Castle Roland


by Darkstar


Chapter 2

Published: 8 Apr 14


Copyright © 2012 - 2015 by Darkstar and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

2:00am CST – Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Revolutions LogoWe'd been in our current Texas hide-a-way for about ten days now when klaxons started blaring throughout the base at about two thirty in the morning. I jumped up and ran for the command center only to be met by Mike who, while pulling me back towards our room, was breathlessly explaining we had to go and we had to go now. Somehow, they had found out where we were and they had staged a massive attack with over four hundred planes, a lot filled with troops, especially paratroops who had already landed and breached the base. It was chaos out there, and down to one on one fighting.

As I and Linda grabbed the kids, and literally pushed or dragged them down hallways and through doors, I asked how they had gotten through our defenses.

Mike quickly explained they had come in low while the A-WACS were recirculating and the first two hundred and fifty or so were first line fighter attack craft; as in black ones. They had made it nearly impossible for our jets to find and hit them, leaving them easy prey to being hit themselves. Not a single one of our guys turned tail though, and they were still up there fighting, at least the ones who were left.

"What about the boys?" I asked and Mike explained his partner had them already ahead of us, heading to our own super black and super stealth transportation. That is if we could make it to said transport.

The shaking and crumbling walls and ceiling around us were testimony to the ferocity of the bombing this base was undergoing as we ran and ran some more.

I was worried about Linda being eight months along and how she was doing, but when I gave her a concerned glance she just yelled, "Get your own ass moving, I'm fine."

That was my love.

The kids were scared to death and I tried to give them some reassurance but I don't think they could believe it.

Mike also informed me more help was on the way, but the ETA was longer than this base had.

I suddenly heard massive explosions behind me and knew they had blown the computers and command center entirely. Nothing would remain, except molten melted metal and ash of anything in there.

Suddenly, things began to get even louder and the kids cringed as we were running towards the sound rather than what instinct would dictate which was to run the opposite direction from it.

Mike stopped us at the doors as another bomb hit us and the building shook like mad, looking at the door briefly before saying.

"I really don't want to take you out there Jack but staying in here isn't a choice. They've got the plane as close to the doors as possible but there is fighting all around so run and run damn fast."

He then grabbed each of the younger twins and gave one each to a couple of his men telling them to stick them inside their vests and their only job was to make it to the aircraft alive.

Then he turned to Linda and me and asked "Ready?" Somehow, including the kids in the question as they all nodded with frightened looks on their faces as we both said yes.

With that, he did a three count and with soldiers and protective detail surrounding us we were out the door and running like mad towards the plane.

About half way there, I heard the worst thing I thought I could ever hear and that, "Streaker One is down! Repeat Streaker One is down!!!" I heard an "Acknowledged…" Even though I tried to get to my boy I was forcefully pulled along towards the plane. It was just as we were putting the kids on over of the protective detail, that I should go first that I heard; "Roundup is down, I repeat Roundup is down!!"

I turned and saw my wife being carried into the plane as I was shoved in behind her screaming in my mind, 'Please God NO!'

I heard the engines roaring to life as Mike yelled to everyone get into a seat and strap in right now. I started to go towards my little boy and wife but Mike physically shoved me into a seat and strapped me in, and then made a quick check of the kids fixing several as the plane roared into life and it was off the ground before he even finished.

Very, very shortly I understood why we were forced and strapped into our seats as quickly as I looked over at my babies, one my wife and the other my son, because the plane started doing things that had two of the boys puking in less than two minutes.

My experienced stomach was getting queasy in less than five.

Only Andy seemed to be enjoying it, if it weren't for Chris being hurt.

The plane was flying all over the place climbing and then diving, jinking every which way but loose.

It was also transonic and doing nap of the Earth flying while at it.

Mike came over to me quickly from where Linda and Chris were laying.

"Look Jack I won't pull any punches here, Chris is going to probably be fine. He's losing a lot of blood but we're replacing it and filling him with fluids while we try and stop it. He has a nasty wound to his shoulder which may have shattered it and the collarbone, but they tell me he's going to most likely be fine and pull through." He told me stopping and looking down for a moment.

"Linda?" Was all I could choke out.

"I won't lie to you Jack; she's in real bad shape. The baby seems to be holding up fairly well at the moment but they think they're losing her and that she won't survive." He said sadly.

I just felt the tears running down my face and finally managed to get out. "Don't let them stop Mike, no matter what don't let them stop, you hear me?"

He looked at me for what seemed a long time before saying "Okay Jack, I'll make sure they're told."

He went back there and spoke when a soldier suddenly came from the front and spoke to Mike for a moment.

I saw his look go cold as he said loudly, "Sweep the whole fucking plane." The soldier acknowledged the command and went to see it carried out.

Mike came up to me in order to inform me that somehow we were being tracked and that meant, I knew, that someone on our plane was a traitor.

I nodded and said, "Find the bastard and I'll kill him myself." My voice was solid ice.

He looked at me then nodded his head.

The search was carried out swiftly and stopped on a single soldier who looked up and smiled before yelling. "It'll soon be over you bunch of traitorous bastards." His hand began to move towards something on his body, when in a split second, Mike had plunged his service knife through the soldiers throat and through his spinal cord at the brain stem. He was dead before he could even realize it and more importantly he instantly became immobile and unable to move at all.

Mike easily found the tracking device and smashed it to hell so that would solve their problem of being traceable and targetable.

I was wrong.

Less than two minutes later, and even before I could fully process what had just happened, there was a loud bang followed by an explosion as the plane suddenly went off to one side then began a wobbly attempt at continuing to fly.

The kids were screaming and the pilot was screaming over the loudspeakers "We're hit! We're hit!!!"

The plane was shaking with the vibrations and Mike was yelling for everyone to take crash positions while explaining to the children, what that meant, and making sure they were carried out correctly.

My kids were crying out to me, "Daddy, Daddy!" And you could feel as well as hear the terror in their voices.

I tried to comfort them by telling them it was going to be alright, but it was really quite hard to do that when you weren't all that sure it was going to be, yourself.

Suddenly, the pilot was back on the speakers saying, "I can't keep it up, we're going down. Brace!, Brace!, Brace!"

The kids were crying and I just wished I could get to them, but I knew if any of us had any chance of survival, it would be because we were all properly secured.

I just kept telling them the only thing I could, which was that we're going to be alright as the plane shook more and more, and I could tell the pilot was fighting a losing battle.

Suddenly he yelled, "We've got an unidentified aircraft out here, and it just buzzed us!" but frankly, I couldn't care less about that right now.

I heard another loud explosion and the pilot came back on yelling "That's it, I can't keep her in the air, one minute to impact, brace yourselves." before the speakers went quiet.

I made sure all the kids were in position, although they were all trying to look at me.

I simply said, "I love you…" as the tears finally came to my face as I looked towards the back where some very brave people had strapped Linda and Chris to the floor but were staying with them and continuing to work on them, even though it might cost them their lives.

Finally, I put my head down as I felt the remaining engine increase power as the nose lifted some before cutting off altogether.

And then we hit the ground.

The children were all screaming and I was just praying they'd make it out alive; as the plane slammed apparent objects in its way and bounced around like a freaking ping pong ball.

I felt the thing turn sideways before it was suddenly slammed by something which spun us around and as suddenly as it had started, we were jerked to a stop.

Mike jumped up as I did, going to the children and asking them if they were okay. Some of them were clearly in shock and glassy eyed, and it was obvious that more than one needed a change of clothes.

I'd have to check mine later to see if I did, too but right now the ones who could answer did, while the others required us to do a quick physical assessment of them.

Thank God, it looked like a few bumps and bruises plus a couple of cuts that were minor. Others were checking everyone else, and I could see others had taken over for the personnel who had been with Linda and Chris. Mike came back from the front, and I asked how many casualties we ended up having.

He told me the pilot and copilot was seriously injured, as were the people on Linda and Chris. A couple of knocks in the head, with possible concussions including amongst our kids, and one broken arm on one of the soldiers seemed to be the extent of the injuries.

All in all, he said it was a miracle it wasn't a lot worse, but that we had to go and go now.

Quickly walking over to one of the emergency exits, he activated it, explosively propelling the door outward followed by the release of the air ramp.

He then turned to everyone and said, "Out! Everyone out, out out. NOW!"

Not knowing if there would be an explosion from fuel or weapons, we had no choice of doing anything but get the hell away from the plane as fast as possible.

Mike got the soldiers going down the chute, and setting up to receive the others that couldn't make it on their own; like some of the kids and injured.

Once everything was set, we got the children out first and then others went back in to get the injured, sadly, there was no time to waste to properly secure them before running to the exit and jumping onto the chute, holding them tightly to themselves.

One thing I did notice was that Mike made sure he and others had grabbed all the medical trauma kits, as well as weapons on board.

Mike was handing me a gun in a holster attached to a gun belt, which I promptly put on, quickly followed by his handing me an MP 5, which I immediately made sure was locked and loaded.

It was.

So with extra clips stashed, I started to turn to the children when we heard, then saw, a helicopter heading straight for us.

Mike had started yelling, "Get the non-coms to safety and take up defensive positions, NOW!" but the helicopter came in way faster, and then did a move that surprised both of us, as it came in at a high speed and then just off the ground spun around to present the ramp in the rear towards us, allowing for easy egress of assault troops coming to a dead stop at the same time.

There was no chance to get the kids to safety, so Mike yelled "Belay that, get them down behind the ramp and take defensive positions now, because we're about to have company.

Raising my MP 5 as had Mike, we waited.

We didn't have to wait long before a figure emerged, although awfully short for a soldier.

Suddenly, we heard a female voice we assumed was the reason for the soldier being so short screaming "Fuck Adam!" which made absolutely no sense.

Then we saw him run back and pick up something, coming back and kneeling on the ground.

I was looking through my scope as this went on, and was about to fire after seeing what the woman had in her hands, but instead of pointing it towards us, she pointed it towards the other side of the canyon we had crashed in and we were stupefied as to what she could possibly be doing.

Then the missile exploded out of the SAM and went straight towards the canyon wall leaving us to ask "What in the fuck is she doing?" Mike just shook his head and said "We're really in a fucked position here" to which I could only reply, "Gee, I hadn't noticed" causing a smile to come to his face before suddenly the plane, which had tried to strafe us minutes ago, came back and just seemed to run into the missile the soldier had fired.

"Holy fuck, that isn't possible" Mike was saying, as suddenly her voice reverberated throughout the canyon in a scream of victory of "Take that you fuck!"

Before we could even think, we noticed multiple inbound land targets and switched our aim to them, as Mike started to say "Inbound at one o'clock" but was quickly cut off as he heard repeatedly "We're friendlies, we're friendlies!"

He quickly told the men to spread out and take positions, as I yelled out "Identify yourselves immediately, or we will fire!"

Mike made a quick comment about me not being in the military anymore, to which I just smiled and said, "Looks like I'm back in now, doesn't it?"

He just looked at me before we both glanced over to where our children were, and saw that the men and women of our team were concentrating on their protection heavily.

It made me feel a lot better, and I could see some of the tension leave Mike, although not much.

"My name is Joe Casey. The group we're affiliated with would mean nothing to you," a voice from the group advancing upon us called out as we noticed they had all stopped moving.

Then the voice of this Casey person yelled out "David Hathaway sent us," which sent me reeling, absolutely stunned and I could see an equally shocked and stunned look on Mike's face as well.

It took me a moment to get it together enough to yell back; "Nice try and I don't know how you know that name, but unfortunately for you he definitely did not send you, since he's dead."

"What the fuck!" I turned and asked Mike who didn't have an answer for me.

Suddenly, this Casey guy was calling out; "Would you like me to explicitly explain what your relationship was with Dave?"

I felt as if the air had suddenly been slammed out of my body, as I slumped down in complete shock at hearing those words.

Mike looked at me and said, "There isn't anybody who isn't close friends who knows about that."

"I know," I choked out.

Before we could say anything, Casey came back yelling, "Look! We ain't got time for this… My guy's up there are in a single fucking helicopter, trying to keep the bogies from getting to us. We're about to pull out.. either get your asses on the helicopter now, or don't!!"

"Your call, Jack" Mike said quietly to me.

I nodded and said, "Bring them on in."

Mike nodded back and after telling our people to stand down, but be alert, he called back to Casey telling him, "Come on then, but be advised we have injured, some severe, including gunshot victims."

We watched as they started coming again, then saw one of them turn around running back to the helicopter before coming back at a full run.

As they reached us, the man who I supposed to be this Casey person confirmed it by stopping and saluting quickly, before saying, "We've got a base close by, totally isolated and unknown, even to you, sir. Might I suggest we load you're wounded up and get the hell outta here?"

Before I could even begin to say, that sounds like a damned good idea to me, he had turned and stopped at Mike with a stunned look on his face as he said in a clearly extremely shocked questioning voice. "Mike?"

Mike looked back with a confused expression on his face as he said, "Yes, I'm Mike, Colonel Mike Reynolds. Why?"

Now it was Joe's turn to look confused as he said, "Mike, it's me Joe. How long have you been stuck in this universe, and what about Eric, SamSam and the Trinity? Is everyone with you?"

I was shocked at the question about 'this universe' but, even more shocked that this man knew Mike and Eric's kids' names.

Mike started to move forward, but I grabbed his arm and quickly said, "We'll have more time for this later, but right now we have to get the fuck out of here, are we clear?" to which Mike replied, "Yes Sir" still staring daggers at Joe Casey.

Mike was a bit protective of his family, to put it mildly.

Joe shook his head and sighed saying, "Sorry, I'll explain later; things are a bit strange right now, but yes, Jack's right, we need to get outta here." then I watched him turn back towards the chopper and wave at what were obviously more people, to come quickly.

He turned back to us and said, "If you'll help me sir, let's get the walking wounded onboard and strapped in. Leave the heavy people for my guys,"

Just then, a voice could be heard yelling "I need some help here, the baby's crashing" and I felt my world shake to its core. It had to be our baby.

Mike wrapped an arm around me, squeezing gently while saying, "Don't give up on him yet, they're going to do everything possible to save him."

I couldn't even nod, but wanted to go over there, but I quickly found out that Mike's arm served another purpose besides comfort.

I struggled briefly, but he said, "You don't need to go over there right now, Jack, you don't."

I heard the woman doctor say, "Damn," before looking around and then calling out, "Khan! Get her on the helicopter, now! We gotta do surgery right now!"

My heart sank even lower at hearing this.

When the people rushed up to the medical team, frantically working on Linda, one of the medics looked up to see the name badge identifying the woman as a doctor. He quickly explained that they had just lost the pulse on the mother, and that fetal distress had begun approximately one minute prior to that, before commenting both she, and the boy next to her were shot, telling her, "She's suffered two gunshots, one to the chest, nicking the ascending aorta, the other to the left shoulder, probably lodged into the spine." The medic sighed, as she saw the doctor looking over the woman and told her "She's gone, her body just don't know it yet. We're trying to keep her alive, to save the baby." as they continued CPR on the mother.

The doctor told him, "I don't lose patients without a hell of a fight." She then turned and looked up to one hell of a tall soldier and told him. "Be careful with her, but get her into the helicopter as quick as you can."

The medics watched as the tall soldier nodded, then carefully bent down and picked up the First Lady as they quickly picked up equipment and various wires and tubes which surrounded her. They then had to almost run to keep up with the soldier as he and the doctor headed towards the big helicopter.

I could see Joe looking at me with sympathy in his eyes, as he said, "Sir, I doubt it helps much, but Janet's my wife. She's also one of the best damn trauma surgeons I have ever seen. She's saved more lives than I can count. But sir, if we don't get out of here, we're all going to die. We gotta go and go, now!" I shook myself out of it enough to nod and say, "Then let's get going," and watched as he turned his attention to the children who were being herded towards the helicopter and the soldiers who were doing their best to shield them in case something else came up.

I watched them as they went towards, and into the helicopter, thinking I had to get it together, and in a major way. Not only that, but I had to do it now. My babies needed me right now, not sometime later, and later, I knew they'd need me even more. Mike may not have allowed me to go over there to where Linda was, but I know CPR when I see it.

Yeah, they'd need me even more, and I'd need them just as much, to not lose it completely. The thought of life without Linda was something I couldn't envision, but admitting it to myself, I also could say I never wanted to either.

We need each other more than any of us could comprehend in the days to come, and I still didn't know if I could make it through.

We felt power applied, and then we were flying to this unknown base, and all I could do was pray, for them, for us and that I'd made the right decision.

Looking around, I could see this chopper was packed, if not to the brim, then damn close to it.

I kept looking over to where my wife and Chris were being worked on. The woman doc was furiously working on her, and I could also see two of their medics working on my son. Mike had mentioned that Chris had been unconscious, and still was.

Looking back to Linda, I saw one of their people in full armor walk up alongside the doctor and take off the helmet covering his head.

I gasped in shock, just staring at who began to work on her and barely noticed Mike start to take off his straps, but it sent me into action right away and I actually beat him standing up, just as he undid the last strap on his harness. We both looked at one another, before heading straight towards my wife.

Halfway there, suddenly, out of nowhere, a boy who looked to be about eleven with red hair and so many freckles on his face that you could easily mistake them for some kind of skin disease placed himself directly in our path.

"Look, son there's a problem and we need to get over to where my wife is," I said, quickly attempting to move around him as I said it.

Somehow though, he was again right in front of us, blocking our way.

"Your wife is in the best of hands right now, considering the level of medical equipment available here," the boy said.

"I'm sure she is, in terms of the doctor there, but in case you haven't noticed, there's a little kid over there getting into things," I replied, getting a bit angrier than I had been.

"Chang may look like a 'Little kid', as you put, it but let me assure you that he has more training and experience than the other doctor in combat injuries," the boy told us.

I know my mouth dropped open at hearing that, although I don't know if Mike's did.

"Look, there isn't time for this, you need to return to your seats and get strapped in, now" he said.

When we didn't move, he sighed and said, "Look here, I know things are pretty bad, and what's worse, strange for you, but you're gonna have to return to your seats and trust us, even though I know that's real hard for you to do right now. Trust me, we've gotten you this far in one piece, and if they have anything to say about it, they'll get you the rest of the way too, but you're going to have to trust us."

I looked over at Linda and the two working on her, before finally looking back at the boy.

There was something about him that I couldn't place, but suddenly, like I had before, I put my faith in a complete stranger, and touching Mike's arm, said, "Okay." Turning, I walked back with Mike to our seat with Mike making comments the whole way.

His last being, "This is beyond strange to have a kid doing advance medical stuff like that," I just shook my head before replying, "This whole fucking night has been beyond strange, but somehow, I believe that boy and frankly we don't have a whole lot of choice unless you want to start a firefight on this bird out here in the middle of fucking nowhere and hope it stays in the air while we're doing it."

At the end of that, I just looked down at the floor, feeling the tears starting to fall again and heard nothing more from Mike.

I knew that Mike liked to be in control of situations, and I depended on him doing just that, but here, he really wasn't and worse, there wasn't anything really feasible we could do about it. He had my family and me, but more importantly, that of his, to worry about and being totally not in control of anything going on, and depending on people, kids at that, that we didn't know just had to be sticking in his throat big time.

I couldn't blame him though, even though there was something about that Casey fellow, and now the boy, that for some reason made me trust them, I couldn't for the life of me tell you why.

We were in a ship flying to God knows where, and with God knows who, and to put it bluntly, I was scared, scared for myself and scared for my kids, Mike, Eric and his kids and the personnel who had placed their trust and faith in me.

What was worse for me, and guaranteed for Mike, was we had no control over anything that was happening.

Suddenly, I heard a child's voice cry out loudly "Sammy" and saw the small boy heading rapidly in Sammy's direction, which wasn't near us at all. Mike was also watching intently but didn't seem to be moving to get up. After all, it was only a kid.

Sammy's POV

I had seen my dad and Uncle Jack suddenly get up and start moving towards where they had Auntie Linda, and watched as some boy got in front of them. They seemed to be talking when they suddenly turned around and went back to their seats.

I couldn't see Dad's face, but the way he walked said he was not happy right now.

Even that couldn't take my mind away from my head, it freakin hurt like hell and blood was still dripping some, as I held the bandage to the side of my head.

Why had this all happened?

They really attacked us, like with guns and everything. Our own military attacked more of our own military. That just wasn't supposed to happen.

Now Auntie Linda was hurt real bad, and so was Chris. The worst thing though, was I'd seen them doing CPR on Auntie Linda.

I tried real hard to keep the tears in, but I could feel some coming out anyway. Damn, please don't die Aunt Linda, please, was all I could think when I heard someone yell "Sammy!" and looked up to find a boy moving quickly over to me.

He was about nine, I guess, and I had no idea who he was as he came closer to me.

But he was very soon there and talking a lot, real fast like, and asked me "When did you guys get here? Is the Trinity here, too? How about Uncle Mike?" before placing his hand over mine and removing both from the cut I had in my head. Looking at it real close, he then said, "Ouch… you really need to protect that head of yours, Sam Sam."

Did he ever stop talking, and so fast, I wondered as he looked into what looked to be some type of first aid kit.

"That'd be me, and yeah, dad and the Trinity are here, too…." was all I got to say, before he started talking again, real fast, too.

I noticed he was taking out a new bandage to put on my head, as he was saying "Looks like you're gonna need some stitches there, but I'll let Chang or mom deal with that. Knowing you, though, you don't wanna any pain killers."

Before I could even ask what he was talking about, since I sure as hell did want pain stuff, he raised his head and looked at me and I could see tears coming to his eyes. More than that, I felt the mixture of happiness and pain inside the boy, as he said, "I'm just so happy to see you…" then "Oh shit… Vish.. did he get here, too?"

I don't know why I did it, but I reached out and opened my arms to hug the kid and he fell into them, wrapping his around me. We just held each other tight, before I said, "I'm sorry, I don't know how to say this, that won't hurt you, but whoever you think I am, well I'm not. I don't know who you are, and have never heard of, what did you say, Vish? I'm sorry," saying it, I could feel, hurt in the boy, and he stiffened in my arms.

He pulled back from the hug and looked me right in the eyes for a second. I felt a soft something in my head and wondered if maybe he could mind talk like me and the Trinity could. After looking at me for several moments, before saying "Sorry, I know this is weird, but I'll have to explain later." I looked at him and got the feeling I wasn't the person he thought I was and reached out taking his hand before saying "Okay, I'll wait, but, well, I'm sorry I couldn't be that kid for you."

I watched as the boy nodded saying, "it's okay. It's not your fault." then quickly wiped away a tear before turning to the soldier sitting next to me and began working on him now.

Feeling the pain coming from him, as he told me that, somehow I felt like I wished I could have been that other boy for him.

Jack's POV

It seemed to take forever but was over before the flight seemed to have left.

I felt the ship rapidly descending and then the powerful engines rev up with tremendous force, while at the same time, the boy who had talked with Sammy screamed over the sound of the engines "Everyone that can walk needs to exit the helicopter immediately. Please step off to the left and wait until the injured are taken inside!" then the helicopter flared and set down, the ramp already descending.

We all unstrapped and helped the kids who needed it before running out of the helicopter as we'd been told, only to turn and face that ramp as we watched people running into it, while our people spread out to attempt to set up some semblance of security around the area.

They all seemed to be kids, and suddenly the boy who spoke with SamSam and another, picked up seventy pound stretchers and tossed them over their shoulders as if they weighed nothing and ran into the aircraft.

Mike and I both looked at one another in disbelief, but soon realized we were being swarmed by our children. It got worse, as Linda suddenly came flying out of the back with the woman doctor at her side and before we could do more than gasp, which was followed by Chris on another with the boy riding his.

They didn't seem to be doing CPR on Linda anymore, which meant that it was either a very good thing or a very, very bad thing.

I felt Andy burying his head into my side after seeing arterial spurting periodically coming from Chris's chest area as he went by.

I knew what they had to be doing, but it didn't make it any easier to see it, and Andy, not to mention the rest of the kids, had no clue about any of it, other than the blood, all that blood already running off the stretchers as they went by.

I couldn't let Linda and Chris get out of my sight though, and as much as I knew they needed a lot of love and reassurance, I also knew we needed to be there in the waiting room, so I gathered Andy in my arms and said, "Guys, we gotta go with mom and Chris, okay?" as I began walking rapidly, with kids still attached, after my wife and son.

We caught up with them just as the elevator doors closed on the two of them and just stood there stunned, not noticing the two boys who had been following us.

I heard a soft "Are they gonna….gonna…." out of Andy as I knelt down to find him looking at me with tears running down his face and also found all the other children looking at me, too. I took a deep breath before saying "I…I really hope they're going to be okay, baby. I really do, but mom's hurt really bad, and I just don't know. Chris is hurt really badly too, but they said they thought he was going to be alright. One thing I can say is that they're doing everything they possibly can to make sure they'll be okay."

Mike, Eric and I suddenly had all the kids going for an adult to try and wrap their arms around and cry on, and damn it if I couldn't feel some on my own face as well.

Some of them, we even had to pull to us, because they were just standing there with blank looks upon their faces. It broke my heart to see mine and Mike's babies in this condition, but I didn't know what else to do other than love them right now, at least.

Suddenly I heard a boy's voice call, "Hey, guys," and looked up to find two boys suddenly being stopped by our security people. I watched, as they spoke softly and the kids very slowly gave their side arms to the detail protecting us. I did hear one of the boys say "We're here to help," though.

Once the guns were gone, I nodded to the officer who glanced at me and the first boy who had spoken, spoke up again, "As I was starting to say a few moments ago, I don't think we've been properly introduced, yet. My name is Daileass, and this cute guy next to me is my boyfriend Haden."

A few of the boys made mumbling noises, I suppose, of welcoming or at least acknowledgement, before I said, "Hello, my name is Jack, and the adults here are Mike and Eric, and these are our children."

I watched as Daileass nodded and then said, "It's a pleasure to meet you, and your children, Mr. President. I only wish it were under better circumstances." Before he stopped for a moment. He sounded more adult than a nine year old should, but after what I'd seen so far, nothing would probably surprise me at this point.

He continued on then, saying, "Adam, who is the head of our group has asked us to look after you and give you whatever support that we can. Right now, there are a few different options available to you," he said, stopping once again, I presume to make sure I was really listening, so I nodded my head and he went on.

"Right now, your wife and son are in surgery in our medical ward. We can take a few of you down there, if you would like, but I need to warn you ahead of time that it's an open trauma bay, so it's probably not going to be appropriate for everyone to be in there, if you understand where I'm going with that. If any of you are hungry, we can swing by the cafeteria and grab a few snacks. Or, if you would like, we can take you to the Presidential Suite area that we have setup for you to stay in."

At that point, he stopped, obviously waiting for me to come to some decisions, as I looked to Mike and Eric hopelessly. Our children needed us, yet I had to be there for Linda and Chris. I was torn in two and I could tell Mike noticed it as he said, "Eric and these boys can handle the kids…" But I stopped him saying, "Mike you need…." but he didn't let me finish as he said "I need to be there with you, and for you."

I bowed my head in thanks for having such friends as this, but a few of the children cried, "No, please don't go," which choked me up to hear as I looked up into their fearful and almost desperate faces. I looked at Mike again before turning to my kids while he turned to his.

"Listen, guys, Eric and these boys will take good care of you, and make sure you're safe…." I was saying but cries from them again quickly interrupted me. I gave them some hugs and gentle caresses before saying gently, "Someone has to be there for mommy and your brother, and that's my job. If I could be in both places, I would, but I can't. I promise you that I'll come back as soon as I can, but you don't want mommy and Chris being alone, now, do you?"

I got a couple obviously reluctant nods and nothing from some, but I hoped they understood as I told them, "You know Uncle Eric, and that he loves you and won't let anything or anyone hurt you."

I didn't get any responses this time, so I gently pushed them towards their Uncle Eric, and stood up. Eric got the idea and started pulling them to him, and hugging them.

I knew they didn't like it, and neither did I, but I had to be with Linda and Chris, one way or the other.

I finally replied to Daileass and told him, "I…I think it would be best if you could take them to the suite you mentioned." Stopping to look over them again before going on. "Some of them need to get cleaned up and into new clothes. I also think a nice hot shower or bath might be soothing to them, at least I hope so." I stopped thinking about it before continuing. "All of them are in some degree of traumatic shock from the events that have taken place. You may have to literally do everything with some of them. After that, if you can get them to eat something, that would probably help also, but don't be surprised if they don't eat or eat much." I stopped again before Mike took my arm and said, "It's okay, Jack, Eric will figure it all out and take care of them, try not to worry about that too."

"How?" I softly asked.

He didn't, couldn't answer me on that, but turned to Eric to say, "After that, try getting them down and ask if there are any sedatives here appropriate to administer to children, because I think some or all of them are going to need them even if they protest it."

Eric nodded and said, "I will," as I turned back to the two boys.

"I guess we can go down now, if you'll help with the kids and Eric and just call me Jack, please," I told them before walking over to the lead protection officer to have a couple of words.

"Listen, we wouldn't be alive right now if they didn't save us, and we've been around their weapons the entire time. I think if they wanted to hurt any of us, they could have just stayed home, so you pass it around not to interfere with anybody here and their weapons, understood?" I said in a no nonsense voice. I didn't need to deal with this shit right now.

"But sir……" he started, and I raised my voice a bit, saying, "Did you understand my direct order?" He finally replied "Yes, Sir," and I pointed back to the two boys he'd taken their weapons from, before I walked back over to join Mike and watched as they were returned to the boys.

Daileass looked at me then, and said, "Jack," placing emphasis on my name as he took a step forward before continuing, "In that case, if it's alright with you, Haden will escort you and Mike to the infirmary, and I'll take Eric and the kids to the Presidential Suite. I'm pretty sure your protective detail will want to be close by, so they can stay in the room that will be right across the hall."

I simply nodded in agreement, and he began speaking again. "Also, I'm sure we will get into more details about how this is later, but for now, I just need you to accept that I have an awful lot of experience working with kids, especially traumatized ones, so I'm sure between Eric and I, they will be taken care of. As far as sedatives go, I'm medically trained and certified to administer them if it comes to that, but hopefully, after we get them some warm relaxing baths, and a few minutes to unwind, that won't be necessary."

I nodded, hoping there was a chance of what he said actually happening, but I feared it might not. I guess Mike and I would find out later, baths could really sooth and act as a wonderful way to bond and show a child love, and I prayed they might work their magic on ours tonight. I was also worried about nightmares, or even night terrors hitting them.

I heard Mike softly whisper, "Don't," and I knew he knew what was rushing through my mind.

I shook my head and remembered Daileass was standing there along with Haden, waiting for an answer.

I simply said, "That would be fine. Thank you, for everything; we thank you and your friends."

Daileass nodded, and I watched him head over to Eric and then, taking the lead, began to lead them out of the room.

It hurt like hell to see them go, and that I couldn't be with them, especially as I watched them leaving, several turned back to look at me with a lost look on their faces.

I felt Mike take my arm and grip it tightly, just knowing what I was going through, mostly because he was probably going through it as well.

I watched each and every one of them as they left, followed by the protective detail and was still standing there staring into empty space when I heard the other boy, Haden say, "If you'll follow me…" which brought my attention reluctantly back to him.

I nodded and he moved over to the elevator pressing a button to call it and shortly, thereafter when it arrived, he led us onto it, taking it down to the trauma bay, where two of my most precious of things of all were fighting for their lives.

The doors opened and he led us out and over to the area outside the trauma bay, where I could see my wife and child being worked on, desperately, to save their lives. Blood was on everyone it seemed and it was certainly on… well, covering the floor.

My eyes couldn't leave the sight before me, as I sent a prayer of one word out "Please…"

It was Mike's yelling out which pulled me suddenly back from them, as his voice was asking, "What in the hell do you think you're doing?"

My eyes followed where Mike was looking, and I finally took notice of the second room even as Mike started forward.

I quickly caught up with him as we both said, "If you do that, you'll kill them."

Before we could get there, Hayden seemed to fly by us and suddenly we found him standing in the doorway blocking our path

"Guys, I know it might look bad, but please give them a moment to explain what's happening." The young boy said, as we were forced to stop suddenly in front of him.

A young teen quickly responded, saying "No, Haden," as he raised his head to look directly at us and then saying, "Let them in…they both need to know what's going on."

Haden nodded to the teen and stepped into the room, opening the door as he went, and holding it open for the both of us to enter. Once we were in the room, before we could even say anything, the teen boy sitting there said, "I know you have a lot of questions, and I promise to answer them. Why don't you guys take a seat, and we'll begin."

Both Mike and I managed to turn and be looking at each other before I nodded, and we sat down.

Almost as soon as we had taken our seats, we suddenly found ourselves somewhere else.

I jumped to my feet, Mike right beside me as we looked around the room. It was unbelievable.

What damn sure looked like holograms, like you saw in science fiction television shows, were on three tables showing different scenes on each. Then, along an entire wall were banks of monitors, also of a futuristic nature.

Just where in the hell were we?

After staring in complete disbelief, we turned back to the boy and his friends who we just noticed were in the room with him. Haden, we knew, and I recognized the boy who had been talking to SamSam, but the others I didn't know.

Finally, stopping our examination on the teen boy who had first spoken to us I asked, "Just what in the hell is going on, and where in the hell are we? Because this technology is beyond anything we have."

It was then we actually noticed the boy, and more importantly, what he was wearing, which left us with our mouths open in shock. This kid was in an immaculate Special Forces dress uniform and looking at his chest and seeing some of what was on it, left me speechless. Since Mike didn't say anything, it seemed like it affected him similarly.

My God, could this be real? Some of those medals were, well almost unbelievable, but even more so on a child.

If we hadn't been confused as hell already, the shock of seeing this would have done it all on its very own.

The teen had an almost half smile on his face at what I assumed was because of seeing our stunned look, and what he said next confirmed it.

"Sorry sir, but fainting is not allowed, here. As a matter of fact, it's not possible."

I looked over to Mike and watched, as after opening and closing his mouth several times finally got out, "Do we really want to know where 'Here' is?"

The teen's response was "Well, sir, the easy answer is very complicated. However, in all actuality, you all are in my mind."

This time it was I who interrupted with, "We're WHERE?"

The boy calmly replied, as I was wondering where I could get a tranquilizer from, "This is what is called a Mental Scape. Basically, I have brought all of you into a creation of my mind. Although, this room is actually a reconstruction of my office where we came from."

Then I got the shock of my life, and saw that Mike also was blown away as suddenly in our heads, we heard the teens voice telling us, 'If you think about it, you already know some people who have a bit of the same mental abilities I am showing now.'

I heard Mike almost whisper "Sammy and the triplets," while I was speaking in the same shocked voice, "Chris and Andrew."

"Very good," the teen said, smiling. "They have not been trained as far as I can tell, but they're doing pretty well. But, that is something we can get into later. I brought us here to explain a few things to you guys, and make it so we had plenty of time to answer all of your questions before going back. See, time in here passes differently than in the real world; here, conversations happen at the speed of thought."

Mike was just looking at the boy, but I had a million questions, none of this made sense, you couldn't do what he just said he did. What the hell were we dealing with, aliens or something? I'd seen the classified files on several contacts, but none of them were human looking.

This was almost too much to take in, it was unimaginable.

Finally though, I started off with, "We're…ah….in your mind? How is that possible? You said this was your office, how? It has things in it, I'VE never seen and I've seen a lot. Just who are you and what do you want? Are you aliens? Why are you in a uniform like that? Those are Special Forces uniforms, and the medals….how did you get those, if they're real? How did you know about the kids?

I finally stopped to catch my breath and was going to start again when the older boy let out a small sigh, accompanied by a smile. "Sir, I promise you that you will get the answers to most, if not all of your questions; however, it will make much more sense, if you allow me to tell you everything from the beginning. So, if you would please sit down, I will begin. I only ask that you hold off on any questions you may have, until after I am done."

I had a lot of questions, but finally I just nodded and we sat and watched as the teen, along with other boys, took seats of their own with the older boy sitting on the edge of his 'Desk'.

"First, you have to know something about the place we are in. I can't really get into all the details, cause I don't know exactly how it works, that's Logan's area of expertise. What I can tell you is this. If you think about it long and hard, you will be able to tell exactly what I am saying is truth or not. It is impossible to, when talking mind to mind like this, say something that is deceptive, and not have the feeling of deception come through."

He stopped at that point clearly awaiting a response from us. I looked at Mike and I knew he had no better of an idea of what the kid was talking about than I did, but we both nodded our heads slowly which confirmed that was what he was waiting for, as with smile, be began again.

"To truly understand what we are doing right now, you need to know a lot more about whom, and more importantly what we are. No, we are not aliens. We are all humans, for the most part. We arrived in this universe only a few hours ago…" At that, I saw Mike stiffen and open his mouth and I was about to when the boy held up his hand stopping him and asked, "Please let me finish."

I watched as Mike's mouth snapped shut and didn't bother to open mine, but we both nodded as he began again, "Yes, we are from a different universe. How we got here, or anything else like that, we have no idea. But if you look around, this was my office. As you can see, the technology we're used to is a lot higher than what you have here. The reason I bring that up is to help you understand the next part, and that is, who we are."

He stopped and took a deep breath before the beginning of this part and said "First off, my official rank is General Adam Casey, commanding officer of ALL U.N.I.T. Forces. U.N.I.T. stands for the Universal Next-generation Infiltration Team. Everyone here, except for Haden, was genetically engineered to be a super soldier. Faster, stronger, more agile, heal quicker, go days without sleep, everything a soldier would need to be. I mean who would think of someone like Juan…" and we watched as this boy called Adam pointed to this sweet innocent looking kid who I had recognized as the one speaking to SamSam on the helicopter, and he continued on "Was someone who had the ability and training to kill someone from over a mile away. Can use almost any fire arm created, and is good enough to knock out a surface to air missile in mid-flight."

Without stopping, he then looked over to another small boy about the age of my twins and said "Then we have Jory, he has an advanced doctorate degree in chemistry. He's our munitions and explosives expert. He's been known to, just for fun, rig up explosive charges to the bottom of trees, just to see how far up in the air he can get the tree to fly, while trying to keep it mostly intact."

"What?" The boy said, giving off such a sweet smile that very much reminded me of my twins or SamSam, that it frightened me. My God though, he blows up trees for fun? I hate to think what he does when he's pissed.

I just couldn't help staring back and forth from Adam to this little one called Jory. To say I was stunned, didn't quite describe, it not to mention the kid looked like he was going to start bouncing off the seat in excitement.

Adam just laughed at seeing it and I didn't know whether to join him or be horrified and I don't think Mike did either.

Finally though, as the laughter died down he spoke again, "You remember the Helicopter that buzzed you as you went down?" Both of us nodded affirmative to that as he resumed, "That was flown by another one of my brothers, and his boyfriend. Both of them are only twelve. However, in a single Hind-D gunship, they took out four of the jets that were trying to shoot you down. One of the remaining being shot down by Juan, which you saw, and the last one deciding to bug out instead of facing Will, one on one."

"You know he's gonna be insufferable now. I mean he already had a huge Ego, but now!" Sammy's little friend said as he began laughing again joined in by Adam and the others.

Watching them, it was like they were ordinary kids one moment and somehow without losing that, talking about some really grown up stuff. Other times though, I didn't get that feeling at all, but like I was being spoken to by an adult contained within a child's body.

I watched as Adam's laughter died down and his face followed by his voice took on a more serious tone as he began the next part of his tale. "In the universe we came from, I had well over ten thousand troops under my command; almost a full quarter of them being genetically enhanced, the rest, normal people who went through our training. Our main job was to protect and rescue abused and abandoned children, no matter where they were at. Now, though, we're here. We're not going to stop trying to figure out how to go home, but it would be completely against our creed to just sit by and allow things to happen when we might be able to help."

My God, what kind of universe must it have been to do something like that to children for God's sake? What kind of place was it that such a young boy was forced into being a commanding general of over ten thousand troops? Even more horrifying, was to attempt to imagine a place where ten thousand of these troops were needed to save kids in danger and even worse why was it that it was left to the children to do the job of the adults?

The super soldier concept wasn't nothing new, and I'd seen classified documentation about it in the past, but we never did it and we sure as hell would never do it to children, for Christ's sake. What little experimentation which had been done was done humanely and on volunteers from the military. It didn't harm anyone, really, other than some allergic reactions but we'd abandoned those avenues years and years ago, before my time. Some of what the scientists had speculated about might, in the future, be capable of being done but they still did not involve children. Although that one doctor from clear back in the seventies, had speculated about doing things from scratch or even experimenting on children. But, the President of the time had felt so disturbed by what he'd seen and even more after he'd made it a point to meet the man, that executive action had been authorized on the subject. Never would that occur in this country.

Mike, I could tell, was as shocked to his core as I was and after hearing all this, I finally realized what Adam had said in the beginning about being able to 'feel' the truth was true. Because, as much as we wanted these things to be lies, we could 'Feel' the truth that they were not.

Finally, Mike muttered "Okay….." but had to stop, just shaking his head in what I'd guess was an attempt to comprehend it all. I know I still was and that included the parts I really didn't want to comprehend.

After a few moments, Mike managed to stammer out, "What about what your guys are doing now? I mean your blood and all?"

Adam smiled, "Yes, that. When the doctors created us, they also made it so that our blood can be transfused into any human. The way we were trained, and the mindset they instilled in us was simple. We're less than human, we're there to do the things that would be harmful to a normal, and that our lives are not worth as much as a normal's. So it was expected, that if a normal was ever in a situation where they needed a lot of blood, and needed it fast, there would be no problem draining one of us dry, to save their lives. Not to mention, we can rebuild our blood supply a lot quicker than say, you two could."

There was stunned silence after that on our part, and I knew anger had filled me as he'd told me the things which he did. I could see Mike knotted up and in as much of a mood to kill something as I was, and I had no doubt what it was, either. How could that attitude ever exist towards a child? High technology be damned, because they may have been super high tech, but their society sounded barbaric.

Mike finally said, "If you ever get back to your universe, you're taking me along for the ride, cause I gotta little errand to run when I get there," and he wasn't smiling as he said it.

One tiny thing and I knew because I felt the rage as well, would send Mike off and me as well at this point.

How the hell does anybody do this to little children and the God damned U.S. Military, to do it cut to the bone for both of us. That was NOT what WE did, fucking EVER!!!

"You can add me to that list of passengers," I said as well.

Trying to reign in emotions as best I could, and even knowing there were tears in my eyes, I looked at the boys settling finally on Adam and said, "I can't….I don't know what to say, except I'm so, so very sorry" and stopped there just not knowing what else to say. All the millions of questions I had, seemingly gone after hearing what this boy had said.

We just sat there stunned. I didn't know what to say after all this. For the U.S. Military to deliberately set out and make these children feel like they were worthless, and that they were somehow subhuman and expendable in relation to a so called 'Regular' human was something I just couldn't comprehend and neither, I knew, could Mike.

If anything, they were above human, but definitely not sub to anything.

"Sir…" Adam started calmly. "While we all appreciate the sentiments, the persons who were involved with this have already been dealt with. Also, one thing you will never see from us is regret at what we have been made into." He turned and looked Mike right in the eyes. "You, well you in our universe, had the pleasure of killing the mastermind behind the Genesis Project. Before you killed him, though, you delivered my thanks to the man. Thanks for turning us into what we are, so that we could rescue and protect so many others."

I had started to respond when he said what he did about Mike, who got a look on his face like he's been sucker punched and hard.

"Me?" he asked in disbelief. "There's a me in your universe?" was his next question, followed by, "At least the other me got to take the bastard out, but nothing can make what he did right."

I stood up and went to Adam, placing my hand on his shoulder. "From what you've told us, no one here expects you to regret who you are and what you've accomplished. But son, what was done to you, the way you were raised, and the way you were treated, no matter how you feel about it now, was terribly, terribly and horribly wrong." I said to him, but quickly saw a flash in his eyes so in an attempt in trying to head off what I thought the problem might be, I quickly added, "That isn't pity, son, it's genuine sorrow for what they did. No one should be treated like a dog and even worse, but that especially applies to children. From what little you've told us, you turned that horrid abuse around and made something extremely good out of the pain and terror that was thrust upon you. That, son, means you have a whole hell of a lot to be proud of and every right to feel that pride. Not only for what you have accomplished on a personal level, but also in being able to turn hell into something good and fighting for other children that suffered under abuse, even if it wasn't as bad as yours was. Do you understand what I'm saying, Adam?"

He didn't say anything for a moment, and I was really hoping I had gotten across what I truly felt and meant to him when he answered, "Yes, sir, I do. And…thank you." I started to breathe a sigh of relief when he went on "However, there is one more thing that needs to be discussed before we can go back."

I nodded as the both us of retook our seats and he began again. "We have found that there are some… unusual properties about our blood." And that quick, my relief turned into worry and fear, but before I could ask anything Adam must have sensed it, because he quickly raised his hand and continued. "The effects are not damaging, but you still need to be aware of them."

Mike just nodded and sat back slightly and I slowly nodded my head as well interested to hear what he was talking about. "The first time we did this, it was for Joe, my father. There was a sky diving accident, and my shoot wouldn't open right, putting me into a dead spin." He said. That caused a shudder to run through my body, and I saw the same on Mike, thinking about what we called a 'Dead Man's Spin'. There was a reason that it was called that. In all my years in the services, I'd only known or heard about four people surviving the landing. Three hadn't made it out of surgery. The fourth had in the end been consigned to a rest home. All extremities amputated, with tubes to shit out of, piss out of and eat out of. They would have been there for the rest of the guy's life, anyway, but the extensive brain injuries had left him in a complete vegetable. Fortunately, his friends had provided the 'Coup' so that didn't last more than a month.

To know the man who had approached us and brought up….who had brought up Dave, had not only survived it, but was up and running around in one piece, that is unless their tech was so advanced they could actually build the bionic man of television was another thing to add to this day of unbelievable things.

Adam began to go on and I focused my attention back on him, rather than my thoughts. Somehow, I knew this involved Linda and Chris.

"We had done a static line jump, so all the shoots opened automatically. However, when mine misfired, Joe was already flying. He released his primary shoot, and nose-dived trying to catch me. I was trying to release my primary, but even with my strength, the spin had me unable to do even that. He did catch up to me, got me righted, and released the misfired shoot. Then he pulled my reserve. The problem was, by the time he kicked away from me, and pulled his own reserve, he was way too close to the ground to get slowed up enough. When he landed, he shattered almost every bone from his mid chest down." I gasped at hearing this, and what the poor boy must have gone through during that time and I saw even now, as he retold the story, he had to wipe a tear away and pause a minute before he could go on. I really wanted to, and almost did, get up to just wrap him in my arms and hug him to me. I could see Mike felt the same way, but for some reason, I wasn't sure Adam would appreciate that being done, so we didn't, but I know both our hearts went out to him and maybe this mind scape stuff would let him know how we felt and help, maybe just a little, but help nonetheless.

"The point of this is, sir, when he was in surgery, while Chang and mom struggled to save his life, he needed blood, lots of it. I gave him mine, close to three times what was in his body to begin with. It almost killed me to do it, but I wouldn't allow mom to stop.

To bring a long story short, we quickly found out that dad healed a LOT more than he should have. Hell, you saw him today in the rescue. Mom originally said he was lucky to only be bound to a wheel chair. But there are other effects besides that. He's never gotten even a sniffle, since then. He's markedly stronger than he should be, faster, and heals better than a normal human. He's not up to our standards at all, but he's more than a normal human. Mom says our blood went in and re-arranged some of his genetics to make that happen. It wasn't what the doctors thought would happen, but it had never really been tested before dad got hurt. Do you understand what I am saying?"

I had to think for a moment before finally looking up at him and saying "I think so. You're basically telling us that Chrissy and Linda will have their genetics altered, to be like you, to some degree. They'll have these….abilities but probably not to the degree you have them, if we do this." I said, to which Adam nodded.

I thought for a few more moments before finally asking, "What…umm…What about…the baby….What about our unborn child?" I asked, worrying mostly about him or her right now, as I think I had at least some understanding about the other two.

"Sir… we have no idea. The child may be just like your wife and son, but with the child still being unborn, it might make the effects stronger. We just have no way of knowing."

"At this point, it doesn't really matter, Adam, please, I'm….begging you, do whatever you can…to…to save them, please."

"We will, sir.. I give you my word on that." Adam said gently as he stepped forward opening his arms for what was quite obvious and something I'd wanted to do already, which I now did, take him in my arms and hug him close to me.

He whispered in my ear, "I promise you, everything humanly possible is being done, and a few things that normally aren't. Just pray; that's all we can do at this point."

I felt the tears come to my eyes as I hugged him tightly and replied, "That's all I have been doing and I'm not going to stop. Thank you. Seriously, I owe you all our lives and especially those of Chris and Linda. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, with everything in me, thank you because there'll never be a way to pay you back adequately, although I'm going to make it my mission to make sure you're welcomed here and have the best of anything you want or need. It's not much, but…well, thank you."

"We'll discuss that later, as well as the millions of questions I am sure you still have. But remember one thing, sir. We still have an asshole to take care of, and make him pay for what he did to your family." he told me.

"I haven't forgotten, Adam, but right now, everything in me is focused on my family; not only the ones here, but the ones upstairs. I don't know if you have one, but I think we may need some professional help for them. The time will come, though, I promise you that. As to the millions of questions, yeah, we definitely have them and when it's possible, I'd like to get to them. You know, Adam, I don't know why, but I'm sure as hell glad I trusted you and your people tonight, I really am." I replied.

He looked at me for a moment then said, "So am I, sir. Let's get out of here and do what we can to help your wife and son."

I just nodded to him as there wasn't really anything else to say right now.

With that, everything faded out and we were back in the room we had left from and as Adam had said, it seemed like no time had passed at all.

Mike and I were just standing there looking out the window of the room we were in, to the trauma bay, watching as they worked to save Linda and Chris's lives second by second and moment by moment, each stretching in what seemed like minutes or longer.

We were broken out of that almost trance like stare by Adam calling to us, "Sirs?" and both us turned around to face him and were surprised to see him blush before saying "We have a bit of an issue here, that we need your help with."

"Oh, what do you need and if we can, we'll do it?" I told him

"Well, with everyone rather busy, we didn't think to keep someone out of the action. Haden here can disconnect the blood bags, and reconnect new ones, but.. well, can either of you set up IV's? It'll help us replenish our supply, if we have an IV set up to put fluids back in."

"We both can," I replied as Mike nodded his head.

"Cool. If you go to the cabinet over there," Adam said while pointing with his free arm, towards the right. "You'll find everything you need, including bags of saline. You can get 18 gage needles in all of us, just put them in, and let the bags empty out, then hook up more. Haden will deal with unhooking the blood bags and taking them to mom." He told us, and with that we began to move.

I'm not sure how long we'd been there when two young boys came rushing in, both about twelve, although one had an obvious injury and was limping.

"What happened to you?" Adam asked the injured boy.

"Nothing much, just a piece of window stuck into my leg. We'll deal with it later." The boy replied, as he sat down hard on one of the seats available.

The other boy had gone over to a seat by Jory and clearly was preparing himself to join the others in giving blood when Adam introduced them saying "Jack, Mike, I'd like you to meet Will and his boyfriend Billy, they were flying the Hind gunship that took out the other jet fighters." He finished up, leaving both Mike and me staring at the two boys as the one named Will raised his hand slightly, but it was the other one who took all my attention and shocked me, but actually rocked Mike back on his feet as the boy named Billy said "Dad…"

Mike had a stunned look on his face, as he looked at the boy and then to me. But seeing the child's suddenly pale face, we both started for him with Mike reaching him first and picking him up saying, "Son, right now we need to get you an IV going to replace the blood you've lost before you pass out."

I knew he wasn't going to get into this right now with the boy in that condition, as I watched him put the boy gently down on a gurney, while I headed towards the cabinet containing IVs.

I had grabbed the IV and was turning back to the bed with the boy on it, and Mike just straightening up when Adam said, "Mike, he's not injured that badly." I saw Mike begin to open his mouth, but Adam kept on speaking "We'll explain it later, but….well, long story short. Where we come from, Billy's your son."

Mike had been about to look at the wound in Billy's leg, but those words stopped him dead, as he looked back and forth between Billy and Adam. "Your….Dad?" he gasped, finally stopping on Billy, whom I could see was fighting to hold back tears.

I knew Mike, and I wasn't surprised when he pulled Billy into a tight hug as he said "Oh, son, I am so sorry…." then just held on to him, caressing his back softly. That seemed to do it and Billy finally started to let some of the pain out as I realized that his dad hadn't come over with them, so he'd basically lost his dad. When he saw Mike, though….well it had to be hell to see his dad, who wasn't really his dad, at least not the one he'd known. I also knew Mike would be there for him always, and possibly even as a father. After all, it wouldn't be the first boy to catch Mike's heart and end up in his home as well.

I just watched as Mike held this hurt little boy to him as he sobbed his heart out, and could see the effect it had on Mike as well. There were tears in his eyes too, and I knew he felt the enormous pain the boy must be experiencing.

It was Adam's voice in my head asking me to get back to work that made me blush, having forgotten my primary task here was to help him and his brothers, so they could help my wife and son.

By the time I'd finished the newest round of getting all the kids set up with IVs, I found Mike to be holding the now sleeping Billy, still in his arms and still being caressed gently.

I went over and Mike gently lowered the sleeping boy to lie flat upon the gurney, and I knew he'd cried himself to sleep. Mike gently took a 4 by, and wetting it in saline, tenderly washed the boy's face, cleaning it and wiping the tear tracks away.

We both moved to the boy's leg hoping it wasn't serious, as Adam had said. If it was near the femoral artery, though, we'd have problems and would have to wait for x-rays before even trying to remove it. And to tell the truth, it would probably be best done by one of the docs here, than two washed up old military pukes with combat medical training.

After pouring some saline over the wound, we gently began to undo the bandage and sighed with relief after finding the piece of glass imbedded in the fleshy part of the thigh, and nowhere near anything serious. Mike nodded to himself and said, wait, let's get some pain meds in him before tackling the wound and proceeded to walk over to a drug cabinet where he took out a vial and syringe. As he brought it over, I could see that it was morphine and watched as he did the mental calculations in his head before putting the vial up, the needle into it, and then drawing out nine mg of it.

I watched as he got the air out, then capped it before setting it on a tray next to the bed. Meanwhile, I'd grabbed the xylocaine and filled a syringe with it as well, which I handed to Mike who put it on the opposite side of the tray before taking out a suture kit and scalpel, setting them down on the tray.

He picked up the syringe with the morphine in it and flicking it a couple of times made sure there were no air bubbles in it before shooting a spurt into the air and then moving to Billy's side. He went over, and I followed, to the double sinks and carefully washed our hands thoroughly, rinsing them and then taking a betadyne scrub brush to wash them, as well as our arms, even more. Once done, we rinsed off completely before finding sets of sterile gloves which we opened and donned.

Once finished there, we turned back to the boy, noticing his boyfriend watching us very carefully.

"We have to scrub up and give him some pain meds, before we go in and try to remove that. Don't be frightened, okay? I promise we'll take good care of him." I told him, to which I received a nod.

We walked back over to Billy and Mike took a betadyne wipe out and cleaned the area, before taking the syringe of morphine and beginning a slow subcutaneous infusion of it into Billy. Once done, he recapped the syringe and began to slowly massage the injection site, to speed intake of the drug into the boy's system.

Once done there, we moved down to the leg where Mike poured betadyne around the wound before administering copious amounts of xylocaine in and around the wound, and then I took the scalpel from Mike and made a small incision into the boy's thigh on either side of the glass and watched as Mike slowly and ever so gently began to work it up and out of Billy's leg.

It came out fairly easily, and afterward he poured more of the betadyne into the wound before rinsing it thoroughly with saline. We kept the saline rinse going as needed, so we could get a good look inside the wound to make sure no bits of glass were left inside which would cause problems, like infection later on.

But we couldn't see anything at all after about five minutes of looking around, so at that point I sponged the wound dry and Mike opened the suture kit and began to carefully stitch up the wound, doing, I could tell, every stitch with love, leaving the very end open for drainage.

We began cleaning around the wound and finally put some Neosporin liberally on it, before bandaging and wrapping the leg in gauze.

All in all, not too shabby for a couple of old bastards like us, I thought, as Mike moved back to the gurney with a couple of vials and a syringe.

I asked Adam, "Does he have any allergies?" and got a no from him so Mike began withdrawing some fluid from the first bottle and then some more from the second bottle, before clearing the syringe and cleaning another spot on Billy's arm.

After that, the tetanus and anti-biotic were given intramuscularly and it was done, as I watched Mike tenderly pull a blanket up over Billy, tucking it under the boy's chin. Other than stirring a couple of times, Billy went through it all without waking once.

I could still see Will staring at us, so I moved over and smiling, softly told him, "It went real well. We got the glass out and there are no glass fragments in his wound, and it stitched up nicely. We just gave him a tetanus shot and one of antibiotics, to last him until a doc can prescribe a regular regimen, but I don't see any problems coming up."

"Thanks, Sir, I appreciate it," he told me. "Not a problem, son, anything we can do we will, okay" I replied.

He nodded and I went back over to Mike who was looking down at the sleeping Billy. He whispered to me "My son…" and I could tell he was still shaken by what he'd been told, so I simply grabbed his arm and squeezed gently which elicited a small smile from him, before we walked back over to the window and watched.

And watched….

And watched some more…..

I overheard some of the medics talking about the woman doctor 'Janet' along with the young boy named 'Chang' and how they were doing things they'd never seen before, and even things they thought weren't possible. But overrunning it all was an almost thread of awe, when speaking about them, and that coming from these men, gave me an even better feeling of hope about the outcome.

I'd lost track of time, but it seemed like at least an hour or more had passed when Chang suddenly stood away from Chris and it took a medic stepping in, to get my heart started again, knowing the medic was there to finish and sew up my boy.

Then something really strange happened, as we watched, Chang walked to the head of Chris's bed and placed a hand across my boy's forehead and just stood there for several minutes before lowering his hand from Chris's forehead and opening his eyes. But then, he went over and repeated the same process, only longer, on Linda, and you could tell whatever he was doing was taking a toll on him, as we could see the beads of sweat break out on his forehead even from here.

Finally though, he lowered his hand and stepped away before stopping to watch Janet for a few moments, then he turned and began walking towards the door into our room.

He entered the room and immediately went to the sink where we'd washed up not that long ago, and began to scrub his hands and arms, which were coated in blood, thoroughly.

Suddenly, the silence was broken by his voice saying, "You have a very strong boy there, Mr. President."

I didn't know what to say and before I could, he continued, "All he was worried about the entire time was not how he was doing, or if he would die. He was worried about his family." What?

"How… how do you know that?" I finally breathed out, and could feel the tears brimming over in my eyes. He was only worried about us. Damn.

"Chang is almost as strong telepathically as I am," Adam said softly into the stunned silence.

"That is correct. After I finished repairing the damage to his shoulder, I spoke to him mentally for a few moments. Some of what we shared is private, but I will tell you the same thing I told him about his injuries. He is going to be sore, and his shoulder will always probably be a bit more than sore, but he will heal completely from this ordeal." The boy, Chang, told me.

I let out a breath I didn't realize I had been holding and could feel the tears I'd been trying to hold back win the losing battle, as I said, "Thank you….I…I…Thank you so much."

He then finished and turned around to face us, saying, "It was my honor," very seriously then continuing in that same serious tone, "You are a good father, and a good man. You are someone I could easily swear myself to, and it may soon come to that."

I heard a gasp, and found it had come from Adam and wondered what was wrong. It had to be something the other boy had said, considering the shocked look upon his face.

I watched as he straightened himself up as much as he could, considering he had two IVs running in him and looked exhausted by all the blood he was giving and said, "Mr. President." I simply nodded my head and he went on "When we were being trained, we were all taught about Honor. Honor in the sense of the ancient Samurai. Chang took those lessons to heart, more than any of the rest of us. He truly IS a Samurai. Saying that he could swear himself to your service is the greatest honor Chang could bestow on someone. Only once, did any of us swear ourselves to someone else, and that was me. However, because it was me who did it, I bound all of us to his service. Simply put, any of us would gladly lay down our lives to protect the one we are sworn to. Not only that, but we would fight through the armies of Hell itself to protect the one who holds our oath. I hope you understand what I am saying."

Before I had even a chance to respond to that stunning revelation, Chang spoke again saying, "I also spoke briefly with your wife and unborn son," and it was like someone had punched me in the stomach, not only my wife, but I had a son. Our unborn child was going to be a boy. I didn't know what to say, and couldn't even have spoken, I don't think, even if Chang hadn't waited and went on as he did. "I am equally impressed by the strength they have shown. She asked that I share two things with you. The first one, while she would not tell me what it meant. She asked me to remind you of the vows you took. Not your marriage vows, but the vows you gave to each other, when you decided to run yet again, for the office of the Presidency." Again, I couldn't answer, but felt the tears running down my face as I nodded and he told me, "The only other thing she told me was this. I will quote her word for word." He didn't say anything and I slowly raised my head locking my gaze to his, which is what he seemed to be waiting for, as he repeated word for word, what Linda had said, "Make that fucker pay!"

God that was my Linda alright, I thought, smiling to myself and I could see Mike, with a smile in his eyes, as I told Chang thank you for that and then went over to the window to watch them work on her.

I just couldn't stop thinking about what she'd said and the baby, not to mention Chris. The thoughts just kept going around in circles and wouldn't stop, a whirlwind encompassing my entire mind.

I remember those vows, and knew I'd keep my end of it up, but damn it, Linda, you'd better be there beside me too. I thought, hoping maybe she'd somehow hear me, I also begged for her to come back to me, to us.

Then, thoughts of the boy, Chang, and what he'd said at the end along with Adam entered the rest and they, like the others wouldn't settle but kept going round and round with the words, "You are someone who I could easily swear myself to…"

Then I went back to silently praying.

I wasn't sure how long I just stood there looking at the scene before me, when I heard "Jack" from behind me and turned to find Adam looking at me. "I hope you don't mind, but, I think there are a few things that need to be discussed, sooner rather than later."

I couldn't think right now, and knew I had to, so I tried to come back to Adam and not what was in the other room at the moment. I glanced over at the clock and was surprised it was only four thirty in the morning; it had seemed like hours stacked upon more hours.

Finally, I straightened up and looked to Adam, meeting his gaze to let him know I was back and in the here and now to speak with him, nodding my head to go on.

"I can only assume that you have some military that you know is loyal to you, people that you would entrust you and your families lives to?" Adam said, to which I nodded again, as he continued, "This base is not native to your world, or so we believe. In the universe that we come from, this was an old gold mine that the government converted into a presidential bunker. I'm not going to try and explain, or figure out how it happened, but… what I am getting at is this. There is NO ONE in this universe that even knows of this base's existence, because, before yesterday, it did not exist."

I nodded, thinking about what that meant and could mean. A completely clean base of operations, that absolutely no one had the slightest chance of knowing about. The possibilities from a tactical standpoint were enormous.

"Now, this base can handle up to a thousand people, if they are cozy. Right now, we have your guys, plus twenty of us. So, that means we can have a whole lot more come in." Adam said, but stopped, and I noticed a look of frustration on his face as he sighed, putting sound to the look.

Then he continued, "What I mean to say is, that if you want to bring other people into the base. You're welcome to. I trust that you won't bring in anyone other than those you trust, cause of your family, and I am trusting that too, for my family."

Seeing the seriousness of what Adam was telling me, I nodded in equal measure and opened my mouth to speak when the doctor, Janet came in from the other room. I could see the exhausted look upon her face and very serious expressions overtake it as she looked at the boys arrayed around the room.

She then took something off her waist that seemed very familiar, yet I still couldn't place it, as she removed one part and waved it over each of the boys. Then, I'll be damned if it didn't look like one of those tricorder thingies off that old sci-fi series, but of course, it couldn't be……yet…

After checking each of the boys giving blood, she pronounced with great concern in her voice yet with the solid steel, that only comes from a mother "Juan, Jory, this is your last bag, at least for a little while," I could see Juan about to say something and from the look on his face, it was to protest, but she shot him one of those 'Mama' looks that I knew so well and the protest ended before it began.

"Your iron levels are dangerously low. You're both showing the first signs of Hypovolemic shock. After this bag is done, you're both to disconnect, eat a big meal, and sleep. Neither one of you are fit for duty till after you see me and get cleared… is that understood?" She told them in that 'Mama' voice and just like mine, they sheepishly nodded their heads and replied, "Yes, Mom."

It almost brought tears out again, thinking of what these kids were doing for me and mine. I knew what hypovolemic shock was, and it could easily be deadly, yet they were doing this for Linda and Chris, not to mention our unborn baby.

There is nothing on this earth that would ever be enough to thank them for this, and everything else.

While I was thinking, she turned to Billy's boyfriend, Will, and told him, "I'll let you do one more after this one, but then you're under the same orders." then Adam, after getting a nod of acknowledgement, "You get two more bags, that's it."

You could see they all knew better than to argue with her as Adam joined the procession of nods in acquiescence to her very clear orders.

Once she got that from all, she seemed to suddenly deflate, and in a gentler voice, said, "I know you guys are trying to help, and without what you've done, both of them would have died already, but you can't kill yourselves doing it."

All four boys nodded their understanding, and suddenly she was turning and looking straight at me.

My heart went to my throat, as she simply said "Let's sit."

We followed her to a small table that was in the room and sat.

I watched as she took a deep breath and began to speak in a soft voice.

"First, let's start with Chris. I know Chang gave you the basics, but I'll go a little bit more in depth. He took a bullet to the shoulder, while the bullet did make a tear in the artery there; the most damage came from the bone fragments. We've been able to repair the damage to the shoulder, and sew up the torn artery. He will be fine, but he will be in a lot of pain for a while. We did have to give him six units of blood, and, although I would have liked to give him more, he is in no further danger."

She stopped there to allow what she had said to sink in, and I felt a sudden weight off my shoulders. I know Chang had said he was going to be fine, but this whole kid thing being able to do things only adults could was going to take some getting used to, to put it mildly. Somehow, hearing it from an adult doctor settled that relief more into place than it had been earlier.

I could feel tears welling and tried to say, 'Thank you….thank you so much," finding my voice thick with emotion and getting words out was harder than I thought it would be, as I still fought those tears trying to escape.

"You're more than welcome." She replied with a smile as she reached across and took my hands into hers, holding them reassuringly as she said, "Linda and your unborn child," and I felt myself stiffen with a sharp indrawn breath.

"She is one hell of a strong woman. I've seen many patients give up and die with less serious wounds. She's received eighteen units of blood, so far, and frankly, the last seven are going to go right in as soon as they are ready." She said stopping to take a deep breath and I could tell she was about ready to drop herself, never mind her sons. But she steadied herself and continued, "I'll be honest here. It's now up to her. Her and God. Her brain scans are as normal as I would expect them, but that doesn't rule out the possibility of brain damage from the loss of blood. We'll only be able to tell if she wakes up. The blood has already started to do its thing, and her body is changing slightly. Whether it'll be enough… I'm not sure. However, I can give you this bit of good news. The baby is going to be fine, I think."

I felt a sense of relief fill me and knew if Linda had anything to say about it, she'd pull through and it was because of this lady and her children that it was possible at all.

Now it was up to God, to which I sent yet another prayer, as Janet looked back and met my eyes before continuing, "The next twenty four to forty eight hours will tell the tale. I'm sorry, I wish I had better news for you…"

"No," I said, trying to say it forcefully through all the emotion running through me, "You've done more than anyone could have asked. You and your family; no matter what happens, I know you've done far and above what could have been expected. For that, I thank you."

Janet nodded her head and squeezed my hand before pulling them from mine and saying, "Why don't I take you in there to see them? They are still both sedated, but I think I'll let Chris wake up in a few hours."

We both stood up and I tried to smile, but I'm not sure how successful it was before saying, "Thank you, I'd like that." She took us into the other room where my two babies looked so pale and fragile.

I sat and took one of each of their hands into one of mine and squeezed it tightly before just holding it and rubbing gently as I told them how much I loved them and needed them and more.

That was how we still were, with Mike rubbing my shoulders, in an attempt to comfort when we heard the door open, causing both of us to look over and see Adam standing in the doorway, and once he had our attention, he said, "I am sorry to disturb you, Mr. President."

I told him, "It's okay. What's going on?" As I slowly withdrew my hands from my wife and child.

"It seems President Asswood…." he was saying, bringing a little smile to both our faces, knowing where that came from, then went on "….Is about to make an announcement regarding the death of a wanted international terrorist…"

"That bastard…" I hissed as anger overtook me, that he'd dare do something like this. "Sir…" Adam broke in before I could say anymore. "We have the ability to send out a live broadcast from this base, completely secured. If you would like to…'correct' his mistaken impression."

I turned to look at Chris and Linda, then my own rumpled and blood covered suit before looking up angry and ready to take the son of a bitch on straight out. "You're damn right, I do," I said as I stood up and patted Chris on the shoulder and gave him a kiss on the forehead telling him in a whisper "I love you," before repeating the process with Linda and even laying a hand on top of the bulge of our son for a moment saying, "I know you're not here yet, but I love you too, little one."

With that, I turned back to Adam, straightened myself up and after taking a deep breath while meeting Adam's eyes, said, "Lead the way."

He wanted a fight, well he'll damn well get one then, and consequences be damned.

It was a grim procession that followed Adam down the hallway to the conference room. Jory, Juan, and Will had each grabbed a bunch of food, and were eating as they walked, while Chang was following behind them all, at a more sedate pace. Mike and I were right behind Adam, and more than ready to take on Ashwood.

"Normally, Sir," Adam said, as they turned a corner and continued down a different hallway. "I would normally suggest you change into something, less… bloody. However, I think given the current circumstances, it is appropriate."

"You're damn right it is. Let the world see the innocent blood covering me from Ashwood' s cowardly attack," I said stonily.

We walked and then turned down another hallway, where we entered into what was obviously a conference room, the like of which I'd seen many, many times before. In it, I saw a young teen that was running around the room in an obvious hurry getting different cameras and audio equipment set up, while one of what appeared to be a set of triplets looked to be setting up a large screen television, before running over to a laptop on a side table where he started tapping away at the keys.

He stopped when Adam came up to him and told him, "We should have a signal coming in shortly. I'm bouncing it off of seven different satellites, before it runs through land lines… in china, then back to a few more satellites, before I route it through the polar ice caps' military lines… then back up into space, then here. In other words… they'll have a fun time trying to figure out where the hell we are."

Damn, this kid was beyond good, to have done all that, I thought as Adam said "Good job, kiddo," before moving on to the desk in front of the cameras. Stopping there, he looked to me and said, "Sir, if you would like to either sit behind the desk, or on the desk, or however you would like to, this is where you will do your thing."

Before I could answer, the boy at the computer announced "Dickhead's coming live in thirty seconds!"

As I was about to say something again, the door opened and in walked two more children, and I watched as the young teen looked up and smiled at seeing them saying "Cool, you guys got here in time. Thanks. Haden if you could take this camera, and Barrett, grab that one over there. I'll let you know which camera is live, and all you have to do is make sure Jack is centered in the middle of the little screen you have. If I need you to do anything else, I'll let you know."

The two boys nodded and moved off to get their cameras and then the young teen turned towards me, walked over, and stuck out his hand which I took and shook as he said, "Sir, with all the confusion, I do not believe we have been properly introduces. "I'm Logan Hayes, Commanding officer of the INTEL Division, as well as current commander of what few combat troops we have, right now." Chuckling a bit before continuing. "Now I need to know what you want to do. We can cut you in at any time; all you have to do is signal it. If you want to wait till after he is done, and then make a response, we can do that, as well. It is entirely up to you."

I looked towards Mike and could tell he had the same ideas as mine floating around in his head, as I turned back to Logan and said, "Son, I think we'll let this bastard have a bit of rope, and once he's gone and done hanged himself good, we'll come in and explain life a bit to him. How's that sound to ya'll?"

Logan grinned saying, "I like that idea. Tell you what. You give me a signal, and I can have you live in three seconds. He should be starting in a few moments."

"That sounds good to me, and one other thing, as much as I hate to do this; I want to make sure you get my bloody clothes fully in the shot. I want the world to see them and know what the son of a bitch did to my wife and child."

Logan nodded and I moved over to the desk, sitting one edge of my butt on it. Then Mike said "give em hell" and started to back away.

"Just where do you think you're going?" I asked him, knowing exactly where he was going, away from the cameras.

"Just over here to watch things," he replied.

"Yeah, get your butt back over here, cause you're in this with me, remember?" I told him, giving him a slight smile.

"You know, I prefer….less….exposure," he finally finished.

"I know Mike, but it's important that I have my Vice President at my side, so come on, please" I asked him, only to get a nod as he joined me standing right next to me and ready for what was to come.

As if on cue, the TV turned on, and showed the seal of the President of the United States.

Press Secretary, Martin Engels, walked into the White house's packed press briefing room at exactly 6:59am, less than a minute before the national networks had been informed to expect a statement from the President. Stepping up the podium that the President himself would soon be standing at, he straightened his tie, and looked out amongst the eager reporters.

"Good morning," Mr. Engels began. "Before we begin, I would like to thank all of you for coming on such short notice, especially on such an important day. As I'm sure all of you are aware by now, the President has an important statement that he would like to make in regards to the International Terrorist Jackson Bryce. He'll be making his statement momentarily, after that, he will not be taking any questions at this time. As has been this administration's standard policy with such announcements, I would like to encourage any of you that have follow up questions to direct them to the White House's Public Affairs Office. Thank you."

Glancing around the room and seeing that there were no questions, Engels stepped to the side. About thirty seconds later, the side door opened up, and President Richard Ashwood entered the room and stepped up to the podium.

After waiting a few seconds, to allow news stations to start carrying him live across the nation and the world, he cleared his throat and began his statement. "Good morning, my fellow Americans. Today was meant to be an important occasion for every American, as we prepare to exercise our constitutional right to make our opinions known, and vote for those people we feel will best fill the vital roles of government. It is therefore, with heavy heart that I must step before you, my fellow citizens, and bring you this news."

After pausing a few moments for effect, he continued." At approximately 4:30am Eastern, 2:30am Mountain Time, the FAA reported that a private corporate jet crashed in the Utah mountains, approximately one hundred miles North of the Grand Canyon. Local authorities that responded to the crash reported that there were no survivors."

"As per standard policies, the FAA immediately began a full investigation into the crash," Ashwood continued. "Although all the specific details are not yet known, what we know so far is that the planes electronic identifier had been tempered with, making it difficult for the FAA to properly track. More importantly; however, we have also learned that the plane was carrying Jackson Bryce and Michael Reynolds as well as all of their immediate family."

Again, Ashwood paused a few moments for effect. "Once again, I must report that former President Jackson Bryce, his running mate Michael Reynolds, and their family were killed in a plane crash at around 1:30am local time earlier this morning. With that being said, I would also like to make the following statement very clear. Although my administration had maintained for over a year, that Jackson Bryce has performed actions that equate to those of an International Terrorist, it was in no way our intention to interfere with the fact that you, the citizens of the United States of America had chosen for him to be one of the candidates that would be running against me in today's election."

"Given that this unfortunate accident has occurred, it must be properly addressed," Ashwood continued. "Although Jackson Bryce's name will remain on this morning's ballet, given that he has died, any votes cast for him will be disqualified. Although it is in no way this administration's intention to attempt to tell anyone how to execute their democratic right, we do feel it is important to make this fact known to you so that you may choose to vote in such a way that your vote will count, and not be disqualified. Thank You."

The moment Ashwood stepped away from the podium, hands immediately shot up, and reporters quickly started shouting out questions.

"No questions at this time, I'm sorry," Ashwood stated as he quickly made his way out of the room.

As the television went quiet following the speech with my blood boiling, I heard one of the set of triplets say, "I just sent out the feed request, already getting back a bunch of replies. We should be able to go live in about forty five seconds."

Logan turned and looked over at me asking with a cold and stone faced look "I assume you still wish to reply?"

"You bet your ass I do!" I said and knew my voice contained the rage I was feeling.

"Good." Logan said, as he stepped out of the picture. "Haden… you're up first. Jack, as soon as Theodore gives you the signal, you'll be live. Okay?"

I nodded my head saying a quick yes to him and waited.

I sat up straighter and prepared myself as best I could and didn't have to wait long before his hand raised and then seconds later dropped.

"My fellow Americans, as you've just seen, I'm supposedly dead. At approximately 2:15am President Ashwood launched a medium scale covert attack with U.S. Military forces against another U.S. Military Base in which I, Mike and our families had taken refuge, due to the threats against us. I have been told it involved over four hundred paratroopers and numerous airplanes of various types, and all done as a sneak attack on our forces by military forces of which this President has command." I stopped for a moment before continuing.

"The President's cowardly attack did not succeed, as you can see. He missed once again, as has been common for him and his administration. Vice Presidential candidate Reynolds and I are perfectly fine, at least physically, the blood you see all over me is not mine." I had to stop again to take a deep breath before beginning this part.

Fighting back tears that I could feel coming, I began again, "President Ashwood and his cowardly attack was an attempt to subvert the electoral process in this country by assassinating his rival didn't work. What he did accomplish, though…" and I had to stop for a second then went on. "What his attack on our families did accomplish was…was the shooting of my nine year old son, Chris, and the shooting of my eight month pregnant wife Linda."

I stopped again and looked down a moment collecting myself before once again staring at the screen. "His success was to gravely wound both. Chris, will…I'm sorry…Chris will be alright, the doctors tell me, although he'll have pain in his shoulder, which was shattered, for the rest of his life and whenever he uses that arm or shoulder for anything. Linda…" I stopped again, feeling the tears threatening to break free "She…Linda has spent the night in surgery and….she's out…" I had to stop and wipe my eyes as I could feel the tears spilling over.

When I thought I could go on, I began again. "Linda came out of surgery a short time ago….she….they don't know yet if she'll…..they don't know if she'll make it or not." I had to stop and turn away for a moment. I just couldn't go on.

After a bit, though, I turned my face back to the cameras and tried to continue. "The baby is going to be fine, they tell me, and the next…..the next twenty four to forty eight hours will decide Linda….Linda's fate. I ask for your prayers, because….because I know she'll fight like hell to stay here with….with us and it's up to God now." I stopped again knowing tears were running down my face, but to hell with wiping them off at this point. I'll be damned if I'd be ashamed of my love for my family.

I got up off the desk and took a step forward taking a deep breath and saying the last of what I had to say. "The blood you see is theirs, innocent blood, shed by a coward attacking his opponent and their children and families in the middle of the night. This is blood that YOU, Mr. President, will answer for. That you will pay very dearly for having shed. This, I promise you, to my dying breath, you'll be brought to justice for what you have done! Our other children didn't have more than minor cuts and scrapes, but the toll on them mentally, psychologically and emotionally has been heavy, very heavy. All of them are in a state of shock, some to the point of catatonia. All will have to live with this for the rest of their lives, and that, too, is on your hands, Mr. President," I said in a scathing voice.

"To the people of this great nation, I tell you, the President cannot invalidate the entire election process, nor disregard votes that are not for him. I urge you all to come out and vote, whether for me or him, make your voices heard, right now, today, because if he gets elected again, then God help this country." I stopped there for a few moments before saying, "If you'll excuse me, Mike and I have to get back to our families." and with that I turned and began walking out of the room.

I got as far as just outside the door, and slid down the wall just allowing some of the emotions of the last hours to finally come through, because I couldn't hold them in any longer, and burying my head in my arms, let the tears fall freely. I felt Mike settle next to me and wrap his arms around me, pulling me close and holding me tight, as more and more tears came out.

It didn't seem all that long before I heard Sammy's voice crying out, "DAD! UNCLE JACK!" as I also heard feet slapping against the floor getting closer, then suddenly, we each had a boy trying to wiggle under our arms and I quickly opened mine, only to have them filled with Sammy. He just hugged me tight as I did the same to him with tears still running down my cheeks. There had always been something very special about Mike's kids, and I knew it started somehow with little Sammy. I let him fill me with love, even as I held tightly to him basking in it and letting it salve places deep within me, as I thought about what I'd almost lost today. Because it could very easily have been this sweet thing in my arms, or Brian next to me, as it was my Linda and Chris.

Suddenly, Sammy pulled back and just looked at me for a long moment before leaning forward and kissing me on my forehead and pulling back again. Once again, I knew somehow he could sense what I had been thinking as he said, "He was wrong, Uncle Jack… None of us died… Not Chris, not the baby, and I just know Aunt Linda will be fine. He didn't kill us, and he won't beat us. It's just like you always say… love and happiness will beat lies and anger, every time."

I pulled him back to me and gave him a big hug whispering in his ear "Thank you, sweetheart, I…I hope you're right. He laid his head down upon my shoulder and simply said, "Don't worry, I am."

Somehow, Sammy saying that made me believe that it might just turn out alright after all.

What I didn't know, was the cameras were still on.

Author's Notes:

Well, here is chapter 2 and I hope you all enjoy it. Thanks to Roland and Zacky once again, for the use of their characters and help with writing this. Please make sure you read their stories, as well.

Until next time……………………..DS

Editor's Notes:

As always, Reading Dark star's work leaves me with tears in my eyes, which makes things somewhat difficult, because it is nice to be able to see what I am typing.

In this case, however, the tears are tears of joy. I know that I can trust SamSam to know things will turn out well.

I also strongly recommend reading the other author's stories. There are things that have happened in their chapters that impinge on this story, and you really need to read them to get caught up on all the other events.

You won't be disappointed, I promise.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

Second Editor's Notes:

What a whirlwind of a chapter? It seems that we have several things going on and for sure, the U.N.I.T. came in at just the right time. Now, to see how things go with the election and see how the "sitting" President deals with Jack's surprising announcement. I think that should wake up the people of the United States!! There is so much happening that it is hard to keep up with, but I know one thing; it sure is good to see Dark Star writing a story again. This one has had me bolted to my chair all afternoon!!! I can't wait for more.

Your friendly neighborhood editing puppy,



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