CSV-DSM Part 2

Chapter 5: 'Family Lost and Found'

Des Moines CIC, 4:45 AM:

Shawn Douglas reached forward, flipped the cover over a big red button on the control console in front of him, and slammed it down. "Someone get Governor Jacobs on the line, NOW!" he ordered as sirens began blaring throughout the compound. "Kerry, open Compound emergency channel; authorization Douglas twelve charlie delta whisky."

"Authorization confirmed, General." Kerry replied after a brief pause. "Channel is open."

"Thanks, Kerry." Shawn stated before tapping his commbadge. "Attention in the Compound. This is not a drill; Des Moines Compound is hereby at Condition Red; Security institute full lockdown. I repeat, This is NOT a drill, Des Moines Compound is now at Condition Red; Security institute full lockdown. All strike teams are immediately activated and are to report ready status to CIC. Civilian personnel stand by for assistance as required. All medically trained persons are to report to Doctor Jones for assignment."

Throughout the Des Moines compound, families that had settled in for the night suddenly resumed activity at a frenzied pace. Parents and youth which had been proven to have previous training with firearms scrambled to open their weapons safes, while those who had opted for energy weapon training kept one of Kerry's cores at full utilization as they requested their preferred weapon. The sound of the sirens was accompanied by the screeches of hawks, crows, and other birds as they flew over the Compound, mobilizing the four-legged Intel squads. At the motor pool, Benny took charge as every vehicle was quickly outfitted for action before being sent out manned by youth he had hand-picked for just such a possibility.

The area immediately outside the Compound was affected as well. As word had got out about the forming of a possible Division at the location of the Clan's founding, various organizations had decided to take a proactive step to help defend the obvious target for people with something against the Clan. The fact that over half of the organizations that took this step legally don't exist no longer mattered, as all of them responded to hearing the sirens in the same way. Shield generators in the basements of Federation Security, Section 31, and VSO occupied houses were brought out of standby, nearby agents were immediately recalled via transporter, and the houses emptied into the streets surrounding the Compound. Strategically occupied houses occupied by non-military trained organizations provided redundant communications links around the entire perimeter, with the three nearby churches quickly coming online as command centers.

Unknown to Shawn, Ted Jacobs had planned ahead as well, by having a few houses occupied by National Guard officers. With the assistance of the VSO, they were tapped into the emergency channel; by the time Shawn said the second 'This is not a drill', all of them had started the wheels in motion to respond using the standing orders of Governor Jacobs. Camp Dodge was placed at full alert, and the Reserve Air Wing stationed at Des Moines Spaceport was ordered to scramble. The Spaceport itself was ordered to clear the airspace and cease operations until further notice.

Back in CIC:

"Attention in CIC." Kerry announced seriously. "Be advised CSNIC protocol has been activated. All Clan AI systems have joined into CSNIC network processing mode. Draco has relocated to the Starship VHC Yoshuhinak. Interdimensional links online and stable. Shawn, I have Ted Jacobs on channel seventy-six for you."

Shawn did a double-take. "Before I talk to Ted, is there a quick explanation of what the hell CSNIC protocol is?"

Kerry giggled. "I'm tellin Julio that you cussed!" After a pause, he continued. "CSNIC stands for Clan Short Network Interface Controller. In cases of emergency, it was designed to give us extended processing power and redundancy by allowing us to merge a part of our individual personalities into one common super-personality so that we can operate in unison with no communications lag. It also gives us access to the resources of every system that is part of the protocol. Our processing power in this mode makes me look like a calculator in comparison."

"ALL of you nutcases working together? God help us!" Shawn moaned.

"HEY, I resemble that remark!" a chorus of AI voices responded in unison.

"That I'll agree with." Shawn muttered to himself. "Connect the Governor on my main screen, Kerry."

"Connecting." Kerry replied with a giggle, having overheard Shawn's muttered comment.

Ted's face appeared on the screen, people scrambling around the room in the background. "How may I help, General?" he asked as soon as audio was active.

"Sir, the Des Moines Compound is at full alert on orders from Clan Headquarters." Shawn replied. "I thought you might need to be made aware that we will be commencing protective air operations shortly and the immediate area is now at a heightened security level."

Ted nodded. "I've taken the liberty of having people in place to speed response times if a situation such as this was to occur. As of this moment, the Des Moines regional airspace is a no-fly zone. Notify General Wilder that the Reserve Air Wing out at the spaceport is hot and awaiting his orders. The National Guard detachment at Camp Dodge is hereby released to Colin for his use, and I am preparing to announce a statewide State of Emergency. After what happened in Montana, I'm not taking any chances; my staff is in the process of alerting the regional medical facilities to stand by for possible mass trauma. My nephew's got at least three back doors into the state data systems; you can consider him my on-site representative for any information that you might need, and Richie can message my terminal directly to pass anything through me that you need."

"Thank you; that is not what I expected from calling you, but it definitely makes me more comfortable." Shawn replied. "I'll have Richie set up a dedicated channel for you so we can respond faster if you need our assistance."

"Trust me," Ted grinned, "Knowing him, he's already done it, he just hasn't told anyone yet."

"He's Clan, would you expect any less?" Shawn laughed. "I'm sure Julio's going to want to talk with you once he's got his head wrapped around what's happening, so expect another call fairly soon."

"Tell him he's not alone." Ted replied seriously. "We're in this together, no matter what's happening."

"I'll pass that on." Shawn said with a nod. "Thank you; I've got to see where we stand locally."

"I'll talk to you soon." Ted replied before ending the call.

Shawn quickly switched channels, contacting Herman's commbadge. "Air Wing Charlie; be advised Des Moines Air Reserves are hot and awaiting orders. General Wilder, the State has transferred them TAD to Clan Short under your command."

"Acknowledged General Douglas." Herman replied seriously, the sound of rotor wash in the background. "Accessing their command channel now."

Turning his head and spotting Colin, Shawn yelled "Colin, you've got Camp Dodge on standby. They're all yours."

"Thanks, Shawn." Colin yelled back before turning to the nearest terminal.

"Status report?" Shawn asked, hoping for the best.

Johnny looked up from the console he was studying. "Perimeter secured; internal and Ark shields active, secondary shields being provided by some friendly neighbors. Mobile security has rolled out, and my furry friends are all on patrol within the compound. Daileass says right now the inside of our compound is deadlier than a Klingon on a murderous rampage. Assault teams Delta and X-Ray report active and standing by. Strike teams Tango, Whisky, Bookworm, Dolphin, Hornet, Groundhog, and Hawk report active and standing by. Flying Dutchman and Air Wing Charlie report Headquarters locked down and secure. My mouse friend Phil says he thinks we're going overboard a little; he had to go through six security checks just to get to the chunk of cheese that Marcie left out for him."

"With all the shields everyone's put up, I think Phil could be right, Johnny!" Shawn chuckled. "Go ahead and let Headquarters know that we're at alert and over-secured."

"Okay!" Johnny giggled, obviously planning on having a little fun in the process.


Grandma had escorted Julio and his family outside to avoid being in the way as soon as Reese had returned. Now she was taking on the monumental task of comforting the very person responsible for reuniting her family.

"Why?" Julio sobbed over and over into Grandma's chest.

"I don't know that answer, Julio." Grandma admitted. "Since obviously you're close to the Patriarch, maybe if you can tell me a little bit about him, and why he picked you, I might understand better."

Julio was given time to think of a reply by Air Wing Charlie scrambling. The sound of the entire wing passing right over their heads made being heard impossible, and reminded Julio that he wasn't alone.

Once they were gone, Jesse beat Julio to answering. "JJ told me that everyone Cory picks is just as hard-headed as he is, and they all care about others more than themselves."

"Ain't nobody as hard-headed as Cory." Julio quipped.

"That tells me a lot after watching you at work." Grandma stated as she turned Julio's face so she could look him in the eyes. "Don't assume he is down just because he is out of contact. I've already learned that you don't believe in backing down; do you honestly think he could be taken out that easy without us hearing anything else?"

Julio hesitantly shook his head. "Not with the group he has with him. You'd have to destroy the Universe to take all of them out."

"Well then, since the universe still exists, don't you think it makes sense to do what you can to ensure the rest of the Clan is safe? Trust your friend to be the person you know, as I'm sure he's trusting you to be the person he hand-picked to run this Division."

Julio's response was once again interrupted, this time by eighteen F-21K fighters in full scramble mode passing overhead within seconds of each other, their engines screaming as they accelerated to their cruise speed. The last two broke off just after passing over, banking hard to begin what was obviously a guard patrol around the compound.

"I think Uncle Ted's at it again." Julio semi-muttered.

"Who's he?" Grandma asked.

"Just the Governor." Julio replied.

"I think he just showed you that he's concerned about you, and is doing what he can to protect you," Grandma explained. "He might just turn out to be the first politician I've ever met who didn't instantly give me the urge to toss him into the nearest trash compactor. Can you think clearly enough to make decisions, or do you need Jesse to take charge until you've composed yourself?"

"I can't lead..." Jesse started to reply instinctively.

"Tell my youngest grandson that; I'm sure he'll teach you some new words." Grandma stated with a pointed look at Jesse. "The past was there for you to learn from, not for you to repeat, Jesse. Julio is stronger because of you, and you are stronger because of him if you let it be."

"Yes, Grandma," Jesse replied, actually rolling his eyes.

"Better. Next time, try tilting your head back and looking at the sky while you're rolling your eyes." Grandma advised.

Not able to resist joining the rest of his family as they began giggling, Julio added "Thanks, Grandma. I think I get it now. If I want to make sure Cory comes back, I need to work to make it happen. Now I just gotta explain to Mom and Dad why I didn't come to them for help."

"No you don't." Mick said as he came up from behind Julio. "The help you needed was just what Grandma Morrison could give you. Your Mom and I are too close to Cory to have been able to do what she did. That is what makes you and Cory special; you both know who to get help from without thinking about it. Part of our job is to be parents to ALL of the Clan, so we understand about you guys needing to find the right person to help with each situation. I'm sure there will be times Adam and Mark come to us instead of their Grandma sometime soon."

Grandma looked over at Kanin, who was securely latched onto Jesse's side. "That was your example of your new life that you've been looking for, little one. Find your person to talk to if you want to release the past."

Kanin nodded warily. "Yes, Grandma."

Turning back to Julio, Grandma stated, "I will need to borrow your twinnish sons for a small shopping trip; I believe I will need a Harley four-wheeler before daybreak, and they're due to assist the Clan in ways I can't clearly see sometime very soon. Our transportation should arrive shortly."

Julio turned to his sons, and couldn't help grinning when he saw the expectant looks on their faces. Obviously the chance to go to buy Harley four-wheelers was more important than any reservations they might still have about Grandma Morrison. "Go ahead, guys. Pick out something for your brothers too if you manage to con Grandma into getting you anything."

"That's why having a teen dad is so kewl, they understand!" Riley giggled as him and Reese led the puppy-dog-eyed mob towards Grandma Morrison.

Before any more comments could be made, Ezzy popped in, waved, then popped back out with Grandma Morrison and the triple twins. Once they vanished, Jesse giggled, "You know, you just gave them permission to bug her until she gets them something?"

Julio nodded. "Yep. I told Frank I'd get her back for what she put him through before moving here."

Shaking his head, Mick chuckled "And you two were worried about being parents? You're doing great. I need to find out what your Mom is plotting with the other parents. Yell if you feel the need to rescue me."

"Okay, Dad!" Julio giggled as he gave Mick a quick hug. "Love you."

"Love you too, now go get your minions under control." Mick replied as he returned the hug.

A few minutes later:

Julio had just caught up on the status from Shawn, and was now heading over to check on his Intel team. Jesse had decided to take their Uridan family on a quick tour to find places they could help out, and Terry was happily tagging along with Julio as he did his 'Director Stuff'.

"Hey little bro, how's your luck?" Julio asked Eddie as he pulled him into a quick hug.

"Nothin' on Uncle Cory, but it looks like the stupid people are havin' a dumb-butt party. They're causin' all kinda trouble all over the place." Eddie replied. "Cerrt an' Miles got an idea, but Richie an' I think you gotta okay it."

Julio nodded. "I wanna hear it, but there's something you guys forgot. Eddie, you're sharing Intel Head responsibilities with Johnny. Richie, you're head of programming. If the two of you agree on something that affects you both, then you just do it. You can bring Johnny in if you need another opinion, then all you have to do is show me when it's done so I know what amazing thing my brothers have done this time. What you got?"

Both Eddie and Richie smiled at the trust Julio had just given them. After exchanging glances with Eddie, Richie took over. "Me, Cerrt, and Miles were talking about the new CSNIC setup, and they had an idea. Since you made Uridan a Clan outpost, wouldn't it be kewl if we could tie them into our systems directly?"

"Hmmm." Julio hummed as he tilted his head. "Cerrt, Miles? You guys are the experts on those systems. Are they VI or AI, and how do they compare as to tech level with what you saw here?"

"Standard trinary AI, presenting VI interfaces to the general public with AI interaction reserved for specific areas of technology and government." Cerrt replied.

"Both of us have hacked our way into the core interface." Miles added. "There are two systems, one for each hemisphere. After meeting Kerry, I think both have achieved sentience, but neither feels comfortable showing it. I think they might be afraid of being shut down and wiped."

"I think I understand why; adults are scared of things they don't understand." Julio replied seriously.

"I heard that!" multiple adults laughed from nearby stations.

Grinning, Julio continued. "Cam, you listening?"

Cameron, the Archnanian AI, responded instantly. "Of course. These four are as much fun as the guys from Florida that're visiting right now. What do you need to know?"

"He wants to know when him and Poppa can come back and play horsey games again!" Terry giggled from his spot on Julio's hip.

"I was gonna ask that later, in private, squirt!" Julio giggled as he poked at Terry's ribs. "Cam, what do you think the chances are of a stable link?"

"Between you and Jesse? Not possible!" Cam giggled. "Between Uridan and us? Ezzy forgot to pick up the micro-wormhole transceivers he borrowed for your trip; they're still there and hooked up. If Miles and Cerrt wanna introduce us, I think they can join us in the network if they want to."

"Thanks, Cam. Give these guys whatever clearances you need to, so they can help you out; if you catch Ezzy he can probably give you a full report to determine their highest level. They're Divisional Intel."

"Silly director, I've already got the full report, as well as King Kyle's okay to act independently on assigning all but a few levels." Cam replied.

"I hear ya," Julio giggled. "Guys, all four of you work with Cam to get this done while you're not pulling active intel. I've got a funny feeling having an off-planet station in normal space might come in handy."

"How high of a priority is this?" Richie asked.

"It's only outranked by information about our missing brothers." Julio stated firmly as he spotted a group of status reports going across the master screen that made his stomach twist into a knot. "Gotta go, the shit just hit the fan, and it's moving at warp speed. Get this going; CSNIC might need all the processors he can get really soon."

Not waiting for a response, Julio turned and found one of the few empty consoles. As he made his way over, he stated "Kerry, get me Uncle Ted on Comm Seven, Priority call."

"Aye, Captain." Kerry replied as the station came to life.

Julio had barely got seated with Terry sitting on his lap when the screen came to life. "How are you holding up, Julio?" Ted asked as soon as he saw Julio's face.

"I've been better." Julio admitted. "The shit's hit the fan. We're the most secure division in the clan right now, since a few places decided to place redundant redundancies on the redundant shields we have. Hawaii is already going into overload with incomings, how fast can we get something together to take the load off the other places?"

"I think if I made the calls now, we could have Wells Fargo Arena opened up for a safe refuge fairly quickly." Ted replied. "They call in all available staff automatically whenever a State of Emergency is called in the Des Moines region, so all it will take is me activating them."

"Do it." Julio replied as a bar began flashing on his screen. "I'm pulling you in with me to a Clan Conference, if they don't like it they can deal later."

"Harry, tell Wells Fargo to go hot and coordinate with Clan Short!" Ted ordered before turning back to Julio. "Hello, Jesse." he added as Jesse joined Julio and Terry.

"Hi Ted." Jesse replied. "Kerry said I needed to be on this call too, Julio."

"Of course;" Julio replied with a smile. "I need your hotness to keep me from blowing my top."

"Jeeezze! Don't you two EVER stop making out?" Sammy's voice groaned from the now-split screen.

"You're no better, Sammy!" Seth chuckled from his section of the screen. "Governor Jacobs, I'm surprised to see you on the call."

"Me too," Ted nodded. "Julio and I were just making arrangements to provide a temporary location for people the Clan needs to evacuate or relocate for any reason until things settle down."

"Good call, Julio." Sammy nodded. "We can sort out the details during the call, so we're all on the same page."

Another call joined and the display added another view, this time from Ewa Beach, Republic Of Hawaii. Having just seen Julio and Jesse several times in the prior two days, at Ewa Beach, and again at Archnania, Kaleo cheerfully sang, "Good mornin', guys! Its a good thing we took that vacation, huh? Everything's gone to hell in a hurry since we got back." Barely hidden behind Kaleo was his husband, Tory, who just waved at the camera.

"Wassamatter Tory? Kaleo bruise your coconuts again?" Julio giggled.

"Nah," Tory smirked, "I'm just a little perturbed that this crap is interfering with our coconut play time. Watching all the blinking red lights on the wall is festive, but no where as festive as it could be."

"Uncle Tory?" Terry asked, suddenly meek again. "Can't you have Alden play music for you that matches the pretty blinking lights?"

Widely grinning, Tory chuckled, "Not a bad idea. In between chaos, we could dance and make this a party."

Terry smiled, the acceptance of his idea from one of the heroes that shut down the orphanages boosting his still-fragile confidence.

"Terry?" Sammy added. "I need someone to be in charge of making sure your Dad and Pop remember to have a little fun, so this stuff doesn't stress them out. Do ya' think ya' can do that for me?"

"Really? I'm just a little kid though." Terry replied with surprise.

"Ya, you'd be great at it, and they love ya' so they'll listen to ya'." Sammy replied with a smile.

"Yeah!" Terry replied with enthusiasm.

"You're hired!" Sammy giggled.

As Sammy finished with his version of helping Terry adjust to Clan life, the screen quickly split again, adding windows for Brent and Lance from Las Vegas, and Skipper and Calvin from Northeast. Greetings were quickly exchanged, then Seth stated "We're just waiting for Rapid Response; AI is tied up in surgery, so Stevie is going to fill them in during a break."

"Rapid Response is subject to interpretation," Kaleo evilly grinned. "All those triggers to yank slows down pushing of buttons."

"Yeah, I think all that gun oil has gummed them up and slowed them down!" Julio added.

"Maybe if Donny used lube for sex instead of his guns he'd be faster." Jesse added.

"Ooo," Donnie evilly sniggered, "I knew you guys talked shit in front of us, but now I know you do it behind our backs too. See if any of you get a shiny new gun under the tree for Christmas."

"That's okay, I prefer Julio's rifle." Jesse said with a straight face. "He even lets me polish it!"

"Daddy, you're glowing again!" Terry giggled.

"All of you are pervs!" Seth chuckled.

"Like ya' got room to talk; George told me all about your Prince Porn collection!" Sammy giggled.

"Anyway..." Seth mumbled. "Status report? You first, Rimmers."

Having walked away from the camera, Kaleo returned, softly sniggering, "A 'shiny gun' for Christmas? I'm telling Mike and the Scoobies." Getting back to business, Kaleo reported, "The west tower of the Hyatt is trashed and teetering. We expect it'll crash any time now. Our King and royal family are here, on base with us and safe. Air traffic destined for the ROH is being rerouted to RRBs airfields. About three thousand displaced tourists from the Hyatt are being helped, so they can find other accommodations. What we're seeing on TV from the States looks far worse than what we've had locally." He paused and then cheekily grinned, "Where our Patriarch is and why he's fallen off the face of the Earth is another nut to crack, or gun to oil, whichever the case may be."

"You crack Cory's nuts and Sean'll castrate you with his bare hands!" Julio giggled. "Des Moines looks to be perfect to act in a relief mode. Security's so tight that Johnny's mice are complaining about all the checks they have to go through to get into the kitchen, and we have more shielding over our compound than Terra Main!. So far the Midwest region has been fairly quiet; Shawn says that Chicago was starting to get a little rough, but it seems the street gangs took charge and have declared martial law. They're working alongside the police, keeping things down to a simmer. Once I know the full situation, I'm going to be working with Ted here on becoming the central point of refuge."

While Julio was speaking, Skipper was guiding Calvin in front of the camera. At the pause, Skipper softly encouraged, "Technically, I'm an adult and you're Clan, so it's you that needs to make the report. Just think of what Jonas, Harry or Derrick might say and say it."

Blushing, Calvin grumbled, "Jonas and Harry are in DC. That's our biggest worry, along with what's lookin' really nasty in New York City. What's gonna happen with all these people?"

"That's what we're here to decide, bro." Julio quickly replied. "You can relax, the only one here that bites is Kaleo, and he keeps that to his husband Tory."

Tory cracked up. Kaleo sniggered, "Our next trip to Archnania, we're taking a room separate from you!"

Covering his mouth slightly, Tory cackled, "Dive! Dive! Up periscope!"

Noticing Calvin's small grin, Julio stated "You gotta watch these Rimmers; right now, Keith is busy helping Prez with his blistered butt."

Widely grinning, Nathan Hayes stepped up to the camera at Ewa Beach. Before Nathan could say a word, almost everyone on the tele-conference groaned and walked away from their cameras. Seeing what everyone else was doing, Calvin giggled and turned away too. "HEY!" Nathan laughed, "I've been to all your bases and compounds, and this place is just a different flavor of looney!" Hearing boos and hisses, Nathan giggled, "See if I grace you guys with my awesomeness again."

"PROMISE?" almost everyone replied in unison.

Brent in Vegas tapped at his camera, softly muttering, "Was that a technological glitch?"

"No, that was Uncle Nathan tryin' to be funny." Terry replied with a straight face.

Being led away from the station by Kaleo and Tory, Nathan complained, "They poisoned that cute kid. He coulda been a great Rimmer, in a few years."

"Thanks for savin' me, Daddy!" Terry stated as he twisted around to give Julio a tight hug.

As Terry was breaking his hug, Colin walked up behind Julio, the look on his face making every person on the other side of the link unconsciously cringe and back away from their screen.

"Sammy, activate Darkwing protocol," Colin ordered. "Notify Utah that I am in command of extraction forces."

Sammy's face turned white as he responded "Yes Sir." He then turned his head. "Vish, pass the word to Utah. The shit's just been accelerated to warp nine."

As Julio blinked at the screen, he felt a tap on his arm. Turning, he found a young boy next to him. "Message from Cory," the lad said softly, yet his voice was heard by all. "Be strong, even in the darkness coming."

His mouth hanging open, Julio reached for the boy, but he had turned to leave. All that remained in his place was a fluttering bird, white as white could be. 'Coo'.

"Who are you?" Julio whispered. "How'd you get a message from Cory?"

"I am with him now," the retreating boy said just as softly. The dove flew after him, and as it alighted on his right shoulder, both the boy and bird vanished.

Julio shook his head, and then blurted out "Jes, you got command in CIC, I'm gonna go out in the compound and see what's happening."

Across the active video link, Kaleo muttered, "Maui, here we come."

Julio stepped out of CIC, only to find Jeff and Brian Morrison standing outside the door, guarding it while holding baseball bats in their hands. "Guys? I though I told your Mom to let ya sleep." Julio commented.

Jeff shook his head. "You ain't gonna get us outta your hair that easy. You brought our bro back, we ain't sleepin' until this is over."

"Great, miniature versions of Grandma!" Julio quipped. "Okay batboys, come with me then."

The three boys headed down the sidewalk towards the street. By the time they reached the curb, a dozen dogs had came out of the shadows, forming a protective circle around the trio.

"Umm, what's with the pups?" Brian asked.

"Knowing Johnny, they've been assigned to protect us," Julio replied with a grin. "Little brothers can be sooo overprotective at times."

"Ruff!" the lead dog in the pack agreed, his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. Seconds later, a smaller version of him sprinted forward, playfully nipped at his tail, then dropped back into position.

"You even think about it, and I'll kick your butt, Jeff!" Brian giggled as Jeff got a grin on his face.

"How is it all of you twins argue over who is oldest? You were all created at the same time!" Julio asked seriously, glad to have his mind off of Cory's problem for a few seconds.

Brian and Jeff exchanged grins. "Well," Brian started.

"Just like with you poor guys..." Jeff continued.

"who ain't smart enough to split your egg,..." Brian giggled.

"we count from the time when we escaped the tunnel." Jeff finished.

"Smart enough? In your case it was to save the Earth and split the insanity in half," Julio shot back with a lopsided grin as he grabbed each of the eleven-year-olds in an one-armed headlock, then proceeded to rub their foreheads together.

"That's a bad idea, ol'boy," Benny grinned impishly as he came up behind them. "You'll only encourage more insane osmosis!"

"Ahh, I see the head wanker has arrived!" Julio shot back with a grin. "Don't worry if he bites you guys; he's had his shots. Bri, Jeff, the brat over there is Benny."

"James Benjamin Roberts, Sub-commander, VSO, and the cute one in charge of putting potty mouth Directors in their place. Fancy some help tickling Julio til he peepees his pants?"

"How could you help?" the twins asked in unison, looking the smaller boy up and down as Julio released them and backed away. They noticed him doing so, then looked back at Benny. "Okay, spill it," they giggled.

"I can't spill anything yet, regardless of the amount of 'wanking' I do," Benny giggled, "but tell you what... watch!" he yelled as he ran at Julio.

To his credit, Julio tried to turn and run. The laughing at Benny's actions slowed him somewhat, and the fact that Benny was just too damned fast and sneaky sealed it. Benny had Julio down, subdued and was sitting on his chest. "His knees are super ticklish!" he said to the twins, who were looking at him in awe. "Chop chop, chaps! I've not got all day!"

Both boys quickly dived towards Julio's knees, and began torturing their newfound director. Once all three were satisfied that Julio had been punished enough, the four of them made their way to the cart that Benny had arrived in. Unlike the carts that Julio was used to seeing, this one had a remote-control phaser turret on its roof, and was enclosed in bulletproof transparent aluminum.

"I assume you're wanting to tour the grounds?" Benny asked as the pack of dogs took positions on the running boards on either side of the cart.

"Where are the civilians gathering?" Julio asked.

"Rec center; we'll go there first," Benny responded as he put the cart into drive.

A few minutes later, they pulled up to the large building in the center of the compound. The pair of twelve-year-olds guarding the door came to attention and saluted as soon as they realized Julio was in the cart. As soon as Julio's feet hit the ground, he returned the salute and motioned for the pair to relax. With Benny in the lead, the four boys and the pack jogged to the door, stopping once they reached it.

"Kerry's got outside security, guys. Come on in with us," Julio commented. "What're your names?"

Both boys looked at Benny, obviously asking his permission wordlessly to leave their post. Benny grinned back, "Ya heard the Director! Don't worry, the Canine Corps is gonna be Kerry's eyes out here."

"Yes Sir!" the blond on the left answered, speaking for himself and his ginger partner. "Director, I am Staff Sergeant Dwayne Holstein, Compound Security. My partner is Sergeant Mitch Gibbons."

Julio nodded at the pair. "Okay Dwayne and Mitch, from now on you will stop this military B.S. when talking to me unless it's necessary. I'm Julio, the matching brats are Brian and Jeff, and the twerp is Benny. Got it?"

Both guard's eyes got wide at Julio calling their defacto Commander a 'twerp', but they nodded their heads in acknowledgement.

Benny giggled, "Relax, chaps; we know how slow these Yanks are. Speak slowly and you'll be fine."

"Aye, that be true!" Mitch giggled, earning him a look of disapproval from Dwayne.

Jeff rolled his eyes. "Guys, Julio's a kid just like the rest of us. All that chain of command junk is for adults, y'all ain't gotta pull that with friends."

"But, he's our Director..." Dwayne tried to argue, only to be stopped by Benny.

"Julio's no different than any of us," Benny stated firmly. "He considers every person in this compound his family, and I'll reassign anyone who can't deal with that. Understood?"

"Jeeze!" Julio giggled, "Little brothers! You can't take them anywhere!" Julio grabbed Benny, and gave him a noogie. "Down, boy. Sit, or no doggy treats for you."

Playing along, Benny broke free, panted like a dog, then jumped up and licked Julio's cheek before crouching down like a dog sitting. Looking up at Julio like he worshipped him, Benny barked a couple of times before falling over in a fit of giggles.

Despite his laughter, Julio managed to reach down and pick Benny off the ground. After wiping Benny's slobber on Benny's shirt, Julio pulled Benny into a hug. "Thanks bro, I needed that!" Julio whispered.

"Anytime!" Benny giggled. "You ready to go see where we stand?"

"Let's hit it." Julio replied as he somehow managed to wrestle his nine-year-old VSO Commander into a position where he could ride on Julio's hip.

With Brian and Jeff leading the way, the group headed inside, two very confused security personnel bringing up the rear. As soon as they reached the gym, Julio spotted his Mom trying to make sense of the confusion. He spotted the desk with the PA system that was used during events, and made his way over to it. He turned everything on, and tapped the mic to make sure it was working. "Everyone, this is Director Hernandez. May I have your attention, please?"

It took almost a minute, but shortly Julio had everyone's attention. "Listen up! Des Moines is going to be the Clan center for refugees. Please stand clear of the bleachers until I tell you to go there. I'm going to list off skills that are needed, and if that is your primary way to help, you need to go where I tell you." Julio watched as the bleachers cleared, then began. "Okay, I need anyone with special mental skills, trained or not, to go sit in Section A. Those skills are one of the primary things we'll need, so they take priority."

Once it seemed like everyone that qualified was in place, Julio continued. "Next up is Medical and First Responders. Please go to Section B." He paused, then once it was clear that everyone had joined the group, he called the next group. "Anyone qualified on weapons and security use Section C; if you have not been qualified with a weapon, but are proficient in one, go to Section D. Martial Arts qualifies as a weapon."

Once this group was settled, Julio decided it was time for the administrative side. "Okay, all Database Administration and Data Entry qualified people go to Section E. It doesn't matter on type; Kerry can work with whatever format you are most proficient in and translate it into the Clan-specific format we'll use as records."

It didn't take long for this group, as the crowd was shrinking quickly. "Okay, now Section F is for anyone skilled in public relations or dealing with the public in large numbers."

That thinned the crowd more, so Julio jumped into the next group. "Any of you that are left that have any food service experience, go to Section G."

Once that group had settled in as well, Julio finished the sorting. "The rest of you can go to Section H; my Mom will be working with you to use your skills to the best effect. You're just as important as the other groups, I don't believe in grunt labor."

"Don't I get any say in this?" Janice yelled across the floor.

"Nope! Paybacks are a pain, ain't they Mom?" Julio responded over the PA, causing the gym to erupt in giggles and chuckles.

From over the speakers, Shawn Douglas called for Julio, "Director, we have received a report of a D36-G happening in York, England. League forces are already en-route. Be advised."

"What's a D36-G?" Julio whispered to Benny, but the look he saw on Benny's face was anything but encouraging.

"It's getting bad at home, bruv," Benny whimpered softly. "If it can happen there, it's going to happen here..."

"We won't let it happen here, little brother," Julio stated firmly. "And if anyone thinks they're gonna get away with it over there, they're about to learn a nasty lesson."

With half a giggle, Benny managed to somewhat sing "America, f*** yeah!"

"Too right! Rule F*** Britannia too," Julio grinned sadly.

After thinking for a second, Julio tapped his commbadge. "Colin! Dedicate a Strike Team and get them to the Armory. I'm sending the First Regiment of the Des Moines Compound National Guard over to be outfitted for operations."

"Yes, Sir." Colin replied, figuring that with the tone of Julio's voice it was best not to question him at the moment.

Julio nodded, then instructed "Kerry, transport Sections C and D to the Armory."

"Aye, El Capitan!" Kerry responded.

Next, Julio handled Medical. "Doc Jones, you've got a medical staff and first responders for use at Wells Fargo incoming, get ready for major incoming." He paused, then added "Kerry, Section B to Medical."

"Thanks, Emperor Julio!" Mike responded, having fun himself due to hearing the comments others made on the command channel.

"I'll get you later." Julio warned. He then tapped his commbadge again. "Johnny, you free to take on the Mental Corps volunteers for Wells Fargo?"

"Yeah, bro. The new guys are doin great, I can leave them in charge. I'll be right over." Johnny replied.

Julio picked Benny up again, and led his group over to where his Mom was starting to sort out the specialist groups. Once there, he stated "Mom, anything or anyone you need, just call Shawn over in CIC. I want every person here doing what they are best at over in the arena. You've got site command for administrative and special teams. I'll have your Senior Coordinator report once she gets back."

"Are you going to be okay?" Janice asked with worry.

"Ask me when this is over." Julio replied seriously. Tapping his commbadge, he then ordered "Kerry, take me and my Incident Command Team to Wells Fargo."

Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, IA

Julio's group appeared in the middle of what appeared to be barely controlled chaos. Crews were quickly trying to break down the collapsible bleachers, prepping them to be moved into storage. 

Jeff spotted someone who appeared to be trying to control the chaos, and announced, "Be right back!" before running over to the man. After a minute of talking, the man nodded and began shouting orders to just break down the bleachers. As Jeff ran back, he tapped his commbadge. Just as he reached his group, he was saying "... way to go, Bro. Yeah, we'll let ya know when we need them back. Love you too, bro!"

"What'd you just do?" Julio giggled, Jeff's mischievous look giving him away instantly.

"My new lil' bro's gonna hide the bleachers for them so we got more room!" Jeff giggled.

"Hey!" Brian whined as he slapped the back of Jeff's head, "Get it right, brat! Kerry's OUR little brother!"

"You know, Mark and Adam are gonna be pissed if I gotta wake them up to control their little brothers..." Julio warned with as stern of a look as he could muster while suppressing a giggle.

"That won't be necessary!" a voice behind Julio exclaimed with a chuckle. Julio spun around, to find Grandma Morrison standing there, a fleet of brand-new Harley off-road trikes and quads popping in behind her, along with dozens of trolly cars. At her side were Mini and Alien, neither of which looked happy.

"You have a good shopping trip, Grandma?" Julio asked, trying to ignore the glares of his two friends.

"It was quite pleasant; and the discount they gave me was quite appropriate." Grandma replied with a knowing smirk. "Due to the situation, Harley-Davidson corporate was more than willing to donate these vehicles to Clan Short for the vehicle's lifetime. I think I might have to visit David, he's the local dealership owner, more often. It is refreshing to work with someone who has no problems telling corporate how it is and what they will do."

"So you found a kindred soul, Grandma?" Julio giggled.

"It seems so," Grandma replied with a smile.

Satisfied that Grandma had done even better than he hoped, Julio's tone changed. "Grandma, Mom is in charge of our relief efforts on the administrative side. Report to her; you are in charge of getting the people you need where you need them. Get with Kerry to find out what you have available with special teams. If something isn't working, I expect you to have an answer why it isn't working and why you haven't fixed it. Any questions?"

"Absolutely none, Director!" Grandma responded quickly. "Kerry, be a good grandson and take me to Janice," Grandma requested after tapping her commbadge.

Seconds later, Grandma vanished, along with one of the Quads. Jeff and Brian stood there staring at Julio, their jaws almost touching their chests.

Satisfied that the needed business was taken care of, Mini spoke up. "What the FUCK do you think you're doing out of the Compound during an alert without a full security team, Director?"

"I ha..." Julio started to reply before being cut off by Alien.

"You don't have shit!" Alien cut in. "You WILL have at LEAST ONE VSO operative and at LEAST TWO Command Strike Team operatives in your presence at all times while outside the Compound. Otherwise, we WILL ensure you don't leave CIC. UNDERSTOOD?"

Julio tried to look to Benny for help, only to find out that he was outnumbered.

"Who do you think called them in?" Benny asked with a shrug.

Loudly squealing, Mini reminded Julio, "Prez thought he was being logical, and doing what was needed to be done too! Where is he now? In a hospital, doing his imitation of barbecued pissed off chicken!"

"That's one down," Alien grumbled, "and we can't afford two directors down."

"You WILL be protected, at ALL times, EVERYWHERE!" Mini forcefully stated.

Benny nodded, "You don't even get to take a leak without escorts until we're back home."

"If Cory survives this, I'm gonna kill him!" Julio muttered not-quite under his breath.

"Are you guys done comparing dick sizes yet?" Jeff asked, his frustration obvious. "We got better shit to be doing than arguing over who's more important. Julio brought us here to get things ready, not so y'all can prove who has the biggest boner!"

"If Julio needs protecting, protect him!" Brian added. "Y'all's acting like grownups! Do what ya gotta do, don't waste Julio's time and distract him from what we've gotta do just so you can prove how important you are! Y'all can talk after all this shit's over about procedure, right now all ya' needed to do is tail Julio and keep him safe."

"At least Benny didn't say more than admitting he wants to see what a real dick looks like!" Julio added, grinning as he got the intended blush from Benny.

Dwayne and Mitch had been watching the madness quietly. They exchanged glances, then Dwayne spoke up. "Sirs, with all due respect, I believe you owe Director Julio an apology. While you may be tasked with his protection, he is still our Director, and should be treated with respect on official matters, even if he's violating protocol. According to what I've learned from my Dad, what you just did would have resulted in a Court Marshal in the adult military. Even when you are in the right, you are to speak with respect to senior officers."

"Yes and no, Dwayne," Benny said, fighting with his colored cheeks. "With Vulcan military a junior officer or even lowest rank can take a senior to task... but it would be polite. What Alien and Mini did was more or less fine since they are not Vulcan... but only so in private. This isn't, guys. In public, especially in a culture that expects a certain level of respect to be given to leaders and senior officers, you did go out of line somewhat."

By this time, both Mini and Alien were pale; not only had they just been chastised by a junior, but the senior officer in charge of the current operation had just politely raked them over the coals. Mini spoke first, coming to attention. "Director, I wish to apologize for my outburst. In my concern for your safety, I spoke without thinking through my statements."

Alien took advantage of Mini's pause, and added "Mini speaks for me as well, Director. I let the situation we are dealing with affect my reasoning."

Julio nodded. "Apologies accepted. I told you two that getting hit in the head with those baseballs was bad for ya! Now stop this military bullshit, we got things to do."

Julio went over and picked up Benny, returning him to the spot riding on Julio's hip. As he was wiggling into position, Benny caught both Alien and Mini's eyes, giving both of them a nod to indicate that the incident was resolved appropriately. "Lets see if the guys downstairs need anything, then we'll try out some of these new Harleys and head across the Skywalk to the Events center." Julio stated as he headed towards the outer halls to find a staircase. The rest of the team formed a loose group around Julio, with Benny taking advantage of the ride by scanning around and behind them as they walked.

Then he said seriously, "So... do you need to take a piss, Director? Can I hold it for you, not just look?" Then he giggled.

"You're a perv, little brother!" Julio giggled as he gave Benny a squeeze.

"Yup... but if it wasn't for your Jesse, I'd actually be serious... cos you're seriously cute... if an old fart... still cute, though," came a very serious reply from Benny, said softly so that only Julio heard him.

"Jesse says go ahead, as long as Benny returns the favor with him when he catches up to you!" Kerry's voice announced in both Benny and Julio's earpieces.

Julio found that he was suddenly holding either a very hot water bottle in the shape of a nine year old English boy, or the Human Torch was real and in his arms. Either way, Benny was tucking his burning face into his neck shyly. "Oh, shit... thanks, Kerry. You didn't have to tell Jess that..." he moaned, near tears. Then he lifted his head back up and stared into Julio's eyes. "Forget what I said. Both of you... I just hope one day I'll find someone as awesome as y...y...you..." he managed before tucking his face back down, and letting himself cry in embarrassment, and maybe something more.

Seconds later, Julio's earbud was filled with Jesse's voice softly telling him "I just told Mini to clear the nearest restroom. Don't say anything, just go in there, I'll meet you. Our little brother has a problem, and as his big brothers it's our job to help him with it."

Julio acknowledged via subvocal, and a few minutes later headed towards a doorway that Mini had just stepped out of.

Benny was still aware of what was going on, but his earbud hadn't relayed a sound that would have explained a thing. He just saw that they were now heading to a restroom. "Let me down, bro," he whimpered softly. "I was kiddin'! Let me..."

"Shush, little one." Julio said softly as he turned his head and kissed Benny's forehead.

As Benny whimpered, Julio went through the door to find that a very familiar loveseat was now occupying one wall, with Jesse sitting on it wearing his purple speedo.

On seeing how Jesse was dressed, Benny flushed even more than he had been. Looking back and forth between the boy on the loveseat and the one carrying him, the young boy began to hyperventilate and squirm. "Uh.... ummm... what the f... uh, Jess? Julio?... wh..." was all he managed, then more embarrassed tears fell. "God I was JUST JOKING! Let me down!!" he cried, his voice breaking and filled with nerves and a little fear and, surprisingly to Julio... hoarse with what he thought was attraction.

Softly, Julio said "Benny, there is something behind your joke, something that Jess and I noticed before and decided that we would wait for you to bring it up. Nothing you can say in here is gonna make us like you any less, and nothing will be said outside this room unless you say it is okay." Julio paused, then added "Kerry, set Security Mode Papa."

"Acknowledged," Kerry replied to all three boys. "Unlock code is 'Spinach cookies'."

Julio sat down next to the mostly nude Jesse and put Benny to his feet. Then they waited.

After taking deep breath after deep breath, and after a brief back up and pace, Benny faced them both. "Why do I think that you 'waiting for me' means we'll stay here until I say anything?" he half whispered.

"Because when you love someone you don't put words in their mouths." Julio replied with a smile.

Still huffing his breath through his nose like a dragon about to breath fire, Benny asked, "And if I say I don't wa... that I don't wanna say I've loved you since I've been here, Julio, and that I've loved Jesse since the first time I saw him, all unsure and lost... that I hate the fact I'm too young to have made a play for either of you and that even if I had been y...your a...ages then I'd still b...be without you as you are to... together and that...." he rushed out, tears now streaming, "and no matter what all I feel is love f... for you both and h...happy you're happy but it hurts... it h...hurts..." He crumpled to the ground with a final, "I wish I'd said nothing... why'd I have to say that and ruin everything... I wanna go ho...ho...home!" he bawled.

"What makes you think that you don't have a chance?" Jesse asked. "Like Julio said, we discussed it already. We ain't had our wedding yet, it would be just as easy to have three grooms as it would two."

Now there was utter silence in the room, which was disconcerting as it was tiled and reflected sound easily. Tears still on his young face, Benny looked up at them both in shock. He scrambled to his feet and stood there, panting with now conflicting emotions, his eyes passing back and forth between them, probing, searching.

Then there was a touch upon both their minds, and Julio started slightly.

Benny was telepathic.

The little lad moved forward and reached out to take one of their hands in each of his, and the touch now felt deeper. They both felt gentle fingers press on their hearts, flipping through their topmost thoughts.

Benny backed away, his face scrunching up. "No," he breathed. "No, I was joking. It's all a joke! I..." He couldn't lie, not to them. Not after what they had said, what he said. What he had seen and felt. He turned and slammed his way into one of the cubicles and locked the door. "Go 'way!" he bawled before the room started echoing his heartbreak. "I won't let you... no... I wanna go home! I won't let you...." was all he could make himself say.

Jesse stood up, his glance at Julio telling his older lover to let him deal with it. "Benny? You only hurt yourself if you hide what you feel. Julio saved me from that; I'm not gonna let you feel the pain I had to feel inside."

"Go 'way!" came the answering sob.

Jesse looked with appeal at Julio, and both moved to the door. "Open up, Benben," Julio said softly and soothingly. "Let us talk with you, just as brothers. What happens then is up to you... come on, sweetheart..."

"He won't open the door, Julio," a voice said from the corner behind them, opposite the doorway out. "He fears that he is too young for you both."

They span around to see the strange boy from earlier, a dove on his right shoulder yet again. The boy moved fast, yet seemed to only stroll up to them. He flitted by them and touched the door of the cubicle. It vanished.

"Who... who are you?" Jesse asked in no small amount of fear.

The boy smiled. "You know my name, and my birthday shattered time," he answered before showing them something... and vanishing with his dove.

Benny was curled up next to the toilet, and staring at this. "Was that who I think it was?" he squeaked, his own inner turmoil forgotten for a moment.

"I, ah... think so..." Julio managed.

Jesse just smiled as he walked in and picked Benny up. "C'mon hot stuff, we need to talk. Don't make me think I wore these purple speedos for nothing!"

He couldn't help it, but a laugh burst from Benny at that statement. Then he sobered. "We're... we're gonna hafta wait a while, though... there's a war happening and..."

//I give you time...//

The world spun, color flared, and they were in open land, with sky blue above them and green green grass beneath. Peace was in the air and three suns rode high above them.

//Time is yours. This is me, my world, as your hearts so need it. Say my name and you shall return to the moment and place you left. My name is Vae'Runam, and I am Forever and the Guardian of it...//

Acting as if nothing happened, Jesse stated "Well, should we strip and get comfortable for our chat?"

Benny just did an excellent imitation of a tomato and even his hands went red. Jesse, however, didn't just think he was being shy.

"Sorry," he said as he put the boy down. "Shall I ask this planet for some clothes?" 

"N... no," Benny whispered, trying to bury deep what had suddenly troubled him. "No, s'kay... I don't get freaked by others bein' nakie..." 

Julio was now as concerned as Jesse. "You're talking..."

"Like a six year old, yeah... Don't tell my dad... I don't want him to go off and murder someone... I've never told anyone... I..."

Benny sat down and hid his face in his hands. "It's... I..."

"Who raped you, sweetheart?" Jesse asked quietly as he sat down next to the trembling boy. Julio joined him on the other side of the boy.

"Jack... my cousin... it..." Benny started, then blushed and stopped. After a moment he whispered, "He didn't... hurt me, but... I'm ashamed. He made me feel good a little, and used me, told me he loved me... but it was either my butt or his dick... I thought I loved him and he didn't love me... but I don't wanna see him die... please don't tell my daddy..." Benny finished softly, again in tears and shaking. "... he's only your age now... he was eleven. I think he was just experimenting... I don't hate him, but I feel sick when I get nude or look at myself or imagine... can I go home? Can you forget everything I said? Please? I..."

Julio wrapped his arm over Benny's shoulder. "I've learned a lot since I became a director, and one thing I learned the hard way is that this won't get better if you keep hiding this from yourself, Benny. We almost lost Mini because he was doing the same thing that you're trying to do, and I love you too much to let you go through what he did."

"I know," he croaked back. "I've had the training, and I've seen it all, and I know what you're saying... but I... I still..."

"We know... and now that we know about you, you can talk to us, Benben," Jesse said, copying Julio's nickname for the boy.

Benny looked up at them both and smiled weakly. "Since Jack, I've been aware of sex... And in the past year I've actually been... well, I think I'm already in puberty," he blushed. "But I've felt like spoilt goods... it's stupid, I know... cos no-one in the Clan, nor in the Division, would care about that... they'd have just cared about me but... sorry..."

"There's one way to help you, one that I know has worked with the other guys." Julio said softly. "Jesse's been wearing purple speedos because Keith told him to. He's supposed to be unwrapped as a present, but only by someone that loves him, body and soul. I think that fate's been keeping me busy until the time that both people who love him are present. Are you ready to help unwrap the present that is waiting?"

Benny just blinked at them both, his eyes darting to and fro and down to the speedos on Jesse before back to their own eyes. "I..." he tried before spitting from his suddenly dry mouth. "But I'm only nine... And you're... well... older than me, and not by a little..."

"What about Byron and Antonio?" Jesse asked patiently.

Benny began to hyperventilate again. "Urmmm... well, ahh... I..." He trembled, and with effort stilled his heartbeat. With his eyes closed he nodded once, "... o... okay... but you two undress me first, cos I don't want either of you to get too horny only for me to freak when you undress me and ruin everything and... if I freak then we can wait for the three of us to be... you know..." he trailed off. Then he blurted, his heart in his eyes, "... please be gentle..."

"Love isn't just about being horny, even though love will make you horny," Julio explained as he massaged Benny's shoulders to relax him. "Just relax and follow your heart, Benben; there's no pressure."

With a sudden giggle, Benny stood up and let his hands fall limp at his side. "Benben... I think I like that better than Benny," he giggled, his tears now stopped and drying on his cheek. He then threw his robe away to just stand there in his black suit and equipment. "This won't take long... these suits are one piece and nothing beneath..." he added with more shy giggles. "Don't break my toys, though! Jace'll do his nut if I have to have a new cloaking device again so soon!"

"I'll handle Jace;" Julio giggled, "there are no secrets between Cory and me!"

Jesse didn't bother weighing in with redundant comments. He simply reached and started to slowly unfasten the bindings of Benny's suit. Julio was quick to help, saying, "Hey! Give a Director some warning!"

More nervous giggles from Benny then as they worked the suit from his arms and chest, leaving it held up just around his waist.

"Little pink nipples... that is so cute," Jesse grinned softly.

"I don't let even dad see me like this," Benny murmured, a blush mounting his cheeks again as both teens ogled his chest. "You really like?" he asked quietly.

"Uh huh!" Julio nodded. Then the Director realized something. "Boy, why haven't I noticed you're always busy with something when we all go swimming... I'm sorry, bro... I'm a complete doofus. I should have seen there was something wrong."

"You didn't see cos I'm wicked smart and have hidden everything even from Jace," Benny said, half in jest, half serious. "He think's that I'm just a broadcast teep, same as Telez."

"We'll discuss that... Okayyy, no question there," Jesse said with a smile, "You've definitely started puberty, Benben!"

Jesse had stripped off the uniform as Benny had been speaking, revealing the obvious.

Benny looked down at himself, then covered his erection. "I'm small..." he said shyly.

"Not for a nine year old, you're not!" Julio stated, very impressed. "You're balls are big too, again for a nine year old... and you've got pubes!"

"What? I've what?!" Benny yelled, removing his hands.

Sure enough, around the base of his erection was light fur, just more than peach fuzz... with three longer ginger red hairs showing clearly.

"Wow... I never look... I never pay attention other than to quickly clean," Benny half sobbed. "I..."

He wiped at his eyes before looking back at the two teens. Then he reached down and plucked out two of the three hairs. "I'll keep one. But here... you can have one each... 'cos you've at least made me... me love myself a bit more to notice," he sobbed happily.

"You know, until you pulled those out you had more pubes than Cory!" Julio informed Benny as he accepted the offered pube.

"Oh!" Benny smiled, again wiping his eyes. "You have somewhere you can keep those safe?" he asked with a small giggle.

Jesse nodded as he handed his 'gift' to Julio, who put both hairs into his wallet.

"Good... then," Benny continued, yanking the last one out and also giving it to Julio, "then keep that safe. I'll mail it to Cory once Jace finds him!"

"I wanna see his face!" Julio giggled. "Little Benben ain't so little either; you never told us you kept weapons in your undies!"

Benny then noticed that Jesse was playing with him, in a way he'd never done himself, and nor had Jack those years before. "That... feels good," he whispered as he felt his knees buckle and land him on his bare butt on the grass. Jesse's hand had followed, and the teen was looking not at Benny's dick, but rather his eyes.

"Yeah, I know..." the teen smiled before pulling his hand away.

"Awwww," moaned the boy. He panted slightly before pouting. Then he grinned, "Thanks."

"You're welcome. Sex is good, if in love, Benben. And now it's our job to show you that... and that honors me," Jesse said.

"Couldn't agree more," Julio added as he stood up. "So... my turn, then we unpack Jesse?" he smiled at them both.

Benny and Jesse grinned at each other before pouncing Julio.

Julio couldn't help but grin as Jesse performed his normal teasing as he helped strip Julio, teasing that at points had Benny staring in shock at what Jesse was doing. By the time Julio was stripped, both Jesse and Benny had to be careful that they didn't get poked in the eye as they untangled Julio's pants from his feet.

"Uh...." Benny said finally as he sat back and looked at both the kneeling Jesse and standing Julio, both grinning at him. "Uh, fuck me!" he whispered in shock... then he realized what he'd said and blushed. "Uh, I mean, God DAMN! Does he do that every time?!" he asked, looking up into Julio's laughing face.

"No, sometimes he just rips them off!" Julio giggled.

The young boy's face was just shocked at that, then he giggled. "Well... I, umm.... Julio... there's something Jack had me do that I... well, I now wanna try, but since you want me to unpack Jesse WITH you... I... um..."

"You can ask," Julio smiled as he sat down and Jesse made to stand.

"Well... Jess? Can you lie down, please?"

"Okay," Jesse grinned before doing so. "Now what?"

"Julio... you take his left side, me his right and..." Benny grinned, before clicking his teeth together.

Julio beamed as he guessed.

Then both moved over and gently pulled the speedos off Jesse with their teeth.

"Ohh, that was worth the wait!" Jesse announced with a grin. "Next time, I want pictures; that was HOT!"

Julio was about to say that it was Jesse that was hot when Benny seemed to moan and fall forward onto Jesse's dick. Somehow, both teens knew this wasn't a good thing, even though Jesse was definitely feeling good about the sudden blow job. They both pulled a suddenly pale faced Benny off and held him up against them in a hug. "Come back to us, Benny," Jesse said seriously. "You're here, not back with Jack. Come on, back to us," he soothed.

Benny trembled as he shut the doors on his past that had so suddenly sprung open. "I... I was back with Jack... I'm so sorry," he cried as he tried to pull away. "I'm so, so sorry!"

"Don't panic, Benben;" Julio whispered as he put his arms around Benny, "It's going to take time, and we're gonna be here every step of the way to help you through it. Did anything feel different when you did that?"

After a long moment, Benny nodded. "I... part of me liked it, didn't feel scared. Just the image of Jack made me feel like I was six. I..." He looked into Jesse's eyes and blushed, "You tasted good."

With a tender smile, Jesse looked at Julio then asked, "Benny, have you ever kissed someone?"


"Good... Julio? Eldest first," the teen grinned as he turned Benny's head in Julio's direction.

"Uhh..." Benny managed to vocalize before his lips and tongue were suddenly too preoccupied to continue forming words.

After a good long marathon kiss, Julio came up for air. Benny managed a "Oh wo..." before his face was turned again and Jesse took over.

After yet another marathon kiss, Benny was finally able to finished saying "... oowowowowow!"

"You're a natural!" Julio grinned. "Between you an' Jesse, I'm gonna have to get a weight set to strengthen my tongue!"

"Well, considering Benben has a secret sexy weapon below his waist, you could start there... I doubt he's had a blow job from his dick of a cousin," Jesse said softly. "I think it might take two of us to deal with that job, though."

"I think you're right," Julio agreed, smiling at the shocked look on Benny's face.

"You... you'd..." Benny started.

"Love you, make you feel loved, show you we care, that sex can be love-making, and that you're worth it? Sure," both teens said in unison.

"Really?" he whimpered.

"Really," Jesse smiled as he pushed the boy to lie down. "Now. Close your eyes... we're going to enjoy making sure you enjoy this... start with his ears, or nipples, Julio?"

"You take his ears... me his nipples, then we swap... after that..." Julio giggled.

"Oh. My. God..." Benny managed to breath has he watched them both come closer to him. Before he did as instructed and close his eyes, he saw the love in theirs.

"Enjoy this. We love you."

"I love you too," Benny moaned as he felt the first nibble and kiss to his left ear and right nipple respectively.

For a nine year old, he lasted a while longer than either teen expected. Rather than pop as soon as they had eventually reached his dick, he held on for three minutes. That in itself was impressive.

What was also impressive is that both teens ended up with an actual taste.

"Hey, did you know you shoot, Benben?" Jesse asked seriously, a happy grin on his face as he watched the boy regain his senses.

"I've never cum ever," Benny whispered.

Julio's eyes narrowed. "So you felt a little good with Jack, but..."

"I never had that weird 'I need to pee' feeling that started in my balls and then ran through my body, no," Benny giggled. "So no, I didn't know I could shoot! You mean I can make sperm?! For fucking real?!"

Julio nodded. "It's just started, so I doubt you could make babies if you were even into girls, but yeah, you can."

"Think of thick, sticky water. That's what it's like when it starts, Benny," Jesse added.

"Yeah, I know. I saw Jack's... what does it look like when it's proper sperm?"

"Semen, you mean, and... I think you can find out, if you sure you won't freak. Shall we make Jess feel good?" Julio asked, winking at Benny.

"Together, like you did me?"

"Yeah, so if you're scared, or that door in your head springs open you can back off for a bit and I'll continue til you feel okay about it. Only what you want, remember. If you just feel like watching and kissing Jesse while I deal with his snake, go for it... just do what you feel you want to express your love."

"Okay... Ummm, Jesse?"


"Lie dooowwwn!" Benny sing songed. "I wanna have some American Saaauusage!"

"Creme filled, no less!" Jesse giggled as he assumed the position laying on his back on the ground.

Julio just watched at first, for Benny seemed content to just use feather light touches to explore Jesse's torso and groin. He seemed overly drawn to the few hairs around the teen's belly button and nipples. "Wow..." Benny breathed before looking at Julio. "Ready? This is going to be soooo awesome!"

"Don't worry when Jesse makes weird sounds, he gets kinda vocal!" Julio warned as he knelt down to attack Jesse's left ear.

"If he squeaks, maybe Forever will supply some oil?" Benny giggled as he lightly tickled Jesse's ribs, making him twitch away a bit. 

It did get loud, and Benny was giggling like crazy as he enjoyed being in on causing it to happen. Then he and Julio were sharing Jesse's 'offering'.

Benny's face was a picture of comedy to both teens as he tried to deal with this new taste. They knew that the boy didn't know what to do with it, to swallow or spit or gag. Julio grinned, "If you don't like the taste, bro, spit it out."

Benny's eyes narrowed and he sent telepathically, "This PLANET is the Guardian. How would you like it if someone spat a strangers spunk all over YOUR face?" Then his eyes danced with laughter and he sent again, "Besides, I think I like it."

After a swallow, he smacked his tongue against his lips. "Yeah, I like... kinda funky... It took me by surprise is all! And don't worry, Guardian. I not going to be rude and spit it all over you!"

//I am everywhere and nowhere, everywhen and nowhen. Take that to it's logical conclusion, Benjamin... you spitting out Jesse's semen onto the grass would not have bothered me, just as it does not bother me for three who are in love to MAKE love on me//

"So you were in my mouth with Jesse on Archnania?" Julio teased.

//I am like my Father in that I exist in all Time, Space, reality. There are yet two others like me. My Twin brother the Destroyer, and he who is and is not. You know him, and should he become what he is meant to be... take YOUR statement to it's logical conclusion, little one. I exist within each cell of your being, know every thought in your head, feel what you feel, exist as you do... I am that which maintains Forever, so I AM Forever... so yes... I was, am and will be//

"Wait until I tell Cory that every time he rides Sean he's screwing Forever!" Julio giggled with an evil gleam in his eyes.

"There's only one way to stop him when he gets like this," Jesse advised Benny. "Tackle him; I'll take his ears, you get the nipples!"

"His dick looks soooo tasty, tho... can I start there, please?"


Julio never knew what hit him.

The Guardian did, however, and his laughter was heard everywhere for a moment.

After a long, relaxing sleep curled up together, all three woke to find the three suns above were still high in the sky. "This world is a cheat and a half," Jesse giggled. "In a good way... that was nice and warm, and no sunburn!"

Benny stretched like a cat between the two teens. "So... are we going back now?"

"We don't have to... unless you don't want to continue this now," Julio smiled as he drew patterns on Benny's chest.

"Whatcha mean?" the boy asked, honestly curious.

Jesse grinned as he propped himself up on his elbow to look down at Benny. "We don't want to make love to you, yet... that would be last of all, and only if you really want us to... but I think I'd like you inside me, Benben..."

Benny's eyes were wide as they could get. "You mean... in your... you want ME to be the one doing... that?"

With complete seriousness, both teens nodded. "Sure. Doesn't have to be now. Doesn't have to be ever if you don't want it to happen, bro. Healing takes time, likely more than what's happened already... but yeah, I'd like you in me too," Julio added.

Jesse laughed as Benny's head snapped back and forth between them. He sat up and stared at his feet, then his again hard dick, then at a bottle of oil that had suddenly appeared within arms reach, courtesy of the 'planet'. "Julio first," came the hoarse whisper from the now very nervous boy. "But while I'm in Julio, can you... you be in me too, Jess?" he asked, a tear running from his eye.

Julio began to feel very hot under the collar, as it were. "You sure about this, Ben? That's going to be sexy as all hell, but are you sure you're ready?"

"Yeah," came the answering croak.

"When we get home," Jesse grinned, "we're going to have to video us together... just for us. Hooo-boy!"

//No need. You will have albums and a few dozen terrabytes of 'video' on a disc waiting for you in your bedroom...// the Guardian laughed. //... and at least this way none of the perverted AIs get a look in!//

Julio could only laugh, and so it was with some surprise that he felt Benny suddenly between his legs and then lying on his belly. "So we're not going to be all facing the same way? Can I bend that far, imp?" he giggled at Benny.

"Yup!" Benny smiled. "You'd better, cos I want kisses too!"

"Same, if I can reach without squishing our Benny, but to watch your face while this happens? I'm not going to pass up this chance, no fucking way!" Jesse giggled from behind Benny, down passed Julio's feet.

"Oh, Gawd!" Julio laughed.

The teens were asleep again. Having only just entered puberty still meant that Benny could be raring to go only just after having am orgasm. The teens had kept up at first, being horny teens, but Benny found that his dick was still up even now that Julio and Jesse were softly snoring. He smirked as he lay between them, their arms wrapped around him.

God, he loved them. His heart almost hurt. Everything was just so... right, now. So perfect.

Sleep. Get some sleep. When they wake, it would be back to a possible world ending war.

At least he knew love, now.

At least he loved himself again.

The Guardian smiled to himself as Benny finally drifted off to sleep.

Julio and Benny came out of the bathroom, both wearing huge grins. Benny was once again on Julio's hip, but no longer was he clinging for support; he was relaxed and comfortable with the close contact. Mini glanced at them, then grinned himself. "Either that was the fastest pee in history, or y'all cheated. Ya feel better?"

"Yep, you ready to work, bat boy?" Julio giggled.

Mini was about to respond when he watched, shocked to the core, as Benny turned his face and nibbled on Julio's ear. Then Benny looked back at him, grinned cutely and said, "Well? Ready?"

"I, ahh... what the fuck happened in the three seconds you were...?" came an awkward giggle from both Mini and Alien.

"What didn't..." Julio grinned.

"Well, we didn't 696... is that possible? No, it's a triangle thing... whatever... we didn't do that..."

"Good point! Jesse should enjoy that..."

"I hope so!"

Alien's eyes were bugging out at that.

Jeff and Brian just giggled, as they had decided to try out their telepathic skills in tandem, which had given them enough info to know that Julio had performed a rescue of one of their own in that short period. Neither said a word, but their faces said it all.

'It's normally considered polite to ask before reading another's mind, especially a teep's,'Benny sent to them as he turned his eyes on them and grinned. 'But since I've already read yours before... fair's fair.'

"You have? When?!" Jeff spluttered, shocked. "And since when have you..."

"When I first met you," Benny grinned. "Sorry, I keep secrets. I'm VSO. Sue me!" he added, poking his tongue out at them.

"We're gonna have to sit down and talk!" Brian giggled, an evil gleam in his eyes.

"That's what Jess and Julio said... I'm pooped after that 'talk'... you lot can take a number. I may get back to you in my next life... oh, you mean a for real talk? Sure! After we win the war, 'kay?" Benny giggled, making Julio split his sides laughing and drop him to the ground.

Once Julio recovered, he picked Benny back up and headed towards the nearest stairs, trying hard to ignore the banter between Benny and the twins.

To Be Continued...