Chapter 94 




Aaron, what would you do? Pete looked up at the ceiling of the conference room he was sitting in, hand flipping Nate's medallion back and forth as he tried to come to terms with the fact Nate was from sometime in the original time line that had been destroyed with the re-set. Theo and Gene were on the other side of the table, waiting for word from the retrieval teams on Earth that they had made it to the moon base safely with their rescued recruits from another round-up of undesirables. The news had reached them hours after he had sent Daileass back to Earth, civil war had broken out in the United States; and unlike the United States' first civil war, the kick off to this one was a battle between the government and children. Some faction behind the President, or that faction taking advantage of the President's refusal to step down after being voted out of office, had plunged the United States and several of its allies into a civil war. And Pete was pretty sure that hidden faction was the Army of God. What he was not sure of was, what to do about it, or even if he should do anything. Looking over at Theo, he finally broke the silence, "Karl gave me an update this morning on how much you have accomplished in such a short time. I'm impressed, it's hard to imagine having to rebuild your whole technological base from scratch, building the tools, to build the tools so you can build the technology you need; like you guys have done, impressive is an understatement."


"It was all Nate's idea," Theo said quickly. Trying to place the credit where he thought it belonged.


"That might be," Pete told him as he glanced over at Theo who evidently did not want any of the credit. "But it was you and Gene jumping right into the work, along with the people who you have rescued that made it work." Broaching the subject carefully, he outlined the plan, hoping that as he actually put what he was thinking into words he could see a solution. "Back in our dimension we never built a moon base like you have here in this dimension, instead we built large space stations we called 'Step Off Stations'. With the troubles developing on this Earth, your decision to hide seems to be the safer route. I directed Karl to take the Star Scout, stealthed from Earth sensors, to the moon and modernize your base."


Seeing Theo about to open his mouth Pete held up a hand and smiled at him, "I've read the reports that Nate placed in the system, so I know about your decision to do for yourselves, not have everything handed to you. I can agree with most of what you want to do, but some of what I think needs to be done, well I'm sorry to say I will have to ignore your wishes; because frankly the safety of the Alteran race has to come first." Turning in his chair so he could spear the two of them with his stare he told them, "Nate made a decision to bring our people into existence in this dimension, to create our race as a means of..." pausing he shrugged. "I'm not sure, he never did record his reasons, but he did bring Alterans to life in this dimension." Pointing towards the ceiling, in the general direction of Earth if they could see it, he told them, "So as long as we are here, until Aaron comes to take us home, I will do everything I can to ensure you survive. You will still have to work hard on making the knowledge we are leaving behind yours, but the only way my conscious can keep me from going to Earth and taking matters into my own hands is to give you every advantage my mind can come up with, hoping that after we've left to go home, you can take what we started and expand on it."


Snapping his mouth closed with an audible snap, Theo winced. He could not come up with an argument to counter what Pete said, and truth be told, he was very worried about what would happen to his people when this Army of God took control of Earth. He had spent many a night waking up near to screaming from nightmares after digging through the database Nate had uploaded to the CORE. The things that the Army of God did after they took control was horrific, and he knew deep down that while they had an advantage over Nate's people when this happened to them, they were nowhere close to be ready to save the millions that would be killed, or to protect themselves from the fanatics when they finished consolidating their power on Earth and looked their way. "At this point, knowing what is happening on Earth, whatever help you can give is more than welcome," he finally said.


"Good," Pete smiled as he started to outline what they were going to do, "One of the first things we'll do, after Karl gets back, is to start from your Bio-Dome One and finish your colony. The sooner we get it done, and transport the trees and plants you need for food, the better off you will be. I dug up an old copy of the plans this colony base were based off of, and one of the things they never were able to do, because of where they left Earth from was tropical, was to have seasonal domes; domes that mimicked the four seasons and could produce the fruits and crops that need cold to thrive. We will be able to do that easily enough, and we are also going to create a shit load of assemblers geared towards farming to work the new domes."


Checking his list, Pete told them, "As much as I would love to make it so the colony could leave Mars as an interstellar ship, like it did in my dimension, I doubt I would have time to figure out how to best make that happen; not with what is going on down there now. One of the other things I need to do is to upgrade your system CORE, that way I can dump every scrap of knowledge into it I have on the Star Scout so you can bring yourselves up to speed. I will also include every single ship design, including the different engines we've come across that can be used in propulsion, that way you can use the ships you'll build to escape this system if the worst happens." Which it probably will, Pete thought morosely.


"I'm thinking our first priority, once we get the colony finished, is to make you fully self-sufficient." Pete closed the screen on his P.A.D.D., the list just kept going on and on, which was depressing. He knew he would never get close to completing it, and he was having trouble dealing with knowing for the first time he could not easily create a solution to a problem. "Your fish farms are a good start, and we can safely add chickens, rabbits and pigs to your food animals. As much as I would love to make sure you have cattle, the best I can do is to ensure you have more than enough fertilized  ova stored in your livestock gene banks so when you leave Mars for another world, you can once again enjoy steak."


"One of the things Nate evidently had no idea about, and that could be because his future lost so many of us," Pete winced, "is the ability Alterans have to link to a Gestalt generator. This ability to link to a clean power source lets us amplify our gifts without using personal energy, like Nate did when he almost caused himself to collapse when he first came to this dimension. I will make sure the both of you..." he trailed off as he felt a familiar presence in his mind.


Pulling at the power of the gestalt, Aaron pathed loudly while sending his mind searching, "PETE..."


"Aaron," Pete whispered in joy as his mind made contact with his lover. "AARON," he pathed in joy as he felt relief wash over the mental link. Joy and relief being pushed to the side after a minute, he sent Aaron his memories of what had happened and what he had been doing, along with his feelings of urgency that the fledgling Alterans faced.


Looking at Xon and Kenny as he opened his eyes, Aaron told them, "He's alright. It was an accident that brought him here, not a prelude to an invasion."


Slumping in relief, Kenny glanced around the command deck and saw how many people were also relieved at hearing the news. "Is he sure?" he said very slowly, and so unlike him.


"Very," Aaron said carefully, not sure why Kenny was being so serious and controlled. "Let me share Pete's memory of what happened with you," seeing Xon moving forward he smiled, "Both of you." Kissing each of them in turn, he shared the memory that Pete sent, smile on his face as he watched them blink rapidly several times as the information unfolded in their minds.


Kenny gave Aaron a strange look and shook his head, "Our son is so grounded until he's like five hundred years old." He said that because he was not sure how to deal with the fact a son of the Clan from the original timeline was alive. He knew how messed up time travel could be. Even not experiencing it personally, knowing he was the cause of a timeline reset still frightened him. This...Nate, was going to have a lot of adjusting to do...


"We as a people would not have been brought into existence here," Xon said in a horror filled voice, "You died in this dimension before you could make the advances in genetics that led to you creating our people."


"And Nate, for some reason, altered some humans and created our race here in a dimension that would never have seen our people," Aaron said slowly as he sat back in his chair.


Seeing Aaron looking at him, Xon told him, "You have to respect their decision to stay in their own dimension, Aaron. I can tell you, from personal experience, that living in the wrong dimension tears at you; it eats at you a little each day."


"I know," Aaron said softly as he glanced at the screen and the image of this dimensions Centauri Prime in the middle monitor. Pete had made the right decision he felt, but he would hold off on what he was thinking of doing until he met Theo and talked to him. Coming to a decision, he looked at the faces staring back at him from the monitors, "Joe," he looked up to the left as he gave the order, "Admiral, take the fleet to ready stations. Magnetics set to black...port to near Mars orbit, keep Mars between the fleet and Earth. Looking at Doug he told him, "Pete needs your fleet on Mars, so port directly above the Bio-dome he is in. Z-plus two hundred should be a safe spot for you to descend to."


Seeing Doug nod, he gave him a mental hug and told him he would see him on Mars in a few minutes. Looking up as he pulled power from the Gestalt chair, Aaron looked at Xon, "Porting to Sol system in Three...Two...Port."


Appearing well above the plane of the ecliptic, Aaron stared at the monitor as it showed Mars below them and Earth in the distance. The urge to trace the command to power the main weapon and fire was not quite there yet, but he recognized that it would not take much to make him do so.


"I shall join you as soon as I ensure all replicator suites are engaged in Pete's plan," Xon met Aaron's eyes, breaking him from his thoughts before Aaron could go down the path he knew Aaron was contemplating. The Alteran race in this dimension did not have a large enough population to be viable yet, so that option was not a true option, for now. No matter how much his blood sang for him to see retribution. He would have to meditate on this new feeling later.




"Aaron?" Theo said slowly as he saw Pete give a start and look up. Looking at Gene questioningly, he was about to say something when several people ran into the conference room shouting that there were hundreds of objects descending towards the base.


"He's here," Pete smiled as he faced Theo and Gene. Pathing a general message to everyone in the dome he told them, "Relax people. It's only Aaron and the Clan. What you are seeing is the MCA and MRB arrays. We are going to give you a gift for helping Nate."


Suddenly very nervous, Theo looked at Gene for comfort. What if Nate's father did not like what he was doing; or how he was leading their people; or...trailing off, he stared in awe as a person ported in wearing a glowing crown. He was broken out of his shock when the smaller kid with him yelled out and ran over to Pete.


"PETE," Kenny yelled in relief and joy at seeing Pete was alright. Holding on tight when he jumped in Pete's arms he closed his eyes and took in the scent of one of his lovers. He was safe, he kept telling himself.


Picking up on the growing insecurity from Theo, Aaron smiled fondly at Pete and Kenny as he moved over and pulled Theo into a hug. Holding onto the young man as he stiffened in shock, he leaned over so he could whisper in his ear, "Thank you, Theo. You've done me and our race proud."


Stiffening in fear, Theo's mind shut down for a second as he heard Aaron thank him. Feeling waves of comfort wash over him, he barely noticed Gene being pulled into the hug. It was only when he opened his eyes again that he saw Gene smiling back at him. "You're not mad at me?"


"Whatever for?" Aaron asked surprised at the direction of Theo's thoughts. Time to give him some self-confidence, he thought, "What you've done is incredible. And no," he told him, "I don't think you have overstepped any bounds with your decisions. After all, this is your dimension, not mine, so you know what would be best. Your Earth is not like my Earth, or Nate's memory of Earth; just like your experiences have led you to making decisions for your people that are different from my experiences and my decisions. Don't compare what I have done, and will do in the future, to what you have had to do, and will do in the future, they will not be the same. You have made the decisions that are right for you."


Thinking about what Aaron said, Theo had one last misgiving that he voiced, "But, what would you do in my place if they Earth falls to the Army of God." Feeling Aaron stiffen, he turned to face him thinking he had done something to make him mad at him. Seeing Aaron had a pained look on his face, he pleaded for guidance, "I need to know I won't go too far; I need to know that I won't cross a line that would make you uncomfortable if we meet again in the future."


"I would grab all the male children I could and bomb the planet as I left orbit, leaving nothing behind but rubble," Aaron said slowly. Letting Theo know that his limits were non-existent, "I would forcibly alter every single male I took, and it would not bother me the least destroying a world the Army of God controlled after they won the war." Seeing he shocked Theo, he tried to smile, "But that has not happened, it might not happen, and you might come up with another way, a way I never could think of."


"How about you give me a tour of what you've built for yourself and our people," Aaron did smile this time as he turned around to head for the door, stopping when he saw hundreds of people looking back at him in awe.


Taking a deep breath, Theo nodded his head and smiled, he could do this. Waving for Aaron to follow him, he started to let the excitement he felt each time he walked out of the habitat section show, "We've been able to finish Bio-dome One, including the four other levels of the habitat tunnels. And..." he trailed off when he walked into the bio-dome, as he spotted something amazing through the dome roof; hundreds, if not thousands, of flying barbell shaped objects shooting beams of light down on the surface of Mars. Where the light touched rock and dirt disappeared, only to be replaced when another beam of light came behind the first one, and a structure started to appear as the beam of light moved. As he walked across the path towards the railing on autopilot, he shook his head several times as if clearing cobwebs from his hair, as he saw the colony actually growing out of nothing before his eyes. Looking over his shoulder at the grinning leader of his race he asked, "How?" quietly, as what he was seeing sank in.


Leaning on the railing next to Theo, Aaron looked at the colony domes being built, his voice soft, yet carrying to everyone who had gathered around them. "The technology is something we had a need for, and found in another dimension. Pete actually modified it to what we use today."


"The people who invented it stopped before they finished, thinking all they had found was a transporter. But when you take it to its logical conclusion you get a machine that can build anything, using matter it finds and converts into something new. Our replicator technology is something those people never even considered creating." Pete grinned at a flabbergasted Theo who was staring at him. Waving a hand in front of his face, he laughed when Theo blinked. Then putting his amused side on the back burner, he told him in a serious voice, "This is my gift to you and your people for what you did for Nate. A fully functioning Mars colony that will comfortably hold half a million people."


Kenny took the small chick from Doug with a kiss, cupping his hands he walked over to stand in front of Theo. Holding out his bandaged hands, he offered the chirping chick to Theo, "Thank you for helping Nate. This is part of my and Doug's gift to you and yours for what you have done for a son of the Clan."


"A bird?" Gene whispered as he tried to figure out what the hell he meant.


Nodding his head, Kenny smiled seriously. With a gleam in his eyes he said, "A fluffy, fuzzy, baby chicken." Putting the chick in Theo's hands he grinned, "It will go with the other several million we put in the livestock pens for you, along with all the other food animals. Doug has several of his buffer ships porting back and forth from Earth with all the plants and trees you will ever need."


"Some of the domes will be fully planted jungles in a few hours," Doug added his two cents in.


"This is too much," Theo whispered as he tried to wrap his mind around what was happening. He jerked his head around when he heard someone call out a question, "Hey, what do those big towers out there do?"


"That would be my contribution to the gift giving frenzy," Xon said as he walked towards the group. "Those towers, as you call them, are part of the interdiction Barrier I am enplacing around the colony. Not even a nuclear blast will be able to get to you once they are activated. You shall be safe under those shields."


"But why?" Theo cried out in confusion. "It's not like we are..."


"You are our people, Theo," Aaron interrupted him before he could say something he shouldn't. "You are Alteran, and Alterans look out for their own. We will give you as much of an advantage as we can. You will have to work hard to master the technological plans and knowledge we leave you, but once you have, you should easily be able to build everything we can. This is a chance for you to make a difference in this dimension. A dimension, that if it was not for an accident, would more than likely see the human race fall, and would not have seen the Alteran race rise at all. That has changed, and I will be damned to hell if I don't give you the same opportunities that I give each and every one of my people."


Theo turned away to watch the floating barbells create a new world for his people, as he let Aaron's words sink in.  He had a lot to think about; Aaron's words not only comforted him but brought him a new strength and resolve.




Fred, when he ported down, did not join the others. Instead, he made his way to the Med Center to make sure everything was built the way he and Pete had designed the emergency file to execute, if called up in disaster situation. He wanted to be very sure that any med bay he had a hand in did what it needed to do. He was very much like Aaron in that respect; unlike Aaron he did not have to give up his dream of being a healer to lead their people. Maybe now that Aaron had given up on Earth he could ease him back into some of the more interesting plans he was thinking about.


"Can I help you?" Riker called out when he saw someone enter. Coming from behind the console where he was going through the manual Healer Jorge gave him, he saw by the way the person was dressed he must be one of Nate's people.


"I'm just checking to make sure the Med Center was set up properly, Fred smiled at the healer that greeted him as soon as he walked through the door. That was a good point in his favor, he thought. "I'm Fred Stranton, Chief Medical Officer for the Kingdom of Altare."


"Oh," Riker felt like a fool as he realized he said that out loud.  Smiling, he came from behind the console so he could answer any questions his new boss had, "I sounded pretty stupid. I'm sorry about that."


"You need to relax," Fred wanted to sigh, this guy was acting like some of the new residents when they met him for the first time, he had to wonder how Aaron stood it. "I'm not here to inspect you, or anything like that. I just wanted to see with my own eyes what the file Pete and I came up with looks like." Waving his hand around the Med Center he told him, "I wanted a fast emergency trauma center that could be built in half an hour. Pete and I sat down one night and planned this out on the terminal. Since we've not had a need for it, it was never built. Now that it has been, I wanted to see if it flows like I hoped it would."


"Okay," Riker said as he heard a high pitched whining, and turned to the back wall to stare at the glow. There was nothing but rock back there, and Mars was not volcanically active, so what was burning its way through the rock. He started to panic and, about to yell fire, he heard Fred say something to calm him down.


"Relax, Riker," Fred picked up on his panicked thoughts. "That will be one of Pete's MRB's finishing the connecting tunnel for this emergency center to the main hospital."


"Main Hospital?" Riker squeaked out. "But we don't even have three hundred people as part of the colony."


"When Pete is finished you should be able to have half a million people living here," Fred shrugged as he made his way over to the Bio-tube Nate was in. Pulling out his scanner, he linked it to the terminal and downloaded the scans. Pete was right, Nate was from the first timeline before the reset and, from the records that match Nate's DNA, Aaron and... Looking at the results, Fred locked that information behind his tightest shields. Once they got home he would re-run the tests, but something had to be wrong with the equipment...there had to be, he thought.


Changing the subject at seeing the pensive expression on Fred's face, Riker asked, "Is Nate healed up enough to be let out of the bio-tube? I know the scans I've been looking at seem to be all within normal parameters."


Blinking, Fred re-ran the question in his mind before looking up at the monitor, "He could be, but if we leave him inside another three or so hours he'll be completely healed." Pointing to the lower right hand corner of the monitor, he told Riker, "See the section that shows the status of biological system integrity?


"Yes," Riker said slowly as he walked closer to the monitor. Spotting several columns with percentages that were under one hundred he nodded his head, "So we need to wait until each system registers one hundred percent before we can say treatment is complete."


"Yes," Fred smiled as Riker's answer. This was what he loved the most about being in charge of the medical system. The interaction and leading new residents to discover the knowledge...trailing off he stared at the next Bio-tube as alarms blared.


"WARNING...Bio-tube two...Code patient...WARNING..."


Another set of alarms started to ring as the monitor behind Bio-tube three started to flash red.


"WARNING...Bio-tube three... Code patient...WARNING..."


"Code Patient detected...Med Bay One...Alert..."


"Med Bay One declaring Code Patients..."


"What the fuck..." Fred trailed off as he rushed to the terminal next to the first Bio-tube that declared an emergency. Hands flying across the terminal he saw the boy was dying but he could not tell what started the cell cascade failure.


"What do I do?" Riker ran over to the third bio-tube in a panic. He had no idea on what to do and he could only stare at the flashing monitor as more and more of the kid's systems started to fail.


Hearing an alert tone from his P.A.D.D., Aaron took the image of the med bay from Fred's mind and ported out, leaving Theo and the rest to run after him as the message sank in.


"Code Patient...Med Bay One...Bio-dome One...Level Three...Code Patient..."


Moving to the bio-tube with the panicked healer resident in front of it, Aaron's hands flew across the terminal as he took control and ordered the CORE to administer Nanite Bolus in massive quantities. Glancing at Fred's monitor, and seeing the same problem, he ordered, "Initiate continuous Nanite infusion, Fred. Direct them to the heart and brain and force regeneration."


"What they hell could have gone wrong with the alteration process?" Fred questioned as he raced to re-grow new organs faster than they failed. "Cellular cohesion failure?" Wiping sweat off his brow on his sleeve, he dug deep and started to pull power from the gestalt built into the Bio-tube as he used Micro-Kinesis to force the cells to stabilize.


Riker stepped back and watched in amazement as both fully trained healers' hands flew so fast it looked like a blur.


Jorge, being notified of the Code Patients, ported into the med bay and sighed in relief as he ran over the center console and started to track down the cause of the problems in the two kids. Raising his voice, as he dared not break Fred and Aaron's concentration as they tried to fix organ after organ as they failed, he told them, "Those two were placed in the alteration cycle in the hopes of correcting the genetic damage done to them during their cloning. They are visitors to this dimension, and it was discovered they had less than two years to live if nothing was done. I gave them a fifty-fifty chance of surviving the procedure, and they wished for the chance to live."


"Then they will have that chance," Aaron muttered as he started new protocols. With his left hand he logged into the system and overrode the safety interlocks to both Bio-tubes. "Jorge, I need you to keep on top of the forced regeneration of the kids' major organs while I fix the DNA damage. Fred, Link with me." He pathed at the end. As Fred and Aaron linked minds, the monitor above the two kids started to flash at a fast pace. Strand of DNA after strand of DNA flickered and changed before being replaced by the next strand. Time seemed to slow for Fred and Aaron as they raced to get ahead of the damage being done by faulty DNA.


Through the link Fred reached deep inside Aaron's knowledge of genetics, no time to show the sheer awe at how much knowledge he found, too intent on replacing DNA amino acids pairs that should never have been there in the first with newly created pairs that were the correct ones.


"By the winds," Peter whispered in awe as he skidded to a stop, he felt the power being used by Aaron and Fred all the way over by the entrance. Pathing an order to Karl, he visualized the spot on the floor between the two Bio-tubes, "Karl, I need you to port to my side every available energy donut and drink on the Star Scout."


Fifteen minutes went by as Doug and Pete fed Aaron and Fred bites of the energy donuts which they ate mechanically. Thirty minutes went by and Pete was officially worried, Fred and Aaron had eaten a dozen of the energy donuts each. After an hour, and a resupply from Joe, there was no sign of them slowing down. At this point Xon started to run his scanner over both of them, eyebrows disappearing into his hairline as he looked at the readings.


At the two hour mark, Aaron and Fred both blinked as they staggered away from the Bio-tubes, the monitor above the bio-tubes slowing down and system after system flashing from red to green.


Moving over to Aaron first, Kenny handed him one of the cherry flavored energy drinks. Then a quick trip to the pile between the two Bio-tubes he had Fred's favorite flavor to hand to him.


"Are they going to be okay?" Theo asked hesitantly as Aaron and Fred slid down the sides of the bio-tubes so they could sit on the floor, clearly exhausted by the looks of it. Dozens of plastic containers of some sort were piled haphazardly all over the floor.


"They will be," Aaron said between gulps, smiling weakly at Kenny who was making sure they had enough energy drink to replace calories. Glancing over at Theo he said in a cold voice, "I want those who are responsible for cloning those two dead. They have been judged, and they shall be removed from the gene pool for crimes against humanity."


"They are not from this dimension, Aaron," Theo said softly. He was just as angry as Aaron was, but he knew those responsible were beyond their reach.


"I don't fucking care." Aaron cursed tiredly. "If the same people exist in this dimension, then they have the same potential for horror. If they exist here I want them dead."


"Understood, Aaron," Theo said with determination.


Several hours later, after a meal provided by several of the chefs from different ships in the fleet, Aaron walked into the bio-dome and started walking down the path towards the small park like area on the second level.  Walking the path through the park he nodded and waved as he was greeted, all the while his mind trying to come up with a solution to the issues he foresaw Theo and his people facing, now and in the future. Deciding to table it for now and enjoy the moment, he found a spot to sit down. Leaning back against the planter wall, enjoying the feeling of grass under him, Aaron was listening in with a smile as his crews intermingled and chatted with Theo's people. He felt hope and determination rising in the Alterans from this dimension.


Fred, who had spotted Theo earlier in the med bay, had felt a feeling of recognition when he watched Theo interact with his people. Deciding to get to the bottom of why he felt familiar he moved over and sat down next to Theo and asked, "Theo? Do you mind if I ask a few questions?"


"What do you want to know?" Theo was honestly curious at what Fred might ask.


"Well, for one, you remind me of someone, and I can't figure out who. So I was hoping by asking questions I might find out who from my dimension you might remind me off, if that makes sense?" Fred asked hoping Theo would not be insulted.


"That might help me out in return," Theo told him. "I'm an orphan. My family died a few years back, I still can't remember much from that time. The doctors said it would come back eventually. But Nate warned me that when I was altered I would probably lose it forever."


"If your memory loss was because of physical damage, more than likely," Fred confirmed as he pulled out his scanner and waved it. "Do you mind if I scan you? I might be able to get a genetic match if your counterpart is in our dimension."


"Go for it," Theo grinned. Hoping he might finally get some answers.


Activating the genetic scan, Fred asked as he waited for the initial scans to be complete. "Did they ever give you a picture of your family to try to jog your memory?"


"They did, but it was taken from me a long time ago when they moved me to a group home," Theo said sadly.


Glancing down at the scanner, Fred took one of those intuitive leaps that Aaron had once every while as he worked through a problem. Standing up, he reached down for Theo's hand, "I think I know who you remind me off, and we need to talk to Aaron. He'll be the best one to explain this to you." Pulling a confused Theo to his feet, Fred started for Aaron who was sitting and relaxing off to one side.


"Aaron," Fred called out softly as they approached him.


Opening his eyes, Aaron noticed the confused look on Theo's face, glancing at Fred he saw he was closed off, "Is there a problem Fred?" he hoped not, because he was tired and all he wanted to do was grab a nap.


"Aaron," Fred ignored Aaron's question to ask his own, "Did your parents ever have another child?"


"Way back," Aaron said carefully, "I had a younger brother. But he died in college in the old United States during a terrorist strike. My parents died with him as they were visiting for some event." Sitting up, he saw Fred flinch, "Why?"


Looking between Aaron and Fred, Theo said as he tried to understand what was going on, "The version of you in this dimension, Aaron. He died in college during a terrorist attack, before he had a chance to develop the alteration process and create our race. That's what Nate told me when he tried to find out if you were alive in this dimension."


Handing over his scanner, Fred looked Aaron in the eye and pathed privately, "You might want to take your brother somewhere to have a talk with him."


Hand frozen halfway to the scanner, Aaron stared at Fred before porting the three of them to the command deck of the world destroyer. Standing up, he started pacing, throwing glances at Fred who looked so sure of himself, and Theo who looked confused and scared. "How sure are you, Fred?"


"Guys, Aaron, Fred, you're scaring me," Theo admitted as he took a step back ignoring the incredible technology around him.


"One hundred percent," Fred said before looking at Theo and telling him. "It's nothing bad, just unsettling because this is about an 'in your face' difference between the two dimensions. I found out why you remind me of someone, Aaron in fact."


Theo wasn't stupid; putting the questions Fred asked each of them together he started to tremble and was quickly scooped up by Aaron who was having trouble dealing with the news himself. After several minutes, Aaron finally accepted the scanner and stared at the screen. "I suppose there are a lot more differences between our two dimensions than it looks like on the surface. My brother's name was Jimmy in my dimension."


"Really," Theo looked up at Aaron's face. Smiling as he mouthed Jimmy several times, he told Aaron, "I lost my memory in an accident several years ago. Theo is what the hospital nurses stated to call me, it kind of stuck."


Backing away, Fred ported back to the Mars base quietly, leaving the two to get to know each other.




Appearing deep under Mars, in the newly built CORE bunker, Aaron pointed to the gestalt recliners that had been built, "This is the heart of the CORE, from here you can control every bit of Alteran technology in this dimension. It is in here that you will learn the secrets of our race, and Clan." Moving over to the circle on the floor, Aaron smiled at his brother, who was watching him like a hawk that had spotted prey, "I am about to log into the CORE and turn the reigns over to you. When I identify you, and the CORE repeats what I've said, I need you to repeat it back to the CORE exactly the same. This falls under our tell you three times programming code, which I'm sure you will look up soon enough, as that is what is used to make permanent changes to the CORE programming."


Snapping his head towards the ceiling, Aaron said in a strong commanding voice, "Identify..."


"Processing...Processing...Identity confirmed," came an electronic voice from several hidden speakers in the room.


"Aaron Stranton...Prime of Clan Stranton...King of the Alteran people..."


Nodding at the wide eyes look on his brother's face, Aaron smiled as he started to hand over the reigns in this dimension, "Initiate reclassification...DNA Profile James Stranton, known as Theo the First."


     "Reclassification commencing... holding for tier level authorization..."


     Aaron grinned devilishly at the look on his brother's face. Fair was fair after all. "Command level authorization...I tell you three times...I was the first," Aaron confused Theo by saying. "I was also the last; Alpha and Omega as Greek Scholars would tell their students as they taught them the alphabet. And now I am not the one. Alpha level access confirmed. I tell you three times...Reclassification...Alpha Level...Tier Alpha Omega."


     As when Kevin took on the mantle of command authorization the CORE speared Theo with its bright scanning light, "Reclassification complete...I hear you three times...Identify James Stranton, known as Theo the First..." and unlike when Kevin was granted access, trumpets sounded as the CORE invaded Theo's mind to take an imprint and DNA sample.


Theo winced before glaring daggers at Aaron, speaking slowly and surely he identified himself, "James Stranton, known as Theo the first." When the light went out Theo glared at Aaron, "What the fuck was that about?"


"Family tradition," Aaron smirked at his little brother. "You should hear how the Core identifies me. The damn thing has sadomasochist tendencies, I think. Every time I do something new and have to have it identify me for authorization the damn thing tacks another nifty title onto my name in an attempt to embarrass me. One of these days I'm finally going to have enough and open the thing up and pull out its processors."


Theo stared at Aaron through his rant and giggled at the end of the rant, asking, "Why the whole circus anyway?"


"When Pete replaced the crude CORE Nate built, he inadvertently caused an issue for all of you. Our CORE has to be controlled by a Stranton," Aaron sat down on the recliner so he could relax. Patting the empty spot next to him, inviting Theo to sit down, he told him, "One of the problems is that without a Prime there is no way for the CORE to even consider another as the leader, so the succession protocols would be valid. And unfortunately, because Nate has had no training in the bio-sciences and genetics, he had no idea what he was doing when he used the Nanites in his Clan medallion to fuel the alteration process. By doing so he tripped a safety protocol that made sure every person he altered would not be higher than a class three in any of his gifts. So, you will have to wait for one of your children to be born before you have a Prime to help lead your people. And it most likely will be your child, Theo; I've seen to that by making you king of your people just now. I can trust our family to do the right thing, I'm pretty sure, and the CORE is fanatical in making sure a Stranton rules for some odd reason. The original version of me hard wired that into it as every component was built."


"Original version?" Theo asked as he twisted on the recliner to look at Aaron.


"This is a secret that you must keep from everyone, Theo, even your boyfriend Gene," Aaron closed his eyes as he let the pain from the memories wash over his body. "It had gotten so bad in my dimension that I created a way to travel back in time and reset the timeline, completely..." feeling Theo squeeze his hand he opened his eyes, "In my dimension we have erased the original timeline, and have moved forward to a far better future than we had. I ended up being the only remaining person alive after the war with humans devastated the universe. From what I have been able to find out, Nate is my son from the original timeline."


"He's going to be devastated," Theo whispered in horror.


"That is why we have not taken him out of the Bio-tube yet," Aaron admitted his fear. "I'm not sure how he is going to react, and that frightens me. I'm hoping that if he talks to Xon, who is also a product of the original timeline, he can come to terms with it."


After a few minutes of silence Theo asked, "So you were able to take care of the Army of God before they had a chance to attack you?"


"Yes and no," Aaron sighed. "You have to understand what worked for me will not work for you. You are going to have to come up with a plan for your people to deal, or not deal, with the Army of God on your Earth. I don't dare try to give you information on how I dealt with them in my dimension, in case something I say or do leads to a path that would eradicate all of you. I can't! The most I can do is give you access to the complete history I have been able to gather on the Army of God from my dimension, so you can validate it and use it to make your own decisions."


"I don't like it," Theo frowned as he took in Aaron's words, "but I can understand why you are doing it that way."


"By now you've gotten gifts from each of my lovers in the Clan, but you've not received mine yet," Aaron changed the subject with a devious smile. Placing a finger on Theo's lips, as he tried to tell him he had no need for any more gifts, he told him, "Mine is not as available to you as the others." Aaron traced a command on the built in terminal so the ceiling turned into a monitor, a monitor showing his dimensions Centauri Prime. Pointing to the image above them, he hugged Theo close as he gazed on his home, telling him, " Before I leave this dimension, Centauri Prime will be built and ready for you. It will be up to you to build the resources you need to get there, but when you do it will be ready and waiting for you. I will warn you the protections I will put around the system will ensure no one without Alteran DNA can access what I am leaving you. So the best advice I can give you is to learn what we leave you in the system as quickly as you can, and to build a small fleet just in case you need to bug out. Though, if I know my lovers, if the worst were about to happen all you would need to do is port to here, in the CORE and command it to start a 'Bug Out' and you would find toys left behind that they think I don't know about."


"It's beautiful," Theo whispered as he watched the image change, showing the main city and planet in all its splendor.


Standing up, Aaron pulled Theo to his feet, "We need to get back. But first," walking over to the wall with Theo at his side he tapped the crest, "This is our family's crest. When you need to come back here, use this as your portation coordinate."


Staring at the crest long enough to memorize it, Theo looked around the room to also burn the image into his memory. When he was sure he had what he needed to be able to port down anytime he wanted to he looked at Aaron and nodded, "I'm ready."