knew that yet. But they must. Paul shrugged it off, and went about removing the handcuffs from all the kids.
He saved the kid that was about his age for last. After he uncuffed him, he went and got some water, and snacks for them all. It wasn't much, but he always kept some gummies in his pack. Thankfully, between him and the rest of the BH kids on the helicopter, he was able to come up with enough snacks for the entire group of twenty.
Finally he sat down next to the kid, and started to speak to him in Spanish. "Hola, I'm Pablo, what's your name?"
"Seb... Sebastian." The boy stuttered out, mostly in fear.
"Where are you from?" Paul asked, then quickly added. "I was rescued in Bogota Colombia, by my papa, from some drug lords. Now I live here with him and Mama."
Sebastian's eyes went wide. "I'm from Bogota too. At least I was before..."
"Let me guess. They came into your house, and killed anyone who wouldn't do what they told them to do?" Paul asked softly, getting a small nod from Sebastian.
"They took us to a huge house out in the country, and forced us to learn how to shoot, and how to fight. We lived there for months, in small tents, four of us in a tent made for two. If we didn't do well enough, or if we fell down, they would whip us... in front of everyone else. If we did something really bad... they would strip us, tie us down, and in front of everyone..." Sebastian couldn't finish, but he didn't need to. Paul reached over, and pulled the boy into a hug. When Paul released the boy, Sebastian kept talking, still staring out into nothing. "Then they loaded us on a ship... there must have been a couple thousand people chained up in there. When we got to the United States, they told us that we were gonna fight and kill the Americans. We were always told how bad the American's were. How they were all greedy, and wanted to make slaves out of everyone, and this was our chance to make sure that they didn't."
The boy paused for several moments before he spoke again. "They split us up, loaded us into trucks, and they started to drive us away from the ship. Next thing I knew, we turned around, they gave us guns, and told us that we were gonna stop the bad American's from kidnapping important people. They... they killed my older brother when he wouldn't fight." The boy broke down into fresh sobs, which made Paul grab the boy again and just let him cry out onto his shoulder.
"So I knew all of you?" Tony said, struggling to grasp what this strange boy in front of him was saying. Logan had already proven to him that what he was saying was true, but it was still hard to grasp.
Logan nodded. "Yeah, we called you Uncle Tony. One thing about us is that family is the most important thing. Calling you Uncle put you in a position of leadership, respect and authority within the UNIT, even if you were not in the chain of command. Anyone of the UNIT, even though they may be physically stronger or faster than you are, would defer to you no matter what the situation. They would listen to you, or the other family adults, without question." Logan sighed then stood and started to pace in the small room.
"Let me see if I can explain it this way. A little less than half of the UNIT kids, as you know, were genetically engineered. The rest, well, we're all kids. We may have been taught how to fight, had some of the best teachers, but in the end, we're all still kids. You, and the other adults, have one thing that we do not. Experience. Real world experience. Most of what we had is schooling, training, but no real world experience. We know this, we understand how much that limits us, and also how much we still have to learn. That's why, when we found adults that could truly understand who we are, we listened to them. We made sure to use their knowledge and experience to make us better. If you were to walk into a room and tell everyone to stop what they were doing, they would… instantly."
Logan paused, struggling to explain something that was so core and basic to the UNIT, that it was unspoken. It just was. Thankfully Tony came to his rescue. "That… that is an awfully big pedestal you guys put us on. But, I can understand it. Frankly it's flattering and scary at the same time."
Logan grinned. "You know, that's the same exact words you used in the other Universe, when you finally figured it out."
They both laughed for a minute, then Tony's face got serious. "Now, you also mentioned my son Paul..."
Logan's smile disappeared and he nodded. "Paul... or as we knew him, Pablito."
Tony's face when white. "Knew... he died too?"
Logan nodded slowly, but did smile softly. "Actually he died before any of us knew him. Remember how I explained about Mike becoming friends with us?" Tony nodded. "Well before that point, actually several years before, he led a special team of elite soldiers. A team that you were second in command."
"Wait, you're saying that the current Vice President, in your world, was my team leader?" Logan nodded, and Tony sat back. "I never served with him, but I heard lots about him. He was a hell of an operator." Tony nodded more to himself than anyone else. "I could have lived with that."
"From the stories I've heard, your team was considered the best. That's why it was your team that went into Latin America, and met Pablo." Tony looked confused, forcing Logan to continue. "Okay, this is where things get really complicated. When we left our world, it was 2004, not 2012. We've met some people we know, like Jack and Mike. Jack is 8 years older than we knew him, however Mike is the same age. So are his kids. I don't have a better explanation other than some people are older, and I'm not sure why."
"I don't understand." Tony said now completely confused.
Logan sighed. "I say that because, You guys met Pablo when he was 9 years old." Logan paused before dropping the bomb shell. "In 1997 or '98."
"But... He's only just turned 13..." Tony said in a bewildered voice.
"As I said, things are different in the different universes." Logan then took a deep breath, before continuing. "However, that does not explain why my guys will have a rather... interesting reaction to him."
"Okay..." Tony said after Logan faltered for a moment.
Logan took a deep breath then spoke softly. "Where we come from, we had a lot of dealing with... celestial beings."
"Huh?" Tony said eloquently.
Logan took a deep breath then let it out. "In the mission that you guys met Pablo in, he died saving Mike's life. In our universe, Pablo was an angel."
Tony sat there stunned for a few moments before he started to laugh out loud. When he could finally say anything, all he could get out was... "Obviously that wasn't MY Pablo!"
"So what's going to happen to us?" Sebastian asked hesitantly.
"I don't know honestly." Paul responded. "But I do know this much. You were rescued by Blood's Honor. More than a few of our families have adopted kids in the past. The government knows nothing about you guys, or what happened. That means we don't have to tell them." He said with a grin. "I know my dad well enough to know that he's not going to turn you guys over to anyone, without making sure that you'll be taken care of."
"He's right." The UNIT member that was keeping guard on the kids said in perfect Spanish, as he slung his weapon over his shoulder, then knelt down in front of them. He took a moment to make sure that all the rescued kids were paying attention. "I know exactly how you kids are feeling right now. It was only a couple of years ago that I was rescued from a bad situation as well. If you ever want to hear about it, I would be happy to share. For now though, just trust me when I say we come from the same kind of background."
"What... what happened to you?" One of the girls asked. He looked over at her and smiled. She was just a bit younger than his fourteen years.
"Well first off, my name is Kraig Hayes. I'm fourteen years old, and have been a member of the UNIT for just under six months." He saw the looks of confusion, so he took a moment to conference with Logan about what he was allowed to say. Thankfully the rather long mental conversation was had in just a few seconds, in real time. By the time it was done, he was surprised at how much Logan was allowing to be told. "The UNIT... well I guess the best way that I can explain it is this. You all know what it's like to be taken from your home, and forced to learn how to fight. Well that happened to a lot of us. Except they didn't just teach them to fight... they actually altered them physically. I wasn't a member yet, so I wasn't altered, but I've heard a lot about it."
"What do you mean?" Paul asked.
"Do you guys know what it means to genetically alter someone?" He got a few nods, but mostly they were shaking their heads. Kraig sighed as he sat down on the floor of the helicopter. He was silent for a moment as he tried to figure out how to explain it. "Basically what that means is they take you to a lab, and through the use of special drugs, and other things, change you." He paused really struggling to figure out how to explain it all. Finally he looked around, and spotted one of his team members.
"Luke!" Kraig called out. The eleven-year-old boy looked over with a question on his face. When Kraig waved him over, the boy jumped to his feet, and walked over.
"What's up Kraig." He asked as he got there.
Kraig though turned back to the assembled group of rescued kids. "How old do you guys think Luke is?"
Everyone was silent as they looked Luke over. Finally it was Paul who spoke up. "Ten?"
Sebastian shook his head. "Nine?"
"No!" Luke said as he shook his own head. "I mean I know I'm small, but I'm eleven!"
Kraig couldn't help but chuckle, which earned him a punch to the shoulder from Luke. "HEY! Watch how hard you punch!" Kraig said while massaging his now hurting shoulder. "That's gonna leave a bruise!"
"Oh get over it!" Luke said with a laugh.
"Get over it?" Kraig exclaimed. "That hurt worse than getting shot!" The interaction between the two got the effect that Kraig was going after, the kids were laughing. Even if he was being honest, and Luke's punch WAS going to leave a bruise it was worth it. "Now as I was saying. The doctors were able to make changes to some of us. Take Luke for example..." Luke's smile vanished as he nodded seriously.
"Yeah, take me." He said as he moved to stand behind Kraig. "I am eleven, even though I look smaller. From what I am gathering, Kraig is trying to explain to you guys about how we were changed, how we were altered by the sickos, to try and make the perfect soldier. Stronger, faster, smarter, heal quicker, and be able to adapt to almost any situation." He saw some of the kids nodding, so he reached down, grabbed Kraig by the web gear he wore, and lifted, picking the boy up off the floor. "How many eleven-year-olds do you know that can do this?" He asked while holding Kraig a foot off the ground, even while the older boy was still in a seated position.
"Holy crap!" Paul shouted out, drawing the attention of everyone in the back part of the helicopter. His words were echoed by several of the other kids sitting there, until Luke dropped him back down to the floor with a thump.
"Hey!" Kraig exclaimed, but again, several of the kids giggled as Kraig rubbed his sore butt. "Remember BRAT! I'm your superior officer!"
"Oh sorry SIR... I'll remember that next time SIR!" Luke said with a grin causing the kids to laugh some more. "Maybe next time SIR... You'll remember how much stronger I am."
"Yeah, and perhaps next time I might actually let you beat me when we spar." Kraig said as he punched Luke in the thigh.
"Hey... just because you were taught by Chang, the Samurai GOD himself, doesn't mean that I can't take you." Luke said as he struck an exaggerated fighting pose, getting even more giggles from the kids.
"Actually.... yes it does." Kraig said. "You may be stronger than I am.... BUT! Put a sword in my hand, and I'll slice and dice long before you can do anything to stop me."
"Oh God!" Luke said, truly playing it up. "Here you go again... 'put a sword in my hand...' Jesus, is that all you older kids think about?"
"Well I wasn't talking about THAT sword, but since you mentioned it..."
"Boys..." They all heard someone say, and all eyes turned and saw a small boy standing there with his hands on his hips. "Do I need to kick both your asses?"
"Ummm.. no.. that's alright Alvin... really I was just messing with him." Kraig said quickly.
"Yeah...." Luke said just as quickly.
Paul was the first one to speak up, he leaned in and stage whispered to Kraig. "Can he do it?"
"Oh yeah. There is only two or three people that are better at fighting then Alvin. And that's not what he's best at."
Paul shook his head. "You guys are weird." He said then laughed, which made everyone else laugh as well. Silently, Kraig, Luke, and Alvin were all satisfied that they had helped make all of them feel a little better with their antics.
"So tell me about Blood's Honor." Logan said into the silence that followed Tony's reaction to what Logan said about Paul.
"Well there's not a lot to tell. We're based in Kingston Ontario. Mostly, we're a private security firm, working for celebrities, and visiting dignitaries." Logan was nodding, paying full attention to what the man was saying. Of course, what Tony couldn't know yet was that Logan already knew almost everything about Blood's Honor. Well at least as much as they were able to find out before the fighting really got hot and heavy, as well as what Logan and the rest had been able to find out from the minds of the Blood's Honor members. Already a plan was forming in Logan's mind. Now though, he wanted to see how much Tony would actually tell him. "Our side. The side you saw today. Well we're both a money maker and a huge drain."
Logan looked confused, causing Tony to explain more. "It's a huge draw to our business to be able to tell a client that, if needed, we can field an entire Special Forces group. Six twelve-person A-Teams are a lot of firepower at clients' disposal. The problem is, most of the time we're not needed, so we sit idle. The times when we are needed though, we get paid rather well. Just not well enough to account for all the down time."
"What do you do with all the families when you're out in the field?" Logan asked.
"It depends. If the base we're operating out of is far enough away, or secured, we allow those that want to, to come with. If not, then we hope that the mission is quick." He replied with a grin, but then it faded. "Even if we are at a secure facility, sometimes we can't bring them in, since we have to bring in security from the other side to make sure nothing happens. We can not be too careful with the families."
Logan leaned forward, an absolutely intense look on his face. "Exactly. To be honest, the thing that always kept us fighting, even during the hard times like now, when we just lost eight of our own and five others are injured to the point that they will be out of the fight for a while. Hell, one of my best friends is in the other room having the lower part of his arm amputated.
"That's thirteen members lost in one night, and we only came here with about sixty fighters. Even with all that, the thing that keeps us going is family. The ones that don't have to fight, or won't be able to, are still our family.
"Our entire group was made up of people who lived through abuse of some kind, and when given the chance, and the choice, they decided that they would rather fight so that others might not have to go through what they did. Family to us is more important than anything else."
Logan paused and sat back. "At some point I will let you listen to something that drives that home. It's a recording of four kids, the oldest was sixteen, the youngest was twelve. They made the choice to throw their helicopter in front of a missile to save another helicopter that was full of younger kids. That's what family means to us."
Tony was rather shocked, but he did understand what the boy was talking about. "And I was a part of this?"
Logan grinned and nodded. "You were not just a part of it, you were one of the ones that taught us, guided us, loved us, and accepted every one of us, even though many of them were not fully human."
Tony nodded more to himself, and sat there thinking for a while. Finally he looked at Logan and asked a question that would forever alter both of their lives. "So tell me. What are you guys trained to do?"
In Utah, at the UNIT base, everyone was watching the central monitors closely as Justice One streaked its way across the Eastern Seaboard towards Daytona. The city was already seeing a major air battle rage across it's skies, and the forces loyal to Ashwood were trying everything they could to dislodge the Ronald Reagan Battle Group from their hold over Daytona International Airport. This was a slow time and they all knew it. Yet, not a single person wanted to stop watching.
In the middle of the command center, Mary looked off, and a little bit to the right. She listened for a few moments, then nodded. Silently she rose and went over to where Jack was seated. "Sir." She said softly. "I need to speak to you in private please. I was just contacted by Logan." Jack nodded, rose from his chair, and lead the way to his office off the back of the command center.
Once they were inside his office, Mary quickly got to the point. "Sir. Logan has asked that we load up Juan's vault, as well as all their personal equipment, into transport planes, and have it sent to Kingston Ontario military base. He's already contacted the UNIT members here, and they will break everything down so it can be moved."
Jack sat there thinking for a few moments before he nodded, opened up a draw in his desk and pulled out a large manilla envelope. He handed it to Mary and grinned. "When you see Logan, please give this to him, and him alone."
Mary stood there in shock for a moment before she nodded, went to attention and saluted. When Jack returned the salute, she turned and left the room.
It was just over an hour into the flight north when Janet appeared from the medical suite. She looked around at all the people in the back of the Dragon, many of them injured to one degree or another, however Khan had been the worst. At least the worst on this ship. On the Chinook there were four others that Janet had heard would be out of the fight for a while. However, so far all of them seem to have a good chance of surviving.
Her eyes then fell on the obvious Blood's Honor members. They were the only ones she didn't know. Well, all but one of them. Thankfully Logan had filled her in on Pablito... no wait, Paul. If he hadn't she would be more shocked than she was now. Thankfully the boy had fallen asleep so he didn't see her stare. She had never met the boy while he was alive, but his antics as an Angel were something of a legend in the UNIT.
Finally her eyes fell to the other side of the helicopter where the twenty South American kids were seated. She looked around once more, and saw that the only empty seat was next to one of the kids, a girl about 12. She moved over and sat down next to the girl who was quietly praying in Portuguese. Not for the first time, Janet was happy that she had received the language dump back in the other universe, so she knew what the girl was saying.
When the girl looked up at her, Janet smiled down at her. She was only slightly surprised to see a blond haired, blue eyed girl, but then remembered that the part of South America that spoke the language of Portuguese was Brazil, and it was not uncommon to find people with European looks there. "Hey there!" Janet said, using the girl's language.
"Hello." She said somewhat tensely. After a moment, she spoke again, just as soft as the first time. "Are you a doctor?"
"Yes, Yes I am." Janet said. "How'd you know?" The girl raised her hand and pointed to Janet's shirt. She looked down, and noticed a blood stain that she had somehow missed. "Oh sorry." Janet said as she quickly pushed that part of her shirt out of the girl's view.
"That's okay, my mamma was a doctor." She said then trailed off. Janet could tell there was a story there, and it was a story she didn't know if she wanted to hear. Even though she knew she would eventually, she always did. The tears that started up in the girls eyes told Janet all she needed to know now. She wrapped her arm around the girl and pulled her into her side, allowing the girl to cry.
Finally after the girl cried for a few minutes, Janet heard her talking, even though the girl never left where she was, pulled into her side. "You smell just like she used to." A few moments later, she spoke again. "They killed her... and Papa. Then took me. They were looking for my brother too, but he wasn't home. I.. I don't know where he is." Janet felt the girl move, so she looked down into the girl's deep sea blue eyes. "Why... why did they do it?"
"I don't know honey. I really don't." Janet said, feeling her heart break as she looked into those eyes, robbed of their innocence long before they should have been. A look she has seen way too many times. "Back where I come from, there was a boy who had some bad things happen to him. One time he said something that has always stuck with me. He said that, 'Sometimes bad things have to happen, so other, good things, can.' I know it's hard to believe that now, but, I have seen that be the case many, many times."
The girl was quiet for a moment before her eyes welled up with tears again, even though they never left Janet's. The small smile on the girl's lips though spoke to something different. Finally the girl spoke. "Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Janet smiled down at her. "Matthew Chapter 5 verse 4. Yes, that is one that I also think about, especially at times when so many of my own children have been hurt or killed." Janet said softly. Then she asked. "What's your name?"
"Ana. What's yours?"
"My name's Janet." She then looked around and started to point to some of the other people in the helicopter. "And those are all my children."
"All of them?" Ana asked in disbelief.
"Yes. All of them. I did not give birth to any of them, but they have all become my children when they need a mother." Janet said softly, and fondly. "All of them have stories like yours. Some not as bad, others just as... or worse. But all of them came to us needing a family. We gave them that family, and helped them so they could try and help other children like they are. Children who were not allowed to be children. Do you understand what I mean?"
Ana nodded for a moment as she looked around the helicopter, then looked back up at Janet. "Will you become my mother?"
"Of course I will, if that is what you want." Janet said which only got a nod, then the girl cuddled into her side, and quickly fell to sleep.
Will sat on one of the railings, looking at, more like staring at, the C-5 that sat silent on the deck of the carrier. In his mind he was going over every moment of the flight, every move he made, every flip of a switch, change of direction, and, most vividly, the four or five seconds that the plane was hurtling down the deck of the carrier.
"I know that look." Will heard someone say. It brought him out of his own memories, making him look to the side, where a young man stood in a pilot's flight suit. The man was in his mid twenties, but had a bit of a baby face.
"Excuse me?" Will said softly, as he took another glance at the C-5, then looked back at the man.
"You're the one that flew that thing, huh?" The man asked, as he pointed at the C-5.
"Yeah..." Will said, and while he tried to stop it, he couldn't hide the visible shudder.
The man chuckled slightly, then sat down on the rail next to Will, before he turned and stuck out his hand. "Lieutenant Zach Miller. Commander of Sabre 11."
Will shook the man's hand, while nodding. "Thanks for your help out there."
The man grinned when he responded. "That was some of the most intense fun I think I've ever had. I gotta say, watching you make that big pig dance was really something to behold. A few times I was wondering if the wings were gonna break off." He smiled at Will's face, then added. "We met up with you right outside of DC, and flew with you the entire way, till you landed here. I still can't believe you landed that thing on the deck."
"Me neither." Will said in misery.
"Hey man, don't think of it like that. You did something that will go down in the history books. Not only did you do the impossible by landing the bit... thing on the deck, you saved a bunch of lives, including the lives of every member of the United States Supreme Court, doing it." Zach said with an understanding smile.
Will shook his head as he continued to stare at the plane. Finally he spoke softly. "I'm a helicopter pilot. I mean sure, I've been trained in how to fly fixed wing, but I never liked it. Now, well; I will never get into a plane again."
"Don't do that man." Zack said quickly. "With the skill I saw up in the air... man, you got it... you got the touch." He moved in front of Will, then squatted down, so he was looking Will right in the eyes. "I know you're young. Hell I don't even want to think about how young, but man, that don't matter. You've got what it takes to be the best damned pilot around."
"I've been training since I was a kid." Will said distantly.
"Training can't do that. Hell I know people who have been flying since they were in diapers. The best they could do is fly a crop duster somewhere. Training is only a part of what makes a pilot, and a small part at that. You have to have the skill, the mind set, you have to have 'IT', and man you have got 'IT' in spades." He reached out and placed both his hands on Will's knees, to try and comfort the boy. "I only wish I was half the pilot you are."
Will had been looking down, but his eyes flew up, and opened wide as he looked into the man's eyes, searching for any deception. What Zach saw in the boy's wide eyes really made him want to cringe, but he knew better than to. He knew that look all too well, Will was starting to doubt himself, doubt his abilities. In a pilot, that was fatal. "Kid, do you know that there are at least a hundred pilots on this ship that could not do what you just did? I know it rattled you. Hell I would have pissed my pants, thrown up, AND gotten everyone on the plane, and a bunch of people on the carrier killed when I froze up. I can't imagine what it was like looking through the cockpit at the carrier, and seeing such a small thing ready to receive that huge bitch you were flying." Zach's eyes never left Will's as he was talking. "Don't get me wrong, I am a hell of a pilot. Top of my class, and one of the best there is. But you got more skill in your little finger than I will ever have." He paused and grinned. "Of course, if you ever repeat that to anyone, I'll call you a liar. I got a reputation to protect!" That finally got Will to laugh a bit, so Zach moved over, and leaned up against the railing. "So, tell me about it. I mean after we took out those helicopters, we met back up with you, but, walk me through everything that happened, everything that you think you did wrong."
"You mean other then getting in the pilots seat?" Will asked with a grin.
Zach laughed. "Nope. That was the best thing that ever happened to every single person on the plane. Don't forget that."
Will shook his head, got up off the railing, and started walking, He'd only made two steps before he stopped and started to sway. Zach grabbed his shoulder saying. Hey there… you okay?"
"Yeah, still a little banged up." Will said. Once he got his feet back under him, and the world stopped spinning, he started walking again, Zach falling in right next to him. Will made almost an entire circuit of the C-5 before he started talking. Nearly two hours later, Will finally stopped. The two walked in silence for almost five minutes, before Zach spoke up again, this time it was Zach that was speaking in the voice that was a million miles away. "It was just over two years ago. I had joined up at the end of the Mexican US War, but of course, I didn't get a chance to fly till it was well over with. Anyways, we were on a routine patrol mission when I got a warning that I was losing hydraulics." Will winced, knowing, that was something that could be very bad.
"I fought with the plane for nearly five minutes till I could get it out over the water. There wasn't a landing strip close enough, and frankly, I didn't want to think about trying to land it with no hydraulics. So I had to punch out over the water. They teach you how to do it, they train the hell out of you, so that if you have to do it, you know what your are doing, what to expect, but there ain't anything in the world that can prepare you for it without doing it. When I hit the water, I thought I was going to drown, the chute started to drag me down, before I could release it, and then, hell I didn't know which way was up. Thankfully the inflators on my suit functioned, and it started to pull me to the top."
He paused in his monologue for a few moments before he spoke again. "I was in the water for close to an hour before a search and rescue chopper got to me, and dragged me out. It shook me up. I mean, yeah, we all know it could happen, but to have it actually happen to me. It shook my confidence. Made me wonder what I could have done differently. And you know what?" He stopped and turned to look at Will who had also stopped. "It doesn't matter what I could have done differently. I did the best I could at the time, and I did it right. That's the biggest thing. Think back over everything you did and tell me one place, one place that you could have done it better. Point to me one thing you did wrong? And then tell me what you did right. Tell me how many people are alive because of what you did, and did right."
Will stood there for a moment, before he dropped his head, and Zach could see the tears starting to fall. No matter what else this boy may be, he was still exactly that, a boy, a child. Zach gently reached out, cupped Will's chin, and forced him to lift his head. "Hey, there is nothing wrong with second guessing yourself now that you're on the ground, but don't let it eat you up. Focus on the fact that, yeah, it scared the shit out of you, it would have anyone, but you did it. And you saved a whole lot of lives doing it." Will nodded, and Zach pulled the boy into a hug, for a moment, the young man was reminded of his little brother. He pushed that thought away as he didn't want to think about what was going on in New York right now.