Chapter 80







Andrew was having the time of his life directing his teams on the newly christened Nightingale Station. He had been slightly surprised at how quickly all the scientists had jumped at the chance to put into practice their theories.  Some of them had responded to his email the next morning wanting to know when they should report to Sol Station and if they were allowed to bring any of their assistants with them.  Most of the universities they worked for went out of their way to help the professors and leaders in their fields get ready, some even going so far as to request real time links so classes did not have to be canceled.  That fact alone sent the scientific world into another tizzy when Andrew agreed to do that for them with an offhand comment that it would not be a problem. Now he was fending off calls from different scientists and their Universities to garner a spot on the station so they too could take part in the incredible opportunity Aaron opened up for them.



Grinning as he looked around Aaron’s office Andrew shook his head, he never thought he would ever commandeer Aaron’s office for his own.  Looking up towards the door at the knock he yelled out, “Come in…”



“I’m sorry to bother you, Andrew…”  Anton walked into the office and thought the Young Dragon looked like he belonged behind Aaron’s desk, they all fit so easily into the roll he had to wonder if they were different to begin with, and if that was why they were picked to join the Clan.  “I wanted to talk to you about the Mizhine home world now that we have had a chance to investigate the cause of their demise.”



Screwing up his face in confusion Andrew sat back and motioned for Anton to sit down, “Wouldn’t Rolph be the better one to talk to about this?  After all. if you guys do find a cryogenic facility on the moon he is going to be in charge of first contact.”



Sitting down and smiling he crossed his legs, “Normally that would be true, but you see my crew and I have been talking about different things and more than one comment was made about it being a shame the world had been devastated by the war, and they, and I, wondered what it would take to bring the planet back to life.”



Seeing the confusion only deepened Anton realized he did not know what they found yet.  “I am sorry, I thought you knew…”  Thinking on it he realized there had not been time yet with all the other fires that had flared back on Earth.  “I forgot for a moment that we had not given the report on what we found, maybe we should ask if his Majesty would like to join us…Do you know if he is free right now?”



Slowly shaking his head Andrew knew exactly what Aaron was doing and he would not welcome the interruption right then, he was still unsettled and…  “I’m afraid Aaron is busy going to each of the stations to check on all the people we rescued.  He is still unhappy he had to activate the Omega protocols.”  Sitting back, it did not take much to make the decision to handle it for Aaron.  Tapping the commands to turn the records on and post it to the system Andrew smiled, “I’ll tell him all about it tonight after he gets back, and I’ll post it to the system so everyone knows what you found out.”



Nodding, Anton smiled, “Fair enough.”  Getting comfortable in his chair Anton tried to figure out where to start.  “I suppose the best place to start would be with some background that will lead up to the demise of the Mizhine.”



“As a race the Mizhine advanced quite early.  About twelve hundred years ago they discovered space travel and over the next three hundred years they perfected jump gates along with hyperspace travel.  That allowed them to spread out and colonize a dozen worlds,” Pausing to pour some juice from the pitcher on the desk Anton took a drink before continuing, “They prospered for another five hundred years, then the unthinkable happened.  They met a race that attacked one of their new colony worlds and slaughtered all the colonists.”



Andrew sat up and took notice; if there was a race out in the universe that would slaughter the innocents like the images he was picking up in Anton’s mind they needed to prepare for them.  Holding up his hand he tapped a few commands into the terminal contacting Joe over in Sector Seven.  Once Joe was looking back at them quizzically Andrew looked at Anton, “Anton, did the Mizhine have a name for this race?”



Shaking his head no, Anton did not realize Joe had joined the conversation, “They called them Reptoids, and they were carnivores that feasted on the Mizhine; they preferred their meals living.” Swallowing hard and slightly green he continued. “The war lasted for two hundred years as the Mizhine lost colony world after colony world until finally they were driven back to the Mizhine home world.”



“The powder we have found all over the Mizhine home world is the Reptoids’ answer to the subjugation of the Mizhine race.  It was like a drug that placed the Mizhine into a deep coma so it was easy for the Reptoids to gather their next meal.”  Anton shook himself, “We have not gotten far enough into the secure database yet to know what the Mizhine did, but there is enough references of them building a facility to ensure their race did not become extinct.  But until we can breach that section we don’t know for sure what they did, or where they escaped to.”



“There is a lot more, including tactics and weapons data that I need to turn over to Joe after this meeting, but it was long drawn out and nasty.” Anton stared at Andrew, shaking himself out of the funk that retelling the brief outline of the Mizhine history put him in he looked back at Andrew, “Which brings us back to why I came to you.  My crew feels that once we properly secure that system, if we find any of the Mizhine alive, it might go a long way to gaining their trust if we rebuild their home world.”



Understanding why Anton came to him now Andrew slowly nodded as he gazed over Anton’s shoulder towards the plasma with Joe’s image on it and the pickup below.  “It’s been roughly two hundred years since the fall of the Mizhine according to your timeline, but we can’t take any chances.  I’ll talk to Aaron about your project, but if I remember correctly, you still have one of Derrick’s RS ships in system so program it to remove the Reptoids drug from the planet.  Once all traces of it are removed we will revisit the possibility of rebuilding the world…  Joe, I speak for the Clan in this,” Andrew’s words caused Anton to jump in his chair and turn around to see his boss on the plasma looking grim.



“Joe, I want the Mizhine system turned into a veritable fortress. I have no idea where you are at in building your fleet, but I want half of all command ships moved to Mizhine within the hour, and I want as many scouts as you can spare tracing back the Mizhine colony worlds.  I want to know if the Reptoids are still alive and, if they are, I want some captured so we can find the best way to destroy every single one of them…  They have been judged and found wanting…  Any race that would dine and consume another intelligent race shall have their DNA removed from the universe’s gene pool!”  Standing up Andrew looked at Anton, “Captain, I want you to report to Joe immediately with all the information you have recovered.  I want both of you at the compound at supper time to meet with the Clan and Aaron where you will have the outline of a plan of action ready for us to discuss.”  Shutting down his terminal, Andrew tilted his head reaching for Aaron before looking back at Anton standing at attention, body ramrod stiff.  “I’ll inform Aaron of what is going on, you have your orders gentlemen, and I expect to see your command staff at our compound plans in hand in eight hours.”



Anton stood at attention as Andrew ported out, the office going dark as he turned to face the plasma and Joe, before shaking himself out of his shock and porting out towards the next station on the way to Sector Seven Command.





Derrick laughed as the crowd of excited youngsters made their way into the suite off his office where he was working on several designs for the Beastmaster clan to expand the barns around their compound.  He had been going to ask how they had gotten to his office but he noticed several older teens bringing up the rear with smiles on their faces, “Hello there. What brings all of you to my office?”



Grinning youngsters suddenly turning shy caused Derrick to chuckle as he waved at them to come in, “Now then I don’t bite…So…”



Pushing his brother forward Terry ducked as his twin Jerry swatted at his head, “Hiya Derrick, the youngsters wanted a ride so they could ask you to help them with their designs.”



Giving the twins a quick glance Derrick smiled, “How are Adam and his boyfriend Jordy doing? I think Tim mentioned something about your family moving to Proxima since your dad is going to be teaching there now.”



“Whoa…” Jerry looked at Derrick in awe, “you remember who we are?”



Sitting down on the edge of his desk Derrick nodded, “Of course I do, the whole Clan knows and keeps an eye out for all those we have personally rescued; and in fact, in another eight days, the two of you turn thirteen.” Giggling at the shocked looks on the two faces he glanced around at the rest of the youngsters and noticed that most of them were holding onto papers.  Seeing a corner exposed in the one youngster’s hands he saw that they were rough drafts of what looked like a house.  “So you want some help with your designs, maybe seeing what they would look like when they are built?”



Nodding solemnly, Ross turned his drawing around so he could show Derrick the design, “Yes Sir…Sir Dragon, we hoped you would help us make our drawings better.”



Staring at the youngster with a funny expression on his face Derrick carefully told him, “My name’s Derrick, there is no need to go all formal when talking to me…”  Motioning for the youngster to come closer he held back the sigh at the feelings he was picking up from the youngster and several of the others.  “I’m not going to yell at you, or even tell you your drawings aren’t any good.”



Getting an idea he jumped off the corner of his desk, “I know exactly how to help you out, and at the same time you can give me a hand.  How’s that sound?”  Getting several shy nods back Derrick motioned for them to follow him into the next room.  “Aaron built this neat design station back on Earth.  I liked it and built several of them so I could design the new houses and buildings our replicator ships build for everyone else to live in.  We can use them to help make your drawings come to life; it’s a good way to make sure your design will work like you imagine it in your mind.”  Lowering his voice and looking behind the youngsters which caused them to crane their necks around to see where he was looking, “I also built this humongous one that I’ve not tried out yet.”



Smiling as the youngsters giggled, Derrick pointed to the first small nook along the wall, “If you put your picture on the scanning plate face down and hit the scan button we can start off with making your picture three-dimensional.”  Helping Ross place his paper face down he showed the rest of them how to start the process, “Once the picture is scanned in we need to go through the list of questions and slowly the system will change your flat drawing into a 3D image that you can change once more.  After you have it looking like you want it you can then activate the holo emitters and actually look at the inside of your design; to make sure it works.”



Terry and his twin Jerry, after watching closely how Derrick scanned Ross’s picture, jumped in and helped the excited youngsters find a nook so they could start working on their drawings.  After they had everyone in front of one of the nooks they moved back to the center of the room where Derrick was standing smiling, shaking his head in amusement at the youngsters antics and giggles.  “You asked how Jordy and Adam are doing, well they are in love.”



Jerry smiled at the memory of the other morning when Adam had asked Jordy to join with him, his reply was enthusiastic.  “I think Adam is going to ask Tim if he could talk to Aaron about performing the joining for the two of them.”



“Aaron will love that, “Derrick grinned, “He much prefers all the good things being King entails than all the bull he keeps getting snowed under by.”  Seeing one of the youngsters frowning, “Be right back, I think one of our young architects needs a hand.”



Moving over to where the frustrated youngster was pacing Derrick looked at the small tabletop hologram of the youngster’s drawing.  Catching the youngster’s name in the corner of the terminal he grinned, “It looks like you are having problems.”



Throwing his hands up in frustration Casey looked down at the floor, “The system won’t let me do what I want; it won’t ask the right questions, I guess.”



Nodding slowly, “Casey, do you mind if I help out, maybe it is something simple that I can nudge you in the right direction?”



“Please,” Casey moved to one side as he shifted from foot to foot, “The problem is it keeps asking about foundations and basements. But how can a space ship have a basement?”



Chuckling, Derrick’s hands flew across the terminal backing up the process back to the beginning, “It can’t…  I never thought anyone wanted to design something other than a building, so I never mentioned you need to tell the system you are building something else.”  Tapping a few more options Derrick grinned as the system blinked back to life this time with the picture hovering above the top of the terminal, “There you go, now that the system knows what you want to build it will ask the right questions.”



Casey grinned and hugged Derrick hard before blushing and stammering out apologies for touching him.  Hugging Casey back and not letting go, “You can hug me anytime you want, and as much as you want.” After a minute Derrick studied the sleek lines of the ship floating above the nook’s terminal, “That is rather a nice design; I can’t wait until you finish so I can ask Pete to build it for you.”



“WHAT!!!” Casey jumped back, “My scribbles are not good enough…  Why would you want to build something I came up with?”



Pulling Casey back into his arms so he could hug him Derrick brushed up against the youngster’s mind, “Because Casey, IT IS GOOD ENOUGH.  Actually I think you and Pete will end up making some excellent star ships once he drags you onto his team.”



Looking up into Derrick’s face Casey grinned before breaking down and crying, no one had ever told him what he had done was more than a waste of time before. “Then that is their problem, Casey, “Derrick held onto the upset youngster, “Your drawing was good enough for the system to make a rendering from; your drawing is good enough that when Pete sees your design he is going to cream his shorts thinking about building it.”



Giggling at the image Derrick’s words gave him Casey grinned again, “As long as I don’t have to clean up the puddles.”



Shaking his head as he laughed, Derrick stepped back after giving Casey one last hug, “We make him clean up his own messes.”



Jerry watched Derrick moving around the room giving the youngsters encouragement and pointers on their designs.  Looking at his brother he smiled, “There is a free design nook over there, what do you say about the two of us going over there and working on our own project?”





Doug grinned as he walked into Mark’s office and saw Brian sitting on Mark’s desk, crotch at the convenient height for Mark to get a snack.  “I see the two of you found something to do to pass the time…  Anyone seen Tommy?”



Giggling, Tommy placed a hand on Doug’s shoulder, “Looking for me?”  Then walking past him he blinked in shock as he saw the other two laughing; moving around the side the of the desk he sighed dramatically, “Like Kenny likes to scream out, Damn no orgy.”



Sitting down next to Brian on the desktop Doug looked around as Tommy sat on the other side of Brian, “It is times like this I envy you being able to use the teacher.”  Smiling sadly at the intense stares that little statement caused, “All of you have settled down into your chosen fields, and while you study, well, Kenny and I have to do things the hard way, not leaving us much time to play around with our projects the way we want to.”


Not liking what he as hearing Brian pulled Doug tight to his body, “Love…”



Kissing him before he said anything else, Doug smiled, “I know all of you have never, ever treated me, or Kenny, as anything but full equals,” Sighing he melted into the hug, “I… at times get frustrated when I can’t get further along in my projects because of my age, or the fact I have to have someone port me everywhere I want or need to go.”



Leaning forward and kissing Doug gently, Mark looked deep into his eyes, “There is nothing that says you have to study like you have been, and after all, you graduated a week after Kenny… with very high grades.”  Staring at Doug he copied one of Aaron’s habits, tilting his head to the side as he studied one of his lovers, “I think the freedom to come and go at will is what is really bothering you.  Is it bothering Kenny too?”



Shaking his head as he laughed Doug looked away for a moment, “Not at all.  Anytime Kenny wants to go anywhere he walks into the security office and points at someone and tells them where they are going.”  Smiling shyly he giggled some more, “I think the smarter ones see him coming and duck out of sight when he walks in.”



“That sounds like our Kenny…not a shy bone in that one’s body,” Brian laughed.  Glancing over at Doug who was smiling once more he hugged him tight, “Maybe you need to take after him just a little bit more.  After all, the security teams are there to make sure nothing happens to us, and with most of us staying in the Centauri system all the time they can, and probably do, get bored.”



“Plus you have to know that any one of us would port you wherever you wanted or needed to go no questions asked,” Mark leaned back in his chair as he had a sudden insight.  “Even if it means that you and your team would go out and about without one of us.”  Feeling the shock and then the pride coming from Doug he knew he had hit the problem head on.



“Now, while we are all here I thought we could go over projections of what the farms are producing.  After all we are about to add another quarter million mouths starting tomorrow.”  Mark reached forward and picked up Brian’s ball sack so he could log into the terminal as his lover giggled at being handled.  Feeling a hand flick his nipple he swatted the hand away, “Later, right now we need to concentrate on this before Aaron realizes the sheer numbers we are adding and starts to worry about running short of food.”



Playful mood definitely gone, Brian ported Doug and himself to the couch near the side wall and nodded, very serious now that he knew why they were meeting.  Tommy stood up as he pulled his P.A.D.D. out of its pouch and took the empty spot on the couch, “Right, do we know how many are going to end up here on Altare Prime versus one of our other two colony worlds?”



“To tell the truth,” Mark looked at the numbers, “I expect in the beginning, well all the guys will be coming here.  The colony worlds are not able to take many more until we have a lot more of the older teens and adults needed to help mentor them in place.  Derrick was going to add a new section to the city, and increase the size of the southern coastal city this morning so it would be ready when the first of the rescued start to be released.”



Nodding his understanding, Tommy looked at several files on his P.A.D.D. “Well, on the seafood side we will be on the edge, at least until I can get the cage culture ramped up.”  Lifting his head and smiling, “If Ivan was here instead of fishing today he would cream his shorts…”  Giggling, he smirked, “Oh yea, I forgot he hates wearing clothes as much as the rest of us.”  Getting serious, Tommy looked at his figures again, “Right now Ivan sets sail for fishing duties twice a week, if he goes out five days a week and we add a small fishing vessel to the Great Lakes region we can more than handle another half million mouths.”



Brian stared at the ceiling for a moment as he gathered his thoughts, “When the previous Clan prepared the farm planet for us they planned to feed a million people. The problem is they planned for another two years of preparations for certain groves and fields to be ready before they would have to be in full production.”



“How soon before we start having problems with fresh foods?” Mark stared down at his notes before glancing over at Brian. “What about buying up groves and farms back on Earth slated for urbanization and transporting them to Middle Earth?”



“I don’t think we will actually run out,” Brian closed one eye in thought, “it’s more of the fact that all my reserves will be used up before the expansion for the vegetable farms take off, and certain fruits will not be as available as I would like.”  Tapping his knee as he thought about it, “I think if I program the planters to triple the area under cultivation now I can make up the reserves I was building for the off season.  Then I can always plant something else in those fields next year I guess.”  Looking back at Mark he shrugged, “Do you think we can find some fruit and nut groves to buy up and transport out?  At least with the filter technology we won’t be importing any diseases or pests.”



“Tyler said we have to put more money back into the economy.”  Tommy grinned, “I think if we really look we should find more than we need, and maybe we should expand… double the size of the fruit and nut farms.  We can always sell the produce on the colony worlds if we have too much.”



“As soon as the meeting is over I’ll go grab Ton and we can go back to Sol Station and see what we can do,” Brian grinned.  “I’ll contact dad on Altair Minor; he might have a few contacts among some of his farmer friends looking to sell off their farms so they can retire.”



Making another note on his terminal Mark looked at Doug and grinned, “Too bad Kenny only likes to play with the chicks while they are still fluffy.”  Chuckling he looked at his notes, “I’m going to need to talk to Gene Corp and expand the dairy as well as the beef herd.  On the beef side we have a full month as a backup window before we would start having a shortage; I drastically culled the herds so I could infuse new bloodlines and streamline the herds for lean meat production.”  Frowning in thought before looking at the figures on the terminal screen, “The best way to handle this I think is to buy a range of steers at different ages solely geared towards being fed out…Hogs…Hogs, now it will be easier to ramp up as for the most part they are a four month crop.”



“Even with the fact I culled half the herds as inedible I can get feeder pigs by the thousands pretty easily if I shop worldwide.  I have some pretty impressive breeding stock that should be decanted from the incubators sometime next week; in fact, if I take cell samples I can clone them pretty easily.”  Mark looked at the facility schematics to see how much room he had, “I should be able to expend the incubatory without much problem, a few slight alteration to the incubators so I can use the ones designed for large livestock for the piglets.”



Doug stared at Mark for a moment as he looked at him, “I could expand on the sheep herds, but to tell the truth, not many people like Lamb; well, not enough for me to really expand the herds.  We might want to expand the rabbit pens though; the new guys will not have a problem eating rabbit, not like some of the city folk.”  Grinning, “Rabbits are a two month crop too.”



Walking into Mark’s office Kenny smiled as he waved at each of them before kissing Doug as he plopped down across the laps of those sitting on the couch, “The biggest problem is going to be eggs.”  Smiling into Tommy’s face as he looked up, “Sorry I’m late, I got held up with several of the guys from chore duty.”  Glancing over at Mark he became serious, “Eggs… we are simply not going to have enough.  Right now we can barely cover what we are using and after the rescued are released we won’t be able to handle all the new guys, and since breakfast is all about eggs we have a problem.”



Mark stared at Kenny for a moment in shock, all their carefully laid out timelines and solutions to ramp up production went down the toilet with those simple words, “Well, Shit!!!”



Kenny went google-eyed for a moment as he had never heard Mark cuss like that, “Can’t you buy up some chicken farms or something and bring them here?”



“We are going to have to do exactly that.”  Tommy smiled at Kenny, “Brian love, if you will go to Middle Earth central command center and build…” Trailing off in thought he shook his head, “That won’t work, we need to build several large commercial egg houses with the lines of cages and all, otherwise they’ll stop laying.”



“We can recycle them later,” Mark pulled up the map of Middle Earth, “We can build the temporary facilities on Gray Haven, near the southern coast.  After we’ve expanded our own facilities we can slowly introduce them to the tractors.”



“So how many of the ugly things do we have to buy?”  Kenny sat up and scooted in-between Brian and Doug as he pulled his P.A.D.D. out and linked into the system so he could send an email to Gene Corp.



Giving it careful thought as he looked at the figures of what was being produced now and what the system had in inventory versus used, “Half a million head.  That will give us more than enough eggs we could export some to our colonies and let us gradually get the chickens used to tractors instead of confinement.”  Seeing Kenny typing away on his P.A.D.D. he grinned, “I would prefer we buy up brown egg layers as they for the most part are what are called dual purpose, and only accept the white egg layers as a last resort.”



Nodding his head, Kenny stood up, eggs were his project even though he was not going to make his career revolve around agriculture.  Glancing at Doug he smiled as he reached over and tugged on his arm, “How about giving me a hand?  Once we get dressed we can go to Gene Corp and buy the ugly things and maybe get home by lunchtime.”



Hearing a ping from his P.A.D.D. Kenny opened the email and mock glared at Tommy with a sniff, “I have my own list, thank you very much.”



After the laughter died down Doug looked at Kenny and finally nodded, “I guess…Sure why not, maybe we can go to the mall and have lunch.”



Mark watched the two leave amused at how quickly Kenny came and left, seeding chaos to his ordered meeting.  “Well I guess that is the end of the meeting and we should get over to Middle Earth and build the facilities for Kenny’s chickens before he gets back.”





“Shhh love, don’t move, your leg is broken.”  Craig quickly moved over to Tony who was trying to get up. Tears falling silently he wiped his face with his dirty shirt, “I’m so glad you’re awake finally, Mickey and Stan will be happy when they wake up.”



“Where…Where are we?” Tony got out as he looked around the small cave they were in and his eyes widened as he took in the fact they were in fact in a cave and probably underground.  His panic lessened when he saw his brother and Craig’s brother curled up next to each other on the other side of the fire.



“We’re in a hidden passage under one of the small caverns outside Tall King Mountain,” Craig paused to bring some water to Tony so he could drink something.  “We’ve been here now for five days, ever since we escaped from your father’s men.  It’s been on the rough side, but we’ve managed so far, and no one has found us yet.”



Tony groaned as his  memory came flooding back to him, his father and his religious freaks had found them and killed his mother after she tried to shield them, giving them enough time to get away.  Crying quietly so not to wake his brother he grabbed onto Craig and let everything he had bottled up in the week they had been on the run before he had fallen and broken his leg in one of the ravines.



Grabbing some of the stale bread and almost too far gone fruit Craig brought it over, “You need to eat something solid; I’ve been feeding you broth while you’ve been out of it.  While you are eating that I’ll open another can of broth.”



Biting into the mushy banana Tony grimaced, but the hunger from not eating anything solid hit him and he ate it before gnawing on some of the stale bread.  In a very quiet voice he looked at his boyfriend and savior, “So what happens to us now?”



Looking over his shoulder Craig smiled, “Well, now that you are awake, in the morning I’ll leave early and hunt some more food.  After I get back I’m planning on hiking over to the ranger station, to the pay phones by the tourist’s spots.  I plan to call those Alteran people for help, then after we are rescued I suppose we will take it one day at a time…At least we will be safe.”



Nodding his head Tony finished eating about the time Craig came back with a tin of warm broth.





Rolph stopped reading and looked over his shoulder towards the Mizhine world behind him, a dead world he thought.  He had just finished reading the report compiled by one of the Marine scouts; they had found a lead on the power source on the fifth moon, including a way to tap into the existing computer system on the hidden base.  It was at times like these that he felt the loss of his brother the most; here he was in another star system in charge of a project to find a lost race, living his brother’s dreams.



His eyes widened in shock as half a dozen of Derrick’s RS ships appeared in orbit and started to release a swarm of MCAs towards the planet’s surface.  “What in the world…”  Turning back to the desk he did not have time to log into the system to find out what was going on because of the person knocking on the doorframe.



“Excuse me Young Sir, but the Admiral told me to report to you as soon as our wing made system. Captain Ernest Goodfellow reporting as ordered,” Ernest snapped off a precision salute before being waved in.



“At ease, Captain,” Rolph smiled he pointed to the chair in front of Aaron’s desk he had commandeered.  “So one could assume you have an explanation of why your wing is here and what interesting things someone has in store for the planet over there,” he smiled as he pointed out the window.



“Yes Young Sir…” pausing for a moment Ernest relaxed somewhat, “I have to ask though how much of the Mizhine history have you gone through… so I know where to start.”



Rocking back in the chair Rolph stared at the captain for a moment as he thought about the loaded question, “To tell the truth I have immersed myself in the last few weeks of their history and the search for the hinted-at safe facility.  I’ve not really paid much attention to the war or the reasons of how it started.”



“I see,” Ernest looked uncomfortable; Anton should have reported his findings to Rolph before heading over to Nightingale and Sector Seven, after all Rolph was the ranking officer for this system by reason of his being the Clan member working out of this station.  “I’m afraid Anton screwed up then, he should have reported to you first instead of Nightingale and Andrew.”  Shifting uncomfortably in the chair with that admission he was slightly shocked when Rolph only frowned.



“I don’t think he knows I’m here, at any rate I never told anyone outside of the Clan I would be basing my office out of Mizhine Station for now.”  Shaking his head as he frowned, Rolph shrugged, “He probably went to Andrew because he was the closest of the Clan to this system that he knew for sure where they were.”



“Ah…  I see then, maybe that is the reason, after all Admiral Mandelin seemed surprised to find out you were out here.”  Ernest shrugged it off for now, he would talk to the admiral about tapping into the security net around the Clan so they knew where each of them were going off planet just in case.  Sitting up in shock Ernest remembered something, “Hold on a moment, I don’t remember seeing any of the Clan’s security officers around when I came to your office… they didn’t just leave you here alone did they?”



“Security?”  Rolph looked clueless as he stared at Ernest wondering what he was talking about.



Ernest groaned as he dropped his face into his hands, “His Majesty is going to flip when he finds out you left the system without any of the guards; not only that, we won’t even mention how many days you’ve spent on this empty station alone.”



Clueless, Rolph shrugged, “Well I guess I don’t understand.  I’ll ask Aaron about it at supper time… So what is so intriguing about the Mizhine history that…” he trailed off as the lights in the hallway suddenly went to a day time setting.  When the plasmas came to life showing the space around the station outwards Rolph’s eyes widened in shock as he saw what looked like all of the command class cruisers and over a dozen scouts in the system with more of the Star Scouts appearing.  “I think Captain you have some explaining to do.”



Staring at the monitor behind Rolph, Ernest nodded his head as he pointed to the plasma, “I think at this point I should just hit the highlights as this looks to be bigger than even I thought.”  Looking back at Rolph he sighed, “It all starts about four hundred years ago or so.  The Mizhine who had colonized numerous systems met a race they eventually called the Reptoids, which over the next two hundred years ended up destroying their race.  They were carnivores who liked their meals still kicking so to speak.  They are the ones responsible for the drug type dust they seeded the Mizhine home world with… long story short, Andrew felt that two hundred years was not a whole lot of time in the scheme of things for a race to change or die off naturally so we are going to fortify the system up to Centauri standards; and he also ordered my wing to come in and remove any trace of the drug or contaminates in preparation for rebuilding Mizhine, so if you do accomplish your goal of finding survivors they will have their home world back.”



Blinking several times in shock Rolph stared at the man across for him for several moments, “I think I need to talk to Andrew to get the long story then.”  Eyes bugging out now that the Reliant showed up in system, “Is there any possibility that those Reptoids as you called them are making their way back here?”



Looking at Rolph strangely, Ernest shook his head no, “Not that I know of why?”  Turning to face the plasma Rolph was pointing at, Ernest paled, “Oh bugger… now what?”



A very good question Rolph told him as he made the connection to the Reliant.  Shortly Joe was staring back at him in surprise, “Well hello, Admiral, is there a reason all the heavy artillery is showing up?  Or are you here to make my job more difficult?”  Rolph spat out as the screen where he was monitoring the power source on the fifth moon dropped to next to nothing, as if they had been spotted.



“What…  I am sure I do not know what you mean, Rolph,” Joe finally got out as he noticed the frown on Rolph’s face looked a lot like Aaron’s.



“It seems the scanners the Mizhine left on the fifth moon were fine with our scouts, even the station and RS ships used to build it,” Glaring at the screen Rolph hid his sigh, instead choosing to show the exasperation he was starting to feel, “Even the command class ships did not trigger the sensors… but once the Reliant showed up in system the power source on the fifth moon seems to have gone into a lock down, a low power output if you will.  And if that facility is a cryogenic facility, and the power source being several hundred years old is not in the best shape… it means, Admiral, that your appearance may have jeopardized any survivors.”



Ignoring Joe as he pulled up the document he had been studying, Rolph pierced the Ernest with his eyes as he tapped the desk, “Port back to your ship and move your ship into orbit around the fifth moon.  I want you to use the MCAs to build a tunnel and airlock system to this section of the moon.  It is imperative you breach the base in this spot only; any other location could cause the fail safes this document hints at into activating.  Go quickly!”



Ernest jumped up and saluted, “Yes Sir, Right away Sir,” before porting out without a backward glance at his commander who was doing his best impression of a kicked puppy.



“I’m sorry, Rolph,” Joe started before being interrupted.



“It’s over and down with now,” Rolph did let the sigh out he had been holding.  “I’m in Aaron’s office; well, you know what I mean.  I think we need to talk and see what the best way to salvage the base is, and maybe I need the long version of the Mizhine history instead of the short and sweet version.”





Tyler finished arranging his office the way he wanted it and smiled; this will do nicely he thought as he glanced at the almost solid wall of plasma screens across from his desk.  He could easily see what he needed to by a slight turn of his head.  Locking the design in on the terminal he grinned as the system sent him an acknowledgement that all the other stations would duplicate his office a few short feet down from Aaron’s on the opposite side of the corridor,  He was glad he had sat down with Pete to go over the floor schematics of the station looking for an empty office he could call his own, but yet near enough to Aaron’s that visitors did not have to traipse all over the station in sections they had no business being in to find him.



William stuck his head through the door and grinned at his charge, “I thought I would warn you, we or should I say you, have visitors on station.  In case you wanted to get dressed before they get here.”



Staring at William for a moment, “Bugger,” Tyler muttered as he went over to the side wall, pulling open the panel he started to don shorts and grab a shirt.  “Do you know who they are and why they wanted to talk to me of all people?”



“The first group is from the London Zoo, and the next group who is being shown to the waiting room is from the Bank of Japan, representatives of the five largest banks, I believe,” William smirked as Tyler fell into the side wall with his head stuck in his shirt.



“Bloody Hell, what do they want to talk to me about?”  Tyler finally got his shirt righted and his head through the neck instead of the sleeve before pushing it into his shorts.  “The zoo I can understand as I am still acting as an agent for the Beastmaster clan. I have no clue why some banking bigwigs would want to talk to me.”  Ignoring the chuckling,, Tyler finished just as William moved to the side and usher the first group in, “Hello, please have a seat.”



Once everyone was seated and Tyler sat down, he tilted his head so he could look at the group.  They had very eager expression on their faces and he felt the excitement rolling off of them, “How can I help you gentlemen then?”



“Yes, well,” Steven started off.  “We received all the raptors that were part of our payment for allowing you to harvest cells and semen from our birds of prey.”  Seeing the blank look he quickly added, “We, of course, are overjoyed with how healthy the chicks are.  But something had been said to her Majesty about the Beastmaster clan being available to be hired to help bring back some of the other near extinct species.  We came today to find out what the costs associated with such a contract would be, and who we need to make arrangements with to pay for the services.”



 Nodding slowly Tyler copied the file he had been working on to a chip and once he popped it out of the slot he passed it over.  “I finished a pricing schedule the other day.  Everything is on that chip, including what preparations would have to be done along with several options of when you would take control of the animal.  I talked with Donny and he had decided that there would be several options ranging from birth to weaning that you could choose from.”



Hastily grabbing the chip Steven grinned as he stared off in the distance, “I was wondering… we were wondering if you are able to do anything with extinct species if you had good clean DNA sample.  You see, there are a few species that we had the last known ones in captivity… the world really, and they died a while back.  The curator at the time chose to freeze them in hopes of some day being able to bring them back.”



Tyler never thought someone would ask something like this, he was not sure the Beastmasters could take on a project like this.  He knew, of course, that Richard could take it on without a problem, after all he designed and created a whole new species, one that was more of a cross with canines he thought after hearing the traits the new cats would have.  “It might be possible,” he slowly thought out loud, feeling the spike of excitement from their minds.  “Besides the extinct species, was there a particular animal you were hoping to have us use our techniques on?”



“Do you want our short list or the long one,” the doctor that Steven brought along smiled as he fidgeted in his chair.



Tyler shrugged, “I suppose if you are willing to pay the fees that the Beastmasters are going to charge for their services it really does not matter much; other than to make sure you have the ability to properly house and care for the infant then adult animal when you accept responsibility for them.”



“We can make sure of that, though depending on costs we might have to rework our wish list.”  Steven looked at the chip in his hand, “Maybe what we should do is to collaborate with several other zoos then we can each take a part of the list.”  Looking at his colleagues Steven stood up, “I think we need to go back and go over the information you have given us, and I thank you for your time, and next time we shall make an appointment now that we know who to talk to.”



Tyler was more than a bit bemused as the group left his office as he sat back down behind his desk looking at William, “I have no bloody clue what just happened, but if the next group is that strange I shall refuse to see people.”



Chuckling William wisely chose not to comment and left to get the next group, all the while trying to keep from laughing louder.


Glancing at the clock and realizing it was just the start of the day Tyler sighed as he stood to greet the next group that was escorted into his office, this group of five bowed in respect and he copied the head bow Aaron did so often, “Please sit down,” hopefully I can figure out what the hell all of you want and help you he thought.



“Thank you for seeing us, honored Dragon, we expected to be turned away since we did not have an appointment,” the older gentleman started.  “We had come up to the station in the hopes of finding out who we must talk to.”



Maybe this won’t be so bad after all Tyler thought, “I can see you were thinking ahead.  If you could tell me what you wanted to talk about I should be able to either help you or direct you to the person you need to talk to.”  Seeing the smirk on William’s face he had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach as he sat back; they wanted to talk about money or something like that more than likely.



Bowing respectfully once more the elder smiled, “My colleagues and I represent the five main banks of Japan and we wanted to talk to you about setting up a currency exchange and the possibility of having on hand a small stock of your currency so we may make exchanges.”



Tyler sat still as he sent a mental snarl at William who was silently chuckling in the back of the room, “You’re a bloody git, you know.”  Instead of groaning Tyler nodded slowly as he pulled open his desk drawer and pulled out a single cubit and several coins.  Placing them on his desk he reached back into the drawer and pulled out a case of empty chips and uncovered the slot in the desk.  Seating five of them his fingers danced across the terminal as he ordered the system to copy the banking information he had created along with an exchange rate for the coins.



“All of our money is based on the gold standard, it is also encased in a clear metal casing that is impervious to all of your forms of tampering; it also has a specific quantum signature that makes it very easy to verify as authentic.”  Seeing their eager nods and every single one of them were taking notes, Tyler paused long enough for them to catch up,  “We, of course, will make sure you have the scanning equipment so all of your branches can quickly verify our money.  Let’s start with the simple one, the round one has $5 worth of gold that is 6.25 Euros, it is simply called a eighth credit piece.”  Tapping a few conversions on the terminal he looked back up, “105 yen.  This number is locked in and inflation and such will not touch our side of the equation.  We will not allow any deviance of price as our monetary system is backed by the gold in each coin.”



He ignored their excited looks as he pushed the next one over, “As you can see this one is the same size as the first but it has a star shape with four points, this one is worth $10 or 15 Euros, 210 yen.”  Pushing the next one over Tyler waited until they were once more looking up, poised to take notes.  “The next coin has six points around the center circle and is the first that is larger and we take a fivefold jump as it is worth $50 or 62.50 Euros, 1050 yen.”  Showing them the last coin, “This is the largest of our coins, a one credit piece and has eight points around the center it is worth $100 meaning it is worth 125 Euros or 2100 yen.  This brings us to the last of the group, the Cubit.  As you can see it is a flattened rod shaped and is a full one troy ounce of gold, $415 dollars and 515 Euros and the price that was locked in is 8715 yen.”



Giving them time to examine and look at all the coins Tyler sat back in his chair, “All of our people are given debit cards keyed to their specific DNA to use for purchases, so the coins which are our only tangible monetary unit sit in drawers or out of the way, mostly unused.”



The eldest of the bankers looked up from where he had stacked the coins in a neat row, “But they are still accepted as legal tender in all of your stores, is that correct?”



Nodding slowly since they did not need to know about replicator technology, “Yes, and on the colony worlds, any of our shops base sales and wages on those values.”



“But how do you deal with smaller purchases?” the one banker looked more eager than confused.



Tyler shrugged, “Well, for cash purchases almost everything is bundled into prices based on an eighth of a credit.  Like I said we have moved away from a hard currency base for the most part, so we have gotten rid of coins in favor of the DNA locked debit card.  Early on we linked them to several banks outside our kingdom with hard cash backing them up.  They work seamlessly with your credit card system which is worldwide, and if you check the numbers all of us have on our cards you will see the unique bank identifier stating they come from our kingdom.”



After a whispered conversation the five looked back at Tyler, “So it would seem that not only must we ask for a supply of hard currency as you call the coins, but the ability to integrate our debit card system with yours… including being able to link our customers DNA to their cards for security as you do for your people.”  Not letting Tyler respond he asked, “What protocols must we emplace to allow our system to mesh with yours?”



“If we give you the technology to be able to issue DNA linked debit cards then your customers will be able to visit the colony worlds and make purchases without having to convert and carry large sums of cash.”  Tyler steepled his fingers as he stared at them eyes slightly narrowed in thought, “The way our system is built, your cards will never work with our payment centers as it requires the card to be DNA linked.  The customer would swipe their card and before the payment is authorized the system generates a positive DNA match with the customer and card before authorization; no match, the system will not even attempt to authorize the transaction.”



“This information is intriguing, with it you can never have someone that states they never signed or bought the item,” the banker smiled in glee, the charges alone from chargebacks and false claims dug into his profit margin.



“Yes, Yes I can see that,” the older banker held up a hand to stop the early celebrations, “The problem arises with mail or internet orders, how do you handle them?”



“All our terminals have a DNA scanner built into them, so when we log in we can access our accounts  any purchase can be authorized when we place our hand on the scanner so it can verify living DNA,” Tyler shrugged oblivious to the eager stares his comments caused.



“Then we wish to modify our request to include the ability to issue DNA linked cards, even if it is expensive this ability alone will save the banks millions of yen a year in claims,” the older banker scooted forward in his chair like an eager puppy.



It was a good thing he had already discussed this project with Fred and Pete.  He knew that eventually the British would want to visit the colonies and would need a way to pay without carrying around large amounts of coins that could be lost, “I actually anticipated the need to do this for our British allies.” Standing up he motioned for his visitors to stand and follow him. “I don’t see why you can’t install our equipment in your branches, though I have to warn you that like all of our highly advanced equipment any attempts to reverse engineer it will cause it to melt down into puddles of goo.”



Opening the door to his workroom he waved them in, “Our citizens, of course, have their full DNA scanned during routine physicals, and soon after birth so it is already in our system and linked to their name.  Once their account is activated they have the option of having their picture taken and their debit card issued.   The system I had created for outsider use takes into account you do not have that ability.” Showing the group the small booth he had Pete create for him, “The customer would have to be verified your own way before he would be brought into the room with this scanner. He would then sit down while his DNA was scanned and picture taken, it takes five minutes per person before the card is issued.”



“A real time link exists between our Core system and the satellite machines, so the card is issued with a zero balance because it is not linked to an account yet. The issuing bank would have to link the card to their account and activate the link to our banking system to bring up a balance.” Tyler grinned, “It should allow you to create a small fee for services rendered.  Of course, we will allow use of our machines for the simple fee of one credit for every time the machine needs to have the consumables replaced, about every five thousand cards issued.”



Taking a seat at the terminal Tyler activated it, “How about I give all of you a demonstration by issuing you Empire Cards.  Of course, until one of my people synchs the systems into your banks you would not be able to transfer funds or deposit funds into the account for that card except here on Sol Station.  So they are not valid until you link the card to your personal account once your bank is linked to our system.”



“What must I do?” the eldest bank president smiled as he moved forward first.



Chuckling at the eagerness in the older man Tyler tapped the terminal, “Normally your bank representative would do this.  Before you can be scanned all the appropriate fields need to be filled out, I will make sure my people train yours fully in the proper procedures.” Seeing the forms had been filled out Tyler pointed to the blinking light, “At this point the customer would be sitting in the scanner and the blinking key touched thus initiating the scan.”



While the honored elder was being scanned as he sat smiling at the camera pickup one of the others asked, “So what must we do to accomplish the first part of our request?”



Tyler frowned, “Our banking system is based on gold, in fact all of our coins and the cubit are made out of encased gold.”  Glancing at the group to see all but the one in the scanner nodding their understanding, “It really is simple, we will pay you one cubit for every troy ounce of gold you exchange with us.  An equal exchange between banks, though we would charge a small fee if it was between our bank and an individual from outside our kingdom.  The best way to accomplish the task of transferring money electronically would be for your bank to hold a certain amount of credits by depositing a certain level of gold with our bank to act as collateral, in case the daily transfer of hard currency would get off schedule.” Removing the card that had the banker’s picture on the front with the empire logo of a dragon rearing on the front Tyler handed it to the ecstatic man before motioning the next to step over.



Staring in glee at his official Alteran Empire Debit Card for several minutes the old one bowed, “How shall we make arrangements for the surety deposit to be made?”  Cocking his head to the side to look at his fellows, “I also must ask where we must make the currency exchange?”



“We will keep the surety deposits in the Kingdom vaults down on Altare Minor, the island we have one of our hospitals at on Earth.”  Tyler handed off the next card as he activated the scan once more, “As far as the currency exchange is concerned I can make arrangements for it to happen in each of your head banks at noon tomorrow.  That will give me plenty of time to gather the money from our vaults and have it moved, well, once I know how much you plan to exchange that is.”



“And may one ask when you would be able to install your satellite machines in each of our banks?” the youngest bank representative asked eagerly.



“Once I have the locations where you wish them to be placed I can start this afternoon, the training of your core people would not be able to take place until tomorrow afternoon,” Tyler once again handed one of the cards over and ushered the fourth person into the scanner.



Staring at his card in wonder the banker stepped out of the scanner to make room for his colleague, “What would keep someone from having another card issued to them in another name?”



“The name they signed up to is linked to their DNA, so even if they tried to have another card issued in another name their DNA is already on file so it will not allow it, except under certain circumstances which would invalidate the first card.”  Tyler shook his head; it was one of his better safety features he had Kevin build in for him, “Any further cards would be issued in the original name.”



“I assume we will get training in what would be allowed and what would not.  Though the question does arise if the person legally has their name changed that does not involve marriage or divorce.”



Aaron is going to kill me when he finds out Tyler thought to himself, “They would have to go in front of the King’s Bench to have their case heard, or rely on carrying cash when in our territories.”



Once the last of the representatives had his Empire Card Tyler showed them back into his office, “The only thing I need now is to know the cash amounts of gold you wish to exchange and then we can make arrangements for one of my people to make the exchange at noon tomorrow.”





Removing his tie Edward threw his jacket over the end of the couch before sitting behind his desk in the palace.  He had some work to do before he could go home and play hide and goose with the youngsters, and he could not wait until Damien had finished his clan’s charter so he could have a son with Aaron. Pulling up this afternoon’s work he had laid out for himself he dug into the tedium of bringing his country up to standard, or the new standard Aaron was giving them.  He had been into his work for an hour before he was rudely interrupted by a knock on the door and Thomas stuck his head in.



“Excuse me, Edward, but Duke Cresthaven and his son and his son’s companion are here to see you,” Thomas slipped into Edwards’s office so he could find out if he wanted to meet with them.



“Duke who?” Edward looked up confused, “And did they say what it is about?”



“Duke Cresthaven, Young Sir,” Thomas smiled as it was the first time he had used Edward’s new title, and it felt grand to be able to do so.  “His son Jasper is one of the lads that were drugged so those harlots could get pregnant; the embryo was placed in stasis by his Majesty.  And then all of you went on vacation before he had a chance to meet with someone about his decision.”



“Well, I have no clue why he wants to meet with me.” Edward scratched his head, “Well, if they want to talk to me the least I can do is listen.  The only thing I can think of is that they want to ask my advice on how to approach Aaron.”



Nodding his head Thomas left the room and came back a few minutes later, “Duke Cresthaven, may I introduce you to the Prince of Wales?”



Edward reached out to shake the man’s hand and smiled, “Greetings your Grace. Now that I know you’re Jasper’s father I remembered you are from Sweden, so what can I do for you today?”



“I want to thank you for seeing us one short notice like this, your Highness,” the Duke sat in the offered chair as he smiled back at the young man.  “I realize that your marriage into the Clan so far is one sided, but we needed advice on how to proceed with the embryo his Majesty has placed in stasis for Jasper.”



“Oh…” Edward sat back in his chair as Thomas brought in refreshments; he used the time it took everyone to get something to drink and a biscuit to think about what to say.  “I’m afraid the most I can give you might be some general advice, you see you are going to need to speak with Aaron or Fred.  They have the medical training to help you understand the possibilities Jasper was offered.”



“You can give us more advice than you think, and the advice we, or I should say my son, needs has nothing to do with medical issues.”  Duke Cresthaven tried some of the strange liquid; he looked up in shock, “This is quite good.”



“One of Aaron’s special fruit juice blends,’ Edward smiled distractedly as he sipped his drink, letting the other restart the conversation as he tried to figure out what the Duke meant.



 Finally speaking first as he realized Edward was content to leave the silence of the conversation alone, “I understand from talking to the other parents that all the embryos have been destroyed, so the only one left is the one that Jasper is the father of.”  Duke Cresthaven was hinting to find out if it was true or not, but seeing the narrowing of Edward’s eyes and not even a flinch he sighed and tried the direct route.  “Jasper and Jarred have been discussing things, including their feeling for each other, and wish to explore the possibilities of the option hinted at by his Majesty.”



Seeing Edward look slightly confused before he looked like he was deep in thought, Jasper sighed, “What father is trying to be polite in his roundabout way is that both of us wish to talk to you about your decision to become Alteran and marry into his Majesty’s people and Clan.  One of the options given to us by his Majesty for the embryo was to replace the female’s DNA with that of one of your people.  There was also mention that it might be possible to have Jarred’s DNA used to replace that creature’s. But in all actuality the outcome, if that option was taken, is not assured; not like it is if one of your people’s DNA is used for the replacement.”



Staring at Edward, Jarred spoke up, “We have been talking, and if the hints are correct and you can remake people to be Alteran under certain circumstances, then it would be better if I was turned into one of the Alterans before my DNA is used, ensuring the success of the overwriting of the DNA.”



“And if Jarred could be turned into one of the Alteran's I would want to be turned too so we could be together to raise my son,” Jasper was slightly defiant as he stared at Edward trying to gauge his reaction.  “And my father suggested we talk to you, as you married into the Clan and, if our suspicions are correct, would be or have been made into an Alteran so you would know what was involved and if it was worth it.”



Rubbing his eyes before pouring another glass of juice Edward stalled for time as he thought things through by drinking the glass down.  Finally he looked at the two of them and brushed against their minds to see their intentions, “If I were to answer your questions and talk openly as you wanted I would need assurances of your confidentiality, plus your father would not be allowed to be involved in the conversation.”



Duke Cresthaven was slightly surprised at being excluded from the conversation, but after a moment’s thought he nodded his head, “Very well then, I shall see if your grandmother is free to chat while I wait.”



Once the Duke had left and Thomas had closed the door behind him Edward pierced the two with a look, “Your word that you will not tell anyone else what you learn here today.” Brushing his mind against theirs, he planned to install the lockout anyway once they got up to leave and he could shake their hand.



Surprised yet pleased, Jasper and Jarred were quick to agree.  Once they saw Edward relax Jasper stared for a minute before asking, “Are we correct in the assumption that the Alteran's have a way to turn people into the same race that they are?”



Nodding slowly Edward turned to the davenport behind his desk and logged into the terminal, “Yes they do, and I think the best way to start this is to let you watch the full disclosure that was put together for those we approached to join the Alterans.  Afterwards we can sit down and talk about what the disclosure did not cover.  I’ll be back shortly, in about half an hour, which should coincide with the ending of the presentation.”  Starting the disclosure Edward stood and slipped out of the room making his way down to Thomas’s office.



Closing the door behind him before sitting down Edward stared at Thomas critically for a moment, “Not that I want to push you into any decision, I was wondering what you thought of the joining ceremony Friedrich and Colin invited you to.  I understand they are interested in having you join them as the third if you decide to take up the offer to become Alteran.”



Frozen, deer in the headlights shock type of frozen, Thomas finally said, “It is the biggest decision I have ever made in my life, not only the fact I would be altered, I would be married to two hot men.  Frankly it scares me and excites me equally.  I have no bloody clue what to do either.”



Nodding as he thought it was something like that Edward smiled, “I have to tell you that in the beginning when I first met Aaron and the Clan I was intrigued… it was lust at first sight.”  Chuckling, Edward relaxed in the chair, “Before the British contingent changed his nickname to Satyr his Clan called him ‘his hotness’, and truly he is that.  He exudes sex with every breath he takes, and he can give you a look that sends you to instant lust with all thought leaving your mind.”



“I thought I was going to have the best of all worlds.  I could have my lust satisfied and be shown how to lead my people by this awe inspiring demi-god.”  Edward chuckled, “but the more I was around him and his Clan, the more I was pulled into their lives, the more they opened their hearts to me.”  Staring intently at Thomas, “That changes one deep inside in their very core of their being.  Then Richard and Andrew were accepted in a way I would never be, at the time that is.  That fact hurt me on such a deep level not only did I become hysterical but part of me started to die.”



Shaking his head as Thomas stared at him in shock, “Then my world changed again as Aaron saw through my façade and broke down the walls I had built and promised me he would make it better… and he did.”  Leaning forward so he could stare intently at Thomas to get through to him, “He offered me everything when he said those simple words that he loved me.  When I heard those words it did not matter if I could not be Alteran like Richard and Andrew were going to be, not really.  I would do my duty to my kingdom and people, but I would make sure I had a son with Aaron so my son could have what I couldn’t.  In my mind that single act would make everything better, and yet Aaron still found a way for me to have my dreams.”



Sitting back and picking up from Thomas the confusion on why he was sharing this he smiled, “It is simple really, Thomas.  Alterans think differently than we do.  You have been offered a rare chance to see what would be involved if you took the offer to become one of us, if you took the offer that Colin and Friedrich are extending to you to be the third in their marriage and the other father of their and your sons.  Make no mistake in this, Thomas, those two have given you a chance to change your mind or say no… but they do want you as part of them forever.  As marriage to Alteran's is a forever thing, I think you now know why.”



Standing up Edward smiled, “Think on it, Thomas; please do.  This is the chance of a lifetime that is being offered to you, the benefits of always knowing deep down inside at your very core you are loved and wanted every second of every day from now to the end of time is something precious.”  Standing in the open doorway he glanced over his shoulder, “This is the hardest choice you will ever make, yet the easiest one to if you listen to your heart.”  Closing the door Edward walked back towards his office, he had done what he could it was up to Thomas now.