Memories Part 3: And A Child Shall Lead Them

Chapter 23: Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Cookies...

Note: Special thanks to TSL for his permission to use his characters from 'A Subconscious Dream'

Portions also contributed by The Story Lover

The next morning:

Steve smiled as he looked over the mass of bodies occupying the floor of his family room. 'If they only knew how long I've waited for Adrian to do something like this!' Steve thought. As he pondered the decision as to if it was really necessary to wake the sleeping Clan boys, George joined him.

"It is amazing how comfortable they are with each other, isn't it Sir?" George whispered. "You would think they were all lifelong friends."

Steve nodded. "That it is. I just wish that it was being lifelong friends instead of the horrors that bound them together. Let them sleep; they've earned some quiet innocence time."

The (finally) dressed kids and teens were just finishing their breakfast when the house phone rang.

"Jobs residence, may I assist you?" George answered professionally.

"Hello George, this is Mabel Jackson. Is Steve available?" the voice on the other end asked.

"I will enquire as to if he can take your call, Ms. Jackson. He is with his family at the moment." George replied. "Please hold."

George walked over to where Steve was complementing Carter on his artwork during breakfast. "Sir? Ms. Jackson is on line three for you. Do you wish to take her call?"

Realizing that Mabel wouldn't normally call this early in the day, unless something really urgent occurred, Steve nodded. "I'll take in my office, George." As he stood, he told Carter "That's the best hash brown iPhone I've ever seen! I'll be right back, okay?"

"Okay Uncle Steve!" Carter replied, glowing at the praise from his new uncle.

Once in his office with the door closed, Steve picked up the call. "Good morning, Mabel. What's wrong? You never call this early."

"You know me too well, Steve!" Mabel replied. "It seems that the parent company that owns the Home has run afoul of FYS, and now all their properties are being audited by a FYS Liaison. The liaison, Lt. Esperar, showed up unannounced this morning. He's digging into everything, and he is questioning the anonymous donations that we receive each month to supplant our budget."

Steve chuckled. "I see, it seems that Teri trains her people well. Tell him to wait there, I'll come on down and straighten it all out."

"Thank you, Steve," Mabel replied. "Will you be in the Mercedes? I need to tell him what to expect so that you can get onto the property, he has the whole place sealed off."

"Oh, don't worry, I'll have no issues getting on the property," Steve stated with assurance. "Trust me, I have a few tricks up my sleeve, and I think my companions will give him second thoughts about denying me access."

"This I'll have to see." Mabel stated with an obvious smile. "Thank you Steve, I'll see you when you get here."

"I'll be there shortly." Steve acknowledged before hanging up the phone. He headed back towards the dining room, only to find the occupants quickly getting ready to leave.

"Okay, which one of you leeches was listening this time?" Steve chuckled.

"It was my turn!" Adrian giggled as he raised his hand. "We ain't invaded anything in almost a day, this'll be fun!"

"Okay, you animals!" Pablito interrupted, "I'm driving, so get loaded up!"

"You know, for someone who has the rest of Eternity, you're sure impatient!" Steve chuckled as he gave Pablito's shoulder a squeeze.

"No, I just know my brothers!" Pablito grinned.

"Point taken!" Steve laughed. "You handle the mob, I'll lock up behind you. George? You're coming with us."

"As you wish, Sir." George replied with a smile. "Shall I bring rope to detain your more excitable children?"

"Tempting!" Steve chuckled. "Better not, though; it might get used on us."

"Very well," George replied as he joined the exodus to the bus.

Once Steve was sure everything was locked up, he headed out to the now-full bus. As he climbed on, he stopped, amazed still at the group that had invaded his life. Right up front, Cody and Adrian were giggling over some story that their new sons York and Yestan were telling. Right behind them, Cory and Sean were sitting with Davie, all three smiling at the interaction behind them. Across the isle, Doris was sitting in the rear-facing seat, talking with Tony and Diane who were in the first front-facing seat on that side. Behind Cory and Sean, the seats had been switched so that Tracy, Karl, Morris, and Malcom could talk, with the same being done for Stevie, Dustin, Mitch, and Jasper. At the back, a 'U' shaped seat had appeared, which sat Kyle, Tyler, Carter, Connie, Trent, Micco, Takota, and Eddy. There was one more set of back-to-back seats left, with Mont and Bast occupying one of the sides.

"Do you know where you're going?" Steve asked Pablito.

"Damn right!" Pablito snickered. "Remember, I'm an angel!"

"I wouldn't know WHY I keep forgetting that!" Steve snickered.

"Go grab a seat, smartass!" Pablito snickered.

Steve shook his head, then went to sit across from Mont and Bast.

Pablito pulled up close to the Starfleet Security Detail blocking the drive. "Hey Pusses! Get your furry asses up here, Cory's gonna have to play Patriarch."

"You too, Steve!" Cory added. "You ain't getting out of it that easy!"

"Actually, none of us are!" Pablito giggled as everyone on the bus suddenly found themselves either in their official uniform or Clan robes. Even Davie was in a Clan robe, with the breast insignia being a Clan crest sporting angel wings. Pablito was in full military dress uniform, complete with sword.

Looking around quickly, Bast assessed the group then ordered "Honor Guard, FALL IN!"

Lieutenant Brian Wilson watched the bus that had pulled up warily, the one-way windows not allowing him any clue as to what was going on inside. His orders were to prevent anyone from entering or leaving the premises until FYS finished their audit; it was going to take someone pretty high on the Chain-of-Command to override those orders, and it wasn't likely that an Admiral would arrive on a bus.

The bus door opened, and just as Brian was about to announce 'Starfleet Security' the first two people stepped out. His words did more than stick in his throat; they retreated to the deepest depths of his lungs. He instantly recognized the personal security of Patriarch Short, and with them being in dress uniform it could only mean ... 'Oh SHIT! It's HIM!'

After the signal it was safe, Cory stepped off the bus, followed by Sean, Tracy, and Karl. Thanks to the Intel team, he already knew the orders that Starfleet Security was operating under and how he was going to deal with it. With the purposeful stride he'd learned from Spock, Cory approached the guard, who was now standing at attention. In full Vulcan mode, Cory stated flatly "Lieutenant, I am Fleet Commander Cory Short, Patriarch of Family Clan Short of Vulcan. Myself and my party require immediate access to these premises. You shall be permitted to escort us to the entry point."

"Yes, Sir!" Brian replied as he saluted Cory. Brian wasn't sure which title overrode his orders more, but he knew that it really didn't matter. The Safe Haven Act made it very clear; if Patriarch Short decided he wanted to override FYS, his orders ALWAYS took precedence.

It took no time before the group was inside the building and making their way to the administration office. They picked up a following quickly, including one little boy who just HAD to get a cuddle from one of the 'big kitties'. Bast quickly gave in, giving the little guy a 'kitty-back' ride to the office.

"Are you going to tell Jeremy before or after you bring him home that y'all adopted him?" Mont prodded.

"I haven't decided yet!" Bast replied with a toothy grin, his passenger giggling at the idea that a kitty could adopt him.

As soon as they entered the office, Cory grinned. He recognized the FYS officer at the desk, having recently met him during his training via teleconference. Teri had made it a point for Cory to meet the teen, as she expected that there would be quite a few calls for Clan help with the assignments he would have. "Lieutenant Esperar! How's it going, Kyle? Are Rex, Dennis, and Megan starting to settle in yet?"

The freshly-eighteen-year-old Lieutenant looked up from his Padd. "Cory? What brings you over here? How you been?"

"Since I got put on a break by your midget namesake, pretty good," Cory replied as he waved for Kyle and Ty to join him. "Kyle, these two are my little brothers Kyle and Tyler. They run Clan Intel; anything you need at any time just call them and they'll hook you up. Bros, this is Kyle, he's the guy I was telling you about that rescued three kids at an orphanage in California while he was still living there."

"OHHH!" Kyle replied, his purple eyes gleaming mischievously. "Goodie! I ain't gotta chase him down to give him this!" With that, Kyle reached inside his robe, pulling out a cookie with something attached to it as he went over to the bigger Kyle. "Here, now you can step up to Clan response if you needt'a!" Kyle giggled as he peeled a commbadge off the cookie and stuck it to Kyle's uniform. "George will be givin' you your's an' your kids Clan ID cards before you leave today."

"When did I become Clan?" the bigger Kyle asked, confused.

"About 7.437 microseconds after you decided to take all three of your kids under your protection!" Tyler giggled. "You would've got them sooner, but Pablito lost the paperwork!"

"Did not!" Pablito argued. "I gave it to Mikey!"

"Suuurrreee!" Kyle and Tyler giggled.

"When I get my hands on you two..." Pablito threatened.

"You gotta catch us first!" Tyler interrupted as both him and Kyle bolted for the office door, with Pablito quickly on their heels.

Grinning at the antics, Cory turned back to the remaining Kyle. "Mabel here called Steve to explain a few things you were questioning. Steve's a Clan dad, so you're clear to ask him anything you need to. If it's okay with you, we'll hang with the residents while you finish up; if you need a hand just yell."

"Us old folks will stay in here to give Kyle a hand," Tony added. "This is a good chance to show Doris how things work, and I'm sure he'd like someone who has programmed this old hardware helping him sort it out."

"Actually, that would help a lot!" Kyle agreed. "Thanks!"

An hour later:

Steve decided to check on the boys, since Tony, Diane, and Doris had formed an efficient team with Kyle. Once he'd explained how he'd set up for the silent out-of-budget donations to better the lives of the kids in the home, Kyle relaxed and moved on to his next check. George was busy as well, helping Kyle by reviewing the efficiency and quality of the support staff in the building.

The first thing Steve saw as he entered the common room was Bast curled up on a beanbag chair, his little hitchhiker from earlier now cuddled up in his arms taking a nap. Nearby, Kyle, Tyler, and a set of twins about the same size as Kyle were all piled in a chair, watching a Transformers movie on the television. Carter, Takota, and York were in the middle of a dozen kids building a contraption of some sort out of Legos, while Connie was having fun with a group of girls who brought their dolls out to play. The rest of the group were either playing one-on-one games like pool, or were just sitting and talking with kids near their own age. One thing was obvious to Steve; as casual as things looked, the Clan boys were doing their own type of review.

"You lost, Uncle Steve?" Mont purred as he snuck up from behind.

"No," Steve chuckled, "just trying to figure out how many kids will be left here when we leave."

"Now what makes you think we'd do something like that?" Mont grinned.

"I don't know... maybe it's the little guy cuddling with your brother," Steve chuckled, "or maybe it's the twins sitting with Kyle and Tyler like they belong there. There's no way there could be any bonding going on here."

"Just because Colt and Conrad like hanging with Kyle, and Judge likes cuddling Bast doesn't mean we're taking them!" Mont giggled.

"The fact that you know all three by name already says they are!" Steve laughed. "Busted!"

Cory led the fifteen-year-old boy that had been pointed out to him out onto the patio for some privacy. "Okay, like I was saying inside, I'm interested in why you always end up back here, Billy Ray. Is there something wrong with the placements?"

Billy Ray smiled; this kid sure seemed like he thought he could change the world. "Naw, they try really hard here. It's just that the ones with money want us as trophies, and the ones who might turn out good find out that we cost more than they can afford, even with the support from the state. It's not like it's bad here; they take really good care of us and make sure that we have stuff like kids with families have. I just hope that stupid inspector don't screw it all up."

"He won't," Cory stated. "A month ago he was coming out of another home owned by the same company as this one. Things were really bad there, so bad that my Mom and Uncle John had to step in. He was hired by my Mom and trained to deal with problems like that, and he ended up with the three little ones he was protecting as his own kids now. Unless he finds something that none of you are aware of, the only thing that will change is that you'll get even more help."

"How come you're so sure?" Billy Ray asked with a scowl. "You act like you control everything."

Cory grinned as he pulled out his ID. "Have you ever heard of Clan Short?"

"Yeah, they're that group that helps kids in really bad spots." Billy Ray acknowledged. "They wouldn't need to look here, we're not the kind of people they help."

"Look at my ID." Cory stated as he handed it over.

Grinning at the self-assuredness of the kid sitting in front of him, Billy Ray took the Federation ID and checked it for authenticity just the way one of his fosters had shown him when he helped them at the souvenir shop. Once he was satisfied it was passing as authentic, he then looked at the picture and compared it before taking the time to read the text. His eyes bugged out as he repeated the text out loud; "Vulcan Fleet Commander Cory Short, Patriarch of Family Clan Short! You've gotta be shitting me!"

"Nope, you're too big to fit through my butthole!" Cory giggled. "Mom is the Director of Federation Youth Services, she's the boss of the guy doing your inspection. If it had been bad here, I might have had to step in to fix things, but so far it looks like all we're doing is making new friends."

"Okay, why did you want to talk to me then if everything's okay?"

Cory smiled. "Because Kyle is trying to do it all, and really needs someone who has also been in the system to help out. If he was paired with someone older than him, he wouldn't have the freedom to try new things. I think you might be a really good partner for him, he can teach you what he has already learned, and you two are close enough in age that you both will have similar ideas to make things better."

"Dude, I'm only fifteen," Billy Ray sniggered, "there ain't no way you could pull that off."

"Ohhh, a dare!" Cory laughed. "I LIKE dares!" Tapping his commbadge, Cory added "Hey Mom? Stop trying to find Dad's tonsils; Vulcans don't have any! I need you over here to swear in a new FYS employee!"

Seconds later, both Teri and Spock appeared behind Cory, announcing their arrival by jointly slapping Cory's head lightly. "Just what are you plotting now, Cory?" Teri asked.

"Just some qualified help for Lieutenant Esperar, Mom!" Cory giggled.

"I presume this young man is the prospective applicant, son?" Spock asked.

"Yes, Sir!" Cory giggled as he repeatedly ducked to avoid the swats from Teri.

"Teri, I shall review this young man for the position while you ensure that Cory is suitably admonished for his transgressions." Spock stated as he stepped forward. "Young man, in the interest of brevity it would be logical to review your qualifications and the offers made to you via a mind meld. Would you find this acceptable?"

Billy Ray was shocked at what Cory had already pulled off, and decided to take the chance. "Yes, Sir."

"For humans it is best to relax to reduce the possibility of discomfort." Spock instructed before beginning the procedure.

Once he was finished, and Cory stopped complaining about the forced swim he'd just endured, Spock turned to Teri. "I have found our son's determination logical. This young man is Billy Ray Lee; his experiences would be a logical complement to those of Mr. Esperar and would provide satisfactory resolutions to observed problems. A satisfactory prerequisite to his employment by Federation Youth Services would be a formal adoption into Family Clan Short."

"Cory? Stop whining and welcome your new brother." Teri said as she made some entries on her Padd.

Cory grinned at Billy Ray's shocked look. "Hey bro, looks like you just got adopted by Mom and Dad."

Teri looked at Spock, who just nodded. "I find Cory's interpretation of your statement logical. Proceed."

Cory grinned at Billy Ray. "You're gonna love having Spock as your dad, he's awesome!"

"I think I'm gonna like this logic stuff!" Billy Ray chuckled. "No arguments between parents!"

"Something tells me my dear husband did some preparatory footwork while he was melding," Teri said with a smile as she started changing the entries she had just made.

"It was the logical result of my investigation," Spock stated evenly.

"C'mon, you need to meet your bros!" Cory exclaimed as he grabbed Billy Ray's hand, pulling him towards the door. Teri looked up, and understood instantly Cory's sudden need to vacate; the expression on Spock's face was the same look Timmy would get when he was trying to appear innocent of something he'd done.

"I really need to talk to Timmy about being a bad influence on his grandfather!" Teri muttered as she tried to focus on the form she was filling out.

The sound of giggles from just inside the building made Teri look up again; when she saw that Spock now sported a halo, she lost it, closing out the Padd before collapsing in laughter. "We need to get home before they really get going!" Teri sputtered. "It appears their break is working a little too well!"

Administration office:

"Hey Kyle, hows the check going?" Cory asked as he brought Billy Ray into the office.

"Good, but I'm really starting to hate local government paperwork," Kyle groaned. "I mean really, why do you need to show the same information fourteen different ways mattering which agency is getting the forms?"

"I know, it sucks!" Cory laughed. "You've got access to the Clan AI systems now; they enjoy that crap, so let them do it."

"I heard that!" a chorus of voices announced over Cory's commbadge.

"Good, now you won't argue when Kyle asks for your help." Cory stated with a grin. "You can't say I didn't tell you!"

Fortunately, the various names that the AIs called Cory all jumbled together, so no single name stood out. Putting an arm on Billy Ray's shoulder, Cory continued. "Kyle, this is my new big brother, Billy Ray Lee. Billy Ray, meet Lieutenant Kyle Esperar, Federation Youth Services."

Kyle grinned. "Hello, Billy Ray! Cory, I've been ordered by Teri to ask what you are up to anytime you introduce someone to me with no obvious reason."

Cory rolled his eyes, muttering "She's sooooo gonna pay for that!" In a normal voice, he added "Billy Ray's got some experiences from the system that you didn't have. I think that as a team you guys would catch just about anything without having to dig through the paperwork as much. He's gotta be trained up by Mom yet, but once that's done you'll be able to start your own task force with you two controlling the way investigations are handled."

Kyle looked over at Billy Ray. "What do you think, Billy Ray?"

Billy Ray smiled at being acknowledged. "Dad and I discussed Cory while he was mind-melding with me. Pretty much, if Cory has a weird idea out of nowhere, it either means something good will happen down the line or Sean is gonna be walking funny."

"HEY!" Cory interrupted.

"That's what Dad said!" Billy Ray stated in defense. "Anyway, Cory's gut instincts are really good from the examples I was shown. If he suggests something, it usually works out. I kinda like the idea, since this place did a lot of things so good that it was better than a foster home. I know you saw the bad side, so maybe I can catch the good stuff that needs to continue while you catch the stuff that has to stop right now?"

Kyle nodded. "I like that idea. What do you say to starting now? The faster this is done, the faster I can get home to my kids."

Billy grinned. "If you ain't figured it out already, this is a good place. Why don't you have them beamed over to hang out with us?"

"Hmm, good idea," Kyle acknowledged. "Let me make a call."

As Kyle picked up the phone, Cory commented "Have fun guys!" Cory paused, then with an evil grin he added, "Oh, and yes, Clan Short would love to take over financing this place as a remote shelter and short-term residential facility. Get with Emmy, he'll handle the details."

Cory turned and left the room before either of his targets could reply. As the door closed, Billy Ray commented "He's been my little brother for less than a half hour, and he's already driving me nuts!"

Kyle smiled in reply to Billy Ray's comment, and then spoke into his Comm Badge;

"Lt. Esparar FYS to Lt. Masterson Starfleet Housing Presidio."

"Brat here, Kyle; how can I help you?"

"Brat, could you beam my kids to these coordinates?"

Back at the Presidio, Brat's security training kicked in. "Lt. Esparar, are you sure that location is safe for 'our' kids?"

"Brat, trust me; this place is actually safe and secure. We are overrun with Clan Short Security, I don't think a flea could get in here unless it was a Mikyvis Flea."

"Okay, give me five minutes. Masterson out."

Less than five minutes later four shimmering beams of light appeared. As the shimmering faded; Rex, Dennis, and Meagan ran over to Kyle and threw themselves at him yelling "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy we missed you!"

Brat stood there chuckling to himself at the stunned look on Billy Ray's face as the three human missiles tried to bowl over his new boss. Brat spoke up; "Its okay they haven't seen him for a few hours. I'm Lt. Brat Masterson Starfleet Presidio Housing and you are?"

"Umm Billy Ray Short of Clan Short and FYS I think. I am Ky... Lt. Esparar's new assistant as of half an hour ago." Billy Ray paused and then asked the question that was written all over his face. "How can they be his kids; they are Chinese?"

"Actually they're Amerasian and they are definitely mine. Brat and I performed an SHA extraction and then I adopted them under the SHA as well." Kyle interrupted Billy Ray and then turned and pointed to each of his kids.

"This is Rex he's twelve going on thirteen. The freckled wonder is Dennis he's eight going on nine. Last not least is my cutie pie Princess..."

"Silly Daddy my name is Meagan, not Princess and I am ten almost eleven."

"Yes but you are my Princess. Kids, I want you to say hi to Billy Ray Short; he is my new assistant and your Uncle Cory's new brother."

Billy Ray was stunned again when all of three kids ran over and began hugging him. All of the kids were saying "Thank you, Daddy needs help he works too hard."

Brat spoke up, "It's time for me to get back to work. Kyle and Billy Ray, I'll find you and the kids a four or five bedroom apartment so Bill Ray can have a room when he visits." Brat then tapped his Comm Badge and he was gone.

"Billy Ray, would you mind taking my kids into the main room and introducing them to some of the kids there?" Kyle asked.

Billy Ray nodded. "Sure thing, boss!"

"Kids please go with Billy Ray and meet some of the kids while I ask Ms. Mabel some more questions."

Kyle was pleasantly surprised when his kids answered quickly. "Okay, Daddy maybe we can make some new friends." Meagan smiled as she answered her daddy.

Billy Ray took the kids to the main room, turning them over to Sean since he appeared bored.

"Uncle Sean, we didn't know you were here." Dennis cried out as he and his siblings ran over to get their hugs.

At the signal from Sean that he would handle the munchkins, Billy Ray then returned to the Administration Office to help Kyle finish the audit.

Sean took Rex, Dennis, and Meagan over to meet some shy kids their age that he'd been watching. Once the kids started talking to each other and getting along fairly well, Sean went back to updating histories on his PADD. 

Davie smiled as he watched Kyle and Tyler snuggling with the twins while watching TV. The dirty-blond haired twins, Colt and Conrad, were smiling as they loosely held their new friend's arms around their six year old tummies. Once the movie ended, Davie asked the twins "Do you guys like Kyle and Ty?"

"Yeah! They're cuddly!" both boys stated in unison. After a second, they added "Kyle says we can tell ya' that him an' Ty can talk on our twintalk!"

"Thats great!" Davie grinned. "How'd y'all like to see a really awesome trick?"

"Really?" both boys replied, their green eyes lighting up as they nodded.

"Whatcha' up to, angelboy?" Kyle giggled.

"Grab some cookies and meet us in quadrant 247, level 943, room 20583," Davie giggled. "Ty, you got the drinks?"

"On it!" Tyler giggled, unsure of what Davie was up to but willing to play along.

Room 20583:

Kyle entered the 'room' in his head, still wondering what his Angel brother was up to this time. As he thought the cookies into their tray on the coffee table, Ty popped in with chocolate milk and glasses. "They here yet?" Ty asked.

"Nope," Kyle said with a shake of his head. "I dunno what Davie wants; I'm tired of bein' Superman."

Ty came over and pulled Kyle into a hug. "You're MY Super-man, that's all that matters." Ty stated before sneaking a quick kiss. "Davie loves you, Kylebear, and you know he'd never do anything that would make you do stuff thats not needed."

Kyle gave Ty a small smile. "I know, it don't mean I gotta like it though!"

Before Tyler could reply, Davie appeared with Colt and Conrad. "KEWL!" the twins exclaimed as they looked around. They spotted the cookies, and quickly scampered to grab a seat on the couch to attack them.

Kyle tilted his head at Davie. "How'd you do that without my help?"

Davie smiled. "You watch your close brothers in their heads, I watch you and Ty in yours, bro. Mikey and Pablito do as well, no matter when you are. When you brought Starfleet into that one universe, Pablito watched to make sure that you didn't cross any lines. Thanks to you and Ty, that particular timeline was saved from being marked for termination; you tipped the balance towards good enough for them to recover from their downhill slide. There are times when He asks tasks of us that we are hesitant to do; the tasks that were set for you have been completed with positive results every time. You will still face challenges, but for now the big ones have accomplished what was needed to give you time to be yourself once again."

"Told ya' we shoulda hid Davie from Mikey!" Tyler giggled. "Now he gives long boring speeches too!"

As Davie stuck out his tongue at Ty, he noticed Kyle's worried glance at the twins. "Relax, bro; they know and don't think anything less about you and Ty. They actually think it's great that you can still be normal kids that like doing normal kid things. I saved you a lot of explaining before I brought them in, so you can just keep on being yourself. They like you for being you, both of you."

Both Kyle and Tyler gave audible sighs of relief, neither wanting to chance losing their new friends because of their species.

Colt swallowed his drink and added "It don't matter if you're a mick-eee-viss; friends are friends no matter what!"

Kyle finally smiled, hearing it from Colt's mouth meant more than anything Davie could say. "Thanks, Colt! You and Conrad are awesome too!"

"I agree!" Ty added

The twins both grinned, glad they were still accepted by their new friends even after the secret those friends were hiding was revealed.

To make the point, Kyle and Ty joined their little buddies on the couch, assisting in the cookie attack. "Okay Davie, why'd you wanna talk in here?" Tyler asked around a mouthful of cookie.

Davie got serious as he replied, "I've got a really long running favor to ask that involves all four of you. It's something that I couldn't ask in public."

"Well, ask already!" Kyle giggled. "We ain't gonna bite... much."

"Yeah," Conrad added, "We're little, we just nibble!"

"Maybe lick a little too!" Colt giggled.

"But if you get feathers in our mouth you're goin swimmin!" Tyler finished with his own giggles.

"Council ..." Davie began, only to be interrupted by Slider pouncing him... from the ceiling of the room.

"SLIDER!" Davie giggled as soon as Slider finished his welcome face-wash.

"Woof!" Slider barked, tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. He then hopped off Davie, walked through the table to grab a few cookies, then proceeded to stretch out on the laps of all four boys on the couch.

"Is he a nice doggie?" Colt and Conrad asked in unison, both wary of the weird dog that now had them pinned down.

"He's my oldest friend," Kyle explained as he gave Slider an ear scratch. "He was there when my life was really bad, then he found me again a couple of months ago. He don't let me get out of his sight for long, even if you don't see him."

"He's gotta be a good doggie, if he protects you," Cole stated factually. "What's his name?"

"Slider," Kyle giggled as Slider twisted around enough to give his face a lick.

Conrad tilted his head as he asked "Does he walk through stuff outside too?"

Tyler giggled. "Yeah, he likes sticking his head through the table at dinner for Kyle to give him a snack. It drives Mom nuts!"

"KEWL!" the twins exclaimed as they began helping to give Slider some overdue attention.

Davie shook his head with a grin. "You just HAD to get your paws involved, didn't you Slider? Can I continue now?"


"No, I will NOT kiss your feet!" Davie responded, sticking out his tongue.


"Drama queen!" Davie snickered. "Anyway, Council Nitor, I have a task for you."

Kyle's eyebrows shot up at the use of his Founder title. Davie was the last person he'd expect to invoke his station in Founder society, and now had his full attention.

Noticing this, Davie began speaking formally. "Nitor, it has come to my attention that your two companions are in need of assistance which you are the only person present qualified to provide. Due to the uniqueness of the situation, yourself or the Seer are the only ones known to be versed in the methods required."

Kyle nodded. "Continue."

"Much more I can not state unless verified by you," Davie answered. "I would suggest verifying yourself if they are willing."

"Okay," Kyle replied. "Colt, Conrad? Do you guys mind if I go check out the insides of your heads while you're in here?"

Both twins nodded as Colt answered for them both. "You're lettin' us be in your head, so it's only fair we let you in ours!"

"Thanks guys, I'll be right back." Kyle said as, without asking, Slider shifted to allow Kyle to stand.

Kyle vanished from the room, while Slider took advantage of his new position to give each of the twins a doggy kiss.

"What's this all about?" Tyler asked.

Davie grinned. "Kyle will tell us all really soon, trust me. Pablito and I only cheat on the big stuff; this is something I know you guys can handle without us cheating."

"I need'ta have a talk with Mikey about teachin' ya bad habits." Tyler grumbled with a grin.

Seconds later, Kyle appeared next to the table, his glare telling Davie he wasn't happy. Without acknowledging anyone else, he tapped his commbadge. "Ark, this is the Council Nitor. Please initiate deep tag scan and identification on the set of twins located in proximity to the bodies of myself and Tyler."

< The scan is in progress, Nitor. Correction, it is completed. The persons you requested the scan be performed on trace their roots to second cousins of Javyk. Genetic analysis confirms a seventy percent Founder profile. > .

"Thank you Ark," Kyle replied. "Could you please compare notes with Klaus and see if you can trace the profiles enough to tell me why in the Hell do I have two blond haired, green eyed Founder kids sitting with me?"

< I anticipated your request, Nitor. I have isolated possible time frames for the deviation. Klaus is now comparing my data to his records. Klaus just returned an update, we have a positive match. That particular family line appears to have been separated from the Founder circles late in the Second Cycle. Due to the tendency of Founder children who are not trained losing their sanity unless they train themselves, the family had an unusually high mortality rate. Approximately twenty-five thousand years ago, Second Cycle genetic technology was used to attempt a repair of the observed flaw they perceived on one generation of a section of the family. The modification appears to be a block of higher senses that works up to approximately a sixty percent Founder genetic level. A side effect of the procedure triggered the green eyes and dirty blond hair becoming dominant traits within that branch of the family. The analysis of the twins genetic profile indicates that their paternal parent supplied a weak but unmodified Founder gene, while their maternal parent provided a slightly more pure modified gene. The combination reversed the dilution of the Founder gene that normally occurs in open reproduction. > .

"Thank you for the summary, Ark." Kyle replied. "Please deliver a full report to myself, Tyne, and Javyk, flag as Council Priority. Add a note to Javyk, I want these modifications checked for unintended bad side effects."

< I am generating the full report, the estimated time is one minute to fully compile all information, then I will deliver it as you requested. Will there be anything else, Nitor? > .

"That will be it for now, Ark. Thank you." Kyle replied.

Davie stared at Kyle, having never dealt with Ark. "That was a SUMMARY?"

Kyle nodded. "Yeah, the full report is gonna have the genetic history of all of these guy's ancestors all the way back to Cycle Zero. Every single one, in detail. I did that on purpose, since this means we need to find a way to locate any other kids who are carrying the modified genetics. You might want to hide from Tyne and Javyk for a few decades."

Kyle then turned and locked eyes with Tyler, obviously having a very private mental discussion. The twins were concentrating on giving Slider attention, so only Davie noticed the war going on in the expressions on Kyle and Tyler's faces. After almost a full two minutes, it was obvious that a decision was finally reached. As the gaze broke, Tyler stated "I still love you, Kylebear, even if you are more stubborn than Cory."

"Hey, I'm not the one who blows roofs off of buildings!" Kyle responded with a grin.

"We needed a new building anyway," Tyler giggled. "I just helped it along!"

"Yeah, I hear ya!" Kyle laughed as he retook his seat. "Davie, you're gonna be payin' for this for a LONG time. If you'd checked a little closer, you'd have saved us all a lotta work."

"Give it your best shot, LITTLE brother!" Davie replied with a grin.

Kyle responded with an evil smile, then turned to the twins. "Hey guys?"

"Wazzup Kyle?" Conrad asked.

"Did you hear all that stuff that Ark was telling me?" Kyle asked.

"Yeah," Conrad acknowledged, "what did all those weird words mean?"

"They mean that you guys are special too," Kyle answered, "a lot like what I was like before things went weird for me. Have you noticed itches in your head, like you knew stuff was gonna happen?"

Both boys nodded, now giving Kyle their full attention.

"That's what I thought," Kyle acknowledged. "Don't worry, it's a good thing. It means when you get older you can do one of the things that me and Ty can do. But you need to have someone around to show you how to use it so it don't hurt you, so me and Ty want you to come home with us and live there."

"Won't your Mommy and Daddy get mad at you for bringing us to live in your home?" Colt asked.

Kyle giggled. "Naw, Dad and Pop are used to extra kids showing up, and Mama Teri is overdue for a new kid or two!"

Davie giggled. "Too late, Papa Spock just slipped one in on Mama Teri with Cory's help! Besides, Dan and John need more grandkids anyway."

"Davieeeee..." Kyle growled.

Davie locked eyes with Kyle. "To stop being Superman, you have to stop thinking that you are a superman. Make your choice now; worry for the rest of eternity or move on to what you can be. Destiny awaits your answer."

Kyle looked around and noticed that everyone was frozen in place except him and Davie. "What the Hell!"

"I told you Destiny awaits," Davie stated. "I'm just the messenger, Time will restore once your choice is made. It is rare to get the choice that you are being given; your actions to this point after becoming Mikyvis have earned you this opportunity."

"What do you expect me to do?" Kyle shot back. "I don't even know the stupid question, yet you want a friggin' answer? I'm a KID, not some sort of God!"

Expecting Kyle's outburst, Davie continued. "Why are you afraid to adopt two boys that obviously need you then?"

Kyle took a deep breath as his eyes blazed brightly. "Because, numbnuts, I got cursed with this stupid crap that doesn't let my stupid butt grow up and heal the stuff that was done to me, and it isn't fair to them to have parents who they'll be able to carry around in a few years. You happy now?" Kyle stared Davie down with tears running down his face, his expression daring Davie to push the issue.

Davie moved over and pulled Kyle into a hug despite Kyle's attempts to escape. "I'll be happy once you let all of that anger out that you're hiding from everyone, including Tyler," Davie stated as his wings appeared and surrounded Kyle. "In the Name of the Almighty, I Command thee to release thy Pain."

Throughout the planes of existence, all who were attuned to such things cringed as they felt the wave of pain, anguish, and despair which was disbursed over Existence to lessen its impact.

Davie withdrew his wings, now holding a sobbing eight year old who was latched on for dear life instead of fighting. "It's okay to cry, little brother; I'm here to protect you." Davie whispered.

After what would have been a half hour in any other situation, Kyle's tears finally subsided. He looked up at Davie's face and softly said "Sorry, bro. I didn't mean to be mean to you."

Davie smiled. "I know; holding in the stuff you were trying to deal with does that to people. You better now?"

Kyle nodded. " Yeah, thanks. I'm ready to go back now."

Davie nodded. "Okay, just don't worry about your choice. Do like you did when you met Cory, just follow your heart."

"Okay," Kyle smiled.

Time restarted, with both Slider and Tyler immediately shifting their gaze to check on Kyle, as they had sensed the few missing microseconds. Kyle walked over and took a seat on the coffee table, right in front of the twins. "Guys, me and Ty are part of the group that started Clan Short; in fact I was the first kid Cory helped. We've been gave a lot of kewl stuff, but the best thing we were gave was the right to adopt other kids that need us. Would you guys like to have me and Ty as your Dad and Pop? You'll gain some weird big brothers too, they like popping all over the place."

Tyler stared at Kyle open-mouthed; the results of their mental argument had just been thrown out the window, and Tyler's initial request had just become reality. While he wasn't sure about what had just happened with Davie, Ty made a mental note to catch up later, as whatever it was had obviously healed a part of Kyle that even Tyler had not made a dent in.

Colt and Conrad exchanged glances as well, both amazed that they not only might be getting a family, but that it was their choice. After a mental conference, they turned back to Kyle. "Yes!" they answered in unison.

Davie smiled, silently glad that Kyle had chosen the path he did. A command appeared in his head which caused his smile to grow wider. He held out his arms, stating "For all present, the injuries of your youth are hereby removed and made nonexistent. Your suffering from their effects shall be no more, yet you shall remember the effects to assist others."

All four boys felt a healing wave go through them, and the little reminders of injuries vanished. Kyle was affected he most, as he actually felt his posterior adjust to a condition it had not been in for years. Giggling, Kyle reached down the front of his pants. "Dang it! STILL only one!" he announced.

"You were born that way is why," Davie explained. "That is just you as you were meant to be."

Kyle nodded. "That's okay; Cory, Sean, JJ, and Ty showed me it's not weird." Turning to the twins, Kyle asked "You guys ready to get outta here so I can find Ty and me's big bro to make it official?"

"YEAH!" they chorused.

"Hey Colt? I need to get up to find your Uncle Cory!" Kyle giggled as they re-occupied their heads normally. "I'll be right back as soon as I find him!"

"Okay Dad!" Colt replied, a huge smile appearing on his face once Kyle acknowledged the first use of the designation with a quick hug. Colt and Conrad somehow managed to rearrange themselves so that they were both sitting on Tyler's lap, amazingly not getting any complaints from their human 'chair'.

Kyle got up, and immediately spotted Cory over by Bast. He skipped over to Cory, gaining amazed stares from all who knew him that he ignored. As he came to a stop he gushed "Hey Puddy, are you 'doptin' too? If so you better get Jer over here cuz' I'm stealin' Cor' to 'dopt our new sons!"

Cory turned to Kyle in shock, unable to respond even AFTER he had an armfull of Kyle.

"I love ya, bro!" Kyle stated as he made himself comfortable on Cory's hip. "Please can you make Colt an' Conrad Ty an' me's kids? I don't want noone else ta' do it, only my special big brother!"

Cory's heart melted at the statement, and the stress he himself was constantly feeling seemed to vanish at hearing the joy in Kyle's voice. "For you, I wouldn't let anyone else even try," Cory replied. "I love you too, Shoulder Elf!"

Bast grinned, seeing Kyle acting like the eight year old he was for the first time since meeting him. Privately, Mont and Bast had discussed repeatedly if their new family would ever recover from what had been done to them in Montana. Seeing Kyle like this gave Bast new hope that recovery was really possible, and made the choice he'd been pondering much easier. Tapping his commbadge, Bast said "Bast to Jer, you doing anything Babe?"

'Just plotting what I'm gonna do to you when you get home!' Jeremy responded seductively.

"You dirty boy, you!" Bast growled. "Hey, I've got a cute little redheaded five year old named Judge here that likes kitty cuddles too. What do you think about popping over to Naples to meet him? I'll warn you, he likes using his big grey eyes to trap you!"

Jeremy laughed at the description. 'Something tells me he's coming home with us! I'll call Peter to get started on his bedroom, then I'll be right over!'

"Good idea!" Bast giggled. "See you in a few!"

"Who wuz that?" a sleepy voice asked.

"That's my partner, Jeremy," Bast explained. "He's coming over to meet you, then the big blond there called Cory is going to say some big words so that you can live with us forever if you want."

"You're REALLY gonna 'dopt me?" Judge said with wide eyes.

"Yep!" Jeremy replied as he popped in behind Cory.

"Who're you?" Judge asked.

"I'm your new Pop, your new Dad called me." Jeremy replied with a grin. "He gives great cuddles, don't he?"

"YEAH!" Judge grinned. "He's an AWESOME cuddle kitty!"

"Did you know that you and I are two of the few people that can call him a kitty? He only lets people he likes a lot do that."

"Really?" Judge asked in awe.

"Yep, that's a fact, munchkin." Bast said with a grin.

Getting impatient, Kyle prodded "C'mon kitty brat! I got new sons to get too!"

Recovered from the pleasant shocks he was getting, Cory giggled "C'mon y'all, meet over by Ty for the adoption party. I'll give the Elf rides."

"Kewl! Giddieyup!" Kyle giggled.

Word spread quickly throughout the Home, and everyone gathered around to witness the first on-site adoptions in the home's history. The rest of the Clan spread out through the group, prepared to explain the procedures that the Clan used to streamline adoptions.

Cory looked around, smiling when he noticed big Kyle and Billy Ray watching as well from the edge of the group, big Kyle's two youngest sitting on their shoulders with Rex standing between them. "Okay everyone, I know you have heard how adoptions work in the court system. We don't work that way, and we have the Federation backing us. What you're about to see is real, and there are at least four of your friends that are going home with families today. If you have any questions, ask any of the Clan guys; they do this all the time so they can fill you in."

Cory looked down to find Kyle dancing from one foot to the other as he impatiently waited. "Okay little brothers, you wanna go first?"

"YES!" Kyle and Tyler exclaimed in unison.

Grinning, Cory began. "Colt and Conrad Baker, I have been told that you have said that you wish to become the children of Kyle Richardson and Tyler Short. Do you still wish to do this?"

Both boys nodded until their heads almost popped off. "Yeah!"

Turning to his little brothers, Cory said "Kyle and Tyler, I have been informed that Colt and Conrad Baker wish to become your sons. Are you willing to accept this responsibility, treating them as if they were your own offspring?"

"Yes!" Kyle and Ty replied seriously.

"Okay, just one thing more," Cory said with a smile. "Guys, have you decided if you want to keep your last name, change it to Short like Tyler, or to Richardson like Kyle?"

"Can we head-talk with Poppa Tyler before we answer that?" Colt asked seriously.

"Go ahead guys, it's smart to ask for help," Cory replied.

As the twins talked with Tyler, Kyle made a decision of his own. He knew that the rest of his sons had set up their own little network to send notes to each other. While they had never said it was private, up until now Kyle had felt like an intruder using something his natural-born sons created. Kyle decided that he was overdue to join the species he created, and this would be a perfect time to do it. He opened the 'channel' in his head, then announced 'Boys, it's Dad. Your Uncle Cory's about to give you two new bros! C'mon over! Leev, grab some cookies on your way!'

Cory was watching Kyle, wondering what the mischievous smile was for. His question was answered when Mikyvis began popping in, each and every one with a surprised expression on their face. The last son to arrive was Levi, who brought a table loaded with cookies. A few seconds later, Peter, Galen, and DB joined the group, followed by Levis and Miah as Ferox witnesses.

"What?" Kyle asked his sons innocently, still wearing the grin.

All of his sons looked at Levi, obviously electing him to speak for all of them. Levi smiled as he stepped forward and gave his Dad a hug. "We felt your happy, Dad. You sent it when you called us. I'm the only one that's felt it before somewhat like that, and this time was even better than I remember!"

As he returned the hug, Kyle replied "Get used to it; your Uncle Davie helped me with some stuff. I love you guys, all of you, even if I ain't said it much lately."

"I love you too, Daddy!" Levi said with a big smile. "While you, Pop, and Uncle Cory finish the 'doption I'll organize the rest of my little brothers, kay?"

"That works!" Kyle giggled. "When we all get home, I want to have a family meeting with our family and Uncle Cory's family. It's been too long since we had a private family party."

"Kewl!" Levi gushed. "I miss those!" He then broke the hug before rushing over to instruct his brothers on exactly how he wanted them to welcome their newest family without freaking them out.

Kyle slid into Cory's side, looking up at him with a smile. "Did I do that right?" he asked hopefully.

Cory nodded as he smiled back. "That was perfect, little bro, great job!"

"Thanks!" Kyle replied as his smile grew. "I just tried doin' what I thought you'd do, and it felt really good!"

Cory's heart melted once again, as he realized that despite all of his mistakes, Kyle still looked up to him as the example to emulate. "You did really good, bro; in fact I think you might need to remind me to do some of that stuff that I should be doing sometimes. Whada you say to showing me where you hid that room in my head and teach me how to be in there and out here at the same time? That way we can have our private talks even when everyone keeps us so busy we can't be alone."

"Well," Kyle admitted shyly, "There's kinda a problem. You and Danny have different kinds of rooms than everyone else. I kinda made them without thinkin' of it cuz' I needed ya, and they work different since I wasn't a Mikyvis yet. If I open them up like that, we'll both see everything that the other one's thinkin' all the time, even the stuff they don't know they are thinkin'. That's how Danny found out about my foster father, I accidentally opened his up. It's still open, Danny just set up a filter in his program to control it."

Cory squatted to be at eye level with Kyle. "Little bro, there are only three people in this universe I have no secrets from; Sean, Joel, and you. If it means that you learn things I can't even talk about, I'll be glad it's you that knows them so that you understand."

Kyle nodded. "But it means you'll know the bad stuff that I don't talk 'bout too. Stuff even Jamie an' Jacob don't know." he added softly.

"I know," Cory replied, "and I can't help you keep it from hurting you again unless I know about it. There is absolutely nothing in that cute little head of yours that would make me love you any less."

"Promise?" Kyle asked hopefully.

"Pinky swear," Cory stated as he lifted his hand with the pinky extended.

"Pinky swear," Kyle acknowledged as he hooked his pinky with Cory's. With butterflies holding a dance in his stomach, Kyle mustered the courage to open himself to the one person he could never stand to disappoint. With a deep breath, he made the final adjustment, the one that he knew of no way to reverse, the one that opened a basic human connection that was usually reserved for identical twins.

Kyle watched pensively as Cory's face reflected his emotions while their life experiences merged into their intended locations. Since this was a natural link that was common in twins, Cory's brain naturally knew what to do with the information, and had the locations already wired from birth to store it. At the same time, Kyle's brain was performing the same functions, even matching the location as part of his everyday memories instead of a separate room.

With tears cascading down his face, Cory reached out and pulled Kyle into a tight hug, unable to vocalize his feelings. Once everything settled into place, Cory whispered "I love you little bro, and you'll never be alone again... ever."

"Love you too," Kyle responded with relief. "I think we're twins now, like real twins. This kinda feels like what Jamie and Jacob showed me their link feels like."

"I hope so," Cory giggled, "because I love you like a twin brother."

"Me too, you're the best twin ever!" Kyle giggled back, now secure in the fact that Cory acted on the promise he made back when they were both in the Home to do anything needed to protect Kyle. For the first time ever, Kyle stopped worrying that he'd do something that would lose Cory.

Cory finally paid attention to their surroundings, and noticed nobody was moving. "Time bubble?"

Kyle nodded. "Levi did it when you asked me to turn on our link. I felt him do it, his bubbles feel different."

"Figures," Cory giggled, "I think he's the most protective of all of your kids! He probably saw that his Daddy needed Cory time, and decided nobody was gonna prevent it!"

Kyle tilted his head. "Yeah, I guess so. I'm glad he did; it feels kinda good knowin' I don't got no secrets anymore."

"It's even better knowing that I don't have to worry about your secrets eating you up," Cory replied seriously. "We're in this together, bro. It's not just you or me anymore, it's US."

Words escaped Kyle, so he replied by melting into a cuddle with his favorite big brother. Cory remained silent as well, knowing words would just ruin the moment.

When they finally broke the cuddle, each of them realized that the bond they shared had been taken to a whole new level, a level that nothing life threw at them would ever change.

After a break just to smile at each other, Kyle began looking around. "Okay, any ideas how to get outta here? My son forgot to give us a way to tell him we're done!"

Cory giggled, spotting a tray of cookies on a nearby chair. "If all else fails, eat the cookies!"

"Works for me!" Kyle grinned as he grabbed a handful for each of them. Once each of them had taken a bite of a cookie, the bubble faded, bringing them back into normal time flow.

Cory locked eyes with Levi, smiling and giving him a thumbs-up for the help. He then turned his attention back to Tyler, wondering if him and the twins had sorted anything out yet. As if hearing his question, Colt looked over and stated "Poppa is gonna 'splain so we don't say nothin' we ain't 'posed to."

"Okay, that works!" Cory replied. "Ty?"

"Well," Tyler replied, "Once I finally convinced them that nobody would be mad, they explained their reasons. It seems that they're related to one of our friends, Javyk, and have inherited his family's most notable trait. As it is a trait shared by Kyle, they thought it was only right to be a Richardson, and I agree."

Cory nodded and smiled at the twins, already having the full details courtesy of his new link with Kyle. "I like that; good job guys. Okay, by the power vested in me by Article 200 of the Safe Haven Act, I hereby declare the minors Colt and Conrad Baker as under the auspices of Family Clan Short of Vulcan. By request of Kyle Richardson and Tyler Short, a review has been performed and it has been determined the applicants pass all qualifications as adoptive parents. Colt and Conrad have requested to be placed with Kyle and Tyler. As Patriarch of Family Clan Short of Vulcan, I hereby declare Colt and Conrad Baker the children of Kyle Richardson and Tyler Short. As requested by the applicants, Colt and Conrad shall assume the surname Richardson. Any and all claims which may affect this placement are hereby null and void."

Pausing to smile at the twins, Cory added "You may now pounce your new Dad and Pop, guys!"

Once Kyle and Ty were willingly pinned to the floor by their new sons, Levi led the line of the rest of their little family forward. "Hey guys, I'm your oldest brother, Levi!" Levi giggled. "Daddy and Pop already told us your names and how to tell you apart, so this'll be easy! I'm your innocent brother, so if any of these goofs tell you to do something ask me first if it's okay!"

Perched on Kyle, Colt giggled. "Dad says that we're gonna have a big family party when we get home!"

"Yep, and you'll learn a lot of awesome stuff!" Levi giggled. "Our purple-haired bro behind me is Dylan; if you wanna learn music stuff he knows the right people to teach you. The kid giving Dilly bunny ears is Bryce; he's really good at helping figure out stuff that people don't want you to find. Our bro with the funny hair is Ezra; Ezzy likes doing security stuff. The twins are Skyler and Xavier, they have a hobby of driving Directors nuts."

"What do you do, Levi?" Conrad asked.

"He teaches the rest of us," Dilly replied seriously. "Leev is the best big brother we could have, because he makes sure we know what's bad."

"Kewl!" the twins exclaimed, obviously impressed by their new brothers.

Peter stepped up as well with his family. "Hey, I'm your cousin Peter, this is my husband Galen and our son DB! We'll see ya' at the party too; right now we gotta go make sure your bedroom is ready for ya'."

"Did I miss you getting married?" Cory asked with a tilted head.

"Nope," Peter giggled, "you're gonna do it at the party!" As him and his family quickly vanished, Peter added "See ya there!"

"I KNEW I shouldn't have asked!" Cory giggled. "Levi? You think you can find a couch big enough to hold your family? I bet your new brothers would love a group welcome cuddle."

"Sure, Uncle Cory!" Levi replied with a smile, the thought of family cuddles making him giddy with anticipation.

As Kyle's family walked over to the new sectional that appeared off to the side, Cory looked around at his audience. "Does anyone have any questions that weren't answered?"

"When do they really become adopted?" a blond ten-year-old asked from the front. "One'a my old roomies got adopted, and it wasn't really an adoption until they saw the judge again in a year."

"They already are," Cory explained, understanding this was a serious concern. "Judges can only go on what they see; we actually use telepaths that are trained to spot problems before we approve the adoption. That and we make sure that everyone, even the other kids in the family, wants the family to grow. The new kids also have to be happy with everyone in their prospective family. Any Clan member who approves an adoption makes it immediate."

"How does a kid say he wants someone as family?" the boy asked, suddenly shy.

"He just asks someone in the Clan if it will work." Cory explained.

"What if the only person he can ask is the person he wants?"

Sensing where this was going, Cory sent to Sean over their link 'Babe, I need you over here!' He then answered "You just ask them to be your parent."

"What if you're scared he's too important to want you?" the boy asked softly.

Cory smiled as he held his arms open, offering the boy a hug. "What's your name?" Cory asked softly.

"Milo Thomas," the boy whispered, hesitantly inching towards Cory's open arms.

"I'll tell you a little secret," Cory stated with a smile as he watched Milo inch closer. "Nobody in the Clan thinks being a parent is a job, they think it's an honor. The only time they'll say no is if they're not ready themselves to help someone else grow."

Using every last bit of the dwindling courage he had left, Milo launched himself into Cory's arms and latched onto Cory in an amazing imitation of Timmy.

Sean moved into position to sandwich Milo into a double-cuddle. He locked eyes with Cory for a split second, then softly said "Milo, Cory and I would love to add you to our family, if that's what you want."

"But.. but.. but I'm nobody special," Milo whispered.

"Yes you are," Cory assured Milo, "you're about to become Milo Short, son of the Patriarch and Historian of Family Clan Short of Vulcan. You're about to get a whole bunch of brothers who will never let you forget that you're special. By this time tomorrow, I'll bet that you'll have played a game of Monopoly with the most powerful set of uncles in the Universe and not even notice it. All you have to do is say you want it, Milo."

"Listen to Cory and Sean, Milo," Bast stated as he joined them. "At one time, I was assigned to protect them. Now I call them brothers, not just as a name either. They persisted until I finally realized that they not only saw me and my brother as people, but as one of them. Both my brother and I now call the mom that gave birth to Sean and adopted Cory our mom as well, legally. Today my boyfriend and I are adopting Judge to give him what Cory and Sean gave me, a real family. All it took was Judge having the courage to take the chance when it was offered."

Milo chanced a look at who was talking, and found himself speechless as he realized it was one of the kids who looked like a lion, effortlessly giving Judge a shoulder ride. Judge was holding on with one hand, while playing with Bast's mane with the other, his face one big smile.

"I don't want this dream to end!" Milo whispered once he found his voice. "I wish I could really be your kid."

"Your wish is granted," Bast announced. "By the powers granted me by the Safe Haven Act, as a member of Family Clan Short of Vulcan I hereby declare Milo Thomas the legal child of Patriarch Cory Short and Prince Sean Short. This placement is permanent and irrevocable. All claims otherwise past, present, or future are hereby declared null and void." Giving Milo a toothy grin, Bast added "Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mont and I's newest nephew, Milo Grant Short!"

This caused the room to break into applause, as the most introverted kid in the Home got his most desired wish, a family of his own.

Hoping his shirt wouldn't burst into flames from the blushing of his newest son, Cory added "This is another way that you're special; in all the time he's been with us, Bast has never performed an adoption. You were his very first." Cory leaned down and kissed the top of Milo's head. "Welcome to the family, son."

Sean smiled as Milo looked up at Cory in wonder. "You've got a lot of love coming, son. Not just from Dad and Pop, but all of your brothers, your little sister, and your nephews.We'll get you caught up on what you missed in no time!"

At that moment, it finally hit Milo that this was real; tonight he would be sleeping in a whole new place, sharing the house with a FAMILY. All the other times he'd had the chance, he felt like they were trying to change him when the prospective parents tried to get him to open up. While his new parents seemed to accept him just as he was, now he didn't know what to do. He involuntarily began shivering as his nerves once again got the best of him.

Noticing the change, Cory softly said "Milo? I think I know what you're feeling right now, and all these people ain't helping. When I feel like you do, I go off with your Pop to someplace private so we can cuddle quietly, talk, or sometimes both. Pop is the best person I know to do that, would you like to try it and see if it helps? Pop can call for me anytime you think you need me too, and I'll come running."

Milo thought over the suggestion, somehow partially calmed by the tone of Cory's voice. Over his life he'd been left to deal by himself or told to 'man up'; he'd never been told that what he felt was understood, and had definitely not been given an option to help with what he was feeling. Not trusting his voice, he took the chance and spun around to latch onto Sean.

Cory took the hint, and in his normal voice said "Hey Sean, why don't you and Milo go to his room and get his stuff ready to go?"

"Sounds like an idea," Sean replied as Milo shifted silently to his side. "C'mon Son, we've got some packing to do!"

Milo guided Sean towards his room, the awe at how his new parents had covered for him temporarily making his panic subside to a normal level that he was used to dealing with. When they reached the room, he guided Sean over to the chair, then climbed onto his lap intending to just cuddle for a few minutes. A minute later, Milo was asleep, securely wrapped in the arms of his new pop.

Once Sean and Milo were out of his sight, Cory turned to Bast, Jeremy, and Judge. "Your turn..." he began.

"Hey Blondie!" Pablito interrupted with a yell, "Hurry your ass up, you're fallin' behind! Tracy and Karl just put me two ahead of you!"

Cory looked over to see two giggling mini six-year-old versions of Tracy and Karl being helped onto what Cory could only presume was their new father's shoulders by big Kyle and Billy Ray. Having not noticed any sets of twins other than Kyle's pair, Cory yelled back "Importing them don't count, Brat!"

"Don't blame me!" Pablito grinned. "Kyle and Billy Ray are doing some transfers, and this pair happened to find the smarter copies of you!"

"Davie!" Cory exclaimed, "Control your brother!"

"Sorry, Cory," Davie answered. "I'm kinda busy waiting for Steve to decide that he's adopting the kid he's been geeking out with while you guys were doing adoptions."

"DAVIE!" Steve's voice exclaimed.

"You both want it, Dad!" Adrian chipped in from the other side of the room. "I can hear ya both clear over here!"

"Kyle?" Cory prodded, "Next time you visit the Gates, file a complaint about the Angel hiring procedures!"

"Already on it, Bro!" Kyle giggled back. "I just sent Ezzy with the petition!"

"You wouldn't da.." Pablito started to reply, before he exclaimed in unison with Davie "Oh SHIT!"

"That is why Cory is a Patriarch and you two are not!" Steve laughed. "Adrian, you and Cody get your skinny butts over here. You're overdue for doing something besides tonsil diving."

Satisfied that the Angel uprising was settled, Cory turned back to Bast to find the lion-boy reduced to tears by his suppressed laughter.

"Enjoying the show, bro?" Cory giggled.

"You... you're the fi... first person to ge... get Pa... Pabl... Pablito, EVER!" Bast finally managed to sputter.

"You know me," Cory giggled, "I like challenges!"

"...and making people squirm." Jeremy added with a grin. "Watch your Uncle Cory, Judge; he'll teach you a lot!"

"Keep it up, Jer!" Cory laughed. "I'll put catnip in your clothes again!"

"Promise?" both Bast and Jeremy asked hopefully.

"Anyway," Cory said as he shook his head, "Judge, do you still want these two nuts as your dad and pop?"

"Yeah!" Judge giggled. "They're funny!"

"Okay then," Cory said with a smile, "Are you two nuts willing and able to take in Judge as your child, treating him as one of your own offspring?"

"Yessir!" Bast and Jeremy replied as they saluted Cory.

Rolling his eyes, Cory asked "Have the three of you discussed the options for Judge's surname?"

"Yes," Bast said with a smile, "He thinks it's a great idea to scare people by having the name 'Judge Short'."

"Why do I get the feeling that your son is going to give Timmy competition?" Cory grinned. "In accordance with Article 200, I hereby place Judge Reinquest with Bast Short and Jeremy Andrews, and approve the request for his surname be changed to Short."

"YIPPEEE!" Judge exclaimed as he somehow managed to tackle BOTH of his parents from two feet away.

"Yep!" Cory giggled. "Definitely going to give Timmy competition..."

Several hours later, Kyle, Billy Ray and team had finished their audit and Kyle was in the process of entering his report into his PADD. Once he had the report finished he handed his PADD to Billy Ray for his approval. Once Billy Ray had finished his review he would apply his thumb to the screen. Kyle would then send the report to Teri.

Kyle summarized the report as follows:

FYS Audit for the Naples Home for Disadvantaged Children

80 Percent of staff safe & honest
10 Percent of staff questionable
10 Percent of staff needs to sequestered, then arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of Federation Law.
Finances within limits
Additional funds necessary to maintain proper conditions for childcare.
Religious issues mitigated or minimized by Mabel.


Naples Home for Disadvantaged Children should be acquired by FYS or Clan Short.
All CCCE Employees to be replaced.
Mabel promoted to Manager
Steve Jobs hired as Consultant and Budget Manager.
Also as On Call House Parent.
Billy Ray to be assigned as the designated FYS Liasion.

While Billy Ray was reviewing the report Kyle went to find his kids.

Rex and Dennis were busy building something spacey out of Legos®. Dennis was sitting in the pocket of an Amerasian boy his age; only this kid had blond hair. Meagan was sitting on a couch hugging a girl and they both had sad faces.

When Meagan saw Kyle she smiled slightly and waved her daddy over.

"What's up Princess?" Kyle asked his sad faced daughter.

"Dulce says a bad man hurts her and her friends at night. Can you help her and fix the bad man? Please?"

To that Kyle was stunned would be a gross understatement. "I will see what I can do Princess. Dulce sweetheart what is your full name and do you know the name of the man who hurt you? Before you answer let me pull a chair over here so I can sit down; that way you won't have to look up at me; is that okay?"

Dulce, shyly nodded her head.

Kyle went over to one of the tables scattered around the room and grabbed one of the chairs. Kyle took the chair over and placed it in front of the two girls.

"Okay, Dulce now that I am not towering over you can you please tell me your full name?"

"Lt., my name is Dulce Owusu-Sall and I am ten years old."

"Thank you Dulce, and my name is Kyle, not Lt.; now can you tell when the bad man hurts you and your friend? And do you know his name?"

"Okay Kyle, I like you are nice. He only hurts us on weekends and his name is Deion A..."

"His name is Deion Arellano-Reynoso and he is a piece of work. What has he done now?" Billy Ray interrupted Dulce as he entered the room.

Dulce jumped off the couch and ran over to Billy Ray and threw herself into his arms. Billy Ray almost dropped Kyle's PADD, but Kyle was able to catch it at the last moment.

"Billyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy he hurt me and my friend at night on weekends when you and Mabel are gone."

"Dulce, sweetheart please look at me, that bad man is never going to hurt anyone ever again. A certain Patriarch Short will make sure of that." Kyle told Dulce as he brushed her bangs out of her eyes as she looked over Billy Ray's shoulder at Kyle.

"Lt. Esparar to Emrys, I need some assistance.

"Hey, Uncle Kyle did Uncle Tracy forget to tell you how to talk to me again?" Emmy kidded Kyle.

"Sorry Emmy, Tracy hasn't had time to tell me anything yet, he has been busy with Cory; plus its all your Uncle Kyle's fault. He didn't even tell me I was inducted into the Clan until a few hours ago! So you have my permission to fix him! Please! If I wasn't busy I would be after him." An embarrassed and slightly flustered Kyle replied.

"I can't fix Unca Kyle, Unca Kyle!" Emmy giggled. "Unca Ty would kill me!"

"Emmy could you please send me a younger female telepath; I have a young girl here that has been sexually assaulted and I need the information. I think that she would be more comfortable with a female and one close to her age?" Kyle inquired in a slightly formal tone of voice.

"Actually Lt., I will have one there momentarily; she has just finished her training and she is very, very good and she is very compassionate. She has gone through something very similar. Her name Darline Petrovic is, in fact, she the CIC at this moment and she will be there momentarily. And welcome to the family Uncle Kyle." Emmy replied semi-formally with a slight hint of a smile.

As Emmy's voice disappeared a teenage girl popped in right next to Kyle.

"Lt. Esparar, I am Darline Petrovic B Shift Team Intel CIC Ft. Lauderdale. Emmy says that you could use my help."

"Nice to meet you Darline and yes I could use your help; Dulce has had some things happen to her and I would like to know exactly what. However, I don't want to put her through the trauma of telling Billy Ray and I what happened. The only problem I can see is explaining the Vulcan Mind Meld to her. Can you help me with her? And my name is Kyle, not Lt. Esparar.

"Kyle that won't be a problem, we are trained slightly differently. I can do the mind meld while hugging her and brushing her hair out of her eyes. All I need is for you to tell her that I am going to help her and you. She won't even know or feel what I am looking for. Will that work for you?" Darline asked her new boss for the moment.

"Darline, I could hug you right now, that is a perfect solution. Thank you very much."

Darline stood there with her arms out waiting for a hug; which Kyle gave her gladly.

When they broke the hug Kyle took Darline over and introduced Darline to Dulce and Meagan.

"Dulce this is my friend Darline she is going to give you a hug and maybe ask you a few questions. She knows what you may have gone through and she is going to help us is that okay with you? Kyle asked Dulce.

Dulce turned to Meagan and asked a question with her look.

"Dulce, if my Daddy says she can help you she can; he has never lied to us and always helps. He helps us even when he is being a Daddy and not our friend Kyle." Meagan looked Dulce straight into her eyes while answering Dulce's unasked question.

Dulce turned to Kyle and with a look of vulnerability in her eyes asked;

"You really wouldn't lie to me, would you?"

"No, Princess except maybe by accident. However, I may stretch the truth sometimes if necessary. For example; Darline isn't actually my friend but she is friends with some friends of mine. In fact, I think you should meet them. Billy Ray please go and ask Karl and Tracy to come in here." Kyle explained to Dulce and then asked Billy Ray.

"I ain't no princess, Meagan is! I sorta believe you Kyle, and Darline does look like a nice person" Dulce hesitantly replied.

"Dulce, darlin' you can trust Kyle, Uncle Cory trusts him and likes him and your other Uncle Kyle made him Clan so he is a good guy. I like him too, let me go get Karl and Tracy. I will be right back, now don't go nowhere ya hear?" Billy Ray told Dulce trying to calm her down a bit.

"Thanks, Billy, I feel much better now."

"Be right back with Karl and Tracy." With that Billy Ray was gone.

"Dulce, Darline needs a hug; I am going to go hug my Daddy while you give Darline a hug. Okay?" Meagan asked her new friend while giving her a quick hug.

"Okay Meagan, and thanks for being my friend," Dulce replied as she returned the hug.

Meagan and Darline changed places and Meagan immediately grabbed her Daddy in a bear hug.

Meanwhile, Dennis and his friend Misa were headed toward Kyle and Meagan as they had finished their Lego® creation.

Kyle took one look at his youngest son's eyes and hit his Comm Badge;

"Lt. Esparar to Lt. Masterson, come in Brat."

"Brat, here what's up Kyle?"

"Better make that a five-bedroom place; Dennis has that look in his eyes! You know the one the Clan gets when they want to adopt a kid?" Kyle told Brat.

"Nuff said, Masterson out."

While Dennis and his friend were heading over to Kyle; Darline and Dulce were hugging each other like long lost friends. Darline was calmly brushing Dulce's hair off her face.

"I thought you were going to ask me some questions about that bad man?" Dulce asked her new friend.

"I don't need to ask you any questions now Dulce you already answered them." Was Darline's reply.

Before Darline could explain further Karl and Tracy walked into the room.

"Hey Dar, how are you and how come you get all the easy jobs? All you have to do is hug people?' Karl asked his co-worker from Ft. Lauderdale.

"Karl you know its because I took hug training and passed and you failed. You need to take more lessons from Tracy!" Darline's smart-assed answer turned the frown on Dulce's face into a grin.

"Dulce you should let Tracy give you a hug, he is almost as good as I am giving hugs." Darline let go of Dulce and waved Tracy over.

While Karl and Tracy were meeting Dulce; Kyle was meeting Dennis's new friend.

"Daddy this is my friend Misa and he wants to come with me and be my brother; can he? Please?" Dennis implored his Daddy with the biggest pair of puppy dog eyes Kyle had ever seen.

"Dennis are you sure that is what your friend Misa is it wants?" Kyle asked his youngest son.

Dennis's new friend stood up straight and answered Kyle instead of Dennis;

"Lt. Dennis's Daddy my name is Misaaki Aaron Vetter and I wanna be brother to Dennis and your son. There aren't any kids like me here and Dennis says you be a good Daddy. So please adopt me, I promise to be a good son."

Karl overhearing what was going on decided to go over and help Kyle. Now whether Kyle would think it was help was another sixty-four thousand dollar question.

"Kyle, I can help you with this problem if you would like. Misa is correct he is the only Amerasian kid here and he would fit in great with your family. You know I am right just look at the two of them. See how happy Misa is with Dennis. Since it isn't an emergency and Misa isn't in any danger F.Y.S. really can't help and you know what a field day the courts would have over a coast to coast adoption? Since I am an Officer of the Clan I can help you cut through all the red tape bull-crap. So what's it gonna be?" Karl asked Kyle with an ear to ear grin as this would be his first adoption as a Clan Officer.

"Please Daddy please let Uncle Karl help Please we wanna be brothers;" came out of Dennis and Misa's mouths at the same time.

Before Kyle could respond Karl knelt down in front of the two kids in question. Kyle watching to see what was going to happen and using the time to think over his answer. Although it didn't look like he had much of a choice in the matter at hand. Billy Ray was just standing there taking in the whole scene.

"Misa, I am going to ask you a few questions and I want you to really think about them before answering them. Can you do that for me?" Karl asked Misa while looking directly into his eyes.

"Yes, Uncle Karl I will do that for you," Misa replied while squeezing Dennis's hand.

"Misaaki Aaron Vetter do you want to be adopted by Lt. Kyle Esparar and be his son? Is this truly what you want? Do you realize that you will have to move all the way across the country to San Francisco and leave your friends here?"

"Silly Uncle Karl those aren't hard questions and the answer is yes. And you be wrong Dennis splained everything to me; they got a terminal thingy where they live and I can talk to and see everybody here. Don't forget we can use the transporter thingy cause Dennis's Daddy be a big shot in FY whatever that name is. And Dennis is going to ask his Uncle Kyle for one of ..." Misa paused his spewing of words for a moment to look over at Dennis who mouthed McDonald's® to him.

"Oh yeah a golden arch thingy, yeah that's it. Does that answer your questions Uncle Karl?"

Billy Ray had to turn around so Karl and Kyle wouldn't see him trying not to laugh out loud at the look on Karl's face. Karl was trying to be serious and make sure that Misa understood the implications of moving cross country. Instead, Misa gave him a lesson on what it meant to be a Starfleet Kid.

"Okay, Misa it sounds like that you do want Kyle to be your Daddy. Now, all we need to do is have him say yes. Kyle, the ball is in your court what do you have to say?"

"Well first things first I guess; we don't have the room..." Kyle had to stop as his Comm Badge interrupted him.

"Lt. Masterson to Lt Esparar come in Kyle"

"Kyle here what news do you have for me?"

"Bad news and really good news. The bad news is there are no more large apts available. However, the good news is you are now living in a five bedroom house complete with an office..." Brat's news was interrupted by Rex who had wandered over.

"But Uncle Brat we won't be near you anymore..." Rex's tearful rejoinder was cut short.

"Rex that was the really good news there is a three bedroom Carriage House on the property and it is still within walking distance of my job and your Dad's job. The rest of the bad news it is still within walking distance of your school." Brat replied with an ear to ear grin that came across loud and clear.

"As you were about to say, Kyle, that you had plenty of room. So what do you say now." Karl asked with a smirk.

"Rex and Meagan do two want a new brother for good? Or do I really need to ask?"

"Anything to stop Dennis from bugging me all the time." Rex couldn't say anything else before he was tackled by Misa and Dennis.

"Daddy, of course, its alright Dennis needs a friend and Misa is a nice boy," Meagan answered as she gave her daddy a hug.

"Okay Karl, the Princess has spoken let's get the show on the road." Kyle was then nearly bowled over by his kids.

"Okay kids please stand next to your Daddy and be quiet for a few minutes this is important and I want to do this right," Karl informed the group.

Dennis 'whispered' to Misa; "now he is gonna get all boring like most grownups."

Karl didn't reply as he was busy reviewing the SHA in his head. "Okay, Misa, before we get, started what would you like your new name to be?"

Misa got a nudge from Dennis and then answered very calmly; well as calmly as a giggling kid could.

"I want my new name to be Misaaki Aaron Esparar." Misa then 'whispered' to Dennis; "is that right?"

Karl decided to go ahead and perform the adoption before he got interrupted again.

"Emmy log the following please: As the Director of Alligator Alley it is my determination that Misaaki Aaron Vetter be adopted this day by Lt. Kyle Esparar F.Y.S. and Clan Short. From this day forward Misaaki will be known as Misaaki Aaron Esparar. This adoption is permanent under Article 200 Sections 203.2, 203.2a, 203.3 and 203.3a. F.Y.S and Clan Short to be notified immediately."

"Logged and noted; good job Karl, Emmy Out."

Misa ran over and gave Karl a big hug and said "Thanks, Uncle Karl I got a real family now."

Misa then ran over and gave his new daddy a big hug as well; "Daddy, Daddy thank you, thank you very much."

Kyle bent down and picked up Misa and gave him a hug; "Welcome to the Family son."

"Thank you, Daddy, when do we get to go home? Dennis says that San Francisco is a wonderful place to live and play."

"We will be going home shortly as we need to move all of our clothes and probably our furniture. I have no idea what our new home looks like." Kyle replied and then continued;

"Okay kids go back over and clean up the Legos® you can put your creation on one of the tables. I need to talk to Uncle Karl and Uncle Tracy and your new Aunt Darline. Meagan honey please go back and sit with Dulce till I come get you." Kyle had noticed Darline had pulled Tracy off to the side and they were having a serious conversation.

The boys headed off to the Legos® and Meagan went back to sit with Dulce. Kyle and Billy Ray then headed over to where Tracy and Darline were having their conversation.

"Hello, Tracy what did you and Darline find out about what happened to Dulce?" Kyle asked the two.

"Its bad really bad and she wasn't the only one we have multiple violations of Article 11.2, 13, 13.1. Articles 68 and 68.1, 81.1 and 81.8 and those are just off the top of my head." Tracy replied and Darline was nodding her head in approval.

Kyle took a few moments to go over the import of what he had just heard. "Director Butler and Director Harrington F.Y.S requests that Clan Short take over this case and the subsequent prosecution and probable physical termination of Deion Arellano-Reynoso. Will that be acceptable. If so I will have Mabel arrange for the perpetrator to be brought here at your convenience? Billy Ray, do you concur with my proposed course of action?" Kyle looked at Billy Ray who looked like he was about to have a fit of apoplexy.

"I concur with the proposed course of action and I will inform Mabel of what has occurred here. Director Harrington when would you like the perpetrator brought here? Bill Ray asked Karl in a very controlled tone of voice.

Upon hearing the pain and anguish in that Billy Ray tried to keep out of his voice Kyle went over and gave him a hug.

"Please ask Mabel to have him here as soon as possible we have other things to do and we want to get home to our kids," Karl replied and then went and hugged Bill Ray as well.

"Billy Ray while you are in the Admin Office make an appointment with Dr. Dan and please don't make me make it an order. You will feel much better after you talk to him and you can make Dulce an appointment as well. I am sure that Darline did some things that will help her but Dr. Dan will still make her feel better." Kyle told Billy Ray in the middle of the three-way hug.

Tracy spoke up; "Have the perp meet us in the conference room next to the Admin Office.

Kyle then pressed his Comm Badge as Billy Ray went to talk to Mabel. "Kyle E. to Emmy"

"How can I help Uncle Kyle "E"?" Emmy asked with a smirk.

"Emmy please get a hold of Lt. Brat Masterson and arrange with him to have a Transport Arch installed at my new residence. Now I can tell Dennis that if it doesn't happen it is Cousin Emmy's fault. Kyle out."

"Uncle Kyle you are gonna be a lot of fun, your wish is my command. Tell your son he has to come visit me. Emmy Out."

Kyle stood there in shock Dennis and Emmy together the universe would never be the same.

Kyle, Karl, Tracy and Darline headed toward the conference room to wait for Deion and the end of Dulce's problem.

"Billy Ray when the perp shows up escort him into the conference where we will be waiting. If he gives you any sass have Mabel call for some security; I'm sure that Mont and Bast will be very, very glad to help. Kyle you need to get Billy Ray in contact with JJ or Gabe for his Security Training like yesterday. Tell JJ that Directors' Butler and Harrington said that you need a four-man Security Team ASAP." Karl barked out his commands and then smiled. "Sorry forgot who I was talking to for a sec. But get with JJ or Gabe soon; in fact call them while we are waiting."

The four entered the conference room with Billy Ray keeping Mabel company. While Darline was reiterating what she had found Kyle was talking to JJ on his Comm Badge. Just as the individual conversations ended Billy Ray entered the conference room preceded by the perp.


Before anyone from the Clan could speak up Deion opened his mouth and began spewing misguided insults,

"I don't know who the hell you people think you are, dragging me in here, like I was a piece of filth like those brats outside. When the bigwigs at the CCCE find out that you are here you are going to be in a world of Shit!..."

Whatever else the miscreant was about to say was stifled by the six transporter beams and the arrival Kyle and Billy Ray's new Six-Man Security Team. Two of the Security Team walked over behind Deion and forcibly sat him in a chair and in no uncertain terms told him to shut up that he wasn't in charge here. Before Deion could get another word out of his mouth Kyle took charge,

"For your information Deion Arellano-Reynoso, the CCCE is no longer in charge of the home I am, and I am the CCCE's worst nightmare." Deion tried to jump out of his chair but he was quickly shoved back down. A phaser barrel to his temple took all of the fight out of him. "As I was saying my name is Lieutenant Kyle Esperar, Clan Short and Federation Youth Services and this Home is now under the auspices of Clan Short. You have been brought here to answer for your multiple violations of the Federations Safe Haven Act. You have been found guilty of multiple violations of Article 11.2, 13, 13.1. Articles 68 and 68.1, 81.1 and 81.8..."

"You can't do this to me I haven't had a trial and I want a lawyer!"

Karl decided that it was time to end this and give Kyle a hand,

"I am Karl Harrington Assistant Director Alligator Alley of Clan Short and Vulcan Trained Telepath. You were convicted based on testimony given by a Certified Vulcan Trained Telepath legal in all courts of the Federation, furthermore, your surface thoughts that you are broadcasting so loudly that a non-telepath could hear, are providing further evidence of your crimes. After reviewing the evidence presented I am adding my concurrence to Lt. Esparar's conclusion, you are to be terminated immediately. In the case that you desire to appeal your conviction, you have one opportunity to appeal to Captain/Admiral Spock, however, both of them will concur with our decision. Captain/Admiral Spock will probably use Vulcan punishment and rip off your offending appendage before terminating you. You have 30 seconds."

The language that came spewing out of Deion's mouth just added more evidence of his crimes. Kyle's new Head of Security offered to perform the termination himself. However, Kyle knew that he and Billy Ray needed to perform the termination themselves. Kyle needed to do it to protect his kids and protect all of the kids in the home that he was responsible for. Billy Ray needed to do it to remove the perceived stain on his honor, because he didn't protect Dulcie and the other children in the home. Kyle gave a slight nod of his head to the Clan Security Members that were flanking the prisoner and they moved him back against the wall. Kyle drew his Phaser and saw that Karl had given Billy Ray his own without asking. Karl then performed put his hands on both sides of Billy Ray's head and stared intently into his eyes for a few seconds. When he was certain that Billy Ray understood what he had transferred he turned to Kyle and said,

"I just gave Billy Ray the information that he needed to know to assist you with a Phaser."

"Billy Ray, set your Phaser to 70% Kill and Medium Wide Beam," Kyle continued speaking once he saw that Billy Ray had complied. "Deion Arellano-Reynoso, you have been convicted for your crimes against humanity, and sentenced to death, that sentence to be carried out imme..."

Deion Arellano-Reynoso lunged out of his chair and attempted to attack Kyle across the table, he only made it halfway out of his seat before twin Phaser blasts cut him down. The twin beams completely engulfed Dion's body, stopped his heart and then vaporized the body into a pile of ash.

Before the enormity of what Kyle and Billy Ray had just done Tracy turned and asked Kyle,

"Kyle why did you choose those Phaser settings, I have never heard of those being used before?"

"Director Butler, it was something I learned during my Advance Phaser Training under Commander Martin. This was one of several methods that we tested that would terminate and vaporize a convicted prisoner, yet cause none or only limited damage to the surroundings. It had been determined that very few people had the reflexes to fire a Phaser for the minute amount of time necessary at the Full Kill Setting. There had been a lot of damage caused to the surrounding area during a standard termination and in several cases, the Phaser Beams went through a wall, luckily no one else was injured in those occurrences. Commander Martin is in the process of disseminating this information, Sir."

"Thank you Kyle, and Karl and I will inform all of our staff at Alligator Alley, now I believe that you have some kids to get home to," Tracy replied to Kyle.

"Thanks, Tracy, just as soon as I find out why I have a Six Man Security Team instead of the Four Man Team I requested," Kyle stated.

"I believe I can answer that Lt. Esparar, I am Benjamin Towers-Baines as I am the head of your Four-Man Security Team and Clifford Valentine-Cabanas is the Head of Billy Ray's Two-Man Security Team. My team and I have been assigned to San Francisco and Billy Ray's Team is assigned to Orlando. However, we will all be tagging along whenever you are out and about." Was the reply from Benjamin Towers-Baines.

"Okay FINE, let's get this show on the road, Billy Ray please go and get my kids, and don't forget Misa, oh and you better bring Dulcie too, she can spend the night with Meagan, I am sure that will make her feel better. Tell the kids that we are going to say hi to their cousins Timmy and Ricky. While you are doing that I will go and sign the remaining paperwork and say goodbye to Mabel and congratulate her." Kyle asked Billy Ray, and then followed him out of the conference room followed by his new Security Team and the smirking Karl and Tracy.

Kyle signed the last of the paperwork and had sent the last of the necessary file to F.Y.S. When Billy Ray and his kids excitedly arrived in the office. Kyle pressed his comm badge and with a smile began speaking,

"Kyle E. To Emmy."

"What's up, Uncle E.?" The irrepressible Emmy inquired.

"Emmy, I have thirteen people needing transport to the Orlando Compound and two of them need to see Doc Richardson. Oh, and don't tell him how many people are coming." Kyle responded trying not to laugh.

"Uncle E. you're evil, I like you," Emmy replied laughing out-loud only Kyle didn't hear her as he was already at the compound.