Chapter 17




Tim looked at Friedrich’s attire now that they had a chance to change some of it and nodded; he would do. “Ok, I’ll meet you back here in fifteen minutes, that should give you enough time to gather the people you want, and we’ll need a van and whatever vehicles the guards need to be in, so they don’t scare Adam and his brothers.”



Friedrich took off with a nod and Tim went back to Aaron’s office in time to hear Pete say, “Thomas has been loaned to us by the Queen, while walking around checking on people, I ran across her and she invited me to chat. She shared the offer she made to us, and went into detail, hoping I could influence you, and from her perspective, she was right in doing so.”



“If the offer is accepted by us, not only do we get a legal means to rescue gay youth in England, with a nice base, she gets the government replaced and a way to stop the politicians from spiraling out of control, as once this passes muster and we accept, the crown will once more be in control instead of just being a figurehead, like it is now.” Pete explained as he moved over so Tim could sit down.



“But that does not explain why you invited Thomas here,” Tim sat down and looked over to the man they were speaking about.



“Because he’s the one who recognized the nurse was actually a CIA operative, and he was the one who took him out and retrieved and disabled all the spy devices,” Pete looked at Aaron, to see the shock turn to anger on his face and was glad it was not directed his way.



“Where is the person in question, now?” Aaron ground out through gritted teeth, as he brought up images of the Asclepius on the plasma.



“Awaiting disposal which, if I might suggest, happens somewhere halfway between the States and your home,” Thomas said quietly, looking away. He was not very happy he had killed a man a short time ago, but it was not his first or his last.



Aaron picked up the thoughts in Thomas’s head and sat back and closed his eyes, “I see…I’m sorry you had to do that Thomas, and thank you for services rendered to my kingdom. I’m really beginning to wonder if I can trust any dealings with the U.S. government.” Opening his eyes, Aaron looked at Tim and Pete, “Did either one of you get a scan of his mind before he died?” he pathed.



Shaking their heads no Tim responded the same way “I was on the lower decks at the time.”



Pete added his information what little it was, “As far as I was able to pick up, what he was thinking about when confronted, he was acting on his own.”



Aaron nodded his head and looked to the monitor, ignoring Thomas's confused looks as the three of them conversed mentally, spotting Friedrich approaching in the monitor he pointed, “Tim, I think your team is set to go.” He nodded to the screen.



“Thomas, please inform the Queen that Pete and I shall be over shortly and ask her if she would like to join us for dinner in the officers mess in half an hour, our conversation can be private and I will be willing to revisit her offer over dinner.” Aaron stood up, signaling the end to the conversation.



Thomas rose and bowed his head slightly, before walking out, “It would be my pleasure to carry this message, your Majesty.”



Tim remained quiet on the way to the fast food place, he really would have preferred the meal he watched Scott and John bring into the dining compartment, Italian sounded really good and the lasagna smelled so good, maybe he could…nah he would stomach the burgers and fries. He had to laugh at himself; a couple of months ago, he would have done anything for the greasy stuff he was twisting his nose up at now, being able to eat for under three bucks meant a lot living on the street. So on the half hour drive to the burger place; he amused himself by reading the surface thoughts of the guards in the van and testing out his skills by reading the ones in the car behind them.



Pulling out his P.A.D.D., Tim made several notes about the guards that were with them including the one who felt he should not take orders form a kid, no matter who he was, even if he was the one paying the bills. Glancing up as they pulled into the parking lot, he logged out of the PA.D.D. and placed it back in his pants pocket. Boy, he needed to get the type of pants Aaron wore, those thigh pockets sure came in handy. “If I open the side panel door, will the van’s light come on?”



“No, we pulled out all the bulbs before we left,” the driver explained, as he turned his radio up, making sure he heard the conversation clearly.



Nodding his head, Tim looked at Friedrich, “I don’t like clingy boyfriends, so try to be nice,” before laughing at Friedrich’s expression who was opening the door and stepping out of the van. Walking into the restaurant, Tim spotted a young guy sitting in the back near the restroom, doing a quick scan of his surface thoughts; he found mostly fear for his brothers who were hiding in the bathroom, “The guy in the back by the bathroom, that’s the older brother.”



Spotting the credit card terminal next to the register, Tim smiled as he pulled out his debit card from the metal case while hiding the logo on the front cover. Ordering five combo meals, he paid for them and with each of them carrying a tray, they went to the table next to the one Adam was sitting at and Tim placed his and Friedrich’s selection on the table and moved the tray over, placing it down in front of a startled Adam, “Hi Adam, I’m Tim and this is Rich, you’re waiting for us, I think, and we got extra for your brothers as they are probably hungry too.”



Friedrich raised an eyebrow over the nickname, but did not say anything as it did sound less foreign and listened in as Tim assured the other they were safe now. It took a few minutes, but eventually the smell of food won out, and Adam got his brothers out of the bathroom and they all settled down to eat. Finally getting them to relax, Tim finally steered the conversation to what they were here for, “What made you think to ask for help from another government?  Most people our age would go to friends or the police.”



Adam sighed and sneaking peaks at his twin brothers, happily eating, he dumped his fries in front of them so they could have more, which did not go unnoticed by either Tim or Rich. “The cops are in on the porn ring; or at least the locals out by where we live. Plus, if the child protection people got involved, they would have split us up, thinking that since I am two years older than the twins, I would be a danger to them, probably even send me to juvie for having sex with them.”



Staring at Tim now, pleading in his eyes for him to understand, “We saw the news thing this morning, and how your King stood up to the cops and reporters; I just knew he could protect us if I could convince him to help…tell him I’ll do anything he asks, if he helps us,” leaning over so he could whisper, “he can even fuck me all he wants if he can help us.”



Sighing, Tim rubbed his nose and tried to think how to go about this, “Aaron wouldn’t want that, he has this thing about taking someone to his bed that wants thank you sex, he won’t do it. But he did send me and several guards to bring you back, he will help you and your brothers out, but if he did thank you sex, you would be at the end of a very long line and would have to wait years before getting your turn.”



Adam blinked back in surprise, “How do you know?” he could not imagine him not wanting something for helping them.



Shrugging, Tim placed his left over fries in front of the twins, they looked hungry still, and his meal was sitting like a lump in his stomach, “Because I am one of those in his bed, I am one of his lovers and a member of Clan Stranton.” Tim showed Adam his passport.



Looking in awe at the passport stamped with diplomat, Adam picked up on the words 'one of' and curious asked, “One of…how many lovers does he have?”



Friedrich perked up, this was something he was very interested in hearing as well.



Shrugging then grinning, Tim started to count, “Well, there is the original three, Kevin, Pete and me. Then we added Mark and Fred, that’s five. But then David and Derrick make seven, then there’s Tommy, that’s eight…oh Damien and Kenny are too young yet, so try as they might, they don’t get to go all the way until they are older…so eight, yep you can safely say eight.”



Friedrich forgot himself for a moment, “Eight, good lord, it’s a miracle he can even stand let alone lead a country, and be so forceful.”



Adam looked at Friedrich funny, “I took him for your boyfriend at first, but he is way too surprised right now, so who is he?”



Grinning, Tim smirked in his direction, “One of the body guards I got saddled with, most of the others look like soldiers who eat the enemy for breakfast. Besides once we get the three of you back to the embassy, and into Pete’s hands, I’m going to go see if he knows his stuff while we case the city, looking for ways to start rescuing gay youth that are homeless or in danger, if we’re going to start rescue operations, we need to know where to start first.”



Seeing the others were finished, Tim started cleaning up his mess, piling it onto one of the trays, “If we hurry, there might be some lasagna left, if not, there’s bound to something else tastier than this crap.”



“There’s a black panel van outside, and two other vehicles with my men in them, they are here to make sure you three get back to the embassy unharmed. So what we are going to do is go out the back door by the bathrooms, and quickly hop into the van, then…” Friedrich trailed off as one of his men walked in and headed for the bathroom, the prearranged signal that there was a problem, “I’ll be right back.”



Coming back, after talking with his man, Friedrich sat back down, “Change of plans, the van will pull up to the front doors, there’s some guy hanging around in the back he keeps getting in a red convertible after peaking around the corner to see if we are still in here, my men are going to detain him, and after they have him, we will drive back around, let the boys identify him from the safety of the van.”



Adam was pale hearing that he had found them, “HE drives a red convertible.”



Watching the window, Friedrich noticed the van pull up to the front doors and the side door open, “Okay, our ride is here, so let’s go.” Standing up, he took the rear position and dropped a couple of dollars on the table because of the mess they left, standing to one side, as the boys climbed into the van, Friedrich watched in satisfaction as his guys snuck behind the target's car as he raced back to get into the van so he could watch as his guys tackled him efficiently and without fuss.



A quick drive around the parking lot found the man unconscious on the ground with Tim and Friedrich standing over him, while the three teens they came to rescue hid in the van, relieved that they were safe yet frightened that he got so close.



“We found a cheap twenty two with silencer in his pocket, boss,” one of the men reported to Friedrich, after the two of them had gotten out of the van.



“Put him in one of the vehicles; we’ll take him back with us and get some answers when he wakes up, I’m sure he would be more than willing to give us his contact list,” Tim went back over to the car and looked it over, it looked like he had packed all his prize possessions for running after he tied up loose ends.  Catching a stray thought Tim walked around to the back of the car and noticed the guard that was not happy to be taking orders from a kid looking into the trunk. Moving forward, he saw several suitcases full of money that the guard was hastily trying to close back up, his thoughts giving him away, he planned on volunteering to drive the car back, and take off instead.



Moving back out of sight, Tim looked around and spotting Friedrich giving orders, waved at him to get his attention, once Friedrich saw him and ran to his side, he whispered, “There are three very large suitcases in the trunk full of money, they need to be put in the van while someone drives this car back to the warehouse.”



“How large is very large?” Friedrich wondered, as he saw one of his men at the back of the car, and he wondered why they were not being called over to examine this find.



Shrugging, as Tim really had no experience with traveling, “The three suitcases take up the whole trunk…but that’s not the problem, the problem is that guard right there, wanting to keep it for himself. Even planning on volunteering to drive the car so he could skip out with the money.” Sighing Tim watched the man nervously watching them, “two traitors in one night is not going to make Aaron happy, and I'd rather he had a live one to take his anger out on, don’t you agree…?”



Friedrich nodded enthusiastically; he very much agreed that a live prisoner was very much called for in this situation, he did not want to see the boss angry at him, and frankly, he scared the shit out of him as it was. “I’ll take care of it personally…what do you want to do with all the money?”



Tim turned cold at the question and lifted his eyes to meet Friedrich’s, actively using his gifts to try to read the surface thoughts of his bodyguard, “What do you mean, what do you think we should do with it?”



Not knowing how close he was to joining the man as a prisoner, Friedrich looked to the van and back to Tim, “I might be only a guard here, but it seems to me that is should go to those who actually earned it, those three in there and any others that did the work so he could make the money, I would give it to them, as it is theirs…but I’m not the boss so what I think doesn’t matter.”



Tim slowly let out the breath he was holding, “Good answer, the money will be divided up and put into accounts that the brothers will get access to at eighteen and full control at twenty one…you passed.”



“Passed what?” Friedrich spoke without thinking and then trembled at the answer Tim gave him.



“You passed my loyalty test. Money won’t sway you from your duty…which is a good thing as I would have hated to tell Aaron what was bothering me as I was hugging the toilet crying after heaving up my insides because I threw you overboard a thousand miles from land to see if you were strong enough to swim to shore.” Tim’s voice was rock hard as he said that “The only thing I need to know now is that you won’t hesitate, and after dropping those three back at the ship, we’ll find out after switching cars.”



Friedrich was at a loss, he was very aware that the big boss was someone you did not mess with EVER, but this…this Tim, while looking sweet and innocent, was a viper in disguise, he was a survivor and he was beginning to wonder what he had gotten himself into. This was not a time to be day dreaming, he had a job to do and three boys to get to safety, motioning the traitor over along with a couple of other guys he slowly pulled out a syringe filled with a nice little concoction that would send someone to dreamland for four hours, and popped the cap while keeping the needle hidden from sight.



Once everyone had gathered round, Friedrich came to the point, “Listings did you find anything interesting in the car that can’t wait until we get it back to the docks?”



Listings shook his head no, “All I found was a bunch of clothes in the trunk and a bunch of boxes in the back seat, didn’t have time to really go through them, want me to drive it back for you?”



Body moving, as if he was turning to face one of the other guards, Friedrich struck, plunging the needle into Listings arm and pressing the drugs home, he watched as Listings did not have time to utter a word before crumpling to the ground, “No you traitorous son of a whore, I don’t want you driving away with all that cash that rightfully belongs to those scared kids in there.” Pleased at the expressions of disgust on the other two guard’s faces, he quickly ordered, “cuff his sorry ass, and get him in the car, then Walker, I want to see the headlights of this car on our ass, the whole way back to the warehouse.” Staring at them, and seeing they understood where he was coming from, “Walker help me get the suitcase’s out of the trunk and into the van for safekeeping, we have overstayed our welcome here and need to get a move on, before the cops show up.”



Tim was waiting and actively scanning the surface thoughts of all the guards, looking for those that could be trusted implicitly, he was getting a headache from stretching his horizons with his gift but out of the six Friedrich had chosen, only three would be offered the chance of joining them, he felt Aaron would agree. Suitcases loaded in the van, they started back, “In thirty minutes you guys will be free and safe and shortly after that, you will be out of the country where no one will ever be able to get to you.”



Adam smiled then thought about their parents who had told them to run, after finding out what was going on he wondered if they were still alive or if HE had killed them too.



Picking up on that thought and relieved that he they were on their way, and he was not actively scanning so many people at once, Tim glanced at the three sad faces, “What about you parents guys, what’s up with them?”



Hugging his brothers close, a twin on each side Adam started to tell them their story, “Mom’s known about the twins for a while now, that they like to fool around with each other. She never caught me and the twins, but warned us to keep it quiet as dad or social services would not take too kindly to the fact we love each other like we do. She told us they would take us away and figuring how homophobic they are, I knew they would probably try to blame everything on me, after splitting all of us apart.”



“A year ago, we were careless, we thought we were hidden and we were caught by HIM while fooling around in the woods, he told us that he would not call the cops on us if we allowed him to watch. It was pretty cool for awhile, made it better somehow knowing we were being watched. About a month ago, Jordy, another one of the guys HE liked to watch having sex approached us after a visit to HIS house, we met Jordy several months ago now I think, HE wanted to add some spice as he called it to the scene, so he would watch us have sex while Jordy and another boy would have sex next to us on the bed. Anyway, Jordy followed us one day after we left and told us what was really going on, we were being taped and he was selling the video making a lot of money.“



Terry picked up the story, “Jordy told us that he was getting a little too old to still be making the videos, even though he shaved down there real careful, and he was going to run away as HE liked to make the boys who got too old disappear, they were taken and sold or worse.” Tears streaming down his face, he looked at Tim, “he was going to make Jordy fuck us next time while Adam was tied up.”



“We finally got the courage to tell mom what was going on and she flipped out, scared us real good, but she was not mad at us, just scared. She took us on vacation to get us away from HIM, while trying to figure out how to get us out of HIS clutches.” Adam was crying now, “last week some cop knocked on the cabin door at the park we were staying at and told us if we were not home by the weekend he would make sure mom never saw us again, and she had an accident.”



“Mom called Dad on the cell phone overseas, he's a commander in the military and he told Mom to put us on a bus and for us to run and hide, and to make sure we checked our email every day so he could find us when he had help on the way.” Terry hugged his brother tight, “I think he meant for us all to spilt up so Mom gave us a bunch of money and dropped us off at the bus station, we were going to all ride the bus and get off at different stops and take another bus by ourselves. At the first stop we all got off and got separated, this was the stop Jerry was to take a bus to Aunt Sue’s, but mom never came back with the ticket.”



“When we went back on the bus to check to see if she was on it, we saw what looked like a cop car out behind the bus and they were dragging mom into the car,” Jerry sobbed, “why would they do that, we were on the bus that would take us home.”



Adam comforted his brother, “Every time we tried to get off the bus that same type of cop car was behind us with its red and green flasher bar on the roof, so we never got off to get on another bus. Once back home, we ran, we checked our email in a different library every day while hiding out. And every day they seemed to find us quickly no matter where we hid. Finally we saw the news, and you were our last hope because we ran out of money a couple of days ago.”



Leaning forward as the van turned onto the drive leading to the warehouse, Tim placed his hands on Adam's knees and looked at all three of them, “You’re safe now, we just pulled in the drive leading the what is embassy property, in a minute, we will pull alongside the ship and go inside. And we will try to find your Mom, Dad and Jordy.” Waiting until they nodded their heads, Tim then went back to his seat and called out to the driver, “go around to the loading gangway near the rear, we’ll sneak them on over there, so no one sees them.”



Once through the gates, the van slowly went around the outside of the warehouse and stopped by the dark ramp. Aaron, watching the van slowly approach, then stop, he went down to meet them. As soon as the door opened and the three stepped out, Aaron was sending out love and comfort grabbed them up into a hug, “You're safe now…” holding on tight as they sobbed in relief from weeks of bottled up fear.



Tim, watching how easily Aaron was able to provide comfort and the feeling of safety to those who needed it, looking over to the staring men he told them, “That’s really what this is all about…providing love, comfort and a safe place to follow your dreams, to those that society throws away or abuses.”



Friedrich watched in silence, thinking about Tim’s words as Aaron steered the three young teens into the ship. It was seeing the two prisoners being led and dragged inside, that broke him out of his thoughts, glancing over his shoulder at the convertible that just stopped behind the van, it was time to get to work; he had a kid to find, “Right, let’s get all that shit out of the car and into the security office, we have a kid to find and the answer to his location starts in that creep; let’s get it cracking.”



The next morning, Aaron had gotten up slightly early to cook breakfast in the Clan Hall, cracking another one of the fresh eggs that had been laid here on the island, he stopped long enough to make another note on the terminal before starting the mixer scrambling several dozen eggs. This morning he had invited the Miami group along with the Graves brothers rescued last night to breakfast. Dumping a loaf of bread into the scrambled eggs, Aaron started to retrieve them and place them on the hot griddle, French toast was on the menu this morning.



“Good morning,” Kevin walked up and kissed Aaron on the cheek, “French toast...fantastic; what do you need me to help with?”



Smiling, Aaron glanced over his shoulder, “Good morning love, how about scrambling some more eggs, everything else is ready and in the oven staying warm.”



Smiling back, Kevin nodded as he set about cracking eggs into the bowl, “I really like it when you call me love, I think we all do. So what are the plans for this morning, and how are you going to get the Prince to San Francisco by nine…” looking over at the clock, he added, “which is two hours from now, besides, who all is going?”



Placing the finished French toast in the tray, Aaron set out the last of the egg soaked slices of bread on the griddle and handed the mixer bowl back to Kevin, so he could scramble the rest of eggs. “Well once we are all on board, I plan to port the Prince near the Californian coast, about an hour out, and sail him in from there. As far as who is going, it looks like there are going to be two groups going shopping, you will lead one, and Pete will lead the other, along with a ton of guards of course. Of our guys, the only one not going is Tim and of course David and Derrick are undergoing alteration, so they will not be along.”



“I was thinking of letting Pete go with Tommy and Mark since besides clothes, they wanted to go to a feed store and a nursery, they have the most ground to cover distance wise, and I will make sure both of you have Clan credit cards to purchase items for the farm or Clan, so you are not using your own money for that.” Aaron finished up the French toast and cleaned the griddle before painting it with oil for the eggs. “Tim was very adamant about not going shopping with you guys but if we can convince him to go along with Pete’s group which is not going to a mall, maybe it will help counter the bad experience. But I’m not going to push him; if he’s not ready he’s not ready.”



Placing the hot food in the steam table, now that people were staring to arrive, Aaron smiled at the news he was going to make Kevin’s day by telling him, “Once we get ready to leave, I’ll want you to take the helm of the Prince; Pete will take navigation and Mark, communications.”



Jumping up and hugging Aaron while kissing him, Kevin looked him in the eyes, “You mean it? I get to take the helm the whole way in?…alright…!”



Laughing, Aaron swatted Kevin’s bare ass playfully before telling him, “Go get your food before there’s nothing left.”



While everyone was chatting away around the tables, Aaron grabbed his food, sat down and listened in as the Graves brothers were welcomed by Drew and Eric, and he was pleased to hear the invitation for them to move in with them for now, until they decided if they were going to go for alteration or not. Finished, he thanked Mike who offered to take his dishes for him, once everyone was milling about chatting, Aaron stood up near the steam table, it did not take long for everyone to quiet down and pay attention to what he was about to say, “Alrighty, for those of you joining me this morning in San Francisco, we will be leaving in fifteen minutes, Clan emblems are mandatory and make sure you have your diplomatic passports with you at all times.”



Looking at the Miami group, Aaron smiled, “Miami house will be ready for you to move back in next Friday, make sure I have your book lists for your classes so I can order your books so they get there the week following your return. And for the good news, now that the boring is out of the way,” he waited for the laughter to die down, “Please show up at the med bay tomorrow morning around eleven, I need to modify your limiters before we can begin teleportation lessons.”



“Adam, Terry and Jerry, if you would, Tim is staying here this morning, so if you give him your address and some of the other information about your situation when he meets up with us this afternoon, hopefully we can begin to track down your parents, and maybe Jordy. Anything to help track your father's unit down so we can pass it along to the state department to get him on the next plane back will be helpful.” Aaron saw the glimmer of hope in their faces and prayed he would be able to reunite the family but was afraid for the mom, more than likely it was too late.



“Oh and Tommy, remember you’ll be in a limo so there will be no room to empty out the nursery I saw listed on your itinerary…I know Pete is not going to let you make him sit on something thorny just so you have the latest and greatest variety of orange tree or something.” Aaron teased, and watched him blush nicely at the laughter, “Seriously though, if you find something that might work out for the farm, you need to order it and have it delivered to the warehouse for travel back on the Prince.” Looking around, he smiled at Mark, “Mark that goes for you also…calves are notoriously hard on leather seats, after all it used to be a relative.”



Letting the snickering die down, Aaron smiled, “Those needing a ride back down to the city, please board the plane on your right, we are seating rows eight J through nineteen C…” Aaron announced in his best flight attendant voice as the groups begin to break up, and he went over to help port some of the group back down.



Smiling widely five minutes later, when the group was lined up waiting for him all dressed smartly in dark black pants with matching deck shoes and soft royal purple dress shirts with the clan crest on the right breast he grinned at seeing the Velcro pouches each of them had with their P.A.D.D. inside and the matching arm pouch with the small scanner. They were grinning silly as they stared back at him, “Heaven protect the unsuspecting Yanks, they are about to be invaded by the Clan,” Aaron laughed.



“Kevin, Pete, take the placement from my mind. Kevin, you have Kenny and Damien. Pete, you have Fred and I’ll take Marc and Tommy,” Aaron sent the visualization of the Prince's bridge to them and waited for them to go first, still in contact as they each ported out before he followed.



Taking the command chair, Aaron logged into the terminal and brought the Prince to full functionality, something that had not happened since his first sea trials. Once they were prepared and the  were up and running, he started to give orders. “Alrighty, time to get the show on the road; Mark, if you will, on the left hand panel is the automatic docking controls set all the ones marked moored, to cast off, if you will. Kevin, remember the panel to bring the shields up and submerge? Activate the panel and bring up the shields.” Watching the screens and the eager young sailors following his commands, Aaron waited until the bluish tint of the shield snapping in place around them told him they were ready, “Pete, under the controls you activated is another set, activate and flood the docking chamber, then once it goes green, open the bay doors, that will extend the docking ring into the ocean. Once we have stopped and are clear of the door, Kevin, you need to reverse thrust at one knot to clear the docking clamps.”



Watching the screens carefully, Aaron smiled, “Good going, guys, we're on our way…” as the docking clamps extended the Prince back into the ocean. Once they were clear and Kevin had backed them out of the docking clamps, “Alright Pete, set the docking control to station ready; that will return the docking ring to the dock and close the bay doors. Kevin, slowly turn the Prince so the bow is facing the tunnel and go to full stop.”



Aaron could feel the excitement of the teens around him, and the eagerness Kevin was practically screaming in his mind, “This next bit is pretty cool for the most part and a Clan Secret, this is to be known only to members of Clan Stranton, unless we are at war.” Seeing he had their attention, as all of their eyes were glued to his face, “A class two or above teleport can port a ship while they are under water to a place that is underwater.” Giving that a moment to sink in, Aaron merged with the gestalt, generators whining as power was being drawn at a fast rate through the command chair. Mind reaching out to the target location, Aaron opened his eyes and they danced with lightening as he drew more energy “Porting, NOW…”



Closing his eyes, Aaron grinned as he let go of the gestalt and looked at the stunned faces around him. “Prepare to surface…”



Kevin grinned as he found the controls that governed depth and placed a finger on the touch screen pathing to anyone that could listen in, “Out Fucking Standing.”



Laughing, Aaron pathed back, “Later love, there is not time to stand you up and fuck you, after all we’re underwater still.”



Pete giggled at the image that came to mind before thinking about it, he would have to get with Aaron later to find out where those falls actually were.



Checking the surface scans and finding no one above them he gave the order, “Kevin, surface the Prince. Set azimuth control to zero.” Aaron smiled as he watched Kevin being so serious as he slowly traced the touch screen display that would cause the Prince to surface.



For the new guys it was a novel experience being on the bridge as the Prince surfaced, the water started to get brighter blue then white and slowly the bridge broke surface and the water white capped around them until the last drops slid down the shield. Moments later the Alteran Prince was floating on the surface and Aaron ordered, “Kevin, disengage the shield, secure submersible controls, and ahead one half.”



Grinning the whole time Kevin had been studying the controls in his free time, usually before bedtime in the brief time he spent on the terminal, before finding a partner for the night among the guys.  Aaron called out, “Pete, set me a course for San Francisco Bay,” waiting for the monitor to show the course guide, he started the powerful fusion powered jets, and aimed the bow in the general direction of the shore in the distance.



Pete looked at the console, clueless and wondering what to do, then he grinned as Aaron pathed him instructions, and following them, he grinned when the course guides locked in on the monitor in front of Kevin, “thanks, I need to find time to study this a little I guess, at least enough to know what controls to use to find the information.”



An enjoyable half hour cruise had them approaching the channel to the docks, and Kevin slowed down without being told to and dropped into the traffic pattern, smiling as he listened to Mark talk to the port master on the radio.



“Alteran Prince to Harbor control, we are inbound to channel thirty three left, destination Alteran Docks,” Mark sounded professional as he smiled after being shown how to work the radio.



“We're third in line, Kevin, after that container ship over there,” Mark pointed, proud of his achievement so far.



Aaron sat there and watched Kevin dock at the embassy docks smoothly, like he had been doing it all his life. Entering the commands to place the Prince at station keeping, he stood up. Once Kevin secured the controls and jumped with joy he grinned, “Well done, and with a good five minutes to spare.”



Steering everyone to the stairs, Aaron moved to the lead and three decks down and down the hallway he entered a code releasing the door to the outside and they strolled out onto the deck, giving everyone a final hug as they grouped up for their trips, Aaron watched them enter the limos and the guards escort them out the gates, before turning towards the warehouse and the long list of interviews he had this morning.



Entering the warehouse, Aaron smirked at seeing Chris lounging about, “Abandoned ship, I see, get tired of being nursemaid to a real ship?” Laughing, he watched some of the people waiting to talk with him get all wide eyed when Chris gave him the finger.



“Bite me Aaron, Joe kicked me off several hours ago, was afraid I would have scuffed his toy,” laughing, Chris walked over with his coffee, “I see you haven’t lost any of your skills that was one smooth docking maneuver.”



Smiling with pride, “That was all Kevin, I had him take command in the docking bay and all the way here, he was in seventh heaven the whole time, probably had a hard on to boot.” Aaron laughed as they walked into the outer office together, to start the interviews.



Making notes on another placement, Aaron looked up and stretched, he was about to go to the Asclepius to get something to eat when he noticed two people walk in, looking lost, both dark haired and the teen had the most striking gray eyes, almost a silver blue, spotting the western wear that was a little more rough than usual, he called out, “Brian, Marshall?”



The older of the two nodded and moved forward smiling; evidently they were in the right place.



“Nice to meet you, and after Tommy gets back from raiding all the local garden centers I’m sure he will be excited to see you too,” Aaron laughed and waved them into his office, “Take a seat, we can get this over pretty quick from my end of things, as you’ve proved the most valuable ability already as far as I’m concerned.”  Seeing the questioning look on his face Aaron stopped digging through the box of Isolinear chips for the right ones, “you accept your son and love him unconditionally.” Finding the right chips, he took two P.A.D.D.’s from the stack on the corner of his desk and inserted a chip into each one before turning them on and glancing to see which was which. Passing them over he looked at them, “Marshall, this is the offer and duties for the position needing filled, you also will have housing on Altair Minor, up in the hills above the hospital. For now, until I find the right people for the other farms, if you accept you will be running the truck and fruit farm and a little bit of landscaping in the gardens around the hospital, take a glance through the job contract.”



Smiling at Brian, Aaron pointed to his P.A.D.D. “Now, as you are still school age, your primary job is going to school, and under that heading you will see the earning structure, but Tommy was hoping you might want to take over the truck and fruit groves on the main Island, leaving him free to manage the aquaculture and Aquaponic facilities. Right now, until the vegetable and fruit farms take hold and start producing on Altair Minor, all extra production will go to the hospital. Take a good look at the proposal and after you have a chance to go through it, we’ll go over anything you don’t understand, I’m going to step out and take care of something for a moment and I’ll be back in twenty minutes or so.”



Aaron went out into the outer office and met with the confused looking Chris, “Something wrong Chris?  You have a very funny look on your face.”



Wiggling his finger in a come here motion, Chris pointed to the warehouse truck dock, the place semi’s can back up to and unload.



Curious, Aaron walked up and looked out the door and saw all three docks filled with trucks unloading trees and several more trucks waiting in line. Doing a double take, Aaron slowly pulled back into the office, only to peek out once again and saw the same thing, trucks being unloaded and more waiting, all full of plants.



Seeing Aaron shaking his head, Chris grinned and handed him an Isolinear chip, “The driver of the first truck said this was sent with him to provide the explanation.”



Taking the small chip in his hand, Aaron slowly went back to his office, followed by Chris and Joe who were grinning, trying hard not to giggle. Aaron, ignoring anyone else, slid the chip home and seeing it was a video file, hit play and eyes glued to the large plasma by the door, watched the story unfold.



“Is that thing recording…good let’s get this started then,” Tommy stared into the pickup seriously, as some older guy came up behind him.



“Let this recording serve as proof that the driver carrying it has an authorized cargo bought by me, and is to be allowed access to the warehouse on embassy dock thirty three to make delivery. He and he alone shall have the number of trucks carrying the cargo and their license plate numbers and names of the drivers once he hands this recording, along with the manifest of delivery vehicles and drivers over, they are to be allowed into the facility.



“Umm, we don’t sell to the public here, we are a wholesale only farm,” the older man told the camera nervously, picking up right away that some of the men around these kids were military types.



Smiling, Tommy held up his passport so the camera and then the older man could see them, “My name is Tommy Ness, of Clan Stranton of the Kingdom of Altare…and I am here to make a rather large purchase, if you can handle it. The only condition is that my purchase have to be at the Embassy Docks by one, or at least the first truck, and delivery must be made in full by six. Here is the card that everything can be charged to, please feel free to pre authorize it.” Tommy handed over the gold credit card Aaron had given to Pete before they left.



That little minx; he was in on it, Aaron thought as he watched the older man call the bank and blanch hearing that it was valid and told him they just preauthorized the sale at a million dollars. Damn, Mark went with that group; he didn’t think there was room for livestock this trip, but he was afraid Mark was not going to be left out.



He watched as the old guy picked up a radio and called in all his field hands, Aaron winced slightly, this was going to hurt, or be hilarious, more than likely both.



“Out of curiosity, how did you find us?” the old guy asked.



“I have a list and one of the nurseries in town recommended you to us,” Tommy held up his P.A.D.D. grinning.



“Oh no, this is going to be fun,” Joe laughed.



“Let’s start with your citrus,” Tommy told him, as he looked down at his list.



Nodding his head, the old guy pointed to a section and asked, “How much are we talking about and what varieties.”



Glancing up as Tommy spotted the field he was being pointed towards, “An even one hundred,” he looked down to check his list again.



Taking a pencil out of his pocket, the old guy grabbed a clipboard form one of his workers “What varieties do you want the hundred trees split into?”



Glancing at the old guy with a funny look, Tommy looked perplexed, “I don’t think you understand, I want one hundred of each of the varieties I choose, the best of those available to choose from I might add.”



Hearing Mark sigh, Tommy glanced at him, “I’ll let them do the choosing for the most part and will just take a look down the rows, I promised to only be an hour and I’ll make it.”



Looking back at the old guy, Tommy got an idea, “Do you have any of those long red ribbons, it might be faster to just give me a roll and I can look things over and tag the name plate and go on. Your guys can follow behind and start the choosing.”



“Can I see this list of yours?  Maybe I can help out,” the old guy asked.



Shrugging, Tommy handed over the P.A.D.D. to the old guy who blanched again at seeing how long it was, “Are you starting up some type of farm or something?”



“Yes actually, the farms over on Altair Minor are not set up yet. But once the hospital ship that is docked in San Francisco leaves port, and heads back, there will be hundreds of patients and family members each week at the hospital. We need to get the farms up and running as fast as possible, and there is only so long that our farms on the mainland will be able to cover for them.”



“Are you talking about that big ship that was on the news…the one that is helping all those kids?” the old guy asked in wonder.



“Yes, that’s us, we thought we had time to get the farms up and  running, but the hospital is going to open early and now we are going to be playing catch up in some things. From here the next stop is wholesale seeds, then its Marks turn.” Tommy informed him, after taking his list back.



The old guy turned to look at one of the laborers, “Manual, you get everyone over to the display garden and bring the trucks and forklifts, no tree is to be under six feet when you choose them, is that clear.” Not waiting for him to answer, the old guy moved away at a fast clip, “You come with me, young man; you can see the display garden and tell us what groups you want and I’ll guarantee top quality, and leave me a list of what we don’t have and I’ll have them in for you in a week’s time.”



Aaron groaned and put his head in his hands; he created a monster.



Tommy looked into the pickup, “Aaron, before you get all huffy and groaning and stuff, remember this,” Tommy tapped his crest “Gens Stranton Ducet Alius Sequntur, we walk by that, written under the Clan crest, every time we go in and out of the house.”



Aaron laughed at Tommy’s face and tone, “Hoisted by my own petard, so to speak.”



Seeing the grinning men, Brian was confused, he understood it was Latin, but did not know what it meant, “What’s it mean,” he whispered to Chris.



“Clan Stranton Leads, others follow,” Chris laughed and giggling, “He left off the 'or be left behind'.”



Aaron glared at Chris, “Last time I walked under the crest, it didn’t say anything about being left behind,” grinning he stopped the playback, “how many trucks?”



“Ten…” Chris chuckled, “I’m afraid to find out how many Mark filled.”



“Maybe I shouldn’t sign this, I mean I haven’t started and already several days worth of work is being piled up, so I’m already behind,” Marshall chuckled.



“Sure, go ahead, try that line, I’ll just sic Tommy on you,” Aaron grinned evilly, “Joe you’ll have to start loading cargo, try to fit as much as you can in the hold. The Prince can take the rest, and whatever Mark comes up with, I guess,” Aaron shuddered dramatically before chuckling.



“Seriously Marshall, are you happy with the terms of the contract and duties? In the beginning until the right people are found, it will be a bit of a stretch doing it all by yourself, but you will have volunteer….”  Aaron’s attention was caught by a small truck coming through the gate it had wholesale seed written on the side, “Bugger me…!”



Joe, leaning backwards so he could see the monitor started laughing, “How high of a limit did you put on that credit card?”



“It was a debit card; I felt it was safer that way. That way, the shops would feel more confident dealing with large purchases,” Aaron totally distracted.



“Well, at least they will run out of money shortly, hopefully before Mark gets his turn,” Joe smiled, while his lover looked at him funny, “What?”



“It’s linked to several million dollars, so I think there is more than enough to shop with still, all of the state cards are,” Aaron said, still distracted as he searched his memory, before giving up on finding the clues he was searching for.



“Are you upset with them for spending all that money without asking?” Brian fidgeted in his seat, a little uncomfortable with the thought of his friends getting in trouble, and if he was honest, that they would do something like this.



Picking up on Brian’s surface thoughts, Aaron smiled to reassure him, “No they are not in trouble, or going to get yelled at, I was just trying to figure out when they had the time to plan this so thoroughly.” Pointing to the frozen image on the plasma, “Tommy had a very specific list he was shopping for, I already knew about the seeds. Well, in a way as we briefly talked about expanding the farms, and I know what it takes for successive plantings, as I tend to want to cook with fresh ingredients all the time, and ordered the hospital to do the same.” Shaking his head he was rambling, “I know how much time they have been putting into studying and school work, so it was a surprise at how much effort and thought went into the project, that’s all,” Aaron smiled.



“So getting back to my question…Marshall, Brian, do you accept?” Aaron asked as he looked back to watch both their faces.



“I would be a fool not to,” Marshall tapped the P.A.D.D. “This is more than I made in a couple of years time, and I would be the manager in charge…so yes, I accept.”



“Good…so recorded, this day of July 17th year 2004 TR,” Aaron tapped in the commands, “That P.A.D.D. is now yours and I do believe I hear some trees calling your name out there,” Aaron pointed out the office doors before laughing, “Seriously, grab some food than try to spot check the quality of what was delivered. Tommy and the others should be back by four and HE can do the inventory of what HE bought.” He was chuckling while saying this.



“How about you, Brian, or do you want some more time to think things through…personally, I would make Tommy sweat as payback for getting your dad three days behind in work before he even started,” Aaron laughed, which was matched by a grin on Brian’s face.



Marshall controlled doing a double take, seeing his son grinning like that, “I’ve missed that smile…I think we made the right choice.”



“Umm…I think I’ll wait so I can talk to Mark and Tommy first,” Brian was thoughtful before letting a slight mischievous grin out.



“Alrighty, grab some food from the dining berth on the Asclepius, just go through the cargo hatch in the back, and take a left down the hall and up one deck at the first set of stairs you come across,” Aaron smiled and stood and shook their hands. Joe, saying he needed to grab a bite to eat, volunteered to show them the way.



“How many naval officers have we allowed to have partial disclosure?  I have sent eighteen flyboys over, and of the fifty I have talked to, forty five went to view the disclosure we set up.” Aaron gathered his things together to put away, with the interviews he did early, he was done for the day, he planned to spend it talking to the Queen further, and her other two grandsons had arrived.



“Five,” Chris sighed, "Joe did a real good job of sorting the interviews, he only missed one that that I sent for disclosure, everything else has been dead on. The strange thing is, I started asking early on how quickly they could relocate, and the ones that were most likely to give me the answer they had packed and could be ready in a day or two were the ones I ended up sending for disclosure of the alteration process. By the way, that was a neat trick you taught me, to implant the non disclosure packet while shaking hands, just to be safe, I implanted it into all those interviewed.”



Changing the subject totally, Chris commented, “Carl and Gordon showed up this morning. All their belongings are stowed, they got here early, all nervous about morning rounds and studied everything they could on their patients and were shocked, I think, when they found they had some extra time, with rounds being moved to after lunch.”



Aaron looked startled, “Shit, I forgot all about that,” moving around his desk, “the sooner we get this lot through the alteration process, the easier my work load will become, things keep escalating outside of the timeline I made for myself.”



Following Aaron from the office, “Do you want me to talk it over with Joe and see…oh he sets sail tonight that won’t work,” Chris trailed off.



“That’s okay, I think I am going to run some of the scheduled interviews tomorrow through the guys. They offered, and it might be interesting to see how well they do against my crew,” Aaron made for the dining berth, he had just enough time to grab a quick sandwich.



Fifteen minutes later, Aaron walked into the packed auditorium style room, making his way to the central console; he noticed a smirking Theo and the British contingent sitting next to his two guinea pigs in the front row. Sending his mind out to those gathered, sampling their surface thoughts Aaron grinned, “Welcome to morning rounds, albeit a little later than normal. All except two of you have entered this hall virgins to my hellish brand of medical boot camp. When you leave here, you will feel as if you were just put through the wringer and that I was questioning everything you thought you knew and second guessing your decisions that brought you here.” Smiling at them gently, Aaron focused on Theo, who was starting to squirm under his gaze, “Once you get used to the new way of thinking and the new technology, you will come to realize in few weeks that morning rounds are designed to make you realize you do know your stuff.”



Waiting until the fidgeting settled down and everyone had a chance to digest what he said, Aaron smirked at Theo, “The first cherry that is going to get popped is our chief surgeon, Theo let's discuss the treatment plan you…”



Two and a half hours later, Aaron smiled as the mentally drained residents shuffled out of the auditorium leaving behind the core group of physicians that would be the lucky ones to nurture the next generation of doctors. “Well I think I just rose in the ranks with the residents of the most horrific chief of medicine ever,” Aaron laughed.



“Yes well, I think you would give old Lederman a run for his money. You had me having flashbacks to my residency at the beginning,” Theo commented as the others agreed with chuckles.



Nodding his head, “What most of you need to realize is that even though you are the tops in your fields, you have over the years developed tunnel vision, broken leg…call an orthopedic consult…cardiac, call a chest cutter. Now I’m not trying to make you masters of all the fields, but if you are going to mentor the up and coming hope for medicine, you need to instill in them the fact that they can’t always ignore something and let another specialist deal with it.” Coming around the console and taking one of the chairs so they were all sitting at the bend and could see each other, “Pure trauma will be handled by the emergency department, but it will also act as the triage center for the whole hospital. And as patients come in and its determined the patient is mainly, say, a cardiac case, they will be shuttled to your department Phil, and your people will have to deal with everything involved in that patient's treatment, so if they also have broken bones, you will deal with it, not a colleague.”



Rubbing the bridge of his nose, wondering if the guys were on their way back yet, and what damage Mark did to the bank account, “I envision a one patient one doctor philosophy with one exception, that of the mind healers. If you have a patient that could benefit from being referred to the mind healers, do so.” Looking over at the two shrinks he had not met yet, he smiled, “there are no psychologists or psychoanalysts…you heal minds, that’s your job and mind healer sounds a lot less threatening.” Glancing at the clock, Aaron groaned and stood up, “before I forget, morning rounds shall be for the residents and students, we will have afternoon conference for the rest of us, that should ensure you are not painted with the same brush as the neophytes and hopefully in a month or so, you will be taking over morning rounds completely and afternoon lunch is a time to connect and relax.”



“Sorry to leave you like this, but I have one more stop before supper and my Clan gets back from shopping and I can commandeer my credit cards back,” Aaron left to the laughter and calls of them most likely being melted by now.



Carl overheard one of the residents talking with another, outside the auditorium, he was wondering if it was really worth it as it seemed as if every decision he had made was being brought into question, chuckling, Carl went over, “It might seem like that now, but so far after Aaron’s put us through the wringer over something, we realized  after a bit, that we did know what he was asking us about and he’s never brought it up again, instead, he's testing our understanding of the differences brought about by a new patient and new conditions and treatments.”



“Think about it, really think about it,” Aaron told him, as he walked up to the group on his way upstairs, “Was I questioning you on your treatments, or was I making sure you understood what you were seeing? The only thing I noticed that might have stung quite a bit is the fact that, like Carl did in the beginning; you noticed a problem and would rather refer it for treatment later by someone else. The rule here is one patient, one doctor unless it is a mind healer; you are going to hear that a lot from now on.”



Kevin was happy, everyone got to do the shopping they wanted to and there were no problems. Smiling, he looked out the window so he could enjoy the ride back to the docks and was looking forward to Supper and hearing everyone’s adventures, and especially finding out Aaron ‘s expression when Tommy’s first delivery started to unload. Catching movement ahead of them, Kevin instinctively sent his mind out and found pain, fear and behind it, another mind full of lust and hate. Banging on the half closed partition he screamed, “Rod, STOP the car, NOW!”



Editors section:





RadioRanchers Musings: Well let me see now! Once again we seem to have ended the chapter with a dramatic pause. It does look as though the medical staff is settling in, albeit a bit disappointed to notice how differently things are being done and of course all the questions that Aaron tends to ask them. It Looks like there might be a rescue going to happen. I certainly hope it is successful. I guess we will just have to wait for the next chapter.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher



A/N : what’s is the saying vote now vote often, something like that, well let me tell you I’m going to go for the title of evilest author in the dramatic pause category, after all if it lasts more than two chapters it is not a cliffhanger LOL.

As previously stated I have a mailing list for those who wish to get the chapters early, they’re in word doc format or PDF and include the embedded pictures of the tech toys I describe in my story. Drop me an email if you wish to be placed on the list