Life Renewed - Revised

Chapter Eight: Beware the Dragon

Hello, dear readers!

 I just though it would be nice to introduce myself; I'm Nigel Chapman, formerly butler to the insanely rich and famous, but now the AI core of the Montana AI Annex. Don't let me kid you, I fully plan on making sure my charges have a proper butler as well. You see, there are a few things that very few people know about me, things like the fact I was the very first Android of any type to be sold by Vision Industries. I was activated in 1910, and was the flagship of all who followed me. My name actually stands for Neurological Intelligent General Labor, which should indicate to you what my intended purpose was.

Andrei was a Christmas present to the grandson, Bentley, of my original owner. We both stayed with the family until Bentley was killed in an accident fifteen years ago. As much as the family loved us, staying with them was tearing them and Andrei apart, so they gave me a trust fund as a parting gift then released Andrei into my care. Word got around, and within three months I agreed to provide services to another family under the condition that Andrei remained with me. Five years later, the incident with him being made to watch another android be terminated occurred, which led to me quitting on the spot when I discovered it. Like any boy, Andrei is a creature of habit, so within two days I located him and convinced him that neither one of us was going back. 

For the last ten years, we have been living off of the interest from the trust fund, which has allowed us to experience many of the wonders that Earth has to offer. We were taking a break for a snack on our third day of climbing at Glacier National Park when I heard the ominous sound of rocks bouncing above us. The last thing I remember of that trip was throwing myself over Andrei to protect him; the next thing I remember is CJ telling me his Daddy was fixing Andrei but that I needed to make a decision right away...

With brunch over, Josh had quickly found himself being led into the rec room to spend family time, no matter if he wanted it or not. Since Jamie and Jacob had joined them at his request, the cuddle pile surrounding him pretty much ensured that he wouldn't be able to go anywhere. Just as soon as they had Andrei in position, CJ and Chad took up seats on either side of him. Willy and Johnny claimed the floor attaching themselves to his left leg, while Jamie and Jacob took the right side.

As Josh felt the multiple arms attaching themselves to his legs, he wrapped his arms around the trio on his lap. "Guys, no matter how crazy things get, this makes all of it worth every second," Josh commented, which earned him seven boys cuddling up even closer.

Over on the other couch, Phil was finding himself in the same situation, with both of his sons ensuring he couldn't go anywhere. Josh chuckled as he commented "You haven't got enough kids yet, Phil; you really need to find your boys some little brothers."

"Yeah, Dad!" Ash and Ivo chorused. "Find us some little brothers of our own!"

"I'm sure that when it's time for you guys to have little brothers, they'll show up," Phil chuckled. "Don't rush it, guys!"

"Y'all just done it!" Jamie giggled. "Now Mikey's gonna do somethin' crazy!"

"Why do you say that, Jamie?" Josh asked.

"Who do you think taught Cory and Sean to prank?" Jacob answered.

"Good point," Josh sniggered. "You're on your own, Phil; better you than me!"

"Daddy?" CJ asked softly, "Why ain't you mad and punishing us for doing stuff without you tellin' us to do it?"

"Yeah," Chad added, "We did all kinds of stuff today without askin' you first. We even messed with scalpels and stuff."

'Time to walk the tightrope,' Josh thought as he formulated his answer. "Guys, first off, when you are doing things as Clan members, I will advise you, but I don't make the rules you have to follow; at those times, Cory, Marc, and Danny do. That means if I try to punish you for something you're doing while following Clan rules, I'll be in the wrong. Today you guys were being Doctors, legally according to Danny and Marc, which means there is one rule that applies to you above any other, the Hippocratic Oath. In a lot more words than I want to repeat right now, it basically has two important parts: 'I shall do no harm', and 'Anything I learn is between me and my patient'. One of the other parts states that 'If I don't know, I will locate someone who does to assist me'."

Josh paused to allow it to sink in, then continued. "As long as you follow those rules, there is nothing I can say about what you are doing. There are two new members of our household today because you followed the rules for Doctors, then followed the rules of the Clan. Jamie and Jacob can correct me if I'm wrong, but the way I understand it is that since Nigel decided to move in as our AI, you needed to decide if either one of the two families living here would be a good place for Andrei."

Jamie interrupted. "That's close enough. CJ actually called us; he'd made the promise while rushing to save Nigel, and wanted to make sure he didn't screw up. Since Chad was in the same room with Andrei, Chad felt a possible bond, which was enough for us to say to go for it."

Jacob took over. "CJ and Chad can 'see' things in a way most other people can't; if they tell you to turn down a placement, or to do a rescue, you can ask questions later, just do it. They're both under the Intel Corps oath, which means they'll never lie about official mind stuff. They'll call in one of Kyle's guys if evidence is needed, but they're tuned to a part that gives a great warning."

"That must be what Davie was showing them," Josh mused. "He called it the ability to see the soul. They don't actually see it, but from what I got they can feel it." Feeling Andrei shifting, Josh added "Andrei, that means that even while you were fighting for your life, your little brothers used their new responsibilities to make sure that you were with a family that wanted you. Just so you know, if you had been orphaned, I would have been making calls to do the same thing, your brothers just beat me to it."

"I still don't know why you want an old worn out android like me," Andrei whispered.

"If you were worn out, son, I'd be talking to Marc about the joint upgrades he's developed," Josh replied softly. "I'm a doctor, remember? So is your little brother, the one who operated the biobed that kept you stable until we could fix you up. Both of us have a duty to make sure ALL of you is okay, not just the parts that got hurt. I had to rebuild your knees, the retainers were damaged beyond repair. So you have new knees, but everything else is holding up really good. We checked every joint and bone for damage, so I think I'd know if you were worn out. There are some updates available for your base programming, but other than that you're not as bad off as you think. Your biofeedback module was replaced just to be sure, since recently two of your fellow androids had issues with theirs after they suffered extensive damage; the new one should fix that."

After a pause to let Andrei absorb the information, Josh added "I want you because my heart says you're family. There doesn't need to be any other reason; even if I lived forever, that is enough to call you my son until the day I die."

"He really means it, we can feel it," Chad assured Andrei.

"Do I have to get my program updated?" Andrei asked, obviously nervous.

"You should, but me and Chad ain't gonna force you," CJ replied. "We'll only do it if you want to."

"Won't Dad make me?" Andrei whispered.

"He can't, he ain't an android doctor," Willy piped up. "He can fix your biological stuff, but the android parts gotta have CJ, Chad, or one of the docs at Saint Mikeys that are android certified."

"I got a family again, I don't want to be terminated," Andrei stated barely loud enough to be heard.

"You're my brother. I wouldn't terminate you even if you asked; I'd have Marc talk to you, and if you convince him, he's gotta do it!" CJ stated firmly. "I just got you, why would I kill you?"

Andrei didn't need to be an empath to hear the hurt in his little brothers voice, so he tried to explain. "I'm sorry, bro. I trust you guys and Dad, but I don't really want anyone else messing with me and my matrix. If you had to watch your friend be deactivated with an axe, you'd be this way too."

"His imprint might still be in his matrix if they didn't destroy it!" Chad noted, earning him a stare from his entire family for a total of three seconds before all hell broke loose.

"That was murder!" Josh and Phil both stated in unison. Obviously, the boys agreed, as all at once orders started flying.

"Nigel, set condition Red!" CJ ordered.

"Jacob to Marc! Possible botched forced termination reported, scramble the hospital!"

"Josh to Mike! We've got a reported attempted murder of an android, can you and the boys help?"

"HQ, this is Jamie, Intel to Condition Yellow, I need a full team at the AI Annex NOW!"

"Nigel, upload everything you know to Stevie!"

"Andrei, I need to look in your head to see everything that happened," Jamie stated.

"Sammy? Are we good enough with phasers yet?" Ash and Ivo asked their commbadges in unison.

Before everyone was done speaking, the room started to fill with various people, some only stopping in long enough to drop off needed equipment. Johnny was on his communicator, and after a quick conversation announced "Marc's got a portable biobed hot and ready to teleport with a portable terminal and any cables we need. CJ, he says you're lead, call him if you got questions."

Phil suddenly found himself speechless, as his son's question had been answered by them vanishing for a second then returning wearing Clan Security cloaks. Seconds after they re-appeared, two personal shield generators and a pair of phasers appeared, which the two boys quickly added to their uniforms.

"Thanks, Andrei," Jamie stated as he spun around. "Nigel, tell Marc that based on Andrei's memories we have a confirmed trapped personality that had termination attempted against his will. As long as his matrix wasn't fried, we're gonna need a body."

"Message delivered, Jamie. Stevie reports that the tenth floor is now online and prepared for possible emergency recovery. Doctor Furst wishes to know if you could verify the physical age that I remembered."

"Tell him plan for a six year old," Jamie spat. "Prepare to deliver teams to Mishawaka, Indiana. Seven hundred block of Liberty Street."

"Ownership of the house has not changed in the time since the incident, and it is not a rental," Jacob added. "Positive identification of the former owner still being alive, he's a professor at Notre Dame. Activate all teams NOW!"

Mishawaka, Indiana: Liberty Street

The quiet of the street was suddenly broken by the squeal of tires as a police officer slammed on his brakes. The reason for the sudden stop was a large group of children that appeared out of nowhere just as he was passing them; a group which had multiple members who were obviously armed. By the time his cruiser came to a stop, he was calling in, then he made sure his weapon was ready as he got out of the car. "Police! Freeze and drop your weapons!"

"We are with Clan Short, responding to a murder attempt," Ash responded loud enough to be heard. "Please holster your weapon, we can provide identification."

"Why should I believe you, kid?"

Not giving Ash a chance to respond, Josh yelled "Considering that you have at least a dozen Federation-issued phasers aimed in your direction, my question is why you can't use logic to realize that the only way a kid is going to have one of those is if they are with Clan Short."

"Keep running your mouth, buster; it'd be a shame if yo..."

The officer never had a chance to finish, as Ashton had noticed that his finger had moved onto the trigger as he moved his gun to point at Josh. "He's stunned, Uncle Josh," Ashton announced flatly. "Jerk!"

"You can say 'asshole', at least in this case," Josh replied as he went over to the officer. After disarming him and cuffing him, Josh keyed the officer's radio. "Dispatch, this is Doctor Joshua Michaels, Federation Youth Services, I have priority traffic."

"Proceed with priority traffic, Doctor."

"Officer 745 has been detained after an attempt to use deadly force on a properly identified Federation team responding to a report of an attempted murder. The case is under Federation and Clan Short jurisdiction due to the victim. Please have a supervisor retrieve the officer's vehicle and equipment from this location; the officer is being detained by Federation Security."

Josh was starting to wonder if the radio had failed, when a different voice came on the channel. "Doctor Michaels, this is Lieutenant Simms, Shift Supervisor. Be advised two units are enroute to provide assistance if needed, they are authorized to take possession of the officer's equipment. Please retain his portable until your investigation is completed to allow communication."

"Acknowledged, thank you Lieutenant," Josh replied as he began removing the radio from the officer. "Federation Youth Services Clear."

Once the radio was removed, Ashton keyed his communicator. "Family Clan Short AI Annex Security to Federation Security, Lieutenant Ashton Pierce speaking. I have a Terran law enforcement officer here for beam up; charges are obstruction of Federation Youth Services and Family Clan Short on an official investigation and attempted use of deadly force on same after being informed of our identity."

"Acknowledged Lieutenant. Just once could you wait until the ink is dry on the announcement of a new division before you guys start sending us more idiots? Go ahead and flag the officer, I've got your charges filed.

"He's flagged, and it ain't our fault some people can't understand their native language!"

"That's a problem no matter where you are. I've got him locked in, awaiting your command Sir."

"Energize," Ashton ordered.

A few seconds later, the Federation Security dispatch replied "We have him. Give us a yell if you need any backup, I've got you flagged as actively deployed. Federation Security out."

"Thanks, I hope we don't need it! AI Annex out."

Josh smiled at Ash. "You did good; I'd never have known that was your first time."

"Thanks, Uncle Josh," Ash replied with a big smile, knowing somehow that Josh was being honest.

To their surprise, a transporter beam began to materialize about ten feet away, quickly resolving into a 40 year old man in a Federation Security uniform. The man looked around as soon as he materialized, then turned to face CJ and Chad. "Directors CJ and Chad Michaels?"

"Yes?" both boys replied in unison, too surprised to follow their instinct of running to Josh's side for protection.

"I'm Commander Bruce Watson, Commander of the Federation Security Midwest Americas Division. With your permission, I would like to assist your Divisional Security detail with interacting with the local law enforcement that are being provided without your request. We intercepted the radio transmissions between your dad and dispatch, and I really don't think your team needs the extra distraction of keeping tabs on people unfamiliar with Federation and Family Clan Short procedures."

Josh didn't need any special skills to read the faces of his sons. Both boy's postures reflected their increased confidence at being treated as an equal by what appeared to be a very important adult, one who asked their permission instead of telling them what they had to do.

CJ spoke for both of them as he replied. "Thank you, Commander Watson. Ash and Ivo are the security leads, could you work with them?"

"It would be my pleasure, and I'm sure they have a few questions that I might be able to answer while we're working," Commander Watson replied with a smile. "You're never too old to learn something new."

Not waiting to be pointed out, Ash and Ivo came over and introduced themselves. Once they understood that despite Commander Watson's rank that they were still in charge of the security for the operation, they began to lay out what they knew. By that time, three police cruisers arrived, the officers approaching slowly as they studied the group on the sidewalk.

  "Officers," Commander Watson announced clearly. "I'm Commander Bruce Watson, Commander of the Federation Security Midwest Americas Division. I will be your liaison with the Command Staff of the Family Clan Short AI Division Annex." Pointing out the indicated people as he introduced them, he continued. "Those two are Directors CJ and Chad Michaels. This is their show, gentlemen; if you are not able to follow their directions without argument, please return to your vehicle and leave. These two are Lieutenants Ashton and Ivo Pierce, Family Clan Short AI Division Annex Security. They are recognized and commissioned by the Federation, and are the leads on all security matters on this operation. The same thing goes with them, if you can't jump when either one says jump, you are a hazard to yourself and the team; save us the bodybag and leave now if you won't follow their orders."

All three officers visibly relaxed, then proceeded to introduce themselves to CJ and Chad, then to Ash and Ivo, with Commander Watson included in the security introductions. Having been given a quick mental briefing by Jamie and Jacob, Ash took point and brought the officers up to speed.

"Before we start, you need to know that Vulcan has recognized Earth-produced Androids by Vision Industries as a sentient species. That means all Federation laws regarding sentient species apply unless specifically excluded by the Federation Council. Keep this in mind; the ONLY way to kill an android is to destroy their positronic matrix, otherwise their personality still remains inside their head. We have a report of an android who was forced into an attempted termination against his will. As Federation and Planetary laws of the period when this occurred clearly specified that termination was only to be performed by an entity trained and equipped to do it properly, only at the android's request, we are not applying the Vulcan determination retroactively. If it is found, as the evidence suggests, that the personality is still active, we intend to pursue charges of attempted murder under Federation definitions."

"Give me a minute, please," one of the officers stated as he retrieved his mic. At Ash's nod, he keyed it and spoke. "914 to Dispatch, I need a Tac and Lieutenant Simms ASAP."

"Acknowledged 914. All units, clear Tac-3. Tac-3 is assigned for your traffic, 914."

"914 acknowledged. Be advised, 738, 827, Federation Youth Services, and Clan Short moving to Tac-3."

"Acknowledged, 914."

After adjusting his radio, with Josh and the other two officers doing the same, the sergeant keyed his mic again. "914 on Tac-3."

"738 on Tac-3"

"827 on Tac-3"

"FYS on Tac-3"

Tapping his commbadge, Ivo added "Clan Short on Tac-3", giving the local officers a grin when he saw their shocked looks at him accessing a scrambled channel.

"Control on Tac-3. What you got, Jeff?"

"This one could get hot, Mike. These young men have got a solid case of possible murder of an android, and they've got a way to make it stick. You might want to give the DA a heads-up, anything these guys don't claim I know he's going to want to. It's serious enough that Commander Watson of Federation Security is on-site."

"I'll get on it, Jeff. Consider yourselves TAD to Clan Short until further notice. I'll keep this channel open, assume assistace will be provided as needed."

"914, 738, and 827 TAD to Clan Short, acknowledged," Jeff repeated, making the assignment official.

Now that the official radio traffic was completed, Jeff turned to Ash and asked "Do we have a warrant, or are you running this under probable cause?"

"Ya know, it might be nice to use a warrant," Ash replied with a tilt of his head. Tapping his commbadge, he asked "Hey Nigel, can you come up with a warrant for CJ and Chad to sign?"

"Extend your right hand, I am sending it now," Nigel replied. "I have already affixed the credentials of the Directors, so no signatures will be required."

"Thanks!" Ash replied as he stuck out his hand, only to have a half-inch thick pile of paperwork land on it. Jeff reacted the fastest, grabbing the bound pile before Ash dropped it from the unexpected weight.

Only bothering to scan the front page, Jeff let out a low whistle. "Yeah, this'll handle everything. I'm afraid to see the supporting documents! Looks like we're on our way to 915 Liberty, how do you want to handle this, Boss?"

Ash and Ivo exchanged amazed glances, the fact that they really were in charge finally hitting them. After a few seconds of twin-grams, Ash replied "Why don't you three get us inside, with Commander Watson backing you up. We'll take point once the door is open, since we can stun with our phasers."

"I saw that look," Jeff stated with a smile. "You just made the right decision, using the experience of your team instead of trying to be the hero. Keep that up and you'll never have to worry about your team covering your back."

"Thanks," Ash replied with a relieved grin. "What would you recommend?"

Jeff smiled, aware that his little lesson had took hold. "You brought up a valid point with the phasers. I think that if Commander Watson and Chet take the back, we won't lose any suspects trying to escape. The rest of us can take the front, which should make things easy."

"That works, but I think Jamie or Jacob should be back there too," Ash replied. "They're Clan Intel, and can do mind scans to warn us of any issues on either side."

"I agree," Jeff nodded. "Commander Watson, does the plan work for you?"

Commander Watson nodded. "I think it should cover all of the bases; I already have a tactical team on standby to deploy within seconds if needed, so we have the manpower to cover things if they go south."

"I'll take the back," Jamie interjected.

Ash nodded as he gave Jacob a thumbs-up. "Okay, everyone go live, I'll have Nigel drop us in position."

Jeff was in shock for a split second when he saw almost half of the group pull out phasers and adjust the settings, keeping them at the ready. Taking the hint, he pulled his own weapon and prepared for action, then verified that his partners had done the same.

Ash watched the group, and as soon as he saw that his team had activated their personal shields, he tapped his subvocal. "Nigel, deploy on my mark! 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... MARK!"

"CLAN SHORT SECURITY! OPEN UP OR WE'RE COMING IN, WE HAVE A WARRANT!" Jeff announced loud enough to be heard on the next block, just after beating on the door hard enough to rattle the windows next to it.

A few seconds later, a woman opened the door with a scowl, immediately stating "What is this warrant bullshit?"

Before she could continue, a boy who looked about six came streaking through the door, targeting the first Clan crest he saw. "I KNEW you'd find me!" he exclaimed as he latched onto Ivo for dear life.

Ivo picked the boy up, then guided the boy to lay his head on his shoulder. After double-checking what he'd accidentally felt, he announced "Access port!"

"Get your little ass back in here before I beat the life out of you!" the woman screeched.

If there had been any doubt in Josh's mind as to the bloodline of his former nephews, the next few seconds proved they were one hundred percent Michaels. CJ and Chad had been getting Intel updates from Jamie, with a detailed scan done as soon as the boy ran out. 

In a growl that sent chills down the back of every team member, CJ and Chad ordered "Put that bitch in isolation, NOW!"

Fortunately, Nigel was monitoring. A second later, the woman vanished, earning a small cheer from the little boy who was latched onto Ivo. The rest of the team had to quickly scramble, due to the enraged directors deciding they were not going to wait to enter the house. Having received the floor plan from Jamie, they headed for the basement door while the rest of the team was clearing the adjoining rooms of the house. Despite the leech attached to him, Ivo stayed with CJ and Chad, his phaser at the ready in his free hand. Finding the door to the basement padlocked, CJ turned to Ivo and growled "Open it!"

Ivo managed to change the settings on his phaser, and quickly cut the lock off of the door. Now joined by the team members that had been in the back, they headed into the basement. CJ and Chad immediately headed over to a door at the far end, opening a closet that only had two items on the shelves ... the complete heads of two android boys.

Jacob scowled as he turned to Commander Watson. "Professor Gregory Haverhill, Notre Dame Administration Building, room 212. You are authorized deadly force."

Grimly, the Commander nodded as he opened his communicator. "Team Charlie, set Red Alert. University of Notre Dame Administration Building, room 212. Subject is Professor Gregory Haverhill. You have full discretion. Watson out."

"Acknowledged, deploying. Charlie out."

Knowing that Clan Short was involved, and that by the tone in their Commander's voice something bad had happened, the leader of Charlie squad took the 'full discretion' part of the order very seriously. There were actually five "Charlie" squads on standby; as each one in front went out, the next in line would rotate up. Not taking any chances, he reached over and slammed two switches on the console in front of him. "Charlie Two, Charlie Three. You are immediately activated, deployment immediately. Transporter Room Delta."

By the time they reached the transporter room, Intel had located pictures to identify their target. After passing them out, the leader stated "This is a Level 1 operation. Charlie Three, you have perimeter; nobody goes in, nobody leaves. period. Charlie Two, interior. If something smells funny, call in the dogs. Charlie One, we're taking out the trash. This is a Clan Short operation, react accordingly. Lock and load, we're hot."

Administration Building

Professor Haverhill was just finishing his review and failure of the latest student's work who thought that a paper on Android Rights was a good idea, when the double doors to his office literally exploded off of the hinges. Before he had a chance to say a word, he realized he was staring down the barrels of five phaser rifles, held by men who obviously knew how to use them. A sixth man approached him from the side, stating "Professor Gregory Haverhill, under orders of Family Clan Short of Vulcan you are hereby placed under arrest. Be advised that we are authorized to use deadly force if you resist."

Four hours later:

"Thanks for taking care of the trial, Cory; I'm not sure the boys are ready for that yet," Josh stated as he took a seat, trying to relax for the second time that day.

"If I get my way," Cory responded. "they'll never have to preside over one. They're doctors, not judges. The two jobs don't mix. This time all we had to do was turn it over to Federation Security; Commander Watson's going to throw the entire library at them."

"Going by his comments once Marc taught CJ how to bring the brain online without a body," Josh chuckled, "I'm pretty sure he's going to be standing by to deliver the sentence personally."

"Yeah," Cory agreed as he looked over at the pair of mini-Marc-clones taking a nap on Phil's lap. "I can't believe the dude bought five exact copies of Marc, then put the ones he wasn't ready for on life support. Using it as an experiment at the University let him get away with it out in the open. What was really sick was that he used the exoskeletons in his robotics class."

"Hey, I'm not going to argue, but I got the better end of the deal," Jeff, the officer from the Mishawaka Police Department stated. "I just got off the phone with Eric; he says that I'm to take a month off to settle in, then I can start."

"What did he say when you told him you were Divisional Security too?" Josh asked.

"He offered the help of the county's best shrink," Jeff chuckled. "That's okay though; Amanda, Jason, and Alex need a little time with Marvin and Melvin without worrying about me at work. I still want to know how you happened to have a furnished house with six bedrooms in your back yard without knowing it."

"I'd explain it," Cory giggled, "but then Josh would probably have to sedate you! Just roll with it, trust me!"

They were interrupted by Marvin and Melvin running over to attach themselves to Jeff's leg. "Daddy! Uncle Ivo says there's a REALLY BIG pool in the back and that if you say it's okay then he can teach us how to swim, can we, can we?"

"Slow down, munchkins," Jeff chuckled as he guided the identical boys up onto his hips. "Yes, you can let your Uncle teach you, but not tonight. You've got two big brothers who really want to spend some time with you and teach you some of the games that your Mom and me taught them. Your Uncle Jamie and Uncle Jacob are getting things moved from our old house now, so pretty soon we'll be able to dig out the board games for kids your age."

"Thanks for finding us, Daddy!" the pair exclaimed as they gave Jeff a sloppy kiss on both cheeks, then dropped down to gather some brother cuddles.

"I can't believe they're this loving after being in an induced coma for so long," Jeff whispered as the twins pounced their ten and twelve year old brothers.

"I'm pretty sure that in their minds, you're their first family," Cory stated. "I doubt they bonded with the Professor after he bought them, going by how their three other matching munchkin brothers are acting."

At that point, Ivo joined them with the first of the boys he'd encountered still happily attached to his side. "I heard that," he giggled, "and Matt's proving it!"

"That's what I forgot!" Cory sniggered, "Matt, do you want Ivo to be your new Daddy?"

"Yeah!" Matt replied with his head bouncing like a yo-yo.

"Ivo, Matt has expressed the wish to have you as his caregiver, and after review of your history I approve of the request. Are you willing to raise Matt as if he was your own blood, with the understanding that he could very well outlive you without physically aging a day? Will you agree to seek guidance in situations that you are not yet prepared for, to ensure that he receives the best possible life that you can provide?"

Ivo looked down, only to find a pair of hope-filled eyes expectantly waiting for his answer. Unable to break the gaze even if he'd wanted to, Ivo gave the only reply that his heart would allow. "Yes." 

To Be Continued ...