Copyright © 2004-2018 Jeff P.. All Rights Reserved.
Portions Co-Written By: ACFan and Akeentia!
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Shhhh... They'll hear us." The older boy in the blue baseball cap said as he opened the side door to the hospital with a small screwdriver. "Looks clear Alex." He said as he rushed the small boy inside.
"Benny, why are we sneaking in here?" Alex nervously asked as he looked down the quiet corridor from the doorway. "We're gonna get arrested." He continued in protest.
"Dude! Just go. I'm telling you I saw kids goin in and outta here. We won't get in any trouble so stop being a baby." He replied as they gently closed the door behind themselves and carefully began to inch their way deeper into the old hospital.
"But Navy guys run this place. They could like, think we're burglars or something and... I dunno, maybe put us in jail!" Alex replied with a gulp.
"You are such a wuss!" Benny sighed. "Besides, this place has been abandoned since long before we moved here. The Navy wouldn't let kids run around the place. I just wanna see what's going on." He whispered as the boys heard voices and ducked into the first open door they could find.
"I don't like this Benny. C'mon, let's get outta here." Alex whined before realizing what was in the room with them. "Wow! Benny, looket that!"
"Dude!" Benny gasped as he took a few steps further into the room. "That's a transporter!" He said in amazement as both boys made their way toward the pad to get a closer look. "I could transport you into space with this!" The older boy teased.
"I wouldn't recommend it." Came a voice from the doorway, causing both boys to jump. "Now, unless we recruited you two, I'd be willing to guess that you don't belong here."
"Um... ah..." Benny stammered.
"He made me come in here!" Alex almost cried. "I didn't wanna, I swear! Please mister, don't put us in jail!"
"Rat!" Benny almost spit out. "We're sorry sir. We've lived near here for a couple of years and never seen no one go in and out. So when we saw kids we wanted to..." He managed to get out once he noticed four other security officers still standing in the hallway with their weapons drawn. "Oh shit! Please don't shoot us or nuthin. We weren't gonna steal nuthin, honest."
"You sure you aren't spies?" The teen asked as he crossed his arms, doing a pretty good job stifling a laugh when both boys shook their heads so hard he thought they would come right off of their shoulders. "Good, cause I hate spies." He replied before turning back to the officers in the hall. "It's cool, they aren't spies." He said almost letting his laugh surface when they all gave him a confused look. "I'll take it from here guys."
"Yes Lieutenant." One of the officers responded as they stepped back into the hall, shrugging their shoulders.
"Identify yourselves." The officer requested sternly.
"I'm Ben, this is my little brother Alex." Benny said with his eyes wide. "We live right down on Apache Street, right next to your parking lot." He said as a boy looking to be about Ben's age entered the room. "See, I told you there were kids here." He whispered to his little brother.
"Report Mister Shannon." Noah said as he looked at both of the boys and then to Scott.
"Sir, we monitored an unauthorized entry through that old side door on the west side of the building. When my team and I came to investigate, we found these two intruders in this room attempting to use the transporter. They claim they aren't spies." Scott said with a subtle wink.
"Not spies, huh?" Noah repeated as he turned his attention back to the boys with a grin.
"We weren't gonna do nuthin!" Alex protested. "We was just lookin'."
"According to the smaller one, he infiltrated the building under the orders of the older one. We could throw them in the brig sir." Scott said getting a gasp from Ben and confused looks from Alex.
"Benny, what's a brig?" Alex asked his older brother.
"Jail." Ben replied flatly as he looked back at Noah. "Seriously, we weren't gonna touch nuthin. We just saw kids and just wanted to see if they lived here or something. That's all, I swear."
"Please don put us in jail mister!" Alex almost cried as he tightly wrapped his arms around his older brother who in turn pushed him off.
"We're not gonna put you in jail little guy." Noah said as he stepped a little closer. "You really shouldn't be sneaking into buildings without asking permission though."
"But that guy said he was gonna put us in jail." Alex said with a tear beginning to make his way down his cheek.
"We were messin with ya cause you both broke in." Noah said with a grin. "We really scared you, huh?"
"Yeah." Alex replied as Ben gave Scott a dirty look.
"We can't throw you in jail for something your brother made you do." Scott added with a nod to Noah.
"What I want to know, is why your older brother would make you sneak into a building like that." Noah said standing back up and looking at Ben. "He should know that's against the law and dangerous." Noah continued as Ben attempted to stare him down. "What kind of an older brother would purposely put their little brother in danger like that?"
"We just wanted to see! Jesus!" Ben growled. "Can we go now, or are you gonna keep messing with us?"
"No, I think were done messing around." Noah said backing away from Ben, who was obviously getting angry. "Take the older one into custody." Noah said to Scott in a professional tone. "Breaking and entering, Illegal trespass and placing a minor in danger. I'll take care of the little one, since he obviously won't." Noah got out as Scott waved to one of the security guards, still standing in the hallway.
"You heard him. Let's take him to the brig and process him." Scott said just as Ben attempted to run, but was caught by two security officers. "I'll be in the brig," Scott said as he ruffled Alex's hair and gave him a wink.
"What's gonna happen to Benny?" Alex asked as the group left.
"Nothing." Noah said as he knelt down in front of Alex. "They're gonna take him to our bri... um... jail and make him think he's in trouble."
"Why?" The small boy looked up and asked with wide eyes.
"Cause part of being a big brother is making sure the little brother is safe. I think he forgot that rule today, so we're gonna remind him." Noah said with a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, you guys aren't in any real trouble, okay?"
Alex nodded his head in response. "Big brothers have rules?" He asked, looking as if he was deep in thought.
"They sure do." Noah said standing back up. "Hey, are you hungry?"
"Kinda." Alex answered as Noah put his hand on his shoulder and lead him to the doorway.
"Good, cause I missed breakfast and it's almost lunchtime." He said turning to the last remaining security guard in the hall. "I want someone to remain stationed at that door until someone has a chance to fix the lock on it."
"Aye sir." The officer replied and started off down the hall to assume first watch.
"Are you guys some kinda kid army?" Alex asked as they made their way down the hall toward the elevator.
"I guess. We're part of a Vulcan Clan and hold rank with United Federation of Planets. That kinda makes us like an army." Noah said as they reached the elevator just in time to run into Jerry and Joey. "Hey, I want you to meet two of my friends." Noah said with a grin as Joey ran toward him and wrapped him in a tight hug.
"Uncah Noah, who's dhe widdwe boy?" ("Uncah Noah, who's the little boy?") Joey asked turning his head and smiling.
"Joey, this is Alex. He lives really close to this hospital." Noah said with a grin.
"Your eyes are funny." Alex said with a giggle as Joey released Noah and smiled.
"Nuh uh, my daddy says dhey'we coow." ("Nuh uh, my daddy says they're cool.") Joey said crossing his arms.
"They are." Alex quickly replied. "One time my Mommy took me to a zoo and there was a wolf puppy that had a brown and a gray eye. I got to pet him and everything!" Alex said excitedly as all four entered the elevator.
"Whooooaaaahhhhh! A wowf? Daddy, can we go do dha zoo and ped dhe wowf puppy doo?" ("Whooooaaaahhhhh! A wolf? Daddy, can we go do tha zoo and pet the wolf puppy too?") Joey bounced as he pulled on Jerry's shirt.
"That'd be fun." Jerry said looking back at Noah and smiling. "I'll ask your granma and grampa if we can go some weekend."
"Oday." ("Otay.") Joey gleamed. "Can Awex come doo?" ("Can Alex come too?")
"Maybe, he'd have to ask his parents first though." Jerry replied as the doors opened and the group started toward the cafeteria.
"He's your Daddy?" Alex whispered to Joey once Jerry and Noah started talking between themselves. "He's like, a kid."
"Daddy's don'd godda be owd ow nudhin. Dhey jusd godda wanna be youw daddy." ("Daddy's don't gotta be old or nuthin. They just gotta wanna be your daddy.") Joey replied, getting a confused look from Alex.
"Is your mommy a kid too?" Alex asked, still really confused.
"I don'd god a mommy." ("I don't got a mommy.") Joey answered with a smile. "Bud I god a bunch of bwodhews and uncwes and sduff." ("But I got a bunch of brothers and uncles and stuff.")
"Cool." Alex said as they walked up to the counter.
"There he is." Jerry's mother said with a smile before noticing the new boy. "Okay, where did the cute little blondie come from?" She half laughed.
"Gwamma, he's my fwiend Awex." ("Gramma, he's my friend Alex.") Joey said wrapping his arm around Alex's shoulder and smiling widely. "He pedded a wowf!" ("He petted a wolf!")
"Oh he did?" She asked with a smile. "Well Alex, it's very nice to meet you."
"Thanks ma'am." Alex replied as Joey started looking around the room. "Watcha lookin for?"
"My bwodhew." ("My brother.") Joey answered before looking up at Jerry. "Is Casey commin do wunch Daddy?" ("Is Casey commin to lunch Daddy?")
"I think so." Jerry replied quickly before a smell from the kitchen redirected his attention. "Mom, do I smell pizza?"
"Is he part bloodhound?" Another woman in the kitchen chuckled and asked Jerry's mother.
"Nope, you'll learn there is no way to sneak pizza passed most of these boys." Mary replied.
"Pepperoni." Noah said with a giggle. "I definitely smell pepperoni."
"See." Mary laughed as she started putting slices on four plates and slid them across the counter to the boys. "There are sodas on ice at the end of the counter." She said before turning her attention to a couple of the off duty security officers that stepped up to the counter.
"Thanks Mom!" Jerry said as the other boys smiled and waved. Once grabbing their drinks and finding Marc and Byron at an open table they all sat down and tore into their lunches.
"Noah, you um... got an extra kid there. Not sure if you noticed." Marc said with a giggle.
"Unkah Mawc, he's my fwiend Awex." ("Unkah Marc, he's my friend Alex.") Joey said with a laugh.
"Oh really?" Marc asked with a smile. "Nice to meet you Alex. I'm Marc and this is Byron."
"Hi." Alex meekly answered, sliding closer to Joey.
"Where did he come from?" Marc whispered to Noah before taking a large bite from his pizza.
"He lives over on Apache Street. We found him and his older brother after they snuck in to check the place out." Noah replied before taking a large gulp from his soda. "His brother is with Scott in the brig."
"The brig?" Marc asked setting his slice back in his plate.
"That means jail." Alex said with a satisfied nod before taking a huge bite from his pizza.
"You're right, it does. Thanks." Marc replied with a smirk. "What are they doing in there Noah?"
Noah smiled at Alex before nodding his head. "Cause some big brothers need to learn how to keep their little brothers out of danger."
"Okay." Marc replied with a confused expression. "Anyway, we got a call from CIC earlier." Marc said popping the last of his pizza in his mouth.
"Really? Is everyone alright?" Noah excitedly asked.
"I think so." Marc answered. "I didn't get much more than orders to stand down from silent yellow. Justy said that Cory and Danny would be able to fill in the details when they get back sometime tonight."
"That's weird." Noah said shrugging his shoulders. "At least we can start clearing the building now."
"Yup." Marc answered as Antonio approached the table with his lunch and sat next to Byron. "You're late." Marc giggled.
"Benji's awake." Antonio said with a smile. "I was checking on them and he kinda woke up." Antonio said with a grin. "He was whining cause he was hungry so I asked Mrs. Owens to send up something light for them both."
"Great." Marc said with a smile. "I'll take a run up and see them." Marc said with a grin as he picked up the last slice from his plate and tore into it.
"Oh Marc, I almost forgot. Billy needs to talk to you about a trip to Terra Main." Noah said before Joey let out a huge belch, causing everyone at the table to start laughing.
"Escuse me." ("Escuse me.") Joey giggled. "Aww dhe widdwe bubbwes in my soda made one big one. I was gonna expwode!" ("All the little bubbles in my soda made one big one. I was gonna explode!") He added with a grin.
"That had to be my little brother." KC said as he walked up to the table, barely having enough time to put his lunch on the table before Joey tackled him with a hug. "Did all that noise come from you creep?"
"Casey! I'm nod a cweep!" ("Casey! I'm not a creep!") Joey giggled as KC set Joey back in his seat and sat down.
"Sure your not." KC said with a mock look of concern on his face. "See, you're even recruiting a little creep army." He continued winking at Alex.
"Nice to see you wearing real clothes dude." Marc said to KC with a grin.
KC smiled before picking up a slice of pizza. "Yeah, I'm just glad this body isn't much different from my old one. All the stuff that was in storage still fits."
"Isn't it the same as your original one?" Noah asked, tilting his head.
"Sorta." KC replied before swallowing his first mouthful. "All my old scars and stuff are gone. Everything else looks right."
"You got a new body? People can do that?" Alex looked up from his plate and asked.
"Alex, KC's a special kind of person." Noah said with a smile.
"He's an andwoid. Jusd wike me!" ("He's an android. Just like me!") Joey added with a giggle.
"Wow!" Alex replied with his bright blue eyes wide open. "I neva met an anroid before."
"You may meet a few around here and not even know it." Marc said as he downed the rest of his soda and stood up. "Noah, you wanna walk with me? We have some planning to do."
"Yeah, sure." Noah quickly replied before stuffing the rest of his last slice in his mouth and standing up. "Jerry, you're sticking with the boys, right?"
"Yeah, I'm clear for now unless you need me." Jerry replied.
"Nah, spend some time with your son. I just wanted to make sure you were okay with one extra." Noah said motioning to Alex.
"Nah dude, I'm staying with them. Nothing worse than being outnumbered by an army of little creeps." KC said before Joey glared at him.
"We'we nod cweeps Casey! Daddy, deww him we'we nod cweeps." ("We're not creeps Casey! Daddy, tell him we're not creeps.") Joey whined while grabbing Jerry's shirt sleeve.
"Yeah KC, they aren't creeps!" Jerry said with a smile. "Well that's their story anyway."
As the feud at the table began, Noah and Marc simply laughed and hurried away from the table. "Glad to see everyone is getting along." Marc said when they finally reached the door.
"Yeah, Joey's really taken with KC. He seems to be really good with him too." Noah said as they reached the elevator.
"That'll make Austin happy." Marc said with a smile as the elevator doors opened.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Prisoner secured sir." A security officer reported to Scott before returning to his post.
"Thank you." Scott replied before walking over to the closed cell.
"Don't I get a phone call or a lawyer or sumthin?" Benny asked as he plopped down on the cot in the cell and crossed his arms.
"Maybe later." Scott replied as he dragged a chair near the cell.
"Can I at least have my hat back?" Benny asked looking at his sneakers, which now had no shoe laces in them. "When my Mom finds out what you guys did, she's gonna have you arrested." He continued to pout.
"Really?" Scott asked sitting forward in his chair. "Will that be after your younger brother calls to tell her that you broke into this building and put him in danger?"
"He's calling her?" Benny asked as the look of defiance in his expression became one of fear. "Oh come on! We just wanted to see who all the kids were. There aren't many kids around here."
"Did you ever think just once to come in the front door and ask?" Scott asked as he sat back and put his feet up on the bars. "What would you have done if we fired our weapons? What if Alex got hurt? Do you have any idea all the things that could have happened?"
"You wouldn't have shot us, we're just kids." Benny replied, with a tear now streaming down his cheek.
"You were an intruder that forced your way inside. If it was all military in this building, they could have come with guns firing." Scott said as he lowered his tone. "What would you have done then? You are Alex's big brother. He relies on you to keep him safe, all little brothers should be able to trust that their big brothers love them enough to not purposely put them in harms way."
"But it was safe. You guys didn't shoot at us or nuthin." Benny sobbed.
"You know that now." Scott said as he stood up from his chair. "I just hope you remember that the next time you get the urge to break into some other place not knowing who or what is on the inside."
"It'll never happen again." Benny said, wiping the tears out of his eyes as he watched Scott begin to walk back towards the entrance to the brig. "You're not gonna leave me in here, are you?"
"No." Scott said with a laugh. "Come on out."
"But I'm locked in here." Benny said with a sniffle.
"No you're not. That door doesn't lock." Scott said with a snicker as Ben tried the door and it swung open.
"You lied." Benny said as he stepped out of his cell.
"I never said it was locked." Scott said as he turned back toward the on duty officer. "Since the brig is now empty, report to the main guard shed. We'll be reducing staff on site once the premises has been evacuated. I'll brief your team as soon as I have more info."
"Aye Sir." The officer saluted and then left the room.
"So, um..." Benny began as he slowly stepped closer. "Am I in trouble?"
"Not this time, no." Scott replied as he opened the door and motioned to Benny to follow. "But I can guarantee if these guys find out you ever put your little brother in a dangerous situation like that again, they will do something about it."
"Yes sir." Benny replied, directing his gaze at the floor. "It won't happen again, honest." He got out as Scott turned to leave the room. "What about my stuff?" He asked quickly as he shook his loose fitting pants. "I can live without my hat, maybe even my shoe laces but I kinda need my belt." He said with a pleading look.
"That might be a good idea." Scott said with a snicker. "Over there on the table, then we'll go see if we can find the rest of the guys."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Doctor Furst!" Nurse Patty said with a smile as Marc and Noah approached the nurses station. "Benjamin and Elijah are both awake." She said as she tossed two folders on the counter top.
"Don't let them hear you calling them that." Noah said with a giggle. "Eli and Benji." He added when the nurse tilted her head in question.
"That explains the dirty looks." She laughed as Marc opened the first folder and grinned.
"Have the Wiggins family already departed?" Marc asked, noticing the floor was deathly silent.
"Both boys have been signed out; I'm not sure if they left the building yet though." Nurse Patty replied. "Would you like me to page them to find out?"
"No, I was just curious if they went home or if the boys kidnapped them." Marc giggled as he put the folders down and waved to Noah. "Let's go see how they're doing."
"They're definitely awake." Noah said with a smile as he listened to the giggling on the other side of the door.
"Hey, no fair! I can't move to see it." Eli whined before noticing Noah and Marc stepping into the room.
"Can't see what?" Marc asked before a toy car slowly rolled out from beneath Benji's bed.
"We were racing." Benji said as another car rolled off of the window sill and fell to the floor. "We were kinda bored."
"I hear ya bro." Noah said as he plopped down in the chair between the two beds. "Can't he get out of bed Marc?"
Marc looked at Noah and then at Benji before looking at the display on Eli's bed. "Not until cell regeneration slows back down to almost normal again. Right now, something as simple as a good bump could cause damage." He continued before smiling down at Eli. "How are you feeling?"
"Okay, I guess." Eli replied, still looking to be a bit groggy. "I don't hurt."
"That's good." Marc replied with a smile. "I wish I could say that it's not going to but, after you are healed enough for your prosthetics to come online; there may be a little bit of discomfort." Marc continued as he began to remove the bandages wrapping Eli's right shoulder.
"How long before this stuff works?" Benji asked, watching Marc's every move intently.
"According to the rate of cell regeneration, we should be looking at about 24 hours for nervous system activation and motor function about 3 hours after that." Marc replied as he investigated Eli's incisions.
"You think for an android he could be a little more specific." Noah giggled as Marc looked at him and raised one eyebrow.
"Okay." Marc said as he looked at Eli and winked. "More specific he wants. According to these readings we have approximately 86,400 seconds until full nervous system activation and an additional 10,800 seconds for motor function. So in total, I estimate 97,200 seconds before these prosthetics will be usable." Marc said with a grin. "Does that work or would you like me to break it down to nanoseconds?"
"Um... No... I think that works." Noah said, to a now giggling Marc.
"It was the exact same answer, dufus" Marc shot back getting a laugh followed by a wince from Eli.
"Oh god! Don't make me laugh." Eli said closing his eyes tightly.
"I think you're goin swimming when we get out of here." Benji said, sympathetically patting Noah on the back.
"I can guarantee it bro." Eli said, laughing and grasping his shoulder again.
"Okay guys, it's way too soon to be stressing these implants." Marc said as he began to re-wrap Eli's shoulder.
"We have a gift from the cafeteria." Nurse Patty almost sang as she rolled a cart into the room.
"FOOD!" Eli and Benji both said in unison as Patty handed Noah Benji's tray and she rolled a cart over to Eli.
"Mary." Marc said with a laugh as he watched the two boys uncover their heart shaped personal pizzas.
"That's so cool." Noah said as Marc began pushing him toward the door. "I want a heart shaped pizza." Noah whined as Benji began to laugh.
"Go down and show her your black eye, maybe she'll cut a piece of pepperoni into a heart or something." He said, causing Noah to grab his chest, as if he had just been shot.
"Yeah, then she can put it on that shiner." Eli added as Nurse Patty aided him with his lunch.
"That really hurts guys." Noah said before beginning to giggle. "I'm not done with you guys yet. I'll be back!"
"Oh yes you are." Marc said pushing Noah out into the hall. "Get some rest guys; I'll be back in a little while to check on you." He continued as Noah started to laugh.
"See you guys later" He managed to get out before the door closed. "97,000 seconds huh?" He asked as Marc slugged him in the shoulder.
"Actually, it's more like 108,842 seconds total, but who's counting." Marc said with a laugh as Noah started to scratch his head. "Dude, I think KC kicked you too hard." He laughed as his communicator chirped. "Marc here."
"Marc, it's Billy. I have an incoming transmission from Corporal Jackson, CPD. Are you near a terminal?"
"Um.... Yeah. Could you put it through to the nurses station on the second floor?" He asked as he rushed to get behind the counter.
"Redirecting transmission now, you'll have it in a second. O'Keefe out."
Just as Marc was clipping his communicator to his belt, the terminal alerted of the incoming message. "Hey Will." Marc said with a smile.
"Hi Marc." Will said with a grin. "Just wanted to let you know we have just checked your two guests in, your new car is in your driveway at home and the others should be there later on tonight. You also have a medical transport en route to your location." Will got out with one breath. "So um... would you like fries with that?" He chuckled when he saw Noah roll his eyes.
"Will, you are amazing. Anyone ever tell you that?" Marc said as he sat down in the chair in front of the terminal, Noah perching on the armrest.
"No, but you can say it again." Will chuckled. "If you have anyone who could benefit from a road safety course, let me know in about a week. We are getting ready to start training some of our cadets behind the wheel." Will said rolling his eyes. "How bout your buddy there. If he drives anything like he runs your division when you aren't around, I'm sure he could teach these kids a thing or two."
"Drive a car?" Noah said in shock. "Oh Marc, that'd be soooo sweet! Can I? Please?"
"We'll see." Marc said winking at Will. "The final call should come from Cory and Danny though."
"What do you think they'd say?" Noah hopped off the armrest and knelt down next to Marc's chair.
"I think they'd say one speed demon behind the wheel in the clan is more than enough but, that's their call." Marc said with a giggle as Noah's hopeful expression melted.
"Marc, you really should give some serious thought into this. Your status as a diplomatic clan does give your group abilities that normally you wouldn't have to deal with. Like being able to operate a motor vehicle. The class we are holding would benefit your group. Not to mention, insure they know how to handle their vehicles, especially on duty or interacting with local law enforcement." Will said as he watched Noah stare intently at Marc. "He does look interested."
"Gee thanks Will." Marc said with a giggle as he looked at Noah. "Fine, I'll talk to Danny about it. Okay?"
"Sweet! Thanks Bro!" Noah almost shouted as he quickly hugged Marc and ran toward the elevator.
"Has he ever driven a car before?" Will asked when Marc started to laugh.
"I doubt it." Marc said watching Noah bounce impatiently until the elevator doors opened. "He's already one of my choices. I just didn't want him to know yet." He said with a snicker.
"Oh, I didn't mean to blow your surprise." Will said with a laugh. "You are invited to speak with your superiors to see if there is anyone else in your organization who would benefit from offensive driving courses. I already have Eddie and a few of his trainees scheduled."
"Offensive Driving." Marc said as he sat back in his chair. "That's a scary thought with some of these guys."
"Just let me know." Will said as he looked at his watch. "I'll check back once I have the details."
"I will. Thanks, Will." Marc replied as the terminal went into standby.
"Hey Dad." Austin said as he reached the nurses station, startling Marc.
"Hey, I was just going to come looking for you." Marc said as he looked at the bandages still covering his son's face from his final procedure earlier in the morning. "You have an appointment with a mirror."
"Cool, I just want to check in on Joey and KC first." Austin said looking toward the room the two boys were supposed to be in.
"If you can find them." Marc laughed. "Last I saw they were hanging out with one of our next door neighbors."
"Really?" Austin said as Marc led him back toward the elevator. "Are they doing okay? I mean are they moving around okay?"
"Stop worrying." Marc giggled as the doors opened and they stepped inside. "They are both looking healthy, acting normal and adjusting well." Marc said wrapping his arm around his son. "You really should be proud of what you did for them both."
"Yeah, well I did have help." Austin said as the elevator stopped and the doors opened. "Billy has some really awesome ideas for your new R&D setup. When you get a chance you really gotta go over some of his notes.
"I'll ask him." Marc said as they approached an examining room and entered it. "First thing I plan to do is see your new face." Marc giggled as he closed the door.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Attention all medical and security personnel, please make final preparations to depart. This building is to be completely vacated in one hour. I repeat, Please make final preparations to depart. All AI Division staff; please assemble in the main lobby for briefing." Doctor Herron's voice boomed over the all call, echoing down the hallways that were bustling with the staff that had accumulated over the last couple of days.
"We'we goin home?" ("We're goin home?") Joey asked his father as they nearly got trampled by a security team that was rushing past.
"Hey! Watch it! We got a little one here!" KC shouted after the team who waved apologetically.
"Yeah, we're finally going home buddy." Jerry answered noticing Marc and Austin coming out of one of the small examination rooms. "Austin! You look great!"
"I do pretty good work." Marc giggled as Joey rushed and tackled his older brother in a hug.
"Ausdin. I didn'd know you had a big bwodhew doo." ("Austin. I didn't know you had a big brother too.") Joey said as KC crossed his arms and smiled.
"I didn't either squirt." Austin said as he returned the hug. "When we get home, I kinda wanna talk to you both about that."
"Sumthin wrong dude?" KC asked once he realized Austin now had a somewhat sad expression.
"Not really." Austin answered. "Do you plan on sticking around once you're back to 100% functionality?"
"Are you kidding?" KC asked with a grin. "Someone's gotta teach this little guy how to have fun." He said with a grin. "You guys work too much."
"Don't worry about it KC. Your little brother is just worrying himself to death over something that he thinks is going to be horrible." Marc said with a wink.
"Me?" ("Me?") Joey asked with his eyes now open wide.
"No creep, Austin." KC answered with a laugh.
"Bud I'm dhe widdwe bwodhew." ("But I'm the little brother.") Joey replied, getting a laugh from everyone.
"No, you're the baby brother." KC snickered.
"I'm nod a baby!" ("I'm not a baby!") Joey stated with his hands on his hips. "You'we siwwy!" ("You're silly!")
"Yeah, well you're a little creep." KC said, now placing his hands on his hips and mimicking Joey. "That makes you the little creepy baby brother. So there."
"No I nod!" ("No I not!") Joey shot back with a smile. "You'we a cweep!" ("You're a creep!") He continued with a giggle before loudly whispering. "Daddy. Whad's a cweep?" ("Daddy. What's a creep?") Causing everyone to laugh when Joey shot KC a dirty look when he pointed to Joey and laughed.
"KC says you are buddy." Jerry said with a giggle as they turned the corner and entered the main lobby.
"Is dhad bad?" ("Is that bad?") Joey asked with a confused look.
"No little man, I think you're my favorite creep." KC said as he picked up his little brother and gave him a hug.
"Oday Casey." ("Otay Casey.") Joey replied as they joined the small group and Marc met with Noah and Chris in the front of the room.
"Is everyone here?" Marc asked as Scott rushed into the room. "You too Scott. I know you're primarily security but you are Clan staff. You need to know what the plan is."
"That looks like everyone Marc; I'm going to relay this info to the medical staff you have listed." Chris said before turning to leave the room.
"Okay guys, listen up." Marc shouted to quiet the murmuring from the group. "As you all must know by now, we have received a communication from HQ. Cory's team is going to be returning sometime tonight and I will finally be able to step down as Division Head." Marc said before lowering his voice and turning toward Noah and whispered "Finally."; earning a giggle from Noah. "They are not fully aware of the condition of this building yet, so we'll have a bit of explaining to do before the rest of you get to go home." Marc paused as he looked at the P.A.D.D. he had sitting on the reception desk. "The following people will be expected to report directly to Transporter Room 1 following this meeting. Jerry Owens, Joey Owens, KC McKensie, Antonio Barnes, Byron Tecumseh, Sammy Martin, Sebastian Martin, Austin Short and Noah Barnes. Noah will be in active command at our compound until either I arrive to relieve him or Daniel Page returns." Marc paused to get Noah's reaction, receiving an acknowledging nod from Noah. "All those remaining will be briefed as to what preparations will be needed to prepare the building for the work that will need to be done. Are there any questions?" Marc smiled when no one spoke up. "Noah, would you like to add anything?"
"Yeah." He replied and turned the P.A.D.D. so he could read from it before looking back at the group. "Of my team, Austin will be working with Byron and Antonio to prepare for Eli and Benji's arrival. They are already in transport to the compound. We will be clearing the upper lab to receive the two portable biobeds and a small amount of equipment. Jerry, KC and Joey will be going to the Owens residence. KC and Joey for rest, Jerry to fill in his father to expect some equipment for storage." Noah said with a pause. "Sammy and Bastian can help clearing the lab, but they can spend the rest of their time with Eli and Benji." Noah said earning a wide smile from them both. "That's all really." He added before turning back to Marc.
"Take your team home then, I'll see you in a little while." Marc said before Noah turned to the group.
"Let's get to work guys." Noah said as he led his team, followed by Billy out of the room.
"Okay, the rest of us have a few things to accomplish before we can leave." Marc continued. "Mary, you and your team needs to make sure the kitchen is shut down. The crews will be installing the new equipment after the clean out so, if there is any food left in the building it will get tossed. We still have a group coming home tonight so if you have anyplace to store it at the house, set it up with Billy to have it beamed back." Marc said getting a confirming nod from Mary. "Lt. Shannon will be maintaining a security team for the hospital since we do have equipment being left behind. Scott, I expect you to report to Eddie on regular intervals. Maybe even rotate security between locations."
"Aye sir." Scott replied with a smile.
"Mr. O'Keefe will be manning the transporters and I will be securing whatever medical equipment that is not handled by our volunteer team before they depart. Let's do this and go home, I think we could all use a break." Marc said with a smile. "Dismissed." He said to the few remaining people before noticing that Alex and his brother Benny were still standing out in the hall. "Come here guys."
"I guess we gotta go home now." Alex said as he approached Marc with a sad expression on his face.
"Yeah, and I want you two to promise me you won't try sneaking into the building while the men are doing their work. The stuff they are going to be removing can make you real sick." He continued as he grabbed a piece of paper and wrote something on it. "Here." Marc said handing the paper to Alex.
"What's this?" Benny asked looking at the paper Alex was holding.
"Our phone number on Sullivan's Island. We'll be gone for more than a week but, if you want to come and visit you can give a call." Marc said beginning to smile when Alex lost his depressed expression.
"Is Joey gonna be there?" Alex asked excitedly.
"He sure will." Marc replied turning to walk the boys out the front door.
"Ya think maybe I can sleep over some night or something?" He continued as they stepped outside.
"That's between your parents and Joey's grand parents." Marc said ruffling his hair. "I don't see why not though."
"Cool!" Alex said before he grabbed Benny's hand and almost began dragging him back towards their house. "Thanks!" He shouted back as Benny tried to wave before they rounded the side of the building.
Marc watched as they vanished before going back into the building, stopping inside the doorway and looking around. "Next time is for real." He said, as if speaking to the building itself. "This place is gonna be great."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
4 Hours Later - AI Division Compound
"How'd it go?" Noah asked as he powered down the transporter unit and Marc stepped down off the pad.
"Not bad." Marc replied looking around the basement. "Looks like they've been doing some redecorating." He said with a smile as he noticed all the new equipment in place but the older equipment still scattered about.
"Yeah. I guess a lot of this stuff will end out in our section of the hospital." Noah replied as Marc started up the stairs. "Can I ask you a question?"
"Sure." Marc replied opening the door and stepping into the hallway. "Once I get something to drink."
"Mmmm. Me too." Noah said following him into the kitchen. "Eli and Benji are sleeping." Noah said as Marc stopped for a second and looked at the closed door to the upper lab. "It's quiet. Sammy and Bastian are taking a nap with them. Antonio and Byron ran next door to help Mary and Jerry put away all the supplies from the kitchen."
Marc smiled as he grabbed two glasses and went to the refrigerator. "Oh my god. You mean we're alone?" He asked with a laugh.
"Oh yeah." Noah said as he accepted the glass Marc offered him and smiled. "Peace and quiet. Can you believe it?"
"Well then, this meeting can go out on the back deck then." Marc giggled, putting the soda back in the fridge and then leading the way back through the living room to the back deck. Once both boys decided to have a seat on the steps, Marc took a deep breath, closed his eyes and smiled. "Dude, if your question is work related, you think it can wait a while?"
"Well, it's sorta work related." Noah said before taking a sip from his glass. "Not totally though."
"Something wrong bro?" Marc asked, now turning to look at Noah. "We can talk work if you need to. I'm just happy to be home." He added with a smile.
"I've got a problem." Noah started. "I know Caleb feels the same way too."
"Okay." Marc said turning to completely face Noah with a smile. "Spit it out. What's buggin ya?"
"Are we all done here? Me and Caleb I mean." Noah asked looking back out over the ocean.
"Looking forward to going home?" Marc asked with a smile as he turned to look out over the water as well, wrapping an arm around him and squeezing. "I can understand that."
"That's not it." Noah replied quickly. "This is the kind of work Cal loves. Computers, networks and androids. It's like the past few days have been like a dream come true for him. For us both really."
"Oh?" Marc replied, somewhat surprised. "What about your Dad and Antonio?"
"Dad is the best." Noah said with a thoughtful smile. "Not that long ago Cal asked me to make the decision for us both to be his sons. He asked me to keep him safe. He trusted me to decide for him cause he was afraid to." He said before taking a deep breath. "I got lucky. Matt is the best Dad anyone could ever have. Both he and Antonio wanted us as family even after Caleb's family tossed us out. Now I have to make another decision, and it ain't easy."
Marc silently listened as Noah's voice began to break up a little.
"Caleb loves this place. I mean we've gotten to help out with some serious stuff after Dad adopted us but, here we can really help. I mean a lot." He said with a sniffle. "We both love Dad and Antonio lots but, the work we've been doing here is like... I dunno... It's like we were born for it. I've never seen Caleb happier." Noah got out as Antonio and Byron came running up giggling.
"Noah?" Antonio asked before letting Byron's hand go and pulling his brother into a hug. "What's wrong?"
"I don't know what to do." Noah managed to get out before hugging Antonio tighter and beginning to sob.
"What happened?" Byron asked as he sat down in front of Marc.
"I'm not really sure buddy." Marc replied before squeezing Noah's shoulder. "Tell you what. You and your brother talk a little before you make any final decisions. Byron and I are gonna go inside and check on Eli and Benji, maybe even get dinner started." Marc said standing up. "Sound cool?" He asked, tilting his head when Byron started shaking his head, followed by Antonio.
"We need him here." Antonio said with a pleading look.
"Gotcha." Marc said with a smile before turning back toward the house. "Yell if you guys need me." He said softly before closing the door.
"What happened?" Antonio repeated his question from earlier.
"Nothing happened little bro." Noah replied as Byron sat down and wrapped his arm around Noah.
"Right." Byron said, shaking his head in disbelief. "Y'all cry like that all the time. I get it."
"That's not it." Noah said, almost laughing through a sniffle. "We're almost done here."
"That what got you so sad?" Antonio asked, resting his head on Noah's shoulder.
"Makes sense." Byron said flatly. "Sounds like your hacker brothers may have just found their playground." He said with a smile.
"You wanna stay? That's what this is, isn't it?" Antonio asked, surprising Noah with a giggle. "Oh man. I was thinkin someone got hurt or sumthin."
"I've never seen Caleb so happy." Noah said wiping his nose on his sleeve. "I mean, not since the day you told Dad to adopt us."
"So?" Antonio fired back with a serious look. "You're thinkin that me an Daddy want you with us more than we want you to be happy?"
"No!" Noah replied quickly, opening his eyes wide. "That's not what I meant."
"Okay, yur thinkin that if you ask to stay here that I won't want you guys to be my brothers, or Daddy is gonna want his name back or sumthin?" Antonio got out, his expression getting more serious by the moment.
"No 'Tonio, I... I..." Noah got out before tears began to stream down his cheeks again. "I love you guys. I love Caleb. Back home we've done so much. But here we can do so much more." He managed to get out before Antonio wrapped his arms around his brother.
"You an Caleb got yur own rooms." Antonio said looking directly at Noah. "What's it matter if it's here or there? As long as you guys are never gonna stop bein my brothers. Then I want you to be doin what makes ya both happy. Daddy would say the same thing and you know that."
"You guys got transporters here." Byron added in. "Takes what? A few seconds to come home to visit?"
"Daddy already knows all that happened." Antonio said softly as he cuddled into Noah's chest. "You just saw how happy Caleb was, me an Byron got to see you both. I called him a little while ago and told him."
"You told him we wanna stay? I haven't even really talked to Caleb about it yet." Noah said in shock.
"I told him y'all was happy and workin hard. I told him bout all the medical stuff we been doin, about the computer stuff Caleb was workin with Danny and JR on, bout you bein in command of everythin." Antonio said as he almost shyly looked into Noah's once again tear filled blue eyes. "I told him you guys were happier than I ever seen you."
"He's so proud of you all." Byron said wrapping his arms around both boys. "You guys aren't done here. We all know that. Including your Dad."
"You don't think he'd be upset?" Noah asked, resting his cheek on Antonio's head.
"He might be." Antonio answered. "If he finds out you two found something you really wanted an didn't go after it."
"Besides." Antonio almost whispered. "Someone's gotta get it through to those short circuiting brothers that they make a cute couple." Antonio said with a laugh.
"No kiddin." Noah said as Antonio squeezed his brother and all three stood up. "Maybe me an Caleb can hack their brains an make em smarter or sumthin." He said wiping away the last of his tears.
"Someone's gotta." Byron chimed in as they all laughed and went inside the house.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"SURPRISE!" Cory yelled as the group appeared in the living room at the AI Compound.
"OMIGOD!" Noah said as he fumbled to catch the glass he was holding unsuccessfully, watching it shatter on the floor.
"Good god guys!" Marc said grasping at his chest. "How the hell did you do that?"
"We're gooooood!" Cory giggled as he polished his fingernails on his shirt.
"Good, you can help me clean up this mess then, dork!" Noah said with a laugh.
"I'll help you." Caleb said with a smile as he rushed over and hugged Noah tightly. "Did ya miss me?"
"Bigtime!" Noah said, resting his forehead on Caleb's shoulder releasing a sigh of relief.
"Broken glass!" Josiah said excitedly with a grin. Josiah tilted his head and giggled as the shards of glass quickly pulled back together to form a glass figurine that resembled a cat. "Okay well that's not what I was going for but it's not broken anymore."
Gavin smiled as he wrapped his arms around Josiah. "That's okay cutie; I think it's awesome, just like you."
"You want some more soda dude?" Danny said with a laugh as he grabbed the bottle off of the coffee table and motioning as if he was going to pour it on the cat.
"No thanks." Noah answered before looking back up in astonishment. "How the...?" He got out, tilting his head.
"Zero-point energy," said Josiah. "It's a giving and taking of energy kinda thing, but it lets me move, remake, blow up, reduce, and control just about anything. I kinda meant to put the glass back together but I wasn't paying enough attention to what it should be. It turned out to be what I was thinking instead, a cat."
Dmitry giggled, "Do you think about cats often?"
"No," replied Josiah. "I spend most of my time thinking about Gavin now. Before that I use to think about cats often, they're kinda cute."
"I guess that answers your question." Marc said with a giggle. "Looks like you guys had an interesting trip." He continued, turning toward Sean.
Sean nodded. "You might say that; when you hear about all of it you're gonna freak."
Just then, Joey came running into the room, followed by an out of breath KC. "Get back here Creep!" KC shouted before both came to a screeching halt in the living room.
"You'we Home!" ("You're Home!") Joey shouted at the top of his lungs tackling Cory, who was the nearest person. Knocking both to the floor in a fit of giggles.
After seeing the shocked expressions, Marc laughed and elbowed Noah in the side. "Looks like we have some competition on who had the most interesting couple of days."
"JOEY!!!!!!!" Timmy screamed as he pounced on top of Joey and Cory.
"Dimmy!" ("Timmy!") Joey squealed as he turned and hugged his brother tightly. "Dimmy! Wooked, I god a new body an Ausdin gave me fawds wike Unkah Cowy!" ("Timmy! Looket, I got a new body an Austin gave me farts like Unkah Cory!")
"Awesome!" Timmy giggled. "You can make sure Unka Marc don' forget Daddy then! C'mon; we gotta new little brother; you gotta meet him!"
"Coow!" ("Cool!") Joey replied before looking around the room.
"Looks like we're gonna have to take turns with intros." Marc said with a smile. "You wanna go first Cor?"
Cory shook his head. "You first; my list is longer than a line at Disney."
"Okay." Marc said before whispering something in Joey's ear.
"Oday Unkah Mawc." ("Otay Unkah Marc.") Joey replied in excitement before he ran through the kitchen at top speed and out the front door.
"Well, That was obviously Joey. I'm sure you can guess he's doin better than ever in a real body." He got out as everyone giggled and nodded in agreement. "This cute guy over here is Kenny McKensie. He likes to be called KC" Marc said as KC blushed a bit and waved. "KC was lost in an accident a few years back. We now have a new friend on the police force out in California because of him." Marc said with a grin. "I guess you could say KC is Austin's older brother. He was my first attempt to make us more human, but they canceled that project."
"Nice to meet you guys!" KC finally managed to get out before Joey came running back into the room with Austin in tow.
"I think you may remember this guy." Marc said toward Sean and Cory.
"Austin?" Cory managed to say before Austin found himself bowled over by Timmy. "Dude; you look awesome!" Cory added as he helped Austin back up.
Austin smiled as he pulled Cory into a hug. "Thanks Dad. Did my little brother miss me?"
As he returned the hug, Cory replied. "You better believe it. I think he was just as worried about you as he was Joey."
"This is Timmy?" KC asked when Joey slammed back into his side. "Joey's told me all about you little guy."
"Casey, dhad boy has puwpwe eyes." ("Casey, that boy has purple eyes.") Joey said with a shy grin.
"And no one usually notices. My name is Tyne," grinned Tyne. "I have purple eyes because I'm a little different then everyone else, I'm a Founder. I'm probably the only purple eyed Founder you'll ever meet anymore, if you ever run across another Founder at all. You've got some pretty cool looking eyes too though."
Joey finally stepped out from behind KC and smiled. "You wike my eyes?" ("You like <em>my</em> eyes?") He asked, his smile growing wider. "My Daddy says dhey awe coow." ("My Daddy says they are cool.") He added before stepping closer to Tyne and tilting his head. "Whad's a foundew?" ("What's a founder?")
"Well Founders are a lot like humans in most ways only we're able to do a lot more with our minds," Tyne replied slowly trying to make sure he used words Joey would understand. "The main thing that we can do is see the future and some Founders can see further into the future then others. The futures we see, though, are just possible futures; they might not really happen if we change something. We also have some weak mind reading abilities as well as a very advanced ability to project things into other people's minds; making them see things that aren't really there. Years and years ago the only way that you used to be able to tell if someone was a Founder was because they had purple eyes. These days you have to know what to look for in their genetics. I bet you actually know another Founder and you'd probably never be able to guess that he is one."
"Na-ah." ("Na-ah.") Joey laughed.
"Do you have an uncle named Kyle?" asked Tyne.
"Kywe!?! Kywe's nod a foundew." ("Kyle!?! Kyle's not a founder.") Joey giggled before quickly looking at Kyle. "Awe you Kywe?" ("Are you Kyle?")
Kyle smiled. "I just found out too munchkin. Tyne is teachin' me how to handle the stuff I can do."
"Weawwy?" ("Really?") Joey replied with a shocked expression.
"So you guys might see what could happen and probably can do something to change it?" KC said with a smile, scratching his head. "That's pretty sweet when you think of it."
"It can be," said Tyne.
Just then Dmitry started to dance around in one spot, "I'm gonna introduce myself if ya don't mind. I'm Dmitry, okay now I'm gonna go use your bathroom before I pee myself." Dmitry then grabbed Dominic's hand and started towards the bathroom, "And this is Dominic and I'm taking him with me."
"Through the kitch..." Marc managed to get out before being cut off.
"Oh we know where it's at," Dominic said has he was pulled across the room. "We've been here before. Oh which reminds me; Caleb, if I EVER see you kill a cup of coffee again like you did last week then we're gonna have to have a talk."
"And Marc, just so you know your lab floor is very comfortable," Dmitry added as they disappeared.
"Been here before?" Marc asked shrugging his shoulders.
"There's nothing wrong with how I like my coffee!" Caleb shouted after the two boys with a giggle.
"Not if you are a diabetic cow." Danny laughed.
"Mooooooooooooo!!!!!!" Timmy and Ricky both giggled in unison.
"I don't get it." Marc said, turning to Cory. "They didn't come in with you guys last time you were here."
Cory shrugged his shoulders. "How could ya' miss two hyper guys like that? You really need to take a break Marc."
"Sean, do something TO him, will you?" Marc said with a grin.
Sean started to reach down the back of Cory's pants, then suddenly pulled back hard with a hand full of underwear. "That work?" Sean giggled as Cory yelped and hopped around the room trying to clear his boxers from his butt crack.
"Yeah, I think so." Marc laughed as he watched Cory dance. "I still don't remember them being here though." He got out as the two boys returned.
"Okay, we're back," called Dmitry and he came back into the room still dragging Dominic. He stopped and eyed Cory hopping around, "So what did we miss?"
"The wedgie from hell, and Marc trying to figure out how you hid from him." Sean replied, still giggling.
"Oh if you didn't see us that's okay," Dmitry said with a grin. "We were just supposed to be watching you so Ark gave us cloaking things that made us invisible."
"We even managed to get a few slices of pizza and a few cups of coffee and you didn't even notice anything was missing," added Dominic.
"Told you I didn't eat all of that myself." Caleb said, sticking his tongue out at Noah.
"Yes you did!" Noah laughed. "I sat and watched you do it. Don't blame it on them." He finished with a giggle.
"Wait." Marc said, looking to be even more confused. "Who's Ark?"
Danny smiled and wrapped his arm around Marc's shoulder. "Not a who, a what. I can explain that one later. Bro, you will not believe this story."
Timmy started pulling on Marc's arm. "Unka Marc; are you old guys done talkin' yet? I got a present for Joey.
"I guess so." Marc said with an astonished laugh.
"That means the introductions are officially over I guess." Noah said with a laugh as Joey looked over at Timmy.
"A pwesend? Fow me?" ("A present? For me?")
Timmy grinned. "Uh huh. I hadda make ya somethin special cuz' you're special." Timmy got the bag Kyle had been holding for him and pulled out a teddy bear. "Here ya go; I made him 'pecial just like you. He's even got eyes like yours!"
"Oh WOW!" ("Oh WOW!") Joey said as Timmy handed him the bear. "Wooked Misdew Dyne. He god eyes wike mine, see." ("Looket Mister Tyne. He got eyes like mine, see.") Joey said as he turned the bear to face Tyne. "One bwue, and one gween!" ("One blue, and one green!") He said turning it back to look him over. "Dhanks Dimmy! He's soooo coow. Whad's his name?" ("Thanks Timmy! He's soooo cool. What's his name?")
"I dunno - you gotta name him!" Timmy giggled.
"Oh." ("Oh.") Joey said looking the bear over. "Can I caww him Dimmybeaw?" ("Can I call him Timmybear?") He asked as he hugged the bear tight.
"KEWL!!" Timmy replied as he gave Joey a huge hug.
"Who's Hungry?" Jerry shouted as he came in the front door with his mother right behind him. "Mom made sandwiches and stuff!"
"Gwamma! Gwamma! Wooked whad Dimmy gave me!" ("Gramma! Gramma! Looket what Timmy gave me!") Joey squealed.
"Oh, he's so sweet." Mary said with a smile as Jerry began tearing the foil off the platters they had carried in. "I hope you thanked him."
"Uh-huh!" ("Uh-huh!") Joey said with a huge smile. "Dimmy god one doo, see?" ("Timmy got one too, see?")
"They're almost as cute as you two are." Mary said, giving both boys a hug. "I hope I brought enough." She said to everyone as they filtered into the kitchen.
After eating, most of the boys wandered outside, some to see the ocean for the very first time in their lives. The rest just to catch up with what had gone on in the past couple of days. After discussing Eli and Benji's condition, Marc and Antonio got up from the couch as Byron sat back and relaxed.
"You guys should go pack up; your group should be getting ready to leave soon." Danny said as he draped one arm over both Noah and Caleb's shoulders as they entered the room, Sean and Cory right behind them. "Need a hand??
"Say something." Caleb whispered to Noah forcefully, freezing Danny and getting concerned looks from Sean and Cory. "Say something or I will." He added, lowering his voice a bit.
"You don't I will." Antonio said as he sat back down on the couch next to Byron.
Noah took a deep breath before stepping back from Danny, turning to face the entire group.
"Sir, may I have council with yourself and Director Page?" Noah asked as he stood rigidly in front of Cory.
"Um... Yeah dude." Cory replied half in shock as he looked at the mock innocent expressions plastered on the face of the remaining group, now retreating from the living room. "Okay, spill it guys. What's goin on here?" He continued as he watched Sean fumble with something he was concealing next to himself on the couch.
Caleb grabbed the tricorder off of his belt and set it to record before patting Danny's back and slipping out from his half hug to stand next to Noah. "Please enter this conversation into the logs to serve as an official request from myself and my partner Noah Barnes." He said as he placed the tricorder on the coffee table.
"Sir." Noah began facing a now confused Danny at full attention. "Permission to remain is being requested by myself and Caleb Barnes. We wish to be considered for permanent positions within the AI division to continue the work we have begun." He managed to get out before facing Cory, one silver tear making its way down his right cheek.
Cory turned to look at the lost expression on Danny's face and a nod from Sean before he faced the couple once again. "Why the tears bro?" He asked crossing his arms.
Noah quickly wiped the tear from his cheek before sniffling and once again returning to full attention. "Sir, Caleb and myself believe we have more to offer Clan Short by continuing our work with the materials and information available to us within this division." He managed to get out, constantly wiping away the fresh tears that continued to replace the ones he wiped away. "It is our hope that this request..." Noah got out before choking back a sob.
"Turn off the tricorder." Cory turned and said to Sean.
"No prob bro." Sean replied and ended the session log. "Clear." He replied before sitting on the now empty couch.
"Noah, get yur butt over here." Cory turned and said, opening his arms wide just in time for Noah to fill them. "Now, this is off the record. What's with the tears?"
"Cor." Caleb said, digging his hands into his pockets. "Danny and Marc need help." He got out, looking more toward the floor than to the others in the room. "We have projects planned that are never gonna be completely done. This is our field. This is the kinda stuff Noah and I love. We're just... Well..."
"We want to stay on staff here to help. But we're scared that you guys will think we're bailing out on you." Noah said, burying his face into Cory's chest.
"Oh my god." Cory said, shaking his head and looking at Danny with a smirk. "How in tha hell is that bailing out on us. You guys are nuts." Cory said, finally beginning to giggle as he pushed Noah away and looked him in the eye. "Sit down guys." He said to Noah and then to Caleb as Danny sat on the love seat and Cory sat next to him. "Sit." He repeated when both boys just stood still with confused looks on their faces.
The moment they both sat down, they tightly grabbed each others hand and looked intently at Cory.
"'Tonio!" Cory shouted toward the kitchen.
"Yeah Cory!" Antonio shouted back.
"You an Marc get ur butts back in here; please?" Cory shouted again, elbowing Danny in the side when he began to snicker.
"What?" Danny said while rubbing his side. "Get yur butts in here, please?" Danny said with another giggle. "It was just funny." He said as Marc and Antonio came in from the kitchen and looked on in question.
"Grab a seat guys, we have a family issue that directly involves you both." He got out as Antonio climbed in between his brothers and Marc sat on the arm rest next to Danny. "Almost a week ago our family got bigger." Cory stated as he sat forward and rested his elbows on his knees. "Last Friday started something Awesome that none of us would have ever guessed could happen. We got family at home, here, at the Ark compound and even in Australia now; not just coworkers, family." Cory said as he watched Antonio take one of each of his brothers hands. "Now we have a new issue that none of us even thought of." He said smiling at Noah. "Noah, by asking to stay with this division instead of coming back to CIC you think you are bailing out on us, as you put it." He said shaking his head as if in disbelief. "You guys do stuff with computers that make some of the Federation's IT Staff look like amateurs. Caleb, I bet Bill Gates still has your hand print on his butt." He added, getting an embarrassed blush and a giggle in response. "Tell these guys that story someday; I'm sure Marc could definitely appreciate it." He said before getting serious again. "We've all seen what you guys can do, we all know what you guys are capable of and that this division of our FAMILY, not just our Clan; couldn't be any more tailored for your talents. Even if it had been planned."
"But Dad and Antonio..." Noah got out before Cory raised his hand and cut him off.
"If I remember correctly, the day your father agreed to adopt you both when he adopted Antonio it was to give you a chance to see where your feelings led you. Not just your feelings toward each other I'd bet." He said with a smile. "You've both worked so hard to help in every way that you could. Considering the technical aspect of this new addition we all know the work needed here screams both of your names, loud and clear. My reports have shown me that you both are putting your all into this division's integration. Noah, you held command while I was gone dude. That's huge! How can I not look at that and realize that I'd be limiting your capabilities and potential by taking you away from here?"
"Cor..." Noah tried again before Cory shushed him.
"Our entire family relies on each one of us doing what we do best. What you guys do best is right here; if Marc and Danny had no objections I was already prepared to speak with them about you both taking permanent positions right here." Cory said as he turned and smiled at Danny and Marc. "Antonio has already spoken with your father about all that has gone on. Even he feels this is something you just can't walk away from."
"But we don't want him to think we don't want to be his sons anymore by leaving." Caleb said with a sniffle.
"Why would I think that?" Matt's voice came from the hall as he stepped into the room, slightly out of breath.
"Took you long enough." Sean said with a grin as Noah, Caleb and Antonio rushed over and hugged their father.
"I got tied up." He replied as he kissed each of his boys before they regrouped on the couch, Antonio now in his father's lap with Noah and Caleb on each side. "By the way, thanks Sean." Matt said with a smile as he closed his communicator.
"You heard what we said?" Caleb asked in shock as Sean picked up his communicator off of the couch and closed it with an evil grin.
"I told your Dad that I would keep him in the loop." Sean said with a smile as Noah and Caleb sneered at him before beginning to giggle. "What, it's not like this was any surprise or nothin." He continued before turning to Matt. "All tied up huh? JJ and Adam's kids practicing knot tying again?"
"Not exactly." Matt replied with a chuckle before turning his attention to Noah. "Noah." He started, as he sat back on the couch, drawing Caleb and Noah tight to his sides. "I adopted you and your brothers because I wanted to give you the best chance I could for you to get exactly what you wanted from life. You all deserve the chance to chase your dreams and make them a reality. The day you and Caleb made your way to Teri's home, I offered to be your father. I also told you straight out that you deserved a chance, and that I was going to see that you got it. This is that chance for you both to make a difference. Danny and his division have the tools you both need to pursue that dream and make it more than just a dream. If you both come here to live and do the work you love, then this is exactly that chance I wanted to give you, both of you. Because you are my sons and will be until the end of time. Maybe even a few days past that." Matt added with a smile as they hugged each other tighter. "Pass up this opportunity and I will have failed in my promise. Understand?" Matt said as Noah and Caleb nodded their heads.
"Should we try again Cor?" Sean asked as he raised the tricorder and smiled.
"Do it bro." Cory smiled as Sean set the tricorder to record and placed it back on the coffee table. "This recording is to be entered into the permanent duty records of both Noah Simon Barnes and Caleb Skye Barnes, currently holding positions within Clan Short of Vulcan, of the house of Sarek, of the family of Surak within both our Intelligence and IT departments. Effective today, October 21, 2004; in recognition of outstanding performance within our newly formed Artificial Intelligence division, I request approval from Daniel Alexander Page to consider positions within the division in which he holds command." Cory said, turning to look at Danny with a smile.
"Thank you Patriarch Short." Danny said with a smile as Marc put his hand on Danny's shoulder and squeezed. "On behalf of our team, we would consider it an honor and a privilege to add such talented officers to our team." He said as Marc whispered something in Danny's ear. "You think so?" He asked lowering his voice, receiving an enthusiastic nod from Marc. "Okay then." He continued standing up from his seat. "Caleb Barnes, step forward please."
"Huh?" Caleb replied in shock.
"Get over here bonehead." Danny giggled as Matt pushed his son to his feet. "Mr. Barnes, you have demonstrated to myself and my team a unique ability that we feel our Patriarch would benefit should that ability be further expanded upon and allowed to grow. I am offering you the position of head of our technological development team. Our tools and staff will be at your disposal. Will you consider this request?"
Caleb looked back at his family before turning and allowing a smile to form on his face when Matt nodded his approval. "Yes sir, I do."
"Thank you Mr. Barnes." Danny said with a smile. "I'm looking forward to working with you." He added with a nod before turning to Marc and tilting his head.
"Yes, don't ask me again." Marc said with a giggle answering Danny's unasked question.
"Okay." Danny said before motioning for Caleb to sit back down. "Noah Barnes, step forward please."
Noah nervously stepped forward before stiffening his back and responding. "Yes sir?"
"Mr. Barnes, it has been reported to me that in my absence you have supported Doctor Furst in every way you possibly could. Not only have you physically and emotionally offered support to Doctor Furst and our Medical Staff but, you have also acted on your own accord with the Federation, Law Enforcement and our Engineering Staff on this division's behalf. You have gone far above and beyond the expectations of our Acting Division Head, in turn exceeding my own expectations. You have been an invaluable member of this team. At this time I would like you to consider acting as my second in command of our Patriarch's Artificial Intelligence division."
"Say what?" Noah blurted out, snapping his head in Marc's direction. "Danny, Marc should hold that position. Not me."
Danny nodded his head and grinned at Cory before continuing; "A wise GUY once told me that it would be illogical for Marc to set aside the work he is performing to take another duty upon himself."
"Don't you mean wise MAN?" Cory giggled.
"Whatever." Danny snickered before ignoring the glare Cory was shooting in his direction and returned his attention to Noah. "Marc's work was hampered by having to act as head of this division. Had it not been for your actions, he feels he very well could have failed in that task. You strengthened each and every sign of weakness created by the situation by stepping in as you did. You not only supported him as your superior but also gave him the wealth of your own abilities freely, empowering us to succeed at a time in our development when it was the most crucial." Danny said, pausing to let his words sink in. "Please accept my request." He finished.
"There are better people..." Noah started to say before Danny tilted his head.
"Not in our eyes there aren't." Danny said as Noah looked at Marc, who simply smiled and nodded his approval.
Noah stood silent for a moment before looking back at the couch where Sean, Caleb, Antonio and Matt simply smiled back at him. Matt nodded his head and smiled wide, causing him to take a deep breath and turn back toward Danny. "I'm not sure what to say."
"Oh my god." Sean said sitting back and laughing. "You say yes dufus. You've already done the job." Sean said getting laughs from everyone in the room.
"Can I still work with Caleb on projects?" Noah asked with a pleading look in his eyes.
"When you aren't in active command, you can work with whatever department you feel needs you." Danny replied with a grin. "Does that mean you're accepting the position or do we have to torture you until you give in?"
"I accept." Noah replied with a laugh. "I'll do my best bro, I promise."
"That I never doubted." Danny answered giving Noah a quick hug before turning to Cory. "Do you have anything further Patriarch Short?"
"Yeah." Cory said as he stood up and stretched. "Put that bum back in charge so we can go outside with everyone else and have some fun before we gotta leave."
"As you wish Patriarch Short." Danny replied with a giggle. "You heard him, you're in charge."
"In charge of what exactly? There's nothing going on right now." Noah shot back with a laugh.
"That's what I think he was getting at." Danny said with a wink as the sliding glass door opened and Austin, KC and Joey walked in.
"You've gotta see what's going on out there." KC said to the group going outside while Joey ran over to the stairwell and grabbed the skateboard.
"Casey! Can you deach me do wide dhe skadeboawd?" ("Casey! Can you teach me to ride the skateboard?")
"Not right now creep." KC said, ruffling Joey's hair and then following Austin into the kitchen, the others wandering outside.
"Sit down bro." Austin said pulling out a chair and sitting at the table.
"What's up?" KC asked as Joey rolled into the kitchen, now sitting on KC's skateboard and pulling himself along with his feet.
"Casey! Wooked! I'm widin dha skadeboawd!" ("Casey! Looket! I'm ridin tha skateboard!") Joey said with a giggle, his new teddy bear tightly in his grip.
KC grinned, stood up and turned the board around before giving it a gentle shove with his foot. "Now yur ridin it creep." KC said as Joey rolled back out into the hall leading to the living room, squealing and giggling wildly all the way.
"You're really good with him." Austin said with a smile. "That's kinda what I wanted to talk to you about."
"Yur goin home tonight, right?" KC asked resting his elbows on the table.
"Yeah." Austin said with a weak smile as Joey pushed himself back into the room.
"Casey! I widin sdiww!" ("Casey! I ridin still!")
KC gave the board another shove sending Joey squealing and laughing back toward the living room. "Creeps skate that way!" He shouted after him.
"I feel kinda bad that we just got to be family and now we're separating." Austin said, smiling watching Joey roll into the living room.
"Why?" KC asked turning back to look Austin in the eye. "Yur not leavin anyone, yur just not gonna be right here."
"It's the same thing." Austin said before grinning and motioning to the doorway, where Joey was trying to quietly roll back into the kitchen unnoticed.
"Pay the toll!" KC said with a laugh, putting his foot out to stop the board.
"I don'd god money." ("I don't got money.") Joey giggled.
"You and the bear gotta leave then." KC said as he pushed him back into the hallway, getting another round of squeals and giggles from him. "It's not the same thing." KC said looking back at his brother. "Having family split up into different houses isn't the same thing as not having family."
"Explain that to Joey." Austin replied as Joey slowly crept back into the kitchen, his giggling giving him away.
"C'mere creep." KC said patting his lap.
"Oday. Dimmybeaw is gonna wadch dhe skadeboawd dho." ("Otay. Timmybear is gonna watch the skateboard tho.") Joey said as he carefully stood up and set his bear on the board. "You sday wighd dhewe." ("You stay right there.") He said before climbing up into KC's lap.
"Joey, Austin's sad." KC said looking down at his brother.
"Why awe you sad Ausdin?" ("Why are you sad Austin?") Joey asked opening his eyes. "Did sumdhin bad happen?" ("Did sumthin bad happen?")
"He thinks cause he is gonna be going home with his Dad and Pop and Timmy that he's not bein a good brother." KC said before Austin was able to reply.
"Bud you godda be widh youw daddy and pop; and who's gonna be dhewe when Dimmy needs a big bwodhew?" ("But you gotta be with your daddy and pop; and who's gonna be there when Timmy needs a big brother?") Joey asked innocently. "I wouwd go widh you bud, my daddy needs me do be hewe widh him." ("I would go with you but, my daddy needs me to be here with him.")
"Yeah, and what would I do without my creep little brother?" KC asked, getting a huff from Joey.
"I nod a cweep. You'we siwwy!" ("I not a creep. You're silly!") Joey said with a giggle.
"So, is Austin being silly for thinking he's a bad brother?" KC asked before Joey slowly slid off of his lap and climbed into Austin's.
"Yeah, cause you awe dhe besd big bwodhew. You and Casey awe. So one of you godda sday hewe widh me and dhe odhew godda go widh Dimmy." ("Yeah, cause you are the best big brother. You and Casey are. So one of you gotta stay here with me and the other gotta go with Timmy.") Joey answered in a matter of fact tone of voice.
"No worries." KC replied with a smile. "If I need help, I know who to call."
"Me doo!" ("Me too!") Joey said with a giggle.
"You don't call anyone, creep. That's my job." KC said as all three stood up.
Joey scrunched up his face and put his hands on his hips. "I can caww. Id mighd be my job doo!" ("I can call. It might be my job too!")
"Okay, you win." KC said as he lifted Joey on to his shoulders and snatched his teddy bear, passing it up to his occupant. "Enough of the serious stuff. I think they're having fun out there without us. Grab your bear and let's go check it out."
"Sounds good." Austin replied, reaching up and poking Joey in the sides.
"Sdop id Ausdin! I awmosd dwopped Dimmybeaw!" ("Stop it Austin! I almost dropped Timmybear!") Joey squealed.
"Yeah." KC said turning and giving Austin a shove toward the door. "He almost dropped him, what were you thinking?"
Austin laughed. "I'm thinking both of my brothers are creeps! Let's go before all of the sand gets trashed!"
As they opened the sliding glass doors, Austin and KC froze in shock as Joey gasped. "Wooked dhe casdwe! Coow, dhewe's a dwagon and evewydhing!!!" ("Looket the castle! Cool, there's a dragon and everything!!!") He shouted excitedly as he wiggled to get down and grabbed his brothers by the hand, continuing to literally drag them off the deck.
"Dude!" KC said with a laugh. "That's the biggest sand castle I've ever seen!" He said as he stopped to watch Tyne run off to slay the sand dragon. "If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes..." KC giggled as he shook his head.
"No kidding." Austin laughed. Let's go see what's up." He said as they listened to Rusty's shouts to be saved. "When did this happen?" He asked as he passed Danny and Kyle, who were sitting on the steps watching the excitement.
"Just now." Danny replied with a giggle as Joey dragged both of his brothers toward the beach.
"He's doin real good now." Kyle said motioning toward Joey, who managed to lead both his brothers while still tightly gripping his teddy bear. "You sad that you missed him come back?"
"Nah, I'm not sad. Where'd you get that idea from?" Danny asked leaning back on his elbows.
"I don't need to be in your head to see it on your face." Kyle laughed. "Sumthin's buggin ya."
"Just a little overwhelmed I guess. This past week has been insane." Danny grinned and answered as Kyle sat back like Danny was. "It's kinda like my life is a movie or something and midway through the script I get a new writer." Danny chuckled.
"Yeah, but is the new writer doin better?" Kyle asked with a grin.
"Oh yeah." Danny answered as he watched Joey tackle KC into the sand, starting a full out sand war on the beach. "Huge family, new friends, a new job and a place to call home." He continued with a sigh. "It's like someone up there finally decided I passed some test or something and this is my reward."
"I know what ya mean." Kyle replied grabbing Danny's arm and giving it a small hug. "Look, I'm not sure how you helped in all this, you know; with us goin to Chicago. I'm just guessing you had yer nose in it." He giggled as he gave a squeeze and let Danny's arm go so he could stand up.
"I was a little involved but, you really owe thanks to your family for this one." Danny replied as he stood up as well.
"Well, since yur part of the family, thanks. It means a lot to me and to Paul." Kyle said as the sounds of Tyne slaying the Sand Dragon could be heard over the rest of the commotion on the beach. "C'mon! We're missing out on all the fun!"
"Best idea I've heard all day." Danny laughed as he chased Kyle off the steps.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
After a few hours of fun, Jerry stood next to Josiah and watched as he made sure no one was still inside the castle before he sighed and allowed it to collapse.
"It's too bad I made it that big," said Josiah. "If I wasn't worried about leaving something that large here on the beach I could have just turned the sand to glass."
"No way! You coulda done that?" Jerry asked in awe.
"Sure, it wouldn't have been that hard," replied Josiah. "I mean sand is really close to glass anyway, so it would just be a matter of adding more heat. Could have kept it there for a long time that way."
Jerry frantically dug around in his pocket, and pulled out a wrinkled picture. "Could you make one like that for me? A little version; that's the first castle Me, Marc, and Danny built."
Josiah looked at the picture and as he studied it the sand at his feet began to start forming. A few seconds later he looked down to find a smaller glass version of the sand castle from the picture as well as small figures around it that resembled Jerry, Marc, and Danny. Josiah smiled, "Will that work?"
"Oh my Gawd! Thats AWESOME!" Jerry exclaimed as he wrapped his arms around Josiah. "You're the GREATEST!"
"That's what Gavin keeps telling me," grinned Josiah. "I'm glad I could help."
Jerry glanced around until he spotted KC trying to avoid getting buried in the sand by Austin and Joey. "KC, Austin, Joey! Come here!" he yelled.
The three boys came running over; KC shaking sand out of his hair. "Wazzup Doc?" KC asked as they skidded to a stop.
Jerry pointed at the glass figurines and castle. "Josiah made that for me; it's just like the one that I made with Marc and Danny. Could you help me get it over to my house? I wanna surprise Marc and Danny with it later, and I don't want it to get broke."
"Dhad's awesome!" ("That's awesome!") Joey said as he stared at the little model. "Id's pweddy!" ("It's pretty!")
Josiah rustled Joey's hair, "Well anything that has your daddy in it is gonna be pretty, don't ya think?"
"Uh huh; he's a cude daddy!" ("Uh huh; he's a cute daddy!") Joey responded with a big smile.
"Hey Jerry; is that a sunburn or are you blushing?" Austin giggled. "C'mon KC; let's get this inside before Dad sees it!"
"Okay." Jerry replied before the boys flanked him to hide the small castle from view. "Thanks Josiah, this is soooo sweet!" He managed to get out as they began to rush toward his house.
"Oh those four are up to no good." Danny said to Cory as he watched the four boys rush to Jerry's house.
"Are they ever?" Cory asked with a laugh before Sean slowly walked up to them.
"We should start gettin the guys together and get ready to leave." Sean said with a saddened smile.
"Let's round em up then." Danny said as he patted Sean on the shoulder and smiled.
A few minutes later, all the boys gathered at the edge of the deck and started saying their goodbyes. Austin pulled Joey and KC under his arms. "Take care of our little bro KC; he's a pretty special little guy." Austin said as tears began running from his eyes.
Joey looked up at Austin. "Don'd cwy Ausdin. You can visid us an we'ww visid you doo." ("Don't cry Austin. You can visit us an we'll visit you too.")
Austin gave a small smile. "I know little guy. It's just that I love you two a lot."
"I wove you doo." ("I love you too.") Joey replied as he pulled in tightly to Austin.
"Make that a double." KC added as he returned the hug. "Now get over there and give Marc a hug before we haul your butt onto that shuttle ourselves."
Austin gave them both one more squeeze, then shuffled over to where Marc, Danny, Cory and Sean were standing. Marc took one look at Austin and pulled him into a hug. "What's wrong?"
"Why can't there be two of me Dad?" Austin whispered. "That way I could be with both of my families."
Marc giggled and squeezed a bit tighter. "Cause that would have been soooo much more work." He got out; earning the giggle he had hoped for." "Seriously though, you aren't really leaving, Austin. We're all just a call or a transport away. Cory and I were just talking about it; he agrees that you are welcome to go between both of your homes anytime you want. I'm sure KC and Joey can't wait to visit your house; Joey worships Timmy and will probably throw a fit if he don't get to visit both of you. You've got a lot of family you still need to get to know; don't worry about any of us forgetting about you while you are doing it."
Cory put a hand on Austin's shoulder. "Marc's right Austin; I'll bet you and Timmy will be visiting a lot. Why don't you tell Marc you'll see him later; I don't think goodbye fits here."
Sean joined the huddle. "Relax Austin. You'll be back. After you get done thanking Marc, why don't you round up your little brothers and get them on the shuttle?"
"Okay." Austin said with a sniffle before smiling and turning to the group of boys who were now huddled and watching the conversation. "It's time to get going guys."
Both Joey and Timmy looked at each other before tears began to well up in their eyes.
Cory and Sean both gave Marc and Danny hugs. "Thanks for all of your help." Cory said. "Marc, thanks a bunch for taking care of Austin, Eli, and Benji. I owe ya forever bro!"
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"You guys leavin?" Marc asked as Josiah and Gavin waved to Dmitry and Dominic.
"Yeah, we want to go to Orlando before we head back to the Ark compound." Josiah replied as all four smiled and said their goodbyes.
"It was awesome to meet you guys." Noah said as Marc, Danny and Caleb nodded their heads. "We'll have to go visit or sumthin sometime soon.
"If you ever need a break, you're all more than welcome to come back." Marc said with a giggle. "The sand may even be ready to be worked over again." He added as they all turned and looked at the large pile and giggled.
"Sounds great." Josiah said with a smile. "This was a lot of fun."
"Yeah!" Dominic said as he looked at Caleb and giggled. "It's lots more fun when we get to be here without having to hide the whole time." He said getting a nod from Dominic.
"You guys ready?" Josiah asked to the three giggling boys, getting nods as his response. "Okay then; Ark, could you send us to the clan's headquarters?" He asked out loud; seconds before all four simply vanished with a wave.
"That is so weird how they can do that." Marc said as all four started to walk toward the house.
"You ain't seen nothin yet." Caleb said with a giggle as they started up the back steps.
After the four boys wandered back into the house, they all plopped down on the couch and sighed. "So, what's the plan?" Noah asked as Danny started to grin.
"Well." Danny said, putting his hands behind his head. "I was wondering if you and Cal wanted some time alone. You know, a nice quiet night." He said with a grin.
"God that sounds nice." Caleb said as he grabbed Noah's arm and snuggled up to him. "That what you and Marc have planned?" He continued with a giggle.
"Cute." Danny said with a scowl before he looked at Marc. "I owe my brother a night out." He said with a smile. "I made a couple of calls earlier and got a few things arranged."
"Sweet!" Noah said, just realizing that Danny just confirmed something for him. "We have the house? To ourselves?"
"With the exception of Eli, Benji, Sammy and Sebastian. You're pretty much alone." Danny said looking back at Marc. "What are the odds of us being able to like, rent a car or a limo or something?"
"Pretty good I think." Marc said with an evil smile before jumping off the couch and grabbing Danny's arm. "Tell me if this will work." He said as he dragged Danny toward the front door. Noah and Caleb curiously following.
"Whoah." Danny choked out in shock. "Who owns that?" He asked stepping off the porch and slowly approaching the black Camaro parked in the driveway. Noah slowly walking along behind Danny.
Marc and Caleb remained on the bottom steps, simply watching Danny and Noah literally drool over the car. "You like it?" Marc asked with a grin.
"Are you kidding?" Danny replied turning to face his brother. "She's beautiful." He said as Marc reached in his pocket and tossed a key to him.
"Then she's yours." He said, almost laughing out loud when Danny simply stood and stared at the key.
"Ohmigod dude! Start it up." Noah bounced up and down, nearly knocking Danny over.
"Okay, relax." Danny laughed as he walked around to the driver's side. "This must have cost a fortune bro." He said as he started looking around the door.
"Nope, this is compliments of the Charleston Police Department." Marc said as he and Caleb just watched the other two having fun.
"Okay, it's been a few years but..." Danny mindlessly said before stepping away from the car, scratching his head. "How do you unlock the door? I can't find the lock."
"DNA sensor?" Noah asked as he reached out and put his hand on the door handle.
*ACCESS DENIED - STEP AWAY FROM THE VEHICLE* A voice from the vehicle announced.
"No way!?!" Danny laughed as Marc folded his arms and giggled. "Do all cars have that?"
"Newer law enforcement vehicles do. They started securing official vehicles with a small computer core." Caleb said with a smile. "It's not perfect but pretty effective in the field."
"Try it bro." Marc said with a grin. "Setting it up for you was easy. I already had your DNA on file and it was set up to acknowledge entry of a new primary operator. Will says you should be all set."
The second Danny grabbed the door handle, he heard the locks disengage. "Sweet." He said as he pulled the door open and carefully got in. "It looks like an aircraft cockpit in here." Danny giggled as he looked at the key Marc tossed him. After inspection, he realized it was more of a computer chip than a key with sensors embedded in both sides.
"Dude, that key in your hand activates all the internal systems. Try it out." Noah said in excitement as he ran around to the passenger side of the car and hopped in. "I've read about these cars. It has to be in YOUR hand or the car won't start. This car won't even let someone else jump in and put it in gear. Even if you leave it running with the doors wide open."
After looking around for a few more minutes Danny inserted the key and the instrument panel lit up. "How do I start it?" Danny asked searching around as if he had never been in a car before in his life.
"Turn the key." Noah said with a laugh. "It's the same as any other car, this one only starts for someone who is recognized as its user."
"Ahhh." Danny replied as he turned the key and the car roared to life. Displays began to light up and the seat suddenly adjusted itself for its driver. "That's unreal." He said as he watched information begin scrolling on a small display in the center of the dash board. "What's that?"
"They left all the cool stuff in it." Noah said as he watched the display. "You're tied into local and state police systems." He said as he tapped the screen and a display of surrounding roadways popped up. "See? That's a Sullivan's Island unit two streets over." He said smiling wide as Danny hit the accelerator and simply smiled. "You do remember how to drive, right? I mean, back in your time cars did move without horses attached to them, didn't they?" Noah said with a giggle.
Danny looked at Marc and grinned when he motioned his head out toward the road. "Close your door and let's find out." He said looking back at Marc and Caleb. "You two wanna go for a run around the block?"
"I'll pass, just don't take too long. I think all of us have some planning to do." Marc replied with a grin as Danny closed his door, strapped in and pulled the car slowly out onto the street. Coming to a complete stop after clearing the driveway, the blue and green flashing lights came on and the car roared as Danny must have jumped on the accelerator and quickly vanished from sight.
"Noah's gonna have a heart attack." Marc said getting a giggle from Caleb.
"No way." He replied walking back to the steps and sitting down. "He's one of the few people who enjoys Cory's driving."
Just as Marc turned to join Caleb on the steps, a car carrier pulled up in front of the house and stopped. "Ah, the other toys." Marc said as Caleb stood up and looked on the trailer.
"This is all from Will?" Caleb asked watching two large men climb out of the rig.
"Yup." Marc said as he held his hand out to the man approaching him.
"Is there a Doctor Furst here son?" The man asked as he accepted Marc's hand and shook it.
"That's me." He replied, laughing when the man looked at him as if in shock.
"Okay then." He said as he handed a small hand held computer over to Marc. "Just a thumb print Doctor." He said and smiled as the computer confirmed Marc wasn't lying. "We have two units here from a Corporal Will Jackson, Charleston Police Department. Right here in the driveway okay?"
"Please, that would be great." Marc replied as the man chuckled and returned to his truck.
"That's a real cruiser!?!" Caleb said as he watched the truck begin to back into the driveway.
"It was already being outfitted for CPD when Will offered it to us. So we have one marked and one unmarked unit, outfitted to work in concert with police authorities. The van is a police transport. Eddie is gonna need that more than anyone." He added as Danny pulled up alongside the car carrier and killed the lights.
Just as he killed the engine, both boys hopped out with huge smiles on their faces. "That car is soooo sweet." Danny said as he watched a fully dressed Mustang patrol car roll off the carrier. "Marc?"
"They did an awesome job on it, didn't they?" Marc asked with a giggle as Noah stood near the Camaro with his jaw hanging wide open. "AI-01, AI-02 and AI-03." He said as he pointed at the patrol car's license plate. "He thought of everything." He continued as he saw whoever detailed the unit decided to use the official Clan Short crest on the doors, but overlaid the old Vision Industries logo adding the lettering 'AI' to the graphic.
Just as the men pulled the truck forward to unload the van, a CPD unit pulled up and parked behind the Camaro in the driveway. "Marc!" Will shouted as he walked over. "I see from the stretch marks in the street Danny liked his gift." He said with a chuckle.
"Will, I'm not sure what to say. This is way too much." Danny said as he looked at the key to the Camaro.
"I've already argued my position on this once. Just put them to good use." Will said patting Danny on the shoulder. "So, where is Noah Barnes?" He asked laughing when Noah's head popped up from the other side of the Mustang.
"That's me." Noah said looking as if he had just been caught with his hands in the cookie jar.
"He's the Mustang's primary, right?" Will asked Marc as he tore open an envelope and pulled out a similar key to the one that started the Camaro.
"Yup." Marc giggled when he heard Caleb gasp.
"Are you nuts?!?" Caleb loudly whispered as he grabbed Marc's shirt and tugged. "Noah's never driven a car before."
"Is he being signed up for training?" Will asked Marc as Noah slowly approached.
"I think Danny and Noah should. Danny's never handled this kind of equipment before." Marc said as he watched Danny nod his head in agreement. "When does the course start up?"
"Monday after next." Will said with a smile. "It's a three day course. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 3 hours each day. Once they complete it and pass their exam and road test, they will be certified through S. Carolina to operate in conjunction with any law enforcement units you may work in concert with. Considering your diplomatic status, it isn't needed but the training will be well worth it. Eddie is already signed up so you guys should choose who else should go and have him take them all in the van. We're using our own vehicles for the driving portions." Will said as he inserted the key into a small hand held and approached Noah. "Put your finger in the opening." He said, holding out the unit.
*IDENTITY ESTABLISHED - BARNES, NOAH S. - ASSIGNMENT UNIT: ADAM, IDA, ZERO, TWO. PRIMARY - EFFECTIVE: FOUR, NOVEMBER. SIXTEEN HUNDRED HOURS* The unit announced followed by a chirp from the car, confirming the information had been received.
"What does that mean?" Noah asked as he watched Will pull the key out of the hand held and handed it to him.
"It means you will be set as this vehicles primary operator. You can assign secondary users as you need to. The only stipulation with what I just programmed is the fact that it won't go into effect until AFTER you go through your training." Will said, chuckling when Noah's excited expression literally melted. "You can activate the internal systems now, you just can't start the engine." He added and began laughing when Noah rushed Caleb to the car, and jumped up and down when it opened to his touch.
"Thanks Will." Marc said with a smile. "You gotta tell the guy who did the artwork for the door panel seals that we are totally amazed with them."
"Oh I will. He's one of our patrol officers. He actually does those graphics in his spare time at home, we pay him for the time he spends putting them on our patrol cars." Will said with a smile. "That's why our cars look so much better than state." Will snickered.
"Think he'd be interested in a little side work?" Marc asked, the gears turning in his head clearly visible in his expression.
"He might be." Will said looking at Danny. "You thinking about having the Camaro done up?"
"What? No way!" Danny protested with a panicked look on his face. "She looks sweet in all black!"
"Relax, I didn't mean your car." Marc laughed. "Will, I have a sign guy for the old Naval Hospital. He's doing up all the signage we need for the building's exterior. I was just thinking if I could get him the division seal for FYS and if he's okay with us using his artwork for our division crest, maybe we could put them on the building."
"I'll run it by him." Will said with a smile. "Well, I gotta run. Just wanted to get your second unit assigned for you." He said looking at Danny. "If you have any reason to run high speed, lights and siren, call it in. At least until after your training and you learn procedure. On public roadways, we have to keep coordinated."
"You got it." Danny said with a grin.
"I know you already stretched her legs. SPD is seriously confused now. Especially since they have no idea what flashing blue and green is yet. That designation won't be public knowledge until next Monday." Will said with a smile.
"Okay, sorry about that. Just wanted to see what she had." Danny replied, smiling.
"Don't be." Will said before getting into his patrol car. "Their cars wouldn't stand a chance up against what you have your hands on. Them being a little confused is nothing new, trust me." Will said with a laugh before hopping back into his car and driving off once the delivery truck pulled out.
"So, about this night out you mentioned." Marc stated as Danny sat on the steps and watched while Noah and Caleb investigated each piece of equipment in the Mustang. "You gonna fill me in on it?"
"Nope." Danny said with a laugh. "Just get dressed in something kinda nice and pack for an overnight stay. Dress warm, that's the only hint you're getting."
"Should I be scared?" Marc asked as Danny stood up and opened the door.
"Yup." Danny laughed and rushed into the house.
"Guys!" Marc shouted getting Noah and Caleb's attention. "You're gonna drain the car's power cell." He said with a giggle when Noah sighed and removed the key causing the unit power back down. "Come on inside, we have to figure out what's going on for the rest of the night."
Once back inside the house, Danny just directed Marc toward the living room and gave him a gentle push. "Go pack."
"Okay." Marc said as Noah followed along behind him.
"I'll give you a hand bro." Noah said as they both rushed for the stairs.
"What's your plan?" Caleb asked as they both sat down at the table.
"We're gonna be gone until late morning or early afternoon tomorrow." Danny said with a smile. "I have a couple of surprises for Marc. You have any ideas for you and Noah?"
"Yup." Caleb said as he began to blush. "I don't think you want to hear them though." He finished with a giggle.
"Make sure you lock up then." Danny said with a laugh. "Don't want Mary or one of the boys to walk in on you."
"Oh god." Caleb said, turning a brighter red. "It's not like we're planning on doing freaky stuff." He got out, covering his face.
"Relax, I'm joking." Danny said with a smile. "But you should lock up after we leave just so you guys will be left alone."
"We will." Caleb said with a grin. "Can we use your room?"
"Eeeewwww!" Danny said with a laugh.
"Yur sick." Caleb said shaking his head. "I meant to kinda, well... I was thinking about starting a fire and watching the ocean. Maybe put some music on and just cuddle up on the couch. Then we won't be bothering Eli and Benji."
"It's cool." Danny said with a smile. "I was just messing with you. That room would be nicer for you tonight. Go for it. Just keep an ear out for the other boys. Sammy and Sebastian have been glued to their boyfriends for a pretty long time."
"Sweet. Thanks Danny." Caleb said as Marc and Noah could be heard coming down the stairs. "Just forget about us tonight. You and Marc deserve to have some alone time too."
"That's a little different." Danny replied shaking his head.
"Sure it is." Caleb replied, busting out laughing as the other two entered the room.
"What's so funny?" Noah asked poking Caleb in the side and making him squirm.
"Nothing." Caleb giggled, finally quieting down when Noah hopped into his lap.
"You ready?" Danny asked turning toward Marc.
"I'd be more ready if I knew where we were going." Marc replied, pouting a little when Danny simply shrugged his shoulders and pointed toward the door. "No Fair!" Marc protested, smiling as he waved to Noah and Caleb and the turned to exit the house.
"Have fun guys. Call if you need us." Danny said as he picked up his bag and began to follow Marc.
"We won't." Noah shouted with a smile. "You guys have fun too." He added as Danny closed the door.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"That was awesome." Marc said as they got back in the car after a very large meal. "So, where to next?"
"Well, I was thinking it would be nice to just go somewhere and watch the stars." Danny said with a grin as he started the car up and pulled out of the restaurant parking lot.
"That sounds nice." Marc said resting his back and closing his eyes. "If we aren't going back home tonight, where do you plan on us going? We renting a room or something?"
"Yeah, something like that." Danny replied as they got back on Rt703, heading back toward home.
Not paying much attention, Marc's eyes opened wide when Danny pulled the car into the entrance of the boat yard Marc's original father had taken him to many times when he first started living with him. "Close to the bay?" Marc sighed and closed his eyes. "That's a nice idea."
"Yeah, the stars look so much clearer close to the water." Danny said with a grin as he parked the car and hopped out. "I'll be right back, just have to check in the office and make sure we can go out and sit on one of the docks." Danny said as he closed the door. Just in time to snicker a little.
"Good evening young man." The old weathered man behind the counter said as he stood up from his seat. "What can I do for ya?"
"Sir, my name is Daniel Page. I called earlier about renting a 30' Sail Boat." Danny said with a smile.
"You were serious?" He said with a bemused look on his face. "Son, did you bring an adult with you?"
"No sir." Danny got out as he dug for his wallet.
"He's with me Sam." Marc's voice came from the open doorway causing Danny's shoulders to slump.
"Marc! My goodness. It's been a long time." The man said with a smile. "You still living on the other end of Marshall Boulevard with your Dad?"
"Yeah. He's away right now testing out some new sub. I haven't seen it yet but from what he's told me it's huge." Marc answered with a smile. "I take it you met my brother?"
"You have a brother?" The old man asked with a smile. "I'll be damned. Didn't know your kind had brothers and sisters and the like." The man said with a smile as he extended his hand to Danny. "Name's Sam Parker." He said as he shuffled the paperwork on the desk. "Just need ya to sign these, then ya can shove off son."
"Danny? What did you do?" Marc asked as Sam slid the paperwork toward Danny.
"Um... Surprise?" Danny meekly said with a poor attempt at a smile on his face.
"You didn't say I had to wait in the car." Marc replied with a grin.
"Not to worry my boy, your brother here has a nice little surprise for you." Sam offered. "You run along. I didn't know this was to be a surprise." He said with a wink as Danny pointed toward the door.
"I'm goin." Marc said, pretending to be disappointed as he left the office.
"Dock four; she's in the second slip." Sam said smiling at Danny. "Don't look so down. He knows yur renting something, he doesn't know what exactly. Trust me, he's still in for a surprise." The old man beamed. "It's gonna be a treat for him, I promise ya that."
"Thanks Mr. Parker." Danny replied as he signed the paperwork.
"That's Sam young man; and you are most welcome." He said giving Danny a smile.
"Okay Sam." Danny said as he put down his pen. "Sam, there's something else I wanted to talk to you about."
"I'm all ears." Sam replied as he organized the papers with a smile.
"Well, I rented the sail because it's similar to one Marc and his father used to own. Actually, Marc still has it."
"Ah, you lookin fer a place to dock? That'd be no trouble." Sam said, his smile growing wider.
"Eventually, yeah. But it's in pretty bad shape. I was wondering if you had an area to store it, maybe a place where we can start to restore it." Danny said with a hopeful gleam in his eye.
"I can do ya one better son." Sam replied as he turned to his computer and tapped away. "Jimmy has that boat stored on a trailer on some privately owned property."
"How do you know that?" Danny asked with a giggle.
"Cause we transported it for him a few years back." Sam replied with a chuckle. "It had it's own berth out of this boat yard for years after yur brother sold the house and moved away." He said tapping away a little more. "I can contact Jimmy and get her back to the property with no problems. I'll even get her set up in her old berth and have one of my grandsons begin restoring the hull. If memory serves, she has just a bit of dry rot in a few places, her main sail is torn, not to mention that mast needs replacin. After that work is done she'll not need much more than some polishin of the brass and a bit of lacquer and paint to get her ship shape again."
"That would be awesome!" Danny excitedly replied. "You sure contacting his Dad won't be a problem?"
"Not at all." Sam said as he sat back in his chair. "My son works with him. I'm sure he'll be happy that you want to have this done for Marc. I know that boat means an awful lot to him." He said as he began jotting down some notes. "What are ya willing to spend on tha poor old soul?"
"That's not a real worry, as long as it's restored to original condition. If you can estimate the cost, even as we go I don't think we'll have any problems." Danny said as he turned to the door. "I'll spend whatever I have to so he can have this piece of his past back."
"Well then son, that I can do." Sam said with a nod. "Very special gift you know. I know he appreciates how thoughtful yur bein."
"He doesn't know yet." Danny giggled. "I want to keep that as a surprise until we come back to rent another boat."
"You get goin then. I'll have that boat on the property by sunset tomorrow and we'll get to work. My grandson has been itching for a project and this one just may put that boy's talents to some use. She's in good hands."
"Thanks Sam, just call me if you need anything. Make sure to talk to me though, I don't want Marc to catch on yet." Danny said as he opened the door.
"Will do. You both enjoy your trip tonight, and stay safe." Sam said as Danny nodded and closed the door.
"I'm sorry bro." Marc said as Danny walked over to the car where Marc was standing.
"Don't be. I probably would have had fun trying to convince him that he could rent to me without you walking in." Danny said with a smile as he opened the car and pulled out the bags. "You know where Dock 4 is?"
"Yup, that way." Marc pointed before he tried to grab one of the bags and Danny pulled away shaking his head no.
"Just lead the way; you've had a rough few days." Danny said with a smile.
"Oh, like your trip was a vacation." Marc said with a laugh.
"It could have been." Danny said as they reached the dock.
"Which slip?" Marc asked looking at the different boats.
"The second one Sam said." Danny said as he motioned to the 30' sloop. "Newer, but close." He continued as Marc simply stood frozen. "Think you can navigate it?"
"Are you kidding me?" Marc said as he approached the boat and looked it over. "Oh Danny... This is so... Oh wow." Marc said as he hopped over the side and on to its deck.
"You promised to take me sailing someday." Danny said with a smile as he tossed the bags on the deck and hopped on. "It's up to you to get us to where we're going though. I've never sailed before." Danny said as he opened the bags and pulled out two jackets. Tossing Marc his.
"So when did you come up with this idea?" Marc asked after putting his jacket on and they both went below to stow their bags.
"On the phone you told me I owed you a nice quiet dinner before we left for Chicago. I thought it was an awesome idea but, wanted to do something special." Danny replied as they went back above deck. "I thought getting out of the house for a night would be nice. You know, rent a room and stuff. This just sounded like it would be a little more relaxing for you."
"Man, you got that right. You want to go forward and untie us?" Marc asked as he pointed with a smile. "Just toss the rope back on to the dock." He continued as he started the motor and then walked back and untied the other line. Once Danny waved that they were free, Marc gave them a little push off and the boat drifted away from the dock. Once clear of the other vessels, Marc put the boat into a forward gear and they slowly began to head toward open water.
"No sails?" Danny asked as he joined Marc in the cockpit.
"Nah, let's clear the reef first, then we'll set sails and let her go." Marc said with a huge smile. "I can't believe you did this." He continued. A few minutes later, satisfied that they were free and clear, Marc asked Danny to take the helm after he killed the motor. Danny watched as Marc raised the sails in amazement before he came back and took the helm. "Ever want to learn?" Marc asked with a smile.
"Maybe some other time." Danny said as he turned and looked at the setting sun. "Looks like we get a sunset too." he said as he stepped over to the rail and leaned on it.
"It's easy you know. Once you get a feel for it." Marc shouted over as the breeze began to pick up.
"I drive on land." Danny replied with a laugh. "I haven't tried to steer a boat since I ran my uncles 20' Fishing Boat aground when I was a kid." Danny replied with a laugh.
"Your uncle let you run aground?" Marc asked with a laugh.
"He was drunk, I was on the wrong side of the markers." Danny replied with a laugh. "Hey, I tried."
"That wasn't your fault." Marc said as Danny moved back into the cockpit area. "He should have been helping you. How many times had you taken control before that one?"
"Never." Danny said with a laugh. "I was a city kid who had never even been out on the water before that." Danny said with a laugh. "God he was pissed when he woke up."
"I won't push you then." Marc grinned. "But if you ever want to learn, I'll teach you."
About an hour later with the islands in sight, Marc decided to lower the sails and drop anchor. While he was working to secure the boat for the night, Danny went below, coming back up with two steaming mugs in his hand and a blanket.
"Watcha got?" Marc asked with a smile as he accepted the mug and sat in one of the bench seats that faced out over the stern to open water.
"Hot chocolate." Danny said as he handed Marc one of the mugs and held the blanket open for them to put over their shoulders.
"You thought of everything." Marc said as he took a sip. "How many of my memories have you gone through?"
"Not many." Danny admitted as he blew on his hot chocolate. "I mean I did go through them a little to get an idea what kind of boat your father had. You know size and stuff so I wouldn't sound like a total idiot when I called to rent one." Danny added with a giggle.
"You know it's okay with me if you look into them. I mean..." Marc got out before Danny cut him off.
"Why would I go through your memories? I mean, they're yours. If I really wanted to, I'd ask you to look through them with me." Danny said with a smile.
"Did you bring an uplink cable?" Marc asked. "We could go through some of them tonight if you want."
"I did." Danny said with a smile. "But only so we could share a dream tonight. I still haven't seen how that works and from the way you explained it, I thought you might like to."
"Wow, you know with everything that's happened, it seems like that was so long ago." Marc said, directing his gaze up at the star filled sky.
"Yeah, who knew?" Danny said doing the same. "Ten days."
"Ten days, that's all it's been since you brought me back." Danny said, as he hugged his mug close and idly blew on it.
"Yeah." Marc replied as he sat back in the seat. "Months of work and we got to spend a couple of days together." He said with a giggle. "I was thinking about building a clone of you so you could stick around for a while."
"Nah, you can't duplicate this." Danny said with a laugh.
"Oh please. I could build ten of you, no one would know."
"Eh, you would." Danny said with a smile. "Then you would have to worry about what all of us were trying to get into trouble doing."
"You think we're doing the right thing?" Marc set his mug in his lap and asked.
"What do you mean? With the Clan? Sure I do." Danny asked and looked at Marc. "Don't you?"
"Oh yeah. I mean like with KC or Joey." Marc questioned. "Bringing them back after they fail. That's not exactly common practice."
"You did it for me." Danny answered as he wrapped his arm around Marc's shoulders and pulled him closer. "I guess it would all depend on us bringing them back to find out if they want to be here."
"I guess." Marc said, shrugging his shoulders. "There are some out there that want to go. I've seen them. They are so angry and hateful when they regain consciousness."
"Did you see that in Me, Joey or KC?"
"No. Joey is new. He's looking at the world with wonder. He just loves so easily." Marc said as a smile crept across his face. "Simplistic wonder, and Jerry got it on his first try. I wonder if he really knows what he created with that school project. I mean; really created. KC was an accident. He didn't want his life to end. I know he misses his dad but, he's making the best of it and holding his new family tight."
"Joey seems to really like him." Danny said with a grin. "From what I saw today, it may be hard to tell where KC ends and Joey begins soon."
"Yeah." Marc said with a giggle. "That really was what made it easier for Austin to go home with his family. He was so worried that Joey wasn't gonna have his big brother."
"They aren't that far away." Danny smiled.
"As for you, you're still accepting this." Marc said, tilting his head. "I don't think you've really stopped long enough to let it all sink in yet."
"Buried in my work." Danny said as he took another sip. "I guess I still have some soul searching to do." He said looking back up at the sky. "This time I have to add being wanted and needed here now. That wasn't something I had back then."
"I can understand that." Marc answered. "If it weren't for my work, I probably wouldn't have lasted as long as I have."
"Well I love my new family." Danny said as he emptied his mug and stood up. "You want another one?" He asked holding up his empty mug.
"No thanks." Marc replied as he watched a shooting star work its way across the sky as Danny started off to go below. "Hey Danny? Can I ask you a question?"
"Sure bro." Danny answered turning around and leaning on the back of the bench seat.
"If you were still, you know, totally human..." He started and sighed in frustration. "Never mind, it's dumb."
"If I was still totally human I'd be over a hundred years old and not able to keep up with you." He said with a giggle as he kissed the top of Marc's head and started off again. "I'm gonna wash up and set up the bed."
"Cool, don't forget the cable. I haven't shared a dream in years. Hopefully it'll be a good one." Marc smiled and drank the last of his hot chocolate. "Nothing worse than sharing a nightmare." He added with a laugh.
"Hey, we already share a horror show at home. What's a good nightmare?" Danny said with a laugh. "Maybe we'll dream some sort of corny horror movie type stuff and be chased by a serial killing midget dressed in a clown suit with a nail file and a pop gun. That could be fun."
"You're nuts." Marc said as he hopped out of his seat. "Anyone ever tell you that?"
"Oh sure. I don't believe it though." Danny said with a grin. "It's only the crazy people who say I'm nuts. The rest are nuts and think I'm pretty okay."
"You are so impossible!" Marc shouted and chased Danny below, laughing all the way.
Once the bed was folded down and the sleeping bags were pulled out, Marc decided since they were connecting it would be a good idea to zip the two bags together. So they wouldn't separate too far in their sleep. With that done, they both took turns washing up. While Marc took his turn, Danny opened the bags and started digging around for something to sleep in.
"Um... Marc?" Danny said as he scratched his head.
"Sup?" Marc asked as he came back into the room with a toothbrush in his mouth.
"We can share the sleeping bags, but I think it's gonna be tough to share these." Danny said with a laugh as he held up one pair of jogging shorts.
"I must have forgotten." Marc said with a grin. "So we sleep in our underwear or go with the new dress code." Marc said with a giggle.
"That's cool." Danny said, throwing the shorts back in the bag. "More of your body heat I can leech." He said as he pulled off the rest of his clothes and climbed into the sleeping bag with a screech. "COLD!!! Omigod the bag is cold!"
Marc giggled and went back in to finish washing up before killing all the lights, getting undressed and climbing into the sleeping bag. "It is cold." He said as Danny rolled to face away from him, putting his feet on Marc's leg. "DUDE! Your feet are like ice! Get em off!"
"Told you." Danny said with a laugh, moving closer every time Marc tried to slide further away. "Hahaha, you're trapped." He giggled as Marc squirmed and squealed.
"STOP IT!" Marc shouted through his laughter. "I'm gonna kill you!"
"My hands are cold too, check it out." Danny laughed as he put his hands on the back of Marc's neck.
"OKAY! okay! I give" Marc shouted as he continues to push Danny away. "Did you jump off the boat or something?"
"No, that's why I went and made the hot chocolate. I was freezing long before we dropped anchor." Danny replied as his laughter finally calmed down and he rolled on to his back.
"Why didn't you say something?" Marc asked as he rolled back to face his brother and propped his head up on his hand.
"I didn't want to ruin your night." Danny said with a smile.
Marc just sat and stared at Danny until the silence got him to look back at him. "Thanks Danny." He said earning a warm smile. "Not just for that, I mean for all of this." He continued motioning to the rest of the boat.
"Well, you were kinda tossed into all of this." Danny replied rolling back over to face Marc.
"It's not all that bad. Just may take some getting used to." Marc said just as Danny reached off the side of the bed and grabbed the communication cable.
"So..." He said as he handed Marc one end. "How does sharing a dream work?" He asked as he opened his uplink port and snapped the cable in place.
"Well, we have to decide whose dream we share first, then decide if it's going to be controlled or random." Marc said as he snapped the cable in place and lay back down.
"What's the difference?" Danny asked as Marc pushed him to roll over so he could wrap his arms around him.
"All dreams are random unless you decide there is something you want to dream about specifically. Even then, we both need to decide if we want to be in control or to just let it happen." Marc said as they got comfortable.
"You host, choose something you want to dream about and just let it happen. I wanna see how this goes without having all the control." Danny said as he closed his eyes.
"You asked for it." Marc said with a snicker before kissing the back of Danny's neck and closing his eyes.
To Be Continued...
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Notes from the Author:
You know, the hardest part about writing this chapter, hands down was switching gears once the dust settled and things started to quiet down. Our group is back home and some of them for the first time will have a chance to get to know their family outside of a "Work" environment. Danny's comment about it only being 10 days since his activation was an eye opener for me. We've followed this group for so long but just touched the edge of things to come. There are so many things that are still so new to the characters, even though they have been right here since the beginning. It should be an interesting ride from here on... Well, once they tell me what's going on that is ;)
I hope you enjoyed riding along on Danny and Marc's night out. I almost didn't follow that path on the original concept of the evening's events. Danny wouldn't allow it though. Even for me, the chance to see Marc at the helm of a sail boat again after all these years was just too much to just pass up. Wonder what his reaction will be to Danny's planned surprise...
As Always, gotta remind ya... Those of you who haven't read "The other CSU stories" are truly missing out on a very important part of this story. You just gotta read em all, right now! Hehehe...
You can find "Memories" Parts 1 & 2 at http://cornercafe.us and don't forget to keep an eye out for the events also unfolding in "Memories: Down Under" by: "Boi From Aus" at http://acannex.us as well as "Ark" by Akeentia at http://paddedroom.us and "Dear Diary" by Boudreaux at http://jeffsfort.com to get the whole picture so far! (Yes, that means the Clan Short Universe is growing from our own perspective. Hold on tight as this list begins to grow out of control, I hope that chair of yours has a seat belt ;)
*HUGZ* from myself and everyone at the Clan Short; Artificial Intelligence Division!
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Notes from our "Clan Archivist & Editor":
Clan Archivist Review Notes:
Well it seems that the new vaccine for AAKD has failed and the kids just keep on joining. It is cool seeing Joey alive again and starting to speak a little better. It will be very interesting to see how Benji and Eli adapt to being complete again. Hopefully after Danny and Marc spend their romantic weekend together they will finally both realize they are destined for each other. The continued character growth and development and the interpersonal relationships that form and grow are what set this story and the rest of the CSU apart from most stories on the net. This story is about characters who have depth and substance and interesting lives to live. JeffP has given his Androids very Human like characteristics yet at the same time kept them as Androids; joining this story with the CSU has given him the opportunity for his characters to experience situations and characters that would not have been possible. JeffP has kept his characters true to themselves while at the same time expanding their lives. Another job well done JeffP.
TSL aka The Story Lover.