Chapter 39




After breakfast, Kenny frowned as his prank was voted on by the rest of the Clan and he still lost to Pete’s prank, though he told himself he did come into a good second place showing, he would just have to plan the next one more carefully now that he had suggestions on what would have made it better.



Sitting down next to Kenny, Aaron smiled as he hugged him, “I only have one request, make sure you don’t target Thomas with the next prank; he’s needed to guard Edward, and we don’t want him having a mental breakdown, we know we can trust his discretion who knows about the person that would take his place.”



Kenny thought about the request for a moment and agreed, pranks were supposed to be fun not hurt people, “Okay, maybe you should talk to Thomas, pranks should be fun.”



Smiling, Aaron hugged Kenny one more time, “I plan on doing that when I pick up Richard later, if you want help on beating Pete after you come up with an idea, I’ll be happy to join in the fun.” Leaving the giggling Kenny to scheme, he spotted Xon sitting talking to Derrick and Pete; he walked over and sat down next to Derrick and listened in before joining the conversation. Hearing the problems Derrick was having of keeping up with supplies because of how fast the construction was going, he thought of a short term solution, “I understand from Joe that the test of the sub fighter went without any problems and the scans have proven the replicated fighter is stable, so after breakfast, I’ll go down and retool the fighter line so it will start churning out building supplies, which should get you back on track.”



“That’s short term, Joe can wait a couple of days for his fighters and we can use the next two days to replicate all the parts necessary to create four more replicators and get them built,” Aaron smiled at Pete who suddenly grinned when he told him.  “I know you snuck back yesterday and finished the redesign of the prototype and finished it off. And with the help of Xon last night, created the first dense matter fuel brick and then cleaned up the wreck of the canner ship, how many fuel bricks did you end up with after dematerializing the ship and creating the dense matter blocks?”



“We ended up with Eight of the meter cubic sized dense matter bricks,” Xon pulled the data up on his P.A.D.D. “If we decompiled the Yin Kong this morning, first thing, we could easily have time to replicate the building supplies Derrick is running low on for his project, a couple of hours worth of work should catch him up without retooling the assembler line as it is actually simpler and quicker to replicate parts than finished items. With the computing power of the Alteran matrixes instead of Confederation computers running the system, the speed of replication can be increased and the replication can take place in three point two seconds instead of sixty seconds as under Confederation systems.”



“I have to be at the trauma center by eleven, so I have some time this morning to help out if needed,” spotting Tommy walking by, Aaron called out stopping him, “Tommy, when do you need the net pen generators, I read your email telling me that you were accepting fish stocks this afternoon.”



Tommy smiled and leaned against the table for a moment, “Everything coming in today will need a tank, I haven’t placed orders for any of the larger species needing pens, because I did not know when we could have something to pen them with.”



“I have the design; it’s based off the interdiction shield. Kevin did some reprogramming and all we need is a DNA scan of the cultured fish and we already have scans of the sharks and other predators in the area but that is software not hardware, I could scan one of the interdiction generators after modifying it…” Pete looked down at his P.A.D.D. to see what else was on his schedule, “Monday, I can do it Monday, and once the Quantum level scan is saved in the system, it will be just a matter of a day then to produce enough for the net pens.”



“I thought the interdiction shields were a little on the lethal side, fish are really pretty stupid for the most part, I would not like to lose the whole crop because they rammed into the shield,” Tommy pointed out as he checked his P.A.D.D. for his list of what he wanted to order.



“That setting is really easy to modify,” Pete was looking at his calendar to see when he had available to work on the project and grinned when Tommy asked, “Can you have them ready in three weeks time?”



“Done, I’ll send you the specs on these babies, you tell me how many you need and I’ll make sure they are ready for you three weeks from today,” Pete was glad he had some breathing room, he thought it would take an afternoon to produce what was needed for Tommy’s use.



Leaning over the table, Tommy pulled Pete’s head towards him and kissed him soundly before grinning and muttering to himself as he walked away, Aaron heard him saying something about a shopping trip and shook his head sadly.



“I have been running calculations on the mass involved for Derrick's project, if we replicate a full seven days worth of material we will use every available dense matter cube we have on hand plus the combined mass of the Yin Kong and cargo,” Xon looked up from his P.A.D.D. to see if Aaron had a solution.



“Can the collector part of the transporter run independently of the system,” Aaron asked, as he thought about porting the collector to one of the landfills he knew the location of.



“Only for positioning, you still need the materialization setup and pad to construct the fuel cubes,” Pete glanced at the clock before standing, “You're thinking of porting the collector array to a landfill aren’t you? Well, it should work that far without a problem…Xon, I’ll meet you at the lab after lunch, my crew should be working on scanning items this morning creating quantum profiles for future use, so you will have a crew to help you out until I get there.”



“I’ll stop by after lunch with a crew to port out all the supplies,” Derrick also stood and kissed them both goodbye so he could get to his tutor session.



“When I port you to the lab, I’m going to slow down the process after linking my mind with yours, so you can feel and see what is going on during a port, starting tonight after supper, the Clan will help you start to master that skill and I will assess your classification level to give you a guide of what you are capable of at the moment.” Aaron stood up and placed his arms around Xon then merged their minds and explained the process of visualizing the destination and how to envelope the energy around the object to be ported then to push it with the mind until it was there. Once he was sure Xon understood the principle, he slowly initiated the port to the lab.



“Fascinating, I look forward to trying that out tonight on my own, “Xon smiled, as he walked over to the new replicator console and placed his finger on the DNA scanner which released the panel so he could insert the matrix bridge key and power up the system.



Pete’s crew walked in and waved a greeting then quickly took their stations as Xon explained the events for this morning, while Aaron stood smiling as he watched Xon effortlessly take charge and direct the morning scans and the production of the building materials, as the parts were scanned and replicated, Aaron thought about the need to have a gestalt chair installed in each replicator room since the parts had started to pile up faster than the remote loaders could remove them.



When they were taking a break so the loaders could finish removing the replicated building beams, Aaron walked around the console as the remains of the Yin Kong were turned into a dense matter cube, “I read your proposal this morning for outfitting the Reliant with shields like those on Confederation Starships, and in theory, they sound fantastic; after you and Pete come up with a redesign so that one of the replicator units can be built on board the Reliant, I will give the go ahead for the modifications, I want the Reliant to do all modification in house, so to speak.”



Xon was pleased, “I shall give it top priority after the establishment of the new replicator suites, Prime.”



Aaron looked at Xon for a moment before pathing him, “Xon, my name is Aaron, the only time any member of the Clan ever should use my titles is when they are requesting right of judgment from the King, not their Clan Leader.”



My apologies Aaron, I am unsure of the formalities and when they should be used,” he relied mentally and Aaron caught the remorse, overtaking the joy of a few moments before.



Reaching across the console and cupping Xon’s chin, Aaron drew him closer to him and kissed him gently yet firmly, “You have done nothing to feel remorse over, be proud of your achievements, Love.”



“I can see that a gestalt station is going to be needed in each of these replicator rooms, if for no other purpose than to move the replicated product,” Aaron smiled, “This technology is going to advance our plans rapidly, so we, or I should say you and Pete, are going to have a learning curve in the beginning as you set up procedures.”



Tapping into the monitor system, Aaron ported one of the SE110 to one of the landfills in the US, he knew the location of, and brought the image up on the monitor, “Are any of you at least class three ports, or do I need to send the collector array over?  Pete, of course, can bring it back later, before he comes home, just remind him if you would, Xon.”



“I’m a class three, your majesty, though I have not really tried sending something like this before…” Tony trailed off nervously, as he looked at Aaron.



“Okay, how about I do for you what I do for the Clan, I’ll lightly link with you and ride along as you port the array, that way, if something would start to go wrong, I will be able to step in and help out,” Aaron suggested, as he moved behind Tony and waited for him to nervously agree.



Stretching his fingers near Tony’s head, Aaron smiled as he lightly brushed Tony’s hair, before bringing them back to his side, after Tony closed his eyes, “Now the trick is to visualize the object in your mind clearly, as you pull power from the gestalt, distance does not matter as much as power, and a clear visualization. Power is the problem right now for you, as you don’t have a gestalt to pull from, so I need you to reach out with your mind and feel for the energy around you.”



“So bright…” Tony whispered, as he followed Aaron’s directions and saw a glow off to one side of him.



“I want you to reach out and touch it gently, as if you were caressing your lover in the middle of the night, to gently wake him,” feeling Tony start to draw power into himself, Aaron smiled, “Good, the power is flowing into you now. Now picture the array in your mind, and as you begin to port it, let the power from that brightness flow into you, and push it towards the array…”



The only way Tony later could describe it was that he felt a pop, and when he opened his eyes and looked at the monitor, the array was hovering over the landfill and he looked over at Aaron, sitting on the console between the two stations looking at him with a grin on his face, “You…I…that was all me,” he squeaked out.



Laughing, Aaron stood up, “That was all you, Tony, I did as I told you I would, I lightly brushed your mind and saw no reason to link, as you were not having the slightest problem.”



“Alrighty, if you don’t need me anymore, I am going over to Altair to check in and get some work done,” Leaning over and kissing Xon with more than a little passion, Aaron smiled down at the radiant smile Xon was giving to him and waved before porting away.



“You are really lucky Xon, all of the Clan is. You give so much, and yet I think it would be worth it to have someone care enough about me to radiate so much love that even we could feel it,” George whispered, as he wondered when he would find someone like Aaron.



In a rare insight into emotions, Xon nodded, “Indeed and one day you will find someone that looks at you like Aaron does all of us and you will tingle as if the mating season was about to engulf you.”



Arriving near the area where the Shaolin practiced, Aaron saw several new elderly monks sitting facing the one who was eldest amongst the Shaolin masters here on the island, deciding to get the move out of the way first, Aaron approached them, “Greetings, Shaolin.”



“Greetings Great Dragon, how may this humble one serve you,” the new Shaolin monk bowed.



“I need to arrange a meeting between the Shaolin masters of the main temple to help pick out the location for the new home I have in mind for you,” Aaron smiled as he squatted down.



“As the Great Dragon commands, so shall the Shaolin obey,” the new Shaolin practically prostrated himself.



Aaron looked at the Shaolin elder that had been on the island for some time now, wondering if the new monk was unbalanced, and saw the other smile in amusement. “There will be no ordering by me about this move, you either agree, or we go with one of the other options; these are your lives we are talking about here. Even if the original twelve Shaolin built the order up to the several hundred it is today with the intentions of giving me an army when it was time, I only accept volunteer’s and only a certain type, so far.”



“I mean no disrespect, Great Dragon,” the old Shaolin trembled, thinking he had given offense.



The elder Shaolin that Aaron had been dealing with openly laughed, “I beg to differ with you King of the Dragons, but the Shaolin are more than a few hundred strong, we number over forty thousand trained warriors, for your cause, and that does not count all those who have yet to achieve the rank of Shaolin.”



Aaron, shocked, fell back on his butt as he mouthed the words, "forty thousand?" he sat there with his arms behind him, catching himself staring at the Shaolin, not comprehending the numbers he was  being told, “How…how…how many are gay?” he finally got out, several minutes later, as he sat back up.



“At least three quarters of our order. We actively search and recruit those youngsters that are like us, the rest are those that like both, or a small amount that will marry and have children,” The elder Shaolin looked at Aaron curiously as Aaron pulled his scanner off his arm and started to run a DNA scan.



Scanning the elder Shaolin, Aaron went over what he had watched in the archive, “They said nothing about any of this, they just mentioned siring several hundred sons, to carry on their work, but after all this time, I expected those several hundred to die out with only a handful remaining. Lee said he was the last…”



“Did you not view the Seal, Great One,” one of the other masters asked reverently.



“No, the Core is downloading the history and nothing has happened except Lee’s dying request being triggered,” Aaron looked at the Shaolin, “The Core will not have the Chronicles ready for viewing or searching before Saturday night.”



Looking at the scanner results, Aaron tried to decide, three out of the four Shaolin masters had Alteran DNA, though corrupted at a very specific sequence and he had to wonder why, the answers must lie within the chronicles, or at least he hoped so. "How many Shaolin do you think are under twenty six and gay that you have brought in from the outside world?”



“Easily fifteen thousand, Great One,” The elder Shaolin answered serenely.



“I must meditate on this... I have to think, but spread the word, all Shaolin who wish to come home and truly rejoin us…the time to forgive old sins is here, and the time of hiding from your true home is long gone. Tell them to start showing up when the planes drop off patients for a ride home, then send out the word to the elders of the temple to come here so the hunt for a new home where you can be safe can happen.” Aaron stood up and nodded his head politely as he left the Shaolin and headed for the hospital, thinking about what he learned.



Porting into the palace to pick up Richard, Aaron had spent the last two hours catching up with his residents and being productive around the hospital, luckily, only being at forty percent capacity was a godsend, allowing him to not spend every waking moment at the hospital. With the way things were going, he was going to have to hand over the reins of the day to day stuff to someone else, until Fred could take over in a couple of years, the emails and requests for face to face time were getting ridiculous again. Lost in thought as he was waved on past security, Aaron spotted Thomas coming out of one of the offices and called out, “Thomas, wait up, we need to talk.”



Turning around at hearing his name, Thomas froze, seeing the King of Altare striding towards him. Sighing, he opened the door to his office and waited until Aaron had entered before closing it behind them, finding a seat next to Aaron, he sat down and wondered if it wasn’t time to retire while he was still sane, once again.



Smiling gently at Thomas, Aaron chuckled, “Relax Thomas; I’m not here to prank you, unlike Pete or Kenny.”



Thomas sat up in shock; “All that was a prank, none of it is real…” he started to grumble and get angry.



“Hold on a minute Thomas, all the information and what they told you is true, and very real, they just left certain things out, or told it is such a way that you would draw the conclusions they wanted you to. I already had a talk with them and they will not tease you anymore.” Aaron grinned at how fast he went from angry to pale again. “Let me start with Kenny’s latest bombshell, yes Xon is two hundred sixty seven years old, what he left out of the story was that Xon had been trapped in a temporal rift, and his biological age was frozen at the moment he passed through it, until we rescued him last week.”



“So you do age differently than we do,” Thomas sounded relieved, yet there was a slight bit of curiosity creeping into his thoughts.



“Yes, once breakthrough occurs, and that is in the middle of the second phase of puberty, our bodies slow down so that we age one year for every four years that pass, but we also have an added benefit. Once we get to eighteen or nineteen, our bodies stop showing outward signs of aging and growth until two days before we pass on, that gives us the benefit of all those extra years in bodies in their prime.” Aaron smiled at the almost jealous look Thomas was almost hiding.



“So, the Rudy rascals were having a go at me by telling the truth, but not everything, the question is, why?” Thomas really wanted to know as it really unsettled him, especially after what Friedrich and he had done that afternoon, several weeks ago.



Aaron thought for a moment, “Well, the comments really weren’t directed at you, but at the other five princes who were with Edward; Kenny was setting them up so that what he said would get back to their fathers. Let me ask you this, when you first laid eyes on Xon or even any of the other Clan members, what was the first thing you thought of, it was their age, wasn’t it?”



Reddening from the blush, Thomas sat back as his mind flashed to the first thing he thought of when he had seen Kevin, and it had nothing to do with age, “I suppose your right that the first thing most people think of when they see you or any of the Clan members is how young you all look.”



Following the thought not said, Aaron decided he would have to think about it before bringing it up, it seems Thomas was very attracted to Kevin, “And now, those Kings, those fathers will know through their sons, that we are far older than we look and will start to look past how young looking the Clan is, and start dealing with them as adults.”



“And the thing with the females then,” Thomas asked, blushing once again.



Aaron sat back and smiled, “Pete was confused over the term female. And what did you equate it with to explain it to him, all of you fall into the same pitfall; you assume we grew up speaking your language, as he speaks it fluently enough, but tell me this, what would a true telepath need with a spoken language?” Aaron hoped his misdirection would not be caught out, he wanted the world to think they had been around before the beginning of the present civilization, so no thoughts would ever go towards the truth…time travel.



As Thomas looked thoughtful, Aaron did chuckle, “Of course, all my guys are familiar with the anatomy of your opposite sex, and if you had used the term girl, he would have caught on to it immediately, probably been as disgusted about it as Kenny was yesterday. It would have saved you from getting drunk and the hangover you more than likely experienced.”



Thomas looked away and sighed, might as well get it all out on the table he thought, “That’s not why I went on a piss, it was knowing what I could not have and yet you all take it for granted. I lost my Bobby, my mate, and the one I truly thought we would spend the rest of our days together with, because he wanted children and by staying with me, there would be no children that were his, adoption was not an option with him.”



Whoa thought Aaron, as he sat back, this was not what he thought at all, but there was a way to help out, “Thomas, look at me, please,” once the head of Edward’s detail did as asked, Aaron leaned forward. “When the time comes and you want to have a son with your partner, I will make sure you have access to our technology, it won’t help with your Bobby, but it damn well will help when you find someone more worthy.”



Thomas looked away again with a tear in his eye, and did not even glance back when he heard Aaron rise out of his chair, “Thank you,” was all he said, as Aaron got up to leave as he was plunged back into memories and the game of what if’s or could have been, it was past time to lay those ghosts to rest, his mind was telling him.



Walking towards the private living area, Aaron smiled and nodded at those greeting him as he passed on his way to the Queen’s office, once there; he walked in after making sure no one else was around, “Good afternoon, Victoria, how goes your day so far?”



Looking up from her desk, Victoria mock growled before sighing, “Your little bombshell yesterday had more repercussions than even I thought possible, I have been on the phone all morning with one monarch or another, and if it wasn’t a monarch, it was an ambassador. And every single one of them all wanted to talk about the same thing…YOU. And how to best get an hour of your time so they could negotiate for one thing or another,” she slumped down in her chair, as the phone started to ring again and glared at it.



Aaron wanted to laugh, he really did, but the shear stress Victoria was giving off right now gave him something to worry about. Reaching over the desk he picked up the phone, “Hello Royal Palace, can I help you?”



Listening for a minute or so to the excited voice on the other end of the phone, Aaron crossed his eyes as he pulled the receiver away from his ear for a moment and glared at it, placed it back against his head he interrupted the party on the other end, “Excuse me for a moment…excuse me…SHUT UP.” when there was silence on the other end of the phone, he sighed, “Thank you, now as I tried to say several times, but your ears must have been disconnected from your brain, if you wish to set up an appointment to talk to me, why are you calling Victoria?  Just email me and ask, I know my contact information is all over the web in one form or another.” Aaron slammed the phone down in the cradle, got up and stuck his head out of the door, “Do us all a favor would you, when those idiots call looking to find out how to reach me, would you just give them my email address or better yet tell them to go look for it on the internet and give your Queen a break.”



Walking back into the office, Aaron traced the telephone wire with his eyes, went over to the wall jack and disconnected it before sitting back down, “Well, at least for a few minutes you’ll have some peace and quiet.” Staring at Victoria for a few minutes, “You know, I think you need a weekend away, and I have the perfect spot. Get your family together and Friday, when someone comes to pick up Edward and Andrew for the weekend, all of you can ride back on the AMT101. In fact, if you want, you can make an orbital flight before landing at Altair Minor, I’ll have one of the small houses prepped and your family can spend the weekend relaxing.”



Smiling gratefully Victoria nodded, “I do believe we will take you up on your offer, though in the long run, it might make the phones start all over again come next week, when it leaks that we spent the weekend  in your kingdom, the jealousy factor is unbelievable.”



“Hello mother, Aaron,” James entered the office and pulled one of the chairs over and chuckled. “I had to get away from Edward, he was starting to snarl and growl like a deranged wolf with all the interruptions.” Glancing at Aaron who looked amused and was pointing his finger at his mother, he looked over to see her sheepish expression and laughed, “Well at least he came by it honestly.”



“Who or what is bugging Edward,” Aaron asked, curious and grinning at the fathers laughter.



“Edward has been going crazy the last couple of days as he digs his teeth into the homework assignment you gave him. Well, word spread, the more people he contacted asking questions the more people came around badgering him for answers. Then the military sent around a four star to talk to him about priorities, for when the additive was released. And all but telling him that the military should come first when the product was released, then they wanted a timeline and handed over the requirements needed by the different divisions.” James leaned forward and winked, “I had to leave the room before I lost it and burst out in laughter at Edward’s expression.”



Sitting back in the chair, James examined the amused Alteran King sitting across from him, “I must say that at first I was more than a little confused with the homework assignments you had given my son, I could not fathom how in the world they related to leadership skills, then a mate of mine explained it to me when I related the assignments and what all Edward was going through. He had the audacity to laugh at me and call me dense. He told me that Edward was turning into a fine man that any of his friends would follow into the gates of hell because he was showing them he would be first through, you’re teaching him to lead by doing, a lesson I never fully grasped.”



“More than he knows, really,” Aaron sat up and looked at the amused James, “In the future, as king, if there is ever a crises with any type of shortage, he will know from having done this assignment, how to best get what his people need into the country, he won’t have to rely on others to solve it for him and give him bad advice, because he knows what all is involved in distributing a product worldwide and the best ways to move things. So if, for example, there is a shipping stoppage that could halt the economy, he will know from having done this assignment, the best way to remove the shipping companies from the equation and get the supplies into the country with the least amount of time and cost.”



“That last big shipping strike the Americans had, caused a lot of business’s to go under and set the economy up for a tumble which it is about to fall off the edge right now, all because the union involved resorted to nothing more simple than blackmail.” Aaron glared out the window, “And in the end who truly was the victim, certainly not the union or the companies involved, something that should have only involved a couple of hundred people, affected millions.”



“I heard that your Tim told off one of the union bosses at Elswick the other day,” James smiled, “Told him that if he followed through with his threats, his head would be adorning a pike outside the gates for the world to see, and if one single child that was coming to the hospital was injured because of the man’s greed and stupidity, every single picketer would find themselves joining the union boss’s head shortly after.”



“I’m told that the union membership was not pleased with their elected president, even less so after the video was released and they all heard him threaten the project, all because he felt there was not enough union jobs on the site,” James smiled as he secretly despised the man, “He, of course, is now in hiding from his own people who want to show him their displeasure.”



Aaron smiled, “I think it helped matters when Derrick pointed out that all project workers could get free healthcare as part of their employment to the project, I do know we saw a surge of family members being brought in from everything from colds to having their eyesight fixed.”



“Oh good, you’re here,” Edward said, as he walked into the room looking stressed out enough to worry Aaron, “Derrick seems to have sent over a week’s worth of supplies to Elswick and the foreman called creaming his shorts in glee, thinking I had something to do with it.” He sighed as he dropped into a chair.



“EDWARD…Really young man, such language,” Victoria’s voice covered her secret laughter.



“Sorry grandmother, but I have had it with that bloody phone interrupting me every few minutes and all those girls I might have met once, inviting me over to this or that party.” Edward looked at Aaron, “Fair warning, when Richard gets here and you turn your back to leave, I’m hopping a ride to go back with you hidden in his bags, at least there, I can get some peace and quiet.”



“What’s really bothering you Edward, I mean you could always unplug the phone, if you wanted peace and quiet or even go to your room to work?” Aaron patted his lap and motioned Edward to come over for a hug.



Sighing once he sat down and felt the warm safe arms surround him and pull him in tight, Edward closed his eyes, “All those girls I never met, expecting me to show up and fall in love with them. I never knew there were so many gold diggers, I think Kevin called them, out there. Or that they would target me and be so brazen about it, it’s as if they did not care if I knew they were willing to give themselves to me in the hopes of getting pregnant.” Looking up to meet Aaron’s eyes, “I kept track you know, today there were thirty eight calls from girls I might have met in passing, and thirty seven of them told me they were interested in seeing me in any bedroom I named for some fun.”



“And the other one?” James asked his son, who was more stressed out than he thought.



Shuddering in Aarons arms Edward looked at his father, “She at least was honest about it and told me her father ordered her to invite me over and she was to get pregnant with my child and he would provide the drugs needed if she wanted to go that route.”



James was angry and looked away from his son towards his mother, who was also upset and when he finally got his anger under some semblance of control, he looked back and almost lost it again seeing the grin on Aaron’s face until he noticed how sinister it looked. “I take it you have a solution and it involves something most of those harlot’s will not enjoy.”



“Oh yes,” Aaron grinned evilly, as he looked at Edward who got up from his lap now that he had been comforted and went to sit by his father who pulled him into a hug, surprising Edward but causing him to smile in thanks.



“Edward, your father and grandmother, in an effort to cement ties more closely with my kingdom, have volunteered, with your permission of course, for you to take part in one of our time honored traditions, to help young couples find true love.” Aaron smirked, “You Edward, have agreed to go through with what the Japanese call Omiai, so now, all I have to do is find which Clan member would best be suited to oversee the process.”



Laughing at Edward's expression Aaron explained what they were going to do, “Relax Edward it’s a real formal name for what we agreed to do anyway, whoever is chosen to act as interference will weed out those that want to capture you to use you and you will have a list of people you can date safely and get to know before deciding if you would like to officially date one of the girls with thoughts of marriage in the future, look it up on the internet. We’ll spin it just right, so the press eats it up instead of dragging you down, if we word it right they will do a lot of the prescreening for us and then we will skim the prospective thoughts and you’ll have a group that wants to get to know you for you, and then it is up to you from there.”



“So I have total control over this, it’s not an arranged marriage, then?” Edward asked, curious, while his surface thoughts told Aaron he was not looking forward to getting married to a girl and loosing the Clan as his lovers.



Reminding himself to talk to Edward this weekend, Aaron nodded, “Correct, no arranged marriages, more like the creation of a pool of potentials that are safe to date and get to know without any of the expectations that are normally associated with dating at your age or because of your station.”



Victoria glanced at her grandson, “I, and your grandfather had something similar when I was looking for a husband, back then, my father scoured the available potentials and interviewed them and their families before I ever met them, I did not do the same for your father, or his brothers and I wonder if that is what went wrong with Harold, he never was like he is now, growing up.” Shaking off the depressing thoughts, she smiled at Edward, “Royalty has a long tradition of arranged courtships, which is what your grandfather and I went through, he was my third before I settled on your grandfather, this seems like a pre-step, if you will, not even at the level of a courtship, more like the creation of a group of girls that might one day evolve into a courtship or even marriage.”



“Has Andrew been getting these type of calls?” Victoria was curious when Edward laughed and nodded.



“He got one before he politely hung up and ripped the phone out of the wall before stomping out of the room to go to the basement pool with Richard, he was mumbling something about packing and moving early, or going somewhere that never heard of girls or telephones.” Edward grinned, “He was so disgusted with the girl's suggestions over the phone, I doubt he will be seen in public anytime soon.”



“Out of all of this that is happening right now, I think missing Andrew, and now Richard, will be the hardest thing I have to deal with. After my wakeup call and realizing what I was doing and missing out on, I find I don’t want to let go,” James smiled sadly at the upcoming separation.



Aaron shrugged, “So don’t, you can always catch a ride to Altair Minor and then there is the weekends you can spend of on Altair, there’s no reason you have to give up contact with Andrew or Richard, plus they will be free to visit as much as they want, anytime they want.”



“Speaking of Richard,” Edward pointed to the door behind Aaron.



Aaron turned his head and looked over his shoulder and saw Richard and Andrew dragging several packs along the floor while they each had one on their back, “I am not sure I want to know. On second thought, yes I do, what are you two dragging with you?”



“Well, only the one on my back is mine, as I really never had much to begin with, and I kept everything I wanted to make sure did not get broken or disappear here in the palace vault rooms, most of this is Andrew's," Richard smiled sadly. “But it really doesn’t matter, as I can always buy whatever I want now and I don’t have to worry about it getting broken accidently on purpose as it was not up to mother's standards.”



Hugging Richard, he looked at Andrew who was staring at them with a grin, “I hope you're not a clothes horse, Andrew,” Aaron smirked as he tried to lift one of the packs Richard was dragging and grunted at how heavy it was, “What the hell, do you have this filled with the royal jewels or something?”



Andrew’s face lost his grin, “No, most of this is things I’ve collected over the years or I thought would help Richard decorate his room with, a lot of it is books that’s why they are so heavy, I’ll work on packing my books and stuff up over the next couple of days.”



Richard threw his cousin a surprised look before he bent down and unzipped the bag closest to him and stared at the book titles inside, most of these were his favorites from the ones he always borrowed from Edward or Andrew while he was here, so his parents could not throw them away as they were not theirs. “I…these are…” glancing back at Andrew, Richard threw his arms around Andrew and hugged him, “Thank you.”



“Well, since we are standing, we might as well get you home, give me a hand would you Andrew stacking these bags on top of each other, Richard can act as a post we can lean them up against,” Aaron chuckled at Richard’s face as he thumped the first bag next to Richard’s legs.



Giggling, Andrew finished the stack with the pack off his back and hugged Richard and whispered in his ear, “See you Friday night.”



Waiting for everyone to give Richard a hug, Aaron moved behind Richard so that when they left he would be facing everyone, once Victoria hugged Richard with a tear in her eye, Aaron reached around Richard and pulled him back into his body, “I will see all of you Friday night when you arrive.” Chuckling as he looked at Victoria, “Remember, have your secretary refer the annoying callers to the internet or even tell them my email address, I mean really, if they want to talk to me, they should be asking me,” Aaron winked at her before porting them out in a shower of sparkles.



Once they arrived at the Clan Hall, Aaron nuzzled Richard’s neck before trying to capture his lips for a kiss and ended up kissing his cheek instead, “The question is, do you want to keep the same room you’re in now or take one of the others, whatever you decide, as it is pretty much only a place to store your stuff and do your work anyways,” Aaron laughed.



“That one is fine with me, I even have some of my stuff in it already,” Richard sounded excited, and fell to the side before catching himself when the pile he was leaning against disappeared as Aaron ported it to his room. Turning around to face Aaron to pout and try his puppy eyes on him, he was grabbed from behind and thrown over Aaron’s shoulder then he squealed in shock and started to giggle as Aaron carried him into the med bay.



Reaching up and finding that Richard's pants were not that tight, Aaron gave the waistband a yank downwards as he set Richard back on his feet, pulling his pants past his skinny hips so they fell around his knees, “Well, it’s a start, now you need to finish getting undressed.” Aaron moved over to the console near the bio-tubes end, closest to the wall and started to activate the system as Richard nervously got undressed.



Chuckling as Richard moved close, after getting undressed, Aaron lifted him up and kissed him with passion as he placed Richard’s butt on the edge of the bio-tube. Smiling without taking his eyes off Richard’s, at the sound of his hard cock hitting his stomach, once he moved back, releasing it from its trapped state, “There is nothing to be nervous about Richard, it doesn’t hurt, as I’m sure everyone has told you.”



Reaching to the cart next to the bio-tube, Aaron picked up the sterilizing gel and squirted some of it into a gauze pad and between kisses he cleansed the area where the sensors were to be placed. “Alright, swing your legs up and in, and then make yourself comfortable,” Aaron reached over, picked up the sensors and placed them on Richard’s chest and temple before finishing the rest of the prep work. “When you wake up, you are going to be extremely horny so who do you want to help you out?”



“I have to chose only one,” Richard blinked before smiling up at Aaron.



 Laughing, Aaron shook his head before kissing Richard again and letting his fingers move down and tease him, once Richard arched his back and moaned in pleasure, Aaron stood up and smirked down at the horny teen, “Well, you can have two if you want, but I think you will work your way through everyone before the weekend is over.”



Giggling, Richard thought about it for a moment, “Surprise me, as long as I get to spend the night in your bed, it doesn’t matter much who helps me out, unless I’ll be too tired out to be awake for you later,” he looked horrified at the thought before giggling.



“I assure you…you will have the energy needed, you sex fiend you,” Aaron laughed before reaching over to the switch for the soma unit and placed a finger on it, “I will see you Friday, love.” Pressing the switch, Aaron smiled as Richard went to sleep and he quickly finished inserting the tubes in both ends and cycled the bio-tube, activating the alteration cycle once the lid sealed and the bio-tube flushed the air out with regen fluid.



Gazing one last time inside the bio-tube at the peaceful expression on Richard's face, Aaron left the med bay and not seeing anyone around the Clan Hall, walked to the common room to see what everyone was up to He smiled as he saw Pete and Xon talking animatedly as they pointed to the monitor. Hearing Tommy talking to Brian and Mark then hearing Kenny chime in, offering his opinion he realized they were creating a list of fruits they liked out of his experimental farm and the best place to buy multiple starts, he winced slightly before chuckling in amusement. Catching movement in the second story office area, Aaron peaked in to see David and Derrick talking to Kevin and Tim about visiting Japan and the invitation they had received from the emperor and the heir to the throne.



Porting out so he could do some work in his experimental grove before supper, Aaron looked out at the sea and the beach in the distance before pulling out his P.A.D.D. and making notes as he walked the rows, if there really were forty some thousand Shaolin, it was time to think about opening the other planets up and some of these fruits did quite well on Centauri and there were quite a few fruits and vegetables from Centauri that his other self loved.



Finished with his visual inspection of the fruit trees, Aaron went over to the small dune that was manmade, or he should say he made it for just this purpose and sat down and leaned back against it and stared out into the water breaking near the rocks, he started to think over events of the day and even the week.



Kevin led the guys to the kitchen area, expecting to see Aaron hard at work finishing up supper and found no one there, noticing the lights on the warmers he peaked inside to find the steam table trays fully loaded and ready to be served, “that’s strange, supper is done and it looks like it’s been here a while, more like before Aaron left to go get Richard,” looking around to the Clan, “Did he mention to any of you not being around for supper?”



Seeing that no one knew anything, Pete titled his head and called out mentally, “Aaron, are you almost done, are you planning to be home with Richard for supper?”



Startled out of his thoughts, Aaron felt the merged minds contact his, “I am home, I’m topside on the beach, thinking…wow, I can feel that Kenny and his hunters are full members of the merge, that’s fantastic.” Standing up and brushing off the sand, he sent back, “go ahead and start filling the steam table; the food is ready to go, I’ll be down in a few minutes; I have few more things to think about, I won’t be long.”



Anything we can help you think through?” Kevin sent, as he started to hand out the steam table pans full of food.



Just trying to figure out what to do with all the Shaolin, there are more than I thought,” Aaron pathed as he started back up the beach, towards the grove.



Well, there are a few more than the archives said the first timeline had? So a couple of hundred good fighters will be welcome,” Tim thought, as he picked up the large pan of stew to put in the steam table and started to carry it over, it smelt real good.



“That’s what I thought, at first,” Aaron ported behind the group outside the kitchen doors, “Unfortunately, I talked to the Shaolin masters over on Altair, and they told me something interesting, mostly disturbing, in a way.”



“Disturbing, how?” Kevin asked, as Fred moved up next to Aaron for a hug.



“Most of the Shaolin are Alteran, or at least the ones I’ve done a DNA scan on, and they all have the same small genetic defect that stops them from accessing their gifts, the disturbing part is why they would all have this defect. It’s easily fixed, take about fifteen minutes I think, shouldn’t even require a bio-bed to direct the repair, it makes me think it’s not natural, I’ll have to do a total mapping to make sure.” Aaron filled his bowl with stew and grabbed some bread before heading to a table.



“Well, a couple of hundred new people will not be noticed much in the classes teaching skills to the new recruits, and I think we have enough limiters to handle all of them if we do two groups,“ Fred sat down next to Aaron and pointed out, “it’s not like we don’t have the extra housing and on the plus side, Shaolin in the media are noted to be fine teachers so they might be able to take over some of the lab practical’s and even start teaching the skills classes, freeing up more of your time.”



Aaron put his spoon down and sighed, “If it were only that easy Fred, there are a lot more Shaolin than in the first timeline, and even that the world knows about, they really did build a secret temple and city, hidden high in the mountains. I caught a flash of the valley in the new Shaolin master's mind this morning, those mythical legends of Shangri La are not really all myth.”



“You’re avoiding the numbers, how many Shaolin are we talking about?” Mark called out from the next table.



Taking a deep breath and glancing around as he told them, “Forty Thousand Shaolin and that does not take into account those that are still learning. And three quarters of them are gay and more than likely will be fully Alteran after having that genetic block removed.”



There were the sounds of several sets of silverware hitting the table at Aaron’s announcement, and Tim summed it up for everyone, “Holy shit, that’s an army.”



Pete looked worried, “When we got together the other morning and ordered the Shaolin to pack up to move to a new home, we thought at most there were a couple hundred and from the way they talked, their main temple was in danger of being destroyed, so we thought it best to bring them home. Knowing they were descendants of Alteran’s, we felt it was right to bring them home after what Lee did and requested.”



Aaron pushed his chair back and stood up, ‘I’ll be back in a minute, but I think after supper, we will be taking a trip.” Coming to a decision, Aaron ported over to Altair and outside the Shaolin’s lodging and walked in through the open door, finding the Shaolin in conversation at the dinner table, “Excuse my interruption, but I need to talk to the three masters of the temple,” Aaron pointed to the three elders he had talked to earlier, who looked surprised that he knew who they were. “Have any of you contacted the other temple masters yet?”



“No Great One, we were waiting for tonight when we knew the other masters would be in meditations and easily contacted mind to mind,” The elder Shaolin that Aaron had talked to first, bowed.



“Good, I think this would be better done in person, if the three of you will come with me please,” Aaron moved out of the doorway and held out his hand, “Place you hand atop mine and we will go to my home first, to meet up with the rest of the Clan before going to the main temple.”



The three old masters got up from the end of the table and made their way through their curious fellows and students and facing Aaron, placed their hands one on the other over his as they faced him, curious about what was about to happen and blinked in surprise when they found themselves in a different location after Aaron ported them to the Clan Hall.



“You are the first Shaolin to step foot on Altare in almost three thousand years, welcome to the Clan Hall of Clan Stranton,” Aaron pointed to the food area, “Help yourself to something to eat, as we will be leaving shortly. After everyone had finished eating and gotten dressed in their full Clan uniform,” Aaron smiled as he warned his lovers what to wear.



Leaving the awe struck Shaolin by the food service area; Aaron went back to his seat so he could finish his meal or face the wrath of the Clan over his eating habits. Kenny, going up for seconds smiled at the Shaolin, “Hello, you can sit with us if you want,” as he ladled some more stew into his bowl and grabbed some bread.



“Thank you, do you mind me asking why none of you are dressed?” the Shaolin elder asked, as he took one of the bowls offered by his fellow master.



“Well for one thing, this is our home, and for the most part, I don’t think you will find many Alteran’s that wear clothes unless they are off the island or they need the protection,” Mark smiled as he came out of the kitchen carrying a red box and laughed when he saw Aaron zero in on the box and lick his lips, “Aaron, I think you need to start making these without chocolate, then there will be more for the rest of us.”



Aaron glared playfully, “NO, what will happen is I will make you lot something else and save all the chocolate ones for myself,” grinning at the rest as they laughed, he did narrow his eyes as Damien took one of the donuts and ate it quickly before grabbing another one. Catching Fred’s eye, “Fred, would you run a scan please on Damien.”



Fred, glancing over at Damien who was on his third donut, slipped his scanner out of its pouch, walked over behind Damien and started to run a detailed scan, he finished about the time Fred finished half of the fourth donut he had taken, before frowning and stopping, suddenly full. “Damien, how many times today have you eaten the energy donuts?”



Thinking about it, Damien counted in his head, “Well, I had one and a half at breakfast and then another two at lunch…so seven, I think.” Looking around as everyone started to stare at him worriedly, Fred frowned down at the scanner when it beeped and quickly took it over to Aaron.



“I do not understand, why is everyone so worried,” the younger Shaolin master asked, in a whisper towards Kenny.



“Each of those energy donuts have the same amount of calories and energy as three full days of food,” David quietly answered, without taking his eyes off Damien, “Breakthrough sickness is coming faster than I think Fred or Aaron expected.”



“We have records of this sickness hitting our youngsters, ages ago, now we take all newborn males to a room in the clinic and leave them overnight, they no longer get this sickness, do you not have a room to take your children to like this, to prevent this sickness from raging through your children,” the oldest Shaolin asked, loud enough that Fred and Aaron heard him, and while Aaron frowned, Fred rounded on him in anger.



“So that is the cause of the genetic damage, how dare you mutilate yourselves like this, no wonder you can’t access your gifts…what you’re doing is criminal,“ Fred was red faced in anger and stopped when Aaron placed a hand on his arm, stopping him.



“I’ll handle this, love,” Aaron stood and looked at the shocked Shaolin, “Telepathy, the ability to speak mind to mind, telekinesis, the ability to move objects and matter with your mind and teleportation, the ability to travel by using the power of your mind; these three gifts are one of the major things that set Alteran’s apart from outsiders and are cherished by us and what you describe is anathema to us. You are harming your own people, and as you are descendants of Alteran’s, my people...It must stop immediately.” Aaron left no room to maneuver, “It stops tonight when we arrive at the main temple and pray that there is a valid reason in the chronicles, or my hands are tied and our laws will condemn to death every person involved in this atrocity.”



Shaking in fear, the oldest Shaolin rose and prostrated himself at Aaron’s feet, “Great Dragon, we did not know, all we knew was that only one in ten children survived the great sickness, and this was the only thing that saved them, we have been doing this for a thousand years, now.”



Kenny walked over and knelt by the prostrate Shaolin, helped him sit up and looked at him in the face with a serious expression on his face, “It must stop, or how can we welcome you home like Lee wanted, if you would destroy the very thing that makes you one of us.”



Tears of shame traveled unchecked down the ancient Shaolin’s face, “And it will Dragon Lord, it will I pledge to you. We have dreamed of the day we would come home, but how will we protect the children, they will suffer and to have so many of them die in pain….”



“No one will die. Somewhere along the way, you lost the knowledge of what was happening, the breakthrough sickness hits our sons when they hit puberty, and if you stuff them full until they can’t eat any more with high calorie foods, as their bodies undergo the changes, it is no worse than the flu,” Fred finally explained as Aaron was distant, looking up to the ceiling, thinking.



Finally coming to a decision, Aaron pathed the Clan Security detail to get dressed in battle armor and make their way to the dining area, “Damien, do you feel well enough to go or would you prefer to stay here, I think in the next day or two, breakthrough sickness will keep you in bed for a couple of days, unless you want me to slip you into the bio-tube and finish the breakthrough all in one go.”



Damien stood wincing, “As much as I would like to say I can tough it out, it hurts, so if I can sleep through it all the better.”



Smiling in relief, Aaron moved over and kissed Damien soundly and while his lips were still locked with Damien’s, he lifted him up and started to walk towards the med bay, “The rest of you guys get dressed, full Clan Uniform please, as soon as I get Damien prepped and in the bio-tube we can leave.”



Ten minutes later, Aaron exited the med bay and kissed Kevin in thanks as he was handed a bundle of clothes with his crown on top, “Thank you, Love,” getting dressed as the rest of the Clan gathered around in silence and excitement, Aaron finally laughed at the expressions on the Shaolin’s faces as a full security team came down the path and took up station around the gestalt point.



Directing the Shaolin to go over to the security teams, Aaron looked at the eldest Shaolin, “I want you to picture clearly the temple area that would be the best place for us to appear, try to think of every detail you can remember and we will do the rest.” Picking up the visualization of a raised podium area, Aaron quickly shared it with his lovers and when they nodded in turn, Aaron pointed to the security teams, “GO…”



On the other side of the world, high up in the mountains in a valley long lost to the world, the Shaolin had just set down to eat when the apprentices screamed out in fright as the stage area suddenly was occupied, several Shaolin reacted by throwing darts at the invaders before their brains caught up with their eyes, and Friedrich reacted by kinetically freezing the darts in mid air before opening his palm and porting them directly onto it. Activating the sound enhancers of his armor, he stomped his foot several times, causing a reverberating booming to sound throughout the temple and to echo through the valley. “There will be no more of that silliness; is that understood?” nudging the Shaolin they transported with them towards the front, he dropped the darts to the floor and he and his men stepped forward and as he stood near the steps leading down to the floor, his men circulated throughout the room taking up stations.



Glancing at his men, once they were in position, he nodded once and each in time with the other, stomped one foot three times causing an echo to fill the valley, smiling as thousands of eyes were looking his way, Friedrich stood tall and proud, “Aaron Stranton…Prime of Clan Stranton…King of Altare and the leader of the sixty four worlds of the Empire…now my king.” He pathed letting Aaron know it was time.



Porting onto the raised dais, Aaron looked at the thousands of warrior Shaolin who, catching sight of his crown and the Clan's crest started murmuring in shock, and then more so when the eldest nine Shaolin masters joined the three masters who had traveled with the dragon warriors near the dais, and prostrated themselves. “Great Dragon, as prophecy foretold of this day your army awaits you.”



Activating the link to the security details armor, Aaron let his voice echo through the valley, “Son’s of the Kingdom of Altare, it is time for you to come home.” Aaron stood there as shouts of joy reverberated off the walls of the temple.



An hour later, after the carefully created presentation had been shown, Aaron stepped down from the dais and made his way through the Shaolin until he stopped in front of the twelve ancient Shaolin elders, “No matter what decision you come to over the next several days, the practice of leaving male children in the modification room must stop, you will never again mutilate children of Alteran descent this way. Instead, you must understand that the sickness should never be any worse than the flu, if one prepares the body properly for the changes that is about to happen.” Letting his tone soften, Aaron smiled at them, “The very things that make us who and what we are is what you are cutting yourself off from by mutilating the children.”



Aaron saw them wince each and every time he used the word mutilate, a word he had chosen for this very reason. “Now, please tell me why the temple is in danger and I will share with you images of the new home that is among the possibilities to choose from.”



“Great One,” the ancient one started, before Aaron cut him off. “I understand the need to be formal, but I much prefer that I am addressed as either Prime, or one even more to my liking, Aaron. So much has been lost, including the reason for your very existence.” Aaron sighed, as he walked over to the window and looked out across the valley and noticed how close to the foothills the ice and snow were.



“I see you noticed the reason we are in danger, Prime,” the elder from Altair spoke softly as his colleagues looked on in shock at the familiarity. “The deep volcanic vents that carefully nurtured this valley are all but exhausted, in another few years; we will have to expose ourselves to the world. It would have caused great turmoil and unrest amidst fear from the outsiders, now though; we can come home so that fear no longer grips our hearts. Please share with us your vision of our future.”



Aaron smiled as he nodded, “Follow me,” walking back up onto the dais, Aaron activated the hologram again, this time the view near the ceiling showed a solar system with twenty nine planets as the picture unfolded, the fourth planet slowly grew larger in the holo. “Sigma Gamma Alpha Centauri, located a little over ninety seven light years from Earth. This planet is a tropical paradise, and the new home of the Alteran people.”



Waiting for the scene to change, as the probe entered the planet’s atmosphere, Aaron picked up the conversation again as the picture hovered over the city, “Altare Prime…all ready and waiting to be moved into, our safe haven as we carry our burdens of guardians of humanity during these troubling times.” Facing the crowd who were staring in awe at the ceiling and the video of the planet and city, “I see three options before you. One, you can keep a low profile and work the outside temples the world knows about…Two, you come home to Altare and we fix the damage done so you have full access to your gifts and you accept the burden that all Alteran’s do when they find out our race's secrets. And three, the third option is one that leads to Centauri itself, when the time comes and we make the move. Some of you might even choose to move early, to get the city ready for us and plant the long term crops like fruit trees and cultivate the fruits and vegetables native to Centauri.”



“I have given only one order, to stop the mutilation, and these three have been to my home and seen one of my love's going through breakthrough sickness and they know what needs to be done to go through it safely. I actually expect all three options will be chosen by the Shaolin, we have places for you as warriors, teachers, scientists, all the fields we currently occupy will be open to those of you who are Alteran; the only thing is, some of you are not gay, those of you who are not, if you are still young enough and can accept that Alteran’s have only one sex to our species, we can alter your DNA so you too are Alteran.” Aaron told them, looking over the tops of the ancient Shaolin’s heads to the assembled crowd.



Smiling at his lovers who moved to the top of the dais with him, Aaron called out, “WE ARE CLAN…”



“We speak for Clan Stranton,” Kenny moved to Aaron’s side and smiled as his hand found Aaron’s and he was pulled into a kiss.



“Pack the temples, it is time to come home,” Tim moved to Aaron’s other side and kissed Kenny before kissing Aaron.



One by One the Clan walked over to Aaron for their kiss, before facing the quiet crowd and Aaron smiled with pride at those assembled, “I speak as your King, starting Saturday night, those packed and ready will be transported home from this spot and every night from then on until this place is empty,” looking around at the structures that had stood the test of time, “This place has served you well and now it is time to come home.” Giving a small half nod type bow, Aaron and the Clan ported out as one and a moment later the security detachment ported out and the video shot of Centauri remained on the ceiling.





Editors section:





RadioRanchers Musings: That was a real P.T. Barnum exercise, wasn't it? Talk about showmanship! I think Aaron wanted to give them the Royal Treatment. This chapter has some very important things happening in it, and I think there will be a lot of things later on that will have this chapter to thank for bringing to light in the first place.


Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher