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"Holy crap!" Chase announced. "This is still the first day, and we are preparing for a second operation?"
Darren cackled. "Told ya! Don't you love it?"
"How did you..." Ramon began to ask before Darren cut him off.
"I didn't, but don't worry about that now, get to your action stations," Darren said as he started off in a jog himself.
Without missing a beat, both Chase and Ramon were close behind Darren, heading out of the helicopter hanger as Wesley thanked the gods that he was only a few short steps away from being able to close out the Hind.
For the second time in the same day, the U.N.I.T. forces that were deployed to help protect the Nevada Division of Clan Short prepare for an operation. Although none of them knew it now, they were less than an hour from performing an operation that would go down in Clan history.
With his eyes still filled with tears, Lance made his way through the rather empty halls of the C.I.C. building. He really didn't have any specific destination in mind, although almost anywhere would have been better than in the core, where everyone there was aware of just how bad he had failed.
Finding what he thought was an out-of-the-way area in the hall, he found a small nook in the wall, and allowed himself to slide down to the floor. The only thing that he could think about was just how terrible his first attempt at real command had gone. He thought about how every single idea he had come up with only ended up making things worse, to the point that now a major strike operation was about to be launched as a result.
'How is it that the other leaders of the clan always seemed to make leadership look so easy, but when he tried his hand at it, he failed so miserably,' he screamed internally at himself.
As he sat lost in thought, he felt a small body crawling into his lap. "What's wrong, Haden?"
Haden wrapped his arms around Lance, and laid his head on Lance's shoulder. "Nothing, You always give me hugs when I feel bad, So I wanted to give you hugs to help you not feel bad."
Lance smiled through his tears as he wrapped his arms around Haden. "Oh Haden, Why am I even here?"
"Because you felt bad, and needed a place to think?" Haden replied as a matter-of-fact.
Not really sure if he should cry or laugh, Lance gave Haden another hug, and the two sat there against the wall in the hall for several minutes while Haden enjoyed Lance's hugs, and Lance thought about all the events from the day.
As Lance continued to think, he heard someone else sitting down against the wall next to him. Looking through his tears, he saw that it was Joshua, one of the kids that were assigned to him as has personal security. "Is something wrong? Joshua?" he asked with an unsteady voice.
Joshua took a deep breath, "Well, I figured if you were out and wondering around, you might need a member of your security team. Actually, that's not completely true. With everyone else as busy as they are, I figured that you might be able to use a friend."
Lance sighed. "I doubt you will be assigned to me much longer."
"Why's that?" Joshua asked.
"I might be wrong, but I think you could be taking this out a bit too hard on yourself," Joshua stated, "The choices and decisions you made aren't necessarily bad, they just had bad outcomes."
"What's the difference? If they both turn out poorly." Lance protested.
"The biggest difference is the reasoning," Joshua stated. Seeing that Lance was listening, he continued, "The way I see it, there are two ways that you can get a bad outcome, by either the cause or the effect being bad. The cause, in this case would be the decision you made. Many times, you can make the right decision, but the effect can still end up bad because of other elements outside of your control. For example, that sub-station captain you called, do you think his dislike for Clan Short and gays started the second you called him?"
Lance shook his head. "Probably not, he probably disliked the Clan for awhile."
"Exactly," Joshua agreed, "That means that no matter who called him or when, he probably would have still disliked Clan Short. So, even with your decision to try to talk to him before initiating a military operation may have been right, due to elements beyond your control, in this case, the guy already being biased against the Clan, things still went bad."
"Maybe," Lance replied, "But If I had that bat arrested in the first place, none of this would have happened."
"Are you sure?" Joshua asked.
"Yes, because if she were in our custody, she wouldn't have been able to have Ronnie taken from his house."
Joshua nodded, "True, but would that have changed the minds of anyone in that police station in regards to how they see the Clan or treat kids?"
Lance thought about that for a few moments, "Probably not. So, you're saying that although Ronnie specifically might not have had anything happen to him as a result, that more than likely, this same situation might have come up on a different day, the next time we had a run-in with them?"
Joshua smiled as he stood back up, "I think I'll let you decide that. But just so you know, the mission briefing will be starting in 10 minutes, and Justin has already said he thought it would be a good idea for you to be there."
"Thanks Joshua, for being a friend I mean." Lance smiled a little at the boy as he walked back toward the core room.
"Lance?" Haden asked from his shoulder.
"Yeah, Haden?" Lance asked as he gave Haden another hug.
"Could we go over to Conference Room 1 for a few minutes? Daileass says a call is going to be routed there for us." Haden smiled up as he saw Lance's shocked expression.
Lance stood both of them up, "I don't know if I'm ever going to get used to that link thing you guys have going."
Seeing that Conference Room 1 was just across the hall from them, both boys walked in to find the terminal already active, and a pending video call button flashing.
Seeing the name of the caller on the screen, Lance sat Haden on the chair in front of the terminal and pressed the accept button. Instantly, a video image of Tommy Short appeared.
"Tommy!" Haden squealed at the sight of one of the first people in the Clan he had met.
"Hello Haden, Kyle just told me about how you were trying to take my job over there." Tommy said cheerfully.
"Your job?" Haden was a bit confused.
"Uh huh, over here at the Orlando compound, I pretty much handle all the incoming calls for my brothers," the boy on the video screen smiled with pride.
"Oh, that," Haden replied, deflating a little, "I tried answering a call earlier, but it... well, it didn't go that well."
"You mind if I tell you a secret?" Tommy asked.
"Okay," Haden was a bit curious about what the secret might be.
"It was really hard for me to learn to talk on phones as well," Tommy admitted.
"Really?" Haden was somewhat surprised.
As Haden and Tommy talked with each other, Lance noticed Brent walking into the room.
"So this is where you guys have been hiding," Brent grinned as he walked up behind Lance, and wrapped his arms around him.
"Mmm," Lance melted, "We just got in here, it seems somehow Tommy caught wind of Haden's attempt at handling that call earlier."
"Really?" Brent was a bit surprised, but not surprised enough to stop himself from using one of his hands to guide Lance's chin toward him, and performing a quick tonsil check with his tongue.
As Brent broke the kiss, Lance blinked and looked at him questioningly, "What was that for?"
Brent shrugged, "After how things went for you today, I figured you needed it."
Lance grinned, "Well, if I get kisses like those when I mess up, I guess I'll have to start messing up more often."
Brent grinned as well, just as he noticed that Haden was standing in front of them, looking up toward them. "Your call done, Haden?"
Haden nodded his head, "Tommy gave me some cool ideas to use when I'm talking on the phone, so I have to go get the comm station ready to support operations, but Tommy said that JJ is also there and wants to talk to you. And, I love both of you a whole lot, but I'll have to wait until later to give you more hugs. So, bye."
Brent and Lance were both left speechless and blinking as Haden literally ran out of the room and down the hall as soon as he finished his bubbling. "Wow," Lance commented after a few moments, "I wonder what Tommy told him?"
Brent shrugged as he walked over toward the terminal. "Donno, but it must have been good."
"I'm sure Tommy came up with something to get him fired up," JJ Richardson, the strawberry blond 12 year old who was in charge of security for the entire Clan, replied from the video call.
Brent smiled as he and Lance stepped in front of the terminal's video pickup. "Hey JJ, I guess we have the whole Clan stopping by to say hi today."
JJ grinned. "If you guys keep going the way you're going, we might end up having to. I mean, not even an official division for 24 hours yet, and you're already kicking butt, and taking names?"
Lance began to melt, JJ was one of the last people in the Clan he would ever have wanted to disappoint.
"Lance?" JJ stated seriously, "I think you are missing what I'm trying to say."
"I think I get it," Lance said sadly, as Brent wrapped his arm around him in an attempt to give him more support.
JJ shook his head slowly, "I don't think so bro, I think you have that head of yours shoved too far in the wrong hole to really be able to get it." Seeing the somewhat shocked expression on Lance's face, and knowing that he now had his full attention, JJ continued, "Showing a strong Clan presence, and letting everyone know that Clan Short will not sit around and allow kids to be hurt is exactly what Cory, myself, and the rest of us up here all agree is needed. Especially in a city like Vegas. One of the reasons we pushed for you guys to be where you are at, is because we knew just how many kids are in that city, and how corrupt the system is out there."
Lance nodded, "I appreciate that JJ, but there are a few other things that happened today that you should probably know about before you go giving me too much praise."
"I don't think so," JJ challenged as he pointed to his head, "You're talking to someone who has Kyle constantly in his head, remember? And with Daileass and his brothers accepting Haden into their personal link, and Kyle, Daileass, and Logan constantly talking to each other. I don't think there is much going on that I don't hear about pretty quickly."
Seeing that he was getting his point across, JJ continued, "You know, there is a reason that Cory wanted to keep the military arm separate from the rest of the Clan, right?" Seeing both Brent and Lance shake their head, he explained, "Well, actually there are a number of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is the huge difference in thinking. If we wanted someone whose first response to any situation was to go in with guns blazing, we would just put one of the UNIT guys in charge, because on the military side of things, that is what they are going to constantly be thinking about. Although there is a time for a military response, like what you guys are getting ready to do, many times, a military solution is not always the best solution."
"Lance?" JJ became very serious, "The way you acted today and all the attempts at finding a diplomatic solution and reserving military action as a last resort is EXACTLY the reason you and Brent are there, and it's EXACTLY what Cory would have done if he were there."
Lance stood there stunned, not sure what to say.
To drive his point home, JJ added one more comment. "If you don't believe me, Lance, you can ask Cory himself, because he was the one that suggested that I called you guys, and let you know that we agreed with EVERY choice you made. The only reason your choice to teleport Ronnie out was not taken, is that a message needed to be sent, but in a slightly different situation, that would have been the right choice as well."
Lance nodded, "And when choices end up going wrong?"
JJ Grinned, "What about it? When choices go wrong, that's why the jarheads are there, let them loose to knock some skulls around."
Brent giggled as Lance smiled, "Thanks JJ. When you look at things your way, it makes sense, and I can see how I might have over reacted a bit. It just, I don't know, I felt bad when things kept going wrong."
"Hey, no problem bro, that's what you have so many brothers for. We all help and support each other. This was not only your first command, but the first real action your division has taken, so you don't really have any experiences to pull on yet. But as you go forward, I think you will see things get a bit easier."
Lance nodded his agreement.
"Hey, about that," Brent interrupted, "You had mentioned being a division for less than 24 hours twice now, but as far as I'm aware, Cory has not had a chance to officially make us a division yet?"
JJ's grin got wider. "That's because it wasn't Cory that was responsible for making you guys official. Adam made you guys official last night when he allocated the troops and resources to you. He just doesn't realize he has that power yet," JJ smiled and winked, causing Brent and Lance to break out laughing.
"Oh, before I go, since I know you two have a briefing that starts in 5 minutes, there are a few things that I need to tell you two about so you can pass on to the others as needed," JJ's voice once again became all business. Once he saw that he had there full attention, he continued, "I went ahead and put a call into Terra-Main. If you guys need it, Terra-Main is prepared to send you some additional security forces to help augment the UNIT troops in securing the station. Whether you decide to make use of them or not, there will also be security teams standing by on station to receive anyone that you guys decide needs to be tried for violation of any Federation Youth Services laws, or Clan laws. That is, aside from the people that you guys determine that need an on-site summary judgement." JJ smiled again.
"Wow, that's awesome JJ. I have a feeling that will help out a lot, and I'll make sure Justin and the others are aware of this too." Brent answered.
"No problem Brent, we can't let Justin have all the fun, now can we?" JJ grinned which caused Brent and Lance to each giggle, "Okay guys, we best end this if you're going to get to the briefing. It's in Conference room 5, right next to the core entrance."
"Thanks!" Brent said again as the video link went dead, and Brent and Lance quickly made their way out of the room, and toward the other conference room.
For most of the kids at the Vegas compound, Monday afternoon was much less hectic than that morning had proved to be. This was a good thing since the chaos behind the flurry of events which had occurred over the last two days was beginning to take its toll on them, especially for the clone kids who were still getting used to the concept of change.
For most of the older clone kids that no longer needed the nightly stabilization treatments, the morning had been an especially big step for them, since it meant picking new places to live in the quads along with a new degree of independence that they had never really experienced before. Even Darren and the other 5 newest clone kids that still had another week of nightly treatments to go, managed to pick out dorm rooms that they would start staying in when their treatments were complete.
For the 9 triple triplets, the day also brought the realization that they were taking a step forward. Although they had been away from their parents and with the other Vegas Clan kids over the last two weeks, their parents were still here in Vegas. Now that their parents had gone back to Iowa, this was the first day that they truly felt on their own.
Not to be left out of the picture was Maurice and the other 11 kids who were a part of his street gang. Up until yesterday, the 12 of them had only each other to look toward and depend on while trying to survive on the streets. Now, they had a much larger family and the focus was no longer on trying to survive, but trying to improve themselves.
Finally, there was Clyde, the mysterious short dark brown haired 8-year-old who had shown up earlier that morning right before the selection of dorm rooms began. Kendall, Miles, and Irvin, the three youngest gang kids, ended up inviting Clyde to share a room with them. Since all four boys were eight or under, they still ended up having plenty of room.
At first, Clyde was fairly reserved, as he deflected any question about where he had been prior to showing up on the compound. It was fairly clear, however, that he felt uncomfortable and out of his element. With that being said, Daileass assured Brent and Lance that there was nowhere else for Clyde to be, and although he was a bit cryptic, this was the best place for the boy.
As the afternoon went on, Clyde began to warm up to his dorm mates, and they to him as they discovered that much like them, Clyde seemed to be a survivalist, with much of his life having been spent having to struggle to survive. By the time lunch was over, Kendall and the other two younger boys were doing their best to include Clyde in everything that they were doing. They even tried to show him how to play the play station that was in their dorm room. Sadly, that didn't seem to work out that well. Something about game systems and Clyde just didn't seem to mix.
Later on, when the three boys decided that they were going to go to the pool with the rest of the gang kids, Clyde decided to stay behind. They day had been a lot longer for him then it had been for them, so he planned on trying to take a nap, and giving some time for his head to recover. He didn't get long to rest, however, before someone began knocking at his door.
As Clyde opened the door, he found two identical looking platinum blond haired and blueish-green eyed boys about the same age as he was, standing there with smiles on their faces. Other than the fact that he knew they were two of a total of nine identical looking kids, he didn't know anything else about them. They were identical, that is, other than their age as they were apparently grouped as three sets of triplets. A set of 12 year olds, another set of 10 year olds, and a third set that were 8. The two boys that were standing outside of his door were two of the 8-year-olds.
"Hey Clyde," One of the two boys cheerfully stated. "I'm Ty, and this is my brother Phil."
"Hello," Clyde replied in a pleasant yet guarded tone as he wasn't really sure what to expect.
"Are you busy?" The other boy asked. "Do you mind if we come in for a few minutes?"
Clyde shook his head, "No, I was just laying down for a little."
"Don't worry, we won't stay long," Ty replied as the two boys walked into the dorm room, "We just wanted to stop by and make sure you were getting settled in okay."
"By the looks of it, you seem to be getting settled in pretty well," Phil added.
Clyde nodded. "Kendall, Miles, and Irvin have been real nice to me."
Ty nodded as well before he changed the subject. "Clyde, there is something you need to know. Me and my other 8 brothers are telepaths. Do you know what that means?"
Clyde shook his head.
"One of the things that it means is that we have the ability to tell what other people are thinking about," Phil stated.
"Um, okay." Clyde replied hesitantly.
"Of course, I'm the most talented out of all of them." Ty continued with a smile.
"You are not!" Phil protested as a gave Ty a playful jab to his side causing Clyde to giggle a little.
Having accomplished his intended result, Ty smiled as well. "Seriously though. That also means that we know about your past."
"Well, a little of it anyway," Phil added. "There is some we can't see, but Kyle says it's okay, and you can tell us about it when the time is right."
Clyde's expression became more serious. "Okay, I guess."
"But what we really wanted to say was that if you ever needed someone to talk to, you can always talk to Phil, me, or any of our other brothers," Ty continued seriously as well. "Also, don't be afraid to be yourself, you may find it easier to make friends here than you think."
Clyde slowly shook his head. "Everything is so different here. I doubt anyone would be interested in the types of things that I'm good at."
"Don't sell yourself short," Phil added. "I think you will be surprised just how much interest there is. I know for me, it's been forever since I've been camping and I bet with what you have had to live through, there is a ton of stuff I could learn from you."
"Uh huh." Ty agreed.
Clyde thought to himself for a few moments. "Well, if you guys really think so, I guess I can give it a try."
Ty and Phil both nodded and replied in unison, "We do."
Moments later, two alert klaxons sounded, followed by Daileass's voice out of the computer terminal speakers. "Attention, action stations. Base security status is now yellow."
All three boys shared a confused look with each other.
"Daileass, what's going on?" Ty called out.
"It's nothing to worry about, guys," Daileass's voice replied. "It's mostly precautionary in nature due to some pending military action the UNIT guys are planning. However, you should go ahead and go to the common room since that is where all the non-military kids are going to be meeting."
"I guess that means I won't be able to take that nap?" Clyde asked with a grin.
"Guess not," Ty replied. "Come on, let's go see what's going on."
Clyde and Phil both nodded in agreement and followed Ty out of the room.
Brent and Lance entered the conference room expecting to find a few of the command staff waiting for them. Instead, the room was nearly packed.
Sitting around the table were all of the base's actual command team except for Justin, including Chase, Tristen and Roberto. Also at the table was Emily, Base Security Commander, Anthony, Strike Team Commander, and Jeremy, Air Wing Commander. Standing against the walls, in addition to Maurice, Hania from his own guys, and Luke and Max representing the triple-t's, where several other kids that neither Brent nor Lance recognized.
As soon as he saw them, Tristen motioned toward Brent to take the empty seat at the table next to him, which left only one more empty seat at the other end of the table.
A few moments after Brent sat down, the 16 year old Base Commander, Justin West, entered along with another boy around 12 or 13 years old who Brent and Lance also did not know.
"Sorry for the delay guys," Justin said as he took the last empty seat at the table. "I had to make a few minor briefing changes to account for some last minute intelligence reports that I received."
As soon as Justin was seated, he pressed a button on the table which caused a holographic terminal to appear in the center, and to slowly start rotating, "Daileass, please scan the room for roll call."
A few moments later, Daileass's voice came over the room speakers, "Room attendance noted. All requested personnel present and accounted for. There are no unrequested personnel present."
"Thank you Dalieass," Justin stated, "Let it be known, for the record that this briefing is not classified, and that there are civilians present. BSO, please present your situation briefing."
Brent was just about to ask Tristen what BSO meant, but when he saw Emily stand up, he decided that it must stand for Base Security Officer.
Emily quickly glanced around the table before she began to speak, "At approximately 1400 hours this afternoon, one of our assistant division directors attended a meeting with a Mrs. Cathy Farthing, a school guidance councilor for Walter Johnson Jr. High located in Las Vegas. It's been determined that the meeting was an attempt to falsely implicate a Mr. Dominic Torricelli as a child sex offender against the minor, Ronald DeGarren. At approximately 1420, the same Mrs. Farthing was warned by the assistant division director to cease and desist her falsification attempts or face a Clan solution."
"At approximately 1440 hours, Central Las Vegas police arrived at the residence of Ronald DeGarren, where it is believed that they forcefully entered the residence by breaking down the front door, and apprehended the child, where at 1503 hours, the child was officially booked and logged into the system at the District 4 Sub-Station Juvenile Transfer Facility in down town Las Vegas. The boy was listed as being in protective custody as well as witness protection pending testimony. "
"At approximately 1510 hours, A direct call was received by our division from the earlier Mr. Dominic Torricelli, informing us that Ronald DeGarren was missing, that the front door to Ronald's home had been busted down, and that two Central PD cars were in Ronald's drive way. A Clan intelligence investigation performed at that time revealed the above mentioned apprehension information, as well as the fact that no warrant was issued for the arrest of, nor parental permission given for the placement into the care of the Las Vegas police department. Further, no case was provided in which the child was supposedly to testify against. As all of these elements represent violations in department policy and procedure on the part of the LVPD, as well as subjecting the boy to unnecessary exposure to potentially life threatening environments. It was further decided that in all likelihood, the boy would continue to face potentially life threatening environments for no justified reason. As such, at 1515, under the authority of the Clan Short charter, The Nevada Division of Clan Short officially assumed responsibility of the child."
"At approximately 1520 hours, Assistant Division Director Phillips and his security attachment attempted to visit and discuss the transfer of Ronald DeGarren, where, after identifying themselves as members of Clan Short, they were threatened with lethal force by several uniformed officers. Being out-gunned, the group was forced to return to base. At 1530 hours, Assistant Division Director Philips attempted to contact the sub-station's main switchboard, which refused to connect him to anyone to discuss the situation. Following that call, another call was made to the direct line of the district sub-station's chief, who informed Mr. Phillips that, and I quote, "As far as your Clan Short crap, this department does not recognize the authority of a bunch of cocky ass gay faggot kids whom need a good ass slapping by their parents, end quote."
The room sat quiet as Emily sat down.
After giving everyone in the room a few moments to mull over what Emily had told them, Justin stood up, "At 1540 hours today, Division Director Knocks requested that the Nevada Division's military attachment organize and execute a show of force operation to secure and review the Sub-Station facilities and personnel, as well as secure the release of Ronald DeGarren to Clan protection, which I immediately accepted. As such, this briefing is to cover the operational plans for Operation Avenging Angel."
Justin pressed a few buttons on the table, which caused a 3D holographic image of a police sub-station appear, "This is our target structure, Las Vegas District 4 Sub-Station, located in South-Central Las Vegas, about 2 blocks east of the strip. The facility serves primarily as a juvenile transfer and temporary holding facility.
As Justin continued to describe the scene, the image on the table zoomed in and out and rotated to match what was being talked about, "Jeremy? As air wing commander, Im going to be counting on you to get all the birds into position. All 5 Blackhawks containing a strike team each, along with both HIND's for support will fly in entering the city here, and will fly in a close urban configuration just above roofline until we reach 2 blocks from target, at which time we will use the expanded road space to fly between the structures to target. Once we arrive, Blackhawks Alpha, Bravo and Charlie will take up positions in front of the target, allowing Strike Teams Eagle, Thunder, and Lotus to use the rapid decent ropes to quickly repel to the street and begin the process of security the entire building. At the same time, Strike teams Silver and Raptor will be dropped off by their Blackhawks here and here to provide support and cover of the back and side exits to the station."
"Once all teams are on the ground, phase 2 of the operation will begin, at which point the objective will be to as quickly and safely as possible, secure the entire facility. Anthony, you may deploy your teams in any configuration you would like. The only thing I would ask is that this be a phaser rifle mission with the optimal desire to stun anyone who does not immediately drop their weapons and surrender." Justin paused a few moments to allow the groans and moans that were coming from the various members of the strike teams that were present, "As you can see, there are two main levels to the structure, as well as the potential of an unknown third level. The ground level of the facility contains two entry points, a public entry point for visitations, and a private entry point on the east side of the structure for bookings and processing. We will need to make sure we cover both. There are also conference rooms here, and the main holding cell block here."
"On the second floor, we mostly have small offices, training, and conference facilities, however there is a smaller cell block here, as well as a few solitary rooms here, and off this hallway here. Daileass has video coverage of approximately 25% of floor 1, and 40% of floor 2. The unknown 3rd floor is the basement, accessable from a single point here. The reason I say it's unknown is we have no video coverage for that area, and no official designations. It may be used for nothing, but as we are all aware, it could end up being used for almost anything."
"Once all strike teams confirm the structure is secure, phase 3 of the operation will begin. At this point, the civi's and telepaths will be allowed in. The telepaths will begin a sweep of each person in the building, performing telepathic scans. This includes all police personnel, as well as any adults that are present at the time that the operations begin. These scans will be non-optional, non-voluntary. Further, voluntary scans of any youth that wishes it may be performed to determine false imprisonment or life endangerment circumstances which would warrant their entry into Clan protective custody. Since this is a transfer facility, we are expecting anywhere from 2 to 8 possible youth being held, in addition to our primary target. During the course of phase 3, the civilian division team will provide direction in regards to how each individual that is scanned will be handled. Also at this time, the operation target, Ronald DeGarren will be transferred to Clan protection."
"Any questions?" Justin asked as he looked around the room.
After a few moments of not seeing any, Justin continued, "Anthony, I know you guys were told not to expect any ops today, so how much longer will your guys need to spin up?"
Anthony, the overall base strike team commander, smiled, "Actually Sir, we pushed our set up timelines ahead a little after what happened this morning. All strike teams are ready, and en-route to the hardtop staging area near the HIND's."
Justin nodded and seemed a bit impressed, "Excellent. Guys, I know when most of you accepted this assignment, you probably were not expecting to see much action. I think now, all of us know that is probably going to be the furthest from the truth. Let's show the world what the Nevada Division of Clan Short can really do. Wheels up in 20 minutes. Dismissed."
Detective Wilder stood in the small observation hall that looked into conference room 2, as he pondered what his next move would be. For the last 8 years, he had aided in assisting assaulted and brain washed youth to admit what the sick adults that they were protecting had done to them. Although this case was proving to be a bit more difficult than most, seeing the pitiful form of the small boy crumpled up on the chair inside, made him feel assured that it would only be a matter of time until he managed to assist this one as well.
Detective Hoggs walked up next to him, "Anything?"
"Nah," Wilder grumbled, "But he's close, I know it."
Hoggs nodded, "I just heard from the boss man up stairs. Some punks from Clan Short tried calling him, so he wants this sped up as quickly as possible. We need something solid before they get here."
"I see," Wilder said slowly, "I guess I'll just have to help him out a bit more."
As Wilder was about to enter the room, Hoggs stopped him and whispered, "Anything it takes." With a nod, the middle age detective went through the door.
"So, Ronnie," the detective said as he took a seat behind the table opposite from where the boy was crumpled up, "Are you ready to talk to me now?"
"I wanna go home," the boy said weakly.
"Okay," Wilder answered. "You can go home, but first we need you to tell us about how Dominic molested you, and how he forced himself on you."
"That never happened," the boy answered weakly.
"Ronnie... Ronnie, you don't need to lie to me, I'm your friend, I can help you. Just tell us how he hurt you, and then you can go home and relax, and put all of this behind you."
"I wanna talk to Dominic."
"I already told you," The man stood up and started to walk toward the chair Ronnie was curled up in. "You will never see him again, He's abandoned you Ronnie, he doesn't want you, he told us himself."
"He would never say that. You're lying," the boy began to whimper.
Wilder knelt down in front of the chair that Ronnie was in, and with one of his hands, slowly, but firmly moved the kid's chin so that he was looking at the man, "Tell us about how he tried to shove his dick in your ass Ronnie. Tell us how he forced you to suck is dick, and this will all be over, and you can go home."
"No, that never happened," Ronnie protested.
"Liar!" Wilder shouted as he raised his arm above his head, and brought it back down so that he hit the boy's face with so much force that the boy was knocked out of the chair and onto the ground, "Stop protecting him Ronnie. If you don't help us, you're going to be locked up in jail until you're 18, do you know that? Do you know it's a crime to protect a child molester? Is that what you want Ronnie? To stay locked up?"
The small boy began to whimper more on the floor as a small trickle of blood began to flow from his mouth.
"I think, Ronnie, you need to reconsider what you want in life. And reconsider if it's really worth trying to protect someone who doesn't love you anymore and has abandoned you." With that, Detective Wilder stood up and walked to the door, leaving the small boy crumpled up on the floor in the middle of the room.
Once he was out of the room, Wilder turned toward Hoggs. "Get him cleaned up, we don't need any blood in the video, I think the kid is almost ready to talk."
With a sly grin and a nod, Hoggs grabbed a few paper-towels and entered the room.
Ronnie was still laying on the ground where Wilder had left him, although the amount of blood trickling out of his mouth had slowed a bit.
"I tried to warn ya, kid," the man said as he briskly pulled the kid off the ground, and plopped him in the chair, causing him to whimper in pain, "Unless you let us help you soon, I'm not going to be able to protect you for much longer."
"I know you feel you care about the guy, trust me kid, I really do. But guys like him are pro's at manipulating kids, they'll tell you what you want to hear, the entire time he's using you.", Hoggs cleaned off a few of the blood stains on the boy's chin.
"It's not... not true," The boy tried to say.
"I wish you were right kid, but if that's the case, how come he wouldn't come here to help you?"
Ronnie's eyes teared up, "I don't know."
Hoggs took out a hand-held recording device from his pocket, "Listen, I know we are not really suppose to do this, but I think you have a right to here this."
Hoggs pressed a button on the device, and a recorded conversation was heard.
Young woman: "District 4 sub-station, can I help you?"
Dominic: I was told that you needed to see me about concerns over Ronnie
Young woman: Ah, yes sir. He has told us that since his mother is not at home, we should contact you in regards to problems he is having.
Dominic: I don't really see how that's relevant here
Young woman: Well sir, we need to know if you will stop by the station, so that you can help him.
Young woman: I thought that you would want to help him sir.
Dominic: You're wrong
Young woman: I understand sir, but don't you care about Ronnie at all?
Dominic: I think you already know that I don't
Young woman: Hello? Sir? Hello?
Ronnie sat back in his chair, completely stunned.
Hoggs placed the device back in his pocket. "I'm sorry you had to hear that, but I think you needed to know the truth kid." With that, Detective Hoggs walked out of the room.
A few minutes later, Detective Wilder walked back into the room to see Ronnie sitting up in the chair. "So," The detective asked as he did the last time, "Are you ready to talk to us now?"
Ronnie just sat there staring.
Wilder walked over to the kid and literally lifted him up by his throat causing the kid squeal as he struggled for breath. "I said, are you ready to talk now?"
With tears filling his eyes, Ronnie nodded slightly which caused Wilder to lower him back into the chair, and walk back around the table to his chair.
Ronnie took a few moments to catch his breath. "If I...", the boy stopped for a few moments and continued, "If I tell you... what you want... can I go home?"
Wilder sat back in his chair in triumph, "Of course you can. As soon as you tell us what we need to know, you'll be back on your way home, away from all this."
Ronnie nodded with tears trickling down his cheeks, "ok."
Looking back toward the door, Wilder gave Hoggs the signal that he was looking for, to prepare the equipment to tape Ronnie's statement.
In less than a minute, Detective Hoggs had entered the room with a camera set on a small tripod. He placed the camera so that it had a good picture of the boy, then ran the wires to the wall socket to make the proper connections so their station recorders could properly record the session.
When Hoggs was done, he sat back down, and nodded toward Wilder.
Wilder pressed a button on the table and cleared his voice, "It's Monday, November 1, 2004 at 4:55pm. We are talking to minor Ronald DeGarren. Permission to interview the minor has been given by his mother, and is on file. Questioning detective is myself, Detective Wilder, and is witnessed by Detective Hoggs.
"Before I begin Ronnie, I want you to understand that if at any time, you don't feel comfortable with the questions I'm asking you, then we can stop this. Okay?"
Wilder smiled and continued, "So Ronnie, I understand that you know a man by the name of Dominic Torricelli, is this true?"
Ronnie thought for a few moments, and replied, "I know him."
"Good," Wilder continued, "I also understand that you have told us that Dominic has hurt you and has done other inappropriate things to you, can you tell us about what he did?"
Ronnie again thought for a few moments as a single tear fell from his eye, "Dominic never hurt me, these detectives have beat me and are forcing me to..."
Before Ronnie could continue, Detective Wilder flew up from his chair and interrupted him, "Oh you little smart ass bastard. You think your being funny do you? You may not know it, but you've just signed your death certificate, BOY."
As he was talking, the detective picked up the chair that he was sitting in and walked around the table. When he was in front of the boy, he lifted it above his head such that the front legs were pointed right at Ronnie.
"Let's see how funny you think this is, you little brat," Detective Wilder, putting all his strength into it, brought the chair down against Ronnie.
Before the chair actually managed to make contact with the him, Ronnie, the chair, both detectives, and everything else in the room vanished.
Tristen walked into Conference Room 4 dressed in his full Class A Uniform to find the rest of the Observers group already waiting for him.
"Looking Sharp," Chase commented as he handed Tristen his cloak.
Tristen nodded as he threw on the cloak over his uniform, "Thank you, Sir,"
"Okay guys," Chase called out to the rest of the room as he checked his watch, "We have about 5 minutes until wheels up, so you guys will need to head out pretty soon if you are going to be in place before the show starts. Just remember guys, no one approaches the station until all strike teams have reported that the building is secure, and Daileass signals the start of phase 2."
Nearly everyone in the room nodded.
"Okay, Tristen, they are all yours. Stay safe guys," Once he finished, Chase left the room to head toward the core.
Tristen did a quick look around the room. In addition to Brent, Lance, Maurice and their personal security, he also saw Eric, Avery, Hania, Lee, Danieal, all 9 of the triple-t's. "Okay guys, we have a pretty large group here, so what we are going to be doing is teleporting to a back alley, and then make our way to the station from there. Any questions?"
Avery raised his hand, "Don't people get suspicious if they see huge groups of people all gathered together?"
Tristen nodded, "Yup, your exactly right. That's why when we get there, I think it would be best for us to split up into 3 groups. Brent, Lance, and Maurice will each represent one group along with their personal security."
Not having been told of Tristen's plan ahead of time, Brent and Lance were each slightly surprised, where as Maurice simply grinned.
Seeing that none of the guys had any issues with his plan, Tristen continued, "Matt, I would like you and your bros to split up so 3 of you are with each group. Eric and Hania, I'd like you two in Brent's group. Avery and Lee, you two will be with Lance, which leaves Daniel and myself who will be with Maurice."
"Any other questions?", Tristen looked around the group one last time. Seeing none, he continued, "Daileass, if you would do the honors?"
"Transport for 27, coming up," Daileass commented in his normal cheerful voice before speaking in a slightly lower voice, "Now, what was that function for the mass group transport again?"
Just as some of the kids were starting to groan at the A.I.'s poor attempt at humor, the entire group vanished leaving behind an empty conference room.
Once they arrived, Tristen did a quick check of the area to see that no one was around, and then glanced down the alley toward Industrial Ave, which would be their destination. Even from here, he could see a number of people walking by.
Knowing that they didn't have a lot of time, Tristen put his plan in action, starting with having Brent and his group make their way to the street. About a minute later, he sent Lance's group off, and finally his own group a minute after that.
Once all three groups were on Industrial, he called in to Chase to let him know that they were all in place with no complications.
As the time for 'wheels-up' approached, Justin took his seat at the command station within the core C.I.C. room. Although he could feel the tension from everyone in the room, he could also feel a degree of excitement. This may have been the first day that they were at their new base, and a day before they were technically supposed to be declared operational, but he knew every person on his team was very well trained in doing whatever task they were doing, so he was not really expecting issues to develop.
The three large screens at the front of the core room were already showing what they needed to show. On the left, a radar-type map was being shown that had their division compound in the lower left corner, and then from the center going to the upper right, the south west corner of the city. The right screen was an image from one of the intersection cameras that Daileass hacked, showing the front and part of the city of the District 4 Sub-Station, along with a few people walking up and down the sidewalk. The center screen displayed a picture of their own black top staging area where the 5 Blackhawks, and 2 HIND's were being prepared for launch.
Haden was sitting at the communication station working on one of his circuit diagrams when he heard someone call his name. "Hey Haden," First Officer, Chase Longing, called out as he approached the station that Haden was at.
Haden briefly looked back toward the tall and lanky 15-year-old before turning back to his work, "Hi."
"Are you going to be handling the comm during the operation?" Chase asked as he tried to make sense of whatever it was that was on Haden's center terminal.
Haden shrugged his shoulders. "Not many people have called today, so I think I'll be okay."
Chase Grinned. "Okay, but just so you know, when the operation starts, it will be the job of the communication station to monitor all the communications from the helicopters, strike teams, and monitor all the police reports as well as keep Justin updated with what is going on."
Haden's eyes went wide as he quickly started saving and exiting. "Um... ah... no, that's okay, you can do it," As soon as he was signed out, he ran to the back of the room as fast as he could, leaving Chase as well as Anthony, who was watching from the operations station, in smiles.
After the laughing was over, Chase sat down at the vacant comm station, and began getting all of his channels set up to monitor. A few moments later, he called to the room, "All birds report that they are packed and ready for ops."
Jason nodded, "Thanks Chase, let Jeremy know he's clear to spin up his birds. Daileass? Can you open a comm link to all of our guys?"
"Just a moment Justin," Daileass replied, and then a few moments later, "Okay Justin, your on."
Justin stood up at his station, "This is base commander Colonel Justin West. I knew that many of you were not really expecting an operation today, since less than an hour ago, many of you were still trying to get unpacked. I know that most of you are aware that this base was not officially intended to be fully operational until tomorrow, but as those who are familiar with the history of the UNIT will be able to attest to, sometimes things have to go a bit faster than what was originally intended. Before I continue, I would like all of you to know that as base commander, I have been involved personally in the selection of each of you to this installation, and there is not one of you who I do not feel is capable to carry out this operation."
Justin paused for a few moments to let is words sink in before continuing, "In a few moments, I'll be giving the order for all of our helicopters take off, and begin an operation that very well may serve as a pivotal point for both the UNIT and the Clan. Up to now, as a family, we have been on the defensive, reacting to the wrongs that have been done to us and the kids that we protect. Today, that changes, as we send a message to the world that we were serious when we said the abuse stops, that we are serious in our position on dealing the the abuse of kids. Today, we send a message that when an institution that was created for the purpose of protecting kids, ends up being the institution that is hurting them, that such an institution should not, and will not be allowed to continue to exist. Today, we send a message to the world, that anyone who fucks around with kids, is fucking around with not only Clan Short, but the UNIT as well. Today, we start a new chapter in Clan history. Good luck, God Speed, and let's ...give 'em hell, kid!'"
As Justin finished, he pressed the button to close the comm link. "Anthony?" Justin looked toward his Air Wing Commander, "Your birds have a go for wheels up."
From his seat at the flight station, Anthony relayed Justin's orders to each of his pilots. A few seconds later, the Blackhawks, followed by the HIND's could be seen starting to lift off.
Haden watched the large monitor intently as the helicopters all hovered briefly after taking off, and then moved off out of the screen view. Looking back at his terminal, he switched one of his own views to one of the outer compound cameras, so that that he could continue to follow the helicopters.
"All birds are in flight," Anthony reported. "Estimating 5 minutes until we reach city limits." At the same time, on the map view displaying on the large left screen, 7 small dots could be seen starting to move from their compound toward the city.
A few moments later, from the comm station, Chase called out, "Justin, Tristen reports that the forward observation team are in position, and secure. They are hanging out in 3 smaller groups until the show starts, so they don't draw too much attention."
"Good thinking," Justin answered.
Clyde sat near the back of the large common room in which all the clone kids were hanging out along with the any of the other non-military kids that were not going to be with Brent, Lance and the other civilian observers.
At first, the tension in the room was fairly high as Neal and Rick did their best to help Daileass to explain what was about to happen in terms that all the younger kids could understand. After that, however, the tension dropped considerably. Several of the kids even began to pull out a few board games.
"Hey, I'm Doug." Clyde heard a young boy say as he looked to his side to see a small 7-year-old with a smaller 6-year-old standing next to him. "And this is my best friend, Greg."
Clyde tilted his head as he looked at the two boys, and saw how the younger one didn't really seem to be looking toward him at all. "Um, hi. I'm Clyde. Is your friend okay?"
Greg nodded. "I'm fine, I'm just blind."
Clyde blinked. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know that."
Greg shrugged, "It's okay. I can see through Doug's eyes."
"What?" Clyde replied with surprise. "How do you pull that off?"
Greg thought for a few moments and shrugged again. "Donno, it just seems to work. I can usually see through the triple-t's eyes as well, but they are all with Brent and Lance right now and are too far away for me."
"Wow, that sounds really cool," Clyde replied. "Actually, a lot of what I've seen here is really cool."
Doug nodded in agreement. "Would you like to play Monopoly with us?"
"Sorry, I don't really know how to play that or any of the other... um... games... that are being played." Clyde replied.
"That's okay," Greg jumped in. "We can teach you. It's easy to learn."
Clyde thought for a few moments. "Well, I guess."
"Cool!" Greg cheered as he grabbed Clyde's hand and began to pull him to the other side of the room, with Doug following close behind.
"So," Doug hesitantly asked as he and Greg began to get the board setup. "Daileass said that you know how to sleep outside and are really good at camping. Is that true?"
Clyde hesitantly nodded. "I guess you could say that."
"Cool!" Doug cheered. "Greg and I always wanted to go camping, but we've never really been able to. Do you think that maybe one day you could teach us a few things, so maybe we could go camping sometime?"
Clyde seemed a bit surprised. "You guys actually want to learn about living outdoors? Even when you have such nice buildings?"
The heads of both Doug and Greg bobbed up and down enthusiastically as Greg answered for both of them, "Uh huh, I think it would be really fun!"
Clyde nodded. "Well, if you two really want to, I would love to show you a few things. I use to be away from home a lot with my pa."
With the decision being made, the conversation between the three boys moved on to a more important topic, mainly Doug and Greg teaching Clyde about Monopoly. To Clyde's surprise, other than trying to wrap his head around the significance of moving a small boot and clothes iron around a small cardboard box, he picked up on the game rather quickly.
Greg and Doug had just finished explaining Clyde's first 'community chest' card when one of the older kids announced that 'the operation' was just about to start as the big screen T.V. was turned on, and images of the large Blackhawk helicopters approaching the Las Vegas city limits was displayed.
Instantly, all the games in the room stopped as all eyes turned toward the T.V.
With Brent and his group being first, he had the best view of the station. What he saw, he was not really impressed with. A two floor, slightly run-down sub-station on the corner of a block which was surrounded by some strip malls and office buildings. In the parking lot next to the station, several police cars were parked, as well as one or two parked directly out front of the station.
"Hey, Jolin?" Brent glanced toward the large 6'8" robed figured who was walking next to him.
"Yes... Sir?" the low voice of the cat replied,
"We're out in public and under cover, so you don't need to call me sir," Brent commented, "Anyway, if you look over at the station, does anything seem odd about it? I've been looking at it for the last few minutes, and something about it doesn't seem right."
"Of course there is," Jolin answered almost immediately, "One of the most obvious things is that the people that manage that place have very low regard for themselves and the others around them."
Brent blinked, "How can you tell that from just looking at the building,"
"Simple," Jolin replied, "Just look at how unkept the grass and shrubs around the building are, and how cracked the pavement in the parking lot is. You can tell a lot about how much pride someone has in themselves by looking at how well they keep their home or work."
Brent nodded, "Perhaps that's it."
"It's show time," Lincoln commented, "I believe I can here the helicopters approaching."
Even though Jolin's face was completely concealed by his cloak, you could tell he was grinning as his low voice replied, "Your just now starting to hear them? I've heard them approaching for the last 2 minutes."
"Hush you!" Lincoln replied.
"Hey Brent," Tristen's voice came over Brent's comm badge, "Go ahead and move your group closer toward the South West side of the building, I don't want any of our groups too close to the main entrance when the fun begins."
"Got it," Brent replied, as he and his group moved further down.
Less than a minute later, Brent could start to hear the low thudding of helicopter blades. He wasn't really sure why, but until this point, the whole mission had seemed very surreal to him. But now that he could hear, as well as start to see the approaching choppers, there was very little to deny what was about to happen.
"Don't even go there, Brent," Jude said softly behind him,
Brent looked back toward Jude to see what he was talking about.
Jude tapped the side of his head, "Dude, your thoughts are screaming like crazy. And no, you're not even going to start to blame yourself for this one."
"But," Brent started to say before he was interrupted.
"Nope, that doesn't work either," Jude stated, "Just because you're division director doesn't make you responsible for the the actions for a bunch of creeps."
"I know but," Brent started to say again.
Before Brent could continue, all 3 triple-t's that were with him grabbed their heads and started groaning in pain.
"Daileass," Jude tapped his comm badge, "Someone is hurting really really bad in there."
"Help is nearly there, Jude," Daileass answered, "Can any of you guys give me anymore information?"
"Ronnie," Max, one of Jude's 10 year old brothers, called out, "It's the kid we are looking for. He's in a lot of pain D, and he seems convinced he's about to die."
Brent grabbed ahold of Jude and helped lower him to the ground as he started to keel over, "You guys need to block it out."
As soon as Brent said this, all three of the triple-t's that were with him all seemed fine.
"Um, yeah, just like that," Brent stated.
Jude shook his head, we don't block anything, the pain and fear just stopped.
Brent was a bit confused, "How?"
"Hey guys," Daileass's voice came over Brent's comm badge in an unusually low tone, "Just so you know, I got Ronnie. He was literally an inch away from loosing his life by doing something incredibly brave. He's at the UNIT hospital now."
Brent nodded, "Thanks Daileass." Brent had to raise his voice a little to reply, due to how loud the sounds of the helicopters were. Looking behind him, he could see that 3 of the Blackhawks were nearly in positions outside the front of the building, hovering about 30 feet off the ground, and one of the HIND's a little above and behind them. At the same time, it looked like the other two Blackhawks and HIND were on the other side of the building, on it's back side.
Brent helped Jude stand back up, just as 5 kids jumped out from the middle Blackhawk, and 4 kids from the other two. All of the kids making loud thuds as they landed on the pavement, but not one of them seemed hurt, or even phased in the slightest. Instead, as soon as their feet hit the ground, they had their phaser rifles drawn, and were starting to cover the area.
Within seconds of the first group of kids having landed, several ropes fell down from both sides of all 3 Blackhawks, and more kids in full military gear were quickly sliding down them.
If Brent had not been watching it himself, he would not have believed it possible, but in less than 15 seconds, all three strike teams were on the ground and securing the immediate area. Many other people were also stunned, as a decent crowd of onlookers were already starting to gather.
Not too far away two gun shots could be heard, followed by a single phaser beam shooting toward the parking lot from one of the members of the strike team that was furthest from them.
As the helicopters got further away from the compound, Haden ran out of cameras to watch them from. "Hey Daileass," he asked, "Do you have any other cameras that can watch the helicopters?"
"As they get closer to the city, there may be a web cam or two that I can grab. But beyond that, not really," Daileass replied, "If you want, you can watch some of the armor cam feeds."
Haden thought for a moment, "Armor cams? What are those?"
"As part of the standard issue armor that each member of each strike team is wearing, they each have a small shoulder mounted camera. It's designed to give commanders a better view of the battle field."
Haden's eyes lit up, "Sounds cool! Can you show them on my terminal?"
"Which ones?" Daileass asked.
Haden shrugged his shoulder, "I don't know. All of them?"
A few moments later, one of Haden's terminals split into 49 different cells, 7 rows of 7 cells, in which small images started to appear. Most of the images showed pictures of other strike team members since everyone was still in the Blackhawks, but Haden was already captivated.
At first, Daileass thought that he was playing a cool joke, and would overload Haden with too many cameras, but he soon realized that he actually liked the view that Daileass created. "Um, just so you know Haden, I can cut down the number of camera views if you want."
"No!" Haden half shouted, "This is COOL, I like it."
A few minutes later, Anthony called out from his station, "Birds are 2 minutes out from city line."
Justin nodded, "Daileass, please connect me to the direct line for the head of the Nevada State Police."
"Stand by, Justin," Daileass immediately replied. A few moments later, Daileass's voice continued, "Establishing a direct line connection to Colonel Hosmer, Nevada Highway Patrol Chief."
A few seconds later, the image of a slightly surprised middle aged man appeared on one of Justin's terminals as well as the large center terminal in the front of the room, "Who is this?" The man asked, "How did you get this line?"
"Colonel Hosmer," Justin began in a firm, yet friendly tone, "If you look at the credentials of this call, you will see that I am calling you from the the main Command and Control Center of Clan Short's Nevada Division."
Justin waited for a few moments, until he saw the man nodding slightly, "Sir, please understand that this call is not a discussion. My name is Colonel Justin West, Base Commander of the Clan Short Nevada Division UNIT military attachment. In the sub-channel of this call, we are sending you a general brief that will give you more details on what is going on for you and your staff to view. About an hour ago, we received information that a child's life may be in danger at the hand's of those who operate Las Vegas District 4 Sub-Station. All attempts to communicate with the personnel of this station have failed. Sub-Station Chief Warsen has gone as far as informing us that his station does not recognize the authority of Clan Short."
"I see," Colonel Hosmer said slowly, as his face noticeably began to pail.
"Sir," Justin continued in a slightly firmer tone, "the purpose of this call is to inform you that in a few minutes, Clan Short will begin operations to secure the District 4 Sub-Station Facilities. Following this, we intend to deploy members of our intelligence division to telepathically scan all members of that department to determine which ones are truly committed to their jobs, and which ones have committed serious crimes against children. It is our intent to keep casualties down to the lowest amount possible. In order to accomplish this, I would strongly advise you to inform the other stations within the city to stay out of the operational area. Any units that approach within one city block of the District 4 sub-station will be treated in the same manner as those at the station."
The man on the screen, who now was as pale as a ghost, took a few moments to let what was said, sink in. "I understand."
With that, Justin pressed a button to terminate the call. "Jeremy, Inform your birds that they have permission to cross city lines, and begin phase one."
Jeremy nodded, and began to relay the information.
Haden was still glued to watching all 49 of the armor cams from the various strike team members. Now, a number of them were starting to stand up and get their lines ready to repel out of the helicopters.
Less than a minute later, Haden let out a shriek as he fell backward, "Nooo!"
"Haden?" Justin asked with concern as he and most of the others in the room glanced to the back to see Haden in tears.
"Haden will be fine in a few moments, Justin," Daileass's voice came over the main speakers in an unusually grim voice, "He picked up on some fairly strong emotions from me and my brothers through our link."
"Daileass?" Justin asked feeling somewhat confused.
"Colonel West," Daileass continued in the same tone, "You also need to be advised that about 30 seconds ago, after receiving access to a new video feed and new data, an emergency teleport of Ronnie DeGarren along with two scumsuckers that I'm sure will be gift wrapped for Juan, was made. Ronnie is in the UNIT medical facility in critical condition. The two others are in a holding cell at the UNIT base.
A few moments later, without saying a word, Haden got up and crawled back into the chair. At about the same time, his bear, Gyro crawled up with him, and sat in his lap, with Haden's arms wrapped around him.
Haden continued to watch the armor cam feeds, but his eyes were a bit more distant, as if watching something else at the same time.
"Sir?" Jeremy called out about 2 minutes later, "Blackhawks Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie are in positions in front of the target, and are ready to deploy."
"Proceed with deployment," Justin ordered as he changed the center large screen to be the view from one of the Blackhawks in front of the building to the other two.
"We are starting to get a good amount of chatter on most of the police channels in the city," Chase reported from the comm station, "So far it looks like all other sub-stations are being advised to remain out of District 4."
Haden gasped, as from his position, it looked like just about every kid that was closest to the doors of the Blackhawks completely missed the ropes when they jumped out, and quickly fell and slammed into the ground. Due to the nature of the cameras, the jolt of the images seemed to be pretty bad. However, had Haden been watching the main screen, he would have seen 4 kids from each of the other two Blackhawks jump out, and very gracefully land on the ground with no sign of injury or shock.
Within seconds of this, ropes dropped down from both sides of the helicopters, and more troops began to quickly descend from them. By now, a large group of spectators was already starting to gather across the street to watch what was happening.
"All strike teams are on the ground, and ready to proceed," Anthony announced from his station.
"Okay," Justin agreed, "Proceed with phase two, let's get that building secure, Jeremy, get the HIND's on patrol as soon as they are done covering the strike teams."
Although all of the kids in the room remained captivated by the images they were seeing from the live video feed being displayed on the T.V., none were as captivated as Clyde.
"Those things look huge," Clyde thought out loud. "I wonder how they are able to fly like that."
"I think the big spinning blade on top lifts it up and the small blade in the back moves moves it forward and backward." Doug offered.
"You're close, Doug," Daileass replied through the T.V. speakers. "The large spinning blades on the top provide the lift for the helicopter, the small blades in the back provide the counter thrust to prevent the helicopter itself from spinning once it lifts off the ground."
"Daileass, if that's true, then what moves the helicopter forward and backward?" Foster, one of the older clone kids, asked.
"That's a good question, Foster. Let me slow down the video feed a little, and zoom in on the blades of the Blackhawk that's in front. Maybe that will give you a clue." As Daileass said this, the video being displayed on the T.V. did exactly as Daileass said it would, it zoomed in on the spinning blades while slowing down to about 1/5 the normal speed.
"The blades don't look centered," Doug called out.
"Yeah, it looks like they are tilted a little," Stan added.
"Exactly!" Daileass's pride easily came through his voice. "If you look closer near the bottom of the blades, you will see a small disc like device. This is called the swash plate. By tilting this plate, and as a result the blades themselves, you create a difference in air flow going around the blades which allows the helicopter to move laterally in all 360 degrees."
"Wow, that's pretty cool," Foster stated as many other kids agreed.
"It looks really complicated," Clyde offered.
"It may seem a little complicated at first, but once you learn a few more of the fundamentals, it will make a lot more sense. If you would like Clyde, I can make sure this is included in some of your classwork study material." Daileass said as the video feed returned back to normal to show the helicopters now hovering in front of the police sub-station.
Clyde shrugged. "I wouldn't mind. I like learning new things."
Once Clyde said this, several of the younger kids let out shrieks.
"Daileass, doesn't that hurt them?" Cooper asked as he saw several kids literally jump out of each of the hovering helicopters.
"Nope," Daileass replied. "If they were normal kids then yes, that would have hurt them. However, the kids that you saw jump out were genesis kids. Their bodies are able to take an impact like that.
"Oh, cool." Cooper replied.
"What's a genesis kid? I've heard that name mentioned a few times today," Clyde asked.
"That's a bit more complicated of a question to explain, Clyde," Daileass answered. "The short answer is, they are kids whose bodies have been altered to increase a number of their physical and mental attributes such as strength and memory."
Clyde nodded. "I think I'm going to have lots to learn."
Greg wrapped his arm around Clyde. "Don't worry, Doug and I will help you learn everything."
"Stan and I will help too!" Forth added.
A huge smile came across Clyde's face. "Thanks guys. All of you are being really nice to me."
"That's all part of what it means to be Clan, Clyde." Daileass offered as once again the room went quiet as everyone watched the repelling and then all the unit kids moving toward the entrance of the station.
"Hey guys," Tristen's voice came over Brent's comm badge, "we are getting a fairly large crowd out here a little faster than I thought. Let's go ahead and start making our way back toward each other."
As they started to walk toward the other two groups, Brent saw two of the strike teams starting to make their way toward the main entrance. One of the strike team members threw or shot something through the window, and seconds later a massive bright flash of light came out from the entrance. Seconds after that, the members of the strike teams started pouring in, with only 2 strike team members staying outside to cover the entrance.
In less than a minute, all 3 groups were back together, which was a good thing, since the sidewalk was starting to get a bit crowded with people, as the shots of gun fire could be heard coming from inside the building. The only thing that drowned out the gun fire was the loud thudding of the patrolling HIND that was flying above.
"Daileass," Tristen called out seeing how large the crowds were getting, "We have a bunch of pedestrians getting dangerously close to the station."
"On it, Tristen," Daileass replied. Moments later, a missile was launched from one of the HIND's which hit one of the police cars that were in the parking lot, creating a very loud explosion and huge fireball raising up to the sky. Although there was surprisingly little outward damage in the explosion, it still had the desired effect. Instantly, everyone who was starting to enter the streets and approach the station started running back to the other side to stay as far away from the building as possible.
A second missile hitting a police car parked in front of the station, causing another loud explosion and ball of flame further helped to ensure that almost no one was interested in approaching the building.
As the next couple of minutes went by, the amount of gun fire that was heard coming from inside slowly died down. If it weren't for the fact that a 3rd police car was sacrificed to another missile, it might have been easy to think that the conflict was over.
Finally, within 10 minutes of it having started, the gun fire and phaser blasts had not only stopped, but a few of the strike team members were starting to come back outside, holding large rolls of yellow tape to start roping off the area outside of the station.
"Tristen?" Chase's voice could be heard from Tristen's communicator.
"Go ahead Chase," Tristen replied.
"Building is secure. Phase 3 is active. You can go ahead and send in the intel guys that are with you, as well as any of the civi's that need to be here."
"Got it, thanks Chase," Tristen answered, as he looked toward the group. "Okay, those of you that are going in can head over."
Brent looked toward Tristen, "Aren't you coming?"
Tristen removed his cloak to reveal his full Class A military uniform. "I wish I were. But sadly, my job is just getting started." Tristen glanced toward a few of the local news crews that were already starting to get their cameras set up not that far away from them.
Brent nodded. "Okay, come on guys." As Brent and the others made their way across the street toward what was left of the station entrance, a few members from the strike teams met them half way as they were roping off the area to also help keep back a few stragglers who were not part of Brent's group, but had started following them anyway.
For the next several minutes, Haden sat in fascination as every single image was now doing something different. For the first few minutes, there was lots of ducking behind corners or behind counters, sending hand signals to each other, jumping over things, and firing of phaser rifles. It didn't take long, however, for the strike teams to gain the upper hand. In all, only 2 members of the strike team were hit, but with the armor they were wearing, neither was seriously hurt.
It was during the second part, when most of the initial resistance had been dealt with and when the strike teams were doing more detailed room to room searches for any stragglers that Haden saw it. The first time it whizzed by the view of one of the strike teams, he barely noticed it, but the second time another strike team passed the same pile of clothes, Haden knew something was odd.
"Daileass," Haden asked hesitantly, "What was that mound that the J. Fieldhouse picture just passed?"
Daileass quickly answered him, "I'm not sure Haden, Why don't you use the mic in front of you to ask him? I'll set you to his team's comm loop."
"Me?" Haden asked with both shock and concern.
"Why not?" Daileass replied, sending Haden a mental hug at the same time, "The J stands for Jerry."
Haden looked at the mic in front of him as he tried to gather up the courage to do as Daileass suggested. He knew he had the love and support of all of his new brothers, but even with all of that, it was still hard sometimes. "Um, Jerry? Um, this is Haden."
The J. Fieldhouse video stopped in place as Haden heard a reply, "Haden?"
"Um yeah, I'm at base and I was watching your video, and well, um, I think I saw something." Haden said as best as he could.
"My video?" Jerry replied as he also started to turn back toward where he had just come from.
"Well, actually, everyone's videos," Haden shyly answered, "What was that pile of stuff you umm, passed?"
Jerry paused for a few moments, and then answered, "Oh that, it's a pile of clothes up against the wall."
Haden blinked, "It's too... too high."
Jerry's image started to slowly move toward the pile that Haden had mentioned, "Too high?" the boy replied. Before Haden could answer back however, Jerry had seen the same thing Haden had seen, and was now quickly jogging toward the pile as he called out, "Hey guys, I think I have something over here."
Haden noticed two other video images turn to where the pile, and Jerry were at and started moving toward him. Taking off a shirt that was lying on top revealed that it was not actually a pile of cloths, but a small boy that was scrunched up against the wall.
"Medic! Luis!" Jerry's voice called out in a panic, as Haden leaned closer to the terminal to see that the boy was unconscious and beaten up pretty badly.
The video image labeled L. McCarry had taken out a tricorder, and was quickly scanning the boy. Soon, a new voice that Haden was unfamiliar with came over the channel. "I'm getting life readings, but they are fading fast."
Jerry now had the small child in his arms and was holding him out toward L. McCarry to scan. It was also apparent that the child had several large cuts and gashes on him.
"Daileass," A third voice called out, "Teleport Jerry and the kid to the UNIT med facilities."
"You got it, Elliot," The muffled voice of Daileass could be heard from Jerry's comm badge. Moments later, the J. Fieldhouse image flickered, and then changed to a hospital-like setting. Immediately 3 people in medical clothes rushed and grabbed the smile child, and took him to the nearest biobed, where two other people also started to hover over the kid.
"Hey Daileass," Haden heard the third boy say from the comm channel, "Is Haden still listening in?"
"He sure is, Elliot." Daileass could be heard answering.
"Hey Haden?" Elliot asked.
"Yes?" Haden answered hesitantly.
"That is a good set of eyes you have their. You caught something that all the rest of us missed, and because of that you may have just saved that kid's life." Elliot stated.
Haden beamed, "Thank you."
As the comm dropped, Haden was startled from Justin's voice, as he apparently had come up behind him at some point. "He's right Haden."
Haden looked up questionably at the base commander.
"I don't think Elliot knew just how many video feeds you were watching at once to spot that," Justin continued. "That shows exceptionally good observation skills on your part."
Haden sat there smiling from ear to ear, not really sure what else to say.
Trying not to embarrass the little guy any further, Justin walked back over to his station.
Haden continued to watch the J. Fieldhouse video for a bit, but shortly he apparently turned away from looking in the direction of the kid, to looking at, and answering questions from someone else. As such, Haden allowed more of his focus to go back to watching all the videos as a whole.
"Daileass!" Rene cried out as he grabbed hold of Foster at the sight of the first police car turning into a ball of flames on the television video feed. "Aren't those missiles going to hurt the people near by?"
"Not really," Daileass replied. "The missile that was used had a specially designed charge in it that allows me to control the shape of the explosion. I used a shape setting that had a very small outward thrust. The small portion that did get thrust outward I made sure was in a direction opposite of the people watching."
To illustrate his point, Daileass replayed the explosion, and slowed it down enough that it was easy to see how the force of the explosion only went out behind the police car, away from all the people on the streets.
"How do you do something like that?" Clyde asked with surprise.
Daileass's voice giggled. "That's even more complicated than the genesis kids, Clyde. But I promise that I'll make sure your school study plan covers all the cool stuff you never had the opportunity to learn about before."
Clyde only nodded as he and the rest of the kids watching gasped once again as the second police car went up in flames.
Lance gasped as he and the others walked through the now doorless entrance to the station. What was a nice, clean entrance room not even 2 hours ago was now a much darker, dust filled room that resembled a war zone. Various papers, chairs and other equipment were thrown all over the place. The metal detector device looked like it was in at least a dozen different pieces while only part of the rather thick glass that was in front of the lobby desk still remained.
"You sure this is the same station we were at earlier?" Lance asked Joshua.
"Yeah," the 13-year-old answered seriously as he glanced around the room keeping his eyes open for anything that the strike teams might have missed.
"Sirs," Ralph Himely, the Eagle strike team commander called out as he and the team's second officer, Nick Howell, approached Brent and Lance.
"Ralph," Brent started to call out but quickly caught himself, "Um, Captain. How's the situation briefing?"
Captain Himely blinked and was caught off guard for only a moment before realizing what Brent was asking for. Had it been any other situation, he might have smiled at his attempt to sound military, instead he just nodded. "Well sir, There were a few more uniformed officers here than expected, not to mention a unexpectedly large number of armed plain clothed hostiles. We had two minor injuries on our side, but nothing serious. One of the members of Strike Team Thunder was teleported to the UNIT medical facilities with a small 4 or 5 year old badly injured kid that was found."
"Ronnie?" Lance asked, as he realized he was not really sure how old Ronnie was.
Ralph shook his head, "Ronnie was teleported out by Daileass before we arrived. This was a different kid. I don't believe we have any identity yet. We are not even sure if he's going to live or not.
"I have a small update on that Brent," Daileass's voice came over his comm badge.
"Whatcha got Daileass?" Brent asked.
"We still do not have an identity on the kid yet, however, his condition has been upgraded to serious but stable, so it looks like he should make it. They just finished surgery, and he's on one of the biobeds. I'm guessing it will be 3 or 4 hours before he's able to wake up, but I'll have a better time line estimate in about 20 minutes."
"Okay, Thanks," Brent replied. "Captain, how many total adults do you have secure that will need to be checked by the telepaths?"
Ralph thought for a moment. "We have 81 uniformed, and 22 plain clothed officers, and another 6 adults who just happened to be here at the time."
"Over one hundred? And that's not counting the officers that are off duty?" Lance asked, "That's going to put a pretty heavy strain on our telepaths."
"Daileass?" Brent began to ask.
"Already a step ahead of you Brent," Daileass replied, "I have another 15 telepaths on their way in from the UNIT base to help you guys out."
"Thanks Daileass, as usual, you rock!" Brent stated.
"I know," Daileass giggled.
"Um Brent?" Lee called out from the other side of the room. "I think you need to come see this."
Brent and Lance waited for two strike team members to carry a stunned and handcuffed officer out of the room before they and their security followed Lee down the hall and into a slightly larger room that had several holding cells. Both Brent and Lance, as well as a few members of their security team, nearly lost it.
It wasn't really the fact that the cells which had kids in them were the type of cells that were designed for adults, nor was it the unexpectedly large number of kids that were in the cells. What really got them was the age of a number of the kids they saw. Although it was true that there were some older kids that might have been close to 14 or 15, there were also a number of kids that couldn't be much older than 7 or 8.
"All these kids are in jail?" Lance asked in disbelief. "That little guy over there can't be over 7. What could he possibly have done to deserve being torn away from his family, and being held here?"
Hania took a few steps toward one of the cells, and the kids in it all backed up. "They're terrified of us?" Hania commented.
"Captain Himely?" Brent asked as he glanced toward the strike team commander who was watching from the back of the group. "As a division director, what powers do I have in regards to changing mission objectives?"
Ralph blinked. "Um, what changes did you have in mind, sir?"
Brent looked back at the kids that were in the cells. "I'd like to change the order of things a bit. I want the telepaths go through the kids first. Any kid that does not have a really good reason for being here, I want out."
Ralph grinned. "Actually, sir. If you didn't order it, I would have myself. What would you like done with them?"
Brent thought for a few moments. "Some of these guys don't look all that well. I don't think our division's medical facilities are fully online yet, so unless Daileass, who I know is also listening, sees a problem with it, I would like to send them to the UNIT med bays for a checkup first, and then we can come up with something from there."
"That should work, Brent," Daileass replied. "I'll make sure the UNIT med teams are notified and standing by."
"And I'll go let Roberto know about the change of plans," Ralph added.
"No need," Roberto grinned from the entrance of the room as a bunch of the intelligence guys started making their way in. "We heard you the first time you thought of it."
"Sir?" Another strike team member called from the door entrance. "That old lady is really starting to cause a stink in the other room."
"Old Lady?" Lance asked, "with greyish curly hair?"
"Um, yeah." the kid replied.
"It's not..." Brent trailed off as Lance made his way for the door.
Before they got half way down the hall, Lance could already hear the familiar voice of the lady telling off the kids that were keeping on eye on those people that didn't end up being stunned.
"You're kidding me," Lance said in disbelief as he stepped into the large conference room now turned temporary holding area to see exactly who he thought it sounded like. "Well, Mrs. Farthing, what a surprise to see you here."
Mrs. Farthing stopped in mid-sentence, and turned to look in shock toward Lance.
"You know her?" Daniel asked.
"Oh yeah," Lance nodded. "Mrs. Farthing is the kind lady that I had the pleasure of talking with earlier this afternoon. You know, the one that was intentionally trying to have Dominic arrested on false charges? The one I warned not even 2 hours ago not to cross us."
Joshua stared intently at her for a few moments. As he did, it almost looked like she was about to say something in protest to Lance's comments before she winced in pain. When he was done, he walked over to one of the strike team members and said something to him that no one else could hear.
As Joshua was walking back to the group, the strike team member he talked to quickly left. "It would seem that Mrs. Farthing has been busy since we left her this afternoon, sir."
"Oh?" Lance asked inquisitively.
Joshua nodded. "It seems that she had already filed one false report which lead to Ronnie being picked up and tortured, but she was in the process of filling out another false report when we arrived."
"Shut your mouth you little fag," Farthing snapped. "You have no proof of any of this. When my lawyers are done with you, all of you little twits will be in juvy right where you belong."
Joshua started to walk toward the lady before Lance stopped him. "Don't let the bitch get to you Joshua." Just with Lance's tone of voice, several people, especially those that knew him, had to do a double take.
"How dare you..." The older lady began to say before Lance cut her off.
"You know, I really need to thank you," Lance interrupted which caused her to look at him. "Yeah, See I have always had this problem where I would be too nice to people, and give them the benefit of the doubt . Well, thanks to you, today I learned just how rude and inconsiderate people can be, and how quickly some people will take advantage of you. I should have had your ass taken into custody as soon as what you were trying to do to Dominic came to light. But as a result of me being too nice," Lance waved his arm around the room as he spoke, "all of this has happened. Well, now I know not to be as nice to assholes like you anymore."
"Why you little..." Farthing began to say just as Lance rose his voice to interrupt him again,
"Mr. Flint," Lance called out in a serious tone, "As a trained Clan and Vulcan telepath, would I be correct in assuming that you have already taken the liberty of scanning Mrs. Farthing?"
"Yes sir, I have," Joshua replied in an equally official manner.
"You have no right to..." the lady started again.
"Captain Himely," Lance raised his voice again. "Is it within my rights to request that Mrs. Farthing be stunned if she interrupts me again?"
Ralph smiled as he raised his phaser rifle up and aimed it toward the lady. "Absolutely, sir."
Mrs. Farthing looked like she was about to say something, but then stopped her self.
Lance smiled. "Better. Now as I was saying, Mr. Flint, without getting into detail, would I be correct in assuming that you have enough telepathic evidence to justify possible execution."
Joshua nodded, "Execution several times over, perhaps, and then some."
"We can take care of that now if you would like, sir?" Ralph mentioned as he continued to aim his rifle at the lady.
Lance shook his head. "Nah, after as many lives that I'm guessing that she's ruined, that would be too easy. Would we be able to have a trial, like a public one?"
"Um, well..." Ralph tried to think, "I don't see why not, I mean I guess it would be Brent's call as division director."
Brent grinned. "This has been Lance's from the start, so I'm not stepping in front of it. If he wants a public trial, and it's something we are allowed to do, then I'll support it."
"Hey guys," Daileass's voice came over Lance's comm badge, "Just so you know, I've done some quick cross-referencing, and although the Clan has not used this specific method as of yet, it is certainly permissible under Vulcan law, and Clan law for the trial to be a public one."
"Oh, you little brats will be burned alive in a public..." Mrs. Farthing was unable to go any further since at that point a bright yellow beam of energy shot out from Ralph's rifle hitting her square in the stomach and causing her collapse to the ground unconscious.
"Um, Lance?" Brent asked with a small grin on his face.
"Yes, love?" Lance replied.
"Um, one thing you need to remember about these military people, when you give them an order, they take it very seriously," Brent smiled.
"Oh," Lance commented as he looked at Mrs. Farthing's unconscious body, "Oops, my bad."
In a more serious tone, Brent turned to Ralph. "How long would it take to get this trial set up?"
Ralph shrugged. "Depends on you I guess, and how soon you want to have it. We could probably have something set up in as quickly as a few hours."
Brent looked toward Lance, who smiled back. "Make it happen."
Finally, less than ten minutes after they started, Anthony announced that the strike teams had the entire building secure. With that, Justin announced the start of phase three, and informed Chase to let the observation group, and the intel groups know that they could proceed into the structure.
Haden actually liked this part a bit more, since people were not running around ducking and dodging as much, the camera views were much more stable and easier to follow.
"He wants a what?" Justin nearly cried out a few minutes later, which caused Haden to jump in his seat.
"A public trial," Chase replied from the comm station. "Should I tell him no?"
"Yes!" Justin replied, slightly surprised that Chase even had to ask, but then a few moments later another thought hit him. "Wait, no."
Chase looked back toward his Colonel with confusion.
"Actually, Lance might be on to something," Justin said as he leaned on his station a bit. "The idea behind this whole operation is to send a message, right?"
"Well?" Justin continued, "what better way to send a message than a public trial? Go ahead and let them know we are in full agreement with it. Then get me a list of all the large indoor conference centers that are available for immediate booking. If we are going to do this, I want to do it right."
Chase nearly laughed as it was times like this that he really enjoyed working with Justin. "Yes, sir."
Within 5 minutes of Justin's decision to support the trail, Chase was making his way across the room to Justin's Station. "Colonel? I think I might have something that could work for us."
"That was fast," Justin smiled. "What do you have?"
Chase handed over a small data pad. "The Malaya. The company that was supposed to be using their conference facilities backed out a few weeks ago, and they have not managed to fill that spot. So their entire conference center is free."
Justin tapped a few buttons, "Looks good."
"I've already contacted the conference center management team, and they are well aware of Clan Short, and were more than interested in working with us, regardless of the short notice." Chase added.
"And just so you know, Justin," Daileass jumped in, "I've taken the liberty of confirming that I can easily access any of the 314 video surveillance cameras they have inside the casino and conference center."
Justin grinned. "Good going Daileass. I'm assuming that includes the pool changing rooms?"
"Of course," Daileass replied.
"Why do I get the feeling that he's not joking?" Chase asked.
"Probably because he's not," Justin answered seriously.
As if to prove the point, Justin's left terminal screen suddenly began to display the insides of a changing room with a few older men getting changed.
Justin shook his head. "Thanks, Daileass."
Although Daileass didn't reply, the image went away a few seconds later.
Justin looked back toward Chase. "You think 8,000 seating is going to be enough?"
Chase nodded. "Unless you want to put the trial back a few days, I think it's about the best we are going to get that meets our needs."
"No," Justin shook his head as he handed the data pad back. "For all we know, the world could be on fire or something in the next few days. I would rather we get this taken care of tonight, and be done with it. Go ahead and make the arrangements, and let the rest of the guys know what's going on."
"Yes, sir." Chase said as he walked back to his station.
A few minutes later, Justin walked over to where Haden was still watching all the strike team video feeds which were now showing members of at least one of the strike teams in the process of getting on one of the Blackhawks to return back to base. "How ya doing, Haden?"
"Okay," Haden answered without looking up from watching the video feeds. "Why is one of the strike teams getting back in the helicopter when, from the cameras of some of the other people, I can still see bad guys being held in the building?"
"That's a very good observation, Haden," Justin said as a pulled up a chair to set next to him, "The building is completely secure, and although there still a few people there, most of the hostiles, or bad guys as you call them, have been moved out, so we don't need as many people there. Strike Team Raptor has been on duty the longest today out of all the Strike Teams, so Anthony is going to bring them back first."
"Okay," Haden replied, "I guess that makes sense."
Justin smiled. "Hey Haden, I have a problem, and I was wondering if you could help me with it."
Haden looked toward Justin. "Me? Is it an electronics problem? I'm not that good with anything else."
Justin made the mistake of reaching to touch Haden on the shoulder, which caused the small boy to reflexively jerk his shoulder away. "Sorry about that. Um, It's not an electronics problem, but I still think you will be very good at it."
Haden looked at his shoulder, and then back at Justin as he hugged Gyro tighter.
"You see," Justin continued, "Roberto, my intelligence officer is still out on the field, helping at the sub-station. But with the public trial coming up at the Malaya, I'm going to need someone to fill in for the intelligence officer position, and I was thinking that might be something you would be willing to do."
Haden pushed himself back in his chair, as fright already started to fill his eyes. "Me? Would... would I have to talk to... to a bunch of different people?"
Justin smiled and shook his head. "Nope, you will only have to talk to me, and maybe Chase."
Haden hesitantly nodded. "So, what would I need to do?"
"Basically, the same thing you've been doing all afternoon. The Malaya has a lot of video cameras, and with this trial happening on such short notice, we are not going to have as much time to secure the building as we would like. So, it would be super helpful if we had someone who could watch lots of camera images at once, and just keep a lookout for anything suspicious or anything that seems out of place."
Haden thought for several moments on what Justin had told him, until he slowly started to nod. "I like cameras, so I guess I can try it."
"Awesome, thanks Haden," Justin said as he resisted the urge to ruffle his hair. "Daileass, could you start going through some of the camera feeds with Haden so you two can find the best ones to view, and so Haden can start to get a feel for what to normally expect to see on them?"
"You got it, Justin," Daileass replied.
Moments later, Haden's 7x7 grid of full color camera images expanded to an 8x8 grid, and all the color camera images were instantly replaced with black and white images from various locations on the Malaya Casino.
Haden was instantly hooked, and very quickly forgot that Justin was still there.
Justin grinned and stood up. Before he walked away, he decided to try an experiment. He reached out and ruffled Haden's hair a bit, and got no reaction from the boy at all.
"Yesh," Justin smiled before he walked back to his station, "I guess you do like cameras."
Outside the police station, one of the the three local TV news teams that had already made their way to the area was Heather Klein from KTNV 13 Action News. She stood patiently with microphone in hand, and camera man focused on her, while she waited for the anchors at the station to switch over to her. While she waited, she fixed up her hair as she did a quick check behind her to see if anything new was going on.
As she listened to the station chatter in her ear piece, she straightened herself up a bit as she could hear the main anchor starting his lead-in to her.
"Thanks Jeff," Heather stated as she began her report. "I'm here live about 2 blocks from the strip at the Las Vegas District 4 Sub-Station where, as you can see and hear behind me, helicopters from Clan Short's para-military group, the UNIT, still circle around the area. Less than 30 minutes ago, many locals and passing pedestrians were forced to run for cover as children armed with what eye-witnesses claimed to be Starfleet issued phaser rifles descended from several helicopters and began a direct assault against the police sub-station, which, among other things, is responsible for the safety and well-being of juvenile offenders in the South-Central Las Vegas area."
Heather listened to her ear piece for a few moments before continuing. "That's right Jeff, Although we have not actually seen anyone who has been injured as a result of the Clan's vigilante operation, the damage around here appears to be extensive. We can't actually get into the building yet, but, as you can see from looking at the damage to the front entrance station, and from the still smoldering police cruisers on the side of the street, the force that the Clan used was extensive. And, about 15 minutes ago, members of this group came outside and roped off a large portion of the area surrounding the station, and have been preventing all attempts from members of the public, including news teams from entering it."
Stopping again as the un-seen anchor on the other side of her ear piece was saying something, she waited patiently. "Actually Jeff, we have not. In fact, no one that I've talked to is aware of any demands or other information that this group has provided to indicate why they have chosen to assault this particular station. One thing I can say is that the local CBS station here, KLAS, is reporting that supposedly, the chief of this sub-station called them up moments before the assault began and started to say something about an unprovoked assault against them starting, before his line went dead. All further attempts to call any phone number associated with the station have been met with a recorded message of a child's digitized voice saying that the number is not accessible at the current time and to expect additional information shortly. Well, as of yet, shortly has not arrived."
As she was talking, Tristen, in his full Class A military uniform, walked up a good ways behind where Heather was standing, such that he was just barely visible in the frame. As he stood in his relaxed parade rest position, he watched as the woman finished her last dialog, and was once again listening to her ear piece. As she listened, something seemed to surprise her as she glanced behind her to see Tristen standing there. "Um, actually, yes, that does seem to be one of the military kids that were involved in the assault. Let's see if we can get him to share a few words with us."
Heather took a few steps back toward Tristen, who was waiting patiently.
"Excuse me," she started as she bent down slightly to account for Tristen's 12 year old size. "Heather Klein KTNV 13 Action News. We're live on the air, and I was wondering if you had a few moments to speak to our viewers."
Tristen looked toward Heather and nodded, "Sure."
Slightly surprised at how easily the boy agreed, she started out simple. "Thanks. Could you start by telling us who you are, and what your affiliation with the Clan is?"
Tristen grinned. "I'm shortly, and I've arrived."
Heather blinked, clearly missing the joke. "Excuse me?"
"Sorry about that, just figured I would try to break the ice a bit to a rather tense situation," Tristen commented. "I'm Second Lieutenant Tristen Fleming, Military Liaison and Information Officer for the Clan Short Nevada Division's UNIT Detachment."
"Okay," Heather said as she quickly tried to wrap her head around what the boy had just told her, "I don't suppose you could give us any insight as to why Clan Short has targeted this particular sub-station?"
"Actually, I would love to, Heather," Tristen smiled as he looked directly toward the camera. "First off, you have to understand that since UNIT has started handling rescue calls on behalf of the Clan last Monday, we've been receiving a very high number of calls in regards to concerns of not only the current living conditions of children in the Las Vegas area, but how law enforcement were treating them. The fact that Las Vegas is considered an area of high concern is a large part of why the Clan has decided to establish a permanent division here."
"I see," Heather nodded.
"As far as your question about this sub-station," Tristen continued, "Approximately 2 hours ago, our Nevada division received information in regards to officers of this sub-station breaking down the door of the house where a 12-year-old boy was home alone, and took him into custody. At this point, according to the Clan Short charter, and the Federation Youth Services policies, the boy in question was transferred to Clan custody."
"When our assistant division director attempted to visit the station to discuss the status of the boy, he was met with deadly aggression as soon as he identified himself as a member of Clan Short. Once he was safely returned to our compound, we made an attempt to call the chief of the station at which point we were very rudely informed that this station did not recognize Clan Short's authority."
"You have to understand, Heather. Them disagreeing with us was not the issue. The issue was that the life of a child who was under the protection of the Clan was, to our knowledge, in immediate mortal danger. As it turned out, we managed to get to him just barely in time, as he is now in the UNIT medical facilities in serious condition. Also, as a result of securing the facilities, we found a 5 year old who was lying up against a wall, a few inches away from death. That child is also currently at our UNIT medical facilities, currently in critical condition."
Heather nodded. "Those sound like some fairly serious accusations Tristen. Do you have any comments in regards to the rumors that the station's chief made a call to another local station moments before your assault saying the attack was unprovoked before his line was cut off?"
"I think I've already explained about the Clan's reasoning for deciding to secure the facilities," Tristen continued, "As far as the call about the assault being unprovoked. I'll poss one simple question to you and your viewers, and allow you guys to decide. How is it that he could have known that an assault was coming in the first place, to be able to say that the assault was unprovoked, when none of our guys had even touched the ground yet? Not to mention, why would his first action be to call a news agency and not his direct superiors?"
A light seemed to turn on in Heather's eyes, "Actually, those are rather good points."
Tristen nodded as Heather seemed to be listening to more talk going on in her ear piece, "Honestly Jim, I'm not really sure about that. Tristen, I know you can't hear Jim back at the station, so let me repeat his question for you real quick. Does the Clan have any proof in regards to the station, and more specifically the station's chief, to support it's version of the story over his?"
Tristen smiled at how well Heather re-worded the question, since Daileass had already tapped into the stations feed, and was giving him the same exact feed in his sub-vocal. "Well, I'll tell you what, since you seemed to have been overly fair in this interview, how about we give your station an exclusive."
"Oh?" She asked a bit surprised.
Tristen nodded. "As we speak, your station should be receiving a new video feed on your in-line 6, it contains the video call that was conducted between our assistant division director, and the sub-station's chief. This should clarify any discrepancies between the two statements.
"Well, I'm not really sure what you mean, um... however, I'm being told that our engineers know exactly what you said, and we are getting the video cued up to play right away."
Tristen smiled and nodded.
"While we are waiting," Heather continued, "Let me just thank you for being willing to go so far out of your way to talk with us, as you have."
"It's my pleasure, Heather. This is all information that would eventually come out anyway, so why not now?"
Heather smiled. "Okay, I'm being told that we have that video ready, so let's go ahead and see it now."
Even though she couldn't see the video, she was able to hear the audio, which was the more important part. As the conversation progressed, Tristen could see the disgust start to build in her expression.
When it was over, Heather tried to find the words to explain her feelings. "Well, I don't think you can get any more clear cut than that." Again, she started listening to something being said in her ear piece, but this time occasionally shook her head as if trying to wave off a question being asked.
"That's okay, Heather, I don't mind answering Jim's question." Tristen stated as he was hearing the same audio feed.
"You can hear him?" She said was surprise.
Tristen nodded, "I know you didn't really have time to get me set up with an ear piece, so my equipment allows me to pick up the same wireless transmission your earpiece does." Tristen didn't really want Daileass's full hacking abilities revealed, so he stretched the truth a little. "But the answer to Jim's question as to if the video is a forgery or not is fairly easy actually. What we sent you was a direct copy made from the terminal the call was placed on. You and Jim may not be aware of this, but there is a secondary signal stream that accompanies any terminal call that can not be forged, which I'm sure the same engineers that received the video from us can use to confirm it's authenticity."
Seeing that the station anchor wasn't going to reply, Heather continued. "I know you must be fairly busy, and I greatly appreciate you taking all the time that you have to talk to us, but I have one final question for you. Now that you have taken the station, what do you plan to do with it? Can we expect to see kids behind the wheels of the district's cruisers?"
Tristen allowed himself to laugh a little at Heather's attempt at humor. "Not at all, Heather. It's not the Clan's intent to take over the sub-station. What we are doing now in the final phase of our operation is going through with a group of Vulcan trained and certified telepaths and scanning all of the officers to see which have lawfully and honestly performing their jobs, and which ones are corrupt and following their own personal agendas at the detriment of the health and safety of the children they have supposedly sworn to protect."
"So you don't plan on being here for that long?" Heather asked.
"Not really," Tristen restated, "Personally, I was kinda hoping to be home in time for dinner, a bunch of us were planning on getting a little soccer in this evening. But assuring the safety and well being of those that we have been charged with protecting is our first priority, so we will be here as long as it takes. I believe that we will be having a talk with Governor Guinn later this evening to work out the specifics."
"That's good to hear," Heather added. "Well Tristen, again I would like to thank you for all your time."
"Thank you, Heather," Tristen said as he stepped off to the side.
"Well, there you have it. Yet another unprecedented move by the youngsters of Clan Short to protect the safety and security of children. Stay tuned to this station as we continue to bring you the latest news in this breaking story. But for now, this is Heather Klein, KTNV ABC 13 Action News reporting."
Brent, Lance, Maurice, and their security teams walked into the much less populated holding cell room. Only a very small handful of older teens and young adults were left sitting in the cells.
"You're not going to seriously tell me THAT many kids shouldn't have been here?" Brent asked Roberto, who was just finishing up talking to two of the other telepaths.
Roberto looked over at them and slowly shook his head, the disgust clearly evident in his eyes. "You guys are not going to like some of the crap we found."
Brent sighed. "What have you come up with?"
Roberto straightened himself up a little. "To start with, there were 7 kids here between the ages of 7 to 11 whose only crime was having an older brother who had been identified as being gay. Since their older brothers were gay, it was believed that they would most likely be gay as well, and they wanted to prevent them from 'tainting' anyone else."
"That's terrible," Lance commented.
Maurice agreed. "So now do I get to start bashing some faces in?"
"That's not the worst part," Roberto continued. "There were some kids here even younger, but they typically did not survive the initial round of interrogations, as was almost made clear with that 5 year old that Thunder found."
Brent's face began to pale. "Please tell me this is a sick joke your coming up with?"
Roberto shook his head. "I could push some of the scan results into your head, if you would like, sir. But to be honest, I don't think you would be able to deal with it that well. Although I don't have an exact count of kids that fall into this category yet, I know it's at least 5, and I can assure you that by the time we get done going through some of the former employees here, we will have the exact number, and more."
"Good," Brent nodded, "One of the things I'm going to need from you is a complete list of every officer here that not only might have been involved in the treatment of any of those kids, but also that might have been aware that any of those kids were being treated in that manner, but failed to report it to the state district attorney’s office as required by law."
"We can do that," Roberto nodded. "But I should probably let you know that we've already checked, and no reports were filled with the DA from here."
Brent nodded, "Exactly, so I'm guessing that list is going to be fairly big."
"What about the older kids?" Lance asked.
Roberto nodded. "There were 9 kids that fell into the 12 to 14 age range. All of them had visible signs of being abused by staff members. 2 of those 9 were again here only for having older gay brothers, 5 of the 9 did in fact violate some type of law, but their punishment was far greater than should have been, and in 4 of those cases, my team found hints in their thoughts that suggest they may have been set up. The 2 of the 9 that actually committed a crime that would have warranted them being here were given the highest possible sentences and normally should have been returned to their families and placed on probation, but again because of their gay tendencies, were denied."
"Okay," Brent nodded.
Roberto continued, "That leaves the 15 to 17 year olds. There were 9 of them as well. 5 of those 9 did actually commit serious crimes that would have warranted them being placed here. 3 of which had no remorse for their crimes, and at times actually tried to hurt some of the younger kids that were here as well. 2 of those 9 committed a crime, but again, the punishment did not fit the crime, and they should never have been sent here. For example, one kid was caught skipping school, and has been held here ever since on false charges. The last 2 of the 9 were clearly framed, and should not be here period."
"You said 3 of the 5 that deserved to be here had no remorse for what they had done, what about the other 2?" Lance asked.
Roberto smiled. "That's one of the sticky parts that I need to talk to you about. Although they did in fact commit the crimes that they were placed here for, and the punishment did fit the crime, in both cases, both boys saw what they did as more of a requirement of survival, and not only regret what they had done, but they had each put themselves in danger many times by standing up for, and protecting some of the younger kids that the other older kids here were trying to hurt."
"I think we really need to see what we can do to get them out of here as well," Lance commented looking toward Brent.
Brent nodded and thought to himself for a few moments. "Roberto, what exactly were their crimes?"
Roberto looked up at Brent and smiled as he had a feeling he knew the direction he was wanting to take things in. "Well, let's see. The kid in the cell to the far right is Darrin Mistmoore, he's 15 and he was caught and convicted of purse snatching from tourists on the strip, and stealing over $500 from the purses he took."
Once Brent nodded, Roberto continued. "The boy in the cell next to him is Tyson Briggs, he's 16 and he was caught and convicted for breaking and entering, and theft of money and jewelery."
"Okay," Brent replied, "Did either of their crimes involve hurting other individuals, or the threat of deadly force?"
Roberto thought for a few seconds and shook his head. "No one else was in the house at the time that Tyson broke into it, and Darrin mainly grabbed and ran."
"That's kind of what I figured," Brent nodded. "Hey Daileass, as division director, what powers do I have in regards to possibly changing the sentences of these two?" This, of course, caused both boys in question to start watching Brent much more carefully.
Daileass replied almost instantly. "That depends. What did you have in mind, Brent?"
"I'm not completely sure yet," Brent answered. "Maybe something along the lines of parole, or community service or something?"
"It might be possible," Daileass said out loud, and then privately informed Brent via his sub-vocal that especially with the circumstances involved, it would be something very easy to do.
"You can save your breath," Tyson, the 16 year old, called out from his cell. "I ain't got no where to stay, and my parents don't want me back, so I would just be back on the street and right back here."
Brent looked toward Roberto, but it was Maurice who answered. "The guy's right Brent. That's pretty much street life for ya, it's a vicious little cycle. Half of the time it's better to be in juvy, because at least there you know you will get a warm meal."
Brent sighed and walked in front of the cells of the two boys. "Both of you did what you did because you felt you had to survive, right?"
Darrin nodded, while Tyson said nothing.
"He won't talk to you," Maurice commented. "It's not the street thing to do."
Tyson challenged Maurice with his eyes. Maurice for his part, challenged him right back by intensely staring him down. Although Brent was not really sure what was going on, he did know that the end result was apparently Tyson changing his mind, and nodding.
Seeing that they both agreed with him, Brent continued. "Okay, and from what Roberto told me about how you both have been sticking up for some of the little guys that were here, would I be right in thinking that you don't mind watching out for them?"
"I use to watch my younger brother," Darrin offered. "Before my parents left with him. And some of the kids that were here? Well, I don't know. They didn't deserve to be here, and some of them reminded me of my little bro."
Tyson, still trying to keep up his tough act simply shrugged. "I might, you know, care about them a little bit, but I still don't see how that changes anything."
Brent smiled. "Hypothetically speaking, what if I could take you to a place where no one would be able to touch or hurt you again, and you would not only have a place to live, and fresh meals every day, but would also have just about every opportunity you could hope for in regards to studying in fields that were of interest to you? And, hypothetically speaking, what if I could have your sentences changed so that they would be reduced to community service, and that community service would involving helping to take care of and watch over some of the younger kids who would also be at this place that I described?"
Darrin Broke out in laughter, but stopped when no one else was laughing. "I don't know man, that sounds way too good to be true if you ask me."
"Who do you think you are?" Tyson challenged. "A shrunk down version of Peter Pan, gonna take us off to Neverland? You're just a kid, younger than we are."
"I thought so too at one point," Brent said softly more as a thought to himself, and then spoke in a normal tone. "Have you guys ever heard of Clan Short?"
"Oh damn," Darrin commented as the pieces started falling in place for him.
"You guys ain't no Clan Short," Tyson replied.
"Dude," Darrin tried to get his attention. "Think about it, those other kids taking on the entire station, and then the other guys that came in an took all the other kids out of the cells?"
"So what?" Tyson retorted, "They just came in and stared at them for a few minutes, then took them out."
"They weren't just staring at the others," Brent corrected, "They were trained Vulcan telepaths, and were mentally scanning them."
Both boys seemed rather surprised, and said nothing.
"So?", Brent asked with a grin, "Do you guys accept my offer, or would you rather stay here?"
Darrin nodded. "I'd be a fool not to jump on it, I'm in."
"I still don't believe it," Tyson commented, "But if you're for real, then yea, I'm game."
"Great, just so you guys are aware up front though. You each only get one chance at this, if you guys try to screw us on this, you'll be right back in juvy," Brent spoke in as serious of a tone as he could to make sure both boys knew from the start that he wasn't joking around.
When he got nods of understanding from each boy, he had their cells opened. "Okay, both of you can go ahead and hang with me and my group while we get finished up here. After, we'll head back to our compound, and we can get you settled in."
Both boys nodded.
"Daileass, if you would do the honors, please?" Brent called out.
"Just a moment, Brent," Daileass answered, "Okay, got it. Darrin Mistmoore, born April 10, 1989, social security number 031-47-3881, records updated and transferred. Tyson Briggs, born July 5, 1988, social security number 138-31-9502, records updated and transferred."
"I heard that kid's voice earlier," Darrin stated, "Who is he, and how does he know so much about us?"
Brent smiled. "That was Daileass, he's one of the Clan's main A.I. that helps us out a lot."
"Oh man," Darrin replied, "This is going to take some getting use to."
"You have no idea," Brent answered as he walked over to Roberto who was grinning from ear to ear, "Thanks Roberto, for everything."
"No probs, it's seeing things like what you just did that makes me proud to be in the Clan," Roberto replied, "Besides, that was the easy part, now I get to go supervise scum bag scanning."
Brent sighed. "If there is anything else at all you guys need resource wise, just give the word, and it's yours."
Rob nodded. "Thanks, but Daileass has already arranged to have several Vulcans stop by when this is all over to help clean some of that filth out of our heads."
"That's good to know," Brent agreed.
"Now, if you guys will excuse me," Roberto stated as he walked out of the room.
"Lee to Brent," Brent's comm badge sounded.
"Go ahead," Brent answered tapping his comm badge back.
"When you get a minute, could you come up to the second floor, I'm up here with some guys from Thunder team, and... well, we found some stuff you might be interested in seeing," Lee's voice stated over the comm badge.
"We're on our way right now, Brent out," Since everyone around him already heard the conversation, nothing further was needed to be said as they all made their way to the main hallway to get to the stairs.
Heather Klein was in the process of doing some off camera interviews with a few of the people that were still lingering around, waiting to see if any more action would occur at the station when she spotted Tristen walking by.
"Excuse me, Lieutenant Tristen?" She called out which caused the boy to stop.
"Mrs. Klein?" Tristen answered, "Is there anything I can do for you?"
"No," the reporter answered as she caught up to the 12-year-old and made a point of turning her mic off and putting it in one of her pockets. "I just wanted to say thanks."
"For what?" Tristen asked a bit confused.
"For earlier. Even though you were able to hear everything that was being said by Jeff back at the studio, you were still kind enough to give us the interview, and give us the exclusive on the phone conversation. That alone has really pushed our ratings up in the last half hour, and has gotten a lot of people pretty upset over just how our law enforcement may have been treating kids in the valley."
Tristen smiled and nodded. "It's not a problem. To be honest, out of the three news teams that have been here covering this, yours is the only one who even bothered to look at us for who we are, and not as a bunch of kids playing army or something. And frankly, I was having the interview with you, not with Jeff."
Seeing that Heather was now confused, Tristen continued. "I would think, or at least I would like to think that there is a reason why your producers would keep someone like Jeff on a tight leash back at the station, while allowing someone like yourself a lot more latitude in being out in the field covering things as you see it."
Heather nodded as she thought for a moment. "I've always thought of the studio anchor position has being a higher position than field reporter, and really haven't appreciated the fact that I've been passed over for that position three times now, but what you said makes sense. Are you sure you're really only the 11 or 12 years old that you look like?"
Tristen smiled, and decided that now was a good time to give Heather her first test, since this was a person he might consider wanting to work with more in the future. "I'm really 12, but, to be honest, I've been genetically altered, so I'm a little smarter than your average 12 year old. Unfortunately, with everything else going on today, that's a story for another time, and I would appreciate it if you didn't say anything about that just yet."
Heather nodded and smiled. "With as much as you have been willing to work with me today, I think I can afford honoring your request."
"Thanks," Tristen replied and then grinned, "Ready for your next exclusive?"
"Um, sure," Heather answered, caught slightly off guard.
"How quickly can you and your crew get to the conference center at the Malaya Hotel and Casino and get set up?" Tristen asked with a smile.
"Probably pretty quickly, why?"
"Good," Tristen nodded, "Because in about 2 hours time, in the main conference center, we will be conducting the Clan's first public trial, and if you get there quick enough, you should be able to get a front row seat."
"Public trial?" Heather replied not sure if she should be concerned or not.
Tristen nodded. "As Clan Short is an official Vulcan Clan, we normally conduct swift, on the spot trials since everything is telepathically scanned, and confirmed by Vulcan telepaths. But today, well, let's just say we are wanting to let everyone get a better idea of how the Clan works, so we will be making one of our trials public. Well, at least as public as the 8,000 person seating capacity of the Malaya's conference center will allow for."
"You're serious about this, aren't you?" Heather asked.
Tristen solemnly nodded. "Dead serious."
With that, Heather thanked Tristen one final time before running off like an excited school girl to her truck to let her team and station know what she had just found out.
Brent entered the office that Lee and other strike team kids were at just in time to see one of them picking something out of the trash and handing it to Lee. "Check this out," the kid said.
"Sup, guys?" Brent asked as he, Maurice and a few of the security guys walked in while the rest of the group that was with him waited outside.
Lee smiled. "Well I was going to show you something, but just as you came in, Martin here may have found something even more interesting," Lee rotated a scorched flash-drive in his hand.
Martin, the 11-year-old strike team member who found the small flash drive in the trash grinned. "Bad guys always seem to leave things right where you can find them."
Brent took the small device from Lee to look at it himself. "Yeah, the problem is, it looks all burnt, I'm guessing Chief Herden wasn't wanting whatever was on here to be recovered."
"Could I see that, sir?" Cole, another member of Strike Team Thunder who was also looking around in the room asked. "Hum, yeah, look at this. Just the outer casing has been burt, looks like he tried to use a cigaret lighter, and didn't spend that long at it. The connector is fine too, so I'm guessing that most of the chip inside is going to be fine."
"Nice, you seem to know a lot about those." Brent commented.
The 13-year-old put the flash drive in a small sleeve of protective plastic to keep along with the rest of the evidence they were gathering. "Yeah, I use to play around with computers a bunch when I was younger."
Brent nodded. "So what was the other thing you wanted to show me, Lee?"
"All of this," Lee said as he pointed to a large stack of papers on the desk. "It looks like Chief Herden wasn't expecting us to react so quickly."
Brent flipped through some of the papers. "Or he knew the Clan had telepaths, and it really wouldn't matter. But this will all still be good for when we call the Governor later. Where is the station chief anyway? I don't think I saw him down stairs."
Martin giggled. "Strike Team Silver caught the coward trying to get out from the fire escape just as they hit the ground. I think he's already been taken to a UNIT holding cell."
Brent nodded. "Um, how long does it usually take you guys to search buildings like this anyway? Is it going to take a while before you're done?"
Martin shrugged. "To be honest, unlike JJ, this is the first police station we ever sacked. I can check with the CO or the Captain if you want, but my guess is we'll just to a quick check to find the big things, then some of the Starfleet guys will come by and spend a few days going through the little stuff."
"No need to get an official answer," Brent replied, "was just curious. I think Lance is going to be having a public trial in a couple hours, and since you guys put in so much work helping out with this today, was just going to let you know that you were invited to attend if you wanted. It's not like an order or anything like that."
Martin nodded. "That would be cool, but we'll have to wait and see what plans Captain Ross has."
"Um, sir?" Lincoln spoke up behind Brent.
"You do realize, that if it's going to be a trial, as division director, you would be the one that was presiding over it, and not Lance?" Lincoln pointed out.
"Oh," Brent thought, "Actually I didn't realize that, thanks." Brent started to head out of the room, "Oh Lance dear... We need to have a little talk about these plans of yours."
"Um, time to go!" Lance said quickly as soon as he heard the tone in Brent's voice.
"About these trials you are arranging..." Brent said as others in the group moved aside so Brent could get to Lance faster.
Lance looked toward Ken, and quickly hid behind him. "You're suppose to be my personal security, so like, protect me."
"Not from the division director I'm not," Ken said as he quickly moved out of the way causing all the other kids to giggle.
Seeing no where to run or hide, Lance cringed and closed his eyes as Brent was nearly on top of him.
"I love 'em," Brent said as he kissed the cringing Lance. "And I love you."
"Darn it," Yenny, Strike Team Thunder's demolitions expert called out from the other side of the room. "And I was hoping for a good brawl between our division leadership."
Brent and Lance both grinned toward him.
"Well, since you guys aren't going to exchange blows, when you're done making out, Roberto said he needs to see you downstairs," Yenny stated with a huffy attitude.
As they started to make their way downstairs, Tyson walked closer to Brent. "This is insane, you know that? Are you guys kids, or soldiers, or what?"
Brent almost giggled as he remembered finding himself in this same spot not that long ago, "Yes."
"Fine, whatever," Tyson sighed.
"No, serious," Brent answered, "Some of us, well not me because I don't have any military training, are soldiers. We each have different things we are good at, and we each help out where we feel comfortable, but at the same time we are still kids and like having fun. I think that's going to be one of the many things you see that is different with Clan Short than anything else you have been a part of, or even heard of."
As Brent made his way down the stairs, Tyson fell back a bit, so that he could discuss what Brent had just told him with Darrin.
Brent was slightly surprised as he entered the large conference room which had been serving as the holding area, since other than a small group of kids and adults in the back, and Roberto and two other UNIT telepaths near the front, the rest of the room was empty.
"This place seems to be missing a few things," Brent said as he looked around the room.
Roberto finished saying something to the two telepaths he was with, and then walked over toward Brent and everyone else who had followed him back downstairs, "Yeah, I hope you don't mind, but we got fed up with there being so much filth in the place, we had Daileass teleport everyone to the sun."
Brent gasped in surprise. "Um, the sun? I didn't know we could do that."
"Eh...", Roberto smiled and shrugged, "Actually, we can't. Although, if we could have, I'm sure we would have found a way to justify it."
From the way Roberto was joking with Brent, Lance wasn't really sure if he would want to hear the actual report. "I guess from the way your joking, you don't have good news for us?"
Roberto sighed. "It certainly could have been a lot better."
"What do you have?" Brent asked.
Roberto glanced around the mostly empty room as he gathered his thoughts. "Let's put it this way. At least 75% of the officers that were here earlier will never work in law enforcement again, or be allowed to get within 100 yards of a kid."
"Damn," Maurice commented, "I can tell this is going to be a good report already."
Roberto glared at Maurice before continuing. "First, the good news. Out of the 6 non-combatants that were here at the time we secured the building, other than Farthing, the other 5 were fine, and have been released."
Once Brent nodded, Roberto continued. "Out of the 103 officers that were here, 2 of them, a detective and officer, were sent to the same holding cell as Wilder and Hoggs, since they enjoyed taking out their anger on little kids as much as the others did. 10 more didn't mind beating on kids, if they were believed to be gay, so we went ahead and transferred them to UNIT holding cells as well. Then 64 of them had some degree of knowledge of what was really being done to the kids here and either didn't care or didn't mind, well... those guys have been transferred to Starfleet security to be filtered through the normal legal system."
"Chief Herden did one good thing for us, at least. By keeping the morning shift late, we got both morning and afternoon shifts. Which means we only have about 20 night shift officers to track down."
Brent agreed. "That sounds good at least. So, what about the other 27 officers? I find it hard to believe that that many officers could work here and have no clue what was being done to the kids."
Roberto nodded. "Yeah. Some of them did. They basically fall into two categories. First, Some of them thought they were filling reports to the DA, but since Herden controlled the computer network here, he had all the report addresses re-routed so he got them instead. The other group were basically intimidated with harm being done to their spouses or own kids. Some of the newer officers here were kept out of the loop completely. As far as those officers go, most of them we allowed to go home with the understanding that someone will be contacting them in the next day or two to let them know what's going on. However, a couple of them wanted to stay so they could talk to you."
Brent looked toward the small group of adults and kids in the back of the room. "Them?"
Roberto nodded. "Yup."
"Okay, I'll talk with them as soon as we're done," Brent stated, "Speaking of which, do you have anything else?"
"Nope, That's all for me. Unless you need anything else, I'm going to take the rest of the intel guys, and we have a date with a few Vulcans over at the UNIT base. There should still be some strike teams hanging around until Starfleet arrives to take over baby-sitting the building."
"Yeah, get out of here Roberto, and thanks." Brent smiled.
Roberto nodded, and called to the kids in the back who said their good-bye's to the 3 men just as Brent and Lance walked up to them.
"You must be Director Knocks," The man said as he extended out his hand when Brent walked up.
Brent shook the man's hand and nodded. "I am. It's a pleasure to meet you, officer..?"
The man smiled. "Sorry, Lieutenant Stan Bennett, this is officer Garza, and officer Nickelson."
Brent nodded. "Lieutenant, It's nice to meet you. How can I be of service?"
"Actually," The middle aged man began, "I was going to ask you that. We just transferred over here two weeks ago from District 3, and as we were telling your Intel team, all of us are a bit embarrassed in that we each had some bad vibes about some of the internal policies the station had, but didn't look into things as closely as we could have."
Brent nodded. "That's understandable. You guys were trying to get settled into a new job."
Stan shook his head. "That's nice of you to say, but it's not really that good of an excuse in my opinion. Either way, what we wanted to let you know is that all of us are fairly familiar with the area here, and if there is anything at all that we can do to help you guys get things back up and running, just let us know."
Brent smiled. "Thanks Stan. I'll probably be taking you up on that offer. The current plan is to have some security teams from Starfleet help to keep an eye on the place in the short term, but having people like yourselves who are already familiar with the area, the people, and the legitimate policies will help out a lot."
"That's good to hear," Stan replied and the other two men with him agreed.
"For now, I would suggest you guys get home to your families, and get some rest."
Stan agreed. "Thanks. I think we will do that."
As Stan and the other two adults left, Brent and Lance walked back over to join the rest of the group.
"What was that all about?" Hania asked.
"They were just letting us know that they wanted to help rebuild things," Lance answered.
Brent looked around the group. "Looks like everyone is here, so I don't know about you guys, but I'm ready to get back home."
Getting nods from everyone else in the group, Brent tapped his comm badge, "Daileass, please transport all of us home."
Moments later, other than the two strike teams that were stationed there to keep guard until Starfleet arrived, the building was empty.
Nearly all the kids who were watching Daileass's live video feed on the T.V. in the quad's common room had spent the last 30 minutes completely captivated. Even Neal and Rick, who had remained there as well, were fairly stunned at the events that had unfolded. Out of everyone there, the two of them had the best idea of just how significant the events of the last 30 minutes would end up becoming.
As events began to wind down, and strike team members began to jump back onto the Blackhawks to return home, a few of the kids were starting to return back to finishing the games they had started earlier, while they waited for things to finish up and the compound to stand down from action stations.
"Hey guys?" Daileass asked after things had been quiet for a few minutes. "I was just compiling a few of the reports from the Blackhawk pilots, and well... As a result of today's operations, it has become clear that one or two of them might need some additional in-flight calibrations tomorrow. The problem is, I don't think we have enough observers for the flight. I don't suppose any of you would be interested in taking a helicopter ride and serve as observers?"
Instantly, all eyes in the room turned back to the large screen T.V.
"You mean, we would be able to fly in one of those huge Blackhawks?" Forth asked what everyone else was also wondering.
"That's exactly what I'm asking." Daileass replied with a mischievous voice. "I don't suppose anyone here would be interested, would they?"
Moments later, Neal and Rick found themselves covering their ears due to the loud noise of nearly every kid jumping up and down shouting "Me!" and "Yes!"
Once things calmed down a few minutes later, Daileass managed to speak again. "Okay, beside the fact that my microphones nearly overloaded, I think I can take that as a yes."
Having just uncovered their ears a few moments earlier, both Neal and Rick cringed when they covered them right back up as once again, nearly every kid began shouting "Yes!"
"He he he, okay... okay," Daileass finally managed to get in. "I'll get things arranged for tomorrow then. In the mean time... Evan?"
"Yes?" Evan replied, slightly surprised that Daileass would be addressing him directly.
"Since you seem to be really good with meeting new people for the first time, would you be interested in meeting up with Dominic over near the C.I.C. building, and escorting him over to the UNIT medical center so he can check on Ronnie."
"Um, sure. I can do that," Evan replied. "Then I could also check up on Haden."
"Can we come too?" Forth immediately asked as he ran up to stand in front of Evan.
"Yeah, you might need an escort since we are still in action stations," Stan added as he ran to Forth's side.
Evan grinned. "Sure, why not, as long as Neal and Rick do not have a problem with it."
Cautiously lowering their hands from their ears, both men nodded their approval, possibly because of all the kids that were shouting, Forth's voice was by far the loudest.
"Guess that settles it. Come on guys." Evan replied as he made his way down the hall away from the common room.
Forth and Stan walked side by side, following a few feet behind Evan, as they all approached the C.I.C. building.
"Is he scary?" Stan asked as they walked.
Evan glanced back toward the two 8 year olds and grinned. "Nah. From what Lance told me, he's rather nice."
"So you haven't even seen him yet?" Stan asked with concern.
Evan shook his head. "If you two are so concerned why did you volunteer to come with me?"
"Because," Forth answered for Stan, "It beats being stuck in that common room while all the excitement is going on."
"You guys can be a trip sometimes," Evan shook his head, "But no, I haven't met him yet. Although I doubt Daileass would even start to consider letting him come here if he wasn't sure he was safe."
Forth and Stan both nodded as they all stopped a few feet from the entrance of the C.I.C. building.
"Daileass?" Evan asked as he tapped his comm badge. "I think this will be a good place to bring Dominic at. Could you call and patch in his cell phone for me?"
"Good idea," Daileass replied, "One moment."
A few moments later, a voice of a rather nervous man could be heard, "Hello?"
"Mr. Torricelli?" Evan asked.
"Yes?" The man replied hesitantly.
"This is Evan Rothwood from Clan Short, sorry for the delay in returning your call," Evan began
Instantly, the tone of the man's voice changed. "Oh, that's not a problem. Do you have any news on Ronnie? Is he alright?"
Evan sighed inwardly as he knew just how close to death the little guy was when Daileass managed to grab him. "That's actually what I would like to talk to you about. However, I was wondering if you would be willing to come to our compound to discuss things directly."
There was a brief pause before the man answered. "Sure. I could do that. How do I get there?"
"Just let me know as soon as your ready, and we will teleport you," Evan replied.
There was another brief pause. "Oh. Okay, I'm ready now I guess."
Before he had finished speaking, Dominic appeared a few feet away from Evan, with his cell phone still raised to his ear.
"Welcome to Clan Short, Nevada Division," Evan said with a huge grin as he watched the shocked expression on Dominic's face as the 22 year old man realized what had happened.
"Thanks," Dominic slowly replied as he turned off his cell phone and started to look around. "You guys don't waste time, do you?"
Evan smiled as both Stan and Forth avidly shook their heads. "Ah, that reminds me. These are two of the clones we are looking after here, Forth and Stan."
"Clones?" Dominic asked as he shook each of the smaller boy's hands before his eyes glanced toward the two armed kids in military uniforms standing on each side of the door to the building they were next to.
Following his gaze, Evan nodded. "They are part of the base's security. Generally you just have to have your DNA scanned to get in, but since the base is on alert due to the current operation, there are a few extra security measures in place."
Dominic nodded in understanding. "About Ronnie?"
"I think we should talk about that inside," Evan said seriously as he led the group toward the doors.
As the group approached, the two guards opened the doors allowing them to enter. Once inside, they followed Evan past a small security check point, and around a corner down a curved hall.
"Is he alright?" Doninic asked nervously, not sure if he liked the idea of having to wait. When the boy didn't answer, he became even more nervous.
Evan took them around another corner, down a short hallway, and into a small conference room before he looked down toward Forth and Stan. "Would you two go over to the core room and let Colonel West know that Dominic and I are in conference room 1?"
The two younger boys nodded and left.
Once they were gone, Evan closed the door before he spoke. "After you called us earlier, we did some checking around. We learned that Ronnie was picked up by Las Vegas police, and taken to the district 4 juvenile sub station."
"Why?" Dominic asked with all his concern back.
"We don't have the full story yet," Evan said with a sigh, "But we are pretty sure that Farthing had something to do with it. It also seems that the officers at the sub-station were wanting a statement out of Ronnie pretty badly."
"What does that mean?" Dominic's concern began to change to dread.
Evan shook his head. "Let's just say that when we got to him, he was beat up pretty badly."
"My god," Dominic raised his hands to his mouth, "I knew there was a lot of corruption in that department, but I never thought it would happen to Ronnie." The man let out a sigh, "Something really needs to be done about that place."
Evan nodded. "That's actually the reason behind our current operation. I don't know if you've been watching T.V. or not, but let's just say that at least 3/4th of the district 4 officers will not be returning to work tomorrow."
Dominic nodded and several long moments went by before he spoke again. "And Ronnie, is he alright?"
"I think so," Evan answered, "Last I heard he was in stable condition at the UNIT medical bay."
Nothing was said for several minutes as Dominic allowed the seriousness of the situation to sink in. Finally, when he didn't think he could wait any longer, he asked his burning question. "When will I be able to see him?"
Forth and Stan ran into the core C.I.C. room looking for Justin. Seeing them enter, Justin looked over to them, "What's up, guys?"
Forth walked over to Justin, and gave a quick salute which was soon echoed by Stan. "Sir, Evan wanted us to let you know that he's in conference room number one with Dominic."
Justin smiled and nodded. "Thanks guys. Brent and Lance should be finishing up at the station, and be back fairly shortly. You two can hang out here for a few minutes while your waiting, if you want." Both boys nodded enthusiastically as they started looking around at all the control stations.
Spotting Haden at one of the back stations, Forth walked over to him, "Hey Haden, what'cha doing?"
Not expecting anyone else to be there, Haden glanced toward Forth before looking back at his display with all the cameras. "I'm helping to watch some of the security cameras to get ready for the public trial."
"Public trial?" Forth asked curiously.
Haden nodded. "Yeah, that mean lady that tried to get Dominic in trouble because he cared about Ronnie, and then had Ronnie arrested where he got hurt really bad."
"Oh," Forth answered more seriously as he looked for Stan.
"Hey guys, we're back," Lance announced as he, Brent, Maurice, Hania, and the two boys that Lance rescued, Darrin and Tyson, appeared in the room.
"And I'm Forth," The bearer of the name giggled as he made his way toward the new arrivals.
Brent groaned as he slapped his forehead, "And now it's becoming clear why he chose that name."
"Holy crap," Tyson muttered as he looked around the huge control room. "What is this place?"
Lance smiled as he almost forgot about the two new guys. "Welcome to the Nevada divisions Core Command and Control center, guys."
"This place looks like it's out of some movie," Darrin commented.
Tyson shook his head. "No way, it looks like those pictures from our history books from the NASA mission control rooms or something."
Still smiling, Lance looked toward Justin. "Were we that bad?"
The Colonel nodded his head. "Since that was only this morning that you guys saw this place for the first time, I can honestly say you were, sir."
Brent decided that now was a good time to get everyone back on track, especially if they were going to have time to do what they needed to do before he would be expected to play the judge in the little trial Lance had decided to organize for him. "I think we're going to run Darrin and Tyson by the UNIT med bay to have them checked over before we get them settled in."
Chase walked over to stand next to Justin. "That's a good idea. Also, Mr. Torricelli is with Evan in conference room 1, I think he would be interested in going to see Ronnie."
Lance nodded. "I'm sure he must be pretty worried by now."
"Sir?" A kid that was sitting at one of the stations called out, "We have an inbound call for Brent or Lance. Someone called 'The Don' is wanting to talk to them."
Darrin and Tyson gasped in surprise as they looked toward each other, Maurice's eyes went large, while most of the other guys just seemed to be confused.
"Donald Trump?" Brent asked.
Maurice shook his head. "No way man, he said 'The Don'."
Justin looked toward his second in command to see if he had any clues. Chase, for his part, shrugged, "I think I remember seeing the name mentioned a few times when I was looking over some of the Las Vegas information last night. If I remember right, he's one of the newer big wigs in the city."
"He's not just some big wig," Maurice corrected, "He is 'the' big wig. You know those 3 casino's that just opened up a few months ago? Camelot, Karnak, and Malaya? And that huge water park that's between the three of them? The Don built that. He bought out 4 city blocks right near the airport to build them. Plus, word has it that he owns a half dozen other properties in the city."
Darrin nodded in agreement. "Yeah, word is no one has even seen him, or even knows who he really is. He's like this big shadow figure type guy. The only thing that people seem to agree on is you don't want to cross him."
"From what I've heard, a lot of the other casinos are not that happy with him, because word is getting out that all three of his new casinos have much higher payouts and the games are a lot fairer than the majority of other casino's, but everyone seems scared to try to do anything about it," Tyson added.
Lance still seemed confused. "So why would he be calling us?"
No one seemed to have an answer. After a few moments, Maurice shrugged and offered what little he had. "Besides the fact that your trial is going to be in Malaya's conference center, which is one of his hotels, I have no clue."
"Go ahead and put the call on the main speakers," Brent called out as he noticed the kid at the computer station that originally informed them of the call, was still waiting for a reply.
The kid nodded and turned around to setup the call. A few moments later, the large center screen in the front of the room changed to an image of a slowly rotating large golden coin. One side of the coin had the head of a sphinx, while the other side had the tower of a castle. "Sir?" The kid called out, "Everything is setup, and the call is showing that it is video capable, but this is the only image we are getting."
Brent nodded and spoke aloud. "This is Brent, how can I help you?"
"Mr. Knocks? And Mr. Phillips?" A young man's scruff voice was heard, "My name is Weer, I'm the personal attache to The Don. Just so you know, The Don is sitting here with me, and is listening in to this call."
"Okay," Brent answered as he tried to speak in his best diplomatic voice. "To what do we owe the honor and pleasure of being contacted by someone of such high stature?"
"The Don is most pleased that you have chosen one of his fine establishments to host your first public trial," The man, Veer, began. "He is very appreciative of the extra attention that this will afford him."
"Um, your welcome," Brent replied, "But to be honest, it was the only place that was large enough and available on such short notice."
"Never the less, The Don is a very big supporter of Clan Short," Weer added, "He is sincerely grateful that fate has seen to it to throw us together."
Brent blinked. "I'm glad that we could help?"
After a very brief pause, Weer continued, "The Don has also asked me to convey to you that it is our full intention to ensure that you have everything that you need in order for your event to run as smoothly as possible. Extra convention staff have been called in, and the food court areas will be fully operational providing free food and drinks to all of your guests for the duration of the event."
"Wow!" Lance was rather surprised, "That is very kind of him."
"It's not a problem at all," Weer answered, "As I've said, The Don is a very big supporter of Clan Short, and he is fully aware of how important it is for this event to go smoothly. The Don has also observed that you already have access to many of our internal cameras, and many members of your security team are already actively viewing them. In addition to this, The Don has asked me to transmit to you the frequencies that our own security team use, so that if any issues come up during the event, you will have instant access to them."
The kid that had established the call gave them a nod to indicate he had just received the radio frequencies that were mentioned.
"I'm sure that will be really helpful, Thanks," Brent commented, "However, we don't really have an entire security team watching the cameras, right now it's just Haden."
Justin visibly flinched as if that was not something he felt that Brent should have shared.
The line was silent for several seconds, as the sounds of some type of whispering could barely be made out, none of which was understandable. "The Don has read much of this Haden, and is most impressed by some of his work. He sends his regrets that Haden will not be visiting his establishment for the event, and hopes he will be able to visit at some point in the future."
Haden, who was peering from behind his chair toward the rest of the room, and trying to decide what to make of The Don, and the attention he was getting, finally managed to get out a weak, "Thanks."
"The Don believes that it is a bold move to take the position that you have against criminal elements within the valley, and is most hopeful that this will be the first of many future instances where we will have the opportunity to provide our services to the Clan. Just so you know, The Don has also decided that the fees for this event will be waved, and all services will be provided to the Clan free of charge," Weer stated with pride.
Brent looked toward Lance, and thought this was almost too good to be true as he couldn't figure out why someone this important would be acting so nice to them. "I'm not sure what to say. This is all very kind of you, and really appreciated."
"Don't mention it," Weer replied, "This is only but a very minor way for The Don to show his appreciation for all the hard work that Clan Short has done to help children around the world. However, The Don also knows that you are all very busy, and will allow you to get back to your most important work, and continued preparation for this evening's event. The Don has also asked me to convey to you his personal number if there is anything at all that you need."
"Thank you very much," Brent answered, not really knowing how else to reply, "Please have a good evening and feel free to call us if there is anything that Clan Short can do for you as well."
"The Don wishes that you have a rewarding evening as well, and will keep your most generous offer in mind," Weer stated before terminating the call.
"That was... interesting," Maurice spoke for everyone else in the room after the call was over, and looks back and forth between each other began.
Justin nodded. "I'm not completely sure what to think of this Don just yet, but if he's on the up and up, he certainly sounds like he could be a valuable alley."
"It does," Emily agreed from her station, "But almost too good to be true. There has to be some motive behind him wanting to do all this for us. Maybe to try to cover for something he doesn't want us to find?"
"Now I can see why you were picked as head of security," Chase commented, "Are you this trusting of everyone?"
Emily stared at Chase. "When it comes to the safety of the people I'm responsible for? Yes."
"Lance?" Brent asked, changing the subject. "If we're going to get to the UNIT base, and back in time to grab something to eat before the trial..."
Lance nodded, not needing Brent to finish his statement. "Yup. Forth? Stan? Come on guys, you can come to meet the new kids as well, if you want."
Both boys nodded as they quickly followed Lance out of the large double doors toward the conference room.