Surprisingly, the group made it through the Pacific Rim Division breakfast with no more instant additions to Clan Wagner. The peace was shattered, however, just as the guests were finishing their meals by the arrival of Jay and Chris, dressed in their cozy cuzzie fuzzies, blue fuzzy top hats, and tee-shirts stating "Official Fuzzy Provider of the RoH".
Instantly, most of the room pulled their Mr. Fuzzy puppets out of their pockets or waistbands, then held them up as they squeaked "HI JAY!"
"Hello, my fuzzy minions!" Jay squeaked back with his own Mr. Fuzzy. Chris hid his face behind his own puppet to hide the fact he was about to lose it. In that other life, pre-Battle Of Earth, he had a boring family, and Mr. Fuzzy only came out to play when alone with Jay. Now there were potentially thousands of Mr. Fuzzy puppets around the Clan.
Looking around the room with his puppet, Jay squeaked "My fuzzy sense says there are fuzzy and unfuzzy head fuzzies that are missing their fuzzy uniforms! We can't have unfuzzied head fuzzies giving fuzzy guidance with no fuzzies to wear, can we?"
"NO!" everyone with a Mr. Fuzzy squeaked in reply, ignoring the fact that most of their guests were now rolling on the floor.
"ALDEN!" Chris ordered via his Mr. Fuzzy, "We need the Emergency Fuzzy Kit, NOW!"
"And every head shrink in the Clan!" Finn yelled as he was trying to catch his breath.
As everyone with a Mr. Fuzzy near Finn decided to give him a fuzzy tickle attack, a wheeled fuzzy blue box with blue and green strobing eyes on all four sides popped into place next to Jay. At the same time, Alden announced over the Divisional paging channel "Fuzzy Alert! Fuzzy Alert! All hands man your puppets! This is not a drill! Fuzzy Alert! Fuzzy Alert! All hands man your puppets!"
At that moment Dr. Weiner, Dan Richardson, and Dr. Yates came running into the dining room, all three in full-body Mr. Fuzzy costumes. "Alden, our couches!" Dan squeaked, causing three very fuzzy blue couches to replace the nearest three empty tables. Those still sitting upright from Clan Wagner started sliding down their chairs, crying with laughter.
"Which one of you was having unfuzzy thoughts about your teddy bear's fuzzies?" Dr. Weiner and Dr. Yates squeaked in unison.
They were answered by a group of six- and seven-year-olds carrying a still laughing Finn over and depositing him on the couch. Shane and JR found themselves being escorted to the other two couches by their younger brothers, just so Finn didn't feel alone.
Shane grinned as he looked up at Dan, who was trying to keep a straight face inside his costume. "No, I haven't been perving on any teddy bears, but I do perv on my two husbands in one body!"
"OH NO!" Dan squeaked, "Doctor Jay! The patient's fantastic fuzzy fantasy feelings foundation has cracked! We need emergency fuzzy fortification stat!"
"ALDEN!" Jay squeaked, "Emergency Cozy Cuzzie Fuzzies, STAT!"
Shane's eyes grew wide as he suddenly found the lower half of his body only clothed in a fuzzy blue jockstrap-like creation that strangely resembled the puppet on Jay's hand. Before he could comment, Chris had retrieved, and forced into his arms, an anatomically-correct male stuffed teddy bear covered in long blue fuzzy hair, wearing an elephant-trunk speedo with 'functional' trunk.
"Sit up," Dan said as he pulled a Mr. Fuzzy-cloned blue wig out of a hidden pocket, placing it on Shane's head. Jay grabbed Shane's left arm, quickly sliding a Mr. Fuzzy onto it. "Dr. Chris, could you please inform the patient of the fundamental fabulous fuzzy facts of life?"
"Absolutely!" Chris giggled. "Someone save me some popcorn!"
Shane cracked up completely as he finally looked around, finding the entire room watching the show, puppets on one hand and popcorn in the other.
While Jay and Chris were entertaining the group, Timmy took charge of making sure his Clan Wagner nephews and their guests each had their own Mr. Fuzzy puppets, along with any other required fuzzy accessories that they might be qualified for. Just as the standing ovation for the departing three doctors died out, Timmy headed towards DJ, accompanied by AJ, Axel, and a slight six-year-old boy with beige-brown hair, said boy tightly clutching a light blue Mr. Fuzzy to his chest.
The four boys came to a stop a safe distance away from the group, as King Aalona and his family walked into the Dining Hall and stopped to talk with the group of leaders.
"Aloha, Your Highnesses," DJ greeted the Royal Family, fully aware of their request for reduced formality in what was now officially their second home.
"Aloha, Patriarch," King Aalona replied, smiling at the unconscious twitch DJ exhibited at being addressed by his title. "Don't worry, it gets easier after a decade or so. As yourself and I are equals, it would be proper for yourself and your family to address my family informally. I would be honored if you were to accept this."
"Thank you, Ekewaka," DJ smiled. "You already know Tanner; this is our wife, Chek, and this is Andrew Wagner. Andrew is starting to work out just where he will fit in our family, and is the Ambassador to Family Clan Short for Clan Wagner."
Noticing how Andy was seeking shelter in Tanner's arms, King Aalona smiled as he softly stated "Welcome to the Jeweled Isles, Chek and Andrew. Andrew, I have personally seen the lengths that Preston goes through to ensure that you are safe from those who might hurt you in any way on this base. Kaimi has freedoms on the Clan bases which I cannot allow elsewhere, even in our palace. You may address me the same as DJ and the rest of his family address me, and I would be honored if you would add the Republic of Hawai'i to your title as Ambassador."
Queen Aalona added, "Thanks to the welcome that the Pacific Rim Division has given our son, our Palace has been brought up to the same standards as this base for shielding. We were not aware at the time that Kaimi being welcomed into the Clan would make our Palace an extension of this base, but now we are just as safe there as we are here. If we are out in public, we now have two delightful young men, Frankie and Grissom, who act as our primary security. The fact that they literally look like gorillas tends to deter most people who might consider harming us."
Andy subconsciously realized that he was actually being treated as an equal by the King and Queen, despite them barely even knowing him. After getting assured by DJ mentally that they were trusted, Andy finally allowed himself to relax some, despite the fact they were adults. "Do you really mean it about me being an Ambassador to Hawai'i?"
King Aalona nodded. "While I am comfortable with working with Preston for things which are happening on the Islands, I do not wish to burden him with acting as a liaison between the RoH and the rest of the Clan. I am comfortable trusting those that DJ and Tanner trust, which puts you on the short list of people who I would be comfortable interacting with for official business."
Prez added "Besides, that gives the Royal Family access to the House of Surak, Clan Wagner, and Family Clan Short with just one call. Don't worry, Andy, I'll be fine with it; there are times that calling you will get a faster response than calling me."
Andy gave a small smile, realizing that Prez was giving him a not-so-subtile hint that he should accept. "I would be honored, Your Highness."
"I just updated Vulcan," Justy's voice announced over Andy's subvocal. "Grandfather stated that your decision was logical and reflects well on yourself and your Clan. That means you're doing great!"
"Thanks, Justy," Andy managed to reply through his blush.
"George, I know you're lurking," DJ giggled. "Tell Liam that his daddy is overdue for a pounce!"
"Your wish is my command," George sniggered.
"That was mean, Uncle DJ!" Kaimi giggled.
"Yep!" DJ nodded, grinning at the Hawaiian Prince.
"Are you done with adult stuff yet? Timmy's waiting for us," Kaimi asked.
DJ turned his head, spotting Timmy waiting with the three boys. "Come on over guys, you're safe."
Timmy led the boys over, all three of his companions keeping Timmy between themselves and the adults. Recognizing their actions, the King and Queen both took a seat to be less threatening.
Once the boys were at DJ's side, Timmy did introductions. "Unc'l an' Aunt Highnessesses, Kaimi; these are my nefews AJ, Alex, an' PJ. DJ's gonna 'dopt PJ 'cuz he can't talk no more, and PJ's gonna stay wit' AJ an' Alex in their bedroom."
"You know, Gizmo, usually the new parent gets asked before it becomes official," DJ smirked. "Lucky for you, Rand heard you plotting and warned us!" Turning to PJ, he looked into the six-year-old's gray eyes and stated, "PJ, we've already talked it over. Do you want to join our family? You can just nod or shake your head; I know you want to keep your new puppet handy."
PJ's apprehensive look faded to a smile as he enthusiastically nodded his head in the affirmative.
"Daddy, Uncle Timmy help'd PJ, Alex, an' me so we can talk in each other's heads now," AJ announced.
"Thanks, Gizmo," DJ smiled, giving Timmy a nod. "AJ, does that mean that you plan on helping PJ like you help Alex?"
"Uh-huh!" AJ nodded.
"I'm really proud of you," DJ encouraged. "Prez, could you do the honors, please?"
"Sounds to me like Timmy's already done them," Prez smirked.
"Unc'l Prez!" Timmy giggled. "I'm not like Daddy!"
"I'll tell him you said that!" Prez smirked as he reached out and began tickling Timmy's ribs.
"Hey!" Timmy exclaimed as he tried (unsuccessfully) to escape the Tickle Rimmer. "No fair!"
"Fair's what I say it is, squirt!" Prez laughed. Once he'd tickled Timmy into a ball on the ground, Prez yelled "John! You started this, get your butt over here and help PJ with answering the questions!"
Seeing the hurt look appearing on AJ's face, Keith explained, "AJ? John's a Vulcan-certified telepath; that means nobody can argue about what he says PJ wants. Since PJ is going to be your brother, other non-Clan people can try to say that you just said things that you want to happen; this way, Prez is making sure that he's your brother forever."
Giving a shy smile, AJ replied softly "Thanks, Uncle Keith."
"You're welcome, nephew," Keith replied with a smile. "We're just like your Daddy; if you don't understand why we're doing something, just ask. You're our family just as much as you're your family, okay?"
"Okay," AJ nodded.
"Hey, Deej!" John grinned as he walked up, "You trying to catch up with Cory as far as kid count?"
"Stuff it, John," DJ replied with a smirk. "You think you can keep your feet on the ground long enough to be helpful for once?"
"You're swimming later," John laughed. Turning to the three younger boys, he grinned "DJ didn't say anything about your feet staying on the ground! You want to see it happen from up here?"
Having already seen John and Stephen playing, all three boys nodded with wide grins. "Me too!" Prince Kaimi pleaded.
"AlazaZAP!" John yelled theatrically, then levitated all four boys to the ceiling before lowering them down to be at the same eye level as the adults.
"AGAIN!" AJ and Kaimi exclaimed, their silent companions nodding furiously in agreement.
"Tour Time!" John laughed, lifting the four boys back up, then sending them on three laps of the dining room before returning them to floating at his side. Three of the four were all giggles when they were done; the fourth, PJ, appeared to be giggling, but there was no sound escaping his mouth.
While he was entertaining the four boys, John was also, with PJ's permission, looking into PJ's past. All of the Clan leadership received his report, which became obvious when Prez's face suddenly matched his hair. Recognizing what was happening, DJ growled "Proceed, Director."
Prez didn't need to be told twice. "ALDEN! Find the sire of the soon-to-be-formerly Paquito Jack Plodzik. I want his skanky ass right here, right now, trussed up like a pig at a hog roast."
"Yes, Sir!" Alden quickly replied, knowing that his brother was on the warpath.
Turning to PJ, Prez stated, "PJ, you get to watch as I prove to you that your nightmare is over."
PJ nodded, already assured by John that he'd be completely safe. That point was amplified as the security for everyone present started popping in, every single one in full battle gear.
Looking around at the security, Prez instructed "If the low-life piece of shit twitches, cremate him."
The whistle of a large quantity of energy weapons being brought online wordlessly confirmed that the large group of specialists had no issue with the order Prez had given.
Surprisingly, King Aalona spoke up. "We shall witness this with Kaimi. As he is a brother of the Clan, we are aware that he will be exposed to situations such as this. It is preferred that we are present as he learns first-hand of the tools for Justice at his disposal."
"AJ wanted them to know too," John stated before anyone could ask. "Everyone here has the same report."
Prez just nodded, figuring John would fill him in sooner or later with details. He was going through the Safe Haven Act in his head, trying to decide just how many charges he could come up with.
Just as Prez finished compiling his list, Alden announced "Incoming in one minute. It had been transferred to a Federal facility in Colorado; they were more than happy to get rid of It."
Everyone who knew Prez cringed when they heard his reply, the tone of his voice clearly indicating that he had exceeded being pissed off and was now officially extremely enraged. "Deliver the subject," Prez growled in a low, flat tone.
Alden chose not to reply vocally, instead he did his best to accelerate the delivery. About fifteen seconds later, a mid-40's adult version of PJ appeared, his hands and feet chained to ensure he could not escape.
Not bothering with small talk, Prez began immediately. "Alden, start logging. Jason Plodzik, Family Clan Short of Vulcan hereby claims sole jurisdiction in accordance with Article 9 Section 9.1(a) Subsection 9.1(a)(ii) of the Federation Safe Haven Act in regards to your actions regarding your former son. Scan him, John and Chek."
"Yes, Director," John replied, keeping things official. Less than a minute later, John stated "Scan complete. Delivering results."
"Delivering my results as well." Chek announced flatly.
Prez was quiet for a full minute while he processed the report. Suddenly, he began speaking. "The following charges have been substantiated in accordance with Article 68, Section 68.1(a). Article 10, Section 10.1(c), failure to provide privacy for child, two counts. Article 11, Section 11.1, Strangulation and/or physical restraint, six hundred and forty-seven counts. Article 11, Section 11.5(a), intentional unprotected exposure to a situation known to cause grievous or fatal damage to a child, sixteen counts. Article 11, Section 11.6 inclusive, repeated physical abuse, nine hundred and forty-three counts. Article 13, Section 13.1, use of children for sexual gratification, two hundred and sixteen counts. Article 14, Section 14.5, violation of Article 13 which leads to permanent disability or fatal consequences to a child, two counts. Article 17, Section 17.4, Parent involved in actions which put child's physical or mental health in jeopardy, two counts. Article 18, Section 18.2, Parental Child Abduction, one count. Article 67 inclusive, unsafe conditions, two thousand three hundred and four counts. Based on telepathic testimony, the Federation charge of premeditated murder of your first son is hereby added to the scope of this trial."
"This court finds you guilty of all charges, in addition to being a sick son-of-a-bitch. In accordance with Article 200, you are sentenced to death, punishment to be delivered immediately. Bye-bye, asshole!"
Not wanting to risk making Prez repeat himself, the gathered security team quickly turned Jason into a smoking pile of ash. DJ spit on the pile, then ordered "Alden, take out the trash!"
"Gladly, Patriarch!" Alden replied, obviously not pleased with what the charges insinuated.
As teams of Vulcans appeared and began the post-trial mind melds, Antonio and Chris wandered over and did a complete scan of PJ, using the tricorders that were only broke out for advanced situations. Sadly shaking his head, Antonio turned to DJ. "I don't even think that Andrew's favorite perverted fish can help this time. That asshole making PJ deep-throat him caused too much damage; he would have died if the cops hadn't caught it in the act. Three years hasn't helped; there's not enough left of his voice-box to even use any of Marc's options."
"That's okay," DJ stated as he pulled his still-floating soon-to-be son into a hug. "He's our PJ, no matter if he ever gets to talk verbally."
With the Vulcan mind healers finished with their assistance, the group returned to their interrupted activity.
"Does anyone remember where we were at?" Prez asked with a lost look.
"PJ says you was goin' to give him a real daddy, poppa, and mommy, then you was goin' to make his name Preston John Wagner!" AJ offered helpfully.
Even the King and Queen chuckled at the looks that appeared on both Prez and John's faces. "It appears that you two have made an impression, Preston," King Aalona commented.
PJ nodding quickly with a big grin on his face confirmed the King's observation.
"Alden?" Prez called.
"Sorry bro, I'm on PJ's side," Alden giggled. "Hurry up; I need to show my cousins what a real beach looks like!"
Realizing that he'd get no sympathy from anyone surrounding him, Prez began. "PJ, do you want DJ, Tanner, and Chek as your new parents?"
PJ not only signed a "yes", but nodded his head quickly. John verbally verified his answer, stating "PJ has stated mentally that his answer is yes."
Prez looked at the group of prospective brothers and nephews that had gathered for the adoption. "I'll lose my voice asking each of you, so here's the deal. If you don't want PJ in the family, say something now, or else you can just suffer."
Prez looked each of the boys in the eyes as he scanned the group. Once he'd made eye contact with all of them, he stated "I'll take that as a yes, you all want him."
Turning to the parents, Prez stated "DJ, Tanner, and Chek Wagner, your horde has approved the request of Paquito Jack Plodzik to join in your family. Do you accept the wishes of Paquito and your existing offspring?"
"Yes," all three replied in unison.
"Do you swear that you will treat him no different than any other child of his age, and will not subject him to different standards because of his disability, supporting him and encouraging him as he matures?"
"Yes," the three replied again.
Before Prez could ask, John stated "PJ has confirmed mentally that he wishes to be known as Preston John Wagner from this point forward."
"I was afraid of that," Prez muttered before stating "The child shall now be known as Preston John Wagner; as Director of the Pacific Rim Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan, I approve this adoption."
Before anyone could react, the entire group, even the King and Queen, found themselves trapped in a massive group congratulations hug that included all of the watching kids in the dining room.
Fifteen-year-old Garth Grotjohan was standing back and watching as most of the group he'd arrived with were happily playing on the beach with their new friends. While everyone had been nice so far, he still was worried since it didn't appear that anyone was making sure the little guys stayed safe.
"Hey Garth, stop worrying!" a black-haired kid who looked like he was twelve stated as he walked up. "I've been there; your little brothers are safer than they've ever been."
"Who are you?" Garth asked.
Kaleo grinned, "Lieutenant Commander Kaleo Palakiko, Communications Officer, Pacific Rim Division. I've been in your shoes; a lot of those kids over there were my orphanage brothers, and they counted on me to protect them."
"Lieutenant Commander?" Garth scoffed, "You're not even old enough to have pubes yet!"
Kaleo smirked as he pulled down the front of his boardies and quipped "Hey guys, Garth says you're not supposed to be there!" After pausing a few seconds, he pulled the boardies back up, looked up, and stated "They say that they're staying. Next question?"
"Is there anyone here who's sane?" Garth quipped.
"Three or four, but we're working on them," Kaleo laughed. "Seriously, right now both Rand and Alden have multiple satellites watching this area; even sand fleas have to get approval to enter. Three of the kids that your brothers are playing with are able to freeze time if needed. A few of the older ones are carrying a cloaked weapon that can vaporize anyone who even thinks about hurting those kids; there are enough telepaths out there that we'd know before the intruder got close enough to grab one."
Garth's reply was cut off by Kaleo's sons Marv and Mark running over, Marv carrying something in his hands. "Daddy!" both boys exclaimed, "Can Nemo an' Sheila come home and stay with us?"
Kaleo looked down to find a pair of boxer crabs happily nestled in his son's hands. "Timmy's over helping build the sand tower, why don't you ask him if your friends will be okay living with us? If he says yes, ask him to help you tell Alden what you'll need."
"Okay, thanks Daddy!" the pair replied before spinning around to find Timmy.
"Daddy?" Garth asked as he watched the pair run off. "What in the Hell?"
"My husband Tory and I have adopted five ... so far," Kaleo grinned. "Let's take a walk; your brothers are going to have questions, and they'll expect you to have the answers."
Noah, Caleb, and Benny had grabbed a set of chairs to talk as they watched Alex, Ron, and Hunter instruct some of their guests on the fine art of sand castle building. "As I was saying," Noah stated, "since you're our brother, you and Alex get to use the Clan schools. They don't suck like public schools; we get to learn what we really need to match our skills. We've only made it to school a couple of days this month, but we get credit for the Clan stuff we've been doing instead."
"They LET you skip school?" Benny asked in amazement.
"They don't consider it skipping," Caleb grinned. "Besides, Cory doesn't give them a choice. When we built Rand, not only are we being graded on what we did, but we'll also be reviewed on our methods of training our new team. Mr. T has the clearance to review us; Noah and me have just about got our Doctorates in Electrical Engineering."
"How do they know what I'd be interested in?" Benny wondered.
"They came up with a test that adapts based on your answers," Noah explained. "It's not a normal test though; it asks opinions about things you watched, gives you games to check what gets your attention, and notes what kind of questions you ask your neighbor while you're taking it."
"You can talk during it? No way!"
"Yes way;" Caleb giggled. "In fact, not talking to your neighbor is considered bad. Mr. T says that talking to each other helps the test with checking both students for their retention."
"Weird!" Benny laughed. "Do you think you can talk Mom into it for me and Alex?"
"Scott's already working on it," Noah grinned. "Knowing Stevie, he's already updated Scott on your status in the Clan, so there's a few things that he'll strongly suggest be changed. You might just get your own bedroom after all, if I know Scott."
Stevie's voice interrupted their conversation. "Mom and Dad are over at your house now, Benny. Your Mom is getting the same talk my Mom did from Aunt Teri! I think Mom memorized it, she's stating it word-for-word!"
"Ohhh!" Noah and Caleb giggled in unison. "She hasn't got a chance!"
"Do I want to know?" Benny asked.
"It's good," Noah explained. "Aunt Teri is Cory's mom. When it comes to giving kids the best life they can, she don't take no crap. Between Uncle Jon and Aunt Mary, I think your mom's going to realize we don't do charity; we fix it so families can be their best."
None of the three had noticed the six-year-old that had quietly walked up while they were talking until he spoke. "Benny?" the boy asked timidly.
Remembering the black-haired boy from the introductions, Benny replied "Wassup, Brett?"
Brett smiled at Benny remembering his name. With his brown eyes in full puppy-dog mode, he quickly asked before he could chicken out, "Alex and me were talking and he says that you're the best big brother ever and that you're a daddy to him too and that you even got in trouble to show him what can happen then showed him how good guys act and I wanna have you as my daddy too if you will let me, pleeeaaassseee?"
At the shocked expression on Benny's face, Noah stated "You're Clan, bro."
Speechless as he processed the bombshell that was just dropped on him, Benny held out his arms, getting him a lapful of six-year-old milliseconds later.
Knowing exactly what was going through Benny's head, Caleb softly stated "Follow your heart, bro. You're no different than us, and you'll get the same support that we get, plus your Mom's support most likely. Why don't you just cuddle Brett while I break the news to your Mom?"
Benny nodded as he wrapped his arms around Brett, pulling him against his chest.
"Stevie, has Scott finished setting up communications at Benny's place yet?" Caleb asked.
"Yep, and Daddy just finished explaining why kids can adopt, too!" Stevie giggled. "Can I listen in?"
"Like me telling you no would stop you?" Caleb laughed. "Go ahead and connect me!"
Seconds later, the call connected. "Sirois residence," Benny's mom answered.
"Hi Mrs. Sirois, this is Caleb. I wanted to give you a call before things go more nuts. One of the hard-to-place orphans that DJ's son Finn invited to join us just dropped a verbal bomb on Benny, and Benny's still trying to figure out how to speak again."
"I heard that laugh, Jon!" Mrs. Sirois exclaimed, then replied, "After what I was just told, I'm afraid to ask, but what happened?"
Treading carefully, Caleb replied, "Brett, he's the six-year-old in question, was talking to Alex while they were building a sand castle. Alex did some bragging about how Benny was such a great big brother and even filled in as a dad. I guess Brett decided he wanted what Alex had too, so he came over to where we were sitting and watching them. Next thing we knew, Brett asked Benny to be his Daddy, and right now he's cuddled on Benny's lap; it looks like he's not planning to let go anytime soon. Nothing has been finalized; in fact, Benny hasn't found his voice to answer yet."
"A grandson was NOT on the list of things I expected the boys to bring back!" Mrs. Sirois chuckled. "After what Jon and Mary have been explaining to me, though, it's not that much of a surprise. Seeing you two with your sons proves their point. Since Benny and Alex snuck into the Clan without warning me, I just approved Scott's suggestions for bringing our house up to Clan standards; that means there is going to be room for Brett. Tell Benny I said it doesn't matter if it is as his son or his brother, either way I expect him to bring Brett home with him. I just accepted a job offer from Mary, so I don't foresee any issues."
"Congrats on the new job," Caleb replied. "If you want, you can ask Stevie to teleport you over for whichever one Benny decides. Bring Aunt Mary and Uncle Jon with you if you do; Jerry finally gave in and let KC teach Joey how to surf!"
"I think you just like shocking people," Mrs. Sirois laughed. "Thank you for letting me know what's happening; I think I'll take you up on the offer of a visit. I'll see you shortly!"
"You're welcome! We'll wait until you get here," Caleb promised, then ended the call. "You hear that, Benny?"
Benny nodded his head, then gave Brett a squeeze.
A few seconds later, all three adults appeared next to the seated boys. After one glance at Benny, Mary turned to Benny and Alex's mom and stated, "Beth, I think you're about to become a grandmother!"
Smiling, Beth quipped "Benny, you have to wait until at least after Thanksgiving to give your son a mother, understood?"
The shock at his mom's statement restored Benny's voice. "MOOOMMM!"
The soft giggles coming from Brett against his chest distracted Benny from saying more. "You'll get your turn, rugrat," he stated softly as he kissed Brett's forehead. Looking up and locking eyes with Noah, he asked "What do I gotta do?"
Noah smiled, "Being an Assistant Director has its perks! Caleb's getting ready to let your brother know what's happening. Once he's here, I'll make things official, then we'll make sure what Brett wants his name to be. I've got this for ya, bro."
Benny nodded, then thought over everything he'd seen since meeting the Clan. After some thought, he put a finger under Brett's chin and coaxed him to look up into his face. "Brett? I just want to make sure; do you want me as just your Daddy, or do you want me like I am for Alex?"
"My old daddy was nasty; I want a nice daddy," Brett replied softly.
Reading between the lines, Benny made his decision. "You're never gonna have to worry about a nasty daddy ever again, little guy." Looking over to Noah, he stated, "Do it, my son is coming home with me."
"Hey, Alex?" Noah asked, grinning as he heard Alex giving his mom a condensed rundown of their visit up to this point, "Would you mind taking a break on catching your Mom up on what you've done so far? Benny's got something really important he's doing that he wants you to watch, little bro."
Alex turned to finally look at Benny, his eyes getting wide when he saw how Brett was cuddled on his brother's lap. "What's happenin', Mommy?"
"You're about to become an Uncle," Beth replied. "You and your friends get to be witnesses."
After multiple glances between his mom and Benny, Alex finally decided this wasn't a joke. Turning to his new friends, Alex quipped, "I didn't know Benny was THIS awesome!"
Grinning at Alex's comment, Caleb stood up. "Could I have everyone's attention, please? I want to say a couple of things before Noah makes things official." Once everyone was watching, he continued, "Me and Noah became part of what you know as the Clan family back when you didn't need a calculator to count the members. We got a real family when our little brother, Antonio, decided that he wanted to share the new Dad that he'd just gotten. Noah taught me what being a brother meant before we ended up having to get help, and then he taught me what real love is. The two of us take being a brother more seriously than a lot of our Clan family, just because of our history; if one of us ever calls you our brother, it's for life. Earlier today in Orlando, we finally had the chance to tell Benny that he'd earned the title of brother in our hearts, and now we're honored to be a part of welcoming our new nephew into the family. This is just the beginning; we plan to be at Benny's side for the rest of his life, just like any brother should."
After a nod from Caleb, Noah took over. "This is Assistant Director Noah Barnes of the AI Division of Family Clan Short of the House of Surak of the Planet Vulcan. These proceedings are to determine the wishes of Brett Jesse Bolk, age six, of the planet Earth, in regards to his prospective adoption by Benjamin Frederick Sirois of Charleston, South Carolina, United States, Planet Earth. Brett, you have stated a desire to become the son of Benjamin; if this is your true desire in your heart, state your wish and I will make sure that you are wanted by the entire extended family."
"I want Benny to be my Daddy," Brett stated firmly.
Nodding, Noah turned to Beth. "Bethany Marie Sirois, Brett has expressed his wish to become the son of your eldest son, Benjamin. If the wish is accepted by Benjamin, do you swear under oath to support both Benjamin and Brett to the best of your abilities, providing assistance and guidance when needed to assure both subjects are able to grow to their full potential?"
While she was surprised at the bluntness of the question, Beth's respect for just how protective Clan Short was increased tremendously. "Yes, I do," she replied.
Turning to Alex, Noah asked, "Alexander Christopher Sirois, Brett has expressed his wish to become your nephew as the son of your eldest brother Benjamin. Do you swear under oath to support both your brother and Brett to the best of your abilities, providing guidance and support to Brett while maintaining and enforcing the rules and expectations of your brother Benjamin?"
The question made Alex realize that he was actually going to be a part of Brett's life, not just a playmate. In that one instant, his mind shifted; for the first time in his life, he was going to be at least partly responsible for someone else. "Yes, I do," he replied with pride.
Turning to Benny, Noah stated, "Benjamin Frederick Sirois, Brett Jesse Bolk has expressed the desire to become your son. Do you accept his proposal?"
"Yes," Benny replied.
Noah smiled his approval, then continued, "Do you swear under oath to raise Brett to the standards and expectations of Family Clan Short, seeking assistance from your Family, both genetic and Clan, whenever you are unsure of what is needed or need help in any way to ensure that Brett is afforded the best possible options to fulfill his potential?"
"Yes," Benny replied, some of his worries vanishing as he realized that he had more support than he expected.
"Brett," Noah asked, "do you want to change any part of your name?"
"I don't wanna be BJ no more, my mouth tastes funny if I'm called that," Brett stated. "Can I be Brett Benjamin Sirois?"
"Yes, you can, Brett," Noah replied, barely suppressing a frown at what Brett's statement could imply. "As Assistant Director of the AI Division of Family Clan Short, I declare that the child Brett Jesse Bolk shall hereby be known as Brett Benjamin Sirois, and approve the adoption of same by Benjamin Frederick Sirois. Any and all custodial and/or judgmental claims which may subvert or otherwise affect this judgment are hereby superseded and declared null and void under authority vested in myself by the Federation Safe Haven Act. Congratulations Benjamin and Brett, you are now a family."
"Justy to Noah," Noah's commbadge announced, "I got it all, Vulcan has confirmed. Liam says tell Brett that his mommy is proud of him."
"He heard you, Justy," Noah replied. Switching to subvocal, Noah silently added, "I know she died giving birth to him, tell Liam thanks for giving him even more happy memories of today."
"He said you're welcome," Justy replied. "I met Brett while he was here; that little guy needed some good to happen."
"The good is just starting," Noah stated. "Talk later, bro; I've got a new family member to hug."
"Give him one from me. Justy out."
Noah shifted his attention to Benny, and quickly asked on his subvocal "Are any of you AIs getting a picture of this?"
"I got it, Director," Rand replied. "It'll be waiting for you to get home."
"Thanks, Rand," Noah replied. He then headed over to where Benny, Brett, Alex, and Beth were engaged in a full-family hug. After giving each of them a hug, and passing on the one from Justy, he smiled at Benny and stated "I'm proud of you, bro."
As promised, the adults put together a massive beach cookout, working side-by-side with the Ewa Beach kitchen chefs to man enough portable grills to set off the volcanic activity warnings on multiple satellites. Chefs from the other bases handled cold sides and drinks. with two of Alden's VIs providing relay services between the kitchens and the outdoor serving line.
Having finished eating, Keith, Tanner, Chek, Dean, and Liam headed out to check with the guests to make sure they were enjoying themselves, leaving Prez, DJ, Andy, and Justy at the table to catch up with each other and discuss Andy's new job.
"... How you got your job is a good example," Justy explained. "These two had the general idea of what they wanted to happen, and they trusted me to handle the details. That's how it needs to be; neither one of them can spare the time to sort things like this out and still be the great parents that they are. When Grandpa Sarek explained it to me, he said that my job was to find the logical solution to the wishes of Cory. That was extended to the Directors as they were added. The more I do this, the easier it gets, since most of the stuff these boneheads pull I've already asked Grandpa about at least once."
"Doesn't he get mad about kids bugging him all the time?" Andy asked.
Justy shook his head. "No, but I have had him talk to me about not asking enough; sometimes little details can cause big changes. In your case, Prez making you a Core Rimmer was the key; having a position in a Vulcan family other than your own immediate Vulcan family opened the door for our House Patriarch to give you a title that only he could declare. Before we came over, I checked with Grandpa to verify my thoughts that the two of us should normally work as a team, unless something happens which would logically fall into an area that can only involve one of us. He said that my logic was sound, which means we can help each other to keep from getting overloaded."
"But he's your Grandpa," Andy started to reply.
"He's the Grandpa of every single one of us in the linage of House Surak," Justy clarified. "You and I are equal in his eyes, both in position AND in status as Family. All of us here are in the line of succession for House Surak; we're down the list quite a way, but we're on it. DJ and I are the two closest to the top; me, Jamie, and Jacob come right after Saren and the Dragon Division guys, then it goes to Cory and the rest of Mom and Dad's kids, then it goes to DJ. There's enough long-life kids in that list that we shouldn't need to worry for a few eons about it reaching us."
"Speaking of long-life, Andy," DJ interrupted, "Antonio has a theory that those little Archnanian hitchhikers swimming around in your blood have decided that they like some of us. If he's right, there's a chance that none of us will ever die of old age, or a lot of the things that come with it. He says that since you have the most drastic changes, he's going to scan you once a week to see just what is happening inside your body."
"Andy, tell him to upload everything to the Vulcan Longetivity Project," Justy stated. "If he argues, dunk him then send him to me; I'll make sure he knows that you have the same authority that I do. They're already onboard about Archnania; I had to ensure that the second an Archnanian came into Alpha Prime. When logic dictates it is necessary, the two of us can speak as Grandpa Sarek, and the only ones that can override us are Grandpa or the Vulcan Council. Don't use it too much, though; I think Grandpa enjoys teaching Humans to think with their brains, not their butts!"
Just to prove that he was paying attention, Prez muttered "I'm not too sure that some of these assholes lately had the capability to think from either place!"
"PJ's former sperm donor sure as hell didn't," DJ agreed.
"I think the average IQ of the human race went up five points or more the second he was fried," Justy quipped, "You deserve a Public Service award, Prez!"
"I thought I wasn't eligible until I hit my homophobic moose bag limit?" Prez smirked.
"I didn't know there WAS a limit!" DJ exclaimed in faux panic. "I'm in trouble if they start counting!"
"Don't worry, Deej," Justy laughed, "I don't think appointed government employees can count that high!"
Emboldened by how he was being included as an equal, Andy asked "Why is Justy's swimsuit so dry?"
"I'll fix that immediately, Ambassador!" multiple AI voices chorused from his commbadge. Justy immediately vanished, then seemed to flicker as one AI would return him, then the next would grab him.
Once he'd stabilized, Justy smiled at Andy. "I think you're right, bro; those fish are definitely perverted!" After allowing Andy's giggles to settle, Justy added "Just so you know, most of the Clan are afraid to dunk those of us that were there from the start. Cory caught me when I was getting out of the pool at Headquarters; after I told him who dunked me, he asked me a few questions about you. Once you get home, he's going to come over and help you sort out your emotions; Cory's a unique kind of empath, and he's really good with helping you understand what you're feeling, just by talking out what he's sensing with you. Thing is, he doesn't do that for just anyone; he'd be overloaded if he tried. You've got his attention, and it has nothing to do with me, DJ, Chek, Tanner, or Prez. Something inside him has told him that you're part of the inner circle, and he's going to do what he can to help you because of that."
"It's the same thing that made Deej and I do what we did," Prez added. "You're special in a good way, and some of us can feel it."
"Thanks," Andy blushed, his mind reeling at being singled out for something positive for the first time in his life.
The discussion paused as Teri, Kaleo, and Garth walked towards them. Once the three of them had reached the table, Teri opened with "So far, there are six boys who have new homes, and it's only lunchtime! Going by what I'm hearing, Prez, there's a good chance you're going to have a few more adopted on your side this afternoon. It seems the first ones took the chance because they knew they'd be living in the same house as Rand; the only exception to that is Brett Sirois."
"Aunt Teri?" Alden interrupted, "Make that seven! Dylan and Thomas just got Antonio's approval to pull a Levi; the seven-year-old boy Kirk Caputa was in the early stages of the same thing that Peter had. He's taking the last name of Richardson."
"Thanks for the update, Alden," Teri replied. "Kaleo and Garth have been talking to the rest of the boys that Finn invited to join the visit, and they've discussed what they heard with me. You can assume FYS approval of whatever you guys decide; George will keep me updated. I'll leave you guys do your thing, I have a husband that I'm having to keep from adopting the entire lot sight unseen!"
"Good luck, Mom; you're gonna need it!" Justy quipped.
"Tell me about it!" Teri sniggered as she turned to go find Spock.
Giving Garth's shoulder a squeeze, Kaleo encouraged "You've got this; I'll help sort out details if they say okay."
Garth nodded, then said, "Kaleo and I've been talking with the rest of the guys, Sirs ..."
"Sir? Where?" Prez asked with a confused look.
"Not me!" DJ exclaimed. "I get called a lot of things, but Sir ain't one of them."
"It better not be me, the last person who tried that visited every body of water on Earth!" Justy quipped.
"That's not one of my titles!" Andy added, getting in on the fun.
Prez began looking under the table. "Are there Micky-Viceses hiding here somewhere?" he asked in a still confused voice.
Enjoying the fun, Andy made a point of standing up and looking inside the front of his boardies. "I don't see any in my shorts, Prez!"
"Someone check DJ, he attracts them!" Prez suggested.
Andy and Justy exchanged smirks, then attacked DJ from both sides. Seconds later, DJ's swimsuit was at his ankles, and his two attackers stated "CLEAR!"
Since Justy was right there, Prez took the opportunity and pulled Justy's suit down as well. "Cute and clear on this side!" Prez giggled.
"Fuzzy and clear on this side!" Andy laughed.
"Can't a guy get a third helping around here without you nuts causing someone to hyperventilate?" Antonio's voice stated, causing all four pranksters to look up. They exchanged grins as they found Antonio helping Garth and Kaleo, who were now sitting in chairs and breathing into paper bags.
"Hey, 'Tonio!" Justy giggled, "Have you seen any Sirs running around here? There's got to be at least two of them."
"Sorry, Ma'am," Antonio smirked, "I don't know anyone who would answer to 'Sir' who would get anywhere near three of the four of you; and from what I saw, you three have almost corrupted Andrew to your level already!"
Having listened in from his room in DJ's head, Dylan quickly provided golden halos for Prez, Justy, and DJ. Andy pouted "Where's mine?", earning him his own Mikyvis-induced halo, along with a set of wings.
"I never get the wings!" Prez pouted, earning him snickers from the other three.
Rolling his eyes, Antonio stated, "The day you three can honestly wear halos, I'll get my virginity back. Ya'll made the point that you're not normal, now let these two recover."
Deciding that crossing Antonio wasn't on their list of things to do today, Prez, DJ, Justy, and Andy occupied themselves with trying to knock the halos off of each other's heads. "I think I'll take Bones up on that drink he keeps threatening," Antonio muttered as he did his best to shield his patients from the clowns.
Once they were able to both talk again, Kaleo teased "I told you they are just like anyone else, they're normal guys."
"There ain't nothing normal about those three, and I think they infected Andrew," Garth stated.
"Blame Cory; the rest of us do," Antonio quipped. "Seriously, none of them asked for the job they're doing, so they expect to be treated as one of the guys. You're lucky; normally they send people on tours of the world's oceans for treating them like royalty."
"Hey 'Tonio," DJ interrupted. "They're fine now. Go find Byron and your kids, you're on Elf time until we leave. Prez has doctors that will cover for you. If I catch you working, I'm calling in Grandma Morrison, got it?"
"Yeah, I got it," Antonio nodded, knowing better than to argue when DJ used that tone. Since DJ usually only put his foot down like that when Antonio was overdoing things, Antonio listened and headed off to do as he was ordered.
Once Antonio was out of hearing range, Prez smirked as he tapped his commbadge. "Alden, help Antonio find his family; drop them all in the diving well!"
"That's evil, bro! Doing it now!" Alden laughed.
Grinning, DJ turned to Garth. "Were you trying to ask something, Garth?"
"Do you think you can turn off the halos? it's kinda distracting," Garth stated with a straight face.
A king-sized light switch appeared out of nowhere, which DJ calmly reached over to turn off. Once the switch was flipped, it, the halos, and Andy's wings all vanished. "There, now where were we?" DJ asked.
"In the nuthouse," Garth sputtered. "Anyway, Kaleo and I talked to the guys that came over with me. All of the under-tens who didn't get adopted yet have decided they want to see if they can live where their new friends do, in the house Rand lives in. The older guys who haven't found families would like to make a go for it here."
"One thing," Kaleo interrupted, "Garth's been doing the same kind of thing as our Dorm Leaders do for our kids; I think he'd be perfect to fill one of the open positions. I saw him with the little guys, and he really does great dealing with them on their level."
"He's been an awesome big brother to all of us," Andy added. "The only time we can't ask him something is when he's sucking Leon's face!"
"Andrew!" Garth exclaimed, instantly breaking out in a full-body blush.
"Alden, we need Leon Jacobs!" DJ grinned.
Instead of replying, Alden teleported the victim without warning. Within a couple of seconds, they were greeted with the appearance of a fourteen-year-old strawberry blond teen with water running off of his body.
"What in the heck!" Leon exclaimed. "One second I'm walking into the water to swim, and the next I'm standing here!"
"Deej gets a little impatient sometimes," Prez quipped. "Since you're here, Kaleo is going to take you over to your new apartment; you two newbies can try out the bed as soon as he finishes explaining the resources you have. Alden will deliver your subvocals and dorm leader communication badges to you there, and I'll make the official announcement at the concert later on."
"WHAT!" Garth and Leon yelled in unison.
"You were recommended by two Core Rimmers, that's enough for me!" Prez smirked. "I've even got a Patriarch as a witness!"
"We'll try to get the little guys to give you a day to settle in before they start asking you to adopt them," DJ added with a grin. "Oh, Prez, I've talked to Peter; he's got some ideas he wants to try out for the dorm leaders so that they don't have to move if they adopt one to four kids. You up for letting him try it out on these guy's place?"
"Work's for me!" Prez grinned. "Maui after the concert?"
"I'm there!" DJ laughed.
"I think you broke them!" Andy giggled.
Prez and DJ turned, finding the two victims staring at them like they had grown three more heads. Deciding to be serious, Prez explained "You already told us that the little guys were counting on Rand to look out for them. The rest of the guys are going to want to know that they have someone here they can trust, since they are staying. The way we are set up here, Dorm Leaders fill that role, and Garth was recommended by Kaleo and Andy. I don't question it if two of my officers make a recommendation like they did. Since Dorm Leaders usually work in pairs, to be more available, you two being boyfriends works out great. Part of the reason Kaleo is taking you to the dorms, is so that you can tell your brothers what they can look forward to as far as their living conditions; they'll believe you before they'll believe me. Skyler's going to loop you, so you won't miss more than a second out here; we'll answer any questions you still have when you get back."
"Peter says he has the suite ready, and he's starting on a few others that are going to need it soon," DJ added. "Check it all out, guys; I think you'll be surprised at how they live here."
Sky chose that moment to pop in, a bag of cookies in each hand. "You guys ready for the tour?" he asked with a grin.
"Is it more sane there than with these nuts?" Garth asked.
"Yep!" Sky smirked.
"Go for it! Sanity, here we come!" Leon exclaimed.
"We'll be right back!" Sky stated before vanishing with the new dorm leaders.
As soon as they were gone, DJ quipped "I think they'll fit in great!"
"Absolutely," Prez nodded.