Castle Roland

Changing Connections

by Eric Aune

In Progress

Chapter 18

Published: 7 Jan 16

Changing Connections

Copyright © 2012 - 2016 by Eric Aune and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Changing Connections LogoChris came into the main cabin. Many of the team members were napping. "Listen up." Those that had been napping began to stir. Some of them had to be nudged awake. When she saw that everyone appeared to at least have their eyes open and looking at her, she continued. "Everyone get ready. We are about an hour from Tennessee. Once you have your armor on, grab your weapons and extra mags. Make sure you have everything you need to make an assault." She headed to the armory to get her armor case out. The others followed her lead and made their way to the armory to get their gear out and get dressed. Once Chris was done, she got her guns and then headed to the command suite. The cabin was a hive of activity as everyone geared up.

Brett came out of the command suite and looked around the cabin until he spied Logan. "Logan, can you come in here please." Logan nodded and put the pistol he'd been checking into its holster as he stood up to follow Brett.

Inside the command suite, he saw Apollo helping Eve get her gear and guns ready. Chris, Brett and Gabe were standing near Sean looking at his monitor. Chris looked over her shoulder and motioned for Logan to join them. She pointed at the map. "We're closer now. Can you tell us anything more?" Logan looked at the map. "Sean can you move the map so that I can see large rivers and lakes?" Sean moved one of his arms and the map panned from east to west. As the map panned east to west and north to south, Logan studied the map. "Wait, zoom in there." He watched as the river he'd seen came close. "Which river is that?" Sean made another movement. "Tennessee River." Logan stared at it and then shook his head. "I don't think that is it." Logan studied the map a little bit more, but finally shook his head. "Looking at the map isn't helping me."

Christina looked at him. She could hear a little frustration in his voice. "Wait, I have an idea. Come with me up to the cockpit." He nodded and followed her. Oliver looked up as they entered. Chris settled into the pilot seat. She looked at Logan. "Sit in the jump seat there." Logan nodded and sat down. "Drake, current location?"

"Knoxville, Tennessee is 50.87 miles to the west of our location." Christina looked over her shoulder at Logan. "Okay. Here's my idea, I think you might have a better chance to figure out where to go if you can see it. So, while we're flying, I want you to try and see if you can pick something up by looking out the front windscreen. If you want to stand up to get a better view, do so." Logan nodded and looked outside where they could see a faint glow coming from lights of Knoxville. Christina kept them high as they flew in. The stealth package kept them invisible to anyone that might see them.

"Can you fly lower? I can't explain it, but it's like I'm not….connected somehow." She nodded and they started to descend. "How low?" Logan shrugged. "I don't know. As low as you can?" She nodded and continued to descend. When she reached 200', she leveled off. "We're at 200'. I could go a little lower, but I don't want the rotor wash to be detected, so I'd like to stay at this altitude." Logan nodded and looked out the windscreen. When they were over Knoxville, they saw a few lights, but it was much less than what you would expect in a city of its size. They stayed to the south of the city where there was less light. It looked like there was a partial blackout in the area.

"Drake, change the windscreen to night vision view." The entire windscreen changed and now their view had the greenish tinge normally seen through night vision. "That's better. I'm so glad I don't have to use those goggles for this." They could see little movement below them in the suburb area that they were flying over. "Drake, is there a power outage in the area."

"Sean reports that there is a partial shutdown of the power grid in this area. Power is in operation in some areas, but not others. We are monitoring all radio traffic. There is communications on military channels, but no civilian channels appear to be in operation. We are scanning all radio frequencies."

"Thank you Drake." She keyed her mic. "Sean, can you have Dusty work with Drake. He has the capability to connect to computer networks from here. Think of it as a very high powered Wi-Fi. If you can connect, I want you to hack in and get any intel that you can."

Sean acknowledged and got to work. Back at his computer, images and words flashed across the screen as he worked.

In the cockpit, Oliver returned from getting his gear and took his seat. Logan continued to look at the ground below. "I'm pretty sure we need to go west." Christina nodded and continued past Knoxville.

"Chris this is Sean. I couldn't access any computers, but the military communications that I could hear was in Spanish. I've had Dusty translate it and he says that whoever this is, are talking about deploying soldiers to put down some disturbances that are going on in parts of the surrounding areas. It sounds like some of Tennessee's citizens aren't too enamored of what's going on and there are reports of fighting in some of the surrounding areas."

"Very well. Keep at it, we're heading further west." Christina turned away from Knoxville, heading toward Nashville. Soon they could once again see a slight glow as they neared the city. Part of that was because the sky outside was starting to lighten with the dawn. "Wait!" Christina slowed Dragon down as they came over the city. Logan looked outside and then closed his eyes for a few moments. "Can you circle the city?" Christina nodded and did so, still keeping clear of the central area where the taller buildings were located.

"Drake disengage night vision."

"Acknowledged." The night vision shut off and they once again had a normal view.

"We have to go farther west." Christina turned west and they left Nashville behind. As she started to speed up a little more Logan stopped her. "No, don't go faster. I think we're going in the right direction. This speed is good." Christina nodded and continued flying west. A short time later they could see the broad ribbon of the Tennessee River. She looked back at Logan who was now standing between the seats and looking outside. Christina could see that the light was getting better outside.

Sean's voice was heard in the cockpit. "Christina, we are nearing the Milan Army Ammunition Plant. We should go around it."

"Thank you Sean. We'll head a bit south to go around it. I doubt that they could detect us, but no sense taking a chance. We're still behind enemy lines after all." She steered them south and then west. She glanced back at Logan. He shook his head. "West still." She nodded and turned back to the front. Thirty minutes later they could see the Mississippi River ahead of them. The sun was up enough to see clearly although there were scattered clouds as well.

When they neared the Mississippi , they could see an army encampment near where an interstate highway rose up to a bridge that crossed the river. They could see that the center of the highway bridge was gone, cutting off the link between east and west. Logan looked around the area and then he pointed north of them. "I think we need to go north?" Chris turned Dragon away from the encampment and headed north. A short time later Chris slowed down as she saw some trucks, Humvees and what looked like tents set up. It appeared to be a small army unit had camped out on the river side of a farmer's field. She brought Dragon to a hover. They were still high enough that their rotor wash didn't stir any of the dirt below them.

"This is the place." Chris looked over at Logan. "Okay, let's have a look see. Sean, Eve, what can you tell me?" Back in the command suite Sean, Brett, and Eve were all looking at their monitors. "WHAT!" Everyone in the command suite were startled by Sean's voice. He called Christina. "Drake and Dusty report gunfire just north of here near the river."

There was no hesitation from Chris. "Ollie, take us down fast." She called on the overhead speakers. "Red Dragons! Gear up, there is gunfire just to the north. Be prepared to deploy when we get down." She took her headset off and looked at Oliver. "Ollie you're in command of Dragon. I will leave a couple of the others to man the MGs." He nodded as she leaned over to give him a quick kiss. She grabbed her helmet and M4 as she pushed Logan ahead of her. She saw that everyone in the command suite had a gun near at hand and were armored up, except Brett, but he was dressed in the same equipment as the other adults on the team, black assault uniform with Kevlar helmets. They gave her and Logan a thumbs up as they left.

In the main cabin she saw that everyone was up and moving to the ramp. Jamil was standing near the ramp controls ready to lower it. She started splitting them into fire teams. "Jamil, setup up the minigun when the ramp is down. Dakota, you stay behind and man the minigun, since Sean will be here on Dragon. You can be here to protect him." Just before they felt the bump of Dragon landing, Jamil had already triggered the ramp. Before the ramp was all the way down, they were already moving outside and covering the area. They could make out someone talking on a bullhorn to the north of them where the gunfire had come from. Oliver joined them as Dragon's rotors slowed down. She looked at him. "Ollie, stay behind and man one of the fifties." He nodded and went back inside to take his position. She looked at the rest of the team.

"Jamie, Josh, Fiona, Aleks, Sergeant Barrett, Sergeant Peterson. You find a way along the riverbank and flank them from the river side. Chase, Rio, Captain Nim, you come in from the east through those thicker trees. The rest of you follow me, we'll go up the middle. Wait until my command to fire." The fire teams moved out.

As the main force advanced down the path that led to the river, they heard the gunfire start up again, which spurred them forward. Ahead of them they could see movement, so Christina directed them to take cover. They spread out and kept low as they moved forward. They could all see a group of soldiers and other men who had some military web gear and rifles, but looked like civilians, all firing at a stand of trees across the channel that led to the Mississippi. They knew what that meant. They were probably more of those 'pardoned' prisoners of Ashwood's. On the far bank were four boats with outboard motors run up on the far bank. Behind the middle of the group that was firing was an army officer and standing next to him was a fat civilian holding a briefcase and a bullhorn. Everyone's attention was focused on the far bank.

The group with Jamie made their way directly to the river and then along the riverbank until they were almost to the channel that flowed into the Mississippi. They looked at the narrow riverbank and then at the river. Jamie turned to Eric. "Eric, there's not enough room for all of us to move along the riverbank. The four of us are going in underwater. Our suits will act as SCUBA units long enough for us to get around their flank, then we'll attack out of the water. You and Jim can move along the bank." Eric nodded and the four kids made their way into the water and disappeared from view.

As the four of them entered the water, they were surprised for a moment when they felt the current of the great river, it was unexpected. It was not as strong as it would be in the main channel, but it was enough to make it a little harder for them to move against. Jamie and Josh gave the command for strength assist. Fiona and Aleks as Genesis kids didn't need to use it, because of their own strength. They made their way into the entrance of the channel and continued moving forward into positions underwater. Eric and Jim kept low as they made their way along the riverbank to the channel entrance until they could see the soldiers firing at the far bank. As they were moving forward they heard Chris' command.

Rio and Chase led the way with George trying his best to keep up with the two kids as they made a wide sweep to the east and entered the trees. They moved swiftly through the trees. Chase used his normal mode of movement through trees and scampered up into the branches, moving quickly toward the soldiers' position. They were still moving up when they heard Chris' command.

Over their tac com system, Chris gave the command to fire. Her group opened fire and the initial volley hit several of the soldiers and ex-prisoners. They had achieved total surprise. The fat civilian let out a shriek and threw the briefcase and bullhorn to the ground as he scrambled around to find something to hide behind. The officer dropped and turned as he returned fire. The surviving soldiers, went to ground and took cover while the ex-prisoners turned around in surprise at the fire from their rear. Some dropped to the ground, others found cover and a few just stood up and starting spraying bullets everywhere, figuring that was the best way to return fire. They believed in quantity not quality.

Return fire from the Red Dragons was more controlled and accurate and the idiots using the spray and pray method were quickly cut down. By that time the rest of them had some kind of cover and felt that they were doing okay, when things got interesting. Fire hit them from their right flank. When they looked in that direction, they saw four black clad, helmeted figures rising up out of the water opening fire. Coming along the bank were two other figures who added their fire to those in the water. The officer ordered some of the unit to turn and fire to their right flank. As the soldiers fired back, two of the figures in the water were hit and went down. Some of the ex- prisoners gave a little cheer that died quickly when those two figures stood back up and resumed firing.

Jamie glanced over to where Josh and Aleks had gone down when they were hit by the gunfire. He saw them both stand up and return fire. Jamie smiled as he heard Josh growl over the comm.

Seeing those two figures stand up after being hit by gunfire and it having no apparent effect on them, was too much for some of the ex-prisoners. Several of them stood up and headed toward the trees to the east to get away. The officer called for them to halt, but they ignored him and continued running to the trees.

"Chase, there's some coming your way."

"We will get them Chrissy."

"Chase!" There was a little bit of a warning tone in her voice. "Sorry, Commander." She heard the beginning of a giggle before it was cut off. She smiled to herself.

The ex-prisoners who had escaped into the woods were inserting new magazines into their rifles as they ran. There were six of them. They slowed up once they believed they were out of sight of the fire fight going on behind them. "Let's get the fuck outta here. I don't know who those dudes are, but they looked like they are kicking those soldier boys' asses." The others nodded. "We should keep going this way. Find us one 'o these farms that are around here, grab what we need and get some wheels and take off."

"I am sorry. I cannot allow you to do that. It would be better if you surrendered now."

The high pitched voice startled them and they whipped around bringing their guns up. They saw a short child sized figure in black clothes, wearing a helmet, drop from the trees and stand there. He was twirling what looked like a big weight on the end of a chain in one hand and the other was hanging by his side. The man who had been talking and was making himself out as the leader of this group started chuckling. This made the others relax a little as they looked at the diminutive figure standing before them.

"Better for who you little shit. Us? I don't think so. Get the fuck outta here kid, or you're going to find yourself in a world a hurt." The man snarled at Chase.

"This is your last chance. Drop your rifles and surrender."

"Fuck you, kid. You're fucking dead." The man brought the rifle up to fire. All that the other men saw was a blur in the air and the rifle was entangled by the weight of the Kusarigama as Chase threw it at the man and pulled on it. The rifle was yanked out of his hand, but this man didn't allow the surprise to stop him. He reached down and pulled the pistol from its holder and started bringing it up. The rest of the men saw another blur as Chase launched himself at the man and slashed the blade of the Kusarigama across the man's arm causing him to drop the pistol and then buried it up and under his rib cage, into his heart. As they man fell gurgling, Chase leaped free and pulled his two swords.

The others were startled by the speed of the attack for a moment but quickly brought their guns up to fire. Chase jumped to the side as they opened up and then the group of men were hit by gunfire themselves. Two went down immediately and the rest scattered. Rio and George had joined the fight. As the two sides fired at each other, Chase got to work.

The first one he caught he cut across the back of the man's legs causing him to fall and then a double cut and the man's head flew off. The next man saw him and as he turned to fire, he moved out of cover and several bullets hit him, driving him to the ground. The last one sensed something and turned in time to get a burst off at Chase as he advanced. It knocked him down, but he was back up quickly and threw one of his swords at the man. It hit the man in the leg and he grabbed at the hilt of the sword impaled in his leg. Chase jumped at him and thrust his second sword into the man's mouth and up into his brain. The tip burst the through the back of his skull and he was silenced. There were none left. Rio and George joined him as Chase was wiping the two swords off on the dead man's clothing before returning them to their scabbards on his back.

He led them over to the first man and pulled the Kusarigama blade free and unwrapped the chain from the rifle. While the other two made sure the rest of the men were no longer a threat.

Back at the riverbank, the officer was trying to organize the defense against these unknown attackers. They heard the gunfire open up from inside the trees and then it tapered off and died down. The men around him were going down left and right to very accurate fire. They had all seen a few of the black clad figures go down when hit by their fire, but each time the figure got back up and continued firing. They seemed unkillable, while his men and the 'militia' were dropping like flies all around him. He looked at the fat man groveling on the ground with disgust. "CEASE FIRE!"

He looked around as he yelled it and slashed his hand across his throat. The firing began to slacken and then stop. Once the firing had ceased, the officer stood up and dropped his rifle on the ground. The rest of them slowly copied him until the survivors of the platoon were standing up, their rifles left behind on the ground.

Their attackers stood up from their positions with their rifles pointed at the soldiers. Chris moved forward keeping her rifle trained on the officer. "We accept your surrender Lieutenant Willis." She noted the surprised look on the man's face as he heard her call him by his name. Then he realized that it was on his fatigues and it made sense. If, however, he had thought a little bit more about it, he would have realized that his name was covered up by his web gear and other equipment. The rest of the team began moving forward. Chris looked to her right where Chase and the other two appeared at the edge of the woods. "Any left in there Chase?" The officer turned his head to watch the exchange. He saw an even smaller figure wrapping a chain around his waist and securing a nasty sickle looking blade to his back. The officer received another shock when he heard the squeaky voice that came from the blank helmet. "No Chrissy…oops, sorry, Captain. None are left. They did not want to surrender. So Rio, Captain Nim and I took care of them."

Chris could hear the undercurrent of surprise in the officer's surface thoughts as he heard what seemed to be a young boy talk so easily about killing several hardened criminals as if it was nothing. Chris nodded and started to turn her attention back to the officer but paused a moment. "Well, there's no help for it. You did ask them to surrender?" Chase nodded. "Well I did say it, and I tried to wait for them to answer, but they made the decision to shoot at us instead, so I took that for a no." Chris nodded and turned her attention back to the officer before her.

She heard whimpering from the ground nearby and looked down at the fat man curled up on the ground with his hands over his head. She shook her head for a moment. "Will someone get that piece of trash up off the ground?" Ethan walked over to the whimpering fat man and easily pulled him to his feet. The fat man looked around taking in everything and relaxed a little. Chris looked at her team and pointed to their prisoners. "Search them."

The team moved forward and began searching each of the survivors, emptying pockets and making them remove their web gear after ensuring any knives or pistols were taken before allowing the men to remove the web gear and drop it on the ground.

Jamie went to one of the men near him and had the man do what he was told to do, but he got a little too close as he was checking for knives or pistols and the man was quick. He darted his hand down and grabbed Jamie's pistol and started to grab him around the neck. The martial arts training that Jamie had received from Gabe's men over the last several months allowed him to quickly duck the grab, but then his abilities came into play, he reached out and shoved hard. The man shot into the air, a scream bursting from his lips as he flew through the air several hundred yards out into the Mississippi River. Jamie saw him splash down and then come back up to the surface, struggling to stay afloat and then he sank out of sight as the river swept him away.

The prisoners' heads were swiveling back and forth between Jamie and the spot where the man had landed. Those that were nearest to him tried to edge away from Jamie, who was staring out at the river. "Dammit, I liked the pistol." Jamie realized what had just happened and he turned to face Chris. "Sorry Chri….Captain. It was an unconscious reaction. When he grabbed me, I just wanted to push him away. I guess I pushed too hard." Chris chuckled. "That's okay Jamie. You'll get better at controlling yourself when you're in a stress situation. We'll work on it, when we get back to base." Jamie smiled and gave her a quick salute. When he turned to the other nearby prisoners, they quickly divested themselves of everything. They were even helping their captors take everything off with no complaints. They kept glancing at Jamie as they did. Inside his head, Jamie heard Josh.

{Jamie, I think I know what we need to do from now on when we want someone to surrender. We'll just have you go throw somebody and the rest will give up.}

{Up yours Bro.}

{Jamie heard Josh's answering chuckle. Then he heard his other brothers laughing in his head as well.}

{Hey, I couldn't help it.}

{Now Josh's chuckle changed into laughter}

Jamie just shook his head and they continued relieving their prisoners of their equipment. Chris saw that the prisoners were all looking at Jamie.

"Ahem… AHEM!" They turned their attention back to her. "Alright take 'em back to their camp." Several members of the team surrounded the prisoners and herded them back to their camp. The rest stayed behind with Chris. They were looking across the channel. Chris activated the voice amplification in her helmet and waved her arm. "YOU CAN COME OUT NOW. YOU'RE SAFE! THEY WON'T BE BOTHERING YOU ANY LONGER!"

As they stood there they watched the tree line. Two figures stood up and slowly stepped out of the trees. One was an adult and the other was an older teen. The two looked at each other and then they headed back through the trees. A short time later, several people walked out of the trees to the river bank. They stopped for a few moments looking across the channel before getting into the boats, got the motors started and made their way across the channel. As they neared them, Chris directed a few of the Red Dragons to go and help them. As each boat came in, one of the team grabbed the bow and with little effort pulled the boats out of the water and up on the shore. They helped each group unload the packs from the boats and put them to the side.

Chris scanned them and picked out which person was in charge. She had initially thought it was the older man but she was pleased to see that it was a teen who was running the show. She stepped up to the teen and held her hand out. "Coleman. I'm Captain Casey. I understand you're trying to cross the river. We've got just the thing, if you'll come with us." She paused for a moment and looked at the piles of stuff they had taken from the soldiers and prisoners before coming back to Cole. "Would you mind if we put some of our prisoner's personal possessions in your packs until we get them to camp. It'll just be easier to carry them that way. My team will be carrying the weapons and ammunition."

The teen had a slightly confused look on his face as he stood there for a moment before saying anything. "You're a girl?" Chris looked up and asked to be delivered from male chauvinists. "Yes I am, and I really don't have time to go into any sexist bullshit about women soldiers. We've got things to do and people to see." The teen turned a little red. "Sorry, I didn't mean anything by it, it, uh, just surprised me is all." Chris patted him on the arm and looked at the group. "Well, if you folks can pick up the stuff on the ground and put them in your packs that would be great." The teen nodded and he had his group do as she asked. When everything was in the packs and they had the them on she nodded. "Okay, let's go." She started to lead the way, when she took note of the wounded.

"Apollo, would you help Mister Carruthers with his son. Colonel, would you help young Cooper there. Jamil, would you assist Mister Grayson. The rest of you throw the guns and ammunition into the boats and bring the boats with us."

The team took their places as ordered and the group followed the trail. Chris smiled as she heard Alf ask Gabe how they were able to pick up the boats and effortlessly carry them with everything in them. When she looked back she saw Chase tug on the older man's arm and tell him that they had to go.

The group followed the path until they arrived in the field that had been used by the soldiers as their camp. The rescued people were surprised to see the huge helicopter with a red dragon painted on its side sitting to one side. The prisoners had been zip tied and were under guard by one of the trucks, as other members of the team moved around looking for anything that could be a weapon or had any important information. The wounded members of the rescued group were taken into the helicopter. Those of the group that were concerned for their wounded friend or family member stood near the bottom of the ramp.

Chris stood there watching her team do their job. She sent some of them to collect the guns and ammunition from the men that had fought in the trees. She called into Dragon. "Eve, can you get me a status on the wounded?"

"Affirmative." Eve looked at Brett. "Sir, the commander wants to know how the wounded are doing." Brett went to the door and called to the boys working on the wounded people. When he got his answer he came back inside closing the door behind him. "Eve, you can tell Chris that they're going to be fine." She passed the word. "And Eve. It's Brett, not Sir." She looked at him. "I'll try, but when I'm working I'm used to saying Sir." He smiled at patted her on the back. "Understood." She smiled at the gentle contact. It was the sort of thing that her Doctor MacLeod would have said to her. More proof to her that the two men were very much alike.

Outside, Chris got the report and nodded in satisfaction. Moments later she saw the formerly wounded people come down the ramp to rejoin their family and friends. As they came down, Chris heard the fat man yell out.

"Kids? I demand to talk to the adult in charge. Do you know who I am? You would do well to let me go. I am a civilian and I'm part of President Ashwood's administration. You have no right to detain me."

Chris turned around, walked over, and crouched down next to the fat man and quickly scanned him. She removed her helmet and smiled at the fat man. "You are the so called Reverend Doctor Josiah Campbell. The bigoted, hate monger, who thinks himself so special because he has a fake Doctorate and is a Reverend because he sent money to a website to obtain a paper that says so. And in case you're still too stupid to figure it out, we don't work for Asswood. We work for the President of the United States. The person who actually won the election, by a large margin I might add, President Jack Bryce. You claiming your so called importance as a member of Asswood's administration, only makes me want to shoot you, but fortunately for you, we work for President Bryce and he believes in the Constitution and the Rule of Law. If I worked for Asswood and you worked for Bryce, I have little doubt that he would have no problem with me just shooting you or maybe carving you up in little pieces, one piece at a time. In fact that evil bastard would probably want to watch. As for talking to an adult, just a moment." She looked around until she saw Gabe and called him over. "Colonel, could you come over here for a moment."

Gabe walked over to her removing his helmet. "Yes, Captain." She nodded her head to the fat man. "The good Reverend Doctor would like to talk to an adult." Gabe looked at the Reverend. He immediately started in. "Good. Colonel is it?" When Gabe didn't answer he continued. "Well Colonel. Now that I'm not having to talk to this child who is playing at being a soldier. I need you to understand my importance. I'm sure President Ashwood…" Chris interrupted him. "Asswood." He glared at her for a moment. "Can you not discipline this child and tell her that she needs to show respect for our President." He waited for Gabe to agree with him. Gabe just gazed calmly down on the shorter man. They could see Campbell sweating a little more. "As I told this girl, I am part of President A…." He glanced at Chris who gave him a sweet smile. "The President's Administration here in Tennessee and it would be a point in your favor if you let me go. I will put in a good word on your behalf with the President. And once this little insurrection is over and the terrorist that this girl claims is the President, is put down, I'm sure you could get a promotion because of it. Someone of your ability should not be part of anything such as this." Campbell put on his best smile that he always used to pretend to show people that he was interested in what they had to say, as he waited for Gabe's answer.

Gabe looked at him steadily before turning to Chris. "Was there something you need me to do Captain?" Chris smiled. "No, thank you Gabe." She gave him a kiss on the cheek before pointing at Campbell. "He just said he wanted to talk to an adult, so I asked you to come over here so he could." Gabe gave her a smile. "Very well, sweetie. I'm going to go finish looking for Intel." He hugged her before he walked away.

Campbell's mouth was opening and closing like a fish gasping for air as he watched the exchange. Chris turned to him with a smile on her face. "Okay, you've been able to talk to an adult. Now what to do with you." The man's face started to turn red. "You will let me go this instant. You have no idea how much trouble you are in right now. I will make sure that you go to the worst camp that Ash….urk!" Chris moved quickly and lifted Campbell up with her hand around his neck. Her hand almost disappearing in the folds of fat of his neck. She slammed him up against the side of the truck. She showed no strain in holding this fat man up, even though she was much smaller than he was.

"No, I will not let you go. You are a prisoner of war. The war that Asswood started and the war that we will help finish. When we are done with your precious Asswood, there will be very little left of his ass for you to kiss." When she let him go, he dropped to the ground and was gasping for breath.

"Chris, um, Captain." She turned around to see Ethan standing there. "What Ethan?"

"I say we let him go." The two of them looked at each other for a several moments. At one point Chris shook her head and a short time later, the younger boy nodded his head.

Chris went back to where Campbell was still gasping and pulled him back up to a sitting position. She gave him an evil chuckle when he tried to pull back from her. "Well I guess we got what we came here for. Let's get the prisoners and our new friends inside the helicopter and we'll be on our way."

"What about the camp?" She looked at Aleks and Fiona who were tossing a grenade back and forth between them like it was a baseball. She sighed. "Will you put that away? We'll leave everything, except any intel that was found. Asswood's forces will probably think someone from Bryce's forces came through here on a covert op. Maybe it will have them chasing their tails trying to find the 'special forces team' that is running around behind their lines." She raised her voice a little bit. "Let's saddle up."

The prisoners were marched into Dragon and secured in their seats. Their guests were directed to seats and the four boats were carried inside and secured. They opened the door to the command suite and secured it open. "Sean, tell Drake we're ready to go."

"Roger Captain." A minute later they heard the engines start up. In the cockpit Chris gave the command for Drake to engage the stealth and they were soon in the air and flying west over the Mississippi River.

"Sean, find the nearest military camp for President Bryce's forces." A few moments later his report came back. "Caruthersville Memorial Airport, about eight miles southwest of here. You can't miss it." Chris nodded to herself and turned southwest. She stayed low and once they were close to the airport she ordered Drake to disengage stealth and change their skin to standard US Army paint scheme and slowed their approach. "Sean, find the frequency that they are using at the airport." Moments later he called back. "I've got it Chris."

"Very well, patch us in." There was a pause and Sean let her know she was patched in. She called the airport. "Caruthersville Airport, this is Dragon One, requesting permission to land." The voice of the flight controller came over her headset. "Dragon One, you are in restricted airspace. What business do you have at Caruthersville?" She keyed her mic. "This is Dragon One. We are a Special Forces team under command of President Bryce. We have prisoners to turn over to you."

"Wait one." A minute later. "Dragon One. You are cleared to land near the main building at the north end of the runway."

"Dragon One, Roger." Now that they had permission, she increased speed and within a minute they were landing at the edge of an open area where other helicopters and a couple of private Cessnas were parked. Once on the ground, she went to the main cabin, stopping to collect Gabe from the control center.

"Gabe, will you and your guys take the prisoners off for me. I really don't want to deal with the questions." Gabe nodded. "No problem. I got it." He called Eric and Jim to go with him. Once the ramp was down, they escorted the prisoners off Dragon and turned them over to the officer in charge. Gabe smiled when he saw the looks on some of the prisoners when they looked back at the helicopter. What they saw was drastically different from what they had seen at their campsite. The soldiers guarding them hustled them off. Gabe and his men walked back up the ramp. Chris thanked him and told Oliver to take off. A short time later Dragon was airborne. Once they were out of sight of airport, Oliver had Drake engage the stealth.

The team changed out of their armor and stowed it into the armory before returning to their seats.

"Holy Shit! What is that?" The lady, Missus Tuttle was pointing at Chase. Chase put his hands on his hips. "I am not an it. I am Chase." Her mouth dropped open. "It talks?" Chase cocked his head to the side. "Of course I talk. You talk. So do I."

"But…" Chris went over to the lady. "Missus Tuttle. Calm down. Chase is a member of our team. He is our brother."

"Is he an alien?" She looked over at the youngest boy Nick and laughed. "No Nick, he isn't. He is from Earth." There was still fear on the lady's face as she stared at Chase. "He is no danger to any of you. He is my brother and I love him very much." Chase gave her a hug. "I love you too, Chrissy." He walked over to Nick and held his hand out. "Hi Nick. I am Chase Casey." Nick hesitated before he reached out and shook his hand. The younger boy giggled a little. "Wow, this is so cool." Chase smiled. "Do you want to play a game?" The boy nodded and Chase walked over to his bag and pulled out his tablet and went to sit with Nick. The two were soon engrossed in the game.

Chris looked at the lady. "See he's harmless." She shook her head slightly as she watched her son interact with Chase. "Are there others like him? He is a him?" Chris nodded. "Yes he is a him and no there are no others quite like him."

"But…" Chris held her hand up. "It's too complicated to explain and besides it's Top Secret. So I have to ask you, well, ask all of you, to forget what you know about us. You can think of us as a covert Special Ops team. We do the hard things that President Bryce needs done. We just happened to be in the area and saw your predicament, so we stepped in to help. Now we'll get you all to safety and then head back to our base to await our next mission."

Chris asked Mister Carruthers to come with her to the cockpit, while the others talked to the group they had rescued. Jamie was sitting near the teen named Cole. "So, where did you guys come from, around here somewhere?" Cole shook his head. "No, we came from the Nashville area."

"Just you guys." Cole again shook his head. "No, a bunch of our friends from our Scout troop came with us. They stayed behind because they're going to go head back home the same way we got here and try to help others get to safety if they need to." Jamie nodded. "What happened to make you need to get away?"

Cole explained everything about forming the Underground Railroad and why they needed to leave. He mentioned that he would really miss his grandparents though. While Cole was talking, Jamie heard Ethan.

{Jamie. I've got an idea. I'm going to talk to Chris about it and see if it's okay.} He quickly outlined his idea and Jamie agreed.

{Chris, this is Ethan. I have an idea. They left the rest of their friends behind, so that their they could get back home and maybe help others that need to escape. Can we give them a lift home to Nashville and let Cole and Cooper see the grandparents once more before we take them to Kettle Falls?}

{I don't see why not. Where are their friends?}

{They're at the Carruthers Farm.}

{We'll be there in a few minutes, so we'll get everyone on board and give them a ride home.}

Ethan looked at Jamie. "Chris said okay."


Alf came back into the main cabin and a short time later they could feel Dragon slowing down to land. As soon as they were on the ground, Rio lowered the ramp and they found themselves behind the Carruther's barn. Alf led his sons down the ramp and they saw his wife and the other members of the Scout troop coming around the end of the barn.

Chris had the team carry the boats out and placed them against the wall of the barn. Chris went over to Alf and shook his hand. "Mister Carruthers. Thanks for what you're doing. I hope you keep doing it. There may be more people that need your help to reach safety." He agreed to do so. She looked at the man standing at the head of the Scouts. "Mister Pickens. If you and your boys would be so good as to get your backpacks. We are wheels up in five minutes."

Cole came down the ramp and waved for them to come aboard. He told them that they were going to get a ride home. The man had the boys follow him. The man, Mister Pickens, looked at the helicopter that once again had its Red Dragon paint scheme and looked at Chris. "But won't that be dangerous? I mean someone's bound to notice a huge helicopter like this, especially the way it is painted." Chris just smiled. "We'll be safe enough. We know how not to be seen, when we don't want to be noticed. But we've got a lot yet to do, so if we can hustle this along, I would really appreciate it. We've been on the move since early this morning, and we've still got a long way to go." The man looked at his Scouts. "You heard her boys. Let's get our stuff and get it on the helicopter."

It didn't take long for the Scouts to head back to the house and return with their backpacks. They went on board and the team helped get them stowed in the cargo compartments and find seats. Chris was the last one onboard. She signaled Rio to raise the ramp. Moments later they were in the air and headed east to Nashville.

Now that they had time to take in their surroundings they noticed Chase sitting with Nick, both of them engrossed in whatever was on the tablet. There were several gasps. They definitely had questions, especially about Chase, but also about the fact that most of these 'soldiers', were kids. Chris could hear the questions from the surfaces of their minds. She forestalled any questions by introducing the Red Dragons and then explained a little about who they were and about how they needed to forget everything that they saw about them. She saw that they were willing to do as she asked, even though they all had questions that they wanted to ask. Chris was satisfied so she headed to the cockpit.

Once she had left the main cabin, the Scouts asked Cole and the others about what had happened. Some tried to get some information from the UNIT team, but they politely declined to elaborate any further. The time flew by as they listened to Cole relate everything that had happened to them, that they didn't realize it had been an hour until they felt the helicopter descend and then the gentle bump as it landed.

Rio moved to lower the ramp. When it was opened they saw that they were behind a large house and an older couple were peeking at them from around the corner of the house. When the Scouts began to troop down the ramp, their eyes opened in surprise and then big smiles showed on their faces when they saw Cole and Cooper walk down the ramp.

The two boys were gathered into a hug by the grandparents. Chris had come out of the cockpit and watched from the top of the ramp as the two boys spent a few last moments with their grandparents. She could see the concern that the two older people had as they saw the blood on Cooper's jeans. She gave them a few more moments before she reminded them that they had to get going because they didn't want to be seen by any of Asswood's forces that might fly over. With one last goodbye, the two boys came back up the ramp, wiping their eyes and sat back down in their seats.

Chris headed back into the cockpit and took her seat. "Drake, engage stealth, plot a course for Kettle Falls, Washington."

"Acknowledged, Stealth engaged. Course plotted." Chris looked at the course information on her screen, she nodded to herself and took Dragon up and turned him northwest for the approximately 1600 mile flight to Kettle Falls.

In the main cabin, they heard Christina's voice over the speaker. "Welcome aboard Red Dragon Airways, we will have about a six hour flight to your final destination. So sit back and relax. You are free to move about the cabin, but please have your seatbelts on when you return to your seats. Sorry, but there is no meal service on this flight. Please enjoy the flight."

Ian and Ram went into the treatment room to clean the place up and inventory the supplies. Others of the team went into the armory to clean the guns and make sure everything was back where it belonged. Dakota went to sit with Sean while he worked. He saw that Sean was busy as he dictated to Dusty the important information that he was pulling up on the main monitor in front of him. Sean was making notes about battles in Memphis, St. Louis and Chicago for a report he planned to give to Adam and Logan when they got back to base. He also included information about the military communications that he had monitored that were in Spanish.

After an hour or so, the stresses of the day began to take their toll on Cole's group. Chase saw that Nick had yawned several times, so he shut off the tablet and encouraged him to take a nap. Nick nodded and turned to his side a little to try and get a little more comfortable. He held Chase's hand and was soon asleep. Chase brought his other hand up and patted the younger boy's hair a couple of times before he removed his hand from Nick's and went to put his tablet away. As he walked by Missus Tuttle he gave her one of his toothy grins. "Nicky has a real good shine to him." She looked at him, totally confused as Chase walked over to where he could put his tablet away and then take his own seat near Rio. Around the cabin several of the people were napping, including some of the Red Dragons.

Chris took them up to about 1000', staying at that altitude as they made their way across the plains. Somewhere over Nebraska Sean received a call.

"UNIT Command calling Dragon."

"This is Dragon, go ahead."

"Hey Sean, how's it going, this is Alvin."

"Hi Alvin, what can I do for you?"

"Wait one. I have someone that needs to talk to you guys." There was a pause and then another voice came on the radio. "Dragon this is Adam."

"Yes, sir, this is Sean."

"Sean, I take it everything went well with your rescue?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good. Please patch me through to Christina."

"Yes, sir. One moment." He made a gesture with his arm. "Drake, I have a call from Adam for Christina, please patch it through."


When Eve and Apollo heard Sean say Adam's name they turned around with curious looks on their faces.

"Sir, Drake will patch you through."

"Thank you Sean."

In the cockpit Drake let Chris know. "Commander, there is a call from Adam at UNIT Command for you."

"Thank you Drake. Sir, this is Commander Casey."

"At ease Christina. I have some information and a request, but first how did the rescue go?"

For the next several minutes Chris relayed everything that happened and who they rescued.

"Very good, tell everyone; Well done. Now for the information. After your team left on the rescue mission, a group, sort of like us in a way, in that they wish to remain way below the radar to everyone, arrived here at the base. They call themselves the Scireians. They have tech comparable to ours in some ways, in other ways, superior to ours, and in others, below ours. Anyway, they told us that they have the capability of sending us back home if we want. However, it will not be in the same month and year that we left, it will be our current date, so 2012 instead of 2004."

"Sir, what about Doctor MacLeod's group, or Eve's Group?"

"No, they said that they could not get good enough scans from Doctor MacLeod and his group, because their signatures were overlapped by Eve's group when they all appeared at the same time. The same is true for Donnie and Emily's team because they've been here a bit longer, and their signatures have stabilized to this universe. Besides they've retired and have made a home for themselves here, so they probably would have stayed anyway. As for Eve and her people, yes they can be sent back if they want. Check with your team and let me know ASAP. Because the window is closing and we don't have time to wait if any of you want to go home."

"Yes, sir. I will check with my team and get back to you. What are you and the others going to do, sir?"

"You check with your people first, Christina. I don't want to influence anyone's decision. If someone wants to return, we will make sure that they can."

"Yes, sir." Chris sat there for a moment before looking at Oliver.

{Ollie, Adam says that there is a way for us to go back home, but not to when we were, it would 2012 instead of 2004.}

{What did you tell him?}

{Nothing yet. I'm going to talk to the team and see what they say. Adam needs to know right away. He said the window is closing, so we have to make a quick decision.}

Ollie nodded and was silent for a few moments.

{You know I'm with you and we have kids now.}

She nodded.

{That was what I was thinking about. I know we're staying, but I have to give the others a choice. Oh and Brett's people can't be sent back either, so they'll be staying here.} Oliver nodded.

{So easy decision for us.}


Chris took her headset off and got up. "You got Dragon. You can listen in, so you know the decision." Ollie nodded. "I've got Dragon." They exchanged a quick kiss before she left the cockpit.

In the Control Center, she stopped and looked at the five people there, Brett, Eve, Apollo, Sean and Dakota. "I have an important announcement for everyone. Please join me in the main cabin." They got up and followed her out of the Control Center, found empty seats, and waited for her to begin.

"Can I have everyone's attention!" They all turned to her, those that had been napping were awakened by their neighbors. When she saw that she had everyone's attention, unfortunately that included their passengers, well there was nothing she could do about them right now, she began.

She looked at the passengers first. "You folks already know that we're different than others our age and what I need to tell to my team will give you more information that we will have to trust that you will keep to yourselves. As I've said before, what you hear must remain completely confidential. You must not tell anyone. If you did, it could have a huge negative impact on President Bryce's efforts to save this country. So unless you want Asswood to win, never repeat what you hear about us."

{Laying it on a little thick aren't you.} A little grin appeared on her face.

{Well if it works, I don't care. If necessary we'll try to block their memories.}

She looked at them and saw them nodding. "Cross my heart and hope to die." She smiled at Nick, several of the others smiled at him as well. "That works for me. Okay, I just got off the radio with Adam. He said that there is a way for us to return home. A group, in some ways like us in regards to their tech level, says that they can do this for us." There was a mix of looks directed her way. Some were smiling, others had considering looks on their faces as they thought about it. There was, of course, confusion on their passengers' faces.

"So we can leave and go back home?" Chris looked at Jamie for a few moments before shaking her head. "Unfortunately, you guys can't." Jamie started to say something but she held up her hand to stop him and looked at Eve. "Eve, since you came from the same place as we did, you can go back." She looked at Brett. "Brett, your group can't be returned because this other group says that they can't get a good enough scan of your signature to send you back."

"I don't understand quite what you mean by signature, although, I think I do, but I'm sure that can be made clear at a later time."

"Thanks Brett, I'm sure we can find someone who can explain it better that I." She turned to the rest of the group. "Another thing is that we can't go back to the 'when' that we left, it would be now at home, November 2012, eight years later." She saw the looks on some of the passengers and gave a sigh. She felt she needed to explain more to forestall any questions from them. Maybe it would be best to just block their memories later, she would check with Logan about that. She faced them.

"What I'm about to tell you is even less known within Bryce's government. This is even more important that you never tell anyone. We, all of us, except Ivan, are from Earth in alternate universes or dimensions. That is why we have some of the things that we do and can do some of things that we can do. We've only been here in this version of Earth for a couple of weeks and we've been busy. We had hoped to find a way back home, and it looks like this may be a possibility now."

She turned her attention to everyone now. "This group, they call themselves the Skererians or something like that, claim to be able to send most of us back home, if we want to. It is your choice, but I need to know right now. I'm sorry I can't give you any time to think about it. Adam said that the window to make it happen is short, so the decision needs to be made now."

There were looks being exchanged all through main cabin. The group that knew they had to stay were looking at the others, some of them with some concern on their faces. There was some concern that these people who had become friends and even family would leave them behind.

"What did Adam say that they were going to do?" Eve said. Chris looked at Eve. "He said he wouldn't tell us, in case it influenced your decision. I'm sure he'll tell me when I report back to him and I will let you all know."

The passengers could just sit there in shock as they tried to make sense of everything that they had just been told. It wasn't very long before someone spoke up, it was Chase. "I will stay. I cannot leave my friends, my team members. If they cannot come with us, then I will not leave them." There was a lot of nodding going on from the others and they spoke up also saying that they didn't want to break up the team.

Eve listened and caught the eyes of each of her surviving team members, silently asking them for their decision, before answering for them. "We will stay as well." Chris nodded. "You all agree." Eve nodded. "Yes." Chris looked around and saw all of those from Eve's team nod their agreement. "Ollie and I have decided to stay as well, for what we consider an excellent reason, Tim and Sara. We can't leave our family." She could tell that some of her team members had realized that as well. "Well I guess we're all staying. I'll let Adam know." She started to turn, but stopped. "Thank you all. As you were."

She turned and headed back to the cockpit. The rest of them resumed what they were doing. She retook her seat and looked over to Ollie. "Well I guess we're all in for the long haul." She keyed her mic. "Sean, please contact command and tell Adam I have his answer."

"Roger." A moment later Sean came back on the radio. "I have Adam, Drake will patch him through in a sec."

"Very well. Thank you."

"This is Adam, Christina."

"Adam, I have your answer. We're all staying. There is one problem, our passengers have just learned a little bit more about us. I thought you should know. We had to talk to everyone and they were there."

"Eve's group?"

"Yes, sir. All of the Red Dragons."

"Very well. Thank you for the quick answer. We are all staying as well. The only ones going back are Hac and Barrett. They say that they just can't stay here, even if it is eight years later when they get home, they don't care. They just want to go home. I think part of that decision is because of the choice that Haden made."

"I understand, thank you sir, I was hoping you were all staying as well. We need you guys as our leaders to be successful. We would have done the best we could, but with you and the rest of the command team in place, I have no doubt we will succeed."

"Thank you. I know you would have all done just as good without us. Well since you have made your decision, I have more news for you. These Scireians have said that those of us in the command team, because of all the tripping around through different dimensions that we have been doing, have unstable cosmic signatures or something like that and they are going to stabilize us, so that we match this universe, otherwise we may have some problems. One of the effects of that will be that we will age anywhere from five to ten years. They can't pinpoint it better than that. So the next time we see you, we will all be a little bit older."

"What about the other UNIT members, will they need to do that too?"

"No. It is the consequence of all the things that we on the command team have been doing that caused the instability. You and the other teams have not done that much of the dimension hopping that we did, so according to the Scireians, you're stable. Same is true of Doctor MacLeod's group and Eve's group. So there is nothing that needs to be done. However, due to the process, we will be out of commision for a few days, maybe as late as Wednesday until the process is completed. We have to go to their hidden base. We don't know where it is, but we trust them, so don't worry. After we finish the treatment, we'll see you guys later. Until we are back on our feet, I want you to take command of the UNIT. It will only be a few days and you are the senior team commander at present. If Donnie hadn't retired, I would have asked him, since he is senior to you, but I have every confidence you can hold it all together until we get back."

"Thank you sir. I won't let you down."

"I know you won't, Commander. Have a safe flight. See you in a few days. UNIT Command out."

The radio cut off. She looked at Oliver. "Well let's get up to Kettle Falls. I have Dragon." She resumed control of the helicopter and continued to Kettle Falls.

Half an hour later she took them up higher to cross the Rocky Mountains at South Pass, Wyoming, one of the lowest passes that they could cross. Then she followed a zigzag course to get around higher mountains. They were through and heading north along the western edge of Idaho.

"Sean, use the UNIT command frequency and contact Lieut…Commander Courtney Hughes of the Firebirds Strike Team. They're stationed at Kettle Falls. Let them know that we'll be landing in one hour with some rescued passengers that need a safe place to stay. Ask for landing instructions."

"I'm on it." Sean talked to Drake and Dusty to get the correct frequency. "Commander Hughes, this is Red Dragon Strike Team. Commander Hughes, this is Red Dragon Strike Team, over."

"This is Commander Hughes, Red Dragons. What can I do for you?"

"Commander we are one hour out from your position. We are transporting a group of rescued refugees looking for a safe place."

"Well you've come to the right place. Head to 48⁰34'47" N and 118⁰05'08" W. I will meet you there. One other request. Please send the names, ages, profession, and other skills of each refugee."

"Roger. I'll get 'em for you. See you in an hour. Red Dragons out."

"Firebirds out."

"Chris, I'm sending you the coordinates. Commander Hughes says that she will be waiting for us."

"Thanks Sean." In the cockpit Chris directed Drake to plot the course.

"Course plotted. Arrival in fifty-five minutes."

"Thanks Drake."

Sean left his spot and picked up Dusty to bring with him. He went to the refugees. "Hey folks. I'm Sean. I need to ask you a few questions. They need them for when we get to Kettle Falls. I need to know your names, ages, profession and any other skills that you have. That okay?" They nodded. "Good, just tell Dusty here and he'll record it."

"Dusty?" Sean smiled and showed them the image of Dusty on the screen. "Yeah, this is Dusty." The avatar on the screen waved to them. "Hey y'all. Nice to meet y'all. Ah'm ready when y'all are." All of them stared at the image on the screen for a few moments. "Hello, Can y'all hear me?" That seemed to finally get their attention and began to give him the information that he needed. When he had everything, Sean thanked them and went back to his station.

"Firebirds, this is Red Dragons."

"Red Dragons, this is Senior Commander Donnie Williams, go ahead."

"Sir, I have the information that Commander Hughes requested."

"Very well, go ahead."

Sean had Dusty pass on the information.

"Thank you. We'll see you when you get here. When you land don't shut down, because once your passengers are off, we will be having you move to another location."

"Roger. I'll pass the word." Sean called into the cockpit. "Chris, when we land they don't want us to shut down as they are going to direct us to another place."


Thirty minutes later as they were nearing Kettle Falls, Chris called into the main cabin. "Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen. I would like to thank you for flying Red Dragon Airways today. We are coming to our final destination of Kettle Falls. Local time is two thirty pm. The temperature is a brisk 55 degrees. Please make sure you have all your baggage and personal belongings with you when you leave the cabin."

The passengers smiled a little when they heard the announcement. All of them had looks of relief on their faces, because it seemed to them that they were safe now. They began gathering their belongings and checking to make sure that they had everything that they had brought onboard. They felt the gentle bump of the landing. Rio went over to the ramp controls and lowered the ramp. Chris came from the cockpit to say goodbye to their passengers and wish them luck. As the passengers left, she saw a couple of people in UNIT uniforms walk up the ramp. She smiled when she saw them.

"Donnie! Hey, I thought you'd retired!" He smiled at her and they shook hands with them. "Hey Courtney."

"Yeah Chris. I thought so too, and then all this shit happened. Still, me and Emily were going to stay retired, until we started hearing more about what was going on that we didn't like. Then the word went out about people heading this way, trying to get to a safe place. There were reports that some of the people were getting attacked by rogue groups on the road as they tried to get here. Right about that time, I think we were starting to feel bored being retired and then with all of you guys doing what you've been doing, we decided to unretire and help people get to safety. We've started to run patrols along the road to keep an eye out for any of the assholes who were attacking people. We've just completed our second patrol and we were going get ready to head back out tomorrow, when I heard from Courtney that you guys were coming in. So I thought I'd say hello."

"Glad to see you with us again Donnie. So the rest of the team is here, too." He nodded. "Yep, they're over at the Brown's production compound. That's where you guys are going to land, unless you need to head back out on a mission." She shook her head. "No. Besides we've been flying for close to fourteen hours and could use a break."

"We'll ride along with you." Rio was raising the ramp. So Chris led the way to the cockpit. Once seated she took them up and followed Donnie's directions just a little north to the production compound. He told them where to land. She could see several other UNIT members watching them land.

Once they were down, Donnie led them off Dragon to meet up with the members of his team who were there waiting to greet them. Chris introduced everyone on her team. While there were standing around and getting acquainted or reacquainted, Ethan felt something sort of a like a tingle in his head. He looked at his boyfriend and saw Logan staring off into space. He followed his gaze and he seemed to be looking at Donnie.

"Logan? Logan, what's wrong? What's happening?" He reached over and put his hand on Logan's shoulder and Logan shook himself and his eyes refocused. He looked over at Ethan. "I need to talk to that Donnie guy."

"Okay. Let's go talk to him." The two boys walked over to where Donnie was standing next to Emily. They were talking to Chris and Oliver.

"Excuse me sir." The two couples turned to look at them. "What is it Ethan."

"Um, you need to get a base set up here as soon as you can." Chris was puzzled. "But we…" Logan shook his head. "No Chris, not you, him." He pointed at Donnie. "Sir, you need to start setting up a base here for the UNIT."

"What's going on Logan?" Logan shrugged. "I don't know. It's that just now when I looked at him and I got this feeling that he needed to start working on setting up UNIT base." Donnie looked at Chris waiting for an explanation. Ethan jumped in. "My bro's a precog. He has precognition as one of his abilities. Anyway, sometimes he gets feelings about stuff. That's how we knew that we needed to go to Tennessee today to rescue those people we brought here. He knew we had to go, so we went."

Donnie glanced at Chris and she nodded. "Yeah, that's what happens. So Logan, what can you tell us?"

"Not much more than that. It was just when I was looking at the Senior…" Donnie interrupted him. "Donnie is fine when it's among family. The rank is a mouthful to be saying every time you talk to me." Logan smiled. "Cool. Anyway for some reason just now as I was looking around at the place and everyone here, when I got to you, I suddenly got this strong feeling that you needed to start building a base here for the UNIT. So I had to tell you."

"And you don't know why?" Logan shook his head. "No, but I know it's real important that it gets done soon, because there's a lot of things that we're going to need to do and this feels like the best place to do it." Donnie looked at Logan and nodded. "Okay." He looked at Chris. "I think I've got some calls to make." He and Emily left them after sharing a quick hug with Chris and Oliver.

As they walked away, Sean walked up to them carrying his laptop. "Chris, Dusty says he has something you need to know." She nodded as Sean opened his laptop. The figure of Dusty appeared on the screen. "Hey y'all. I was talking to my compadre Drake and he was telling me some things all y'all might want to know."

"Okay, I'll head back into Dragon and see what he needs."

"Nah, y'all don't need to do that. Just a sec. Go ahead Drake."

Drake's voice came from the laptop. "Commander. I need to report that we have flown 15907.314159 miles over a period of two weeks. I have been in combat action five times. During this time no maintenance has been done and my sensors are telling me that I am overdue for maintenance in several areas. The engines in particular need to be checked to ensure my continued ability to sustain myself at acceptable level of operation."

"How did you do that Sean?" He shrugged. "Dusty and me have been working on being able to talk to Drake when we aren't inside Dragon."

"Okay. Understood Drake. We will suspend operations and do full maintenance and diagnostics tomorrow."

"Acknowledged Commander."

She looked at them. "Okay, I guess we've got some work to do tomorrow. We'll have to make do with what we've got, unless they've got some of the equipment we'll need. For now, let's find out where we're going to stay." She and Oliver went over to a member of Donnie's team to get some information about where they would be sleeping. They were shown to a area in the big building where the other members of Donnie's team were camping out before heading back out on patrol.

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