Castle Roland


by Zackron


Chapter 2

Published: 8 Apr 14


Copyright © 2012 - 2014 by Zackron and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Near the end of Chapter 1 …

"Oh boy, this isn't good… this isn't good at all," Haden commented as he looked at his screen in horror.

"What's wrong?" Daileass asked.

"Well, you know those taps you were talking about on ArpaNet?" Haden replied. "Well, since I wasn't looking for them, it looks like I hit a whole bunch of them."

"Great, let me see if I can track back any of the hits," Daileass stated as a side-windows began to pop up. "Well, that answers that. It's an administrative restricted function. With the setup we have here, I don't think we can grab it without setting off all kinds of other bells and whistles."

Moments later, Daileass jerked back in his chair, as both Haden's and Barrett's eyes grew large before fluttering closed for a few seconds.

"Uh, guys? Are you alright?" Robert asked with concern.

Chapter 2

6:30pm PST – Monday, November 5th, 2012

Footprints LogoBefore he realized it, Haden felt a sensation that he could only describe as a warm pull or tug on his mind, followed by the realization that he was being made a part of something that was much larger than he was. It was a very familiar feeling to him, the feeling of being re-added to a mental-link. Moments after that, he could feel his consciousness shifting and being pulled into once again. This time, into the mental-scape of someone's mind… someone with a very large and vast mind…

"LOGAN!" Haden cried in a voice full of emotion the moment he opened his eyes and saw Logan's familiar face. In no time at all, he ran the few dozen feet that separated the two of them, slamming into Logan's chest. "I thought we lost you, I thought we lost all of you!"

"And I thought you only reacted that way when you saw me," Daileass joked as he walked up with Barrett close behind you. "I figured it had to be you."

"Actually, you were playing against Alvin, I just supervised," Logan smiled toward Daileass before he turned his focus toward the boy softly crying in his chest. "It's alright Haden, You guys are safe now."

"Ordath is gone," Daileass stated.

Logan looked toward Daileass with surprise as he closed his eyes for a few moments, and used the link to learn the specific details from both Daileass and Haden's heads. "I see," Logan replied sadly. With a heavy sigh, he then spoke in a sterner voice. "At ease, Major."

Haden looked up toward Logan in shock. Seeing the serious expression on his face, Haden immediately took a step back away from him. "Sorry, sir," he sniffed.

Having achieved his intended effect, Logan knelt down and used a much gentler voice. "Haden, I know you are scared and hurt right now. We all are."

"I'm trying not to be," Haden protested. "I'm trying to be strong. I'm trying to act right."

Logan nodded in agreement. "You are. But, the thing is it's alright to be a little scared and hurt. That's normal. But there will be plenty of time for hugs and crying later, when we are all back together. Right now, there is still a lot we have to do to figure out exactly where we are, and what we're dealing with. So I need you to be strong a little bit longer, alright?"

Haden nodded. "Yes, sir."

"So, I'm guessing you guys are here in this same universe as we are, right?" Daileass asked. "So how many others are here as well?"

"Yeah, a bunch of us got pulled from all over the place, but we ended up in the old bunker in Utah; the one before all the remolding and upgrades, but with a bunch of… oddities. For example, my system was there with the latest modifications that I added to it less than a day ago, Will's modified choppers, and a bunch of other stuff that can't really be explained yet." Logan replied.

"Sounds like the work of the Mykies?" Daileass offered.

Logan shook his head. "Maybe, but unlikely. It's not really their style to go around throwing people into other universes with no apparent rhyme or reason. Not only that, but from what I can tell, this universe has been cut off and isolated from all the others."

"Yeah, that doesn't sound good," Daileass agreed.

Logan nodded before changing the subject. "What can you give me on your current location? Are you in a secure location?"

Daileass thought for a few moments. "We're hanging out with a family that originally saw us when we arrived. A grandmother and grandfather, along with twelve-year-old Glenn and five-year-old Chad who are here in Las Vegas and are trying to help us. I've already scanned all of them, and they are fine. Glenn's eleven-year-old best friend Robert is also here with us. He checks out as well."

"Alright, good," Logan replied. "There are seventeen of us that showed up here in Utah. All of the core U.N.I.T., the chipmunks, mom and dad, as well as Bill, Ronnie, Tommy, Amur Khan, and Runt. You're group is the only other group that we've found so far that has also appeared."

Seeing that no one had any comments about anything he had said so far, Logan continued. "How would you feel about hunkering down there for a bit? Give us a few days to finish getting things sorted out and setup over here, and then we'll work on finding a way to get you guys over here as well."

"That works," Haden jumped in. "We could make a nest. It'll be just like old times."

Daileass smiled fondly toward Haden, as he could remember a time, in the not too distant past, that sleeping with a bunch of other boys would have scared the crap out of him; especially sleeping in the Clan's traditional 'nest' style. "Yeah, we should be fine here for a few days."

"Great," Logan replied as he looked toward Barrett. "You alright?"

Barrett nodded. "It's going to take a bit of getting used to, but it's nothing I can't handle."

Logan nodded in understanding. "Okay, in case you guys haven't noticed yet, I went ahead and added all three of you to the link. For now, it's just a single link, although some of us are going to be able to use it better than others."

"Do you think you would be able to add Hac to the link as well? He doesn't let it show, but I know he's feeling a bit left out," Barrett asked.

Logan thought for a few moments and shook his head. "I'm not familiar enough with his mind to add him this far away. When you guys get out here, I'll be able to add him. The only reason I could add you is because you had already been in my head several times in the past with Haden."

"Okay, no problem," Barrett stated.

"Alright, if there is nothing else, I think I'm going to deliver the good news to everyone else," Logan stated as he looked around.

"Sounds like a plan," Daileass agreed. "We'll do the same as well."

Logan nodded. Moments later, the mental-scape dissolved away as Haden and Barrett could each feel their consciousness being pushed back into their bodies.

Moments later, Daileass jerked back in his chair, as both Haden's and Barrett's eyes grew large before fluttering closed for a few seconds.

"Uh, guys? Are you alright?" Robert asked with concern.

"Logan!" Haden called out as he and Barrett each opened their eyes.

"What?" Hac asked. "Did I miss something?"

"I think we got the first bit of good news all day," Daileass stated. "It looks like Adam, Logan and most of the rest of the core U.N.I.T. are here as well."

"Seriously?" Hac replied. "How? Where?"

"They're in Utah, about seventeen of them," Barrett stated.

"Umm, how exactly did all of you learn about this so fast?" Glenn asked curiously. "I've been reading the same thing as Haden on his screen, and I haven't seen anything that is anywhere close to what you guys have just come up with."

Haden and Daileass shared a momentary glance with each other, before Daileass spoke up. "It's a little complicated to explain. I guess the short answer would be that some of us are telepaths which allows us to speak mind to mind with each other."

"Telepaths?" Robert asked curiously. "So that means you can also go around and melt people's brains if you wanted to, like the Ninja Pirate Telepaths from Space could?"

Glenn burst out laughing. "When are you going to grow up, Robert? Can't you tell he's just pulling your leg? Everyone knows there is no such thing as telepaths."

'So that means I can't do things like this?' Daileass mentally sent to Glenn as he grinned.

"Ack!" Glenn jumped. "How did you do that without moving your mouth?"

"How did I do what?" Robert asked.

"Not you! Didn't you just hear Daileass?" Glenn asked, hoping that he wasn't going insane.

"You mean where he said they could talk mind to mind with each other?" Robert questioned.

"No, dufus! After that. Don't tell me you didn't hear him say anything," Glenn pleaded.

Robert slowly shook his head.

'Right now, you are the only person that can hear me, since I'm sending right to your mind,' Daileass sent to Glenn.

"Ack!" Glenn jumped. "Did you hear him that time?"

"Hear what?" Robert asked as he started to get concerned for his friend's sanity.

"Hey Glenn," Barrett jumped in. "Why don't you run outside to the front of the house for a few moments?"

Glenn nodded. "Yeah, I think a little fresh air might be good for me." With that, he quickly made his way out of the room.

"Were you really talking to his mind?" Robert asked after his friend left.

'You mean like I'm talking to you now?' Robert heard Daileass say in his head.

A huge grin crept across Robert's face. "Yeah, like that. That's so cool that you can do that!"

"He's out front now," Forth called out from his perch next to the window.

Daileass nodded and grinned. "Wait for it…."

"Ack!" Glenn cried before he ran back inside.

"Is everything alright?" Everyone in the room could hear grandma ask from downstairs.

"Just fine," Glenn replied back as he ran up the stairs and into the bedroom. "You really can talk inside people's heads, can't you?"

Daileass nodded. "Yes."

"Okay, so to summarize, Daileass is an android, some of you guys are telepathic, are there any other cool secrets that you are hiding?" Robert asked hopefully

"Dude, if all this stuff is true, and they really are telling us all this," Glenn spoke seriously. "Isn't there a high chance that they are going to have to kill us, so no one else can find out?"

"Okay, you can stop right there with that kind of thinking, none of us are going to try to hurt or kill you. Would you like to know the real reason we are telling you this?" Daileass asked. Seeing nods from both boys, he continued. "Since I'm telepathic, that also means that I'm able to mentally scan people's minds as well."

"So… You stole all of our memories and stuff?" Robert asked.

Daileass shook his head. "Since the Earth in this universe hasn't met any telepathic races yet, and since I don't even want to think how movies depict things, let me give you a quick summary. There are two major categories of telepathic scanning; Active and Passive. Active scanning is the intrusive type of scanning. It involves the telepath literally digging into the mind and memories of a person, and grabbing whatever information they can find. It's usually a rather painful process. Passive scanning involves the telepath just listening to the surface thoughts of an individual. For example, Glenn, right now your mind is racing with fear that you two are going to be found dead in a gutter somewhere because you are learning all this. I didn't have to do any active scanning to tell that, because it's something you are currently thinking and that your mind is screaming out."

"I think I understand," Glenn replied as both he and Robert nodded.

"Good," Daileass replied. "That gets us back to the other question. The reason we're sharing this with you is that since I've been here, I've been passively scanning both of you. Everything that I've seen so far, suggests that you are both trustworthy individuals and that you will not intentionally try to do anything that would hurt myself or any of my brothers."

"So, if you felt we couldn't be trusted, then you would have killed us?" Robert asked.

"No," Daileass answered. "The most that would have happened is that we would have thanked you and your grandparents for their hospitality, and we would have gone somewhere else and never have spoken about any of this to you."

Glenn let out a sigh of relief. "Okay, that makes me feel a bit better."

"Now, back to the very first question Robert asked," Daileass continued. "The honest answer to that is yes; there are other secrets about us that we haven't shared with you. The reason for that is not because we don't feel you can be trusted, but because the more information about us you learn, the more potential danger I would be putting you in. Right now, especially until we are able to get a better handle on the type of world climate we are in, I would like to put you in as little danger as possible."

Both boys nodded in understanding.

Seeing that Daileass's speech to the two boys was over, Hac was next to speak up. "So, what's the plan boss man? Do any of the other guys have any thoughts on how to get back home? Are we going to get together or anything?"

"Logan didn't mention any plans for getting back," Barrett answered. "I think he would like us to join them out in Utah at some point."

"Oh?" Hack replied.

Having a good idea as to the direction Hac was going in, Daileass jumped in. "Haden and I are members of U.N.I.T., as such we fall under Adam's command, so we will be going to Utah. Forth and Stan technically fall under the protection of the U.N.I.T. as an extension from the Clan, so we will be bringing them with us. You two, however, are not part of U.N.I.T. and as such are not obligated to follow any of Adam's orders; meaning that you could go off on your own if you wanted, and no one would try to stop you."

Hac nodded in agreement. "I'm glad that's understood then. Because, no offense to Adam, but I'm not sure how well I would do taking orders from a kid."

"You were willing to take orders from Haden," Barrett shot back.

"That was different," Hac protested.

"Besides," Barrett continued. "Where would we go? With our sub-vocals not working, there's just as much a chance that KLAUS society doesn't exist here either."

"We don't know that," Hac barked. "The only thing we know is that our sub-vocals don't work on the frequencies they are using. Our home and friends could still exist here. There is a little difference between a small group of kids who only existed for a few months not existing, and an entire society of hundreds of thousands not existing. How will we know for sure unless we at least try to find them?"

"Like I said, the choice is up to you two," Daileass continued. "You can stick with us, as I'm sure Adam would welcome you in Utah, or you can go it alone."

Barrett nodded in understanding. "Personally, I think the best course of action right now would be to stick together."

"Humph, you just want to stay with him," Hac sighed as he motioned toward Haden.

"What if I do?" Barrett shot back. "How long have I been looking for any signs of family? And now that I've found him, is it really so terrible that I don't want to be separated from him; especially if there is the chance that we have been separated from everyone else?"

"No… Sir," Hac replied, while making his dissatisfaction clear.

"This also isn't a decision that has to be made now," Daileass offered. "You guys could stick around with us for now, and then at some point in the future decide to head off on your own."

"Fine, whatever," Hac answered. "So how long until the other guys swing by to pick us up?"

"That's the other issue," Daileass replied. "They're still trying to get things organized and setup at the bunker. So, assuming that it's not going to be too much trouble for Glenn's grandparents, Logan is thinking that it might be best for us to hunker down here for a day or two, and then they will work out the transport logistics from there."

"I doubt they would mind," Glenn stated. "The summer before last my entire wolf pack spent the weekend here camping out in the back yard."

"Your wolf pack?" Hac's ears perked up.

Glenn nodded. "Yeah, back when I was in cub scouts. They don't let you do real camping trips; you just get to do overnights at people's houses and stuff. But like I said, that was two summers ago when I was still a little kid."

"Oh," Hac replied as he realized it had nothing to do with what he thought it might have.

"Would you mind checking with them, just to make sure?" Daileass asked. "If it's not, I'm pretty sure we could find somewhere else to hang out for a day or two while we wait."

"Sure," Glenn replied as he jumped off the bed, and walked out of the room.

"I guess staying here for another day or two could be a good thing," Haden offered. "To start with, we can probably gather a lot more information about stuff. I have a feeling we've just scratched the surface in regards to the differences between our Earth, and this Earth."

"That probably wouldn't hurt," Daileass agreed before a concerned look came across his face. "Oh shit, that's not good."

"Getting more information isn't…" Barrett began to ask.

Daileass held up a hand for everyone to keep quiet for a few moments. "Okay, change of plans, guys. Come on!"

"What's going on?" Stan asked with concern.

"I'll let you guys know in a moment, but this is something we're going to need to get Glenn and his grandparents involved in as well," Daileass stated as he quickly made his way out of the room and down and toward the stairs with everyone else following behind him.

As Glenn made his way down the stairs, and toward the living room, his head swirled with everything that he had been learning about his new, mysterious friends. From the moment he first saw them fall from the sky earlier that day, they had been surrounded with more and more surprises, which just lead to more and more mysteries. Although, he still was not completely sure what to make of them, he was certain of one thing; that this has been the most excitement he has had in a pretty long time, and he didn't want it to end. As such, he knew that he would have to try as hard as he could to convince his grand's to let his new friends stay there for a few days.

The first place Glenn looked was in the kitchen. When that was empty, he headed into the living room. Sure enough, Chad was lying on the floor watching cartoons on T.V. while both grandma and grandpa were sitting in recliners near the back.

"Are your friends getting hungry yet, Glenn?" Margret asked before Glenn had a chance to say anything.

"No, well.. maybe," Glenn replied as he stood between his grandparents and his younger brother. "Gram… Granp… Do you remember two summers ago when Chad and I first moved here and you let my wolf pack stay here one weekend and camp in the back yard?"

Earnest put the newspaper that he was reading down, as Margret smiled warmly. "Oh yes, they were such a sweet bunch of kids."

"They were a bunch of little rascals, that's what they were," Earnest stated harshly.

"Now Earnest," Margret scolded. "You know you enjoyed them being here just as much as I did."

The man refused to reply, however the furrow of his eyes gave away the fact that he agreed with what grandma had said.

Looking back and forth between his grandparents for a few moments, Glenn decided that it was safe to continue. "Well, do you think we could let Daileass and the rest of his friends stay here for a day or two? We have that tent in the shed, so they could camp in the back yard just like the wolf pack did."

A look of shock and disappointment flashed onto Margret's face. "Now Glenn, you should know full well that there isn't any way that I'm going to let any of those boys sleep outside in our yard."

Glenn swallowed hard, as he didn't expect his gram to be against the idea so strongly. "Oh, alright."

"Glenn Timothy Brooks! I swear, I don't know what you're thinking sometimes in that head of yours," grandma continued. "It's the day before national elections, and colder than my ice box out there. That's just not happening. Besides, there is plenty of space between your room and your brothers that everyone should be able to sleep inside where it's warm."

"Seriously?" Glenn asked with surprise, "So it's alright if they stay for a day or two?"

"When people are in need of help son, we help them," Earnest joined in. "I don't understand the full story behind them, but I think it's obvious they are a long way from home, and they need our help."

"They are all welcome to stay an entire week, as far as I'm concerned," Margret added. "Besides, if they are still here on Sunday, that will give me an excuse to make a real Sunday dinner for a change. Any other time it would be a waist to make, given how you and your brother eat like birds."

"Thanks," Glenn smiled. "We'll be extra quiet. You won't even know we're here."

Moments after Glenn finished speaking, a thunderous rumble could be heard coming from down the hall as a stampede of kids made their way down the stairs and toward the living room. The only boy who wasn't running was Hac, who instead calmly followed up the rear of the group.

"If that's quiet, I would hate to hear loud," Earnest chuckled to himself as he picked his paper back up.

"Good news!" Glenn smiled as Daileass and all the other boys filed into the living room. "They said that all of you could stay. You don't even have to sleep outside; we can sleep in my room and in Chad's."

"What?" Chad asked as he spun himself around to see all the new older boys who had just arrived. "You can't give dem my room! Where will I sweep?"

Before Glenn had a chance to reply, Daileass jumped in. "Actually, there has been a slight change of plans, and we are not going to be able to stay. Our friends are on their way to pick us up now, and should be here in less than two hours."

All the rest of the boys instantly looked toward Daileass with surprise.

"Why the change of plans?" Hac asked.

"You mean, you're going to go away?" Glenn asked as he tried to figure out what just happened. "You can't, I mean, we just met and all."

"Actually," Daileass continued, "when I said 'us' I meant you and your grandparents as well, Glenn."

"Seriously?" Glenn asked, no longer able to decide if he should be happy or sad.

"What about me?" Robert asked hopefully.

"From what I can tell Robert, you have two loving parents at home who really care about you," Daileass answered. "It would probably be best for you to go back and be with them."

"No way! Where Glenn goes, I go." Robert protested.

"Hold on just a moment. No one is going anywhere just yet," Earnest stated firmly as he placed his paper back down and looked directly toward Daileass. "Young man, I think you have a bit more explaining to do first."

Daileass was surprised that Earnest was willing to take a nine-year-old so seriously, and jump right to the heart of the issue. "In short, I have strong reason to believe that all of your lives may be in grave danger."

"How's that?" Earnest replied.

"Unfortunately, I believe that it may be our fault," Daileass stated. "When we first arrived here, our first instinct was to try to figure out exactly what happened to us, and to see if there was any way that we might get back home. In doing that, we needed to learn as much as we could about the current society from as many angles as we could; socially, politically, economically, and so forth. One of the large differences that we ran across was on the political side of things. Mainly, this President Ashwood that exists here, and we started doing some searches on him across the net to learn more about him."

As Daileass continued to explain, a panicked look grew onto Margret's face as she reached out for the comforting hand of her husband. "Anyway," he continued. "It turns out that the government is doing a lot more monitoring and tracking of Internet activity here than they do where we come from and… to make a long story short, when we finally did make contact with our friends, we also learned that someone inside of the Ashwood administration has put a hit out on this house with orders to kill everyone inside."

"No!" Haden cried out. "You mean because of the searches I was doing?"

"Any one of us doing those searches could have made that mistake, Haden," Daileass replied.

Haden shook his head. "No, that's not right! I knew the packet security software we had here sucked; I could have done something different. But now this family has to suffer because of me?"

Daileass tried to think of the best way to respond to Haden's concerns. Before he could, Earnest jumped in.

"Actually boys, it is neither of your faults," Earnest stated firmly. "Ever since Margret and I agreed to take the boys into our home after their parents were killed, we knew that this would always be a possibility as long as Ashwood was still in power."

Daileass shifted his attention away from Haden, as both boys looked toward Earnest.

"You see," Earnest continued. "My son, Glenn and Chad's father, was a prominent State Senator here in Nevada. Early on, when Ashwood began to take away some of the rights that had always been reserved for the individual states, he spoke out very prominently against that, and other Ashwood policies. Although I can't prove it, and the autopsy says otherwise, both Margret and I both know in our hearts that they were both murdered by his administration."

"So you see, dear?" Margret picked up where her husband left off. "The moment we accepted those boys into our home, we became potential targets as well. That's one of the reasons we don't use cell phones and why there aren't any other computers in the house, because we know all of that technology stuff can easily be monitored. But at the same time… well… Glenn's a growing boy, in a technological society. We couldn't stand depriving him of having something nearly every other kid his age has."

Before anything else could be said, the phone rang. Earnest stood up from his chair and walked to the other side of the room to answer it. "Hello?… Oh, hi Willard… yes… uh-huh, that's right… I see… Yeah, I just found out a few minutes ago myself… No, I can't. I doubt you would believe me even if I did… right…. we will, you stay safe as well… alright… bye."

The entire time Earnest was talking, the rest of the room remained silent. Once he was done, he walked back to his recliner, and took his wife's hand into his own. "Well, that confirms it. That was an old buddy of mine letting me know that he just saw our names taken off the 'watch list'. So you see boys, it wasn't as much the fact of the searches you made, but the fact that our house was already under suspicion."

"I think I understand," Daileass nodded solemnly. "Then maybe it was fate that brought us together today after all. Either way, we can reflect on that later. For now, we need to get you guys to a safe place that we can wait until the rest of our friends get here."

"I don't think you really understand what you are dealing with here, son," Earnest sighed. "These are trained professional hit men and thugs that will be coming after us. Most of them are former military. So, unless your friends are bringing a small army with them, there isn't much that you, or I, or anyone else can do about it. Once they decide they want you dead, you're as good as dead."

"It's funny that you mentioned that," Daileass grinned. "It just so happens that they are."

"This isn't a game," Earnest replied sharply.

Daileass nodded and took a deep breath. "Alright. Here's the short version… I'm pretty sure you won't believe this until after I've given you a few demonstrations, but I'm telepathic. This means, I have the ability to read people's thoughts. Although I have not dug around in either of your heads, as you would have felt it if I did, I have been monitoring your surface thoughts, and from those I am pretty sure that I can trust each of you with the rest of what I'm about to tell you."

Pausing for a moment to see if either adult would try to jump in, Daileass soon continued. "In addition to Haden and me, the friends that are coming to pick us up are all part of a group known as The U.N.I.T. Where we come from, it was basically a group of very special, highly trained youth that each had sworn to use their abilities and training to protect other endangered and oppressed youth around the world. When the situation called for it, this by proxy would also include their parents or grandparents as needed. So right now, the friends that I'm talking about are already in the air, and flying toward our location in a specially modified Chinook. There current ETA is about two hours, which means we are on our own until then."

"You're right, I don't believe you," Earnest replied after thinking for a few moments. "However, given the situation, and the fact that my old buddy just verified the information you came to warn us about, I'm willing to take you at your word for now."

"Thank you," Daileass replied. "That will help speed things up a little. Next, I think it would be best for you guys to go grab some clothes and any essentials that you might want, but nothing too big since we will have to carry it. I'm thinking it would be best for us to head back to the park you found us in earlier. That has a nice big open field, and it will be easy for my friends to land in. Since we don't know how long it will take for the hit men to get here, we should probably do this as quickly as possible."

Earnest and Margret shared a look with each other for a few moments before Earnest looked back at Daileass and shook his head. "I appreciate the offer. But Margret and I will not be going. There are too many memories in this house for us to risk losing. However, you can take the boys with you, just promise that you will keep them safe. I'll drive you guys to the park when you are ready."

"What? No!" Glenn cried out. "I'm not leaving you two."

"Me eider," Chad joined in.

"Don't be a fool, Glenn, These are professionals. If you two stay, you will be killed right along with us," Earnest snapped back. "I don't know how or why, but by the grace of God, we have had the fortune of meeting these fine young men today who may very well be able to protect you. Had this day come any other time, then we would not have been as fortunate."

"There is no way I could convince either of you two to change your mind, and come with us? You know that there is no way either of you will survive," Daileass asked.

Both Margret and Earnest shook their heads as Earnest answered. "No, I'm afraid not. I'm ex-military, son. I'll put up a good fight to those bastards."

Daileass nodded in understanding as his eyes went distant for a few seconds. "Alright, in that case, I just spoke with Logan and there has been a change of plans. We're going to hold our position and wait for them here instead. With any luck, our friends will be here before the bad guys arrive. But just in case they get here sooner, we'll be ready for them."

"You're very bright for a fella your age," Earnest admitted. "But still, you are just kids. I can't be responsible for your deaths as well."

Daileass smiled as he nodded toward Hac. Hac, taking the hint, walked up to the recliners that Margret and Earnest were sitting in. Then, bending down, he carefully lifted up both recliners at the same time with Earnest and Margret still sitting in them. After keeping them in the air for a few moments, he slowly lowered them back down.

Once Hac had them both on the ground, Daileass continued. As I mentioned earlier, at least for some of us, there is a lot more to us than how we look. With that, Daileass reached into his long leather jacket and pulled out a 9 millimeter Beretta pistol with a small silencer attached to the barrel. Twirling the gun around twice in his fingers, in a single fluid motion, he extended the gun out to his side, and fired. There was a small whooshing sound and the sound of something being hit on the other side of the room was heard. Propped up on the counter on the other side of the room was an issue of Time Magazine, with a picture of a man on it.

"Whoa," Glenn called out as he ran over to look at the magazine. Bringing it back, he presented it to his grandfather. Daileass's bullet had hit in the exact center of the man's forehead.

"Other than the youngest two, who in this case happen to be a whole lot younger than they look, all of us have some degree of military training," Daileass stated seriously. "If the memories here are important enough for you to risk your lives; then it's important for us as well. Besides, Glenn and Chad have already lost their parents. They don't need to lose their grandparents either."

"I'm sorry, I don't care how much training or how strong you are, I simply can't…" Earnest began to say before Margret put her arm on the man's leg, causing him to stop.

"Dear? We've always known the almighty works in mysterious ways. These boys have clearly come into our lives at this moment for a reason. Who are we to refuse the lord's gifts?" Margret spoke seriously.

Earnest sighed and nodded. "Very well. It's clearly not my place to tell any of you what to do. So, if you wish to stay, I will not stop you."

"Thanks," Daileass replied. "Okay guys; let's see what we can do to get things setup around here. They are probably only expecting a family of four, so let's see if we can use that to our advantage." Daileass then turned toward Robert. "I think this is probably the point that you should head back home."

"What? No!" Robert protested. "I already told you, I won't abandon Glenn."

"Actually son, Robert has a good point," Earnest stated and waited for Daileass to turn back toward him. "It's a very well-known fact that Glenn and Robert are very close friends, and that we are good friends with Robert's parents. As Ashwood has demonstrated in the past, he won't have any problems going after any close associations of a target instead, should they fail to kill the actual target."

Daileass looked closely at Earnest and sighed, as he could tell the man was telling the truth. Especially given the part of the orders that he hadn't shared with the others yet, it was very possible that if he were to send Robert home, and they were to deal with the first group of thugs, he could very easily be signing the death sentences for Robert and his family instead. This was getting more and more complicated by the second.

After spending another few seconds updating Logan on the latest changes to the plan, Daileass turned to Robert. "Alright, you and your parents are going to be coming with us as well."

"Yes!" Robert cheered before Daileass could say anything else.

Once he had Robert's attention again, Daileass continued. "What I need you to do instead is to get on the phone, and find some way to get your parents over here without telling them the real reason they are coming. Can you do that?"

"I'll try," Robert replied.

"Get your parents on the phone son, and if you can't get them to come over, let me talk to them," Earnest offered.

"Alright," Robert stated as he walked over to the phone and dialed his number. A few moments later, he walked back over. "Okay, both of them are on their way over. I told them that there was something Glenn's grandparents needed to talk to them about."

"Good job," Daileass nodded. "Okay guys, let's think priorities. We don't know how long we have, so let's take care of the main items first, and get things setup for possible house guests as quickly as possible."

With that, everyone nodded, and began to get to work, following the lead and instructions that Daileass gave to each of them as they went.

Nearly an hour had gone by since Robert called his parents to come over to the Brooks. When they arrived, after a brief introduction of all the kids that were there, Daileass went to work basically explaining everything he had explained to Earnest and Margret. While this was going on, Hac made a few passes walking around the outside of the house, making mental notes in regards to where all the windows and doors were for both line of sight, and point of entry purposes.

Once Daileass had finished with Robert's parents, and after Hac filled Daileass in on his observations, Daileass decided it was time to get into more specific details with Earnest. "Mr. Brooks?" he began by getting the older man's attention and motioning to follow him away from where his wife was sitting. "If you and your wife still insist on staying here…"

"We know what they will do to the house if we're not here," the man replied.

Daileass nodded in understanding. "Alright. In that case, we've come up with three key locations that we believe to provide the best visibility of any approaching hostiles. Glenn's room upstairs provides a very good view of the street, front of the house, and left side. The study gives a good view of the right side and the back fence, while the right most window in the living room provides the best rear view. If we run into problems before the rest of our friends arrive, the safest place for you guys is going to be in the pantry area. The walls there seem to be the thickest, and the door leading in is also thicker, and can be barred from the inside."

Earnest thought to himself for a few moments before nodding. "Not bad. You boys certainly seem capable of calculating the most efficient defensive points."

"Actually, it wasn't that hard. It's almost as if the house was designed with defense points in mind," Daileass stated.

"That's exactly why we bought it," Earnest grinned. "You don't survive ten years as a seal by being stupid. However, there is actually one better location to use to cover the right side of the house that you missed. But I probably can't fault you for that, since it's designed to be missed."

"What would that be?" Daileass asked in a mixture of both surprise and intrigue.

"I'll show you," the man replied as he led Daileass into the hall and behind the stairs. Taking a key out from inside of his shirt, he used it to open the door revealing a dark space under the stairs. Taking away a small piece of wood near the door frame revealed the handle to a trap door in the floor. Opening up the door, a small ladder could be seen descending into a lower room. "This small hide-away was built when the house was built. Unless you know exactly what to look for, you won't see it."

Earnest climbed down the steps and waved for Daileass to follow him. The man had to bend down slightly, as the ceiling was only around five feet high. Once Daileass was down, the man walked over to one side where two small windows were at head level, a few inches from the ceiling.

As Daileass looked through them, Earnest explained further. "The windows are behind the lower grating of the house, again not something someone will see until they are specifically looking for them. Not only does this vantage point give better side visibility than the study, but it also allows you to see under the back fence door for added foot traffic visibility."

Daileass nodded with approval. "Yeah, this will definitely work better. From the looks of the room, it looks like it might be a better place to have most of you at."

Earnest remained silent.

As Daileass waited for a reply, he glanced around the dimly lit room until his eyes feel on what looked to be a small shrine setup on the other side of the room.

"What's that?" Daileass asked as he walked over. Posted on a small bulletin board was a number of newspaper clipping; many of which spoke of a Senator Devin Brooks of Nevada. On a small stand, positioned under the table, was a U.S. Marine Corp hat resting on top of a folded uniform. A few pictures that ranged between a young man no older than eighteen or nineteen smiling as he wore his Marine Corp. Dress Uniform, to pictures of a slightly older man proudly holding a two or three year old boy. "This is Glenn and Chad's father? Isn't it?"

"My son… yes," Earnest replied heavily. "This has been my private shrine for him."

Daileass nodded understandingly. "Does Glenn know about it?"

Earnest shook his head. "The boy was devastated for weeks after we learned what happened. I guess I have been a bit fearful since then of opening old wounds. And lately, well, he's had other things on his mind. I planned on showing him one day, when he was older."

"Well, in the end, the decision is yours to make," Daileass sighed. "I can tell you this, though. Glenn still thinks a lot about the father he never really had a chance to get to know. He's also grown up a lot since you took in that scared, frightened ten-year-old boy. Personally, I would think he would greatly appreciate what you have created here. But as I said, it's your choice."

Earnest stood silently for several moments, not saying anything.

"Would you like me to help you move all of this stuff somewhere safe, just in case we have to have the others hiding down here?" Daileass offered.

Earnest slowly shook his head. "No… no… that won't do. Perhaps you are right, young man." With a sigh, he looked directly into Daileass's eyes. "Would you ask Glenn and Chad to join me down here? I think we need to have a talk that I've been putting off for way too long."

Daileass nodded and climbed back up the stairs in search of the boys.

Daileass found Glenn and Chad in the living room along with all the rest of the kids. As soon as he spotted them, he walked up next to Glenn and whispered something in his ear.

Chad shot Daileass a confused look before nodding. "Come on Chad, gramp needs to talk with us."

"Why? Am I in dwuble?" the five-year-old asked with concern.

"No, I don't think so, just come on," Glenn stated as he took hold of the smaller boy's hand, and lead him out of the room.

"What's wrong?" Robert asked curiously after they had left.

"Nothing's wrong," Daileass replied. "They just need to have a long overdue chat with their grandfather."

With that issue settled, Hac and the others filled Daileass in on what was being discussed. So far the plan they came up with involved Haden and Hac keeping watch upstairs, Daileass would cover the study, and Barrett would keep watch in the back, so he could also help protect everyone in the pantry if needed.

Once Hac was done, Daileass informed them about the hide-away Earnest had shown him. Once he was done, everyone agreed that would be the better location for all the non-combatants to hide. As such, Barrett would handle watching from the hide-away room, and Daileass would cover the back.

"Stan and I will cover the kitchen," Forth announced as he pointed to the counter in the dining room that lead into the kitchen."

Daileass shook his head. "No way guys, you're going to be in the hide-away with the others."

"But what if one of the bad guys tries to steal their food?" Stan asked.

"Yeah, like the popcorn we found in the pantry," Forth added.

"What?" Daileass asked in surprise. "The bad guys are not going to try to steal any of their popcorn."

"How do you know?" Forth challenged.

Daileass sighed. "First, you guys don't have any way to protect yourselves; you don't even know how to fire a gun. Second, even if you did, we don't have enough guns to go around."

"We don't need guns," Stan grinned as he pulled out a frying pan from behind his back.

"Oh my," Margret gasped. "That's my good frying pan."

"Where did you guys get that?" Daileass asked as he grabbed the frying pan and placed it on the coffee table. "You guys can't use a frying pan as a weapon. Besides, the kitchen is isolated, no windows or doors, so no one is going to bother going in there."

Stan and Forth were both deflated.

"Okay, anyone have any other questions?" Daileass asked as he tried to get the discussion back on track.

Robert raised his hand. "Is Barrett another Android?"

"No," Daileass stated. "Why?"

"Well, how else is he going to be able to protect us? He doesn't even have a gun," Robert observed.

"I don't need a gun," Barrett grinned. "I have something better, Danus."

"What's a Danus?" Robert asked.

"Danus is my Phasenmorph," Barrett replied as he held out his right arm. A few moments later, a strange looking red slimy creature appeared covering most of the boy's lower fore-arm. "It's a biologically engineered living weapon from a very long time ago. I don't really think I can get into what all it can do, but one of the things it is very good at is functioning as a shield against energy and projectile weapons."

"Wow!" Robert gasped as the creature on Barrett's arm once again turned invisible. "Did I mention you guys are really cool?"

"Okay, any more questions?" Daileass looked around. "Hac, I can already see you are armed. Haden, do you have yours?"

Haden shook his head, feeling slightly embarrassed for being unprepared.

"Not a problem, take this," Daileass replied as he reached into his leather jacket and pulled out a Beretta 9 millimeter pistol and handed it to Haden.

Haden accepted the weapon, and then did a quick check to make sure that it was loaded, and secure. "What about you?"

"I'm covered," Daileass stated as he reached into the other side of his jacket and pulled out a Sig-Sauer P226.

"Nice," Haden smiled.

"Okay, Haden, Hac, get upstairs, Barrett go to the room behind the stairs, you should see the trap door there to get into the hide-away," Daileass stated. "Everyone else, you guys are welcome to hang out in here with me if you want, but at the first sign of trouble you will need to be ready to move into the hide-away."

Haden, Hac, and Barrett ran out of the room to get into position.

"The way things are looking, it shouldn't be much longer until our friends…" Daileass began to say before he stopped in mid-sentence, and stared into space for a few moments. "Shit," Daileass muttered under his breath. "Okay, change of plans guys. Hostiles are moving in on foot, and are less than five minutes away. Everyone to the hide-away… move it.. now.. now.. now!"

Momentary chaos erupted as everyone scrambled to get out of the living room and down the hall to get to the hide-away.

'Look sharp guys, hostile's in-bound,' Daileass sent to the link, knowing that Haden and Barrett would pick it up.

'Hac and I are ready up here,' Haden sent back.

'I kinda noticed something was up with the stampede,' Barrett sent. 'I'll be ready here.'

'Daileass,' Logan sent to the link next. 'We are ten minutes out, flying in on full stealth. Be advised that we have already picked up enemy chatter. Additional hostile reinforcements are inbound as well.'

'Thanks for the heads-up, bro. We'll take out as many as we can before you get here.' Daileass sent back.

'Alright, everyone is down here, and the trap door is closed, but we have no way to secure the room.' Barrett broadcast.

"Dammit, I missed that," Daileass thought to himself before coming up with another solution. 'Haden, ask Hac if he can run and quickly secure the hideaway behind the stairs, he just needs to replace the board, and then close the door,' Daileass sent.

'Alright, he's on it,' Haden replied. Before he finished, he could already hear Hac flying down the stairs as quickly as he could without breaking them.

'Alright, we're set,' Daileass thought to himself. 'Now it's time to see just how good these government thugs are.'

Outside, five men dressed in black clothes, and black ski-masks carefully and quietly snuck up against the side of a house. Taking a quick glance around the side of the house, the guy in front looked up to the tallest guy who was directly behind him. With a single nod, the tall guy touched a small ear piece that was in his left ear. "Team Alpha in position, target in sight and clear."

A few moments later, he heard a reply. "Team Bravo in position, target in sight and clear."

With a single hand motion from the tallest man, everyone in the group took out small black laser-sighted semi-automatic Glock hand pistols, and slowly began to move forward toward their target.

'Five hostiles approaching from ten o'clock,' Haden mentally broadcast from his position upstairs as he drew a bead on the first person in the group and took his shot.

A moment later, the first hostile in the group collapsed to the ground as all the other four instantly scattered, making their way to the house. 'Scratch one'.

Without thinking, Haden aimed for the next best target, one of the two in the back. Firing a second shot, another hostile dropped 'Scratch two'. Unfortunately, the others were not in places that Haden could get a good aim at.

Just as Hac had finished closing the door behind the stairs, the door to the house went crashing down. Still behind the stairs, Hac took a deep sniff. 'Fear,' he thought to himself. 'These guys are blindly going into a situation that scares them? Then they have already lost.'

Although Hac couldn't see around the steps, going by sent alone, he could tell there was only a single man walking toward him. With blinding speed, Hac spun around the side of the steps and slammed the guy head-on, squarely on the side of his jaw. As the guy began to spin around, Hac grabbed his head, and twisted hard in the opposite direction causing a loud cracking sound to be heard. Before the man's lifeless body hit the ground, Hac had already flipped himself up and over the stair railing, and was half-way back to Glenn's room.

'Scratch three,' Haden announced as soon as he saw the look on Hac's face.

From his perch in the back, with his enhanced reflexes, Daileass managed to take not one, but two hostiles out before laser sights began to target him through the window, forcing him to change his position. 'Scratch one and two'.

Moments later, the sound of glass shattering could be heard as one of the guys flew through one of the larger windows. As he did this, he began to blindly fire in Daileass's direction, this time forcing him to take cover behind one of the sofas.

Seeing another hostile quickly running toward the other window, Daileass decided to momentarily ignore the one inside, and fired two quick shots toward the guy outside. The first shot shattered the other window, allowing the second shot to take the guy down. 'Scratch three'.

Bullets began to fly, ricocheting off of walls and other objects as both of the remaining men from the rear group were inside and firing toward him. With dust and debris starting to fly around, Daileass used that to his advantage to quickly change his position to behind one of the reclining chairs where he drew a bead and fired, taking down the fourth hostile. 'Scratch four.'

Just as Daileass was about to target the final hostile, the man quickly leapt over the counter to take additional cover in the kitchen. 'Damn, I'll have to go around to get a good shot on him,' Daileass thought to himself as he began to calculate the best way to accomplish that. Before he could move, however, there was a loud clanging sound, followed by a thud from behind the counter.

Daileass tilted his head in confusion as he tried to figure out what the sound was from. Within moments, the reason became all too clear.

"He's still moving," a small voice whispered from behind the counter.

"That's cause you didn't hit him hard enough," another voice replied. "Let me see that." Moments later, the top of a frying pan briefly popped up from over the counter before disappearing, and another loud clanging sound could be heard. "That got 'em".

Daileass sighed, "I thought I told you guys to stay with the others?"

"Someone had to protect the pop-corn," Forth whispered back.

"Besides, don't we need to take any of the bad guys alive?" Stan whispered as well. "You know, to interrogate them or something? I think this guy's still alive… yeah, he is."

Daileass shook his head. It would probably be a good thing to take at least one of them alive, so he couldn't argue with Stan on that one. However, he made a note to have a very long talk with both boys later about following orders in life and death situations.

"Where are you going?" Haden asked as he noticed Hac heading back toward the door.

"Down stairs to where all the action is at," Hac replied. "Where else?"

"Hold up," Haden stated as he glanced out the window. "A car is pulling up in the driveway."

"What?" Hac sprang back toward the window to look out.

From the passenger side of the car, a dark brown short curly haired ten-year-old wearing a light blue and white striped shirt got out and made his way toward the front door. Stopping briefly to observe the broken-down door, the boy poked his head inside. "Glenn?" He called out.

'Daileass, some kid just walked up to the house' Haden sent once he saw what was happening. 'And now an adult is getting out.'

"Stay outside, son," the boy's father warned as he walked up the sidewalk toward the front door while taking his cell phone out at the same time. A moment later, a shot was fired as one of the men popped up from behind one of the trees.

"Dad?" The boy called out as he spun around only to see the man falling to the ground. "Dad!" he screamed.

"Damn," Haden whispered as he caught sight of the hostile that came out from behind the tree. Quickly aiming and firing, the shot was only a graze, since he was ducking back at the same time. However, it threw the hostile off balance enough that he exposed himself on the other side of the tree, allowing Haden to fire again, taking him down. 'Scratch four, but civi down.'

'What the hell?' Daileass asked himself as he prepared to bolt toward the boy. It was too late, however. Before Daileass could move, the tallest man dressed in black grabbed the boy off the ground, and held his gun to his head.

"Everyone out now, or the kid dies!" the man screamed.

Within moments of Daileass mentally sending the picture to Barrett, Barrett described the boy to Glenn. As he did, a concerned look came over Glenn's face.

"That sounds like Andy," Glenn stated gravely. "I don't know why his dad would have brought him over at this time of night. He almost always calls first."

Back in the front room, Daileass sighed heavily. "Damn, it's one of Glenn's friends."

"Would you have shot at them if it wasn't?" Forth asked from behind the safety of the counter as he and Stan continued to sit on top of 'their' bad guy, with Stan keeping a death grip on the frying pan, just in case the guy showed any signs of moving.

"Probably not," Daileass admitted. "But that still puts us in a really bad position."

'Hold on guys, we're almost on type of you,' Logan sent mentally do Daileass, Barrett, and Haden.

Haden risked taking a peak out the window from his perch upstairs. 'The guy outside is definitely down, I can see a good pool of blood under him. I hope you guys have a good plan, Hac and I can't risk moving up here either, without spooking them.'

'Don't worry guys, we got it covered.' Logan sent back.

"Time's up," the guy yelled from the front of the house.

'You guys are out of time, Bro. I have to do something,' Daileass sent through the link.

Before Daileass, or anyone else could react, a loud thud came from the front of the house which carried the sound of wood cracking. This was quickly followed by a child's voice 'yelping', and finally a louder thump.

Fearing the worst, Daileass quickly re-positioned himself to get a brief glance down the hall. As he did, he could see both the tall man's body, and the boy's body slumped on the ground. Although he began to move in to investigate, he was too slow. Hac had already flown down the stairs, and effortlessly flipped the man's body off the kid.

"The kid's still alive," Hac called out as he lifted the boy up. Aside from some spattered blood and grey matter splattered over him, and being a little dazed, the ten-year-old appeared to be unscathed.

As soon as Hac made his announcement, the entire house began to vibrate as the loud thumping sounds of the descending Chinook landing in the street and front yard.

'More hostiles are in bound, so let's make this fast guys,' Logan sent in the link moments before the large chopper touched the ground.

"Okay guys, that's our ride, let's get the hell out of here." Daileass shouted.

"What do we do with this guy?" Forth called out.

Before Forth had finished speaking, Daileass was already standing beside them, and grabbing onto the man's limp body to drag him. "We bring him with us."

As soon as Haden saw the Chinook landing, he was close behind Hac, however his destination was down into the secret room under the stairs to make sure Barrett was truly safe. Seeing that he was, he and his twin began to get Glenn, Robert, and their parents up and out of the room.

Just as Glenn and Robert were stepping out from the room, two guys in some type of shiny black, futuristic-looking battle gear stormed into the house, one of whom was so tall that he had to duck to get through the door.

"Daileass!" the smaller black armored figure shouted with a young teen's voice, as both figures took up positions on each side of the door, and began laying down cover fire outward. As he said this, a third figure in black armor briefly jumped out from the Chinook just long enough to check out, and then scoop up Andy's dad, before jumping back in.

"Right here," Daileass called out as windows began to shatter across the front of the house, allowing wind to freely flow through the rooms.

"Oh my," Margret cried out as she got a good look at the shambles her house was in.

"Don't worry about it, just run!" Hac cried out as he directed everyone toward the front of the house. "Into the chopper… go… go!"

Daileass dragged the only surviving hostile's body to the front of the house, right behind the tallest guy in black armor. Looking back, he did a quick head count to make sure everyone was accounted for. Forth and Stan had taken up positions behind the guy on the ground, ready to give him another dose of frying pan if needed. Barrett was next behind Daileass making sure that Chad was close behind him. Haden was standing in the back also making sure that mom and dad Jenkins as well as grandma and grandpa Brooks were ahead of him.

"Let's go!" the teen voiced, as the smaller black armored figure called out as he quickly glanced behind him before he went back to firing his gun.

"Okay guys," Daileass called out. "Everyone run into the back of the Chinook as fast as you can. There will be people inside that will help you find places to sit. Everyone clear? Don't stop running no matter what you hear or see." After getting nods from everyone behind him, he mentally began running out the door as he sent a mental broadcast, 'We're heading in.'

If you would have asked them, both Glenn and Robert would have agreed that between the noise of the Chinook and the gun fire that was now going on outside, that it was very loud. However, they would have also agreed that the sound of all the noises around them, at the least, tripled the moment they stepped out of the door.

With adrenaline surging, both boys ran like they had never ran before. Although it was less than fifty feet from the front door to the back ramp of the waiting Chinook, it was the longest and probably the scariest ten feet either boy had ever run. As they approached the ramp, they ended up having to split up so that they could get around a huge gun that was right in the center of the ramp, being manned by another guy in the shiny black armor.

Finally, making it into the back of the massively huge chopper, the boys were met by another person in black armor who quickly pushed them toward seats on the side, and told them to hold on. It only took a few seconds for everyone to get in and find places to hold on to. Once everyone from the house was on, the two guys in black armor who originally entered the house jumped on; the really tall one, and the one with the teen's voice. Directly behind them, two smaller black armor guys, who couldn't have been any taller than a ten or eleven-year-old jumped on just as the helicopter jerked sharply to the right and quickly began to rise.

Even though he dared not trying to find a window to look out, Glenn could tell they were gaining altitude quickly since it felt the same as the elevators in those large buildings felt as they quickly propelled you upward, only even more so. Several loud 'thud' sounds could be heard from under them, as the entire craft shook to and fro. For a brief moment, it felt like they had stopped moving up, and the thought of them falling right back down and crashing flashed through Glenn's mind. But no sooner had the thuds started, they had stopped, and the feeling of moving higher again could be felt.

Although the gun fire had stopped, for the next several minutes, the Chinook continued to sporadically jerk back and forth. At one point Robert stretched his neck to glance out a small window that was near him, only to see the top of a tree fly past. Apparently, they were not as high off the ground as it had initially felt. Finally, a short while later, the back ramp was raised up and the jerking around diminished; looking out the window once again, Robert could see that they were still flying surprisingly low to the ground, but now it appeared to be over open dessert.

Across the aisle from where Glenn and Robert were standing, Glenn's grandparents stood, with Margret still holding onto the side rail for dear life. One of the guys in black armor walked over and knelt down directly between the two older individuals, and took off his helmet to reveal the face of a black haired, steel grey eyed fourteen-year-old. "Hey there," the boy gave a small smile as he looked up toward them. "We'll be talking more later but for now let's get you two strapped in."

From the moment he saw the large splatter of blood followed by his father's body falling to the ground, Andy's life had been turned upside-down. "Dad!" he cried and cried, trying to coax him to get back up, to show everyone that he was really alright. He was so focused on his father; he hardly noticed the pair of hands firmly grabbing hold of him. Even the cold metal touching his forehead, didn't really register until he opened his eyes and saw that it was attached to a gun.

"Stop crying you little brat!" He remembered someone shouting at him right before he was shaken so hard that it knocked the wind out of him. As the noise of the gun fire increased around him, the silence of his world also increased. For a long while, everything seemed like a blur, right up to the point that he felt a jolt, and warm wet stuff hitting the side of his face. The next thing he knew, a heavy weight was being lifted off his back, and he was soaring up into the air by another set of even stronger hands. Only this time, they were far more gentle and caring.

"It's alright, you're safe now," a voice told Andy as he was placed against a side wall near the back of the helicopter. "I need you to hold on really tight to this, alright? Hold tight and don't let go." The noise around Andy continued to increase, until the chopper began to jerk around. Even then, although he remembered holding on as hard as he could, everything around him seemed surreal, as if it were some kind of a dream.

It wasn't until several long minutes later after the gun fire was replaced with the rhythmic whooshing sounds of the blades and powerful engines that propelled the helicopter forward, and until the jerking and shaking stopped, that his heart finally began to slow down. It was then, that he noticed the face of a jet-black haired boy, with a face that glistened like an angel standing in front of him, using a soft wet cloth to wipe his face off. He wasn't sure what was being wiped, but he did see the dark red stains that were left behind on the towel. As the boy finished, he tried to thank him, but his voice was drowned out by the rest of the roaring sounds around him. He was pretty sure the young teen got the message however, since he smiled reassuringly toward him before walking away, helping another boy to get strapped in.

Having had military training themselves, and having a good idea with what would be going on, both Haden and Daileass ended up taking seats closest to the ramp, since if the worst happened, they along with the other U.N.I.T. kids, would be needed to help ensure that everyone else was able to get off the chopper as quickly as possible. When the back ramp finally closed, the gunner that was positioned on the ramp gun secured it, and took a step back. As the gunner removed his black helmet, long flowing blond hair fell down, revealing none other than Logan's smiling face.

After setting his helmet down, the first person that Logan walked up to was Daileass, who he took in his arms and squeezed tightly. Neither boy said anything, as the embrace between two brothers went far beyond the need for words.

After Logan released his brother, he then turned and grabbed Haden; pulling the boy into his arms, he said, loudly enough to be heard. "Thank you… I'm glad you're here." Logan's embrace was so strong and filled with love that Haden felt like crying. Images of the mental-scape meeting from earlier quickly came to mind, causing him to fight that desire back. To his surprise, once Logan pulled back and the hug broke, Haden could see the tears in the Logan's own eyes as Logan quickly turned and began to help one of the adults strap into the jump seat next to him.

Over the hour that was to follow, very little was said between anyone, as the roar of the Chinook engines made it nearly impossible to hear anything at all. Other than Janet, Logan's mother who happened to be a highly distinguished medical doctor and geneticist, walking around and checking to make sure everyone else was fine, and the surprise that Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins got when they saw an eight-year-old boy step out of the gunnery chair of one of the massive side guns that were part of the Chinook, nearly everyone spent the time in silent meditation and reflection. It had been a very stressful day for nearly all of them, and this had been the first chance many of them had to start collecting and sorting those thoughts.

Even though the five-year-old was strapped into a special booster seat apparently designed for smaller children, Margret kept a gentle, yet firm hold on him for most of the flight while she and her husband carefully watched their older grandson, and his best friend across from them, wondering what they had gotten themselves into, and what the future would bring for them.

Desmond and Sarah Jenkins were in many ways still trying to fully comprehend what had happened to them. Less than two hours ago, they were planning to call their son home from his best friend's house so that they could take a trip to a local pizza parlor and have an enjoyable family night out together. Instead, they were called over to the Brooks place only to be told that not only were they now potential targets of government hired hit-men, but that a small group of rather unique kids would be protecting them until a larger group of kids arrived to take them away to who knows where. The whole experience had almost seemed comical and story-like until the shooting started. That was the point that they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything they had been told was dead serious.

As the flight went on, Haden occasionally glanced around the back of the Chinook. Although everyone, especially the new friends they had just met, seemed pretty shaken up, people for the most part were calming down. He was especially glad to see so many other familiar faces. For a while, he had feared that the only friends he would ever be able to see again were the five kids that were in the conference room with him when whatever happened, happened. Now, however, it turned out there were a lot more. It was also during that flight that Haden slowly began to realize just how much he had lost, and just how much he had taken for granted in his old life. More specifically, he had a new found appreciation for the teleporters that no longer existed here. Before today, he would have thought nothing about being whisked away half-way around the world in the blink of an eye. Now, it was going to take nearly an hour and a half just to travel from Las Vegas to the box canyon in Utah where the U.N.I.T.'s base was hidden.

Eventually, the thrust and force that was propelling the huge helicopter began to slow until it felt that they were no longer moving forward at all. Moments after that, they could feel a small thump as the wheels gently touched the ground, and the roaring engines became silent. They had arrived at their destination, where ever that destination might be. As everyone was quickly gaining a strong appreciation for the new found silence, Adam unstrapped himself and looked around. "Please keep your seats for a few moments," he stated firmly, "Until we are inside the base, and the door shut, we don't want people moving around."

Glenn and Robert both watched through the small window with awe, as the rocky outside was slowly replaced with the insides of a huge hanger of some sort where they could also get a glimpse of another, smaller attack helicopter of some sort. Finally, whatever was pulling them forward stopped, and the rear ramp was opened and lowered.

Before anyone had a chance to leave, the door to the cockpit opened, and a platinum-blond haired twelve-year-old dressed in a flight suit stepped out. "Hey guys," he announced as he looked at all the eyes staring toward him. "We hope that you have enjoyed your flight on U.N.I.T. airlines today, as we look forward to transporting you again in the future. For now, please make sure your seats and tray-tables are in their full, upright positions while you take a moment to gather your belongings and carefully exit from the back."

Desmond smiled warmly at the young pre-teen, the only conclusion he could make is that he was the son of the pilot of the chopper. "Your father did an excellent job flying this thing," he stated. "You will have to thank him for me."

The boy in the flight suit looked curiously toward a man in his early foruties who was standing next to Doctor Janet. "I didn't know you started flying again, dad?"

The man chuckled. "Actually, Desmond, that's Will Casey. He was the one flying."

Desmond's eyes nearly popped out as he couldn't decide what to say in response.

"Okay guys, let's all go ahead and move out the back," Adam called out. "When we get out, I would like everyone to stay grouped up next to Daileass and Haden, as there are probably a few things that we need to talk about, now that we will be able to hear each other."

With that, everyone slowly made their way off and outside. Janet, along with a twelve-year-old oriental-looking boy was the last to exit the Chinook, along with the stretcher that was carrying Andy's father.

"Dad!" Andy cried out, as he tried to move toward him. "Is he alright?"

"He'll be fine, son," Janet's husband replied as he gently took hold of the boy's shoulders to prevent him from following Janet and Chang.

Adam gave the new comers a few moments to look around in wonder, before he got their attention. His first order of business was to get the Chinook back to operational status. "Will, Billy…" He called out, and all eyes fell onto him. "I want you two, with Jory and Juan to get this thing back to operational status… as quick as possible. I doubt we were followed, but just in case I want us ready. Also get the Hind up here and ready to launch."

The four boys nodded and ran off. Adam then turned and looked at the eight new comers. "Okay, I am sure you guys have a whole lot of questions, so I'll leave it up to you. I can have you guys shown to rooms where you can freshen up, maybe take showers or whatever. Then, in say a half hour, we can meet up in one of the conference rooms, and let you guys know what's going on. Or we can get the introductions and explanations out of the way now, and you guys can freshen up after. It's up to you."

Standing next to his wife, Earnest looked around at the remarkably organized setup. Even with all the various military bases he had been in throughout his carrier, he had seldom seen better organized hangers. Finally, he turned toward Joe, who was still holding Andy close to him. "I have to admit sir; you have a very nice setup here, and a very well behaved group of young lads. Given the situation, I'm guessing that at some point you would like to sit down and discuss where we go from here, away from the children?"

Joe glanced over at Adam fearing that the boy may have taken offense to what the man said but thankfully Adam seemed to take it all in stride. "Actually sir." Joe started, picking his words carefully. "I am sure you meant no offense, but in truth, Adam IS in charge."

Seeing the clear disbelief in the man's eyes, Adam sighed and ran a hand through his short hair. He still hadn't really gotten used to it being cut short, but eventually he would. "Sir, I guess a brief explanation would be in order before we go any further. I have been told by Daileass that he feels you are all trustworthy individuals, so I will not sugar coat anything. As you know, we all came from a different place. At this point, we are still not sure how we got here, or if we're going to be going back. However, on the Earth that we are from, there was a Military General who decided to try and create super soldiers, using children. He was rather successful as far as things go, and he was able to create myself and my brothers." Adam was intentionally leaving out many of the details since they weren't really relevant.

"While Joe Casey IS my biological father, I was kidnapped at the age of six, and 'augmented'. Each of my brothers and I were 'created' for a specific reason, mine was command. So yes, I am in command here. Both my mother, Janet… The doctor, who took Andy's father to the infirmary, and my father, are fully comfortable with the situation, and when the situation calls for, they follow my orders. However, outside of military situations, I prefer to allow them to be the parents that I grew up without."

Earnest slowly shook his head in disbelief. "In that case," he began as he redirected his focus toward the U.N.I.T. leader, "Adam, please accept my apologizes, sir. I spoke out of place, without fully understanding the situation. Seeing how well you and your boys worked together as a well-oiled team would put even the best seasoned teams to shame. And trust me; I've seen some of the best." After pausing a few minutes to allow Adam to see his sincerity, he continued. "Anyway, on behalf of my wife and my grandchildren, I would like to thank you. I have no doubt that we would not be alive right now if it weren't for you. If there is anything at all that we can do to repay you, you have only to ask it."

"I don't have the military background that Earnest has," Desmond spoke up. "However, I know skill and perfection when I see it. So the same goes for me and my family.

Adam shook his head slowly. "When we have more time to share stories, I am sure what I am about to say will make much more sense. However, you are already doing what I would ask as payment. Loving you're children and grandchildren. There is nothing I could ask for more than that." Adam said with sincerity.

Adam smiled as he saw all four adults nod in understanding. "Good, then why don't I show you all too some rooms that you can make use of while you are here." He walked over to Ronnie and threw his arm around the young nine year old boy. "Ronnie here will come to your rooms in about a half hour. I want you to let him know everything that you will need to make the rooms a home for yourselves. Obviously, I would strongly recommend that you all stay here; at least until things calm down and we find out who is responsible. However, if you wish to leave at any time, we will be more than happy to take you were ever you want to go."

"That's very kind of you," Margret spoke up. "From what little I saw of what was left of our house, it doesn't look like there is much to go back to at this point."

Haden began to blush in embarrassment. "Erm… umm… yeah, I'm really sorry about that. We weren't expecting so many people to show up."

"It's nothing to apologize for, young man," Earnest replied quickly. "Given the situation you were faced with, you got everyone out safely and alive. I know a number of other teams who would not have come close. The loss of a few old trinkets is nothing in comparison to the lives of our grandchildren."

Many of the U.N.I.T. kids that were standing among them could be seen smiling and nodding.

"Excuse me," Sarah hesitantly raised her hand, until Adam looked toward her. "I know you said you are not looking for anything in return from us, but I would personally feel bad if there was nothing at all that I could do in return for you. Perhaps this is not the best time or place to discuss this, but I would love to discuss that further at some point. I don't know what you guys have in terms of say cooks but I have nearly ten years of experience as a culinary chef under Bobby Flay. Up until two weeks ago, I was one of the main chefs at the Mesa Grill in Caesars Palace"

Every child in the room perked up at her announcement. Adam grinned as he stepped up to her, and put his arm over her shoulder. "While we may be from somewhere else, I can tell you from personal experience, food is always the best way to a growing boy's heart. Although I will warn you, my brothers and I can eat someone out of house and home rather quickly, and then there's Kahn…"

Adam said as he motioned towards Khan who was leaning up against the helicopter still in his full armor. How someone that large could make himself unseen and unobtrusive as Khan does, was still a mystery to Adam. He motioned Khan over, and he pushed off the helicopter and started to move towards the group. Adam then turned back to the group. "When I spoke earlier about my brothers and I being experiments, I forgot to mention those like Khan. The rest of us are based on humans. Khan however.." Adam paused as Khan reached up to pull his helmet off.

"Oh sweet… oh sweet!" Robert began jumping up and down. "It's a real Cyrstarian from the planet Xylus! Can you shoot lasers out of your eyes like they can in the movie?"

"This isn't the movies, dufus!" Glenn shoved Robert hard.

"Oh yeah? How do you explain that then?" Robert retorted as he pointed to the huge seven and a half foot tall orange and yellow furred lion hybrid.

"You heard what Adam said," Glenn answered. "An experiment from whatever Earth they came from."

"Oh yeah? How do we know the person running the experiment wasn't from Xylus? Huh? Huh?" Robert replied as he glanced around and saw several people looking toward him. "Um, he he he… sorry."

"Well, I'll say this much. That's certainly one large boy you have there," Margret stated, before she whispered to her husband, "Remind me when we get back home to have my reading glasses checked."

Runt quickly moved over and wrapped an arm around Kahn's waist. He looked at Robert and almost snarled. "He's NOT an Alien… He's my boyfriend!"

Robert tilted his head as he looked at the small less-than five foot tall boy who looked like he couldn't be more than ten. He was about to make a comment as he realized just how many other times he put his foot in his mouth so far. So instead, he simply nodded. "Normally, I would probably come up with some kind of smart remark to make. But seeing as how you guys don't seem to be like any kids we have ever met before, I think I'll risk believing you on this one, and just congratulate you instead. I can't wait for the day that I get to call Glenn my…. erm… nevermind," Robert ended by putting his hands over his mouth, and internally began to curse himself for what he nearly said.

"Robert?" Glenn asked as he looked toward his best friend who was nearly an inch taller than he was, even though he was a year younger.

"It's nothing," Robert did his best to blow it off. "So, anyone else up for checking out those rooms? I know I am."

Adam sensed that something was happening, that probably shouldn't happen in public, so he jumped in. "Right. If you guys will follow me." He said as he turned around and began to walk away. "You guys need to decide. I can put you in four different rooms, Earnest and Margret in one, Sarah and Desmond in another; Andy and his father in one, and then Robert and Glenn in another. The other option is a large suit of rooms that you could all fit into. It has five different bedrooms, all connected by a single large common room. It was meant for the president and his family if they ever needed to live here for a time."

Margret looked toward her husband for a few moments before looking toward Adam. "I don't think we need anything as luxurious as a presidential suite, so four separate rooms would work fine with us."

Sarah and Desmond shared a similar look before Sarah spoke for the two of them. "My husband and I agree. It's already more than we could ever ask for, that you would be willing to take us in at all. A presidential suite seems way over the top."

"But gwandma," Chad's voice was filled with concern. "Where am I gonna sleep?"

"Oh my, we can't forget you now, can we?" Margret stated as she reached down and lifted the small boy into her arms. "Perhaps you and Glenn should share a room, would that work?"

"Then where does that leave me?" Robert jumped in.

"With us," Desmond answered. "Unless you don't think you could stand sleeping in the same room as your parents for a few days."

Adam chuckled. "It's up to you guys; however, it's just sitting vacant right now since we already picked our rooms." Adam then spent the next twenty minutes showing them the things that they would need to know about on the way down to the living quarters on the second sub level. "Now, I will leave you guys to freshen up. We'll serve some food in the main conference room, the one I showed you all, on the ground level, in about forty five minutes, at which point we can get the more formal introductions out of the way, and discuss what you guys will do from here. Sound good?"

Everyone nodded and once again thanked Adam for his kind hospitality before he left.

Once Adam left the Jenkins and Brooks in their rooms to start getting settled in, he led Haden, Daileass, and the others that had come from the other universe further down the hall.

"Ya know, this place doesn't look anything at all like I remember it," Haden commented.

"Actually, it looks almost exactly like the original design," Daileass replied. "Although, I don't think you ever got to see the place before the minor remodeling that was done."

"Minor?" Adam sniggered, "The place went from a capacity of around five hundred to around eight thousand overnight; along with a hefty increase in technology."

"Yeah, fortunately they were nice enough to also fully wire the entire place as well with networking support to the main servers," Daileass added. "Speaking of which, I don't suppose any of my servers happened to have shown up, have they?"

Adam looked toward Daileass and slowly shook his head. "The only real tech that showed up was Logan's personal system. We've basically been using that as a server for all the older terminals that were originally installed here."

Daileass nodded.

"Okay guys," Adam changed the subject. "Most of us have rooms down this hall, and around the corner, since it's closest to the central stairwell. Just like I mentioned for the others, sleeping arrangements are pretty versatile. Forth and Stan, I guess you two will want to bunk with Haden. Barrett and Hac, we can get you guys' setup in your own room, or come up with a way to combine you guys."

"What about Daileass?" Haden asked.

"I don't need to sleep," Daileass answered, knowing exactly why Adam had left him out. Seeing the concerned look on Haden's face, he continued, "However, given that I don't have any server farm to transfer out to anymore, I probably will need a place to allow this body to recharge from time to time, so having an assigned 'room' might not be that bad of an idea."

Adam nodded in agreement. "However you want to work it, bro. We're just glad that you are here. We're glad all of you are here, for that matter."

"I'll bunk with Daileass," Haden blurted out a bit faster than he might have wanted to, which caused him to blush slightly. "I mean, if Daileass is okay with that."

"Why wouldn't I be?" Daileass smiled causing Haden to blush a bit more.

Adam stopped in front of one of the many doors that lined both sides of the hall, and opened it. "Don't forget we also have several of these smaller four-bedroom suites. They are not as large as the presidential suite, with only having four bedrooms instead of five, and a little less square footage…"

Before Adam finished speaking, the other six boys pushed past him and made their way into the room. In addition to a moderately sized living room, and a small kitchen area, there were four bedrooms which could be accessed from the living room. Two of the bedrooms had two single beds, while the other two each had a single queen-sized bed.

"Oh sweet!" Forth called out while he and Stan explored the kitchen area. "This place even has a microwave oven!"

Haden looked over toward Forth and Stan, "It looks like one of those really old-style microwaves."

"So?" Forth challenged, "It'll still make popcorn, right?"

"Most of the equipment here dates back to the early 80's," Adam commented. "We think that was the last time anyone went through and 'modernized' the bunker. As soon as we get settled down a bit more, we'll start swapping stuff out, so we could update the microwave to a more modern model."

"But, it will still make popcorn, right?" Forth asked again.

Adam slowly shook his head. "Yes Forth, it will still make popcorn."

"Sweet!" Forth jumped up, before he ran back into the living area where everyone else was standing. "Okay, I like this place, can we sleep here?"

Everyone chuckled. "You didn't even bother to check any of the bedrooms out," Daileass observed.

"Oh yeah," Forth replied as he dragged Stan to the closest bedroom where the two stepped in and walked right back out. "Yup, the bedrooms are good. So, can we sleep here?"

With Forth and Stan's blessing, the rest of the group decided that this would be as good of a place to stay as any. Forth and Stan took one of the two bed rooms, while Barrett and Hac took the other.

Seeing that the only rooms left were the rooms with queen beds, Daileass looked toward Haden. "So, would you like to share a room, or have separate rooms? I don't mind either way."

Haden looked through the door into one of the bedrooms with the queen size bed. "That looks like a pretty good sized bed, I'm pretty sure we can both fit in it."

"You sure?" Daileass asked.

"Yup," Haden replied as he walked into the room and flopped himself onto the bed, causing his GEAR to beep. "Oops. Forgot to turn that off. Since I'm not sure how I'm going to recharge this thing, I should probably conserve as much power as possible."

"I'm pretty sure we will be able to rig something up," Daileass stated as he walked in the room and sat on the other side of the bed, looking slightly lost.

"Yeah," Haden agreed. "What about you? We don't exactly have a docking bed, or any of the other equipment here. How are we going to keep your power up?"

"Most of my energy sub-systems are enhanced versions of the ones that were developed for the bears. Micro-photon converters in my hair to help convert light into power. I can also convert basic sugars and lipids into heat and energy. So as long as I don't go too crazy with my power utilization, I should be fine," Daileass stated.

Haden nodded. "I still can't believe you guys were able to build that body without me knowing about it."

Daileass smiled warmly.

"We're going to have to check at some point, you know?" Hac casually commented as he and Barrett checked out their room.

"Yeah, I know," Barrett nodded, knowing exactly what Hac was referring to.

"I got a chance to look at a world map earlier," Hac continued. "The map still looks mostly the same as how we would expect them. That means if any of the KLAUS installations exist here, the one in Central Mexico should be there."

"True," Barrett agreed. "But without any type of teleporter, it could be a challenge to get there. I'm not sure if Adam is going to want to drop everything and transport us out there just yet."

"Do you think I really care about what that child thinks?" Hac asked seriously. "Let him play army, or do whatever else he wants. We have to worry about ourselves, and our obligation to our own society."

"And if it turns out it doesn't exist anymore?" Barrett countered. "The Clan doesn't exist here. Star-fleet doesn't exist. What makes you think KLAUS does?"

Hac looked at Barrett in disbelief. "The Clan was a hand-full of kids. I refuse to accept that a society with a population in the hundreds of thousands that has existed for nearly forty-thousand years could simply disappear."

"I would hope not either," Barrett agreed. "But until we know for sure… Adam and the others may be the only family we have left."

Hac narrowed his eyes as he looked at Barrett. Of course, there were lots of things he wanted to say in response. Deep down inside, however, there was that small shred of lingering doubt that stopped him. What if Barrett was right?

"What are you looking for?" Stan asked, as he watched Forth crawling on the floor, looking under his bed.

"My laptop," Forth replied.

"I don't think they would work here, with no Daileass or Icarus to run them, would they?" Stan asked.

"Donno," Forth replied as he looked up briefly toward Stan before returning to his search. "You could help me look, ya know?"

Stan shrugged and slipped down off his bed to start looking for his laptop. "What if laptops don't exist in this universe either?"

Forth shot Stan a strange look as he hopped to the other side of the bed. "Don't be silly, Stan. Everyone knows that anywhere there is a bed, there has to be a laptop linked to it."

"I know," Stan admitted. "But… What if the beds at our old place were special or something? What if most beds don't have laptop docking stations built into them?"

"That would suck," Forth shivered at the thought. "If people don't have laptops, then what do they do when there is no one else around to play with?"

Stan shrugged.

"Exactly," Forth stated. "That's how I know there has to be a laptop here somewhere. Now, come over here and help me left this mattress up."

Once Adam and the others left them, Glenn, Chad, Robert, and Andy along with their parents and grandparents quickly split into different rooms. The early plan was to have to have Glenn and Chad share a room, Desmond and Sarah Jenkins sharing another room along with Robert, while Earnest and Margret Brooks take the third room, and Andy took a room for him and his father.

Of course, like all initial plans, it didn't last that long. For starters, Robert made it very clear that he didn't feel it was right for an eleven-year-old to have to sleep with his parents. At the same time, Chad didn't seem to want to leave Grandpa's side. As such, it was decided that Robert and Glenn would share a room while Chad would sleep in Grandma and Grandpa's.

Being curious pre-teens, before they could start checking their own room out, Robert and Glenn first had to check out the room that Robert's parents would be staying in, followed by the room that Glenn's grandparents had. It was only after they were through with the inspections of both rooms that the two boys passed Andy's room on the way back to their own room. As they walked by, since the door to the room was open, Glenn caught a glimpse of Andy out of the corner of his eye.

Stopping in mid-stride, Glenn walked back and looked through Andy's door. Sure enough, he saw exactly what he thought he did the first time. In the otherwise empty room, Andy was sitting on one of the beds, blankly starring off into space. "Andy? You okay man?" He asked as he walked in with Robert following close behind him.

Andy, still wearing his blood and grey-matter stained clothes continued to sit there, saying nothing.

"Andy?" Glenn asked again as he gently placed a hand on one of the smaller boy's shoulders, causing him to jump.

"Huh?" Andy asked with concern has he turned his head to look at the boy who had just touched him. "Hi Glenn."

"Is something wrong?" Glenn asked with concern.

Andy turned back around and lowered his head. "Nah. I was just thinking of pa. That's all."

Glenn and Robert shared a brief glance between them. "Hey, I was thinking," Glenn continued. "Why don't you come over to Robert's and my room? The three of us could hang out together for a bit."

"That's okay, I'm fine here," Andy replied in monotone.

"You don't look fine," Robert observed.

Glenn nodded in agreement. "Yeah, come on dude, the three of us will hang together." With that, Glenn gently pulled on the other boy, coaxing him to stand up. To his surprise, the ten-year-old didn't resist. Instead, he allowed himself to be guided out the door and down the hall toward the room Robert and Glenn had picked out.

Once they made it into the room, Andy sat down on one of the beds, looking completely lost.

"Now what?" Robert asked as he closed the door once all three of them had entered.

Glenn looked around the room and spotted the open door leading into the bathroom. If the bathroom was anything like the other two rooms they had scouted out, it would have a nice sized tub, shower. Looking back at Andy, and seeing all the blood splatters on his cloths, he made up his mind. "Well, the first thing we need to do is to get you out of those clothes and cleaned up."

Andy looked toward Glenn as if he couldn't really understand what the older boy was saying.

"I know whenever I'm feeling kinda down, a good shower has always helped me to feel a little better," Glenn stated as he walked over and stood next to Andy. Seeing the younger boy still sitting there doing nothing, he sighed as reached down and began to unbutton Andy's shirt getting him ready for his shower.

Over the next few minutes, Glenn managed to get the ten-year-old completely stripped out of his clothes. Although Andy didn't try to resist anything that Glenn was doing, he didn't do a lot to help either. From there, Glenn led the boy into the bathroom.

Looking under the sink, Glenn was surprised to see a bunch of hand and bath towels, as well as a number of wrapped bars of soap, and several bottles of shampoo. Next, he walked over to the tub and began to run the water. To his surprise, it only took a few moments for the water to turn warm.

"Do you want me to help you with getting cleaned up, or do you want to do it yourself?" Glenn asked as he looked toward the still-lost-looking, and now naked Andy.

"I can do it," Andy replied softly.

Glenn nodded. "Alright. Robert and I will be in the bedroom if you need anything.

Robert eyed Glenn closely as the older boy walked out. "You sure he's going to be alright?"

"I think he just needs a good warm shower," Glenn answered as he walked over to the dressers and began to open them as if expecting them to be filled with clothes. Unfortunately, every drawer he looked in was empty.

"Whatcha looking for?" Robert asked.

Before Glenn could reply, a knock came from the door. Rushing over to open it, Glenn was surprised to see Ronnie smiling up toward him. "Hey guys, have you seen Andy anywhere?"

Glenn nodded and pointed toward the bathroom. "Yeah, he's in taking a shower."

"Perfect," Ronnie replied as he handed a small pile of clothes to Glenn with a yellow plastic bag lying on top, with a radiation symbol printed on it. "Those should be small enough for him to wear. I hope he doesn't mind, but the only thing we have right now are U.N.I.T. jumpsuits."

"Thanks," Glenn replied as he accepted the pile of clothes. "What's the bag for?"

"To put his old clothes in, it's the only bag I could find on the way over," Ronnie answered.

"So you can wash them?" Robert asked.

Ronnie took one look at the soaked through stained shirt and shook his head. "Even if we could, I doubt Andy would want to wear them. But no, we'll probably end up burning them, since they are a bio-hazard."

"I didn't think of that," Glenn nodded in agreement. "Well, thanks for stopping by. We were just trying to figure out where we could find some clothes for him."

"No problem," Ronnie replied as he grabbed the bag containing Andy's old clothes. "Within the next day or two we'll do a supply run somewhere and grab him and you guys some other clothes along with some of the other stuff you guys think of. You're working on your lists for me, right?"

Glenn and Robert both looked at each other, and shook their heads.

"Well, you better get to thinking; I'll be back in…" Ronnie continued as he glanced down at his watch, "about twenty minutes."

"Right," Glenn replied as he watched Ronnie wave and close the door behind him. "Do military guys always act like that?"

Robert shrugged. "Donno."

About ten minutes later, a steam cleaned Andy walked out of the bathroom with a white bath towel wrapped around his waist.

"Feel better?" Glenn asked hopefully.

"Yeah, that felt really good," Andy admitted as he glanced around the room. "Where did my clothes go?"

"Ronnie came by and took them," Robert answered.

"I don't think you're going to want to wear them anymore anyway," Glenn added. "He left you some other clothes over there on the bed."

"Oh," Andy replied as he grabbed the smile pile of clothes, and disappeared back into the bathroom. A few minutes later, he stepped back out of the bathroom, wearing the U.N.I.T. clothes which fit him surprisingly well.

"What are you guys working on?" Andy asked curiously as he noticed both Glenn and Robert sitting at desks, and scribbling on sheets of paper.

"Our shopping lists," Robert answered.

"They are just lists of stuff that we would like for them to pick up for us," Glenn added.

Andy walked over and glanced over each of their shoulders before walking back over to the bed and flopping down on it. "Okay,"

"Here," Robert stated as he took out another sheet of paper from the desk, and moved over on his chair. "You can work on a list too,"

Andy looked toward the two boys and shrugged. "Alright."

Ten minutes later, Ronnie showed back up at the door to collect their lists. He first looked over Andy's rather small list. "Are you sure that's all you want?"

Andy nodded shyly. "That's all I could think of."

"That's cool, if you think of anything else just let me or Tommy know," Ronnie nodded as he looked at Glenn's list. After a few moments, he nodded. "I think we should be able to get most of this. Some of it might have to wait though."

"That's cool," Glenn replied. "It's more of like a wish list than anything. It's not really stuff I really super need or anything."

Ronnie moved on with the final list, Roberts. After a few moments, Ronnie's eyes nearly popped out. "You want THIS?"

Robert took a step back. "Well, I guess. If it's too much, you can get one of the lower models."

"Lower model?" Ronnie gasped. "Um, I don't think Logan would let me get within a mile of this place with something this low end."

"Low end?" Robert was confused. "That's a top of the line processor, and ultra fast DDR3 memory for it."

Ronnie shook his head. "I'll tell ya what. After the meeting in the conference room, I'll introduce you to the chipmunks. I'm sure they will give you a few ideas for some decent system specs."

"The chipmunks? Erm, okay," Robert replied.

"Don't worry, you'll love 'em," Ronnie smiled. "Anyway, I need to go get the lists from everyone else. Remember to head up to the conference room in a bit. Adam is going to be getting things started in about fifteen minutes or so."

All three boys nodded as Ronnie waved and walked across the hall to the next room.

"What do you think he meant by low end?" Robert asked curiously.

"I remember them saying something about higher technology from where they came from, so who knows," Glenn shrugged. "Anyway, you want to take a shower before we leave, Robert?"

Robert shook his head. "Not really."

"Okay, then I'm going to," Glenn stated as he made his way to the bathroom.

Ten minutes later, Glenn, Robert, and Andy stepped across the hall and collected Chad along with their parents and grandparents. From there, the entire group made their way down the hall toward the stairs. On their way, Haden, Daileass, and the others were coming out of their own room just as they were passing, so the entire procession made their way up the stairs together.

"Well, here we are," Glenn commented as he reached the door of the conference room. "The start of a new era starts for all of us."

"Just open the door already," Robert whined. "I'm hungry!"

Stepping into the conference room, the boys saw several other kids already inside hovering around the conference table which had several trays of fruits, vegetables, meats and other munchies.

"Hey guys, come on in and help your selves," Ronnie smiled warmly toward them. "Adam and Logan should be here shortly."

Without having to be told twice, all the kids quickly ran over to the table, and started grabbing stuff for their plates. As Haden was waiting to get to the meat tray, he noticed that Juan, Adam's ten-year-old Hispanic looking brother, was sitting in a chair near the door watching it rather apprehensively. If he didn't know better, he would almost have said that Juan was silently crying.

Moments later, Adam and Logan stepped into the room. At the same time, Juan literally leaped out of his chair, nearly tackling Adam.

"Juan, what's wrong?" Adam exclaimed as he pushed the boy back a little bit to see if he was hurt.

"Nothing's wrong!" Juan said with a grin, and happy tears flowing out of his eyes. "I just… well I love this family!" He bubbled out. "Do you have any idea how long it's been since anyone's allowed me to kill anyone, or go on a mission?" He spoke excitedly. "I was starting to think I might go stir crazy! But then we come here, and within hours you find a place where I can do what I was made to do. And do it with my family! I'm.. I'm just so HAPPY!" He cried out as he almost tackled his eldest brother/commander, with a crushing hug.

"He's joking, right?" Robert whispered to Glenn.

"I hope so," Glenn replied softly.

Adam looked amused as he looked to an equally amused Logan. The blond boy just couldn't help it. "Well Adam, you know what they say. The family that kills together stays together."

"And then again, maybe not," Glenn added.

"Oh don't you start that too." Adam said with a chuckle as he patted his happily crying youngest brother on the back.

"Speaking of which, I had our 'guest' put in one of the locked cells. He ain't going anywhere for a while. It seems the Cyclones whacked him over the head with a large frying pan… twice!" Logan said with a chuckle.

"That's because he didn't hit him hard enough the first time," Stan jumped in as he pointed toward Forth.

"Ouch!" Adam winced. "He's gonna have a hell of a headache when he wakes up."

"Yup, and then I plan on giving him an even bigger one." Logan said with a suddenly serious look on his face.

Adam shook his head as he looked around the room. Spotting the adults all standing together, Adam, with Logan by his side, walked up to them. He gave Joe and Janet a quick hug, with Janet placing a kiss on his forehead before he turned and looked at the other four adults. "Hey, Hope everyone's feeling better after a little down time."

"Yes, thanks," Sarah replied. "You would be surprised what a warm shower can do for you."

"Actually, I know what it can do." Adam said with a smile. "Before I forget, I have a few things for you guys." When he stopped at the armory he picked up a few things, one of them, he now offered to Earnest. "I'm not sure what you're used to, but I have come too really like the Beretta 9mm. With your training, and experience, I figured you might feel more comfortable with one. If you would like something else, I am sure Juan wouldn't mind taking you down to the armory and letting you pick out anything you would like." Adam then leaned in close to the adults, and whispered conspiratorially. "Although, he is rather attached to the shoulder mounted surface to air missiles…" He let his sentence end with a chuckle.

"Well, I'll be damned," Earnest exclaimed as he accepted the pistol and began to look it over. "This is almost exactly like the Beretta M9 I use to have. It looks like it's in near mint condition too."

"Earnest?" Margret asked in a worried tone. "Is that really necessary?"

Earnest nodded gravely toward his wife. "After what happened today? I don't see any other way."

Margret sighed, but knew that her husband was right.

Earnest spent a few more moments preforming a quick field check of the pistol before looking back up toward the black-haired fourteen-year-old. "Thank you Adam. It's not that I question the skill of you or any of your boys, but this does make me feel a lot more comfortable. I don't suppose you have a …" Before the man could finish, Adam held out a holster for him. Smiling, the man accepted the holster. "I guess you do."

Adam smiled then turned to Margret. "Ma'am, I know you are probably going to try and refuse, but I ask that you take this." Adam handed a small bag to the woman who took it with a curious look, then Adam turned to Sarah and held out another small bag. "Same thing goes for you two. Please accept this as a small token."

"Oh my," Margret exclaimed as she looked in the bag, and then back toward Adam.

Sarah shook a few of the small sparkling crystals out of the bag and into her hand. Staring at them in shock for a few moments, she became very light headed and nearly fainted. Fortunately, Desmond was standing right behind her for support.

Carefully putting the gems back into the bag, Desmond looked toward Adam in shock. "I know you come from an Earth that is somehow different from this Earth, and maybe things work differently there than here. But I'm not really sure if you fully understand exactly what you have just given us."

"Actually sir, I do." He said with a smile. "Please understand, what we are probably going to be embarking on will cost a whole lot of money, money that we have a lot of. However, both your families will need a good amount of money to re-start your lives. All of you have already passed the only test I have; you love your children, no matter what. To me and my family, there is NOTHING more valuable than that."

All four adults nodded in understanding toward Adam.

"I wanna see, I wanna see!" Glenn and Robert both began to eagerly jump up and down as they ran next to their respective parents and grandparents. Even Andy seemed to perk up, and showed a great deal of interest in seeing the shiny stones.

Adam put a hand on Andy's shoulder, and gently turned the boy towards him. "Don't think I have forgotten about you. Your father will be fine; Mom and Chang have both assured me of that. However, he may be in pain for a while. When he wakes up, I am sure you will want to spend a lot time with him. When you think the time is right, please give him this." Adam then handed Andy a bag that was obviously more full then the other two had been.

Andy carefully opened the small bag, and peeked inside, as both Glenn and Robert watched closely. Moments later, the ten-year-old's eyes opened wide in shock. "Thanks," he whispered as he threw his arms around Adam, and hugged tightly as if he never wanted to let go.

It took a few moments, but finally Andy released Adam. Adam patted the boy on the shoulder, then turned towards everyone else in the room, raising his voice loud enough for everyone to hear. "Line up everyone. Parade Rest, time for an inspection!" Without a thought, everyone lined up, and went to Parade Rest, including Logan. Robert and Glenn couldn't help but smile when both Haden and Daileass joined in just as quickly.

Adam then turned back to everyone else. "Full introductions are probably in order now." He said, but waited to see the adults nod before he walked to the line, and started at the end. He waited till everyone was with him before he started talking. "First off, let me start off by introducing our parents. Both of them hold the Rank of General, Joe Casey is the Base Commander, and Janet Hayes is the commanding officer of the Medical Division. Then we have Major General Amur Khan." No one, other than those that did not know before hand, missed the raise in Rank Khan just got. "He is second in command of Combat troops, Black Ops section."

Adam then moved on down the line after Khan nodded to the small group with Adam. Next we have Captain Bartholomew Rollins the Third, better known as Runt. He is the Civilian Liaison Officer. Next, they are collectively known as the Chipmunks, Colonels Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. They are the seconds in command of the Intel Division, Respective fields are, Field ops, Electronic ops, and Procurement ops. "

Adam then moved on to the two the group already knew. "You already know these two, but let me introduce them officially. First we have Brigadier General Daileass Hayes, Intel Division, and Detached Duty. Next is Colonel Haden Rothwood, also Intel Division, Detached Duty."

Taking a few steps forward, Adam then stopped in front of his sons. "These two are mine and Logan's adopted sons; Captains Ronnie Tompkins and Tommy Maxwell. Together they are the Quartermasters for the U.N.I.T." Adam was about to take a step, until a quiet(ish) growl was heard from next to Tommy. "Oh yeah… I can't forget about General Fluffy, Commanding Officer of the Feline division."

Moving forward again, before Fluffy took offense, Adam spoke quickly. "Colonel Billy Tompkins; Second in Command of the Air Forces. Next to him is Major General Will Casey, Commander of the Air Forces. Major General Logan Hayes, Commanding officer of the Intel Division. Major General Juan Casey, Commanding Officer: weapons and training. Major General Jory Casey, Commanding Officer Explosives and Ordinance. Finally we have Lieutenant General Chang Casey, Second in Command of all Combat forces, as well as Commanding officer of the Military Medical division."

Adam then turned towards the group of civilians, and saluted. "I am General Adam Casey, Commanding Officer of the U.N.I.T."

"Don't we get cool names?" Stan asked looking slightly hurt.

"Of course not, silly," Forth replied. "We're not in U.N.I.T."

"But there were U.N.I.T. guys were we lived," Stan protested.

"So?" Forth stated.

Adam smacked his forehead. "Sorry guys, I can't believe I forgot. We also have Captains Stan and Forth Cyclone, Stan runs the Pots and Pans division, while Forth is in charge of protecting the Popcorn."

Stan and Forth looked at each other in shock. "Did you hear that?" Stan asked as they both began to jump up and down in place. "I get to help out in the kitchen!"

No sooner had they started, both boys stopped. "Shouldn't we be in line then?" Forth asked with concern. Stan nodded, causing them both to quickly run to the end of the line and stand at Parade Rest, in the exact same stance the other kids in line were standing in.

Glenn glanced back and forth, looking at his grandparents, as well as Robert's parents to see if any of them would speak up. Seeing none, he spoke up himself. "Well, since all of our parents seem to be stunned in silence, I guess I'll do our introductions. I'm Glenn Brooks, that little guy over there is my little brother, Chad Brooks. And there is Chad and my grandparents, Earnest and Margret Brooks. Then this geeky kid next to me is Robert Jenkins."

"Hey!" Robert protested.

Ignoring Robert, Glenn continued. "And you have Robert's parents Desmond and Sarah Jenkins. And finally, the kid next to Robert is Andy."

"I just have one question," Desmond began. "I'm not going to question your seriousness or legitimacy, since we all saw you in action first hand earlier. However, I have to ask… Here on this Earth, seeing an army made up of young children is almost unheard of. How could the events on your Earth have turned out so horrendously that a country would turn to training its children to fight the battles of adults?"

Adam sighed but nodded. "In the world we come from, things are a lot different. Until we have more time to look into things, I can't really tell you how different. I mean we haven't even scratched the surface of figuring out what's going on outside this base yet. But, really things, were we came from weren't all that bad, for the most part. See, my brothers and I," Adam said as he pointed out Will, Jory, Juan, and Chang, "Aren't your normal children, we were all created, or changed, in a laboratory to turn us into a super soldier, a 'Genesis Augment'.

"We were created for one thing, and one thing only, to wage war. And frankly, it's something we do rather well. Back in the universe we came from, we were part of a group that was tasked with safeguarding children worldwide. Safeguarding them from abuse, exploitation, or any other harmful situation that children, unfortunately, often find themselves in. Obviously, we were the military side of things. Before we left, we had over ten thousand U.N.I.T. troops, only about a quarter of which were Genesis Augments."

Adam had started to pace, but now he stopped and looked, first to the group that was lined up, then to the adults who were not. "While there may not be many of us now, we will still work to fulfill our mission, a mission that each and every one of us sworn a blood oath to. We will find and rescue those children that need it. No matter where we find ourselves, as long as there are children in need, we will not forsake our duty." Adam spoke so passionately, that every single member of the U.N.I.T. had stood up straighter, had puffed their chest out a little further, and to a man, their eyes burned bright with duty, honor and passion.

"WE are the U.N.I.T., and we will not stop. Not while even one of us draws a breath." Adam finished intensely.

"I see," Desmond replied somewhat shocked, not really sure how else to respond.

"ANY child?" Earnest spoke up before anyone else had a chance to say anything.

Adam didn't say a word, just allowed his eyes to bore into Earnest's. After a very brief moment, he simply nodded.

"Then, perhaps it's fate, because lord knows you will have your work cut out for you," Earnest began as he looked at his wife, who promptly grabbed the man's hand in a sign of support. "You see son, this country is in the middle of a silent epidemic, one that is costing the lives of thousands of kids each time. One that many people are aware of, but no one is really willing to admit."

Seeing the somewhat confused look in Adam's face, Earnest continued. "You mentioned you boys aren't up to speed yet on our history. So let me give you a quick run-down. Up until about four years ago, things were going well in this country. Then, a fellow by the name of Ashwood was elected to one of our highest offices, the President of the United States, who also happens to be the Commander and Chief of all of our armed services."

Adam nodded his understanding of this, and prompted Earnest to continue. "Well, it's no secret that Ashwood is against certain lifestyles, to be more specific, homosexuals. For some reason, the man seems to be deathly afraid of them. Through the first three years of his term, he's fought to try to get various legislation passed to remove the rights that they had been granted up to this point. Finally, last June he went and signed an executive order banning said individuals from having any contact with children, and requiring any children, including adopted children to be forcefully taken away from them."

"Fortunately, a lot of states have flat out refused to follow the order, making it somewhat of a hot topic over the last five months," Earnest continued. "However, there are a number of places that are following it. And you see, over the last ten years, a lot of gays had begun to adopt and raise families. When that all went south, well, let's just say a lot of kids have found themselves without any parents. And with the foster care system already overloaded in this country, there just ain't anywhere else to put them. So in many places, they are simply thrown out onto the streets. Kids that are anywhere from two to twelve, forced to fend for themselves, and fight for already sparse resources."

Seeing the looks on faces of Adam and the others, Earnest continued. "Given the power that Ashwood and his supporters have been gaining, most news organizations know enough to stay away from covering such stories. But the truth is out there, starring anyone in the face who is willing to look. For example, if you look at the public school records for Atlanta, Georgia, one of the places that very quickly implemented Ashwood's orders, you can see that over the last three months, school attendance has dropped by five percent, and is continuing to fall. Given that it's estimated that gay families may represent up to ten percent of the population, those numbers are expected to get a lot worse before they get better."

"I guess what I'm trying to say, son," Earnest stated in a more solemn, almost pleading voice. "If you boys are truly sworn to protect the young folk that might be a place for you to look at; although, I don't really know what I'm expecting. Trained or otherwise, I'm not really sure what a group of ten to fifteen kids could really accomplish. You saw first-hand some of the firepower Ashwood controls. And we were considered a rather low priority target."

Adam silently stared at Ernest for a few seconds before he finally spoke. "Sir, given your history, I am sure you are aware that the Special Forces are normally given the tasks that are seen by some to be impossible. What the Special Forces would consider impossible, is exactly what we were MADE for."

When Adam paused, Juan couldn't help himself. "As far as firepower goes… I'll see whatever he has, and raise him three m-50 Machine Guns." Juan then reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black book. He flipped to a page, then brought out a pen. Adam couldn't help but groan, but grinned at the same time. "Okay. I'm starting up a pool on how long Ashwood has left to live. Everyone throw in five hundred bucks and the person who gets the closest wins." He took a moment to consider, tapping the pen on the end of his chin, before he spoke again. "I give him nine days."

As the number of days that each person thought Ashwood had left were called out, Adam turned and whispered to the assembled adults. "Juan's our.. ummm.. bookie. He takes his job very seriously, and is always good on the payments." He said with a smile at the astonished faces of the adults. After a moment, Adam turned and said, loud enough to be heard over everyone else. "Thirteen days, but the last two will be very painful for him."

Juan looked over at him with a savage grin and nodded. Before anyone else could say anything else, an incessant beeping came from the other side of the room, where Alvin had set up a laptop.

Alvin ran over to it with almost everyone else right behind him. He started tapping on the keyboard, and almost immediately, he was cursing under his breath. "Holy fucking shit….." He said, his fingers almost a blur over the keyboard.

"Report…" Adam said calmly.

It was a few seconds of strained silence before Alvin spoke. Part of Adam wanted to order him to report sooner, but he knew the boy was trying to get a clear picture of whatever was going on before he said anything. Simon moved up behind Alvin without a word being said, and seamlessly took over when Alvin stepped to the side, looking at Adam with severe concern.

"A massive military strike has just started in Texas. A small national guard base is being hammered by the normal military…" Several gasps could be heard from around the room, before Alvin continued. "It seems that the challenger for President Ashwood was hiding in that base, ever since he was declared a traitor and ordered arrested by the Ashwood Administration."

Adam stood there with a shocked look on his face, trying to process what Alvin just told him. "But… but.. that's not possible." Adam finally stammered out.

"Unfortunately son, it is." Ernest said in a soft, yet serious voice.

"Adam… There's no real chance for him to survive this." Alvin stated, and tears started to form in the boy's eyes. "They're attacking with over four hundred planes, fighter bombers, troop transports… hell their throwing everything they can at him." Alvin paused, but before Adam could say anything he continued. "Adam, you need to know. The challenger… It's Jack."

Adam was stunned for a moment, not really understanding, till a moment later. "Jack… Bryce?! Our Jack?"


Editor's notes:

Holy Mother of God!!! What has Zacky created? We start out with the guys just needing a place to crash and ended up with someone crashing down a base in Texas!! Wow, this was really an exciting chapter and I am pumped to know what the U.N.I.T. is going to do now.

It is cool, that the boys are all back together as a family and safe at the base. Now, what on earth are they going to do to help all these kids and Jack who is standing up to Ashwood? Zacky has to write faster so we know what happens next. LOL

Well, time to move over to another story in this Universe and see what is going on over there!!

This is just too much for a puppy to take.

Your friendly neighborhood editing puppy,


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