Chapter 50




Catching himself on the bio-tube's frame, Fred glanced briefly at all the blood on the floor before taking a deep breath and looking up at the monitor. After logging in and activating the deep scans, he found to his frustration he couldn’t do most of them, the system kept reporting back no sensors emplaced. Growling his frustration, he brought up the automated report and sighed in relief, “Well, Aaron is going to be fine I think, or at least this damn machine says he will be.” Tracing the initial scan with his finger, “The bullet seemed to nick a small artery slightly, and most of his problems stem from blood loss. Which the machine is fixing,” Fred told them as he noticed Pat in the other bio-tube being careful of the slick floor he made his way over there and brought up the reports, noticing that there were sensors on Pat, he looked at the deep scan reports, “This is not possible!”



Sighing in relief, Kevin moved from where he was holding Tim and Pete so he could see what Fred was talking about, “What’s not possible?” Tommy asked, being the last to arrive, still very much shaken by witnessing Friedrich’s sudden collapse and recovery.



Fred looked back over his shoulder at Tommy in shock, “Pat is suffering from usage overload and breakthrough fever, it shouldn’t be possible as he very clearly is not in puberty,” Fred pointed at Pat’s crotch as he finished reading the report.



Everyone stopped as they heard a knocking from somewhere, Fred turning around trying to find the source looked shocked as he saw Aaron wave from inside the bio-tube. Rushing over he tried to start the release cycle and failed at every attempt, the system just would not let him access the controls.



I don’t have a lot of time before the Autodoc puts me back to sleep because of elevated brain activity, so I need to tell you I will be fine after being released. I won’t soon forget the lesson of keeping control of my temper and watching my surroundings.” Aaron pathed, and even though they felt the amusement they felt how tired he was. “Pat will be in the bio-tube at least a week, until I get out of here in thirty hours or so. He had a traumatic breakthrough, I’ll have to talk to him when he wakes to find out why.” Everyone felt the primal fear of drowning come from Aaron and jumped, “the down side of emergency activation,” he got out as he controlled his fear.



Feeling himself slip away as the Autodoc changed the chemistry of the mix being fed through the IV cuff, “Love…” Aaron sent before going limp as the Autodoc took control once more.



Kevin looked around at the scared group, someone needed to take control, “Fred set the cleansers to scrub the med bay so we can get rid of all this blood, then we all need to shower and get cleaned up, or at least those of us covered in blood.” Glancing at Xon who looked like he had the most control right now, “Xon, I need you to get dressed and go over to the Asclepius and find out what the hell happened and to show our displeasure to whoever shot Aaron.” Letting the hate he felt right then show in his stare he nodded once Xon stood up straight and nodded in acceptance. “David, take Kenny and the other youngsters to the hot springs, comfort them, I am going to go to the Core with Pete and…” he trailed off as he looked for the best person and Mark stepped forward at the same time Brian did. “Brian and Mark will be going with us; we need to find out if and why a reset was not ordered.”



Seeing Tim frowning and looking put out, Kevin walked over, “Tim, I need you to take control of the military, make sure they know Aaron will be fine, just out of commission for the next thirty hours, if something comes up, handle it with extreme prejudice.”



Nervously clearing his throat, Richard got their attention, “I think I need to go with Xon, after all if this happened on the Asclepius I might need to get answers from my grandmother.”



Kevin thought for a moment, this was not something he would normally ask as retribution could occur to his family, or at least it was a very real possibility until they found out what had happened. “Let him go, love,” Tim placed a hand on Kevin’s chest as he sent that message privately one to one.



Nodding to Tim as he hugged him, “Alright Richard, find Xon and hurry, so you don’t miss him.”



Orders given for now, Kevin placed a hand on the bio-tube with Aaron floating in it and sighed, letting a brief tear fall before wiping it away, he would be strong for the rest of the guys. Later, when Aaron was awake and out of the bio-tube, he could afford a meltdown. Last out he noticed the bright red glow turning blue as the cleansing cycle started; walking out of the med bay, he missed the half awake smile on Aaron’s face.



Richard ran down the stairs and slid to a halt in Xon’s room and saw he was getting dressed in his battle armor and he gulped, “Kevin said, I could go with you, to act as a link to my grandmother.”



“I will provide an over cloak like mine, please get dressed,” Xon fastened his over cloak around his shoulders, as well as picking up his fang of honor and sliding it into his belt, going over to the shelf he placed the circlet on his head, the one that showed he was an adult of the Clan. He had no idea how it happened just one morning he woke up and noticed the changed circlet sitting on his shelf. It had changed showing his adult status, it had secretly pleased him and he built a shelf to showcase it as a constant reminder he was home.



Waiting for Richard to return, Xon logged into the Asclepius security system and started a replay of the events from that morning. He was finding it very hard to control the rage he was feeling as he watched the one guard shoot Aaron. Hearing an indrawn breath behind him Xon glanced over his shoulder to see Richard standing there pale and shaken, “Come here, Love,” pulling Richard tight as they watched the video replay he had to agree with Richard's, “Oh my!” as they watched Pat port in and kinetically throw the second set of onrushing guards into the bulkhead.



Watching Edward take a pistol and shoot one of the guards Xon straightened as he realized that Edward was lost in Shyder, the fight to the death to all challengers during the bloodlust of mating. Reaching over to the desk chair, he quickly grabbed up his extra cloak and placed it on Richard's shoulders. He had just secured it as his head shot up as he heard another gunshot and saw the time stamp on the monitor, this happened two minutes ago. “We need to go now before Edward loses himself to the bloodlust,” was the only warning he gave Richard before porting both of them to the triage deck of the Asclepius in time to see Edward hand the gun over to Frank.



Colin waited until Frank had a good hold of the pistol before moving closer, “Edward, let me help make sure you will not have any problems from this, please let me help you.” He asked softly as he moved forward, making sure he radiated he was not a threat.



Edward hesitated before shaking his head no, he could not take the chance that what he had in his head would get out to anyone but Aaron or the Clan.



“Come to me Edward,” Xon commanded as he held up his hand to stop Colin from moving forward.  Turning so Colin could see his face, “No disrespect intended, but Edward has knowledge of the Clan that he does not feel should be available to others, that is why he refuses, I shall take this duty myself.” Smiling gently, Xon placed his hands on either side of Edward’s head and felt Edward place his hands over his, “My mind to your mind Edward…” Xon told him as he trailed off and linked their minds together.



Richard looked around and sighed as he took in the half melted console, pulled his P.A.D.D. out and tried to link it to the system. Not being able to link in, he growled in frustration as the system was well and truly fragged it seemed. “Pete, the Asclepius is locked down and Code 99 is blaring over the speakers, what does that mean and how do I shut it up, the triage deck console looks melted.”



After some lightening fast conversation where they determined that there was no way to stop the destruction, Richard frowned as he walked in circles around the prisoners, it was on his second circuit that one of the prisoners tried to trip him and he kicked the man in the temple that he said something to the Marines, “There is a perfectly good brig on the shore why are they still here?”



Sergeant Reynard looked around and shrugged, “Mainly because no one told us what to do with them, so they are being kept here.”



Frowning in disgust, Richard glanced up at the tall Marine, “Strip them then lock them in the brig until someone gets around to draining their minds of information. Then take your teams to that one’s office and arrest everyone there,” Richard pointed to the man on the floor, the one responsible for the whole mess. Seeing and sensing the Marine’s confusion and hesitation Richard pulled the chain around his neck and freed the medallion so it was displayed on his shirt.



Reynard, wondering if he should follow orders from this young man was shocked as he saw the Clan medallion being drawn from under his shirt and snapped to attention ,”Sir…Yes, Sir, right away.” Turning towards his men he snapped out, “Alright you heard the young dragon, drag these sorry excuses for humans to the brig and strip search them…Double Time, Move out,” he yelled as he grabbed one of the closest prisoners by the arm and ported out with him.



Free to pace again, Richard looked at Xon and Edward and saw they were still mind linked, and stopped when he heard back from Pete, “Richard we consulted the Core, there is no way to stop the self destruct of the bio-tubes from your location, there is a possible fix by offloading the bio-tubes to the trauma center, but there is no guarantee that the self destruct would not infect the hospital and cause the whole place to also have a meltdown.”



What a costly waste, all because of someone wanting to control our technology. I ordered the marines to go to the health department and arrest everyone there; we need to find out what or who is behind this power play.” Richard told them before asking, “is it normal to take this long as you work through what you had to do, Xon and Edward are still not moving?” Motioning Thomas over, as Kevin told him it varied from person to person, there never could be a standard time frame.



“Thomas, I need to contact grandmother, do you have your cell phone on you?” Richard asked as he moved over towards the door and looked out at the site foreman and a bunch of heavy equipment attempting to haul out the helicopters from the bay.



“Sorry Richard, the one I have is dead right now; I forgot to plug it in last night. We are about to be invaded by the Royal Marines led by your uncle and Andrew I think, they should have a satellite phone with them,” Thomas stood behind Richard and was glad he was acting so calm and thoughtful, he was still bothered by what he witnessed Edward do.



Bringing his P.A.D.D. up, Richard activated the search function and found the link to Andrew and Edward's terminal back at the palace. Smiling as it went live he tapped the side of his head after pulling the mic down, “Andrew can you hear me?”



Holding a hand up to stop the increasingly outlandish scenario’s, Andrew pulled his mic down with every person now looking at him, “Go ahead Richard; I hear you clearly, what the bloody hell is going on.”



Glancing back at Edward and Xon, Richard started down the gangway, “Well, it is hard to figure out right now what really happened other than Aaron got shot by some private security firm on the orders from someone from the Health and Human services department. They arrived by helicopter this morning and took over the Asclepius, held the residents and doctors hostage by threatening to shoot kids if they ported out. Where are you and can you relay to grandmother, the Queen needs to be informed what has happened and I think she needs to take steps, quickly.”



Covering the microphone Andrew looked at his father who was piloting their helicopter, “Where are we and how far out from the Elswick docks are we?” Looking over the co-pilots chair at the communication officer he told him before his dad had a chance to answer, “Patch me through to the palace I need to talk to the Queen.”



James glanced over at the GPS and replied, “Twenty miles out and approaching…” hearing a warning over the radio he pulled up fast causing Andrew to pitch forward  then back as he stopped the chopper. “Red Flight halt forward and hold we have been warned off…I repeat hold this position.” Glancing over to the co-pilots seat with his younger son hanging off of it, “Sorry Andrew I was just warned off by the commander of Eagle flight, I thought it prudent to stop before getting shot down they don’t sound too friendly right now.”



Nodding his head as he checked his seat belts again, “Richard we are holding twenty miles out, we just received a verbal warn off from the commander of Eagle flight, can you tell them to let us in.”



Tim…Can you recall the Screaming Eagles? Uncle James and Andrew just got warned off and I think the situation is secure here for the moment anyways,” Richard pathed as he looked around and stared at the partially completed hospital.



Okay, I’ll recall them, but if it comes back to bite us in the ass, you know what will happen,” Tim mentally answered while he motioned for the CAG to come over.



Take a look at the security video, what Edward did after Aaron ported out should be proof enough to anyone that the crown did not sanction this, for heaven’s sake Tim, Edward was shooting people in the head if they did not answer his questions, Xon is still linked with him trying to help him deal with it,” Richard let some of his frustration creep into the mental conversation.



I trust you and your family Richard; I just had to warn you of what could happen. I can’t imagine what Edward was going through, if anyone other than Aaron can help Edward it is Xon he has the years of control from his Kathat upbringing to fall back on, he’ll be alright.” Tim told him as he turned to the CAG, “Recall the Eagles, tell them to stand down.”



Thanks Tim, do you think Derrick can come over here, we need to know if we can get the hospital functional, or part of it, the Asclepius is self destructing and there is not anything we can do to stop it,” Richard asked as he made his way down the dock and waved at the site foreman to get his attention.



I can do better than just asking Derrick to come over,” Tim smiled as he appeared behind Richard, “I can come over too.”



Hugging Tim, Richard heard the tell tale thumping of a helicopter approaching and turned towards the front gate and saw several red helicopters approaching, “Looks like Grandmother is sending the cavalry.” Tapping his communicator again he watched the helicopters land on the other side of the fence, “Andrew can you relay to the Queen that on the surface it appears that the Health and Human services bureau tried to do an armed takeover, although where in the world they got the private guards with guns of all things I would really like to know.”



Best warn her our marines are going to London to arrest the whole department,” Tim pathed Richard as he saw Derrick appear between the family wing and the partially built hospital and glance their way before jogging towards them.



Bryon seeing he was being waved at, walked towards the group, he picked up the pace when he saw someone appear behind the lad in a shimmer.  “It will be a little bit before we can fish out those helicopters I’m afraid, the water is a harsh mistress toady and not wanting to give them up.” He trailed off as he noticed young Derrick jogging towards them.



Moving to the edge of the docks and looking down Tim pathed Pete, “Pete can we get a collector array over here to clean up the three drowned choppers? They’re blocking part of the harbor.”



Pete looked over at Kevin, “Well we can’t use the ones assigned to Sol Station, the building cycle for the Crèche is in progress and I don’t want to stop it for three measly choppers, I think we can use the one over in Hawaii for a short trip if you can port it over for me.”



“Go ahead Pete, I’ll meet you in the replication suite in a few minutes, I need to check in with David first to make sure the hunters are all okay, they’re taking this very hard,” Kevin nodded his agreement and watched Pete port out, turning the corner he smiled as the group he was going to checkup on came around the corner. Giving each of them a hug and kiss he left Fred until last and handed over a small dark blue chip with a red strip down the middle as he hugged him close enough to whisper in his ear, “We picked this up from the Core, it will give you override privileges to the bio-tube that Aaron is in, if you think he can be released without harm this will give you the authority to do so.”



Clutching the chip to his chest Fred smiled as he kissed Kevin back, “Thanks, I’ll let you know before I do anything, so we all can decide together, but this at least should let me know what the hell is going on.”



Smiling as Fred walked towards the med bay, Kevin shook himself out of his thoughts and ported to the replication center, he had a collector to move.



“Leave the choppers in the sea, we’ll be sending over something to get rid of them shortly,” Tim told the site foreman as Derrick joined them.



“I got your message Richard, now what do you need to know about the hospital again?” Derrick nodded at Bryon as he asked Richard to repeat himself, fully this time.



“The Asclepius is dying, or self destructing, there is no way to save him. As soon as each patient is released the equipment hooked up to them is going to self destruct, those fools when they tripped the fail safes have doomed a lot of people, unless we can get the hospital up and going relatively on the quick side.” Richard explained, as he watched the site foreman out of the corner of his eye, “While we are talking about getting the hospital up and running, Tim can we get a couple of WD758’s to patrol the grounds, so this doesn’t happen again?”



Paling at hearing the young prince explain things, Bryon looked at the hospital and was distracted when the large beach ball size object appeared hovering above the downed helicopters. He was surprised as shimmering beams of light shot down into the ocean and he watched in amazement as the helicopters dissolved under those intense beams.



“Well Bryon, if you are going to amaze us with your skills at beating schedules, now is the time to do it,” Derrick broke into Bryon’s thoughts as the rest of the helicopters set down outside the fence line and started to disgorge armed troops who set up their forward positions facing away from the fence line.



Shaking his head as the large silver metallic beach ball disappeared after taking care of the three helicopters Bryon rushed to catch up as the three had started towards the hospital. “Um…well, we have finished the first section to the plans specifications, so roughly half the hospital is ready for your teams to come and fit the equipment and final cable runs of whatever.” Pulling his notebook out of his pocket, he smiled and gave the first good news the three had heard all day, “As luck would have it, we are ahead of schedule, the first half is ready for your lads right now and the second half will be ready come Monday, a whole five days early,” laughing, Bryon put the notebook back in his pocket, “Well, more like a month and a day early but, hey, we had a secure and on time supply line and incentive to do the job fast. I’m actually going to miss working here with people who know how to get the job done.”



Richard relaxed and smiled as he saw Xon and Edward walk off the Asclepius, he saw how twitchy Thomas looked and skimmed the man’s mind and pointed him out to Tim, whispering, “I think Thomas needs to have a mind to mind chat with someone from the clan, he’s awful twitchy right now and very uncomfortable with what Edward did.”



“I’ll have Friedrich talk to him and help him out, one professional to another,” Tim glanced Thomas’s way and saw what Richard meant. Thomas looked shell shocked, like some of the homeless vets he had passed on the beach in Florida what seemed a lifetime ago, their eyes and manor were the same as Thomas’s now.



Standing still, the two groups converged on their spot, Xon and Edward reached Tim and Richard along with Derrick at the same time Andrew and his dad reached their side. Richard was surprised and pleased when uncle James pulled him into a hug and then he remembered, “Uncle James, you need to tell grandmother that the Alteran Marines are on their way to seize control of the health and human services branch, they are going to arrest everyone in that office so we can find out who gave the order to seize control of the Asclepius.”



James looked at his nephew in surprise before nodding as he moved away to call his mother over the satellite link and update her before Scotland Yard took offence.



“So, if you could get rid of those helicopters so fast, why in the world did you hire us to remove all those old buildings and pay out all that money?” Mind still on the incredulous feat he had witnessed Bryon asked as they entered the front half of the hospital, the section that was finished and ready for the final interior work.



Deciding to be upfront about it Tim glanced back at Bryon, “Well, we could have built this whole thing in two days, but Aaron is committed to investing in your country, so we paid you to do the work.” Going through the open archway past where the information desk would be, Tim and the others examined the empty rooms, set up in half circles and halfway down the hallway he stopped and asked, “Xon how soon can you get a team of MRB’s in here to do the final finish work?”



Xon looked around, pulling his P.A.D.D. out of his pocket he brought up the list of quantum signatures on file and saw Aaron had uploaded the signature files for the medical equipment, “The Reliant should return around seventeen hundred hours today. Once he is in orbit, I will be able to use the onboard suite to initiate construction, do you by chance, have the final schematics that list what treatment wards and equipment go to which pods?”


“Pete has the final draft, but I should have a copy here on my P.A.D.D.,” Derrick told him as he pulled the device out of its pouch. Activating the P.A.D.D. and looking through his notes he found the file he was looking for, “Yes, I have it here, it looks like it is current to last week so it should be the one you need,” he copied the files onto one of the Isolinear chips before popping it out and handing it over.



Xon pulled one of the extra chips out of his backup supply and handed the empty one to Derrick as he placed the chip with the project files in his P.A.D.D., “This is satisfactory for my needs, once the Reliant returns, I shall direct the completion of this section of the hospital. With Kevin’s help making the linkage connections in the morning the hospital shall be ready for patients by nine am local time.” Looking at Richard he asked, “Will that be satisfactory for your purposes Richard, or do you need me to expedite the process by recalling the Reliant early?”


“It should be, I don’t think patients start to show up much before nine anyway, the problem is that the Asclepius was acting as the local emergency hospital for this area, and now that he is dead there might be problems if people show up thinking that they can get help,” Richard looked around to see if anyone had any ideas.



“Blimey, how fast could ye lads have built this hospital then?” Bryon was shocked and glanced around to the group of some of the most powerful young men he had ever met.



Placing hand on Xon’s arm as he started to answer Edward smiled at Bryon, “I don’t think that is something you really want answered, let’s leave it that Aaron and his people believed in us, to such a degree that they were willing to let us build the hospital and pay us to do the work. And they are willing to continue providing jobs for our people as they funnel some of their wonderful technology into our country.”



“Right you are your Highness, jobs for the average man puts food on the table for the wife and kids, I don’t be needing to put my nose where it don’t belong.” Bryon’s face turned red for talking above his station, “I can have my crews out of the building by Monday morning for the final walk through. I’ll keep the lads out of this half while we finish up the other side.” nodding and giving a wave Bryon walked out of the hall and made his way to his crews, he had a building to finish and get weather tight.



“Right, there you lot are,” James said as he walked into the room, “I just got off the radio with mother, she ordered the MP’s in charge of health and services detained, she plans to hand them over to your troops so they can be mind scanned.” Leaning against the wall James sighed as he looked out into the empty hallway, “To put it mildly she is pissed, even the stunt your parents pulled Richard was minor to how mad she is right now.”



Staring at Edward with concern written in his face James asked, “Any word on Aaron and how he is doing, or what happened to him?”



“The original wound was not the problem, the problem was the bullet nicked an artery. One of the smaller ones but he lost a lot of blood, that’s what put him in the bio-tube for repairs.” Tim told him and looked over at Edward, “He’ll be fine and up and around soon, he told us telepathically it was a good lesson for him to control his temper, he needs to make sure he never gets so angry again and forgets his surroundings.”



Edward sighed in relief, “So, he will be okay then, I wasn’t sure when I saw all that blood.” Tremors hit Edward’s body as he flashed back to a short time ago, feeling a tight grip on his shoulder he looked up and smiled as Xon stared intently back at him. It gave him the time to control his emotions and pull himself back into the here and now. All further conversation stopped as every one of the Alteran’s including Richard stopped and looked up as if listening to a conversation.



James looked at his sons and noticed they acted like this happened all the time and this was normal, he thought it was rather spooky himself, though come to think of it they probably were listening to a conversation being telepaths and all.



Returning to here and now and looking at Andrew and Edward the group gave one final look between themselves before Xon told Edward and his brother, “the Reliant is back ahead of schedule, curious…I of course will go and prepare the MRB’s for deployment.” He gave one last squeeze to Edward’s shoulder before porting out.



“The Reliant? Is that not the huge space ship Aaron showed us over our long weekend away,” James blinked back in surprise as something he had heard finally clicked into place, “Wait one moment…Aaron’s title, part of it says something about leader of the Sixty four worlds of the empire! I assumed it was just a title like the ancients used to give themselves, do you mean to tell me there are actually sixty four different worlds out there under his control, that he actually has an empire?”



Giggling, Richard looked over at his uncle James mischievously, “It’s up to sixty five now, another new world has passed its fifty years of testing so it can be colonized now.”



“How many people realize this, and why aren’t you being hounded by people wanting immigrate to one of these worlds,” James asked as he walked into the room and looked between Derrick and Tim.



“I don’t know, I know the Emperor of Japan is going to have discussions with Aaron over a colonization project and the King of Denmark I believe it was, contacted Aaron soon after the UN meeting for the same thing.” Tim glanced at Derrick before pathing Kevin, “Kevin, Edward's father was asking a question that got me wondering, why haven’t we been snowed under with emails requesting interviews to colonize one of the planets, I mean there are millions of SCIFI nuts out there that should be, as Edward’s father puts it, pounding down our doors trying to get off world?”



Kevin sat back in the chair in the dining hall, not believing what he was hearing, thinking about it, “I don’t believe the world knows about it, only a few of the world leaders picked up on what Aaron said that day. They have been pretty tight lipped as emails have been sent back and forth, if I had to guess Aaron has been putting them off until after our move.”



I’m sorry Kevin, it is harder than I thought it would be to keep up a solid front to the world, but until Aaron gets out of the bio-tube the only thing I can think of is to make sure the world at large does not realize what happened. And we get to answer insane questions like this one, otherwise people would start to get suspicious,” Tim gave Kevin the mental equivalent of a hug before glancing back towards the Royals. “The answer is pretty easy on that one, Kevin just told me that what was said at the UN meeting really did not go public and only two monarchs actually listened to what Aaron said then and they are talking about setting up a final meeting sometime soon. Afterwards I imagine that Aaron would make an announcement to the world at large and we will be neck deep in requests.”



“I think Edward,” James looked at the confused look on his oldest son's face and told himself he would talk to him on the way back to the palace. “Mother and I need to sit down and discuss this in full then, it will change the fabric of what we are trying to do drastically.”



“We need to leave this section now,” Tim interrupted them after getting a message from Xon, “the MRB’s will be arriving in a moment and we don’t want to be in their way as they finish this section.” Ushering the others out of the room he started towards the front doors, once outside he looked around and saw the Marines patrolling the fence line in full body armor and sighed, this was supposed to be a hospital not an armed camp.



Spotting a milling crowd of people near the entrance to the old naval hospital, Derrick nudged Tim and started walking over to find out why they were not visiting their family members on board the Asclepius. A short walk later they entered the reception area to find it packed with worried parents and loved ones, “Hello, why are you all hiding in here instead of visiting up at the Asclepius?”



“Well Governor, we just weren’t sure it was safe to be out and about, what with all those government bastards ordering us around this morning at gunpoint. Then with your lot swooping in…well we be standing here waiting for the word to go on back up.”



Tim frowned and glanced at the roving patrols, “Didn’t one of the Marines tell you everything was under control,” he was thinking that there had been another breakdown in communication and he was going to have to jump someone’s ass over it, maybe venting would relieve some of the stress he was feeling right now.



“One of those right scary soldier boys did stop by and tell us it was safe to be out and about, but we decided to wait for word from some one less scary,” a woman in the back told him.



Mimicking Xon, Tim raised an eyebrow and looked at Derrick who shrugged and then he stared at Richard who just smiled and sent, “It’s a British thing really.”



“Well it is very safe to go on up to the Asclepius and visit if you want to. The people who tried to take control this morning are in prison and will be tried quickly for their crimes and more than likely this time tomorrow they will be begging mercy at the pearly gates, trying to keep from being sent straight down for what they did,” Tim told them with a smile. “So if you want to go visit loved ones or let your children outside to play, feel free, you are very safe right now. I doubt anyone else tries to do anything like this again, especially after Aaron and your Queen get done with the whole health and services department.”



Moving to one side as the people started to walk past, smiling at them and giving them their thanks and plenty of god blesses sent on their way Tim tried very hard not to fidget while the royals took it all in stride and Derrick just nodded and ignored it. He was starting to realize what Aaron went through all the time and he was not going to tease him anymore over being the King, not if this is what he always had to put up with, by the gods the people were practically worshiping him, inside he was cringing and finally as the last of them walked out of the building he sagged in relief.



“I hate to cut this short, but we need to return home, there are things that need to be taken care of.” Tim smiled as he motioned for Richard and Derrick to come over to his side, while thinking yeah like hiding under the bed until Aaron gets out of the Bio-tube, how the hell does he make this look so easy, he needed a hug and a kiss badly. “Andrew, Edward, I believe Richard was going to stop by tomorrow to pick the two of you up, let’s keep it that way for now and I look forward to hearing you explain your homework assignments tomorrow,” he laughed at their expressions.



“But…But, Aaron didn’t mention any assignment to me,” Edward looked horrified as he looked at his brother in shock, “Did he mention an assignment to you Andrew?”



Confused, Andrew shook his head no and looked at Tim who was smiling, figuring he was being teased, Andrew’s fist shot out and lightly smacked Tim’s arm, “You prat you had us worried.”



Tim pouted before laughing, looked over at James, “Just so you know, I have a feeling once Aaron wakes up, he will be doing as Richard suggested and installing several WD758’s here to patrol the grounds, it might be a good idea to makes sure not a single one of the troops you brought with you are here when they arrive.” Eyes hardening in cold anger Tim gazed out of the door, “Anyone who enters these grounds with a weapon…well the drones patrolling have only one setting and the person will be dead before they realize they were even spotted.”



“Right, then I best have a word or two with the colonel, hadn’t I,” James blanched as he walked out of the old naval hospital putting as much distance as he could between the pissed of Clan member and himself.



Tim pulled Edward into a hug before releasing him and repeating it with Andrew, “We’ll see you guys tomorrow,” smiling at the surprise that was planned, “I think both of you will like the surprise Aaron has planned for you this weekend.”



Smiling as he left the two of them pleading to know what the surprise was, he ported out followed by Derrick and Richard who waved at his cousins as he smirked at them.



Arriving back at the Clan dining hall, Tim glanced around as he saw everyone but Xon was sitting around comforting each other, on the second glance through he realized that Fred was missing also, and stared at the med bay as he walked over to fall into the seat next to Kevin, “How are you holding up?”



“I’m holding on barely, I never knew how much Aaron did to hold us together, let alone the kingdom.” Kevin sighed as he rubbed his eyes, “I think we’ve had half the kingdom through the Clan Hall since you’ve left, everyone wanting to know firsthand that Aaron will be okay.”



“I know what you mean, I only had a small taste of what Aaron goes through over at Elswick. I mean the people over there really made me uncomfortable with the praise and hero worship they were giving me, the thing is, I didn’t do anything but talk to them.” Tim sighed as he looked at Kenny who looked like a lost puppy sitting on the ground near his brothers legs, “I’m never going to make fun at Aaron over him not liking be treated like a King again. My small taste left me feeling dirty in a way, I can’t imagine how he feels getting the same every day in and out just because he steps outside the Kingdom.”



“At least here at home the hero worship he gets is earned,” Pete laughed as he sat down on the other side of Kevin, “The youngsters are going to be very upset when he misses morning hug duty, they are going to be upset this afternoon just as much I think.”



“Well hopefully Fred will have an update for us soon,” Kevin glanced over his shoulder at the entrance to the med bay, as if by looking that way he could cause Fred to appear.



Fred was amazed and slightly overwhelmed with the options available to him once he had inserted the chip into the bio-tube system, snorting as he thought about it. It had taken him a good half hour just to find the slot for the chip to be inserted into in the first place, he would have to have a good long talk with Aaron over making things more difficult than they should be. Sighing, he laid his hand on the top of the bio-tube, he wished he knew what to do. The reports confirmed that Aaron was fully healed, but the cycle timer would not allow anyone to release him until the timer hit zero, unless he overrode the timer now that he had the ability. He just wished he knew what to do. Leaning his head against the top of the bio-tube he sobbed for a moment before pathing in desperation, “Aaron…tell me what to do we’re all lost and need you! We’re all trying desperately to hold it together and Kevin is trying his hardest.”



Enter 76943AT34 into the touchpad,” Fred heard in his mind and jumped back when he saw Aaron move his arm towards his face. Quickly entering the command into the terminal Fred heard a hissing along with a gurgle and stared as large bubbles of air started to come up from under Aaron bouncing his body around. Soon the bio-tube was half empty of fluid and Aaron’s face was in the airspace and he opened his eyes.



Turning his head Aaron smiled to reassure his lover, “I hate this part, whatever you see don’t panic. I promise you Fred, it will be fine, you can trust me,” Aaron doubled over in pain as he thrashed about in the bio-tube, hands and legs banging the side as his body started to relax slightly before deep coughing wracked Aaron’s frame.



Tears flowing freely Fred watched on in agony as Aaron went through his fit, repeating to himself over and over, “He promised…he promised…”



Taking a deep breath that could be heard outside the bio-tube Aaron finally settled down and floated on top of the metallic fluid, “Son of a Bitch that hurt.”



“You think,” Fred sobbed as he heard Aaron talk to him.



Sorry Fred, but I don’t know if you noticed or not but I was not exactly breathing and my system had to be kicked started and that hurts,” Aaron tried to smile and placed his hand on the side of the bio-tube.



“Not breathing…” Fred started to panic slightly as he placed his hand over Aaron’s, “how do I get you out of there?”



Yeah the not breathing part was one of the last ditch protection protocols, I only tripped this one once before, during the time I was alone learning about my new gifts,” Sighing Aaron laid back as the fluid he was floating in started to flush out with regen fluid. “The release cycle has already started, the nanites are being flushed out of the bio-tube and replaced with regen fluid. It will take a little bit before the cycle finishes, has it been thirty hours already?”



Shaking his head no Fred laid the top half of his body against the top of the bio-tube, “Kevin and several of the guys went into the Core and they came back with an override chip, the system reported that you were healed and for the most part it was blood loss that was the problem from the nicked artery.” Fred smacked the top of the bio-tube hard, “if you weren’t inside there I would smack you so hard for scaring us.”



I’m truly sorry Fred, I know better than to ignore people with guns, but it just did not register that I had been shot, I never felt it and until I saw all the blood I never realized I had been. If I had I could have kinetically sealed the wound temporarily and slept off the effects of healing on a bio-bed.” Aaron sounded remorseful for the pain he inadvertently caused. Turning his head he saw the clock and saw that it was almost five in the afternoon, so he had only been in here several hours at most, resting his eyes on Pat floating in the next bio-tube he sighed, “Fred can you tell me what the system reports is wrong with Pat?”



Nodding his head as he wiped his face with his arm Fred stood and went around to the other monitor interface, “Right. Earlier it said something about psychic overload and breakthrough fever. Right now it is reading breakthrough shock and malnutrition along with…what the hell? He was never malnourished and what is this about recommending forced puberty?”



Traumatic breakthrough,” Aaron turned his head to the side and gazed at Pat, “I’ve read reports that it is possible in times of life and death stress for a natural born Alteran to undergo something like this, I never expected to have to deal with something like this, so early.” He groaned as he shook his head and the fluid sloshed against the side of the bio-tube.



Fred we need to do something about the malnutrition first. I want you to bring up the procedure screen and the medication side, once there I want you to tap this code into the search box,” Aaron waited until Fred brought up the section and glanced back at him and nodded. “Type in ’NUTR1BS’ that will start fueling his transformation, and hopefully stop his body from cannibalizing the rest of his body mass to support the changes, it is the liquid IV form of our energy donuts.”



Tapping administer Fred faced Aaron, “Is he going to be alright? What is the forced puberty part, it was not there earlier when we checked up on him?”



Hopefully he will be. This is not something I’ve ever dealt with and I need to do some serious research, I remember reading about it in the Clan Archives, evidently some of the children in the other timeline suffered from Traumatic Breakthrough. They were in a war at the time and I did not read anything that would lead me to believe they did not survive, but I do think being forced to undergo puberty early is not something he is going to enjoy, not really,” Aaron tried to explain what little he knew. Hearing a slight beep he realized that the bio-tube had been flushed and he was now floating in regen fluid and started to scrub his exposed face, the splashing he was doing caught Fred’s attention and he rushed over.



Rushing over thinking Aaron was having another fit Fred stared down at him seeing that he was washing his face, “What the …”



Looking up at Fred Aaron smiled, “I need to wash the nanites off my skin, otherwise it will take weeks to get them off once they dry,” wincing at the memory he laughed, “that is the easy thing, the peeing silver for days is going to be the hardest to get used to since the nanites replaced my blood supply for now.”



Finished just in time Aaron thought as the fluid started to drain away and the floor of the bio-tube started to rise, once the floor stopped moving and the fluid was gone he was hit by desert dry air and having forgotten how desiccating the feeling was he swore mentally in shock before holding his breath.



Hearing the cussing Fred giggled in relief when the lid hissed as it unsealed and started to slide back. Not waiting for Aaron to get out, Fred threw himself onto Aaron sobbing in relief once more.



“Shhh…it’s going to be fine Fred, let it out love, let it all out,” Aaron pulled Fred towards him as he sat up. Pulling his legs out of the end of the bio-tube he swung them around as he pulled Fred into his lap and let him release all the pain and tension from being scared. After several minutes, Fred settled down and Aaron lifted Fred’s chin and kissed him gently, “I truly am sorry for scaring you, and everyone else, Fred.”



“Let me check on Pat one last time and then let’s go tell everyone else before they have a meltdown from the stress,” Aaron kissed Fred gently once more and when Fred nodded his head but refused to let go, Aaron smiled and shifted so he was standing while holding Fred tight to his side, making his way to the bio-tube terminal was an adventure he thought, finally at the terminal he let his fingers fly over the touch pad and brought up screen after screen in rapid order as he checked different scan reports. Sighing, He hugged Fred close to his side, “Well let's go let everyone know I’m up and around, there’s really nothing I can do for Pat right now, not without doing some research and right now he seems stable.”



Glancing over towards the med bay once again, as was becoming habit Kevin noticed movement and sat up rapidly and turned in this chair, he saw a shadow moving towards the entrance, a moment later, he realized it was two people, “Aaron…” Kevin got out before porting out of his chair and appearing right in front of Aaron and threw himself into his arms sobbing in relief.



Tim, hearing Kevin murmur Aaron's name turned around and smiled in relief as he saw Aaron standing there holding onto a sobbing Kevin, “Guy’s Aaron's up and about,” he yelled as he stood up and quickly ran towards the med bay.



Finally resorting to sitting down on the ground instead of being pushed over from over his enthusiastic and relieved lovers Aaron started to count heads and came up three short, besides Pat that is, “Where are the Lee brothers and Xon?”



“Xon took Ichiro with him, he was almost catatonic with worry. He’s onboard the Reliant right now directing the MRB’s so the Elswick facility will be ready in the morning, we’ve lost the Asclepius with the code 99.” Tim informed him, as Kevin was busy clutching Aaron soaking up his presence, “Shoji on the other hand wanted something to take his mind off of the fact you were hurt, so he went over to Altair Minor to work with Scott and John.”



“I’m real sorry for screwing up like I did,” Aaron told them as he pulled Kevin close and sighed before kissing Kevin, looking into his eyes and seeing the pain still there. “Tommy, first thing after dinner, I want you to go back to your classes, you’ve been looking forward to them for a long time now, so don’t miss out on any more than you have to.”



“I guess the time for going anywhere without armed guards is truly gone,” Aaron sighed before growling out, “Dammit all to hell, why should I have to change my life for those people.” Sighing, Aaron held up a hand as Pete started to say something, “I know Pete, it just bothers me that I have to surround myself with guards because of the outsiders, actually it frosts me to no end. That was supposed to be our embassy and if we’re not safe on our own turf within a friendly government’s borders then what about when I travel around the rest of the world?”



“Maybe you just need to make sure you don’t ever go anywhere alone again, maybe the guards are not needed as much if you had someone to watch your back,” Kevin mumbled from Aaron’s chest, luckily loud enough for everyone to hear and agree.



“I suppose the news of me getting shot is all over the Kingdom?” Aaron groaned when he saw fourteen heads nod yes. Coming to a quick decision, “alright, time to make an announcement and then go to the youngsters section of the city and eat dinner with them, that is the only way they will believe I’m alright and keep them from getting frightened more than they are.” Nudging Kevin and Fred he got to his feet, brushing his fingers through his hair he carefully made his way through his lovers. Standing in his office with his lovers behind him he logged into the terminal, looking into the pickup as every monitor in the city and off world station activated.



Smiling at the pickup Aaron started to reassure his people, “Hello everyone. I just wanted to make a quick announcement that I’m fine, I know a lot of you were worried. But there is a reason we have the best medical facilities in the universe, and truthfully, if it was not for bleeding a little too much, I would not have even spent any time in the med bay. I’m going to disconnect in a minute and make my way to the dining hall down in the city, if you want to see that I’m alright with your own eyes, that is where I’ll be.”



Waving at the pickup, Aaron disconnected before pathing as he looked at the ceiling, “Xon, Love, time to place the controls of the replication center on automatic or hand them over to another crew, you and Ichiro need to come back home.”



Of course Aaron,” Xon pathed back as he smiled form being contacted, pulling Ichiro over Xon picked his chin up and looked into his eyes, “It is time to go home, Aaron wants us there.” Feeling the intense relief settle into Ichiro, Xon pulled him tight against his body and ported the two of them to Aaron’s office and side.



Sobbing in relief, Ichiro threw himself into Aaron's arms and slid down his body until he was kneeling in front of Aaron while hugging him tightly.



Giving him a moment, Aaron reached down and pulled Ichiro to his feet, hugging him he turned and pulled Xon close and into the hug and kissed Xon gently and felt the relief in his mind, “Alrighty guys, let’s get down into the city before a mob forms searching for me.” Looking into Ichiro’s eyes as he held him away from his body, Aaron saw that he would be fine, mostly unsettled from the drama as he had not settled into believing he was finally part of them.



Reaching out and pulling Kenny and then Doug over, Aaron smiled as He leaned over so Kenny could hug his neck for the port, “I was so scared,” Kenny whispered in Aaron’s ear.



Pulling him tight against his body, Aaron stood up and pulled Doug tight against him before smiling and looking around, “Right, let’s go get something to eat, well some of us anyway, as I have a feeling I’m about to be hugged to death.” Porting down to the park, Aaron heard his name being screamed in relief as they were bombarded with upset and relieved teens and youngsters.



Two and a half hours later, Aaron was smiling as he started to eat his supper, it had taken a lot longer than he imagined calming down some of the younger guys, but in the end, he did and they were all happy and full of energy again so it was worth getting to his food late. “You all did a good job under a lot of stress, I’m proud of each and every one of you,” Aaron pathed to the Clan and sent his love along for good measure, smiling reassuringly to the two members who had not gotten his pathed message he noticed Kenny looked worried still, leaning across the table Aaron whispered, “What’s wrong, Kenny?”



Kenny looked up from where he was pushing his food around in his plate into Aaron’s eyes, “Is Pat really going to be alright?”



“I won’t lie to you Kenny, he’s really sick right now because his body was not ready for him to go through Breakthrough. On top of that, by undergoing breakthrough early, he is being pushed into puberty way to early.” Sighing, Aaron glanced up at the high wall in the direction the Clan Hall was located, looking back into Kenny’s face, “I have no idea if his gifts were damaged in any way, though even if he cannot have full use of his gifts, we would still love him the same, as soon as we finish eating, I’m going to head down into the Core and do some research. I do know this has happened before to the others, so hopefully the answers are there in the Clan records.”



“Right this minute he is stable and doing okay, after I find the answers, I will be able to tell you more,” Aaron told Kenny who stared at him for a while before nodding his head and starting to shovel the food into his mouth, the quicker they finished eating, the quicker Aaron could find the answers to fix things he decided.



Placing his dishes on the conveyor leading into the kitchen, Aaron smiled as he was surrounded by eager youngsters intent on getting one last hug before they took off for whatever they had planned for the night, but from what Aaron had overheard he thought most of them were planning on packing up their apartments, they planned to be the first in line to move starting midnight Monday morning.



Laughing as he walked out of the dining hall, Brian smiled and asked Aaron what was so funny, “Why the laughter, not that I’m not happy to hear it after this afternoon let me tell you?”



“I swear those youngsters picked up more than Tommy’s love of lists, there was a group of them talking about being ready to show up to be ported up to Sol Station and over to Altare Prime at midnight. Staying up late Sunday night so when midnight rolled around they would be ready to go.” Aaron continued to laugh as they entered the park so the older Alteran's that did not make it to the dining hall could see him.



Giggling, Mark looked at Brian, “They picked up Tommy’s love of getting around limitations, they are going to argue that at 12:01 it is officially Monday and they should be able to go to their new home, after all, Aaron promised them,”



Chuckling, Aaron shook his head in laughter, “Wait until they find out we are going to ask for volunteers to move over early to help with chores once the livestock is moved.”



“Give it up Aaron, you might as well let the youngsters move over Saturday night after the livestock gets there, you won’t get a moment of peace otherwise.” Pete giggled, then turned serious, “Once the move is over, I think we would all feel better if you set up your office onboard Sol Station where you will be safer. What do you plan to do with the city and topside when we all move away?”



Waving at a group across the stream, Aaron glanced back at Pete, “Part of the city will go back into hibernation, a sort of stasis; some of it, mainly around the med bay area will house those of us working around the hospital and on secret missions here on Earth, topside will be left barren of all structures and left as untouched land. We can use this place in the future as a hidden enclave if needed; the Core will be merged with the one on Altare Prime, hopefully making that one easier to deal with. After the merge the system Core will be placed in hibernation, which reminds me I need to empty and move the weapons locker before the Core goes into hibernation.”



“Speaking of the Core, I think I need to go down and do my research, enough people have had a chance to see me up and moving around now,” Aaron smiled as he pulled each of them into a hug, kissing them in a way that reminded them that he loved them. Smirking at the several dazed looks from some of his lovers, Aaron ported to the Core entry and after being identified walked to the center recliner and lay down. “Corry…please show me all log entries that mentions early breakthrough from the Clan Archives.”



“Right away your Majesty.”






Cursing his operatives for being fools and offspring of a bad mating with camels he slammed the folder down on his desk and let his eyes take in the glorious scene of the infidel being tortured outside his window, the scream of pain was particularly enticing as the woman was slowly electrocuted for her failure. His carefully crafted plan to get his hands on that advanced technology failed, he blamed the hired mercenaries for revealing themselves too soon.



“Achmed…” he bellowed as he made a decision.



“Yes your magnificence,” Achmed bowed as he rushed through the door into the opulent office.



“Have our programmers insert the virus as planned, we will go with the original plan to remove the threat to our way of life, inform the holy ones the Jihad is approved and our final solution shall happen in one weeks time.”



Editors’ ramblings




RadioRanchers notes: Let's see, Bank note, Ransom note, Break note, Thank you note, Love note, Promissory note, Noteworthy, Notebook, Note taker, Notepad, Note tonight, I've got a headache, G# 

I hope Aaron will always remember not to be so cock sure of himself from now on.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher