FCS: Las Vegas

Chapter Six: Surprise

[Author’s Note: I wanted to take a moment to call attention to a part of our history. Sixteen years ago today, on October 22, 2002, an author sat down and started writing what was to be a single chapter short story. That story evolved into an entire universe… we call that universe, The Clan Short Universe. Because of the feedback, this author, along with others developed this into what we have today. I was fortunate to be invited into this group shortly after the 15th anniversary of the CSU and it has been one of the most rewarding activities of my life. Oh, who was that author? Well, he is a person who I have come to care for like more than a friend, he is more like family. So, ACFan, thank you for having the insanity to bring this universe to all of us to enjoy. This chapter has been in the works for some time and it was decided (mainly by me) to hold off releasing it until today, the 16th anniversary of CSU. It is a true collaboration in that several of the CSU Author’s Group contributed to its development. So, I wanted to thank, in no particular order, ACFan, Akeentia, TSL, The Eggman, JeffP, Boudreaux, and Brynmor, for their contribution to my own insanity in bringing this chapter to life. Not to mention all of the other CSU Authors over the years. Some are still with us, and others are not, and we remember them fondly… well, most of them. So, before I turn this Author’s Note into a chapter of its own, please enjoy FCS: Las Vegas, Chapter 6 – Surprise.]

06:00 am Pacific Sunday, November 14, 2004 - Number 10 Knocks-Downing Street

Angus was the first of the Knocks-Downing family to awaken on this Sunday morning. He'd been sleeping with his little brother, Greg, allowing his 'gift' to work more on Greg's eyes. He extricated himself from the bed to take care of his morning pee, heading toward the bathroom that was attached to the room that Ace and Doug were using, his developing boyhood pointing the way. While there, he thought about how great things were turning out for him and his brothers. A week ago, he was having his ass sold by some pervs, now, he's in a loving home with two great Dads and nine little brothers.

Once he'd taken care of his immediate needs, he made the rounds waking his brothers. He decided that today, since they had planned on eating at the house, he and his brothers would prepare their parents breakfast in bed. Quietly, the ten boys tromped down to the kitchen, not even bothering to dress, after all, they'd figured they'd have to take whatever off to shower anyway.

Once inside the kitchen, they opened the fridge and were amazed. The only food there was snacks and drinks. "How are we supposed to make real food if there isn't any in the fridge?" Angus said aloud, rhetorically.

"Well, use the replicator, doofus!" Came Icky's taunting reply.

Angus' eyes opened wide as his little brothers all giggled, "I'm no doofus, Silicon breath! Wait... we have a replicator?"

Icky snickered, "Duh! Like I'm not smart enough to realize that a bunch of dweebs like you could actually cook anything without burning the place down!"

Angus decided that he'd get Icky back at some point in the future, for now, they needed to make breakfast for their Dads.

"So, guys, what do we want to make?"

The nine brothers all started yelling suggestions at Angus at the tops of their lungs, hoping to be heard over the rest. Angus held up his hands and said, "We kinda want to do this without them waking up, so we gotta be quiet."

Luke appeared and said, "Don't worry about the noise, I moved the whole bed where they're sleeping somewhere that they'll never hear a thing. I just hope they don't wake up to find themselves floating around Uranus."

"Our dads would never do that! If you say that about them again, I'll put my foot up your anus!" Doug exclaimed!

At that, Luke executed a perfect double face-palm as Levi popped in and 'lent' Luke his two hands saying, "That deserved more than just a double face-palm."

Luke said to Doug, "I was talking about the planet... dickweed."

Doug blushed as he said, "I don't have any weeds around my dicky yet, but Angus does."

Angus looked down and saw the two hairs that had sprung up overnight and grinned widely.

"So, what are we gonna make them?" Angus said, attempting to regain control.

"Pancakes!" Greg exclaimed.

Doug countered with, "Waffles!"

"Aminal Ceral!" Darien, one of the five-year-old quintuplets screamed.

"Does Daddy like bacon or sausage?" Adrien asked.

Greg giggled as he replied, "I know he likes sausage... at least he likes papa's sausage."

Over the next thirty minutes the ten brothers, with the help from Luke, prepared a feast. It took all ten of them to carry all of the food. Once the kitchen was empty of the brothers, Luke looked around at the disaster left by the boys and wondered, "How did they make this big of a mess using a replicator?"

The boys entered their dads' room and immediately noticed the twin circus tents in the near center of the bed. After the required giggles and comments of "Daddy's is higher than Papa's," Angus set his tray down on the nightstand and hopped between his parents, kissing each to wake them.

"Good Morning, Daddy, Good Morning, Papa." He said sweetly.

Brent and Lance braced themselves, expecting a repeat of the previous two mornings 'tickle wars' but then realized that there were smells in the room that they couldn't ignore. They looked at their sons holding tray after tray of food, piled so high it was hard to see the smaller boys' faces.

Lance exclaimed, "Oh My! That's a lot of food! How did you guys do all this?"

Raandi said, "We gots food reclaimators."

Andrei corrected, "No we don't we got food eradicators."

Raiden sighed, "You guys are stupid. We got Magic food machine thingys!"

Brent and Lance looked at each other and had to work at holding their mirth. Looked at each other and said, "Replicators."

Lance then looked at Ace and asked, "Ace? If you guys used replicators, why are you covered from head to toe with flour?"

Ace laughed, "Luke is lotsa fun!"

Brent shook his head and said, "I should have guessed."

As they were eating, Micah asked, "Daddy? Is it because Papa was so close to Uranus that you had a stiffy?"

Lance and Brent looked at their son wide eyes, "Um..." not knowing what to say until Angus came to the rescue.

"Luke put you guys in a time bubble then moved you to Uranus orbit so we wouldn't wake you up."

When breakfast was finished, and the boys had devoured everything edible in sight, Luke 'helped' some more by making all the dishes vanish. "I sent them to a dimension where they actually eat dishware."

"Okay, it's getting close to 7:00 so we need to shower and get ready to go to Orlando. I am sure you guys will have fun with Timmy and the Tribe, not to mention the Rugrats while Papa and I are in our meeting." Brent exclaimed.

The twelve humans and one Mikyvis headed to the shower. Everyone made a big deal about the fact that Angus had already started spouting pubes. With the exception of Brent, he was the first in the family. Lance was starting to feel a bit down and Luke winked at him. "Don't worry, Lance, it'll happen sooner than you think."

This seemed to appease Lance. For now.

In good time, they were all washed and dried. Brent sent the boys upstairs to get dressed to go to Orlando. He and Lance returned to their room and dressed in casual clothing, remembering to bring their Clan robes, just in case.

07:30 am PST - Desert Division

Brent and Lance, along with their ten boys left their home on the way to the Cafeteria and the dimensional doors that they would use to travel to Orlando's rec room. When they arrived at the intersection of Knocks-Downing Street and Mikyvis Mile, Greg looked one direction and Micah looked the other, what they saw confused them since they were basically looking into each other's eyes.

"Ok, this is weird, when I'm standing back-to-back with Greg and looking down the street, I can see Greg's eyes!"

At that moment, Ace and Raiden took off running in opposite directions down Mikyvis Mile. They seemed to get to a certain point, then they'd just 'switch' positions running back toward the family. Lance shook his head and said, "I don't even want to think about it."

"Ok, guys, let's get moving." Brent coaxed his younglings.

As they walked toward the Cafeteria, everyone noticed that there didn't seem to be anyone around, anywhere. At that hour they'd have expected to see some of the kids heading to breakfast, or leaving the cafeteria, but there was nobody around.

When they arrived in the cafeteria, it was totally empty, not even the staff was around. Brent started to get concerned, however, he didn't have time to worry about it other than to ask, "Icky, is everything okay?"

"Why wouldn't it be, Director?" Icky asked, formally.

"Director? Why so formal today, Icarus?" Brent asked, in his official voice.

"No reason, just like to keep you guessing. I will make sure the base is safe when you're in Orlando." Icky replied.

Brent shook off Icky's comment as he arranged his ten kids to go through the dimensional doors. Lance was to go first, then each of the boys, in turn. Brent would bring up the rear. Lance went through, followed by each of the boys. When Brent walked through, he felt a kind of tingling but emerged on the Orlando side. What he didn't expect was that the casual clothing he had been wearing had been changed. He looked at each of his family and they'd all had their clothing changed. Each was wearing a Clan green tuxedo, the Desert Division logo over the right breast pocket and the Clan crest over their hearts.

The next thing Brent and Lance noticed was there was nobody around to greet them. If everyone was supposed to be there before noon... "Lance? Who's the AI here in Orlando? I can't remember his name."


At this point, all of the quintuplets started singing, "George, George, George of the Jungle!"

Before they got past the first line, they all disappeared, only to return 3 seconds later, soaking wet.

"I do NOT like being called that! Don't do it again!" George exclaimed with as much force as could be expected from a 12-year-old sounding artificial intelligence.

The quints, in unison, said contritely, "We're sorry, we didn't know."

In a softer tone, George replied, "I guess you couldn't have." Moments later the boys were all naked and just as quickly redressed in their tuxes, fully dry. George then said, "Welcome to Orlando, Director, Assistant-Director. I have been asked to let you know that the meeting will be in the auditorium."

"Thank you, George, the one off of the CIC?"

"That's the one. You might want to get over there, they're all there waiting." George replied.

"I guess, okay boys, let's get a move on, follow me."

When they got to the doors to the auditorium, JJ and Gabe were standing there on either side of the doors. JJ scowled at them and said, "It's about time you guys got here! Everyone is waiting for YOU!"

Brent and Lance exchanged looks of puzzlement as JJ opened the doors and announced, "Desert Division Director, Brent Knocks-Downing and Assistant Director Lance Knocks-Downing, with their ten children."

Ok, this was just strange. Never had they ever seen a formal introduction done at any clan meeting. When they entered they were amazed at what they saw. The entire auditorium, including the balcony, was packed. Everyone was in formal attire. On the stage were several logos. The Clan Crest, the Desert Division Crest, the crests of each of the other clan divisions. In addition, were the crests of the United Federation of Planets, the House of Surak, The Sarek Family Crest, Federation Youth Services, along with crests of several member worlds of the Federation.

There was an arch bedecked with streamers, flowers, and..." Brent couldn't believe it, perched on the walls of this archway were literally hundreds of white doves. Standing there was a boy who they immediately knew was Travis, Aunt Helen's son. On his right was Cory and Sean and on his left were Teri Short and Her Highness, Queen Elizabeth, better known to all as Aunt Teri and Gramma Lizzy.

The group made their way down the aisle noticing people on either side all smiling and giving them thumbs up. They reached the front two rows and noticed they were filled with dignitaries from all over the federation. Sarek, Spock, Admirals Morrow, Kirk, Callow, and Uncle Bones were there, along with Mr. Scott, Hikaru Sulu, Dr. Chapel, and Nyota Uhura. Everyone who was anyone was there.

When they reached the stage Cory yelled out, "STOP!"



[To Be Continued]






True: Hey, I'm the author, I get to say when the chapter is finished.

Kyle: Unless you want me to remove a part of your anatomy that will make your husband cry, I'd get back to writing!

True: (Sighing) I guess... I don't DARE piss off the King of the Mikyvis.



09:30 am Pacific - Las Vegas Police Substation 4

14-year-old Lt. Miles Fuller was doing his rounds of the detention block at the station. They had brought in a boy who appeared to be about ten-years-old. He was brought in because he was acting so violently, he literally destroyed a bus bench, the shelter around it, two cars parked nearby, and every store window he'd passed.

The officers actually had to use a phaser set to low stun to subdue him enough to transport to the station. Miles looked at the information they'd amassed on the boy. It seems he was a runaway. He had been reported missing from a foster home in California two days prior. He had been placed in temporary foster care because his parents dropped him off, the father saying, "I'm not raising no fucking faggot."

Miles looked at the boy's picture. He was cute, that was for sure. His auburn hair was messy, he had freckles across his face. But the expression in his bluish-hazel eyes was one of pure contempt. He walked into the cell block and saw that the boy's clothing was shredded. He stood there naked and erect and, seeing Miles yelled out using profanity that would have made even the saltiest of sailors' blush.

Kyle: UNCLE TRUE! That's not what you are supposed to be writing! Get back to Brent and Lance. Why did Cory stop them?

True: Kyle, I am going to want you to clean the room in my head you've been using, there are so many cookie crumbs in there I got ants crawling in my ears!

Kyle grinned and sniggered, "I left the crumbs for them!"


[Author's Note: At this point, I feel obligated to give everyone a heads up... This chapter corresponds with Dear Diary Chapter 33 by Boudreaux. He and I worked diligently to put this little crossover in place, but reading further in this chapter without first having read Dear Diary 33, would diminish the impact of a story written by a person I consider a very close friend... so if you have been reading Dear Diary, and have not yet read Chapter 33, please stop here, read DD33, then come back. Thanks... oh and Boudreaux, you truly do live up to your email... crazycajun@cornercafe.us ] 



12:00 Noon Eastern - Orlando FL, Clan Short Headquarters Auditorium

Brent, Lance and all ten of their kids stopped as if frozen in the exact position they were in, not even daring to move a muscle. Murmurs were passing through those seated behind where the boys were standing. Cory just stood there, looking at them, his arms folded across his chest. His expression, unreadable.

In his head, Lance heard Brent's voice. This was the first time he'd been able to 'hear' Brent without someone being an intermediary, but then he always knew who that 'bridge' was, this time there was none. Brent's words were 'What did we do?'

Lance sent back, 'I dunno, ask him.'

'I'm not gonna ask, you ask!'

'YOU'RE the Director!;

Cory's voice came through loud and clear to both of them, in their heads 'Will you two just shut up, I can't think of what I was gonna say next!'

Cory then spoke to all those in attendance. "It has come to my attention that there is a certain Division Director who, along with his partner has amassed a small army. This, in its own right, would be perfectly fine. What they are doing though... I'm not sure I have the stomach to state."

He looked down at Brent and Lance and took pity. He started laughing. "Sorry, I can't do it. Brent and Lance have so much, love to share and they do, but they are ignoring one very important aspect. So, they don't know it yet, but... they're here today to get married."

Cory paused to allow the tension to build. He continued, "Another Division's Director, according to a little leach I know, just accepted a proposal from his Assistant Director.

Mamee Wiggins stands with a smile, "For those of you who don't know me, my name is Amee Whatley-Wiggins, and I'm the Great-Grandmother of the Intel Field Services Division. The Director to which our Patriarch is referring happens to be my own little Dixon and his Beau. I shall forgo the Shotgun in this case since it appears that neither will be able to talk his way out of it.

Jessie then looks over at Mamee and with a passable 'puppy-dog' expression says, "But Mamee... we're not dressed to get married, we're in our uniforms."

Dixon added, "We are dressed for a wedding, just not our wedding."

Before Mamee could reply, Dixon, Jessie, Dixon's mom Barbara Pickhinke, Jessie's brother Jason Blankenship, the Popsicle Twins, and Huey Washington blurred out for a moment. When they were again standing there, and everyone could see them clearly, they were then wearing outfits identical to the Knocks-Downing family, except the Intel Field Services Logo was on a patch on the right side of each. Mamee stifled a laugh as she replied, "I do not see what you have to complain about, you are all dressed perfectly to get married."

Dixon then adds, "If I am getting married, I want my Mom to give me away."

Cory nodded, and Barbara took Dixon's arm, holding baby Evander in her other arm and escorted the group up to the stage.

As the second group was on their way up to the stage, Cory was so focused on Brent and Lance that he failed to notice the fact that there was a small army heading in his direction. Hearing giggling from the audience, Cory turned his head slightly, just in time to see all ten of Brent and Lance's kids, along with Etienne and Emile, the Popsicle Twins, in mid-air in the act of pouncing the Patriarch. Finally, after pulling himself out of the pile of Patriarch pouncers, he looked out and saw every division director holding a sign over his head, effectively giving a score on the pounce. Timmy came over, held up Angus' hand and said, "With a score of 9.2, I want to congaduamatate the Desert Division Tribe on their being foundeded. I'll see you guys in da shower after. The Popsicle patrol will be joining us."

Brent and Lance were invited up onto the stage where Travis waited to join the couples in marriage.

"We are gathered together today, in the sight of God and all of our family and friends to share in the joy of joining Brent and Lance, Dixon and Jessie, in marriage. The Clan stands for family. The Clan stands for what is right. The Clan exists to give those that had no rights before, the rights they earn and deserve. You four have shown time and again that you have love in your hearts. You've shown that you can tell the difference between right and wrong, and are willing to stand up to take a wrong and set it right. The four of you have already, in your hearts, committed to one who makes you better, together you are more than the sum of the parts. You have committed your lives, your love, and your very souls. I know this comes as a surprise to each of you, but, do you have something to say to your partners? Brent, we'll start with you."

Brent was in shock. It took him a couple of moments, but he started speaking, "Geez, um... I first met you, Lance, only a couplea weeks ago. I didn't make it easy for you, but you stuck with it and we got to be friends. After we spent more time together, we became more. The other day, I realized that what I felt for you was truly love. In a way, I'm glad this happened cuz I would have been too afraid to ask you, but... I wanna be your husband more than anything."

Lance wiped a tear as he didn't even wait to be prompted by Travis, "Brent, you have made me so very happy since we met. You treated me like someone. You cared. You opened your heart to me, even when you still held a part of your heart for Randy after he died. When we adopted the boys, I wanted to ask you then, but... I was too afraid, I didn't think we were old enough. I know better now. Nothing would make me happier than to be your husband."

Without a pause, Jessie spoke, "Dixie, you and I have been through stuff that neither of us could have dreamed up in our worst nightmares. For a long time, I have felt like everything bad that was happening in my life was all my fault; that I deserved it for being who and what I am and doing what I have done. It took me realizing this morning that I really could lose you if I didn't get my head straightened out to make me face that maybe some of what I have done has been incredibly dumb and has cost me more than I ever wanted to pay, but all of it brought me to you. Having you in my life and in my heart and in my arms has been so much greater than all of the pain and loss I have gone through. Just like that old song that makes you cry says, you are the wind beneath my wings, and I can soar over all the bad stuff in life as long as I have you with me."

Dixon was wiping tears from his face and his voice was breaking emotionally as he started speaking. "Jessie, when I met you, I knew there was something about you that clicked inside me. I wanted to spend all my time with you. I had moved around a lot and never really had a friend at all until I met you. You didn't look at me like the other kids at school and just see a new kid, someone to pick on and tease. You didn't see what I saw when I looked at myself; someone that wasn't worth the trouble of getting to know. Back then I had no clue what you saw when you looked at me, but whatever it was, I wanted to live up to it and be that person that you saw. I never fought back against bullies or things that were just wrong until I met you. I didn't think I mattered until I met you. Then I found out that you liked me, really liked me. You thought I was cute! There you were, the hottest guy in the whole school, and you thought I was the cute one. I have spent every moment since you first kissed me trying to be what you believe me to be, and the weird thing is, after a while, I started believing it about myself. Everything I am, everything I have, everything I will become, it's all because you saw it in me before I did and your smile and your kisses and your... well... ummm... everything else... wow, just wow. I...." Dixon's voice cracked and then fell silent as more tears streamed from his face. I love you so much, Jessie David Blankenship, and I... I...." His voice failed again, and this time he didn't get to talk again because Jessie was kissing him.

Travis paused a moment as he looked out at those assembled, there wasn't a dry eye in the place. He said loudly, "If there is anyone present who feels these two couples should not be wed and can show just cause, speak now, or forever hold your peace."

Cory had been standing next to Travis and at this moment spoke in a very clear yet officious voice, "Individuality is an important part of a person's life; it gives us purpose and makes us strive. We learn and grow by ourselves and in our culture but alone we easily reach the boundaries of our own humanity, the point where we cannot go any further. But when two individuals choose to join and become one then they, together, reach a turning point. That point notes not only their love for one another but a new experience, a new way of growing and developing, together they learn to be more than they were apart. The Council has recognized that these two couples before us are ready to take this next step, to become one and continue their paths together. And so, by the power that has been given to me by the Council, I now declare them Socius. May their life together be long, complete, and teach us all the value of love."

After several moments of silence, just as Travis was going to pronounce the marriage official, a shimmering began next to the happy couples. That shimmering coalesced into the forms of two teenaged boys wearing flowing robes, one of whom had golden wings attached. St. Mikey turned to Brent and Lance, Dixon and Jessie and proclaimed, "Our Father has given me a Mandate. I have been sent to you to tell you that these unions have his blessings. May both couples have long and healthy lives and share the love you have for one another with everyone you meet."

At that moment, Brent realized that the second figure was none other than Randy, his dead boyfriend. "Randy?" Brent had tears in his eyes, but before he could continue, Randy spoke.

"Brent, I have been with you since that first night where Mikey brought me to you. I have been forbidden to interfere, but I was there to see you, and you made me so proud. As a result of your actions, and my love for you, I have been given the honor of becoming the Guardian Angel for the Las Vegas Division. The life you are building with Lance is a blessed one, and the opportunities you are giving to your sons prove what kind of a person you are, the type of person I loved and still love. Your wedding Lance is the right thing for you, for him, and for more children than you will believe." Randy then kissed Brent and Lance on their cheeks, "we will talk again, and often." With that, the image of Randy disappeared.

Travis turned to Mikey and said, "Always trying to steal the show, huh Mikey?" He then turned to those assembled, "By the powers vested in me by the United Federation of Planets and Family Clan Short and the State of Florida, I hereby pronounce Brently James Knocks-Downing and Lance Simon Knocks-Downing, and Dixon Daniel Wiggins and Jessie David Blankenship bound in marriage. You each may kiss your new husband... again."

As the couples searched for the tonsils of their partner, the room erupted into applause and catcalls.


10:30 am Pacific - Division 4 Substation Las Vegas Police Department

After finishing his paperwork Miles noticed that, Byron Bruce Baker, Jr. had finally calmed down. Most of the officers avoided having to deal with the ten-year-old. Watching the video footage of the boy since his arrival at the station, Miles had an idea of what could be the reason behind the boy's erratic behavior. He tapped his Clan communicator, "Miles Fuller to Clan Short Intelligence."

After a brief conversation, four people appeared in his little office. Each was dressed in Family Clan Short formal robes. The eldest of them approached and introduced himself, "I am Justin Dodds, and these three are Jamie, Jacob, and Beau. Why don't we go check out the person you called us about?"

The group left the tiny office and headed to the holding cells. Once there, the boy took one look at the group assembled and seemed to freeze. Not a muscle moved. He stayed that way for only a few seconds, but when he came 'back' he seemed to be in a much calmer state. He walked over to the bench and sat down quietly.

The four assembled Clan Intel personnel seemed to be staring at one another. After a few moments, certainly less than 30 seconds, Justin broke away from the others and approached Miles.

"After we finished examining BB, that's the boy's name, we are all in agreement that he is in the process of evolution. Have you heard the term 'N-Gen'?"

Miles had only heard rumors of them; personally, he couldn't believe half of what he'd heard. "I've heard of rumors, but I haven't been given any real data on them."

"Well, now you've seen one. BB is evolving. He's becoming N-Gen. It would be best if he accompanied us back to Orlando, so we can do what's necessary to help him in his transformation."

"I don't know, he's responsible for a lot of damage here. That has to be dealt with." Miles knew in his heart that BB should go, but his official duties required that he address the 'crimes' that had been committed.

"We know, Miles," Justin began with sympathy in his voice, "it's a lot to take in, and we know that in your heart you know I'm telling you the truth. It's commendable though that you feel strongly enough about fulfilling your oath as a Police Officer that you voice what you did. The Clan will make reparations for all of the damaged property. If I know a certain little leech, like I think I do, repairs are already underway."

Kyle popped in at that moment, stuck out his tongue at Justin and blew him the finest raspberry ever performed in any of the known universes. He just as quickly, disappeared.

After plucking the raspberry that had somehow appeared between his lips, Justin smiled and continued, "See what I have to put up with?"

The assembled, including BB Baker in the cell, started laughing. Miles nodded and said, "Yes, I do believe that in the interest of this young lad's well-being, and the fact that all parties this boy caused damage to are made whole, I will transfer official custody of the subject to Family Clan Short."

When BB stood, his nudity was immediately covered by a Clan robe. Miles unlocked the cell and the five seemed to disappear, leaving Miles standing alone in the cellblock.


2:35 pm Eastern -- Orlando Compound

Brent and Lance were sitting, enjoying the reception when Colin sat down across from them. "Nightmare!" Brent exclaimed!

"Nope, Nightmare wasn't needed, nor invited. Colin is here to tell you how happy he is for you two."

"If it wasn't for your help, I don't know... things wouldn't have gotten off to as smooth a start," Brent related.

"Nah, all I did was to point you in the right direction. You made the right decisions. You know, everyone is talking about how well you guys have done in a very short time. We're all very proud of you."

"Well, we just think W.W.C.D.," Lance explained.

"What would Colin do?" Colin inquired.

Brent and Lance both laughed, "Nah, he doesn't have an inflated ego, not at all... No, 'What would Cory do!"

Colin laughed, stood and hugged the two, then moved on.

As Brent and Lance mingled through the reception, they came across Dixon and Jessie. Luke appeared and handed Brent a small package, then promptly disappeared. Brent handed it to Dixon saying, "It was the most appropriate gift I could think of for you. I hope you take it in the vein it was intended.

Dixon tore off the paper and saw a CD, on it was the single, "Detachable Penis by King Missile. Dixon rolled his eyes and asked, "Am I ever going to live this down?" At that moment, through all 4 comm-badges, the voices of every AI in the Clan said, "No!"

Everyone was enjoying the reception, but from the small stage that had been erected someone was trying to get the attention of the room. Once everyone had quieted, the curtains opened. (Yeah, it's nice to have a Mikyvis around to make things happen when you, as a writer fail to set the stage, so to speak.)

Greg stood on the stage with his nine brothers in a semi-circle behind him. The lights were dimmed, and a spotlight illuminated the small boy in his Clan Green Tuxedo. As the music played softly during the intro, he said, "Daddy... Dad... We're all so happy you found us. Because of this, we're asking these questions for all of the others who haven't been so lucky."

The music of the introduction ended, and Greg let loose his angelic voice...


In my dream, children sing A song of love for every boy and girl

The sky is blue and fields are green And laughter is the language of the world.

Then I wake and all I see Is a world full of people in need.


With his brothers singing the (backup vocals), he continued.


Tell me why(why) does it have to be like this?

Tell me why (why) is there something I have missed?

Tell me why (why) cos I don't understand

When so many need somebody

We don't give a helping hand

Tell me why?


Everyday, I ask myself

What will I have to do to be a man?

Do I have to stand and fight To prove to everybody who I am?

Is that what my life is for

To waste in a world full of war?


Tell me why(why) does it have to be like this?

Tell me why (why) is there something I have missed?

Tell me why (why)

cos I don't understand

When so many need somebody

We don't give a helping hand

Tell me why?


During the musical interlude that was playing at that point, another young lad appeared on the stage. Doug's eyes got wide as he realized who was standing there with him.


When it came time for the next verse, Declan took one part as Greg took another. The brothers continued to perform the backup.


(Greg) tell me why? (Declan) tell me why?

(Greg) tell me why? (Declan) tell me why?

(Together) just tell me why, why, why?


At that point, Greg spoke to the audience, "Declan Galbraith, everybody!" They began alternating lines.


(Declan)Tell me why(why) does it have to be like this?

(Greg) Tell me why (why) is there something I have missed?

(Declan)Tell me why (why) cos I don't understand

(Greg)When so many need somebody... We don't give a helping hand

(Together) Tell me why?


Chorus chant: Tell me why (why, why, does the tiger run)

(D)Tell me why(why-why do we shoot the gun)

(G)Tell me why (why, why do we never learn)

(D)Can someone tell us why we let the forest burn? ( why, why do we say we care)

(G)Tell me why (why, why do we stand and stare)

(D)Tell me why(why, why do the dolphins cry)

(G)Can someone tell us why we let the ocean die? ( why, why if we're all the same)

(D)Tell me why(why, why do we . (G)pass the blame)

(G)Tell me why (why, why does it never end)

(Together)Can someone tell us why we cannot just be friends?

Why, why


The song ended, and it took a few minutes for the applause to die down.


Once the room was quiet, Declan, with Greg at his side stood to speak to the assembled group of kids, adults, and dignitaries:


"Hey Everyone. My name is Declan Galbraith. Some of you know me, some of you don't. Eight Days Ago... Some very bad people from here and other places in the universe tried to end all life on this planet. Thanks in great part to those here, and more so those that are not, we didn't allow them to succeed."

"Even before this though, we, as a race, have shown far too much apathy toward our own. This was part of the inspiration for the song you just heard. When Dilly came to me an hour ago, and showed me what was going to happen... yeah, it's weird, but that's what happened, I had to be part of it. On behalf of all of the kids and adults in the world... Thank you."


Greg then took over. "Not only did a lot of kids and 'dults help, but there was help from the legions of Our Father. One of them is my Uncle. Well, Uncle to many of the Clan kids. I wanted to offer him my own thanks as well. But... with Declan here, maybe we can get him to do it."


Declan looked at Greg and replied, "Nope. I think you will do a better job than I ever could... Ladies and gentlemen, Greg Knocks-Downing singing my song, "An Angel:"


"Uncle Mikey, can you join me?"

The golden-winged Saint appeared next to Greg. Greg turned to him and as Mikey sat, Greg sat in his lap. The music began and Greg, in his unbroken voice set out to sing.


I wish I had your pair of wings

Had them last night in my dreams

I was chasing butterflies

Till the sunrise broke my eyes


Tears began leaking from the eyes of everyone in the room as Greg continued.


Tonight the sky has glued my eyes

Cause what they see's an angel hive

I've got to touch that magic sky

And greet the angels in their hive


During the Chorus, several others, including Cory and Sean, Joel, Kyle, and Dilly appeared behind the pair seated and joined in.


Sometimes I wish I were an angel

Sometimes I wish I were you

Sometimes I wish I were an angel

Sometimes I wish I were you


As Greg hugged Mikey, Declan sang the next verse.


And all the sweet honey from above

Pour it all over me sweet love

And while you're flying around my head

Your honey kisses keep me fed

I wish I had a pair of wings

Just like last night in my dreams

I was lost in paradise

I wish I'd never opened my eyes


The 'backup singers" sang:


Sometimes I wish I were an angel

Sometimes I wish I were you


Greg took back over:


But there's danger in the air

Tryin' so hard to be unfair

Danger's in the air

Tryin' so hard to give us a scare

But we're not afraid


In addition to those on stage, everyone joined in for the next chorus:


Sometimes I wish I were an angel

Sometimes I wish I were you

Wish I were you

Oh I wish I were you


Original Performance: Declan Galbraith
Songwriters: Frank Werker / Philipp Moos / Shoany White / Tibor Schlaepfer
An Angel lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group

Once the performance was over, everyone went back to mingling at the reception, greeting and congratulating the two couples.

As they were walking around, Brent and Lance met up with the other couple, now Dixon and Jessie Wiggins-Blankenship. The two couples embraced and began chatting.

"You know, Dixon," Brent began, "you and Jessie should bring your family to Las Vegas sometime soon. I think there are a lot of things our two divisions can do together that would complement each other."

Dixon looked at his new husband and then back at the other couple, "Only if you guys bring your brood to visit us too!"

The day was drawing to a close when Brent heard in his head that there was a new development regarding someone from Las Vegas. When he inquired of the voice in his head what had happened, he heard, "Nuh uh... you're goin' on your honeymoon, no work till you get back!"

Brent led his new husband into the CIC. Noticing Lance's questioning expression, he explained that he needed to talk to someone.

"But, everyone's out there!" Lance chided.

Brent just smiled and spoke, "Ark, forgive me for asking something that may upset you, but... I've heard many refer to you in gender-specific terms, but I understand that you almost take that as an insult. Is that a true statement?"


< Thank you for phrasing it as you did, Brent. It is a true statement that many try to assign gender identity to me, however, I do not hold such a designation. >


"Well, it kind of bothers me that people would do that. So, I will tell you here and now, that I shall always refer to you as either you or it. I have read and heard much of what you have done for my family and my brothers and I feel it is the only way I can show you the respect I feel you deserve."


Nothing was heard for several moments until Ark replied, < This is strange, what Brent has just said has evoked something in me I do not remember ever... feeling, I guess. Thank You, Brent. My respect for you has increased significantly. Congratulations on your wedding. >


The couple left the CIC and returned to the reception where the rest of his family were waiting for them. Neal and Rick hugged their sons, congratulating them on their wedding. Neal asked what plans the couple had for their honeymoon.

Before Brent could even think of a response, the view before his eyes changed. He'd been there once before so he knew, but the rest of the family had no idea where they were.

"We're in Archnania. I guess this is where the honeymoon is going to take place."

[Author's Note: The Honeymoon for our directors deserves much more than a single section of a chapter, so, look out in the near future for "Archnanian Honeymoon" in the "Mikyvis Chronicles"]

Seemingly about a second later, the group returned wearing casual clothing and looking much more relaxed than they'd been in several weeks. Brent turned to Lance and said, "You know, it was kinda cool that we got to watch our own wedding before we got back."

Joel and Kevin approached Angus and the boy standing next to him. "Ezraka! It's nice to see you here, but... why?"

Ezraka, holding Angus' hand smiled and said, "Angus and me are now boyfriends. We're gonna spend a lot of time here, and a couple times a week in this timeframe, we'll go spend a month or two in Archnania." He then leaned over and gave Angus a peck on the cheek, causing the eleven-year-old to blush.

With the party starting to wind down, Brent and Lance brought their now Eleven younglings back to the dimensional doors and back to Las Vegas where yet another party was in full swing.

As the family went to join in on the fun, Brent took a seat. "Icky, I heard there was a development, do you know what it was?"

"Actually..." After a pause, Icky continued, "first of all, congratulations, Director, but as far as what took place, I think you should just enjoy yourself tonight and contact Justin Dodds in Orlando in the morning. I don't think he really will have much to tell you until then, he and a few of the others are kinda busy at the moment."


True: Kyle, is it okay if I end here?

Kyle: Well, other than the Cliffhanger Police issuing a warrant for another cliffhanger from you, I guess this is a good spot.

True: Thanks.


[To Be Continued]

Clan Short Archivist Notes:

The Clan continues to do its job of proving a better life for abused and in need children. It is very heartening to see them take the time to strengthen the bonds that tie them all together and to tie some just a little bit closer. This chapter continues the binding together of the individual divisions just a little bit more. Tell Me Why© by Declan is a very fitting and powerful song.

The Story Lover, Clan Short Archivist