Space Fleet decided to have a cook off and fun day for the crews of the ships at Earth. Gianin had the opportunity to meet Randy Jenkins, and the two became friends. Austin and Dallas were introduced to shimmy.
With the Pegasus completed, she went on her shakedown cruise. There were some adjustments needed, but very few.
Jordan, Jace and the boys arrived eleven minutes early, or in their book, only one minute. The judge called them into his office and asked his question. Austin spoke up, "Yes, Your Honor, Dallas and I very much want this adoption. Dad and Papa told us to speak from our hearts, and if we wanted it, they would be happy, but if for some reason we didn't, they would still love us and want to visit any time they could. We don't want just visits; we want them as our parents."
Jace wiped the corner of his eye as the judge signed the paperwork and handed it to Jordan. He instructed them on where they would receive the revised birth certificates and other necessary documents.
The Stratosphere Tower in Vegas is the main building at Headquarters. The Tower is 350m (1149 ft) in height, with 107 floors. The Lift can take you from ground floor to the top in 37 seconds. The Top floor is where Shuttle Traffic Control is located. The floor below that is the Skyward Restaurant. It is a rotating restaurant that takes up the entirety of the floor and is open to all members of Space Fleet and their families.
After finishing with the Courthouse and getting their adoptions finalized, Jordan and Jace took Austin and Dallas to the Skyward for lunch. As they sat down, they heard a very familiar voice, "Of all the restaurants on base, they had to walk into mine."
Jace turned around, "Randy? This is the restaurant where you work?"
"Not only work," Randy stated, "but run the kitchen. I saw you four walk in and told your waiter that I would take care of you personally. And I have the clout that whatever I say pretty much goes in here."
"So, being on base, do you have an endless supply of shimmy?" Jordan inquired.
Randy chuckled, "I wouldn't say endless, but I have no fear of running out. In fact, our special today is shimmy steak with a baked potato and salad."
"Do you have any lasagna?" Austin asked.
"I take it, you liked my lasagna, but unfortunately, not today," Randy replied. "However, I will be making some for tomorrow."
Austin and Dallas gave Jordan puppy dog eyes, to which he responded, "Our quarters are just one floor down, we can come back tomorrow."
"So, what brought you here today?" Randy questioned.
Dallas grinned, "Dad and Papa wanted to celebrate our adoption being finalized."
"Congratulations," offered Randy, "that calls for a cake to celebrate."
"Too bad Ben Maxie isn't here to make one," Jace laughed.
"He'll be nineteen in a few months, so I've put in a request for him once he leaves the Heinlein. Last time they were on Earth, I asked him to make some special cakes for me. They've been waiting in stasis all this time."
Jordan wondered aloud, "Any that would be appropriate for adoption finalizations?"
"I'm not sure it exactly fits this situation, but Captain Veronica Gordon in Personnel was expecting at the time, so Ben made two cakes, one said, 'It's a Boy," and the other for a girl. The baby's name is Jessica."
"It's boys," Austin chuckled, "but close enough."
Jordan was aroused by two boys jumping on his bed. "Jace, tell the boys to go back to bed," he requested, but heard no response. He looked over and Jace wasn't there.
"Papa sent us in here to wake you up," Austin explained. "And he said, 'by any means you want.'"
"He did, did he?" Jordan questioned. "And you chose to jump on my bed?"
"It sounded like a fun idea," Dallas laughed. "And you ARE awake."
"He also said that we should each kiss your cheek twenty-one times. Something about it being your birthday."
Jace walked in, carrying a bed tray. "Oh good, you're awake."
"Yeah, thanks to the two assassins you sent in here," Jordan chuckled. "Just remember, your birthday is just a couple weeks away."
"We didn't come in here to kill you," Austin declared.
Jordan smiled, "No, just my sleep. I'll forgive you on one condition, though."
"What's that?" Austin nervously asked.
Jordan held out his arms and replied, "You each give me a hug, and those birthday kisses that you mentioned."
The boys eagerly hugged Jordan and started kissing his cheeks. Austin was on his right while Dallas was on his left. Jace set the tray over Jordan's lap. There was a stack of pancakes seven layers high, and three candles on top. "Why three candles?" Jordan inquired.
"Seven pancakes multiplied by three candles," Jace explained, "equals twenty-one." There were also seven pieces of bacon, although you couldn't tell it. Jace had crumbled them up and spelled "Happy Birthday" on the pancakes.
Jordan looked at the stack of pancakes and shook his head. "I don't think I'll be able to eat all of this without some help."
"Can we help?" Dallas offered.
Jordan smiled and told him, "Go get a fork."
"Papa suggested that we bring one with us," Austin stated as he climbed in beside Jordan. Dallas sat on the bed on Jordan's other side.
Lt Commander James Ryker was working in the Operations Office. He looked at Kash, "We have a new officer just assigned to the Pegasus. His name is Etienne LeBeau."
"That's French, isn't it?" Kash questioned.
"Etienne is French for Steve," James remarked, "but he was born on Crow Island in Louisiana. It wouldn't surprise me if he's more Cajun than French."
"Does he have family coming with him?" Kash inquired.
"Yes, a wife, Valérie, and a son, Semaj," James replied. He chuckled, "I like the son's name backwards. I assigned them Family Quarters in the Junior Officers' area."
Kash asked, "How soon do they arrive? Will I need to tell Captain Rivers that we need to delay our departure tomorrow?"
"According to the last Shuttle Manifest, they should already be on the…" James was interrupted by the door chime.
"Come in," Kash responded.
As the officer entered, he introduced himself, "Sir, I am Etienne LeBeau."
James looked at Kash, "No, I don't think you need to delay our departure for him."
Kash walked up to Etienne, "I am Commander Kash Rivers-Brooks, the Chief of Operations, and this is Lt. Commander James Ryker, my Assistant Chief."
"It's a pleasure to meet you both, Sirs." Etienne saluted.
"On this ship, formalities such as calling us 'Sirs,' or saluting are only used when on the Bridge or absolutely necessary. I'm Kash, and he's James."
"And saluting, sometimes, not even then," James added. "I was getting ready to head out. Would you like for me to show you to your quarters?"
"That would be great," Etienne answered. "My family is waiting outside, figured I would check in and find out where our quarters are."
"Follow me," James offered.
As the family was walking through the Reception Area and then the lobby of the Stratosphere Tower, Dallas's eye caught site of a boy with a sign. The sign read "Free Puppies." Dallas grabbed Austin's hand and pointed at the sign, then both boys asked in unison, "Can we get one?"
"I don't know, we'll have to ask the captain for permission," Jace laughed.
Dallas began to say, "He's right th…"
Jordan had walked over to the boy. "How old are they?"
"They just turned eight weeks, Sir," the boy reported, "a couple days ago. They were born February the twenty-sixth."
"Why are you giving them away?"
"Dad said that once they were old enough, I had to find them a new home. He said that if I get rid of all but one, I can keep one and the mother, but not all of them."
Jordan asked, "How many do you have left?"
"Two, one boy and one girl."
"Which one do you want to keep?" Jace inquired.
"I like the girl, she's my favorite, and I have been able to talk people into not taking her."
"You don't need to talk us into anything, we were wanting a boy puppy, but would have taken the girl if you wanted the boy," Jordan smiled.
"Great!" the boy jumped up with the girl puppy in his arms. "I can tell Dad that I got rid of all of them but her."
Jace looked at the boys and asked, "What are you going to name him?"
The boys looked at Jordan, who responded, "You wanted him, so you can name him."
"And all the other stuff related to a puppy, right?" Austin questioned.
Jordan gave a quick nod, "Papa and I will help, but for the most part, yeah."
"Austin and I talked about wanting a puppy when we were in the group home but understood that we couldn't have one. We wanted a boy and agreed to name him Shinobi."
"Okay, Shinobi, do you like your new name?" Jordan asked. Shinobi licked his nose.
Austin laughed, "I think that was a yes."
"All departments report ready, Sir," Jace announced.
Jordan inquired, "And all personnel are on board?"
"Affirmative, Sir" Kash reported.
"Including Lieutenant Turtle and his son?"
Kash nodded, "Yes, Sir, they arrived at 0600."
"Ensign Pennisi, take us out of space dock." Jordan ordered.
Pennisi, as is standard practice, called out each step as he did it, "Disconnecting the umbilical cables. Disengaging clamps. Back out now, Sir."
"John, set a course for…"
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