Zemal and Doug transported into what had been a nice area of Washington. The remains of an apartment building had toppled onto the surrounding buildings however. They saw a guy in his late 20's running toward them. When he arrived, he was a bit out of breath.
"You're kids," he gasped. "I thought that Dixon kid would send someone that could help."
"You clearly don't know much about Andorians or Clan Short," Zemal laughed.
"Who are you and where is Annie Mae?" Doug asked.
"Lovell Jackson," the young man answered. "Zora and I are … were going to be married."
"We grieve with you, Lovell, but we should get to Mrs. Parker," Zemal told him. It only took a moment to get to the pile of rubble that had been a café where Zora and her grandmother had gone to eat. "Mrs. Parker, can you hear me?" Zemal called out.
"I hear you," the old woman responded weakly. "Please get us out of here, I'm hurting bad, and Zora needs to be brought home."
"We'll get you out of there, Annie Mae," Doug called out to her. There was silence for a moment before Annie Mae yelled out.
"Douglas Fairbanks Whatley, you get on out of here. I'll be dead before I let you help me, for that matter, I'll be dead if you do, just like the rest of my family."
"Annie Mae Williams, you stubborn old harpy, shut up and let us get you out of there and then you can yell all you want at me," Doug yelled back. "I didn't nearly kill myself to save your life 70 years ago just to let you die today no matter how stubborn you are. You were a stubborn brat as a girl and you're a stubborn brat of a woman, but I out-stubborned you then and I can out-stubborn you now."
"Out-stubborned… is that a word?" Zemal whispered.
"It is now," Doug told him.
"I know you did not just call me a harpy, you overgrown mechanical doll," Annie Mae retorted.
"HA! You just called me a doll," Doug teased back. "I knew you liked me."
"Didn't nobody in my family like you then, and I don't like you now," Annie Mae snapped back. She blinked as the sunlight suddenly hit her face as Doug and Zemal had been digging her out the whole time they were talking. Lovell had helped after he got over the shock of the two boys both being stronger than he was. Annie Mae stared up at the boys who had rescued her. "My goodness an Andorian, ain't you just the cutest little thing. Dougie, you are still just as ugly as ever."
"That's because I don't age, unlike some people I know."
"You were born two years older than I was," Annie Mae said pointedly. "And another thing, you rotten boy, it was only 64 years ago, not 70, so don't you go trying to make me any older than I already am." She then turned her attention to Zemal. "Be careful down there, Gainsborough, I got a leg under that wall."
"Gainsborough?" Zemal questioned in confusion.
"Well, what else should I call a blue boy?"
"My name is Zemal Sharn," he replied.
"I like Gainsborough better," Annie Mae told him.
"Huey and the other boys all call him Smurf," Doug told her.
"Nope, he's Gainsborough," she insisted. "Don't you look at me like that, Douglas Whatley; I ain't a dumb little girl no more."
"She knows fine art, but not fine grammar," Doug told Zemal with an exaggerated roll of his eyes.
"Don't you make fun of me, Douglas Fairbanks Whatley, I'm still mad at you for letting my family die," Annie Mae snapped.
"It's been 64 years, Annie Mae, haven't you moved on from that yet? Is this what your family would want?"
"I lost everyone I loved," Annie Mae sniffled.
"So did I, Annie Mae," Doug snapped at her. "I was so busy ripping my arm open to get at my power cells to keep you alive that I couldn't get to Josey in time to save him. I let him die to save you, and you still hate me for it. Well I am so sorry my best wasn't good enough for you. Did you stop to think for even one minute in the last 64 years what I went through during that epidemic? I watched as the only family I knew all died around me, most of them in my arms as I was trying to save them. I might be trained as a field medic, but that doesn't change the fact that I was also programmed to be a thirteen year old boy. Think about that while they are fixing your leg at the A.I. Hospital in Charleston, Annie Mae. For once in your life, think about what someone else lost in that horrible nightmare that I can't ever forget. No matter how long I function, maybe hundreds of years, I will always remember that I chose to save you instead of the boy I loved. If that doesn't tell you how hard I tried to save you and your family, I don't know what will." He turned to Zemal and said, "Let's get back to the hospital so I can help people who appreciate it."
"There are two more life signs in the rubble," Zemal reported. "Dixon did tell us to help where we can."
"Of course, I will start work here and you get her to the hospital," Doug told him. "If she gets sick during transport she'll find a way to blame me for that too."
In what seemed like only a moment, Zemal was back beside Doug digging through the rubble for the faint life signs they had detected. When they got to the spot, they discovered a small boy and girl, both crying. The children suddenly stopped crying when they saw Zemal.
"A smurf!" they exclaimed simultaneously. They then launched themselves into his arms wrapping their little bodies around his like a pair of monkeys on a tree. "We can't wake Daddy up, Mr. Smurf. Can you wake him up?"
Doug had already checked the man who was lying next to the children. He shook his head sadly at Zemal. "No, I'm sorry, but I can't wake your daddy either. I will look after you now. What are your names?"
"I'm Julian and I'm four," the boy said proudly.
"I'm Julienne and I'm four and 6 minutes," the girl told them.
"She got borned first because she has a big mouth," Julian giggled.
"Do not," Julienne defended.
"Do too," Julian retorted.
"We need to get going," Doug pointed out.
Zemal contacted the A.I. Hospital in Charleston, and soon enough Zemal had his two charges sitting beside him while he used everything he knew about computers and communication to try and find any remaining family for them. Sadly, there was none to be found. Nate entered the room just as he turned to the twins and told them that he would have someone come and get them to take care of them.
"You can't turn them over to Social Services," Nate protested. "Social Services su… umm they aren't good people."
"Did we do something bad?" Julienne started crying softly.
"No, you haven't done anything wrong. Why would you say that?" Zemal questioned.
"You said you would take care of us from now on, Papa Smurf," Julian answered with a sniffle. "We won't be bad no more, we promise."
"Yeah and we won't eat too much or nothing," Julienne added, still crying. "Please don't send us away."
"I won't send you away, I promise my little ones," Zemal told them as he hugged them tight. He looked up at Nate. "It seems you have a lot more to think about than we anticipated," he said nervously.
"No I don't," Nate denied. "I had my mind made up before you even got to DC. If I did have any last doubts, what I just saw would have erased them all. You make a great Papa."
"My little jewels, meet your Papa Nate," Zemal told their new twins. "Congratulations Nate, we just had twins," he added.
"I'm Julian and I'm four," Nate was told.
"I'm Julienne and I'm four and six minutes," Julienne added.
"Big mouth," Julian whispered.
"Wait a minute, you two," Nate told them both. "I know what to do here. I will measure both of your mouths and we will just see whose is bigger." He reached out toward each twin's face with his fingers spread wide as if he was going to measure them, then at the last second his hands shot out tickling each of them. Once they were both giggling and squealing, he grabbed them up one on each hip and said, "Why don't we leave Papa Smurf to help some other people, and I will take you guys to meet your Uncle Lije. He really does have a big mouth, but I'll bet he is going to love you guys just as much as Papa Smurf and I do."
"Take them to Dixon too, so he can make it official," Zemal called out as he turned back to his computer screen.
"Way ahead of you, Zemal," Dixon called out from the doorway. "Doug told me about the twins. I knew you two would keep them."
"Speaking of Doug, where is he?" Nate asked. "I should thank him for helping rescue our little jewels."
"I left him with Grandmomma so they could talk some more," Dixon replied.
"Oh boy, I think maybe I'll wait to see him later. That's not a talk I want to interrupt," Nate decided.
"Annie Mae Williams, will you shut up just once long enough for the doctor to treat your leg?" Doug scolded. "I swear you run your mouth more now than you did as a girl and I didn't think that was possible."
"Well tell him to fix it, not make it worse poking at it!" Annie Mae retorted. "And don't you scold me like your all high and mighty. You might have looked older than me when we were both kids, but you were born on Josey's last birthday, which makes me older than you. On top of that you just got restarted, so all my other grand young'uns is older than you too."
"You just said…..Did you mean it? Really?" Doug whispered. "You really think of me as one of your grandkids?"
"Of course I mean it," Annie Mae told him. "You look like a kid, and act like a kid, so it would cause all sorts of confusion if I don't treat you like one instead of the thing you were when I was a kid with you."
"Annie Mae, please tell me why your brothers and sisters all disliked me so when we were all kids together," Doug asked her seriously.
"It wasn't your fault, Doug," Annie Mae replied. "If it was anyone's fault, I guess it would have to be my sister Bonnie Fae's."
"I never did anything to her, I swear I didn't," Doug defended. "I tried just as hard to save her and all of you."
"I know you did, sweetie," Annie Mae whispered as she brushed tears from his face. "I knew it for 64 years, but I was a dumb and stubborn little girl who was hurting and missing her family. I needed someone to blame for it and since Bonnie Fae had already blamed you for something I knew you didn't do, well, it was just easier to pick you for the scapegoat."
"I don't understand," Doug told her. "What did she blame me for? What did I do to her to make her not like me so much?"
"Bonnie Fae had her first crush on Josey," Annie Mae explained. "She worshipped the ground that boy walked on and he couldn't do anything wrong in her eyes. The rest of us pretty much knew, like Poppa said, that Josey had a peculiar hitch in his getalong. We might not all have been growed up enough to know quite what it was, but we knew that boy wasn't ever going to look at any girl the way Bonnie Fae looked at him."
"And then I came along and he looked at me that way," Doug supplied for her.
"That was pretty much it," Annie Mae confirmed. "She blamed you for turning Josey away from her, not that she ever had a chance with him even if he hadn't been the way he was. She started telling us all wild lies about things you were doing around the farm… stuff that she had done herself most times, just trying to make trouble for you." She turned to look at Doug and let out a frustrated sigh. "Now you see? That's why I got to treat you like one of the youngun's instead of an old friend of mine. You are plenty old enough to know better than to wipe your tears on a dirty sleeve. Now you look like a raccoon with that smudge of mud across your eyes." They barely heard the doctor telling them that her hip and leg would be fine now as they were both too absorbed in their sniffling hug.
René sat on the porch watching the Popsicle twins and their new guardians getting acquainted by playing with toy cars and trucks in the dirt of one of the flower beds by the front of the house. Closer beside him, on the floor of the porch, Georges lay loudly purring as he watched over Baby Bethany on her blanket. Suddenly the three cats perked up and stared down the long winding driveway.
"Jean-Paul, you and Georges, y'all took dem bébés back in da house to feed em something good and slow. Tanté René gonna took care of dis car and whoever in it. Jean-Pierre, brought me dat shotgun from over de mantel in dere, and you brought it quick ("Jean-Paul, you and Georges take the babies back into the house and feed them something very slowly.  Auntie René is going to take care of this car and whoever is in it.  Jean-Pierre, bring me that shotgun from above the mantel in there and bring it quickly")."
"I have a phaser, Auntie Rene," Jean-Pierre told him.
"Yeah but I don't, now go brought it to me," René ordered. What he didn't mention was the pistol stashed under the dress he was wearing. As the oncoming car turned the last curve in the driveway, he fired off a shot that chipped the paint on the hood of the car and sparked brightly. "Next shot go trew de windshield if'n you don't stop rat dere!" he bellowed out ("The next shot will through the windshield if you do not stop right there").
"René, I bought this car for you, if you didn't like the color, gorgeous, you could have just told me," the man in the car yelled out. "Daniel's secretary told me you were here taking care of the little ones. You're so maternal; Aunt Daphne would have loved that about you."
"Osgood Fielding numba fo, if dat you why you don't call before you drove out here in a car we don't know ("Osgood Fielding, IV, if that is you, why did you not call before you drove out here in a car we would not recognize")?"
"You confound me, you beautiful goddess you," the old man replied. "I couldn't think of anything but that you might be in danger and I had to rush to your side."
"Is he drunk or high?" Pet asked from the door of the house.
"He best not be either one if he knowed what good for him ("He had better not be either one if he knows what is good for him")," René said icily. "He was driving dat fancy big car, and he knowed de one ting I not gonna stood for is driving when you ought to be riding ("He was driving that fancy big car, and he knows that the one thing I will not stand for is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs")."
"Is he safe to have in the house?" Jean-Pierre asked as the old man started walking toward them.
"He sweet as beignet," René answered. "He won't hurt no fly."
"René, my precious magnolia blossom, are you all right?"
"He got the paint shot off his car, but he asks if she is all right," Pet said rolling her eyes. "Miss René, if you don't keep him, I will. Melvin could learn a few things from a man like that."
Just at that moment the sound a transporter was heard and everyone turned to see Huey materialize on the front porch beside them. They could see the tears in his eyes as he ran up and grabbed his mother in a tight hug. His emotional state got the rest of the family understandably distressed.
"Huey, baby, what's wrong? Tell Momma what happened," Pet started and then she gasped. "Oh Lordy, it's the family. Something done happened to the family."
"Momma, I don't want to have to tell you," Huey wept. "You have to know though."
"Melvin, you need to got here quick!" René yelled out. Melvin and Mamee both hurried to the door of the farmhouse.
"Come inside everyone," Mamee told them all. "Huey try to calm down and tell us what's happened."
"Grandmomma and Zora went out for breakfast this morning at a little café near her apartment," Huey began as he blinked back more tears. "The apartment building collapsed when a fighter jet crashed into it."
"But they're fine, right son," Melvin whispered hoarsely. "You said they had gone out."
"The apartment building collapsed onto the diner they were in," Huey said shaking his head. "Grandmomma is hurt pretty bad I think."
"Annie Mae is a tough old biddy like me," Mamee said not quite as firmly as she had hoped. "She'll pull through and be as ornery as ever."
"Huey, baby, what about Zora?" Pet asked in a soft whisper.
"Momma, she's gone. She didn't make it."
"Oh, my baby girl!" Pet wailed. "Lord, tell me you ain't taken my baby girl."
"Momma, we need to go back to the hospital for Grandmomma," Huey told her. "Zemal and Doug went to get her. I don't know if they got to her or not. DC is an active war zone right now."
"NO!" Pet said fiercely. "I won't lose my Momma and my daughter on the same day. You beam me to that hospital. If they don't have my Momma yet, you beam me up there to Washington. I'd like to see one of them Romulans mess with me right now. I get done with this here spoon; he won't have any kind of ears much less pointed ones."
"I'll stay with the little ones, Pet," Melvin told her. "Somebody will have to drive them home when this is all over."
"Go with your family, Mr. Washington. I can drive the little ones home with ma belle fleur ("my beautiful flower") after it's safe to do so," Osgood told him. "I will stay and protect them with my life. That is if René doesn't shoot at me again."
"Don't been giving me reason to shoot, den ("Do not be giving me a reason to shoot, then")," René told him, and then added "And don't think you gonna soften me up wid dat sweet talking in French. Dis belle gonna rung yo bell you come up here scaring us all out our wits during a war ("And do not think you are going to soften me up with that sweet talking in French.  This Southern belle is going to ring your bell for coming up here scaring us all out of our wits during a war")." With that, René turned and went into the house.
Davey knocked on the door nervously. Dixon had agreed to come with him, but Doug had intercepted them on the way and given the quick version of his report on what had happened in DC, including the rescue of a set of twins who seemed to already be very attached to Zemal. Dixon had to leave to go find Zemal and the new twins, leaving Davey to face this alone. The door was opened by Xandra, and Davey was lucky the wall was so close, because without it to lean on, he would have fallen to the floor.
"Are you ok?" Xandra asked.
"Yeah, dude, you look like you just saw a ghost," Xander added as he walked up to his sister and Davey.
Face to face with Xander and Xandra again, Davey couldn't bring himself to lie to them. "I have just seen two ghosts," he told them. He then shut the door and proceeded to tell them and their parents the whole story of his life, especially the last several months. He didn't even leave out that he had played some rather adult games with his Xander and Xandra.
"David, I can't just sit back and let you have sex with my children," their father told him. "If you want them, you will have to pay the same rate as everyone else."
"What? Sir, did you just say I can pay you to have sex with your children?"
"Please no more," the mother whimpered from the bed.
"Shut up, you, or I will belt you again right here," the man snarled at her, then turned back to see David with his phaser drawn. "OOO what you gonna do little boy, shoot me with your ray gun?" he asked sarcastically.
"Yeah I am," Davey said as he stunned the man. Just a second later, Layton rushed into the room, followed by a security team.
"Don't worry, Davey," Layton told him. "Mom here had the nurse call button pushed. We heard every word he said. The trash will be taken out now." Xander and Xandra hugged Davey from each side as they cried tears of relief.
"You… saved… my kids," the mother said weakly. She then laughed hoarsely, and whispered, "Knew… would die happy… day I saw them safe." Her breathing quieted and then stopped, the heart monitor giving the dreaded flat line sound.
"Mom, you can't leave us now," Xandra wept.
"How can we be happy without you?" Xander asked.
"You can't go, Mom," Xandra begged. "Who will take care of us if you go?"
"You know I lost my parents when I was about your age too. I was raised by my uncle and aunt," Layton told them.
"We don't have any aunts or uncles, at least none that aren't in jail," Xander told him. "Our sperm donor's brother is in prison for life for killing his parents."
"Your sperm donor?" Davey asked.
"We only call that man Dad when he is in hearing range," Xandra answered.
"Yeah, a real father wouldn't have done what that creep did to us," Xander added.
"What are we going to do now, Xander?" Xandra asked her brother fearfully.
"JB, I need you to ER exam room 18 ASAP," Layton said into his communicator. "Hang on Xander and Xandra; I have someone coming who might have an answer to that last question."
A moment later, JB rushed into the room. "What's up Lay… I mean Ensign Dolfis reporting, Major Miers."
"You were right the first time, love," Layton told him. "Xander and Xandra here are in need of a home and a pair of loving parents. They have just lost their mother and their father is in custody for a number of things that we can discuss later."
"Layton, you axing me do I want to had bébés wid you, dat right ("Layton, you are asking me if I want to have children with you, is that right")?" Layton nodded and JB knelt down in front of Xander and Xandra. "I knowed you ain't bébés, but you could give you père Jean a hug if you want ("I know you are not babies, but you could give your father Jean a hug if you want")."
"Pair jeans? Why would I want to hug my pants?" Xander asked in confusion.
"JB was born in Louisiana and they talk a bit different there," Davey told him.
"I'm born Jean-Baptiste Antoine Marcel Brouillard Dolfis," JB told the twins. "I'ma felt downright wondermous if'n you two called me you Père Jean ("I will feel completely wonderful if you two would call me your Father Jean"). Dat mean Father John."
"Père Jean!" the twins called out as they hugged their new papas tightly.
Dixon was just coming out of the communications room after making Nate and Zemal the official parents of Jule and Julie as the twins wanted to be called. His communicator chirped and he heard Jessie saying that he was taking care of JB, Layton, and their new twins. It beeped again and he heard Lije's voice. "Crewman Streak to Director Frankenweenie; could you come to surgery prep room 7? Leftie wants to talk to you again before they start his procedure." Dixon's face burned red as he heard giggles from all around him. He turned around heading for the room, rehearsing the rant he was going to give Lije about communicator protocols.
"Lije, you know you aren't supposed to call me that name over the communicators, especially when we are at red alert status," Dixon said as he walked into the room.
"Please don't be mad at Lijey, Mr. Dixon," the boy on the gurney said quickly. "I really wanted to talk to you again."
"I'm not mad," Dixon assured him. "I just need to make sure he knows the rules are different now than they are when we are all at home." He turned to Lije and said, "You do understand that, right? I'm not mad or upset, but I don't want you to get anyone into trouble, mostly you."
"I understand, Director," Lije said with a formal salute.
"Very good, Ensign Lewis," Dixon said returning the salute. "Now… how about Lijey gives Dixon a hug to make sure we are all good again?" Lije blushed a little at the repetition of his new nickname but grinned and gave Dixon the biggest hug he could manage. "Now what can I do for you Ogden?" Dixon asked the other boy.
"I was….. umm…. Could you… I mean would you… Well…umm…it's just…"
"You still want to see it to prove it will look real is that it?" Dixon asked softly. The eight year old averted his eyes, but nodded a tiny bit.
"I'm just scared the big kids will just have one more thing to pick on me about," he answered quietly. "I mean maybe it'll look ok, but what if it doesn't work right?"
"It will work just fine, Ogden," Dixon told him.
"Yeah but you could just be saying that to get me to shut up," the boy reasoned. "And I would rather be called Lefty from now on," he added with a bashful grin at Lije.
"You and Lije seem to have made friends," Dixon observed.
"He's my best friend," Lefty told them both. "He's got to be the best since he's the only one."
"Of course I'm the best, but I bet you will have lots of friends from now on," Lije told him. "All you'll have to do is tell them about your regrown arm."
"I'm a weird kid in foster care because my mom liked drugs more than she did me," Lefty said sadly. "Nobody is going to be friends with me, even with a regrowed arm."
"Foster care, huh?" Dixon smiled. "I think we can do better than that. Lefty, do you like to swim?" he asked with a mischievous grin. Through his communicator he called Jason and Philip to join him.
"Are we going to skinny dip so I can see Frankenweenie?"
"Lefty, do you want to see it to prove that your arm will work, or do you just like seeing boys naked?" Dixon asked him seriously.
"I told you I was weird," Lefty said sadly. "Please don't take my new arm back. I promise I won't ask to see you no more."
Lije jumped onto the gurney beside Lefty and hugged him tight. "Nobody's going to take your arm back, dude. That would be mean and gross. EEWW!"
"Lije is right, Lefty," Dixon assured him. "You are never going to be called weird by anyone in Clan Short, unless it's because you really like eating pickled pig's feet like Uncle Mel does."
"EEEWW!!! That's nasty!" Lefty squealed.
"It's even worse if you see him doing it," Lije told him.
"Ok, Lije let's not make him sick, or me either, eew!" Dixon said quickly.
"Sorry," Lije told them both.
"The point is that if you like to see boys' parts, that is perfectly normal, just like if you wanted to see girls' parts," Dixon continued. "That doesn't make you weird. I like seeing Jessie naked, and I'm not weird."
"That's a matter of opinion," Jason said as he walked into the room with Philip. "I've seen Jessie naked plenty of times and I'm not impressed."
"You're his brother, you're not supposed to be impressed by him naked," Dixon told him with a roll of his eyes. "Guys meet Ogden, who prefers to be called Lefty." He turned to Lefty and grinned. "Lefty these old guys here just might agree to be your new dads, Jason and Philip, if you want them that is."
"My dads as in forever dads not just another foster family?" Lefty asked.
"Forever and then some," Dixon told him. He then turned to face Jason and Philip again. "Guys I know this is sudden, but a little bird told me that you have already talked about this. I also thought you guys would be great for Lefty here since he will need a little therapy getting used to his regrown arm."
"When exactly did you get smarter than us, Dixie?" Philip asked him with a hug. He turned to look at Lefty. "You just wait until my mother meets you. She has been secretly moping for years about me not giving her grandchildren. She will spoil you rotten within a week."
"Looks like we said yes, Uncle Dixie," Jason said with a big smile. "I just wish my parents were still here to meet their grandson. They would give the Peltier's a run for their money with the spoiling."
"I'm not mom and dad, but I will be the best uncle I can be," Jessie said as he walked into the room. He looked at Dixon and grinned. "What's with you making people uncles today?"
"Oh I forgot to tell him," Dixon gasped. "Lije, you need to find your mom and then head for the cafeteria and look for your brother. He has a couple of people to introduce to you and your mom."
Just then Dixon's communicator chirped again. "Director Wiggins, can you and Commander Blankenship come to the communications center. Video surveillance in a Red Cross bomb shelter in New Jersey recorded a woman fitting the description of your kidnapper stealing a baby whose parents and family had been killed. She had registered at the shelter as Paige Pickhinke."