Chapter 91



"How do we get them up here without Nate collapsing due to using too much energy?" Gene asked as waved his finger at the screen.

"The better question is," Theo said as he tried to think of a place to take all those kids, "where can we port them to weed out those who will be joining us and those who will want to try it on their own? Because I am telling you right now, Gene, humans will never set foot on this planet. Not while I live and breathe."

"You do know those we rescue and bring here to alter will still be human?" Gene said carefully. It was not often that Theo put his foot down like he was doing now, not to mention he normally did not let his hatred of others who would hurt a kid show like it was now.

"The only exception will be those we rescue today that we will be altering.  After today we will begin the alteration process before they leave Earth," Theo ordered before turning to Nate. "How long will it take to make the alteration bracelets I read about in the archives? I found the notes on the bracelets right before you altered us," he told Nate when he saw he was curious about how he knew about them.

Pulling his P.A.D.D. out, Nate searched for the term ‘alteration bracelet’ and quickly skimmed it. This would be a better nanite delivery device than the one he was thinking of building. "Of course, I won't have enough time to have these built before today's rescue, but I can have a couple of hundred done by tomorrow easily enough."

Turning back to the screen, Theo watched as the teens and kids were herded into the warehouse. "We'll port outside the warehouse. Every human that is involved in this atrocity dies." Glancing at Gene to see if he was going to have a problem with his decision, he smiled gently when he saw the determination in Gene's features. "Once we are sure there is no one left alive outside, we'll sneak into the building. We'll have to take out the guards quickly," looking at Nate he asked, "How much time will we have after you break the gas line before the place goes up?"

"Twenty minutes, maybe longer," Nate shrugged, "it all depends."

"That brings us back to my first question," Gene stood up and started to get dressed, throwing clothes towards Theo as he came across them. "How are we going to get that many people up here without Nate passing out?"

"We'll have to use the shuttle," Nate said as ported his P.A.D.D. back to his bed. He could not afford to let it get damaged, not if he wanted to go home one day soon. "While it does not have engines of its own, I can easily port it to the dock and back without trouble. I made it so I could bring up air and water to the bio-dome. It's not the prettiest thing, but it will get them here in one piece and breathing. We're going to have to raid a grocery store or something for food to feed them all."

"Do you need to be on board the shuttle to port it?" Theo asked as he tied his shoes. "What I want to know is, if you can port it to you after we take care of the outside guards?"

"Easily," Nate felt a surge of pride at Theo for taking charge like he was. It was done in true Stranton fashion, but he did have to clamp down on a wave of sadness that threatened to hit him with those thoughts. "I know of a place we can port to. I'll port us to Earth, and I need both of you to try to feel what I am doing. Not the way I was originally going to train you to teleport, but if you need to port out of a dangerous situation while down there, your body should remember the feeling even if you don't."

"Right," Theo said as he moved over so he could place a hand on Nate's arm. Looking at Gene he told him, "No hesitation, Gene. Please, above everything else, be safe, and the best way to do that is to take them out first."

"I will be fine, love," Gene said as he placed a hand on Nate's arm and nodded at Nate.

Blinking back the spots from the bright light, Theo looked around and saw they were around the corner from the warehouse. Sensing movement behind him he turned and saw the muzzle of a rifle coming around the corner. By the time the man finished coming around the corner he had made a twisting motion with his hand and using his telekinesis power for the first time, he snapped the guard’s neck. Not sure how he should feel about what he did, he motioned for Nate and Gene to move out.

Running to the corner the guard had come around; Theo sneaked a quick look and saw the coast was clear. Running along the side of the building, following the guard’s path, he slowed down near the end and peaked around the corner. Spotting one more guard standing near the gate he repeated what he did with the first guard, leaving the man dead and slumped behind the guard shack.

Fifteen minutes later, Theo met up with Gene and Nate outside the door to the warehouse. By the look on Gene's face he had not liked what he had to do either, but the steely determination he saw told him he had also killed. Touching Nate's arm so they could port inside, he caught a flash of what Nate did when he ported and filed it away for later study. Looking around the office they had ported into he nodded at Nate who quickly moved through the outer office. Not even looking at the bodies Nate left behind him, Theo joined Gene and Nate as they looked out over the warehouse floor from the second story office. "How should we do this?"

Seeing the last kid pushed through the gate to the cage, with the door slamming behind him, Gene said in a cold voice, "We drop all the guards outside the fence that makes up those caged tunnels. When the guards inside the fence move to see what happened we take them out."

"Before we start," Nate pulled two bottles out of his pants pocket and handed them over. "You need to replenish calories. Until you get time to master your gifts, I expect you used more energy than was actually needed to do what we have had to so far."

Chugging the drink, Theo felt energy course through him, "I'll have to remember to make sure in any future rescue attempts we stock up on the energy drink." Looking at Gene, who had come up with the plan, he asked, “Are you ready?"

Tossing the empty bottle to the side, Gene nodded his head, "Let's do this." Concentrating on the guards closest to him, Gene started to break their necks, desperately trying not to think about what he was doing; he reminded himself that the people that were dying were humans caught in the act of genocide.

Hearing a shout from one of the guards inside the cage, Nate glanced their way and quickly started to stop the hearts of his targets. Every armed person he laid eyes on grabbed their chest before falling to the floor dead as his kinetics stopped their heart from beating. Unlike his two companions, he had no problem eradicating the vermin that attacked his world. Truth be told he felt a lot of satisfaction in the killing of the humans, even if this dimension’s humans had no part in the attack on Altare Prime.

As the last guard fell, Nate ported the three of them to the middle area, to the top of the tables so they could be seen easily.

A single shot rang out and Theo actually glowed in rage as the bullet bounced off of a shield he created out of the air. The guard's screams rang out as he ignited, as every atom in his body was kinetically sped up beyond the point they could function and friction took over heating them to the ignition point.

"Um," Nate said softly as he looked between Theo and Gene, "Which of the two of you did that?"

"It wasn't me," Theo said as he placed a hand on Gene’s shoulder.

"He would have taken Theo out if I had not caught the flash of the rifle," Gene got out between gritted teeth.

"Alright," Nate said slowly as he saw the teens and kids pick their heads up from the ground to look at them. "I'm bringing the shuttle down now," he told them as he closed his eyes and felt for the shuttle. Finding it, he ported it to the docks outside the doors, kinetically hitting the release button for the side hatch.

"Listen up," Theo yelled out as the people they were rescuing started to get to their feet. "You have two choices before we blow this place sky high." Hearing his words echo he knew everyone could hear him clearly "I think all of you know by now that the government agents that snatched you were planning something you would not like. In fact they had planned to load all of you on board a freighter and take you out to the middle of the ocean. From there they would have thrown you overboard to feed the sharks."

"The reason why you were snatched," Gene's voice echoed along with Theo's in the building, "is because you are, or were suspected of being, gay. They picked you up because they had you on a list as a person to remove. Your profile from online, or in school, led them to believe you are the type of person that does not deserve to live, that you taint the air they breathe."

"As I said," Theo took over. "You have two choices. Choice one is to come with us, we have a place that those agents cannot reach you. You will be safe, but you will have to work to help us finish setting everything up. Your other choice is to run, to try to make it on your own. But I have to warn you, they have your name and picture, they know what you look like. So the only way to survive what is coming is to try to get out of the country."

Turning around and mimicking pulling with his arms, Theo used his telekinesis to pull the door off the wall exposing the shuttle on the dock outside. Facing the murmuring crowd, he grinned inside as he picked up thoughts from the teens as he met their eyes while scanning the crowd. Unconsciously skimming thoughts he saw the crowd of teens and kids surge forward to get a better look. "Those of you that want to go with us, you need to board the shuttle. There are no seats, and it will be a bit crowded as this shuttle was not meant for rescue work, but it will get us to safety. Those of you who want to try it alone, you need to get off the base as quickly as you can. Like I said this place is going to be blown up in twenty minutes."

Moving his hands together like he was gripping the fencing, Nate pulled them apart.

The crowd of kids saw his use of kinetics to rip the fence apart and ran out of the cage towards the docks. Most of them had been ripped from loving homes, their parents now dead; or had been handed over to the agents that had knocked on their door by their parents without any attempt to plead for them. The teens, on the other hand, were split evenly; some made the choice right away to head for the shuttle, while others took off running for the fence.

Porting to the door that they had seen the prisoners being led to before they started the rescue mission, Gene paled as he saw the bodies stacked up on pallets like cord wood. They had miscalculated; they assumed the prisoners would be taken aboard the freighter alive. Slamming the door closed, he marched back towards Theo and Nate, "Burn this god dammed place to the ground. Burn the whole fucking city to ash."

"What?" Theo started to say before picking up the image of the other room from Gene's mind. Grabbing Gene and holding him close Theo closed his eyes as he let Gene's pain wash over him.

Closing his eyes, Nate used his gifts to break the gas lines running under the streets of the base, the entire base, not just the section they were in. A few minutes later he had finished and the gas was filling the underground passageways, "It's done. We need to leave now, before the gas reaches one of the open flames in this building."

Wiping his eyes, Gene nodded his head and gave Theo a kiss before running through the side of the building towards the shuttle.

Giving one last look at the warehouse, Theo turned around and followed Gene and Nate as they jogged towards the shuttle. Walking through the hatch, he watched as Nate's arm crossed his chest to hit the hatch mechanism. As the hatch closed he turned to face the group of scared teens and pre-teens, "Like I said, this shuttle normally carries water and air to our colony, so it is not meant for passengers."

"Colony?" one of the teens yelled out as he saw another door open up front, behind the three people who had rescued them.

"It is hard to explain in a believable manner," Theo said as he looked at those they rescued. After a quick count, there were one hundred and forty people on board. Feeling a slight bump he grinned as he raised his voice, "Prepare for Warp." When he felt Nate port them to Mars he created a kinetic wave of air that rushed towards the back of the shuttle, yelling out, "Warp," as he did so.

Gene looked at Theo and did not say a word. If Theo wanted those they rescued to believe they used some warp drive to leave Earth, he was not going to say otherwise.

Several thunks coming from the hull caused the kids and teens to look around wildly, then the hissing of the airlock sounded loud in the confined space. When the hatch slid open, Theo smiled as he spotted the short Ionosin tunnel leading to the bio-dome, "If all of you will stay together once we reach the bio-dome I can explain where we are, and any safety measures you need to keep in mind before we show you to the apartments you can live in. I know some of you must be hungry, but if you can hold off for an hour or two while we break open some supplies, for tonight we'll do sandwiches and maybe some soup. If you follow Gene here," He tapped Gene's head with a grin on his face, "He'll show you into the dome. I'll follow along in a minute."

Leaving Gene to play tour guide, Theo slipped into the front compartment with Nate. His tone becoming cold as space, "Did that..." trailing off as he looked at the screen, he saw the base go up in a spectacular fireball. In fact several building outside the base’s fence line went up as well. "That answers that question."

"I heard what you told the group you rescued," Nate said as he slid out of the pilot’s chair. Standing up and stretching he saw how wiped Theo looked. "I'll get some food up here while you talk to those we rescued." Wagging a finger in front of him he grinned, "But if you are promising soup, well one of you better know how to cook it because frankly I never learned."

"We can deal with reheated stuff tonight," Theo laughed as he broke down in sobs. It finally hit him, he had killed and he killed by the dozens without any remorse.

"You did good, Theo," Nate said softly, holding the young man as he let out the emotions he had been holding. "Just remind yourself," he whispered into Theo's hair, "of what would have happened if they were allowed to live. You saved a lot of young lives today, and that is what you need to focus on."

Rubbing his face, Theo stood up and plastered a fake smile on his face. "I can be strong for a little bit longer. But once I get them bedded down, Gene and I are going to bawl our eyes out."

"Go get them settled," Nate gave Theo a gentle push. "I'll get some food."

Walking down the clear tunnel, Theo looked up and at the tiny blue green dot in the sky. Without the cloud filled atmosphere that Earth had, they could just make out Earth in the distance as a tiny marble that grew larger and smaller depending on where the Earth was in relationship to Mars. Stopping just inside the airlock, Theo sealed the tunnel behind him. He had made sure he was the last off with a quick glance before leaving the shuttle.

"I would like to welcome you to the Alteran Mars Colony," Theo said as he got everyone’s attention. "This colony base is still in its infancy. If you look around you can see where we have started to plant some of the areas, but most of it has yet to be planted. This dome serves two purposes," he told them as he moved to one of the planters and sat down on its edge. "Why don't you come over and sit down. I know the ground is...well, dirt, but we can clean your clothes later." Grabbing his knee and leaning back somewhat he focused on what they should be told first.

"This colony was started several months ago when Nate, through an accident fell into our dimension. He's from a future world that is more advanced than anyone on Earth could hope to be. Also he is not human, or at least what we would consider pure human. You see," he looked over the wide eyed group hanging on his every word, "in the future, mankind finds a way to alter their genetics to the point they are not truly human anymore. Nate's people did this so they could gain several key abilities, abilities that breed true. Meaning they are passed down to their children."

"Nate's people are all gay, each and every one of them." Theo traded legs as he smiled at them. "They, early on, created artificial wombs so they could have children so for those of you wondering how that worked, now you know. But back to my explanation on how this place came to be." Looking up through the dome he told them, "Nate's people have three powers that I want to touch on, they have Telepathy, Telekinesis and Teleportation; or as it was explained in the archives, the ability to speak mind to mind, move objects by one’s mind alone, and finally the power to transport people and objects from one place to another. They are also slightly stronger than normal humans and they are immune to almost every disease out there, they are immune to all the diseases that humans do get."

"The reason why I've told all of you this is because Nate, in his quest to recreate his technology so he can make his way home, recreated the ability his people had to alter normal humans to make them like his people" Theo looked at the group they rescued now, "Gene and I took advantage of this technology and were made into Alterans. We are now like Nate and his people. And," he waved his hand around the dome, "we are making Mars our home. The home of the Alteran race here in this dimension." Nodding his head as several of the teens looked outside the dome, "Yes, we are currently on Mars. Each of you will be given the same opportunity Gene and I took. All of you can become part of this new race, something better than humans."

"Down there," Theo pointed out the dome towards the little blue dot in the night sky. "Down on Earth, humans are involved in their petty wars. The United States, once the hope of the world, is now becoming a dictatorship. Soon Gay people will be hunted to extinction, and if this dimensions follows what happened in Nate's, that dictatorship will kill everyone they deem different from their view of what is normal. So, while you think on what that means for those down there, and what it will mean for you if you decide not to join us on Mars, let me give you a rundown of what we hope to build here on Mars. Gene and I."

"A little over a week ago we finished installing the artificial gravity generators inside the bio-dome," Theo told them. "What Nate calls assemblers and I call a robot," he pointed and grinned as one of the assemblers went by pulling a sled of seedlings, "finished purifying the Martian soil so we could grow plants here without the high sulphur content in the soil killing them. I'm not going to sugar coat anything. There is still a lot of work to do to make this place comfortable, a lot of plants to be planted in the gardens. Industry has to be built up that will allow us to create the advanced technology for which Nate will be leaving us the plans and technical and training information."

"We'll need to fill in specialties like medics, pilots for the space ships we'll be building, and the whole range of jobs a culture needs to have filled to thrive." Theo spotted Nate waving at him so stood up and brushed his pants off, "I'm sure I've thrown you all for a loop and you will have a lot of questions that you will want answered. But Nate is waving at us that the food is ready; like I said it will sandwiches and soup. Once we eat, I will show you the habitat tunnel and you can chose an apartment to call your own, though some of them haven't had the rooftop gardens planted yet."

Glancing over his shoulder as he led the group towards the air lock for the habitat tunnel, he smiled as several of the younger kids raced to catch up. "We were beginning our day when one of the spy devices that was left on Earth showed us what was happening down there. So while you are resting and talking amongst yourselves, we will be planting the gardens. We'll try to keep quiet so we don't wake you with all of our planting and hooking up the watering systems."

Leading the group through the air lock, Theo waved at Gene who was stirring a pot on the stove, "Gene is at the stove stirring, something," he chuckled as Gene waved his spoon at him, "and on the table is everything to make several different types of sandwiches, so help yourselves. There is more than enough to make sure all of you eat until you’re full. Once you have your plate loaded up you can walk around the bend," he pointed behind Gene,” to the area where the apartments are located. The first one on the left side belongs to Gene and me. Any of the others have not been assigned yet, but the important thing is the bathrooms work."

Chuckling as he spotted several of the younger kids race around the corner he hoped Gene had closed and locked their door. Then again, he wondered if their door even locked. Going down the food line Theo fixed his plate and stopped to get a cup of soup, and a kiss from his boyfriend. Vegetable soup and plate in hand, along with a kiss to hold him over for a while, he walked around the corner and saw the line of kids going in and out of the apartments. Even some of the teens looked relieved when they walked out of one of the apartments. Walking past his apartment, where the door was closed he saw, he took a seat at the first little park six apartments down from his. It was not long before the first kid came up to him to ask a question.

"So," Bradley stopped and looked at the guy who gave the speech back in the bio-dome. "I want to believe what you told us back in that mostly un-planted dome but I need some proof." He quickly added, "I think a lot of the other guys would feel better if they had some proof too."

Seeing a good number of the younger kids had followed along, Theo smiled. "Tell you what, how about you get that bucket on the ledge of that apartment over there for me?"

"How does that prove your powers?" Bradley started to ask before blinking and looking at the bucket in front of him that the guy had pointed up at. Reaching out slowly, he touched the bucket and inched his way over to the ledge and looked down at the guy waving at him. Picking the bucket up, he held it to his chest, eyes wide in shock that he was up on the roof. One second he was in front of the guy, the next, poof, he was on the roof. Then something really freaky started to happen; he noticed he was rising in the air, looking down he saw his feet were no longer on the ground, roof, whatever. He was floating over the roof and gently falling to the ground. Looking at the guy with a hint of panic, he saw his arm outstretched and pointing to the middle of his chest, and as his arm lowered, so was he.

Blinking as he felt his feet on the ground, Bradley thrust the bucket out towards the guy quickly. Having the bucket taken from him and his plate of food handed back over he relaxed. Now that he was on the ground again, that was kind of cool. "A...Al..." clearing his throat he tilted his head and grinned, "Alright, I'm convinced. So how do we do this? Do you inject some super-secret vaccine into me? Hook me up to a machine that cuts me apart and glues new pieces into me? How long will...?"

"Whoa," Theo laughed as the kid went into rapid fire questions mode. "All you will have to do is wear a bracelet that the computer will use to control the Nanites that will be fed into your body through the bracelet. It will slowly alter your DNA over the course of two months. Once you are fully Alteran it will fall off, then you will know that you have finished becoming one of us."

Frowning, Bradley thought about the answer for a minute, it was not as fantastic sounding as his ideas had been, but then he was not sure what this bracelet was going to do exactly. So maybe it would be cool, he would wait and see what was all involved first. Looking around at the empty apartments he asked, "So how do we know which of these apartments is going to be the one we get to live in?"

"The apartments are very basic," Theo finished his meal and ported his plate to the recycling bin near the buffet table. "Two bedrooms each with a queen size bed, two pillows per bed and some sheets and blankets. They each have a common room, or living room if you prefer, and a small kitchen with table to eat at. Though we do have the common kitchen, and what will be turned into a buffet line, back where you got your food."

"Before I forget," Theo looked at the group of rescued kids and teens that had gathered around after eating their fill. "For tonight only, the three minute shower rule will be relaxed. Until we finish sealing and filling the reservoirs we have to limit washing up to sponge baths, and one, three minute shower each day. The assemblers will be finished sealing the reservoir in two weeks or so. Then we can start filling them with water."

"It will be another five days before the water purification system is up and running," Nate told the group as he joined them. "We do have technology that can break apart liquids into their basic components, and we will run all the water and waste through it so clean water and fertilizer is what we are left with. But the parts needed to finish building it will not be off the assembler lines for another four days. When we show you how to access the office and learning area of the base, you will see the empty river beds that will be filled first. That area of the base also houses the medical center where you can be fitted for your alteration bracelet after lunch tomorrow."

"Which brings me to telling you about Mars time versus Earth time," Theo said as he nodded at Nate who took a seat next to him. "Currently it is an hour before lunch on Mars. While you guys, if you were still on earth, would be settling down to get ready to think about bed. The end of your day. All of you are about to experience one hell of a case of jet lag, and the only way around that is if tomorrow you all force yourself to stay up until dinner time Mars time. Most of you will wake up when we are cycling down for night-time here on Mars, so each of you will be given one sleeping pill to help you fall back to sleep and, if you stay awake as long as you can tomorrow, by the day after you should be pretty much adjusted to Mars time." I hope, he added silently.

"We will pass out the sleeping pill when you have had a chance to look over the apartments and chose one," Theo told them. "When you've found one you want to be yours, though they are all pretty much duplicates of one another until you've had a chance to personalize them, place the red card you will find next to the computer terminal in the living room on the outside door and come back here so you can sign your name, and your roommate’s name or names if you decide to live with someone on this list." Holding up a clip board with a map on it, he wondered where Nate or Gene found it because he knew they did not have something like that up here yesterday. They had been relying on the terminals to take notes they could access from anywhere by logging in. "Later on tonight, before I go to bed, I'll transcribe this into the terminal so you can have a map of where everyone lives by logging into your apartment’s terminal."

Moving over to the small table off to one side, Theo put the clip board down and smiled as the group hesitated. Waiting to see who was going to make the first move. Shaking his head he
shooed them off, "Go on. Go explore and find a place to live. If you need anything Gene will be around, the first apartment on this side of the tunnel right before you get to the bend belongs to Gene and I. In an hour or so I will be back, and if you need either one of us then look up towards the rooftops to see where we are."

Concentrating on the tunnel by the shuttle, Theo felt he could port there easily enough and sent a message to Nate asking him to meet him there. Closing his eyes, he smiled when he saw that he had indeed ported to where he was thinking of showing up. Sitting on the low planter wall he had sat on when he gave a brief history over view, he still had the grin on his face when Nate ported in and joined him.

"I listened in to what you told them," Nate said as he took a seat next to Theo on the planter. "You are taking a calculated chance by telling them what you did. I'm not sure what will happen if they do not choose to be altered. They will have a lot of dangerous, to us, information."

"All of them will be altered," Theo assured him. Then looking Nate in the eyes he told him, "My rule still stands, no humans allowed on the colony base. Each and every one of those we rescued will be altered."

"Even if they don't want to be?" Nate asked carefully. He wanted to see how ruthless Theo was thinking of being, and where he was taking things.

"A mental push for those who are sitting on the fence should allow us to get the bracelet on them," Theo said as he moved so he could see Nate clearly. "I had a chance to look at what some of the features the CORE uses when it alters someone. I saw you programmed the CORE to install loyalty to their new race...and to me personally as their leader. While I am not happy with my decision to force each of those we rescued this morning to become Alteran, I can live with it. But all those who join us going forward will be given the chance to say no before they leave the Earth... or should that be the moon?" he ended softly.

"The moon?" Nate raised an eyebrow as he wondered what Theo was thinking. "What do you have in mind that you would use the moon?"

"A small base," Theo looked past Nate as he thought out loud. "A place we can port in and out of, on our way to and from Earth. It does not have to be bigger than a small sealed tunnel. It would be better if it was deep under the surface," he mused as an idea gelled in his mind. I can borrow a few assemblers to seal off a tunnel, put a small bio pond inside along with the life support module; after all it’s not like we would be staffing it around the clock. Nodding his head he said out loud, confusing Nate in the process, "That will work."

"I don't follow," Nate said slowly as he tried to figure out what the hell Theo was talking about.

Blinking several times as he focused on the here and now instead of his solution, Theo told him, "I am going to create a small base on the moon that will serve as an immigration point for those we rescue, or ask to join us. We will port them up to the moon before bringing them back to Mars. That way, if something goes wrong, they have no idea where they have been taken so they will not be able to expose us to any of the humans on Earth if we decide to let them go."

"Alright," Nate said as his mind raced with possibilities. "You’re right. It will ensure that the only ones who come to Mars are those you want to be Alteran. I'm not sure when I..."

"Nate," Theo interrupted him before he could promise anything. "I will take care of this. After all it is my responsibility as the leader of the colony to ensure our safety. It will take about a week or so of practice to see what my range is in porting. I'll use that time to scan the moon to find the perfect place to build the base. I seem to remember a huge media frenzy last year when they found a system of tunnels on the moon. So I can start with an Internet search first, to see which areas would be best to borrow your spy device to check them out."

"SE110," Nate said absentmindedly. "It's designation is SE110. We'll have to be careful with its use thought, it’s the only one in this dimension, and it will take years to tool up to be able to produce those. They rely on our fusion technology to operate."

"I've not really had a chance to look through all the data you've uploaded into the CORE," Theo hoped what he wanted to know was in there. "Is there information on exactly what is outside this system? What I want to know is, if you've uploaded the locations you found element 136 at. The sooner we get fusion power up and running the sooner we can advance to the level your people are at.'

"I did," Nate pulled his P.A.D.D. out of his pouch and tapped in the query. Staring at the screen he wanted to kick himself for doing a half ass search. He could have built this base and installed a fusion reactor instead of the pebble reactor he ended up with. "I made an assumption that element 136 would not be found in Earth’s system. I never gave it a thought that, when my father led our people to Altare Prime, the ships were powered by Fusion reactors, which he had for years." Looking up he said, 'I'm an arrogant fool." Chuckling he answered Theo's question, "There is an asteroid travelling between Mars and Jupiter, below the plane of the ecliptic, that is almost pure element 136. It's large enough to fully power this colony and the tech lines being built."

Holding back his excitement, Theo asked, "Do you need it to finish your beacon? If not we can wait until you have some free time and we can modify the shuttle to be used as a real spacecraft."

"We can wait," Nate said as he thought of all the things he could create with a proper power source the tech was based on. "In the morning I can program the assemblers to do a quick run of seats and infrastructure for the shuttle. I have another shell, which can be changed out with the water tank we used to bring those we rescued back to Mars, almost finished. They can be installed in that one."

"How long will it take to build a Fusion Reactor?" Theo asked as he got up from his seat. He had been idle long enough, and there were flats of plants to be planted.

"Three, maybe four weeks," Nate said slowly. There was so much that had to be built, and he didn't dare have any of the factories on Earth create any of these parts.

"That gives us a time frame then," Theo said as he started for the tunnel to the habitat section. "We'll go after that meteor when the fusion plant is finished and ready for the element that will power it. I'll check back with you before supper, I have quite a few rooftop gardens to get planted."

Watching Theo walk away, Nate smiled as he thought of how much his father would have liked the young man. Instead of making him sad that Theo reminded him so much of his father, he felt satisfied that he made the right choice in allowing those two to recreate his people in this dimension. Sitting there for a few minutes lost in thought, Nate finally stood up and ported to the medical center where he had been working on and off over the past hour to create the alteration bracelets. If he worked late, he should be able to get enough built to fit each of those they rescued with one come lunch time tomorrow.

Blinking the sleep out of his eyes, Theo rolled over and looked at the empty side of the bed. Wondering where Gene had gotten to, or for that matter how he had managed to sneak out of the bed without waking him up, he quickly washed his teeth and deciding that he might as well set precedent walked out of his apartment without bothering to get dressed. After all, there was nothing he planned to do today other than plant trees and such in the bio-dome where he would not need protective clothing. Waving at a few wide eyed teens as he walked through the tunnel towards the common area for something to eat, he chuckled as the whispers started and fingers pointed his way. Once he had gotten his morning kiss, and his eggs and sweet roll from the buffet he raised his voice so he could be heard by everyone who was awake and in the room. "The first thing I want to point out," he told them as he put his food down on the table, "is the fact we are living in a closed environment."

"Which means it has a constant tropical temperature at all times. The second thing I want to mention is that everyone on Mars is male, which means there is no reason to get dressed unless you need protection. I noticed Gene has on an apron and a pair of shorts, but he was up cooking so he will probably get undressed as soon as he is finished. We've gotten used to going undressed as we work around the colony. But it is up to you, I'm not going to tell you that you have to go around naked. On the other hand, I'm not going to tell you that you have to wear clothes."

"I'm not even going to tell you that you have to find a hidden spot to have sex," Theo grinned at the amount of choking he caused with that statement. "If you do have sex where people can see or find you, the only thing you have to keep in mind is they might stop to watch. It is up to you if you ask them to join, or ignore them. If some of the younger guys see you, I hope you will be honest in answering any questions that they ask you. On the flip side, I hope those asking the questions do so because they honestly want to know, not to make someone embarrassed."

Waving his fork like a pointer, Theo listed several announcements he and Gene had come up with last night while working with Nate. "I do have a few announcements to bring all of you up to speed before we go on a tour of the main part of the colony. The first is the nifty line of refrigerators that are now lining the wall by the kitchen. Each of the apartments has its own kitchen, and for those of you who would prefer to cook your own food you can. There is a small scanner near each of the refrigerators, and I would ask that you scan anything you take back to your apartment so we can make sure we always have enough food kept stocked up. Once a day the computer will print out a list of items we need to bring up from Earth and we will go shopping for them.  Personally I hate yogurt, but I know some people like it. So while we have a good selection, I probably will not pay attention to make sure it is kept stocked. So by asking you to scan what you take, it will make sure when it gets low that I, or the person who is going to make sure the refrigerators are kept stocked, know that more needs to be brought up."

"My second announcement," Theo told them after finishing his eggs and giving them time to digest what he had asked them to do. Holding up a booklet so they could see it, "there is a small...well I don't want to call it a rule book, but this small book contains things every one of you need to know. Things like where trash needs to be taken, how we recycle things, and what bins they go into. Safety procedures like what to do if someone gets sick or hurt, so you can get help; how to work the terminal, and a map of the colony. It even has a map to where the school labs are set up so you can do your work."

Hearing the groaning, Theo laughed, "Unlike what you are used to, we are going to follow the same system Nate's people use. You will have a four hour block of studies that the computer Core will direct, then you can go off searching and studying whatever takes your fancy for the next several hours. There are responsibilities listed that each member of the colony is required to help with. Most of those involve putting an hour or two a day into the gardens, which we derive our food and renewed oxygen from. Then there are things like, if you are interested in healing we will get you trained in first aid and then the medical field so you would help out the colony by becoming our healers. We have a whole universe of career fields you can chose to go into, and this book lists all the things you can do with your life, and I do mean all, because it lists ways to create new job fields in it. So do yourselves a
favor and read it, then read it again. You'll find it lying next to the computer terminal in each apartment."

"And my last announcement before we get to the tour of the colony," Theo said after finishing his juice. "For now, after supper, whether you eat here in the dining area or your apartment, at seven each night everyone needs to meet outside the tunnel’s airlock for daily announcements. There just is not enough room for all of us in the dining area. This meeting will be as short, or as long, as all of you need it to be. We'll go over anything you need us to go over from the book you don't understand. We'll talk about the projects we will be starting and finishing, including what needs to be planted or built next,"

"To give you an idea of what needs to be planted next in the bio-dome," Theo told them as he put his trash in the proper recycling slots. "If you look at your map of the bio-dome, level one - section nine through eleven have had their plants ported up so they need to be planted in the next two days. Most of these are fruit trees, and the assemblers have already marked where they are to be planted. After they are planted we will go back through and plant the vegetable crops in between the fruit trees so we don't waste space, at least until the trees get larger and take more room. For right now the plans of the bio-dome call for us to plant every possible space with plants that we can eat. The habitat tunnels, on the other hand, I think some of you might have noticed have all kinds of flowering plants, not so much on the vegetables."

"It looks like everyone is mostly here now so why don't we start the tour," Theo waved for them to follow. Walking out the airlock he waited until all of them were once again crowding around. "There is a reason why the airlocks are still in place, if something would actually make it past the Ionosin panels that protect us from the carbon dioxide rich atmosphere, they can be closed if a breach occurred. Not that I can think of anything short of a nuclear blast that can breach Ionosin."

"Bio-dome one," Theo waved his hand around the open area. "The colony plans call for one hundred of these domes to be built, each of them is about a kilometre wide and three kilometres long at their widest point. And yes, we do use the metric system up here, it is more precise, and when you are living in a hostile environment precision is required." Staring to walk down the path towards the other end of the done, he told them, "The bio-dome is divided into six terraced levels and each level is further divided into thirty sections. The lowest level will always be a lake of some sort, which will allow you to swim if you want. But this lake is not scheduled to be filled for another week."

Leading them through section nine, Theo pointed out the flags the assemblers had placed. "What I call a flag is actually a bright red metal rod that can easily be reused by the assemblers in the next section." Looking at the pallets of potted plants he told them, “It looks like this section is to be planted with bananas. The rods can be stacked up in the small boxes here," he pointed to one of the boxes by the path. "For those of you who helped out planting the rooftop gardens last night, you'll notice the water hook up near the flag. The assembler should have dropped off a small feeder hose to hook up so the plants will get watered. Now that I am thinking about it, I should mention that it rains in the bio-dome each night around one in the morning for a good half an hour. This is so the areas not hooked up to the watering system can get water."

"If you look to the right," Theo pointed to the blue strip over the large airlock up ahead, "that is the entrance to the administrative and operations sections of the colony. The schools, Med center, and production facilities are housed in this section." Walking through the doors Theo let the group spread out. "Go on and explore a bit. We'll meet up in an hour by the med center, which is the door next to the red colored column over there," He pointed to the med center across the way. Moving to the railing, he looked down and saw water entering the river basin. The colony plans had rivers running through each of the areas other than the habitat tunnels. Nate must have started a pump somewhere for the water to be pouring in from the waterfall in the back wall.

Riker, one of the older teens that had been rescued walked over to Theo and leaned against the railing, "This will be a wonderful place once it is finished. I can deal with being changed slightly to be able to live here, not that humans are all that, but my question is how will you ensure the crap we put up with on Earth does not happen here?"

Turning to look at the person who asked him an interesting question, Theo smiled, "Being telepaths makes a difference. More than one would think. When you can feel the pain or hurt you inflict on another as if it was being inflicted on you; well, that will cut down on fights and violence quite a bit. It’s the same reason why I'm not worried about rapes or that kind of thing. Will we be a perfect utopia? I don't think that is possible. But by being telepathic we can't lie to one another mind to mind. There will still be some ups and downs, but for the most part I don't see what we had to deal with on Earth following us up here."

"That’s all good and all, but how about slurs and hatred because we are gay?" Riker asked.

"Alterans are always gay," Theo blinked at the question. He thought he covered that last night, "and everyone that lives here will be Alteran." No exceptions he did not say.

"You did say that," Riker frowned as he turned to stare at the rising river. "I was so tired last night that I guess it did not sink in." Breaking the silence after a few minutes he asked, "So how long will it take for you to get the bio-dome planted if everyone pitches in?"

"Less than a week I would guess," Theo shrugged his shoulders. "This is one of the reasons we seem to be introducing you to the colony haphazardly. We just were not ready to even think of adding new people until we were a little further along with our preparations. But when I saw what was going on, I made the decision that if we could rescue you, we should."

"And I thank you for that," Riker said as he watched the kids race across the bridge having fun as they explored. "Those armed agents, they said they were from the NSA, but I'm not sure of that. They kicked down my dorm door that morning and dragged me out of the building in cuffs. A gun in the face was a good way to keep me from yelling. I just would like to know why the rest of the dorm never heard anything and called the cops to say people were being kidnapped. I was thrown in a cage along with five others in the back of that truck they used to take us to wherever you rescued us from."

"An old military base on the coast," Theo said as he gave the teen his full attention.

"Figures," Riker spat out. Sighing he went on with his story, "We had an hour to talk amongst ourselves as they went through the campus picking people up. Then they took us to a facility where they examined us."

Theo could tell by his tone he did not like being examined.

"They matched us up to these files they had on each of us," Riker shivered. "It was frightening how much of my life they had at their fingertips. I had been picked up because I had been listed as Gay in their files. They had copies of every website I had been to during my life, every email message and chat room conversation I've had, it looked like. And I was one of the careful ones." Closing his eyes as the pain and fear he felt came back in full force, it took several minutes before he started to talk again. "I thought when we won the right to be equal that we were safe, all it did was to make us foolishly put ourselves into the public eye so we could be tracked, and now hunted down." Turning to Theo he asked, "You know what they were planning on doing to us, right?"

"They planned to feed your bodies to the sharks," Theo said softly, meeting the teen’s eyes and refusing to look away.

Looking away first, Riker hit his fist against the railing in anger. Getting control over his emotions, he put his abduction and near death behind him for now. "I might be only nineteen, but I am a second year Med student. The name’s Riker, Riker Wyeth."

"I'm glad you’re joining us Riker," Theo smiled as he shook the offered hand.