Adam and Joe reached the helicopter at the same time that the boys did, and at the same time that Janet drove up the drive, bringing the truck to a stop near them. Adam looked around and saw, what must have been the rest of the kids, about thirty five in all, had come out to join them. He noticed that most of them stood a good ways back, and that most of them were staring at Fluffy and not Janet. That was certainly something which he could understand. There was Tommy, all of eight years old, about four foot four inches tall, and weighing maybe sixty five pounds soaking wet, and sitting next to him like an obedient dog was Fluffy. Fluffy was actually taller then Tommy, by quite a bit, with the top of Tommy's head barely coming up to the cat's shoulders. It was just a very weird sight.
Janet must have thought so too, when she got out of the truck, as she couldn't help but stare at Tommy and Fluffy. After a minute of staring, she shook her head and looked around at the other kids that were there, then finally at Adam and Logan, with the other boys from the Unit. She just shook her head again, then looked at Joe. “What the hell, Joe, did you suddenly come down with “Add a Kid Disease?”
That easily broke the tension, and everyone laughed. The next twenty minutes was spent introducing everyone that was there, and Adam was more glad than ever that he had a photographic memory which allowed him to remember everyone's name.
“Why don't you guys grab your gear, and I'll show you where you can stow it.” Dave said. The boys split up at that point with Logan, Adam and Juan going to the truck with Joe and Janet, while William, Chang and Jory went to the helicopter.
Kelly walked over to the group from UNIT and with a few of the other “local” boys to assist, grabbed the Unit's gear and helped them carry it. “Come on, I'll show you where you guys can stay. We got a large room with ten beds, I'm sure you guys can use it, since it's empty right now, and it will give you guys some privacy too.
Adam just nodded, grabbing some gear himself, while he made sure that the Unit Members grabbed the bags with the weapons in them.
While they were doing this, William noticed two boys of about ten and eight, one of whom was in a wheelchair, with the other pushing it. Because of William's enhanced hearing, he was able to pick up the conversation going on between the two boys.
“Come on Ronnie, I want to take a closer look,” the one in the wheel chair was saying.
“But Bill, I don't know if they'll want you looking at their helicopter.” The one pushing, Ronnie, argued back, but never stopped pushing.
“Come on Ronnie,” the boy whined, “I don't know if I'll ever get to see an actual Black Hawk up close again.”
Ronnie just moaned, but kept going, and soon they were up next to the pilot's compartment, and William moved to be able to overhear what they were saying, and still keep an eye on his most prized possession, but he stayed far enough away that they wouldn't think he was spying on them.
“Just what I thought, it's a modified MH60L version, used primarily for special operations.” The wheel chair bound boy was saying, as he started to push himself under his own power to look at things. By this point, it was clear he was oblivious to anyone else around, and was just rambling. “It's got the dual 50 cal. door mounted machine guns, and it's even got an Apache style 30 mm “rail” gun turret in the front.” He looked up at Ronnie with excitement almost bubbling from him. “This is one hell of a machine here. I mean it's fifty feet long, seven feet nine inches wide, sixteen feet ten inches tall, and with the rotors turning, it's sixty four feet 10 inches long. It can hold about seventeen thousand five hundred pounds of weight while on a mission, and it can cruise at one hundred and seventy eight miles an hour. This baby can even do a three thousand foot a minute vertical climb. Okay, so it's no attack bird, but it can play many different roles, this thing is the back bone of the Army's helicopter fleet, and I'm sitting next to one.”
William was floored by what he heard. He couldn't help it; he had to talk to this kid. William walked over, and stood behind him, while the kid rambled on, spewing out stats on the helicopter like a veteran pilot.
Bill, then strained to reach up and touch the helicopter, saying reverently “but, I wonder, is this baby equipped with the new radar absorbing material that I read about?”
William couldn't keep quiet any longer. “Yep and now I’m officially impressed.” Bill spun his chair around, and stared at William in almost wide eyed horror
“I'm....I'm sorry sir. I didn't mean to touch it.” Bill was almost in tears by this point and William had no idea what was going on. He knelt down to be on the same level as the kid in the chair, just as Joe and Ronnie moved over to them.
“Hey Billy, it's okay if you want to touch it. Hell if you want, maybe I can take you up sometime.” William said with a grin, doing the only thing he could think of to try to get the kid talking about the helicopter again. It seemed to work as the kid appeared to calm down some.
“Really?” Billy asked, with a mixture of surprise and hope in his voice. William nodded, as Joe spoke up for the first time.
“I'm sure we can work something out, but for now, we really need to get things off loaded and put away since it looks like we'll be here for a while.”
Everyone nodded, and moved off to where they needed to go, with Adam stopping long enough to give a meaningful glance to Joe who nodded back with a look that clearly said "We need to talk" written on his face. Adam merely nodded in return before taking off with the rest of the boys.
Kelly led the boys inside to a large room that appeared to be set up more like a barracks then a bed room. There were ten beds lining each wall, with a foot locker at the end of each. Next to each bed on the right side was a small nightstand/desk; while on the left side was a stand up closet, where they could hang a few clothes. While the beds were made it was obvious that they had used military surplus supplies to accomplish it but Adam just got a small smile on his face upon seeing the effort they had made
Kelly stepped up next to Adam, “I don't know if you would want a room like this, but I noticed that you guys look military, even though you're nothing but kids, so we did it up for ya. I hope y'all like it?”
Juan glanced over to Kelly and chuckled, “Well we are kids, but we're a lot more than that too.”
Adam quickly stepped in telling the boy "We love it thanks"
William got a nod from Adam, and took over for Juan. “Since it looks like we're gonna be here a while, I'll tell you everything I can, later on, but for now, we do need a bit of privacy.” Kelly nodded, taking the hint and walked out, shutting the door behind him. That only left the five boys from the Unit, Logan, Tommy, and of course Fluffy.
“Okay guys, pick a bunk, and stow your gear. You'll be allowed to carry your sidearm, but I want all rifles left here. Also, until we get to know these people better, I am going to set up a rotating watch schedule on this room. Someone will be in here at all times, until I say differently. Okay?” Adam said as he walked up to the bunk closest to the door, and put his bag on it.
Everyone else gave nods, and moved off to pick a bunk and put their stuff away.
About twenty minutes later, there was a knock on the main door. Logan being the closest moved to answer it, only to find Joe and Janet standing out in the hallway. They had both changed clothes, but all could see Joe limping along with the dressing sticking out from under the leg of his shorts. Considering he was with Janet it wasn't too hard to figure out that she must have finished treating him and released him to move about.
Logan moved aside so they could come in, but as soon as Joe walked into the room, he had his arms full of a sobbing 9 year old. “I…I was... so scared daddy. I thought you got killed” Juan sobbed out, while burying his head in Joe's shoulder. Joe just held onto him and tried to sooth the little boy that was in his arms, telling him over and over again that he was here and that he was alright.
Janet still couldn't get over the dichotomy that the boys continually showed. She could imagine quite easily what Juan was like during the rescue, having heard it all over the radio Adam had given her. She could see, in her minds eye, Juan's blood thirsty look while he was shooting the big machine gun that was located on the side of the helicopter. She had heard the comments that were made as the boys were fighting their way out of there. She remembered the anguish filled scream from the boy, when Joe got hit, yet she also remembered that the firing never let up. Yet, in front of her now was not the “blood thirsty psycho” that she heard over the radio, but a scared little nine year old, who was afraid that his “daddy” had gotten hurt.
She looked around slowly at the other boys in the room, Adam and Logan were holding hands, each drawing strength from the other, and she could tell that this had affected both of them as well. The other three boys were a different story. She could see the confusion in their eyes as they watched Juan sobbing, and clinging to someone they didn't know. Yet she also noticed a look of longing in their eyes, and realized, that they wanted to be held like that as well, but were unsure of how to go about doing it.
All of this just made her feel worse, for her part in the “Genesis Project”. Sadly, she wondered just what they had done to these children, and more importantly, what had they cost them?
Once Joe got Juan calmed down, he addressed Adam. “Okay Adam, this is your show, and your crew, why not introduce us to them.” Everyone knew that Joe was saying this more for Janet's benefit than his own, as he had already gotten cursory introductions to everyone during the op.
Adam nodded, and moved over to stand next to the four new boys. “Okay, let's start with the youngest. This here is Tommy,” Adam said, as he ruffled the little kids mousy brown hair, “He's eight, and I guess he can talk to animals. That's his cat over there; Fluffy.” Adam finished, giggling slightly, as he told her Fluffy's name.
Janet had the grace to not laugh, but it was hard, as she said. “It's nice to meet you Tommy, and you too Fluffy, but, where did you come from? I know the place where the other boys were, and it was supposed to just be a research facility for animals.”
Tommy, at hearing the questioning, wrapped his arms around the giant cat, and looked up at Janet with fearful eyes. “The bad people took me there 'cause I can talk to aminals. Your not gonna make us go back, are ya?” Tommy asked, while squeezing Fluffy harder; Fluffy surprised Janet because she looked like she knew what was going on, and tried to comfort Tommy, while also making sure everyone knew that she would fight to protect her little friend.
The look on the young boy's face about broke Janet's heart, as she debated what to do.
Janet knew she needed to reassure Tommy, but she was slightly afraid of the big cat, so she squatted down where she was, and looked Tommy in the eyes. “Tommy, I want you to listen to me for a minute. We're not going to send you back there, or anywhere else, for that matter either. None of these boys have any family other than themselves, so we're all a family now. Two of them have even allowed me to be their mother, and if you want I would be happy to be your mom too." she said.
Tommy had a look mixed of surprise, fear and uncertainly etched across his face as he stood there staring intently at Janet, seeking the truth in her eyes. Janet met his gaze and apparently satisfied with what he saw, he slowly unwrapped himself from around Fluffy, and moved over to her. Then when he got close, he almost threw himself into her arms, and started to sob on her shoulder. “I don’t have a mommy or a daddy since they died two years ago. Are you sure you don't mind being my mommy?”
No, I don’t mind honey, I’d really love to be a mom to you too” Janet replied with tears in her eyes.
Joe moved slowly over to them, with Juan still attached to him and joined the hug, assuring the boy that he was wanted there. Adam and Logan certainly weren't about to pass up the loving and shortly joined them, soon to be followed tentatively by the remaining three boys who were brought into the group hug and given reassurances as well. Before it was over, all of them were shedding tears of joy in finding something they never thought they could have before now, a family.
Eventually the mass hug ended and the parties separated, each going to sit on a bed as the introductions were started again with Adam looking over at William.
“Janet, this is Will, he's the pilot, and electrical engineer.” Will nodded to Janet in greeting, as Adam moved on to the next one. “Sitting on the bed next to him is Jory. He's the demolitions expert.” Adam said, suppressing a grin as he watched for Janet's reaction.
He didn't have to wait long.
“Jory, come here and sit next to me will you?” Janet asked while patting the spot next to her. Unsure of what was going on; Jory slowly moved over and sat down next to her. She wrapped an arm around him, and pulled him close. “Jory, honey, Adam's shared some of what he knows about you guys while we were making the plans to get you boys out. One of the things he said was that you have a little problem with having to set off bombs.” Janet said, while Joe, Adam, Logan and Juan all tried rather unsuccessfully to stifle giggles that is until they got the death glare from Janet, which did wonders in helping them accomplish that task.
Jory looked up at Janet with the blissful innocence of youth and said, “I don't have any problems with setting them off, they work fine.” This was too much and got the others laughing out loud, with even Janet losing control and having to laugh a bit herself.
“No, Jory, that's not what I meant, I meant, that the report said that it seemed you almost HAD to set off bombs, almost like you couldn't help yourself,” she told him.
Jory looked at Janet for a second, then spoke up. “Well, I don't have to... I just really like setting them off.”
Janet nodded at that, then asked “Okay Jory, I understand that, but could you do me a favor, please, and make sure that you talk to either Joe, Adam or myself before you do?.”
Jory looked confused for a second and a bit unhappy, looking over to Adam. But Adam just nodded his head in agreement with what Janet had said, causing Jory to start to pout. “But, I really like blowing stuff up. It's lots of fun.” He said plaintively.
Janet had to hide a smile at the innocent way he was talking about it. Almost as if she was asking him to not do something as simple as running in the house. “I am sure it's fun, but there are other people here who may not know about what you like to do, and they might get scared. Will you promise me that you will ask one of us first. I promise that we will give you lots of time to play with your bombs.” Janet asked of him.
Jory nodded while sticking out his bottom lip in a pout. “Okay, as long as you promise you'll let me blow things up sometime.” He reluctantly told her.
Adam spoke up at this point, “We promise Jory, I'm sure we'll find plenty of things you can blow up," which caused a big grin to appear on the young boy's face as Adam said, ”Now, moving on. The boy sitting next to Logan is Chang. He is the Unit's doctor, and, if I don't miss my guess, martial arts expert.”
Chang nodded to Adam, then stood up and gave a Japanese style bow to Janet. “It is a honor to meet you, mother of my brothers. Would you honor me by allowing me to call you mother, as well?”
Janet was momentarily taken aback by the formality that Chang showed, but quickly recovered. She had come to know a few Japanese people while working on the project, and tried to answer Chang in a way he would feel comfortable with. “It is I who would be honored if you would call me mother.” She said formally, while standing to bow back to Chang.
Chang broke out into a smile and then moved to hug Janet. She was only slightly surprised when she hugged the boy to find that she felt nothing but muscle underneath his shirt.
“Okay everyone, we have some time, so let's get some stuff done.” Adam said breaking the mood a little bit. “Logan, I want you to get your computer up and running, and see if you can get any signal out here. If you can, I want you to do your magic and see what the military has to say about our latest actions.” Seeing Logan nod at that, and move off to get his lap top, Adam turned to William. “You think you can get the bird into the cave? I'm sure they're looking for us, and we don't want them catching the heat signature.”
“Yeah, shouldn't be a problem, I'll need someone to go with me though, to watch the walls and ceiling.” William said while getting off the bed, and zipping up his flight suit. “I also want to go over it and make sure there was no major damage from the gun fire,” he added.
Adam nodded, and looked over at Juan who was still in Joe's lap, and did not look too keen on moving. He was about to tell Juan to go with Will regardless of that fact, when Jory spoke up.
“I'll go with him; I need to grab my other bag anyways.” He giggled a bit, before adding with a mischievous grin. “I don't think you want anyone else getting that bag anyway, it's got about five pounds of C-4 in it”
Both Joe's and Janet's head snapped up in shock at that and Jory couldn't help but giggle louder. “Don't worry, mommy, it's safe, I just made it last week.” He said, as he reached into his back pack and pulled out another bag, opening that one up, he pulled out and held up a small box with a little antenna on it. “Come on mom, I got the detonators right here.”
And with that pronouncement Jory tossed the detonator to Joe who caught it while Janet let out a loud gasp. Laughing hysterically now at their reactions he said. “Jeez mom, that thing don't even go boom. That just sets it off.” The others joined Jory laughing until the look Janet gave them expressed just how pleased she was by this.
They all knew that they had their work cut out for them in giving 'mom' a proper sense of humor.
While this was going on, Joe was inspecting the detonator. “Jory, did you build this yourself?”
Jory beamed with pride while nodding his head, and said. “Yup, I did that one about 2 months ago. It's got about a three mile range on it, depending on terrain, and works every time.”
Joe nodded, clearly impressed, and said. "You did a great job," and Jory ate up the praise while he to got ready to go. Soon Jory and William were ready to go deal with the helicopter. As they reached the door, Adam spoke up again. “You guys armed?” Both Jory and Will nodded, while patting their shoulders, so Adam could see the bulging shoulder holsters under their jackets. Adam just nodded, and they went out the door.
“Adam, do you really think they need to be armed?” Janet asked, while looking seriously at Adam.
“Yes I do.” Adam said, looking just as seriously back at Janet. “While I agree the chance of danger here is small, we don't know these people, or how they will react to us. Plus there is always the chance that the military will find us here. I don't want anyone unprepared. I already told the boys, that they are not to leave this room with out a side arm, and that someone was to be here with the rifles at all times.”
“He’s right Janet, it’s standard operating procedure in such situations and ultimately it’s always better safe than sorry” Joe added.
Janet still looked unsure as she glanced around at the boys and back to Joe but remained silent.
So Adam continued while looking at Juan, Chang, and finally Logan. “This goes for you too Logan. I'll set up a rotating schedule for who's to be on duty here. Logan, for the time being, some one will be remaining here with you. During that time, we'll continue your training as much as we can.” Logan just nodded at that, and Janet was once again surprised by how these boys, her own son included, could seem to go from being a kid to being an adult in an instant. Almost like flipping a switch.
Adam then looked over to Chang, and said “For now Chang, why don't you get changed into something more comfortable, then you and I can go look around. Juan, do you mind standing first watch?” Even though Adam phrased it as a question, the tone of his voice said it was not, and Juan just nodded his agreement. “That way,” Adam continued, “you can let me know if Logan finds anything, also, if you would, run Logan through the rifles he may not know, I want him comfortable with everything we may use.” This got a nod from both the boys, and Chang moved over to his bunk to get changed.
Janet stood up after Adam finished, and looked at the boys saying, “well I'm gonna go and see what I can get for everyone to eat here. You want me to bring you something back Joe?”
Joe just shook his head, and replied “Nah, I think I'll join you, I need to work out this leg some. You wanna come too Tommy?” Tommy eagerly nodded his head, and jumped off the bed, grabbing Janet's hand.
“Can fwuffy come too?” He asked timidly as Janet looked down at the little boy that was holding her hand.
“Of course he can.” She replied while looking over at the huge cat.
“Moooomy. Fwuffy's a girl, duh!” Tommy whined, with all the indignation at such a slight that only an eight year old can pull off.
“Sorry Tommy, yes, SHE can come with us.” Janet snickered at the thought that she was being rebuked by the little guy, Tommy, for his part, just smiled, and motioned for Fluffy to come with them, as the four of them strolled out of the room.
As they reached the door Tommy added “Sides Fluffy says boys can’t have kittens”
Tommy kept walking until his hand was pulled sharply backward due to the sudden stop of the adults that he hadn’t noticed and he turned to find Joe and Janet standing there with their mouth’s open.
“What?” Tommy asked with a bewildered look on his face.
“K…Kittens?” Janet mumbled in shock as the cat looked on with what Janet could swear was a grin.
“Umm hmm” the boy said shrugging his shoulders followed by “Can we go eat now, I’m starving”
“Kittens” Janet could be heard mumbling as she allowed herself to be pulled out of the room by the starving child to the snickers of the boys left behind.
Adam just shook his head, then looked over to Chang; he was dressed a little differently than Adam would have thought. Adam was expecting him to dress in the BDU's that were common for most military. Instead, Chang was dressed in very loose fitting and flowing pants, with a shirt that tied closed in the front. He looked very much like a Samurai of old.
As Adam watched, Chang went to a large case that he brought up with him from the helicopter. Opening the case, Adam saw that it held three weapons. Chang spoke softly in what Adam guessed was Japanese, then picked up the largest of the weapons. Adam noticed immediately that this was a traditional Samurai Katana. Chang gently slid it into the silk belt that he was wearing, then reached into the box again. Again, he spoke briefly, and pulled out the middle weapon, this one was a smaller version of the Katana, called a Wakizashi. He put this one right above where he put the Katana, then moved them around till he was comfortable with how they sat. Next he picked up the smallest weapon, this one being only slightly bigger then a knife, called a Tanto. He slid this one on the other side, and moved his robes around so that it was completely hidden. Once Chang was done with that, he bowed to the box, shut it, then placed it back under his bunk.
Not wanting to get caught watching, Adam moved over to his bunk while Chang was putting the box away. There he slipped on his own shoulder holster, and put his jacket over top of that. Next he took out his own Katana, and secured it on his back. Chang nodded his approval to Adam, upon seeing the sword, and then motioned for Adam to take the lead. “We'll be back in a bit. Let me know if anything comes up.” Adam said as they made their way from the room.
William and Jory walked down to the main floor, then outside to go to the helicopter. Once they got close, they saw that Ronnie and Billy were once again by the helicopter, and talking in hushed tones. It was very easy to tell that Billy was still going on about the helicopter.
William couldn't help but grin as he saw this, and once they got close enough he spoke up. “Hey guys.”
Bill looked over his shoulder, while Ronnie turned around and looked at them. “Hey Will, you don't mind that I'm looking at the helicopter again do you?” Billy asked with hope in his eyes.
Will flashed a huge grin at the boys. “No, not at all. Tell you what; I need to move this beast into the cave. You wanna help?”
Both boys looked excited now; as they looked at each other, then back at Will. “Sure Will, what do we need to do?” Ronnie asked for the both of them.
“Well,” William started while moving over to the open back doors of the Black Hawk, “Ronnie and Jory, you two need to put these on.” He said while, handing both boys headsets to put on. “I need you to go into the cave, and make sure everyone knows to stay out of the way as I am going to have to fly it in.”
Both Bill and Ronnie gawked at that announcement. “But.... but isn't that dangerous?” Bill managed to squeak out after a minute.
“Nah... not if you know what your doing. What I need you two to do is let me know when it's clear, and then I need both of you to each watch a side and let me know if I get too close to the walls.” William explained while hooking both headsets to a battery pack, then making sure Ronnie knew how to wear it and which button to push to transmit. He then reached back into the helicopter and pulled out two pairs of goggles. “Here, you'll need these too. It'll probably get a bit windy in there.” They both nodded while grabbing the goggles.
“Ummm... Will, what do ya want me to do?” Bill asked looking up from his chair.
Will shrugged a bit. “Your part's easy Billy. I need you to sit in the left seat and watch from there.”
Bill almost choked when he heard that. “You mean... you want me to sit in the co-pilot's seat?!?!”
William just chuckled while nodding. “Well, yeah, I mean you can't look out the window with out being inside it, can you?”
Bill was blown away by this, but then his face fell. “But, I can't even get into it being stuck in this damned chair. I guess everyone's right. I'm never gonna be able to do anything anymore.” He looked like he was ready to cry at this point, as he realized his dream was about to crash and burn before it even got off the ground.
Will just looked at him funny, then moved over and bent down slightly so he could look Billy in the eyes. “Billy, I don't know who told you that you couldn't do things, just cause you can't walk, but I happen to know that you can. One of the guys that taught me to fly was in a wheel chair. They modified his helicopter so he could do it, and let me tell you what; he was one of the best I've ever seen. When we had simulated dog fights, he beat me more then half the time, and I was MADE to fly these damned things. So I don't want to hear you say you can't do anything you want to do. Okay?”
Billy looked in William's eyes trying to see if he was lying. “You really mean it? I could actually fly this thing?”
William stood up and laughed a bit. “Well not right now Billy, I would need to do a bunch of modifications, but if Adam agrees, and I can get the tools, I could start working on it. Until then, why don't we just get this thing inside, then later on, I can go over everything with you, and see how much you already know. What do you say?”
Bill wheeled himself closer to William, and threw his arms around the younger boy and hugged him tight. “Thank you Will. This has been a dream since I was like six.” He said before pausing and looking down for a moment. "What's up?" William asked gently. "Could you not call me Billy please?" Bill asked tremulously of the other boy who was looking on in confusion now. "But that's your name," he finally responded. "No, it's not, it's Bill." the boy said, with some vehemence as he looked at William. "Sure then, Bill it is" William replied, smiling as the child reapplied his hug on a startled pilot.
William untangled himself from Bill a few moments later, still not entirely comfortable with displays of affection geared in his direction, turned Bill around and pushed him over to the open door of the Black Hawk. “Okay Jory, I'm gonna need your help with this.” William told Jory as he hopped into the helicopter. “Just pick him up and hand him to me.”
Bill looked shocked at this idea, thinking there was no way that this little nine year old could possibly pick him up let alone lift him into the helicopter. Hell he wasn't even sure that William could hold him if Jory somehow managed to get him up there to him. He just watched as Jory walked up to him and then, surprising the crap out of him, bent over, placed his arm around the younger boy's shoulder and, as if he weighed nothing, lifted him up to the waiting pilot. William grabbed a hold of him and effortlessly placed him into the co-pilot's seat in the left side of the aircraft. While Bill just sat there with a stunned expression on his face as William handed him a headset and plugged it into its jack before taking his own seat, where he put on his own headset and settled into preparations for the upcoming flight.
William looked over to Bill and gave him a wink. Before asking the still speechless younger boy, “You ready for this?”
Bill, for his part, just nodded nervously, still not believing what had just happened and said. “Yeah, I think so. What do you want me to do?” If Bill was shocked before he was even more so when William just started, pointing to switches and telling him to flip them. Soon Bill could feel the rotors starting to spin, and the helicopter start to vibrate while William just kept pointing things out for Bill to do.
“Okay, what do you think?” William asked, over the headset. “Should we just fly this thing into the cave, or take it up a bit, and let her spread her wings for a while?” William was sure he knew the answer before he asked, and the bobbing of Bill's head gave him all the answer he needed. As he chuckled and said, “Cool, lets go, then.”
Before Bill knew what was happening, William cranked the throttle up, and the helicopter lifted off the ground. Once they gained enough altitude, William banked the helicopter, and started out of the canyon. For the next few minutes, he gave Bill a ride that would be the envy of every roller coaster enthusiast in the world. He had three reasons for doing this, one, of course, being that he loved to fly. The second reason, though, was that he wanted to give Bill at least one ride, just in case Adam said no to the teaching of him to fly. The third was all boy, and that was to see if Bill could actually handle helicopter flight or more precisely, William's version of it. He was not disappointed as Bill appeared to absolutely love it. That is if the hooting and hollering were any indication.
Finally, though, much to Bill's disappointment, William had to bring it down, and they flew towards the mouth of the cave. With the three lookouts, there was no problem putting the helicopter down inside the massive cavern. William again just pointed to switches, and Bill flipped them to shut the helicopter down. While they were shutting down the helicopter, William was getting to know Bill a little better. “So, I gotta ask. Your legs, do they work at all, or do you have like no feeling in them?”
Bill was a bit embarrassed by the question and hung his head for a moment before carefully looking up into William's eyes. After looking at the older boy for a moment, who just returned the gaze steadily, Bill realized that there was nothing there but curiosity along with care and concern. It felt good to the younger child and he got up the courage to shake his head in answer as he said "Nah, I can't feel anything from the waist down, nothing works." In a voice tinged with bitterness he added "My little brother's sperm donor did a real good job on me" He wasn't expecting the laugh that met that pronouncement and was hurt by it. William meanwhile hadn't meant to laugh but the way the boy said it made him not be able to help himself and he quickly said "I'm sorry, Bill, it's just the way you said that," as he laughed again. Surprisingly Bill started laughing too, at seeing the older boy losing control and realized that it felt good to laugh again, something he hadn't really done much of since his father shot him in the back in a fit of rage, it felt real good he thought, as he smiled at the older boy.
“Wait a minute your little brother's sperm donor, I don't understand?" William said, deciding to not go into the whole thing about him getting shot.
Bill looked down then said "I guess he's not really his sperm donor but Ronnie is my brother."
William still didn't understand, but he noticed how uncomfortable Bill was with the topic, so he decided to drop it, and come back to it later.
After getting Bill down with the help of the other two, and had having him firmly back in his chair, they all started to head back outside. Bill was talking a mile a minute, and enjoying the celebrity status that the others now cast upon him. While he and William were flying the helicopter in, most of the other kids, as well as the four adults, came to watch.
Jack and David were talking to Janet and Joe about how well the eleven year old William could fly, and that the normally shy and reserved Bill, was seeming to come out of his shell, when David spoke up interrupting the others.
“Oh shit, this is the last thing that we need right now.” He said while looking over to where the kids were gathered around William, Jory, Bill, and Ronnie.
Joe looked up to see what was going on, and noticed three of the larger boys pushing their way through the crowd to get to the foursome. “Are they trouble?” Joe asked, while getting ready to interfere if needed.
Jack sighed, “Yeah, they think they run this place, and the biggest one, Donny, thinks he can do no wrong. They seem to like to bully the younger kids, and nothing I do seems to be able to stop it.”
The four adults started to move forward when they heard a voice from behind them. “Let the boys handle it.” Adam said while he and Chang moved up beside them. “We need to see how they can handle themselves with other people, and this will be a good opportunity.”
The four adults didn't seem to like the idea, but they remained where they were.
"I don't like this." Janet said, into the group.
"Don't worry mom, they can handle anything that comes up." Adam replied.
"You don't know those three, they'll hurt your boys" David said, as Jack added "He's right."
"No they won't; just watch." Adam said in response.
"Trust them, Janet." Joe told her, as she nervously watched the scene unfolding in front of her.
While the adults were talking, the three older boys finally made it to the 4 younger kids in the middle. William and Jory were the first of the four to see what was coming, and instinctively, they moved themselves in front of the other two.
“So, what do we have here, freaks playing at being bad asses?” The apparent leader snidely remarked, while the other two laughed with him. Bill and Ronnie, dropped their heads, as they were very used to being bullied by these three, and they knew that nothing could be done but accept it.
William looked at Jory with a big grin on his face before turning back to the three toughs and said, “Well, I guess we could be considered freaks, and we are defiantly bad asses.”
Jory smiled and nodded his agreement, before asking with glee in his voice, “Do you think they actually want to fight?” And you couldn't mistake the hope and yearning in his words.
William made an exaggerated facial expression of consideration, while he looked the three up and down. Before saying slowly “Hmmmm... maybe, but you know, three of them, two of us, it would just be so unfair. Tell you what little bro, I'll sit this one out, and let you have some fun,” and with that comment, he looked back at Bill and Ronnie, gave them a wink, and hopped into Bill's lap, leaning back on the younger boy with a predatory smile on his face.
This was obviously not the reaction the three bullies were expecting, as they just stood there for a second obviously just as confused as everyone else was by this. Bill was staring open mouthed at William, who was now cuddled up in his lap, who couldn't resist laughing as he looked at Bill, and said. “Hey, don't worry; I'm sure Jory won't hurt em too bad. By the way, you got any popcorn? This should be good.”
Jory just looked at the three bullies with a huge grin of anticipation on his face. “So wadda ya say, guys, you really wanna find out what kinda bad asses we are?”
This brought the three bullies back to the present, and they looked down in utter disbelief at the little nine year old that was defiantly staring them down. Not only were they not used to having anyone but the adults confront them, but to have it be done in such a manner, and by little kids at that, was just too much for them. They didn't know what to do, as they looked back and forth at each other. Finally the oldest one looked at Jory and spoke. “I ain't beaten up a little shit like you.”
Jory gave them a feral grin that could have melted a snowman, and said, in a voice that was almost a growl. “com'mon, I promise I won't hurt you... much. Com'mon!”
Everyone there was staring in shock, at how the young boy was treating the bullies, but none more then the bullies themselves. Finally the older one spoke in a sneer. "You don't wanna mess with us, or your gonna get hurt real bad," and with that he shoved Jory.
What happened next happened in a split second.
Jory grabbed onto the arm, and used it to jump up, kicking one of the bullies in the face with both feet, sending him flying back. Jory continued using the momentum of the kick, and the arm he was hanging onto, to wing behind the one who shoved him, hitting him with both feet, one in the back of each knee. This brought the oldest one down to his knees, and Jory held onto his arm, twisting it up into a painful hammer hold.
Jory then reached out with his leg, and smashed the third one in the knee, bringing him down to the ground, and one more kick from Jory to his head knocked him out fully. Jory then leaned forward and spoke into the ear of the boy that had tried to shove him. “Does this answer your question? We are the baddest asses in this place. You're just lucky I was told not to kill you.” With those few words, Jory pushed the kid onto the ground, and stepped over him to go back to the other three. Everyone that saw what happened stared with open mouthed amazement in compete shock.
William reached up and closed Bill's mouth before laughing and jumping off him. “Well, that was fun, but you need to work on your kicks. You almost missed the second one.”
Jory just laughed as he looked to the kid that was slowly picking himself off the ground rubbing his jaw. “Hey, it worked, anyways, almost only counts in horse shoes, and hand grenades.” He said, as he gave William a high five, and together they walked back to Bill and Ronnie.
The two bullies that were able to, made it slowly back to their feet and looked almost like they wanted to try something else. William just stared at them and finally said, "You must really like pain, I guess," as he stepped towards them, but that was when Jack and David took that moment to decide to step in and put a stop to things.
“Okay, that's just about enough, I think. Break it up. NOW!!!” Jack hollered, as he made his way through the crowd of kids before continuing. “Donny, what the hell do you think you're doing. That's no way to treat the son of the guy that OWNS this place.”
Donny looked shocked at that announcement, as did a lot of the other kids there.
Adam moved up next to Jack who was staring at Donny. “Donny is it?” Adam asked, while sticking out his hand. Donny was thoroughly confused by this point, so he tentatively reached out and grasped Adam's hand.
“I would apologize for Jory, but you had it coming to ya.” Adam told the teenager, before lowering his voice to one that only Donny could hear, as he said. “Fuck with me or my brothers again, and it just may be the last thing you ever do. Be nice to us, and you may just get to join up.”
Although Adam had spoken the entire time with a warm welcoming smile on his face, the fact that Donny's had gone as white as a sheet, let everyone know that his words hadn't matched his expression.
Adam held onto his hand for a few seconds longer than necessary to make sure his point had been gotten across, but he finally released Donny's hand, then turned to face everyone else, telling them in a loud voice. “Okay everyone, show's over. But there's a few things I need to go over. First off, I would ask that everyone stay away from the helicopter. The guns are loaded, and I don't want anyone getting shot.”
Adam looked around to make sure everyone understood, then he walked over and hopped into the deck of the helicopter, so everyone could see him. “I learned from Jack that many of you are here because it's not safe for you to be out in public. Jack also said that they were planning on moving from here soon, because he's worried that some of the people that are after you will find this place.” This caused a ripple of concern to go throughout the crowd, and Adam guessed Jack hadn't let any of the kids know about this.
After about a minute, Adam held his hand up to try and silence the group, and continued. “I was going to talk to Jack about this, but seeing as it's your lives here, I think you should all get to have a voice in this. I am willing to offer our services to help protect you. However, there are a few things you need to know about us first. Every member of the Unit, except one, was genetically engineered by the military. I won't go into the specifics, but let's just say that you have one of the best Special Forces Teams in the world right here.”
That caused a lot of chattering among the kids that were there. Adam let that go on for a minute, while he looked over to Janet and Joe. Joe saw him looking at him, and nodded his approval. Adam was worried about how Joe would take this as he had not mentioned any of this to him before now. After the kids quieted down a bit, Adam continued. “However, this is not something we will do without you all working with us.”
This caused another disruption as the kids started talking again, and one of them shouted up. “What can we do, we're just a bunch of kids, we ain't got the training you do?” This question brought lots of agreement from the others.
Adam grinned at that question, as he was hoping someone would ask it like that. “Your right, you don't...yet. If you're willing, we will help train you guys to protect yourselves, and then perhaps you can leave here, and be able to protect others.”
One of the younger girls, maybe eleven or twelve, spoke up, once everyone else had quieted down. “But, what about those of us who can't fight? I don't wanna have to try and shoot a gun or nothing.” This comment was met with agreement from a lot of the younger kids and the few girls that were there.
Adam just grinned as this was really going better then he had planned. First of all, you can do whatever you want. Don't think just because you're little or a girl, that you can't fight, cause ya can. That's what the training is for and it's not all that hard to shoot a gun. As to the other, “That's easy, for those that either don't want to fight, or can't, for whatever reason, there's A LOT of other things that you can do. An example for you, Bill, do you think you would be able to pick up a rifle, march for a few miles, and then kill someone if you needed to?”
Bill looked up at Adam like he was dumb or something. “Of course I can't, not being stuck in this fucking chair.” Bill snarled, really looking pissed that Adam had singled him out, and asked him a question that again spotlighted the fact that he was in a wheelchair.
Adam nodded, and grinned saying. “Well of course you can't, but I'm willing to bet that in a short time, William will have you flying the Black Hawk like you're a pro.” Bill looked like he was about to explode from the excitement Adam's last statement caused, so Adam pushed on, before the younger boy started to babble incoherently.
“See, there's other things we can teach you to do, but only if you want it. Why don't you guys talk it over outside and the rest of us will stay in here, and you can let us know what you come up with.” With that, he jumped down from the helicopter and moved over to where Joe and Janet were waiting with the three younger boys, while the other kids, Jack and David moved out of the cave.
Joe just grinned, as Adam got to him, and grabbed the boy up in a big hug. “Adam, I'm so proud of you for offering to help them. That was a really nice thing to do.” Adam grinned sheepishly at the praise and quickly tried to change the subject, saying,
“Come on guys; let's look around here a bit, while they're out. This is a pretty big cave, even though it doesn't go very deep.” With that, the boys split up and started to move towards the back of the cave. Joe and Janet moved over, and sat on the deck of the helicopter to wait and see what would happen.
A few minutes later, Jory's voice split the relative quiet in the cave. “Hey guys, come here and check this out!” The little guy shouted, which caused the other three boys, as well as Janet and Joe to go see what he had found.
When they got there, Jory was on his hands and knees looking at something on the wall. “What do ya got Jor?” Adam asked as soon as he was there.
Jory looked up and spoke while pointing to the wall. “I think this is a fake wall. I noticed a crack by the floor, and when I looked closer, it looks like there's a seam in the wall. That and I can feel air moving through.” The other's bent over and looked, and sure enough, there was a seam there that made it clear this was a fake wall.
“Okay guys, lets spread out and see what we can find. There's got to be something to open this up somewhere, if not, we'll have to figure out something else.” Adam said, as he got up, and started to look around.
Jory spoke up almost right away with a big ole grin on his face. “Adam, if we can't find a way to open it up, I could always blow a hole in it. I still got some C-4 left.” He said, with hope in his voice.
Adam had to stifle a chuckle at the little guy's obsession with blowing things up. “We'll see, Jory, lets just see what we can find,” He told him.
The next few minutes were spent searching the walls; finally it was Chang who called out.
“Hey guys, I think I got something over here.” He said, as the rest moved over to see what Chang had found. When they got there, Chang pointed to a raised area of the wall. They really had to look to see what it was, but finally, they figured it out.
It was a raised area, with a depression in the middle of it.
Adam looked at it closely for a minute, then reached into his shirt, and pulled off the cross that he wore. It was a fairly elaborate and detailed Celtic Cross. He looked at it, then back at the depression in the rock. Finally he put the cross up to it, and it fit in perfectly. Adam then pushed, watching as the 'door' easily pushed back into the wall. Less then a second later, a rumbling started from deep in the earth, and the wall started to shake. They all had to take a few steps back as they started to feel air rushing into the now opening area behind the wall.
Janet looked at Joe, who had gone a pale white and was visibly shaking. “Joe, what's wrong?” She asked, with obvious concern in her voice.
It took Joe a few seconds, to recover, and then he looked over at Janet. He started to speak, but nothing could really be heard over the rumbling of the wall, so she pulled him a few feet away. Once they were away, she looked at him again, and asked, “Joe, what's going on, you look like you've seen a ghost?”
The boys were too wrapped up in what was going on, and were not paying attention to the two adults. Joe was finally able to look at Janet. And said, “I... I haven't seen that amulet in years. How the hell did he get it?” His voice just slightly above a whisper, full of tension, and his hands visibly shaking.