Castle Roland


by Zackron


Chapter 5

Posted: N/A


Copyright © 2012 - 2014 by Zackron and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Near the end of Chapter 4 …

"Hey, guys, is that the group you're waiting for?" Arthose called out as he pointed toward the other end of the field toward an SUV that was just breaking through the tree line.

"That would be them," Ronnie replied before his expression changed to one of concern. He, along with the other boys that were there watched as the SUV started swerving back and forth as if whowever was driving it was loosing control.

"Lemme guess, you have a five-year-old driving it?" Arthose asked as the SUV tipped on it's side slightly, nearly ready to tip over.

"No," Ernest stated with concern. "My wife should be driving. Something's not right here at all."

Chapter 5

12:30pm MST – Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Footprints Logo"Here. Turn here," Daileass called out causing Margret to turn the SUV into the parking lot.

"Are you sure?" Margret asked, slightly confused. "We were just at a Walgreens."

"Yup," Daileass smiled. "We're actually going to be stopping by nine different pharmacies today, at least that's the plan."

"Nine?" Margret repeated with surprise as she put the SUV in park. "One isn't enough?"

Runt giggled. "You know what they say, the more, the merrier."

Daileass smiled back at Runt before becoming more series as he addressed Margret. "Actually, we needed to spread things around so it didn't look too suspicious by us picking all the different medications that Janet needs, in one or two places."

"Are you sure this is legal?" Margret asked.

Daileass was at a lose for words, he didn't want to lie to Margret because technically what they were doing was illegal.

"That really depends on how you look at it," Tommy jumped in. "All the supplies Doctor Janet is having us get, she is fully licensed and qualified to get. If she were to use the 'normal' channels to get this stuff, it would probably take months for all the paperwork to go through and the supplies to actually arrive. With the way things have been going around here, I doubt we have months to sit around and wait. So I guess you could look at it as speeding up the timeline a little. If you were to go by the letter of the law, technically, it's illegal, but if you look at the end results, the only real thing that is happening is we are getting around a lot of the bureaucratic red tape."

"Makes sense," Margret replied. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the way you guys do things. If it weren't for you, after all, Earnest and I, along with our grandsons would probably be dead right now. When you have creeps like Ashwood writing the law, I don't see a problem in bending the parts that don't make sense from time to time."

"Exactly," Daileass smiled, relieved that Tommy's response seemed to address Margret's concerns. With that, Margret and her three boy escort jumped out of the SUV and headed into the store.

"May I help you?" the pharmacist at the pick-up counter asked as she watched a middle aged woman, and three young boys step forward.

"I'm here to pick up my prescriptions," Margret began in the same manner she had at the last pharmacy.

"Your name?" the pharmacist asked, as she walked over to a rack filled with hanging bags that contained prescriptions waiting to be picked up.

"Mary Boone," Margret replied as she took out her fake ID.

"Ah, here we go. It looks like… oh wow… your picking up five different medications today?" the woman behind the counter asked as she pulled out the contents of the hanging bag.

Margret nodded. "That sounds about right."

"I'll need to see your ID please," the lady stated. Moments later, she had Margret's fake ID in hand, and was quickly typing away at the computer behind the desk. "Oh dear, this is weird."

"Is there a problem?" Margret asked with concern.

The pharmacist shook her head. "I'm not sure what's going on, I think there's a glitch in the computer, because it's showing that you have prescriptions in ten different places, but that can't be right."

'Alvin!' Daileass mentally shouted. 'You missed one of the Walgreens!'

'Huh? I'm pretty sure I hacked the databases for all of them. Which one are you at?' Alvin sent back.

'The one on the corner of 1600 West, and Carmen,' Daileass replied. 'And it's not fixed because the lady here just mentioned seeing pendings for ten different locations.'

'Opps, yeah you're right. Give me a quick second here. There ya go, should be all fixed now.' Alviin sent.

"That's strange. This is the only store my doctor called them into," Margret stated.

The pharmacist nodded. "I'm sure it is, it's just these computers have been a bit buggy lately. Ah, there we go, it must have just been a display error, because now it's showing that this is the only place. Okay, with the co-pay of your insurance, that will be thirty-five dollars please."

With a slight sigh of relief, Margret took out her credit card and handed it to the lady. Less than three minutes later, they were walking back out of the store toward the SUV.

"No problems, eh?" Margret spoke softly as they walked. "What happened to there not being any problems?"

"Yeah, sorry about that," Daileass answered. "Alvin missed this one, but all the other stores should be fine."

"I hope so," Margret replied. "Otherwise, you get to explain to Ernest why I got carted off to jail."

"What's going on over there?" Runt called out before Daileass could reply, pointing to across the street, causing all the others to look, as well.

"Going by the large signs they have setup, it looks like that is one of the voting sites for today's election," Margret offered.

"More specifically, there looks like a group of people are gathering outside," Daileass added. "Come on, let's check it out real quick."

Tossing the medications inside of the SUV, Margret and the boys made their way across the street. By the time they made it over there, several people holding 'Elect Bryce' and others holding 'Vote for Ashwood' signs seemed to be coming to a head.

"Back off, Bryce brat!" One of the guys holding an Ashwood sign called out.

"You need to get out of her face," A guy standing next to the Bryce sign holder called out.

"What's going on, here," Margret called out as she walked up to the group. "Is this a polling place, or a high school?"

"Stay out of this, granny," another of the Ashwood supporters warned. "This has nothing to do with you."

"I saw both of these gentlemen here earlier this morning to vote. Now they are trying to get in to vote again," the lady holding the Bryce sign spoke.

"And you don't know what the fuck your talking about, bitch," one of the Ashwood guy's snapped back. "This is the first time I've been here today, so you must be blind. I'm Daniel Blake, go check the sign in sheet inside, I haven't been here."

"I don't need to check the sheet, I know with my own eyes that you have," the lady replied.

As the exchange of words continued, Daileass briefly skimmed the surface thoughts of both people. To his surprise, the woman was correct, the two men trying to get in had actually been to five different voting places today, and were just starting their second round of visits to each place, every time placing votes for Asshwood. He couldn't exactly accuse them of voter fraud directly, so he had to come up with another way. Doing a quick newspaper article search from the data that the chipmunks had grabbed yesterday, Daileass smiled.

"Excuse me, are you really Daniel Blake?" Daileass asked, doing his best innocent nine-year-old impression.

The man looked down at Daileass and frowned. "Yeah, what of it, kid?"

"Nothing," Daileass allowed himself to appear slightly afraid. "It's just my big brother use to talk about you all the time."

"He did?" the man asked with surprise.

"Yeah, he went to school with you at Water Jones High, said you were one of the best receivers the football team ever had," Daileass continued.

A small smile crept across the man's face. "He did?"

"Oh yeah," Daileass nodded. "I think he also mentioned you had a brother. What did he say his name was? Charles Blake, yeah that's it."

The man's smile quickly disappeared and was replaced by a look of concern. "Yeah, Charles was my brother. What of it?"

"Well, the funny thing is, Charles Blake's brother, Daniel Blake died two years ago in a car accident, didn't he?"

The man took a step back. "That's ridiculous kid, you don't know what your talking about. Go find a kite to fly or something."

"Oh, I'm pretty sure I'm right. My brother cut out the newspaper article from December 9, 2010 and everything. I'm pretty sure you could go over to the local library and check the old papers they have on file there, to see for yourself. The thing is, if Daniel died, how can you be here?"

"You're too smart for your own good, you know that, kid?" The man shot daggers at Daileass as he spoke. "Smarts like that will end up getting you killed one day, if you aren't careful."

"My grandma tells me that a lot, as well," Daileass agreed, deflecting the man's threat. "Come to think of it, when grandma was driving me around earlier, didn't I also see you down near 160 West and Granger, standing outside the polling place there, at… what was it… ten thirty or something?"

The man's face paled as he looked at Daileass in total disbelief "I don't know what the hell your talking about, kid," the man said as he hit his friend on the shoulder. "Come on, let's get out of here. Everyone knows Ashwood is going to win, so why bother?"

Seeing the two men walk off, there was a noticeable sigh of relief in the crowd.

"You're pretty smart, for someone so young," the woman holding the Bryce sign stated. "Before you jumped in, I was afraid things were going to turn into punches."

"I like staying up on current events," Daileass smiled. "I just can't wait until I'm old enough to vote one day."

"Hopefully there will still be a country around to vote in," Another Bryce sign holder jumped in. "I don't think this country can survive another four years of Ashwood, especially if clowns like those two guys are any indication of his following."

Daileass nodded in agreement. "Well, good luck, guys."

Everyone waved and the crowd began to break up as Daileass and the others made their way back across the street.

"You know they are just going to cause trouble somewhere else, right?" Tommy stated as they walked.

Daileass shook his head. "Nah, I was keeping an eye on his surface thoughts. At least for today, I rattled him enough that he's not going to try anything else."

"Nice," Runt smiled.

"I swear, you boys just keep surprising me," Margret stated as they climbed back into the SUV.

The third stop that Margret made with Daileass and the others in tow went very smoothly, perhaps because it was a Rite-Aid pharmacy instead of another CVS. They were able to get in and out with the next four prescriptions without issue.

The forth stop on their trip was to a Walgreens. Given that it was a different pharmacy than any of the others they had visited so far, no one was really expecting any problems.

"Look over there," Tommy called out as he got out of the SUV and pointed toward the garbage dumpsters on the other end of the parking lot.

Margret, along with Daileass and Runt, looked toward where Tommy was pointing. Next to the dumpsters, they could see two young girls, no older than seven or eight, kneeling down and looking at a small metal cage. Occasionally one of the girls would point to the cage and whisper something to the other.

"Amber, Tammy, let's go," a woman in her early thirties called out as she pushed her shopping cart toward her car.

Both girls looked toward the woman. After a final glance toward the cage, they both stood up and ran toward the woman. "Mommy, mommy," the youngest of the two girls called out. "There are fluffies in that cage. Can we bring them home?"

The woman glanced toward the dumpster and shook her had as she loaded her bags into the car. "Oh Amber, you have no clue where that dirty cage has been. Come on, get in the car, we're going to be late to pick up your father."

"Okay," the girl replied as she and Tammy climbed into the car.

"Fluffies?" Runt asked curiously after the Car had pulled out of the parking lot.

"Don't look at me," Tommy replied. "I know exactly where my Fluffy is at, and it's certainly not in that little cage."

"I wonder what's in there," Runt called out as he ran toward the cage, causing the other two boys to follow after him. Stopping and looking down, he gasped. "Awww, look at that."

"Are those gerbils?" Tommy asked as he knelt down next to the cage to get a closer look at the three small balls of fluff.

Daileass shook his head. "No, they are hamsters. To be more precise, they are Syrian Hamsters, also known as Golden Hamsters, or Teddy Bear Hamsters."

"What ever they are they look cute," Tommy commented. Seeing the other two boys looking at him strangely, he quickly added, "well, not as cute as my Fluffy, of course."

"Boys?" Margret called out after a minute or two of hamster watching had gone by.

"Oh yeah, we have stuff to do, don't we?" Runt grinned.

"So, why do you think they are there?" Tommy asked as all three boys walked back toward Margret.

Daileass shrugged. "I think it's pretty obvious. Someone had them as pets and decided they didn't want them anymore, probably."

"That's just sad," Tommy added as they reached Margret, and made their way toward the front entrance. "Why would anyone want to abandon something so cute and fluffy like that?"

Neither of the other boys had an answer.

As expected, picking up the prescriptions went without issue. The longest part was waiting in the line at the pickup counter, and for Margret to convince the pharmacist that was on duty that she didn't have any questions about any of the five different medications she was picking up.

"Man, I was starting to think that guy was never going to shut up," Runt commented as they made their way out of the store fifteen minutes after they had gone in.

"Me either," Tommy agreed. "I was starting to wish I had actually brought Fluffy with us." Seeing the glare that Daileass shot him, he was quick to throw in that he was just joking.

"Speaking of fluffies," Runt stated as he looked back toward the dumpster. "That cage is still there."

Daileass nodded. "Yeah. And sadly, that's probably where it will end up staying."

"Why don't we take it with us?" Run offered. "I bet some of the other kids at the base would love to have a new pet."

"Oh no," Margret spoke firmly. "We are not putting any rodents in my car." Before she had even finished speaking, Margret had three sets of puppy-dog eyes looking back at her.

"All I have to say, is I hope my grandchildren never take any lessons from you three," Margret stated as Daileass loaded the cage of hamsters into the back of the SUV.

"Don't worry, if they hang around the UNIT base for any length of time, I'm sure they'll learn it from someone," Tommy grinned as everyone else jumped back into the SUV.

"That's what I was afraid of," Margret sighed as she turned the key in the ignition.

Starting to get into the groove of things, Margret and the boys were able to pick up their prescriptions at the next three pharmacies without a hitch. After each stop, one of the boys would make a point of checking on their passengers, just to make sure they were alright.

It was Runt who was checking on them after the seventh pharmacy that realized the little guys didn't have anything to eat. Of course, that meant their plans had to be changed slightly to account for stopping at the next pet store that they could find.

It was only a few minutes after the mistake was discovered that the boys and Margret were walking out of the pet store with a large five pound bag of hamster food.

"Geez, I think I know why these little guys didn't have any food," Tommy commented as he struggled to undo the large twisted metal wire that was keeping the door to the cage shut. "I think whoever put this wire on this cage didn't ever want the door to be open."

"Here, lemme try," Daileass commented. With a small flick of his finger, the wire snapped, and easily fell off. "See, no problem."

"Show off," Tommy grinned as he unhitched another latch that was built into the cage to open the door. Taking out the small food bowl they had, and filling it with the newly purchased hamster food, he carefully placed it back into the cage. "There ya go, little guys."

Almost immediately, all three hamsters made a mad dash to the small bowl of food, and started packing their little cheek pouches as fast as they could.

"Look at them," Runt commented as he watched their antics. "It looks like they haven't been fed in days."

"They probably haven't," Tommy sighed.

"Where to next, boys?" Margret called out, still not overly thrilled to be transporting the rodents.

Daileass thought how the minor detour they had to make would effect their route. "We're fairly close to the Home Depot, so we can probably hit there next, and the last two pharmacies after that."

Hearing no objections, Daileass continued in his role as official navigator and directed the way to their destination.

It took less than an hour to pick up all the stuff they needed from the Home Depot. Since everything else they were getting from the other stores only involved small packages and bottles of pills, their Home Depot list focused on a bunch of larger items that the other two groups would have been less likely to have the room to transport.

In addition to the list they were given, Daileass also picked up a number of supplies that would be needed to build a bigger cage for the hamsters.

"So far so good," Tommy commented as he and the others jumped back into the SUV. "By my calculations, with it being just past three o'clock, we're running a little ahead of schedule."

"That sounds about right," Daileass agreed. "With only two more pharmacies to go, I don't think we're going to have any issues."

"Viper Nest to Pico Lead," the radio that was resting between the front seats crackled to life.

"This is Pico Lead, go ahead Viper Nest," Daileass replied, once he had the radio in his hand.

"Hey guys, how far out are you from the nest?" Will's voice asked.

"Not too far," Daileass answered. "We only have two more stops to make, and we will be heading back your way."

"Negative Pico Lead," Will replied. "We just heard from Commando that the Chinook is needed elsewhere. We need to get back to the castle as soon as possible."

"Rodger that, Viper Nest. We're on our way back now. ETA is one zero minutes" Daileass stated.

"See you guys when you get here, Viper Nest out," Will finished as the radio went dead.

"Tommy, never say we're ahead of schedule again," Daileass joked as he put the radio down. "Okay, we need to be going in the exact opposite direction."

"Opposite direction?" Margret asked. "You got it." Quickly approaching a break in the median, she turned the wheel hard to the left, causing the wheels of the SUV to squeal slightly, and everything inside, including the passengers, to get pushed to the side.

"Whoa, that was fun," Runt giggled. "Can we do that again?"

"No!" Daileass and Tommy echoed together.

"You boys look surprised," Margret grinned as she allowed the SUV to pick up speed. "You don't think I would let you young'ns have all the fun now, do you?"

"Clearly not," Tommy replied, not completely sure how to take the older woman's change in driving behaviors.

Fortunately for the boys, most of the trip back to the field where the Chinook was waiting for them, was a fairly straight drive down the highway, with only two rather small turns. Unfortunately for Margret, when everything in the SUV got pushed to the side during her sharp turn, this also caused the hamster cage door to open.

Turning off the main road where Daileass indicated, Margret drove the SUV down the dirt trail through the trees and into the field where the Chinook was parked.

"Looks like the other two groups are already back," Tommy commented.

"EAK!" Margret screeched as something small and furry rubbed against her leg. At the same time, the SUV jerked to the side.

"ACK!" The older woman cried out again as she started stomping one of her feet, causing the SUV to jerk hard to the other side. "Get it away, get it away!"

"What's wrong?" Runt tried to call out, only to be pushed to the side of the SUV, as he and the others could feel the entire truck slightly tipping to the side.

A high pitched squeak was heard as one of Margret's stomps grazed the now frantic hamster.

Daileass leaned down and lunged for the hamster, grabbing and cupping it in his hands just as he and the others in the SUV were pushed to the other side as Margret tried to regain control of the wheel.

"It's okay, I got it," Daileass stated as he sat back up. "It was only one of the hamsters."

Not realizing just how close they were to the Chinook, Margret slammed on the breaks bringing the SUV to a quick and abrupt halt. Almost immediately, all the kids that were waiting outside began to rush toward the SUV to see what was the matter.

"Have I mentioned that I didn't like rodents?" Margret sighed as she tried to calm herself down.

"If you didn't, I think we get the picture, now," Daileass replied as he carefully lifted up one of his hands to reveal a ball of fluff.

"Are you guys alright?" Theodore asked with concern as he opened the door to the SUV.

"We're fine," Daileass replied. "One of our new rescues caused a little fuss on the way in. That's all."

Getting out and walking to the back of the SUV, it was quickly apparent that the other two hamsters had decided to stay in their cage. After Daileass carefully placed the hamster he was holding in as well, the hamster did a quick lap around the cage, found the corner that had the most bedding in it, and plopped himself down where he went to sleep.

"You have to love hamsters," Tommy grinned. "They are one of the few animals I know that handle being scared by finding a comfy place to take a nap."

"That actually doesn't sound like a bad idea," Ronnie yawned, causing the other boys to giggle.

Not long after Daileass's group returned, everyone went back to work, getting the SUV's loaded and secured on the Chinook, for the return trip back to the UNIT base.

By 3:15pm, the Chinook was lifting off the ground, on it's way back to Utah. Not more than fifteen minutes later, it's wheels were touching the ground, outside the UNIT base's main hanger where almost all the UNIT kids that had not gone on the trip were already standing around and waiting to help get the Chinook unloaded, and prepped for it's next trip.

"So, what's so important about Texas that we had to cut our shopping trip short?" Tommy asked Will as the two boys walked around the huge chopper, doing a post flight inspection.

"Texas?" Will asked with a slightly confused look on his face. Moments later, the confusion turned to a grin. "Oh yeah, that was almost a half hour ago that our plan was to go to Texas. Actually, it changed again. We're going to be heading over to California.

"Yeah, and the way the day's going, I wouldn't be surprised if it changes at least one more time before we actually get there," Billy smiled.

By the time the boys walked back around to the rear of the Chinook, they could both see and hear a bunch of commotion going on.

"Come on, Khan. You're joking, right?" Juan could be heard asking as many of the other UNIT kids were in the process of taking out their side arms and handing them over to the huge tiger hybrid.

"I'm afraid not, Juan," Armur Khan's voice rumbled. "I don't like it any better than you, but it's Logan's orders."

"Man, shoot!" Juan sighed as he took out several guns from various parts of his body. "I just hope Logan has a really good explanation for this."

Khan nodded as he walked around the group, collecting everyone's weapons one by one. Each person he took weapons from, he got a similar response. Although no one else was as vocal about it as Juan was, no one hid the fact that they were not pleased with what was happening. Perhaps the only exception to this was Chang, who simply smiled as he politely handed over his weapons to Khan, followed by a slight bow.

Haden was standing close to Barrett as this was taking place. Feeling convinced that the towering tiger hybrid was going to demand that he remove his GEAR, he let out a sigh of relief as Khan walked past him, without so much as a word.

"What's going on?" Barrett whispered to his twin.

"Let's just say that things are about to get a bit interesting around here," Haden replied seriously.

Before Barrett could reply, Armur Khan's voice bellowed as he stood next to Adam Casey and Jack Bryce, "You want me to protect General Adams?"

"Yes, I do," Adam replied calmly, yet loud enough for everyone to hear him. "I not only want you to, I am ORDERING you to."

"Should I know this General Adams?" Barrett asked as Adam and Khan continued to talk.

"Probably not," Haden answered, still keeping his eyes focused toward the UNIT commander. "He was the one responsible for creating the genesis kids, and the animal hybrids, and putting them through hell in the process. Apparently Logan is bringing the General Adams from this universe here."

"Why would he do such a thing?" Barrett asked with concern.

"I guess he's not the same General Adams as everyone else knows," Haden shrugged. "In fact, he doesn't even go by General Adams here. He goes by Richard."

"Okay, that's just confusing," Barrett stated as a Huey could be seen landing just outside the cave entrance of the hanger. "Although I think I can understand why everyone is so concerned."

"Concerned is certainly one way to call it," Haden agreed.

Before Barrett had a chance to respond, Logan was getting out of the Huey, following right behind him was a man that Haden didn't recognize. After the two had walked a short distance away, another man which Haden did recognize, stepped out.

Although Haden had never personally met General Adams, the image of his face was securely etched in his mind, as it was something that had frequently been bounced around in the link he shared with Logan and the others. Even now, he could feel the uneasiness and apprehension coming from Daileass and the Chipmunks.

'Remember guys, this is not 'our' General Adams,' Logan sent through the link. 'Richard Adams might look the same, but in this dimension, he has actually done a lot of good.' Moments after Logan had sent the message, General Adams, or more appropriately Richard Adams, stuck his head back into the cabin of the Huey, and helped out a small boy, who then walked beside him as they made their way to where Logan and the other adults were standing.

This was one time that Haden was thankful that he was not an Empath. Even without being empathic, the entire time that Richard and the boy were walking toward Logan, the weight of the glares being shot out from everyone else in the hangar was nearly unbearable. Out of all the cruel tricks that the universe could have played, having the one man who has been the bane of every Genesis Augment and Hybrid that was here, turn out to be a good man in this universe, was probably among the worst.

"Jack, how are you? How's Linda and Chris?" The first adult that was standing next to Logan asked, finally breaking the tension in the room. Through the link, Haden learned that the man's name was Tom.

"They're alive, and hopefully Linda will be okay, eventually," Jack replied as he gave both Tom and Richard hugs before looking down at the small boy glued to Richard's side. "And who is this young man?"

"I'm Max," the boy replied softly as he shook Jack's hand.

As the adults continued to talk about how good of a father Richard would be for Max, Barrett looked toward Haden seriously. "If everyone knows that this isn't the same General Adams, why do I still get the feeling that just about everyone in the room still wants to kill him?"

Haden was just about to try to answer Barret, when a loud voice bellowed out out across the hangar. "Hey Dickie! It's about damn time you got here." Walking out from the main hallway, Mike Reynolds along with Eric and all their kids were quickly walking toward where Adam, Logan, and the adults were standing.

"Well, it wasn't till that little brat next to you called me up, and told me where you were at, that I knew you guys were still alive," Richard replied as both he and Tom began to exchange hugs with Mike, Eric, and each of their kids.

"Hi, I'm Sammy," Sammy spoke clearly as he walked a few steps toward Max. "If you're going to be around here with Uncle Rich, then we'd better get you caught up on how to handle him. He might look big and mean, but he really isn't anything more than a big teddy bear."

"Why you!" Richard laughed as he playfully grabbed Sammy in a headlock, and playfully rubbed his head. As he did this, nearly every UNIT kid in the room could be seen stiffening, and going for their sidearms that weren't there. It was then that Haden realized why Khan had been asked to take everyone's weapons away before Richard arrived.

Once Richard released Sammy, Sammy walked over to Max and took his hand "Why don't we let the adults deal with the boring stuff. Let me introduce you to the rest of the family."

After getting a single nod from Max, Sammy led him down the hallway and out of the hangar, followed by all the rest of Mike and Eric's kids.

'Haden, if you would like, you and Barrett could go round up Glenn, Robert, and the others, so that they can meet Max as well,' both Haden and Barrett heard Logan mention inside their heads.

Once Haden glanced toward his twin and got a single nod of agreement, the two boys made their way for the same hallway that Sammy and the others had gone down. Where as Sammy's procession of kids turned down one of the halls that would lead to one of the conference rooms, Haden and Barrett continued to the elevator.

"I guess for most humans, when you have spent so long hating someone, it can be hard to stop hating them," Haden stated once he and Barrett had stepped into the elevator.

It took Barrett a brief moment to realize Haden was answering his question that he had asked back in the hangar. "Right, but you already said that everyone knew he was not the same person."

"He might be different, in that he's from a different dimension," Haden agreed. "However, he looks and talks exactly the same. I guess that's what everyone else is finding so hard to deal with."

Barrett shrugged.

It didn't take long for Haden and Barrett to find Glenn, Chad, Robert, and Andy hanging out in one of the rec rooms with their two newest arrivals, Arthos and Edward. It took even less time for all the boys to agree that they would like to meet Max, and to make their way to the elevator.

"Haden!" Chad called out as he ran over to Haden, who was patiently waiting next to Barrett for everyone else to leave the room. "Awhthos lives on a whabbit planet!"

"Really?" Haden asked with surprise.

"Uh huh!" Chad announced as he gave Haden a hug. "When his people whescue him, he might take me for a visit dere."

"That sounds pretty cool," Haden nodded. "But if we don't hurry, all the other kids are going to go up the elevator without us.

A look of shock and panic filled Chad's little eyes as he quickly turned around and ran out of the room. "Hey guys! Wait for us!"

Before Haden and Barrett along with Glenn, Chad, Robert, Andy, Edward and Arthos had a chance to make it to the Conference room, Stan and Forth also caught up with and joined them. By the time the boys successfully made it inside the conference room, Steven and Kelly Bryce had also joined all of Mike and Eric's kids in the process of welcoming and getting to know Max. Although a bit shy, Max seemed to be taking all the attention in stride.

Once all the introductions were over, since none of the adults had shown up yet, it was decided the best way to pass the time would be to go swimming.

As soon as the idea of swimming was mentioned, Chad and five-year-old Kelly Bryce wasted no time in quickly racing to the door to eagerly await the older boys. It was not a surprise to anyone else in the room that the two youngest boys in the group were quickly becoming good friends with each other.

As the large procession of boys made their way down the hall to the stairs that would lead to the third sub-level and as such the large indoor pool, Robert fell back so that he could walk next to Haden and Barrett. "So, when are we going to start building that receiver thing?" he asked curiously.

"Probably later tonight, sometime after dinner," Haden answered. "For now, we should spend some time having fun with our friends, I think."

Robert nodded in agreement. "Works for me. I just want to make sure I don't miss you guys working on it."

"Haden won't forget you, I promise," Barrett grinned.

Sufficiently convinced that he wouldn't be left out, Robert quickly caught back up with Glenn and Andy just as the race down the stairs was about to begin.

With the pool having had a chance to heat up a bunch more since the previous evening, swimming in it was even more enjoyable than it was last night. Everyone seemed to be having a blast and doing what kids do best, playing.

The boys had been playing in the pool for less than a half hour before Mike Reynolds and Richard Adams stepped in through the large double doors. At first, everyone was having so much fun laughing and splashing around that they went unnoticed. Sammy was the first of the kids to see the adults standing there, and once he noticed, all the other kids seemed to take notice fairly quickly as well.

"Max is leaving, isn't he?" Sammy asked point blank, once he saw the looks on the faces of both adults.

Mike sighed. He was already regretting having to break the news to his kids before he made it down here. And now, after seeing how well they seemed to be getting along with the other kids, it was even harder. "Actually, we all are."

"What?" Sammy along with several of the other boys gasped in surprise. Almost immediately, several naked boys began climbing out of the pool, making their way to the two, still dry adults.

Once several of the boys were gathered around, Mike continued his explanation. "Your Uncle Jack and I have been talking a bunch about this, and we both agree, with the stunt Ashwood tried to pull last night, and the fact that we seem to be doing so well in today's elections, it's not safe for him and me to be in the same location."

Sammy looked around. "Have you seen how good Adam and the others are at fighting? I don't think we have much to worry about."

"No one is questioning that," Mike replied. "But that's not what this is about. It would only take one well placed bunker buster…" Mike allowed his words to trail off, since he knew Sammy would understand exactly what he meant.

"So we are all leaving?" Brian Reynolds asked.

Mike shook his head. "Uncle Jack and his family will be staying here. Linda and Chris are still in no shape to go anywhere. Eric and I, along with our kids will be leaving, Uncle Richard and Max will be joining us as well."

Several sighs could be heard through the group. "Where will we go?" one of the boys asked. "When do we have to leave?" another asked, as Max walked over and wrapped his wet arms around Richard's leg.

Mike did his best to field the barrage of questions that were being shot at him. "We'll be going to somewhere safe in California. I don't think it would be wise to say much more than that. As far as when… very soon. The sooner the better, actually. As we speak, several of the security detail are loading the last of our luggage onto the Chinook.

Sammy spent several long moments looking deep into Mike's eyes. After that, he turned around to face all the other naked boys standing behind him. "Come on guys, let's get dried off and dressed."

The atmosphere was somber at best, as even the boys that would be staying behind were sad to see their new friends leaving so soon. Even so, not a single complaint came out of any of their mouths once Mike had explained what was going on, and Sammy had decided that he was going along with it.

Less than fifteen minutes later, the group was dressed and had made their way back up the stairs and through the hangar to where the huge Chinook was waiting for them.

As the final pieces of luggage were placed on the huge helicopter, adults and kids alike began to say their fairwells to each other.

"Hopefully, things will go well, and we'll all be able to get back together soon," Jack smiled as he gave his running mate a hug.

"I'll be looking forward to that," Mike agreed with as good of a smile as he could muster. Deep down in their hearts, however, both men knew that the odds of things just blowing over, and Ashwood quietly walking away from his seat of power without a fight were slim to none.

"I like Sammy, do you think we'll see him again?" Chad asked as the Chinook slowly began to lift off the ground with all of it's passengers safely seated inside.

"If he's anything like the Sammy that was in our dimension, I'm sure he'll find a way," Haden answered, when he saw that Glenn had no clue how to answer his younger brother.

A few of the kids slowly drifted away and walked back into the hangar. The majority of them, however, remained outside until any sign of the Chinook could no longer be seen nor heard.

"What do we do, now?" Stan asked no one in particular.

"Whatever you want to do, I guess," Haden answered.

"If you two are interested, I could use some help getting dinner finished in the kitchen," Sarah offered as she looked down at both Stan and Forth.

"Okay!" Both boys quickly answered, all but forgetting that a few seconds ago they were sad.

The overall mood in the UNIT base was less than festive for most of the evening. Not only were most of the kids still down, over the fact that many of their new friends had left, but the very early poll results were starting to come in from the East Coast states. Although it was still too early for any of the national networks to start calling states, one way or the other, it was starting to become very obvious that Ashwood had managed to get substantial leads in a number of those states.

Dinner that night was fairly simple, consisting mainly of soup and sandwiches, along with cookies and brownies for desert. Stan and Forth were quick to point out to anyone that would listen, that they had primarily been responsible for the large portion of making the cookies, but also for finding the hidden location that the cookie mix was stored in.

The overall mood during dinner was somewhat somber and quieter than normal, as the absence of all those who have left was clearly noticed. The small amount of chatter that was going on seemed to be centered around the election, and the new kids that were rescued as a result of the shopping trip.

Half way through dinner, Chang stepped in and walked over to where Andy was sitting. "Andy?" he began, "Doctor Janet has requested your presence in the infirmary as soon as you are able to."

"Is something wrong?" Andy asked the taller oriental boy.

Chang shook his head. "You should really head down there as quickly as possible," he stated with a serious expression.

Andy nodded in understanding and stood up from the table. "I'll go down there right now."

"I'll go with you," Glenn offered as he too stood up and followed Andy out the door. After the two boys left, Chang walked over and whispered something to Adam before grabbing some food for himself.

Shortly after dinner, things around the base once again became crazy as six huge truckloads of Russian military troops showed up, and as a result, just about everyone in the UNIT base headed up to the main hangar to see them arrive. From what Haden and the others were able to learn, they were commanded by a man who was a good friend of Jack Bryce, and had shown up with one hundred and fifty of his best troops to help protect him.

It didn't take long for a small altercation to break out, and one of the Chipmunks ended up knocking down one of the largest of the Russians that were there. Seeing that a point needed to be proven, and quickly, Adam decided to disarm Chang, and equip all the Russians as well as Jack Bryce's personal security with paint ball guns. The objective of the demonstration was for Chang to start at one end of the canyon, and for all the other men to try to stop him from getting to Jack who was going to be standing in the hangar.

Instead of staying to watch the rather lop-sided challenge with the others, Chad and Robert ended up going with Glenn's grandparents and Robert's parents to watch the national news coverage of the official election results.

Shortly after Robert and the adults had started watching TV, Glenn and Andy quietly walked in and took a seat on one of the couches.

"Is everything alright?" Robert whispered to Glenn.

Glenn shook his head, but didn't say anything as he simply glanced toward Andy. Andy, for his part, ignored the entire comment, and pretended to be interested in what the anchorman on TV was saying.

About a half hour later, Hac walked into the room and over to where Robert was sitting. "Haden and the others are getting ready to start building that transmitter thing," he whispered.

"Thanks," Robert replied as he quickly stood up and made his way out of the room.

Andy walked back into the infirmary, with Glenn following a few steps behind him. At first, the only person that either boy saw was Linda Bryce, the former president's wife. Chris Bryce, the boy who Andy saw in the bed next to her when he visited earlier, was gone.

Looking toward the other side of the room, Andy saw his father, who was laying in the same exact spot that he was in when Andy left him several hours ago.

"Andy, thanks for coming," Doctor Janet Hayes spoke calmly as she walked out from her office.

"Is something wrong?" Andy asked, his voice filled with concern. "Is my dad alright?"

"Why don't you see for yourself?" Janet asked with a smile.

Andy glanced toward the other side of the room where his father's bed was , and saw the man sitting up and glancing back toward him.

"Dad!" Andy cried out with joy as he literally ran over to the bed.

"Whoa, careful, son," Mr. Thistle winced as Andy wrapped his arms around him as best as he could.

"What's wrong?" Andy asked with concern.

"Nothing's wrong," Janet replied as she and Glenn walked to the other side of the bed. "Your father is going to be a bit sore and in some pain for the next few days. But beyond that he should be fine."

"I'm glad to see you, too, son," the man smiled, "But for now, can we go a little easy on the hugs?"

"Sorry," Andy blushed as he took a step back "I'm glad you're okay."

"As am I," the man agreed.

For the next ten to fifteen minutes, Glenn stood back, watching Andy and his father interacting with each other. The boy had so much to share, yet at the same time, something still didn't seem to be quite right, something that Glenn couldn't put his finger on.

"Okay, that's enough for today," Doctor Janet stated as she walked back over. "Your father needs to rest now so that he can continue to build up his strength. You can come back and visit with him some more tomorrow."

"You mean I can't stay?" Andy asked slightly disappointed.

Janet shook her head. "I'm afraid not, especially not if you want your dad to get well enough to be able to leave here in a few days."

"Okay," Andy sighed as he gave his father one more hug, being careful not to hug too hard, or in an area that might hurt him.

"I love you, son," the man said as the hug broke.

"I love you, too, dad," Andy smiled as he walked a few steps backward.

With that, Andy and Glenn made their way out of the infirmary, in search where the rest of the guys might have been hiding.

"Are you sure you don't want to hang out with Glenn, Andy, and the others?" Haden asked as he, Daileass, Barrett, and Robert walked into a small workshop where all the components to build the enhanced transmitter had been gathered.

"Are you kidding?" Robert asked in surprise. "And miss a chance to watch you guys build a piece of high-tech future technology? No way."

"Actually, it's very old technology," Barrett corrected.

"Oh yeah, that whole humanity destroying itself over and over thing you mentioned earlier," Robert remembered. "Either way, the other guys all seem caught up in watching the election results come in. To me, they are just down right depressing."

"It's definitely a bit confusing," Haden agreed. "Ashwood is carrying nine of the east coast states so far? I would have thought with all the crap he's been pulling, no one would want him."

"The election is far from over," Daileass jumped as he began to inspect the various components that had been gathered. "Keep in mind, Ashwood has been heavily focusing on the East Coast, and from what we can tell, a lot of the Eastern United States has not heard everything the rest of the country has in regards to Ashwood."

"And they've been asleep the last four years?" Haden countered.

Daileass shrugged. "I don't know. I'm just saying, I think it's still too early to call this for Ashwood. Not only do we still have a number of West Coast states that have open polls, but many of the states that have closed have not been counted enough to call yet."

"I guess," Haden sighed as he set up the soldering guns.

"All I have to say is that if Asswood wins, I don't know what I'll do," Robert commented. "The last four years of Ashwood were enough."

"From what I've read of your history, over the last days, I can't really say I disagree," Barrett stated.

"Are you sure there wasn't a president Bryce, or President Ashwood back in your dimension?" Robert asked.

"There was a Jack Bryce in our dimension, but he was never the President of the United States, and I don't have any records at all on any Ashwoods in the political arena," Daileass stated as he began to start breaking down some of the electronic devices they had to get to the parts they would need for the transmitter. "When we left, a man called George Bush was the president."

"George Bush? Never heard of him," Robert replied.

"Yeah, this dimension seemed to turn out considerably different on the political side of things," Haden admitted as he started to solder components together. "Maybe, because we had Star Fleet, and a lot higher tech or something. I don't really know."

"Maybe," Robert agreed. "Is there anything I can do to help?"

Haden stopped to think for a few moments. "You know how to de-solder things, right?"

"Yeah," Robert nodded.

"Cool, then use the de-soldering tool over there and start yanking all the large capacitors out of the three radios over there, and if you think you can pull it off, we could use the CMOS chips they have."

"You got it," Robert smiled, happy to have something that he could be helping with.

Over the next hour, all four boys worked diligently on building the enhanced transmitter. Although Haden and Daileass were doing the bulk of the work, Barrett and Robert were by no means sitting around and doing nothing.

One of the main issues that existed was that, although Haden made a few crude drawings of the transmitter's general block diagram, the specifics of the design were all in Haden's head.

"Okay, I think I've finished writing a basic BIOS that we can use for the dynamic modulator," Daileass stated. "For now, it's going to be hard-coded to the exact specs that Barrett indicated would be needed. Anything much beyond that would be too big to fit in the small amount of memory this has."

"Great," Haden smiled. "Go ahead and flash it onto the chip, and then I'll hook it up to the oscilloscope. I want to do a waveform test on it before we connect it to the actual transmission feed module."

Daileass nodded.

"Hum, that should be the last component then, shouldn't it?" Robert asked as he looked over the eight different circuit boards that were linked together in a small carrying tray. If someone didn't know any better, it could easily have been mistaken for a pile of junk. As Haden had stated several times during the building process, the idea was not to make it look pretty, but to build something that would get the job done.

"Pretty much," Haden agreed. "The modulator that Daileass is finishing up is the last major component. Once we test that, and connect it to the transmission feed board, we can do a local loop test, and if that looks good, we should be ready to do a full system test."

"Did I just hear that you guys are nearly ready to test that pile of junk?" Hac asked as he walked into the room.

"Careful Hac, this pile of junk may be our only way of contacting KLAUS, assuming it actually exists in this dimension," Barrett informed.

"And to answer your question, yes," Haden continued. "Daileass is putting the finishing touches on the modulator as we speak."

"Actually, Daileass has already finished the modulator," Daileass stated as he handed the circuit board over to Haden.

"Were you watching the election with the others?" Robert asked curiously.

Hac nodded. "Yeah, looks like Bryce might be starting to pull ahead. Every state that has been called over the last hour has gone to Bryce, except for Minnesota.

"Yes!" Robert cheered. "I knew Bryce would pull ahead, I just knew it. I can't wait to see the look on Asswood's face when he gives his concession speech."

"You might be waiting a while," Hac stated. "Not a word has come out of the whitehouse over the last few hours, not from Ashwood or any of his senior staff. Several of the news stations are already starting to report rumors that he may not say anything for awhile."

"Knowing that jerk, he's probably going to wait until the polls in Alaska and Hawaii are closed and counted before he says anything," Robert offered.

Hac shrugged his shoulders. "Personally, I don't really get into surface politics that much. I much prefer our own society's system."

"What kind of system is that?" Robert asked curiously.

"Okay, the wave form test checked out," Haden interrupted. "Now to hook everything together."

"A system where everyone in our society, including the children, take part in making key government decisions," Hac answered, ignoring Haden's interruption.

"You mean where everyone, including the kids get to vote for your president?" Robert asked. "That sounds pretty cool."

Hac shook his head. "No, First off, our culture didn't have a single ruling figure, we had three individuals that were our day to day rulers, and a circle of elders that saw to all the major matters of state. But what I actually meant to say is that everyone in our society was involved in making all key decisions. If the circle of elders was in session, and you had something of substance to add to the discussion that was going on, you could say it."

"Wow, how did you manage to pull that off?" Robert asked curiously.

"A very large virtual reality network," Barrett answered. "We even had special neural visors and everything, that made you feel like you were really there in the circle chambers."

"Sweet!" Robert began to drool. "Maybe I can join this society as well?"

Hac and Barrett shot each other a look, and each remained silent for several long moments. "First, we need to see if our society even exists in this dimension," Barrett finally answered.

"We might find out the answer to that fairly shortly," Haden commented as he took a step back from the table.

"Is it done?" Barrett asked.

Haden gave the entire contraption a quick glance over. "As done as I think we're going to get it, at least until we get some indication that it would be worth putting further effort into it, to refine it."

"So, how exactly do we use this thing?" Robert asked, as he, too, looked over the work they had accomplished.

"Well, when we are ready to use it, we will need to patch it into the base's main antenna array which we can do from the control room. But before we do, I want to do a local loop test, just to make sure it's not going to mess up any of the other equipment we're going to connect it to."

"Makes sense," Barrett agreed.

"Could someone hand me the power leads over there?" Haden asked as he pointed to a coiled up wire on the other side of the room.

"I got it," Robert called out as he lunged for the wires.

"I'm grounding the antenna output and looping back the main feed coils, that way we can use the scope to see how much current, if any is going through the output," Haden stated as he connected the power cable, adjusted a few components, and flipped a small switch.

Almost immediately, several tiny LED lights lit up on various boards, indicating they were each getting power. A soft oscillating low pitched hum could be heard coming from the entire system.

"Damn, looks like you've done it," Hac stated with a smile.

"Maybe," Haden replied. "Barrett, could you hand me the hand held oscilloscope behind you?"

"Sure," Barrett replied. Just as he was turning around, however, the humming sound from the transmitter stopped, and a bright flash, followed by a loud pop came from the center of the device. Before anyone else had time to react, Daileass has the power cable removed from it's socket.

"I'm guessing that wasn't supposed to happen?" Hac asked as a small puff of smoke began to rise from one of the center components.

"I don't think so," Robert answered with a tone of disappointment in his voice.

"What went wrong?" Haden asked as he glanced around the system. "I checked and double checked every pathway, there shouldn't have been an overload like that."

Daileass glanced over the equipment as well. "From what I could tell, the initial spark originated in the mid section of board five."

"Damn it," Haden sighed, as he disconnected the board so he could take a closer look. "Of course, the problem would be with the digital sequencer, flaky doesn't begin to describe it."

Once Haden had the board disconnected, Daileass looked at it as well. "There," he pointed. "Look at the burn mark on the 2.5 resistor. If I didn't know any better, I would say it didn't properly provide it's rated resistance."

"A faulty resistor?" Haden asked in a combination of surprise and disgust. "I hate this dimension!" he cried as he put the board on the table and stepped away. "If we had matter replicators, that would never have happened. But we have to deal with the crappy sub-standard manufacturing that exists here."

"Um, anyone care to translate?" Hac asked.

"From what we can tell, one of the several hundred resistors we had purchased ended up failing, and shorting out a key component," Daileass answered.

"The one place we couldn't afford an overload at," Haden sighed as he fell into his chair.

"You can fix it though, right?" Robert asked hopefully.

Haden shook his head. "The entire design centered around a first generation digital sequencer that I used to perform real time wave arc calculations to merge the two waves together. The radio I got it out of cost nearly eight hundred dollars, since the technology is so new, so we only had one of them. Without it, we would be looking at a good week of work, and a transmitter at least ten times the size of this."

"Can't we get a replacement sequencer?" Robert asked.

Haden slowly nodded his head. "Yeah, but I doubt anyone is going to want to drive back to Salt Lake City tonight, plus all the Radio Shacks would be closed by now anyway."

"Didn't Sarah mention during dinner, that she would need to go on a food run tomorrow? Maybe we could ask her to pick one up for us?" Barrett offered.

"Maybe," Haden agreed. "Either way, we're pretty much done, for tonight. Thanks for your help, guys."

"Don't be so hard on yourself, kid," Hac stated. "We learn the most when we are making mistakes."

"Yeah, I guess you're right," Haden reluctantly agreed as everyone got up and made their way out of the room.

"Hey, you guys want to go down to the pool for a little bit and unwind?" Robert suggested.

Haden didn't really feel like doing much of anything at the moment, but with all the other boys agreeing, Daileass didn't waste any time making it known that both he and Haden wouldn't mind taking a swim either.

"You did a good job tonight," Daileass reassured Haden as he wrapped his arm around him. "Especially given what you had to work with."

Haden nodded in agreement.

Robert found Glenn and the others still in the room where they were watching the national election results. With all of the polls of the west coast states, except for Alaska, having been closed for nearly an hour, now, it was very clear that Jack Bryce was going to win a land slide victory.

Even without counting California or Washington, which none of the national networks have called one way or the other yet, Bryce already had a sizable lead of 312 electoral votes to Ashwood's 156, putting Jack Bryce well past the needed 270 vote majority needed to win. Even if all the other uncalled states were to go to Ashwood, it still would not make a difference.

The only real surprise that wasn't that much of a surprise at all, was that even though all the polls were closed, again besides Alaska, which would only be open for a few more minutes, and even though it was already very clear that Ashwood had lost, there was not a peep from him or any of the other top officials in his administration.

"Shouldn't Jack be giving a victory speech or something?" Robert asked.

"He can't," Edward replied. "Asswood hasn't given his concession speech yet."

"Huh?" Robert asked curiously.

"Edward's right," Glenn agreed, "Generally, the loosing candidate gives his concession speech before the winning candidate gives his speech."

"That sounds like a stupid rule," Robert commented.

"It's not really a rule as much as it is courtesy and respect," Earnest spoke up as he stood and stretched. "Which is why I wouldn't put it past Ashwood to never give one. Now, if all you boys will excuse us, I think we've had just about as much excitement for one day as we can handle."

With Chad having fallen asleep in her lap, Margret did her best to carefully stand up and not wake the small boy. "Glenn, you should think about bed soon, as well," she whispered as she made her way out of the room. "Good night boys."

"Good night," everyone replied back.

Thinking that Ashwood might have been waiting for Alaska to close, everyone else decided to stay a little longer. As time went on, talk on the national networks slowly moved away from the election results, and more into the speculation as to why nothing has been heard from either of the two major camps.

Finally, with Alaska polls being closed for over fifteen minutes, and still not a word from the Ashwood camp, the networks slowly began to wind down their election coverage, returning stations to their normal programs with the promise that if any new developments come up, they would break back in to cover them. With that, everyone else who had been watching the coverage decided to make their way to bed as well.

Edward and Arthos, the two newest boys, decided to take the empty room that was on the other side of Glenn's. And given how much of a wreck Andy was still in, both Glenn and Robert decided that it would be best to have him sleep in their room, again.

Although Andy was out like a light, when his head finally hit his pillow, neither Glenn nor Robert were able to fall asleep as easily.

"Do you think we'll ever wake up?" Glenn asked quietly as he didn't want to wake Andy.

"I hope so," Robert replied. "Tomorrow's going to be a big day."

"No, I mean from this dream we've been living, over the past day."

Robert tilted his head and looked toward Andy. "I don't think I would call this a dream."

"Yeah, that part sucks," Glenn agreed. "It's just, who would have thought that we would end up in a place like this, with a bunch of really cool super soldier kids."

"I know what ya mean," Robert nodded. "Plus, their computer system is way cooler than anything I've ever heard of."

"You would focus on their computer system," Glenn grinned.

"What's wrong with that?" Robert asked.

"Nothing. Nothing at all," Glenn replied. "Sleep well, Robby."

"Dude, you haven't called me that in like forever. It sounds so babyish," Robert complained

"Sorry, I meant Robert," Glenn corrected, as he turned over and closed his eyes.

Haden found Barrett sitting on some rocks just outside the large hangar doors, looking down into the valley. "There you are."

Barrett briefly glanced toward Haden before returning his gaze to the clear, star filled night sky. "Hey, Haden. I thought you were hanging out with Daileass."

Haden nodded as he took a seat next to his twin. "I was for a bit. But I'm getting kinda tired, and it looks like he's going to be pulling another all-niter in the command center again, helping with getting all the new arrivals situated and stuff."

"Ah," Barrett replied. "It's pretty nice out here, ya know."

"Yeah, it is," Haden agreed.

Both boys continued to sit and watch the sky in silence for several long minutes. Finally, it was Barrett who broke the silence. "Do you think they're out there, Haden?"

"Your people?" Haden asked.

Barrett nodded. "Yeah, KLAUS and everyone else. Do you think they are there, somewhere?"

Haden thought for a few moments before answering. "I'm sure they are, at least in some way. Unlike Clan Short, which only existed for a few months, and only had a small handful of members, your talking about a society that has existed for thousands of years and has hundreds of thousands of members. That's a little harder to hide, I think."

"I hope you're right," Barrett stated.

"The bigger question is, will we like what we find?" Hac asked from his perch about ten feet above from where Barrett and Haden were sitting.

"Hac!" Haden replied with surprise, "I didn't see you up there."

"That's not surprising," Hac replied as he silently jumped down to where the other two boys were sitting. "It's important for a predator to not be seen by his prey… until it's too late."

"Just as long as you are not planning on eating us," Haden commented.

For a brief moment, the gleam in Hac's eyes caused a considerable amount of discomfort in Haden, to the point that he started to push himself in the direction opposite of Hac. Moments later, a huge grin came across the red-head's face, and he softly giggled. "Don't worry, I've learned a long time ago that it's not polite to eat one's friends."

Haden smirked and nodded as well.

"You can be pretty mean, sometimes, you know that," Barrett commented as he stood up.

"Thanks," Hac replied. "What's life without a little bit of fun from time to time."

Barrett slowly shook his head and sighed. "Well, you guys have all the fun you want. I think I'm going to head to bed."

"Sounds like a good idea," Haden agreed. "Sarah mentioned that she wants to leave pretty early tomorrow for her food run. So if I'm going to join her to get those replacement parts, now would probably be a good time to call it a night."

With that, the three boys made their way back into the hanger, and toward the elevator that would take them toward their beds where large fluffy pillows waited for them. All three boys were completely oblivious to the forth set of eyes that were silently watching them enter the base from the darkness.

Morning came early to the UNIT Base, especially for Sarah, who was probably one of the first up, other than the group of kids that had kept an eye on things overnight.

Sarah knew, going into breakfast, she would be hard-pressed for food. With the addition of another one hundred and fifty mouths to feed, things were going to be even tighter. This, of course, made her planned food run to Salt Lake City that much more important.

Although it had been mentioned to her by more than one person that the newly arrived Russian army would have no issues with eating the MRE rations they had brought with them, Sarah wouldn't hear of it. Instead, she put all of her culinary skills to the test in turning food that would otherwise have barley been enough to feed fifty people into something that could feed two hundred.

It took a lot of extra work, but by using the food she had already set aside for breakfast, along with the small amount of left-overs from the night before, and almost anything she could find in the hydroponics garden that looked anywhere close to being ready to pick, she managed to pull it off.

Sarah was just in the process of bringing out the last tray of food, when Stan and Forth walked into the kitchen.

"Morning, Sarah," Stan stated as he rubbed some of the sleep out of his eyes.

"You did breakfast without us?" Forth asked with concern.

"Morning, boys," Sarah smiled. "I'm sorry, Forth, I thought you two would have had enough of kitchen work after all the help you gave me yesterday."

"No way, cooking is fun," Forth shot back.

"Yeah, especially when you get to cook the yummy stuff, like cookies," Stan added.

"You just like the taste testing part," Forth challenged.

"So?" Stan shot back.

Sarah smiled and shook her head. "You two remind me so much of Robert when he was little, that it's scary."

"Sarah?" Forth's voice suddenly became very serious. "Haden said that you're going on a trip to get food, this morning?"

"That's right," Sarah nodded as she pointed over to a bunch of empty shelves. "If I don't, then we won't have anything to feed everyone."

"Do you think we could go with you?" Forth asked.

Before Sarah could answer, Stan jumped in. "Everyone else got to go in the helicopter and shopping yesterday, but we had to stay here."

"I won't be going by helicopter," Sarah answered. "I'll be driving. And it's probably going to be a pretty boring trip. I'll just be going to get all the food, making a quick stop for Haden and Daileass to get some kind of part they need, and coming right back home."

"So?" Forth pleaded. "We'll be good, we promise!"

"Yeah, we've never been on a car trip before, so it will be fun! Please let us come?" Stan added.

Although it was against her better judgment, Sarah sighed and nodded. "Alright, I'll tell you what. If you two help me clean up the kitchen real quick, then I'll let you come along."

"Cool!" both boys cheered. Almost immediately, they began racing around the kitchen in an effort to 'help' Sarah clean things up. Slowly shaking her head, she wondered if she would ever learn, as she walked toward the sink to save the pots and pans from getting too much 'help'.

Once Forth and Stan finished helping Sarah clean up in the kitchen, the three of them made their way up the hangar where Haden, Daileass, and Simon were already standing near the SUV that they would be taking.

"Are you coming shopping with us, too, Alvin?" Stan called out, once he saw who was standing next to Haden and Daileass.

"That's not Alvin, that's Theodore," Forth corrected. "Sheesh, can't you tell them apart, yet."

"Actually, I'm Simon," Simon corrected. "And no, I won't be going."

"Are you sure you're Simon?" Forth asked as he looked closely at Simon's face.

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure," Simon stated as he turned toward Daileass. "So you're sure that you're going to be able to handle these two?"

"Pretty sure," Daileass replied. "Besides, if we have any problems, that's why we have the rope and duct tape next to the first aid kit."

Forth and Stan both gasped in concern as they looked toward Daileass.

"Just kidding," Daileass grinned. "But yeah, I'm sure we'll be fine."

Sarah slowly shook her head as she walked toward the driver's door. "I don't know how I let you guys talk me into taking all of you."

"Don't worry, Valium is in the first aid kit if you need it," Simon smiled as he gave everyone a wave. "Remember, don't hesitate to call if you run into any problems."

Everyone nodded as they loaded into the SUV along with Sarah.

"Are we there yet?" Forth asked as the SUV drove down the highway toward Salt Lake City.

"No!" Daileass, Haden, and Sarah all replied in unison.

"How much longer?" Stan pleaded.

"One minute and fourteen seconds less than the last time you asked," Daileass replied from his seat in the back, next to Forth and Stan.

Haden grinned as he twisted his head around to look behind him, toward Daileass. "Is that frustration I hear? What happened to having the patience of a Saint?"

"That was back when I had an army of VI's to handle most of the conversations," Daileass defended. "Plus, I didn't have a ton of sub-systems that I still had to focus on to re-calibrate."

Haden nodded in understanding, as he looked toward the two eight-year-olds, "Guys, we told you before we left that it was going to take an hour to get there."

"Yeah, but we didn't know an hour would be so long," Forth sighed.

"I miss the teleporters," Stan added.

"We all miss the teleporters," Haden agreed, as he felt a ping of hurt from Daileass. "But we are in a new place, now, and we need to make due the best we can with what we have."

"I know," Stan replied. "But I still miss them."

"Why don't you guys try playing a game?" Sarah asked.

"Because we didn't bring any with us," Forth answered.

"Not every game requires pieces," Sarah smiled. "Haven't you guys ever played any driving games?" The total silence and confused looks that she could see through the rear-view mirror answered her question. "Okay, here is an easy one. Forth?"

"Yes?" Forth replied curiously.

"I want you to look around and find an object and tell everyone what letter it starts with, and then everyone else will try to guess what it is. Whoever guesses it right gets to be the next person to look for something."

"Okay," Forth stated as he glanced around. "Okay, I see something, it starts with the letter S."

"That's easy," Haden replied as he glanced out the window. "Sky."

"Nope, that's not it," Forth shook his head.

Daileass glanced around as well. "Is it sand?"

"Nope!" Forth grinned.

"Stan," Stan offered.

"Yup!" Forth nodded.

Stan smiled brightly. "Okay, my turn. Let's see… humm… got it. It starts with the letter F."

"Farms?" Sarah asked.

"No," Stan replied.

"Forth!" Forth smiled.

"You guessed it!" Stan replied.

"Cool! Okay, this is a fun game!" Forth announced. "My turn again. Okay, let's see… I see something that starts with the letter S."

"Stan?" Haden and Daileass answered at the same time.

"Wow, you guys are good," Forth sighed. "What happens if there is a tie?"

"Okay, maybe this wasn't such a good idea," Sarah sighed

"Okay, we're here," Sarah announced with a sigh of relief as she pulled the SUV into the Sam's Club parking lot. For a few moments, toward the end of the trip, she was seriously beginning to wonder if she would make it. For the last twenty minutes, Forth and Stan had continued to play the road game that Sarah was very much regretting even mentioning. It wouldn't have been so bad if they didn't keep picking each other's name over and over.

"Look at the bright side," Haden stated, as Forth and Stan brought their game to a close as they both glared out the window toward the huge shopping center. "At least it stopped them from asking if we were there yet once a minute."

Sarah couldn't help but nod in agreement. "By the way, I hope you guys don't mind, but I figured we would grab all the food first, and then swing by a Radio Shack on the way out of town so you can get your parts."

"That's fine," Daileass stated as he and the others piled out of the SUV.

To Sarah's surprise and relief, the inside portion of the trip went far better than she was fearing. Haden and Daileass each grabbed one of the large slab carts and pushed them around while Stan and Forth became Sarah's official 'helpers'. As they walked around, Sarah would point things out, and then Forth and Stan would take turns loading the stuff onto one of the carts.

Forty-Five minutes later, two packed-full carts made their way to the check-out counter with enough food to last a small Army for a month, so Sarah hoped that it would satisfy their small teen population at least a week.

Once the SUV was loaded up, the group jumped back in, and Sarah drove them out of the parking lot toward their next destination.

"Are we there yet?" Forth asked, almost exactly a minute after they started driving down the road.

This time, however, Sarah was ready for them. "Why yes. Yes we are." She stated as she pulled the SUV into the parking lot of a closed down grocery store.

"I don't think this place is open anymore," Stan offered once he saw several of the large windows of the store boarded up.

"That big store isn't," Sarah agreed as she motioned toward the Radio Shack. "However, we're going to that smaller store, over there."

Forth and Stan shot each other an odd look as they tried to figure out how a little tiny store could possibly have something cool in it that the much larger stores didn't have. The concerns of both boys were removed, however, when they managed to step inside and were able to see just how jam packed with gadgets and other stuff that it was filled.

"Maybe this isn't such a bad store, after all," Forth commented as he and Stan began the process of exploring the place.

"Just don't touch anything," Sarah called back as she did her best to keep an eye on the two smaller boys. At the same time, Haden and Daileass went to work to find the additional components that they needed. Since some of the food that they had in the SUV was frozen, they wanted to spend as little time as possible looking around in Radio Shack.

To help speed things along, as Daileass and Haden would find things that they needed, they would bring them up to the front, and Sarah started paying for them as they went, that way, there wasn't a single huge pile at the end to work through. From there, she would let Stan and Forth run things out to the SUV, which meant they had less time in the store to cause some other type of mischief.

While Forth and Stan both worked together to carry out a large spool of network cable that was too heavy for one of them to carry on their own, the tires of a sleek looking black car with dark tinted windows squealed, as the car tore through the parking lot and into the small back alley that cut the stores in the shopping center in half.

"Hey, watch where your driving!" Forth cried out as he and Stan literally had to jump to the side to avoid getting hit. "That guy drives worse than me! He really needs more time in the simulators."

"I don't think they have simulators here, like we had," Stan offered as he helped Forth lift the spool up into the back of the SUV.

"Well that certainly explains a lot," Forth stated. "I think they should get some."

Stan nodded. Before he could answer, however, a series of loud bangs could be heard coming from the direction of the alley.

"Gun shots!" Forth cried out. "Come on, let's check it out."

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Stan asked, even though he had already started to run after Forth.

"Then stay behind, but I'm going to check it out," Forth called back.

"No way, I'm going, too!" Stan announced.

Carefully peaking around the corner, Forth and Stan saw the same black car that nearly ran them over just a few moments ago, parked a short way down the alley. Two of the car doors were open as men wearing black business-like suits stood behind them, using them as shields as they occasionally popped and shot at something ahead of them. At the other end of the alley, three older teens were standing on the other side of an old beat-up green Ford truck firing back.

At about the same time that Forth and Stan began to spy on the situation, toward the middle of the alley, off to the side next to a group of garbage dumpsters, a dark-brown haired fourteen-year-old boy appeared out of thin air. Almost immediately, the boy walked a few steps backward so he was against the building, and slid down.

"Did you see that?" Stan whispered. "Icarus or someone just teleported that boy over by the dumpsters."

"Icarus isn't even in this universe," Forth replied. "So he couldn't have."

"Well, someone did," Stan protested. "I saw him."

A few moments later, both Stan and Forth watched in horror as the boy near the dumpsters stood up. Almost immediately after that, he lunged forward as several shots hit him.

"You moron, what was that?" one of the black suited men cried out, as both men stopped firing. "That kid wasn't one of our assignments."

"What's the big deal?" the other man shot back. "He was in our way."

"Off to the side?" the first man shot back as the green truck at the other side of the alley spun away.

"It doesn't matter. Fuck, they're getting away!" the second man shouted as he dove back into the car and slammed the door behind him. Before the first man had his own door closed, the tires of the car were already squealing as the car quickly raced off in pursuit of the truck.

"Come on, let's see if that boy needs help," Forth stated as he started to walk around the corner.

Stan shook his head. "No way. I'm going to get Haden and Daileass."

"Fine," Forth called out as he started jogging down the alley toward the dumpster where the boy was lying on the ground.

With a final glance toward Forth, Stan turned around and began to run back toward Radio Shack, only to nearly slam into Daileass as he and Haden were already on their way out of the store to investigate the sounds as well.

"Daileass! This black car flew past us, almost squishing us but then then they stopped in the alley and the big guys were firing at some other guys at the other side but a kid teleported in the middle of the alley, but there is no Icarus around to do it, so he ended up getting shot and the guys in the car drove off after the other guys," Stan bubbled rapidly.

"Whoa, slow down," Daileass blinked a few times as he did his best to process and make sense of the boy's words. "Where's he at,


"This way," Stan grabbed Daileass's hand, and pulled him forward toward the alley.

Forth, approaching the boy carefully, was just close enough to see the small tickle of blood seeping out from under the fourteen-year-old boy that was lying on the ground, when he could hear the pounding footsteps of the others quickly running up behind him.

"I think he's dead," Forth commented as he looked back at the others behind him.

"Let me see," Daileass stated, as he quickly knelt down next to the boy and ran his micro-sensor-filled hand back and forth over him. "He's not dead, yet, but it looks like he got shot up pretty bad. Haden, help me turn him over."

Haden did as Daileass requested. Once the boy was turned around, three large splotches of red could be seen soaking through the boy's shirt from where the bullets hit him.

"Damn, this isn't good," Daileass stated as he turned toward Stan. "You're sure you saw him teleport in? Was there any visual distortions, like a Star Fleet transporter?"

"Yes, I'm sure," Stan announced. "He just appeared, no sparkles or anything."

Daileass nodded and sighed as he pulled out his radio. "Pico Lead to Castle."

"This is Castle, go ahead, Pico Lead," Alvin's voice replied.

"Medical Emergency, we have one unknown male teen around fourteen to fifteen years of age with multiple gun shot wounds that is going to need a medical evac stat."

There was a brief pause before Alvin replied. "Rodger that, Pico Lead. Medical Evac required for an unknown fourteen to fifteen year old male, with multiple gun shot wounds. Evac is spinning up as we speak.

"Rodger," Daileass answered back.

'What's up, bro?' Daileass and Haden heard Logan speak through the link. 'Why the med evac? Wouldn't getting him to a local hospital be faster?'

'Not sure if we want to do that,' Daileass replied back as he began to send Logan and the others in the link the information he had collected so far from scanning the boy as well as skimming Stan's surface thoughts. 'Stan is convinced he saw this kid teleport into the middle of a fire fight that federal agents were having with a group of unknowns. Further, as you can see in the medical scan data I'm sending you, the boy's genetic profile and blood analysis do not match that of any known human.'

'Got it. Good call,' Logan sent after a brief pause. 'Will and Billy are getting the chopper off the ground as we speak. Their ETA is about 18 minutes. Go ahead and use the same LZ we used for the Chinook yesterday, that should be the closest safe LZ from your location.

'Right,' Daileass sent back as he carefully picked up the injured boy and began to run toward the SUV. "Stan, get the first aid kit out I need to get him stabilized on our way to the LZ. Haden, I need you to help guide Sarah to where the LZ from yesterday is at.

Both boys stated their understanding as everyone followed Daileass back toward the SUV.

Moments after Daileass had the boy in the back of the SUV, Stan had grabbed the first aid kit. "Is this what you need?"

"That's it. Open it up and get me all the gauze pads that are in there," Daileass stated as he easily tore the boy's shirt open, taking only a moment to notice the very intricately crafted gold medallion that was hanging around the boy's neck depicting a large winged dragon holding a crown.

Pushing the medallion to the side so it wasn't in the way, Daileass went to work stabilizing the boy, and stopping the bleeding the best he could.

"Oh my lord!" Sarah cried out as she approached the SUV and looked in the back. "Did you guys just shoot that boy?"

"No, ma'am," Daileass replied without looking up from the boy. "That would be some of your government's finest that did this."

"Come on, we need to go," Haden urged as he guided Sarah toward the driver's door. "We need to get to the large field that Will and Billy are going to meet us at. I'll show you how to get there."

With a final glance toward the unconscious boy that Daileass was busy working on, Sarah jumped into her seat and started up the SUV while Haden quickly ran around to the other side and jumped in as well.

It took less than five minutes to drive to the field where Will and Billy would meet them. On the way over, Daileass did the best he could to stop the boy's bleeding, which, to his surprise, ended up being a lot easier than it should have. Being an android, Daileass had the ability to apply stronger and more precise pressure to where it needed to be, to best slow down the bleeding, but at the same time, the boy's blood began clotting and slowing the bleeding down a lot faster than it should have been able to.

Even with the bulk of the bleeding stopped, Daileass was still concerned with the boy's weak vitals, and all the blood he had already lost. "Let's get him out and onto the grass, so it will be easier to load him in the chopper when they arrive," Daileass directed, once the SUV came to a stop.

"Is he going to die?" Stan asked as he grabbed the first aid kit, and followed closely behind Daileass, who was carrying the boy out of the SUV.

"I don't know," Daileass replied truthfully. "I've gotten most of the bleeding under control, but he's already lost a lot of blood."

"Is there anything I can do to help?" Haden asked, once Daileass had the boy on the ground.

Daileass thought for a few moments and nodded. "Yeah, continue to apply pressure right here, I want to do another full scan on him."

"Right," Haden nodded as he moved his hand to the position that Daileass's hand was at as both Forth and Stan stood a few steps away, carefully watching every move that both Daileass and Haden were making. Sarah, for her part, had decided to remain within the safety of the SUV.

Moments later, a shrill cry came out from the SUV, just as Forth let out a gasp. "Daileass!" he called out as he pointed in front of him.

Everyone else looked up just in time to see the ghosted image of an 11 to 12 foot tall copper and green dragon appear less than twenty feet away from them. Although the dragon's image quickly faded away, a small group of teens were left in it's place.

The youngest of the group, who appeared to be no older than fifteen, was a lanky athletically built short black haired boy wearing a nice looking white silk shirt. On both sides of the teen were slightly taller boys also wearing white shirts and one of them, his shirt had red sleeves. One of the boys had short black hair, while the other tall, slender teen had light brown hair. In the back of the group, another teen who was dressed in black futuristic looking armor. All four boys were standing back to back when they appeared, yet none of them had any visible weapons, save for the teen dressed in black.

Although all of this made for a rather interesting scene, the part that caught everyone's attention the most, was the taller seventeen to eighteen year old teen who was standing in the middle, completely nude.

"Okay… that's… different," Haden commented after blinking a few times.

"Nate!" Gene, who happened to be naked, cried out from the middle of the group. "What have you bastards done to him!"

"Hold it," Pete, the youngest looking of the group immediately put his hand up to stop the boy in the middle from doing anything else. "We need them alive for now, at least until we fully understand the situation."

"Back off, now!" Major Robinson, dressed in black, ordered as he pointed his weapon toward them, the design of which none of them had seen before.

"We were only trying to help," Daileass stated in a guarded tone as he and the others slowly lifted their hands in the air.

"Like hell you were," Karl replied. As healer Jorge quickly moved to Nate's side. Scanner out and running slowly along Nate's torso.

Pete quickly glanced around his surroundings, with his eyes finally resting on Haden. Almost without thought, Pete's mind was already skimming the kids thoughts, grabbing what he could from the nine-year-old looking boy. To his surprise, he could feel a small amount of resistance from the kid, trying to block his probing, which only caused him to push all that much harder.

Moments later, Haden squealed in pain as he grabbed his head. A split second later, Daileass reached out with his own mind, fully blocking the attack against Haden.

"What the fuck?" Pete grumbled in surprise as he tilted his head, "How the hell did you block me?"

"Didn't your mother ever tell you to pick on kids your own size?" Daileass asked calmly. "Who are you people?"

Jorge looked up from his scanner as he slapped both sets of monitors onto Nate, one to his chest the other to his temple. Not liking the readings he was getting from his scanner he looked over his shoulder at the growing argument, "Dragon Lord, Your son is highly unstable. We need to get him to a Bio-tube immediately so I can do surgery to repair the damage."

"We don't have time for this," Pete growled out, his tone harsh as his eyes fell onto Nate's body lying on the ground. Looking around at the four near Nate, he pathed to Shaolin Wang, 'I want all of them in the buffers, now!'

Before Daileass or any of the others could react, the world quickly dissolved around them.

Like several of the other UNIT kids, Barrett and Hac had been spending the morning working with a few of the Russians to get all their remaining equipment stowed and into organized locations.

While the thoughts and conversations of nearly everyone else helping in the hangar were focused on the fact that neither President Ashwood nor any of his top aids have yet to say a single word in regards to yesterday's election, Barrett's thoughts were centered on his people, or what he hoped would be his people, and just how close they got last night to being able to attempt to use the new transmitter to contact KLAUS on the old emergency frequencies. Even now, his twin brother, Haden, was in Salt Lake City picking up the replacement part that would be needed to finish the transmitter.

The last few minutes, however, had been a bit unsettling to Barrett. He couldn't put his finger on it, exactly, but for some reason, he was feeling a lot more nervous and on-edge than he should have been feeling. He was almost ready to ignore the feeling when Will and Billy came running out from the main hall wearing their flight suits, and began shouting to get the Huey pulled out and ready for launch.

Almost immediately, the entire tone in the hangar changed. Even several of the Russians dropped what they were doing and ran over to help with the helicopter while both Will and Billy jumped in and began their pre-launch checklists. It only took a matter of minutes for the Huey to get pulled out and started before it was lifting off the ground.

"What's going on?" Barrett asked no one in particular.

"A medical emergency," one of the men near by answered. "Someone called Daileass just called it in."

"Oh no," Barrett gasped.

"It's not what you think, Barrett," Jory stated as he walked over to him. "They just found a kid that got caught in the crossfire of some federal agents, and ended up getting shot. Daileass, Haden, and the others are fine."

Barrett nodded with a sigh of relief. "That's good to know."

"I'm heading down to the control center," Jory stated. "If you want, you can join me. We will be tracking the flight and events from there."

Barrett thought for a few moments, and glanced around to see there was still a lot of stuff that needed to be done. "Thanks, but I think I'll be fine up here," he stated. "Especially since none of our guys are the ones that are hurt."

Jory nodded before walking off. "If you change your mind, you know where to find me."

Within minutes of the Huey leaving, everyone had returned back to work as if nothing had happened. Barrett did his best to do the same, but no matter how hard he tried, he still couldn't stop himself from thinking about it. By this point, he was pretty sure that the anxiety and other feelings he was having were coming from Haden, but that didn't make them any less difficult to deal with.

"Maybe you should take that kid up on his offer," Hac suggested a few minutes later, after seeing the look on Barrett's face.

"Huh?" Barrett asked as he glanced toward his long-time friend. "Oh, I'm fine."

"Like hell you are," Hac shot back. "In fact, I don't think I remember the last time you looked like this."

Barrett shrugged. "Over the years, I've gotten good at understanding how and why I feel the way I do, and how I handle certain situations. But dealing with Haden's emotions at the same time…"

"Better you than me… sir," Hac replied seriously. "I know I certainly wouldn't do that good at handling someone else's emotions in my head."

"Yeah, it's kind of like…" Barrett's words dropped off as he just seemed to stare into space.

"Barrett? You okay?" Hac asked with concern.

"I think something's wrong," he whispered after a few minutes. "Where's Haden?" he asked before he began running toward the hallway as fast as he could.

"Where you going?" Hac called out as he ran after Barrett.

Barrett didn't reply until he had reached the elevator, and both he and Hac were on their way down. "Haden's gone," he stated. "I was feeling stuff from him, but now I can't feel anything, it all just went away."

Hac shrugged. "Maybe the signal is weak or something?"

"It doesn't work like that," Barrett stated as the elevator stopped and he ran out toward the command center.

By the time Barrett stepped inside, the entire room was already busy with activity. Some of the large screens were tracking the current location of the Huey as it made it's way to Salt Lake City. However, at the same time, totally unrelated conversations with someone else also seemed to be going on.

"Barrett, you decided to join us," Jory stated cheerfully before he saw the look on Barrett's face.

"I think something's wrong with Haden," Barrett stated.

"Why would you say…" Jory began, before a troubled look filled his face.

"It's not just Haden," Alvin stated, with a voice filled with concern. "Daileass!"

"We're going to need to call you back, something just came up," Logan stated to whoever he was video conferencing with. As soon as he pressed the button ending the link, he spun around. "Okay, I want to know what happened to Daileass, Haden, Stan, and Forth, NOW!"

"So it's not just me?" Barrett asked.

"No, Barrett, it's not," Simon called out as he ran past Barrett and jumped into his chair. "They're gone."

"Alvin, you're monitoring the Satellite images, where did they go?" Logan snapped as he began frantically typing on his own terminal.

"Keep in mind, our images are about five minutes delayed. And the resolution is not the best," Alvin reported.

"I don't care, give me whatever you can find. They should not have just vanished like that," Logan stated.

"Logan?" Theodor called out as he lowered his headset and covered the ear piece, "Sarah is on the radio, and she sounds pretty frantic. She keeps going on about seeing a dragon and the boys getting eaten or something."

"What?" Logan asked with concern, hoping that this was not what he feared. "How far out is the Huey?"

"Five minutes out," Alvin answered.

Logan nodded. "Alright. Do the best you can to calm Sarah down. Once Will gets there, I'll have him link with Sarah to help calm her down even more, and find out exactly what it was that she saw."

Theodore nodded as he put the headset back on.


Editor's notes:

Now is that a cliffhanger or what?

Let me just say something, here. As we already know, they weren't eaten by a dragon, so that is not anything to worry about. We know the people who showed up have the ability to port from place to place. And perhaps from one dimension to another, since we don't know when or where they came from, but we know they care about the boy that got shot.

We also know that all of our boys were teleported to another location. We also know they were not going to be killed, yet!

Of course, I can understand why Sarah was so freaked out. What she saw, or thought she saw would have been pretty terrifying, and of course, she just saw the boys that she was taking care of vanish before her eyes. That is pretty serious stuff, right there.

Let's hope it won't be too long before we get the next chapter, and can clear some of this stuff up.

I wonder what is happening with all the election stuff, as well. I hope we can fins that out, soon, too.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

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