Chapter 82 





“I am really starting to hate fish,” Tony groaned out as his brother helped him sit up slightly so he could eat breakfast.



Craig nodded.  While he agreed at least it was food and filling, “I plan to leave in a few minutes through the back door by the stream we found.”  Glancing over at Mickey he tried his best to be encouraging, “I trapped enough fish in the side channel to last you guys a week, though if things go as planned you only have to rough it a couple more days until I can bring help back.”  Grinning for the first time as he pulled his brother into a hug, “The valley that stream opens out into is on the other side of the mountain range, so it will knock almost a full day off my run.  I should get to the park sometime around nightfall.”



Reaching over, Tony grabbed Craig’s hand as he stared through the firelight into his eyes, “I know you’re the best woodsman I have ever met, but don’t take any chances… please stay safe.”



Leaning over and kissing his lover, Craig smiled outside while inside he felt like crying, “I will.  Your father’s men will never be able to touch me…  I’ll be back before you know it.”  Picking up his pack that was mostly bottles he had filled with water and the last of the energy bars, he looked back over his shoulder as he stopped at the back passage.  With one last wave and a thrown kiss he turned on the flashlight and disappeared in the darkness.





“We need to know what you used to power the lifeboat so we can synch in our power generators,” Rolph quickly moved in front of the image capturing its attention.  Seeing only confusion Rolph huffed in annoyance, “Your power generators; we need to know what you used so we can synch our generators in with your system before the rest of your generators fail, killing all the children.”



Before Rolph could get an answer the image froze with a look of horror as several wall screens came to life with information, “What have we done?” it cried out in horror.  “The Sleeper ship has been heavily damaged by the explosion and the power levels are at critical.”



“Stop initiating the callback,” Pete moved over as he pulled his P.A.D.D. out of pulling up some generator designs as he tried to pick up the signal the computer was using to link to the lifeboat.



“It is too late, the jump engines have begun charging.  There is nothing that can be done,” the image looked defeated as it waved a hand at the console.  “I have released all information about my race to you.  When the Sleeper ship returns my program will be destroyed, all that we were and hoped to be will now be available for you to learn about.”  Staring intently at the taller one, Kevin, the image bowed slightly.  “Do not forget us,” the image commanded before going offline.



“Well shit,” Kevin moved over to the wall console trying to retrieve the link to the trapped intelligence.  Sighing, he turned around as he pulled up the data net, “He committed suicide, the system opened the neural gel vat the brain was residing in and dumped it before shorting out across the biological components.”  Fist hitting the metal Kevin growled out, “That utter coward took the easy way out.”



Rolph hugged Kevin, “I think they are hardwired like we are, only more so when it comes to kids.  In his mind he was the one who initiated the signal that would end up killing the children so he had to pay.”  Pointing to the console he looked over his shoulder towards Pete, “Do we know if all the chambers will fail, or if some of them will survive?”



Frowning, Pete tore his eyes away from his P.A.D.D. as he moved over to one of the stations that had opened along the wall when the recall had been activated.  Glancing at the unfamiliar writing for a minute the information exchange from when he had linked to Rolph took hold and the writing slowly became legible.  Pressing several of the crystal controls the schematics of the lifeboat appeared in the screen, “Forty percent of the chambers have failed.”  Tracing his finger on the screen Pete frowned, “According to this ninety percent of all chambers will fail at the moment of the jump.”



“You would think there would be a safety feature installed so if power was interrupted the person would wake up,” Rolph was close to losing it.  That many children dying was hitting him hard, especially with knowing there was nothing they could do about it.



“There is,” Kevin responded quietly as he looked through the database. “Unfortunately life support was one of the first things that failed so when they wake up they will quickly…” Sliding down the wall Kevin stared at the ceiling and the tunnel for a moment with tears running down his face. The image was right; there was no way to stop the sequence once it was activated.  So many of the kids were going to die in the darkness all alone because there was nothing they could do about it.



Reaching out with his mind he searched for Aaron, needing the comfort of his lover, “Aaron…



Staring at the plasma definitely did not make the time move any faster, Aaron thought.  The hour and a half since Andrew, Xon and their crews left had dragged by so slowly, but it had given him time to think about how to proceed with what he had been told undisturbed.  Spotting movement out of the corner of his eye he turned around so he was fully facing the plasma and smiled in relief when he saw the scouts port in followed a moment later by Xon’s command cruiser.  Carefully watching the readouts, he never noticed the smile cross his face as Andrew’s scout crossed the vortex and made the journey back to their own dimension.  Once Xon’s command ship had cleared the gateway Aaron reached up and twisted the key to the off position causing the gate to deactivate.  Pulling the key out of the slot he stared at the end of the rod where the key should be but was missing, before leaning forward and peaking into the slot to find nothing.  Shaking his head slowly figuring he could find out from the Core later what had happened, he contacted Andrew and pulled Xon into the link as well, “Hello Loves, I see you made very good time… so how did things go?”



Feeling the tugging at his mind Andrew turned to face where he knew the gate control room was located and smiled, “It went better than we hoped for. We were able to transport the twenty percent maximum safe amount of flora in under an hour.  Richard’s buffers are a thing of sheer beauty.”



Xon smiled at as his hands moved to set up the minimum number of ports needed to get to Mizhine and deliver their cargo, “Indeed it did, even my ship was easily able to harvest the microscopic plant life from the seas without problem, and it should not take too long to release our cargos into the damaged ecosystem of Mizhine.  In fact, we should be able to completely bring the planet back to life in two more days; for the plant life that is.”



Thinking about it, Aaron smiled as he ported to Xon’s side, “As long as no one pushes them…”  He trailed off as he felt an intense agony of failure tinged with despair. Opening his mind up he followed the feelings back and heard Kevin calling him, “Aaron…



Pulling power from the three gestalt couches in long power intense arcs Aaron’s dragon form ghosted around him as he sent Andrew a message, more as an afterthought, to follow him to Mizhine, as he ported Xon and his command vessel to the Mizhine system in one port.  Energy still hitting him in long arcs, while the Shaolin crew looked on with awe on their faces, his mind reached for Kevin and he ported to his side leaving behind silence that was filled by Xon.  “Move us into Mizhine orbit and transfer our cargo to the planets oceans as quickly as we can in case we are needed.”



Kneeling next to Kevin, Aaron quickly scanned the room and noticed Pete muttering to himself as he played around with the unfamiliar console while Rolph was pacing back and forth around the small room also muttering to himself.  Tilting his head as he looked down at Kevin he caressed the side of his face to get his attention, “Love…  Kevin, what went wrong?”



“The brain they hooked up to the computer to watch over the system killed itself in grief before we could find an answer on how to stop or save the children on the lifeboat.”  Kevin blinked as he focused on Aaron, in the back of his mind he wondered how he had gotten here.  Seeing the concerned look on his lover’s face he reached up and caressed the side of Aaron’s face just like his own had been caressed a moment before, and sent the memory of the past hour or so, making sure Aaron would know what had gone horribly wrong.



Standing up after the memory transfer, Aaron looked at the doorway with the Marine scouts milling around eyes half glazed in thought, “The number one reason why we will never allow our computers to become self aware.”  Glancing over at Pete, who had heard his voice and looked up in surprise, he smiled tiredly, “How soon until the lifeboat makes the hyperspace jump?”



Hands hovering over the control crystals Pete stared at Aaron as he did the math in his head, “Ten minutes, no more than fifteen…”  Then in a quiet voice he whispered, “I still have not found a way to stop the sequence.  Once the lifeboat jumps back to normal space the power generators will have failed.”



Nodding as he made up his mind, Aaron started for the tunnel that led to the airlock, “Right then… we have a few minutes.  What we need to do is get every ship with a transporter and buffer in the system in the next few minutes, and once the lifeboat jumps to normal space we need to start transporting every person into the buffers as fast as we can.  If they have not passed the brain damage limit we can restart their hearts.”  Glancing over his shoulder he saw the stunned looks on their faces, “While we might not save all of them, at least we can save enough of them.”



Pete stared at the spot Aaron ported out of and blinked several times as his mind went over Aaron’s words before a look of determination came over his face, “We need the Rhawbar here.  We designed it for rapid transport in case of a planet wide disaster response scenario; it can quickly place people into the buffers faster than our scouts can.”  Porting out with Kevin and Rolph right behind him, he appeared in Aaron’s office onboard Mizhine Station and walked to the desk and quickly connected to Sector Seven Station.  Grim faced he looked at the surprised duty officer on the other end of the link, glancing at the silver bars on the Marines collar, “Lieutenant, activate Rhawbar…”  As the Marines eyes got wider he stood straighter, “I am Pete Stranton of Clan Stranton…  Disaster stations!  I need the Rhawbar in the Mizhine system in five minutes, not a second longer.”



Slapping his hand down on the ready alert button the Marine stood up so fast his chair bounced off the wall in his haste to salute, “Sir…yes Sir,” before rushing out of the room without bothering to close the link.



Sighing, Pete turned around while sending his mind in search of Aaron, “Come on, he’s on Xon’s command ship.”



Aaron turned and looked at his three lovers as they ported onto the command deck with a raised eyebrow, he had thought they would have been here by now.  Before he had a chance to say anything though Pete moved closer, “I activated the Rhawbar and ordered it to this system.”  Feeling the question in Aaron’s mind he smiled at his accomplishment, “What we have to deal with in a few minutes is what we designed him for.  If everything works as designed we should be able to transport up to a thousand people a second.”  Seeing the looks of shock he shrugged, “The outer hull is nothing more than one transporter platform next to another.”



Thinking about it Aaron stared at Pete and slowly asked, “Just how many fusion reactors did you build into that ship?”



“Three thousand type one generators,” Pete winced, afraid he was going to be yelled at as he watched Aaron drop his hand to his side bonelessly in shock.



“What in the name of the winds did you need the power output of a small sun for?” Aaron finally got out as he turned to face Pete.



Shrugging as he looked around for a place to sit down, “The ability to evacuate a planet in a couple of hours.”  Seeing Aaron’s lips move but nothing coming out he sighed, it would really have been funny under other circumstances.



Unnaturally still, Aaron gazed at Pete, “Just how many transporters does the Rhawbar have?”



Leaning up against the railing to the gestalt deck Pete smiled, “The transporter system is in two sections, the uplink, or the part that transports into the buffer, is separate from the part that actually materializes the object on the pad.”  Seeing Aaron’s slow nod and wave to continue, he grinned as the Rhawbar appeared in system.  “We were able to create and link the uplink section directly to the buffers, bypassing the need to complete the transport.  That ability alone made it possible to place an uplink feed every four square meters on the surface of the Rhawbar.”



“The reason why you needed so much power,” Kevin finished in awe.



“That and the fact there are about ten thousand bio-tube stations in that ship.”  Pete shrugged as Aaron turned to look at the plasma where the Rhawbar was moving towards the station.



Looking at the side plasma with Andrew’s image on it Aaron pointed to the image of the hospital ship, “Pete, since you built it I assume you can give us a visualization of the bridge?  If we are going to rescue those in the lifeboat we might as well be where all the action is happening.”



Grinning in anticipation Pete sent the picture of the arrival area on the bridge to everyone and ported out first.  He wanted to be in place before Aaron arrived so he could see his face.



Curious about the layout Aaron ported to the bridge of the Rhawbar.  Looking around he was more than slightly surprised to see the bridge was laid out in an octagon pattern.  Not only that but at each of the sides was a double layered gestalt deck, one deck above the other by three steps.  Walking into the bridge his eyes traveled around the stations as he tried to figure out just what all the stations were for; then he saw who was sitting in the tallest chair above the captain’s station, “Gordon, what in the world are you doing here?”



Gordon’s deer in the headlights look turned into a shy grin, “Well, interesting story that.  Here I was visiting Chris to see if he and Joe would be able to come over for supper with Carl and I when the Rhawbar was activated so I was told I was the closest healer in Sector Seven.  After they kidnapped me and I found myself thrust into this chair and told I was in charge now, that’s how I found myself here.” Waving a finger accusingly at Pete he scolded him, “If a certain somebody hadn’t interrupted the normal schedule of preparing to staff this beast I wouldn’t be in this situation.”



Waving his arms dramatically Gordon was more than a little upset, “How the hell was I supposed to know that a healer had to be in charge of this thing…?”  Slumping back in his chair he sighed in defeat, “How the hell am I supposed to know how to command a ship…?  I’m just a resident not a flyboy.”



Hiding his grin, Aaron felt the underlying stress coming off Gordon in waves.  “Well if you think of this like the Asclepius it makes sense to have the healer in charge.”  Pointing at the captain who was not hiding his grin, “And you do have a captain in charge of this ‘beast’ as you put it.  The healer is just overall in charge.”  Not feeling the stress going down Aaron placed his hand on Gordon’s shoulder and squeezed it in comfort, “You’re not that far from being declared a full healer, Gordon.  You and Carl have come a long way in a short amount of time.  In fact, upon graduation, I thought I would assign the two of you to Sector Seven so you could be near Joe and Chris.”



Grinning at Gordon’s shock, Aaron turned around so he could see the whole bridge layout, “Pete, is there a reason why there are sixteen gestalt decks?”



Nodding seriously at the question, “There is.  In fact every chair that is in front of any type of station has a gestalt link built into it.  This ship was designed as a disaster response hospital like I mentioned; between the bio-beds and bio-tubes, and Richard’s advanced buffers, I think this ship has the capability of transporting upwards of eight digits in patients.”  Shrugging at Aaron’s intense surprised look he turned away, “Like I said, this ship was designed with the thought of evacuating a planet in a short amount of time.  By making all the stations gestalt enabled the crew can help in evacuations easily by porting the patients to the triage decks while the transporters place those they rescue directly into the buffers for later release and treatment.”



Giving Pete a look that promised a long talk later on Aaron sighed as one of the crew called out, “Jump point forming off the port side.”



“Aaron…!” Gordon hissed in panic.



Laying his hand back on Gordon’s shoulder and sending calming waves towards him, Aaron smiled, “Relax Gordon, I’m not about to throw you into the deep end.”  Glancing at the terminal on the arm of the chair he activated the all-call as he cleared his throat.  “Attention all crew…  The lifeboat will be appearing from the jump point in moments.  As soon as it is in normal space I want every transporter crew locking onto all life forms, living or not, and placing them in the buffer system.  The youngsters and teens in that lifeboat will be suffering from hypoxia and a lot of them will have shut down and be near irretrievable death.”


Pete cleared his throat and added to the announcement, “Everyone not involved with the transporters activate the gestalt links in your chairs and port those still breathing into the bio-bed sections, the bio-beds have the ability to place the patient into the buffers.  Section thirty one has been activated on automatics, so we don’t have to have healers initiating transport.  The Core will do it as soon as it detects life forms on the bio-bed.”



Aaron raised an eyebrow like Xon was doing as he looked at Pete.  Glancing back at the plasma he noticed something very large coming through the jump point, “Steady…  Steady…”  Once the jump point collapsed he raised his voice, “Move it now, people!”



Aaron stared at Pete as holo images separated the command deck from the gestalt decks.  As he slowly turned around seeing information on the rescue, flashing back to Pete’s comments about one thousand people a second, he stopped and turned to face his UBER GEEK lover who was grinning in delight as he watched his creation be put through its paces.  Not only was Pete grinning ecstatically but so was Kevin and with the mention of a core controlling some of the bio-beds, “Alright you two, spill.”  Shaking his head, he leaned against Gordon’s command chair as he rubbed his temples.  Whatever they had done it was working, incredibly so.  “I’m almost afraid to ask how big the computer core is, especially after the comment about the ‘Core’ you made.”



“Well…”  Kevin walked over and kissed Aaron, “This ship has the largest Core I’ve built yet.”  Dragging Aaron over to the side and activating one of the spare terminals he pulled up the pickups from the bio-bed area.



Pete grinned as he leaned on Aaron’s shoulder, and pointed, “The bio-bed decks are the only full height med bay pods you’re used to in the ship.”  Pointing again once Kevin changed the image, “The bio-tube pods, or decks, were planned in a full four dimensions, so you have two bio-tubes in one space, one over the other.  We left the surgical decks alone, but for the general healing decks Fred said we could easily place a bio-tube over another so we could double the capacity of each deck.  We changed the bio-tubes to allow them to swivel on a central axis so they could be based into the wall instead of the floor; yet when the lifts move them around the patient stays in the same orientation.”



“Fred figured that once the patient was fully stable and just needed to be healed it didn’t matter much where he was,” Kevin shrugged as he told the Core to move several of the bio-tubes around so Aaron could see how they worked.  “If anything would go wrong we could quickly rotate the bio-tubes out and down to the central station.”



“I see that,” Aaron mumbled as he watched one of the topmost bio-tubes slip down the wall and quickly move over to the central station where it could be worked on normally.  “Very impressive.”  Not bothering to look at him, Aaron tapped the plasma, “Kevin, would you switch back to the bio-beds and give me a close up please?”



Once the image changed Aaron stared at the slightly wider bio-bed and watched as the built in array transported the Mizhine child into the buffers, “Did you turn those bio-beds into Richards’s bio-pods?”



“Not quite,” Pete smiled.  “They can’t turn into bio-tubes like the ones in the Kesol med bay, but we decided early on that all bio-beds would have Richard’s bio-filtering technology built in from the start, hence the transporter coils built above the bio-bed.  We even built several wings with the transporter arrays above bio-tubes so the patient could appear in the bio-tube instead of having to be moved; then of course we have the normal replicator arrays that can be linked into the buffer system so they can be used to bring patients out of the buffers in case we need to bring out the injured at a faster pace, or have a surplus of healers and need to open up a secondary access point.”



“Incredible,” Aaron whispered as he reached behind his back and hugged Pete to his back as he turned to give him a kiss on the side of his face.  Releasing Pete he moved back so he could slowly turn to take in the information scrolling on the plasmas.  Staring at the one plasma reading the reports of cellular activity in those being transported he shook his head, “So many will end up being lost, though I think we can get genetic material from most of them.”  Rubbing his eyes, he was all of a sudden tired.  He had no clue on how to help the Mizhine, and until he came up with a plan the survivors would have to stay in the buffers.  “Pete, you and your teams need to dissect that lifeboat as soon as everyone is off of it.  I think…”  Shaking his head sadly, “I would like to know what happened before I can come to grips with what I need to do.  For now we’ll leave the Mizhine in the buffers.”



Giving Andrew a slight kiss he looked into his eyes, “That will give you and your teams time to bring Mizhine back to life, getting the planet and ecosystem stable before I have to come up with a plan on how to help those we rescued.”  Facing Gordon he grinned, “Gordon, you’ll need to stay long enough for me to assign a replacement team to babysit the Rhawbar until we are ready to release the survivors.”



Turning to stare at the Captain Aaron narrowed his eyes in concentration, “Captain Yeager…  Don, until further notice you will be in charge of the Rhawbar and it would be better in the long run to dock with Mizhine Station, I think.  I’ll talk to Joe about making this a permanent assignment for you if you want the command.”  Grinning at the flabbergasted look on Don’s face, “Only if you want it that is, as I have a feeling this command will be more like an ambulance crew, boring with not much to do coupled with tense drama as emergencies crop up.  For the most part this will be Fred’s hospital, since it was built for him as a birthday gift, but I expect you might have some interesting experiences knowing my Clan.”



Seeing that the rate of those being placed in the buffers had slowed to a trickle, Aaron winced as he looked at his watch.  Twenty five minutes had passed so that was roughly about half of the sleepers he had been told was on the lifeboat.  Staring at the plasma he felt a sense of sadness hit him.  Sighing heavily he walked to the central holo display as he was lost in his thoughts.



Glancing over at Rolph who also looked like he was lost in thought, Andrew looked at Kevin and Pete before settling on Xon who was walking around the command deck with his eyebrows raised as he made notes on his P.A.D.D. muttering to himself.  “Ingenious, I think I will have to redesign my command deck… the possibilities the multiple gestalt stations open up is…”  Xon trailed off as he felt sadness permeate the room.



All eyes turned to face the figure radiating sadness, staring at the plasma where the numbers of the rescued was slowing down almost to a stop.  Deciding there was nothing else he could do Aaron turned away from the plasma, “There’s a couple of hours left before I have to start supper so I’m going to finish up some paperwork.  I’ll be on Centauri Station if anyone needs me.”  Giving all his lovers a hug and kiss goodbye Aaron ported out.





Scratching the massive black head on either side of him, Foma looked curiously around the Central Office bureau for his mother, all the while trying not to fidget as he was being stared at because of his companions, and the way he was dressed in robes and circlet that proclaimed him to the universe as being part of the Clan.  Not seeing his mother he walked towards the exit in case she was waiting for him outside, only to be stopped by several officious looking men in suits who stepped in front of him. “Excuse me please but you need to speak with the President before leaving.”



Staring at the man blankly while Cain and Able showed their impressive set of teeth, Foma cocked his head to the side as his security team moved in, “If there is time after what I came here to do is over then I will meet with President Gorbivonovich.”



“Listen here…” The man who was blocking the door to his right started to say as he reached around his back only to find himself on the ground staring at the floor with an incredible pain in his shoulders as his arms were pulled behind his back.



Fool,” Cain growled out as he followed his charge and stepped around the troublesome two leggers on their way towards the door leading outside.


Glancing over his shoulder Foma shrugged as he watched Friedrich and his team subdue the men in the dark suits.  Holding open the door so Cain and Able could walk through he put the scene out of his mind as he spotted his mother at the bottom of the steps waving at him.  Smiling he jumped slightly and waved back, “Come on guys, my mother brought the big car so we can ride in style.”



Natalia smiled warmly as she saw how handsome her son looked in one of those Clan uniforms; he looked like one of those princes out of the story books.  Wrapping her arms around her son she squeezed gently before holding him out at arm’s length to really look at him, “You have done well for yourself, Foma, and you make me proud to be Babushka to your children.”



Eyes widening in surprise turning to pleasure, Foma hugged his mother once more before spotting Friedrich exiting and walking down the steps, “I hope you didn’t do anything permanent to those two.”



Grinning evilly Friedrich looked over his shoulder before shrugging, “Nothing to permanent… physically that is.”  Waving his hand dramatically, “Someone eventually will get around to untying those two and letting them up off the floor, I’m sure.”



Giggling as he opened the back door of the van for Cain and Able to get in Foma shook his head, “Yes well, in case you did not already know we are going to Burdenko Military Hospital on the outskirts of Moscow to visit my father.”



Smile fading from his face Friedrich nodded slowly, “Yes, Young Sir.  I have several teams walking through the building now.  By the time you get there it will be cleared for you to enter.”



Giving one last unreadable look to Friedrich, Foma closed the back door to the van and took the front passenger seat.  Glancing in the mirror he watched as Friedrich quickly got into the lead diplomatic hummer and it start to pull away from the curb with his mother’s van following behind.



Arriving at the hospital half an hour later after an enjoyable catching up session, Foma stretched as he opened the back door so Cain and Able could get out and stretch.  Looking up at the dirty gray building he hid the sigh of pain his yearly trip to visit his father brought him.  He felt the support of Cain and Able as they ducked under his arms, rising back up so his hands were on their shoulders.  Smiling as he heard his mother approach after parking the car he tried his best to be supportive for her sake.  “Shall we?” he spoke more to his two companions than his mother as they started for the front doors.



Already unsettled from the group that came through an hour ago that screamed bodyguard, Anastasia looked up as the door opened and froze in fright as she caught sight of two of the biggest dogs she had ever seen in her life walked in next to one of those people she had seen on television not too long ago.  She, like the rest of her family, sat glued to the small black and white television set in the neighbor’s apartment the day the world froze in fright.  The day the young boy was tortured; the day the Earth was almost destroyed.  Nodding a greeting, she was not about to mention the policy of no animals in the hospital as they walked by on their way down the hall to the long term care wards.  Spotting several of the men she had seen earlier appear as if from nowhere she put the pieces together as she picked up the phone to contact the hospital administrator.



Natasha noticed right away her son was not paying attention.  Glancing his way she noticed the look that told her he was a million miles away, or in another galaxy she thought knowing the people he married into.  She was about to say something as they approached the nurses’ desk when she noticed he had stopped.  He, along with his two companions, had stopped and were looking down one of the corridors as if searching for something.  “What is it Foma?  What is wrong?”



Blinking back to the here and now Foma faced his mother, “Pain…  Fear…  Hopelessness.”  Glancing at one of the guards who had appeared at his side he motioned for them to come closer.  “Please search out the source of this pain.”  Cocking his head and wincing as he opened himself up to the pain, he clamped down hard after a minute.  “The source feels as if they are young and that worries me.”



Waiting until one of the guards left in search of the source of the pain, Foma turned back as he reminded himself to talk to Aaron tonight.  He might be showing signs of empathy and, if that was true, he needed training. Wincing in pain as he rubbed his forehead he wished he had one of the empathy limiters as the pain he was being exposed to was getting hard to block out.



Following his mother he clamped down on his mind hard, trying his best to imagine stone walls surrounding his mind protecting him from stray thoughts.  This might be the shortest visit to his father yet if this kept up.  Spotting his father sitting up in bed he studied him from the doorway before walking into the room, “Hello father, so much has happened since our last family get together.”  Foma sighed as he sat on the edge of his father’s bed knowing he was not being heard.  His father was staring out the window unblinking.  He had no idea what to say to the man he barely remembered.  He had been six when the war had taken him away from his family; the shrapnel had caused the doctors to remove half his father’s brain to save his life.  Personally he thought it might have been better if they had not saved his father’s life, but he was in no position to even consider bringing that up with his mother.



“Uri, you would be so proud of our son, what he has given up to make our country strong once more…  He is a hero to the people, because of him our people have been given the stars.”  Natasha smiled at her son who was lost in thought as he gripped his father’s hand.  “Our countrymen have taken their rightful place as one of the five countries who now lead the rest of the world into the future.”



Something was bothering Foma as he looked out the window with his father, some little bit of information in the back of his mind was tugging at his awareness, wanting to come out where it could be seen.  Glancing at his father and the spot he knew the metal plate had replaced the bone he wished the Alteran people had come out earlier…  Sitting up in shock he dislodged the covers as he grabbed at them to keep from falling out of bed, “Of course… why didn’t I think of that earlier.”  Looking at his mother in surprise he smiled at her, “We have the ability to regrow practically anything.”



Natasha stared at her son as he grew excited and his words rang through her head, ‘we have the ability to regrow’… “Do you really think you can do something to bring Uri back to us?”



Nodding his head slowly, Foma all of a sudden frowned as he slumped, “I think though the procedure, while making his brain whole once more, will leave him with having to re-learn as if he was a baby.  Not only that, I don’t think he will be the same person he was before he was shot… we can’t replace memories if they are not there to begin with, though I am not sure…”  Trailing off he looked up as he closed his eyes as he concentrated on the picture of Colin in his mind as he sent his thoughts searching for the mind healer.



Stretching his mind out and not finding Colin close by, Foma concentrated on going farther out towards home.  Mind wavering as he sent his thoughts further out he winced as he felt a stretching sensation before pulling back slightly.  Almost cussing himself out he remembered about taking power from the gestalt to extend his reach and felt around for a power source.  Eyes still closed Foma found a small glow on the wall and smiled as he started to pull power towards him.



Natasha blinked in surprise at her son acting so much like those Alteran’s he married into.  She fell off the bed though after she saw him wince then smile before long electrical arcs shot out from the wall and hit his body.



Nodding his head in understanding, Foma thanked Colin and opened his eyes, “Colin said he…”  Trailing off he looked around the room frantically for his mother; he did not think he had been talking to Colin that long.  Hearing a noise from the other side of the bed he looked over his father’s body to see his mother sitting on the floor staring up at him in shock. “Mother…  Mother, is something wrong?”



“How…  You…  Electricity…”  Natasha stuttered as she looked up at her son.



Staring at his mother for a moment, Foma felt surprise at the feelings of loss that started to flood his mind.  Bottling up his emotions he stood up, “I am sorry I frightened you.  I talked to the head mind healer and he agrees that my first thoughts were more than likely correct.  If we… or I should say you, decide to have father healed in this manner he could, once he is fully healed, not remember any of us.  So you will have to decide if you wish to take the chance, once he is well again, that he does not remember you.”  Sighing and keeping his sadness under control he spotted Friedrich peeking into the room, “I’m sorry, Mother, about not being able to stay longer…  I…  There is something I need to do right now.  When you have made your decision about father’s treatment let me know and I will arrange for the transfer to Altair Minor Trauma for both of you.”  Not saying anything else Foma gave one last lost look at his mother before turning and leaving.



Sighing, Friedrich laid his hand on Foma’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze, “She’ll come around, Young Sir.  I think the shock of finally realizing what you did for your country set in… it’s not you that she is frightened of.”  Looking into the guarded eyes he squeezed the lad’s shoulder one more time before dropping his hand, “You were right about the feelings of pain and despair.”  Looking back into Foma’s eyes he shook his head, “and you are not going to like what we found.”



“Aaron rarely does when he finds these type of things,” Foma sighed as he turned his head as he felt more than heard the deep rumbling growl that came from an enraged Kesol.  Sparing Friedrich a glance and seeing he felt it too he took off running down the corridor.




The doctor was furious; how dare someone let beasts into his sterile hospital.  Taking several steps towards what he assumed were large dogs he froze in fright when the closest one turned and stared at him face to face.  He skidded to a stop as he noticed the beast was looking down at him while sitting on the floor.  Some latent survival instinct had caused him to stop and truly look at the two animals before he got close enough to touch them, then the unthinkable happened, it spoke to him in his mind.



Back off!!” Cain growled out as his fur started to rise along his back as he prepared to attack the two legs that wanted to harm.



Foma glanced at the cowering doctor over behind the door as he came running into the room, skidding to a stop by Cain who was baring his teeth at the doctor.  Placing a hand on Cain’s neck and asking him to calm down mentally he took a good look around the room and winced as the feelings of pain and despair were almost overwhelming.  Hand falling to his side as he walked down the aisle he looked from side to side at all the kids in the beds, most of them had a drugged out gaze to their eyes.  Stopping halfway down the long row he picked up one of the charts on the foot of the bed, opened it and glanced through the notes.  While most of it was way above him he soon got the idea that the children housed here were considered thrown away because of needing around the clock care; which meant that the feelings of pain and despair were from the kids that had not been drugged out of their minds yet.



Approaching one of the beds with a teen girl that was missing both legs and an arm, he winced as her mind screamed in despair louder as he approached.  It seemed that she tried so hard to communicate, but being trapped in the body that was so damaged she could do nothing but lay there, and she so wanted someone to notice that she was aware and in pain.  “I hear your thoughts,” Foma whispered to her as he sat on the side of her bed and brushed her dirty hair out of her face as he tried to smile.  “We’ll get you up to the Med Bay and fix everything that is wrong with you, and soon you’ll be not only walking but talking again.”  Smiling as he felt the relief and joy coming from the girl he motioned to Friedrich to come over so the girl could hear his orders.  “Friedrich, search out all the kids in this place and get them to Sol Station Med Bay. They have been in pain and fear long enough… let’s get them healed.”



Standing as he patted the girl’s arm one last time he glared at the doctor and his staff hiding in the corner and stalked over towards him.  “I would have assumed that you would have contacted us long ago about the kids in here.  After all, being trapped in one’s own mind day after day, reliving pain and agony and not able to do anything about it even scream, is nothing but torture.”  Stopping several feet away he picked up on their fear filled thoughts and shook his head.  “By marrying into the Clan I not only gave our people the chance to go to the stars.”  Waving his hand behind him at all the kids lying in the beds, “But I also gave our people the rights to be completely healed.  Surely by now you’ve seen the reports of the wonderful medical procedures that can re-grow lost limbs and such.”  Turning away Foma deflated in disgust as he spotted someone in a suit enter the ward.



“It is a terrible oversight on our part, Young Sir,” the man said as he walked in careful not to enrage the young man further.  “To tell the truth I don’t think the President, or any of his staff, even considered it with the excitement of being able to go into space and other worlds.”  Vasily frowned as he looked around the room, “To tell you the truth I would have thought our doctors would have made your wonderful technology available to their patients long ago.  I will see to it personally that all our hospitals take advantage of your healing facilities.”



Foma nodded slowly as he examined the man and noticed right way the party pin on the others lapel, “Thank you.  Not to be rude but are you here about those two fools that tried to stop me earlier?”



Wincing ever so slightly, Vasily nodded once, “Yes, they overstepped their orders.  They were supposed to pass along a message that President Gorbivonovich would like to see you if you had a spare moment today.  If not, they were supposed to ask when would be a good time for you to visit.”



Looking over his shoulder at Friedrich and his team watching the transporters beaming the patients out in brilliant sparkles, Foma sighed, “As soon as I tell my mother goodbye I shall make arrangements to go to the Presidential Manor and meet with him.  Though please pass along to the staff that we will be porting in so there are no further misunderstandings.”



Bowing his head slightly Vasily smiled, “I shall do so.”  Grinning he smirked, “Though it would set some of the old timers off when you suddenly appear, showing the young pups that they don’t know all they think they do at the same time.”



Friedrich shot the official a look of loathing before following his charge out of the now empty ward.  If they were surprised he would be the first to be taken to the floor he decided.





Peeking around the corner of Aaron’s office door, Pete glanced back at Tim, “Aaron looks like he is doing paperwork, but I think he is not even looking at the screens.  I think he is more upset than I thought over the Mizhine rescue.”



Moving around Pete, Tim stood in the door looking at Aaron stare at the plasma eyes unseeing.  He nodded his head agreeing with Pete’s assessment, wondering what Aaron was thinking about, but he probably had a good idea knowing that several of their lovers were involved in the rescue of those on the Mizhine lifeboat.  Walking in quietly he looked at the plasmas scrolling the same information over and over again and touched several spots on the desk turning them off.  Going around the side of the desk he hugged Aaron, “I don’t think I have ever seen you this upset over anything.”  Sitting on the desk facing Aaron, Tim kissed him gently as he pulled his head around to face him, “What happened, Love?”



Eyes haunted, Aaron stared at Tim before leaning his head against his shoulder, “The Mizhine made several mistakes when they built their lifeboat.  It was damaged during transport into hyperspace, and then, once the signal was sent to start the jump engines for its return, it drained and collapsed ninety percent of the power generators.”  Aaron told him emotionlessly, “Forty percent of the sleepers had already died off due to damage to the ship, and another ninety percent suffered death, or near death, as the fail safes kicked in and woke the sleepers as their chambers failed.  Unfortunately life support was destroyed long ago.”  Looking into Tim’s startled eyes he sighed, “We’ll be lucky if twenty thousand out of million and a half children we placed in the buffers make it.  And we will be able to save that many only because of Fred’s birthday gift, the Rhawbar is a fantastic ship.”



“We should be able to get genetic material from all of them safely, and I think we might be able to save more of them than you think,” Pete quietly came into the room and sat on the other side of Aaron’s desk.



“As much as it hurts…”  Tim pulled Aaron’s face around and smiled sadly at him, “It is not something of our doing.  We need to take comfort in knowing we saved as many as you did, if it was not for us… for you, they would have died out as a race.”



“I’ll be fine in a little while, it was just a shock,” Aaron smiled as he hugged Pete and Tim close to him.  “Unfortunately, in this situation, I can’t blow someone up to make things better.”  Chuckling softly Aaron pulled the two closer as he stood up.  “Let’s go home, it’s almost time to start dinner.”


“You must be out if it.”  Tim looked at Aaron strangely, “Shoji is cooking tonight.  He’s planning a pure Japanese supper without any crossovers.”



“I guess I am,” Aaron sighed as he turned off the plasmas in his office.  “I think I need a nice hot soak and something to distract my mind…” Leering at the two he started to get hard, “And since the youngsters are off with Derrick and David for some time yet I have the perfect activity to get my mind off of things.”





Spotting who he was looking for sitting in the middle of the stream on one of the rocks, Ryuu stopped and studied the blond as he stared downstream.  Wondering if he had received the message from the system warning him about his visit he nevertheless started for the young man.  Walking across until he was standing near the young man, he smiled as Brayden looked at him.



“If we forgot the whole biblical thing going on here, like you walking across the water,” Brayden looked up at the only person he had talked to in his self imposed isolation, “I have to wonder, Ryuu, if you are here as a friend, or as Shaolin of clan Shaolin?”



Cocking his head to the side and listening to the words beneath the words Ryuu smiled softly, “Can I not do both?  Can I not come to visit and check up on you while telling you news and asking you a question?”



Snorting, half in amusement, half in pain, Brayden stood up.  Looking down at Ryuu standing calmly on top of the water he shook his head and chuckled, “Shall we move this to the shore so when you lose concentration you don’t end up neck deep in water?”



Nodding, Ryuu smiled after his young friend ported to the shore and sat down against one of the strange trees.  Walking calmly back he had to admit, at least inwardly, it did take a lot of his concentration to use kinetics to keep himself above the water.  Sitting down across from his young friend he searched his face to see if the pain had begun to heal.  Sighing which caught Brayden’s attention, “I had hoped that all these months of solitude and reflection would have started you one the road to recovery.”  Tilting his head to the side he noticed Brayden’s glare and pointed it out to him, “You do not like what you hear so instead you glare hatefully at me.  Never mind, healing will take place sooner than you want; your own mind will see to that.”  Crossing his legs so he was comfortable Ryuu looked up at the dual moons starting to rise past the tree line, “I hope you have kept up with the news on the system about the Russians teens rescued?”



Brayden nodded his head before his eyes widened slightly as he started to get a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, “I have…  You are not thinking of making me a mentor, are you?  If so, I have to tell you I would fail miserably at it.  I drove my own mentor to the brink of screaming when I first moved here, I hope you remember that?”



Chuckling, Ryuu nodded as he relaxed, “I do… and I am not here to ask you to be a mentor for those coming here for the first time.  I have more sense than that.”  Seeing the relief in his eyes he cocked his head to the side, “Though if you would be willing to talk in the future to those who have similarly been abused it might be helpful.”



Choking back the panicked laughter, Brayden shook his head.  “Right barmy you are.  And just how many teens are you going to come across that had their own fathers rape them, then cut his bullocks off when his perverted aversion therapy failed?”  Voice rising to almost hysterical, his tears started to fall freely as he whispered, “Right Jekyll and Hyde he turned out to be after mum died.”



“Sixteen,” Ryuu watched the shock crash over Brayden’s features.  “That is right, Brayden; sixteen others have gone through what you have.  They have had their own flesh and blood abuse them, and then torture them by cutting off pieces of their bodies.”  Staring at him intently he leaned forward, “At least your beast of a father never cut your manhood off at the same time!”



Gulping deep breaths of air as the panic attack he was on the verge of falling into stopped, Brayden looked at the person if he had been pressed would say he was a friend with horror on his face, “Sixteen?” He whispered as his head fell into his hands and all the pain and anger hit him full force and he sobbed.



Moving closer Ryuu hesitated a moment before reaching out and gently touching the young man on his thigh.  When Brayden did not recoil he smiled as he gently pulled him around in his arms so he was leaning against his chest and held on as the young man finally let all the pain and anger out.  Several minutes later, as the sobbing started to diminish Ryuu placed his chin on Brayden’s head briefly, “That was a long time coming, I think.  Please listen to me carefully, I would never ask you to do something you were not ready for, or that would cause you pain.  If I did that Aaron would slap me silly, as you like to say, and with good reason too.”  Hugging the young man tightly and sending waves of fatherly love towards him he watched the first moon start to race up the sky as twilight set in, “You still have a lot of healing to do, and now that you have taken the first step down that road since the day you were rescued in the alley behind Harrods, it will happen whether you wish it to or not.”



“I came today to talk to you about a small village, well, I suppose you could call it a village even though the houses and farms will be half an hour’s walk apart, that will be constructed near you.”  Ryuu felt Brayden stiffen in his arms, “The closest one will be about an hour’s walk from your own sanctuary.  They too will wish solitude and reflection as they heal, so I would imagine they would not bother you too much except in an emergency, or if things truly get out of hand or too much for them.  Some of them are mated pairs, most of them though are lesbians, I believe they call themselves.”  Feeling Brayden relax in his arms he smiled once more.  “I would not have placed those near you that would cause you to panic… or run into the wilds in the hopes of being alone.”



“Thank you,” Brayden whispered out as he relaxed.  Staring up at the twins racing to be the first to rise in the night sky he felt better than he did in months, “I guess that most of them will move to GRM 34 once they have a chance to relax and get their lives back together.”  Looking up at the calm face over his own head he tried to smile, “I suppose, since they will already be built and set up, that it would be okay if permanent neighbors moved in.”



Wiggling out of the safe arms he back stepped a little, “As long as they realize I like the peace and quiet we will get on okay.  After all…” looking up at the moons it felt right, “After all, I think… soon I will want to move to Altare Prime.”



Keeping tight rein on his body language, Ryuu let a small smile escape; Brayden was finally on the road to healing and had taken the first step to living once more.  “Nothing would please me more, my young friend, than to help you move to the home world.  The sights and wonders that await your discovery can not be described; they can only be experienced to fully appreciate them.”



Nodding his head, Brayden smiled as he watched the sensors activate the lights inside his house in the distance, “Thank you, Ryuu, for stopping by.  Now… now I think I am hungry and it’s time for me to dust off the stove and cook something.”



Wiping the loam off his pants Ryuu truly smiled at the young man’s back, “I also have work to do tonight.  Brayden,” he called out gently and waited for the other to turn his head so he could see him, “I expect the first of the Russian rescues to be released in two days time.  I’ll stop back once the MRBs start to build the cottages.”



Nodding once Brayden walked away humming quietly for the first time in months, leaving behind a happy Shaolin mind healer.



Ryuu waited a moment before porting back to his office.  Colin was right to take him to task for leaving Brayden so long before nudging him to open up about his feelings.  Now he was on the road to healing, though losing the bottle of Dogoba chocolate syrup hurt.  Sighing as he appeared in his home he crossed the floor to the kitchen and carefully opened the cupboard and clicked the hidden button releasing the inner secret compartment.  Staring at the two bottles of his precious chocolate sauce he groaned as he took one out to send to Colin with his report.  He was going to have to take a day off and go back to Earth to restock, and hope they had some left in the store.