Memories Part 3: And A Child Shall Lead Them

Chapter 35 - Anchors Aweigh

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November 12, 2004;

Fort Lauderdale, Alligator Alley Navel Station, FCS Pier One:

Colin Powell took the podium, and paused as he looked out over the crowd that not only packed both piers that now belonged to Family Clan Short, but also stretched down into other areas which belonged to the Port Authority. Screens had been set up on the piers and beaches, being ran by Emmy, to ensure everyone who wished to view this event had front-row seats.

The first half of Pier One, directly in front of the stage, was completely filled with uniformed guests. Not only were the expected United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, and Coast Guard personnel present, but every service of the British Commonwealth, Russian Defense Force, Chinese Armed Services, and just about every other Armed Service in the world attended as well. The United Federation of Planets, Vulcan, and Starfleet were mixed in as well, along with representatives of every part of Family Clan Short. The first two rows consisted of various high dignitaries and every high level officer of the Clan. On every ship within sight in the harbor, the crews were out manning the rail in full force, all in dress uniform.

Colin glanced down at the speech that was prepared for him, frowned, then ripped the teleprompter out of the podium and threw it into the water off to the left of the stage. "Those damn things need to be outlawed!" he exclaimed, unaware of Emmy already having the microphone live.

The crowd exploded in laughter, relaxing at the idea this wasn't going to be some stuffy political speech. Once they calmed, Colin began to ad-lib his speech.

"Fellow Americans, residents of Earth, and honored Federation guests; thank you for taking the time to help me honor this historic event. A week ago, all of us were blindsided by an attack which threatened our very existence. Every single Armed Service in front of me not only kept their oath of service, but went above and beyond their orders to ensure our survival. Every single one had members who gave the ultimate sacrifice to ensure Earth and the Federation did not fail. On the screen behind me, every single member of the services who lost their lives is pictured, so they are present to see their sacrifice was not in vain. Please join me in a moment of silence for our lost brothers and sisters, both military and civilian."

As Colin bowed his head, the harbor fell silent. Once a proper time had passed, he lifted his head. "Thank you. By unanimous declaration of the League of Nations, all flags in member Nations shall remain at half-staff for the remainder of the year. November 5th, 'International Memorial Day' shall be recognized as a world-wide holiday as noted in the same declaration."

"That took care of the official announcement," he continued. "Now for the reason we're all here. One thing that every single soldier, sailor, marine, and airman in front of me will agree on is that they are crippled without communication and intel. Our attackers knew that as well, and they did their best to cripple our forces world-wide. What they didn't count on was that our sister planet Vulcan had started gathering the most skilled youth in the Federation right here on Earth, and had arranged for those youth to have access to technologies normally reserved for the planetary protection forces. Earth first became generally aware of this group when they were attacked in Montana, and we stepped up to help them recover from the injustice of the attack. On November 5th, that group paid the world back for their assistance, with interest. As fast as our attackers could sever a line of communication, this group not only restored it, but did so with protocols they had internally modified for their own use, protocols that were not documented outside their own equipment."

"It is well-known that a special forces squadron joined with the group, which if you haven't figured it out already is known throughout the Federation as Family Clan Short. To assist the group, the US Navy donated some vessels to them, one being the ship that provided the twenty-one-gun salute at the funeral for the members lost in Montana, the USS Iowa. While the rest were deployed to the base in Hawaii that was already set up for Naval operations, the Iowa was a gift to the Patriarch, and was to be delivered here as an active-duty memorial to those the Clan lost. On November 5th, we found out that Clan Short wasn't taking chances after the Battle of Montana, and had already arranged to make major changes to their gifts. With that decision, they were able to not only provide support; they actively engaged in battle and were instrumental in the destruction of two alien interplanetary ships that had entered the atmosphere."

"Between the Clan's surface forces and the beginnings of the space fleet they are assembling to help other planets that is stationed in orbit around Earth, sixteen invaders failed in their mission. While Federation forces took out another twenty, the six other invaders that had entered the atmosphere were taken down mainly due to the intel about what was working being distributed to all of the ground forces who were engaging the enemy. Please join me in recognizing each the divisions of Family Clan Short as I introduce their Director. Gentlemen, you conned me into getting on this stage, so you better stand up when I call out your name."

Ignoring the catcalls from his victims, Colin began. "First is the Division that provided a temporary base of operations for the US Government when Washington, DC was taken out, while providing assistance in taking down an invader that was enroute to California. Not satisfied with that, these young men and ladies managed to provide communities for a major portion of the battle refugees to relocate to, communities which are already giving families a sense of normalcy in their lives. Representing the Pacific Rim Division and the Clan Short Rapid Response Base, Admiral Preston O'Brien, Director of the Pacific Rim Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan."

Muttering 'Paybacks are a bitch...', Prez stood up and somehow managed to not glare at Colin while he waited for the applause to settle. With obvious relief, he quickly sat down once he saw Colin signal that it was okay.

Smiling, Colin continued once Prez was seated. "Next up, the group that took it upon themselves to single-handedly co-opt the Armed Forces communications networks of the world that had been compromised, along with ensuring the financial markets of the world were able to successfully shut down. This young man is also the one responsible for there being an Atlantic Fleet instead of just the Iowa, so you can blame him for the loss of two piers here. Just a bit of advice; don't challenge him to chess, he cheats! Representing South Florida and the homeport of the Clan Short Atlantic Fleet, Vulcan Commander Tracy Butler, Director of the Alligator Alley Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan."

"I DON'T CHEAT!" Tracy yelled as he stood up, then stuck his tongue out at Colin.

Shaking his head, Colin waited for the applause to die down, then signalled for Tracy to sit. "Now for the first Clan faces that refugees usually saw during the recovery. These guys were out getting people world-wide to safety while attacks were still in progress, putting others before their own safety. When they're not putting their lives on the line to help others, these guys handle the Clan's genetic research, using facilities and personnel they inherited to help worldwide. Representing the Las Vegas region, Vulcan Commander Brently Knocks-Downing, Director of the Desert Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan."

Obviously uncomfortable, Brent stood without comment, dropping into his seat the second he saw Colin start to signal it was okay to sit.

Fully understanding how Brent felt, Colin moved on. "Now for the next faces all of the refugees saw; the brains behind the most effective relocation in the history of the Earth. This group of youth managed to not only classify who was in need, they reunited families, ensured that the injured were sent to the best option for recovery, provided food, and arranged for relocation to the refugee endpoints. Based in the neighborhood that was the origin of Clan Short's forming, this young man oversees the largest multi-family residential compound in the Clan. Representing the US Midwest region, Vulcan Commander Julio Hernandez, Director of the Des Moines Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan."

"This is YOUR fault, Cory!" Julio giggled as he stood up and waved.

Once Julio was seated, Colin continued. "No major operation has ever succeeded without teamwork. No one person can do it all. Saving people is only half of the battle in recovery operations of this scale; ensuring their continued well-being and comfort is another full-time job. Nobody knows that better than someone who has been there, which is why there is a distinct team dedicated to providing comfort and support during the transition and beyond if needed. Representing Camp Little Eagle's 'Teddy Bear Patrol', Commander Dylan Chang, Director of the Support and Recovery Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan."

"When did I become a Commander?" Dylan exclaimed as he stood up.

"I knew I forgot something at the meeting a while back!" Cory giggled in reply. "George, could you please help Dylan with his uniform?"

Almost instantly, Dylan's rank insignia on his Clan cloak appeared. "You and me are gonna have a LONG talk at school tomorrow, Cory!" Dylan advised, "Bring a pillow to sit on when I'm done!"

"If anyone doubted these boys considering each other brothers, that should prove just how close they are," Colin chuckled as Dylan took his seat. 

"It takes someone very strong to run a remote outpost, and the Oceanic Division is about as remote from Clan Headquarters as you can get. Besides coordinating defensive actions throughout the South Pacific, the Oceanic Division took the lead in maintaining communications as well as providing logistical assistance to ensure Sydney did not fall. Australia survived intact thanks to the team headed by this young man, Commander Skylan Thomas, Director of the Oceanic Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan."

"When Dylan's done, I'm next, Cuz!" Sky threatened as he stood and mock-glared at Cory.

Colin shook his head as he saw Cory stick out his tongue in response. After Sky sat down again, Colin moved on to his next target. "A battle causes injury, it comes with the territory. While Clan Short has some amazing doctors, in a combat situation the more knowledgable the doctor, the more chance of patient survival. One of the things Vision Industries did right when they created the Android species was to include a complete medical library in their base programming. Despite being fully self-aware, androids always retain that base information in their memories. This advantage puts Clan Short in a very unique position, as they can handle injuries that would normally require calling in a rare specialist in-house. I have not seen the official numbers, mainly because they don't bother keeping count, but the best estimate is that there are over a thousand people who would have suffered due to overloaded trauma centers that are back with their families thanks to Clan Short taking on the worst injuries, at no cost. Representing the Michael P. Short Memorial Medical Center and the A.I. Division, Doctor Daniel Page, Director of the A.I. Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan."

"If we're all blaming Cory, I'm in!" Danny laughed as he stood up.

"Just remember who was in charge while I was out of the loop," Cory shot back. "You're just as guilty as me, bro!"

"Nice try, Cor!" Danny giggled before sitting down.

"I hope you all are paying attention, this is how the next generation manages things," Colin quipped with a chuckle. "After seeing them in action, I'm not going to argue; it works! Next up is the leader of the team solely responsible for the survival of the members of the House and Congress that made it out of Washington. His team is also the second major endpoint for refugees, focusing on those orphaned by the attack. At this point in time, normally every orphanage in the United States would be overwhelmed by orphans after an attack of this scale, with even more living on the streets."

"I visited the facilities his Division has provided, and calling them a group home is the ultimate in disrespect to their actual purpose. I personally saw youth of all ages bonding into families as they helped each other deal with their sudden losses, with adults assisting as the youth asked for help. There are no social workers, and none of the adults are employed there in the normal sense. Adults are there because they want a family, and the youth are given the opportunity to be adopted if they so wish. Every adult I talked to has told me that even after adoption of a family they are staying on, both because they don't wish to put the youth through seperation from their friends, and because they wanted to keep in touch with the youth they have made friends with."

Colin seemed to lock eyes with Cory before continuing. At a nod from Cory, he stated "After briefings from parties that were on the scene in the Capitol, a special session of the remainder of the United States Federal Government was convened. Before I can continue, would the following please join me onstage? Commander Jonas McConnaghay. Commander Harry Johnson. Lieutenant Kurt Farnsworth. Lieutenant Scott Reinhardt. Lieutenant Marcus Reinhart. Prince Galen Alexander. Prince Peter Lambert. Lieutenant Todd Hayes. Lieutenant Tilden Hayes."

By the time Colin finished, Jory was at his side, and even without the microphone in front of him was heard clearly as he added "STRIKE TEAM CHARLIE, FRONT AND CENTER!"

"You heard General Casey!" Colin chuckled, smiling as the shocked participants were herded onto the stage by Cory.

Once the requested persons were on stage, Jory pulled the microphone down. "Family Clan Short Armed Forces, ATTENTION!" His command was confirmed as the bos'n whistles onboard every ship, calling their crews to attention. In the crowd in front of the stage, the members of the various other military organizations present also came to attention, instinctively mirroring their Clan military brothers and sisters.

Colin stepped forward after looking each of the participants onstage in the eyes. With a serious expression, he began the proceedings. "While there are uncounted heros present today, the United States of America would not still have a Federal government if it was not for the actions of the young men and ladies in front of you today. As members of Family Clan Short, their military status is recognized by the United States as being valid, which allows me to present them the honor that they have earned. Their actions resulted in many lives of elected representatives being saved, and they were directly responsible for using intelligence available to them to divert the spaceship intent on vaporizing the Capitol out to sea, where the Atlantic and Clan Short fleets were able to safely eliminated the threat. While Purple Hearts have been awarded already to those deserving of the award, these soldiers before you have earned the right to join the most exclusive club in the United States. By unanimous decree of the elected Representatives of the United States government, I am honored to commission these heros as recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. General Short has agreed to perform introductions as the Medal is issued."

 Jory started with Jonas, working down the list as Colin stepped up to each recipient. Both Jory and Colin saluted each individual upon the conclusion of their acceptance. Once they were completed, including Jory accepting the posthumous award for Mac, Colin took the microphone once again. "Ladies and Gentlemen, there are no words to truly express the debt that the United States Government owes you for your service. From this point forward, anyone who dishonors any one of you has dishonored the United States, and shall be dealt with accordingly." Colin then saluted the recipients, his actions mirrored by the Fleet calling for a salute from the crews manning the rails.

Once the salute completed, everyone but Colin and Jory began to make their way from the stage. Each of them was intercepted by Cory, receiving a hug of congratulations from their Patriarch before they could return to their seats. Colin watched this with a smile, his experience with the Clan telling him that Cory's actions probably meant more to each of them than any award he could give.

Once everyone returned to their seats, Colin resumed where he had left off. "For those not aware of recent promotions, this young man next to me is General Jory Short, Commanding General of the Terran Guard and Acting Commander of the Family Clan Short Special Forces. General Adam Casey is leading a team to locate and neutralize off-planet forces which assisted in the attacks of November 5th. Despite the conditions which resulted in the creation of the Clan Short Special Forces, when Earth was attacked they stepped up world-wide to protect our society. They placed their duty over personal views, and proved their honor to the world. From this point forward, I have been empowered by the League of Nations to authorize all members and divisions of the Family Clan Short Special Forces to bear the League of Nations Distinguished Service commendation. In addition, by unanimous declaration of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Clan Short Special Forces are hereby issued the Presidential Distinguished Service award, and are authorized to display same. General Short, the actions of your milita have exhibited the highest level of honor and professionalism. The people of Earth thank you, your men, and your women for your service."

Jory took the microphone. "Thank you, President Powell." Noticing Colin's expression, Jory giggled, "I warned you; you keep calling me General, I'm gonna call you President!" Those that knew Colin broke out in laughter, fully aware of Colin's dislike of the title he found himself forced into. "I'm sure I speak for all of my brothers and sisters when I say 'thanks' for the awards. What means more to us, though, is that today you just acknowledged us as equals. For every single one of us, that means more than any award that you could give us. All of us in Clan Short want that one simple thing, we want to know we matter and that we're equal to everyone else. We help everyone because we know what it's like to be thrown away, we just want to be considered human like everyone else. We would love to be normal kids, playing in a playground and not knowing about the stuff we now do every day. We do this stuff because other kids don't need to lose their innocence like we have. If we need to help the military of any country to protect kids or their family, we will do it without another thought. All of us, government and Clan, working together can make it so families can grow in peace; we won't rest until the threat against families is gone forever."

Jory locked eyes with Cory. "The best thing that has happened to us is meeting Cory; even though I wish we'd met a different way, meeting him gave all of us that you know as the Family Clan Short Special Forces a purpose in life. He gave us family, which a lot of us had never really had. Just after the battle settled down, he gave me the best present in the whole world, our family. He finally talked me into it, and now he's not just my big brother in words, but legally as well. Cory taught us how to use our training to help others, and I'm letting everyone know I'm proud to say he's my brother."

Jory didn't bother with the stairs, putting the mic down and jumping off the stage and making a beeline to Cory's lap, where he settled into a cuddle without caring who saw it. Colin picked up the mic, and quipped "Your little brother is taking after you with his long speeches, Cory!"

"He just said what needed to be said," Cory responded over the giggles around him.

Colin nodded, knowing nothing needed added. "During the attack, there was one major weak point in the North American defenses; at least it was weak as far as official records were concerned. The Gulf Coast is normally considered secure, as it is naturally protected from entry by its location with waterborne access requiring going through heavily guarded waters. The Gulf Coast Division of Family Clan Short fortunately was not listed as one of the defenses, and gave our attackers a very unpleasant surprise when they attempted to use that route to infiltrate the Midwest. I'd go into detail, but I've been told that even if I knew everything that happened, nobody would believe me. With that, I give you Commander Jackson Sabre, Director of the Gulf Coast Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan."

Jackie stood up long enough to be acknowledged, then retook his seat, obviously not comfortable being singled out. Ranger reached over and pulled him into a cuddle, showing no concern at giving a public display of his support.

Smiling, Colin moved on. "The British Commonwealth was hit just as hard as the United States, and the only reason they survived was due to the work of the next group in concurrence with the leadership of Family Clan Short.  While defending the Clan, the Commonwealth, and the planet, they were there from the first shot fired until the final surrender. Representing the British Commonwealth, Patriarch Jason Evans, Prince of Great Britain and Ireland, Prince of the Empire, Defender of the Commonwealth Alliance, Director of the Dragon Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan. Also, he's the owner of the second-longest title behind Cory Short himself!"

"I'm working on it!" Jason stated with a grin as he stood up.

"I'll ask Grandma Lizzy to help," Sean offered.

"Don't you dare!" Jason replied as he took his seat and poked Sean in the ribs.

Colin shook his head. "The last Division, unless Cory added one while he was sitting here, is unique even for a Clan Short entity, as they don't just represent a country, they ARE the country." Colin paused at that moment, because his last victim had stood up and began heading to the stage.

With a look, the twelve-year-old boy gave Colin no choice but to turn over the microphone. Once he'd adjusted it to his comfort, the boy began, in perfect English. "For those who don't know me, I am Tsar Alexei Romanov, hereditary ruler of the Russian Federation, and Director of the Russian Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan. Just before we as a world were attacked, I requested Family Clan Short assist me with dealing with a group of terrorists within my own government. I was offered and accepted brotherhood within the Clan by Logan Hayes, and as I learned more about what that meant I made the decision that I wanted the Russian Federation to reflect the values of my new extended family. After the death of my birth family, I was subjected to abuses which are understood too well by some of my Clan brothers. Despite the problems that my country was having internally, once we were attacked by outsiders we pulled together as one to repel them. While my people and my brothers in the Clan Short Special Forces are still in the process of cleaning up the corruption that was being hidden from me by former members of the Government, the people of Russia have stepped up to embrace the values of our Clan."

Pausing to look around, Alexei smiled. "This occasion is perfect for my official declaration. The review of the Russian Navy has completed, and after discussion with my Admirals, we have agreed that it is only right to give back to the Clan the support they have given us. As of this moment, the entire Russian Navy is permanently transferred to the Family Clan Short Atlantic and Pacific Fleets."

This time Alexei had to pause due to the applause drowning everything else out. Once it finally settled down, he went to start again, only to be interrupted by a hug from behind.

"Thanks, bro," Cory said as he shifted the hug enough to let Jory join in. "I just got told by Timmy that he expects his Uncle Alexei to come home with me to visit before he goes back to Russia. You think you can arrange that?"

"Logan warned me about Timmy!" Alexei giggled. "I'm not going to argue with a summons from the Chief!"

"Smart move," Jory giggled.

Breaking the hug, Cory stood with Jory under one arm and Alexei under the other. "I'll officially accept the gift of my brother Alexei now." Continuing in Russian, he added "My Russian brothers and sisters watching this, I welcome you into the family. As you know, there are elements which chose your fine country to do business which is against the good of society and the world's youth. Tsar Alexei has empowered you to dispose of those elements, and as your Patriarch I vow on my father's grave that any resources you need will be provided, all you need to do is ask. Youth of Russia, your voices are now being heard; speak up about those things that you know of that have been hidden from the adults. By working together, Russia can be the country that you envision."

Turning to Colin, Cory giggled "You're up, Colin!" He then headed off-stage, keeping Alexei and Jory under his arms.

"I think that erased any doubts about the future of Russia," Colin observed. "Now, if you wouldn't mind, could everyone please wake up their neighbors that fell asleep waiting for the main event?" After the laughter died down, along with the young voices yelling 'WAKE UP!', Colin continued. "Today we're gathering to celebrate the most important day in the life of a Naval vessel.  The naming of a ship determines her entire lifetime, and is a distinction that is always unique. Joining me is Admiral Seth Metronome, Chief of Naval Operations for the Family Clan Short Fleet."

Seth rolled over to join Colin from where he had been Mikyvis-transported backstage. "Thank you, Colin," Seth stated as he rolled to a stop.

"You're welcome, Seth," Colin replied. "The procedures for naming a ship go clear back to ancient times. While some things change, the overall ceremony is basically the same. All of the vessels present today have been modified in their missions to the point that they are no longer related to their original design. As such, it has been determined that a new christening is appropriate. A fleet without a flagship is headless, so we will begin with the Iowa. Seth, please proceed when ready."

Seth nodded. Tapping his commbadge, he ordered "CNO to Iowa, initiate decommissioning."

On the Iowa, the 1MC came to life. "Onboard the Iowa, secure all non-essential services. All non-essential personnel assemble on the pier."

The crew quickly made their way down the brow, assembling at the pre-reserved location by the bow. Since they prepared ahead of time, in no time the 1MC was once again active. "Onboard the Iowa; secure all watches, strike colors. Seal all logs."

Three minutes later, the remaining crew exited the ship. Leon appeared on stage with his sons, each of which carried some of the ship's logs. Representing his brothers, Jeff stepped up to Colin. "Mr. President, Family Clan Short would like to present you the official logs of the former USS Iowa for the National Archive."

Colin faced Jeff and saluted him. "The United States of America accepts custody of these historic documents and thanks Family Clan Short for their consideration." Colin then took custody of each of the logs, personally thanking each of the boys.

Once Colin had accepted the last log, Seth requested "Mr. President, Family Clan Short of Vulcan requests striking of the battleship Iowa from the Naval Register."

Colin tapped his own Clan-issued commbadge. "President Powell to Naval Operations."

"Naval Operations. Proceed President Powell."

"By order of the Commander-in-Chief, it is ordered to strike the battleship Iowa from the Naval Register. Logs have been sealed and are being transferred to the Archives."

"Acknowledged, please confirm the battleship Iowa is to be struck from the register."

"I confirm, strike the battleship Iowa from the register."

"The battleship Iowa has been struck from the register, Mr. President."

"Thank you; please stand by for the next ship once this ceremony is completed. Powell out."

Colin turned to Seth. "Admiral, the United States hereby officially transfers the vessel formerly designated Iowa to Family Clan Short of Vulcan."

Seth sat at attention as he responded. "Family Clan Short of Vulcan accepts custody of the ship formerly designated by the United States Navy as Iowa. We gratefully thank the United States of America Government for their gift." Pausing to signal for the other screen to be brought active, Sean then stated "Lady Teri, please proceed."

On the screen, the crowd watched as Teri walked out on the floating dock. Over the speakers, they heard Teri as she stated "As the flagship of the Family Clan Short Fleet, it is only fitting that the ship be named after the location of the Clan's founding. In memory of those who lost their lives when turret two failed, Patriarch Short has stated the hull number shall remain as it was previously."

Pausing to pick up a bottle, Teri then continued. "I christen thee CBC-61, FCSF Iowa." With that, to the cheers of the crowd she broke the bottle over the bow. (CBC = Clan Battle Cruiser)

Seth turned to Leon. "Commander, establish a quarterdeck and man your command."

"Aye, Admiral," Leon responded before tapping his commbadge. "Samuel, transport commissioning crew aboard. XO, hoist colors and the pennant."

Teri watched the pennant, and as soon as she saw it reach its peak, she called out "Man our ship and bring him to life!"

"Aye, Aye Ma'am!" the crew yelled in reply as they began sprinting up the brow and manning the rails unless needed elsewhere. While they crewed the ship, CD conducted Time Touched as they played Anchors Aweigh.

Once the last sailor was aboard, Leon tapped his badge. "XO, set the watch."

Over the 1MC, the orders were given. "Attention to orders! Onboard the Family Clan Short Fleet Battle Cruiser Iowa; set the watch, section one take your stations. Establish the in-port quarterdeck, all divisions report ready status to Command Duty Officer on the Bridge."  

Having prepared ahead of time to make the process go smoothly for the public, it took only minutes before Leon received the call. "Captain, your command is reporting ready and able to assume duty."

Leon turned to Seth, coming to attention and saluting him. "Admiral, Clan Battle Cruiser Iowa reporting for duty."

"Acknowledged, Commander," Seth replied as he returned the salute. "Proceed with your orders, Captain Schmidt."

"Aye Aye, Sir," Leon replied before turning and heading for the brow. As he reached the foot of the brow, eight bells were rang before a pre-teen voice announced "Iowa, arriving!"

The ceremony was repeated for the rest of the Clan ships. Unlike the Iowa, the rest were also renamed in honor of Clan members who had fallen. The O'Bannon was the first, with a new hull designation of CLC-101 (Clan Light Cruiser). The ship was christened the "Charles B. Dodds", with Grandma Anne doing the honors. The Jesse L. Brown received the hull designation CHE-201 (Clan Heavy Escort), and was renamed the "Mark Little", with Mark's biological mother doing the honors. Queen Elizabeth had granted the ship that the Atlantic Fleet had confiscated for attacking the passenger liner to the Clan, and it had just completed it's sea trials that morning. The new ship was given the hull designation CHC-402 (Clan Heavy Cruiser) and christened the "Joshua Chasez". The Charleston received the new hull designation CUA-10 (Clan Underwater Attack), and was renamed the "Missula".

The US Navy had also pulled three more ships out of the pool of ships they had already decommissioned, another frigate, another destroyer, and a cruiser. The cruiser became CHC-401, the "Mac Casey"; the destroyer CLC-102, the "Kuan Ti"; and the frigate CHE-202, the "Edward W. Fraser".

Once all of the ships had received their new commissions, the military guests were given private tours, each with their own guide. Public group tours were also given, with the crowds taking full advantage of the offer. The night was finished with a fireworks show launched from the fantail of the Iowa, then the crowd finally disbursed and the now-official Clan Atlantic Fleet settled into their normal routine.


To be continued...