Castle Roland

New Beginnings
Book I

by Roland


Chapter 5

Published: 8 Apr 14

New Beginnings

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

All Rights Reserved

New Beginnings LogoJuan was still in the armory when Adam got back there. He knew his brother would be here, and hoped that what he was about to ask, wouldn't backfire. "Juan, would you take Adrian up to the Command Center, get him a log in for the terminals, and make sure he has everything he needs?" Adam asked and Juan silently groaned. He knew what Adam was doing, and it annoyed him slightly. Yes, he knew it was for his own good, but it still pissed him off that people felt the need to force him into 'new social situations'.

He growled softly, but turned to Adrian and said, "Let's go." He took two steps before Adam spoke up again. "Oh, two more things. One, could you take three extra radios for the Chipmunks, and two, and I know this is asking a lot, but, after discussing it with Tom, here, would you be willing to lend one of your DE's to Adrian. Tom said he's one of the few here that could handle it, and he would like at least one person with some serious stopping power."

Juan had stopped, but now, he very slowly turned around, putting his full glare on Adam. Had it been anyone else, Juan would have made them wilt under that glare. As it was, he could feel 'the eyes' trying to break through, but he had enough sense at that point to know that the others seeing his eyes turn yellow, would give away a few things they didn't want to. 'Trust me…' Adam said in his mind, and it still took a lot for Juan to nod slowly. Those guns had been a gift to him, and he rarely if ever, brought them out.

Without another word, Juan turned and left the room. Adrian looked, first, at the back of the retreating boy, and then back to Tom, who shrugged in confusion. No one had missed the look that Juan had given, and frankly, it scared both men. It was at that moment that they both knew that the sweet, innocent looking boy, could truly be the cold blooded killer that he was said to be. Adrian quickly grabbed the three other radios and caught up to Juan just before the elevator. "Look, if it's a problem…" Adrian started, but Juan turned to him and stopped him mid sentence.

"No. There is a reason that Adam and Tom want you to have one, so you will have one. I just don't like people handing out my personal weaponry without talking to me first." Juan took a step into the elevator just as the doors opened, and punched the button to go to the floor that had his room.

Adrian was still a bit confused, but just went along with it. He still wasn't sure exactly what gun Adam was referring to, but knew it had to be something pretty special to get the kind of reaction that they got out of Juan.

Not a word was said as they got off the elevator, and Juan led them through the halls, near to where the president was staying, but instead of turning towards the suite, they turned down the other hallway, stopping in front of a door with a large sign on it. 'Abandon Hope, all ye who enter here….. cause if I don't want you in here… I'll shoot you!'

"Interesting… warning sign." Adrain said as Juan fished a key out of his pocket, and then used it to open the door. Adrain saw a ghost of a smile on the boy's lips, before he turned the key and pushed the door open. Adrain followed the small boy into the room, and stopped dead. This was obviously a 'sitting room', as there were doors going off of it, and it was full of couches and chairs, but the room itself was decorated… strangely.

"Wait here, I'll be right back." He heard the boy say, but it only barely registered that the boy unlocked another door, and shut it behind him after he went in. Adrian's attentions though were focused on the room itself. In one corner was a very ornate, and expensive looking locked display case, holding very old, very well maintained black powder rifles. Moving over so he could look closer, Adrain was surprised to see them in almost pristine condition, museum quality he would say, even without being able to handle them.

One thing Adrian knew was guns. He'd gotten his first rifle when he was seven, and had collected them ever since. He had a large gun safe back home that was filled with 26 different weapons, worth well over a million dollars. Some of them he shot, when he could, others, though… he just couldn't bear the thought of firing them.

He tore his eyes away from the case, and saw another case on the opposite wall. This one, though, held flint lock pistols, seven of them. Again in pristine condition, as if they had never been fired. He was walking towards that one when something caught his attention. He stopped dead, and his jaw dropped open. On the wall that held the door that they came in through, was a shrine. It couldn't be anything else.

On the floor was an armor stand, with authentic looking Samurai armor on it. Behind it, on the wall, sat a beautiful Daisho set. The large Katana sitting above its smaller 'brother' sword, the Tanto. Both were of exquisite quality, and to Adrian's educated eye, these were hand made. But above it, that was what really made him gasp. In perfect Japanese Kanji, (Traditional script of the Japanese Language) was a painstakingly scripted poem. At first Adrain was stunned so badly that he could not read the poem. The make up of the characters, the time and effort that went into each individual character came out just from looking at it. It did not take him long, though, to start to translate the writing. Few people outside of Japan, knew this language, but Adrain had spent six years in Japan, and his fascination with the culture pushed him to learn as much as he could.

"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide."

He knew this poem, although, the fact that a ten year old boy would have it on his wall, in such a prominent position, made him wonder.

"Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision."

Reading it this way, though, made him take a whole new appreciation for the poem. The words meant much to the man, but seeing it like this, in this language, with the feeling that seemed to roil off of it as he spoke the words, was an almost religious experience for him. He was so touched by it, that he found himself speaking the last part aloud.

"When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home."

When he got to the last line, he heard Juan join him. The sound of the boy's high pitched voice, adding to his, and speaking these words, really drove home that this boy truly was a warrior. Size and age aside, Adrian knew, deep in his heart, that point. He turned around, with tears in his eyes, and found similar tears in the boy's eyes. There eyes met for a long moment before Adrian found his voice. "These are more then just words to you." He said it as a statement, not as a question, and Juan only nodded.

"I cant help but wonder at a Shawnee Chief's poem, written in Japanese." Adrain said as he, for the first time, noticed the large, ornately carved, wooden box that was in Juan's hands.

Juan met his eyes and spoke softly. "I have often thought that it does not matter what nationality or background a person has, a 'Warrior's Spirit' is not bound by such things. Tecumseh may have been a Shawnee, but I believe that his spirit bound with many other Warrior's spirits at his death, and prepares a place for the rest of us, where we may go and live, once our mission in this life is done."

Adrian was stunned again. That kind of depth and understanding was rare in anyone, and those that did we often referred to as the truly wise. Yet here is a boy, only ten years old, who was saying things that he had only heard once before in his life. When he was in Japan, training and studying. "You sound much like an old man I once knew." Adrain said softly.

Juan only shrugged and moved over to a table where he put the large box down. He motioned Adrian over, and slid the bow to face the man when he got close. Carefully Adrain lifted the clasps and gently opened the box. When he saw what was inside, he couldn't help but stare in amazement. This day was just getting more and more indescribable as each moment passed. "They… They're beautiful." He breathed out, as he fully opened the box and let his hands fall to his side and allowed his eyes to feast on what was in the box. "I… I can't take these."

"Yes you can. These guns are meant to be used. They are too big for me to use effectively here. I can shoot them fine, but trying to carry them, concealed, is out of the question." Juan said as he looked down at the twin guns in the case, then up to the man. "Knowing that you not only understand the words that Tecumseh said, but can read them in Japanese, makes me feel slightly better about letting you use them."

Adrain looked up from the guns, and met Juan's eyes. Eyes that seemed to pull him into a deep pool of both sadness and hope. Adrain found himself lost in those eyes, imagining what it could take to turn the eyes of a ten year old boy into eyes that held that kind of depth. He just couldn't imagine it. Finally, after an amount of time that Adrian didn't even know, it could have been minutes, or hours, as far as he was concerned, he looked back down at the guns. "Adam only asked for one…"

"True, he did, but I have decided to let you use both." Juan said seriously. "But I do expect them back."

Adrain nodded as he reached into the box and pulled out the first of twin Desert Eagle .50 Action Express pistols. They were both finished with titanium and gold plating, featuring Bengal Tiger striping all over the ten inch barrel. He looked one over carefully before lifting the other one out of the box. The box was deeper then what he was seeing, so he gently reached in, and lifted the top, felt lined layer, and below it, found another surprise. Sitting on top on a web style vest, meant for holding both pistols, one under each arm, were two, small, laser optic sights. He reached down, and picked one up. Then picking up one of the pistols, gently and carefully fitted the laser sight to the top. He then repeated the procedure with the other one, then placed it gently on the table beside it's companion. He looked down at the vest, and quickly pulled his outer suit jacket off. He reached in, grabbed the vest, and put it on. Juan helped him adjust it, so it fit properly, and then looked into the case to see what else was in there. He noticed that the vest had holders for six additional magazines three on each side, and saw additional magazines sitting in the box, although he had yet to reach the bottom of the box, he noticed. As he started to pull the magazines out, he saw that, out of the twelve magazines in the box, four of them had no markings, four had a red strip that ran all the way around it, and the other four had twin yellow strips. He looked up at Juan with a question in his eyes, and Juan only grinned and handed him three large boxes of ammunition, one non marked, the other with a red strip, the last with twin yellow strips. Adrain took them, then looked at Juan who was grinning. "Okay, do I need to ask, or are you just going to tell me?"

Juan couldn't contain his giggles any more. Finally, after they subsided, Juan went on to explain. "The unmarked ones, are your standard 300 grain load, producing a muzzle velocity of over 1600 foot per second." Juan continued, but Adrain joined him in saying, "And a muzzle energy of nearly 1800 ft-lb."

Juan grinned broadly. "You know your stuff."

"Thanks, so do you." Adrain said as he put the unmarked box down and lifted up the one with a single red strip.

"Those are armor piercing rounds." Juan said, and when Adrain picked up the one with the two yellow strips, Juan said in a serious voice. "Those… Those are explosive rounds." Adrian's eyes shot up as he looked first at Juan, and then at the box of bullets. A gun this size, with explosive rounds… they could easily punch through all but the most heavily armored vehicles.

"Wait here." Juan said after a long moment of silence. Adrian nodded and started to load ammo into the magazines, and waited to see what else Juan would have for him. When Juan walked back out of the locked back room, several minutes later, he had in his hands this time, a large duffle bag. He slung it up on the table, and stepped back. "If you're gonna use those guns, you may as well do it right." He said while motioning for Adrian to open the bag.

The man grabbed it and pulled it over towards him, noticing that it was extremely heavy, heavier than a ten year old boy should be able to carry so easily. A few things were starting to fall into place in Adrian's mind, but now was not the time to get into those. When he opened the zipper all the way, the first thing he saw on the top was a sheathed long, curved sword. Carefully, he lifted the sword out of the bag, and gently unwrapped it. When he saw the hand carved hilt, he gasped. He looked at Juan who nodded, and took another step back.

Stepping back, with the sword still held in his hand, Adrian carefully drew the sword no more then a quarter of the way out of the sheath, and looked at the blade. He could easily tell that it was acid edged, giving it a superb cutting edge. Looking at the base of the blade, the tang, he saw that the tang did indeed appear to go the entire length of the hilt, making it much stronger, and less prone to breaking. When he looked closely at the base, he saw a stylized dragon, and the Japanese letters for C.C., and then the number 12. Looking at Juan, Adrian asked simply "C.C.?"

"Chang Casey… one of my brothers." Juan simply said.

"You mean your brother forged this blade?" Adrain asked in astonishment.

"Yes…" Juan said. "Folded over fifteen hundred times."

Again Adrain gasped. Few people would know what that really meant. "And the twelve, does that mean what I think it does?"

Again Juan nodded, and Adrian simply stood looking at the blade in amazement. Fifteen hundred times, the metal of this blade was folded over onto itself while it was being forged. A Traditional Samurai's sword would never have less than a thousand folds. The twelve though… that was astonishing. In ancient times, a sword-smith would pile the bodies of the dead up, and see how many he could go through with a single swing of the sword. The twelve meant that, when it was finished, it had cut all the way through twelve bodies, before it stopped in the thirteenth.

Juan was pleased to see that Adrain really did mean what he had said about being trained in Japan. By not drawing the blade more then a quarter of the way, he did not dishonor the blade by drawing it with out spilling blood. Had he drawn it more, he would have had to cut himself to satisfy the honor of the blade.

He watched the man slowly slide the sword back in, and then place it gently on the table, the hilt always near his right hand, another good sign to Juan. The man then began taking out what was left in the bag.

Adrain was still in a state of shock as he pulled the remaining items out of the bag. When he was done, he found himself looking at a full set of body armor. Matt black, and rather futuristic looking. He looked it over, then looked at Juan. "Go ahead and put it on." Juan said as he moved in to help. "It was my father's, until his suit got upgraded. You and he are almost identical in size, so I am positive it will fit."

The man showed no problems with stripping down to his boxers, and letting Juan show him how to put the armor on properly. Adrian had seen this sort of thing before, but had never worn it, since his operations were always less… forward. However, as he was putting the armor on, something just seemed proper about it. When he was fully dressed, all except for the helmet, Juan grabbed a chair, and placed it behind Adrain. "Stand still," he said, before he reached for the sword. Juan's hand never touched the hilt, until Adrian nodded that he could touch it. 'Another test passed', Juan thought to himself, as he took the sword, and slid it into the holder that was sewn into the back of the armor. Once it was in place, Adrian reached back, and felt for the hilt. He drew it about 4 inches, and was satisfied that he could easily draw it fully if needed.

Juan then reached back into the box, which had held the pistols, and pulled out two fast loading thigh straps, meant to hold magazines for the Desert Eagles, that could easily be loaded into the pistols, just by sliding the guns along them, putting fresh magazines into the empty handle of each pistol. Juan put those on the man, while Adrain put the web-vest holster on, then firmly seated each pistol under his arms. He shuffled himself around to get a feel for how easy it was to move in the armor, and was pleasantly surprised. Juan then disappeared back into his locked room, and came back out holding a fully outfitted military grade MP-5 sub machine gun. He handed it to Adrian, who took the strap and slung the rifle across his chest, right where it belonged, and then took the helmet, and put it on.

Juan led him over to a full length mirror and Adrian couldn't help but grin as he looked at himself. Often he had dreamed of such a get up, and now he wore it, and it felt right to him. He looked over at Juan as he raised the face plate. Juan grinned and patted him on the back. The boy then walked over, picked up the three radios that Adrian had brought with, turned back to the man and said, "Shall we?"

Donnie sighed irritably as he sat down behind the desk in 'his office'. He even hated thinking that this office was his. They'd been here for just over a month and a half, and he was more then ready to go home. Although, truthfully, he'd come to accept the fact that there was no real hope of that, anymore.

He looked around the office, and then the desk. He sighed, reached down into the bag he placed next to the desk, and pulled out a picture frame. On one side was he and Emily with their three boys from before they got here. On the other side of the frame was again, he and Emily, only this time, there were two boys, and two girls in the picture with them. The children they had adopted in this.. universe, is the best term he could use.

When they first got here, they knew something was wrong, but they had a mission to accomplish. It took almost a full minute before everyone had gotten over the shock of the mental links missing, but they were all trained and hardened soldiers, and shook it off as quickly as they could. Not to mention the fact that G-6 had started the assault right on time, which means they needed to move and move quickly.

When they hit the walls, all hell seemed to break loose. It was almost like the people inside were ready for them. Donnie actually had to take over command when Bethany got hit, and had to be pulled back. Donnie thought she was dead, but that girl had more grit to her than most people Donnie had ever seen.

"Sheriff Williams?" Erma, his secretary, called out from his open door, pulling his attention back from the night they got here, to the present.

"Please Erma…" Donnie said, which made the sixty four year old lady chuckle.

"There's a phone call for you. Line 4." She said, chuckling as she gently closed the door.

He sighed, picked up the phone, and spoke clearly. "Essex County Sheriff's Department… Donnie Speaking."

"Well, it didn't take you too long to find a new job!" The voice said, and Donnie almost dropped the phone.

"Adam?" Donnie exclaimed through the phone, as he rose from his seat. "Adam, is that you?" He had tears in his eyes as the door crashed open, and Emily ran into the room.

"Yeah it is. How long have you guys been here?" Adam asked through the phone.

"Hold on, Adam…" Donnie said as he hit the button to put the call on the speaker. "You're on speaker phone now; Emily is here, and we're unsecured."

"Understood." Adam responded immediately.

"We've been in Essex for a month and a half. Sixty-four strong, dug in, and waiting for orders." Donnie said as he wrapped an arm around Emily.

"Very good." Adam replied, then paused for a moment. "Logan says to sit down for a moment."

Donnie and Emily quickly moved to the couch on the side of the room, and sat down. "Done." Donnie said quickly, and they both shut their eyes as they waited. It didn't take long before they felt the familiar mental link open up inside their minds.

Both of them sighed, as the very familiar 'buzz' started up. Suddenly Logan's head filled Donnie's mind. 'Hey… There's no problem with me landing a Huey in the big "H" Behind the office is there?' They looked at each other, and first, Emily, then Donnie started to hear the soft low 'whoosh' of helicopter blades.

They looked at each other with a grin, and ran out of the office. As they tore past Erma, Donnie called out. "Our friends showed up!" Then he was gone.

Erma just smiled, turned back to the old style type-writer that she was working on, and said under her breath. "I could have told you that, sugar."

When they got outside, they had to wait, rather impatiently, for Logan to shut down the helicopter, before he climbed out the side door. Immediately, Emily ran up to the smaller boy and pulled him into a crushing hug.

As soon as she backed off, Donnie started to stick his hand out, but instead grabbed Logan and pulled him into a hug, almost as tight as Emily's was. "I missed you, little bro." Donnie said softly, and Logan nodded into his chest, before backing up.

"Nice uniform, Donnie…" Logan said with a chuckle, and Donnie couldn't help but blush at the sheriffs uniform he was wearing.

"How'd you find us?" Emily cut in. "How long have you been here?" She shot right after her first question, only to have Logan reach over and put a hand over her mouth.

"Jeez Em, when'd you get so talkative?" He asked with a smile, which made her blush brightly.

"We just got here yesterday." Logan said calmly, "some weird shit's going on, but basically, we're in Utah, at the base, just like it was when we first found it. Well mostly. As far as how we found you…" Logan said with his classic smirk. "It's me… did you expect I wouldn't be looking?"

"Yeah…. I guess you're right." Donnie said, then looked around, and back to Logan. "How long can you stay?"

"As long as I need to." Logan said, already well aware of what was troubling the two of them.

"Well, let's go inside and sit down?" Donnie said as he held out his hand for Emily to take. Logan smiled as he saw and felt the love that still was between those two. Strong as ever.

They walked in and first saw Erma sitting behind the desk with a big smile on her face. Donnie walked up to the older lady who stood when they walked in. "Erma, I'd like you to meet General Logan Hayes. Logan, this is Erma McDermit, she's the one that really runs things around here."

If Logan was surprised at having his rank used, he hid it well. "I'm pleased to meet you, Ma'am."

"You as well, General, and don't let this young lad hoodwink you. After what he and his have done here, it's been my pleasure to help where I can." She said, Logan couldn't help but take an immediate liking to this woman.

"You kids go in there and have your chat. I'll bring you in some drinks and food in a few minutes." Erma said in the 'take charge' voice she usually used in the office. There was no doubt who was in charge in the office, and it wasn't 'Sheriff Donnie.'

Logan started to laugh as Donnie blushed, but then Donnie started to laugh as well. Before things went too far, Donnie pulled Logan and Emily into his office, offering Logan a seat as he moved behind the desk.

Just as he sat down, he heard Erma over the base station radio. "Attention all units, Sheriff Williams will be unavailable, for the rest of the day, Deputy Roberts is in command."

Four different voices came across the radio acknowledging Erma's message before Donnie reached over and turned the radio off. He sat back in his chair and smiled as he looked at Logan for a brief moment while Logan looked around the office. When Logan's eyes finally fell on Donnie's, both boys were all smiles.

Logan, taking the lead, started out the conversation. "So… I see you have moved into a more legitimate line of work?"

Donnie just laughed, yes, it was strained, but he had honestly accepted the fact that he would never see this boy again, and had moved on. Now though…. Logan's face got serious as he leaned forward. "Look, do you really think I don't know what's going on here, that I wouldn't figure out what you guys have done in the last month and a half. Do you really think Adam and I would try and make you leave when you've found a home, found kids that need you, and found out that you really love it here?" Logan wasn't upset or anything, but he could see the looks in both of their eyes. That is exactly what they were worried about. "Don't worry, guys. Any of you that want to stay, stay, with our blessing. Hell, I even brought some 'presents' for you guys. It ain't much, but it'll at least keep you guys in contact with us, in case you need anything." Logan ended with a smile as he sat back, and watched both older teens sigh with relief.

"Thanks, man." Donnie said with a smile and tears running down his face. "I knew it, but.. hell I was worried that we'd need to leave here."

Logan sat back with a smile on his face. "I know you two. You've always needed a place to call home, and raise your family. Adam and I talked about you two a lot before all this shit happened. As soon as things calmed down, and we found people who could have replaced you, we were gonna offer you guys an out. A place to go, raise your family, and the hundreds of others that you two would have taken in, and just do what it is you guys do best… love your kids."

Neither older teen had anything they could say. Emily reached out took Donnie's hand again and squeezed it hard. Before anything else could be said, Erma walked in, and Logan immediately perked up. The lady was pushing a cart carrying a plate full of BBQ Chicken, a variety of drinks, and LOTS of napkins. "General Logan… I have heard that your like of BBQ is legendary. How would you like to try some of my home made sauce?"

Logan quickly stood and moved over to the cart. He looked at the slathered chicken and inhaled deeply. With a look of ecstasy on his face, he took Erma's hand, bowed, and kissed her hand. "Madam, if this tastes anywhere near as good as it smells, I may have to steal you away from here, and bring you back with me."

Erma giggled like a school girl. "My, aren't you a charmer."

"More like a snake…" Emily said, causing Logan to shoot her a quick glare before looking back down at the chicken.

He then looked up at Erma with begging eyes. "Oh, go ahead and try a piece."

Logan grabbed up one of the chicken legs, inhaled deeply again, and then took a big bite. "HMMMMMMMMMMMMM……" He said loudly, causing all three of them to burst out in laughter. "Oh, GOD… this is good…" He said before taking another bite. He quickly moved back to his chair and fell into it as he took his third bite.

It was ten minutes, two chicken legs, one thigh, and a promise to get more sauce from Erma, before Logan finally allowed the woman to leave the room. It was another chicken thigh later when he focused back on Donnie and Emily who were simply sniggering as they looked at him. "So.. which one of you is gonna tell me what the hell happened here, and how you got to be the Sheriff?"

Donnie laughed, then sat back himself. "Well… that's a hell of a story. One that I think would make Juan proud."

"Oh boy, this aught to be good." Logan said.


Donnie, Emily, and the entire Amazons strike team appeared just inside the North East corner of the walled compound. Immediately, every member of the strike team fell to their knees, rifles dropped to their sides, and hands clutching their heads. Donnie and Emily felt it too. They knew what was wrong, but, since neither of them were strong telepaths, the fact that the links were suddenly down, didn't bother them as much.

They both took a knee, scanning with their rifles to their shoulders, fingers on the triggers, making sure that no one was around. "Daileass?" He said softly through his radio, then switched channels, this one should have connected him to the Rapid Response base's main command post. "Rapid Response base… this is General Williams… Come in please." Nothing, only static responded to him. Switching channels again, Donnie spoke. "Col. Rose?"

This time he got a very short… "Stand by." All Donnie could do was exactly that, stay there and keep guard for his team mates that were down.

It was only about thirty seconds, but it felt like hours, until the strike team started to get their bearings again. Bethany, the strike team commander, was the first one to pull herself up, grab her rifle, and whisper over to Donnie. "Sir… what's going on?"

"I'm not sure, LT." Donnie replied, never stopping his scanning for targets. "All I know is all mental communication is down. No one from command is answering. I don't know what's going on."

Right then, they heard Jeremy come across the radios that all of them had in their helmets. "Strike Teams.. Report in."

Waiting for her turn, Bethany started to look around and see that her entire strike team was getting back their their feet, and using hand signals to 'report in' to Bethany that they were alright. By the time it was her turn to report in to Jeremy, only one of her team hadn't given the signal that she was alright, but Bethany could see her, and knew the sudden break in the link was effecting her the worst. She reported that her team was up and ready to go, while signaling for Alex, their Recon girl, to move forward and start to scout.

Dorothy Hayes, the youngest of the entire team, at only ten, was still trying to get her wits about her. Out of the entire team, she was the strongest telepath. To Bethany, it made sense that this hit her the hardest. Once the small blond girl was back on her feet, Bethany motioned for them to move out. "We still got a mission to accomplish…" She said, and everyone nodded. Donnie was glad to see them start to move forward, and took up position next to Emily as 'rear guard'.

Everything was normal, till they reached the first building. Instead of a small shed like they were expecting, they found a hanger with two large transport helicopters in it, as well as a few smaller fixed wing aircraft. However, it was the armed guards that made things hairy. At least for a moment, till they were taken down with silenced rifle fire from various team members.

Silently, they moved quickly through the outbuildings, heading towards their objective, the main building. Donnie was able to catch a few glimpses of the building as they made their way through the compound, and he knew, deep down, something was very wrong. The building that he caught glimpses of was not the same building they had seen in the intel reports. Of course, those pictures were taken only hours ago, so something was majorly wrong. However, he would have to worry about it after the compound was secure.

Three minutes after the assault started, Bethany called in that they were ready to go for the main building. "Stand by." Jeremy said softly through the radio. After about twenty seconds, his whispering voice came back over the helmets earpieces. "G-6 is gonna knock on the front door. Hunker down, and wait to see what they stir up."

Bethany motioned for her team to find hiding spots, before she, too, vanished into the darkness. "Understood, and ready." She said breathily. Moments later, the front gate blew open, and gunfire erupted, taking out guards that, Donnie never knew were up on the walls patrolling. This place was not the same place that they had gotten intel reports on.

It was seconds after the fire fight started at the front gate, that the main house's door was thrown open, and a dozen or more figures came running out. Lights started to come on all over the place, and more shouting, and gun fire erupted.

Donnie looked over at Emily, shaking his head. Even though he couldn't see her face, because of the armor, he could only imagine the expression on her face. This was turning into a true SNAFU! (Situation Normal…. All Fucked Up)

Another group started to come out of the house. Bethany made the call to engage. With a swift hand motion, Bethany raised to her knee, and took aim. As soon as she fired, the rest of the team started to fire as well. Of course, this told the bad guys right where they were at.

The night went from quiet, to loud, to an all out war zone in just a few seconds. Donnie dropped his first clip, while shouting out that he was reloading, just as Dorothy came across the radio. "SIR! I'm monitoring their coms. They're getting ready to scuttle the evidence!"

"FUCK!" Bethany cried out, then looked at Donnie. Donnie just nodded his head, brought the modified MP5-1A to his shoulder, and started to lay down some cover fire. Bethany motioned, and the entire strike team started to quickly move towards the house, leap frogging with each other, and laying down cover fire when they could. When Donnie felt the tap on his shoulder, he pulled up and ran towards the vehicle that was being used as the first cover point. As soon as he got there, he took a knee, targeted, and began to fire again.

As soon as Emily was behind him again, he felt her slap his shoulder, and again, he took off towards the next post, letting her lay down the cover fire that he needed to get to safety.

Donnie was right behind Bethany when they made it to the front of the house. She was the fourth team member to go through the front door. Donnie turned to keep a watch out to make sure no one was coming back towards the house, when he heard the cry of 'GUN!' from just inside the house.

Donnie spun to go into the house, just as he heard the blast from a close range shot gun. He was only about half way turned when he got slammed into, throwing him a good five feet off the front porch, and onto the ground. Someone on top of him.

Instinctively, Donnie rolled, and came around to see who had been on top of him. What he saw made his blood run cold as he automatically cried out "MEDIC!"

No sooner had the words left his mouth than four people were surrounding him, all faced outwards, scanning and firing. Donnie tore off his helmet, so he could get a better look at the person on the ground next to him. He pulled off his backpack and tore it open, getting to his first aid gear, just as Victor Hayes, One of the medics from Strike Team 78, slid in next to him.

Below him, Donnie heard Bethany struggling to breath, even as she was cursing. The left side of her Armor was almost completely torn away, and the shoulder itself looked to be nothing more than hamburger at that point. Donnie pushed the huge trauma pad onto the shoulder wound, causing Bethany to stiffen and cry out with pain, although the cry was quickly cut off and replaced by a curse.

One of the Firebirds turned and looked at what was going on. "Victor! Hurry the hell up, we can't stay here for long."

"SHIT!" The boy cursed as he started to pull away pieces of the armor, so he could look at the wound. He looked up at Donnie, and sighed. "Okay, we do this the hard way." He reached back into his pack, and pulled out a large syringe pre-loaded with something. Pulled off both caps, then looked down at Bethany. "Sorry, babe… but I gotta."

Without any ceremony at all, he used his strength to rip the front of her pants down, and slammed the needle directly into her thigh. Of course, he should have been ready for it, and in a sense, he was, but not enough. As soon as the needle sank into her thigh, Bethany's right fist came up and slammed him right in the side of the jaw. Had she been any stronger, or he any less tough, she would have hurt him. As it was, he grabbed his chin, slid it back into place, and grinned down at her. "Hey… let's keep the foreplay for back at the base, not in the middle of a battle!"

"Bastard" She breathed out before her head slumped back, and she passed out. Donnie just looked up at him with a question.

Victor looked at the syringe he held and chuckled. "Chang made this for us. It'll knock even one of us out for about four hours. Can you carry her?" Donnie nodded as he slung his rifle, reached down and picked the girl up.

Conventional wisdom may have been for Victor, who was a Genesis Augment to carry her, but Donnie knew that Victor would be better with a rifle in his hands. He can shoot faster, target faster, move faster, and generally would be better with a gun in his hand, than a patient in his arms.

As a group, they ran into the house, through the front room, and into what looked to be a kitchen. "On the table!" Victor shouted then used his arm to clear it off, throwing everything that was on it, onto the floor.

Donnie put her down, then looked around. He never thought he would see UNIT members in this state, almost everyone of them were hit, to one degree or another. Something major had gone wrong, and Donnie wasn't sure what.

"SIR!" Someone called out, and Donnie looked over to see Jeremy standing there, his helmet in his hands, face pale, and the front of his armor covered in blood. Donnie rushed over towards him, the first thing Jeremy did was hold up his hands. "It's not mine." He said letting Donnie know that he hadn't been hit. "But… there's something you gotta see."

By the look on Jeremy's face, Donnie doubted he was going to like it. Jeremy led him silently, deeper into the house, up the stairs, and down the hallway. Seeing UNIT members sitting on the floor, a few of them with tears in their eyes, made Donnie very much worried what he was gonna find.

When Jeremy stopped, it was in front of a closed door with two guards standing outside. Since they were still on an active mission, they did not salute, but Donnie could easily tell that something was wrong. They had stone faces on, and were staring straight ahead. They were trying hard to mask their emotions, and doing a good job at doing it. However, they were screaming pain and rage with their emotions.

Jeremy looked over at Donnie and said softly. "I restricted access to this room because the person inside deserves worse then a quick death."

Donnie only nodded as he reached out and took a hold of the handle. When he walked in the door he was the cool, collected, military commander that Adam had taught him to be. He looked around the room and took everything in without a change of expression on his face. When his eyes fell on the only living person in the room, Donnie studied him coldly.

The man was covered in blood, although from the bodies that littered the room, he was pretty sure that the blood was not his. He was only wearing a 'wife beater' undershirt and a pair of filthy boxer shorts. His hands were tied behind his back, legs tied to the feet of the chair he was sitting on, and his mouth covered in duct tape.

Donnie looked over at Jeremy and simply nodded. Jeremy walked over to the man and tore the tape of his mouth, causing the man to cry out in pain. Jeremy took his place back by Donnie's side as he simply stared at the man waiting for him to stop crying. The man was begging to be let go, then he offered Donnie lots of money, and power and everything else that the man could think of, and still Donnie stood there not saying anything, the expression on his face never wavered.

Finally, Donnie held up his hand, and the man fell silent. Still Donnie did not speak for several seconds. When he did speak, though, his voice was as cold as ice. "There are seven dead children in this room, all look to be under the age of twelve. They appear to have been murdered with a knife." He paused again as he watched the man's reaction. The man started to fidget, and it told Donnie all he needed to know. "You were the person wielding the knife?" Even though it was asked as a question, it wasn't.

The man started trying to protest that he hadn't done anything. When Donnie again gave him the silent treatment and simply stared at him, the man started to cry, saying he was just following orders. Again, Donnie said nothing. The man then started to scream and curse at Donnie, insulting the kids he'd killed, and then Donnie himself.

Donnie finally had enough and took a few steps towards the man, stopping directly in front of him. He clasped his hands behind his back and looked down at the man, who had fallen silent. "In the bible, it says that revenge is meant for God's hands alone. That there is power in forgiveness. That to kill another is wrong, and we should leave God to judge the sins of man." The man looked confused but didn't have to wait for long before Donnie continued.

"It is also said that to obtain the kingdom of Heaven, that we need to follow in Jesus's footsteps. It says that Jesus forgave all those who trespassed against him, and to gain access to Heaven, that we should do as he has taught." Donnie again fell silent as he looked around the room at the murdered children. When his eyes fell, once again, on the tied man. "Unfortunately for you, I don't plan on going to Heaven."

Donnie turned to Jeremy, his voice still as icy as death itself. "Leave us. Leave orders that NO ONE is to disturb us until I come out. Is that understood?"

Jeremy looked Donnie long and hard in the eyes before he simply nodded, turned around and left the room. The man was screaming when Jeremy left the room, however, his screams got louder shortly after.

Logan was silent for several seconds. He could easily see the haunted look in Donnie's face. A look he'd seen before, but in someone else. "What did you do?" He asked the older teen softly.

Donnie's eyes met Logan's with steely hard determination. "I administered justice… Unit Justice."

Logan again looked at him hard, feeling what was going through the young man's mind. Finally, when he was sure that he was in no danger mentally, of being overcome by what he did, Logan sat back, and grinned. "Good. Taking a life should never be easy, but frankly, there are times when it is the only proper thing to do. As long as you are not having any ill effects from it, then I'm satisfied. However, if something comes up, let me know."

"I will." Donnie said with a nod. "Thanks."

"No problem." Logan said as he stood up, causing the other two to rise as well. "Tell you what, why don't we take a look around, and you can show me what you've built up here."

"I like that idea." Emily said as she threw her arm around her 'bratty little brother'. "Next week, I start my new job… teaching fourth grade at the school."

"Sweet!" Logan said as he pulled her into a hug. "Although I feel bad for any whiny brats you have to deal with!"

Donnie laughed, which earned him a glare as Emily pushed Logan away and socked him in the shoulder. "You mean like you?"

"No…" Logan said as he rubbed his shoulder. "I'm cuter then they are."

"In your dreams, boy!" Emily said with a grin as they walked out of the Sheriff's office.

Logan saw Erma typing away at her desk, and walked over to her. "Erma, it was a great pleasure to meet you. If this block head here ever doesn't treat you right. You just give me a call and I will have you set up in an instant."

"Oh don't you worry, General Logan. Sheriff Donnie takes real good care of me." She said with a blush and a giggle.

"Well he better." Logan said as he kissed her hand one more time before he walked out of the office.

When they got outside, Emily looked at Logan shaking her head. "When the hell did you become such a schmoozer?"

Logan looked at her like she was nuts. "When that fine lady brought in the fabulous smothered chicken."

"Well, guys, it was nice seeing you again." Logan said as he hugged first Emily, then Donnie. He'd spent a little over two hours here, but now it was time for him to get going. "Just remember the radio, if you guys need anything, just let us know, okay?"

"The same goes for you guys. This weekend we're gonna get everyone together, by then, those that want to stay will have made up their minds, and the rest will have said their good byes. I can tell you now, it will be a big party here, so you guys better show up." Donnie said as he reached out to shake Logan's hand.

Of course, Logan wouldn't stand for that. He took Donnie's hand and pulled the older boy into a tight hug. "You know we'll be there, unless we're in the middle of a war. Which, with Juan around is always a possibility." He said with a laugh.

Donnie looked at Logan seriously as he said. "With what you've told us, what's going on right now, there just might be. If it blows up, you guys keep your asses alive, okay?"

"You got it, bro. I gotta get back. You guys take care of yourselves, and we'll see you soon." Logan said as he hugged first Donnie again, and then Emily one last time.

Then he got back into the Huey, and started it up. By the time he was in the air, he had a target in mind, and a plan. He was glad he'd thought to get some cash from Donnie and Emily, although, they seemed to have a whole lot to give out when needed.

Thinking back over the information that Alvin had just given him, Logan was concerned. After Jack had refuted what Ashwood said on the TV, he and Mike were 'put to bed'. Sammy should have gone to bed, too, but after making sure his dad and Uncle were sleeping, he slipped out of the room, and made his way up to the command center.

The Chipmunks had been busy getting a lot of things set up, but when Sammy walked in. All the boy asked for was a phone to make some calls. Alvin set it up for him, and then went back to his own work, as the boy made several calls.

A while later, Sammy came back over to Alvin, to tell him what he had just done. It turned out that just like in the universe they came from, Mike had been involved in the military, and just like before, the team was real close, with Sammy calling all of the team members 'uncle'. Well, Sammy just called in the 'uncles', and they were all on their way to Salt Lake City. Well, Alvin just let Logan know that the first two had shown up. Logan decided that, due to the sensitive nature of this, he would go pick them up personally.

Logan landed the helicopter a couple of miles outside of Salt Lake City. Stripped out of his flight suit, leaving him in his normal jeans and t-shirt, then jogged for about ten minutes till he found the rest area he was looking for. Alvin had already made the call, and a taxi was waiting for him. He slid into the back seat, making the driver jump in surprise. "Hey.. I'm waiting to pick someone up." The man said as he turned in the seat and looked at the thirteen year old boy.

"Yup.. that's me. You're waiting for Logan. I'm Logan." He said with a grin.

The man looked him up and down, then sighed. "Okay. Where ya goin?" He asked, then turned around to get ready to drive.

"Gateway Mall, please." Logan said settling down for the ride.

"Okay.. that's gonna be a bit… you sure you can pay for it?"

Logan smiled and nodded, then reached into his pocket and pulled out the wad of cash that Donnie had given him. The driver's eyes went wide, but then he put the car in drive, and started off into the city.

Since he knew it would take between 30 and 45 minutes to get to the mall, Logan took the opportunity to catch a quick nap. Of course, he had learned the secret of 'sleeping with one eye open', ready for anything.

When the car came to a stop, Logan opened both eyes, seeing that they were sitting in front of the mall's food court. Logan smiled as he paid the driver, including a large tip, then walked into the mall. He faded into the background of hundreds of teenagers walking around.

Looking around, he immediately spotted the two men that he had come to see. They were sitting at a table in the middle of the food court, sipping on sodas and chatting. Logan made his way over to one of the many fast food places, and for a moment, thought about how long it had been since he'd had 'fast food'. It took him a moment to find anything on the menu that even seemed appetizing. He ordered, then waited an obscenely long time for the teenaged bimbo behind the counter to get his order ready. Thankfully, he had stopped listening to her thoughts pretty quickly. The things that very overweight and disgusting girl wanted to do with him, almost made him vomit.

When he got his food, he moved to a table near to where the two men were sitting, and began to force himself to eat the chemical laden thing they called a hamburger. To think that he once loved food like this…

He focused in on the men's thoughts, one of them he knew rather well. Tom Larkin had been the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, back in their universe, and someone that the UNIT knew they could trust, and count on when they needed help or backing. The other man, Logan had never met personally, but knew a lot about this man.

Even though Logan was focusing on the two men, he was still scanning everyone around him, just in case. This was one of the times that he was glad he did, since, something caught his attention over by the arcade. Four older kids, wearing gang colors, seemed to be trying to push a younger boy, maybe twelve or thirteen into the bathrooms. Logan was about to get involved when he saw Sammy's 'Uncle Richard' quickly stand up, and start moving towards the bathroom, where the doors were just closing, Tom right on his heels.

Logan also got up, and followed the men in, making sure that no one took notice of his actions. Yes, in this universe, doing things like this took a lot more energy to do, but Logan had just eaten more calories in that one 'burger' then he'd usually take in, in a full meal. To him, this was his daily exercise.

Focusing in on Richard, Logan 'watched' as the man quickly walked into the bathroom, making sure the door didn't make any noise, not that the boys in the bathroom would have heard him. They had the younger boy surrounded and were taunting him, calling him a fag, and all sorts of other names.

'I know you wanna suck my dick, fag!' One of the boys said while fishing his dick out of his pants.

'No! Please! Just let me go.' The boy said, crying openly now.

'Awww, look, the little fairy's cryin.' The lead boy laughed out, then lashed out with a fist to the smaller boy's gut, taking the boy down to his knees. Even though the boy had his breath knocked from him, and was struggling to catch it, the older boy grabbed his head, and pulled it towards his crotch, shoving his dick into the boy's mouth. 'Unless you want to get hurt more, fagot, you better start sucking!'

Richard had heard enough, especially when he heard the boy start to choke. He looked at Tom, who nodded that he was ready. Neither one of the men had drawn the weapon they each had concealed, hoping it wouldn't come to that, but knowing if they needed them, they were there.

Richard took a deep breath, then stepped around the corner, in his best 'drill sergeant' voice, he said loudly, "What's going on in here?!"

The older boy that had been forcing the younger kid to suck his dick, spun around, causing the little boy to fall backwards, while the three other kids also spun towards the two men. "Beat it, pops!" The kid said while sticking his dick back in his pants. "We're just having fun with this little fagot here. Nothing for you to concern yourself with."

Since Logan was reading the kid's mind, he knew that the teen actually expected the two men to back off. He was part of the biggest baddest gang in the city, and wasn't used to people actually standing up to him. He was about to be very surprised. "I'm afraid I can't do that, son." Richard said in his best, condescending voice. "See, I don't like the idea of four older kids picking on one smaller, rather defenseless, boy."

"I don't care what you like or don't like." The leader said, then pulled out a small switchblade knife. "Either you get the hell outta here, or your gonna end up hurtin' bad."

Logan knew he could step in and stop this with just a thought, but decided to see how things would play out. Richard and Tom immediately took a few steps apart, just as two of the other three gang members pulled out their own knives. The last one pulling out an expandable baton, and snapping it to it's full length.

Richard looked the leader right in the eyes, his voice dropping from somewhat pleasant to very dangerous. "You don't wanna do this, kid. Yeah there's four of you, and two of us, and people are gonna get hurt. But I will promise you this. You guys might get me, but before you do, I will make sure YOU are dead. So think about this very carefully."

Richard had moved over, right next to the sinks, while Tom had moved next to the stalls making sure they could only be out numbered two to one, instead of being close enough for all four of them to go after one of them. "You're soundin' real brave old man, especially since we got the knives, and you ain't got shit."

"I don't need a knife. Only pussies use knives." Richard said, trying to egg the kid on. It had the desired effect, as the kid's face turned bright red, and with a scream of rage, he lunged at Richard, blade first. It was exactly what Richard wanted to have happen, as he ducked under the kid's outstretched arm, and knocked it up hard, causing the kid to drive the knife deep into the paper towel dispenser. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught the kid with the baton rushing Tom. Tom's leg kicked out with lightning speed, but he didn't kick the kid. He slipped his foot under one of the stall doors and pulled it out hard. The kid ran headlong into the metal door, causing a large imprint of the kid's face to appear on Tom's side. Before he fell to the ground, Tom grabbed the baton, saying a quick "Thank you," before he turned towards the other kid.

Meanwhile, Richard spun, grabbed the kid from behind, and spun around again. One of the other gang bangers was rushing Richard with his knife outstretched, but when Richard spun, he held onto the leader, putting him between the other boy's knife and Richard's body. Breath exploded out of the leader's lungs, as he felt his own buddies knife sink deep into his lower chest.

Richard dropped the leader, and almost laughed when he saw the other kid's eyes bugging out of his head. The kid's eyes were glued to his 'leader's' chest, where the knife was sticking out. When he looked up at Richard, all the man could see was fear and confusion in the boy's eyes. Richard almost felt sorry for the kid. Almost. With a quick punch to the side of the kid's head, the wanna be bad ass, crumbled down to the floor next to his leader.

Richard looked over at Tom, just in time to see Tom hit the last kid upside the head, using the expandable baton he'd taken of the first kid to charge him. Tom looked over at Richard, and nodded, noting that Richard had taken care of his two, a few seconds faster then Tom had taken his two down. Richard moved quickly to the young boy's side, and knelt down. "You okay, son?"

The boy could barely nod as he looked at Richard with wide astonished eyes. "Good" Richard said as he helped to pick the boy up, and put him on his feet. "What's your name?" He asked as gently as he could.

"Max… sir." The petrified kid responded with huge eyes.

Richard laughed a goodhearted laugh. "I haven't been called sir in a long time; just call me Richard, or Rich."

"Okay." Max said absently, eyes still wide with fright and wonder.

"Come on, let's get outta hear before we have to answer questions we don't want to." Richard said, causing the kid to nod and allow Richard to lead him out of the bathroom.

Logan had backed off and was sitting back out in the food court when they emerged from the bathroom. Tom quickly grabbed the near by 'closed for cleaning' sign and put it in front of the bathroom door. Richard led the boy down the hallway and out into the food court proper, while Tom pulled out his cell phone. He knew the kid that had been stabbed by his buddy would be okay, as long as he got medical attention quickly, but he sure didn't want to be around when the cops got there.

He punched a few keys, making it so that his phone number wouldn't appear on the other end, then called 911. When the lady answered, Tom spoke slowly and clearly. "There was just a gang fight at the Gateway mall, in the bathrooms by the food court. There is one knife wound, and three kids with blunt force trauma. You will want to send at least four ambulances, and several police officers." Before the lady could say anything, Tom snapped his phone closed.

Richard, meanwhile, took the kid to a somewhat empty part of the food court, and sat him down at a table. "Okay, Max, you sure you're okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." He said, having gotten his wits back about him. "At least for now?"

"What do you mean?" Richard asked, clearly not understanding, while at the same time, Tom slid into a seat across from Max, and next to Richard.

"Even if those four never come after me, The fact that they got hurt, well, their friends will blame me, and… well… next time they find me, they'll probably kill me." Max said rather matter of factly.

"I don't understand." Richard said, thoroughly confused.

Max sighed and looked at Richard like he was stupid. "Those guys were part of the Crimson Brothers'. The biggest gang in the city. The kid that got knifed is the younger brother of their leader. Once he finds out what happened, I'm as good as dead."

"Are you sure?" Tom asked.

"Yeah… I know of three other kids they've killed over the last few months. But since they got so much money and got so many other people scared, no one goes after them." Max laughed bitterly. "Hell some group home fag like me ain't gonna even make anyone notice." He wiped away a few tears then looked up at Richard. "Look, thanks for the help, but you guys had better get the hell outta here. If they find out it was you that helped me, you guys will be as good as dead. They got the cops on their side, and next time, it won't just be four."

Richard looked over at Tom, who shock his head sadly. "We gotta wait for this Logan guy…"

"Yeah I know. But when he gets here…" Richard said as he turned his eyes back onto the young boy in front of him. "You're coming with us."

Logan took this opportunity to make himself known. He walked up to the table just as Max was about to speak. "I'm Logan, and you're right, we gotta get outta here."

The two men looked skeptical at seeing a thirteen year old boy claiming to be the person they were supposed to meet. "Look, Sammy asked me to come and collect you, so here I am. There's already a shit storm brewing here, and I, for one, don't wanna be here when it hits, so…" he paused as he looked Richard dead in the eyes, "are you ready to go… General Adams?"

Editor's Notes:

Now there's an interesting development. I somehow suspect that this General Adams is not a mean bastard toward kids that the other one was.

I do have to wonder what the U.N.I.T. Guys will think when they see who Sammy called to help them.

Max is pretty scared, but I think maybe he has just sort of resigned himself to what he thinks is his fate. I really don't think he has as much to worry about as he thinks he does.

We got to see what happened to Donnie and Emily, and the other members of their group, and they seem to be doing pretty well.

Believe me when I say, this is only the start of the adventures that are about to unfold.

Don't miss the next exciting episode.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

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