CSV-DSM Part 2

Chapter 7 - Mama, I'm Comin' Home

"I'm impressed, Nathan!" Hac exclaimed with a grin. "Could you do me a favor though? STOP ALREADY!"

"If you say so!" Nathan snickered as he concentrated as hard as he could. The rest of the group watched in fascination as the volunteer redhead test subject seemed to come to a complete stop.

Unable to resist the temptation, Colin reached over and tested to see if he could move Hac's arms. After finding that they would move for him, he repositioned them so that Hac was sucking on his thumb with the other hand cupping himself. "Kerry? Do you have this picture saved?" Colin giggled.

"Got it! and it's been distributed to the entire CSNIC network!" Kerry giggled back, enjoying the distraction.

Colin moved into position to shield Nathan if necessary, then giggled "Okay bro, you can let him free."

Nathan grinned and dropped his mental restraints from Hac. "You're a smartass, I like you!" Hac grinned at Nathan. "However, my sweet little brother there is about to get his ass whipped!"

"You can have your foreplay later, Hac!" Kerry interrupted. "Colin; put a team together, got a hot one we found scanning a kid that we picked up."

"What size target we looking at?" Colin asked quickly.

"Private school; you're gonna need a few tp's at least."

"Thanks." Colin replied as he looked around the room. "Nathan, you're already Clan just by being related to Casey. How'd you like to be in on a rescue?"

"What do I gotta do?" Nathan asked warily.

"If everything goes well, you get to watch and learn." Colin explained. "If things go bad? You might just have a chance to prove just how useful your skill can be."

Nathan turned to ask his Uncle Bruce what he thought, then froze as he saw the rest of the crew. All of Bob's sons except for Bobby and Colin were in the process of checking weapons, all now outfitted in military camouflage. Just behind them, Johnny, Trevois, and Mouse were intently inspecting a mob of munchkins all outfitted in black hooded robes. One face jumped out at Nathan, causing him to break away from Colin and run over. "Lucas! What you think you're doin?"

Lucas looked up. "Johnny says I'm ready to be Intel!" Lucas stated proudly.

"But what if you get hurt?" Nathan asked, proud yet concerned.

"I won't get hurt; you're gonna be there to protect me." Lucas stated with certainty.

Trevois looked up at Nathan from where he was adjusting the shield belt on Felix. "Relax, big brother. Your lil bro's wearing a Clan Modified personal shield that'll protect him from any standard issue ballistic or energy weapon that could be used there. He's got the range to where he can work from the back lines, so he's least likely to be attacked."

"Get me one of those shields." Nathan stated firmly. "Lucas doesn't go anywhere without me." Then, he squatted down to look Lucas in the eye. "Great job lil' bro; just remember not to take any chances, okay?"

"I promise!" Lucas replied as he gave Nathan a brotherly hug.

A few minutes later, everyone was ready to go, including a mental briefing proudly given by Lucas (with Johnny's help). They were split into three groups; the infiltration force led by Colin consisted of the entire Flying Dutchman team, the Intel group was led by Brudei, and the Command group protection force was led by Hac. Intel consisted of Johnny, Eddie, the Triple Twins, Lucas, Nathan, Trevois, Mouse, Lyle, and Felix. Command was Julio and Jesse for prosecution, Benny for Intel, Hayden and Barrett for technological infiltration, and Ardell and Evan for rescue intake. The Command protection detail consisted of Ricky, Rocky, Kris, Tucker, Dwayne and Mitch (the two guards from the compound), Mini, and Alien.

Colin verified everyone was ready, then tapped his commbadge. "Charlie, this is the Pied Piper. I'm firing up my flute, yell when you have crowd control." He then held his fist in the air as the sounds of weapons being brought live filled the room.

"Pied Piper Acknowledged." Herman's voice replied. "Rapid deploy on my mark... wait ... wait ... ready ... MARK!"

Colin dropped his fist, and less than a second later the only occupants left in the room were the adults and the few younger kids who were still untrained.

Saint John the Baptist Preparatory Academy, Pascagoula Mississippi:

Reverend Paul Fink smiled as he watched his students prepare for the 'drama' class. The idea to make this a residency school for troubled or unwanted children twenty years ago had been brilliant; with each of the children signed over to the school until age eighteen, the school had free reign to supplement its income as needed. He had personally picked the students for his 'drama' class, namely because the productions they presented brought large donations to the school on the underground market. Noticing that most of the youth were ready, he spoke up. "Everyone, don't forget to oil up..."

Outside the Academy:

Within seconds of the group appearing outside, the telepaths were issuing alerts to the strike team. As Lucas was scanning, he picked up on the action in the drama classroom. "Uncle Colin! There's a buncha nekkid kids in the drama class, an' they're 'bout to make sumthin' called a snuff film and it's scarin' them!"

"Like Hell they are! Good catch, Lucas!" Colin exclaimed. Slapping his commbadge, he ordered "Kerry! Activate all available Des Moines teams and deploy immediately to this location. All teams, Situation RED, Situation RED!"

Before the second 'RED' was stated, teams began popping in. As he spotted them, Colin sent out assignments mentally. 'Bookworm, you're under Brudei. Dutchmen, Command are now active participants, take your primary positions. Assault Teams Delta and X-Ray, you have the perimeter. Delta, you have lead. Whisky, Hornet, and Dolphin support Delta. Tango, Groundhog and Hawk support X-Ray. Command will be taking the Drama area, bring surviving prisoners to that location. Forced scans of suspects are authorized, now hit it!"

"Stay clear of the two entries!" Benny added seconds before Julio ordered "Charlie, ring their doorbell!"

The whistle of a pair of air-to-ground missiles preceded the very abrupt notice that Clan Short was requesting a visit. Before the dust had time to settle, the teams were scrambling through the remains of the secure entry foyers and spreading out to take custody of the persons already flagged as criminal suspects. Strike Team Bookworm led the invasion of the administration wing; the shock of the explosions had served its purpose, as nobody had moved to start destruction of evidence. Once all of the data and paperwork was secured, they informed the other teams to send students to the administration wing for determination of status.

Satisfied that things were under control, Brudei decided that it might be best for himself, Johnny, Eddie, and Nathan to join the Command team to assist in the cleanup of the Performing Arts department.

"What about Lucas?" Nathan asked when Brudei informed him of the plan.

"He'll be safer here. He's got an entire team watching him." Brudei replied with a smile. "He already mentally saw more than someone at his stage of training should have to deal with; seeing it visually could be very bad."

"What makes you think I can?" Nathan queried.

"The way you've organized your head." Brudei stated seriously. "I've spent too long with telepaths, and recognize which ones have control."

"Thanks, I think." Nathan admitted.

"Don't worry, the big kids promise to shoot anyone that looks at me funny!" Lucas stated loud enough for Nathan to hear him. "They'll watch me while you are protectin' Uncle Julio!"

"I guess," Nathan admitted. "But if anything happens to Lucas, Hac's gonna need a new XO, understood?"

Brudei nodded, mentally hoping that the strike team kept their part of the deal, because he was sure that Nathan would follow up on his promise. The only reason he was taking Nathan along was a gut feeling that he'd learned centuries before to never ignore; he just hoped it was worth the price he'd pay if something happened while they were gone.

"Have you ever fired a weapon?" Brudei asked.

"Yeah, Dad and I used to target practice," Nathan nodded. "I've got a nine millimeter at home."

'I'll get it!' Kerry announced over Brudei's subvocal.

"Kerry's getting it for you," Brudei passed on. "We're in a combat situation; you're authorized to lock and load."

Before Nathan could reply, his weapon, along with his spare clips and a belt holster, appeared on the desk. Without a word, he put on the holster, placed the spare clips in his back pocket, then safely loaded the pistol. Once he was absolutely certain that the safety was engaged, he put it in his holster and stated "Ready".

The four boys took off down the hallway, alert for any unusual noise. Just as they tuned a corner, there was the sound of a door slamming open followed by bullets bouncing off their shields. Nathan spun and shot, castrating the police officer who had just fired on them.

"He dropped his mental shields, Nathan!" Johnny exclaimed with a scowl. "We got him; he's guilty of thirty counts of rape of boys eight and younger."

"I sentence you to ... Death." Brudei growled as he turned into a walking nightmare.

As Brudei was carrying out the sentence, Eddie took Nathan's hand. "Nathan, there's a scared big kid hiding in that classroom. I just barely picked him up; he ain't dangerous but he needs someone to be nice to him and help unscare him."

"C'mon then, you're both coming with me." Nathan stated, his tone not allowing argument.

Rolling his eyes, Johnny giggled. "Big brothers worry too much."

Nathan nodded. "Yep, and little brothers who don't listen get wedgies."

"You win!" Eddie giggled. "C'mon Bro, I don't wanna be diggin' Kelvar outta my butt!"

Nathan smiled at the screwed-up face that Johnny made at the picture Eddie's comment put in his head. "C'mon guys, show me where we need to go."

With Eddie leading the way, the trio headed a couple of rooms down the hall. As soon as they quietly opened the door, it became obvious that the room was used for storage and was not an active classroom. Desks were piled on top of each other, and boxes were scattered in multiple piles.

Silently, Johnny pointed towards a tall cabinet. Nathan nodded, and carefully made his way over to the indicated cabinet. Once in place, he said just loud enough to be heard "Clan Short Intel, you're safe now. C'mon out."

"Bite me." a young voice replied.

"Only if you're cute!" Nathan shot back. "Seriously, it's safe; we're here to take out the bad guys. One of my friends is munching on a cop while we're in here helping you."

"Yeah!" Johnny and Eddie chorused, "It was kewl! Nathan shot him in the privates!"

"He's lucky Bru stopped me from giving him an entire clip of nine millimeter suppositories after you told me what he did," Nathan mumbled.

With that, the door to the cabinet cracked open slightly. Once he was satisfied that the voices he heard were really kids, the boy inside took the risk and pushed it all the way open, looking around quickly to see if he was being set up. The thirteen-year-old boy that was revealed had auburn collar-length hair and grey eyes; he was dressed in a sleeveless white mesh shirt and white basketball shorts, and was cuddling a young ferret.

"Ohhhh, awesome ferret!" Nathan exclaimed as he spotted the white ferret being cuddled protectively in the boy's arms.

Johnny leaned forward and began clucking and clicking. The white ferret tilted his head, then responded with a few clicks back. "He says he likes you and wants to keep you!" Johnny informed the boy holding the ferret.

"Huh?" the boy stuttered as he looked at Johnny like he'd just grown a third head.

"Don't feel bad," Nathan giggled, "Johnny told me he could do that, but I've never seen him actually do it until now! I'm Nathan, Doctor Dolittle there is Johnny, and the short guy trying to be serious is his little brother Eddie."

"If that offer to bite you is still open, Nathan wants to take you up on it too!" Eddie giggled. "Paybacks!"

"Lucas has known you guys less than a day and you're already picking up his bad habits!" Nathan groaned as he tried to hide his blush.

Relaxed by the brotherly banter, the boy introduced himself. "I'm Leofwyn Jonesboro, what did you mean by you're here to take out the bad guys?"

Johnny quickly explained the comment. "One'a your classmates managed to sneak away. He was picked up by onea our rescue teams, and he let us read his head to learn what they were doin' in here. We gotta buncha strike teams an' we blew the doors off so we could save the kids from the buttheads who were abusin' them."

"OOOOO...kay." Leofwyn replied with a tilt of his head.

"As crazy as it sounds, he's serious." Nathan grinned. "Actually, I was about to ask you if you'd mind having Eddie look in your head to see if we need to track anyone down who hurt you."

Figuring he'd play along, Leofwyn said "Sure, why not"

Having the approval, Eddie began scanning. At first, Leofwyn had a look of surprise on his face; that quickly changed to a look of concentration as he accepted the reality of what was happening and helped Eddie located the information he needed.

"Johnny, check me." Eddie stated after a minute of gathering information. "Bru says he'll be right in to do the official stuff. Nathan, Leofwyn, when we get back we're gonna get you trained up to judge extractions and stuff."

Nathan's eyebrows lifted at the seriousness in Eddie's voice. He didn't have enough time to reply, however, as Brudei came walking in the door carrying a badge and weapons belt.

"Souvenirs for ya', Nathan!" Brudei grinned as he tossed the items. "He had a nine millimeter until you shot it off him; his ammo will work in your gun as well. Eddie, Johnny, go ahead and give me what you got."

Brudei was quiet for a minute before speaking. "Dang it! Julio says I can't have any more fun. Anyway, since he claimed the trial I at least get to do this part. Leofwyn Albert Jonesboro, it was found in a voluntary telepathic examination by two Vulcan-Registered telepaths that your parents knowingly and willingly placed you in this institution, instructing you of activities here which were known to them that violate local, State, Federal, and Federation laws."

Brudei paused to collect his thoughts, then continued, "By action or stated intent, I find that your parents have subjected you to situations in violation of the following sections of the Safe Haven Act: Sections 12.1a and b, 12.2b, 12.3, 13.2, 17.4, 17.9, and 17.10. Clan Short has determined this establishment is in violation of Sections 67 and 68, and that the subjects parents were fully aware of the violation. As empowered under Article 200, Family Clan Short hereby assumes full and absolute custody of the minor Leofwyn Jonesboro, age thirteen, and declares all other claims of guardianship null and void effective immediately."

"Oh, and boyfriends are okay at your new home too, mine can make stuff float!" Eddie added with a giggle.

Leofwyn looked over at Nathan, as he seemed to be the only one not being weird. "What're they talking about?"

Nathan smiled. "I guess the munchkins found a few things in your head that were not good. You just got rescued by Clan Short; you're coming home with me, and you no longer belong to your parents. Clan Short's gonna take care of you until you find a new family to live with."

"So where am I gonna stay?" Leofwyn asked, obviously worried.

"Nathan's bedroom!" Eddie giggled.

"EDDIE!" Nathan, Leofwyn, and Brudei chorused.

"What? They're both think the other one's cute so loud Grandma can hear 'em!" Eddie giggled. "I'm just tryin' to help since they're not sayin' nothin'!"

"Minky, I think we died and went to the funny farm," Leofwyn quipped to his ferret.

"You'll get used to it!" Nathan giggled. "My lil' bro Lucas likes to make sure everyone knows what each other's thinking... any time it'll embarrass them."

"Great," Leofwyn groaned, "Just what I needed."

"We'll worry about where you're sleeping when we get home," Nathan commented, deciding a change of subject was needed. "Did they actually let you have a pet ferret here?"

Leofwyn shook his head. "Naw, he belongs to the science lab; I'm supposed to be taking him to the drama class to use in a production they're doing, but I hid in here when I heard the explosions. The drama class is supposed to be putting on some sorta show today, the rest of my class is in the auditorium to watch it."

Johnny interrupted the older boys. "It has been determined by the Director of Family Clan Short Des Moines Division that Minky was to be involved in actions violating Article 13, Section 13.5 of the Safe Haven Act. Clan Short hereby revokes all claims of the keepers of Minky and assigns Leofwyn Jonesboro as sole caretaker of the ferret known as Minky."

"Ummm... I think that means Minky belongs to you now!" Nathan giggled. "Can you really do that, Johnny?"

Johnny nodded. "Yep, Kyle's put me in charge a' makin' sure animals that are bein' used to do nasty stuff to kids are properly taken care of. Minky's happy not to do the stuff no more, an' he likes Leofwyn, so I'm givin' him to Leofwyn."

Suddenly Eddie's voice rang in everyone's head. 'Leofwyn, stay close by Nathan. There's a bad guy coming in the room in a few seconds. Johnny's gonna shield you with his fuzzymore while I'm crashin' into his head.'

The group barely had time to react before the door flew open to reveal ... another cop. "Well praise be! Looks like I'm finally gonna getta piece of that little butt I've been feelin' up!" he exclaimed seconds before seeming to freeze in place.

For the first time in his life, Nathan 'heard' the deepest thoughts of someone else. Normally, the telepathic portion of his skill was control-only; but with Eddie doing a forced extraction while Nathan held the man in place, Nathan was suddenly picking up on the information along with Eddie.

Johnny quickly realized what was happening, and hopped into Nathan's head to help him compartmentalize the information. Amazingly, he found that the natural 'wall' that made Nathan usually control-only was providing a natural safe zone that isolated the impact of the unexpected incoming thoughts.

Brudei watched the rest of his team carefully, prepared to react if any seemed to be in danger. He saw Eddie step back, indicating he was finished, then was startled to hear Nathan growl "I find you guilty of gross sexual misconduct with minors in violation of the Safe Haven Act..."

"I agree with his findings," Eddie quickly added. "including murder."

Eddie's statement wiped out any doubts Nathan had in his mind. With great effort, Nathan managed to growl "I sentence you to death!"

With the final word, Nathan pushed his gift to the limit. The results were instantaneous, as the cop collapsed from Nathan forcing his brain to stop sending signals to every muscle in the cop's body.

Realizing what was happening, Brudei firmly but nicely ordered "Nathan, back out of his head; you're not trained to handle the aftereffects of executing someone. I'll handle it."

The rational part of Nathan's brain heard the order, and despite the anger Nathan felt at what was planned to happen to Leofwyn he did what Brudei asked.

A gasp for air from the cop signified that Nathan had stopped. It was his last gasp, however, as Brudei aimed and fired a phaser set to kill at the man's head.

"You were going to kill him?" Leofwyn whispered to Nathan.

"Yeah, he was plannin' on raping you and leavin' you here to bleed to death," Nathan spat.

Minky wiggled around and somehow managed to make his way from Leofwyn's arm to Nathan's shoulder, where he made himself comfortable. With both arms free, Leofwyn pulled Nathan into a hug. As Nathan felt the comfort that seemed to radiate from Leofwyn, he relaxed in Leofwyn's arms and quietly cried out his remaining anger.

A few minutes later:

The sight of the group walking down the hall would have made any bystanders look twice. The fact that two cops had managed to escape detection by the strike teams put Brudei on alert; he was now clothed in nothing but a loose open robe. Johnny and Eddie both had their hoods up, and were actively deep scanning for the slightest hint of a mind. Leofwyn was equipped with the personal shield that Brudei had initially been wearing, with two nightsticks now hanging from it. Nathan, however, was the clincher; he now had TWO police badges pinned to his shirt along with two sets of Lieutenant bars, and had the former officer's utility belts criss-crossing his chest. This gave him three nine-millimeter pistols, one of which was in a left-handed holster. All three were loaded and ready for use; after the last encounter Nathan wasn't taking chances.

Fortunately, there were no more encounters. They met up with Hac outside the Performing Arts department, Eddie giving him warning mentally before they surprised him.

"Holy Crap!" Hac exclaimed as he saw Nathan. "Do I wanna know?"

"Souvenirs!" Nathan giggled, somehow relaxed after his cuddle with Leofwyn. "Hac, this is Leofwyn, I'm taking him and his ferret Minky home with me."

Eddie had alerted Colin to their arrival as well, and he joined them just as Nathan made the introduction. "Ahhh, I see JJ has competition!" Colin commented with a smile. "Just so you know, Nathan, by this time tomorrow you'll have a reputation Clan-wide as one of three people who are not allowed to be near police officers."

"Why?" Nathan asked with a tilt of his head.

"Because the AIs have big mouths, and you're one of two people who have followed in JJ's footsteps as far as taking out policemen who got in your way. The other one leads the Desert Division in Las Vegas."

"Great," Nathan moaned.

"Seriously, I'll bet that you get asked by JJ himself to be trained," Colin added seriously. "Johnny just gave me his action report, and I know that JJ is going to want to have you on his team... his PERSONAL team at Headquarters in Orlando."

"I guess that won't be too bad," Nathan admitted, still unsure about having a reputation with people he'd never met.

"C'mon inside," Colin grinned. "Klaus is sending up some deep scanners for the teams to use, since you seem to have found out that there have to be hidden saferooms scattered in the building. I watched the teams clearing the halls you came down; they picked up on Leofwyn but left him there until the criminals were cleaned up since he was safely hidden. You guys just beat the rescue detail to retrieving him."

"Okay, I was wondering how he got missed," Nathan replied. "I'm glad we did though; I like him!"

Just then, the two police radios that Nathan was wearing came to life. "Dispatch to Units 137 and 485, 10-20?" (*See note*)

Leofwyn looked at the badges on Nathan's shirt, then grinned as he grabbed one of the microphones. "10-6 Dispatch, prepare for 10-61. This is a 107X-CSV."

"10-4 Clan Short. Proceed with 10-61."

"10-4. Family Clan Short is 10-23 on a 10-42. I am Lieutenant Leofwyn Jonesboro, Family Clan Short of Vulcan Security. Be advised Troopers 137 and 485 are 11-79 for multiple counts of 10-74 while performing signal 90's as determined by Vulcan telepathic testimony. Acknowledge."

"Dispatch to Clan Short 10-67. Will you require 10-34?"

"Dispatch, this is Clan Short; negative on the 10-34. Thank you."

"10-4. Dispatch clear."

(Note: Codes sourced from: http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Mississippi_State_Agencies_(MS) )

Noticing the conversation was done, Colin tapped his commbadge. "Charlie, be advised that the locals are now aware of an operation in the area, and that our newest addition took two of their own down."

"Understood." Herman replied. "I miss all the fun out here."

"Just wait until the debriefing!" Colin chuckled.

Colin then held out his hand, where a felt box landed seconds later from mid-air. "We have a saying in the Clan," Colin giggled as he walked up to stand in front of Leofwyn, "Open mouth, insert foot! Leofwyn Jonesboro, do you accept the commissioning as Family Clan Short Security Communications Specialist with all the rights and responsibilities attached?"

Leofwyn, figuring this was just a formality, responded "Sure."

"Welcome to the team, Lieutenant!" Colin grinned as he opened the box, retrieved the lieutenant bars, and pinned them on Leofwyn's shirt.

Glancing over at Nathan, Colin added "Brudei's already took care of you when he pinned those on you. Once things calm down, I'll take care of getting your training set up before you guys move to Orlando."

Nathan's eyes grew wide at what the comment implied. While his Uncle Bruce had warned their parents, as well as Nathan and Lucas, about the possibility of being invited to actively participate in the Clan, Nathan never expected it to be more than helping out with kids that others rescued. From the sounds of it, he'd just been elevated to the title of rescuer; and he wasn't really sure how to feel about it.

Pretty sure that he knew what both of the newest officers in the Clan were thinking, Colin prodded them forward to join the rest of the Command team in the backstage area of the Drama classroom.

"Hey guys!" Julio said as he noticed their arrival. "I just finished the last trial. Nathan, whadda you say about you and the new guy sitting down with me while the rest of these guys do what they're best at; sorting out what's best for the victims?"

"That's the first sane thing someone's offered in the last twenty minutes!" Nathan replied with a grin. "C'mon Leofwyn; Julio's kewl."

The three of them headed over to a couch sitting just offstage while the rest of the group joined the guys going through the students in the auditorium seats. As they took their seats, Julio asked seriously "Did you execute the cops, or just take them down?"

Sensing that Julio was concerned, Nathan replied "I took them down, but Brudei took them out. He said I wasn't ready for that."

"Good," Julio said with relief. "It really messes with your head if you haven't been trained to deal with it, and I'm not sure I could get a Vulcan here to help you right now. Johnny gave me the details already; any time there's a judgement he gives me a report so I'm aware of what we've ran into. Even without training, your judgement was right on with the second cop, Nathan; later on you're probably going to start second-guessing yourself. When that happens, let me know so I can walk you through deciding that you did the right thing, okay?"

Nathan nodded, recognizing the voice of experience from Julio's tone. "You've been there, huh?"

"Yeah, and I'll be there again later tonight." Julio nodded. "All of us have that moment in one way or another. Speaking of which, if the JJ jokes haven't started yet they will shortly. JJ told me he actually doesn't mind the jokes himself; he thinks it helps his rep as the Chief of Clan Security and it helps the new kids see a funny side of things.

"Yeah, they've started," Nathan admitted. "It's kinda annoying to be compared to someone I don't know."

"If JJ is the Chief," Leofwyn asked, "Does that mean Colin didn't really hire me?"

Julio smiled. "You've been legally commissioned; both of you have. Let me tell you about your new boss. JJ's twelve, and is one of the four founding members of the brotherhood that became Clan Short. He's a lot of fun, and usually is really easy going. If you start thinking stupid or do something that hurts people, however, he'll climb down your throat and chew you a new butthole from the inside. His legend comes from a time him and his boyfriend went to pick up a kid from a police station. The cops opened fire on them in the lobby AFTER he'd identified himself. You saw how bullets bounce off the shields; one of the bounces hit onea the cops, and JJ lost his temper. He used a weapon called a phasenmorph that can do an area-of-effect electrical attack to stun all of the cops attacking him and Adam. That's the story behind the legend of him single-handedly taking out a police station."

"He's only twelve and he did that? Wow!" Leofwyn exclaimed.

"I think I can live with the comparison now," Nathan admitted. "It sounds like he saved lives by taking them down. What happened to all of the cops?"

"They were sent to Terra Main and stood trial under Federation charges for obstructing Clan Short along with anything else the Federation found. I'd have to look it up, but I think they found a bunch of corruption there. Ryan over in Orlando is the son of one of the good cops that was there; JJ asked Ryan, his Dad, and his Dad's boyfriend to join the Clan and they accepted. They can probably get the details for you."

"So JJ didn't punish them?" Leofwyn asked.

"No, but the situation was different," Julio admitted, sensing where this could lead. "JJ was on a simple recovery. An operation like this under the circumstances the world is under right now limits our options some, so it's best that we hold the trials as needed on site. Also, JJ did not have certified telepaths with him, while you had two with you. Everything was done right for the situation, so neither of you needs to worry."

"Okay," Leofwyn stated, "I was just worried that someone would come and try to take hot stuff here away from me."

"Leofwyn!" Nathan exclaimed as his face turned bright red.

"You don't have to worry about that," Julio giggled. "Nathan was Clan before he knew it; the second Bruce took custody of him the Clan put him under our protection. Any Clan member can step forward to stop abuse, no matter how long or short of a time they've been part of the Clan. Anyone like you two who get commissions just gets extra training to deal with the tough stuff."

"Who can commission people? Are there rules?" Nathan asked.

"It's more common sense," Julio explained. "Obviously any Director or founding Clan member can commission anyone. There are a few guys who help out Clan-wide, and they can do as they see fit. The heads of various sections usually stick to their own areas, but if they see something logical they can commission other areas. Since each area of the Clan has their own setup, there's no real rule other than is it logical for the person to be in the position offered. Colin's a really strong telepath, and he asked me my opinion before he officially commissioned either of you. Nathan, you were first. While you normally would have been put in Intel, you proved that your skills fit better in Security on your way between the office and here. Leofwyn, you're the first person ever to be a dedicated Security Communications Officer in the Clan. I'm betting that Seth has fun training you up on a few tricks he usually keeps to himself once you get to Orlando."

"So do these ranks mean anything?" Leofwyn asked.

"They mean a lot," Julio stated. "Within the Clan, it means that you guys are looked up to as someone safe to talk to by the rest of the guys. Once you get weapons training, which Colin is going to do as soon as we get back, you will be commissioned in Starfleet and will be legally adults, with all the rights adults have without the age limits. Basically you earned by your actions the distinction of being officers of the Clan."

Both Nathan and Leofwyn seemed to sit a little straighter, the reassurance that they'd actually earned and deserved the awarded ranks boosting their feelings of self-worth.

"Oh, Leofwyn, one other thing," Julio said with a grin. "A couple of the guys went out to visit your former parents. The charges you guys figured out stuck, along with a couple more. There's someone they're bringing back that misses you; you can legally take care of him yourself now and the Clan will make sure both of you have everything you need."

"Lazzie?" Leofwyn asked hopefully.

"Who's that?" Nathan queried.

"Lazarus; he's my little brother. he shoulda just turned seven." Leofwyn explained.

"Kewl!" Nathan exclaimed in relief, "he's the same age as my lil' bro Lucas!"

As if they had been called, Reese, Riley, and Lucas appeared with a skinny seven-year-old dirty-blond boy.

"Leafie!" the boy screamed in glee as he spotted Leofwyn, quickly breaking away to give Leofwyn a hug.

Noticing the incoming tornado, Minky scrambled to move to Nathan's arms, barely escaping getting crushed.

"I missed you, Leafie!" the boy, obviously Lazarus, stated as he scrambled onto Leofwyn's lap and latched on tightly.

"I missed you too, Lazy." Leofwyn said softly as he wrapped his arms tightly around his little brother.

As the two brothers reunited, Lucas came over to Nathan and carefully snuggled with his brother. "Is that a ferret?" Lucas asked.

"Yeah, he was rescued by Leof." Nathan replied. "Minky, this is my little brother Lucas," Nathan added with a giggle.

To the surprise of both boys, Minky wiggled around until he was able to nuzzle Lucas' cheek, then playfully nipped at Lucas' nose before shifting around and becoming very interested in one of the sets of lieutenant bars on Nathan's shirt. Nathan watched in amazement as Minky's little fingers deftly removed one of the sets, Minky carefully holding the first one in his mouth while removing the second. The little ferret then stretched over and managed to attach the 'stolen' bars onto Lucas' shirt.

"Those look good on you, bro!" Nathan giggled. The amazed look on Lucas' face was priceless, obviously not sure how to react.

"Lieutenant Collins," Nathan giggled, "Report on your actions since I left the office."

Lucas giggled, deciding this could be a fun game. "We helped a buncha little kids. The meanies here bought the little kids from their parents. Mouse said that was bad, so he had some friends come over to take them to visit a playground Klaus has. When you found Leafwin, Brudei told Mouse about his parents, so we went to visit them. They were busy tryin to make babies, and they had Laz all tied up so he hadda watch them up close. Reese an' Riley got all serious an' stuff an' broke inta the parents heads. Trev and me untied Laz, then Trev sent them to a prison planet cuz they sent Leaf away for likin' boys an they were doin' somethin' like corruptin' a minor or somethin' like that. Makin' babies is GROSS!"

"I agree, lil bro!" Nathan giggled. "Are you okay after seeing all that?"

Lucas nodded. "Uh-huh. Eddie show'd me howta put the 'dult stuff in a trash can in my head." Lucas paused, then giggled. "Leafy, you can tell Laz that my awesome big bro is gonna be your boyfriend, he already guessed'd it anyway!"

Julio giggled as three of the four people he was sharing the couch with turned bright red. "You did that on purpose, didn't you Lucas?"

Lucas turned his head towards Julio, his grin ruining his attempt to look innocent. "Who, me?

"Yes, you!" Julio laughed. "If you get your skinny little butt over here, Lieutenant Leech junior, we've got some official business to finish."

Curious, Lucas scrambled over to sit on Julio. "What kinda 'fishal business we gotta do?"

Julio smiled. "Johnny poked me in the head, he says that there's a new Intel officer that needs to be sworn in. You've gotta be around, though."

"Okay!" Lucas grinned.

"Can you tell me what the job of a Clan Intel Officer is?" Julio prodded.

Lucas responded seriously. "Uh-Huh! Clan Intel Off'cers find out when people do bad stuff, and they help the other guys figure out what to do with bad people by tellin' them what was done wrong. They also help protect people that are 'cused of doin' stuff they didn't really do. Johnny says they ain't 'posed to judge stuff unless it's really bad an' nobody else can do it."

"Wow, it sounds like you've been asking questions!" Julio giggled.

"Yep," Lucas nodded, "Johnny, Eddie, and me talked while they was teachin' me stuff with all the kids!"

"Nice!" Julio nodded. "What are the rules for telepaths?"

Lucas grinned. "Us telepaths ain't 'posed to go diggin' in anyones heads unless we got their okay or they're on trial. Surface thoughts are okay, but we ain't 'posed to say nothin' about them unless someone could be hurt. Johnny says that those rules don't apply to Directors, Pat-ree-arks, or big brothers and their partners, 'cuz we gotta protect their heads."

"I need to have a talk with Kyle!" Julio snickered.

"That's who told Johnny who the exceptions were!" Lucas laughed.

"Just wait until the next time I see that little leech!" Julio laughed. "He's goin' swimming!" Getting back on track, Julio asked "Why are some of the Clan's Intel guys officers?"

Lucas thought about it. After some thought, he replied "I think it's because they proved that they're good and follow the rules for telepaths. It lets everybody know who to go to if they're havin' trouble."

"What would you do if someone came up to you with a problem?" Julio asked, surprised at the responses he'd got already.

"I'd try to fix it," Lucas answered seriously, "then if I couldn't I'd tell Nathan because he can fix ANYTHING! He's the best big brother EVER!"

"He's got a pretty amazing little brother too!" Julio agreed. "So amazing, in fact, that Nathan agreed with Minky and made you a Lieutenant in the Intel group."

"That's just playin' though," Lucas stated, "He never asked nobody if it was okay."

"He didn't need to." Julio explained. "Nathan knows you better than anyone; if he thinks you deserve it, there's nobody in the Clan that will argue with him. Congratulations, Lieutenant Lucas Collins."

"Does that mean he's a real Looie too since he's got those bars on?" Lucas asked with wide eyes.

"Yep," Julio nodded, "He did it different from you though, he got it for what he did while on a rescue, while yours is because of what you've learned and how you apply it. That's why I was asking you questions, to help you realize how much you learned so that you'd accept it."

Lucas turned his head and smiled at Nathan, realizing that his big brother had just proved with actions just how proud of him he was. Wordlessly, Lucas scooted back over to Nathan's lap, showing his thanks by cuddling his big brother.

In no time, Lucas mirrored Laz, falling asleep cuddled into his big brother's chest. Julio nodded at Nathan and Leofwyn as he said softly "Take care of your little brothers, we'll be done here soon and we can go home."

Thirty minutes later: Archnania:

While most of the group had went back to Des Moines, Colin wasn't taking any chances due to current events. "Thanks for the lift, Ezzy." he said as their transportation prepared to leave.

"No problem, Uncle Colin; I'll see y'all in a few!" Ezra replied before vanishing.

Colin glanced around at his companions, all but two of which were looking around in shock. Julio and Jesse were giggling at the awestruck looks on the faces of Laz and Lucas as they tried to take in everything at once, while Hac, Brudei, Trevois, and Mouse assessed their situation warily. Nathan and Leof kept their eyes on their little brothers, both ready to jump if any danger was sensed.

"Okay guys," Colin giggled, "welcome to Archnania. You can relax here, there's nothing and nobody dangerous. Anything that would be a danger will be taken out by the planet before you realize there is danger. The plants and animals here are sentient, in fact there is a lot of mobile plant life. Don't be surprised if a sapling decides to play a game of 'tag' with the little guys; they like the game."

"Yep," a yellow-haired boy about the same size as Lucas said as he popped in. "How you doing, Colin? You look more relaxed."

"I'm better, except for the crap happening on Earth, Tuone." Colin replied. "Guys, this is Tuone, he's what we'd call a cousin of Prince Chance. Prince Chance is the son of the Planetary Ruler."

"Chance actually runs things, just don't tell Uncle!" Tuone giggled. "You ready to hit the training grounds, Colin?"

"Lead the way!" Colin replied.

"Colin?" Hac asked, "Just HOW does he know what you have us here for, when even we don't?"

"Everyone on the planet is a race similar to the one Ezra is part of." Colin explained as they followed Tuone. "Their main goal in life is collecting knowledge; Tuone has my permission to look in my head any time he wants, since I know he'll keep the secrets safe."

"He has the same access to Julio and I." Jesse explained. "We've spent a little time here, and we'll vouch for everything Colin's said."

"Besides, if you'd been paying attention," Julio added, "you woulda heard Colin say that it's past time for some of us to be fully trained to protect ourselves. We've got to get with Cam for the Intel guys too."

"What about the crap going down at home, we..." Hac started to reply.

"We're not missing more than a second," Julio interrupted. "Archnania exists outside the Earth's time sphere. We could be here twenty years by our body clocks, and still get back with the rest of the guys. Since we're not from this plane, we don't age here at all, at least not that I've seen."

"Close enough!" Tuone giggled. "I could give you details, but your head would explode!"

By the time they'd almost reached the qualification grounds, Minky had made friends with a squirrel-like creature with orange fur, and was having a conversation while both of them rested comfortably in Leof's arms. Lucas and Laz were giggling as they paid attention to one of the Darmi that joined their little group.

After noticing the smiles on their faces as Nathan and Leof watched their little brothers, Julio leaned over to Colin while they walked. "The de-stressing's working."

"I noticed;" Colin giggled, "you've grabbed Jesse's butt about ten times in the last five minutes!"

"Do you blame me?" Julio giggled. "If Benny didn't insist on being an escort instead of coming with us, he'd be doing it too!"

"He'll make up for it later," Colin said with a grin. "While I was with the Unit, I took advantage of the VSO training that was offered to select Unit members. When it comes to VSO stuff, I report directly to Benny; I have since the second I stepped foot in the Des Moines Compound. I'm only partly responsible for choosing the group that came; I was going to bring Nathan, Leofwyn, Lucas, and Lazarus. Benny decided that since you like to run off, you and Julio needed to be certified as well, then we figured it might be good for Hac and his crew to be up to date on Clan weapons and procedures as well."

Julio nodded. "He was right; with as nuts as things just got, we can't take chances. Too bad Nyo's not set up to issue 'morphs up here."

"Who says he's not?" Colin said with a grin as he waved at a figure walking towards them.

Des Moines, Vets Center Banquet Room

Bruce Collins paced back and forth as he waited for his nephews to return from the mission. He hadn't expected them to become active this quickly, and he wasn't really sure that either of them were ready to be active Clan members, no matter what Teri had told him.

Just as Bruce was turning to make another pass, Benny and his group appeared. Bruce noticed five new faces in the group, all of which made a beeline to Grandma Morrison behind Trevois. The faces he was looking for however, were missing.

"You looking for something, Uncle Bruce?" Nathan's voice asked from behind him, causing Bruce to literally jump.

Once his feet touched the ground, Bruce spun around to find the group that had detoured to Archnania standing behind him giggling.

"Very funny, Nathan!" Bruce stated with a shake of his head.

"We're okay, Uncle Bruce," Lucas said seriously.

Bruce nodded, mildly surprised that Lucas didn't expand on the rest of the thoughts he had running through his mind. "What made you guys decide to scare the crap out of me?" he asked.

"We had to stop off for some training," Nathan replied, "so Ezzy dropped us off in a different spot than everyone else."

"A Mikyvis was involved? That explains a lot!" Bruce chuckled. Now that he was calming down, he looked closer and realized a few things over the few seconds it took him to look. The first was that there were two new faces in the group, both of which were staying close to Nathan and Lucas. The second was that all four of them in Nathan's group were wearing Clan Command commbadges on their green polo shirts, the logo signifying that they were part of the team that worked directly with Headquarters. The third was on their collars; three of the four sported lieutenant bars, while the little guy giggling with Lucas was wearing ensign insignia. That made Bruce quickly look to their right breasts, where he saw three had the Clan Crest with a lightning bolt, signifying Intel. Nathan, however, sported a Security Crest, which had a Mississippi State Police badge pinned underneath it. That led him to his last discovery - all four were armed with phasers, with Nathan having a full weapons belt with not only a phaser but also his pistol.

"Nathan, why do you have a police badge?" Bruce asked, figuring it would be best to get the easily explained observation out of the way first.

"It was a fair trade!" Nathan giggled. "I gave them the badges, radios, and utility belts of their two former officers back, and they gave me my own badge!"

"Do I want to know why you had that equipment to give back?" Bruce groaned, now wishing he hadn't asked.

"There are two things you never do," Brudei interjected. "One: never shoot at Nathan, especially if you broke the law you're supposed to be enforcing. Two: Never, ever, EVER threaten to rape anyone Nathan cares about... EVER!"

"Oh... shit!" Bruce moaned, knowing his nephew too well. "Do I want to know details?"

As they had planned in case this was asked, Brudei responded to this one as well. "In the first case, he slowed him down enough to allow me to judge the bastard and execute him. In the second case... I'll just say that I fried the guy because I've never seen anything as scary as a person who had every single muscle in his body, including his heart and diaphragm, completely shut down. I've seen a lot in forty thousand years, and he scared the shit outta me with that."

Bruce's eyes bugged out at the last bit of information. "You mean..."

Brudei nodded. "Just that. You don't push Nathan. He's got the skills to be dangerous, but doesn't use it unless he has to. When he's got to however, he WILL win. He just sat down with an expert in the human brain, and between them they sorted out the things he hadn't learned control on yet. Nathan's skill is part telepathy and part telekinesis, and is uniquely his."

Bruce relaxed, obviously relieved. "Great! I was hoping someone around here would be able to help Nathan with the parts of his skills that his parents couldn't understand. After my crash course when Teri was on vacation, I brought up some of what I'd saw to Nathan and Lucas' parents. That's when they broke the news of their family secret, the skills both boys had developed. I think knowing that the boys would be with others who understand them was the biggest reason I was chosen to take care of them."

"Good guess!" Lucas giggled.

Deciding to move on to a hopefully safer subject, Bruce asked "Okay Nathan, you think that you can explain why you're wearing all those weapons?"

Nathan grinned. "Brudei told Colin about me shooting the nuts off of the first cop. He said anyone that can hit a target that small needs to be certified in weapons!"

"Ouch!" Bruce winced. "Moving on, ..."

"But you didn't ask about our fuzzymores!" Nathan giggled.

< PHASENMORPH! > Ark interrupted.

"Yeah, what it said!" Nathan laughed. "You gotta meet Cookie!" Nathan then proceeded to stick out his left arm, where a grayish creature with large brown spots appeared out of nowhere. "Cookie, this is Uncle Bruce, Uncle Bruce, meet Cookie!"

"This is Sparkles!" Lucas added with a giggle as his appeared.

"Amadeus!" Leofwyn added as his arm sprouted its own phasenmorph.

"And Megatron!" Lazarus giggled as his 'morph joined the fun.

Once again, Bruce had to fight to keep his eyes in his head. "Julio..."

"We're not playing games anymore," Julio interrupted. "These four are going to be at Headquarters, and I'm not going to allow Cory, Sean, JJ, Adam, Kyle, or Tyler to be put in whatever situation they are in ever again."

"Understood," Bruce replied, before realizing exactly what Julio said. "FOUR! Why is it I get the feeling that I just adopted two boys without being told?"

"Because that's exactly what is going to happen." Julio said with a grin. "Leof, Laz? Put your toys away, it's time to make this official."

Casey and Tina came running over, having been told by Eddie what was about to happen. "Cool! More brothers!" Casey exclaimed as he skidded to a stop by Nathan.

Spotting Minky lazily sprawled over the back of Leof's neck, Tina asked "What's that? He's pretty!"

Leof squatted down so Tina could look closer. "His name is Minky, he's a ferret," Leof explained. "I just adopted him. If you're really careful, he'll let you pet him."

Tina slowly reached up and began stroking the fur on Minky's head. "Ohhh, he's soft!" she said in awe.

"Just remember to be careful, he's little just like you." Leof said softly.

"Okay," Tina replied with a smile.

Smiling at how gentle Leof was being with his cousin, Nathan made introductions. "Casey, Tina? The big guy is my boyfriend Leofwyn, and his little brother is Lazarus. Just a soon as we get Uncle Bruce to speak again, they're gonna be your brothers."

"Why do I get the impression I don't have a choice?" Bruce chuckled. "By the way Nathan, thanks for introducing my new sons to their brother and sister so that I could figure out their full names."

"OOPS!" Nathan giggled.

"Leof, Laz?" Bruce asked, waiting to continue until both of them were looking at him. "Do you want to keep your old last name, or do you want to change it to Collins? Leof and Nathan; the way things work in the Clan, having the same last name as your boyfriend or being in the same family doesn't affect if you can be boyfriends or not. Cory and Sean Short, the leaders of Clan Short, are only related by adoption, yet they are married - even though neither of them are fifteen yet."

"Uncle Bruce!" Nathan groaned. "You're as bad as Mom! Put the wedding cake away, we've only known each other a few days!"

"You just HAD to take them out-of-time, didn't you, Julio?" Bruce groaned. "Just to mess with my head!"

"No, Ezzy took them!" Julio giggled, "I was just a passenger!"

Deciding to quit while he was still standing, Bruce asked "Have you guys decided anything yet?"

"Yeah," Laz giggled, "we decided that you're just as nutty as Lucas said you was! I want Collins, I think you're fun!"

"Same here," Leof grinned. "Nath says you're good at not strangling little guys with big mouths."

"Don't think I haven't considered it, have I Lucas?" Bruce grinned.

"Who, me?" Lucas asked as he tried to appear innocent.

"Yeah you, squirt!" Bruce laughed. "Okay Julio, you ready to do the official stuff?"

Julio nodded. "Kerry, record please."

"Yeehhsss, Mahhsterrr!" Kerry replied in his best Evil Minion imitation.

Rolling his eyes, Julio began. "Leofwyn Jonesboro and Lazarus Jonesboro, as Wards of Family Clan Short of Vulcan you have full free choice on the questions I am about to ask. Bruce Collins has expressed his willingness to welcome you into his family, and to treat you as he treats his own blood children. By accepting this offer, be aware that in no way will you be required to give up any of the rights or protections which come from being a member of Family Clan Short. Do you wish to accept this offer?"

"Yes." Leof and Laz replied in unison.

"Do you wish to make any changes to your names?" Julio asked.

"Yes," Leof answered for both of them. "We both wish to take his last name."

"What Leafie said!" Laz giggled. "Minky says he wants to be a Collins too!"

"Thanks, Laz." Julio acknowledged. "Bruce Collins; Leofwyn, Lazarus, and Minky have expressed their interest in joining your family. Are you willing and able to accept them into your family?"

"Yes," Bruce answered.

Continuing, Julio asked "Are you willing and able to support and raise them to Clan Short standards, and will you acknowledge that as Officers of Family Clan Short they at times will have obligations that supersede your wishes and plans?"

"Yes," Bruce replied, suddenly understanding what Teri had told him about being a Clan parent.

"Are you willing to provide cookies for the entire Des Moines division?" Julio asked with a grin.

"Hell no!" Bruce laughed. "It's going to be hard enough keeping up with six cookie monsters and a cookie ferret!"

"Hey, I hadda try!" Julio giggled. "Tina, Casey, Lucas, and Nathan? Do you accept Leofwyn, Lazarus, and Minky as equals in your family, with the understanding that their rights and privileges will be based on their species, age, and development just like yours are?"

"Yes!" All four exclaimed at once.

Grinning, Julio stated, "I, Julio Hernandez, Director of the Des Moines Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan, after due investigation, do hereby place Leofwyn Jonesboro and Lazarus Jonesboro into the family of Bruce Collins, and order both of their surnames be changed to Collins effective immediately. This placement is permanent, and all other claims to familial rights by any other party are hereby revoked and declared null and void for eternity." Julio paused, looking at the two newest Collins boys. "Congratulations, guys - go enjoy your new family."