Chapter 73

   

                                             

 

 

Edward leaned back in his chair as he watched the simulation he had programmed into the tutor run.  His mind was not really on class work right now.  He was lost in thought on what to do about the fallout when he decided to broach the subject of having a child with Aaron to the press; and then the day he would have to get married by the church bishop.  He was not sure how, if at all, Aaron would agree to it.  He was trying to figure out if he could get away with marrying one of the other Clan members, that left Aaron out of it completely.  He would have to remember to ask his grandmother to research the family linage laws to see if he had to be married in a ceremony of state.

 

 

“Edward…Edward mate,” Rowley nudged Edward from his musings.

 

 

“Huh…” blinking and looking round he saw the simulation was over and it was successful.  “Sorry Rowley, must have been lost in thought,” again, he thought.  Smiling he looked at his lab partner, or at least the one who shared most of his lab practices at the next station, “What can I do for you, Rowley?”

 

 

“I was telling you your simulation was over but you seemed a million miles away,” Rowley smiled, “Our assigned lab time is almost over.   Do you want to go get something to eat and talk about it?”

 

 

Saving his work and logging out of the station, “That sounds like a good idea.  Where did you want to go?” Edward stood and stretched.  He needed a break from his thoughts.

 

 

“We can go around the corner to the pub, maybe grab a pint or two.  Most of our mates from school hang out there in the afternoon doing their homework, “Rowley smiled.  “We can grab one of the back tables and you can tell me what has you so distracted.”

 

 

“Maybe,” Edward grinned as they headed down the street towards the pub.  Something hot and plentiful would help fill the hole that was his belly right now, he thought.

 

 

Walking down the street he smiled as he felt the presence hidden in the shadows following him.  One of the spooks from the kingdom he thought.  Stomach growling loudly as they walked through the door he gave a sheepish grin, “Food might be a very good idea.”

 

 

Letting his eyes adjust to the dimmer light Edward looked around and noticed a lot of his classmates gathered at small tables with all kinds of girls hanging around and off of them.  This might not be a good idea after all, he thought.  Spotting a booth in the corner near a dark shadow Edward pointed, “Right then, I’ll get us that booth and you get your drink and a couple of menus if you would.”  Getting a grin in response Edward moved carefully through the crowd and felt emotions stir around him, and felt as if eyes were undressing him and became very uncomfortable.  He had avoided situations like this all his life and now he had gone and stepped right in it, he thought.

 

 

Tossing his bag into the booth he looked over the back and was glad to see there was plenty of room for a person to hide, and smiled in relief when one of the spooks quickly moved around behind the booth.  As he settled in he whispered to him, “Thank the stars, this is more than I expected or wanted to get into really.”  Taking a seat he winced as he had to close his mind down several notches after opening it up.  The headache inspiring burst of loud noisy thoughts was almost too much for him.

 

 

“What can I get for ya, handsome?” the waitress walked up and smiled at him as she held out a menu.

 

 

Quickly glancing at it he made his choice, “Let me have a double order of the chicken and bacon club with chips.  Rowley’s getting our drinks, but if I could get a glass of water please.”

 

 

“Sure thing, sexy,” the waitress leaned over exposing her deep cut neckline as she picked up the menu and swished as she walked away.

 

 

“Dear lords above,” Edward whispered out in shock, “She was flirting with me!”

 

 

Laughing Rowley placed a glass in front of Edward, “Of course she was.  That’s why half of our classmates come to this pub; the fairer half here are just so easy to get along with, don’t ya know.”

 

 

Taking a sip of his drink without thinking on it, Edward winced at the taste and pushed the glass away, he disliked the taste immensely.  Eyes taking in the laughter of his schoolmates Edward tried to focus on Rowley as his headache increased and he felt funny.  He hoped the food came soon.

 

 

“So Edward,” Rowley took a good pull of his bitter, “I understand the life changing decision you have to be pondering must weigh heavily on your mind…”  Seeing Edward had grimaced and pushed the glass away after tasting it, he thought maybe bitter was not his cup of tea.  “It would weigh heavily on my mind,” he shuddered.  “After all, you would have to have sex with a bloke.  I’m not sure I could let one bugger me.”

 

 

Taking a sip of his water, hoping the food would come out soon, Edward winced as he rubbed his head, “Buggering or being buggered, that is the easy part.  Falling in love and having a son, now that is the hard part,” he told him as he played with his water glass spinning it around.

 

 

“Oh I don’t know, Edward, having a son could be the easy thing.  After all, all you have to do is have the fun and let your wife take care of the rest.  It’s not like we have to give birth or anything.” Rowley laughed, “And all you have to do is pay attention to the blighter when he gets old enough and take a passing interest in his life, and let your wife do most of the raising…like I said pretty easy.” Taking another drink of his lager he looked at Edward to see his reaction.

 

 

Shaking his head slowly Edward felt worse. It couldn’t be from the little sip of the bitter could it? “No…Never, if I had a son I would be one of the major influences in his life.  He would know from the moment he could recognize me he was loved and wanted.  Everything he was interested in would be supported.   I would ensure that every step of the way I was next to him, and encouraging the next step,” Looking up, eyes swimming he stared at Rowley, “No Rowley, your wrong.  Having and raising a son should never be like you described.”

 

 

Sitting back and relaxing Rowley smiled, “I’m glad you think so Edward.  You’re the type of father that will be a great one; like I wish my new father was, like my first dad was before he died.”  Smiling as the waitress placed two huge plates in front of them, “You must have been very hungry, and I’m sorry for winding you up but I had to know.  I like you, Edward, and want to be your friend, but I’ve been burned one too many times.”

 

 

Feeling slightly better now that he was eating Edward looked over at Cowley, “I am not sure I understand.  Burned one too many times?  Rowley, true friends don’t turn on each other.” Edward waved his sandwich around to punctuate his point.

 

 

Rowley smiled as he watched Edward wolf down the food.  Draining the last of his drink he glanced at Edwards’s almost untouched drink as he picked at his sandwich, “Pint not to your taste?”

 

 

Chuckling Edward glared at the drink, “I only took a sip, so go ahead…I…I truly did not like the taste and it gave me a headache right quick.”  Finishing his water he pushed the glass closer to Cowley.

 

 

Grinning Cowley grabbed the glass and took a healthy gulp and put it down with a wince, “You’re right, it’s off something fierce.”  Looking at Edward through the sudden haze he wondered what was wrong, “Damn, something is seriously wrong with that drink, me head’s spinning.”  Putting his head in his hands he closed his eyes.

 

 

Edward scowled at the glass, pulled out his scanner and pointed it at the glass.  Activating it his hand was jostled by one of the girls as she scooted in, “Hey handsome…oh blimey your friend doesn’t look to good, must not like the dust.”   Reaching down and running her hand up Edwards’s thigh, “you, on the other hand, handsome, look like the dust likes you very much.”

 

 

Hearing the words and putting things together Edward scowled at the girl as he slapped her hand away rather hard, “Hands to yourself, and what is this dust?…what did you put in my drink?”

 

 

“Now, come on handsome,” she tried to reach for Edward’s crotch this time, “no need to get upset.” After having her hands pushed away and pushed off the bench she glared at Edward.  “So you never got the full dose, did you?  Well we’ll take care of that.”  Standing up she yelled out, “Someone bring me some dust; he’s not been dosed enough, and he’s a live one, one of the Royals.”

 

 

Brain still fuzzy and not working too good Edward tried to call for help and all he got was pain; so he slid his hand under the table and twisted the dial of his watch, activating the panic button as he noticed Rowley start to turn blue.

 

 

“Here ya go girl.  My, what a feisty one,” her friend laughed as she pushed Rowley over to sit and noticed he was turning blue.  “Shit girl, this one’s a fag; he’s bluing up on us.  Madam is going to be pissed.”

 

 

Twisting the dial around one more time to make sure, Edward started to fight back.  Hitting the one with the glass rather hard sending her tumbling to the floor.  He so wanted to spare a glance behind him to find out what happened to his guard when the Marines burst in, though in his drug induced fog he was still fighting the girl’s advances.

 

 

Sitting on the couch, Victoria hugged Richard one more time.  After a sleepless night she was relieved that his ordeal dealt with life not death.  She had sent an email last night asking him to stop by so she could see him, and she wanted to see that he was alright and not scared.  Riveted through the tale she looked at her husband to see his grinning I told you so expression, “You have changed, Richard.  More sure of yourself I think, and I am just happy that you are alright.”

 

 

“I’m truly loved and know it.”  Holding up a hand to stop his grandmother, “It is very different to be loved by a grandparent than a lover or a parent.  While I knew you cared for me it was difficult to believe you loved me like I do now.”  Richard looked down before looking up, “You never knew and, when you did, it made me feel wanted and loved when you stood up for me and told my parents that you were taking me; but all those times I was here and started to feel like I was wanted and loved I had to go back there.  It took some soul searching and a lot of mental talking things out before I knew for sure.”

 

 

Hugging Richard again with tears threatening to fall, Victoria let him go quickly when she felt him stiffen.  Looking at his face she wondered what now before sliding back slightly at seeing the pure rage that came into his eyes and then covered his face.

 

 

“Edward just triggered his panic button,” Richard spat out as he stood, “twice…”  Ignoring the snaps and whines as he unconsciously gathered stray energy around him like a cape, Richard snarled as he ported out leaving behind a set of frantic grandparents.

 

 

Alfred, being closer to his wife’s desk, picked up the phone, “Captain…full alert.  Edward triggered his panic button; the Clan is responding…And may God have mercy on their souls as the Clan has none,” Alfred said as he stared at his wife.  Hanging up the phone he looked at her pale face, “Which I am ever so thankful for.”

 

 

Richard was behind the first Marine squad through the front door and he actively searched every mind behind the face he glanced at, not caring if he caused pain.  “Hold every female here for interrogation.  Get all the males up to the Sol Station trauma center, they’ve been drugged.”   Seeing Edward trying to fight off the medic he listened to him repeating himself, telling them to help Rowley.  Glancing at the Shaolin healer he saw him point up. Nodding his understanding Richard moved over and grabbed Edward and stared at him trying to reach his mind, “He’s already at the med bay.  You need to stop fighting us and let the healers do their work…EDWARD,” Richard shook him slightly with no change.  He was still fighting their attempts to help him, and every time he got close to Edward’s mind all he saw was distorted images and the need to fight off the advances of the girl that tried to drug him again.

 

 

Spotting the open first aid kit, Richard ported the temple sensor into his hand and, as Edward muttered about spooks behind the booth, he kinetically froze him and slapped the sensor onto the side of Edward’s head causing him to rock back before he slumped over as the Shaolin turned on the soma unit. “Take him to Sol Station, call Fred to take charge if you would.”  Tone turning harsh he glanced at the girls being dragged into the pub from upstairs and the back room, some of them half dressed,  “I have some females to deal with.”

 

 

Richard’s rage returned tenfold after he climbed on the seat of the booth and looked behind it to see the lifeless eyes of one of the spooks, or in this case Edward’s guard, with a metal spike sticking out of his head.   Calming down after Mark broke into his thoughts, he got his anger under control as he looked at the gathered prisoners.  He jumped down after motioning the Marines over and pointed behind the booth, he slowly stormed over to the oldest looking woman.   He grabbed her by the neck and brought her up to her knees as he gazed down at her.  Invading her mind Richard sought the reason why Edward had been drugged.

 

 

No longer screaming the woman’s eyes rolled completely back into her head, the nerves of her eyes exposed, as her mouth moved unbidden, “The drug called dust is a creation of my late husband.  The only formula and directions for its creation are in my safe.  I was the only one to brew the drug then precipitate it out into powder form.  The half life of the powder is forty eight hours, the only known stock is behind the bar frozen into ice cubes and piped into the mug injector, the one used to make sure there is no foam on the tops of the pours, so we do not have spiked pints sitting out all day.  My plan was to use the drug to control the next generation of leaders and geniuses.  Over half of the girls are pregnant, sired from the sons of the future leaders of the world from that new school…”

 

 

Richard released his hold on the woman and, hatred in his eye, he looked at the female prisoners, “All of your lives are now forfeit.”  Energy coalescing in his hand he backhanded the ring leader, sending her flying across the room and into the bar where she slumped down, finally silent.  “Separate all those that are pregnant from those that are not.  Those that are pregnant send up to Sol Station and make sure they are restrained on the bio-beds by soma units and restraints.”

 

 

 

 

Mark grinned at Damien as Ru held the eagle still after placing a hood on its head, hands grasping the talons securely so Mike could extract the cells needed to create the eggs for fertilization.  Task done Ru handed the eagle to the handler, “That’s the last of them.  Well done, Mike.  Now that we have the samples and the fresh geese eggs we should be set to get this to his Majesty on Sol Station to walk us through the procedure on how to do the embryo transfer technique.”

 

 

“Someone will get back with you tomorrow, by the end of the day at the latest, to tell you how many successfully fertilized embryos were created and stabilized.”  Mark smiled at the group of veterinarians and scientists that had gathered to watch, along with the zoo board of directors.  “If you are truly interested though, you can go to this web address and log in with this ID and pass code.  It will give you real time data as they embryo transfers are confirmed,”  he handed the chip with the information on it over to the head veterinarian who took it eagerly.

 

 

Taking the offered chip reverently the veterinarian smiled, “Will this give us access so we can observe the procedure?”

 

 

“I can ask,” Mark smiled, “you’re the first to ask actually, plus I’ve never checked to see what was available under the pass codes.”

 

 

Whipping his head up Mark glowered for a moment before looking at Damien who was still looking up, “If you will excuse us, there has been an incident.  One of the Beastmasters will be contacting you tomorrow,” all of them ported out leaving a perplexed group behind.

 

 

Porting out, using the side image he had gotten from David, Mark arrived outside the trauma bay on Sol Station and frowned as he watched another group of teens being ported in, and one of them was pretty pale and blue looking.  “You guys head on back to Altare Prime, see if you can find Aaron, maybe let him know he might want to come back here…I have a bad feeling about all of that,” Mark pointed to the controlled chaos as the healers were trying to find out what was wrong with the teens.

 

 

Smiling after the kiss Damien gave him, Mark strode into the trauma pod intent on finding out what happened and what they needed.  Skimming the minds of the teens he passed as he walked towards the frantic team working on the slightly blue teen, “Drugged, they’ve all been drugged with something that is altering their minds.”

 

 

Hands flying across the terminal as he inputted new scan instructions after hearing the Dragon Lord say something about drugs, Tzu looked up in surprise as the system started to report an unknown substance in the teen’s bloodstream.

 

 

Hearing the healer behind him mutter out, “How?” Mark stopped by the bio-bed where they were working on the teen and wondered why they had not placed him in a bio-tube.  “Their minds, I skimmed their minds and found they feel like their perception is off, as if skewed.”  Glancing at the team he noticed Gordon, “Gordon, how come he’s not in a bio-tube. Wouldn’t it be easier to work on him?”

 

 

“We didn’t have time to move him,” Gordon snapped out, “We’re losing him, whatever is wrong its attacking his brainstem.  What the fuck did they give him?”

 

 

“And you didn’t teleport with him why?” Mark frowned as he reached out and felt for Richard, “Richard…That new invention of yours, is it only at the Clan compound? Linking with his lover he felt the rage and the buildup of energy and started to pull the energy towards him, losing most of it because of the distance but taking enough that rational thought returned. “Control Love, you need better control…Now, about you transporter filter?”

 

 

Staring at the dead guard, Richard sighed as he felt most of the rage being drained away as Mark’s question sank in and he looked through Mark’s eyes, “It’s not finished so the only working model is in the Kesol med bay. Staring at Edward’s friend through Mark’s eyes he finally had control of his anger. “Transporter buffer…shit, Edward was drugged too.  He’s one his way up, he’s not as bad though, pretty out of it actually.”

 

 

Extending his mic Mark activated the command net and sent out over an open channel, “To any Star Scout in Sol system, report your position please.”

 

 

Franklin looked up after receiving the message, “Captain, one of the Clan is requesting any Star Scout to report their position.  What do you want me to tell him, we’re the only scout around?”

 

 

Ray motioned with his hand and touched a panel on his terminal, “SS013-11 responding.  Unfortunately there are no Star Scouts in this sector.”

 

 

Mark’s mind flashed over the information, “One of Xon’s buffers masquerading as a ship…” Mark looked at the teen, they were losing him, “Captain, I have a medical emergency in front of me on the bio-bed half a meter from my position.  We’re losing him and I want him placed in the buffers until we can track down a way to help him.”

 

 

Gordon screamed in frustration when his patient he was frantically trying to save shimmered causing the monitor to go dark.  Glancing back where his patient should have been he stared as he dissolved in a shimmer of sparkles, “Where the hell did he go?  He’s not stable enough to move, Dammit!”

 

 

“Thank you, Captain.  Are you currently in the midst of transport or can you move over to Sol Station until Aaron gets here?”  Mark stared at Gordon, grabbing his arm and porting both of them to Aaron’s office startling Derrick who was working on projections.  Ignoring the response Mark rounded on Gordon who was still pissed, “SIT DOWN AND SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!”

 

 

Staring at Gordon until he sat down stiffly, anger evident in his eyes, Mark nodded and with a calmer and lighter tone, “You panicked, Gordon, and forgot all about your gifts.  You saw a young man turning blue on the floor and, instead of porting both of you to a bio-tube, you fell back into the outsider training.  You placed him on the bio-bed and started to try to heal him the old fashioned way, your mind telling you that you had to hurry…that you didn’t have the time to get him to a bio-tube.”

 

 

“It would have taken less time to get him into a bio-tube than it did for you to pick him up and place him in the bio-bed,” Mark whispered as he sat down and hugged the deflating healer, “What happened?”

 

 

Miserable, Gordon leaned over face in his hands, “I screwed up, didn’t I?”  Sighing, he thought back, “I think I flashed back to the first patient I lost as a med student…” throwing himself back into the cushions he looked up at the ceiling,  “He looked just like him, and I lost him because I did not know enough at the time to help him…Aaron’s going to kill me.”

 

 

“No I’m not,” Aaron said as he walked over to the couch, having ported in and hearing everything from the shut up forward, “What I am going to do is to help you deal with what happened back then so it doesn’t happen again.  Then, after we have dealt with it, we’re going to train your mind so it reacts differently, lessens your panic so you control your actions, not letting your instincts do so.”

 

 

Gordon looked at his boss sighing, “What would you have done?”

 

 

“Don’t let this get to be a second guessing thing Gordon; what I would have done might have bought us a few more minutes, but in the end we would have lost him just the same.  Mark’s quick thinking of placing him in the transporter buffer has given us the time we need to find a way to heal him.”  Aaron sighed at Gordon’s intense stare, demanding to know what he would have done differently, “I would have opened an artery and replaced all of his blood with modified regen fluid.”  Wanting to laugh at the flabbergasted expression on Gordon’s face, “Like I said it would have bought me some time.  He was drugged and he reacted badly to it, even Edward was reacting badly to it.  Fortunately for him, our different physiologies and metabolism is helping destroy and flush the drug out of his system quickly.”

 

 

“Until Edward wakes up we will not know what happened for sure.”  Looking at Mark who was lost in thought Aaron sighed, “When you contacted Richard you averted a disaster, he had lost control and he would have easily killed everyone.  All of us are going to have to sit down and talk.  We do pretty good at controlling our tempers as long as one of us are not involved, maybe we need to practice the dragons more so they become second nature so we don’t lose control.”

 

 

“That would be a help,” Richard ported in and moved over for a hug, “the few times we have consciously made the dragon out of energy it was easy to control, but when it started to form out of my rage I had no control over it.  I could have easily, without a thought, killed everyone there including any who got in my way; it was all about vengeance at that point.”  Hugging Mark tightly, Richard kissed him, “When you broke through my rage to ask me that question I felt you siphon off enough energy to allow me to gain back control.”

 

 

“So we need to practice, and find the trigger.  Maybe if we do something else with the energy we pull in, or even create a ghost before the rage takes hold, we can stay in control,” Derrick moved over from his pile of work at the desk so he could hug Richard too.

 

 

“Actually, that’s not a bad idea.  We can go to one of the uninhabited planets and practice there without worrying about destroying something vital,” Aaron smiled.  “If we can find a way to trigger a subconscious response so the rage is controlled, letting it bleed off without creating the dragons, it would be a hell of a lot safer for all involved.”

 

 

Becoming serious as he looked at Richard, “Okay Richard, is it even possible to incorporate your transporter bio filters in the med bay here?  I could get Xon or Pete to build a transporter with buffers easily; but what did you do differently that allowed you the fine control to filter out hormones at the quantum level?”

 

 

Thinking about it Richard went back over what he had done, “I set up a direct feed to Corey in the beginning.  Then I had him help design and build the Kesol med center.  I bounced ideas off of him and Aphrodite, and the easiest way I could come up with for medical procedures to be done was to hold someone in a quantum flux.  We can scan and control the filters on the quantum level once they are there.” Shaking his head, “It’s nowhere near finished; hardly started really.”

 

 

Mark looked at Richard confused, “Not started…Richard, it is a miracle in itself.  Like that automated breathing tube inserter you came up with.”

 

 

“It’s nothing special.  I knew Aphrodite, or the others, wouldn’t be able to intubate so the system needed to do it for them, so I explained to Corry what I wanted and he designed it for me.  I just installed the replicated pieces,” Richard shrugged.

 

 

Staring at Mark, who looked flabbergasted, Aaron chose his words carefully, “You bounced ideas off of Aphrodite because you were designing the system so she could use it too; and you told Corry what you wanted and let him design it for you.”

 

 

“I had Corry run the simulations of what he designed so we could tell if they would work for Aphrodite,” Richard remembered.  “I thought about adding a way for the new system to scan and record quantum scans so it we could have a healthy scan to compare to one when the patient was sick or injured, giving us a means to reject things like foreign substances and objects…But Corry isn’t finished with a design that works.  I wanted something that they could walk through and quickly take an image without all the flux phasing that happens now.”

 

 

Placing a finger on Richard’s lips Aaron thought Mark was going to lose it, “I’m stealing you ideas and building them into our med bay.  Having an automated intubation device would be wondrous.” Aaron was thinking about the second time he woke up in the bio-tube and had to have his lungs restarted,  “So you are also saying that the only working copy, which is still a work in progress is in the Kesol med bay…and until it is finished there is nothing to move or replicate.”

 

 

Fidgeting Richard looked to see if Aaron was upset and saw he was thinking, “I’m sorry, I…”

 

 

Lips leaving Richard’s after Aaron hushed him, “Shh Love, I just needed to know what our resources are so I know how to help the person we have in the buffers.”  Hugging Richard close he looked over at Mark, “If you had help could you move your project along faster, at least the human voice interface? Even if it is not finished, if we can replicate what you do have done and build something here, and then modify it after you’re done, it should all be software anyway I would think.”

 

 

“Well not really, but maybe it is,” Richard frowned.  “A lot of the time Corry will design new things I have to install to go along with the software changes,” brightening at the sudden thought, “Maybe if, at least for now, you do what I did it would work.

 

 

“What did you do?” Derrick was intrigued.

 

 

“I super sized it,” Richard grinned, “at least for now.  The normal space something like this is housed in is small and there is no room to maneuver a hand.  Behind the terminal wall we built a large room, four meters squared, plenty of room for me to walk in hook the new pieces in and have plenty of space between everything. I figured after it was all done it could be made compact.”

 

 

Rubbing his face with one hand Aaron was grinning; out of the minds of non techies.  “We can do that.  If it gives us your wonderful new invention you can have half of a trauma pod; hell, you can have a whole trauma pod to put it in, that way we can tie it in to the pods on either side.”

 

 

Richard stopped giggling as he thought about Xon or Pete looking at his design before it was ready.  He was worried they would laugh or pick his design apart, telling him they could do it better.

 

 

“They won’t do that, you know,” Mark smiled at Richard.  “You should have seen Pete’s first replicator design, cables and wires everywhere.  You practically had to port from spot to spot to even get to the console without tripping over something; and there were four consoles spaced all over the room instead of the one we have now.”  Leaning forward Mark squeezed Richard’s knee, “They know what a work in progress means, and they will not butt into your project unless you ask them to.”

 

 

“Alright, let’s go check on Edward to see if we can get some answers before we take our patient to Prime and hopefully heal him.” Aaron sighed, “tonight is going to be hard enough, Ted will be consigned to the wind our way, he died protecting one of us; and I have to make sure all those who are pregnant, that knowingly were part of this scheme, have had their embryos transferred to one of the incubators before they are put to death.  The rest will have the knowledge they were pregnant removed from their minds. This whole thing is going is going to be a nightmare.”

 

 

“Sentencing people to death is never an easy thing, and if they had not taken part in something that ended up with someone ending up dead…” Aaron shook his head sadly as he stood and started for the door.

 

 

“Wouldn’t it be easier to do death of personality, unless they knew about the trap?” Richard sighed, now that he was not furious he did not like that he condemned them all at the same time.  “I know I was the one to say put them to death, but couldn’t it be of personality for those under eighteen?”

 

 

“Maybe, we’ll see.”  Aaron left himself that option, and all too soon they were in the med bay section of the station and he saw the confused teens sitting in the bio-beds.  Smiling he saw a full genetic mapping was being done as the drugs worked their way out of their systems. Stopping at the bio-bed off to one side Aaron kept his voice low, “Hey Edward…” Glancing at the reading Aaron grinned, “Almost all the drug is out of your system now.  I think another hour and you’ll be able to leave, unlike your classmates who will need to spend the night as we filter the drug out of their systems.  They’ll end up being here most of the day tomorrow to make sure there are no problems.”

 

 

Groaning even hurt his head Edward decided, “How’s Rowley?  He was turning pretty blue when it started to get very fuzzy.  One of the harlots said something about him being another fag, that was why the drug was not working right.”

 

 

“No better and no worse,” Aaron sat on the side of the bed and looked at Edward as he gazed back though eye lids he kept barely more than slits as he tried to watch them.  “Mark had to place him in the transporter buffers to give us time to find out what went wrong and how to reverse it.  It’s like he’s in stasis.” Aaron had a sudden thought that he promised himself he needed to find time to explore.  Stasis fields could be very useful, and now that he knew Corry could be used to help in this way he would get him on it as soon as he finished up Richard’s design modifications.

 

 

Patting Edwards leg, instead of kissing him like he would have preferred, “Rest Edward.  When your head stops hurting give it a few minutes and then talk to your classmates to reassure them; then come home after making sure your father and grandmother know your okay.  We’re going to see what we can do to help your friend now.” Squeezing Edward’s leg Aaron rose and smiled, “Rest Edward, another small nap will do you good.”

 

 

Waiting until Edward did indeed fall back asleep, Aaron glanced at the others before walking back towards the hall.  Once outside he looked at Mark, “Who’s ship did you contact to help out?  We can hitch a ride back to Centauri on it and then let them get on with what they need to do to finish their shift.”

 

 

“Um, I think it was the SS013-11 Ray…Bridger commanding,” Mark thought for a moment before finally placing the last name with the ship.

 

 

“Captain Bridger…” Aaron contacted him after extending his communicators mic.  Smiling at the image that came to his mind to go along with the snap of Ray’s posture he heard over the ear bud, “Relax Captain…I and several of the Clan are going to port over.  Once we get there we would appreciate a ride back to Altare Prime, and then, after we prepare the new bio-pod, you can transport down our patient and go on with your duties…I just wanted to warn you before appearing on your bridge.”

 

 

Grinning Aaron looked at his lovers, “Well I doubt he is going to relax from his instant panic hearing my voice caused anytime soon, so we might as well port over and put him into misery.”

 

 

Laughing, Mark looked at him, “Isn’t that supposed to be put him out of his misery?”

 

 

Chuckling Aaron smirked, “Normally I’d say yes, but you didn’t hear his body snap to attention like I did.  Trust me, its misery.”  Still chuckling Aaron sent them the visualization of the command deck with the crest SS013-11 on the floor and ported over.

 

 

Glancing around Aaron grinned when his suspicions were proven correct.  Ray Bridger was ramrod straight in his chair, so much so Aaron’s back hurt from looking at him.  Glancing around to see his lovers had made it he smiled, “Try to relax, captain.  I’m not here to inspect you or any of that rubbish.  We’re all here so if you could, let your gestalt team know they can port anytime they are ready.  We can quickly get out of your hair.” Grinning evilly Aaron decided against it at the last minute, “I understand the 06 will be your new command in about ten days time.  You have the honor of naming him, have you given it much thought?”

 

 

Ray stiffened in surprise and fear.  What if he chose a less than honorable name?  Nervous, he saw they were now in orbit above Prime, “I did not know that tradition.  I will have to give it considered thought.”

 

 

Seeing Prime in the window Aaron grinned, “I hope you do, or I’ll get the youngsters to name it,” Chuckling, Aaron’s words echoed as they ported out, “Otherwise you might end up being in command of the CS Pokey Dokey, or something like that…after all, you know our youngsters.”

 

 

Shuddering in fear, Ray looked at Franklin, “We have six days to come up with a proper historic name before the youngsters get hold of the ship for a naming contest.  Let’s start searching the mythology database while waiting for the okay to initialize transport.”

 

 

 

 

Watching Richard bring the other pod to life before walking to the secondary terminal and activating it, Aaron looked at the wall and finding the seam.  He opened it and looked into the room.  Seeing the neatness of the layout Aaron decided this was more than a few days worth of work; more like…gazing at Richard as he closed the door Aaron narrowed his eyes.  To have this much done Richard had to be working on this ever since the restart when Kenny sent the information back about the plague.  He’d leave it alone for now, but they were going to have to have a long talk sometime soon.

 

 

“So, before we start, do we need a scan of the drug we are, or Richard, is going to remove?” Mark looked at the pod and saw it was more than long enough to hold Rowley.

 

 

“I have a sample that I scanned into my P.A.D.D. before destroying the rest, it should be enough.” Richard had finished uploading the data and nervously looked at Aaron, “I’m ready, but you might want to warm up one of the bio-tubes, the pods don’t have surgical capability yet.”

 

 

“I’ll do that, then I have to get back.  I have Edwards’s aunt and uncle along with Toshi coming over shortly,” Derrick smiled as he kissed Richard last and whispered, “Relax Richard, you’ll do great…I know it.”

 

 

Aaron looked at Richard and smiled before hugging him tight, “He’s right, you know.”  Releasing Richard Aaron nodded at Mark, “Make the call.  Have him transported down, and let’s get Rowley on the road to recovery.”

 

 

Grinning and giving Richard the thumbs up, Mark watched the bio-pod, “Captain Bridger, initiate transport to the bed directly in front of my body please…and thank you for your help.”

 

 

Finger hovering over the green transporter activation key, Richard waited until the first transport was finalized before initiating the quantum flux filtering; having Aaron here with him was both comforting and making him nervous.  “Right, initiating scan,” Richard compared the teen’s body chemistry with the drug he had scanned.  “First we get rid of you…” Richard muttered as he filtered out the drug and then activated another terminal, “Except for the drug, which is now gone, I have no idea what else to look for in a person.  If you tell me what you want filtered out I can do that.”

 

 

Aaron smiled as he moved over to the second terminal and started to run a scan and realized the readings were different.  Instead of seeing what he was used to he got a cell by cell readout.  It took a minute to convert things in his mind, “Can you remove this here?”  Aaron pointed to one section of the screen, “It’s a toxic byproduct from organ failure.  Without it in the way it will be a lot easier to stabilize him.”

 

 

Staring at the monitor Richard’s hands flew across the terminal and he set the filters to remove the substance on the next filtering, “Alright’ it’s gone, but what about this, it reads as…”

 

 

Aaron sighed, “Gonahrea, and this right here,” Aaron pointed, “Is Herpes…do you think you can filter both of those out?  His system is already compromised drastically we can improve his chances if they’re gone.”

 

 

Richard concentrate as he adjusted the filters.  It was a little trickier as the disease had taken hold in the Rowley’s cells.  Five minutes later Richard sighed, “Done; did you find anything else that needs to be filtered out?”

 

 

“No,” Aaron kissed Richard’s cheek, “I think I need to do the rest in one of the bio-tubes.  There is still a lot of damage to fix.   Once he’s stable I’ll move him and the bio-tube back to Sol Station so his family can visit…Thank You, Love, without this invention we would have lost him.”  Moving over to the bio-pod Aaron waited for Richard to disengage, “Anytime you’re ready, Love.”

 

 

Nodding, Richard poised his finger above the flashing red square, “Now…” he told them as he pressed the deactivation command.  Glancing back Aaron and the teen were already gone and he sighed as Mark wrapped his arms around him.

 

 

“Like Derrick said, Love, you did great.”  Mark kissed him as he glanced at the readout on Aphrodite’s plasma,  “Let’s move this to my office…You know what, I think we are going to build your office over here in the new Kesol med bay.”

 

 

 

 

Sesek stood next to his Nest Mother gazing at the damage done to the warship.  The entire area where the engines once stood was empty, sheared at the molecular level for several decks in each direction. “Sensor logs recorded a rise in foreign energy before sensors went offline. By the time the crew entered the engine chamber this was what they found.  There was no noticeable heat signatures, or the remains of the device that accomplished this.” Running his hand along the new seam, “Intriguing.”

 

 

“Sesek, son of Skon, first hunter of the Nest of Enethe, the race that has control of these types of weapons is to be respected.  This was done while the Belak was at full Cloak and had shields in place.  At no time did our sensors even notice, let alone record, what happened in this section.”  Oboxa gazed at her son. “I command thee to do what it takes to allow the Nest Mothers that replaced the council to attend a successful alliance signing.”

 

 

Taking one last look at the large spherical empty shape where the engine room once stood, Sesek bowed slightly, “As you command, so shall it be done.”

 

 

 

 

Derrick walked from the gestalt point near the med bay so he could peek inside on his way back to Aaron’s office.  Seeing that most of the teens were sleeping, and the healers were placing sheets over the naked teens, the parents must have been tracked down he thought as he noticed Edward was already gone.  Continuing down the hall Derrick spotted Tzu patiently explaining to a group of parents what had happened, and what had been done so far to treat their sons.  Slipping past them unnoticed Derrick closed the door halfway and smiled at Edward sitting on the couch with his father’s arms around him.

 

 

“Aaron sends his regrets.  Unfortunately he will be busy for the rest of the afternoon,” Derrick caressed Edward’s face with a smile before kissing David and waving at Toshi.

 

 

“We’ve been informed of what happened.  What will happen to the girls involved in this shameful act of rape to get pregnant?” James spat out through gritted teeth, thankful all his sons and Richard were now immune from most of the drugs and diseases out there.

 

 

Derrick sighed, “If that woman was right and several of the females are indeed pregnant, the embryos will be taken from them and placed in an incubator until a decision is made.  Gene mapping will be done on the girls and embryos to match them up with one of the students; if there is a match the student who ends up being the father will have a decision to make.”

 

 

“And the female in question, the mother of the child?” Toshi wanted to know; then again he thought he knew what the decision would be.

 

 

“Death,” Derrick sighed as he looked out the window at the earth below, “whether it is of personality or true death is yet to be determined.  Any over the age of consent will be given true death.  One of our own marines was killed by a trap.  I believe it was set up just in case they were able to entice Edward there, otherwise there wouldn’t have been a reason to install a false wall and spring loaded blades.”

 

 

Looking over at Edward and his suddenly pale grimace, “Don’t you dare, Edward, it was not your fault.  No one blames you, least of all the guards!” Derrick waited until Edward nodded before taking his eyes off of him.

 

 

“On a happier note,” David smiled as he walked in, “It is time to start our tour.”  Pointing out the window, “our ride is here,” giggling softly as they went bug eyed at seeing the command ship move close to the station.

 

 

“Dear Lords above,” James whispered in shock as he took in the organic lines of the ship, as he stared out the window at the ship, it screamed one thing in the back of his mind…predator.

 

 

“I was thinking we could start our tour with Alaspin…your astronomers know it as Wolf 359.” David grinned as he motioned for them to stand, “Toshi, if you and Edward would hold onto me, and the rest of you onto Derrick, we can port over and get started.”

 

 

I’ll need to borrow some of your control over your gift of porting, Edward.  I can only port one other besides myself without help,” David pathed and smiled as Edward hugged him tighter, porting after linking with Edward’s mind.  He smiled as they effortlessly appeared on the gestalt bridge, “Welcome to the CS013-01, the Alteran Empires Vindicator, one of our command class warships.  Captain Victor Gorsky commanding.”

 

 

 

“Captain, at your convenience, we are ready to port to Alaspin,” Derrick smiled at the grinning Russian, who nodded and barked out orders.

 

 

Margaret was thrilled to be in space and held onto her husband’s arm as the windows blinked black before the view changed and a new planet was in front of them; one that had that huge Reliant in orbit and many smaller ships buzzing around.

 

 

 

 

Pete frowned as he placed the finishing touches on Brian’s mobile food processing center.  Locking the design changes into the system he sat back going over one of the simulations once more in his mind.  As much as he liked the Confederation technology, he had to admit he had fallen in love with the Mizhine technology from the television show.  The question was, how could he create the hyperspace gates and not enter a hyperspace universe; but more like the hyper space they traveled through, he wanted them to fold space… Thinking rapidly Pete smiled, he was going about this all wrong.  He needed to create a system that folded space, not allow access to hyperspace which did not significantly cut down on travel time.  Something more in line with the movies made from the one set of books he had read, the one with sand worms.   Shutting down his station he grinned; this called for a serious movie marathon.

 

 

 

 

Force of habit caused Aaron to close the incision on the last of the pregnant girls.  Sighing he looked at the nine sleeping females, eight of those nine would never wake again, and the last would find herself with the mind and memories of a seven year old before being shipped off to one of the colony worlds. Name changed, a new identity created so there would be no stigma associated with her.  She would be an amnesia victim from an accident going to live with relatives.

 

 

Standing and washing his hands thoroughly before applying a liberal amount of the sterilizing gel Aaron now had to face some worried parents.  Tomorrow, he decided, tomorrow he would use his office on the station orbiting Sigma Alpha Seven only the most persistent would find and bother him he hoped.

 

 

Gazing back at the sleeping prisoners, Aaron frowned as he watched the last incubator move out of the room and towards the small incubatory.  Leaving the pod he stopped by the door and initiated security protocols locking down the room.  No one was getting in or out except by porting.  Walking down the hallway he silently entered the pod with all the students rescued from the pub.  Logging in and instructing the system to compare the DNA between the patients in this pod and the embryos he glanced up over the top of the desk so he could see how the parents were handling things so far.

 

 

“Excuse me, your majesty,” one of the parents had seen him come in and brought him out of his musings.

 

 

Looking to the side where the voice was coming from Aaron placed a tired smile on his face, “Hello there.”

 

 

Moving around the front of the desk so she could stop blocking his view making it easier to see him, “I just wanted to know about the rumors floating around; that some of the girls that drugged our sons are pregnant.”

 

 

“Were pregnant,” Aaron sighed.  “The oldest of the nine embryos transplanted into one of our incubators is three weeks old.  All the embryos have been removed from the prisoners and moved into an incubator.  Once I know which young man is the father of each of the embryos we can sit down and see what he wants to do.”

 

 

“But my Freddie is a good boy; he wouldn’t just jump the first tart he laid eyes on,” one of the other mothers called out as the parents moved over to the desk.

 

 

Wanting to avoid this hysterical reaction Aaron sighed, “You have to understand something; the young men that visited that pub thought they could socialize with the guys from my academy and have some innocent interaction with those of the opposite sex.  But mostly they wanted a place outside of school they could grab a snack and to talk and do normal teenage things.  Each of them was drugged without their knowledge; because they thought it was a safe place to hang out and socialize they never gave it a thought it could be dangerous.  The bar owner, on the other hand, saw it as an opportunity to control the next generation of leaders and geniuses, her own words mind you.”  Aaron chose the next words for their effect he knew they would have on the parents, “She wanted to be able to rule from the shadows, and to her mind the best way to do that was through the wives of those up and coming world leaders.”

 

 

Hiding his pleasure at the serious frowns and feelings of disgust and hatred from the parents, Aaron glanced down at the results of the comparison.  He would have to expand his testing to the other students that might have missed being at the pub when they invaded; he had one embryo that had no match so far.  “The drugs they were given in their drinks did two things we’ve found out: one, it lowered their inhibition and gave them a slight euphoric feeling when someone touched their skin; the other thing it did was make them extremely aroused, almost animalistic in needing to have sex.”

 

 

Glancing back at the report, Aaron sat back in thought.  He would have to go into the one girl’s mind to find out who she had been having sex with; very distasteful, almost sickening, he thought.  If he was lucky he could just bring a name and face up without having to relive outsiders doing nasty things. “Tomorrow afternoon your sons will be released from the med bay, and I will be building a pub and place for the teens to socialize across from the Academy.  I plan to staff it with trustworthy people. I think I will also ban admittance by our students to all pubs and hangouts in walking distance unless we certify the establishment as being safe.”

 

 

“What about those harlots?  Are they going to be punished?” one of the angry fathers spoke up.  It had been the mothers that had been doing the talking so far.

 

 

Skimming the man’s thoughts, Aaron saw it was not so much the sex he was angry with but the drugging of his son to get sex, and sex to trap his son into a loveless marriage like his.  “The woman in charge of the scheme was put to death at the scene.” Pausing as the parents fidgeted he saw some satisfaction and some nervousness bordering on distaste on other faces.  “Of the rest of the females involved in the incident, all those that knowingly took part, no matter their age, will be sentenced to removal of their DNA from the gene pool.  The few that had no idea what was truly going on will suffer death of personality, a new life and identity will be created and they will be taken to one of the colony worlds to be brought up with a correct set of what is right and wrong.”

 

 

Holding up a hand Aaron closed his eyes.  Thinking about having to stand holding Raul’s body tonight as he consigned him to the wind, voice lowering and harsher, “What has not hit the rumor mill yet is the pub owner made that place a death trap.  Any bodyguards that would have moved to the shadows to lurk and keep an eye on their charge while giving them the illusion of privacy…well, all the places set up for lurking were concealed traps.  Traps, once they were sprung, would have and did kill the bodyguard…they killed one of the people who was guarding Edward.”

 

 

Sensing the serious unease and tension that was rising in the room Aaron closed his eyes, “The second death of one of my people in less than a month.”  Staring at the group of parents that were upset over the sentence those females were about to receive, “I can do two things; I can execute those involved in the crime's or all the people in the whole country, all those innocents.  I am choosing to do the hard thing, only punish those involved.  The easy thing is to get rid of all of you and be done with it.  After all, if you weren’t around then my people would not be hurt or killed ,would they?”  Staring at their pale faces a moment longer he thought he had gotten his point across.

 

 

“And the unborn children, the embryos?” one of the fathers wrapped his mind and lips around the unused word, “Do you know who they belong to?”

 

 

Nodding slowly, Aaron was glad only one of the young men was of noble birth so far.  Hand touching the terminal he had the bio-beds that held the sleeping fathers glow green for several seconds, just long enough for the parents to see if it was their son when Aaron pointed behind them.  “Eight of the nine fathers are in this room right now, and when your sons wake up we can discuss options.”  Picking up on several mothers and their thoughts of destroying the embryos Aaron sighed, “You may advise your sons as parents should, but in the end it is their decision on what to do…Not Yours!”

 

 

“Nothing will be discussed until your sons wake in the morning.  I want them completely drug free before we explain what happened and then give them their options.”  Staring at them until they started to wander back to their son’s side Aaron motioned for the father of the one teen to follow him out into the hallway, “Duke Cresthaven, isn’t it?”

 

 

“Yes, your Majesty,” the Duke sighed.  This whole thing opened a can of worms he had no idea on how to handle.  Following his majesty down the hallway he listened to what he had to say as they entered an office.

 

 

“Please sit, Duke,” Aaron pointed to one of the loves seats.  “What I am about to say is not for public or private dissemination.  Your son fathering one of those embryos we were discussing leads to a set of problems that frankly I would rather not deal with…but we have to deal with it now.”

 

 

Sitting back in the couch Aaron stared off into space for a moment.  Pulling up the gene map Aaron had the system run a simulation. They watched the plasma display rapid growth until it was obvious it was a boy, and then the screen changed as the baby aged until his late teens.  Freezing the image Aaron sighed, “If it was a female it would have been so much easier.”  Closing his eyes he finally made the decision, “I am going to make an option available to you and your son that I will not consider with the others.”

 

 

Seeing he had the man’s attention, “Since the child is male one of the options that will be open to us, well simply put, we can exchange the DNA of the female, the person who raped your son to conceive that child, with our DNA.  He will not look like that if it happens,” Aaron pointed to the display, “and he would be Alteran, one of my people and race.”

 

 

Several thoughts ran through the Duke’s mind with the new information; he had wondered off and on if his son was gay or just playing with his friend, and if his friend was truly gay.  “If you can do it for one of your people, could you do it for another, one of us?  Jasper is my second son so he would not normally inherit the title unless something happened to Jason.  He also has a friend that he is very friendly with, though I don’t have a true idea if he leans towards men or not.  My oldest son and, truth be told, I leaned that way until we settled down and found the right woman for us.  Being with a male companion while growing up and discovering how everything works seems to be a family tradition of sorts.”

 

 

“Truthfully…” Aaron looked at the plasma before turning it off after saving the simulation, “it might be possible.  I would have to run a simulation or three to see. What makes my race different is our DNA is always dominant, and if we had children your way it would overwrite all DNA in certain areas with our own.  If it is possible I would have to do it fairly quickly, unlike being able to wait by using one of my people.  I’ll set the system to run some simulations, but unless I have a DNA map of your son’s friend all I can do is tell you if it might be possible, not if it is.”

 

 

The Duke stood up and smiled, “Then I have a young man to visit.  Even so, until my son wakes in the morning this all is academic.  It is his decision if he wishes to pursue this option.”

 

 

Shaking the man’s had Aaron smiled.  He agreed with the Duke totally, it would be up to his son to make the decision.

 

 

 

 

Aaron looked up as the wind died down and the energy disappeared.  Raul was gone, his body consigned to the wind.   Eyes finding solace in his lovers, Aaron gathered them in his arms silently as they stayed a moment longer.  Raul’s team mates and fellow spooks were moved by the fact that Aaron, their King, had personally consigned one of their own to the winds, and instead of acting as if it was an everyday occurrence, had tears running down his face as he stared into the night sky.

 

 

One by one the spooks walked over and placed a hand on Aaron’s shoulder and squeezed it before porting out.  Soon only the Clan was left and Aaron stared into the night sky, “Let’s go home, Loves.   We have witnessed death, now I need to be part of life…Or as Kenny likes to giggle out when he sees legs sticking up in the air…’ORGY TIME’.”