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The man had just finished with Troy when the shimmer of incoming transporter beams were seen. In moments, five boys, armed with phasers surrounded the bed where the man and preteen lay.
Colin announced, "We are representatives of Clan Short. Due to a credible report and witnessed by those present, you are in violation of the Safe Haven Act. Pursuant to Sections 17.1(a),17.1(a)(3),17.10,17.22, 18.3(c); you are hereby placed under arrest and will be taken into custody pending sentencing. Under the authority of the Safe Haven Act section 200, Clan Short places this child, Troy French, under its protection."
The man was forcibly removed from the bed. He then broke free and lunged at Colin… a mistake he wouldn't live long enough to regret. Colin reacted to the assault by striking the man's nose, breaking it and pushing the cartilage in it into the man's brain, killing him instantly. Troy sat there, tears streaming down his face, not quite understanding what was going on.
Colin looked over at the boy who looked no older than 8 or 9, his thoughts were jumbled. The boy sat on the edge of the bed, looked at Troy and softly said, "Troy, my name is Colin Busch. Have you ever heard of Clan Short?"
Troy nodded, unable to really speak. Colin then continued, "We were told you were here, I'm just sorry we couldn't have gotten here sooner. What's important is that from this moment on, you're safe. What has been happening to you will never happen again, on that I can promise you."
Emotion finally took hold and Troy, regardless of his state of undress, threw himself to Colin and wrapped his arms around the smaller boy. As he wept, he kept saying, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I was hoping someone would come and rescue me."
Colin held the crying boy for a short time, patting the boy on his back before softly saying, "You're safe. I am going to take you to see one of our doctors so they can make sure you're okay. There's nothing to worry about."
Colin helped the boy stand and Troy felt a tingling on his skin. The next thing he knew he was standing in a hallway. He looked around and saw kids wearing lab coats, and a lady sitting behind a desk wearing a nurse's uniform.
Colin led Troy into one of the rooms and helped him onto the biobed. Moments later a boy who looked to be about Troy's age, wearing a lab coat entered.
"Hello Troy. I'm Doctor Furst, but you can call me Marc."
Troy was having trouble believing what he was hearing. "You're a doctor? But you're just a kid like me!"
Marc let out a chuckle before replying, "Troy. I may look like I'm 13, but I've been alive a very long time. I'm an android."
"You're a what? Wait a minute. Androids ain't real!"
Marc became somewhat serious, "Honest Troy. I'm real. I am the Medical Director here at St. Mikey's, the Clan Short AI Division hospital. Why don't you just lay back and I'll make sure you're okay."
Troy looked over at Colin who simply nodded so he laid back on the biobed. Marc went through the readings and a few minutes later proclaimed, directed at Colin, "He's not in that bad shape. A day or two of rest and he'll be fine to leave here."
"Troy," Marc said calmly, "what happened to you should never happen to a boy of any age. We're gonna make sure you're ship shape. Over the next couple of days, we'll have some people from the Clan come and explain to you exactly what's going to happen."
Troy's emotional state finally caught up with him and as Marc was talking, he fell into a deep sleep.
Marc turned to Colin and said, "I set the biobed to help him sleep for a few hours. You can head back to Orlando and make whatever arrangements you need to."
With one last look at Troy, Colin thanked Marc, turned and walked out of the examination room.
It had been a long day for Colin. Nurse Patty came to him and said, "Colin, you look tired.?
"Yeah, We've all been through a lot the past few days."
"Well, I can say that you look like your last name suggests."
Colin had to think for a second before he chuckled saying, "Yeah, I guess I must look bushed."
"Why don't you get a couple of hours sleep before you go back to work? Let me show you to one of the rooms we have set aside for some of the doctors to get some rest in."
Collin followed her to the Doctor's Lounge. He kicked off his shoes and laid back on the bed. The next thing he knew, Patty was there waking him, telling him it was close to 6:00 am.
Arriving back at the CIC, Colin filed his report. Seth came to him and said, "Rudy has been asking about Troy. Maybe you can go talk to him for a few minutes?"
Colin smiled, turned, and left the CIC heading for Camp Little Eagle.
Stopping in at Chief Tecumseh's office, he explained about the rescue and asked if he could have a talk with Rudy. Chief Tecumseh stepped out of his office and asked someone to go bring Rudy to his office. A few minutes later, Rudy knocked on the Chief's office door.
Once invited in, Rudy saw Colin sitting there and ran over to the smaller boy, "Is Troy OK?"
Colin explained what had happened and Rudy broke into tears. "I wanted you to get there before he got hurt."
For the second time that day, Colin consoled a weeping boy older than he was, if not by much, and calmly said, "If Chief Tecumseh says it's okay, why don't we both go to St. Mikey's later and you can visit with him. I bet he'd be happy to have someone who cares."
Rudy looked at Colin strangely which caused Colin to laugh, point at his head and say, "Remember? Telepath?"
This caused Rudy to blush and giggle, but his eyes turned to the Chief.
"I think under the circumstances, it would be a good thing to let you go see Troy. Colin, you should probably arrange for Dr. Dan to visit with him also."
"Yeah, I thought so too. I've already left him a message about it. Rudy, why don't I walk you back to your cabin and we can talk some more."
The boys thanked the Chief then left his office. On the way over from the Admin building to Cabin 4, Colin asked, "How long have you been seeing stuff like you did today?"
Rudy thought for a few moments before saying, "It's never been as clear as this, but, I guess I've been having weird dreams now for about a month."
Colin smiled and said, "When we get back to your room, would it be okay if I look inside your head?"
Rudy giggled at the comment as Colin again pointed at his head causing Rudy's giggle to increase before saying through them, "Yeah, I know… Telepath. Yeah, I don't mind."
A few minutes later, the boys were sitting in Rudy's room. Rudy on his own bed, and Colin on the vacant bed that would be occupied by Rudy's roommate, once he had one. Colin said, "Don't worry, you won't even know it's happening."
Colin's eyes closed momentarily, literally only for a few seconds, before opening them again.
"Okay, Colin, whenever you're ready." Rudy stated.
"Oh, I'm already done."
Rudy's expression was one of disbelief as he heard Colin tell him, "It seems that you are developing a kind of telepathy. Right now it comes to you in the form of dreams or visions. We need to work with you to help you develop it though. You might just stay like this and only see glimpses, but with training, you might be able to choose when you have them, and also focus on specific events."
"Wow! That's kewl!" Rudy exclaimed but then got a vacant look in his eyes. Moments later he asked, "Did you get the other boys?"
"What other boys?" Colin asked.
"The other boys that were being held where they were holding Troy."
Colin looked at Rudy with concern and asked, "Tell me about them."
"Well...there lots of 'em. Maybe 10 or 15. They're all naked. They're in a room that doesn't have a lot of light. A couple of them are asleep, but the others are just sitting there."
"How old are the boys, Rudy?"
"I dunno...some of them are real little, like younger than me, some are bigger… you know… some even have some hair." Rudy replied with a blush.
"Do you have any idea where they are, Rudy?"
"No, I just see the room. Maybe Troy will know."
"Let's hope," Colin replied.
Colin told Rudy that he'd be by to pick him up after lunch, then left and went to talk to Oscar and James, Rudy's cabin parents. He explained what was going to happen later that day then left, heading back to the CIC to discuss the new developments.
Rudy rushed through his lunch, hoping that Colin would come get him soon. Just as he was going to give up waiting, Colin arrived.
"Ready to go meet Troy?"
Rudy smiled and nodded his head vigorously. He keyed his communicator and asked for the two to be transported to St. Mikey's.
Arriving at the hospital, Rudy kept trying to get Colin to walk faster. "Where is he?"
Colin smiled, trying to conceal his mirth over Rudy's actions. He led the boy to the room Troy was in and the pair walked in. Troy was sitting up and smiled when Colin entered the room. As soon as Rudy saw Troy he ran over to the bed and wrapped Troy in a tight hug. "I'm so happy you're OK! I was so scared."
Troy's expression was one of wonder, he was thinking, "Ok… who is this kid and why is he hugging me? But… I gotta admit, he's kinda cute."
One thing Troy would need to learn is not to think certain things around a telepath. Colin, hearing Troy's thoughts started giggling. He'd read in Rudy's mind that he felt the same way about Troy.
"Troy, this is Rudy. He's the one who told us where you were."
"Um… How would he know that? I've never seen him before." Troy replied, confusion evident in his expression.
"I saw you!" Rudy replied excitedly, something that only heightened the confusion Troy was feeling.
Colin smiled and told Troy, "He sometimes gets these visions. He can see things that are happening. He saw you before the man came in. He said you were laying on the bed and he said he heard you, even though you weren't talking. He said you said something like, 'I hope someone comes to rescue me.'"
Troy was dumbfounded by this but he turned his head to Rudy and said, "Um… Thanks, I guess."
When Rudy saw Troy turn his head, Rudy moved his head close to Troy's and gave the older boy a kiss. At first, Troy was surprised, but his 'training' took over and he returned the kiss… with gusto.
When their lips parted, Rudy looked wide-eyed at Troy and said, "Wow!"
Colin decided that would be a good time to find Marc and get a report on how Troy was doing. "I'm gonna go take care of a couple of things. Rudy, Troy, will it be okay if you guys stick together until I come back?"
After the kiss, neither boy's eyes left the other's. They heard what Colin had asked, but simply nodded in the affirmative.
As Colin was talking to Marc, Dr. Dan Richardson came up to them. "I understand we have a new patient."
"Yes. His name is Troy, we rescued him yesterday. He had been kidnapped and used in a prostitution ring. The problem is, there are more boys but we don't know where they are. We're hoping Troy will know." Colin said hopefully.
"I'll see what's what then get back to you, Colin," Dan said.
Standing just outside the door, Dan looked into the room to find Troy and Rudy both on the biobed quietly talking. He knocked on the door frame and entered the room.
"Morning guys! Troy, I'm Dr. Dan Richardson, but most of the Clan guys call me Dr. Dan. I wanted to stop by to let you know that if you need to talk about what you went through, I'm here for you."
Troy wasn't sure what to say, he looked at Dr. Dan for a few moments when Colin came into the room.
Turning his attention to Colin, Troy said, "Thanks again for saving me."
Colin smiled and replied, "It's what we do. While Dr. Dan is here, do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions?"
"Troy, Rudy told me earlier that there were other boys where you were being held."
"Yeah, there's a bunch of them."
"Do you know where they're being held?"
"Um… I… I'm not sure, I…" Troy was extremely nervous.
Dr. Dan interrupted and quietly and in a calm voice said, "Troy, just relax and think. Anything you can remember will help."
Troy sat there with Rudy holding onto him. It seemed like Troy was trying but he was just too shaken up to focus.
Realizing this, Colin approached the boy, placing a hand on his shoulder and quietly stated, "Troy, I know this is hard for you, but I may have a way that you can help. I am a telepath, I can actually look into your mind and maybe see if there is anything there that can help us save your friends."
Rudy excitedly offered, "Yeah, it's cool. He did it to me earlier. It don't hurt at all, and only took a second; I didn't even know when he was done."
Troy smiled at Rudy before looking over at Colin and nodding his head. Colin closed his eyes for a moment. The expression on his face betrayed what he was feeling as he got angrier and angrier as the seconds passed.
"SON OF A BITCH!" Colin yelled before he realized it. He forced himself to calm down before saying, "Troy, I'm sorry. It's just that in your memory I saw some of the men who did this to you and if I am right, they're some really bad guys that I have been looking for. I want you to rest. I promise you, we'll do everything we can to get your friends."
Dr. Dan was looking over at Colin. He'd heard of the boy's temper but was impressed at how he reigned it in. As he was looking over at him, Colin turned and made eye contact with Dr. Dan. Wordlessly, they both got the message and told Troy and Rudy they'd be back later.
Out in the hallway, Colin and Dan discussed the situation. With all that had happened over the previous few days, Colin decided that he would contact the new division located in Las Vegas. He would work with them to plan and execute this rescue mission.
Colin was certain this was the same child prostitution ring he'd encountered in Michigan. It was arranged that Colin would leave Rudy with Troy for the rest of the day. Someone from Orlando would come and pick him up and make sure he got home. In the meantime, Colin decided he was going to Las Vegas.
Brent and Lance were walking from the CIC, heading back to the room they'd been using. They were passing the private homes that had been built. Lance asked Brent, "Other than the Meyer's moving in to one of them, do you have any idea what we're going to use the others for?"
Brent thought about it a moment before replying, "Well, in Hawaii, they use some of theirs for people who've adopted one or more of the kids so they can live as a family."
That got Lance thinking, but he didn't say a word. In his mind, he imagined the fact that Leroy and Herbert had adopted Dwight, and Carrol and Richie had adopted Terrence… he wondered what it might be like for him and Brent to do that with a boy or two.
As they were walking, they saw Doug holding onto Greg and it seemed like Greg was crying. They approached the younger boys and Brent dropped to one knee so he could talk to Greg.
"What's wrong, buddy?" He asked, compassionately.
Greg looked up but he was far too upset to talk. Brent looked over at Doug.
"He's sad cuz he don't have any parents. Dwight and Terrence are friends and they both have parents now, I guess he was just sad cuz he don't no more."
Brent reached over and held Greg who instantly wrapped his arms around the person he looked up to so much. As Brent tried to comfort Greg, he felt Lance wrapping himself around himself and Greg. He turned his head and he and Lance made eye contact. At that moment he knew what he should do.
Greg was soaking up the caring that he was getting and his sobs lessened.
"Greg," Brent started softly, "I have an idea."
"I happen to know someone who would love to be your parent."
Greg pulled his head back and looked into Brent's eyes, "Y...you do? Who?"
With a big smile on his face, Brent said, "Well, how would you like it if it was Lance and me?"
Greg's eyes lit up as he asked, "You? You mean it? For reals?"
Lance was laughing as he replied, "Yes, Greg, for reals."
Greg hugged Brent again for a moment before realizing something. "What about Doug? He needs a Daddy and a Papa like you guys too!"
Lance couldn't hold back his chuckles as Brent replied, "Gosh, I thought you would know, we couldn't adopt one of you without the other! You guys are closer than brothers!"
Hearing this, Doug's jaw dropped as he said, "Me too?"
Lance released Brent and Greg and held his arms out for Doug who jumped into his arms. The new family embraced there for a few minutes when Brent's communicator chirped.
Setting Greg on his feet Brent answered his communicator, "Brent here."
"Hi Brent, it's Colin Busch."
"Oh, hi Colin!"
"Brent, there's a situation out there that needs to be handled, are you going to be free in about half an hour so we can meet?"
"Um… sure, I was just taking care an issue with my sons."
"Sons? I didn't know you'd adopted! Congratulations!"
"Well, I haven't yet, as a matter of fact nobody knows yet cuz it just happened like thirty seconds ago."
"Well, cool, I guess I'll see you in like 30. Where should I meet you?"
"How about the CIC here in Las Vegas?"
"Ok, see you then."
Brent closed the channel and turned to his new family. "Okay, boys. I want you to go back to your room and start packing. Tomorrow at breakfast we'll make this official, then we'll move into our new house."
This news even surprised Lance, but it was a nice surprise. The boys gave their new Daddy and Papa kisses and hugs then ran off to get themselves packed.
Colin arrived at the Las Vegas CIC expecting to find Brent and Lance waiting for him. Looking around the room, he didn't see them. He then thought it was time to have some fun with the new Director.
"Icabod, I need you to do me a favor."
"Um… Sure, Colin, what do you need? Also, my name is Icarus, not Ichabod."
"I want you to teleport Brent and Lance 7 feet over the diving pool. Once they're good and wet, teleport them here. Also, I'll call you whatever the heck I want."
Giggling could be heard on Colin's communicator followed by, "Ok!"
45 seconds later, two dripping boys popped into the CIC.
"What the…" exclaimed Brent and Lance in unison.
"Welcome to Clan Short, Director Knocks. Next time remember, five minutes early is late."
Brent laughed and called out, "Icky, can you kindly change out Lance's and my clothes."
Almost as soon as he finished speaking, the two found themselves standing there totally naked for 2 seconds before they found themselves wearing clothing… unfortunately, their pants were over their heads and their shirts were hanging slightly below their belly buttons.
Colin didn't even try to hold back his laughter.
Lance then yelled, "ICKY!!!!"
A moment later, the two boys were dressed properly when Brent said, "Icky, I am SO gonna get you back for this!"
Icarus giggled contritely, "Sorry!"
Once everyone (Colin) got control of their laughter, Brent shook Colin's hand and asked, "Do we want to talk here or do you want to go to a conference room?
Colin thought about it a moment then decided, "It really doesn't matter. This will take about a minute. He stepped over to a terminal and logged in, bringing up a file. "Read this file, and be ready to go on a major mission in 2 hours."
Brent stared at him, his eyes wide for a moment.
Colin then continued, "You'll only need one strike force since I'm bringing just about everyone we're going to need. We should have a mission briefing before we go though. It's 4:00 pm here now, let's meet in your auditorium at 6:00, and remember, five minutes early is actually late."
Before Brent could respond, Colin had requested he be teleported home.
Lance and Brent looked at one another in shock for a moment before Brent tapped his communicator, "Brent to Colonel West."
Brent and Lance, along with Colonel West, and Lieutenant Maurice Thornes, in addition to Brent's and Lances security guys, were discussing the file that Brent had been given by Colin Busch.
"Ok, so they rescued a kid last night who had been kidnapped off the streets, the guys were using him in a child prostitution ring. Evidently, Colin was able to determine that this is the same ring that was responsible for The Morrison abductions."
Justin stepped in, "Now I know why Colin wants to take point on this one. Personally, I agree that we should let him. I'm sorry for interrupting, Director, please continue."
Brent nodded as he continued, "Intelligence has it that there are between ten and twenty more boys being held by this ring. When Colin arrives, I am going to give him operational control of the action while I will maintain command of the mission as a whole."
Pausing to see if there was going to be any questions then continuing, "Lance and Colonel West will be in the CIC monitoring the mission and will work together to make any decisions that need to be made along with coordinating anything that goes crazy."
"We are supposed to meet Colin and his team in the auditorium in… fifteen minutes and we'll give you final details. If there are no immediate questions…" Hearing none, he adjourned the meeting reminding everyone that they needed to be in the auditorium by 5:55 pm.
The Las Vegas contingent for the mission were seated in the front row of the auditorium talking when seven boys popped in all wearing black hooded robes over a black body suit. On the robe was embroidered in a metallic thread an image of the 'Scales of Justice.'
Brent stood and walked over to Colin and the two shook hands. They spoke for a moment quietly before Brent got everyone's attention. "Ok, we have an important job to do tonight. Probably the biggest rescue that the Desert Division has ever been involved in. For those who don't know my people yet, on the end of the row is my Assistant Director, Lance Phillips, next to him is Colonel Justin West, Commander of the Desert Division Military Garrison. Next to him is Lieutenant Maurice Thorne, Leader of Strike Team Viper, and also one of the Assistant Directors of the division. In the second row are the members of Strike Team Viper. Whereas I will maintain command of the mission all operational details will be handled by Colin. I'll let him tell you what's going to happen." Brent then sat next to Lance.
Colin turned to everyone and in a clear and confident voice stated, "My name is Colin Busch, but for this mission, you will refer to me only as Nightmare or Commander Nightmare. As I introduce my team to you I'll have them sit. First, we have Commander Hac Busch, my Executive Officer, next to him is his Executive Officer, Brudei Ni, moving down the line we have Lonto, Trevois, Malory, and Glen."
Moments after everyone was seated, Nightmare continued, "Tonight's mission is going to be FUN! We're going to take down a group of people that I have been following for a while. They were responsible for child abductions in Michigan of Adam Morrison and Ronnie Taylor. Unfortunately, we weren't able to take the ring down at that time and I will NOT allow them to get away again!"
"The ring is held up in a warehouse on the east side of Interstate 15. It is estimated that there will be between 7 and 15 men inside and expect them to be heavily armed. Our primary objective is to recover between 10 and 20 boys who are being held at that location. According to our Intel, we need to get this started before any of the boys are sent out for the night, so we need to launch the operation prior to 7:30 pm PST."
Colin looked up and asked, "Icarus, could you please project the diagram of the building I sent to you."
A hologram materialized a few feet to Nightmare's left.
"Ok, we are going to split into three teams. Alpha Team will consist of myself, Trevois, and three of the Vipers. Bravo Team will be led by Hac, Maurice, and again, three of the Vipers. Team Charlie will be led by Brudei, Malory, and the remaining Vipers. Lance, Colonel West, Lonto and Glen will be in the CIC. Brent and his security will remain behind the lines until the building has been secured and any potential threat has been either subdued or eliminated."
Hac, made a comment that got some chuckles, "You mean eliminated or eliminated with prejudice, right?"
Nightmare merely smiled before continuing, "Alpha Team will take the front of the building, Beta will take the North side, and Charlie the South. There is no access via the rear of the building. On my signal, we will enter the building and immediately assess and deal with any resistance. Remember, there are a number of boys inside, make sure you know who you are shooting at."
"Once we have eliminated any resistance, we will locate and retrieve the boys. Any of the creeps accidentally left alive will be dealt with by the Director, personally."
"Once we have the boys, they will be teleported from there to the Desert Division Medical Center to be checked out and subsequently processed. Are there any questions?"
Hearing none, Nightmare turned to the group and said, "Ok, we head out in 10 minutes. No Butterflies, clean and mean!"
The meeting broke up with everyone heading to where they needed to be. Brent and Lance were the last two in the auditorium.
As they embraced, Lance said to his boyfriend, "You be careful… we have kids to think of, you know."
"You know, the past month or so has been totally crazy, but I can't think of anyone I'd rather have been with."
"What about Randy?"
"Randy will hold a place in my heart forever, but you… you hold the rest. I love you, Lance."
"I love you too, Brent, but you gotta go or you'll miss the teleport."
Brent kissed Lance such as he'd never done before. When the kiss broke both looked into each other's eyes and said, "Wow!"
Brent turned and headed to the staging area as Lance headed to the CIC thinking, "Mikey, Randy, please watch out for him, his sons and I need him."
In an area of town that was mostly deserted at this time of day, in a secluded corner about 200 meters from the front of the target warehouse, a group of heavily armed boys blinked into existence. Nobody saw them just 'appear' out of nowhere.
Without making a sound, the group split into four. Three of the four started stealthily moving to their positions. Brent, along with his three security team members stood back, still encased in shadow. Brent looked up and saw the drones which, in addition to the cameras on each team member, would provide the images that they could see in the CIC and record this event.
It was totally quiet, almost peaceful until Brent heard the call.
"All teams, this is Nightmare. We go on my mark. Remember, No Butterflies, clean and mean!"
After a slight pause, another call was heard loud and clear, "All teams Go! Go! GO!"
Brent watched the front door of the warehouse literally fly off its hinges and float away, only to be dropped in the street seconds later. Two seconds later, Alpha team was inside. Brent could only wait.
This is definitely an action-packed chapter, filled with emotions as well. It also seems that the author may have become infected with the dreaded AAKD. We will just have to see in future chapters. It looks like the revived Desert Division of Family Clan Short is off and running.
This has been an amazing journey so far, I am exceedingly grateful for the response I've received to date on this, my first CSU installment. I live for feedback from readers, whether they be something you like or constructive criticism. It's through this feedback that any author is able to improve. Should you wish to email me you may do so by clicking this link: Truefan