Copyright © 2002-2018 Roland. All Rights Reserved.
After we came out of the woods I looked over and saw that there was a large group of military people there staring at us with gaping mouths. If I had the strength, I would probably have laughed as I pictured what we must have looked like. I couldn't laugh though. I knew that everyone was hurt.
In some way or another every single person who followed me into the woods had gotten injured.
I looked over just in time to see Donnie and Jeremy walk out behind me, they were each carrying someone, and from the tears in their eyes I knew they both had seen things I had hoped they would never have to see.
Today had really illustrated the phrase the "horrors of war."
The Tiny Terrors came up to me and saluted. I gave a lazy one back as right now I just couldn't really muster the strength calling out, "Report Lieutenant."
"Sir, the Command Center is secure. From the reports Daileass has given me, the FCC has pulled back, and is running for the hills so to say. About fifteen minutes ago, members of the Montana National Guard with support from the US Military showed up with orders to assist and to follow the orders of the Clan commander on site."
I just nodded as an older looking guy in a uniform came walking up. I turned to face him, and saw him wince slightly. "Are you Commander Casey?" The way he asked left me certain he really had no idea how to deal with all of this.
I took off my gloves and ran my hands through my badly disheveled hair. "Yes Sir I am."
"I'm Capt. Albert Rodgers of the United States Marine Corps here to offer whatever assistance that I can." I looked around at what he had and was pretty impressed. I knew how long it would take to mobilize this kind of force, and get it to where we were at. He must have read my mind cause he chuckled. "Most of us were about to head out on a training mission in the Sierra Nevada's... and just diverted up here when the call came in."
I just nodded and looked around some more... I really couldn't believe this was the same place that Mike had told me about, and that we had all had plans of relaxing at. All around me was nothing but a full out war zone. There were still fire's burning in the helicopters that went down. I saw a few pieces of debris scattered about, but thankfully all the bodies were gone. The same could not be said for the woods. There the ground literally ran red.
"Sir?" I heard the captain ask, and I brought my attention back to him.
"Sorry, just zoned out a bit." I responded and got a knowing look from the man. I could tell by his eyes that this man had seen combat in the past, and he knew what I was going through. "I guess you guys can help with the clean up. If I don't miss my guess, there should be about five to six hundred dead in the woods."
"Excuse me Sir" came the voice over the radio, it was Daileass's. "Go ahead." I replied
"I'm sorry to interrupt Sir, but from the calculations I've just run, the total number of dead on their side actually number slightly more the nine hundred and fifty." I fell into stunned silence, that number of dead just floored me. I looked up at Capt. Rodgers and saw that his eyes were as big as mine.
"Jesus Mary and Joseph," he breathed, and I couldn't help but agree with his sentiment. He shook his head, and gathered his composure back. "Actually Sir, we'll take care of the clean up, why don't you and your men head out, and let us deal with the rest. You look like you need a break." I just nodded my head gratefully, and moved off, soon to be met by JJ.
"Adam, are you okay?" I just nodded to him and thought back to my conversation with the angel, as I said. "Not really, but I'll live."
"Have you gotten any word on the others?" I didn't really think I wanted to hear the answer, but I knew I needed to.
"Well, unless there are any more casualties, we lost sixty one total." I closed my eyes and let that number sink in. Sixty one kids died today. Sixty one members of my family died today at the hands of these people. I tried to fight back the tears that threatened to spill, but I was unsuccessful. I looked back at JJ and saw that he too had tears running down his face. "And the rest?"
JJ nodded and wiped his tears away on his sleeve. "The most critically injured are at the Federation Youth Services Hospital in South Carolina. The rest are being spread out through civilian hospitals. While you guys were in there, the Chinook went down, with minimal injuries, and they've already been transported out."
I just nodded and looked around again. JJ turned and was talking to his contact again, and soon the most injured of the kids started to vanish. Khan and Vishnu walked up to me. "Sir, I was wondering if I could ask you a question." Vishnu asked rather formally. I knew that honor meant a great deal to these kids.
"Go ahead." I said, and saw Vishnu square himself. "Sir, I would like to request that my brother and I be placed on detached duty." I raised an eyebrow in question, and he continued. "Sir, after the actions of this group today, I believe that the Reynolds family may still be in danger. I would like to ask that Kartik and I be placed as protective detail on them, until such time as the threat is deemed to be over."
I thought about what he said for a moment, and noticed how much it seemed he wanted to. I thought back to the time that the two boys had spent with Mike, and knew that this meant a lot to both of them. "Permission granted Corporal, until such time as the threat to them has been neutralized, you and Kartik are assigned as the personal protective detail to the Reynolds family."
"Adam, I think you need to head to the hospital. You really need to get looked at." JJ said and I turned to look at him. I wanted to protest... really I did, but I just couldn't seem to be able to make myself. I just nodded and the next thing I knew the three of us were standing in a different place.
I was glad to see my brother go to be with his beloved. I could only guess as to how much it was hurting him not knowing Logan's condition. While Adam had been assured that he was alive, I have seen wounds like that in the past, and while he may have lived, I also knew there was little hope that he would ever be whole again. Before he left, Adam had instructed me to find out where the injured kids had been taken and make sure that they were okay. I spoke briefly with JJ asking him to look into that and he promised me he would find out where everyone was at, so we could follow up on them and make sure they were alright.
I spoke briefly with the Capt in charge of the Military Units here, and explained to them what was going on, and that they were responsible for this area. I then set myself about the task of sending out the minor injuries. Some of them I had to force to go because they did not wish to leave, they wished to stay and help, but medically they needed to be seen. I also sent the rest out to be checked up on anyway, just because of what they had been through today.
Soon I looked around and realized that my brothers and I were the only ones left. For a few brief moments, I let myself grieve for the family that we had lost on this day. I felt the hot tears start to roll down my cheeks as I stared at the burnt out wreckage of the helicopter that had carried many of my family to their death.
I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder and looked over to see Juan standing there with his own tears. "It'll be okay, Chang, we've avenged their loss."
I could only nod at his words, and his gentle touch, but both surprised me. I did not expect that from my youngest brother.
"But who will heal our souls?" I asked softly, but there was no answer from anyone.
After a few seconds, I looked over to JJ who I could tell was anxious to get home, "I do believe it is time for us to leave."
JJ nodded and spoke briefly to his contact, and soon we were all standing in a hospital waiting room. There was activity all around, and I could even see that some of our family members were here being treated.
The three of us appeared in a large cafeteria and looked around. I saw Sammy standing over next to a table that Cory and someone else were sitting in front of. On the table was a video monitor and a small camera. It was obvious they were getting ready to, or were all ready in the middle of a press conference. I knew that Cory would want to know what was going on, so I walked over towards them with Khan and Vishnu in tow. We got there just as the younger boy was starting to talk to the people on the other side of the conference.
..."Those members of the FCC who ordered todays attack have been identified, judged, and found guilty of manslaughter. Their punishment is death, upon location of those persons; the punishment shall be served immediately." Kyle paused, then his voice went a little closer to normal. "The doctrine of the FCC has been analyzed and found to be in violation of over fifty percent of the Safe Haven Act; as such all violent FCC members found from this point forward are to be turned over to the Federation to reverse the brainwashing that is done by the so called clergy. Today some of the FCC crossed the line in the sand that the world placed there long ago; Iowa and South Carolina have responded to that line being crossed and for that we are truly grateful. It is now the choice of the rest of the world as to whether they would rather live in the extremist members of the FCC's promised land where kids are killed because they stood up for their rights, or if they want to live in our world that we are trying to build where you are judged by your actions and not your genetic makeup or scar tissue. That is all I have to say."
Suddenly that younger boy turned and looked at me intently and then I heard a voice in my head saying, "I'm Kyle and you're just in time. Cory needs to hear a report about what has happened. I know what you're worried about, so just introduce yourself as commander of Clan Short Special Forces, that's all anyone needs to know."
I was stunned for a moment, but then pulled myself together and walked over to where Cory and the others were and said,
"Sir, I have a report."
Kyle interrupted Cory's response. "Cory, with your permission, why not have Commander Casey introduce himself, and the others with him, and give his report directly to everyone."
Cory nodded weakly. "Proceed with Kyle's suggestion, Commander. Governor Jacobs of Iowa will be accepting your report for the world to hear."
I nodded, squared myself up, and looked directly at the monitor. "Sir, my name is Commander Adam Casey. I am the commanding officer of the Clan Short Special Forces Division, or, more commonly called, The Unit. Beside me is Amur Kahn, the Head of the Feline Assault Team. Also with me, is Vishnu, a member of the Feline Assault Team, and current commander of the Reynolds Security detail. At approximately twelve hundred hours this afternoon, we received a distress call from one of my team members. We were all on our way to Montana to enjoy some R&R and do a bit of training. Upon receiving the call, I ordered my teams to gear up for a possible hostile encounter." I faltered there for a moment, but knew I had to push on.
"When we arrived, we found a terrorist style attack underway. The apparent target of this attack was the Reynolds family. The enemy combatants were engaged with members of Clan short as well as Cadets who came in to help defend the Reynolds' residence. We acted quickly to push back the assault, and had hoped that, with the arrival of air support, they would break off their attack."
I knew I had tears running down my face, but I kept on, knowing if I stopped, I wouldn't be able to go on. "That did not happen, and soon we were engaged in an all out battle. After approximately forty five minutes of intense fighting, the terrorist element attacking us called a retreat. When it was all said and done, their dead number more than nine hundred and fifty. Casualties on our side number sixty one Unit members dead, and more than one hundred wounded. Of the dead, the oldest, at seventeen, was Private First Class Andrew Shoemaker. The youngest..." The boy paused, fighting to keep my emotions in check. "The youngest was Recruit Mark Little... he was only nine years old."
I then leaned in real close to the monitor. "I heard what Kyle has said, and I agree. The FCC will soon find out that war is what my brothers and I were made for. There is no place you can run and hide. But please... try... all that will mean is you'll die tired." With that, I stood back up, did an about face, and marched off. If I stayed, I may have said something I would have really regretted.
I also had something better to do right now. Somewhere in this building was Logan, and I wanted to see him, I desperately needed to see him. I needed my other half right now so bad. I got to the elevator and waited not too patiently for it. Khan and Vishnu caught up with me, and together we went up to the emergency room.
I spotted someone who looked like a doctor and asked about Logan, he gave me kind of a weird look, and then pointed to one of the curtained off areas. I rushed over then, with my two shadows, and when I pulled back the curtain, I almost collapsed. There, lying on a bed with his hair spread out around him like a halo, was my Logan, my very own angel. I glanced up at the monitors above the bed and saw for myself finally that he was still alive. I slowly walked over and saw that he was still sleeping. Gently I brushed a stray lock of hair off his forehead and kissed him. I didn't want to wake him up, so I kissed him again on the forehead, and turned to look back at Khan and Vishnu. I knew I had tears running down my face, but I also noticed that the room was starting to spin. Khan took a step forward as things really started to move. "I... I think maybe I need a doct...." and then there was blackness.
Will was very anxious when we arrived, so I simply nodded to him, and he went off to the bed that held Bill. I looked around and saw that this was pretty much a scene of controlled chaos. The faces of the medical staff here were all drawn and worn. I could tell that these people had been working hard since everything started up.
I spotted someone who looked to be a doctor and got his attention, "Sir, I am Chang Casey of the Unit, I was wondering if you could tell me if you have seen Commander Adam Casey?"
The doctor looked me up and down, and I knew I had to look quite the sight to him. He then slowly nodded, "Yeah, I think I treated someone who was called Commander. Was he by chance the one that had the really big cat person with him?"
I nodded, knowing he could only be talking about Khan.
"Okay, he passed out shortly after checking on one of the other patients. He'll be fine, but right now he's resting."
"Thank you sir," I said, after he got done talking, and watched as he rushed off. I started to look around to see if I might be able to be of assistance when my eyes fell upon a young teen aged boy who was working side by side with this mechanical creature. I had no idea what they were, but it looked as if they were helping to take care of the wounded. I started to make my way over to them, as I could tell that the boy had at least some medical training, but something seemed to be wrong with him.
I saw him grab the side of the bed, say something to the machine, then topple over onto the floor. I rushed over to the boy just as someone else shouted "DANNY!" and we ran into each other.
"Sorry dude." The other boy said as he picked himself up off the floor and continued rushing over to the fallen boy.
"That is alright, my name is Chang, I am a doctor, may I be of assistance." I asked looking between the boy on the ground and the person he was working on before he collapsed.
"That'd be sweet, Dude, thanks." he replied before brushing the boy's hair our of his eyes. "What happened?"
I bent down, and gently placed my hand on his wrist, counting his pulse.
"I tripped." the boy weakly answered as he tried to sit up. "I'm fine, really."
"Really?" the other boy asked looking at me.
"From what little I have seen, and what I can tell just by observing him, as well as what I am sure he has had to deal with recently, it seems to me that he is suffering from classic signs of exhaustion. I would suggest that you find someplace to relax for a while, you will do no good to these patients in the condition you are in."
"I agree with Doctor Chang." The robot added. "Director Page is showing signs of extreme fatigue. He is running a low temperature, his blood pressure is also low and he complained about his vision being impaired shortly before losing his balance and collapsing."
"Really Noah, I'll be okay. Just give me a second to shake it off." The boy said as he tried to sit up once again.
Noah nodded his head and sat back on his heels while he pulled his communicator out. "No deal, Dude. Two doctors to one, you're benched." Noah grinned as he flipped his communicator open. "Noah to Marc."
"Marc here. What's up?"
"Marc, I really don't want to panic you, but I have a medical emergency you need to handle." Noah replied as he shrugged his shoulders.
"Yeah." Noah paused. "Something's wrong with Danny."
"On my way! Marc out!"
I looked at Noah, then back to the person up on the bed. "Do you believe that you can handle this until the other doctor gets here, because if you can, I believe I should help out this other patient."
"The doctor should clean up first." the robot stated as both boys stared at it blankly before Danny started to laugh weakly.
"They are practical." Danny said with a weak grin.
"Yeah." Noah smiled. "Chang, there's a washroom over on the other side of the nurses station down this hall." Noah said while pointing out the way.
I nodded, then hurried off to wash up, I knew that they would need some assistance here.
I walked into the emergency room trying to find out the condition of the kids that were brought here when I noticed that Chang was busy working on someone. I was relieved to see him here, cause I knew he wouldn't leave the field until everything was dealt with.
I started to make my way over to him, when I caught the tail end of a conversation. Some kid was talking to a machine I had recently learned was called a Med bot. "As you wish doctor." The med bot replied as the kid stood up and looked at someone else seriously.
"Who's responsible for the last group that came in?" He asked, as he led the other kids away from the bed.
"Which group?" He asked?
"The patient I took from that last wave. The only name I have on record for him is Alvin." The first one said, shaking his head. "I think he's part of the Unit that took over on the field. I need to speak with whoever is in charge of that kid."
I turned around and walked over to him fearing the worst. I don't think I could handle having to tell Logan that Alvin was dead.
"Excuse me, but is Alvin okay? I heard you say you needed to speak to someone about him. My name is Adam Casey, commander of the Unit." I said with concern written all over my face.
"Commander," he said in greeting, as he shook my hand. "I'm Doctor Furst. Can I speak to you privately about Alvin?"
Normally I may have wondered about a kid that looked younger then I am claiming to be a doctor, but then look at Chang. However, right now, I was more worried about Alvin. "Of course doctor, please lead the way."
Dr. Furst then leaned in and whispered into the other boy's ear. "We'll be in Examining room 3. Right this way Commander." Before turning back to me; I simply followed the doctor to the exam room.
The first thing I noticed was that Alvin was lying on the bed there. He looked like he was sleeping, but I didn't know enough about Star Fleet Bio Beds to be able to read the monitors very easily. I turned to Dr. Furst when I heard him shut the door and asked, "Is Alvin okay?"
"Physically, I think he'll be functioning fine really soon." He said, shaking his head. "Commander, are you familiar with the components in an android?"
To say that I was confused was an understatement, what do androids have to do with Alvin? "Ummm... not really, all that much, Logan would be the one to ask about Androids... if it's techy, he knows it."
"Oh, I should show you something, then." The doctor said as he approached the controls next to the bed and brought up a display. "I'm sure you can tell that this display is showing a human looking cranium with a positronic... er... android brain I mean. I mean it's pretty obvious in this image, right?"
I really didn't know what he was trying to say, or why he was being so pointed about it. "Ummm... yeah."
"That's great." He said, as he punched off the display, with a little more force than needed. "Do you think you can tell me why that android brain is in this human's skull?" He asked, as he clenched his fists. "Exactly what kind of experimentation has your organization been doing out there?"
I looked back and forth between Alvin and the doctor, for once in my life, completely at a loss for words. 'Alvin, an android? How could that be?' Then the last thing he said registered, 'he thinks we did this.'
"Hold on a second Doctor, obviously you don't have all the facts here...." I started to say, but he interrupted me.
"Oh, I'm all ears, Commander." He said with ice in his voice as he folded his arms and leaned up against the wall. The fact that he was so pissed was plainly evident.
"First off Dr. Furst, we had nothing to do with any of what was done to these kids. About four months ago, he, and about one hundred other kids escaped from a lab where the military was trying to create super soldiers. That kind of lab is where most of US came from." I was trying to keep myself calm. With everything that has gone on today, I really had to fight hard to keep my cool.
"I'm sorry." He said, as he looked down toward the floor. "I tend to get a little upset when I learn that a child has been murdered in an attempt to incorporate android components within a human. It wouldn't be the first time it's happened." He got out, as he quickly pulled out his communicator. "Marc to Noah. Stand down."
"Gotcha Marc." Came a voice from the little communicator.
I can certainly understand why he'd be upset, especially since he thought that we somehow had something to do with it. "Apology accepted, now, however, I have to wonder how many more of us have computer brains?" I didn't think I really wanted an answer to that question, but I knew I was going to have to find out. Logan's gonna go ballistic.
I heard Marc gasp, "You mean it's possible this was done to more of your people?"
I sighed and ran my hand through my hair. "Yeah, see Alvin and twelve others are actually clones of Logan, they were "made" to be the intelligence teams. However, there were just over one hundred other kids in that facility. So your guess is a good as mine. Not to mention that myself and four others came from other labs that were all a part of the same project."
"Holy shit." Marc practically coughed out. "Do you know who's responsible for this?"
I felt my jaw go stiff, and I couldn't help but clench my hands, "General Adams is the one who is in charge of the Genesis project... and this is just one more thing that he'll have to answer for, when I get my hands on him."
"Unreal." Marc said, as he walked closer to the bed and put his hand on Alvin's arm. "I can answer your first question at least. Alvin is going to be fine. The gunshot wounds to his chest luckily missed any major organs. One shot grazed his left lung but that will heal without any real issues." Marc said as he turned and faced me again. "The shot to the head was the problem." He continued as he brought up the display once again. "A human skull is a lot more fragile than an android's. This display shows the crack he has in his skull."
Marc paused there letting me see it on the screen. I saw the large crack that ran down the side and couldn't help but wonder, "Is... is he gonna be okay?" I know my voice cracked, but right now I didn't care. The Chipmunks really had wormed their way into my heart, and loosing one of them... well, I just didn't want to think about it.
"Yeah, he'll be fine." Marc said as he patted my shoulder. "See, a positronic brain is just as fragile as a human brain. The only real benefit is that his brain shut itself down out of self defense upon impact. Luckily, the only damage was a severe scoring of the external casing. That score will always be there but nothing inside was damaged at all. Had that shot impacted one inch higher, we would have been looking at total loss of the unit, possibly loss of the stored personality imprint."
"Oh thank God. I don't know how I would have been able to tell Logan. You see, Logan got shot, and Alvin jumped on top of him to make sure Logan didn't get hurt anymore. I don't know how Logan would have handled it had Alvin died saving his life."
"He's not going to die." Marc said with a smile. "He is going to need time for his injuries to heal though." He paused and then continued; "The other question would be, what will his response be when he finds out about what was done to him?"
"I'm not really sure, however, the question I have right now is how many of the others have the same thing... I think I need to find Dr. Tony, he was one of the doctors at that lab, although he dealt primarily with the cat/human hybrids." I was more thinking out loud right then, but I figured I would let him know what was going on.
"Well, if your Doctor Tony needs anything from me or my staff in assistance; let him know he has it. If you guys have a lot more of these experiments in your group, I can't see how it's going to be easy to get through." Marc said as he motioned toward the door. "I need to get back to work. Your people are welcomed to come in and visit with him once he wakes up. If your Logan has any questions about any of this, just have him get in touch with me." He said as he opened the door. "I really am sorry. For the grilling I was lining you up for when I first got you in here, and for the news I just dropped in your lap."
"Thank you very much Doctor, I'll let you know." He just nodded then was out the door. I went over and sat down next to Alvin, taking his small hand in mine and whispering softly "I'm here little one, we're all here for you."
After washing up, I moved back into the treatment area, and started to help out where I was needed. It was quickly clear that they were dealing with the worst of the worst here, and needed every bit of help that they could get. I was now thankful for the training I got with the Federation's medical equipment, since that was what we were using.
Some time later, I felt someone tap me on the shoulder as I finished up one patient and was ready to move to another. "Yes?" I asked, while turning around, only to find my youngest brother standing there. "What can I do for you Juan?"
"Well, I was wondering about the other kids from the base. Someone here said they were being transported to other hospitals."
I nodded as that's what I had been told as well. "Go on."
"Well, I was thinking that maybe someone should go check on them, I'm sure they're scared right now." All the while, he was looking rather lost and more like an eight year old than what I knew him to be.
"That is very kind of you Juan; I think that would be a good idea. Jory and Will are over by Bill, and Donnie and Emily are over there with Ray, why not ask them to go help you with that. When you are done, please report back to me. Adam is currently recovering from his injuries, so I am in charge." I told him, while I started to work on one of the other patients. Thankfully, things seemed to be calming down here. Juan nodded to me, and I watched as he went off to speak to the others.
I was still in shock, and I knew it. I seemed to just be moving on auto-pilot right now. I had my arm around Emily, who was still crying...hell I was too. I might like to act as a big tough guy, but dammit, we lost a lot a friends today. No, I take that back... we lost a lot of family today.
I got up and went over to the bed that was holding one of my guys that actually survived. Kelly was lying there still asleep, but thankfully, he'll wake up. Which is more than I can say for David, Erin, and Gage. There were just kids dammit, and now they're dead. I had to stop myself from punching the bed, as I knew it would not really help my own wounds heal, but I really wanted to hit something... or someone. I swear that if any of those damned people were here right now, injured or not, I'd fucking kill them.
"You know, anger isn't going to help right now." I turned and saw Emily standing right behind me. She had wiped the tears away, but I could still tell she was hurting. Both of us had actually gotten shot today, though thankfully they weren't that bad, and the doctors here got us patched up real quick.
"Yeah I know, but I'm just so pissed..." She stopped me by placing her finger on my lips, then she leaned in and kissed me. I still couldn't get over how she could take away all the worlds' problems with just a kiss. For that brief period of time, all was right, and I had no worries.
When she finally pulled back, I pulled her into a hug, "Thank you," I said, as I broke the hug. She just smiled, and that's when I saw someone starting to stir in one of the beds. I quickly went over to him, and soon enough he opened his eyes. "Hey there Ray Ray, how you feeling?"
His eyes slowly focused on me, and a small smile came to his face. "Hi Donnie, hi Emily, you guys okay?"
"Yeah little guy, we're okay." He nodded slightly, and I could tell he was in pain. When he had been pulled out of the helicopter, he was a broken mess. From what the doctors said, he broke over half the bones in his body, but thanks to the advanced medical equipment here, they were able to repair everything, but of course he was still in a lot of pain. "Ray Ray, you hurtin'?" I asked him, already knowing the answer. He tries to be tough, but he's still just a little guy.
He nodded slightly, and I flagged down a doctor who didn't even need to ask what was going on, he just hit a few buttons on the bed, and Ray went back to sleep. "Thanks." I said, which just got me a nod as he rushed off to his other patients.
"You really love that little guy don't you?" Emily asked, as she wrapped her arms around me from behind.
"Yeah I do... there are times where I actually consider trying to adopt him when i turn eighteen, but I doubt that's gonna happen."
"Hey, you never know." She said, but before I could reply, Juan walked up to us.
"Hey guys, think you could give me a hand?"
"Sure, Juan, what's up?" I asked, as Emily nodded.
"Well, I was just thinking... you know the other guys that aren't here... well they're probably all alone and scared right now...so I figured maybe we should go look in on them." Juan stammered though this, and I was actually surprised. I didn't figure Juan to be the one to think about something like that.
"Of course we will Juan, that's very sweet of you to think about that." Emily said, and Juan actually blushed. He did smile a bit, as he turned around and we followed him off to where Will and Jory were talking to Bill. I still couldn't believe what happened to Bill.
"We should probably head back to the Utah base and get changed before we go." I said as I looked around at the group and noticed that most of us were still wearing our dirty and torn uniforms, some of them even with blood stains on them.
I walked over to one of the people I assumed to be in charge, and asked them about the how to get transportation. He told me how to go about getting communicators, use them, and how to get in contact with their command center to arrange for transportation.
"Okay guys, here are the communicators we'll need..." I started as I handed them out, and gave them a brief run down on how to use them, then I contacted their command center which I learned they called CIC and the next thing I knew, we were standing just outside the base in Utah.
"You know something; I don't think I have ever seen this place this empty." Juan said while just standing there looking around. This little guy was really surprising me right now. I never pegged him for one that would get sentimental, but here he is with tears threatening to fall.
I walked up behind him, and wrapped my arm around his shoulder. "Come on, little guy, let's get what we need and get outta here. There're kids waiting on us."
Juan nodded, then we all went in to get what we needed. A few minutes later, we were all standing together outside the cave entrance ready to go. I had to chuckle when I saw Juan, but I was glad to see the old Juan back as well. He was fully decked out in a uniform, with a side arm on each hip. A large knife strapped to his thigh, and at least three other weapons hidden that I could see, and I'm sure there's more.
I looked around and saw everyone ready to go, so I got ready to contact CIC. "Guys, before we go, I think it would be best if we split up into teams, just in case." Juan said, and I had to agree with him. With everything that's happened, you just never know what might be next. Obviously Donnie and I were a team, so were Will and Bill, which left Jory and Juan together. Normally, I might have been worried about that combination, but not tonight. I contacted CIC, and next thing I knew, we were standing just outside a hospital.
I looked around, and was shocked at what was going on. Surrounding the hospital were men and woman in fatigues, and all of them had rifles. I looked closely, and saw that they were part of the Iowa National Guard. At the doors were two officers who were checking people's ID, and from the looks of it, finding out who they were and why they were there.
I looked at our group and saw that they were all just as confused as I was. "Okay guys, come on." I started forward towards the front door. Before we even got half way there, everyone fell silent and I could feel their eyes on us. I could just imagine what we looked like. Donnie and I leading the way with Will pushing Bill's chair behind us, and then Jory and Juan behind them. Every single one of us was armed, and I could tell by looking out the corner of my eye, that Donnie was walking just like I was. Shoulder's squared, back straight, and almost marching. The crowd of people seemed to split before us as we made our way to the front door. The military officers there did a double take, then straightened to attention and saluted. As soon as Donnie and I returned the salute, they turned without a word and opened the doors for us.
As soon as we got inside, we were almost run over by a man in a business suit. Who had come running over as soon as he saw us. I barely caught Juan in time as his gun cleared leather and was pointing at the guy, who came to a screeching halt.
"Um mm... please don't shoot." The man said, and I almost laughed as his voice rose higher than Juan's normally was.
"It's okay Juan... you can put it down." Slowly, Juan lowered the gun till finally he put it away in his holster. The man let out the breath he had been holding and after shaking himself, he came the rest of the way over to us, only slower this time.
"Welcome to Des Moines, I only wish it were under better circumstances. If I don't miss my guess, you're with Clan Short?"
"Yes we are..." I said, as I looked around and saw that everyone was still staring at us. I heard that what had happened had been all over the news, so I guess I could understand, but it was still a bit unnerving.
"My name is Alfred Morgan the third, I'm the administrator of Mercy Hospital, I want you to be sure that all of your team members are being given the highest level of care possible, and are being cared for by my best doctors."
He was about to go on, but right now I wasn't interested in pleasantries. "I'm sure they are, Sir, but if you would be so kind, would you please just tell us where they are at?"
"Of course, my apologies. I would be happy to lead you there myself. They are all being treated on the third floor, so if you will all please follow me." He barely even waited for us to acknowledge him, before he turned and scurried off.
We followed him up to the third floor where we split up to cover more kids at once. We set up to meet back at the elevators in thirty minutes so we could report.
Donnie and I went down the hallway towards where some of the kids were being treated. I thought it kind of odd that there was military stationed up and down the hall complete with weapons.
We were walking by the nurses station when one of them waved us over. Donnie just shrugged so we followed the nurse into the break room.
"Are you two with Clan Short?" She asked, as soon as the door shut.
I just nodded and she rushed on. "There's a young boy in room 315, he was injured in the fighting that happened earlier today, but for some reason, they have him shackled to the bed in there. I overheard one of them saying something about him being a kid in the FCC."
I shot a look over at Donnie, whose eyes had risen in surprise. "The only kid I know that was there with the FCC, was the kid that had the bomb strapped to his chest." Donnie said, and I heard the nurse gasp in surprise.
"I don't think anyone knows why, but a kid, about nine or ten, came running at a group of us, with a bomb strapped to his chest. He got taken down by our sniper, but I figured he was dead." Donnie continued, and I had to agree, Juan doesn't miss, which means if this kid's alive, then there was a reason for it.
"I don't know about any of that, all I know is that there is a scared and hurt little boy in there that's all alone and they won't even let us administer pain killers to him." She said, I felt myself tense up
"What, and just why the hell not?" I said, through clenched teeth.
She took a step back and held up her hands. "They said that he should suffer some for all the suffering he caused. They've been treating him like shit all day. Hell they won't even let him get up to use the bathroom; they told us to just slap a catheter in him..." By now, I was fuming, and I knew Donnie was too.
"Nurse, would you please go find a doctor and have him report to that room as soon as possible. We'll go handle this." Donnie said, then spun on his heel and stalked out of the room. I was hot on his heals, and grabbed his arm halfway down the hall.
"Donnie, I just got a feeling about this... let me handle the boy, okay?"
His eyes locked on mine, and I watched as his eyes softened, and once again I was reminded about what I loved in him. "Sure thing babe, but these guards are going down."
I nodded, and he leaned down and gave me a quick kiss, then I took the lead towards the boy's room.
When we got there, we were met by two rather large men in military uniforms. They looked down at us with annoyance. "What do you want?"
I took a deep breath to try and calm myself down some. "I hear you are guarding a young boy in there, and..."
"And nothing. We're under orders that no one but military officers and doctors are allowed to go in there and see the prisoner." The first one said with contempt dripping from his every word.
"Look," Donnie tried, but he got interrupted as well. "No, you look... why don't you two go play soldier somewhere else and get out of our faces before we have you arrested."
That's it... they crossed the line this time. I didn't even bother looking over at Donnie, but a quick hand signal from me was all it took for him to back off. I was now really grateful for all the training I had been doing with Chang. I didn't want to kill him, so I simply lashed out with my foot, landing solidly on the outside of his kneecap. I heard it snap, and him scream, as I struck out with my palm to the upper part of his chest knocking the wind out him. Before he went down, though, I grabbed the pistol out of his holster, and before the other guy could do more than turn towards me, I had the pistol cocked and in his face.
"I wouldn't try anything there, sport." I said, and nodded to Donnie who came up, and took the weapon out of the guy's holster, then grabbed his handcuffs. He kicked the guy behind the knees to bring him down, and then proceeded to put the handcuffs on him.
About that time, the nurse as well as the Administrator, and a guy who looked like a doctor, came running up. Right behind them were another group of guards who must have heard the commotion. "What's going on here?!?!" Came the administrator's high pitched squeak.
"These assholes have been abusing a child in your hospital. I want their commanding officer up here ASAP, and these two pieces of shit hauled to the brig." I spat out while challenging the other guards, with my eyes, to do something stupid.
Donnie had pushed the handcuffed guard onto his stomach, and was proceeding to hand cuff the other guy who was moaning in pain. The doctor moved to look at the guys leg, and Donnie let him, after he made sure the guy was secure.
"Until then," I continued "we'll be in here. If anyone other than medical personnel, or the Commanding Officer step foot in the room, I'll shoot first and ask questions later. Understood?"
Everyone just nodded, so I turned and walked into the room. I'm sure the kid heard everything that was said, and I wanted to try and calm him down some, cause I knew he had to be scared.
When we got in there, though, he was just lying in bed staring at the ceiling, softly whimpering. Tears were coming out of his eyes, and he had beads of sweat on his forehead. I knew right away that he had to be in a lot of pain. I spun around and threw open the door.
Everyone that was standing there jumped back in surprise. I grabbed the doctor who was working on the asshole's leg and pulled him to his feet. "Forget about that piece of trash, the kid in here needs pain killers, and I want him checked out fully... right fucking now." I was way beyond pissed, and I think they knew it.
The doctor nodded to the nurse who went running off down the hall, and then he followed me into the room. He swore under his breath when he saw the state the boy was in. He went over and started to take his vital signs as Donnie and I stood back making sure that he had the room he needed. A minute later the nurse came running in clearly out of breath, but handed the doctor a syringe. He looked at it for a second, then stuck it into the port of the boy's IV line. A few short moments later, the boy stopped moaning in pain, and within a minute he closed his eyes, and fell into a peaceful sleep.
We left a few minutes after that, and ran into the CO of the National Guard. He stopped me before I could say anything. "Please, let me apologize for the two officers. They will not be making that mistake again. I have already relieved them of duty, and had the military police take them into custody."
"Good, I'm glad we got that taken care of." I said, knowing full well that even though the commander is technically responsible for everything someone under his command does, there are certain limits to that.
"Is there anything else I can do for you then?" He asked and I thought about it for a second.
"Yes there is, I would like another guard, one that can be trusted, placed at his door. Medical Staff are to be granted unlimited access, but no one other than Clan Short members are to be allowed in there if they're not medical staff. When he's ready to be moved, please contact me, and I'll come and get him, or someone else will. I'll leave the number with the nurse's desk. From this point forward, I am taking full responsibility for his care. Is that understood?"
He snapped a salute, "Perfectly. I will let those that need to, know."
I returned the salute, "Thank you." After he turned and walked away, Donnie said softly to me. "Remind me never to piss you off." I burst out laughing as I flipped him the bird, then we went to meet up with the others.
God I hurt, or so I thought and felt even though in reality I realized at the same time that right now, I didn't. It was the memory of it that was hurting so much almost like the phantom pain that an amputee feels from the limb which is no longer there. The problem was that I just can't get rid of the memory of realizing that I had been shot. I can't even begin to describe the feelings that went through me when it happened, but there was something even worse than that physical pain. I was awake right up until they gave me some drugs in the hospital, so I knew everything that happened. I felt it when Alvin jumped on top of me, shielding me with his small body. And I felt the three other bullets that ripped into him.
Not many people know this, but my brothers and I have a bond much like the one that Adam has with his brothers. For me, however, it's strongest with Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, or the Chipmunks, as everyone has taken to calling them. Through that link, I feel, and felt everything that Alvin does, at least a little bit. I also heard the doctors talking shortly after I woke up, and they were very clear in saying that Alvin had saved my life. I'll never forget that.
Even worse though than feeling everything Alvin went through for me was thinking about Adam. With all the pain from the little guy I couldn't speak or communicate with Adam when it happened but I saw what he went through when I got shot. It tore me up all the worse at seeing my love so distraught. I knew he really loved me but after seeing the lost look and pain in his eyes I understood just how much, even more than before.
I looked up as Adam came walking out of the bathroom, drying his hair, I smiled at him thinking how much I loved his long hair. He looked better after a shower; dressed in the new clothes that mom had somehow gotten us.
When I woke up, I saw that he was in a bed next to me, and was worried that he had gotten hurt too. I heard one of the doctors say that he just walked in here, looking fine, but after he got confirmation that I was going to be okay, he just nodded and passed out. After they stripped him, they saw he had been shot seven times, stabbed twelve, and had a few pieces of shrapnel embedded in different places throughout his body. They couldn't figure out how he was still moving, but I knew it was his love. Adam has an iron will when he needs it, or as mom likes to say, "He's stubborn as ten mules," I think I would have to agree.
"What's got you all smiles?" He asked, and I couldn't help but laugh at the look in his eyes.
"You do." I simply said. I don't know if I'll ever be able to figure out how someone as self confident and in control as Adam, could be so centered on one person, I mean he could have anyone, but he chose me.
"I can't help it... I love you." He spoke as if he read my mind. He walked over, sat down beside me, and pulled me into a tight hug. For someone who says that he doesn't know how to show emotions very well, I can read volumes just in the way he hugs me.
"Oh God, I love you Logan. Please don't ever leave me." I felt his tears hit my shoulders, and I couldn't help but start crying as well. I don't know how long we sat there like that, crying in each other's arms, until finally we were both cried out.
I pulled back from the embrace, and wiped away a stray tear from his cheek. "No more tears, not about this." I said softly, and he just nodded, and lowered his head. When he looked back up at me, the tears were gone, but the concern was still there.
"Logan, I can't even begin to describe what I felt when I saw you go down. I... I just couldn't handle it if you died." I knew he was fighting back the tears, again even if we had just agreed to cry no more.
"Shhhh. I know, Love...I know." I pulled him to me again, and just relished the closeness. I knew we needed to get moving soon, and I knew we had to deal with what he told me happened to Alvin, but for now, I just held him, and he me.
I walked into the area I was directed to. Close behind me were my brothers, along with, Janet, Joe, Logan, Khan, Vishnu, Kartik, Billy, Tommy, Fluffy and her kittens. Immediately we spotted the food line, and made our way over to it. One thing that a battle was good for was to make people hungry. Plus, with the emotional roller coaster we had been riding, we all could really use some food.
I couldn't even remember the last time that we had eaten.
I couldn't help but chuckle as everyone filled their plates to overflowing, but what really got me was when this lady came up with a large tray of rare steaks, the three cat boys grinned toothy grins when they saw that and proceeded to fill up their plates with them. Vishnu even filled a big plate for Fluffy. He gave it to Billy who put it on his lap, and that's when I noticed what Fluffy was doing. She had walked up to a large stack of pizza boxes, put her front paws on the table, and grabbed an entire box.
Everyone laughed as she came back down, and held the box firmly in her jaws. One thing Tommy had mentioned was that Yacko, Wacko, and Dot had grown to love Pizza. I then started to look around for a place for all of us.
Suddenly I heard Vishnu start to growl, followed quickly by one from Kartik as well. Then Vishnu let out a very loud cougar scream, dropped his plate of food, and took off towards a group of people on the other side of the room. Not knowing what was happening, we all quickly put our food down, and drew whatever weapons we had, and charged off after him. Kartik and Khan were right on his heels, with us right behind them.
I heard Sammy's voice cry out "Vishnu, NO!" Then I heard another voice. 'EVERYONE PUT YOUR GUNS AWAY!' The voice in my head held an authority that made me come up short. Somehow, I suddenly knew that whatever was going on, no one was in danger.
Vishnu slowed down, but didn't stop until he was nuzzling Mike on the bed and I could hear Mike telling him that he was okay and thanking him for coming to protect him.
Kartik joined him as Danny moved out of the way and Sammy quickly went over and gave both of them hugs as we all crowded around.
"I'm sorry guys. I…I was told something that hurt me a great deal and made me a bit angry. I'm not in any danger, but thank you all for coming like that." Mike said, while rubbing Vishnu and Kartik's back.
Then Mike turned to face Cory and Sean and said, "I don't know what to say. I knew they had been through hell just from the look of them in court, but I…I didn't know it had been that bad. They're something very special to me and I'll do anything I can to get them back, so I'll follow your lead in this. Thank you for saving them and for giving them someplace safe to heal in until we could find one another again."
I just stood back and watched what was going on. Obviously there was a personal issue being discussed, and I didn't want to intrude. I looked back at the crowd and couldn't help but laugh. Fluffy was literally prancing over, with the pizza box still in her mouth. She pushed her way over to where Mike was and dropped the box in his lap.
'Oh my GOD!' I heard Teri exclaim and then an adorable little four or five year old broke out of Cory's grasp and ran over to Wacko, screaming, "KITTIES!!!!" excitedly, and that seemed to break the tension as peals of laughter could be heard coming from all around the room.
A boy of about six giggled as everyone in the area laughed at the younger boy's antics. "Daddy? Wacko likes Paulie! Can Wacko live with us? He's a good kitty, I promise!"
I just stood there in shock... how could this kid know who the kittens were? I looked over at Tommy who was looking at the boy who had spoken with a small smile playing on his face. Slowly he contorted his mouth and let out a sound that was eerily close to the cats when they were 'talking.'
The two boys 'talked' back and forth for a few seconds, and then a third boy joined in. But then something even stranger happened. Two small eagles then came flying across the room and landed on the boy's shoulders. I immediately looked over at Vishnu who had pulled himself out from under Mike's arm, and looked like he was getting ready to pounce, with his tail waving, all the while licking his lips.
Seeing the look on Vishnu's face, I just knew that about then that he was thinking "Ooooh delivery service."
The boy who had asked about taking Wacko; suddenly swiveled and looked at Vishnu and Kartik. He then said something in what I knew was the language that Vishnu and Kartik used between the two of them. Suddenly both the boys wilted and whined what was obviously an apology but then said plaintively. "But... we're hungry!" It was always funny to see the cat kids using puppy dog eyes on people. The boy said something else and both of them sat back down.
I leaned down and whispered to Tommy, "What'd he say?"
He just looked up at me with a grin and replied, "You don't wanna know, Pop."
Just then another boy walked up holding a big platter full of raw meat. "Did one of you guys drop something?"
Vishnu and Kartik looked between the platter and the boy, until finally the boy smiled and said, "THAT, you CAN eat." Both boys immediately scrambled to get to it while Mike yelped out in pain, "WATCH THE CLAWS!"
Teri laughed and added, "Yep, they're definitely boys!"
Janet just shook her head laughing, "Yeah... that they are."
When everyone had stopped laughing, Eric turned to Mike and asked, "You still functional?" Which earned a glare from him before he replied, "I don't know," which got everyone laughing again.
Vishnu looked over with a mouth full of meat and mumbled Mike. "Sowwy!"
"Your family seems to fit right in here, Mike!" Cory said with a grin. "You're welcome for the thanks you gave before my son decided to try to claim a kitten. Adam, would you please introduce your family to everyone here?"
I let the laughter subside, it was needed. Everyone needed a good laugh right now, and after everything we had been through today, we could all use some. "Sure Cory. First off, this is my Mom and Dad, Janet Hayes and Joe Casey." I said to all of them, and then I pulled Logan close to me... I never planned on letting him get too far away from me again.
"This is my partner Logan Hayes, then there's my brothers Chang, Will, Jory and Juan. Next to Will you have his partner and Mike's son, Billy. You've already met Tommy and Fluffy, and then her kittens Yacko, Wacko, and Dot... Dot's the pretty one, just ask her."
I said the last part with a grin, but laughed out loud when all three boys nodded and said "yup." "Over there you have Amur Khan, Vishnu and Kartik."
During the introductions, the little one who had claimed a kitten, had climbed back into Cory's lap. Wacko hopped up on the bed and put his head into the boy's lap and started to purr loudly.
"Don't squish anything there Wacko." Sean said, laughing at the sight it presented and the wince on Cory's face. I couldn't help but bust out laughing, and so did a lot of other people around. His mom must have gotten into the mood to embarrass her son, cause she immediately replied with, "Maybe your sons will get some sleep if he does!"
"MOOOMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Cory and Sean both exclaimed as they began blushing fiercely.
Wacko stood up and leaned over to give Teri a wet lick on her cheek before putting his head back down with a look that Teri could swear was an evil smile.
I knew I had to put a stop to this, if for no other reason than it was us kids against the adults. "Okay Cory, now for your side of the introductions?"
Cory rolled his eyes at Teri before giggling and running down the list, pointing out his other sons and his grandsons that were helping the guests as they became visible to the group. He finished with Crystal and Toby before asking if he forgot anyone.
I nodded to them all as they were introduced, then a thought occurred to me that I voiced to my new host. "Cory, I know a lot has happened today, but I have another concern I'm not sure what to do about. Some of the kids in my Unit are still in hospitals, mainly because I don't know where to send them. I mean I have the base in Utah but I really think it would be best to keep everyone together right now. What I am trying to say is I believe our duties lie here right now and I would like everyone to be together, if that's possible." I stopped because I knew I was rambling. Everything still had me a bit overwhelmed.
Cory smiled as he replied. "They are your family, which means they are family to all of us now. Ark, are there any Unit members which are in a condition which prevents them from being relocated here?"
He was doing the same thing that JJ had done earlier, talking to someone else.
"Wait until Seth tells you that the hospitals have been notified." Cory replied. "If any medical personnel wish to come in to assist with their patients Seth is allowed to authorize it."
Cory nodded at me. "The rest of the group will be here soon; Kyle is letting Seth know what to do now."
"I appreciate that Sir, but can I ask, who were you talking to?" I know the relief I felt at having my family here was matched by everyone else.
Cory tilted his head before replying. "Sir? Please Adam, unless we're at an official function where we have to flaunt levels of authority, just call me Cory. Before I can tell you who I've been talking to, I need to ask one thing. Would you be willing to have the position I gave you on the battlefield, which is second only to me as Fleet Commander of the Clan Short Fleet, made permanent? If so, I will notify the Vulcan Council and the Federation."
I stood there in shock for a few moments, "...second only to him as Fleet Commander of the Clan Short Fleet..." That's like way above my pay grade, I'm just a commander. But then I thought about it, and remembered what I read about The Vulcan Chain of Command. I knew that this was a big deal, and whether he wanted it to be or not, this was a serious situation.
"Sir, before I accept that position, I would like a bit more information, because what you are asking is way above my pay grade."
"Whoever gave you that pay grade cheated you, Adam." Cory replied seriously. "JJ made his report to me through Kyle earlier; our Intelligence Corps is composed of ninety percent telepaths. You have already proven you can do the job; in fact from what I've been told, you've already been performing the duties of the position for quite a while now. This makes it official, and you would be recognized as such by all Federation planets."
"He's right Adam. I saw you in action today with everything you had to face and everything you had to do. You still kept doing it and against overwhelming odds you prevailed. You'd be great in that position and somehow, I think these people could use you here." Eric suddenly said into the silence that had greeted that statement.
I heard Sammy say "Yeah" at the same time as Kevin, Randy and Danny said it as they all looked at me expectantly.
I felt Dad touch my arm, so I looked over to where he sat. "Adam, this is something that you need to do. I've known since the first time I met you back in the lab, that you were able to do far more than they ever gave you credit for. This is a chance for you to use your talents, and the talents of your family, to help ease the pain of children everywhere. Not just here on earth, but everywhere you go. Make no mistake son, you're the one that brought this family together, and you're the one that turned them into what they are. Now it's time to show the universe what you started here."
I couldn't help but choke up a little at his words. I looked around and saw all my family members that were there, nodding in agreement to what Dad had just said. I knew I had their backing in this, and that was all I needed.
Before I could say anything else, Cory softly added one more thing. "You have a lot in common with Sean, JJ, Kyle, and me, Adam. What you have put together and how everyone in your group feels about each other proves it. If I didn't like you or your family that you assembled into an amazing team, I wouldn't even consider offering this to you no matter how qualified you are. It is your heart that makes the difference; and that difference shows in everyone around you."
Cory's words hit me hard and meant a great deal to me since what he said hit home. Trying to hold the tears back from Dad's and Eric's comments was hard enough, but his almost made them overflow. Straightening my shoulders and bringing myself to attention, I snapped a full salute and stated. "Sir, I would be honored to accept the commission as you have offered." I knew that this was more than a simple military honors situation. There was only one response that would satisfy my honor. I slowly drew my sword and dropped down to one knee bringing the blade of the sword across the palm of my hand blooding it slightly. Then I reversed the sword and offered the hilt to a shocked looking Cory. I truly hoped he understood fully what this all meant.
What I was asking of him was something that was very arcane, and deeply routed in the ways of Bushido, and the code of the Samurai. I knew he may not know what he was expected to do, nor what it really meant, but that was fine, I knew what it meant. It meant that I was now accepting him as my lord, and I would become his Samurai. Since the others, who held to the ways of the Samurai code, had all sworn to me, with me swearing to Cory, they would follow suit.
I knew he didn't really understand what was going on, but I was happy he knew enough to follow the demands of Honor. Even though he didn't rise from his seat, I knew he was still weak from his injuries, so that was okay. "Commander Adam Casey, I accept the fealty you present and hereby declare yourself, those who follow you now, and any who may follow you in the future brothers and sisters in the family of Clan Short of the Family of Sarek of the House of Surak of the Planet Vulcan." Cory removed his hand from the sword. "Rise, Commander Adam Casey, Warrior of Clan Short."
I smiled to myself thinking that some day I may have to educate Cory on what it meant to be a "Warrior," and the great honor he did to me by saying that. However, that day was not now. I rose, and re-sheathed the blade while I simply nodded to him. "I will have to get with you soon to know what duties you would ask of us, but I do believe for now, that can wait." No one said anything as I looked around and saw that they were all in agreement with what I had done. I then looked back at Cory and grinned. "I think that concludes the formal part of this evening, and with your permission, I will let my family relax for the rest of tonight."
Cory nodded. "That actually is my orders; your family is your only priority tonight. Tomorrow we can sit down and discuss everything. For now, I think that all we need to do is relax and share the few good things that happened today. Do not worry about security; our guard force that will be in place until sunrise could teach Ninjas quite a few new tricks. After sunrise we have other protections in place which will tell us if an ant walks the wrong way."
I nodded, thinking to myself that they must have some damned good security. I looked around, and figured out who was in the best shape to do what needed to be done. From this point forward, Cory's safety was of primary concern, which meant that no matter what, one of the core family members would be acting as security of Cory. I decided against Juan since I figure they may want to get to know him better before that. Chang must have read my mind, cause he simply nodded to me, then moved over next to Cory. "Worry not brother, no harm will come to Cory while I still breathe."
Then everyone started the congratulations that ensued, while I felt Logan pull me into a hug.
Cory gave me a curious look. "Does this mean Sean and I have company other than Timmy in the shower now?" He asked, with a smile.
I extracted myself from Logan's hug, and smiled at Cory, before I could respond however, Chang spoke up. "I am sure that will not be necessary, unless of course you get attacked by a bar of soap and cannot fight it off."
Brant shook his head as he tried not to laugh. "They use soap?" he giggled. Before anyone could respond, he added. "Would you like the grand tour of CIC, Adam? We can chase down a few people so you can place faces with the names of the people you'll be talking to a lot."
"Thanks Brant, that'd probably be helpful." I turned and looked at the group behind me. "Vishnu, Kartik, you have your assignment. Everyone else, just relax for a bit. Jory, I want you to relieve Chang in a couple hours, okay?" Everyone just nodded as Logan and I followed Brant off for the tour.
As I was leaving, I heard Vishnu ask Mike, "Any chance for another belly rub Uncle Mike?" I couldn't help but laugh remembering the last time.
Brant was leading us around what they call their CIC. I have to admit that I am more than a bit impressed with the operation they run here. Of course I still like our command and control center better, but this is still nice.
Suddenly Brant stops and is talking quietly to someone like the people here do. He looks over at me with a questioning glance as he says, "Yeah, he's with me... hold on I'll ask. Do you know someone named Jackson Bryce?"
I had been waiting for this. Jack and Dave had gone on a vacation, and would have been on a long plan flight about the time that the shit hit the fan in Montana. They were probably just now getting somewhere that they can watch the news. I could only imagine what was going on in his mind right now.
"Yeah, he's the base commander. He and his partner were going on a vacation." I told him, and he nodded while talking to the other person.
"Well it seems he contacted your base and got transferred to Ark who put him through to Tommy in our communications center. He seems to be a bit stressed."
I cringed a bit, thinking that he well had a right to. "Can I talk to him?"
Brant smiled a small smile as he turned to start walking down a different corridor. "He's all but demanded it."
That made me smile a bit. Jack's a tough old guy that has a heart of gold, but doesn't take well to having to wait for something. We made our way to another room that was set up a lot like the spook room in Utah. There's a kid sitting in front of a monitor, with a head set on. As soon as we walked in, he turned and waved us over. "Please hold on Sir, they have just walked into the room. I am giving you over to Commander Casey right now."
The kid handed me the head set, and I put it on while sitting in the seat he just vacated. The first thing I noticed about Jack was the lines around his eyes. It was pretty obvious he'd stressed out, and I couldn't blame him. "General." I said to him, by way of greeting, and I could see a small bit of relief come into his eyes.
"Adam! What the hell happened?" He almost yelled, and I saw Dave put a hand on his shoulder to calm him down some.
"Well Sir..." I started to say, when he cut me off.
"Can the Sir shit, we both know who's really in charge here." He seemed to soften a bit then leaned forward in his seat. I could see what's going on behind him. He must have been in some police station somewhere. "I'm not worried about the Unit, I'm worried about the kids I've come to know and love, okay."
I nodded slightly, but had to turn away for a second as I felt the tears start up. He's right, we were a hell of a lot closer than a military Unit, and we were a family.
"Adam... is everyone okay?" Jack asked, I can hear the desperation in his voice. Desperate for me to tell him that everything is okay. Desperate for his family to be safe.
I had thought how to answer this over and over again, but I still hadn't come up with any way to do it and soften it any. So, in the end, I simply said; "No Jack... they're not." As the tears I had been trying to hold back began to flow.