Castle Roland

Changing Connections

by Eric Aune

In Progress

Chapter 16

Published: 23 Jul 15

Changing Connections

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

All Rights Reserved

Changing Connections LogoThe blond haired young teen came awake suddenly. He looked around and the feeling of fear left over from the nightmare was still causing his heart to beat rapidly as he tried to figure out where he was. It took him a few moments to get his bearings. As he looked around he could see several others asleep in the large room. Things came back to him and he remembered where he was and what had happened. It was just a few days ago that everything was normal for him. His two dads were there and he was working on homework.

Now he was alone. His dads were dead, killed by the government. He had thought that he would be dead by now too, after he shot that sukin syn that ordered his dads' death. Instead something completely different had happened. He found a group of people who felt the same way about the tyrant who was leading the government as he did. They, like him, wanted Ashwood taken down and/or dead for all the illegal things that he had ordered to be done. Like killing Vanya's dads.

He lay back with his hands over his eyes, trying to keep from letting his sorrow overwhelm him. He was afraid that if he let that happen, he might not stop crying for a long time. He decided that sleep wasn't for him right now. He felt the need to take a walk and think about some things. So he grabbed his hoodie that he was using for a pillow and he quietly got up from where he was sleeping. He looked around to make sure he didn't wake anyone as he made his way to the door. He could see through the windows of the room that it was still dark outside. He didn't know what time it was, but he thought it was probably real early in the morning.

He didn't realize that his leaving was noted by others. Vanya hugged himself as he felt the cool wind outside the building and he pulled the hood up over his head. He zipped up his hoodie and jammed his hands in the pockets. He could see that there were other figures moving around, who seemed to be busy with whatever needed doing and he turned away from them as he went for a walk. He didn't want to talk to anyone, he just wanted to be alone with his thoughts.

As he walked around the base, he noted all of the overgrown shrubs and grass around many of the buildings. Some of the buildings looked to be in poor shape and would need some work to get them back into a usable condition. He could see lights in many places around the base. He skirted those, trying to keep to the shadows. He had turned away from the large concrete landing field to make sure there was no one who would see him. He passed a small bay as he made his way to the north side of the base where it looked out over a large body of water. He had heard someone call it the Great Sound. He could see across the water the glow of lights from a town at the water's edge. He saw that a rocky beach led down to the water and he went down there. On the beach he sat down to look out across the sound. He brought his knees up and wrapped his arms around them as he sat and thought about his situation.

He wondered what these unusual people were going to do with him. He had seen what some of them could do and he knew he wanted to fight against Ashwood, but he really didn't know much about them, and they didn't know much about him. They were nice to him and all, but what did they plan to do with him. They knew where he came from. He'd told them about how he had been living with his friend's family. Were they going to send him back home or what? He wanted to learn how he could help take down Ashwood, but he didn't know if they would teach him how. He didn't even know how he could ask them. Would they think he wasn't worth the time it would take to teach him? He just didn't know what was going to happen to him. He put his head down on his knees.

He didn't know how long he had been sitting there like that. He didn't even realize anyone was there until he heard the crunch of sand as someone sat down next to him. He raised his head and noticed that there was a glow from the east which told him that the sun was getting ready to peek over the horizon.

He saw that there was a dark haired boy who looked to be about the same age as him sitting next to him. Vanya remembered seeing him around. He was one of the UNIT guys that were fighting against Ashwood. The boy didn't say anything; he just sat in the same position as Vanya. His knees up and his arms around them as he looked across the water. His dark hair was stirred by the breeze coming off the water at the two of them. Vanya turned his head back to look across the water.

Neither said a thing. They just sat there in companionable silence. Neither of them was willing to break the silence as they listened to the breeze and the sounds of sea birds. Vanya wondered why this boy was sitting here next to him. There was no one else around, just the two of them. He glanced at the boy out the corner of his eye and the boy looked like he had a little smile on his face as he looked at the water.

"Why are you sitting here?" The boy glanced at him and he saw his bright blue eyes. The boy smiled and then turned back to look at the water. "It looked very peaceful here and I thought it was a nice spot to sit and just chill for a while." Vanya turned back to look at the water for a few moments before looking at the boy again. "Okay, but why right here?" The boy looked at him and released his knees and readjusted the way he was sitting so that he was sitting Indian style.

"You looked like you needed someone to sit and think with. Sometimes it helps to think when you have someone with you. Just in case something comes to you that you need to talk to someone about. I'm Rio by the way." The boy held out his hand. Vanya reached over and shook it. "Ivan." Rio nodded before turning back to look at the water. Like all the Genesis kids, he had some telepathic ability and he had heard the questions roiling around in Vanya's head, since he was projecting them so loudly. He let Vanya set the pace of their conversation.

Rio almost didn't hear it when Vanya voiced his concern. "What's going to happen to me?" Rio looked at him and smiled. "What do you want to have happen to you?" Vanya looked at Rio and saw that he was looking at him in a very friendly way. Vanya turned a little and crossed his legs so that he was sitting like Rio was, and facing him. Rio scooted around so that he was facing Vanya and waited.

Vanya was looking down at the sand when he spoke. "I don't have anyone anymore. I don't know what's going to happen to me or where I'm going to have to go." Rio reached across the space between then and touched Vanya's knee. When Vanya looked up, Rio smiled. "Actually you do have someone or probably several someones. If you want, you have a new family and you don't have to go anywhere that you don't want to." Vanya almost jumped when he felt some furry arms circle his neck in a gentle hug. "Yes, you have a new family if you want." Rio chuckled a little at the startled look when Chase had come up behind Vanya and hugged him. Vanya glanced to his side where he saw the smiling face of the ferret boy. He turned back to face Rio.

"But what will I do?" Rio shrugged. "What do you want to do?" Vanya looked down again feeling a bit embarrassed. "I want to learn how to fight."

"Why?" Vanya's head came up. "Don't you know what happened to me?" Rio nodded. "Yes, we both know, but my question remains. Why do you want to learn to fight?" He saw the anger in Vanya's eyes. He saw the tears start to build and then they fell as he raised his voice.

"BECAUSE HE KILLED MY DADS AND I WANT TO KILL HIM!" Vanya then leaned forward and covered his face as he began to cry loud wracking sobs. Chase moved from behind him and climbed into his lap to hug him. Vanya's hands came away from his face and held Chase like he would a teddy bear and buried his face against the ferret boy's shoulder. Luckily Chase was a Genesis kid, otherwise Vanya's tight grip might have crushed him and made it difficult to breathe. Rio moved over to sit next to Vanya and started rubbing his back, trying his best to help Chase comfort him.

They stayed in that position for some time before there was a grunt of effort as someone else sat down next to them. It took a moment or two before Vanya noticed another, larger hand resting on his shoulder and gently massaging it. He looked up and saw an adult sitting next to him. It was the man who seemed to be one of the important adults around here. He looked at the man and saw nothing but concern and sympathy there. He knew that the man was important and he had seen him as he talked to the other kids in this group. He saw how many of them acted with him and how they seemed to look up to him.

Vanya let go of Chase and turned to the man and fell into the man's lap as he continued to cry. He felt the man's arms gently drawing him forward and he was soon curled up in the man's arms, his face pressed against the man's chest. He could tell that his tears were soaking the man's shirt and he started to pull away a little, but he felt the man's arms gently hold him close, and he melted back into the man's embrace as the man started gently rocking him. He also felt the ferret boy climb up into his lap again and hug him. Vanya moved one arm and hugged the ferret boy to him. He felt Rio holding him from behind.

Vanya had no idea how long they sat there or how long he had been crying, but eventually he started to calm down and just relaxed into the hugs that he was receiving. He closed his eyes and let out an involuntary sigh of contentment as he leaned into the man's chest and closed his eyes.

He didn't realize that he had dozed off until he heard the gentle voice of the man. "Hey buddy. Are you asleep?" Vanya blinked his eyes a little and looked around. He was sitting in the man's lap leaning against his chest. Chase was curled up in Vanya's lap, hugging Vanya's arm that was around him and leaning against his chest. He glanced behind him and saw Rio was still there as well, gently rubbing his back. He could see that all of them had the marks of tears on their faces and red rimmed eyes. He looked back at the man who was smiling at him.

"Feel a little better?" Vanya realized that he did and nodded. The man reached up and gently wiped the tears from his cheeks before leaning forward a little and giving him a gentle kiss on his forehead. That was just like his dads used to do when they held him and he thought he might start crying again, but instead it just made him feel safe. He gave the man a hug before sitting up, but he didn't leave the man's lap and leaned his head on the man's shoulder.

"Rio tells me that you want to learn how to fight, so that you can kill Ashwood." Vanya absently nodded, but then he somehow felt that wasn't the right answer. "Revenge is never a reason to learn to fight. That sort of thing can cause you to drop into a deep dark hole, which you may never be able to climb out of." Vanya just leaned against him. Not saying a word. "Do you think that's why Rio and Chase learned to fight? You should ask them why they fight."

Vanya looked at the two Genesis kids. He noticed that Rio seemed to have sort of a sheepish look on his face as he looked at the ground. "Well, uh, at first that was the reason I wanted to fight. To get revenge on the men who changed me into what I am, because of how they did it. But Adam, Logan and the others of his command team told me that although they understood why I felt like that, because they did too, when they first got away. They made all of us understand that it was the wrong reason to fight, so I don't think like that anymore. I fight to protect those who can't protect themselves from bullies. I want to make sure anyone can have a good life, free from such people. Where we are from, we were on a mission to bring to justice one of those people, but instead we ended up here." He glanced at the man. "But that's a story for another time. Anyway, I was trained to fight and changed into a soldier, so I use that training to make sure innocent people, especially kids, don't have to be hurt."

"I fight against the dull ones, who take away the Shinyness of others and turn them dull, so that they cannot be happy. Nobody should lose their Shiny." Vanya looked at the ferret boy who was smiling at him as he reached up to pat Vanya's cheek. That gesture caused Vanya to give him a little smile.

"You know we haven't actually been introduced. My name is Brett MacLeod. I know your name is Ivan Desnova Callum-Armstrong." Vanya looked at Brett. "You can call me Vanya. That's what my dads called me." Brett smiled and tightened his arms in a hug before relaxing the hug, but keeping his arms around Vanya. "Well Vanya, you've heard why they fight. So why do you want to learn to fight?" Vanya looked at the two Genesis kids and nodded. "I want to learn how so that I can help other people like they do."

"That's a better answer."

"But how can I learn and how long will it take?" Rio chuckled. "Dude, you already know some stuff." He turned around a little to look over his shoulder at Rio who was on his knees next to them. "What do you mean?" Rio chuckled. "Dude, you traveled a bunch of miles in the dark, without being seen. Then you snuck into a guarded government facility, without being seen. You procured a pistol and then proceeded to sneak further into this guarded facility. Now true, most of the guards were a little busy at the time, but still, you got all the way to the place where you wanted to be. If the person who you were looking for had been there, you might have accomplished the mission you set out for yourself. So you have some skills there, now we just need to help you become better at them. I'll talk to Eric about it, I'm sure he and his friends will help you like he has helped the other squishies. Um, I mean Jamie and his friends.'

"Squishies?" Rio shrugged. "Sorry it's what we call anyone who isn't one of us Genesis kids. Cuz you're sort of squishy to us." He stood up and looked around. "Can I borrow Brett for a moment?" Vanya looked at Brett and Brett let him go. He reluctantly got out of Brett's lap and stood there. Chase took his hand, as Brett started to get up. He groaned a bit as he put his hand to one of his knees. Vanya thought he might have done something to hurt Brett's knee. "I'm sorry sir. Did I do that?" Brett shook his head. "No, just an old injury that bothers me from time to time, although I have noticed that it seems to be getting better. There was a time when I couldn't have easily sat down like this. I would have had to fall down and then get someone to help me get back up."

Rio giggled. "That's because of when Chris gave you her blood when you got shot." Brett nodded. "Janet told me about that. And I have noticed that I don't need the cane any more. I don't even know where it is right now." He looked up at Rio as tried to get up. "Well, what do you want me to do?" Rio held his hand out. "Nothing, just stay there." Rio looked at Vanya. "So Vanya. How many thirteen year olds that you know, can do this." Rio bent down and effortlessly lifted Brett in his arms and set him on his feet. Brett leaned over and massaged his knee a little as he worked out the stiffness. "Thanks, Rio. I haven't sat on the ground for that long in a while."

"I'm sorry, sir." Brett shook his head as he went over to Vanya and put his hands on his shoulders giving them a gentle squeeze. "I'd sit there all day, if that is what you needed me to do. I'm fine." Vanya looked at Brett and smiled. "Vanya. You can do whatever you want. If you want to learn to fight, then you can learn to fight. There are a lot of people here who I know will be willing to teach you. If that is what you want to do."

"Yes, that is right. Rio and I will help you learn. And so will any of the others. You are part of our family now. And family always comes first." Vanya looked down at the smiling face of Chase standing next to him.

"What say we head back?" Vanya nodded and Brett moved to put his arm across his shoulders and Vanya put his arm around Brett's waist as they headed back to the main part of the base.

When they got back to the buildings of the base, they saw that there was a lot of activity going on as people were starting to get up and get busy with what needed to be done. Gabe caught up with them. "Brett, they've given us our quarters. It'll be in one of the barracks buildings. We'll have to rough it for a bit until we get all the furniture that we'll need to be comfortable. We're going to move in after breakfast." Brett nodded and they followed him to where the rest of the family was eating breakfast. Vanya made sure that he stayed close to Brett.

After breakfast, the family was shown to the barracks rooms that they would be occupying. There was a lot of work to do to get the rooms ready for them to move in, but there were plenty of willing hands. They split up among the rooms in the building. Normally these barracks rooms were used by two to four sailors when it was an operating Naval Base. Most of the families split up into pairs. The four younger boys wanted a room of their own, since they had grown up together and were used to sleeping in the same room. Vanya was looking around wondering where he was going to be, until Rio asked him if he would like to share a room with him and Chase. Vanya had a big grin on his face which was enough of an answer for them. He followed them to the room that they had claimed. This helped him feel more like he belonged somewhere, being with the two scouts. The worry he had felt earlier was slowly dissipating.

Later in the morning, word was passed to assemble in front of the large mansion that was the command center. When they got there, the Red Dragons assembled with the rest of the UNIT teams. Apollo was walking behind Eve who was pushing herself easily in a wheelchair. Jamie and his brothers stood with their parents as they watched everyone get into position.

Chase suddenly left the others on his team and scampered over to them. He grabbed Jamie's hand. "You need to be over there with us." Jamie shook his head. "No, Chase, we're not one of the UNIT guys." Chase stopped and looked at him for a moment. Chase was almost frowning and he wasn't speaking in his normal squeaky voice when he spoke. "Yes you do. You have fought beside us. You have worked with us. You have helped us. You are one of us. So you will come over there and stand with us." The ferret boy crossed his arms and looked at Jamie.

Jamie looked at his brothers who were the team that he had become a part of and the parents of the family. He turned back to Chase and smiled. "Okay, Chase. We'd be honored to stand with you." Chase's face broke out in a big grin. "Coolness. Come on. There is not much time. We need to get into formation." He reached out to grabbed Jamie's hand again to pull him along and looked over his shoulder at Gabe. "You, too, Shiny Colonel." He then turned and pulled Jamie after him. The rest of Jamie's team and Gabe's team followed Chase and Jamie. Several of them were chuckling at Chase's antics.

When they were next to the Red Dragons, Chris looked over at them and nodded. They got themselves in place. The eight boys stood in two ranks and behind them Gabe and his men. Tim and Sara had also followed them and went to stand near Chris and Oliver. The eight boys and their mentors stood there waiting just like the others. Because they had gotten training from Gabe and his men about military protocol, they knew what to do and what was expected from them. When Khan called the UNIT to attention, they stood tall as well, and listened as the roll was called and a UNIT member answered for each of the missing UNIT members. They saluted the UNIT crest along with the rest of the force and went to parade rest when the command was given. They also shouted along with the UNIT members, although they were a second behind the other's shout and they fell out when the command was given. They followed the Red Dragons when they went to look at the uniforms that were presented to them. Unlike the others in the UNIT, they didn't take any of the uniforms out because they weren't really part of the UNIT, no matter what Chase had said earlier.

When Adam's shrill whistle cut the air, they looked toward the sound and heard his command to Christina. Without thinking about it, they began to run to their quarters to grab their things.

"Hey where do you two think you're going?" Both Jamie and Ian were stopped by a hand on their shoulders. They looked around and saw Doctor Hayes giving them a stern look. "You two are not going into combat. You almost completely exhausted yourselves healing people and you don't have the same stamina that Genesis kids have, so you are staying here."

Ian started to protest. She just gave him that look. The look that Moms just have, that tells you that you can't win no matter what you say. Ian and Jamie nodded as they accepted the inevitable. Chris patted them on the shoulder. "Sorry, guys, when Mom says, you're grounded. You're grounded. Next time. For now, you guys need to take it easy, so that you're ready for the next mission." Logan and Josh said that they would stay back as well with their boyfriends and that was okay with Chris. Dragon had plenty of people going on this mission and would be able to get by without the four of them.

They watched as most of the others followed Chris to the barracks to get their gear. The Red Dragons returned several minutes later armored up and ready to go. Those staying behind watched as the helicopters started up and headed off to accomplish another mission.

After the helicopters were out of sight, another shrill whistle cut the air. It was Theodore, one of the Chipmunks. He called to everyone that was around and asked them to help with the unloading of the equipment and gear off of the barges that were tying up to the pier. When they got there, Theodore gathered them all together. When he looked the group over, he got an idea.

"It looks like we have plenty of people to help, but something else just occurred to me. We have only been here for a day or so and we haven't even been through every building here on base." He looked at Jamie, Josh, Logan, Ian and Vanya. "I know Mom has said that you two especially should take it easy today and since you have others to help you. Can I give you the task of exploring the base and seeing what you can find that could be useful to us?" He looked at the six younger kids which included the four lab kids, and Christina and Oliver's adopted kids, Tim and Sara. "If it is okay with the other parents, you can take command of the younger people and the bunch of you can explore the base to see what you find. I think that it might be fun. If I didn't have to take care of this, I would go with you."

Jamie nodded as he looked around at the others near him and the younger kids were grinning at the prospect of exploring. "Sure, we'd be glad to." Jamie looked at their parents. "It will get the four younger ones out of your hair for a while as well. Don't worry. We'll be careful." Theodore nodded. "Yes make sure you are careful. There are a lot of rundown buildings, because it's been a few years since anything has really been kept up. We need a lot of things still, but we don't want anyone getting hurt, so be careful. There may be stuff we can use in some of the other buildings that we haven't looked in yet. Once you finish searching, come find me, I'll probably be here or at the Command Center." Jamie gave Theodore quick salute and he left with his team following along behind.

Jamie and his team went everywhere on the base. When they found that the door into one of the buildings was locked, a couple members of the group started to head to the next building, Jamie stopped them. "Just a minute, guys." They stopped and watched as Jamie leaned down and closed his eyes as he placed a hand over the lock. He stood there for a few seconds and then there was a click and Jamie pulled the door open. Vanya looked at him and then at the lock and then back at him. "How'd you do that?" Jamie realized that Vanya hadn't seen him use his telekinesis before. In his mind, Vanya was already part of the family, so he didn't think about him not knowing about them.

"Well, it's just something I can do. I'm a telekinetic. That means I can move things with my mind. I was part of an experiment..." He stopped and looked at his friends, "Well the four of us here and our other four friends were all part of an experiment when we were babies. My dad was in charge of the experiment. He told me that the experiment was supposed to make us smarter. But it didn't do that. Well, it did do that. All eight of us are pretty smart. Although I think Sean is the smartest one." Ian, Josh and Logan were all nodding agreement with what Jamie had said. "Yeah, I think Sean's the smartest. Anyway besides being smarter, we also have an eidetic memory, some people call that a photographic memory. It means we can remember anything we read as if it was right in front of us. Those are the reasons we all do well in school. We remember everything we read because of our memory and we understand things because of our intelligence. Anyway something else happened that my dad didn't expect. We each got some sort of mental power. I have telekinesis. Here I'll show you."

Jamie looked around the area and saw a dumpster over by a building. "Just watch that dumpster over there." They looked where he was pointing and moments later it lifted into the air for a few seconds and then settled back down. Jamie looked at Josh. "Josh is pyrokinetic." He looked at his boyfriend who bent down and pulled a clump of weeds out of the ground and looked at them for a few moments. They burst into flame, which he dropped and quickly stomped out. "He can make things burn obviously."

"I can sort of see things." Vanya looked at Logan. "When I hold something, I can tell you things about it, they call it object reading. Sometimes I get a warning that something is going to happen, before it happens. It's called precognition. But that doesn't work very often."

"I can heal people. If they're hurt, I can usually fix them, if I get there in time. I can't bring someone back to life or replace anything missing, but I can help them heal. That's why Doctor Hayes wouldn't let me and Jamie go with the others. We wore ourselves out helping heal the ones who got hurt the other day and she said we needed to rest some more before we do anymore healing like that."

Vanya looked at Jamie. "You can heal people too?" Jamie giggled. "No, not exactly. I help Ian in his healing by using my TK to pull the bullets and shrapnel out of the people he's working on and Ian heals the wounds."

"What about your other friends?" Jamie paused with his hand on the door knob. "Well Sean can sort of talk to computers with his mind. I think it's called technopathy or cyberpathy or both. Anyway that's why he's scary good with computers. Ethan is a telepath. He holds a link with all of us. Because of that we can speak to each other in our minds. But only Ethan can speak to and hear another person's thoughts." He saw a look of worry cross Vanya's face. "What he doesn't do is go around reading people's minds because that would be rude. You do know that a lot of the UNIT kids can read people's minds don't you?" Vanya shook his head. "Well, they do, but they think the same way. It is not nice to read people's thoughts, so they don't do that without asking and Ethan would never do that without asking permission either. Dylan is an empath. That means he can feel how another person is feeling. Dakota's ability is combat psychometry. He can take anything mechanical that someone else has used and by just holding it he can learn how to use it. Like if a world class rifle shot lets Dakota use the rifle that the sniper uses, Dakota can hold it and after a little while he can shoot the rifle as good as the sniper. It's like he borrows their skill to use it. The more he uses it, the better he gets. He's best with guns and such, but he can drive cars, too. He was going to start learning how to fly, before we ended up here, so he hasn't gotten the chance yet. He's hoping to get a chance. There's just been no time, cuz we've been so busy. Speaking of busy, we should get back to work."

Jamie pulled the door open and held it for everyone. They found a light switch near the door and turned it on. Since the power had been turned on for the base, the few lights that were still in place came on. There were a couple of doors in the short hallway. Inside the doors, they saw plain metal desks and chairs, but not much else. At the end of the hallway, there was another door. When Logan opened it, they saw that there was a large storage room. They found some light switches and when they turned them all on, they were able to see that there was a pile of something at the far end of the room. They went over there and saw a big stack of metal frames of some kind. They pulled one of the frames off the stack and figured out that it was a folding metal cot. They counted them and it looked like there were over a hundred of them. Next to them were some other stacks that were covered by tarps. Whatever was under the tarp was completely covered by it. When they pulled the tarp off of the stack, it fell over and they saw that it was a stack of four inch thick vinyl covered mattresses for the cots. Here was something that Theodore needed to know about. They checked the other covered stacks and they were more of the same.

There wasn't anything else in this room. They had lucked out with this building, maybe they'd find more stuff in another building. As they walked to the next building, Vanya walked beside Jamie. "So, uh, Brett is your dad?" Jamie smiled at him. "Yup. He's a pretty good dad."

"Oh. Yeah he seems nice." Vanya had his hands stuffed in his pockets and he was looking at the ground. Jamie glanced at him and thought that he seemed a little down. "To tell you the truth, I've only known him for about year. Something happened when we were little. All of our parents had to go into hiding, because of what we can do. Some very bad people wanted to use us. My dad and the other parents set a big fire at the lab where they worked and made it look like we all died in the fire. When they left the lab, my mom thought that my dad had really died in the fire. After the fire, they all went their separate ways and never saw each other until twelve years later. Somehow we all ended up living in the same town and we sort of found out about each other. About a year ago I found out my dad was still alive and he had been searching for all of us since the fire. It was hard for him to find us because we all had taken fake names, so the bad guys couldn't find us and my dad didn't know what our fake names were, so it took him years to find everyone and bring them together again. My friends and I had found out that we could do things and my dad told us later that it was an unintended consequence of the experiment that he had run back then."

"What about your mom?" It was Jamie's turn to look sad. "She died in a car accident a few months before my dad revealed himself to us. I was mad at him at first, and wasn't sure I could trust him, but once I got to know him again, I found that he had missed me for a long time and was sorry he missed out on so much of my life. He was out of town when my mom died. So he didn't know it had happened until later. Once he found out about it, he started getting things going so he could get me back. I miss her a lot."

"I miss my dads." Jamie nodded in sympathy. "I got up early and was sitting down and looking out at the water. Somehow your dad knew I was there and he came and talked with me."

"Yeah he's pretty good at that. He treats all of us like we were his kids. You know I call the other guys my friends, but really it's more like we're brothers, instead of friends. And since we arrived here, we're even closer than we were before." Vanya glanced at him when he said that. He was about to ask Jamie what he meant about arriving here, when they heard someone call. He didn't think he meant here in Bermuda.

"Jamie! Come on, we found another locked door." Jamie looked up and saw one of the young boys waving his hand to get them to hurry up. He waved. "Ivan, you can count on my dad to help you anytime. All you have to do is ask. It's the same with my brothers and me. You need something, just ask. Like we've always told each other, we've got your back. You're part of the family now." He gave him a quick grin and then trotted over to the door of the building and made quick work of the lock.

This is how they spent their time, searching the buildings and looking for anything that could be useful. They found some metal folding tables and benches, a bunch of desks and chairs. There was a stack of small office trashcans with the desks. There was even a pile of old electric typewriters. After they had searched everything that they could find, they went searching for Theodore and found him in the Command Center overseeing where everything needed to go.

He smiled when he saw them, because they were covered in dirt and dust, with smudged faces and clothes. "You look like you've been doing a lot of exploring." They looked at each other and laughed. "Yeah, I guess so. We found some cots and mattresses. Some desks and chairs and folding tables and benches." Theodore gave them a nod of satisfaction. "That's really great. We can probably use all of it. Thanks a lot, guys." He looked at Vanya. "Oh, Ivan. I have something to show you. Come with me." He turned and went outside to where some of the gear that hadn't been put away yet was stacked. Behind one of the these was his motorcycle and hanging on the handlebars was his helmet. Across the seat were his leathers. Vanya's face lit up. "My bike!" He ran over to it so that he could be sure it was okay. The others crowded around as well. Vanya looked at Theodore. "Thank you so much. I thought it got left behind." Theodore shook his head. "Nope it got packed in with the other things and here it is. Over by the barracks you're living in is a scooter shed, you can keep it there."

It had been a busy afternoon. Most of the UNIT members who had not gone on the mission, wherever that was, had been helping unload the barges that had all of the gear that had been sent from the Utah base. Jamie and his team had, of course, searched around and found a few things of use. While the others worked with Theodore, Janet and Brett went to check out the base medical clinic. It was pretty much empty like most of the buildings on the base. They would need to see what they could do to get more equipment. Maybe they could contact any hospitals on the island and see if they had any extra equipment that they could borrow or buy, until Theodore was able to help them get their own equipment.

They gathered together in the mess hall for dinner later after a full afternoon's work. There was no furniture yet, so everyone found places on the floor to sit and eat. While they were eating, they heard the sound of the helicopters returning and the crews entered, and those who had been on the mission joined their friends for dinner.

While eating, they found out that what the others had been doing was rescuing several important American documents such as the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, as well as many others. It appeared that Ashwood wanted them, but the director of the National Archives decided that would be a bad idea if they fell into his hands and had taken them away from Washington. The problem was that Ashwood had sent troops after the director and his security team, a lot of troops. The UNIT and the Seal Team attached to them had to go in and rescue them, along with the documents. The documents were all now safe onboard the Reagan under Admiral Norris' care.

After dinner, they heard the sounds of more helicopters coming in and they saw a Blackhawk and three Chinooks land on the tarmac. Some of them watched as Logan talked to the leader of the soldiers that exited the Blackhawk before he led them over to the Command Center. The family turned away and headed back to their quarters. They were almost there when Ethan stopped as did most of Christina's people.

"We need to head over to the Command Center. Adam's called a meeting of everyone. It's a drop what you're doing kind of call." They changed direction and quickly made their way to the large mansion like building that had been designated the command center for the base.

When they arrived, they saw that Adam was sitting on the steps of the building. He appeared to be thinking and everyone waited. Then Adam just started talking without standing up. He reminded them about what they would do to help one of their own who was in danger. He talked about how the military personnel that they had worked with so far thought the same way. He then jumped to his feet and began to pace as he told them about something that had happened on Sunday which was Veteran's Day. Apparently, where the UNIT came from they did not have such a day, but Brett's family knew about Veteran's Day from their version of Earth, so it was familiar to them. He told them that a group of Ashwood's agents tried to stop a group of veterans who were in Washington to commemorate those who had given their lives in service to the country. When these veterans, many of them old men now, kept moving forward to the World War II monument, these same agents fired on them and the crowd that was there supporting them.

Adam specifically told them about one group of men that were all from one family. They were there to commemorate the friends they had known during their time in the military, who had lost their lives in service to their country just like all the rest that were there. The oldest of the group was in a wheelchair. He had served in the Army during World War II. The youngest was his great grandson who was a West Point Cadet. When his great grandfather got out of his chair to keep moving forward toward the agents, the Cadet took up an American Flag and moved in front of his grandfather as they marched toward the agents. The agents opened fire into the crowd, and succeeded in dispersing them. Many of them were killed. The wounded were taken for treatment. Apparently the great grandson had survived the attack, although he appeared to have been badly wounded. Adam then reminded them of the upcoming Orlando mission and he let them know that this young man had been sent there. The rescue of this young man had now become one of the primary objectives of the Orlando mission. He told them there would be a more detailed briefing on mission assignments and objectives soon. He dismissed them and headed back into the building. As they walked away, Chase paused for a moment and seemed to be staring off into space. They had seen this look many times from those who were engaged in telepathic communications. He looked at everyone when he was finished talking to whoever had contacted him.

"I must go meet with Chang. He has something important for me to do. I will see you later." He turned and scampered back in the direction of the Command Center. The rest of the family headed to their quarters.

They were relaxing in one of the common rooms back in their quarters when Jamie and his brothers, along with all of the Red Dragons, suddenly stiffened. As they all jumped up and ran out of the room, the family was left behind, looking back and forth, trying to figure out what was going on. Gabe and his team recognized their actions and they too stood up.

"Gabe what's going…" The rest of the question was drowned out by a young sounding voice coming over the speakers. "Alert level Alpha. All strike teams report to the landing pad. Medical units, stand by for incoming casualties. Doctor Hayes, please report to the landing field immediately. This is not a drill." Gabe pointed at the speaker. "That is what going on. I knew there had to be an alert of some kind. I've seen soldiers do that when an alert is called. With these kids, they don't need a speaker to tell them. We'll go find out what's going on." With that he and his men ran from the room to their quarters.

There were looks of worry on all of their faces especially when the speakers came on again. "ITF Neptune, this is USS Ronald Reagan. General Quarters, General Quarters, all hands man your battle stations, Set condition one alpha. General quarters, General Quarters, all hands man your battle stations, set condition one alpha. This is not a drill." Several of them stood up not sure what to do.

"Those of us who are doctors should go to the landing pad to assist with any incoming casualties, we don't know what is going on yet and they may need us. The rest of you should watch the kids." They looked at Brett and there were several nods of agreement. Brett left the room, followed by Ian's parents, Patrick and Cheryl, and Dakota's parents, Wyatt and Julia.

When they got to the landing pad, they saw the UNIT helicopters were winding up and several of the Red Dragons along with their own boys were running up the back ramp. They saw Apollo carrying Eve in his arms as he ran up the ramp and into Dragon. They spied Doctor Hayes over to the side and ran over to join her. The Black Ghost looked like it was just about to take off when an order went out to all the UNIT troops.

"All personnel hold position until given clearance. Repeat, all personnel hold your positions."

They watched in confusion as the blades on the helicopters began to wind down as the pilots and troops began to exit the helicopters. There were a lot of confused looks on everyone that was there. They hadn't known why they had been put on alert and they didn't know what had happened to cancel the alert. A few moments later the troops milling around got their answer. They learned that there had been an IED that had exploded under the Humvee that Adam, Admiral Norris and Commander Buchinsky had been riding in. The driver had been killed and the other three had been hurt. They had been flown to the Reagan for treatment. So now they knew why the alert had been canceled.

There were a lot of very concerned people standing around as Logan and the Chipmunks were seen walking over to the group that included Janet. When he joined her, Logan looked around at the UNIT members standing around.

"Everyone, you can stand down. Things are under control. I've been told that Adam and the others are getting the best care possible and they'll be okay. Go back to what you were doing. The immediate alert is canceled. Perimeter guards will alert us if there are any other problems." The UNIT members nodded their understanding, knowing that if Logan said that things were under control, then they were under control.

They drifted off as Logan turned to Janet. "Mom, I'm sending you over to the Reagan to check on Adam. You know about the Genesis kids and how they heal. You can make sure he's doing okay. The Chipmunks will be going with you. They have some things to discuss with Lieutenant Payne." He looked at the other troops that were heading back to their quarters. When he spied who he was looking for he called out. "Christina." She looked at him and saw him wave her over. She and Oliver joined the small group around him. "I need your team to ferry Mom over to the Reagan so she can check on Adam and act as her security." Christina gave him a quick salute. "Will do sir."

She turned around and saw that her team was standing in a group near where she had been when Logan called her. She walked over to them. "We're taking Dragon to ferry Mom to the Reagan, so let's load up." The Red Dragons turned and trotted over to Dragon. Apollo rolled his eyes for dramatic effect as he turned around and carried Eve back to Dragon and inside. She squeezed the back of his neck making him wince when she saw the eye roll. "Hey, I was just kidding Eve. You know that. I will carry you wherever and whenever you need me to until you're back on your feet. After that… maybe even then." He twitched his eyebrows and gave her a cocky smile.

Eve gave him a mock scowl and squeezed the spot again, causing him to wince again while at the same time chuckling. They both knew he had been kidding, but inside she was bit upset about not being able to move under her own power and she hated having to be carried everywhere or having to use a wheelchair. They said that she would be on her feet in the next few months, but it was really difficult for her to depend on someone else to help her get anywhere. She was frustrated, but she tried not to let her frustrations out on the others. Her team seemed to be integrating well with the Red Dragons. She found that they were becoming like family to her as well. She just couldn't wait until she could be a more productive member of the team, on her own terms. Apollo lowered her into the seat in front of the console that she normally used, before he went back into the main cabin with the rest of the team. She glanced over her shoulder where Sean usually sat. As Christina passed by, she noticed the look. "We're just being a ferry tonight, so Sean won't be coming with us. The team is along to provide security for Mom and the Chipmunks." Eve nodded and turned back to her console, while Christina headed to the cockpit calling to Drake. "Drake, start us up."

On the tarmac, those left behind watched as Dragon's engine started up once again and the rotors picked up speed. They stepped farther back and turned away when dirt was thrown into the air as Dragon lifted off the ground. Once it was high enough it turned and headed toward the Reagan.

Later that night an SH 60 Seahawk from the Reagan contacted the UNIT Command Center and requested permission to land. A UNIT sentry was waiting near the helicopter when it landed. A female Navy Lieutenant Commander jumped out once it landed. She took off her helmet and handed it to the crew member at the door as she retrieved his cap. "Keep the motor running. I'll be right back."

The officer walked over to the sentry. When she neared the sentry, the sentry went to attention and then present arms. The officer saluted and the sentry went back to port arms. "Ma'am where may I direct you?" Lieutenant Commander Myers looked at the young teen before her and smiled. "Just to the barracks soldier. My name is Commander Myers and I need to speak with one of the doctors."

"Yes Ma'am, Mom, I mean Doctor Hayes, let us know that you would be coming. Right this way Ma'am." The sentry turned around and she fell in step beside him. He escorted her to the barracks and into the entry room. There was another UNIT member sitting at a desk in the room. The sentry smiled at the teen at the desk. "Hey Kraig. I have Commander Myers here, she needs to speak with one of the docs." The boy at the desk nodded. "Thanks, Tom." Tom turned to the officer. "I'll return to my post. Kraig will take care of you." Tom stepped back and saluted before leaving.

Kraig smiled at the Officer. "Who did you wish to talk to Ma'am?"

"Doctor Stephanie Badger." Kraig looked at some papers on the old desk that had been scrounged from one of the buildings on the base. He stood up. "Just a moment Ma'am." She noted that he had a holstered pistol on his hip and it seemed to be a part of him as it was for any other soldier she had ever seen. He went upstairs and made his way to the room that was listed as belonging to Stephanie and Charles Badger. He knocked lightly and waited. There was no answer so he knocked a little louder and he heard movement in the room. A few moments later Charles opened the door as he was putting his glasses on. He saw the UNIT member and yawned.

"Oh sorry about that. What can I do for you young man?" The teen smiled at him. "Sorry to disturb you, sir, but there is a naval officer here that needs to speak to your wife, sir." He scratched his head. From inside the room, Kraig heard female voice in the darkened room. "Honey, who's at the door?" Charles glanced into the room before turning back to Kraig. "Just a moment." He closed the door and a couple of minutes later Stephanie came to the door. "Is everything okay?" Kraig smiled and nodded. "I think so. There is a naval officer who wishes to speak with you downstairs." Stephanie furrowed her brow in confusion. "Do you know what he wants?" Kraig shook his head. "No Ma'am, and it's a lady naval officer." Stephanie shook her head still not knowing what was going on. "Give me a few minutes and I'll come downstairs and meet with her." Kraig nodded and went back downstairs.

Lieutenant Commander Myers was pacing slowly in front of the desk. "Commander, Doctor Badger said that she would be down in a few moments." She nodded her thanks and continued her pacing. Several minutes later Stephanie came downstairs. She made her way to the officer and Myers held out her hand for Stephanie to shake. "Doctor Badger. I'm Commander Myers. May I speak with you for a moment?" Stephanie followed her away from the desk where Kraig was sitting and the two women spoke quietly for a few moments before Stephanie nodded and headed back upstairs.

Ten minutes later Stephanie reappeared after getting a chance to clean up a little more and get dressed in something more presentable. It was still Levis and a shirt, but it was a colorful blouse instead of a white t shirt. She'd also had a chance to brush her hair into some semblance of order. She shrugged into the coat that she was carrying and placed a messenger bag over her shoulder. "All ready." Myers nodded and thanked Kraig. "Glad to help, Ma'am." The two women turned and Tom was standing just outside the building. "I'll escort you back to the helicopter." They walked a little bit behind Tom and spoke in low voices during the short walk back to the tarmac. At the helicopter, the crewman helped Stephanie climb inside and another crewman helped her put on a helmet and get strapped into a seat, while the first crewman handed a helmet to Lieutenant Commander Myers and took her cap

Once they were in, the door was closed and the Seahawk rotor increased speed and they were airborne after asking permission to take off. It wasn't a very long flight before they were descending once again to the deck of the USS Reagan. They handed over their helmets to the crewman and were helped out of the helicopter by members of the deck crew. The two men exchanged glances as they saw an attractive civilian woman step onto the flight deck, in the company of Commander Myers who they knew was Norris' Aide.

Myers led her to a door in the island and let her through. Inside the island they climbed up a couple of ladders until they reached one of the higher levels. There were not very many crew members moving about this late at night, but the crew members that did see them were puzzled at the sight of a female civilian being led by Norris' Aide into Officer Country. She stopped in front of a door that had a sign next to it with Admiral Norris' name on it. Standing in front of the door was an armed Marine private. His name tab said Block. Myers nodded to him before she knocked on the door, opened it and looked inside.

"Sir, I have Doctor Badger here." She nodded and opened the door for Stephanie to enter. Stephanie saw the admiral sitting on a couch with bandages covering the injuries he had sustained earlier in the explosion. Myers was about to leave the room when Norris called out to her. "Just a moment, Myers." He looked at Stephanie. "Would you like something, coffee, tea….?"

"Tea, cream, one sugar." Norris looked at Myers. "Can you have James bring some tea for the two of us?" She nodded. "Of course sir." She closed the door and went to the nearby wardroom. She gave James the Admiral's orders, and waited for him to prepare everything. When the drinks were ready she led him to the room. At the door she knocked. "Come in." When the two entered the room, they saw Stephanie sitting in a chair near to where Norris was sitting on the couch. James set the tray down on the table and served them their tea. Myers ushered him out before her. "Myers, I'm sorry to keep you up, but I'd like you to escort Doctor Badger back to her base once we're done here. It should be about an hour."

"Very well, sir. I'll be back in an hour." Myers closed the door and saw the steward standing there. She waved him off. "Thank you. You can go back to your duties." James walked away but glanced back as he disappeared into the wardroom. She went to her quarters to wait.

Fifteen minutes later, Myers knew that she had to get herself a cup of coffee to help her stay awake. She was dragging a bit after everything that had happened today. When she entered the wardroom, James came out of the kitchen to see who had entered the wardroom, gave her a strange look before going back into the kitchen. She filled her cup and sat down in the wardroom to wait for the time to pass.

About an hour and a few cups of coffee later, she put her cup down and walked down to the Flag Officer Quarters. She knocked on the door. "Come in." She saw Stephanie had a smile on her face as Myers entered. Norris glanced at the door. "Ah good timing Myers. We just finished up." He looked at Stephanie. "Thank you, Doctor." She shook his hand and stood up. "Aggy, make sure that you give me a call, when you would like to continue this." He nodded as he slowly pushed himself up from the couch. "Thank you for coming on such short notice." She picked up her bag from the side of the chair and looked over to Myers. "Good night, Aggy." He gave them a weary wave as he limped through the door that led to his bedroom.

"Let's get you back home." Myers contacted flight operations to have them get the Seahawk ready. By the time they got back down to the flight deck, the Seahawk's engines were running. The same two deck hands helped them into the helicopter and stepped back as it took off. They glanced at each other before heading back to their duty station to await the return of the Seahawk. Both were still wondering why a civilian woman had been escorted aboard by the Admiral's Aide.

On the tarmac back at the UNIT base, Myers said goodbye and left Stephanie with Tom once again. He walked with her back to the barracks and she said goodnight to both of the boys before taking the stairs up to her room.

Early the next morning, word was passed for Brett, Gabe, Jamie, Ethan, Christina and Eve that they were expected aboard the Reagan for a briefing on the Orlando mission. Soon after breakfast, they made sure they dressed in their best uniforms or clothes and boarded Dragon. Joining them was Logan, Colonel Shelton, and Major Guilipo for the flight to the Reagan.

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