Mikyvis Chronicles

A Clan Vacation: Chapter 3


In the morning…


After breakfast, the Des Moines group and the Rimmers went to the river for their bath time. Bathing was a unique experience on Archnania. The locals didn't believe in soap loaded with chemicals and deodorants. Instead, they discovered over the millennia that the microbes in the water did most of the work, and the river mud did a very effective job, and it was better for them and for the planet. To the Alpha Prime visitors, this was highly questionable, but they quickly found that instead of coarse and uncomfortable dirt, they were treated to a slippery substance that felt every bit as good as any liquid soap on Earth. For all the boys and teens, this discovery was very pleasant, and a bit embarrassing.

Seeing Cam approaching the river, and taking his Archnanian smock and other clothing off to join them, Prez reached both hands down into the river. Since Prez was bent over and Derrick was closest to him, a muddy, slippery grind against a bubble-butt began. Not the least bit surprised, Prez paid little mind to his best friend's silly maneuvering, or any of the laughter it provoked, but paid attention to Cam, wading into the river. Keith pushed Derrick aside for some fun, and was soon pushed aside by Mike.

"Cam?" Prez wickedly called. The moment the AI boy turned to him, Prez lobbed a mud ball, cackling, "Good morning!" However, Cam was an android with an especially advanced mind and jumped away from the target zone. Instead, Prez's mud ball slammed into Julio's bare bottom and exploded, covering Jesse, Riley and Reese with mud from head to mini head. Prez giggled, "Oops!" and tried to hide behind Mike. Warning moos erupted from the entire Des Moines group.

"Aw, crap!" Drew and Corey chorused.

Trying to use the other as a mud shield, Mike and Prez wrestled each other. Racing in waist deep water with Sean at his side, Troy loudly laughed, "Last one to the waterfall's a muddy mess!"

"Sucks to be you!" Julio exclaimed as he nodded to Robin, who levitated the entire Des Moines group and flew them over to the waterfall, dropping them at its base.

Cracking up, Richie squealed, "Poppa!"

Taking off for the bank, Gage giggled, "There's more of them than us, pop!"

"The target moved, blame Cam," Prez cackled.

Cam giggled, "Don't ya just hate when that happens?"

Corey and Drew submerged, swimming for the river bank and the trees. Trying to wedge his way into the mass of bodies, Sean giggled, "It's gonna get real cozy here!" In the chaos to find adequate cover, no one noticed Keith glancing at John.

The large rocks above the waterfall began rising and falling, repeatedly changing the water flow to sudden deluges of mud and then trickles of water that conveniently only fell on Robin. Keith squinted at John.

"What?" John giggled, "Two N-Gens against everyone else sounds almost fair to me!" The mud-fall split off into six forks that flew towards Keith, Derrick, Reyes, Troy, Sean and Jonah. Once those six were sufficiently covered in mud, the forks went for Dee, Richie, Sammy, Gage, Dillon and Randy. The last blast of mud flew to Mike and Prez.

Julio, who now had his youngest, Terry, in full leech-mode on his side, glared at the two mischievous N-Gens. "Guys, remember some of the guys in our groups are still adjusting to the changes in their lives. Scaring them with superman tricks isn't kewl; give them a chance to get used to you two nut-cases."

With nods from Robin and John, everybody went into their rinse cycles, to get the last of the mud out of their hair and off their bodies. The river water became cloudy, but as it cleared groups of Archnanian fish swam between legs to help return the river to pristine condition. Already finished rinsing off, Frankie carefully lowered himself under water to watch the fishes. In seconds, fish were gathering around Frankie to watch him. Rising to the surface again, Frankie spluttered, "Fishes at home seem to frown, but these fishes look like they're grinning."

"Daddy?" Terry asked softly. "Can you take me to see the smilin' fishies?"

Julio nodded with a smile. "I bet Frankie would love to introduce you to the fishies."

Frankie told Terry, "You have to hold your breath and go under water to see the fishes," and demonstrated above water for Terry. Seeing Terry imitating him, Frankie smiled, "Don't exhale or inhale while under water. Come up to the surface to breathe." This time, Frankie took another deep breath, quickly went under water, and then popped right back up again. Frankie giggled, "If you just sit on the bottom, real still for a few seconds, the fishes will come over." Frankie exaggerated an Earth fish's frown. Holding up his little dolphin pendant, Frankie then grinned, "They remind me of dolphins back home."

"What are do'phins?" Terry asked curiously as he shimmied down out of Julio's arms.

"They live in the water, but have to breathe air, like us," Frankie struggled to explain, and showed Terry the dolphin on his necklace again, saying, "They're bigger than this, but look just like this. See it grinning?"

Helping out a little, John told Terry, "Dolphins are mammals, like people; they breathe air, have warm blood, and give birth to baby dolphins. Fish breathe water, have cold blood, and lay eggs."

"So do'fins are people?" Terry asked.

Frankie answered, "Yeah."

"No," John said, barely a second later, and then Stephen began giggling at them.

Getting involved in the discussion, Keith grinned, "We see dolphins all the time when we're surfin'. They're obviously very smart, maybe as smart as people, but they don't have legs, arms, fingers or toes like we do; they look more like fish, with fins, but they really are mammals, like John said. Since they communicate… they talk to each other in their own language, they're smarter than most fish. What's most important is getting to know the life here at Archnania. To do that, you'll have to witness it, and dive down to check out the fish." 

Terry giggled as he looked at Frankie. "Old kids are goofy! Can we go look at the fishies now?"

Keith and Julio smirked. John and Stephen cracked up. Nodding, Frankie offered Terry his hand, giggling, "Deep breath and sit down on the bottom." 

Following Frankie's lead, Terry submerged. They both sat on the bottom of the river, and in only a few seconds, fish came nearer to them. Terry smiled at Frankie. Frankie made a sad Earth fish-like frown, and then grinned. Unexpectedly, the fish came even closer, within reach of the two boys. Frankie put a palm out and up. A fish began inspecting Frankie's outstretched hand. Seeing it was safe, Terry did the same thing. He wasn't expecting it to tickle though, and quickly popped up to the surface where he cackled hysterically, "They tickles too!"

All the teens and tweens cracked up. Richie, Dillon, Randy, Geoff, Lenny, Abe, Arlo, Petey and Eddie converged to witness some tickling fish for themselves. 

Watching Frankie's widening grin as the seven-year-old found himself the center of attention, Julio smiled. It was obvious Frankie was soaking up the chance to emulate his new family, helping the youngest group members learn how to 'visit fishies'.

Splashing over to Keith, with Gage at his side, Sammy asked, "Dad, could you and pop skip rehearsing this morning?"

Gage told Prez, "We really want to spend some time with you both, outside, just havin' fun. Let's checkout this world, away from the city."    

Not very far away, Jonah, Randy and Dillon were asking the same of Mike and Derrick. Nearer to the river bank, Geoff and Lenny, wanted to spend the morning with Corey and Drew. Already privy to what the Rimmer sons were up to, Reyes told Kaleo and Tory. He then followed Troy and Sean out of the river. They started dressing. Reyes told Troy what was going on, and that they could get some practice time, without the majority of the band.

Seeing Troy's brightening expression, Sean smiled, "Wherever you are is where I'll be."

Slinking closer to his Tiger, Troy asked, "Are you sure? There won't be much need for the PA; we'll be jamming, making stuff up as we go along."

"So I'll get to watch two musicians being creative," Sean softly giggled. He stole a kiss, and then said, "Let's go."

By this time, Kaleo and Tory were gathered with Keith, Prez, Derrick, Mike, Drew, Corey, John and Stephen, coming up the river bank for their clothes. All the youngest sons were underwater, playing with the fish still, but the older sons were getting more excited.

Standing with Reyes and Sean, Troy told Prez, "We're gonna take advantage of a little free time while you guys are being daddies. Reyes and I are going to jam."

"Sounds good," Prez grinned. "Get Reyes singing more, while you're at it."

Derrick and Mike grinned at Reyes' smirk. After softly huffing, Reyes sang; "Oh-oh, yes I'm the great pretender. Pretending that I'm doing well. My need is such I pretend too much. I'm lonely but no one can tell. Oh-oh, yes I'm the great pretender, Adrift in a world of my own. I've played the game but to my real shame, You've left me to grieve all alone. Too real is this feeling of make-believe. Too real when I feel what my heart can't conceal"

Many of the Des Moines group applauded, especially loud were Mick and Janice. Derrick and Mike nodded at their eldest son and softly chortled at Prez. Recalling the prior night's poolside games centered on Reyes, Prez playfully told Sean and Troy, "Exercise him, but don't wear him out." Everyone began laughing, including Reyes.

Troy chuckled, "We'll meet you back at the house around lunch time?"

"Kewl, bro," Keith chuckled.

Walking away from the river, Sean asked Reyes, "Sing that song first? I think I remember it was something my dad liked."

Nodding, Reyes said, "The Platters made it a hit in the fifties. Nineteen-fifty-five, to be exact." He then asked Troy, "Do you know it?"

"You were singing in the key of G major," Troy offered. "I'll figure it out in front of a piano."

Breaking into giggles, Reyes explained, "That's what freaks me out about all you dudes; hearing something and knowing what key it's in so easily. I've never known anyone that could do that. I sure couldn't do it."

"Have you ever tried?" Troy wondered.

Shaking his head, Reyes giggled, "No, because no one else showed me how, or that it could be done at all."

Troy asked Sean, "Did Reyes sing that little bit pretty well, Tiger?"

"Very well," Sean giggled.

Turning back to Reyes, Troy grinned, "You just took the first giant leap towards perfect pitch; singing what you already know, in key, with the correct intervals between the notes. We'll add to that very soon."

"I play percussion," Reyes giggled.

Noticing Troy sadly shaking his head and smirking, Sean asked, "Reyes, why do you act like you can't do stuff we already know you can easily do?" Reyes only grinned, so Sean prodded, "Really, you have more experience playing. I wish I could sing better than I do. All the guys in the band are very good, including you."

Reyes giggled, "I act this way because I've been out of the musical loop for more than twenty years. At the luau last weekend, I was just like every other rescued kid, thrilled with my first concert, at least as far as I knew at the time. Monday night I got my life's memories back, and a little bit more on Tuesday. At the wedding concert, I was on stage performing again. Yesterday afternoon, I was performing again. To you dudes, it must feel like Saturday, but it is still Thursday night. Are you seeing the contrast in perceptions? That's why I'm purposefully moving slow; because I know it's Thursday, and it'll be Thursday when we return, but we're all changing in minor ways, that will be obvious to everyone by Friday afternoon. Yeah, I want to be in the band, I want to perform often with my dads, Keith, Prez and Troy. I also don't want to be seen as more than what I was before I got my memories restored. Not to mention, there are terabytes of brand new information in my head that I haven't even browsed through. My attitude is, if or when I need some of that is when I'll use it."

"I never even gave that a thought," Troy admitted. He turned to Sean, explaining, "Think of my mom, seeing us together again Thursday night. As far as she's concerned, something miraculous happened that makes you and I even closer than we were at dinner. We're two days more attached to each other, and only minutes have passed. By the end of the week, we'll change the two days to seven. We can't hide that we've really been together nine days in only two Earth days; it'll be obvious."

Seeing Sean's gears spinning behind his blue eyes, Reyes nodded and giggled, "Everyone at home who know us fairly well is going to notice a weeks' worth of bonding occurred in only a few minutes. Horacio knows you, Sean. How can you explain that you're really a week closer to Troy? Now add in me, an android, who can learn just about anything I want in less time than any human might. What if we have a concert Friday after supper, and suddenly I'm lead singer on a third of the songs? It might make all you dudes very happy, but let's not flaunt how much has changed in our perceptions. Let them wonder and ask the questions."

Sean gasped, "How can any of this be explained to anyone at home?"

Reyes laughed, "Last night, you two acted just like Kaleo and Tory. They've known me all their lives; actually longer than my recallable memories. So, I was repeatedly kissed, fondled and groped by two of my best friends, and you two too! Liki was at our orphanage, and Keanu was at your orphanage, Sean. Do you wanna tell Keanu and I'll tell Liki, and Troy can laugh his ass off when their eyes spin out of their sockets?"

Picturing that, Troy and Sean howled laughing. They approached the city. Picking up on the jovial mood, frolicking Darmi joined the three laughing teenagers, and a flock of Archnanian birds swooped down and around them.

Troy giggled, "If this was New York, I'd be ducking for cover from pigeon poo!" All three roared.

Glancing at Troy, Sean giggled, "We already have an issue, don't we?"

Nodding, Troy released Sean's hand to wrap that arm around his waist, smiling, "We're taking time out of time to make time, Tiger. I guess it's pretty good that we're starting out here, instead of home." Noticing Reyes thoughtfully scowling, Troy offered, "We're getting used to a sexual relationship. Up until a few moments ago, I thought we were moving slowly, but now, the days are actually seconds, so it's all relative. By the end of the week here, we should be good for everything."

"Ah," Reyes droned, "now I get it." He locked eyes with Sean, asking, "What's it like?"

"Compared to the orphanage tricks?" Sean wondered. When Reyes nodded, Sean gushed, "Like night and day; going slow with a lover compared to the rush with a trick is so much better, there really aren't words to describe it."

Troy squeezed Sean tighter for a second, and then told Reyes, "Toss all those memories in the dumpster as soon as we get home. Sex with passion is making love; sex without caring or passion is just making a mess. At least when you're jacking off, you care for yourself in some manner. What those men and women did to you guys was a crime, punishable by death, and rightfully so. They took the magic out and turned it into less than a quick wank."

Watching Reyes slowly nod, Sean asked, "Have you got the idea, and someone worth making love with?"

"I'm not sure yet," Reyes muttered. "The attraction and willingness is on my side. I guess I need to check the other side soon after we return home."

"I've never known happiness like this," Sean cheerfully told Reyes, fully aware that Troy was hearing something new. "If the feelings are mutual, you can erase the bad years. In only days, it's already changing everything. What we had to do was dirty. When you want to and so does the other guy, it really changes from hell to heaven, from rough to tender." 

Troy softly growled, causing Reyes to break into giggles when Sean bounced his eyebrows at his Lover. Deliberately nodding his head at Sean, Troy smiled, "Ballads is what we'll be working on this morning, Reyes. When everyone else returns, I'll disappear with Sean for a pre-lunch appetizer." Sean provocatively mooed and Reyes cracked up.

They went into the rehearsal hall and turned on the lights. 


Back at the river, everyone was fully dressed. Families walked away in various directions. Derrick, Mike, Keith and Prez were separated by their sons.

Grinning at his sons while Derrick looked over his shoulder in the direction of Prez, Keith and their kids, Mike wondered, "Is there something goin' on that requires privacy?"

Jonah and Randy giggled. Much more seriously, Dillon said, "We want you all to ourselves for a little while." Scampering in front of Mike, Dillon held his arms up and out, paused, causing the whole family to stop. "You ain't picked me up since we got here, pop," Dillon whined.

Jonah reminded, "We was in South Carolina most of Tuesday, and then the marriages and concert were Tuesday night."

"I was adopted," Randy added, "and the Des Moines crew were around that night, and then you guys went to work later." He scowled, "Now that I think of it, nobody's ever carried me."

Kneeling down, Derrick sniggered, "Climb aboard for a piggy-back ride?" Like it was the chance of a lifetime, Randy brightly beamed and scurried around, behind Derrick and climbed aboard.

Lifting Dillon and settling him on his shoulders, Mike chuckled, "Lesson learned; no more than two days between carries."

Derrick nudged Mike, saying, "You like it as much as I do." 

The family began walking again. Pointing to his left, further from the city, Jonah said, "Over that way is a bridge across the river. There's some really pretty trees and stuff over there."

"Not only does it look pretty, but it smells so nice too!" Randy gushed.

Dillon giggled, "And the trees have a lot to say, about us and the place."

"And then there's the squirrels," Jonah grinned. "They call themselves Rileeia, and they don't talk much, but they do like shiny things, not as much as the Scoobies, but still, all it took was a flash of reflected light off Julio's watch, and a bunch of 'em gathered round."

Chuckling, Derrick asked, "You dudes have seen a lot around here?"

Randy answered, "Just what's near this city, what we could walk to."

Jonah said, "Cam offered to take us further away, but we didn't want to go without you."

Mike smirked, "Happy and safe, remember? You dudes can do whatever you like, as long as you're safe and happy. Since this entire world is safe, stay together and have a good time." Reaching for Jonah and tapping his shoulder, Mike gently reminded, "You haven't practiced guitar since we left. I haven't taught you anything new since Sunday. We could do that here too, ya know?"

Shrugging, Jonah grinned, "I guess we could, but this place is way different from the ROH, in so many ways."

Dillon giggled, "Just list'nin' to the plants and animals, we found kewl places, like where we're goin'."

"What's so special about where we're goin'?" Derrick wondered.

"The view," Dillon, Randy and Jonah chorused.

"It's not far," Jonah assured, and pointed ahead and slightly to his left, where a wood and stone bridge could be seen. "About a five minute walk past the bridge and into the trees and you'll see for yourself."

Nodding, Derrick smiled, "I'm looking forward to it, but I am a little curious." Scanning each of his sons' faces, even Randy's who was still clinging to his back, Derrick asked, "Are you dudes frightened about going too far away from us?"

Jonah scowled, "No, that's not it." Randy negatively grunted and Dillon shrugged.

Mike asked Dillon, "What's the deal?"

"We was with Julio, Mick and Janice and all of 'em, but just wanna be with you," Dillon answered.

"They ain't bad or nothin'," Randy added, "but they ain't our family."

Derrick grinned, "Are Prez and Keith family?" All three boys nodded or answered affirmatively. "How about Kaleo and Tory?" Derrick wondered. Again, all three sons agreed. Derrick smiled, "The Des Moines group are family, Clan Short, just like all of us in the ROH, only they're long distance family. Right now, John, Stephen, Frankie, Kaleo, Tory, Drew, Corey, Geoff and Lenny are with them."

Julio looked around at the group that joined him. "Anyone not ready for some fun, run now!" he giggled.

"As long as you and Pop stay dressed, we ain't worried!" Reese laughed as he ducked out of reach.

Before the smirks he saw forming could turn into comments, Julio stated "Cam, could you please drop us up in the mountains somewhere?"

"Sure!" Cam replied, the evil cackle barely heard as the group disappeared.

"OH SHIT!" the group exclaimed in unison as they appeared four foot above a mountain lake.

Frankie, Terry and the younger kids then shouted, "More smilin' fishies!" and they all splashed down.

While the older boys were dropped into deep enough water to have to swim, the younger ones had been dropped over a sandbar, so the water was only chest-deep on the youngest of them. Once the group had all converged on the sandbar, they watched the little guys ducking under to make fish-friends.

After almost a half hour of the rugrats doing whale imitations, they tired of the fun and rejoined their older companions. Frankie and Terry had a couple of new friends who decided to join the group. The creatures were green, and looked like a lobster with squid tentacles instead of legs. Each of the two boys had one of the creatures on their shoulder, and both were giggling at the squeaks and clicks that served as communication.

"Daddy! Poppa! Me an' Frankie's learnin' new talkin'!" Terry exclaimed.

"How's that?" Julio asked.

"Slippie is teachin' us!" Terry replied as he stroked one of the creature's tentacles.

"An' Legs says him an' Slippie are gonna be our guides. They wanna come home an' visit with us, too!" Frankie added.

Scrunching his facial features, John whispered to Julio and Jessie, "Don't think I'll tell Prez about it."

"Me either, it'll be more fun to see him find out himself!" Julio giggled.

"If there's a video game stranger than Pissed Off Chickens, Prez'll find it," Jesse grinned.

"This'll be almost as good as the Scooby Wash vid!" Julio laughed.

"You saw that?" Drew asked.

"Yeah, Cory says it's part of the Director Training Series!" Julio replied with a grin.

"DAD! If you don't stop talking, we're gonna hide Pop from you!" Kurt and Kent exclaimed in unison, obviously itching to explore. "You're WORKING again!"

Julio giggled as he pulled his youngest set of twins into a cuddle. "Chill, guys, we gotta make sure your little brother's friend doesn't need anything special.

"He's okay," Terry volunteered, "Slippie breaths air just like us, he just hasta get wet once inna while. He says Unca Cam will help with 'is food."

"Okay, let's go Dad!" Kurt exclaimed, happy that the important things were covered.

Thoughtfully scowling, Drew silently wondered what the odd little creatures would eat. His hubby Corey actually posed the question to Frankie and Terry.

"Bugs landin' on the water," Frankie grinned, "and tiny sick fishies we can even see."

"Slimie says they'll eat those funky fishies that stoopid people ruin pizzas with too!" Terry added with a giggle.

Making sour faces, Corey, Drew, Kaleo, Tory, John and Stephen moaned, "EEWWW! Anchovies!"

"SAVED BY THE LOBSTER SQUID THINGIES!" the triple twins yelled in unison.

"Our kids are insane!" Jesse giggled to Julio.

"I wonder how fast they reproduce?" Drew carefully considered. "We could rid our world of anchovies!"

"They must take after their Pop," Julio laughed as he ducked out of range of Jesse's arm

More to make Julio feel safe from the oncoming retribution than to change the subject, Jesse pointed out "Hey guys, check out the view!"

As a group, everyone turned to look behind them. They found that they were near the edge of a drop-off that gave them an amazing view of the valley below them. It seemed that they could see for miles; off in the distance a group of saplings appeared to be playing 'tag', with animals that looked like dots at this distance joining in the game. The most amazing part was that even with the view, there was not a single sign of civilization to be found.

"Dad?" Reese asked with a grin, "Does this mean asking for a Mountain Dew is out?"

As he was about to answer, Julio saw something that made him giggle. "Look behind you, squirt!"

Reese turned around, only to find a tree had moved behind him and was extending a branch down to his level. On the branch were three six-packs of Mountain Dew, the cans wet with condensation.

"Sweeeet! Thanks!" Reese exclaimed as he took one of the six packs and began distributing them among his twinnish brothers.

"Mister Tree? Do you have any Pepsi?" Terry asked softly.

The tree's leaves rustled as if it was chuckling, then another branch came down to Terry's level with cans of Pepsi on it.

"Thank you, Mister Tree!" Terry responded as he took a can.

"Okay, Double-ewe Tee Eff!" Julio asked as he rolled his eyes. "Just HOW do trees happen to be carrying soda?"

Cam giggled. "Sorry! Me and my bro Cameron have it set up so there's stuff you're used to from Alpha Prime. Cam teleports the stuff to where it's needed, then restocks from the Clan supply locker."

Corey giggled, "Mike asked for a jazz guitar the other day. He got one almost as fast as Terry got his soda."

"What about some beer?" Drew asked hopefully, only to find his butt being swatted by a root.

"I think the only beer you're getting..." John started.

"... is ROOT beer!" Stephen finished with a grin.

Drew lunged for his little brother, and John rapidly levitated, but Drew caught his legs and held on tight. Laughing hysterically, John simply levitated over the lake again. He looked down, giggling, "I can hang here forever. You'll definitely let go before I land again."

Obviously enjoying the trip and the view, Drew had an evil idea, and reminded his younger brother, "You're married to Stephen, which makes you just as gay as I am, bro. I've got a really good view up your boardies. Betchya I can tickle spots you'd rather only Stephen tickles, and still hold on. We're both landing, or we're both getting wet." 

Scrunching his face in disgust, John looked down at Drew, pleading, "You wouldn't."

Wrapping one arm tighter around John's leg, Drew let the other hand glide up John's leg and under his board shorts. Before the hand came any closer to his jewels, John descended. Able to see what Drew was doing, Corey howled laughing. Stephen's jaw was hanging on his chest. Heading toward the shore, John complained, "No, you're not getting the chance, bro. I'm saving all my shivers for my husband."

Leaving his hand where he could immediately make his threat reality, Drew grinned, "I knew you'd see it my way, since it was my way too, only two years ago. Wait until you can put out just a little and still get the shivers."

"That really happens?" John softly checked.

Drew giggled, "Since Stephen's older than you, he'll be first and then it'll be your turn." When his feet hit the ground, Drew released his hold on John. Moments later, John was standing before Drew. Both brothers widely grinned, and then slammed together for a quick hug and broke into giggles.

"Is there ANYONE in your family that's sane, John?" Julio laughed.

"Drew was," Stephen giggled, "but for how much longer, no one knows."

"If he's the sanest one in the family, you're in trouble!" Julio smirked.

"Like you got room to talk, Dad!" Riley giggled.

"Wait until I tell your Grandpa that you're talking about him like that!" Jesse threatened.

"We're not worried about him," Riley stated, "Grandma runs the place, he can't touch us because she thinks we're cute!"

"Less than a week and they already have Mom wrapped around their fingers!" Julio laughed.

John took Stephen's hand and began walking to the trail, following Julio, Jesse and their kids.

"Hey John, did you hear that?" Bruce giggled, "Drew says he wants to kiss your cute bubble butt!"

Julio looked thoughtful, which caused Kaleo to groan audibly at what terror could be coming next. He looked relieved when Julio asked "Hey John, you think you could run my six terrors through the Intel indoctrination inside your Cosmically Phenomenal head real quick? They've not had the training yet."

John nodded, then his eyes glowed blue. "Should only take a few seconds..." he murmured as he quickly snatched up all six minds and pulled them into his own. "...and save the ass kissing for your boyfriends..."


John smirked at him, and tapped his nose. "I get flashes of the future... sometimes... I look at you and Jesse and I see a shadow missing. A dark brother. A small lover. A piece of the puzzle sworn to Crown and pledged to a legend..." he grinned, his eyes still washed out in blue. "You'll... you'll know him by his fear of teasing during battle, when..." John's face grew pale, his eyes distant. "...when we all stand beneath the Raptor, and the Reaver comes... you shall find him, although you already know him... and together you shall stand or fall as one... oh, God! What's coming?" he whispered into the air, releasing the six boys from training and holding his head in his hands. "What is coming...?"

"John, you're still having your premature indoctrination issues?" Kaleo giggled, trying to distract John's mind. "That only took one-second for each kid!"

"Felt longer," Kurt giggled. "Awww, John! Did you make a mess in your panties because we're all so hot and awesome?"

John blinked and blew them all a raspberry. "Ha de ha," he grumbled.

"Don't worry, Stephen," Bruce giggled, "We'll keep our hands off your Cosmically Hot Husband! He's just as cute inside as he is outside, though!"

"Oh, I know!" Stephen giggled, giving John a quick rump fondle.

"John obviously got all the cute his brothers didn't!" Riley added, picking up on Drew's discomfort with holding back comments.

"I'm gonna barf," Drew groaned.

Like a little diva, John blew his brother a kiss, then tried to repay his hubby with a fondle himself.

"Just look at the bubble butt, and the cute dimples when he grins!" Reese observed.

"And his personality, John's is amazing!" Bobby gushed, holding his hands over his heart.

Kurt giggled at the pained face of Drew. "When I get bigger, I wanna be as cute and nice as John!"

With little more than a glance and a nod, Drew picked up Lenny, and Corey picked up Geoff, then they ran ahead of the rest of the group, far enough to not hear any more revolting remarks about John.

"I guess he didn't wanna hear that I hope my weiner gets as big as his when I get older, huh John?" Kent giggled.

By this point, John was of two minds about following Corey and Drew at a fast rate of speed as well. His face couldn't take more blushing. Stephen, however, was near cracking his ribs laughing at the comments; agreeing with them, but laughing all the same.

"Now you know what MY life is like, John!" Julio giggled. "You in on my Q hunting party? I love all six of them, but he's gonna pay for the headaches they cause when all three sets get in a mood!"

With a flash of light, Quint appeared. He shoved a live salmon down the front of each of the boy's pants. Seconds later, he blew a huge raspberry before vanishing again.

Way ahead of the main group, they could hear Drew and Corey scream, "Quint!" Then swearing as their sons shouted and squealed.

"Daddy, Slippie says it's okay to put these big fishies in the lake!" Terry commented as he turned and tossed his salmon towards the water.

As clothing was shed and salmon dropped to the ground, John levitated each fish and dropped them in the lake. He softly bitched, "He should stick to Lilliputian parades." Noticing Julio and Jesse's confused scowls, John smirked, "The first time we met Quint, Stephen and I were floating, and dragged around our basement."

"I'd almost like to see that!" Julio giggled. "Jess, give me my pants!"

"But I like the view!" Jess giggled. Once Julio hit him with a death glare, he gave in and returned Julio's clothes.

"Unca John?" Terry asked shyly, "Do ya' have movies of the parade? I'd like to watch that, it sounds funny!"

Widely smiling because Terry was gradually coming out of his shell, John said, "Daileass has a copy. We'll watch that at home, tonight before bed, okay?"


Somewhere up ahead...

The Las Vegas visitors to Archnania followed the map Ezzy had provided them to the 'Trust Fields', since Demren, one of Hayden's Archnanian Scout friends, had recommended they check it out. The little group consisted of Hayden, Evan, Jimmy Casey, and Hayden's new-found twin Barrett.

As the boys followed the path West, they noticed that the forest quickly became more and more dense. Suddenly they stepped out of the forest and into a large open field. Since they were getting closer to the mountains, the field looked like two large smoothed mounds with a small dip cutting across the middle of it. Over the extent of the field, mostly centered around the dip, all kinds of different wooden and rope structures had been built.

The first thing that both Haden and Evan thought of when they saw the field was one of the outdoor obstacle courses that they had used during their UNIT training, only this one was a lot larger. In addition to the normal smaller obstacles, there were large rope bridges, tire swings, and other structures which they had no clue what they were for.

To everyone's surprise, at the far end of the field were not one but two different groups of Archnanian teens. Each group had around sixteen kids, and were dressed in the standard Scout uniforms.

"Looks like we're not alone," Barrett commented.

"With a place like this?" Jimmy replied. "I'm surprised there are not a lot more here. This place is huge."

"Do you think they will get mad?" Haden asked with concern. "I mean, we are not actually in any of the Scout Teams."

Evan shook his head as he walked further down into the field. "Nah, I doubt it. Otherwise, Demren wouldn't have suggested coming here."

"Hi hi hi, guys!" a chippy sounding voice called out from behind them. As the boys spun around to see who it was, the only thing they found was a small four-foot tall sapling dancing and bobbing around from side to side. "I'm Gretchiabawitzingererlum. But you can call me Gretchit, everyone else does."

Evan was the first to recover from the site of a small dancing sapling talking to them. "Hi Gretchit. I hope we are not intruding or anything."

"Nope nope nope!" Gretchit replied cheerfully. "The elders whispered that you would be heading in this direction. The Zahckies have already said that they will show you around. Come on, I'll take you over to them."

"Zachckies?" Haden questioned. "Aren't those small little animals that like eating some other kind of small animal? Are they able to communicate with us like the Darmi can?"

The long thin twigs that made up Gretchit's upper half ruffled as if the sapling was chuckling. "Well, real Zahckies are intelligent, and have their own way of communicating if you know how to listen. But I'm talking about the

Scoutlings over there... so come on!"

Evan shrugged as the four boys took off running so they could keep up with the hyper little sapling.

A few minutes later, Evan and the others found themselves quickly approaching a group of Archnanian Scouts that were standing at one end of a long rope bridge.

"Here they are, Sander Leader!" Gretchit cheerfully announced as he got closer to the group. "I fetched them good, I did, I did! The visitors that the elders whispered about."

One of the taller boys, who was barely an inch above Haden, turned toward them. "Oh, hi guys, welcome to the trust fields."

"Thanks," Evan replied. "We passed Demren and his group earlier today, and they pointed us in this direction. I hope it's not a problem."

"A problem?" Sander asked curiously. "Why would it be a problem? Although we don't get them often, we always love meeting new visitors here. As long as you don't mind getting your hands a little dirty, you guys can stick around all you want."

"Cool," Evan and the others all replied.

"Hey, Gretchit?" one of the smaller boys in Sander's group called out. "I'm having some problems with my knots again. Do you think you could help?"

"Knots? Um, no... no no no! No knots for Gretchit.... Have to go.... be back later.... c-ya!" Gretchit called out as he hopped around in a circle, and then took off toward the tree line causing several of the boys in the group to giggle.

"What was that all about?" Jimmy asked with concern.

"Ah, don't worry about that, it's an inside joke. Carver didn't mean anything by it," Sander smiled. "About two months ago when we were on our previous camping trip, we were trying to teach some of the juniors how to lash and tie ropes. One of them inadvertently tried to tie up Gretchit, thinking that he was a fallen branch from a tree."

Haden gasped. "Oh man, was he hurt?"

Sander shook his head. "Nah, he was fine. But he ended up following us around ever since. It's become like a running joke. He even tracked us down when he heard we were going out on another camping trip."

Haden nodded in understanding.

"Hey Sander?" Barrett spoke up. "If you don't mind me asking, why do they call this the Trust Fields?"

"Oh, that's an easy one," Sander smiled. "What you see here in this field is the low course. But there are actually three fields in this area. The one over there beyond those trees has the mid course, and the other has the high course. All the stations and activities that you see in each of the fields are in one way or the other designed to help the juniors, or actually everyone really, to improve trust. Whether it be trust in yourself, or trust in your friends."

"Really?" Barrett replied. "That sounds kinda cool."
Sander nodded in agreement. "Yeah. For example, the rope bridge here helps build trust in yourself as you cross the bridge without falling. The area over there is called the faith drop. Basically, you are standing on a platform, and you have to trust that your friends will catch you, as you allow yourself to fall backward. It's really kinda fun, you should try it."

"Um, I think I'll stick with the rope bridge for now," Barrett stated as Haden was quick to agree with him.

"That's cool," Sander grinned. "But before you do that, let me introduce you to the rest of my guys." With that, Sander gathered the rest of his team around him and spent a few minutes introducing each of them. When it was over, Evan, Jimmy, Haden and Barrett took a moment to introduce themselves.

Haden was surprised to see just how friendly Sander and his team were. Back when he had first met Demren and his Scout Team, Haden thought that Demren must have had one of the special groups that were really nice to outsiders. But now, he was starting to wonder if this was more the norm for Archnanian kids, rather than the exception. If it were true, Earth kids could probably learn a lot from the Archnanian kids. Only time would tell…

About twenty-five meters ahead of Julio, Jesse, John, Stephen and all the other kids, Drew and Corey saw a clearing in the forest not far ahead. There were other kids, most of which were blond and obviously Archnanians, but there were others with black and dark brown hair. Focusing on one in particular, Drew grinned and checked with Corey, to be certain he had the correct name to call.

Hayden's line of thought was interrupted by a new voice yelling, "Jimmy! How'd you get here?"

Jimmy spun around. "Drew? DUDE! C'mon over, you gotta meet these guys, they're from Vegas."

Recognizing the voice, Haden sprouted an evil grin. "Hey Drew! You really need to get Corey's squeak fixed before I meet you for the first time the next time we come up here!" Haden shouted to the oncoming group.

Blinking rapidly and causing Geoff and Lenny to break into giggles, Drew smirked, "You have me at a disadvantage. No temporal tranquilizers to soften the blow, whoever you are." Before Drew finished speaking, Corey, Geoff and Lenny howled laughing.

"You'll get even last week!" Haden laughed.

"Okay, before I shoot myself because of time loops," Jimmy interjected, "the hot guy over here is my new boyfriend Evan, the little version of him is his little bro Haden, and Haden's partner-in-crime is his twin Barrett. Your serve, Drew!"

Guiding his sons forward, Drew grinned, "Only to add sauce and meatballs to the spaghetti, this is Geoff and this is Lenny." Locking eyes with Jimmy, Drew reminded, "You probably saw them at Anahola Bay beach. Geoff became our son that night, before you left for Utah, and Lenny was adopted Wednesday afternoon."

Looking up at Corey, Geoff giggled, "Poppa, am I sauce and Lenny's meatballs?"

Nodding, Corey grinned, "Or you could swap roles whenever ya want."

"Not going there with the meatball Rimmer possibility!" Jimmy sniggered.

Drew chuckled, "They've both got a few years before they graduate from Swedish meatballs to Rimmer meatballs."

Waving and arm around the field, Corey wondered, "What've we walked into here? It looks like a Boyscouts' field trip."

Hayden nodded. "You're close, this is the Archnanian Scouts' 'Trust Field'. This is Sander, he can fill you in on details, but this course teaches trust in yourself and your team."

Walking beyond the tree-line, Julio's group caught up. Seeing many dozens of kids scattered around the expansive field, Jesse softly muttered, "Holy crap!" 

Turning and seeing the rest of the group walking toward them, Drew locked eyes with Kaleo and waved them over, instructing, "Rimmers here by us." Returning his attention to the Vegas kids, Drew introduced, "Evan, Haden and Barrett, the tallest and obviously Hawaiian dude is Kaleo Palakiki, the blond holding Kaleo's hand is Tory Burgas, Kaleo's hubby. They're our communications officers back home." He pointed out, "John is my brother, Stephen is John's husband, and lastly, the smaller one between John and Stephen is their son, and resident lover of all things aquatic, Frankie." Drew then caught his breath and cutely batted his eyelids at Julio to complete the introductions.

Julio giggled. "My group are the sane ones!" After a pause, he continued, "I assume we're looped on top of loops; I know you guys, even though you ain't met me yet. I'm Julio Hernandez, Director of Des Moines Division. The cutie next to me is one of my fiancés, Jesse Crowley, and the pouting munchkin is our youngest son Terry. The triple twins behind him are also our sons, and in order they are Reese, Riley, Bobby, Bruce, Kent, and Kurt. The little group off to my left are mostly my little brothers; the oldest is Johnny, the little guy under his arm is Petey, and the third one that is actually on the ground is Eddie. The nut floating above Eddie is his boyfriend and the Division's resident TK, Robin. I'm pretty sure all y'all know Cam already, so I'm finally done!"

"Can I go back with Frankie now, Dad?" Terry asked. "He was teaching me more fishie talk!"

Julio grinned. "Sure, Terry; go have fun with your Fishie Rimmer friend."

"DAD! You hear that? The Director says I'm a Fish Rimmer, so it's GOTTA be 'ficial!" Frankie giggled.

Most of the Rimmers digressed into fits of giggles. Kaleo tickled Frankie, loudly laughing, "Fishie Rimmer!"

"And I thought the ferrets were bad..." Evan stage-whispered to Jimmy.

Suspiciously squinting, Drew wondered, "Are you a dull-lover, Evan? We have four ferrets in the family, so be careful how you answer." Corey, Geoff and Lenny covered their mouths to mute their laughter.

"Naw, he's on the Don's quick access list." Haden giggled. "We're just still getting used to being in the inner circle of the most powerful being in Vegas."

Barrett tilted his head, then finally spoke. "Guys, I think we need to set up a camp here. Cam set up a relay, and our friend from the North pole says we need to have a little talk with the whole group."

Sander grinned. "I think this would be a great base station for you guys. Cam says a lot of you like making music; you can't make great music unless you are one with your surroundings, and being in the city isn't good for that."

Drew sheepishly offered, "My brothers and friends expect us to be back at the house, in the city, for lunch."

Vigorously shaking his head, John said, "Keith, Prez, Derrick and Mike are just starting back with their kids. They don't know it yet, but the directions from the animal and plant life will lead them here." With an impish grin, John tapped his temple, reminding, "It wouldn't take much to send some messengers to the rehearsal hall to get Reyes, Sean and Troy here."

Grinning at his brother, Drew queried, "Not too much effort?" Tilting his head, John looked up. Birds in the sky gathered and swooped down to land nearby the gathered group. From the forest, a few Darmi meandered toward them. Corey, Geoff and Lenny began giggling when Drew threw his arms up in defeat, huffing, "I give up."

"You're too easy, Drew; that must be what Corey sees in you!" Julio giggled.

"Dibs on a private tent!" Corey cackled.

"On the OTHER side of the course!" the triple twins exclaimed in unison. "We wanna get some sleep!"

Blushing, but smiling, Drew insisted, "That was the teenagers making all the noise."

"Dude, ALL the dogs heard your squeaks!" Johnny giggled. "Believe me, I had to listen to the complaints!"

"So you squeak subsonic, Drew?" Julio prodded.

Blushing crimson is record time, Corey began whistling a cheery tune and went to greet the Darmi. Drew, Geoff and Lenny lost it and howled laughing.

"Parents are weird!" Terry commented before going back to learning fish from Frankie.

Changing subjects, Evan asked "Hey Sander, would your guys be interested in helping the new guys set up camp? I don't think any of them are Scouts yet."

Sander smiled. "Of course; then we'll give you a quick tour of the Trust Fields to get you all ready."

Hayden smiled as he commented "Just wait until you find out what it means to be an Archnanian Scout - you'll all love it I think.