Chapter 27






Aaron and the Clan ported the to the construction Docks fifteen minutes early, they wanted to be on hand for the loading of the two prototype sub fighters that Pete had designed and tested the day before. It was also the first time any of them besides Aaron had seen the Ares and they were impressed. Pete summed up their feelings when they looked at the Ares by saying, “It’s nothing but a floating gun with places for fighters to land.”



Aaron laughed, “That may, be but it’s ours and its submersible, which is why Joe creams his shorts looking at it.”



“I do not,” Joe defended himself, as he walked up to the group acting all insulted.



Chris laughed at his lover, “That’s true…he takes his shorts off first, that’s why there was always that rust spot near his station, drove the repair crews batty,” he danced out of range as he cackled in glee.



“So I understand that I’ll captain the Asclepius one last time along with Kirk, at least until he gets the feel for the ship, then hand it over to him once we reach Elswick and get back to my baby,” Chris looked around for Tommy so he could glare at him, “And Monday, I have a small trip to Hawaii to make before coming home, and with this trip, I won’t make it to San Francisco until tomorrow,” he grinned, obviously not complaining.


“Yes well, we thought we would come over and warn you before you made it closer to the docks, between the two of us and that fanatic you have as head of Clan security, everyone has gone through indoctrination of the racial history so there is bound to be a little…” Joe started and Chris finished for him, “What addicted to big ugly and full of things that go boom is saying is that most of the crew are a little in awe of all of you and throw in a dash of hero worship for good measure and expect them to act different.”



Slapping Chris upside the back of the head, Joe smirked, “Hey now, you love things that fire off just as much as I do, why this morning you told me mmmpppphhhhh….” He trailed off as Chris covered his mouth with his hand.



“Sorry about that Aaron,” glaring at Joe playfully, “Keep that up and no nookie for you tonight, not even your hand after I get finished with you.”



“Yes dear,” Joe replied meekly, waiting until Chris turned his back before sticking his tongue out at him, causing the teens to laugh.



Glancing back at Joe who was facing his commander, acting all innocent like, “You are so going to be bottom all weekend,” Chris told him, and then laughed as Joe threw up one hand in a victory pump.



“You all look like clones dressed alike, you know that, right?” Chris asked, as they started to walk towards the Ares.



“And you don’t,” Pete giggling pointed to everyone dressed all in black standing by the Ares.



“Touché’ young Sir, touché,” Chris laughed as they approached the waiting crew that drew themselves up to attention.



Guarding his mind closely, Aaron shook his mental head, 'military', he thought, 'they sure loved their pomp.' Smiling, he inspected the crew, knowing it was something they expected and took pride in, finished, he rejoined the Clan standing across from the crew, “Well done, T minus five minutes to cast off…take your stations.” Aaron smiled as the crew disbursed running up either side of the boarding ramps as both Chris and Joe ported themselves to the bridge. Facing his clan with a smile on his face, “Alrighty, time to make history in a big way, there’s no going back to obscurity now,” looking back at the Ares' now crewless deck, Aaron chuckled, “we might as well board, or they might leave without us.”



As Aaron walked up the ramp, he glanced back, “I’ve never been on board, so we have to do it the old fashioned way by walking,” chuckling softly as he heard the running footsteps behind him.



Waving the others to enter first, Aaron gave one last look around the dock before entering the warship and nodding a greeting to the crewman manning the door as he cycled it and locked it once it closed. Following Friedrich, who had been waiting inside for him, to the elevator, Aaron smiled at the eager faces on his lovers as they waited for him. Taking the lift to the upper deck, Aaron turned at the last minute and instead of walking onto the bridge, he entered another door that slid back at his touch and entered a room with several command chairs and a railing around one edge, sitting down in the middle chair, Aaron logged on the terminal and with a touch of his finger, the wall closest to the railing slid down and out of sight so they could see out and over the bridge.



Touching another button, a screen lit up, showing the bridge of the Asclepius and Chris standing next to a young man who was sitting in the Captains chair, “Kirk, Chris, lead the way, the Ares will be right behind you, once you make for the open ocean stand by for teleportation.”



The Clan spread out behind Aaron as he activated the gestalt generator and all those altered stepped back before stepping closer, feeling the power being generated by the gestalt, it was much stronger than the ones they used daily. To Kevin’s "Whoa", Aaron laughed, “A much bigger generator than we are used to using, as this is a warship and on a warship bigger is better.”



Kevin held his hand out towards that chair and felt the power swirl around it, “I can feel the power all the way from here, sitting in the chair must be intense.”



“It can be, especially as we are not doing anything to use the power, but if I needed to deflect incoming missiles and such, it would be ready and waiting for me,” Aaron watched the shield snap into place as the docking bay rapidly flooded with water and the Asclepius started to maneuver out of the bay. Five minutes later, as the sunlight started to hit the viewports as the Ares left the tunnel, Aaron touched another button causing the command chair to recline and he closed his eyes as he sent his mind traveling to the deep trench near the Elswick channel and ported the Asclepius to the dark depths of the English coastline, only to quickly follow up with porting the Ares off to one side.



Returning the chair to the upright position, Aaron set the gestalt to hibernation mode and realized he had enough energy to port them all to the palace without touching his reserves, “Joe, this is where we leave you, I’ll path you to let you know when to make your grand entrance, about the time we start the dog and pony show at the House of Lords.”



“Yes Sir, your Majesty,” Joe’s voice rang out over the reports coming in from all departments after a successful first teleportation.



Not bothering to tell his lovers to stand closer as he needed to burn off a lot of power, Aaron warned them, “Porting in three…two…one.” Wanting to make more of an entrance this time he had chosen the grand entrance as their destination. So as the light show activated and worked as planned, they left the Ares and appeared in a shower of sparkles and light in the palace main entrance, causing a panic among the security guards and staff, gearing up for visiting hours.



Pete beamed in joy knowing his device worked as he planned as he tasted the thoughts of those around him when they appeared.



Thomas being warned ahead of time that they would be coming through the grand entrance, goggled for a moment before rushing down the stairs before palace security could do something unwise, “Right on time, your Majesty, the Queen and family are awaiting you in the family wing…right this way, Sir.”



Another winner from the SCIFI GEEK,” Tim pathed with a giggle, to be added along with Aarons, “Well done, I think we can say this was a success.”



Walking past the guards who were still looking at them as if they were from outer space, Aaron hid his smile while picking up Thomas’s thought of wanting to get his hands on some of the Alteran toys. It was a long walk through many different security check points before they entered the family wing and found themselves being shown into the large living room area with the Queen and her family.



“My, you are certainly full of surprises, aren’t you?” Victoria commented as she pointed to the security monitor that showed the grand entrance where they had arrived.



“I suppose I am,” Aaron smiled, as he sat down on the empty couch, while the rest of his guys found a place to sit down around him. “If you thought that was something, wait until you see the Ares arrive, I timed it so he’ll arrive during our morning meeting at the House of Lords, it should drive home the point that we are now allies and you are not to be trifled with.”



Raising an eyebrow, Victoria looked at her husband, “Indeed…” before she handed the morning paper to Andrew, “Andrew, be a dear would you and give this to Aaron. I think this will give you a feeling about how the press is treating my coup, so far.”



Skimming through the article, Aaron came to one conclusion, reporters everywhere were crazy. Passing the paper to Fred who was closest to him, he sat back and closed his eyes for a moment before opening them and scanning the room before spotting Friedrich standing just outside the door, “Friedrich, how big is the contingent you assigned to the Clan for their outing?” before looking towards Richard, “Morning Richard; what did you plan for the guys to do this morning?”



Stepping into the room, Friedrich frowned; normally Aaron was unconcerned about security, so he had to wonder why all of a sudden he was interested, “A standard four man team, your majesty.”



Richard moved around the chair his grandmother sat in, so Aaron could see him, “Grandmother wanted the family to be on hand this morning at the House of Lords so I planned to start our morning at ten with us leaving there and going to Oxford street for a quick trip to the stores like we originally planned the other day with Pete and Tim, with lunch at one of the better restaurants at Piccadilly, followed by a trip back to Harrods. This time hopefully without interruption and be at Elswick by four,” shrugging his shoulders, “most of the fun and interesting things are not planned until tomorrow, not knowing how much time we would have today.”



Thomas had found another copy of the newspaper and had handed it to Friedrich who was doing his best to read it through his frowns and the constant looking over at Aaron. Startled out of his thoughts and planning by Aaron’s voice, “Friedrich, triple the security around the Clan today, and you have my permission to get the point across to any reporters or photographers that pictures are not an option without permission from me.”



Glancing at Edward who seemed to be fidgeting ever so slightly, Aaron turned his attention back to Victoria, “Is there anything else I should know about this morning? Or procedures that have to be adhered to?”



“I would think the House of Lords is full, as all of Parliament is in attendance, and waiting for my arrival. I would assume the Prime Minister is attempting to regain control before I arrive. My informants have told me that Parliament called the Lord High Chancellor before them as well, when he refused to attend them, they descended onto the House of Lords.” Victoria smiled at the chaos that must have been caused by all of parliament descending en mass as it were.



“Might as well get a move on, if we get there early, all the better to surprise them,” Aaron stood up and looked at his Clan and smiled seeing the Clan crest on the white shirts with the gold medallions showing clearly against the white silk shirts on each Clan member. With each of them wearing their circlet on top of their heads, all the same, save his, which was more of a crown and Pete and Kevin’s, as they had passed their ordeal he felt they were ready. “I’ll try to make this as painless and quick as possible, so you guys can go have fun, though I think I might meet up with you at Harrods after lunch. Remember while shopping, that Pete, Mark and David have the Clan cards for Clan or Kingdom purchases.”



Walking around the coffee table, Aaron pulled Richard into a hug, “Did you include any visits to horse farms over the weekend?” he smiled down at Richard as he looked up.



“Should I have? I did plan a few trips out to the country, nothing with horses though, should I have?” Richard sounded worried but was reassured by the fresh hug.



“Just wondered, as I need to buy another dozen horses for our place and maybe a dozen to start the stable over on Altair, until we see how big demand is,” seeing Mark's eyes light up, Aaron laughed, “Fine Mark, but remember no stallions and kid friendly and good with beginners only.”



Tim giggled, “Tommy is going to be so happy when he gets here tomorrow, he gets to spend more money.”



“Yes well, hopefully not having advanced notice, he will not be able to create a list…” Aaron stopped and shook his head, “What am I saying, he probably has a list stored in his P.A.D.D. just in case,” he laughed as the Royals chuckled to be polite, not really knowing what was being said, though he heard rapid whispered conversations as they walked down the hall where they were informed what Tim meant.



Now outside, Aaron stood next to Victoria as she smiled at him leaning over, “Not afraid young Tommy will break the bank are you.”



Chuckling, Aaron glanced her way as he watched Friedrich flinch out of the corner of his eye, “It’s become a running joke really, more so because he plans all these elaborate schedule’s and knows to the penny what he is going to spend before he gets there…” turning to face Friedrich, Aaron saw he had grabbed his left arm near the limiter. Catching that he sent his mind searching outward, Aaron found three snipers and using kinesis paralyzed them from the neck down and ported them to the ground in front of him, causing security to once again react.



Seeing that Friedrich was letting out a sigh of relief, Aaron strode down the steps pulling one of the neural imagers out of his pocket and reached the closest man, at the same time, Tim and Kevin reached the ones closest to them and applied duplicate devices to their prisoners. Probing the man’s mind, Aaron snarled in anger as he dumped the man’s brain into the imager before ripping it off his head, causing massive tissue meltdown and reaching for the next man, the one Tim had prepped for him.



After the third man was dead on the ground at his feet, Aaron closed his eyes getting control of his anger, as the rest of the Clan moved around glaring at everyone, scanning the minds they could reach for hostile thoughts. Sighing, Aaron opened his eyes and looked up at the frightened royals surrounded by guards, “Those three were hired by the Prime Minister this morning, to assassinate all of you…I think a show of force on your part, Victoria, is needed, that and dropping these men on the floor of the chamber should do the trick, we’ll teleport in, as shock value.”



Looking at his guys, Aaron smiled like a predator ready to pounce, “Alrighty, team up, and I’ll send the visualization to you in a moment.”



Kevin gathered the younger members of the Clan around him, and held his arms out for them to grab hold of while the rest of the Clan sought out Brits to take along with them, “Excuse me Duke…” Pete smiled at Victoria’s husband, “But if you place a hand on my shoulder you will be brought along when I am teleported over.”



“Why thank you, young man,” Duke Alfred smiled down as he moved behind Pete and placed a hand on his shoulder as directed.



Having found places not occupied, he pathed a quick order for Friedrich to stay with the bodies until he ported them in, and sent the proper visualizations to each Clan member before handing Victoria his hand, “Victoria, if you would, I think it is time to remind your people who actually is in charge, don’t you?”



“Indeed, your Majesty, I think it is well past time,” Victoria told him, as she moved close and laid a hand on top of his and they ported out in the shimmering cascade of light, arriving a moment later to the screams of shock at their arrival.



Ignoring the incredulous exclamations, Victoria walked up to the throne like area set aside for the High Lord Chancellor, and as he stood and bowed before moving to the side, she sat down on the chair. Glancing around the room, Victoria noticed the television cameras before she picked up the gavel and struck the podium near the microphone several times, “ENOUGH.” Once order was restored she looked directly at the camera, “It was our intention to be here this morning to hand over the signed Letters of Marquee to his Majesty the King of Altare, and to inform you of the partnership agreement that had been struck between the two of us that would end up infusing our economy with hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue.”



“When I authorized the Letters of Marquee and signed them into law yesterday, I knew that I was wresting control of the government from Parliament and the elected leaders…We did not do this without great thought and deliberations on what is best for the people,”  Victoria turned and glared at the Prime Minister, “We did not take into account that certain elements of Parliament would see us as a threat and hire assassins to remove all of my family this morning before we could make our way to this chamber.”



Victoria nodded to Aaron who ported in the dead assassins, along with Friedrich, and while he was at it, he pathed Joe aboard the Ares, “Emergency Ascent…Battle Stations.”



Pointing to the large monitor above her head and on the wall, Victoria's glare never wavered, “We, of course, could understand how I could be considered a target, but the assassins were to wipe out even my grandchildren. It was to be a total and complete eradication of the ruling family. Luckily for my family, his Majesty was visiting before hand with members of his Clan, his royal family and his guards picked up the intentions of the Assassins, and they were dealt with.”



The assembled crowd stared at the screen as the water started to boil outside the harbor, the boiling so great it was fountaining up in places as the Ares rose to the surface and started to disgorge fighters at a rapid pace.



“Maybe Sir, you should have done your research a little better, Mr. Prime Minister, before sending Assassins after me and my family…his Majesty did not come to our shores un-escorted.” Victoria stood up, as all eyes had gone to the very pale man who started to stammer his innocence before wincing in pain as Aaron dove into his mind.



Directing the man’s thoughts, as he rummaged around in the Prime Minister's mind, Aaron pushed at him a little so he would start mouthing off, “And maybe next time I’ll have hired competent assassins…your time has long faded away, it is time for a new stronger family to take over…my family. Already I have started the conquest with all the laws to keep the serfs downtrodden, how can they rise up when they have to get permission to even buy a knife,” he sneered, as the rest of parliament went silent in shock.



Mark kept a very tight rein on his thoughts, as he moved closer to the Prime Minister, one hand fondling the neural imager and recording crystal in his pocket, “My family was there,” Mark spat out, as he stepped close. “Did you tell your men to avoid shooting my family?” he inserted the crystal into the imager with one hand, and palmed the device as he removed his hand from his pocket.



“Who cares about your family, killing off a couple of you brats would have brought your King in line, even more so after I snatched several of the younger ones to hold as insurance,” the Prime Minister sneered, as he reveled in the freedom to speak his mind Aaron had arranged while in his mind.



Before Aaron had a chance to do anything, Mark had slapped the neural imager upside the Prime Minister's head hard enough to cause the man to stumble and fall to the floor, “I claim Clan Rights…I claim right of judgment,” Mark spoke forcefully, not as one lover to another, but as a member of the ruling Clan to his King.



Are you sure about this Mark, sitting in judgment is easy, but ordering a death is hard. As I did with both Kevin and Pete, I do for you; you don’t have to go through with this to be part of our family you know. I wouldn’t think any less of you if you did not go through with this, or even if you asked me to handle it,” Aaron pathed, making sure Mark knew that this was not something he had to do, only to receive back from Mark an image, an image of Fred standing in front of Richard completely blocking him from view of the street, an image that if one thought about it they would realize that the only way to kill Richard was to go through Fred first.



Stepping back with a nod and half bow of his head, Aaron announced, “Under the laws of the Kingdom of Altare, the King's Bench recognizes your right as an elder of Clan Stranton to sit in judgment. May justice be served this day.”



Remember, if you wish, I will pronounce sentence for you and no one would think less of you.” Aaron pathed as Mark glared at the Prime Minister.



I would think less of me if I did,” Mark pathed Aaron, “Just as I’ve done countless times in the past of protecting the herd from predators by killing them, so I will do to he who would harm my new family. I’m farm bred and we do not have any problem permanently removing threats to our life.”



“You disgust me,” Mark glared at the Prime Minister, “your greed and lust for power knows no bounds, and your disregard for life is just wrong…under the Alteran Treaty of 1941, I sentence you to death. In your lust for power and your greed and need for control, you would have condemned every man woman and child in the British Isles to death, if your total disregard for my family’s lives had in fact not been stopped. You are too dangerous to be allowed to live and let your poison spread,” Mark reached out with his telekinesis to freeze the terrified man in place as he placed a hand on the imager, “Justice will be done…let your death serve as warning to all others that would attack my family, my Clan…my race,” he whispered, as he pulled the imager off the Prime Ministers head, causing him to fall to the floor seizing as his brain was dissolved from the energy feedback.



Removing the crystal as he pocketed the imager, Mark slowly walked over to Aaron and placed the crystal in his hand before looking in Aaron’s eyes, “Justice has been done.”



Smiling sadly, Aaron placed his hands on either side of Marks head and kissed him gently on the forehead before closing his eyes and merging with Mark's mind so that he could ensure no damage had been done. As he was doing that, the rest of the Clan moved as one and circled the pair, facing outward with one hand raised as if ready to strike and waited for Aaron to finish.


One of the magistrates moved slowly over to the fallen Prime Minister, knelt down and felt for a pulse, not finding one; he looked up in shock, “He’s dead.”



Hearing the rumbling around the room, Victoria stood up, “Be silent. I cannot find it in my heart to even be bothered by the death of the Prime Minister, after all he was planning genocide of my family and if he would have succeeded in killing one of the Clan today the genocide of our people.”



Aaron smiled, as he opened his eyes, “I am proud of you Mark Stranton, why don’t you and the rest of the Clan start your day, I’ll catch up with you later at lunch.”



Smiling, Mark looked over at the three prince's staring at them in shock, “Come on, let’s get out of here, let Aaron do all the yelling after we’ve left.”



Aaron chuckled as Mark and the others walked out, chatting about what they could expect to find on their shopping trip, once they were safely out of the room, Aaron glared at those assembled, and if looks could kill, half the parliament would be dead, without looking her way, “Victoria, would you mind terribly refreshing every one’s mind by reading the treaty Mark invoked.”



Taking the document that her husband handed her, Victoria sat down and opened up to the first page, “I think that would be a wise idea, right now. The treaty, unlike most others We have seen or been signatories to, is really only one page in length….”



Once outside, the group stopped as they waited for their cars to arrive, Kevin was the first to notice Mark's circlet had changed, “Whoa, Mark your headband matches Pete’s and mine now…how in the world did that happen.”



Pete shrugged, “Kinetics most likely,” glancing around for Richard, he spotted him finally off to one side talking to David, “Hey Richard, where are we going to first?  Our rides are here,” he pointed to the limos pulling up.



Telling David he would think about it, Richard walked over to the rest of the group, smiling, “I thought we would take it easy and start about five blocks from Piccadilly, where we are going to have lunch. We can pretty much just stop along the way at any store that takes our fancy, and if we get to Piccadilly early, there are a lot of little shops nestled in there around the restaurant we are going to eat at, so we have time to do whatever.”



Damien shifted on David’s lap and interrupting the conversation Richard was having with Andrew and Tim, having noticed they were on Oxford Street for awhile now, he spotted a music store in the distance, “Can we start with the music store up ahead, or is it too far away from where we were to be dropped off?”



Twisting around in the seat so he could Look, Richard told the driver to pull over in front of the music store, “Not out of our way at all, just a block early and we can always walk that bit quick like.”



Happy, Damien sat back and wondered if he had enough money in his account to buy a good violin; he missed playing. When the limo stopped, he was the first out of the vehicle and halfway to the door to the small shop before anyone else had gotten out of the limo. Glancing back to see if they were coming or not, Damien entered the shop and started to eye the instruments on the wall, looking for one that would catch his eye, more than likely, he would have to settle for used, but at least he could dream.



The shop keeper came out of the back room when he heard the first jingle of the bells and was surprised to see the number of teens entering his shop, narrowing his eyes in concern as he inched closer to the silent alarm, he relaxed after seeing Prince Edward and his brother walk in, if this group was with the Prince, then they must be alright. Walking over to the display that had one of the younger ones looking at the violins, he noticed right away that they all were different from normal folks that came into his shop; most normal folks did not wear fancy shirts that matched, along with crown like headbands. “Can I be helping ye lad.”



Damien nodded without taking his eyes off the display, trying to see which one he liked the looks of, “Yes please, I need to replace my violin, and I’m looking for a classical 4/4 with a rich sound and dark wood.”



“Ah, a lad that knows a thing to two and what he wants, those here are student models, ye be wanting to follow me over here lad for what ye be looking for,” the older shop clerk smiled as he motioned for Damien to follow him. Walking around the corner, Damien glanced around to see the others smiling at him, not making fun of him, and seeing Friedrich nod his ok he followed.



Passing the counter into a side room, Damien stopped as his eyes took in the wall of instruments, zeroing on one the one up on the left, approaching the one his eye picked out, he looked at it from all angles before looking at the grinning shop keep. “I would like to try this one, if I may,” his hands were itching to run the bow across the strings.



“You got a good eye lad, let me get it down for ye and you can give it a go,” the shop keep smiled, while not one of the most expensive in his store, it was one of the better ones. Testing the tightness of the strings, he handed it over to the lad who he saw his hand twitching in excitement, a real musician, he decided.



Taking the violin from the shopkeeper, Damien tested the weight in his hands before putting it up to his chin to see if it was comfortable, pulling it back down he examined it for how it was put together before running his fingers along the strings. Nodding his head, he flipped it back into position and taking the bow from the shop keep's hand, placed it on the strings and played the scales quickly so he could get the feel of the violin. Taking a deep breath, he let it out slowly and started to play, slowly at first and then he picked up speed smiling as he did so, getting lost in the music.



The rest of the Clan, hearing the melody coming from the back room looked at each other and moved closer to the door so they could see who was making the beautiful sounds, they were shocked to see Damien standing there, eyes closed with a smile on his face as he played, he was the person making the beautiful music.



Stopping at the end of the piece, Damien opened his eyes and let the violin fall from his face, holding onto it tightly by the neck, “I’ll take this one, I like the way it sounds,” he smiled before adding in glee, “I’ll need a really good case to put it in.”



The shop keep took the instrument back, “Right this way lad, you can pick from any of these cases over here,” he pointed to the row of cases by the door.



Spotting one shaped like a suitcase with plenty of foam padding inside, Damien chose that one and followed the shop keep up to the counter then he gently placed his new violin in the case before carefully placing the bow alongside it.



Adding up the total the shop keep made out a hand written receipt, “That will be two thousand four hundred pounds even, lad.”



Pulling out his passport that he was using it as a wallet Damien pulled out the debit card from its slot and handed it over with a smile.



“One second lad, I have to do this the old fashioned way and call it in,” he told Damien as he made an imprint of the card, went over to telephone and made a call, getting the authorization pretty fast, he made the mistake of jokingly asking for a credit limit, when the girl on the other end said a million pounds he about had a heart attack as he remembered the lad saying it was a debit card. Moving slowly back to the counter with the slip in shock, he slid it across the counter, “Sign on the line lad, and it’s all yours.”



Damien happily signed the slip of paper and placed the card back in its slot while the shop keeper watched carefully and noticed the diplomatic heading on his passport. Friedrich made his way to the counter and picked up the closed case, “I’ll put this in the limo for you young Sir, that way it does not get damaged before you can show it off to his Majesty, I do believe he will enjoy listening to you play as much as you enjoy playing.”



“Thanks, Friedrich,” Damien smiled as he looked towards Richard eagerly, “Okay shopping for myself is out of the way, what’s next?”



As the Prince and his brother escorted their guests out, the shop keep couldn’t help but wonder who they were, especially when he went to the door and saw all the armed guards milling around and taking up positions as the lads started walking away. Looking at the credit slip he had to wondered, 'who are you, Damien Churchill, that you and your friends rate more security than the Princes do?'



Halfway up the street an hour later, Fred spotted something or rather someone near one of the alleys and dropped back to see what it was, spotting a young boy sitting on the ground, dirty from head to toe,  he noticed that he was awfully thin. Kneeling down so he was not so much taller than the boy, Fred smiled, “Hi there, I’m Fred, what’s your name?” he pulled his scanner out of the pouch and pointed it at the boy and started the scan.



“My name's Bobby…I’m this many,” he held up six trembling fingers and tried to smile at the boy who was being nice to him.



“Nice to meet you Bobby, where is your mommy and daddy, are they around here?” Fred asked gently, as he sat down on the ground cross legged so he could be more comfortable.



Bobby shook his head no, slowly, too dehydrated to cry, but still sad remembering the day his mum had dropped him off in London and told him he was on his own, now.



Listening to Bobby’s very simple surface thoughts as the scanner started to report more and more problems in red, Fred looked around, “Where do you live Bobby are you here all by yourself?” by now the group was on the next block not realizing he had stopped, though the trailing limo had stopped and he did have guards around.



Bobby pointed back into the alley, “I live in the box with Scruffy, back there.”



Looking back in the alley Fred saw a sickly looking dog come out and make its way to lie down next to its master. “I bet you both are hungry and thirsty, if I get you something to eat and drink will you feed it to Scruffy, I promise to get enough so you can share.”



“Really…you would do that for Scruffy,” Bobby sounded awed as he looked at the kid sitting on the ground across from him, “You would get us both something to eat…really, you would take us away from here where Scruffy can eat something nice. He keeps the bad men away so he needs something nice, he’s not been feeling well.”



Mark I need your help, I have an emergency and you are the closest thing to a vet we have right now, I don’t want to frighten Bobby, would you come back alone please,” Fred pathed to his lover, his tears fell silently as he nodded his head, “I’ll make sure he gets the biggest steak then, for doing such a good job. I’m going to call my friend back and then we are going to get you both something to eat, after getting you some proper help…how’s that sound.”



Stopping in the middle of the sidewalk after being pathed, Mark looked around frantically and spotting Fred way back on the other block, “Shit, we left Fred behind and he needs my help…stay here guys he said something about not frightening Bobby,” he told the group that felt real bad for not noticing one of their own was not with them.



Reaching up and extending the mic down, Fred tapped the side to activate it, “Chris, is the Asclepius in port yet?”



“Not yet Fred, I’m still waiting for Aaron to tell me to surface and dock, why?” Chris looked at Kirk sitting in the chair as they both listened to Fred on the speakers.



“I have a medical emergency, well two of them and one is not human but the six year old boy is in really bad shape.” Fred sighed as Mark slowly walked up and knelt next to him, “Bobby this is Mark, he has horses and cows and all sorts of animals, he can help Scruffy not feel sick so he can get his big steak…is that ok if he looks at him, he promises not to hurt him.”



Pulling his scanner out, Mark started to run the scan on the dog as Fred talked to the little boy and convinced him that it was ok for him to help.



“Fred, what’s going on; who or what is a Scruffy and what is your emergency,” Chris sounded worried as he spoke into his communicator.



What would Aaron do he tried to think before Fred sighed and hoped he was doing the right thing, “Chris…Emergency surface make port and prepare to receive two medical emergency patients.”



“Fred we are supposed to wait for…” Chris started before he was blasted by the angry voice that suddenly went ship wide and carried loud enough that Joe could pick it up through the monitor on the Ares.



“Captain Banks, I am ordering you to surface and prepare for incoming patients…I speak for the Clan in this! You WILL be prepared to receive emergency patients on the triage deck in two minutes, have I made myself clear,” Fred snarled over the radio, turning his head so he would not frighten Bobby.



“Yes Sir, emergency ascent and incoming patients right away, Sir,” Chris snapped to attention as Kirk suddenly fired orders to prepare to surface and sounded the emergency alarms to let the doctors know to go to the triage deck.



“I don’t know the Asclepius enough to know where to port…do you?” Fred asked Mark as he was handed the first aid kit from the limo and rummaged through for the sensors and sterilizing gel and a gauze pad.



“I do, young Sir take the visualization from me,” the guard offered, as he thought about the triage deck that he had passed through on his way to his station that morning.



“Bobby, I’m going to clean your head a little so I can put this really cool sensor on your head, it will tell me how sick you are,” Seeing Bobby look at his dog and about to argue that Scruffy should get it Fred added, “Mark has one for Scruffy…promise.” Smiling as Bobby nodded his head tiredly, Fred leaned over and cleaned the area so he could apply the sensor for the soma unit, after all, he did not want to frighten him when they ported out.



Aaron had just finished explaining to Victoria the tentative plans of unveiling the hospital when one of her aides rushed into the room and went over to the television and turned it on showing the water fountaining outside the harbor at Elswick as the Asclepius rose from the depths. Staring at the screen, Aaron noticed that not only was he rising from the depths, he was under way at full emergency power. Glancing at the clock knowing he had not ordered the Asclepius to dock he wondered what had happened now as he activated his communicator and eavesdropped on the command channel.



Tilting his head to the side, Aaron stood up, “Excuse me Victoria, there seems to be an incoming Medical Emergency and Fred is the one that's bringing them in, I’ll see you at Elswick later this afternoon,” Aaron made his apologies before porting out in a brilliant light show.



Placing his modified sensor to the dogs head, Mark looked over to Fred and noticed he had turned the soma unit on and was busy cleaning the chest area for placement of the other sensor, “We need to get a move on, I’ll probably have to use the gestalt on the Asclepius to port to the vet barn, he’s not really doing that well,” Mark informed him as he placed a hand on the dog and prepared to port out.



“Wait..." The guard stopped Mark just in time before he ported out, "There isn’t a gestalt link on the triage deck you would have to go all the way back up to the bridge level to get access to one.”



Closing his eyes to concentrate on the triage deck, “Go back to the Ares where we left from, there is a huge gestalt generator there,” Fred told him, as he ported to the triage deck with Bobby.



Nodding his head, Mark did that very thing and reached over and activated the gestalt as Joe rushed over to see what was going on, “This fellow has done his best to protect a six year old, and now he is not doing so good,” Mark told Joe, as he grabbed the power that was dancing in the air and ported back to the vet barn near the emergency treatment area and started to get to work, mumbling to himself that they needed to find a vet soon.



Fred, stood back once they arrived and after Theo rushed over and picked up the little boy and rushed him to a bio-tube, made his way over to the desk and uploaded the scan reports into the system just as the bio-tube sealed, “Make a note please, that he is not to be released until his dog Scruffy is here. I promised him so don’t you dare break my word,” Fred felt the strong familiar arms embrace him from behind.



“So, not even gone two whole hours, and already living up to our Clan standards of rescuing kids and terrorizing officials. Though it’s not supposed to be our own people you terrorize,” Aaron laughed, as he felt Fred snuggle in close.



“Yeah well he was being a butt about listening to me,” Fred mumbled, before standing up straight, “Mark ended up taking the dog back to the vet barn so he might need your help.”



“I’ll be off then and you try to join up with the others, path Pete to see where they are and I’ll bring Mark with me and we’ll meet at the restaurant, how’s that sound.” Aaron kissed the top of his head.



“Will he be alright, the scanner showed a lot of things wrong with him?” Fred asked, as he walked over to the bio-tube, looking down at the small boy as the regen fluid swirled around him removing the grime.



“In a couple of days, he will be fine,” Theo told him, as he looked at Fred’s scan report, “where are his parents?”



Aaron stopped before he ported when he heard the anger and coldness in Fred’s voice, “His mother dumped him in London because she did not want to deal with him wetting the bed anymore.”



“Fred…” Aaron called out, opening his arms, “hug time,” he told him as he pulled Fred in close once he got near. “Unfortunately, the more we rescue those needing our help, the more depravity we see, don’t let yourself fall into the mindset that all straights or adults are evil. Just remember because you did care, this boy will grow up one day into a fine young man and with the values that would make most people proud.”



Sighing, Fred nodded his head before making shooing motions towards Aaron and he pathed Pete to find out where they were and to give him a visualization of a spot to port too so he could join them. Once he had it, he ported out while Aaron overrode the LS device and ported to the vet barn.



Finding Mark in the quarantine room, Aaron entered the blue energy shield to see Mark working frantically on what looked like a cross of some type of Spaniel, “Hey Mark, I heard you needed a hand.”



“Thank goodness you’re here. I can do a lot of things, but working on something small like a dog…well I’ve been kind of playing it by ear so to speak. I’ve run the scans and shaved area’s then placed sensors so I’m getting real time data, but I have no clue where to insert the IV, on horses or cows it’s easy, you can’t miss.” Mark sounded frustrated as he paged through the terminal for the appropriate section of dog anatomy.



“Here, hand me the clippers. You want to shave the top of the forearm and once the hair is out of the way,” Aaron showed him the vein that came into view, “hand me the IV line, and I’ll get it going. So far, you’ve done really well, so don’t get down on yourself,” sliding the catheter in, Aaron smiled, “there you go, now go ahead and tell the system that the line is started and administer the first unit of nanite’s”



Mark, relaxing now that Aaron was there, got curious, “How the hell do you know so much about animals anyway, you’re not vet trained also, are you?”



Laughing, Aaron stepped up to the monitor so he could read the reports over Mark’s shoulder, “Nope, not in the least. I’ve raised my share of horses and cattle along with poultry and the few odd hogs for meat, but I always had a dog or two as companions. I used to help out my vet who lived next door if he had a late night emergency, he was just starting out and could not afford round the clock help. So we traded, I helped him and he helped me, did most of the simple vet work myself and he took real good care of my dogs.” Pointing back at the dog laying on the bio-table as the sides rose up, “After watching me show you how to find a vein, I bet you'll always remember how to find it from now on, just like I remember after being shown all those years ago.”



“Maybe we should consider getting a vet, he could set up shop down in the city and could make house calls as needed topside, if we start to get more people, they might want to bring their pets along with them,” Mark suggested, as he worked on finding answers while Aaron went about setting up the treatment regime.



“Not a bad idea, why don’t you place an ad online or contact some of the better veterinary schools, that way, once you finish cramming as you planned, we will have two vets here in the Kingdom,” Aaron glanced sideways to see Mark stop and look at him funny.



“Me…a vet, get real, that takes years to go to school and learn all that they have to be good at,” Mark scoffed at the idea.



“And if this was a cow, all dehydrated and in trouble instead of a dog, would you have the same problem treating it?” Aaron asked, knowing the answer as Mark thought about it and sighed.



“All right, I felt your mind brush mine just now, so yes I would not have had a single problem, and I see your point, but if I am going to be a vet, it will be for large animals not small pets like this,” Mark grumbled before smiling. “Ok, later on tonight, I’ll place an ad somewhere for an up and coming gay vet and I’ll send the applicants to you to look over.”



“Oh no you don’t, you look the applicants over and interview them too, I’ll be around for the final interview if you want, but this baby is all yours,” Aaron chuckled as he locked in the changes and started stripping out of his clothes, “you might want to strip also, so we can shower and make sure nothing leaves the quarantine field, dead or not it is better that all the nasty’s this poor brave soul carried, stay in here.”



Agreeing, Mark started to strip out of his clothes and sent them down the chute in the room between the quarantine field and the showers, “Unfortunately, we do not have time to fool around, seeing we have to be at the restaurant in ten minutes.”



“Come here, lover, the least I can do is give you a nice kiss before we step in the nasty chemical shower, I mean after four hundred some odd years, one would think they would have come up with something better than heated Dihydrogen Monoxide,” Aaron held his snickers as Mark looked at the heated water streaming out of the shower heads with concern. Stepping in to the water Aaron activated the surround jets and looked back to see Mark standing there looking at the water with a slight bit of fear, not about to let a joke go, as far as making Mark scared, Aaron laughed, “Di meaning two, Hydrogen of course is written as H2 then mono, meaning one and oxide standing for Oxygen, or O…”



“GRRRR…” Mark lunged at Aaron before joining in the laughter, “I’ll have to remember that next time I want to prank Kenny back.”



Finished, Aaron steered Mark into the next room, “In through here, so we can dry off,” he waited until the door was closed before activating the dry cycle.



“Are you sure it is ok to leave Scruffy here by himself?” Mark looked through the window back at the sleeping dog.



“Your P.A.D.D. is still linked to the vet barn terminal, right?” Aaron asked, as he sent his mind to his bedrooms and ported new clothes to wear before starting to dress.



“Yes, always, just in case something happens when I’m not topside,” Mark turned around to see Aaron getting dressed and looked at him funny before realizing what he had done and ported his own clothes from his closet so he could get dressed, “speaking of changing, which I know we are not, what happened to my headband, I noticed it is not the same as it was when I put it on this morning?”



“True, your circlet or headband now signifies that you have passed your ordeal. The metal they are made out of is unique, as it is easily altered by kinetics if you know how,” Aaron finished buttoning his shirt before porting in two more of the LS belts for them to wear.



“So, does what Fred did count as his ordeal then, or does it only count in life and death situations?” Mark asked, as he slipped into his deck shoes and started to put his belt on.



“Well, condemning someone to death is the extreme. What really counts is taking control of a situation and handling it by yourself, doing the right thing as it were. Tommy, once he is released will have achieved passing his ordeal by the rescue he did the other day, though he did order the parents or guardians of the boy that died be brought before him, he already passed for the simple reason of acting and taking charge.” Aaron considered before asking, “So when Chris surfaced without my order and made for port, was that on his initiative or was he ordered?”



Mark laughed, “You should have heard it. Fred was scary, Chris was trying to tell him that you needed to do the ordering and next thing you know there’s Fred acting like a three star general out of those movies and ordering him on behalf of the Clan to do what he told them to do, all but daring them to disobey. He had Chris all flustered and yes sir no sir and next thing you know we could hear orders being given to surface,” laughing, Mark smiled, “I think you could even hear Chris snap to attention.”



“When we get to the restaurant, I will have to take a look to see if he knew what he was doing and took charge because it was his by right, if so…if so, then yes that rescue will count as his ordeal,” Aaron smiled as he thought about how Gens Stranton Ducet Alius Sequntur had become a way of life for his lovers. “Pete, is there an area clear where we can port in to join you?” he pathed as he and Mark walked out to the gestalt chair.



We’re just entering the restaurant now, give me a second to look around,” Pete answered before sending back a visual image of the lobby and the area by the fountain being the largest clear area.



Thank you love, we’ll be with you in a moment then,” Aaron sent a mental kiss back as he activated the gestalt and drew power, kissing Mark one last time, he ported them to the lobby where they appeared in a cascade of light and sparkles stopping people's movement, and getting a beaming grin from Pete as he noticed his toy’s effects on people. Spotting Fred standing and talking to Edward, Aaron snuck up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder, “Hello love, I think we have some unfinished business to conclude,” Aaron told him as he placed his hands on either side of Fred's head and touched foreheads closing his eyes at the same time Fred did.



After a brief moment, Aaron opened his eyes and had to agree with Mark’s assessment, Fred could be scary if he wanted to be, and with a brief touch of kinetics he smiled as he stood back up and kissed Fred’s now changed circlet and moved back a step, “Congratulations love on your successful ordeal, Fredrick Stranton.”



Shocked at first, Fred beamed as he felt like he won the lottery, turning to the others, he felt the wash of pride they sent his way, “Thank you,” he whispered, not at all talking about the change in his headgear.



The maitre D chose that moment to walk up, “Sir’s, Prince Richard, your tables are ready and a room set aside for your party, if you will follow me please.” He was secretly pleased that the prince had chosen their restaurant to host the luncheon.



Taking a few minutes to find out how everyone's morning had gone so far, Aaron looked over at Damien who was happier and more relaxed than he had ever seen him before, “Damien, maybe tonight you would play something for me, and if you need anything special, like a room to practice in, you can turn one of the apartments into a music studio.” Seeing him nod and smile, Aaron turned to Edward who had almost fought to sit next to him, “So, first fidgety this morning, now making sure you could sit next to me, what’s on your mind, Edward?”



Glancing around the table first, “Is it alright to talk business at lunch, or do we wait until after, I know you said you talk while cooking and I have seen you all talk business after a meal, but what about during the meal?” Edward finally asked.



“Good question, and the rule to follow is normally you do not talk business during a meal at home or someone's house, but when you are out at a business meal like this could be, then you talk briefly about business matters before the food arrives and then pick up again once the meal has been cleared away, it’s called a working lunch, the same rules apply for a working breakfast, but if you have a business supper the rule is business only after the meal has been cleared away, does that help you any?” Aaron noticed that everyone had paid attention to that explanation.



“Oh good,” Edward sounded relieved, “no one has ever explained to me just when it is ok to talk business during meals,” he pulled a chip out of his pocket and handed it over to Aaron. “I got a head start on my homework, and actually the crews listed here are ready to go with a phone call, they did not have much going on and could reach full steam by morning.”



Pulling out his P.A.D.D., Aaron inserted the chip and opened the files, and when the waiter arrived, he gave him his order without looking up and that is probably why he noticed that the shoes and pants did not match the rest of the uniform. Pathing Friedrich the information, Aaron went back to reading over the contracts, “so far, it looks like everything is right where it should be, I need to go into London after lunch to set up a bank account and transfer a few million pounds into it, but I see no reason that if you contact these firms and have them out at the Asclepius by four when we are going to officially arrive that they can't start. Tell them that they can get a bank draft for the deposit to start work, along with a payment schedule. But the real question I have is what did you decide to do with all the buildings?  You left in a hurry yesterday with an idea.”



“Right now, they will be shipped to a storage lot and I’ll see if my idea works, if so, they will be given to farmers that need to expand, so they can compete for contracts to supply Altare with food stuffs. the only cost to them would be shipping them and putting them back together, not that much compared to the cost of a new barn,” Edward spotted the first course arriving so settled back to eat.



“It might work, if not, you would have a stock pile of metal you can always give away to needy farmers or recycle it,” Aaron noticed the soup making the rounds and no sign of Friedrich, pulling out his scanner, he checked the soup bowls of those closest to him while pathing the others, “Check the soup with a scanner. The waiter was out of place and Friedrich has had enough time to check them out if they were legit and he is still not back.” Seeing the shocked look on the Maître D’s face, and finding nothing wrong, Aaron turned the scanner on the rest of the table, “Soups fine to eat but…”



Reaching over into the flower arrangement Aaron pulled out a wireless microphone and held it up for the others to see, and Friedrich walked in out of the kitchen about that time muttering about reporters.



“Your Majesty, I have taken care of the reporter and his equipment in the van out back, though it would be a good idea to collect all that useless garbage so you can eat in peace.” Friedrich told them, as he picked up a serving tray and collected the microphones they had found before going to the other flower arrangements in the room and removing the video devices, “I also took the liberty of destroying the video tapes that they had taken so far and unfortunately someone is going to be very upset at the end of the day when they realize all their expensive equipment is broken beyond repair. I have also added to the list of things we do before you enter a room, from now on, we will scan it for listening or other nasty antiques.”



Richard was glaring at the Maitre D and not kindly either, dipping into his surface thoughts, Aaron found he had no idea about the devices and had only called the florist to have some fancy arrangements brought in for his luncheon to make it special, and he was very nervous at the way he was being glared at by the person who had booked the party. “Richard…” Aaron called out catching the teen's attention and when he had it he motioned for him to come here, “It’s not his fault Richard, he did not know and please don’t blame him. if anything blame the florist who was greedy and pocketed a fast couple of hundred pounds for inserting the camera’s in the first place, just tell him next time he'd better use a different florist, one with more discretion.”



Richard, still in serious mode, looked at the Maitre D one more time and saw how scared he was, “I can do that.” Leaning forward and giggling, “I'd better do it before he has a heart attack and really screws up lunch.” Before smiling and walking over to talk with the Maitre D, in the end the man looked relieved as Richard took his seat and started talking again.



Seeing the chef hovering in the window of the pass through door the Maitre D already a nervous wreck, quietly excused himself, snuck into the kitchen and hissed, “Han's, what the bloody hell are you doing. Are you trying to get us blacklisted?”



“Quiet Lenny he might hear us. Sally, he does not seem to like the soup at all,” glancing back through the window, “in fact none of them do, they are sipping the broth but there is something in the soup they don’t find palatable. Make sure you are careful when you bring the bowls back to the kitchen I want to see what was in it they don’t like.” Ducking out of sight as Sally went out to start collecting the bowls in preparation for the main course, he looked at Lenny,” do you know who that man is?”



“Of course I do, that is the King of Altare and head of his Clan. Don’t screw this up for us please, we already got off on the wrong foot with that reporter sneaking in,” the Maitre D was panicking again.



Sniffing in disdain, “Who the bloody hell cares about that. He can be called whatever he likes…no Lenny, that man…that god of cooking is eating meals that I prepared from my recipes. Most five stars would give their first born to see one of his recipes, and it is rumored that he cooks for his Clan instead of hired chefs, so they are a good measuring stick for our menu.” Han’s whispered nervously as the main courses were starting to be laid out.



Aaron looked at his fish dinner critically, picking up his fork he tasted the fish and found the flavors to be wonderful but looking at the sauce he wanted to sneer in distaste, why ruin something so fresh and wonderful with something so heavy. Glancing around the table to see who had fish and seeing only Tim and of course Edward, Aaron smirked as he sent his mind back to the refrigerator and his hidden stash of salsa and ported the bowl to the table in front of him.



Seeing the bowl appear on the table in front of them, Edward whispered, “I say, if you don’t plan on sharing, I’m afraid I will have to make sure everyone knows you don’t want to share…to get their opinion of course,” he giggled at the end not able to pull it off as the bowl was passed to him.



Tim down at the other end of the table had noticed Aaron had ordered the fish and after tasting the sauce provided, promptly removed and dropped the container he scraped it in away from his plate, sniffing the air he smirked and stood up, “All right, hand it over and no one will get hurt.”



Aaron took an extra scoop before handing the bowl over with a dramatic sigh, “Far be it from me to deny you anything, kind sir.” He laughed as he went back to eating, oblivious to the chef watching through the small window having a meltdown.



Frowning at the amount left in the bowl Tim sat back down and dumped the contents on his plate and started to eat, “Oh that’s the ticket, now this fish is really good.”



Han’s was beside himself, “They hated the condiment for the fish…argh, I knew it was masking the flavors….wait a minute what did he just put on his plate and where did he get it. Look at that expression of rapture on his face,” Han’s muttered as pressed his face closer to the window and saw that the Prince and the god of cooking smiling as they ate their dinner with the added condiment that must have started with the god of all cooks, “Sally, try to see what they put on their plates, whatever it is I need to know.”



Lenny stood in the kitchen door bemused as Han’s frantically wrinkled his hat and took notes of what everyone was eating and what they did not like by what they moved to the side or ignored.



Sally walking around the table refreshing peoples drinks noticed the extra bowl on the table that was not one of theirs, “Shall I remove this for you?” she asked, noticing that there was a little bit of the condiment still left in it.



Tim looked up, “That’s ok I’ll just take it back home with me, Aaron would start to get cross if he had to replace his containers all the time.”



Smiling, Sally looked around before whispering, “How about I take it back and wash it up for you then, I’ll bring it back with the desert cart, that way you won’t get any juice on your clothes or bags.”



Getting the ok from Aaron who smirked, “better chefs have tried to recreate that recipe and failed, let him try.” Tim smiled, “Thank you as long as I get the bowl back it would be appreciated.”



Smiling, Sally picked up the bowl and its cover and walked back to the kitchen to be met by an ecstatic Han’s, smacking his hand away she laughed, “I promised him a clean washed bowl back so let me dish this out.”



Walking over to the prep line, she pulled a plate off the shelf and carefully scraped the last of the contents out before setting the plate down and walking over to the sink, she planned to personally wash the bowl and lid.



Han’s stared at the few pieces of what looked like fruit in some type of liquid, taking a spoon he tipped the plate and spooned a small amount before tasting it, “hmm a hint of citrus…maybe…no…” reaching over for the fish that was served he picked up a fork and cutting a small section off he scooped up some of the condiment and pierced the fish before bringing it to his nose to sniff  and then placing it in his mouth, “Oh…BLOODY…OH MY…” a look of pure bliss crossed his face as he shivered in delight, a moment later he had to look down at his pants to see if he had creamed his shorts that taste was that intense. “I want to have his baby…” he muttered before blushing as he took in the looks from Sally and Lenny, “I said that out loud didn’t I?”



Aaron almost choked from laughing so hard as he had been peaking into the surface thoughts of the chef after the waitress removed the bowl, seeing the concerned look from Andrew and Edward he whispered and pathed, “The chef just tasted the salsa with the fish, he thought he creamed his shorts and then without realizing, told the whole kitchen staff he wanted to have my baby.”



Edward, who was taking a drink of his tea snorted, coughing as tea went out the wrong way he finally giggled into his napkin as the dessert cart rolled out and Sally palmed the cleaned bowl to Tim.



Thomas, doing his duty as major domo as well as guard, pulled the Maitre D aside, once he rejoined the party now that everyone had been served desert and handed him a credit card, “Include the normal fifteen percent gratuity and hand me the bill, her Majesty would be quite incensed if his Majesty had to pay for this lunch as it was her idea.”



Smiling as if this was normal, having the guards paying instead of the customer, Lenny went back to the kitchen and around to the server area, totaled the bill and ran the charge through. When Thomas signed the check, he went over and briefly whispered in Richard’s ear that the bill had been taken care of.



After the party had left, Lenny came back in the kitchen all smiles, after a rocky start, things had gone rather well. Now to find out if his chef had finally cracked or was able to pull himself together, “Han’s where are…oh dear,” he muttered as the chef was staring at the empty plate with several handfuls worth of wadded up paper around his feet and he heard him muttering, “if I add this, that would…no there was not enough to…” backing out of the kitchen, he decided to go back out front, the evening staff would be here soon and once they appeared he would give Han’s a stiff drink and roll him off to his wife once he was smashed.



Aaron was still laughing as he met up with his guys after the going to the bank, he had of course met with the bank president to open the Altare Official Account. Victoria had sent word so that he was expected, and when it finally came time to talk about the opening balance, Aaron shrugged and ported in three separate stacks consisting of twelve bars of solid gold each. You would have thought there was a fire the way people jumped when the light show was over and the gold sat there. It was when he told them that should do for starters until he had all his American Accounts transferred over next week that got them moving, or it could have been the simple mention that if the account ever fell below the value of two bars of gold, to let him know and he would deposit another couple of stacks that did it, but in the end when he left, there was one very happy bank president who had his limo driver take him to Harrods to join up with his lovers.



Finding his Clan waiting for him outside Harrods was a slight shock, but it seemed as if they had each quickly found what they wanted and now wanted to go check out the old naval base or as Kevin put it, “We’ve suffered through enough fun for today now it is time to get to work.”



Aaron knew when he had lost and knew that they could always port back to London tonight if they wanted to catch a movie or whatever, so he agreed. Though he was still hoping to check out the chocolate section maybe later, he sighed as he got into the stretch limo that replaced the original limo they had that morning, and found a seat behind the driver and settled down in the uncomfortable seats, he would have to bring his limo over so he could show the Brits what a limo was supposed to be.



Smirking, he pathed Joe to see how they were handling things and if they were ready to head back, “Hey Joe, about ready to head back? You can run all the drills you want if you port the stretch hummer and chase hummers to the docks before you leave. You just have to be home before bedtime Sunday,” Aaron added his laughter to the message.



Well then, consider your hummers on the dock, we’ll be ready to leave in a half hour and I can put this bad boy through his paces,” Joe sent his eagerness along with the message before he got serious, “Seriously though, I would like your permission to use all our technology to scan several of the freighters we pass for cargo. One of the things we kept our ears so to speak open for on the last trip was human cargo, there are some nasty rumors going round the shipping lanes that we could pass through that hint at some pretty barbaric things.”



Permission granted, Joe, if you find anything, let me know and we’ll deal with it on a case by case basis. Why is there not more being done about this?  Hell I don’t remember ever reading or hearing anything about it being a problem, not the way you just hinted at things, the U.S. press is usually all over scandals like this.” Aaron wondered as he broke the link after Joe’s answer, “no one cares what happens in international waters, and the crews usually flush the evidence away if they are boarded.”



Aaron was quiet on most of the two hour trip to Elswick as he thought about what Joe had hinted at and made notes about new standing orders, on his P.A.D.D., most of his guys kept sneaking glances his way, knowing something was on his mind but they felt his mind was closed off for the most part and accepted that he would tell them when he was ready.



The limo slowed as it approached the guard house and gate leading into the old naval docks and it wasn’t until Pat’s quiet, “Bloody hell, look at all the wankers out there,” that he looked up and noticed that they arrived and it was a circus hounding the gate trying to get in, and there was no way in hell patients could get in.



Everyone pulled back from the windows to stare at Aaron who was actually growling. Growling in anger as he reached over and pushed the button to open the partition, “is there another way into the base?”



“Only by sea, Sir,” the driver informed him as he slowly inched forward through the crowd.



Chris has there been any patients brought aboard other than the one Fred brought in this morning?” Aaron pathed as he finally reached his limit and started to use kinetics to move the crowd back out of the way of the limo so they could move forward.



Two, but they arrived by chopper with William. I thought we weren’t’  open for business until tomorrow, so I did not expect…wait a minute I just saw the mess by the gate are you telling me you are in that?” Chris pathed from the bridge, as he looked out the window and thought to himself oh shit Aaron’s going to blow. Seeing the satellite dish on one of the vans crumble, yep he thought, Aaron is pissed.



Now through the gates, Aaron scowled out the window, he had just destroyed hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of equipment and he was still a little testy, stepping out of the limo, once they had stopped in front of the old hospital, he waited until the rest of the group stepped out first before grabbing his folder of papers and stopped Edward when he saw several people in hard hats setting up work trailers nearby, “Edward…I had these printed off at the bank, just like the milk plant, go make some brownie points by delivering them in person,” he grinned as he stretched and looked up at the old style architecture wondering how modern it was inside.



Edward taking a quick glance through the folders looked around and whispering to his brother he would catch up once they were inside, jogged over to the trailers after glimpsing two of the three people he had talked to yesterday afternoon.



Friedrich walked up and pointed over his shoulder, “What do you want us to do about them, worse than the Americans, that’s for sure.”



Smirking, Aaron had an idea, “get with Pete and ask him to design some futuristic looking device to explain away the kinetic practice that is about to happen, then have your people go on patrol at the guard house and along the fence line, something that can contain those vermin to a small area well away from the road and gate, so people can come and go. Then get with Thomas to find an honest reporter like what’s her name in San Francisco, I’ll talk to them and get the ground rules out to the rest of them that way. We need to get the devices mounted and the road and gate covered by midnight…oh, post some signs along with whatever he comes up with so that no one can say they were not warned.”



“His last idea caused a whole security taskforce to have to change their pants,” Friedrich chuckled as he started to go inside to track Pete down, “I can’t wait to see what he comes up with for this.”



Editors section:





RadioRanchers Musings:  Hey, I can hardly wait to see what he comes up with too.

Now let me see, what else was I thinking of? Oh yes:  WOW! I really loved this chapter.

First, I love the way they took care of the assassins, and that sicko prime minister. 

Fred finding and rescuing the boy and his dog was priceless.

The scene in the restaurant was so cute, both finding the bugged flowers, and then the chef going goofy and not being able to duplicate the sauce was precious.

The scene with Damien and the violin was absolutely wonderful. I had tears in my eyes.

Why in the world would a scene about someone getting a violin bring tears to my eyes? You might well ask. I will tell you. I still remember how it felt to play a really fine instrument. My high school violin teacher had a beautiful one that sounded absolutely heavenly when he played it. As mediocre as I was, the rich musical sound that came from that instrument, even when I played it, was breath taking.  The scene that was described, brought back that feeling for me and I actually cried when I remembered how wonderful it felt to hold and play that violin.  I haven't touched a violin in more than forty years. Now, I think I might have to go over to the music store and see what kind of squawks I can get out of one now.  It's weird, in a way, because it was just the other day, when I walked by the store that I saw a beautiful violin in the window.  As I looked at it, I thought about going in and checking it out, but I didn't do it. If it is still there the next time I am near there, I am going to ask if I can try it.


Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher