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Note from Kyle: Come on, Unca True, stop trying to kiss-up to the others and get on with the chapter!]
10 Knocks-Downing Street -- November 15 07:00 am Pacific
The morning tickle war with his children finished, Brent and Lance laid on their bed. Brent said to his husband, "I have to admit, they're getting better at avoiding being caught. I think we need to take some lessons on how to tickle our kids more effectively." Lance could only giggle and shake his head.
The time they'd spent in Archnania for their honeymoon was a very welcome break from the insane tempo of Clan life. But there were things to do in this timeline. Brent scooted the kids off to shower and get ready for the day as he rolled over and kissed his husband. As much as he wanted to engage in the activity, they'd so quickly come accustomed to doing several times a day during their honeymoon, both knew that duty was calling.
They got out of bed and went to shower, each lovingly washing the other, they were thankful for the seemingly endless supply of that special Strawberry Shampoo/Body Wash. Then they dressed and met their children, along with Ezraka, Angus' boyfriend, in the living room to head to the cafeteria for breakfast. The reception and party of what to everyone else was the day before a fond memory.
When they entered the cafeteria, the entire membership of the division stood and applauded their director and his family. Brent blushed at this but waved everyone off and headed to the serving line to get his breakfast, followed by his family.
He had been eating for only a few minutes when a group materialized in front of them. One of those who showed up was wearing a hooded clan robe with the Desert Division crest on his right breast. Justin Dodds spoke for those assembled.
"Brent, I want you to meet Byron Bruce Baker, Junior. He goes by the nickname, BB. We just finished six-months in Archnania training him after we picked him up yesterday from the Las Vegas Police during your wedding reception. BB was in the process of evolving... he's an N-Gen."
Brent appraised the hooded figure and walked over to him. "Hello, I'm Brent, Director of the Desert Division." The hooded boy didn't even move.
In his head, Brent heard, "It is nice to meet you, Director. I am told that I will be living here."
Justin took over. "BB has several abilities. He's one of the most powerful telepaths we've ever encountered and has significant telekinetic skills as well. During his training we in Intelligence felt he would be a great Division Intelligence Officer. It is our recommendation that you make him the head of Desert Division's Intelligence."
Brent thought about it and made a decision in such a short time that even a Mikyvis would be impressed before answering, "Congratulations, BB. Welcome to the Desert Division. I hereby appoint you to the position of Chief of Intelligence, Desert Division. Congratulations Commander Baker."
At that moment, JJ Richardson appeared. "Director, you, Lance, BB, and Angus have an appointment to get to."
Brent turned to Lance who was a dumbfounded as he was before Brent asked JJ, "Where are we going?"
"In light of recent events, it has been decided that key personnel at each base need to be protected even more than having their own security people. I am to escort you to the Ark compound where you will all be trained in the use of a Phasemorph. Once the rest of those who will get Phasenmorph have been identified, they will be taken separately to be trained."
Angus asked, "Even me? I'm still a kid!"
JJ smiled and said, "Even you, Angus. According to Vulcan law and practices, you have shown the emotional and logical development of a person who could be considered an adult. Besides, I have been informed that you will be starting your own family very soon."
To say that Angus was surprised would have been an understatement. He looked over at Ezraka, smiled, and turned back to JJ, "Okay... I guess."
After allowing the group to quickly finish their breakfasts, Brent made arrangements for the rest of his kids to be watched over by Eric and the Cyclones and the next thing he knew he was standing in the Phasenmorph room at the Ark compound.
Troy and Rudy walked into the cafeteria hand-in-hand. They had spent the night, for the first time, naked and in one bed, so, needless to say, they were extra hungry that morning. When they arrived, they looked over those already there and Rudy noticed something interesting that he pointed out to Troy.
Sitting at a table half-way across the room was Andy. He was literally staring and drooling at a girl sitting across from him. When Troy saw this, after a pang of jealousy that he quickly dismissed, he started to chuckle. He wondered if he still had feelings for Andy. He shook them off and led Rudy over to the table where Andy and the girl were sitting.
"Hey, Good Morning, Andy. Who's this that you are talking to?"
"Hey, Troy. Hi Rudy. This is Naomi." Andy said absently, his attention not totally diverted from the pretty girl across from him.
Troy smiled and said, "We're gonna grab our breakfast, can we sit with you guys?"
Naomi smiled and said, "It's nice to meet you, Troy and Rudy. We'll be here."
Troy led Rudy to the serving lines and when they returned took seats with Andy and Naomi.
As they ate, Rudy and Troy found out that Naomi had been at the compound for a few days. When she saw Adam, she was immediately attracted to him but assumed he was probably gay. She was very happy when she found out that he was attracted to her as well.
"So, Adam, are you and Naomi boyfriend and girlfriend now?" Troy asked tauntingly.
Adam smiled, "I haven't asked her yet, but I would love it if she would be."
Naomi looked across the table at Adam with a grin, stood up, bent over the table and kissed him, "I would love to be your girlfriend."
Adam had a tear in his eye as he kissed Naomi again.
Troy laughed and taunted, "Get a room you two. But seriously, congratulations; I am sure Rudy will join me in saying we're happy for both of you."
JJ was leading the group out of the training center. He was pleased with the rate at which each of them learned to control their Phasenmorph. He created a list of the individuals and the names of their Phasenmorph:
JJ told Brent that he should consider what other staff of the Desert Division he feels should be given Phasenmorph and present a list. They will be vetted, and Brent will be told of the decisions.
JJ then asked Ark to teleport them back to the Desert Division compound where he bid his farewells saying he'd be in touch. Justin Dodds stayed on for another hour or so to get BB settled in then went back to Orlando.
After lunch, Brent called together his senior staff for a meeting. Present were Brent, Lance, Eric, Hania, Colonel West, Emily (Chief of Security) and BB Baker. Brent called the meeting to order.
"I wanted us to get together to introduce a new member to the senior staff. Commander Byron Bruce Baker, Jr., Byron came to us today after being identified yesterday as an N-Gen in the beginnings of evolving. Clan Intelligence took him to Archnania where he spent six months in training. In addition, Lance, Angus, BB and I just returned from the Ark compound where we were fitted with Phasenmorph."
"Colonel, Emily, I need a list of individuals you wish to recommend for Phasenmorphs. I will present that list to JJ Richardson and he and his team will make the final decision on who will get them."
For the first time, BB spoke verbally, "Director, I would like to say a few things."
Brent replied, "Go ahead, BB. But in future, when it's just us, please call me Brent.
BB started speaking again, "I am really glad to be here. During the time I was on Archnania, I learned a lot about the Clan and really want to be a part of it. So, you all know, in addition to the typical enhancements being N-Gen gives me, I am also a Telepath and I have telekinetic abilities. I am here to serve this division to the best of my abilities."
"Well said, BB. We will help you in any way you need." Lance replied.
Eric then asked about their Phasenmorphs. Brent explained about the process they went through, including the fact that each of the Phasenmorphs, once they'd chosen their host, was able to communicate with that host. It was the Phasenmorph who chose his own name.
Eric and Chuck had been making out on one of the beds. Chuck was laying quietly, his head on Eric's shoulder. Eric turned his head and kissed Chuck on the forehead. "I can't believe how quickly my feelings for you are growing." Eric wanted to say more... wanted to ask Chuck the ultimate question, but didn't have the nerve.
Chuck had been anticipating the question that never came. Chuck instead asked, "Why don't we get dressed and go for a walk around the compound."
Eric agreed to this, so the pair dressed and left the dorm. They were walking through one of the fields holding hands when they saw a boy sitting under a tree, he appeared to have his head between his knees and Eric immediately got the impression the boy was crying.
They walked over to the boy and Eric recognized him. "You're Ty Wheelock, right?" Eric asked in a very compassionate tone. Ty looked up and it was apparent he had been crying. Chuck dropped to his knees and took the boy into his arms.
"What's wrong, little brother?" The love Chuck had in his heart was very apparent in the amount of concern his voice betrayed as he asked that simple question.
8-year-old Ty looked up at him with such longing. "I've... I've been looking... I swear it, but I can't find them."
"Who? Who have you been looking for?" Eric asked.
Ty looked over at Eric and their eyes met. "I... I was talking to some of the other boys and they told me that I would never find new parents. I've been looking, I swear it, but..." Ty's voice tapered off.
Chuck held the boy tightly, "You'll find parents, I know you will."
"I keep going up to people hoping they'll ask me if I would be their son, but nobody ever asks."
Eric then realized the problem, "Ty, that's not how it works here. If you find people you would like to have as your parents, you have to ask them. YOU have the choice of who to ask. All they have to do is accept."
Ty looked up at Eric disbelieving and asked, "So, if I asked you guys to be my new Dad and Daddy, you could be?"
"If you asked me, I'd say yes in a second!" Chuck replied. Eric then agreed with Chuck.
For the first time, they saw a smile on Ty's face, "Would you... would you two be my parents? Would you 'dopt me?"
Eric looked over at Chuck then tapped his communicator. "Eric to Brent."
"Go ahead, Eric."
"Brent, where are you? Chuck and I have something very important to discuss with you."
Less than a second later, Brent was standing there next to them wearing nothing but a smile. He had shampoo in his hair and Luke was standing behind him giggling.
"Very funny, Luke... can you please make it so I'm properly attired? I will get you back for this..."
As Luke 'cleaned up' the Director and got him properly dressed, Ty was actually laughing in Chuck's arms at seeing Brent standing there naked.
Now, properly dressed, Brent asked, "What did you need, Eric?"
"Chuck and I want to adopt Ty here. He's asked us and we've agreed... but there is one other thing. I was going to ask Chuck earlier, but I chickened out... if he'll have me; would you marry me to Chuck before we adopt this cute boy?"
Brent smiled, "I was wondering how long it would take for you two to make those two decisions." Brent tapped his communicator, "Icky, begin recording."
"You got it, Director."
"Before I begin, do you want to do a public wedding, or do you want to just tie the knot? I can marry you now so you would be a married couple adopting Ty and then we could do a 'formal' ceremony later if you want that."
Chuck turned to Eric, "I don't care if it's public or private, all I want is to be your husband and Ty's Dad. Maybe even find a few brothers or sisters for Ty if it works out."
Eric smiled and replied to Brent, "We'll just have you do it now, we don't need a spectacle."
Brent was pleased, "Works for me. But you'll need bigger accommodations. You can't really move your son into a dorm room. I can offer you one of the townhouse units."
Luke interrupted, "Won't be big enough. I suggest they move in next door to you; they'll fill that up soon enough."
Eric and Chuck looked over at the red-headed Mikyvis with their jaws hanging nearly to the ground. Brent laughed and said, "Make it so..."
Luke laughed and added, 'My Dad says that we'll be adding the third floor to your house, Brent, either the day before yesterday or a week from now last month."
"I don't think I want to know. Guys, let's get this done. Icky, restart the recording."
"Ok, saving the first and starting a second," Icky replied.
Brent shook his head before starting, "I am Director Brently Knocks-Downing, Director of the Desert Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan. I have been asked to join Eric Knocks-Downing and Chuck Warner in marriage. Eric, do you take Chuck to be your lawfully wedded spouse, to forsake all others and honor him till death do you part?"
"Chuck, do you take Eric to be your lawfully wedded spouse, to forsake all others and honor him till death do you part?"
"By the power vested in me by the United Federation of Planets, and the State of Nevada, I hereby pronounce you married. You may kiss your husband."
Once the kissing was done, Chuck stated, "I want to take Eric's last name."
"You are now to be known as Chuck Knocks-Downing. Welcome to the family, brother-in-law."
Brent then looked down to Ty. "I understand you have chosen these two to be your parents."
"Uh huh. I want that more than anything." Ty replied, all traces of tears of sadness replaced by tears of happiness.
"I will have our new Child Psychologist check you out," Brent joked before continuing, "Chuck, Eric, do you accept Ty as your son, to treat him as if he were your own flesh and blood? This is a lifetime commitment. Even after he's grown, he will still be your son."
Without hesitation, both replied, "Absolutely, Yes!"
"Again, by the powers granted me by the Safe Haven Act, the United Federation of Planets, and the State of Nevada, I hereby declare that Ty..." Brent paused, about to ask Ty what he wanted for his last name when the boy shouted out, "Ty Knocks-Downing, Uncle Brent."
Through a chuckle, Brent continued, "I hereby declare that Ty Knocks-Downing is the son of Eric and Chuck Knocks-Downing. Icky, terminate recording and arrange for the marriage and adoption to be recorded by the proper authorities."
Once that was done the group looked up and saw no less than 50 others standing there watching. Among them were Lance and all ten of Brent and Lance's sons. Eric turned around when he felt a hand on his shoulder to see Neil and Roger standing there.
"Dads? I would like to introduce you to my husband, Chuck Knocks-Downing and our son, Ty."
Ty jumped into Neil's arms yelling, "GRANDPA!"
Doc Linda was just finishing up her day when Simon Ross, Jamie's father, and the new Lab Supervisor stepped into her office. "Hi Simon, how was your first day?"
"It was amazing. I think I'm really going to like working here."
"I am happy to have you here also. Have you heard how Jamie is fitting in?"
Simon chuckled, "As long as he has David, his new boyfriend, I think he'll do fine."
The two exchanged small talk for a few minutes but Simon appeared pensive. Linda asked, "Is there something bothering you, Simon?"
"Not bothering me, really... it's just from the moment I saw you, I have to admit I was very attracted to you. But it's probably not a good idea us getting together since you're effectively my boss."
"You have a lot to learn about Clan life, Simon. As long as any relationship we happen to be in doesn't interfere with our jobs, there's no reason we can't explore one. If I were to be totally honest with you, I am attracted to you as well."
Simon's smile nearly split his face. He then asked, "Would you like to have dinner with me tonight?"
Linda's smile mirrored Simon's as she took off her lab coat and hung it up. "I'd love to. Provided you don't mind eating in the Cafeteria. I may be a good doctor, but I'm a terrible cook."
"We can eat there tonight, but, for your information, I'm a pretty good cook. Being a single dad, it's either learn to cook good food or go broke buying food out. Next time, assuming you want a second 'date' with me, I insist you come to our house and let me cook for you. Having just taken the job and not having even moved into my new condo, there's probably no food in the place to cook."
"So... you're calling our going to dinner tonight a date?"
Simon blushed, paused and replied, "Am I pushing things too far, too fast?"
Linda laughed, "I surely don't think so; I was just teasing you. How about after the meal we go check out your condo then we can either go to a grocery store or have Icarus procure supplies for you."
"That sounds great. If you're ready m' lady, I would be honored to escort you to Chez Short for the evening repast." In the back of his mind, Simon wondered if Linda was thinking of spending the night.
Linda took Simon's offered arm and the two left her office heading for the cafeteria. Little did Simon know, but Linda was thinking exactly what Simon thought she might be thinking.
Eric and Chuck had just finished moving their stuff from the dorms to their new house and were going upstairs to help their son, Ty, set up his room. They were surprised when they entered, and the room was decorated perfectly for an 8-year-old boy. They found their son laying on one of the beds asleep. Chuck looked at him and commented, "He is such a beautiful child... especially when he is sleeping."
Eric agreed but reminded his husband that their son needed lots of McCoy shakes. "Any time he asks for a snack, offer him one of them along with whatever else we decide to give him to munch on. We should probably wake him up to go to dinner in the cafeteria though."
Icarus interrupted, "If you want to let him sleep, I can arrange for food to be brought over for you, or you can use the replicator in the kitchen."
"Thanks, Icky," Eric stated, "that might be a good idea. In addition to his nutritional needs, he should get a lot of rest over the next few days and today was a very busy day for him."
After kissing their sleeping angel on the forehead, Eric and Chuck left their son's room and looked around the upstairs of the house. Chuck made a passing comment, "It seems so empty. All this room and only one son. It almost seems like a waste."
Eric laughed and asked, "Are you suggesting we adopt a few more?"
Chuck's eyes went wide for a moment before replying, "I wouldn't oppose adopting a few more if the situation was right and it was the best thing for the child."
"Do you have any problems with the idea of adopting a couple of girls if need be?" Eric was testing the waters with that question. He'd forgotten Chuck's earlier comment about finding a few brothers... or sisters... for Ty.
"Eric, I am less concerned with the child's gender than their need for a good home. I know we could provide a good home for either a boy or a girl... or a few boys or girls... or any mix thereof."
Eric kissed his new husband and when he broke the kiss he said, "Right answer."
They retired to the living room and cuddled on the couch watching TV until Ty woke up. They agreed they'd just replicate anything they wanted to eat for that night and have Icky provide as many shakes as Ty wanted.
David and Jamie were enjoying having dinner together in the cafeteria. They were amazed at how accepting everyone had been about toward them since they admitted that they had feelings for each other.
"You know, Jamie, I don't think we would have had the courage to let each other know how we felt if it wasn't for getting involved with the Clan. When my dads saw Brent at the mall, they didn't believe it was him. They knew about Clan Short and the new division here in Las Vegas, but they didn't believe that the director of the division would be roaming around the mall. When I told Dad, I was sure it was him we approached them to volunteer to work with the clan. It was during my interview that they found out about what was happening to me. They were going to go confront Mr. Kennedy when they found you there."
"I'm happy you got there when you did. He was about to do stuff to me that he'd never done."
David looked down for a moment before replying, "I'm glad we got there before he did to you what he's been doing to me for a few weeks then."
Before they could continue their conversation, David looked toward the door and saw Jamie's dad coming in with Doc Linda. "Don't look now but your dad just walked in with Doc Linda."
Jamie moved to the same side of the table that David was on so he could see. As they finished eating their dinners, they watched the two adults. Jamie got a grin on his face as he told David, "It looks like dad is finally allowing himself to date again. I am really happy about that."
With a gleam in his eye, David said, "Yeah, but it will still be fun to kid them about it."
Jamie laughed at this comment. The two finished their dinners and took their dirty dishes to the proper bins. Next, they walked over to the two adults. Jamie said to his father, "It looks like you two like each other. I'm happy for you, Dad."
Simon smiled and jokingly said, "I am sure you wouldn't want me to interrupt you when you and David are out on a date, would you?"
Jamie blushed, "I'm sorry, Dad... wait... just a second, you are on a date?"
"Yup. Linda and I have been discussing it, and we think we're going to try dating for a while. You never know, it may develop into something more."
David and Jamie both said, "Cool!" at the same time, causing the four of them to start laughing.
Linda then told the younger couple, "Our second date will likely be a double-date."
"Really? Who else would be going on a date with you guys?" David asked.
"Well, assuming my son asks you, it would be you and Jamie, David. Linda and I have agreed that our second 'date' will be me cooking dinner for her and since Jamie lives with me, I would assume he will invite you to join us. You two can have your 'date' and Linda and I can have ours."
Jamie smiled, "I like that idea, Dad. Maybe David can sleep over?"
Simon was at first surprised but decided that things were different now that they were with the Clan, so he just replied, "We'll see..."
Forth sat in his room looking over at the empty bed across from him. He hadn't yet found the right person to share the room with him. He had decided that he didn't want to share a room with another of the Cyclones, but wanted to find a boy from one of the rescues to share with. He'd spent a lot of time with several of the new residents, but none struck him as a potential roommate. He knew that in time he'd find the right boy. He wasn't sure exactly what would make someone 'the right boy' but he figured he would know it when he met him.
He left his room and went to the common room in the dorm so he wouldn't be alone all evening. There were several others there using gaming consoles or playing board games. He went to the microwave and made some popcorn (his favorite treat) and sat with some of the new residents from the Phoenix rescue. They chatted for a while and generally had a good time. Forth was answering questions from the new residents who, for the most part, had accepted that the Clan was on the up-and-up, and they didn't have to worry about there being an ulterior motive for the kindness they had been shown.
One boy couldn't stop talking about the new Mac Pro that each resident had in their rooms. He had never had a computer, but to have a top-of-the-line system was amazingly cool.
After about an hour-and-a-half, Forth bid everyone a good night and went back to his dorm room, took off his clothes and climbed into bed.
Brent and Lance were in their living room relaxing. Lance had made a comment that things seem to be going pretty well and it was nice to have a quiet evening for a change.
"I need to take BB Baker out to buy some personal items for his home. I had him assigned to one of the townhouse units. I don't want to go to the local mall because, well, we're pretty well known around here and I'd rather not draw the attention. I am thinking of taking him on a road trip somewhere in California."
"I can understand that. I can take care of things here while you go on your road trip. Now that you have your Phasenmorph, I won't worry... as much. Between how well 'armed' your arm is along with being with BB and personal security, I think it'll be okay."
"I want to get an early start, so I'm going to go to bed." Brent winked at Lance and continued, "Do you want to go with me?"
"I'm not really tired yet."
"I said I wanted to go to bed, I didn't say I wanted to go to sleep, necessarily." Brent wiggled his eyebrows at Lance who chuckled. The two went upstairs to check on the boys and give them their goodnight kisses on their foreheads. Once that was done, they went to bed...
Rudy was having a very fitful sleep. He was perceiving something 'wrong' but couldn't tell what or where it was. His tossing and turning woke up Troy.
"Are you okay, Rudy?"
"Another dream... I don't know where but there are a lot of kids who feel like they're in danger. It's almost like I'm looking through the eyes of one of the kids, it seems so real."
Troy looked concerned, "Should we call someone so you can tell them?"
Rudy thought about it for a moment before saying, "I really don't have much to talk about... I don't know where they are or who is holding them. Maybe I'll get some more later tonight... let's go back to sleep and we can talk to Brent or somebody tomorrow. If I get more details, we can decide if we should call and wake someone up."
Troy gave Rudy a kiss and snuggled up to him. He felt his heart swell with the love he felt for his boyfriend. The pair fell back to sleep holding one another.
Brent had been thinking. He knew he needed to take BB out to get some things and he wasn't really interested in bringing a lot of attention. He spoke to his security staff and developed a plan to take a road trip to Los Angeles. With just 5 members in their group, dressed in normal attire, they would take a trip some 400 miles from Las Vegas by automobile. The only issue would be that Jolin, one of Brent's security staff was a nearly 7' tall human/tiger hybrid would not be able to blend in with the general population.
Brent decided to replace Jolin for this mission with one of Lance's security staff. The telepath, Sgt. Joshua Flint would replace Jolin for this particular mission. Both BB Baker and Brent were armed with Phasenmorphs and the abilities of the three security would be able to handle just about any situation. If the situation came to it, Brent could always call for immediate extraction by teleportation.
Brent ran his idea by JJ Richardson and, after a bit of convincing, JJ approved his plan. Brent took one of the division vehicles, which was quite well armed, and they left shortly before sunrise, Joshua Flint would be behind the wheel. It would be nearly a four-hour drive from Las Vegas to their destination in the southern part of California.
The trip went smoothly until about 90 minutes after they left. BB Baker started to feel uneasy. He kept looking out the window to the east. Eventually, Brent noticed. "What's wrong, BB?"
"I'm not sure, Director. I am getting some feelings... a lot of them. They are actually overlapping quite a bit, but they're all basically the same. They're extremely frightened."
Brent ignored BB's formality by calling him by his title and asked, "Can you tell where they're coming from?"
"All I can tell at this point is they're coming from the East," BB replied.
"Joshua, take the next turn to the east. Start focusing your telepathy in that direction. Maybe between you and BB we can pinpoint where these feelings are coming from."
Sgt. Flint made the turn and started to focus his telepathy. BB's eyes glowed as only an N-Gen's could. About ten miles east of Interstate 15, BB yelled out. "STOP!"
Joshua stopped the vehicle and looked back at Brent and BB who were in the back seat. "I feel them now, there is a hell of a lot of them!"
BB got out of the car, followed by Ron Casey and Lincoln Hayes from Brent's security and walked up a hill. They stealthily crept to the crest of that hill and saw a large installation. There appeared to be at least twenty armed men patrolling the perimeter of the base. BB focused his telepathy, trying to single out individuals. After ten minutes, he signaled the security guys to retreat back to the car.
When they returned, BB gave his report. "Brent, there are at least 500 but maybe far more than that being held captive at that base. I counted no less than twenty guards on the perimeter alone. We have to do something., Brent. Many of those I scanned are fearful that they'll be dead in the next day or two."
Brent took in this information and quickly started to think, formulating a plan. He tapped his communicator, "Brent to Colonel West."
"West here, go ahead Brent."
"Justin, would our garrison, strike teams, and airborne assets be able to take out a base where at least 500 kids are being held captive? Based on the force patrolling the perimeter, I would estimate at least 100 hostiles."
Justin whistled, "That would be a formidable force. I think we could do it, but it might be a good idea to at least arrange for backup from either the Rapid Deployment Team or another division."
"Thanks, Justin. I'll get back to you in a few minutes." Brent ended the communication and started another.
"Brent Knocks-Downing, Director, Desert Division to Preston O'Brien, Director, Pacific Rim Division."
"Prez here, Brent. Why so formal?"
“Hey, Prez. I'm currently less than half-a-mile away from an installation that’s holding upward of 500 kids. There is a formidable force guarding them. According to our Garrison commander, he believes with our ground and air resources we could effectively pull off a raid and rescue, but I think it would be a good idea to have additional resources available at a moment's notice."
Prez whistled before saying, "Damn, Brent, you don't mess around! I think you’re making a good decision. Your people could do this, but the lives of those kids are more important than egos... yours, mine, or even Cory's. I’ll dispatch our F15E jet to do a high altitude run over the coordinates. We should be able to get a decent idea of what we're up against. I’m messaging our Rapid Response Commander to have teams serve as your backup. We can have all of these assets there inside of two hours. The F15E can do the flyover within the next 60 minutes. You’ll be directly informed of their findings."
“Thanks, Prez. That will work well. I will arrange for our teams to be here in 2 hours. Brent out."
"Brent to Justin West."
"Go ahead, Brent."
"I need a full mobilization to my coordinates. I need all assets on-site within the next two hours. The gunships should remain out of range of detection until I give the order to engage."
"Yes, Sir. I must say I am very impressed with how you're handling this. I couldn't do better myself."
"Thanks, Justin. Let's all just hope that we get this done without loss of life... at least without loss of any of the kid's lives. I couldn't care less about the scumbags holding them."
After Brent closed the communication Brent said, "BB, do you think you should report in with Clan Intelligence?"
BB looked over at Brent with a grin, pointing at his head and said, "I already have."
[Author's Note: I wanted to extend my thanks to two individuals who contributed to the development of this chapter. Night Auditor and DBarber have been my sounding boards, helping me to flesh out ideas and to remind me when I stray too far from what could be canon. To both of you, my deepest thanks.]