Brent was relaxing in his living room enjoying a short respite from the typical craziness that is Clan life. Lance had taken Angus to the base store to get himself some clothes to tide him over until a trip to the mall for all the new guys could be arranged.
He realized that this is probably the first time since he and Lance had decided to run away with Greg that he'd actually had some personal alone time. What really got to him was the fact that he couldn't stop thinking of things he had to do.
He had laid down on the couch having decided to try to take a 30-minute nap when his communicator chirped. "This is Brent."
"Hello Brent, it's Dr. Linda."
Brent was immediately concerned. He'd seen Dr. Linda less than two hours earlier and was worried one of the new boys who were still in the medical center was having a problem. "Hi Linda, is there a problem with one of the boys?"
"Actually, a small one, it's not a medical issue, but more of an emotional one. Can you come over to the medical center? I think you can resolve it easily enough."
Brent was a little confused, but if Linda thought he was the best one to deal with this particular issue, he'd be more than happy to do so. "I'll be there in a few minutes, Linda."
"Thanks, Brent." Linda then ended the communication.
Brent contacted Lance to let him know he would be at the medical center. "Also, when you're done at the store, why don't you show Angus around a little bit? I shouldn't be long."
"Ok, babe. I love you." Lance replied.
"I love you too." Brent smiled as he ended the call.
"Icky, can you please teleport me to the medical center?"
"It's what I live for, Brent. Click your heels together three times and say, 'Ready, Set, Go'."
Brent smiled as he clicked his heels saying, "Ready." He clicked them again, "Set." and he vanished, appearing in the medical center waiting room. "Icky, I thought you wanted me to say 'Go.'"
Icky giggled and said, "Sorry, Brent. I've been having a problem as I'm growing… you know, premature teleportation. Dailess says I'll grow out of it."
Brent walked out of the waiting room shaking his head, trying to keep from laughing. Icky, the AI that was designed to do so much still retained something that is precious… innocent fun. Brent said a silent prayer that he and all those in the clan, even with the work of utmost importance that they do, still are able to maintain that quality.
Seeing that Dr. Linda's door was open, he stood in the doorway and knocked. When she looked up from the padd she was working on, he asked, "You wanted to see me?"
"Brent, first off let me tell you, that you are doing a fantastic job. You are not only just holding things together here, you're excelling in ways that to me and many others is just amazing. If you ever need help, or advice, or just someone to talk to as a friend, my door is always open to you."
Linda's words had a profound effect on Brent. Through tears, which threatened to leak from his eyes, and a lump in his throat, he said, "Thank you, Linda. Those words mean a great deal to me."
After a brief moment, Brent took a seat in the chair offered to him by the Doctor. She opened the conversation explaining that Icarus had broadcast the adoption for those boys still in the medical center. All of them were moved by the sentiment shown, but one boy, one small, frail boy took it in a much different light.
"Ace, for a moment, thought that since you adopted Angus that you wouldn't want him too."
Brent nodded and thought for a moment before asking, "What is his overall condition?"
"Basically the same as Angus at this juncture. They were both severely undernourished albeit for vastly different reasons. I actually could have released him this morning, but was erring on the side of caution."
"Let me have a talk with him. I will do only what I feel is best for him, and you will have the right to veto this decision should it be medically necessary." Brent said seriously.
"I have no doubt, but, if it comes to pass that you decide to take him with you when you leave here, I will not have any problems with it," Linda said, with a wink.
Brent stood and thanked Linda again for her words, then walked out of her office, heading for Ace's room.
When Brent entered, Ace looked at him. His expression was one of hurt, mixed with desire. Without a word, Brent went to the boy's bed and sat on the edge. He held his arms out and within a nanosecond they were filled with a naked 6-year-old boy whose head was buried in Brent's chest, tears flowing.
Brent held the boy, rubbing his back for a few moments and when his sobs subsided he softly said, "You know… Just because I adopted Angus, that doesn't mean that Lance and I don't have enough love for a few more. Would you like to come home with me? You can rest and recover there, just as well as here."
Brent could feel the boy's arms tighten around him and his head nodding, still buried in Brent's chest. Brent tapped his communicator, "Brent to Dr. Linda."
"Go ahead, Brent."
Ace will be going home today. I'll have Icky teleport us directly to the house. When do you want to see him for a checkup?"
"Keep an eye on him, make sure he gets lots of rest, and lots of love. If nothing negative happens, I'll see him in a week."
"Thanks, Doctor. Brent out."
"So, Ace… are you ready to go home, son?"
"You called me son!" Ace stated as he pulled his head back to look Brent in the eyes for his response.
"Well, if you will have Lance and me as your parents, I would be honored to call you one of my sons."
Tears that were now flowing out of the boy's eyes were now tears of happiness. He smiled as he said, "Let's go home, Daddy."
"Icky, please transport my son and me to our home." Moments later, the room was empty.
Eric was keeping an eye on his Cyclones. Each of them had one of the new boys to show around and get settled. He'd given each of them the responsibility to handle whatever the new boy needed, and more importantly, the authority to get the job done. With each pair he encountered in his rounds of the compound, he found them doing a better than adequate job.
At one point, he ran across Lance and his 3 sons. Lance was showing Angus around. The four of them looked very happy. Eric pondered the fact that Lance and Brent had now taken on three boys and part of him, even though he felt as if all of the Cyclones were his children, wanted more. He said a silent prayer in the hopes of finding someone to share his life with and to share their love with a few others as well.
When Lance had finished the tour for Angus, they found themselves heading back home. This time it was Lance who noticed the red-haired boy sitting under a tree. He felt as if he should have known the boy, but for some reason, he couldn't remember the boy's name. He resolved that he would correct that at his first opportunity. However, Angus had been active for a longer period of time than Lance was comfortable, so now was not the time.
When they arrived home, the boys ran into the house to find their Daddy. Angus came back quickly and held his finger to his lips. He whispered, "Daddy's on the couch with Ace. Ace is asleep." Together, they walked into the room and Lance saw Brent cuddling the naked 6-year-old who was fast asleep in his arms, sucking his thumb.
The three other boys were sitting on the floor at their parents' feet quietly. Lance leaned over and kissed the sleeping boy on the forehead and said, "Welcome to the family, Ace. Your Daddy, Papa and three brothers are glad you're here."
Lance took the sleeping child into his own lap as Brent gave his other sons hugs and kisses on the tops of their heads. He excused himself to go make a call.
Brent sat at the terminal in his office at the house, a room that somehow they hadn't seen in their initial walk-through. It was as if it were added while they were out. Nonetheless, he placed a call to the one person who could help him with a problem.
"Federation Youth Services, how may I help you?"
"Hello, this is Director Brent Knocks-Downing from Desert Division, may I please speak to Teri Short."
"One moment, Director. She has been expecting your call."
Brent was actually shocked by this, why would Aunt Teri be expecting his call?
"Well hello, Brent. I am glad you called. Everyone here saw the adoption you guys had this afternoon. We're all so very proud of you."
"Hi Aunt Teri, I have a question. I really don't feel it's right that I perform adoptions for boys who choose Lance and me as their parents."
"Well, as Director, you do that the right to do that, but I can see your point of view. Can I assume you have another that wants you and Lance as his parents?"
"Yes, Aunt Teri. His name is Ace Devin, he's 6."
"So, am I to assume he'll become known as Ace Knocks-Downing then?"
"Actually, he's going to move his existing last name to be used as his middle so he'll become Ace Devin Knocks-Downing."
Teri smiled as she said, "I will send the paperwork over to you at the same time I send the paperwork for the other three. There is another item I'd like to cover, if you have the time."
"Sure, Aunt Teri, I will always have time for you." He said with a smile.
"Well, there's an adult there that has come to my attention. How would you feel if I were to make Dominic the FYS liaison for Desert Division?"
"Oh, Dominic is a great guy. I don't think you'd be making a mistake." Brent replied honestly.
"Great, in a day or two, I'll be visiting you along with the Federation's FYS coordinator for North America. You've met him, I believe, Lt. Kyle Esparar?"
"Yeah, I met him there in Orlando. He's a great guy too."
"Well, we'll be there in a day or two, as I said. Please don't tell Dominic of my plans, I would like to surprise him."
"I won't, Aunt Teri. By the way, how are Cory and Sean coping?"
"With all the love and support they're getting, they'll be okay. It's never easy to lose people you love."
"Well, please tell him, and Jamie, Jacob, and Justy that our thoughts and prayers are with them… and that we love them."
"I'll let them know, but I think they already do."
"Ok, Aunt Teri, thank you and I love you too."
"I love you, Brent and give Lance a hug and a kiss from me. Congratulations again, Daddy."
Brent smiled as the connection closed.
Returning to the living room, he asked Doug if he could find some clothes for Ace. He and Greg are about the same size. He told him that they can bring Ace to the base store after dinner and pick him up a few things if he feels up to it.
Doug went to get the clothes as Brent was sitting there watching Lance and their newest son. "I think it might be a good idea if we all just rested until dinner time. Why don't you head upstairs and take a nap, I'll get you up in time to dress for dinner."
Angus helped Greg up and said, "Okay Daddy. That would be good. I am feeling a little tired."
The two boys went upstairs where Doug was still sorting out something for Ace to wear. Brent helped Lance up and they carried Ace with them to their bedroom. They undressed and laid down on the bed with Ace between them. Each with an arm around the boy, they drifted off to sleep.
Upstairs, the three other boys were cuddling in one of the queen-sized beds, moments from falling asleep themselves.
Rudy and Troy had been walking around. They didn't have one of the clones with them, since they were officially just visiting. They wound up in the Cafeteria, looking for a snack when they saw Eric sitting at one of the tables reading something on a PADD. They walked over to him and asked if they could join him.
"Sure, no problem," Eric replied, "go grab yourselves a snack, I'll be here when you've done that."
The pair each got some fruit and asked for McCoy milkshakes, strawberry for Troy and chocolate for Rudy. Once they had their snacks, they returned to Eric's table and took a seat next to each other, across from Eric.
Eric finished what he was doing and looked up at the boys across from him. They had exchanged pleasantries when Eric asked, "So, what do you guys think of our Division's compound?"
Troy replied, "I've lived in Vegas all my life and never knew this place was here."
"Well, that's because until a few days ago, it wasn't here. It was only the two Cynthitech buildings. The rest were built pretty much overnight by the Clan's people."
"That's amazing," Rudy replied, "it's nice here though. Camp Little Eagle, where I live now, is different than here, but it's still nice. But that kinda leads to what we wanted to ask you."
Eric's attention focused on what the boys were about to ask and replied, "You know, if you need or want something that's reasonable, I will do everything I can to make it happen."
Troy picked up on that, "Well, we were talking and just wondering, what's going to happen next? Where am I going to live?"
Eric pondered his response but finally said, "Well, that's really up to you. You can live here, you'd be more than welcome, or you can go to Camp Little Eagle with Rudy. It's mostly up to what you want to do."
Rudy blushed as he said, "Well, um… it's just that Troy and me… we kinda like each other and want to stay together. But Troy's lived here, in Vegas, his whole life and I wouldn't feel right about making him leave here."
Eric smiled, "Well that's simple, Rudy, you move here to be with Troy."
Rudy looked surprised, "I'm allowed to do that? Really?"
Eric chuckled as he replied, "Remember what I said? If it was something reasonable I'd do whatever I could to make it happen? Not to mention, the Clan wants you guys to be happy. So, if it will make you happy to move here with Troy, I will see what I can do."
Troy and Rudy were ecstatic. Without thinking of where they were, they shared a very intense kiss. When the kiss broke it was like they suddenly became aware of what they'd done and where they were. Both turned to Eric, hoping he wasn't mad at them… or worse.
Seeing their expressions, Eric decided to ease their fears, "I see what you mean that you kinda like each other, and just so you know, here, you never have to worry about showing your love for one another in public. Seeing that you two are as close as you are, it wouldn't be fair to split you guys up. We can talk about it after dinner."
The two boys got up and walked over to Eric, "Thank you, Eric." Rudy wrapped his arms around Eric and gave him a hug, followed by Troy who did the same.
As Troy looked back at his boyfriend, Rudy was standing there with a blank expression. Troy went to him and called, "Rudy?"
Seeing what was happening, Eric joined Troy. Troy, had a tear running down his cheek as he called again, "Rudy? Are you okay?"
Rudy seemed to snap out of it and said, "Sorry, they've been happening more and more, but I just had another vision. I think I was seeing an echo because I saw the same boy like five times like he was standing between a couple of mirrors."
Eric thought about this and asked, "Were they actually the same boy? Could they have been brothers? Like identical brothers?"
Rudy was contemplative as he went over the vision in his mind and got a little excited, "You're right, they aren't the same boy… they're identical quintuplets. They're scared though."
Eric asked, "Do you know any more about them? Where are they? What they're scared of?"
Rudy shook his head and sadly replied, "That's all I saw this time. Maybe they'll pop back into my head again later."
Eric said in a calm voice, "If they do, use your communicator and contact either me or one of the other officers, try to remember as much as you can when it happens."
"Okay, I will." Rudy replied.
Troy hugged his boyfriend and said, "I'll make sure he does too, I'll help him."
Then, through Rudy's communicator, Icky said, "If you need to record any data, just tell me and I'll remember it. I'm good for that, at least." The mirth in his voice was present so they knew his feelings weren't hurt.
"Thank you, Icky, we will," Rudy replied.
"You guys enjoy the rest of your afternoon, Dinner will be in about 2 hours and I should have an answer for you by then," Eric said.
"Thanks again, Eric," Troy said.
Rudy nodded and said, "Yeah, thanks Eric, you're cool."
Once he was alone again Eric tapped his communicator, "Icky, do you know if Brent or Lance are busy?"
"They're both taking a nap at their house. If it's important, you should wake them."
"Nah, there's nothing urgent right now, they work really hard and deserve a chance to rest too. I can wait until dinnertime to talk to them."
"Eric?" Icky started, "You do know that in your official position, you have the authority to contact other Clan bases and talk to the guys there to get things started. If you wanted to find out if Rudy could move here, why not call the Orlando CIC and ask."
Eric wasn't sure what he should do and was about to contact the Orlando CIC when his communicator chirped.
"This is Eric."
"Hi Eric, this is Seth in the CIC in Orlando, your AI was right. You have the right to contact us at any time, Lt. Commander."
"Um, okay… One of the residents of Camp Little Eagle was involved in the recovery of a boy here in Las Vegas. That recovery led to the recovery of 22 more boys the following day. Rudy, the boy who is living at Camp Little Eagle and the new boy, Troy French, have sorta fallin' in love, it seems and Rudy wanted to know if he'd be allowed to move here to be with Troy." Eric tried to be as professional as he could in his report.
Seth's smile could be heard through his voice as he said, "You don't have to be so formal. We're brothers in the Clan, but, let me tell you that there shouldn't be a problem with Rudy moving, if that's what he wants. Just let us know and we'll make it happen from this end. He'll probably want to come back here to get his stuff once you get him settled there."
"Thanks, Seth. This is all new to me, I've only been a Lieutenant Commander for a couple of hours."
"No problem, Brother. Clan Short CIC, out." The channel closed.
Eric was proud of himself, but had one more thing to say, "Icky, thanks for taking the initiative, but I was about to call him myself. Next time, please ask if I want you to call them first."
"Sorry, Eric. I'll remember." Icky replied, his voice showed how contrite he truly was.
Lance opened his eyes and found Ace sitting up facing his Daddy and Papa with a broad smile. When Ace noticed Lance's eyes open, he said, "Hi Papa, didja sleep good?"
Lance's face expressed everything. He open his arms to Ace and was rewarded by them being filled with a very happy squirming little boy who gave him a wet, sloppy kiss, right on the lips.
The squirming shook the bed sufficiently as to wake Brent up. Seeing Ace and Lance, he decided to get into the act. He rolled over and started tickling the boy. This caused Ace to laugh and squeal loud enough so that moments later, the sounds of three other boys stomping down the stairs could be heard.
Within moments a full-on tickle war ensued. Greg tickled Brent who tickled Angus who tickled Doug who tickled Lance who was tickling Ace. It was a good way for the family to bond. They had lots of fun but after close to 10 minutes, they decided to call a truce.
Four happy boys and two happy parents got off of the king-sized bed. Brent told the boys to head upstairs and get dressed. They'd head to dinner soon. Each of the boys gave their Daddy and Papa hugs and received kisses on their foreheads then went to leave to go upstairs.
When Doug noticed that Ace wasn't following, he said, "Come on, lil'bro. I got some clothes for you to wear up in our room." Ace's smile returned and he took Doug's hand and was led upstairs. Brent and Lance watched this exchange with pride in their hearts. They kissed, then began the process of getting ready for dinner themselves.
As they were dressing, Brent's communicator chirped, "Prez to Brent."
"Hey Prez, how's it going?" Brent asked, happy to hear from his friend in Hawaii.
"Bro, that looked like fun!"
Brent looked over at Lance who just shrugged before he asked, "What looked like fun?"
"I just saw that video that Icarus sent us of your tickle war! That one's going to go down in Clan history!"
Brent was embarrassed, "You saw THAT?"
Prez obviously realized that Brent didn't know it was being made 'public' and replied, "Bro, don't worry about it. Sometimes the AIs will share some of the more memorable activities with the other directors. It's good to see some of the stuff that happens, it makes us all feel closer and more like a family."
Lance moved over next to Brent and said, "Prez, I know what you mean, we saw that video of the water cannon war you guys had."
"Yeah, that was fun. Guys, if there's anything you guys need, I'm here for ya. Ok?"
"Thanks, Bro, same goes here, if you need anything I can do for you, please…"
"Cool. Talk again later! See ya! Prez out."
When Lance and Brent entered the living room, they found all four of their sons sitting on the couch watching a video. Brent went over and gave each of his sons a kiss on the top of the head and asked, "Did you guys get some good rest?"
Ace excitedly reported, "Yeah, Daddy. All of us fit on one of them big beds!"
Lance smiled and said, "You did? I didn't think that bed would be big enough for four big boys like you guys."
Greg sniggered, "We's not big! We's still little… 'cept maybe Ang."
"Well," Brent said, getting the attention of the boys, "once we're done with dinner, we need to take Ace to the store so we can get him some clothes and stuff until we can go to the mall in a day or two. We're going to wait until the rest of the guys are out of the medical center and we can all go together."
"Ok, Daddy," Angus looked back and forth between his brothers before asking, "We know you and Papa need to work, what do we do when you're working?"
"We can talk about that during dinner, but tomorrow, I would like you guys to do your placement tests for school. I know Greg and Doug have already done theirs, so you guys are pretty much free to do what you want. Angus and Ace, I need to get you your communicators…"
Moments later two communicators just appeared on the coffee table.
"Thanks Icky, but as I was saying, Angus and Ace, here are your communicators. You need to have them on you at all times. It will stick to your clothing or your skin if you're swimming. If any of you ever need Papa or me, you can always call us."
Angus and Ace put their communicators on their shirts and Doug showed them how to register them with Icarus so he'd know who had which communicator.
Lance watched his boys interact, he was happier now than he ever remembers being. "Guys, it's about time to head to the cafeteria, I hope you are all hungry."
Four excited boys exclaimed, "Yeah!"
The new family headed out the front door heading for their dinner. When they got to the intersection of Knocks-Downing Street and Mikyvis Mile, Doug said, "The path looks different. Before it was all straight, now it's not. It looks like it's all curvy."
Brent and Lance both looked and confirmed that to be the case. "Guys, let's keep an eye on it over the next few days and see if it changes again."
They continued on their way to the cafeteria and were met by Eric. Eric greeted them all, "Hey guys! How has your day been?"
"It was kewl, Uncle Eric," Angus stated happily and continued, "I got 'dopted, me and Doug and Greg!"
Eric sniggered and replied, "I know, I was there, remember?"
"Oh yeah, but then we went out to the store and I gots lotsa kewl clothes and stuff. Daddy stayed home though. But that's okay cuz when we got home we gots another little brother, Ace!"
Eric knelt in front of Ace and the boy automatically wrapped his arms around the thirteen-year-old, giving him a typical six-year-old sloppy kiss on the cheek. "It's nice to meet you, Ace. You have the best parents you could have, if Brent and Lance weren't my brothers, I'd want them to be my Daddy and Papa too!"
Ace beamed at Eric's attention. Eric stood, shifting Ace to his left hip turning his attention to Brent. "Director…"
"Eric, come on, you know I don't like the formal stuff."
"Unfortunately, Director, this is official business and I would feel I was not taking my responsibility seriously if I were too informal at this point."
"Very well, Lt. Commander, proceed." Brent replied, having shifted from his normal persona to that of Director.
"Sir, I was approached this afternoon by two youth, one was here from Camp Little Eagle, the other was the impetus for the rescue we executed yesterday. Their names are Rudy Williams and Troy French."
"I know who they are, please continue."
"Sir, Troy was born in and has lived in Las Vegas his entire life and would like to remain here. Rudy and Troy have… developed… feelings for one another and it is Rudy's desire to remain here with him. When I attempted to contact you to secure permission to make it happen, I was informed that you were resting. Instead of delaying, I took the liberty of contacting the CIC in Orlando. I just received a communication from Seth that the transfer of Rudy Williams from Camp Little Eagle to Desert Division has been approved."
"Thank you, Lt. Commander. Now that the formal stuff is done… Good job, Eric. If I gave you the position and responsibility for overseeing intake and orientation without giving you the authority to do the job, I wouldn't be a very good Director, would I. You did exactly what needed to be done. VERY good job."
"I shall inform them at dinner then."
Brent thought for a moment and said, "No, I'd like to do it. I have an idea."
They then continued their walk to the cafeteria.
Five little five-year-old identical quintuplets sat huddled in a small closet. It was dark and they were scared. They'd heard their parents arguing about what they always fought about… money, or actually the lack of it.
The obvious leader of the pack, Andrei, was doing his best to keep his brothers calm, but wasn't having much luck. What made it worse was that both of their parents had been drinking all day. Andre snuck out of the closet and, trying not to be seen, listened in on what his parents Mikel and Svetlana Sukarov were saying. What he heard scared him more than you can imagine. He and his brothers were in danger.
On his way back to his brothers, Andrei got on his knees and prayed. 'God, I don't know what to do. Mommy and Daddy are gonna do something tomorrow night and I am afraid that my me and my brothers, Raandi, Darien, Adrien and Raiden won't be able to stay together and I am even more afraid of what will be done to us. Please send someone to help us!'
Having finished his prayer, he went back to his brothers. They slept that night in that dark closet thinking that if they stayed quiet, their parents wouldn't find them.
Brent, Lance, Angus, Doug, Greg and Ace were sitting at a table with Eric, Troy and Rudy. The boys were telling the latter three about what they'd done that day when everyone in the room started laughing all of a sudden.
On the monitors around the cafeteria, a video was playing. There, in living colour Brent and Lance were shocked to see the scene from their bedroom that Prez had told them had been taken. Everyone in the division was now witness to the Director and Assistant Director having a naked tickle fight with their sons. The boys thought the video was great and enjoyed reliving the event that had bonded them as a family like no other could.
Brent and Lance were embarrassed beyond measure but, when the video ended, instead of making a big deal about it, Brent decided it was time to do his post-meal announcements.
He stood and got everyone's attention. "Hey, guys! Lance, our sons, and I are happy to have provided tonight's entertainment, but there are a few pieces of business that need to be handled. First off, as you've seen, Ace has chosen Lance and me as his new parents. I am happy to announce that effective at 2:00 this afternoon, The Knocks-Downing family has grown by one. I am happy to announce that Ace Devin is now Ace Devin Knock-Downing."
Brent had to wait before continuing due to the cheers coming from all those assembled. Once things had quieted down, he continued, "Eric and the Cyclones did a fantastic job with making the boys who were released today know that they're with people who care, that they're safe, and have a family with us as long as they want one." After another pause for cheering, Brent continued, "Dr. Linda has informed me that the remaining boys from last night's rescue will be released from the medical center tomorrow, and I have no doubt that they'll do as good a job tomorrow with them."
A few moments later, Brent continued with a bit more seriousness in his voice, "I am aware that not everything will be fun and games. Every once in a while, a situation will come up that will fall to me, as Director, to handle, so…" Brent sighed, "Troy French and Rudy Williams, stand up."
The two looked at one another wondering what they did to get them in trouble, but they stood. Brent looked at them, trying to look as serious as he could and said, "Rudy… am I to understand that you're not happy where you've been placed at Camp Little Eagle?"
Rudy was taken aback by this question, but replied, "No, Sir. I actually like it there."
Brent, continuing his diatribe said, "But I am told that you have requested a transfer."
"Yes, Sir. I want to move here so I can be with Troy." Rudy looked at his hopeful roommate with a sideways smile.
"I see, and am I to assume that Troy also wishes for you to move here to be his roommate?"
Troy stood and said, "No. I want him to move here to be my boyfriend." This got a shocked expression from Rudy who looked at Troy and asked, "Really? For reals?"
Troy nodded and the two hugged. Troy decided to heed Eric's advice earlier and planted a very passionate kiss on Rudy's lips. As they were kissing, Brent interrupted, "If the two of you are done, I'd like to get on with the official part of this."
The two boys broke their kiss, blushing, both standing but now holding hands and gave their attention back to Brent who said, "Well, I just wanted you both to know that…" he paused for a moment then, his voice softening dramatically finished by saying, "effective immediately, Rudy Williams is now a resident of the Desert Division, he will be living with Troy French. Eric will assign you a room after dinner."
The applause was deafening. Troy came over to Brent and said, "That was mean, but I know you meant it as a joke and it's all good. Thank you for making this happen."
Brent replied, "You're thanking the wrong person. Eric took care of everything, all I had to do was approve it. But, welcome to the family, guys."
Lance stood and once he had the attention of all present he made his announcement, "If you all look over on the side of the room you will see what looks like two doors with a panel next to them. Those are dimensional doors. Provided you have your communicator, you will be using those doors to go to any of the other Clan compounds, anywhere in the world. You will use them when you have to go to one of those bases for schooling, or any other activity at those bases that you wish to attend. In addition, they are there should, for any reason, we need to evacuate the base in an emergency. Eric and the Cyclones will instruct everyone on the proper use of the doors."
After a brief pause, Lance continued, "As Brent mentioned, the rest of the boys from last night's rescue will be released from the medical center on Friday, which is tomorrow. On Saturday, we will be organizing trips to the Las Vegas Outlet Mall for anyone who wants or needs to go."
A thirteen-year-old boy stood up and asked, "My name is Giles Hobbs. Lance? How are we supposed to pay for everything?"
"I'm glad you asked that, Giles. Every person who is part of our family… that means all of you, will be receiving an allowance. Eric will go over with all of you how that works tomorrow during your 'official' orientation. At that time though, you will be issued a debit card, along with your Clan identification cards. Each card will start off with a balance of $250 and your weekly allowance will be added to it. All you have to do to get that allowance is to keep your personal areas clean, do your best at your school work, and try to be supportive of your brothers and sisters in the Clan. In addition, you will have opportunities to do various tasks. These tasks are not in any way mandatory, but if you want some extra spending money, it's a good way to earn it. What kinds of jobs that are available will be described to you during orientation."
Lance finished his announcements and everyone cheered at the idea of getting an allowance. Brent stood again and finished the announcements, "Thanks Lance. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask any of us, we'll be happy to help in any way we can. If we don't know something, we'll do our best to find an answer for you, if not immediately, then very soon afterwards. Does anyone have anything they wanted to add?"
A red-headed fourteen-year-old stood up and once recognized began, "Hey everybody, my name is Darryl, I just wanted to thank Brent, Lance, and all the guys for saving us. Everybody I've talked to here seems so cool and I am glad I'm someplace where I can just be me. Everyone here keeps saying that we're all one big family, and honestly, when I heard that I was like, 'Yeah, sure. I wonder when the other shoe is going to drop.' But I talked to a lot of the guys who have been here since the beginning and I really believe that they're not bullshitting us. If anyone needs any help with anything, don't hesitate to get in touch with me."
Brent smiled and said, "Welcome to the family, Darryl and thank you for showing everyone that you're going to be one of the cool brothers. I will tell you now, that if we are anything like the rest of the Clan, we're going to be getting a lot of new brothers and sisters sooner than we think. All I ask is that if you see someone who needs help with something, and it's within your ability to help, offer it. One other thing, tomorrow after dinner around 8:00 p.m. there will be a movie in the auditorium. Anyone who wants to can go see it." Brent paused and Lance whispered something to him, he continued, "Oh yeah, it might help if I tell you what the movie is… we're going to be showing 'Polar Express' it's in the theaters right now, but we thought it would be cool if we could watch it as a family. Our resident popcorn expert, Forth, will be handling the concession stand, if you want to help, just find him and let him know. If there is nothing else, have a great evening; if you need anything just let us know."
Brent sat down and after more applause and cheers, people started leaving the cafeteria. Troy and Rudy stayed seated until a few people who had stopped to talk to either Brent or Lance finished.
Rudy then asked, "When can I go to Camp Little Eagle to get my stuff that I have there?"
Eric replied, "Well, remember there is a three-hour time difference there, so, I was thinking that maybe, after breakfast tomorrow would be a good time. You and Troy can just use the dimensional doors to get there and back. Just let us know before you go so we can make sure they know you're coming."
"Cool, thanks Eric." Rudy replied.
Troy and Rudy were kicking back and talking (and making out a bit) when all of a sudden Rudy's expression went blank for the second time that day. Troy realized what was going on and was about to call for someone to come check on Rudy when the boy 'snapped out' of his trance.
"Troy, they're in trouble!" Rudy said frantically.
"Who? Who's in trouble?"
"The boys. They are afraid something is going to happen to them. There's five of them, identical quintuplets."
"I think we need to call for help."
Just as Troy was about to hit his communicator, Icky's voice came over the speakers. "I heard what's going on, guys. I have notified Brent. He and Eric will be here in a minute or two."
"Thanks Icky," Troy replied. Rudy was still pretty shaken up by his vision.
A couple of minutes later, there was a knock on the door. Troy answered and found Eric, Brent, and another boy wearing some kind of military uniform. He invited them in.
"First off, let me introduce Colonel Justin West. He's the commander of the Desert Division Military Garrison. Rudy, why don't you tell us what's going on. What did you see?"
Rudy was still scared, but collected his thoughts and explained, "I saw five little boys, about five-years-old or so. I was able to get their names, at least their first names, Adrien, Andrei, Darien, Raiden and Raandi. They are hiding in a closet because their parents were arguing. Adrien snuck out and heard what they were saying. He's afraid that they're gonna be split up and hurt."
"Do you have any more information on where or when, Rudy?" Justin asked with concern.
"Yeah, they're in Phoenix and it's supposed to happen at a diner there tomorrow night, around 8:00 p.m."
The group talked about it for a few minutes and it was agreed that Brent would lead a team to recover the boys. They started discussing the names of people Brent and Justin thought should be there and Rudy interrupted.
"This is gonna sound weird, but… there's another boy who must be there."
"Who is that, Rudy?"
"He's one of the new boys, he even talked at dinner tonight… Giles Hobbs. He has to go." Rudy was emphatic on that last point.
Brent and Justin shared a glance and Brent said, "Okay, Rudy. Tomorrow at breakfast we'll all get together and go over things. I will invite Giles to join us for breakfast. If you see anything more, contact me. Anytime day or night… okay?"
"Okay, I will."
"Good. Get some rest guys, we'll see you at breakfast about 7."
Eric, Brent and Justin then left. Once outside the dorm, they had Icky teleport them to the CIC. They had some initial planning to do.
Hmm, can we say AAKD, AAKD. Another foray into the twisted mind of True Fan. It is really nice to see Camp Little Eagle again. The interaction between the other divisions of the Clan is also interesting to see.
Where is Andy?
One of the things I, as a reader of the CSU loved was the 'haphazardly structured' interactions between the various Divisions of the Clan. They're separate, yet still part of an overall extended family. This has definitely been a crazy week for the Cafe... I'm glad to have been allowed to be part of it.
TSL? Why are you so worried about Andy? Do you think I forgot him? You should know me better!