Chapter 92



"Thanks for the ride," Kenny grinned as he hugged Pete where he sat in the command chair. Giving him a kiss, he ran over to Doug and giggled as he threw a sloppy salute at Pete and called out with a wicked grin, "Port us down."

Shaking his head at the power pranking master named Kenny Stranton, Pete ported them over to Sol station. Why he had agreed to bring Kenny to Earth on the Star Scout version 2 before he put it through its paces he had no idea, then again it might have been the incredible blow job Kenny woke him up with this morning. Kenny was entering breakthrough and, unlike Damian, he was not showing any signs of breakthrough sickness; just an incredible sex drive that seemed to have kicked into high gear.

"Karl, why don't..." Pete started to say before alarms started to blare across the command deck.




"SS-02-01 DECLARING CASE ZULU," The computer blared out as the bridge plunged into the deep blue of battle stations.

Before Pete had a chance to order his crew to find the location of the breach, the Star Scout gave a lurch and he was thrown to the deck as the internal gravity generators cut out.


"What the hell!" Kenny said slowly as he turned to face the window in Aaron's office. Tilting his head to the side as the speakers blared something about a Case Zulu, Pete's ship seemed to fold in on itself and disappear into a bright red light that then blinked out of existence. Mouth hanging open, his heart skipped several beats as one of his lovers up and vanished on him. He turned and ran to the command deck, skidding to a halt in the middle of the deck, "What the fuck just happened?"

"I am not sure, Dragon Lord," Shaolin Tzu said as he tried to query the computer. "I cannot find any reference to a Case Zulu anywhere," he said as his hands flew across the terminal.

Stomping over to the terminal off to one side, Kenny logged in and demanded loudly as the CORE recognized him, "Define Case Zulu, NOW!"

"Command Authorization Acknowledged," the CORE said as Kenny logged in. Then as if answering in the same sentence it blared out,

"Dimensional Invasion Detected..."

"Initiate Counter Measures..."

"HOLD," Kenny demanded as he hit his hand on the terminal panel and saw weapon systems he did not know were part of the station come to life. "Will these countermeasures destroy the trail of who took Pete?"


"Counter Measures DENIED," Kenny screamed as he pulled a power cable loose and grabbed the live end. He screamed in pain and, with his mind as he forced his breakthrough to occur, he yelled for the one person who could fix this, "AARON!!!"

"Kenny?" Tzu screamed as he realized what Kenny was doing. He had to grab his head as he fought through the pain of the telepathic call, and he stumbled down the steps as he tried to reach Kenny before he electrocuted himself.

Porting to Sol station, called by the pain filled scream of his name, Aaron Stranton, Prime of Clan Stranton, kinetically ripped the power line from the console as he rushed to Kenny's side. Hand already pulling his scanner out of his pocket, "Kenny," he called softly, worried that Kenny had done some serious damage to his mind when grabbing the power line.

"Dimensional Breach Detected..."

"Counter Measures Initiating..."

"Stand Down," Aaron said heatedly as Fred knelt next to Kenny, trauma case in hand. Moving over to another console, one that was not damaged, Aaron logged in and placed his hand on the scanner, "Identify..."

"Identity Confirmed," The core echoed as a white light enveloped Aaron. "Aaron Stranton, King of the Alteran Empire, Prime of Clan Stranton and Emperor of Humanity."

"Stand down counter measures," Aaron said as his voice echoed across the command deck, and his eyes glowed with power as he connected his mind to the CORE. Replaying the recordings of Pete and his ship being taken, he growled out in anger. Whoever dared to take one of his lovers would pay; they would pay with their lives. Turning his head as he stared into the pickup his words went out empire wide, "I am declaring Code 99 Empire wide, Battle Stations. CORE command, I tell you three times...Power up the DK-01."


Groaning, as he picked himself off the deck, Pete quickly looked around to see if everyone was alright.  Not seeing any broken bodies or blood he asked, "Is everyone alright?"

"What happened," Karl groaned out as he pulled himself to his feet. Hearing a groan he looked down, hand reaching over to help the Shaolin gunnery tech to his feet.

Staring at the sensor report, Pete narrowed his eyes in concentration, "I think we fell through a breach in the dimensions." Staring at the blinking icon indicating a beacon, he said as his mind raced, "I think whoever made that emergency beacon overdid it. It is weakening the dimensional barrier around this dimension." Rubbing the side of his head he tried to decide what to do.

"Should we blow it up?" Karl asked as he stepped over to where Pete was looking down at the terminal so he could see what Pete was talking about.

"If we do that we might be stuck here. Aaron won't be able to trace the path we were dragged along to this dimension." Pete told him as his mind raced with possible ways back. "Not to mention, by leaving it running I might be able to figure out how to send us back. But I'm betting Aaron reaches us first," he laughed. He knew exactly what Aaron was willing to do to make sure they all were safe.

"Right, no blowing up the glowing freaking overcharged beacon," Karl muttered darkly as he stared at the sensor report.

"SE114 has a live feed sir," Shaolin Ling reported as he put the feed up on the main screen. One of the first things he had done when he had retaken his station was to port one of the SE114s outside the ship, and towards the planet they found themselves near.

"I might be wrong here," Karl said as he looked at the image on the screen, "but I would swear that looks like the picture of the Alteran Mars colony from the racial secrets database."

"I know," Pete said slowly as he sat down in the command chair. He had a very bad feeling when he stared at the feed from the SE114. "Port a few SE110ss into the dome." He lowered his voice, "Let’s see if there are versions of us running around in there."

"I hope not, Pete," Karl glanced at the crew before trying to lighten the mood by saying, "One Kenny is more than enough, thank you very much."

Snorting, Pete smiled as he tried to relax. So far the scanners were reporting an oxygen nitrogen atmosphere inside the dome, and the images being shown, well the plant life inside the dome was still on the young side. He just hoped this dimension was not in the middle of a war with the Army of God, because, if it was, he just did not know what to do about it.

"Dragon Lord," Shaolin Wang called out hesitantly from the science station, falling back into the Shaolin respectful speech patterns he had allowed Pete to talk him out of using, except with outsiders. "The computer is detecting Clan Stranton bio-signs inside the dome."

"What?" Pete whispered, as he slowly turned his head to look at the Shaolin. He did not just say what he thought he did...did he?

"Of the two hundred and seventy eight life signs on that base," Shaolin Wang said carefully. "One of them has Clan Stranton bio-signs according to the computer. Not only that, I do not think he is from this dimension."

"How do you figure?" Karl said quickly before Pete could ask a question.

"I am detecting Alteran technology," Shaolin Wang started, "but it is made of primitive materials. Not only that, I do not detect any of the signs of our standard fusion reactors. There are no energy signatures coming from that base that match anything other than a primitive fusion reactor ten times larger than those Alterans have used since before the restart.


"Take us in, put us Z-Plus one hundred to the middle of that dome," Pete ordered as he decided he needed to get to the bottom of what was going on. Because if Aaron came barreling in, and he would be as soon as he found out they had been taken, he would come in shooting. If one of those people down there was from his Clan, well, he did not want to kill off one of his own.


Nate looked up at the ship slowly descending towards the dome; he had never seen anything like it. He had come out of the central command station when his P.A.D.D. picked up a signal from the beacon. A dimension breach had occurred here on Mars. He had hoped, with each successive breach they had recorded over the past years since the beacon went live, that it was a sign of his family finally finding him. With this latest breach he was sure he had been found, but that ship up there was nothing he recognized, and that worried him immensely.

"Is this your family," Theo asked as he stopped near Nate, who was looking up at the coolest thing he had seen. It was incredible the way the ship was so organic looking. Blinking in shock when a young teen appeared in front of them, he grinned. This had to be Nate's family; they had ported into the dome.

Looking around at the people who were walking his way, Pete looked back at his scanner and the two people in front of him. The one on the left was who he was looking for, but, he did not look familiar to him. "Sorry for porting in without knocking first," he smiled at his half lame attempt at a joke. "But I was hoping you could tell me about who built the badly malfunctioning beacon out there?"

"Malfunctioning?" Nate spit out as he drew himself to his full height. "It is working the way it was designed, to send out a signal through the dimensional planes."

"Unfortunately," Pete shook his head no, "from my end, it is not so much as sending a signal to be picked up, as blowing a hole into other dimensions; and my ship happened to be in the exact spot of one of those holes." He finished sternly as he glared at the teen, who his scanner told him was part of his Clan.

"But," Nate tried to come up with a comeback. But before he could, he was floored when the stranger introduced himself.

"My name is Pete Stranton, of Clan Stranton," locking eyes with Nate he asked, "Mind telling me who you are and why my scanner recognizes your DNA?"

"NO," Nate took a step backwards in shock. Shaking his head he denied what this Pete person said, "No, it can't be." Looking at Pete with horror filled eyes he whispered, "You can't be a Stranton, I don't know you..." Porting away in fear and shock, he ended up on Earth, near a major fire fight.

"Just what the hell happened?" Pete asked, as he looked at the other teen that was beside the guy his scanner was saying was part of his family.

"Why would Nate port away if you are from the same Clan?" Theo asked slowly as he stared at the stranger with a little bit of suspicion.

"Nate?" Pete shook his head with a look of confusion on his face. Just what the hell was going on here?

"Theo," Gene, called attention to himself. He had walked up about the time Nate paled and ported away. "Remember what Nate said, he went back in time when he was pulled into this dimension."

"Great, just great," Pete snarled as he started to pace. "Time travel gives me a headache. How in the world Aaron deals with this shit I'll never know."

"Wait," Theo stopped Pete's mutterings with his shout. "Nate's father's name is Aaron. Aaron Stranton."

Freezing in place, Pete turned his head slowly towards the person identified as Theo, "Say that again, but slower this time. Because I thought you said Nate, who built the piece of technological shit out there," he pointed towards the western mountain range. "That Nate, is one of my sons?"

"Nate is Nathanial Stranton, second son of Aaron Stranton," Theo said as he wondered how far back in time Nate came if this young teen was his father.

"Son of a bitch," Pete said in shock. Then he got a look of determination on his face and he pathed out openly, "Nathanial Aaron Stranton, you get your arse back here right now. I don't care how far back in time you travelled! No son or grandson of mine will run away from me!"

On Earth, Nate stood up from the wall he had slid down in shock when he heard the pathed message.  No one but his family would know his middle name. Which meant... of course, time travel, he thought with disgust towards himself for forgetting he came back in time when he fell through the portal; he had cursed at the fact often enough in the past two years. So that must mean Pete was the father he did not know, because he had not been killed yet; which meant, his heart beat faster, he could save him. "Father," he started to path in return, just as several federal agents saw him and opened fire, riddling his body with bullets.

Pete felt the mental contact and smiled when he heard Nate call him father, then he winced and grabbed his head as pain hit him. Standing up slowly he pathed out in panic, "Nate...Nate answer me...PLEASE ANSWER ME..." Twirling around to face the two people standing in front of him, he asked in a panicked voice, "Where would he go? He started to answer me then, all of a sudden, all I felt was pain. Now he is not answering."

"He wouldn't have ported to Earth, would he?" Gene asked as he looked at Theo in worry.

"He might have," Theo said slowly, panic at what they knew was happening now on Earth gripping his heart. "It’s the only place he could have ported to that would be away from Mars colony."

"Why do I have the feeling I am not going to like the answer to my next question," Pete said as he saw the worried looks on their faces. "Why would porting to Earth cause both of you to look very worried?"

"Because," Theo said as it hit him. Nate had finally found his family, and because he panicked he might have lost his life before being reunited with them. "Earth is a dangerous place to be if you are gay. Especially with the civil war breaking out, because Ashwood was voted out of office and he refused to leave. Nate said that what this Ashwood character is doing reminded him of what his father had told him the Army of God did before war broke out, while he was in Bolivia developing his genetic techniques."

"By the Winds," Pete swore as fear hit him. Tears in his eyes he prayed softly, "Winds protect him."

After a few minutes where he let his fear rule him, Pete snarled as his anger hit him, "Right. I can cry after I burn to ashes the person that hurt Nate." Looking at Theo and the person next to him he said, "I need one of you, or someone you think will know what is going on down on Earth the best, to come with me. I'll be taking my ship to Earth to find my son."

"I'll go," Gene told his boyfriend. Kissing him, he gave a tired smile as he whispered, "Nate did so much for us, now it is time to return the favor. Besides, just think what his father can do with fully functioning Alteran technology to back him up."

"Be safe," Theo whispered back as he gave a final kiss to Gene and let go.

Taking two steps so he could be within touching distance, Gene placed a hand on Pete's shoulder, "Let's go." Blinking when he appeared on some type of bridge, he saw several people dressed in orange and brown sitting calmly at work stations.

Sitting down in the command chair, Pete unlocked the generator and pulled power from it, "Battle Stations. Prepare for portation to near Earth orbit. Target and destroy all Satellites in range as soon as we arrive." Looking around the bridge he gave the warning, "Porting in Three...Two...Porting."

Blinking again, Gene let out a whispered exclamation as he saw power arcs from the floor and railings hit Nate's father as he sat in the chair, "Whoa...Nate can't do that."

"Acquiring targets," Karl said savagely as he nodded to the gunnery officer, "Firing...targets destroyed."

"Deploying Sensor net, SE114s away," Shaolin Wang said calmly, despite the turmoil he was feeling. "I have detected Clan Stranton markers, via the Clan Medallion. SE110 deployed to that location."

Jumping to his feet after taking one look at the screen, Pete pointed out people he wanted to go with him, "Karl, Healer Jorge." Finally he saw Major Robinson from the Marines, "Major." Seeing the Major snap his side arm out and walk over, he put Gene in the middle, "Back to back people. Gene, you’re in the middle until we know the area is clear." Reaching with his mind for the gestalt point, he pulled power in one long arc and surrounded the group as he ported to the ground, his dragon form ghosting around him briefly as they appeared in the field outside of a large city.


Carefully peaking around the corner, Forth and Stan saw the same black car that nearly ran them over just a few moments ago, parked a short way down the alley. Two of the car doors were open as men wearing black business-like suits stood behind them, using them as shields as they occasionally popped up and shot at something ahead of them. At the other end of the alley, they saw three older teens were standing on the other side of an old beat-up green Ford truck firing back at the people from the black car.

At about the same time that Forth and Stan began to spy from around the corner on the situation; toward the middle of the alley, off to the side next to a group of garbage dumpsters, a dark-brown haired fourteen-year-old looking boy appeared out of thin air. Almost immediately, the boy walked a few steps backward so he was against the building, and slid down to the ground.

"Did you see that?" Stan whispered in shock. "Icarus, or someone, just teleported that boy over by the dumpsters."

"Icarus isn't even in this universe," Forth replied instantly. "So he couldn't have."

"Well, someone did," Stan protested just as quickly. "I saw him."

A few moments later, both Stan and Forth watched in horror as the boy near the dumpsters stood up. Almost immediately after that, he stepped forward as he looked up, like he was listening to someone. The he fell forward, hitting the ground face down as several shots hit him.

"You moron, what was that?" One of the black suited men cried out, as both men stopped firing. "That kid wasn't one of our assignments."

"What's the big deal?" The other man shot back flippantly. "He was in our way."

"Off to the side? When our targets are in front of us?" The first man shot back as the green truck at the other side of the alley spun away.

"It doesn't matter. Fuck, they're getting away!" The second man shouted as he dove back into the car and slammed the door behind him.  Before the first man had his own door closed, the tires of the car were already squealing as the car quickly raced off in pursuit of the truck.

"Come on, let's see if that boy needs help," Forth stated with determination in his voice as he started to walk around the corner.

Stan shook his head. He waved his hands in front of him as if to ward off something coming his way, "No way. I'm going to get Haden and Daileass."

"Fine," Forth called out as he started jogging down the alley toward the dumpster where the boy was laying on the ground.

With a final glance toward Forth, Stan turned around and began to run back toward Radio Shack, only to nearly slam into Daileass as he and Haden were already on their way out of the store to investigate the sounds of gunshots as well.

"Daileass! This black car flew past us, almost squishing us, but then then they stopped in the alley and the big guys were firing at some other guys at the other side of a truck. Then a kid teleported in the middle of the alley, but there is no Icarus around to do it, so he ended up getting shot and the guys in the car drove off after the other guys," Stan bubbled rapidly, his words mixing in with each other in his haste to tell Daileass what happened.

"Whoa, slow down," Daileass blinked a few times as he did his best to process, and make sense of the boy's words. "Where's he at now?"

"This way," Stan grabbed Daileass's hand and pulled him forward towards the alley.

Forth approached the boy carefully. He was just close enough to see the small tickle of blood seeping out from under the fourteen-year-old boy that was laying on the ground, when he heard the running footsteps of the others quickly coming up behind him.

"I think he's dead," Forth commented sadly as he looked back at the others behind him.

"Let me see," Daileass told him as he quickly knelt down next to the boy and ran his micro-sensor-filled hand back and forth over him. "He's not dead yet, but it looks like he got shot up pretty bad. Haden, help me turn him over."

Haden did as Daileass requested automatically. Once the boy was turned around, three large splotches of red could be seen soaking through the boy's shirt from where the bullets hit him.

"Damn, this isn't good," Daileass stated as he turned toward Stan. "You're sure you saw him teleport in? Was there any visual distortion, like a Star Fleet transporter?"

"Yes, I'm sure," Stan announced fiercely, he knew what he had seen. "He just appeared, no sparkles or anything."

Daileass nodded and sighed as he pulled out his radio. "Pico Lead to Viper Nest."

"This is Viper Nest, go ahead Pico Lead," Alvin's voice came over the radio instantly.

"Medical Emergency, we have one unknown male teen around fourteen to fifteen years of age with multiple gunshot wounds that is going to need a medical evacuation stat."

There was a brief pause before Alvin replied. "Roger that, Pico Lead. Medical Evac required for an unknown fourteen to fifteen year old male with multiple gunshot wounds. Evac is spinning up as we speak.

"Roger," Daileass answered back, releasing the radio to help the kid.

"What's up, bro?" Daileass and Haden heard Logan path through the link. "Why the med evac? Wouldn't getting him to a local hospital be faster?"

"Not sure if we want to do that," Daileass replied back as he began to path Logan, and the others in the link, the information he had collected so far from scanning the boy as well as skimming Stan's surface thoughts. "Stan is convinced he saw this kid teleport into the middle of a fire fight that federal agents were having with a group of unknowns. Further, as you can see in the medical scan data I'm sending you, the boy's genetic profile and blood analysis do not match that of any known human."

"Got it. Good call," Logan pathed after a brief pause. "Will and Billy are getting the chopper off the ground as we speak. Their ETA is about 18 minutes. Go ahead and use the same Landing Zone we used for the Chinook yesterday, that should be the closest safe Landing Zone from your location."

"Right," Daileass pathed back as he carefully picked up the injured boy and began to run toward the SUV. "Stan, get the first aid kit out of the back, I need to get him stabilized on our way to the Landing Zone. Haden, I need you to help guide Sarah to where the Landing Zone from yesterday is at.

Both boys yelled "Right away," as they took off towards the SUV. They didn't look behind them as they raced off, knowing everyone would be following Daileass back toward the SUV.

     Moments after Daileass had the boy in the back seat of the SUV, Stan had grabbed the first aid kit and held it out. "Is this what you need?"

"That's it. Open it up and get me all the gauze pads that are in there," Daileass nodded as he glanced to see what Stan held. He easily tore the boy's shirt open, taking only a moment to notice the very intricately crafted gold medallion that was hanging around the boy's neck depicting a large winged dragon holding a crown. Pushing the medallion to the side so it wasn't in the way, Daileass went to work stabilizing the boy, and stopping the bleeding the best he could.

"Oh my lord!" Sarah cried out in shock as she approached the SUV and looked in the back. "Did you guys just shoot that boy?"

"No ma'am," Daileass replied evenly without looking up from the boy. "That would be some of your government's finest that did this."

"Come on, we need to go," Haden urged as he guided Sarah toward the driver's door. "We need to get to the large field that Will and Billy are going to meet us at. I'll show you how to get there."

With a final glance toward the unconscious boy that Daileass was busy working on, Sarah jumped into her seat and started up the SUV while Haden quickly ran around to the other side and jumped in as well.

It took less than five minutes to drive to the field where Will and Billy would meet them. On the way over, Daileass did the best he could to stop the boy's bleeding, which, to his surprise, ended up being a lot easier than it should have. Being an android, Daileass had the ability to apply stronger and more precise pressure to where it needed to be to best slow down the bleeding, but at the same time, the boy's blood began clotting and slowing the bleeding down a lot faster than it should have been able to. 

Even with the bulk of the bleeding stopped, Daileass was still concerned with the boy's weak vitals, and all the blood he had already lost. "Let's get him out and onto the grass so it will be easier to load him in the chopper when they arrive," Daileass pointed to an open flat spot once the SUV came to a stop.

"Is he going to die?" Stan asked as he grabbed the first aid kit, and followed closely behind Daileass, who was carrying the boy out of the SUV.

"I don't know," Daileass replied truthfully. "I've gotten most of the bleeding under control, but he's already lost a lot of blood."

"Is there anything I can do to help?" Haden asked once Daileass had the boy on the ground.

Daileass thought for a few moments and nodded. "Yeah, continue to apply pressure right here, I want to do another full scan on him."

"Right," Haden nodded as he moved his hand to the position that Daileass's hand was at as both Forth and Stan stood a few steps away, carefully watching every move that both Daileass and Haden were making. Sarah, for her part, had decided to remain within the safety of the SUV.

Moments later, a shrill cry came out from the SUV, just as Forth let out a gasp. "Daileass!" he called shakily out as he pointed in front of him.

Everyone else looked up just in time to see the ghosted image of an 11 to 12 foot tall copper and green dragon appear less than twenty feet away from them. Although the dragon's image quickly faded away, a small group of teens were left in its place.

The youngest of the group, who appeared to be no older than fifteen, was a lanky athletically built short black haired boy wearing a nice looking white silk shirt. On both sides of the teen were slightly taller boys also wearing white shirts and one of them, his shirt had red sleeves; one of the boys had short black hair, while the other tall, slender teen had light brown hair.  In the back of the group, there was another teen who was dressed in black futuristic looking armor. All four boys were standing back to back when they appeared, yet none of them had any visible weapons, save for the teen dressed in black.

Although all of this made for a rather interesting scene, the part that caught everyone's attention the most, was the taller seventeen to eighteen year old teen who was standing in the middle, completely nude.

"Okay... that's... different," Haden commented after blinking a few times.

"Nate!" Gene, who happened to be naked, cried out from the middle of the group. "What have you bastards done to him?"

"Hold it," the youngest looking of the group immediately put his hand up to stop the boy in the middle from doing anything else. "We need them alive for now, at least until we fully understand the situation."

"Back off, now!" Major Robinson, dressed in black, ordered as he pointed his weapon toward them, the design of which none of them had seen before.

"We were only trying to help," Daileass stated in a guarded tone as he and the others slowly lifted their hands in the air.

"Like hell you were," Karl replied as healer Jorge quickly moved to Nate's side, scanner out and running slowly along Nate's torso.

Pete quickly glanced around his surroundings, with his eyes finally resting on Haden.  Almost without thinking, Pete's mind was already skimming the kid’s thoughts, grabbing what he could from the nine-year-old looking boy. To his surprise, he could feel a small amount of resistance from the kid trying to block his probing, which only caused him to push all that much harder.

Moments later, Haden squealed in pain as he grabbed his head. A split second later, Daileass reached out with his own mind, fully blocking the attack against Haden.

"What the fuck?" Pete grumbled in surprise as he tilted his head, "How the hell did you block me?"

"Didn't your mother ever tell you to pick on kids your own size?" Daileass asked calmly. "Who are you people?"

Jorge looked up from his scanner as he slapped both sets of monitors onto Nate, one to his chest the other to his temple. Not liking the readings he was getting from his scanner he looked over his shoulder at the growing argument, "Dragon Lord, Your son is highly unstable. We need to get him to a Bio-tube immediately so I can do surgery to repair the damage."

"We don't have time for this," Pete growled out, his tone harsh as his eyes fell onto Nate's body lying on the ground. Looking around at the four near Nate he pathed to Shaolin Wang, "I want all of them in the buffers, now!"

Before Daileass or any of the others could react, the world quickly dissolved around them.

Porting to the bridge of the Star Scout, Pete tried his best to reassure Gene, when they appeared back on the command deck, that Nate would be alright. It looked like he had gotten close to Nate during the time he had been stranded in this dimension. Starting his explanation before Gene had a chance to ask questions, he told him what was happening. "The four people around Nate are in our transporter buffers, frozen in an energy flux, between moments. Nate is also in the buffers, but he is in there until we get back to the Mars colony and your Bio-tubes so Healer Jorge can repair the damage to his body. Once we get there we'll figure out if those other four were telling the truth or not."

Hand reaching down the side of the captain’s chair, he entered the unlock code to the gestalt generator and brought it online, "Prepare to port to Mars orbit." Pulling the energy once the Gestalt reached full power he said, "Port." Feeling a sense of relief to be away from Earth, Pete looked at Karl, "Return us to Z plus fifty from the center of the dome please. While you run a scan of the colony to see what is what," he lowered his voice as Karl moved closer, "see what kind of shape the colony is really in, please. From the looks of things, Nate did his best, and if he decided to create Alterans here in this universe, I need to know what they have to work with. I'll be down at the Med Center when you've finished."

Moving over to Gene, who was still worried about Nate, Pete smiled at him, "Gene, can you think of the Med Center? I want you to picture it in your mind so I can get the portation point from you."

"I can do that," Gene felt relief. Then he smiled, reassured by the familiar concept he was being asked to perform, "That’s the way Nate taught us to port." Thinking clearly he lifted Pete's hand and placed it at his temple as he brought up the picture of the Med Center's doorway.

"Thank you," Pete said as he touched Gene and ported to just outside the Med Center. Looking around the area he smiled, it was a nice design, and he could see parts of it were directly from the archives. Walking into the building he skidded to a halt. Not moving as he took in the... he was not sure what to call what he was seeing. Thinking they had gone to the wrong area, he asked slowly, "This is your Med Center?"

Looking slightly embarrassed, Gene nodded his head, "It's the best we could do with what we had available to us in the way of technology and supplies from Earth. We just are not up to speed yet to re-create Alteran technology.  After all, we've only had a working Fusion Reactor for six months, and the standard size Isolinear chips and boards are just now coming off the assemblers."

Wincing at what he was seeing and hearing, Pete told him honestly, as he felt another couple of people rush in, "I'm not making fun of what you've been able to do with what you've had. I just..." shaking his head he closed his eyes and counted to one hundred, twice. Opening his eyes, he pathed openly, while sending a visual of what he was seeing, "Shaolin Wang, I need you to release every MBA the Scout has on board and pull up replicator file nine dash EM. That is the emergency Med Center file. I need those MBAs down here now."

Pete smiled in relief as he turned to face the guy he met when he first ported in, who Gene told him led this colony, "Theo, if you give us a half hour we can bring your Med Center up to Alteran standards. Then we can see about bringing Nate out of the buffers and getting him healed. I'm sure Healer Jorge will appreciate working with equipment he is used to."

"Agreed, Dragon Lord," Jorge looked around in dismay as the MBAs started to appear along with a few MCAs to recycle the old equipment as new was brought into existence.


Med Center half re-built to something recognizable, Pete hooked up the CORE feeds to the first Bio-tube that had been created and grinned as Healer Jorge finished hooking up the bio-beds across the room. Seeing Jorge heading for the next Bio-bed in the row he told him, "We have one working Bio-tube, we can get the rest hooked up later,"

Nodding his head, Jorge moved over to the bio-tube and put it through the emergency diagnostics. When the screen flashed green he tilted his head up and pathed to the scout, "Shaolin Wang, if you would, I am ready for my Code patient in the Bio-tube in front of me."

A moment later, Nate was in the Bio-tube in front of him and Jorge quickly cut off enough of Nate's clothes to give him room to work. He would get the rest later, after rebuilding the damage to the young dragon’s chest cavity. Intubating Nate, he quickly emplaced the waste tube and IV cuff before hitting the red button causing the Bio-tube to initiate Code procedure. Even before the lid had fully shut and sealed he had the surgical frame installed and servo gloves donned.

Moving his hands back before the lid of the Bio-tube closed on them, Pete stepped back so the healer had room to work. After thinking about what he saw in Nate's mind he pathed Karl, "Karl, port the four people we have in the buffers to my position. It looks like they were trying to help Nate."

     After what seemed to be less than a second or two, the world once again took form for Daileass, Haden, Stan, and Forth.  However, they were no longer in the field that they had just been standing in before; instead, they were in a building which, by the looks of things, appeared to be some sort of medical facility. However, the majority of the equipment that was visible was unfamiliar to any of them.

And the healer, who had told the one called ‘Dragon Lord’ that they needed to leave quickly, had the boy they had tried to help floating in some strange tube. His hands flying around on the outside as servos mimicked his actions inside the tube.

"I believe I may owe you guys an apology for the accusations made against you on Earth." Pete told them in a much calmer tone than he had half an hour ago down in the field on Earth.  "You have to understand, the guy you found is very important to me, or rather, important to us."

"Understandable," Daileass replied cautiously.  "We did our best to stabilize him. He had already lost a lot of blood by the time we got to him."

"I know that now," Pete agreed. He did not bother to tell them that when Nate was brought out of the buffers he linked his mind with Nate's and saw who had shot him, it was not one of these four kids. "That's the only reason why we're standing here having this conversation right now. As crude and primitive as your methods might have been, from what the healer has told me, had you not done the little that you managed to do there's a very high chance that Nate would be dead right now. But where are my manners? My name is Pete Stranton, of Clan Stranton, of the Kingdom and Empire of Altare."

Daileass looked intensely toward Pete. For some reason, he was not able to telepathically skim the boy's surface thoughts. They were there, protected somehow, and he was pretty sure he could get to them if he pushed hard enough, maybe. But for now he decided to go on the visual and perceptive information he was gathering, all of which told him that Pete was being up front and honest with them. 

Deciding that it was safe enough to play along for now, Daileass nodded. "It's good to meet you, Pete. I'm Daileass Casey, of the UNIT, the latter of which probably doesn't mean much at this point."

"Why?" Pete asked with curiosity.

"It's a long story," Daileass replied truthfully. "Our group had meaning in the dimension we came from, but it no longer seems to exist in this one."

A light seemed to go on in Pete's eyes when he heard they were dimensional travelers. "So you guys are not from this dimension either? That would certainly explain a lot. More specifically yourself and that fancy arm band your friend over there is wearing." Lowering his voice as he looked back over his shoulder to where Healer Jorge was working he said, "I am so grounding Nate when we get home, at least until he can build a beacon that does not weaken the dimensional walls and does what it is designed to do and no more."

Haden took a step backward, and cautiously placed his GEAR arm behind him as Pete looked in his direction.

"Is that boy going to die?" Forth blurted out, not able to take not knowing any longer.

"Forth!" Daileass spoke sharply as he glanced toward the eight-year-old.

"Sorry," Forth replied, looking at the floor in shame.

"I guess I should introduce my friends as well," Daileass stated. "This is my boyfriend, Haden. And over there is Forth and Stan."

Pete raised an eyebrow when Daileass identified Haden as his boyfriend, but made no further mention of it. "It's good to meet all of you. To answer your question, Forth, he's going to need to spend the next several days in one of the Bio-tubes, but apparently thanks to you guys, he should make it."

"Cool," Forth smiled as he looked up.

"Which brings us back to you guys," Pete said easily as he pulled out some form of hand-held device from his pocket.  "Although your comment of this not being your home dimension may have helped shed a little light on this, you guys are still somewhat of a mystery."

"How so?" Daileass asked, curious at the device pointed at them.

"Well, for starters," Pete began as he looked back toward Haden, "by all accounts, you appear to be a normal Human.  Yet, somehow you were able to fully block my telepathic scan, something no Human should be capable of. In addition to that, your arm band appears to be slightly beyond the technology level that human society has right now."

"Oh, this?" Haden asked as he looked down at his GEAR. "That's just..."

"... classified," Daileass jumped in before Haden could continue, pulling Pete's full attention to him.

"Look, we can do this the easy way, or the hard way," Pete narrowed his eyes as he glared toward Daileass. "I have a responsibility to my people, part of which is an assessment of what kind of threat you pose to our colony here."

"I can understand that," Daileass spoke calmly, "but you need to understand, I have a similar responsibility to my people as well."

"How can you even say that?" Pete asked, sickened at the thought of what his scans told him. "According to my scans, you're not even fully finished. You're some kind of cyborg with a living body and a…" looking at the scanner again he said with a hint of disgust, "quasi technological organic substitute for a brain."

A hint of anger flashed across Haden's eyes. "Daileass is too alive! I don't care how good those crappy scanners of yours are, they can't see someone's soul. Life doesn't just have to be biological cells and DNA coding."

"Haden," Daileass stated calmly, trying to grab his boyfriend's attention.

"Well, it's true. Besides, how do you think your attack on my mind was blocked? It wasn't me, I suck at the whole mind telepathic stuff, it was Daileass that jumped in to protect me."

"Haden, stand down," Daileass spoke with a bit more strength, causing a worried and hurt look to flash across Haden's face as he was concerned that he might have gone too far.

Pete nodded slowly as he looked at Haden, "I'm not here to pass judgment on your beliefs. My concern is as I stated, for my people.

"I know my word probably doesn't mean much to you at this point," Daileass said as he spread his hands apart, as if to show he meant no harm, "but as long as your intents are as noble as you claim you have nothing to fear from us."

Pete gave a single nod in response. The question was, did he trust them enough to help them. Admittedly, coming from another universe was in their favor, but then again who is to say they had been truthful. He would need to scan one of their minds to be sure if they were telling the truth, but until that happened he would treat them like the humans of his dimension, teenagers that were searching for their own way.

"Is that a Bio-bed?" Stan spoke up pointing toward a strange looking bed off to the side.

Slightly surprised that Stan would have any knowledge of Alteran technology, Pete nodded as he looked at the youngster. "It is."

"Cool! Are they as good as the Star Fleet bio-beds?" Stan asked excitedly.

"Can we test it out?" Forth jumped in, his words trailing Stan’s by milliseconds.

Pete welcomed the change of topic, as well as fitting in perfectly for his hopes to get a much more detailed scan of these guys; he might even be able to get a quantum signature and find out what dimension they came from. Pete smiled at the hyper youngster, so much excitement was exuding off of him he looked like he was vibrating; he looked toward Daileass, to see if the smaller boy would raise any objections.

Daileass sighed as he made a mental note that in the future, Stan and Forth should probably not go on first contact missions. However, he couldn't think of any real reason to object to the scans. If anything, perhaps it might help foster some additional trust between their two groups. "I wouldn't mind seeing some of your medical technology in action as well," he finally nodded.

"Okay," Pete began as he walked over toward the bed. "I need one of you, and only one of you, to climb up and lay down on the Bio-bed."

Forth and Stan glanced at each other for a few moments. "Stan can go first," Forth sighed, causing Stan to smile.

While Stan did as he was instructed, Pete walked over to the display panel and activated the full diagnostic function by tracing the commands on the terminal next to the head of the bed. While not a healer, the fact Aaron and Fred were healers did leave him with more than a working knowledge of the equipment. Deciding on giving them a brief overview as he watched the screen light up, and keeping an eye on the lower corner where the first green grouping appeared, he told them, "The Bio-bed’s main purpose is to treat minor wounds and illness that would require an overnight stay. Anything requiring longer treatment, or if the patient was a young child who could not stay confined to the bed, we would use one of the Bio-tubes. In just a few moments, the screen behind the bed should start displaying its initial findings on the screen. The healer can then use the provided information to devise an appropriate treatment plan."

"The healer determines the plan?" Haden asked curiously. "Why not let the computer A.I. make that determination?"

"From our experience, a well-trained healer is almost always able to devise a more effective treatment plan than the software. The healer could determine that a minor problem the system wants to fix now should wait while a seemingly future problem should be addressed instead. We've found it shortens the treatment by a couple of days..." Pete replied, then trailed off as he as he began to look at the initial set of results, along with a number of various red blinking messages.

"What's wrong?" Forth asked as he saw the worried frown on Pete's face.

Pete remained silent for several moments as his hands brought up different explanations for the warning messages he was seeing at a fast pace. He then began to quickly flip through the many different treatment screens looking for a solution. "Well, that answers that question," he mumbled to himself.

"What does it say?" Stan asked with concern as he sat up.

With a sigh, Pete stopped looking at the screen, and instead walked several steps away from the Bio-bed before turning back toward Daileass and the others. "I saw a few things that may be of concern, but before I can really be sure if we can help you, I need to ask you some questions that may seem a bit personal. I'll fully understand if you guys choose not to answer them."

"Okay," Daileass nodded, not really sure what could have rattled Pete so much, as he internally pulled up the medical scan results he had personally taken of Stan the day before.

"First, you need to understand our equipment is incredibly detailed, especially in terms of genetic analysis," Pete continued. "In reviewing the genetic structure of Stan, the CORE found a lot of low level sequencing abnormalities. If I didn't know any better, I would go as far as saying his DNA was haphazardly thrown together by someone who had no clue what they were doing."

Daileass nodded in understanding. "Stan and Forth are both clones. They were artificially grown in a laboratory, and born at the age of eight."

"That would explain what we found so far," Pete said as he began to pace back and forth. Mumbling under his breath about tearing a new asshole in the person responsible for playing with things they didn't understand.

"I ran a full medical scan on both boys yesterday, and I found nothing wrong with them at all," Daileass was quick to offer as he started to worry.

Pete nodded as he walked back over to the display panel. "On the surface you’re right. Stan appears to be a healthy eight years and eleven month old boy. As I said however, our equipment is incredibly detailed. Even with your higher tech, I would be very surprised if you had anything that came close to this."

"Okay, fine. So just what are your scans showing?" Daileass asked, becoming concerned himself.

"In addition to the slapped together genetic structuring that seemed to have been done, the system has so far identified at least twenty-nine base pair anomalies that can cause long term complications, leading to catastrophic cellular degradation," Jorge, who had finished the surgery on Nate came over to see what had Pete upset, waved at the screen displaying one particular genetic sequence. "As an example, this anomaly in chromosome eight will most likely lead to a total breakdown of several key organs, and an inability for them to mature to a proper size as the rest of his body will initiate growth when he begins to start puberty."

Daileass glanced at the displayed sequence of genetic code and shook his head. Even with his vast medical knowledge, what he was seeing made very little sense to him, beyond being a series of thousands of letters strung together. "This doesn't mean anything to me at all."

Haden took a step toward the monitor, and intensely starred at it for several long moments. Blinking a few times, he looked toward Daileass. "I don't understand this either, but Barrett seems to understand it perfectly. Although he can't say for sure what this would do, he's pretty confident that the amino acid pairings displayed here do involve vital organs, and spindle timing abnormalities. He is saying something about two completely different specimens being merged together, but nothing seems to have been taken into account for segment offsets."

"I see," Daileass replied gravely. "Forth is a clone similar to Stan, does he have the same problems?"

"The Bio-bed would need to scan him," Pete said as he watched Jorge enter the commands to save the readings on Stan to the CORE for later research.

Daileass nodded in understanding as he looked toward Forth. "Do you want to be scanned as well?"

"Yeah, I guess," Forth replied as he traded places with Stan on the bed.

A few minutes later, Jorge was reviewing the results. Shaking his head, he turned toward Daileass and the others. "They are not the same exact issues that Stan had, but Forth's genetics appear to have been just as poorly put together, and within two to four years, definitely before he starts puberty, he's going to have his own set of complications, with the same prognosis as Stan."

"Thanks Pete, for identifying and sharing this information with us," Daileass stated. "Is there any way we can get a printout of some sort to take with us so that we can give it to our lead geneticist? If they have two to four years as you have stated, that should be more than enough time for her to develop some corrective gene therapies for them."

"I could do that," Pete thought out loud as he saw Jorge nod his head. "Unless you already have a strong mastery over genetic engineering, which I'm going to assume you don't by you surprise at the two scan results; otherwise you would have spotted these abnormalities yourselves, even with this information, you’re looking at decades of sustained medical advancement and research before you get to a tech level needed to repair all of the abnormalities."

"Perhaps, but we can also be incredibly determined when we need to get something done," Daileass replied. "Besides, what else would you have me do, sit back and watch them both get sick and die in two years?  It doesn't look like we have a whole lot of options."

"Or," Pete said as he saw how uncomfortable Theo was with these people here on the colony, he hoped he would not take it the wrong way when he made the offer. "You can let us heal the damage." Looking at Healer Jorge, he pathed, "You can fix what is wrong, right?"

Looking back over his shoulder at the monitor, Jorge hid his wince. What Pete wanted him to do was something he was sure only Aaron could handle. Thinking about it, as the silence grew, his mind fixated on the fact that the alteration process was designed to return a person to perfect health as it converted them to the Alteran genome. "There might be a way...But I'm not sure if it will work." Looking at Pete he pathed, "They are both dead in two years, no longer than that, and it will be painful in the end as their organs literally turn to jelly as they lose all structure. The only thing I can think of that might, and I say might, work is to alter them to the Alteran standard. I give them a fifty-fifty chance of survival if we do that."

The answer was a simple one, Pete thought, then again this was not his dimension or colony; and he did not think it would be wise to take these two children back to his dimension when he left, the quantum shift might be too far out of safe parameters for them to survive in their dimension without stabilizers. And that was not something he was willing to build, not after seeing what had happened to Xon, so it was not his decision to make. Pathing privately he asked, "Theo? This is your world you’re building, they would be your people if we altered them. I can't make this decision for you. It wouldn't be right. This is something you have to decide if you can be comfortable with."

Glancing at the two scared little kids, Theo walked over to the Bio-bed and stared at the monitor. Not having the faintest idea what all the information was telling him. Tearing his eyes away from the monitor he pathed to the healer that had come with Nate's father, "Are they gay?"


Spotting the frown on the Daileass kid’s face, Jorge answered verbally, "Stan tests green, eight out of eight clusters, while Forth is seven out of eight clusters green."

Ignoring the kid who was starting to look pissed off, Theo turned to the two boys and addressed them, "Hi." Sitting on the edge of the Bio-bed he motioned for Stan to climb up next to Forth, once he was seated next to his friend he hoped he would not scare them further. "My name is Theo, I'm the leader of the Alteran colony on Mars. Pete over there," he pointed to Pete who was watching carefully, “is married to the Leader of the Alteran people. His Clan leads all Alterans everywhere," he nodded at Pete when he said that. Even when Nate left he would only lead by their permission, and, at times, he still thought Nate had made a mistake when he chose him to lead the Alterans in this dimension.

"He didn't," Pete pathed along with a mental hug.

"Really?" Stan asked while his attention perked up.  "That sounds a lot like our clan. Cory and Sean are the leaders, and everyone says they are really good at it. We never got to meet them, but Eric has, and he says they were nice."

"Yeah, and they are married to each other as well," Forth added.

"Guys, this is serious," Haden whispered.

"It's okay," Theo smiled at Haden before he turned his attention back to the two boys next to him.


"I'm not sure how much you understood," Theo said as he shrugged. "Probably about as much as I did, after all I am not a healer." Sighing, he decided he would give them a chance, "There may be a way to fix what is wrong with you, but, by doing so, you will be changed. You'll be different than humans." Sliding off the edge of the Bio-bed he grinned, "You know what? Why don't we go take a look at the Bio-dome. While we walk through the gardens we can talk about what it means to be an Alteran, one of our people, because the healer thinks the only way to save both of you is to make you into one of us."

Waiting until Theo had escorted the two boys out of the med bay, Pete answered the frustrated Daileass's unspoken questions by telling him, "They have two years of life, after that their bodies will for a lack of a better term, melt, painfully while they slowly die. Jorge thinks he can give them a fifty-fifty chance of survival by altering their genetics to ours. But it is not our decision, either of ours. It belongs to those two boys who will be given the chance to choose for themselves."

After listening to Pete's explanation, and after a very quick mental meeting with Logan, Barrett and a few others in the mental scape, Daileass nodded as he chose the words for his reply very carefully. "First, I would like to thank you for everything you, Theo, and the others are doing here to help us. By all accounts, your people seem to be technologically advanced enough that what we might say or do is effectively insignificant to you. There are a few things, however, that I feel you need to know before we go much further."

Seeing Pete nod guardedly, Daileass continued. "First, what Stan and Forth said about our clan was correct. In the dimension we come from, our clan numbered in the tens of thousands, with Cory Short being the patriarch of that clan. Almost all of our group that ended up in this dimension are also part of a smaller group, known as the UNIT. I guess you could say we functioned as the military arm of the Clan, and were charged with the protection of all clan members. The leaders of the UNIT, who also happened to get stuck in this dimension with us as well, are Adam and Logan. Although Stan and Forth are not formal UNIT members, until we can find a way back home to our own dimension, both Adam and Logan will do everything in their power to protect them, just as they would any other member of UNIT. The reason I am telling you all this is so that you understand that there are more people involved in the decision that Stan and Forth have been given than just them."

Seeing the look on Pete's face, Daileass could tell the taller boy was not liking the direction this was going in. Before Pete could jump in, Daileass held up his hand to stop him. "With that being said however, through the mental bond that I and several of my brother’s share, we had a brief meeting where I've filled Adam and Logan in on everything that you guys have informed us of so far. What it gets down to is Barrett, Haden's twin brother, who has literally thousands of years of experience working with genetics, has more or less been able to confirm the key points of your findings, at least to our degree of understanding as we are nowhere close to having the needed technology to help them."

"As such," Daileass continued, "given that this procedure would only have a fifty-fifty chance, if it is something that Stan and Forth decide they are willing to do, then we will not stop them; especially since it's a lot higher of a chance than we could give them. We would, however, be interested in knowing whatever other details about this process you feel comfortable with sharing. We're not looking for any information you would consider sensitive, but as I said, both Adam and Logan feel very strongly about watching out for the wellbeing of the boys. For example, are there any concerns we will need to worry about should the operation be successful? What would be expected of them, would you simply turn them back over to us, or how specifically would you see things needing to work out?"

How to spin this, Pete thought, without giving out to much information. Especially seeing as it looked like this dimension did not have Aaron in it, which meant that the Army of God might succeed, and that frightened him far more than letting something slip now. "There are a lot of issues I can see that would have to be worked out." Hopping up on the Bio-bed, Pete stared at the two dimensional travelers, he was taking them at their word, mainly because of the tin head asking questions. "First, IF they decide to go through with the procedure, they will be placed in the Bio-tubes, like Nate is over there," he pointed to his son’s Bio-tube. "While they are asleep we will alter them on the cellular level, their deepest genetics will be altered and changed to something not human any longer. There are a huge amount of advantages they will gain by becoming one of my race. Immunity from all known diseases is just a small one. They will also gain the ability to travel to anyplace their mind can reach, talk to any of our race mind to mind and, by the sheer power of our minds alone, we can move any object we want. Not to mention the longer life and increased intelligence we have."

"As far as returning them to you," Pete winced slightly, enough tin head picked up on it. "They would not fit in with your people any longer. With all of our advanced gifts, we do have some unique requirements. I doubt you could deal with breakthrough sickness when they entered puberty; that is when our gifts come fully online and we can use them other than by instinct. And I doubt you would deal kindly with them slipping into every male’s room as they had an incredible need to have sex as puberty hit them." Pete grinned at the blush he got from the one called Haden.

 "I think Stan and Forth are the last two that you would ever have to worry about running off and trying to sneak into someone else's bed," Haden managed to get out with glowing cheeks.

"Actually, you would be surprised what just a few minor tweaks to someone's genetics could do their feelings and emotions," Daileass pointed out.  "I wouldn't be surprised if there was a genetic tweak that could make you like girls.  And, from the sounds of it, they are going to be doing a lot more than minor tweaking."

A look of shock and horror filled Haden's glowing face at the mention of him liking girls.  Other than a few very strong head shakes to indicate his objection, he remained silent.

"What I foresee happening, is if they are altered they would live here on our colony world," Pete shrugged knowing that tin head was not as comfortable with that answer, and he would not be with the next statement he made. "While they would be free to travel back and forth to Earth as much as they pleased, between studies that is, you would not be allowed to visit them here on the Mars colony. To be Human and on Mars is an instant death sentence." Spearing Haden with a look he told them, "No one but those in this room and Theo know you are human, Haden, and it will stay that way until you have been returned to Earth. I can do this because my Clan leads our people and I am higher in the hierarchy than Theo is. The most Aaron will do to me is to make me sleep on the couch, unlike what he can and would do to Theo," he lied.

"I can tell you that if Forth and Stan do survive," Pete told them, "which I hope they do, even to the point of dragging out their treatment until Aaron arrives and can ensure success, the very stars will be their playground."

Having recovered slightly, Haden spoke in a much more serious tone. "As much as I would love to stay here and figure out how all your technology works, at least the electronic side of it, I can understand how dangerous technology like this can be in the wrong hands; and humans as a race are nowhere close to being ready for it, so I can understand your position on that. As far as allowing me to be here without killing me, I think I'm a little thankful for that as well. I promise you, other than my link brothers who already have access to everything I've seen or heard, I will not share anything that I've seen or learned here with anyone else. I think I can also safely say that unless you ever try to hurt them directly, none of those that share the link with me will share any of that information either."

Daileass nodded in agreement. "What Haden says is true. As long as your people never directly threaten us, nothing that we learn here will ever be given to anyone else. Believe it or not, I think there may be a lot of similarities between our two groups. A large part of what we do does involves rescuing gay and abandoned youth, and giving them access to education and opportunities that would otherwise be completely out of their reach. From what you have told me, you have very similar views toward your people."