Castle Roland

New Beginnings
Book II
Dogs of War

by Roland

In Progress

Chapter 5

Posted: 5 Oct 15

New Beginnings Book II: Dogs of War

Copyright © 2015 by Roland and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Friday 16 November 2012
10:30 am Eastern Standard Time
Disney World Florida

Dog of War Logo"Adam, Logan, may I speak with you for a minute?" Colonel Shelton called to the boys as they exited the helicopter. They had just 'secured' the Orlando International Airport, even though it wasn't a fight. It seems that the person who was in command had seen everything around him go dark, and ordered his troops to pull back. They now sat about four miles to the north at the executive airport. Someplace that would be easy to take out when the time came.

Even though most of the UNIT was disappointed that there wasn't a fight at the airport, all of them were happy to know that they had completed the missions and would now get a break. Maybe.

Adam and Logan jogged over to the Colonel,"What can we do for you?" Adam asked.

Col Shelton led the two boys off to the side, turned around and clasped Adam on the shoulder. "I just wanted to let you both know how impressed my staff and I are with, not only your abilities, but also your dedication. Many of them were somewhat taken aback by the ages of your team, but after seeing you in action not once, but twice, we've all seen that you are every bit as dependable as the troops I have worked with for years."

"Thank you, Colonel." Adam said, still fighting to not call the man Sir every time he spoke to him. Technically, Adam did out rank the man, but it went against Adam grain to not call the adult, Sir.

Shelton smiled down at the boys, but certainly was not condescending in his smile. However, his face turned serious, as he looked around at the rapidly changing 'detention center' that used to be the Art of Animation Studios. "As much as I would like to keep you guys here, I have to use you in the ways that you work best. That is not in large group actions, like what we have coming up. Clearing out the area, and then moving on to the rest of Orlando is going to have to be a very visible, and probably a long and drawn out fight, depending on the feelings of the locals. Either way, the best use of you guys would be more covert, and smaller team actions, actions that I just don't have right now."

"What are you saying Colonel?" Adam asked. There was no anger in his voice, more so disappointment.

"Right now, what I think would be best, is for you and your team to go back to Bermuda, finish setting up there, and be ready to go when Admiral Norris or I have a mission that requires your unique abilities." Colonel Shelton grinned as he lowered his voice. "Don't worry, you won't be sitting on your asses, but both Admiral Norris and I want you at a place where you can be called on, on a moment's notice. Here, you would be involved in everything else going on, and might not be able to pull away when something critical comes up."

Logan nodded and looked over to Adam. "Basically Bermuda becomes the Rapid Response base like we had back home, except we're the ones staffing it."

Adam nodded and smiled. "Sounds like we're gonna get the fun missions. I'm sure the rest of my team will like that." He paused and stood up straight. "Very well Colonel. We'll get our teams together, head back to Bermuda and see what you come up with for us."

"Thanks." Shelton said, than snapped himself to attention, and saluted. When Adam returned the salute, Shelton dropped his, turned and jogged away.

Adam turned to Logan and smiled. "I think that was the most subtle way I've ever been told to go rest, relax, and we'll call you when we need you."

Logan laughed and nodded. "I like him, and he wasn't lying either. He is impressed by us, and wants to keep us as his ace in the hole. What he didn't say is the less he uses us, the less likely the enemy will figure out there is an elite team here. That makes it better when we come in and kick the shit out of some people."

"Yup." Adam grinned as he started walking towards where the rest of the UNIT were waiting. "I really like that guy."

Friday 16 November 2012
1630 Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base Bermuda

Adam was all smiles as he stepped off the back of the Chinook and looked around the base that was being set up in Bermuda. He looked over to Logan and Janet with a grin. "You know, I could really learn to like it here."

"It's really a nice place." Janet agreed, while Logan took Adam's hand in his own and nodded. Janet took a deep breath then turned and looked at Adam with an almost stern look. "I know you think you have a lot to do right now, including cleaning your guns and what not. Well, as Chief Medical Officer, and more importantly, as your mother, I am ordering everyone to take the next two hours, at least, to go swimming and relax."

Adam tried to look put out, but even he knew that they all needed some down time. Hell they had been going almost non stop since they got here almost two weeks ago. It only took him a moment before he nodded, then turned to where everyone was gathering. "Mom has 'ordered' that we need to attack the beach here, and make sure that there's no bad guys hiding in the surf. We may also need to check out the area a bit further out, with scuba gear and snorkels." He put on his best sad face and sighed heavily. "As much as I know we were all looking to relax, we all know that when 'the slave driver' gives us an order, we better follow it. So… HOP TO IT!" Everyone burst out laughing when Janet smacked Adam upside the head. They all quickly fell out though, to go and change into their swimwear.

Friday 16 November 2012
1745 Eastern Standard Time
Highgate Springs, Vermont
Just South of the Canadian Border

Doug sighed as he looked down at his map. "Only about two miles left I think." He said to himself. He'd been 'on the road' for almost six days so far, and covered somewhere around three hundred miles, but his journey was soon coming to an end. He looked through the trees at the road, and sighed again. He'd been watching it now for about twenty minutes, and hadn't seen anything, he was really thinking about chancing it.

After another ten minutes of nothing, he finally decided to go for it. The sun was setting, it was starting to get cold, and Doug just really wanted this to be over. If it weren't for the people that were relying on him, he probably would have turned back several times already. But he knew, deep down, that there were several lives that depended on him, not the least of which were the lives of his family.

He put his headphones back on, and hit play on his MP3 player. It was the only luxury he allowed himself to bring with him. He gave a small grin as he heard the song start up.

1My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
If today was your last day

Against the grain should be a way of life
What's worth the prize is always worth the fight
Every second counts 'cause there's no second try
So live like you'll never live it twice
Don't take the free ride in your own life.

He nodded to himself as the words took away the tiredness that he was feeling, and replaced it with a second wind. He hit the starter on his dirt bike, and revved it a few times, before he put it into gear, and moved up to the road. Looking one more time, he saw nothing, so he moved out, and once again headed north. He opened the throttle up, and was soon travelling faster than he normally would, but he didn't want to take any chances.

He'd traveled about a mile when he rounded a curve, and almost lost control of his bike. Up ahead was a roadblock complete with armored vehicles. He wasn't sure who was more surprised, him, or the soldiers. Either way, the soldiers started to raise their guns and fire, just as he jerked the bike to the right, and went into the woods next to the roadway.

He almost wrecked the dirt bike, but was able to keep going even though he was doing close to fifty miles an hour through the trees. He didn't dare slow down as he heard bullets hitting the trees around him. He wasn't really sure where he was going, since he was just trying to avoid obstacles, but soon found himself coming back towards the road, this time through, the roadblock was behind him.

Once he was on the road, he dropped the throttle wide open, and made a run for the border that he could see up ahead. He was still ducking and weaving as the soldiers behind him were firing at him. Up ahead of him he saw a whole lot of movement at the border station as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that were manning it came out to see what was going on.

Doug almost lost the bike again when he felt something slam into his arm. He cried out, but forced himself to keep going. Up ahead, he saw the Canadian troops starting to mass. He was almost there. He could feel several of the bullets get close enough to make him duck more, and weave. He wasn't sure if he was going to make it, he tried to get more speed out of the bike, but it was already open wide.

Just before he got to the border, he saw one of the Canadian men waving at him, suddenly fall backwards. Another man was spinning his arm, telling Doug to pull off to the side, as every single Canadian soldier raised their weapons to fire back. Doug knew he didn't want to be caught between the two, so as soon as he crossed the border, he pulled the bike as hard as he could to the right. As soon as he was clear, he heard several rifles start firing, as well as, from behind the Canadian soldiers, even louder reports of something much bigger.

He got behind a building but had to lay the bike down hard since there were barriers right in front of him. He grunted hard as he slid across the concrete, then hit the barrier hard. For several moments he just lay there in pain, before someone shouted at him. "COME ON KID! WE GOTTA MOVE!"

The man shouldered his rifle, and pulled Doug to his feet. Throwing an arm over the man's shoulder, Doug half ran, was half carried into the building he took cover behind. He was almost thrown into a chair as the guy stood over him. "Stay here. As soon as we can, we'll have a medic look you over." The guy looked Doug up and down then shook his head. "That was ballsy kid, eh?"

"I had to." Doug said as he tried to sit up, only to cry out in pain as his arm gave out on him.

A look of concern came over the man's face as he knelt down and looked at Doug's arm. He reached up, and pulled the coat arm down, making Doug scream again. "Sorry kid, but I gotta see it." The man looked for a moment, then cursed to himself. "Hey Mac! The kid's been shot, through and through arm wound."

"Tie it off, I'll deal with it in a minute." Another man said without looking back. Rather, he shouldered his rifle and started to fire again. "They're sending in the armor… some stupid American really fucked up trying to get that kid."

"What… whatcha mean?" Doug asked as he wiped away the tears falling from his eyes.

"The idiots missed you, and hit one of the RCMPs. That means that your little civil war, just got a bit bigger." The man that was tending him said with a grim smile. Doug looked out the window just in time to see several Canadian armored vehicles, and even a few tanks roll across the border that he just came across.

Saturday 17 November 2012
1115 am Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base Bermuda

Juan woke up when he heard Simon calling to him in his mind. 'Juan, you have a priority message from Kettle Falls.'

"Fuck…" Juan muttered as he swung his legs over the cot and sat up. He'd been up most of the night making sure that all his guns were cleaned, and ready to go on a moment's notice. 'What did they break this time?' He sent back.

'Nothing. However, one of the flags you set up in their system was triggered. It had a specific note to contact you as soon as possible.'

'Okay, which flag?' Juan sent back as he got to his feet. He knew that if it was one of his flags, that his sleep was done.

'Kettle Falls got a call to see if they could help a family get to safety. It's the Olivarez family.' Simon sent.

"FUCK!" Juan said as he looked around franticly. 'I'll be right there!' He sent back, then scrambled to get dressed, running out of the room while still trying to get his shirt buttoned.

An hour later, Juan went and found Adam and Logan, who were relaxing on the beach just down from the pier. Adam looked over when Juan approached, standing up when he noticed his brother had his armor bag slung over one shoulder, and wearing his normal assortment of weapons. "What's going on?"

"I gotta go on a mission." Juan said simply. Adam just looked at him pointedly, asking him to continue. "Kettle Falls got a message saying that the Olivarez family needs to be picked up. They're in danger." Juan said simply.

It took Adam a moment to remember who they were, but when he did he started to nod. "You're going to get them." Adam said more than asked.

"Yup. I'd like to take Billy and the Chinook if I can."

Adam nodded. "You're gonna need help. Want me to send some people with you?"

Juan shook his head. "Nope, Blood's Honor came in this morning, I'm gonna ask Tony if he can spare some guys. They did well in Orlando, but I really wanna chance to work with them a little closer, just to see if they're as good as they look."

Adam couldn't argue with that logic so he just nodded his assent. Juan smiled, turned around, and walked away. Before he got too far, Adam called out. "Good luck, Juan. Be careful!"

Juan turned slightly, gave Adam a grin then, as he kept walking, he responded with a one fingered salute. "I'm always careful!"

"Yeah right." Adam said softly then looked down at Logan who grinned.

"They grow up so quickly." Logan said with a grin, than in a more serious tone added. "I'm worried he may be trying to replace Koth."

"Me too. I'll talk with Mom and see what she says." Adam replied then sat back down next to Logan.

Saturday 17 November 2012
1245 am Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base Bermuda

Juan walked into what had become the mess hall. He looked around for a few moments, then spotted the person he was looking for. Straightening out his duty uniform, he marched over to him, then stood there waiting for the man to notice him.

When he did, the man smiled as he turned in his chair to face Juan. "Hey there… Juan, isn't it?"

"Yes sir." Juan said formally. The tone caused the man to sit up a bit straighter, then motion to the empty chair next to a young teen.

"Have a seat." He said. Once Juan was seated, "What can I do for you?"

"Major Guilipo," Juan started. "I was wondering if I could borrow one of your teams for a rescue mission."

Tony sat up even straighter with surprise. "What's going on?"

"I have just received actionable intel on the family of one of our allies. They live in Danbury Connecticut, I'm leading the mission to go get them."

"Okay…" Tony started as he thought it over. "How many are you thinking?"

"Since it'll just be a snatch and grab, I was thinking a ten man team. We'll go in, grab them, and get the hell out. We'll make one other stop before we take them to their final destination in Texas."

Tony thought it over for a moment before he nodded to himself. "Okay. When are you planning on doing this."

"ASAP." Was the simple response.

Tony picked up his napkin, wiped his face off, then placed it on his plate. "Paul, can you take care of my plate?"

"Sure Dad." The teen said as Tony stood.

"Follow me." He said to Juan, and together they walked out of the mess hall.

Saturday 17 November 2012
1425 Eastern Standard Time
Danbury CT

Several hours after they left the mess hall, Juan looked around the Chinook at the Blood's Honor team and smiled. "We're about fifteen minutes out. Lock and load, people!"

Once everyone was ready, Juan started to go over everything one last time. "Okay, We're looking to pull out a total of ten people. Three families. I'm not expecting any trouble, but trouble has a way of finding me, so I would suggest everyone be ready for anything." Juan saw a few people laughing, and the rest smiling and nodding. They had all heard some of Juan's stories. "We'll be dropped off in the high school athletic field. The target house is an apartment building across the street. We're gonna infiltrate on foot, make contact with the people we need to pull out, then exfiltrate back to the Chinook, and get the fuck outta Dodge. Remember, Asswood's military is all over the place, so let's try and stay quiet."

"Shouldn't we be telling you that?" Tony said with a grin.

Billy came over the radio before Juan could respond, although he did give Tony a one finger salute. "Descending to target. Lieutenant Carterson, lower the ramp, and be ready. Remember we are still under stealth." The ramp started to lower even before Billy was done. As the Chinook touched down, Tony's troops were rushing out the back, and setting up a parameter.

Once all the troops were out, Juan led them across the field, through some trees, and stopped at the road. He took a knee and waited to see if there was any traffic, or anyone that he could see watching the road. Once he was satisfied that no one would see them, Juan gave the signal, and they all took turns running across the road, and into the tree line on the other side.

Once they had all crossed, Juan led them to large group of apartment buildings, with a large field in front. Juan pointed to the second building in. Once he got nods from everyone, he quickly made his way to the building, stopping once he was inside the breezeway, and waited for everyone else. When they were all there, Tony deployed his troops, then he and Juan went up to the second floor.

They found the apartment they wanted, and Juan gently knocked on the door while Tony stood off to the side. Juan figured that these people were deathly afraid of the military finding them, so letting them see a kid first, even an armed kid, might be better.

Juan only waited a moment before the door slowly opened a few inches. "Yes?" A voice said from inside.

"Mr. Stoughtenger?" Juan asked.

"Yes…" The man answered hesitantly.

"Your son, Doug, sent us." Juan said, keeping his voice low.

"Doug?" The man exclaimed while opening the door fully. "He made it? Where is he?" He asked quickly, causing Juan to raise his hand.

"Please sir, let's move inside so as not to attract any more attention."

"Yes yes…." The man said excitedly, as he opened the door fully. "Please come in."

Juan entered, followed by Tony who took one more look around before he entered. Inside, Juan saw a whole lot of people looking at him with expectant eyes. "We don't have much time." Juan started out. "You need to gather what you need, and we need to go now."

"Doug." One of the kids asked. "Is he okay?"

"Yes." Juan said. "From what I was told, he made it up to Canada, and then made contact with others, who sent us to come and get you. We'll have to worry about how to get him with you later. For now, just know he's safe, and we need to make sure all of you are as well."

Juan knew that several of them wanted to ask about his age, but they didn't and Juan was glad he didn't have to get into that discussion again.

It only took them a few minutes before several of them had everything they needed. "We'll send you guys down a few at a time. There are more soldiers waiting at the bottom of the stairs. Please do exactly as you are told, and we'll get you outta here real quick."

While Juan was speaking to the families, Tony was talking on the radio. "Sending down the first group." His only response was two clicks of the transmit button by one of the guys downstairs. He picked the first four people, opened the door, and sent them down. When he got word that they were down, he sent the next three. A minute later, he and Juan went down with the last group.

As Juan put his foot on the first step, one of the soldiers came over the radio. "We got company!" Seconds later, Juan heard the sound of gunfire from downstairs.

"MOVE MOVE MOVE!" Juan called as he pushed the people down the stairs, his MP5 at the ready. He got there, just in time for one of Tony's men give a report. "Several Humvees came tearing ass into the apartment complex, and came right for this building." He paused as heavy gunfire started to come from where the jeeps had stopped, causing several of the family members to duck and scream.

Juan took one look outside, and pulled his head back quickly as bullets slammed into the brick building. "FUCK!" He cursed as he looked at Tony. "We're pinned down."

Tony nodded. "Call in the helo."

'Billy.' Juan said through the link.

'What the fuck did you do?' Billy sent back.

'This wasn't my fault!' Juan whined back. 'We need you to come in, clear the field, and get us the fuck outta here!'

'Of course you do.' Billy said as he pulled the stick back, lifting the Chinook into the air. 'Always need me to get your ass outta the fire.' Billy sent back with a grin. A few seconds later, Juan started to feel the rotor wash of the Chinook. People started to look around until the Chinook dropped it's stealth, coming into full view. The side mini guns opened up, chewing up the vehicles that came into the complex. Billy rotated the Chinook so that the back ramp was facing the building. As the ramp came into view, Juan saw Lieutenant Carterson waving them in from the place behind the ramp's mini gun.

"GO GO GO!" Tony hollered over the noise of the chinook. He pushed the first group out, and then helped laydown cover fire as they ran for the back of the Chinook. Once they were in, the second group went, Tony running along with them as he continued to fire.

Juan was just about to tell the rest to run when time slowed. Out of the corner of his eye he saw something come sailing towards the breezeway. "GRENADE!" He shouted as he pushed the two adults out, as hard as he could, then dove on top of the nine-year-old boy.

Juan was expecting a standard grenade but that's not what was used. Instead of the shrapnel he was expecting, the grenade blew into a huge fireball coating the entire area with fire. The only saving grace was that the Thermite grenade had a shorter fuse, than a frag. Meaning that it blew, just before entering the breezeway. "FUCK!" He screamed as he felt the fire trying to burn through his armor, and in a few places, it did. Unfortunately the boy below Juan didn't have armor on. He heard the kid scream for a second, then nothing.

Juan rolled off him, then rolled around, trying to get the flames to smother. Once his suit wasn't burning anymore, he jumped up and grabbed the kid as gently as he could. He could tell the kid was still alive, but he was badly burned.

As he turned to run, he saw Tony and one of the other soldiers had ran back, and grabbed the two adults. Juan ran as hard as he could into the back of the Chinook with the boy in his arms. As soon as he was in, he felt the Chinook start to lift off.

Saturday 17 November 2012
1455 Eastern Standard Time

"Do we abort?" Tony asked Juan as they flew at top speed west away from Danbury. Juan looked down at the kid, then at the parents before pausing to think. Finally he shook his head, "No. We push on. This is the only chance we'll have. We know where the next target is at, but obviously so does Asswood. They may not be alive if we wait."

Tony wanted to argue but Juan jumped up and pulled his armor off. He took a moment to look at his own burns, then shrugged and moved deeper into the Chinook, coming back a few moments later with medical kits. Ignoring his own burns, Juan started to work on the boy, while instructing Tony and the other medic on how to care for the parents.

Billy flew the Chinook at full speed, and under stealth, the entire way to Fort Wayne Indiana, taking almost two and a half hours. When they finally found the house they were looking for, it was almost five thirty in the afternoon, local time. Not taking any chances Billy landed very near the small house that was their other target. Juan couldn't use the burned armor, so he had to go just in his BDUs, not that he minded much, but they had a few burn holes on them as well.

He and Tony were the only ones to approach the house, the rest of the team was spread out and able to help if more military showed up. Everyone, including the Chinook's gunners all had itchy trigger fingers, looking for any possible hostiles coming near them.

Juan knocked on the door, with Tony standing off to the side. He had to knock again when no one came to the door at first. Finally his sensitive ears picked up movement from inside. A moment later the door cracked open. The woman looked around, then looked down. Seeing Juan she got a very confused look on her face as she opened the door just a bit wider. "What are you doing out?" She said in a very soft voice.

"Brenda Shelly?" Juan asked. Looking behind her, Juan saw a boy peeking out from behind a door frame.

"Yes?" She asked with a bit of concern.

"My name is Juan Casey. We're here to get you out of here." Juan said quickly.

"What do you mean?" She asked in a slightly raised voice, then looked around quickly, still not seeing Tony standing next to the door frame.

"Keith sent us." Juan said, but before he could continue, she cut him off.

"Keith! Is he okay?"

"Yes ma'am he is. However he's worried about you, so he asked us to get you and Ty out."

Brenda opened the door wide, but didn't move as her face showed confusion, then suspicion. Juan didn't have time to deal with this, not to mention while his own burns were healing, they were starting to really hurt. As gently as he could in his current mental state, he pushed into her mind, and forced her to comply to what he was about to say. "You and Ty need to gather a few things, and then we need to leave immediately."

She simply nodded then turned to Ty. "Get some things together, we need to go with these people." Without another word, she moved off to what Juan assumed was her bedroom.

Less than ten minutes later, the two new additions were strapped into the Chinook, and Billy was now flying west, before turning south towards Texas. Juan had to keep his mental control of Brenda the entire way, since he knew she was freaking out, and if he let go, she would probably try to attack anyone there. He didn't have time for that shit, and he couldn't exactly kill her, so he settled for forcing her mind to do what he wanted.

It took them almost four and a half hours, but finally they were over the Gulf of Mexico, the Charles Reed just visible over the horizon.

Sunday 18 November 2012
1100 Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base Bermuda

It didn't take Adam long to get everyone assembled, this was one of those, 'drop everything and come' type of meetings. When he walked onto the stage, everyone quieted down. He turned back around and motioned for Logan and Sabrina to join him, which they quickly did.

When he took center stage he paused for a moment, and looked out over all those assembled, and sighed before he spoke. "Before anyone gets the wrong idea, this is not a mission briefing." He paused and smiled as a few people chuckled.

It took him a moment to speak again as the first time he tried, it caught in his throat. Finally he was able to force the words out. "First, I need to introduce you all to Sabrina." He paused to indicate the young woman standing on the stage with him and Logan. "She is a member of a group of people who, much like us, would prefer to stay hidden, and out of the spotlight. However, she and her people have come to us to help.

“Those of you who have studied the interactions between different universes know that none of the universes run exactly the same. As we all know, when we came here, we were almost crippled as far as our mental abilities go." He saw several people nod before he continued. "What Sabrina came here to warn us about is that, in roughly forty-eight hours, we will come fully into tune with this universe." Adam paused as he found Jeremy and Tyler in the crowd. "Sorry, guys, but it's already happened to you, and all those that came here when you did."

The two boys nodded and Jeremy even stuck his tongue out at Adam. "You're always late on things, Adam…"

That got a laugh out of everyone, including Adam. When he, and everyone else, calmed down, Adam continued. "There is something else that will happen to a small group of us, before we come into line fully. Logan still hasn't figured out why, and we may never know, but some of us, as we start the final phase of alignment, will have our temporal signatures fucked with." Adam sighed, then looked over to Logan. "This is the point where you step in and blind us with your brilliance, and explain all the shit that made my brain hurt earlier."

Logan grinned as he stepped forward. "Brilliant on the battlefield, terrible in the lab." He gave an exaggerated sigh. "Sometimes I don't know why I put up with you."

"Cause he'll kick the shit outta anyone who tries to steal you from him." Juan hollered out from the crowd, which made everyone burst out laughing.

Logan just shook his head, let them laugh for a few seconds, before he held up his hand. Quickly, the UNIT members calmed down, then Logan spoke. "If anyone here wants the full on scientific explanation, see me later. For everyone else, there's two things that you need to know. The first, and easiest one, is that several of us will need to go with Sabrina until after the alignment is completed. We're not sure why, but some of us will actually age when the universal alignment happens. Somewhere between three and ten years. Those that MUST go with us are, myself, Adam, Will, Chang, Jory, Juan, Daileass, all three of the Chipmunks, Billy, Khan and Runt. Mom and Dad are going with us, as are Ronnie, Tommy and Fluffy, although none of them will age."

"That's good… they're old enough already." Juan said after a moment, when the tension was a bit higher than he liked. He had not expected Janet or Joe to say anything, but the loud panther growl from Fluffy, made Juan step back and throw up his hands.

"Fluffy is NOT old." Tommy said with as much indignity as he could put into his laughing voice.

When Logan stopped laughing, he waited till everyone else did before he continued. "So far we have a few ideas as to why some of us will be aging, but nothing fully fits, nor includes everyone, so for now, I'm just gonna say it. I don't know why it's us, and not others, but… it is what it is."

Logan waited till he saw people nodding before he ran his hand through his long blond hair and continued. "The other part of what this universal alignment means to all of us, is this. For those of us that came here the same time, or after we did, have a chance to go home…" Logan paused since he knew that statement was going to cause pandemonium to break out… Which it did.

When he finally got everyone calmed down, he continued. "Here's what we know will happen. Sabrina's people can create a sort of wormhole, different from anything that I have ever understood before, pushing those of us that want to go home, back. By their calculations, you would appear back in our home universe, but at this time... Meaning roughly eight years after we left."

Before anyone else could say anything, Adam stepped back to the front. "The Core, as well as Mom, Dad, and a few of the others, have all agreed, we're staying. It was not an easy decision to be made, but frankly, this universe needs us. While I would love to go home, the fact is, they would have all moved on with their lives after eight years. I have no concern that the UNIT back home was not only able to continue, but to thrive, even without us."

He looked out at all the stunned faces and sighed as he lowered his voice. "This is a decision that everyone needs to make on their own, but, you do not have much time to make it. We'll be leaving within the hour."

Adam turned and looked over the crowd for a few more moments. "Before they left on a mission, I briefed Christina, and she, as well as her team, all agreed to stay. I have also asked her to take command until such time as we come back."

He paused again, then continued. "None of us would ever hold it against anyone that choose to return, we've already had two people, Barrett and Hac, that have decided they wanted to return. When they do, they will pass any messages along that we may want. They will also inform the Clan what has happened to us. If you decide to stay, and want to send any messages, you need to get them to us before we leave. Anyone that wants to go home, please meet back here in one hour. We will be leaving here exactly at 1200 hours." He paused as he scanned the crowd. "Dismissed… you all have some serious thinking to do."

1 "If today was your last day" Nickelback © 2008

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