Castle Roland


by Eric Aune


Chapter 31

Published: 8 Apr 14

"Hello Son."

Jamie stood there for a few moments more before he tentatively reached out and shook the man's hand a couple of times before releasing it. Brett smiled encouragingly. He so wanted to reach out and take Jamie into his arms and give him the biggest hug that he could, but he saw the wariness in the boys eyes and although inside he was nearly bursting with excitement in finally standing before his son, he contented himself with a nod and turned to the adults.

"I know all of you, some more than others…." He looked at Jamie who stood nearby, still holding Josh's hand, and then looked at Josh, "….have a lot of questions. Please come in the house, I have lunch prepared for everyone. After you have something to eat, I will answer your questions and tell you why I have brought you up here."

He looked at Jamie, "Would you walk me Jamie?" He then looked over at Josh, "And of course Joshua. I know how important you are to each other."

Jamie said nothing, still not sure about all of this. Brett took his silence as acceptance and he patted Jamie on the shoulder before he turned and headed back to the house. The others followed after him. Gabe and Eric brought up the rear, not by any planning, but because Eric felt a little out of place, while Gabe was not a part of this group, he knew that Brett wanted him in there with him when he started explaining everything since they had talked about it earlier.

When they entered the house Brett stood aside and gestured for them to precede him. They all looked around in wonder at the beautiful interior of the house. Brett led the way once again until he came to a dining room with a large table big enough to fit everyone. The table was set and ready. Brett gently placed his hand on Jamie's shoulder to steer him to a place near the head of the table. Everyone sat as Brett waved for them to join him. He looked to another man who was in the room and the man nodded and left the room. Once everyone found a seat, the man returned a few moments later with some other people who must work for Brett as they started bringing out the food. Brett had Jamie sit near him. Josh sat on the other side of Jamie with his Uncle sitting next to him. David and Barbara sat on the other side of Brett. The others found places to sit, usually near the couple that they had been closer to long ago, so that they could catch up. During the meal, David tried to draw Brett out about what had happened or what was going on, but he put them off until after they had eaten. Brett was more interested in talking to Jamie.

Jamie was still confused a little and answered Brett, but did not elaborate much about his life. He was too unsure about this man. He was obviously holding back trying to make sense of Brett. The others around the table spent the meal catching up on thirteen years of life. Where they lived, what they did now. They also talked about Brett and speculating on where he had been all this time. Many of them would glance to the head of the table to look at him from time to time.

As Brett talked to Jamie about school and things, he could sense uncertainty from Jamie and it made him a little frustrated, but he understood that Jamie would need time to get used to him. Finally everyone had pretty much finished eating so Brett stood up. "Everyone thank you for coming. Why don't we go to the living room where we can be more comfortable and I'll explain what's going on."

There were murmurs of assent as everyone got up and Brett led the way from the dining room to a huge living room that had floor to ceiling windows. The ceiling went up two stories and the windows looked out over a part of the meadow surrounding the house. Near the tree line they could see a man on a horse riding along the edge. Everyone remarked on how beautiful the view was. Once everyone was comfortable, he looked at these people who had once been his friends and he hoped that they would once again call him friend. He saw that the boys had paired off into their couples and he smiled at that. The biggest smile he had was for his son.

When he looked at Jamie, he had a hard time not breaking down and fiercely hugging the boy to him. He wondered if he had been right in staying away once he had found where Jamie and his mom were living. He knew that there had been important things for him to do. What he had done culminated in this gathering today. He felt that his eyes were moist so he turned to look out the windows for a few moments while he collected himself before turning around and facing them. As he turned around another person walked into the room. Everyone turned to see who it was.

A few of them recognized Hal Jackson as he entered the room. Hal made his way over to a chair near Brett and sat down.

"Some of you may know my lawyer Hal Jackson, for the rest that don't know him; he handles all of my legal matters. Most recently he has been working on the investigation on Alma Geddes and her fraud and theft against her various clients she had represented or rather misrepresented over the past several years while working for CPS. Most recently was Jamie's inheritance. In Jamie's case that has been cleared up, but Hal is still assisting law enforcement in helping the other boys and girls, many of them now grown up, in recovering at least some of what she stole from them."

Several nodded in greeting, especially those who had direct interaction with him.

"Okay, I know you all have questions, but the biggest I'm sure is what happened thirteen years ago at the lab. So I'll start with that, and we'll go from there. Because some of you know this part let me explain to the boys what we were doing and how we met first, before I explain what happened to me."

All of the adults there nodded their agreement. When he saw that everyone had agreed he focused his attention on the boys. The eight of them had seemed to congregate in one part of the room.

"Boys, I'm sure by now, you realize that all of your parents knew each other long ago. Something else you may have heard when they greeted each other is that they did not use the names that you are used to hearing, and that is because we all had to go into hiding. Here is how it all started."

Brett then started telling them about how he became involved with Hunt Labs in New York. How their parents all came to work there and become friends. He told them what kind of work they were doing and how that led him to coming up with the idea of the experiment that resulted in their birth.

"I knew it."

When Sean said that, he got the attention of the adults. They noticed that their sons were looking at Sean and smiling. The boys seemed to have some knowledge of this, but they had never told them.

"What did you know son?"

"That we were, uh, part of an experiment. We all talked about it, a little while ago and I've been doing research about it."

"Who all talked about it?"

Sean pointed at himself and then his friends. "Us, we sorta figured it out, because…."


Sean stopped what he was about to say when Brett spoke and looked at him.

"Let's leave that part for later."

"You know? I mean about what…"

Brett interrupted him again.

"Yes, a couple of you have had contact with me. I am sometimes known as Hlander and Psyealer."

Both Sean and Ian were surprised.

"So that was you?"

"Yes, and yes I know what you boys can do, but I want to explain that later, okay."

The boys nodded and Brett smiled at them before continuing his story. He told of what he had found out about the PRI, later called the GRA. He told of what they had done in destroying the lives of many young people. He told them about their one success, Martin Swift. He told of meeting with Mac and the plan that they had come up with to allow them all to go into hiding which included the destruction of the lab, because the GRA was making plans to take the boys from their parents and the eventual plan was to kill the parents off and then take over raising the boys.

"So we decided to blow up the lab, to hide the results of the experiment, and the fact that we were all alive and in hiding, because to do otherwise would be to put you boys in jeopardy. I don't know what would have happened to you if we hadn't done it, but now with what I know about you boys, I have an idea what would have happened."

"Brett, what the hell are you talking about? You keep alluding to something about the boys, but you haven't really been specific."

"I know and I promise everything will be explained soon, but first let me answer the question about what happened to me. Before I go on, let me have some coffee and drinks brought in. Hot chocolate boys?"

Everyone there agreed that drinks would be a good idea. The boys liked the idea of some hot chocolate. Brett looked at Hal and nodded. Hal got up and a few moments later returned to the room with a couple of the staff members pushing carts with a large coffee pot, sugar, cream and cups, while the other held another pot that had the hot chocolate, mini marshmallows and cups for the boys. Everyone got up and got something to drink before returning to their seats.

Once everyone was seated again, Brett continued, "Alright. As all of my friends know, the lab was exploding. Mac later told me that one of his men told everyone that he had seen me surrounded by fire and underneath a slab of one of the walls, near to Doctor Hunt and unmoving."

They nodded.

"When that slab hit Doctor Hunt and myself, I was knocked out, well both of us were…."

{Thirteen years ago}

Brett ran toward the figure he saw within the smoke and caught up with him, it was Doctor Hunt. He heard the yell behind him and turned to see one of Mac's men, Rob, waving for Brett to hurry toward him. There was a flash of red, Doctor Hunt and pieces of the wall slammed into him and everything went black.

Brett could see red through his closed eyelids. He cracked his eyes open and saw and felt the heat from the fires raging all around him. He felt movement next to him and he looked to his left side. Next to him, lying on the ground, was Doctor Hunt. He tried to move and felt a weight pressing down on his leg. He saw that part of the wall nearby had blown outward and landed on himself and Richard. More of the wall was on top of Richard, only his shoulders and head were showing. Brett pushed and squirmed many times trying to get out from under the wall. Nearly every time he moved a sharp pain shot up his leg and caused him to cry out. As he tried to extricate himself he also watched the fire that was getting closer and hotter. He finally made his way out from under the wall and crawled closer to Richard. When he checked for a pulse on his neck, he found a faint one. His touch seemed to rouse Richard, he opened his eyes and looked around until he focused on Brett.

"Brett. What happened?"

"Richard. You should have stayed away. The lab is burning down and I've got to get you out of here."

Brett looked around trying to find something to use as a lever to try to get the wall off of Richard. As he looked around Richard pulled one arm free and grabbed Brett's arm. Brett turned back to see Richard shaking his head.

"No…don't Brett…I can feel…" Richard coughed and some blood came to his lips. "Brett…don't…my body is crushed…get the hell out of here…you can't save me…"

"I'll get you out Richard. We'll get you to the hospital. You'll be okay."

"No, you won't. Now get out of here and take care of your family."


"Damn it, get the hell out of here. Now Brett. Go."

Brett paused a moment and then took Richard's hand in his. "Thanks Richard. I'm privileged to have worked with you."

Richard nodded and squeezed Brett's hand before he let go and waved for Brett to go. He then closed his eyes. Brett got up and half stumbled, half crawled toward the exit. He had to crawl really low to avoid the fire that was shooting out of a wall between him and the exit. Outside he could hear sirens approaching. He knew he had to get out of there before the fireman came in, because if he was found he was sure the Archer would get the information out of him about his friends. The fire was getting hotter and it was very hard to breathe, so he stayed near the ground. Finally he reached the door and felt cooler air, he stumbled out the back door and stumbled away from building, falling down, and gasping for some clean air as he coughed a few times. He heard shouting from the other side of the building. The fire was roaring and Brett knew he had to get going. He pushed himself up from the ground and there was a searing pain in his knee. He stifled a cry and gritted his teeth as he stumbled away from the building as fast as he could until he came to the fence. He could hear some explosions behind him. He found the gap in the fence and went through. There was another loud explosion and a large section of wall hit a tree near the fence, which then knocked part of it down including the area near the cut section. Brett looked at the building and saw that the flames climbed high in the sky. He knew that if he didn't get going he might be discovered, so he looked back one last time at what was Richard Hunt's funeral pyre. He stumbled off and out of sight.

He stumbled along for some time, trying to keep out of sight. It was getting colder and the adrenaline finally was leaving him. He felt the shooting pain in his knee and all the cuts and bruises. He knew he was going into shock, but fought it off as best he could by using the pain in his knee to keep unconsciousness away. He needed to find a payphone as his cell phone and all his other identification was with the cadaver that was supposed to be him back in the lab. As he distanced himself he would look back and see the red glow in the distance. He had stumbled along for a couple of miles before collapsing in a park area. He came to a bench and sat down to rest for a few moments before continuing, but everything crashed down on him, and he passed out. While he was passed out it started to drizzle a little and his clothes were soon soaked. This had the added benefit of washing the smell of smoke out of his clothes, but it put him in danger of freezing to death.

He lay on the bench for a sometime when a routine police patrol noticed an unmoving form illuminated by a streetlight lying on the bench. They stopped to investigate and found Brett. They tried to wake him up, but he didn't move. They checked through his pockets for ID and found nothing. They examined him with their flashlights and his clothes were torn and he was cut and bruised all over. Since his ID was missing, they thought he might have been a mugging victim. They called for paramedics and soon Brett was on his way to the hospital. When they brought him inside, they started treating him for hypothermia as well as all his other injuries. The worst one was his knee, the knee cap was shattered. Without ID, he was listed as a John Doe while they went to work on him. They did multiple tests on him. The CT scan showed nothing acute in his brain and they believed that his unconsciousness was due to a concussion exasperated by the hypothermia. They had hopes that once he had some rest and was warmed up, he would wake up and then they could get his name and some answers to what happened to him.

Brett lay in a coma for a few days until finally waking up early one morning. He was disoriented as he tried to figure out where he was. It took him a few minutes before he realized that he was in a darkened hospital room. He tried moving around a bit and found that his left leg felt very stiff. He felt around his knee and felt the rigid brace around his knee. He pulled the covers back and saw that his knee was bandaged inside the stiff brace. He assessed what he felt. There was a catheter in his penis and he was in an adult diaper. There were a couple of IV bags dripping fluid into his arm. He tried to see what the solutions were, but it was too dark. Other than a headache and the ache in his knee, he found that although he had some bandages on other parts of his body, including his face, he mostly had stiff muscles. He didn't know what day it was so he looked for the nurse call button and pressed it.

A few moments later a nurse hurried in. "You're awake, that's great. What can I do for you?"


His voice was very hoarse.

"Wait one moment."

She went over to a tray and poured some water into a small cup. She slowly elevated the head end of the bed until he was sitting up a little. She put a straw in the cup and held it up for him.

"Now just take some slow slips, not too much."

When the cool water hit his mouth he felt relief in his mouth and down his throat. He stopped and nodded his thanks. She put the cup down and turned back to him.

"Where…where am I?"

"You're at Stony Brook University Hospital."

"How did I get here?"

"The paramedics brought you in. Can you tell me your name?"


Brett was about to tell her his name and stopped himself. He couldn't use his name. He remembered what his new name was going to be and used that.

"Bryan Carpenter. Can I make a phone call to call a friend to tell them I'm okay?"

"Of course. Let me get the phone plugged in for you. Do you remember what happened to you? The police say that you were mugged."

Inwardly Brett smiled and latched onto that. He wasn't sure how he would explain his injuries, but this gave him a perfect explanation so he latched onto it.

"I think so, I don't remember much."

"Well, just give me a moment and I'll have the phone for you. I'll call the doctor, and the police will probably want to talk to you about it as well."

Brett nodded and she turned to get the phone out of the bedside cabinet and hooked it into the wall before handing it to Brett. He took it and gave her a grateful smile. She left to contact the doctor. Brett punched a phone number into the phone and waited. It rang a couple of times before an answering machine picked up. He spoke in a low voice.

"Mac, its Brett. I'm at Stony Brook University Hospital as Bryan Carpenter. Come help me get out of here."

He put the phone on the table beside the bed and stared at the opposite wall. He could see daylight started to brighten the curtains over the window. He was worried, wondering how long he'd been out and what was Kathy, no Christine thinking. She had to be worried. Hopefully Mac could help him. He looked around the bed and found the controls. He sat himself up a little more and then found the controls for the TV. He turned it on and started looking for a news station. He found one and then his mouth dropped open as he saw that he had apparently been out for five days. His heart sank. Kathy and his son Jimmy were gone to their new life. Mac had said that he wasn't going to keep any of their information, but maybe he had some idea so he could find his family. He flipped through the channels looking for something to pass the time.

Time passed and an older man in a white coat came in with a smile. He walked over to Brett's side and held out his hand and they shook hands.

"Mister Jackson. I'm very glad to see you awake. I'm Doctor Ackley. Let me take a look and see how everything is going for you."

"Sure Doctor."

The doctor began checking his vitals. He checked his eyes, heart, blood pressure, breathing etc. When he was finished he stepped back.

"Well, everything looks and sounds okay. How do you feel, Mister Jackson?"

"I've got a headache and my knee aches a bit, but okay I guess."

"Good, can you tell me what happened to you?"

Brett remembered what the nurse had said about being mugged and he acted like he was trying to remember while he put together the story. It took him a few moments before he was ready to put on the act of not remembering clearly.

"It's kind of fuzzy, but I sort of remember getting struck in the knee and the head I think, but I don't remember much else, besides the pain in my knee. When I got hit in the head, everything after that is black, so I don't remember much."

"The police will want to interview you for their report. I have to let them know you're awake, but I can hold off until tomorrow if you'd like."

"Thank you. I've just woke up and I'd rather be a little less fuzzy when I talk to them. If you wouldn't mind waiting until tomorrow, I'd appreciate it."

"Of course. Now do you have any friends or family that we can call? I'm sure that they are very worried about you since you've been out for five days."

"I was here visiting a friend, I've already called him and left a message. I hope to hear from him soon."

"Very good. Well, let me tell you a little about your injuries. You have several bruises, scrapes, and minor cuts along with the bump on your head, which means you probably have a bad concussion as well, which would account for the coma. The worst was your left knee. The patella was broken in five pieces and we had to do surgery to put everything back together. Some of the tendons and ligaments were damaged as well. We've put a rigid brace on your knee to keep it from moving."

"How long will I have the brace on?"

"Six to eight weeks."

"That long, damn."

"Also, you will need some physical therapy afterwards for several months to get your knee back in shape. This will be quite a long process, and you may never be back to 100%, but the rehab will get you to the best shape that they can as long as you follow the program that they set up for you."

"Okay, I understand. Thanks. So when can I leave?"

"Well, I'd like to keep you here for few more days to make sure everything is progressing and healing well. If everything appears to be working like I expect, then we'll let you out then. Other than that, I'll leave you alone, unless you have any other questions."

"No Sir."

"Good, then expect the police tomorrow. I'll call them when I get in tomorrow morning. That should give you a day to get bored enough so that you won't mind talking to them."

"Thank you."

The doctor left, leaving Brett to watch TV. The nurse had opened the curtains so that he could see outside a little. Although he couldn't see much, other than that he was on an upper floor of the building and could see in the distance. He was worried that one of Kathy's colleagues might see him, which was why he hoped Mac got the message soon.

Later that afternoon, his nurse came in and told him that he had a visitor. He became a little nervous. If the police found out that he was awake and came in, he realized he hadn't thought about his story and what he was going to tell them. What he was really afraid of was that somehow Archer, or Marcus, found out he was here. He tensed as he heard footsteps outside the room and then he saw the familiar red head of Mac coming in the door. He could see some surprise on Mac's face as he made his way over to the bed and they shook hands. He nodded his thanks to the nurse and she left, giving them their privacy. When he spoke it was low, so that no one passing by outside the room could hear them.

"Damn Br…yan. We all thought you were dead. Rob said he saw you and that older doctor get hit by a piece of the wall and surrounded by fire."

"Well, I nearly was. I woke up underneath part of the wall. I tried to get Doctor Hunt out, but he was too badly injured. He told me to get out of there, so I left. I don't know how long I walked, or rather stumbled, before I passed out, but here we are."

Mac looked Brett up and down. "So what all is wrong with you."

"Concussion and shattered kneecap are the worst things. The others are just cuts and bruises."

"How long for you to heal up?"

"They said six to eight weeks and then months of physical therapy. There was a lot of damage to the knee. I have to stay here for a few days yet, but then I can get out of here, can you get me out of here?"

"Sure, either myself or one of my associates will pick you up."

"Um, what about Kathy and Jimmy. Do you have any information about them?'

Mac gave him an apologetic look. "I didn't keep any information on any of the families. Just in case I was ever found by the PRI or GRA. I didn't want them to have any chance of finding you guys."

"Shit! Is there any way that you can think of that would help me find them?"

"I'll see what I can do, but it may take some time. Once you get out, we can start looking, but in the meantime, I'll see if I have anything about them. Remember I told you that I wouldn't keep anything and I meant it."

"Yeah, I know, but anything will help Mac. I'm not going much of anywhere for a while right now, but I do want to join them as soon as I can."

"I understand. You just worry about getting better, and once you're out of here we can work on it together."


"Alright, now that I've satisfied myself that that call wasn't a crank call, I'd better get some things moving so that we can be ready to liberate you from this place."

"Oh yeah, the police think I was mugged, so I'm going with that story when they interview me tomorrow. I was going to tell them that I was visiting a friend. What name should I use?"

"How about John Hendon and give them the number you called me on if they want to talk to me. I'll back up your story. Here take this cell phone and call me with the story that you told them so we can keep our stories straight. My number is programmed in."

Brett took the phone and they shook hands again. "Thanks Mac, I'll call you tomorrow after the police visit."

Mac waved as he left. Brett put the phone under his pillow and turned back to some sitcom on TV.

The next day a police officer came to interview him. He told them basically what he told the doctor about everything being a bit fuzzy only remembering being hit in the knee and then the head and everything going black. He told them that he didn't see or hear anything. Although he did mention that he had heard the explosion and was walking toward it after having a late dinner at a fast food place. They asked him how he got to where he had been found and he told them he couldn't remember. They asked him where he lived and he said that he was living with a friend while he looked into moving to the Stony Brook area. He gave them the phone number that Mac had given him. One of them tried it right away and got the answering machine. He left a message for John to call the police at his earliest convenience. They finished and wished him well. Once they were gone, he called Mac. This time Mac answered and he told him what he had told the police. Mac thanked him and called the police in the early afternoon. He confirmed the logical parts of Brett's story about visiting him. They seemed satisfied and let him go.

The next few days were mostly tedious. Brett slept a lot which helped the healing process. On the second day a physical therapist came and taught him how to use some crutches properly. Once he showed them that he could do that, the nurse removed the catheter and he was encouraged to get up as much as he was able to and move around.

By the third day he was getting antsy and really wanted out of there. Daytime TV thoroughly bored him and there really wasn't much to read. His biggest fear was that one of Kathy's colleagues would see him. He pleaded with the doctor when he came to give Brett a checkup.

"So Doc, when can I get out of here? I'm going stir crazy. I can get around okay and my friend will be more than happy to come get me. Just say the word, please. If I have to stay here much longer I'll sign out AMA."

The doctor continued checking Brett over to make sure his leg was healing okay and his vitals were good. He nodded to Brett. "Okay, I'll get your discharge paperwork taken care of. Go ahead and call you friend."

Brett shook his hand. "Thanks doc. I think I'll heal much better at my friend's house. I do appreciate this."

"I'm going to write a prescription for some antibiotics and pain pills for you to get, and I would like to see you at my office in a week to see how you're doing. Will you still be here then or are you going back home."

"I'll be here for a while yet, I've been thinking of moving here, so I'll make an appointment to see you."

"Good, I'll include my office number for you to call for the appointment."

The doctor left and Brett got the cell phone Mac had left with him and punched the speed dial to get Mac. "Hey Mac…I'm going to be discharged, so can you come and get me? Oh, and bring some clothes. Shorts instead of pants though because of the brace on my knee…Yeah thanks, see you then…bye."

He ended the call and waited. About thirty minutes later a nurse came in with some paperwork. He signed where she indicated and when everything was signed she handed him the prescription forms and the doctor's office number. He thanked her and a few minutes later Mac walked in with a bag in his hands. He helped Brett get dressed and they called the nurse, who got a volunteer to give him a ride in the wheelchair out to where Mac could pick him up. It was a bit cold outside in a pair of shorts even with the sun shining, but at least he was getting out of here. As he was wheeled through the hospital he kept looking around to make sure none of Kathy's colleagues saw him. As he was wheeled outside, Mac pulled up and the orderly helped him get into the car. Once he was settled in the passenger seat, Mac drove off.

Brett breathed a sigh of relief. "Thanks Mac. I was so worried that one of the Kathy's colleagues would see me. Now, have you found anything about Kathy and Jimmy?"

"Sorry Brett, I told everyone when they left for their new lives that I wouldn't keep anything in case I was somehow caught that would lead to them. I've searched through my files and all I have are vague recollections of where some of them will be going. The only thing I have is that I kind of think they were some of the ones that were going to go out west somewhere. I don't know where exactly. It could be Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, I just don't remember."

"Will you help me search for them then?"

Mac was silent for a few moments. Brett glanced at him and he could see Mac was thinking about it. Brett saw him shake his head before glancing over at Brett.

"Brett, I know what you want, and I want to help you, but I'm going to urge caution on this."

"What, but they're my family. I have to be with them."

"I know, I know, but think of the danger you would put them in, if you started doing blind searches right now. The lab accident just happened. The GRA is a secret organization within the government with vast resources. I believe that for a little while at least, they are going to bring those resources to bear, to investigate your families, your backgrounds, at least more than they have in the past. They are by nature extremely suspicious of anything and anyone's motives. They will be searching for any clue that any of you and/or your research was not destroyed by the fire. I think you should wait before you start searching."

Brett could feel the turmoil inside as he turned away from Mac. He stared out his window thinking about what Mac had said. Mac said nothing as he let Brett think. Brett was quiet for some time before he realized that they were nearing New York City. He looked over at Mac. "Where are we going? I thought we'd be heading to the safe house in Oyster Bay."

"I'm taking you to my home. You're going to need some time to rest and recuperate."

"Where is home?"

"Norwalk, Connecticut."

Brett nodded and turned back to look out the window. Sometime later Mac pulled into the driveway of an old Victorian house. The garage for the house was the old carriage house on the property. He stopped in front of the carriage house door and Mac helped Brett get out of the car and led him to the front door of the house.

Brett looked around the two story home. The interior had a lot of wood everywhere. "It's beautiful Mac."

"I bought it about ten years ago. I find it suits me well. Come on, let me make some coffee for us and we'll talk."

Brett nodded and followed Mac toward the kitchen. He looked in the rooms as they passed them. He could see that there were many antiques in the house. When they got to the kitchen Brett saw that it was a perfect blend of Victorian looks with modern appliances. Mac directed him to a seat at a small table that looked out to the back yard. It was a good sized yard. He could see that there was some snow around the yard. The whole place looked beautiful with the winter snow. Mac soon had the coffee done and brought the cups to the table and sat down across from Brett.

He nodded his thanks to Mac and sipped the coffee. "Mac, I thought about what you said and I'll wait, though it kills me to do so. I realize that you are right about the GRA. I don't want to jeopardize my family or any of my friends. How long do you think I need to wait?"

Mac looked out the back window and didn't say anything right away. He looked at Brett for a few moments before answering. "My suggestion is…two years.'

"What! Are you kidding me? Something could happen and their trail will go cold the longer I wait."

"I understand, but I caution you that you need to wait. Let the GRA be certain, in their own minds, that you are all gone. Give them the time to allay their suspicious nature and then I will help you find them. In the meantime, you need to get well and if you will allow me to do it, I will assist you in putting together some capital so that you can have the money you will need to do whatever is necessary to reunite with your family."

Brett turned away and looked out the window once again. He thought about what Mac had said while he drank his coffee. His logical mind, which told him that what Mac had said was probably a good idea was warring with his emotions. They wanted to find his family as soon as possible. The two men sat in silence, Mac knowing that Brett had a choice to make. When Brett finished his cup, Mac took it and filled it again.

Brett raised the cup in thanks before he said anything. "Mac, I don't like it, but I see your point. I'll wait, no matter how much it hurts. My family's safety is more important than what I want right now. I know I'll find them again and we'll be reunited. So I guess, I'm you're student for now."

"Good. First let me introduce myself. Seamus McIntyre. Since we're going to be working together for some time, you might as well know my name. You can continue to call me Mac, I'm used to that. I think you should stick with Bryan Carpenter, since we already have an identity for you in that name. Together we can work on making your new identity foolproof, because you have to be able to do things without anyone knowing it is you. So, from now on, I will call you Bryan, so that you get used to using that name."

Brett agreed and they settled into a partnership. Mac began to teach Brett the ins and outs of the stock market and Brett soon found out that he was very good at detecting trends in the market. By the end of the two years that Mac had suggested he had done very well and had several million dollars in several bank accounts.

During that time period Mac had not been idle. He continued researching the GRA, but after the lab fire, they seemed to mostly disappear. The GRA paid out insurance settlements to the families of those who died in the fire. After that, there was little heard about them. They seemed to go completely underground. Little was heard, and for a time Mac detected that they were searching for any evidence that the research that Brett had been doing was be continued anywhere, but nothing came of it and he felt comfortable at the end of the two years that if they were careful, they should be able to start the search for Kathy and Jimmy.

Somewhere around Jimmy's third birthday they started the search for Christine Carpenter. Mac had introduced Brett to other people that he knew, like the men who had helped them arrange the fire and escape of his friends and their families. He learned that there was a network of former special warfare people who knew each other and worked as bodyguards, investigators, and security consultants. All of them were discrete in what they did. Some Mac told him to stay away from because they were little more than hired guns. They used the good people from time to time to assist them with their search.

They started the search in Colorado. The found some people with that name. They sent their security consultants to find these people. Their job was twofold. Make sure the people were not under any kind of surveillance and that they were who he was hoping they were, which included pictures. They investigated anyone named Christine Carpenter, even if there was no information about a son, just to make sure. Most of those without a child were able to be quickly dismissed, as were those that were listed as being under twenty years old or over fifty. They found it was slow going as Brett had suspected that it would be.

As they searched for his family Brett expanded the search to all of his friends. He asked Mac to try to remember the new names of their friends. Brett continued to play in the market and his finances grew. He found another large Victorian at the edge of Norwalk and purchased it. The property came with a few acres of land, which suited him. As they continued the search in Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Idaho, they continued the search in other states for the others as well. Brett's intention had always been to find the others; the main reason was that he wanted to see the results of the experiment. He wanted to see what happened as the boys grew up. He had recorded all the new names in his palm pilot, but that had been destroyed in the fire. So together, he and Mac, were able to jog each other's memories for the names.

Five years later when the boys would be about eight or nine, they finally started getting hits on the families. Brett and Mac both were multi-millionaires by this time, but they did not flaunt it by buying big mansions and all that. Brett did purchase a decent apartment in New York City that was near Wall Street. As he found the families, eventually all of them but his own, a plan started to form in his head. He started looking around for a place that was out of the way, but near enough to larger cities so that he could easily stay in touch with his connections back here. He finally found some property near Fawnskin, California in the San Bernardino Mountains. He bought it, but did little for another year or two while he looked into communities nearby. Then, when the boys were all around ten or eleven years old, he started putting his plan into action. By this time he had found all but Kathy, and he thought it was time to make some changes. He had the school records of all of the boys and was pleased to note that all of them were exceptional students. He started building on the property outside Fawnskin. His computer skills had surpassed Mac by now and he was running the search, while Mac concentrated on the GRA and what they might be up to.

Once the compound was built, he started moving the pieces. He chose Hemet, California and started nudging the families to accept positions in and around Hemet. He did this by sending anonymous emails to them, which pointed them in the direction of jobs in the area that might be appealing to them. Along with these emails were emails that also hinted that housing prices were low in the area. Slowly each family found reasons to move to Hemet as they found good jobs in the area. By the time the boys were eleven, they were all living in the town except Christine. It was a few weeks before Jimmy's thirteenth birthday that Brett finally tracked them down in Idaho. Christine had been very careful and kept a low profile, unlike Derrick Stuart who had reverted to his own name.

When they found that out, he and Mac spent many weeks worried that the GRA would find them and the whole thing would blow up in their faces, but Derrick did nothing that would draw attention to himself. They found out that he and his wife had contacted her younger brother because of her cancer diagnosis. At her death he sent flowers anonymously, nothing big, just a small bouquet that was lost amid all the others. Once his compound in the mountains above Big Bear Lake was finished he told Mac that he was transferring his operations out west. He sold the Victorian house and the property and moved west.

He had consulted with a security firm that he found in the Los Angeles area that some of his contacts had mentioned, Spirit Wolf Security, and they helped him connect with some people that he could hire as security for his compound as it was not something that their firm did as a rule. They did security, but not the type that he wanted. He had been impressed with the firm and wished that they did. There was something about the firm that inspired trust. While he was there talking to one of the owners named Jake, he saw a group of neatly dressed young men come in, two of them were obviously twins. All of them wore their hair long in a ponytail, much like Jake did. The two that weren't twins called Jake, Dad, and the others called him Uncle Jake. He found out that the twins were the sons of the other owner of the firm. What surprised him was that the two young men who called Jake, dad, looked nothing like him. Jake was part Indian and looked the part. The two were nothing like that, one was blond and the other was brown haired, neither appeared to have any Indian blood. The blond haired one smiled at Brett and then at his dad. His dad looked at him for a moment before turning back to Brett and told him that Trevor and Jeremy were his adopted sons. They greeted him and then introduced the twins, Zach and Jared, as their boyfriends. Then Trevor got a mischievous look and gave Zach a kiss, obviously trying to shock Brett. Jake told them to get out of there, but he said it with a smile.

As they left Trevor looked at Brett with a smile. "Nice to meet you Bre….I mean Bryan. Good luck."

Brett pressed his lips together to keep from letting his mouth drop open. How had the young man known? After a few moments he realized that Jake had said his name a couple of times to get his attention back before they could continue. He apologized for Trevor, saying that he was a little mischievous at times. Brett concluded his business, but kept the firm in mind as a resource. He had heard things from his other security contacts about Spirit Wolf and how effective they were. Some of his contacts had heard some vague rumors about an operation that the firm had run outside the US a few years back, but no one had details about it. He decided that he would keep them in mind just in case.

He eventually found the right sort of people to be his security force and took up full time residence in the new place. He grew to love the place with the smell of pine trees all around. The view of Big Bear Lake in the distance and the ski slopes behind it was even better in the winter.

He started his campaign to get Christine and Jamie, he had learned that it was what his son preferred to be called, to move to Hemet. He heard of the opening at Loma Linda Pediatric department and he sent an email, disguised as a headhunting firm, to her that let her know about openings at Loma Linda and made the Pediatric position prominent. He thought that she would like it. He was overjoyed when he found that she had accepted the position. He allowed her to get settled and was making plans to reveal himself to them when the accident happened and Christine was killed. He wanted to go to Jamie right away, but Mac convinced him to wait once again, to let all the excitement die down before he approached Jamie. Instead, Brett called an unmarried young lawyer friend of his from back east and gave him a lucrative offer to work solely for him and Hal Jackson soon flew out and rented a place in nearby Murrieta, his main purpose was to oversee Jamie's welfare until the time was right for Brett to reunite with his son.

Brett went to the funeral, but stayed far in the background. He saw Jamie with the foster family that he had been placed with. He very much wanted to rush over and gather Jamie in his arms, but he waited. Brett soon was making trips down to Hemet to see his son and his friend's sons. He found out that all of them had continued to be exceptional students and were tops in their classes. He arranged for all eight boys to have the exact same schedule and was happy to find out that they had all become friends. He hacked into the computers of his friends and their sons so that he could monitor what they did. He was still afraid that they might do something that would alert the GRA, and he wanted to be able to stop any such inquiries if possible. He soon was glad for it as he noticed some of the searches that a couple of the boys were doing. He was able to connect via computer chat rooms with a couple of them and he started to learn that he may have been successful in enhancing the boy's mental abilities beyond them being just intelligent. He helped Sean increase his computer skills until he was very good at hacking into secure sites. He noticed that Sean's skills were immense and things that Brett had taken a long time to understand were easily learned by Sean.

He was horrified about what happened to Joshua and he almost rushed in then, but finding out that Josh's uncle had moved into the town and would be his guardian allowed him to relax a little in some ways, but worried him a little as well, since he knew that at some point he would have to bring him in on the plan. He read the police report on what happened and made note of one sentence in the report that was of interest to him about Derrick's wounds. When Jamie was hurt, he knew it was getting to be time to bring them all in.

About that time Mac contacted him about the GRA. Apparently they had restarted their research. Mac told him that he had found out that a small portion of Brett's research had been salvaged by Alistair Merrick, who was now working full time for the GRA. With the information they had made some advances from when Marty Swift had been experimented on and had determined to start with much younger kids. They didn't want to deal with mothers and their kids, thinking it would be easier to just find very young, unwanted kids, orphans and such like that to use in the experiments. They used a mixture of their earlier work mixed with the fragmented information that Alistair had put together from Brett's research to come up with a solution for the super spies that they had envisioned.

Brett returned from his trip and when he checked into his computer monitoring programs he found Sean's research paper on his friends. Brett quickly downloaded everything he could about what Sean had written and started looking it over. He found out about what the boys could do and he was very excited. It was more than he had ever hoped for. He had thought that the most he would get would be some minor ability to sense things about people, maybe even some telepathy like Marty, but without the pain that he got. But, what Sean had written in his notes far exceeded Brett's expectations. He knew that if the GRA got a hold of this information the boys and their parents would not be safe at all. He noticed the question marks next to Jamie and Josh's names and wondered at that. He was of the same opinion as Sean, that had been found in the notes as well, that Jamie and Josh had some abilities as well but they hadn't manifested yet. Brett remembered what had been noted in the police report concerning Derricks hand and pulled his copy up again to double check. He confirmed the entry in the police report and made some notes of his own.

In Sean's notes he also found out about the boy's attraction to each other and that they had paired up. He had already suspected that from some of the emails that he had intercepted, but now it was confirmed. All of the boys were gay and were partnered with another of the group. That made a lot of things better. The more he read the more he realized it was getting close to time to bring the families back together.

Brett was in Connecticut when Jamie was hurt in the attack at the detention facility. He flew back as soon as he could, but by that time Jamie was fine and Hal had arranged for Jamie to live with Dylan's family. He told Hal to lower the boom on the Geddes bitch and Hal took care of it. He had been doing some investigation on her and his contacts had found so many things wrong that they had been able to gather enough evidence to put her away for a long time. He had thought to use it as leverage to get her to lose Jamie's file when he stepped up to claim him as his son, so that there was no record of him ever being in the system, but now he wanted to just bury her. He would find another way to remove Jamie from the system. He wanted to be allowed in a room with her for just a minute when he found out the extent of her plans for Jamie. He almost asked Gabe to see if he could arrange a private meeting with him and Alma after which Alma would permanently disappear, but cooler heads prevailed and he gave Hal all the information he needed to bury her legally.

Once again he decided to wait until everything concerning all the court cases, Alma's, the gangbangers who tried to kill Jamie, and the other boys who had attacked him at the facility were settled. He found out about the plans of the boys to reveal to their parents that they were gay and in relationships and stood ready in case any of the parents reacted as Derrick had, but somehow he didn't think it would happen. Of all of the people he had worked with at the labs, Derrick had never really been a friend, more of an acquaintance and colleague, his wife was the better half of the two. He had also been the oldest of them all, and a bit stuffy, as if he as the elder should be accorded more respect. The others he had all considered friends and missed them.

He was checking his monitoring program when he found Sean's update, this time there was a change; Jamie no longer had a question mark next to his name, only Joshua did now. He nodded in satisfaction when he read the Sean's notes on how he had used his new found ability. One day after that revelation, he happened to be checking Sean's research and spit out the drink he was drinking and began sputtering as he quickly entered some commands. The first one copied Sean's hard drive to his and the second command fried Sean's computer. He next put his plan into action.

{Present Day}

"….So because of what the GRA is doing, and what had happened to Jamie, I thought it was time to bring you guys together again, to let you know about it."

He finished his recitation of what had been happening in his life for the past thirteen years and there was silence as they all digested it. None of them had said anything during his story. Brett waited for anyone to say something. During his story he had not mentioned to them about what he had found on Sean's computer about the abilities of the boys. Nor did he mention about his snooping on their computers, or their being gay. He also did not mention what Mac had found out about the GRA restarting the experiment, only that they were active again after a long time. All that information he kept to himself.

Finally David Robinson spoke up. "Is there a danger to us because the GRA is active again?"

"I'm not sure, but I didn't want to take a chance on anything happening to any of you, especially the boys. They are in the most danger of any of us."

"But why? Because they were a part of your experiment?"

Brett hesitated for a moment and glanced at the boys. He weighed whether he should mention anything about their abilities. He saw Ethan's eyes widen and he got a concerned look on his face. Brett saw the other boys turn to look at him a moment later.

<Ethan, I think it’s time your parents know. Your abilities are what the GRA wants control of. Your parents need to know so they understand.>

He was a little startled when he heard a reply moments later.

<Do they need to know everything?>

<Yes, I think they should.>

<Oh, we were going to wait, but I guess we should tell them that too.>

<Too? Oh…about you guys being gay?>

Ethan nodded slightly.

<That’s up to you guys, but since you were going to do that, maybe now is as good a time as any.>

Ethan looked at his friends. Their parents had started to notice that Brett and the boys kept exchanging looks.

"What's going on?"

Brett looked at David and held up a hand. He watched the boys look at Ethan and then to their respective boyfriends before turning their attention to Brett.

<Okay. Go ahead.>

Brett saw each pair hold hands to support each other. They were wary, well most of them were. Brett nodded and turned to the parents. "The GRA would be very interested in the boys, and it is because of the experiment."

"So what about the experiment that would interest them? I mean, they are normal thirteen year old boys. I don't know about the other boys, but Dylan is good in school, he's always had straight A's.'

There were several nodding heads and comments that their boys were the same.

"Yes, that was what I hoped and expected to have happen, but there is more. There was another effect of the experiment that you don't know about. I was never sure if it would happen or not. And if it did happen, I didn't know the extent of the effect."

"What effect are you talking about Brett?"

"You all remember what I told you when we started the experiment?"

Everyone nodded.

"Good, I'll explain a little for the boy's benefit. There has always been the claim that we only use ten percent of our brain. From my research I found that to be false and for those of you who may be Mythbusters fans, you may have seen the episode when they proved that at times one hundred percent of the brain is in use by a person. Most of this use is automatic, the brain knows what to do and we access it when we need to perform an activity or remember something. You can think of it as a computer. In a computer there are background programs running things to make the computer work. You type in commands or open programs to directly access the computer and the computer knows what to do, at least for the most part."

Those in the group who worked directly with computers chuckled a little.

"Most people don't do their own computer programming, they just know that if they do A it will cause B. A programmer knows more and has more control over their computer and can make his computer do much more than your average user can. My research and the experiment itself was to see if a genetic change could give a person more control over their brain, like a programmer has more control over their computer, or computer programs."

"So you're saying that the reason for how well the boys are doing it school has to do with this genetic change? Knowing who we are and the level of own intelligence, wasn't there a good chance that this is just a normal outcome of genetics?"

Brett smiled at Logan's mom who had been a neuroscientist at Hunt Labs.

"Sure Stephanie, I mean Mary. Sorry, I'm used to your former names. The boys' ability to do well in school could be the normal outcome of the pairing of two intelligent people, but with these boys there is more that they can do that you don't know."

That last statement got the adults attention.

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