Author's Note: Certain events within this chapter were also chronicled in Memories2:21. So I would like to give thanks to ACfan and Iluvantir for allowing me to blatantly copy portions their work, for their contributions to this chapter... oh, yeah, and for the use of their characters. Thanks guys! -MM
"Go on." Vincent encouraged as he began to take off his Avalla robes.
Connor reluctantly began to disrobe as he looked around the gathering nervously.
"I'm ready. Come on, let's..." Leo began to say, then froze when he glanced at Lehman who was pulling down his loose fitting pants.
Connor looked curiously at his brother, then followed his gaze to Lehman.
"Holy..." Connor said as his eyes got wide.
"Wow Lehman. That's... that's..." Jordy sputtered as he stared.
Lehman looked at Vincent with aggravation and said, "I thought you said it wasn't too big."
"It's not." Vincent said simply as he finished getting undressed, then muttered under his breath, "If you're 6'2" and weigh 200 pounds."
Lehman noticed a look of apprehension in Jordy's eyes, then slowly began to change the shape of his body.
Within a few seconds, Lehman had altered his appearance from the mirror image of Vincent back into his native blue skinned form.
"You didn't have to make it go away." Jordy said as he blinked in astonishment, then he raised his gaze to meet Lehman's eyes.
With an impish grin, Lehman said, "It's not gone, it's pouched... kinda like it's hiding. It'll come out and play whenever we're ready."
Vincent turned slightly and whispered to Connor, "Do you feel like anyone is staring at you?"
Connor stared at Lehman for a moment longer, then absently shook his head.
"It's warm." Leo said, drawing everyone's attention.
Vincent turned toward the pool of water in time to see that Leo was already in the pool and Xain's bare butt was just beginning to lower into the water.
"Come on. This is gonna be fun." Vincent said as he encouraged Connor to walk with him.
* * * * *
Once all the boys were relaxed into the water, Vincent asked, "Is everyone having fun?"
"Yeah. This is nice." Leo said happily, then ducked down under the water.
"I'm glad someone thought about having a rest stop on the golf course. This is great." Connor said with a relaxed grin.
Lehman's contented smile was answer enough for Vincent.
Vincent noticed that Jordy was looking carefully at Lehman and seemed to be lost in thought.
"Hey Jordy." Vincent called casually.
Jordy blinked, then turned to face Vincent.
"If you've got a question for Lehman, you can go ahead and ask. He's not shy about not being human." Vincent said honestly.
Lehman giggled at the comment, then looked at Jordy and nodded.
Jordy seemed to be summoning his courage, then hesitantly asked, "If you can changed your body however you want, can you, um, you know, change your..."
"Penis?" Lehman asked cautiously, wanting to be sure that he was understanding Jordy's question.
"Yeah." Jordy said shyly, "That."
"I can make it as big or as little or as thin or as fat as I want it to be." Lehman said with a note of pride creeping into his voice.
"Wow." Connor said with a wide eyed expression.
Vincent giggled at the reaction, then said, "I bet there's a lot of people who wish that they could do that."
"Like you?" Xain asked with an inquisitive expression.
Vincent thought for a moment, then shook his head. "I'm okay just the way I am."
Xain nodded his acceptance of the words, then quietly added, "There was a time when I believed my size was insufficient. What I did not realize was that each stage of my maturity brings new opportunities to share with my T'hy'la."
"Yeah." Vincent said with a smile. "When T'Lani and I get to that, we'll figure out how to use what I got."
"So you and your wife haven't... um... done it?" Jordy asked cautiously.
"Nope. Not yet." Vincent said without concern. "Right now we're working on being lovers in our minds and in our hearts. Sooner or later it'll be the right time for us to start doing the physical stuff."
After a moment of contemplation, Vincent added, "Probably sooner."
"Oh wow. I just thought that since you two are married that you would automatically be... you know, doing it." Jordy said in amazement.
Vincent shrugged and said, "Yeah. I bet that most people who know us think that."
"When you grow up, is your dick going to get as big as Lehman's?" Leo asked abruptly.
Everyone in the pool looked at Leo with question.
"I mean, cause he looks like you, does that mean that's what your dick is going to be like?" Leo explained quickly.
"I never thought about it." Vincent said to Leo, then turned to look at Lehman with question.
"Could be." Lehman said speculatively.
"Could be?" Vincent parroted.
"I don't really remember exactly what I was doing when I made that change. I was in your form and advanced my development a few years, so it's very possible that that's how you'll be when you finish growing."
"Wait till T'Lani finds out about that." Vincent said with a grin.
"If you will excuse me, Jake requires my assistance." Xain said distantly, then began to get out of the pool of water.
"Is it something we can help with?" Vincent asked immediately.
"No. It is simply a family matter that requires my presence." Xain said as he began to dress.
"Be sure to call us if you need our help for anything." Jordy said seriously.
"Of course." Xain said simply, then his gaze became distant for a moment.
"Jake also wishes for me to relay the information that lunch will be served momentarily." Xain said before turning to leave.
"Oh good. I'm hungry." Vincent said as he started to get out of the water.
"He's always hungry." Lehman whispered to Jordy at his side.
"I heard that." Vincent said with a chuckle.
"Do you guys want to come back and finish our game after lunch?" Connor asked as he climbed out of the pool of water.
"Yeah. This is fun." Vincent said with a smile.
"As long as no one needs us to be doing anything else." Lehman said with a shrug.
"Hey Lehman." Jordy asked cautiously.
Lehman looked at Jordy with question.
"Can I see again? You know, like you were before?" Jordy asked nervously.
Lehman smiled and changed from his blue skinned form, back into the mirror image of Vincent.
After a moment of staring, Jordy cautiously said, "I think I could..."
Vincent couldn't contain his giggles at the statement.
Lehman flashed a reproachful look at Vincent, then smiled at Jordy and said, "I think it would be fun to try."
Jordy began to blush and shyly nodded that he agreed.
A moment of silence fell over the group until it was broken by Vincent saying, "Food."
Lehman was the first to chuckle, soon followed by all the others.
* * * * *
Lunch was followed by the rest of the miniature golf course.
Vincent, Lehman, Jordy, Connor and Leo finally returned to the house, all in good cheer.
As soon as they were inside, a voice called out, "Hey Vincent!"
The group stopped as one and turned to see Jake approaching.
"I'm glad I caught you." Jake said with a smile.
"What's up?" Vincent asked curiously.
"Xain told you that you and Lehman are invited to dinner tonight, right?" Jake asked quickly.
"Yeah." Vincent confirmed.
"I just wanted to be sure to let you know that me and Xain will be leaving early with my dad. You two are welcome to come with us, or you can go with Billy later. Lawrence will probably be going then." Jake said seriously.
"Oh. Okay. Thanks for letting me know." Vincent said, then thought for a moment. "I guess we'll plan on going with Lawrence and Billy."
"I'll let them know when I see them. I just didn't want you to think that we'd forgotten about you if you were ready to go and found out that me and Xain were already gone." Jake said with a timid smile.
"I don't think I would have been too upset, but thanks for thinking about it." Vincent said with a grin. "You guys make me feel like I'm special."
"You are." Jake said simply, then started walking away.
"I guess he told you." Lehman said with a chuckle.
"I guess so."
* * * * *
As the group of boys walked further into the house, they saw a lone figure standing in the hallway.
"What's up Koji?" Vincent asked curiously as he approached.
"Aunt Teri did it! She fixed it for us!" Koji said happily.
"Really? What did she do?" Vincent asked with a smile at Koji's happiness.
"She talked to Chok's dad and fixed it so that Chok can stay here with us in Orlando." Koji said happily.
"Oh? Good. How does Chok feel about it?" Vincent asked curiously.
"He's really happy." Koji said joyfully. "He hated living in Germany because he didn't have anything to do and didn't know anyone."
"Well, I'm glad that he's happy. Where is he?" Vincent asked as he looked around.
"Him and his dad are in the study talking to his mom in Germany. They're getting everything set up so Chok can stay here." Koji said happily.
"Where is he going to stay?" Vincent asked curiously.
"With me and my dad." Koji said with a big happy smile.
"That's good. But is Chok going to be okay being here without his family?" Vincent asked with concern.
"Aunt Teri said that she'll make sure that Chok can go home and visit whenever he wants to. Besides, Chok's father has a job that he can do from anywhere, so he can come here and stay for as long as he wants and spend time with Chok." Koji said happily.
"It sounds like Aunt Teri really worked everything out." Lehman said in an impressed voice.
"I thought she would be the one who could fix it." Vincent said frankly.
"I think she likes my dad." Koji said in a conspiratorial whisper.
"Really?" Vincent asked with surprise.
Koji nodded and said, "I don't think they've done anything, but when they're together they have that look... you know the one."
"The one you have when you look at Chok?" Vincent asked with a grin.
Koji blushed and looked away.
"Well, I'm glad that things worked out the way they did. Just remember to call me and let me know if there's ever anything you guys need." Vincent said, trying to change the subject so Koji wouldn't feel so embarrassed.
"Yeah. I will." Koji said quietly, then turned to look at Vincent speculatively.
"When we shared a hospital room, I never ever would have thought that we'd become friends." Koji said frankly.
"Sorry. I wasn't in a really friendly mood that day." Vincent said shyly.
"I'm just glad that we're friends now. If it wasn't for you, Chok and I would be living in different countries." Koji said honestly.
Vincent gave into the urge and pulled Koji into a quick hug to express his honest happiness.
"I guess I'd better go and see if they're done having their family talking time." Koji said reluctantly.
"Yeah. We'll see you later." Vincent said as he released Koji from the hug.
Koji nodded, then began to walk away.
* * * * *
"I guess the stuff I heard about you is true." Jordy said frankly as the boys casually walked down the hall.
"What did you hear?" Vincent asked curiously.
"Only that you seem to get things done." Jordy said honestly.
"I get things done?" Vincent asked slowly.
"Yeah. When you see something needs to be fixed, you fix it." Jordy said, then gestured for the group to walk with him into the game room.
Vincent found a good open spot on the floor that would accommodate all of them, then took a seat and rested back against one of the cushions before saying, "I guess I do that whenever I can. But doesn't everyone?"
Jordy chuckled and said, "No Vincent. Everyone doesn't do that. Most people that I knew before I came here were just as happy to let things go wrong. Then they'd bitch and whine that no one else would fix it."
"It isn't that way on the Yorktown." Lehman said frankly.
All attention turned toward Lehman at the words.
"I haven't been around Humans too much, but while I've been on the Yorktown, everyone has been willing to work to make sure that everything is working the way it should." Lehman explained.
"That would make sense. On a starship, you'd kind of have to do that. But here on Earth, most of the people I know are just as happy to ignore it when something is wrong. They seem to think that someone will fix it and never take the responsibility themselves." Jordy said distantly.
"I think that maybe that's why the Clan is special. They don't look the other way when something is wrong." Connor said speculatively.
"*We*, Connor. You and Leo are part of the Clan now too." Jordy said frankly.
Connor shyly smiled and said, "We."
* * * * *
Vincent noticed that Lehman and Jordy were stealing glances at each other, but not really talking.
"If you guys wouldn't mind too much, I'm going to try to find Cory so we can have a talk." Vincent said as he looked around the group.
"Do you need me to go with you?" Lehman asked, not revealing his own preference of answer in his question.
"No. I just remembered that he said he wanted to talk to me about some stuff later." Vincent said, then at Lehman's curious look he continued, "It's later."
Lehman smiled and said, "Yeah. I guess it is."
"I'll be back in a few minutes." Vincent said as he stood, then surreptitiously raised an eyebrow in Connor's direction.
After a moment to interpret the unusual expression, Connor realized what Vincent was doing and said, "Yeah. Me and Leo need to go talk to Aunt Helen about something. We'll be right back too."
"What do we need to talk to Aunt Helen about?" Leo asked curiously, refusing to move until he had a satisfactory answer.
"You need to talk to her about giving me and Jordy a few minutes alone together to talk." Lehman said with a smirk at Vincent.
Before Vincent could raise a protest, Lehman continued, "Remember. I know how you think."
"Busted." Jordy said with a grin.
"Alright." Vincent said shyly. "You caught me. But I really do need to talk to Cory."
"You guys enjoy your talk. Come on Leo." Connor said as he stood.
"Do we still need to talk to Aunt Helen?" Leo asked with confusion.
"Yeah. Let's see if she has any cookies laying around, cluttering up the place that she needs us to deal with." Connor said with a grin.
"We'll see you guys in a few minutes!" Leo said as he hopped up and ran to the door.
Vincent smiled at the move, then looked at Lehman and raised his eyebrows in inquiry.
"Yeah. We're fine." Lehman said, answering the unasked question.
"Good. I'll be back in just a few minutes." Vincent said, then started toward the door.
* * * * *
"That was nice of them." Jordy said quietly into the awkward silence that followed.
"Yeah." Lehman said, at a loss of what else to say.
"I like you." Jordy said as his gaze met Lehman's.
"I like you too." Lehman said shyly.
"Good. That's the one thing I wanted to be sure that I remembered to say to you today." Jordy said quietly.
"Yeah." Lehman said as he looked away. "Me too."
"Trach Manja Lehman, please forgive my interruption, but you have an incoming transmission from the Federation starship Yorktown." Ship's voice said from Lehman's bracelet.
Lehman looked at Jordy with apology, then raised his wrist to say, "That's fine Ship. Go ahead and put it through."
"I can leave you alone." Jordy whispered cautiously.
"I don't mind if you stay. I'm pretty sure I know who it is." Lehman said, then heard as the call began.
"Lehman? Are you there?"
Lehman smiled as he recognized the voice.
"Yes Dad." Lehman said happily.
"I just wanted to be sure that you and Vincent weren't having any problems." Benny said honestly.
"We're fine. I made a new friend and he's here with me now. Say 'hi' to Jordy." Lehman said with a grin.
"Hi Jordy. I'm Benny, it's nice to meet you." Benny said happily.
"It's nice to meet you too." Jordy said automatically.
"How is JonJon? Is he eating enough? Is he getting enough rest?" Lehman asked with concern.
"He's fine. Cyril and Roger have been making sure that him and Jenn aren't overdoing it." Benny said gently.
"How about Fizgig? Is he alright?" Lehman asked hopefully.
"He's fine, but I think he's missing you. Come on Fizgig, say 'hi' to Lehman." Benny said in a playful voice.
Lehman and Jordy both heard a little 'yip' that made them chuckle.
"Hi Fizgig. Don't worry, I'll be home soon." Lehman said warmly.
"I got to go down to the colony with Daddy Joe yesterday. If everything keeps going right, I may be able to get our stuff moved in before you get back." Benny said happily.
"I'm sorry that I'm not going to be there to help you." Lehman said frankly.
"You've got one crate of stuff and it's already packed. I think I can handle it." Benny said in a teasing voice.
"Oh, yeah." Lehman said with a chuckle.
"Well, that's all I called for. I just wanted to be sure that you were doing okay." Benny said simply.
"Thanks Dad. Don't be surprised if I call you in the next day or two for the same reason." Lehman said softly.
"I'll be looking forward to it. Let Vincent know that I called and asked about him." Benny said happily, then in a quieter voice said, "I love you."
"I will. I love you too." Lehman said, then heard the connection go silent.
* * * * *
Vincent wasn't exactly sure where to find Cory, but his method of peeking in doorways had been serving him well all day.
As he walked around the corner to peek into the next room, he saw that Cory and Levi were both looking at him as if they were waiting on him to arrive.
Cory waved for Vincent to join them, and gave him a hug as soon as he was within reach.
Before anyone could say anything, Levi spoke up in an excited tone. "Uncle Cory says I can get a watch! I'm gonna do a time-freeze so that you and Uncle Cory can talk all you want, Uncle Vincent; if you need me just call and I'll hear you!"
Before Vincent or Cory could say anything else, Levi vanished.
"Umm..." Vincent mumbled as he sat down.
Cory sat back and shook his head. "I still can't get used to the Mikyvis playing games with time."
"Time? I've had some kinda weird experiences messing around with time." Vincent said cautiously.
Cory grinned. "Anything like bringing people back from somewhere around 800 AD or rescuing sabre-toothed tiger cubs?"
"No, I haven't gone to the past, but I've been fifty years into the future... and I've been to a couple other dimensions and met two other versions of myself." Vincent said quietly, then amended, "I mean three. I met another one on the way here."
Cory nodded. "You and Levi should compare notes; he seems to be quickly becoming an expert at that stuff. Not bad for someone less than two days old."
"I don't think I want to become an expert at it. Time travel really makes me nervous. One little goof and you've completely changed the future. It's a lot of responsibility." Vincent said frankly.
"I agree," Cory replied. "I heard there is someone watching the Clan guys that can do that kinda stuff though. He's making sure that nothing that isn't supposed to happen happens."
Vincent thought about the words for a moment, then reluctantly asked, "If he's watching the Clan guys, where does that leave me?"
Cory looked Vincent straight in the eyes as he replied seriously. "It leaves you being watched by a being older than any of us can understand. You're Clan, Vincent. You have been since the day the Clan adopted you. You are no different than any of the other guys out there; with one exception. You are an example to all of them what someone can accomplish who believes in himself. You are not less than anyone here; in fact you have proven that you are an example to all of us."
"Dylan said that too, that I was an example." Vincent said quietly, then looked at Cory with worry in his eyes and continued, "I'm not good enough to be an example for anyone. I've been bad to so many people. I was mean and angry at everyone for all my life. All I've done since then is listen to what you told me and tried to be better than I used to be."
Cory nodded. "And that is what makes you such a good example, bro. You have taken what you learned and become a better person from it. Very few people ever actually manage to do that. You're exceptional because you not only did it, but you have taken the advice a step further and made a name for yourself throughout the galaxy that not only overrides what you've done before, but it blows it out of the water."
"To tell you the truth, whenever I got stuck and didn't know what I was supposed to do, I just tried to imagine what you or Sean would do if you were there instead of me. So if people are thinking good things about me, they're really thinking them about you too."
Cory blushed. "Thanks, but I'll tell you the same thing Mom told Tommy and Ty. Don't try to pass off credit for your achievements. You could not have done it if the spark was not inside you to do good yourself."
"If you say so, Dad. I've learned to listen to what you say," Vincent said with a grin, then seemed to remember something and his expression became more serious. "There's some stuff that I should probably tell you about, but I don't know what you're going to think about it."
Cory smiled. "I woke up from the anesthetic after almost joining Mikey in the afterlife to find out that Kyle has mutated into a new species. You're gonna have to work to beat that surprise."
"I guess next to that, being a Trach Manja isn't that big of a deal," Vincent said with a weak smile.
"It matters what being a Trach Manja means," Cory replied. "You kinda need to explain it, I am blond you know!"
"I don't really know how to speak blond, but I'll try to keep it really simple." Vincent said with a grin, then continued, "I guess the easiest way to explain it is like if everything that ever happened, and is happening, and is about to happen is all written in a great big book. I can make changes to what is happening and change what will happen."
Cory tilted his head. "Okay, I think you just matched Kyle. You don't reproduce by thinking about it, do you?" Cory grinned, then added, "Seriously, I think it sounds like something that fits you perfectly. You've got a big heart that you've learned to use quite well; so you make the perfect person to handle it. The stuff that happened in your past gives you a reference as to what bad choices can cause; so you have the experience to know what seems right and wrong."
"As far as the reproducing thing... T'Lani and I are kind of planning to do it the old fashioned way." Vincent said with a grin, then continued, "As far as the rest... if it was just me, I'd probably say all kinds of stuff about how I'm not good enough. But after talking to the other Trach Manjai, I found out that we all feel that way about ourselves. We kind of figured out that all of us are good enough because we were chosen. So, um... what was the question?"
Cory giggled. "I think you just answered it yourself, son. There's a lot of stuff that woulda seemed weird a year ago that has become common in the last month or so. What you've been chosen for is not a surprise; but I'm really proud that you've earned the right to call yourself a Trach Manja."
Movement behind Vincent made him turn around. This was a null point in time, so Levi had said, so why was there a ten year old boy with light red hair and fair skin grinning at them both.
"Ehhhh... Wazzup, Doc!" Cory giggled in his best Bugs Bunny imitation.
Vincent stared for a moment, then broke into giggles at Cory's joke.
Cory, through his giggles, started to introduce Vincent to the new arrival. "Doctor, this is..."
"No need, Cory. We've met," the boy said with a smile.
"We have?" Vincent asked cautiously.
"Have met or will meet, Galli?" Cory giggled at the same time.
The little red headed boy scowled at Cory before breaking into giggles of his own. "We have met, as far as I'm concerned, Vincent: this is the second time we've talked. For you, however, this is our first meeting. Trust me, you get to have fun when it's my first meeting with you!"
"More time travel." Vincent said darkly.
"He's just trying for honorary blond status," Cory joked as he got his giggles under control.
"Yes, Vincent," the boy nodded seriously, after winking at Cory, "Time travel. However, it is not something you need to worry about when I am involved, nor when my Friend is involved. You asked if the One watching the Clan was watching you? Who do you think helped you the last time, Vincent?"
"Dr. Xon?" Vincent asked cautiously.
"You shoulda said Elmer Fudd." Cory stage-whispered.
Vincent looked at Cory with confusion at the statement, knowing that Cory was joking, but not understanding why it was supposed to be funny.
The red headed boy dummy slapped Cory before seating himself comfortably on the Patriarch's lap. "Ignore him, Vincent. And for that 'Galli' bit, you can repay it by cuddling me, Cory!"
He looked back at Vincent while Cory laughed and did as he was told. "Yes, Dr Xon did help you, but who else was involved in that help, Vincent?"
Vincent could tell that Cory was wanting to answer, but the red headed boy had his hand held firmly over Cory's mouth. "Turn on your brain before speaking, Cory," the boy giggled.
"The only other person who knew about it was Admiral Morrow," Vincent said hesitantly, pretty sure that it wasn't the answer that he was supposed to give.
"Okay," the ten year old giggled, "this could go on forever... and if that isn't a clue, I don't know what is!"
"Forever..." Vincent said to himself, then cautiously asked, "The Guardian of Forever?"
Cory licked at the hand covering his mouth until it was removed. The red headed boy casually took his hand away, then wiped it off on Cory's pants as Cory said, "Way to go, Son; you're hanging with some pretty high powers if you're working with the Guardian that close!"
"Ewwww," the red headed boy muttered with a giggle. "Blond germs!"
//That is correct, Master of Fate, Lord of the Five. I was the one who moved Xon to help you// came a voice that Vincent recognized.
"Vae'Runam, you promised!" the red head giggled.
//You know that I like teasing you, Prince of Time//
Although Vincent recognized the voice, he looked around anyway to see where it was coming from.
"You won't see Him, Vincent," the new boy said with a smile, "not unless He wishes it. That was just His way of freaking you out!"
Just then Levi appeared. "Hey G! Y'all are holding a party in my time freeze without me?" He looked around the group then grinned. "Kewl; you took Uncle Cory's lap; that means I get to be the first Mikyvis to cuddle with Uncle Vincent." With that, he moved over and took up residence on Vincent's lap.
Vincent sat stiffly for a moment, but when he saw the loving expression on Levi's face, he engulfed the young Mikyvis in a warm hug.
The red head smiled at Vincent, but could still see the confusion in his face. "I'll take pity on you, Kiddo," he said, drawing Vincent's attention back to him. "My true name is Gallifrey, but if you 'must' use it, use Galli. I'm known to most out there as 'John Smith', but you'd likely recognize my other name. I'm the Doctor, and I'm a Time Lord."
"Nice to meet you... or have met you... or going to meet you." Vincent said as he held Levi close to his chest.
"Yeah," the Doctor giggled, "it's confusing. But like I said, I'm a Time Lord, and I know tricks that not even the cute kid in your lap knows yet. Don't worry about the Time issue, okay? There is a good reason I came here, though. You and Levi are two of the three people from the Clan whom I met first. The other hasn't arrived yet, but is coming in shortly. You need to be aware that something is about to happen that has not happened before, just so that you are not caught flat footed."
"Oh great!" Vincent said with frustration. "I don't know what already happened and there's about to be more?"
"And we ain't got flat feet, silly!" Levi giggled.
"Leev, can you swap places with me for a while, dude? I need to talk with Vincent," the Doctor asked seriously.
Levi reached up and gave Vincent a good squeeze. "I'll be back as soon as he's done, Uncle Vince; I like your cuddles, you do them good!" With a grin on his face, Levi suddenly popped off of Vincent's lap and the doctor appeared in Vincent's place with the Trach Manja on his lap instead; Levi appearing on Cory's lap in the same instant.
Vincent looked around with confusion at what had just happened. Then he looked at the ginger haired boy and hesitantly asked, "Am I too heavy?"
"No," the Doctor giggled. "You're fine. I'm not exactly human, kiddo, and far older than I look, so I'm used to this!"
"Yeah, that's Jay's spot usually!" Levi giggled. "You gotta be special to borrow it; that makes you really special, Uncle Vince."
"Now, Vincent," the Doctor said, "I'm going to explain a few things to you before Cory updates you with what's been happening here."
"Okay," Vincent responded slowly.
"Don't worry that I have already 'met' you in your future. You don't need to know about what happens exactly, for what you will do will flow naturally from who and what you are. You just need to be aware that when you, Levi and the other boy leave this Universe for a time you will meet me and I will not recognize you. Such an event for you would probably work against what should happen. Now that you do know, you are mentally prepared for it. When you leave this Universe, you shall meet me. That is all you need to take with you, Lord of the Five. Don't worry about the rest."
The Doctor then drew Vincent's face in closer and kissed his forehead, "I give you the Blessing of the Time Lords, child. You shall do wonderful things, and do them well. Trust in yourself, and in your family."
Vincent thought about the words for a moment, then quietly said, "Okay, I think I've got that. As long as I know it won't mess up time or cause the universe to explode or something like that when we meet again, I'll be okay with it."
//It shall not. In fact, you and the rest of the Five are some of the major defenses in place to prevent Time and Space from failing, Master of Fate// the Guardian added.
"That's good. I've just learned about paradoxes and how much trouble they can cause. I try to be really careful so stuff like that won't happen," Vincent said with a smile.
"Tell me about it!" Levi exclaimed. "They give me headaches!"
"Okay, now I think I can leave the rest to Cory and Levi. I need to be getting ready for something else, now," the Doctor said as he shifted out from under Vincent.
He moved away slightly, waved at the remaining three, and Folded out of sight.
Levi giggled. "More cuddles later, Uncle Cory; Uncle Vince is on the top of my list!" With that, he retook his place on Vincent's lap.
"It's good to have you back," Vincent said as he resumed his cuddle.
Levi purred as Cory smiled. "I told you things have been weird!"
"This kind of weird I don't mind a bit." Vincent said peacefully.
Cory smiled again, "How much do you want to know about what happened, son? We have all the time we need here, but I don't know how much detail you want."
"I'd just like to know basically what happened. The less details you give me the better because my Trach Manja thingie works best when things are kinda random." Vincent said disjointedly.
"Good thing I'm blond: I followed that!" Cory giggled. "Okay, basics it is."
"We have a number of new people and even races in the Clan," Cory started, "so I'll just give you the outline for each. There are the Founders and they are a sub-species of Humanity that was created well over seventy thousand years ago... yes, humans have been around that long," Cory grinned as Vincent's mouth dropped open. "Founders have minor telepathy and major precognitive abilities. Then there are Vifer, another human sub-species that was made genetically, and they age one year for every four and a half thousand years or so; plus they have accelerated healing. There are vampires..."
"Wait, vampires?!" Vincent interrupted incredulously.
"Uh huh," Cory nodded seriously. "Their true name is Moroi, and they were the result of a failed attempt by the Founders over sixty five thousand years back to prevent a terrorist type group from destroying the world. They drink blood, sleep in the day and burn in sunlight. Brandar, one of the Clan, is Moroi."
"Wow," muttered Vincent.
Levi giggled as Cory continued, "There are obviously telepaths, telekinetics and empaths, and we learnt that they, or most of them anyway, are also sub-species descended from about sixty odd thousand years ago. There is a new group now, though, who seem to be very different. They call themselves N-Gen's and Telez' superior, Jason, is the first of them. Then there is Ark; and she is a... well, a super AI that was created by the Founders 65 thousand years ago to learn, save and preserve all the information and knowledge of the Earth."
Vincent trembled, "Any others??"
"Yes, the Mikyvis," Levi giggled, "And the Ferox, and now the Time Lords."
"You want to explain that, Levi?" Cory asked.
"Yeah, Uncle Cory, I'll explain," Levi nodded before kissing Vincent's cheek. "My Dad, Kyle, was found to be a Founder, and then on Saturday he started to change. He became an Anti-Energy being, and he changed Pop, Tyler, to be the same. Yesterday morning they woke up to find they had created me! And then this morning, they had two more, my brothers Dylan and Bryce! We can travel in time and in all universes and dimensions and time lines, and we love hugs!"
"And the Ferox?" Vincent whispered.
"They," Cory said as he took over, "were created by the Founders more than Sixty Five Thousand years ago as they were trying to push the limits on what their genetics could be. They are also an energy race, but a bit different from the Mikyvis. They can't time travel the same, and they are stuck in this Universe only."
"Okay," Vincent managed. "And the Time Lords are like that TV show I heard of?"
"Sorta," Levi giggled. "The Doc told us that the show had some things right, but a lot wrong. Let's just say they are very powerful and masters of Time. The Vulcans met them long, long ago, and Grandma Amanda and her brother learnt of them, and told a few friends. That's how the TV shows started."
"Okay..." Vincent said as he closed his eyes for a second.
"Now for the easy stuff: the new members and Divisions in the Clan," Cory said gently as he moved over to pull Vincent into his side. He ended up with both boys on his lap. "We have an AI Division in South Carolina, and most are androids, and their Head of Division is Danny. We have a Division in Australia and my cousin Skylan is the Head of that Division. There's a few other groups scattered about that will become new Divisions, and then there's the newest two: Support and Recovery in Camp Little Eagle, and then the Unit, who saved our asses on Saturday. The Unit is a military group with a lot of their guys having been genetically changed to be stronger and faster. Those Cat boys are a part of the Unit, and were one of the weirder experiments."
"Who did the experiments?" Vincent asked with some small heat in his voice.
"A black ops group within the US government, or at least that was their cover story. They are illegal and will be dealt with, I believe, by the Unit themselves who escaped from it all."
"Good," Vincent stated bluntly.
"The last thing is that we have appointed a Director of Operations for North America; Samuel Reynolds," Cory continued. "He may set up a consolidated Division, but then again, maybe not; that's up to him. He's in charge of Admin and Co-Ordination between all the Divisions and Clan Members in the North America's. That's about it, I think. You'd need to go mingle to learn who each are, and that's always best," Cory said, hugging Vincent tighter.
"You forgot the Dragon, Uncle Cory!" Levi giggled.
"Dragon?? No way: Dragons?!" Vincent half yelled.
"No, son," Cory laughed, "the Dragon Division. They are a Vulcan Special and Covert Ops group, and recently have become the newest Clan in the Family of Sarek. Clan Evans. Telez and Koth are two of the seven leaders, and their elder brother, Jason, is the Patriarch."
"Phew!" Vincent sighed out, "Vampires, okay. Dragons, too far!"
"The Klingons are Cling-Ons!" Levi giggled. "Kinda like me with my favorite uncles!"
The three talked about a few other general things, then prepared to return to normal time.
Levi leaned up and kissed Vincent's cheek. "You give great cuddles, Uncle Vince! We're goin back to normal time now; 'member that only about a minute has passed for everyone else!"
Cory added, "And if you need to speak openly about the Doc, he's known as John to most of the guys out there. They don't know he's a Time Lord."
"Okay," Vincent smiled as he and Levi hopped down from Cory's lap.
"Vince?" Lawrence said with surprise.
"Yeah?" Vincent responded automatically.
"I didn't see you there." Lawrence said with a chuckle, then continued, "I need to talk to you and your friend Lehman, for just a minute."
Vincent noticed that Deacon was standing a foot or two away and seemed a bit nervous about something.
"Okay. Sure." Vincent said, then turned and gave Cory a little wave before following Lawrence out of the room.
* * * * *
"What's up?" Vincent asked as he and Lawrence walked down the hall with Deacon following a few steps behind.
"Do you remember when I talked to you before about Mikey needing us to stay here?" Lawrence asked seriously.
"Yeah." Vincent said, then pointed, "Lehman should be in here."
"Hey Jordy, can we borrow Lehman for a few minutes?" Deacon asked as he poked his head in the door.
"Sure. As long as you promise to give him back." Jordy said shyly.
"Yeah. We'll be back in a few." Deacon said, then waited for Lehman to come out into the hall to join them.
* * * * *
"Let's go." Lawrence said as he started walking the other way down the hall, back toward the Rec Room.
"Okay guys. Something is about to happen and Mikey thinks that it would be good to have you two handy in case things don't work out exactly the way they're supposed to." Lawrence said seriously.
"What do we need to do?" Lehman asked with a concerned glance at Vincent.
"If everything goes right, nothing." Deacon said firmly.
Lawrence nodded and said, "Just hang back with us and watch."
"I guess we can do that." Lehman said slowly.
"It may be more difficult than you think." Deacon said in a pained voice.
"Why?" Vincent asked curiously.
"Because what you're about to see is someone who needs help. Your first instinct will be to try to help him. Mikey needs for you to hang back and just watch." Deacon said honestly.
"If we're not allowed to do anything, then why are we supposed to be there?" Lehman asked cautiously.
"Because if things go wrong, there may be something that the two of you can do to set things right again." Lawrence said as he stopped just outside the door.
"Okay. I've got that." Vincent said, then looked at Lehman with question.
Lehman nodded that he was in agreement.
"Remember, just hang back with us and if there's anything at all that you can do, we'll let you know." Deacon said before leading the way into the room.
* * * * *
As Lawrence and Deacon guided Vincent and Lehman to stand with them against the wall just inside the door, a misty vortex started to form in the wall across the room from them.
The portal in the wall of the Rec Room grew larger and larger, and Cory ran forward to get between it and his family, "Set Condition Red, Security to the Rec Room. Mom, get the kids out of here, NOW!"
Sean shook his head as they heard JJ call for phasers to be set to stun behind them.
As the mists parted before them all, Cory saw his eldest brother walking towards them, and carrying a covered armful of... something. It was hard to tell what it was, but Cory was sure that he saw a small foot disappear under the golden wings that Mikey had wrapped around his front. "Hold! Stand down Condition Red!" he shouted with relief.
Jamie and Jacob moved to the front of the group as Teri and Dan led the other little kids back in. They watched as Cory motioned for the Security teams to leave, then held in giggles as Cory told Mikey off for scaring them all.
"Sorry, guys, there was no real graceful way for me to get here, and I needed to bring this little one straight inside." Mikey said as he lowered his wing enough so that a small child's head was seen clearly by the others. A sob of fear burst from the boy.
Vincent and Lehman watched helplessly as Mikey murmured comfort to the child in his arms.
"Who's this, bro?" Sean asked Mikey, looking at the child his brother carried.
"This is Joel," Mikey shifted his head slightly and kissed the frightened boy on the top of his head, "Joel? It's fine, kiddo, you can look up now."
The kid did so, and they saw his face clearly for the first time. Sean gasped when he saw the bar-code tattooed onto Joel's brow, and he wasn't the only one.
Without thinking, Vincent started to take a step toward the boy, to help him, when he felt a pair of arms holding him back.
"Just watch." Lawrence whispered into his brother's ear.
"It's okay, Joel, don't worry," Mikey soothed softly as Joel cringed back from the others and tried to hide more in the angel's arms. Mikey faced Cory, "I'll explain everything later, Tigger; but Joel is going to need a few things right now. A shower, some clothes and a hot drink; in that order. Do you think the Clan can manage that?" A few of the boys giggled quietly.
"Sure thing, Mikey," Cory replied with a sad smile, "I think we can just manage that."
"Babe, Ty? Can y'all hook Joel up with a shower and clothes, please?" Cory asked, winking at Kyle.
Cory then turned back to Mikey and said, "Okay, Mikey, they'll take him from here. I'll talk with you and Mom while we wait for them."
Mikey nodded then said to Joel, "These guys will look after you now, little one. I'm staying right here as I need to explain a few things to my brother and mother."
Seeming to be forcing himself to speak, Joel stuttered quietly, "Is...is this my n...new f...family?"
Mikey replied gently, "Yes. Whatever happens, this is your family now."
Joel started to fight and struggle to get down, and panic was clearly seen building in his face. "Please... p...please, Mikey," he started to sob. "L...let me d...down! I'll be b...beat if I d...don't!"
Mikey did so quickly, then everyone saw that Joel's split lip was just the least of the poor boy's worries: he was skin and bone and his scars and bruises showed clearly through the blood and dirt covering him. His body seemed a total, mutilated mess, and every rib could be counted easily. He moved his tortured, naked form slowly towards Teri and Dan, the closest adults, and was trembling in sheer terror with every step.
Cory watched Joel with tears in his eyes.
Joel trembled, "Master. Please f...forgive me f...or...;"
Neither Vincent or Lehman noticed that they were both fighting the arms that were wrapped around them, holding them back.
Suddenly, both of them stopped fighting and turned their attention toward Cory. A burst of rage had just radiated out from him that they could both clearly feel.
Cory and Sean both rushed forward; Cory softly silencing Joel as Sean turned him to face them.
"Look at me, Joel." Cory whispered softly, his face still wet with tears. "Why did you call Dan 'master'?"
Joel answered quickly, yet with puzzlement, "I am a s...slave. Y...you are m...my f...family. I...I must serve y...you."
Cory froze for a second, then turned to look at Mikey, the unspoken questions burning in his eyes.
Mikey nodded sadly, "He was a slave, bro. I should have seen this reaction coming. I'm sorry."
Vincent felt shock at the words, then absently reached up to wipe away the tear that was falling down his cheek.
Cory turned back to Joel, and spoke with conviction, an edge of command seeping into his voice. "We are not your masters. You do not serve us. You never need to serve us, nor anyone else, ever again! You are free, Joel."
Sean nodded as he squeezed Joel's shoulder. He was obviously speechless.
As Joel looked between all of them in disbelief, Sean and Cory did their best to silently communicate that it was indeed true. Joel then turned to Mikey in question.
Mikey moved in close and spoke quietly into Joel's ear, "These boys are telling you the truth, Joel. You can trust them, really you can; you are free." Mikey kissed Joel's head just to confirm the truth of his words.
Just then a huge sob burst forth from Joel, and Cory instinctively pulled the boy into his arms in a protective embrace.
? Vincent trembled as he felt a shiver run up his spine, and watched curiously as everyone else seemed to shiver as well.
Mikey and Kyle exchanged a puzzled look, then Mikey nodded his head at Joel, just as he wrapped his tiny legs around Cory's waist and started bawling.
Once Joel had settled down, Cory stood with Joel perched on his left hip. After glancing at the dirt and blood that had transferred from Joel to him, Cory broke the silence covering the room as he quietly announced, "I think I'll shower with you guys too."
Cory then turned to face Mikey, "Will you wait with Mom, bro?"
"Sure thing, Cor," Mikey replied, himself still recovering from what had happened.
Turning and motioning with his eyes, Cory led Tyler and Sean into the bathroom just off from the Rec Room. A murmuring started as soon as they had left as the boys began to whisper among each other, as well as to start throwing questions at Mikey.
"Is everything going to be okay now?" Lehman asked in a small voice.
"I... I don't know." Lawrence responded distantly.
"I think something happened that Mikey didn't expect, but he's not telling us anything." Deacon said as he adjusted his hold on Lehman to be more of a hug than a restraint.
"But what about Joel? Is everything alright with him?" Vincent asked with concern.
"I think so... at least, so far." Lawrence said slowly.
"He took his first step and just started to accept his new family. But he still has a lot more steps to take." Deacon said thoughtfully.
"So what do we need to do now?" Vincent asked cautiously as he noticed that the other people in the room had started talking amongst themselves.
"Nothing for a while. Mikey will let us know if there's anything for us to do, but I think this was the part that he was most worried about." Lawrence said as he finally released Vincent from the hug that had been holding him back.
"I'm going to get back to Jordy then. I don't want him to be worried since there was an alert." Lehman said, then looked at Vincent to see if he agreed.
"Good plan." Vincent said with a smile, then added, "I think I'm going to wander around and see if there's anyone I know that I haven't talked to yet."
"You don't have to stay away." Lehman said honestly, "I think Jordy and I said everything that we need to for right now."
"Give me a few minutes, okay? A whole lot of stuff has happened today and this thing with Joel kind of just put it over the top. I need a few minutes to deal." Vincent said honestly.
"Got it." Lehman said with an understanding smile, then continued, "But I'm here if you need to talk about anything."
"Thanks, but this isn't anything like that." Vincent said quietly. "I just need a few minutes to get things sorted out in my head."
"You know where to find me." Lehman said with a grin.
"Yeah. I'll be in there with you before you know it." Vincent said as he started walking toward the door.
"Do you need some company?" Lawrence asked hopefully.
"Not this time. But ask me again later and maybe I will." Vincent said, then continued out the door.
* * * * *
Vincent walked outside without direction or purpose as the events of the day swarmed through his mind in a chaotic jumble.
Try as he might, he wasn't able to grab hold of a single thread of thought.
After a long, slow cleansing breath, Vincent looked around to see that no one else was around.
Slowly and deliberately, Vincent moved into the first pose of his fighting workout routine.
An automatic sense of calmness began to wash over him as he moved gracefully into the next stance.
Soon Vincent was lost in the familiar rhythm of his workout routine as his mind began to sort through the various happenings of the day.
Suddenly Vincent was thrown off balance as a pair of arms wrapped around him from behind
"Random Hug!" A boy called out cheerfully, then proceeded to try and hug the stuffing out of Vincent.
"What?!" Vincent began to ask, but before the word made it completely out of his mouth, the boy was gone.
"Ship? Would you please teleport me aboard?" Vincent asked hopefully.
"Yes Trach Manja Vincent." Ship answered immediately.
Vincent assumed an upright posture as the teleportal beam washed over him.
* * * * *
"Trach Manja Vincent, are things going well?" Treep asked with concern as Vincent appeared on the bridge.
"Yeah. I think everything's alright. I just needed a little time away. Is anyone using the lower cargo bay right now?" Vincent asked cautiously.
"I don't believe so." Treep responded, then directed his voice upward as he asked, "Ship, are any members of the crew working in the lower hold?"
"No. That area of the ship is not currently occupied." Ship responded professionally.
"Would you mind if I go down there for a while? I really need some time to think and be alone." Vincent asked hopefully.
"Please, take all the time you need Trach Manja Vincent. And if you need any other kind of help, please let us know." Treep said with concern.
"Thanks Treep. I'll let you know if I think of anything." Vincent said as he walked toward the door.
Treep watched with concern as Vincent left the bridge.
* * * * *
Vincent shrugged out of his robe as he walked into the cavernous cargo bay and walked to the center of the room.
Rather than start back into his routine, he began to go through the warm up exercises.
Slowly and methodically, Vincent went through the entire warm-up process without thought.
When he was finally ready, he assumed the first stance of his morning work-out routine and held it for a moment before he began.
This time, he focused on his precision, making sure that he was hitting each stance exactly the way he was supposed to.
By focusing his thought on making every move as close to perfection as possible, he didn't achieve his usual tranquil state, but rather moved into a deeper state of concentration.
The forefront of Vincent's attention was focused on his movements, but a deeper part of his mind began to focus on the events of the day.
Sweat started running into Vincent's eyes as he fought to maintain his precision and rhythm.
He felt the tension within him start to ease as something just below his conscious mind began to resolve itself.
* * * * *
Vincent moved into a pose and held it.
Even though his conscious mind wasn't aware of exactly how all the events of the day had been resolved within his mind, he felt peace and contentment.
After a few minutes to go through his cool-down routine, Vincent walked to the door of the cargo bay, picking up his Avalla robe as he passed.
"Bathing pool." Vincent said as he entered the lift.
"Did you have an enjoyable exercise, Trach Manja Vincent?" Ship asked curiously.
"Yes Ship. It was wonderful." Vincent said happily.
"You seem to be in a much more tranquil state of mind than before you engaged in the exercise." Ship said in a leading tone.
"Yeah. I don't know why, but exercising really helps to calm me down." Vincent said as the doors to the lift open.
"I have encountered research that suggests that the release of endorphins would explain your reaction. I fail to see why all humans do not engage in this activity to maintain the desired level of tranquility in their lives." Ship said speculatively.
"I think it's just because everyone is different. This is what works for me, but someone else could do the same thing and all they would feel is sweaty and tired." Vincent said frankly as he walked through the doors into the bathing area.
"There is much about your people that I have yet to understand." Ship said regretfully.
"Yeah, well, I don't think anyone else has figured it out yet either, so I wouldn't be too worried about it." Vincent said with a grin as he dropped his robe on a bench and quickly slipped out of the rest of his clothing.
"Thank you Trach Manja Vincent. I feel better knowing that." Ship said quietly.
Vincent eased himself down into the water, then looked up as he asked, "Are you happy?"
"Currently?" Ship asked slowly.
"In general." Vincent responded in a relaxed voice.
After a moment, Ship said, "Yes. I am quite content with my existence."
"Good." Vincent said simply, then continued, "I think of you as a friend, so it's important to me to know that you're happy."
"Thank you Trach Manja Vincent. Before meeting the Trach Manjai, I had not considered the concept of friendship as it applies to me. But now that I have considered it, I think of you and Trach Manja Lehman as my friends as well."
"I'm glad." Vincent said happily. "You're really nice and I hope that someday you'll have lots and lots of friends."
After a long silent moment, Ship finally responded, "I hope that too."
* * * * *
As soon as the transportal beam cleared, Vincent began walking down the hallway, toward the rec room where he knew Lehman would be.
"Do you have a minute to talk?" A voice asked from behind him, surprising him.
Vincent turned and was surprised to see Mikey leaning casually against a doorway.
"Sure." Vincent said cautiously.
Mikey stood, then quirked his head, indicating for Vincent to walk with him.
"How are you doing?" Mikey asked softly.
"Fine." Vincent said hesitantly, having the distinct feeling that something very serious was about to happen.
There was a long silent moment as Mikey led Vincent down the hallway and eventually outside.
"What did you want to talk about?" Vincent finally asked.
Mikey stopped and smiled at Vincent before saying, "First of all, I wanted to say that I'm proud of you."?
Vincent looked at Mikey with surprise at the statement.
Mikey noticed Vincent's puzzled expression and shrugged as he said, "You've had to face some tough stuff and you've done good."?
"Thanks." Vincent said cautiously.
Mikey smiled at Vincent's hesitant expression and said, "Don't worry. I didn't bring you out here to lay some huge burden of responsibility on you."?
Vincent let out a long breath of relief, then said, "That's good to know."
Mikey chuckled, then said, "In fact, if all of this is starting to get to you, I can let you off the hook."?
Vincent looked at Mikey curiously, getting the sense that this was exactly the reason that Mikey wanted to talk to him.
Mikey looked into Vincent's eyes for a moment, then got a delighted smile as he said, "You've already figured it out."
"I have?" Vincent asked curiously.
"Yeah. Go ahead. You already know what I'm going to ask. What do you say?" Mikey asked playfully.
Vincent puzzled over Mikey's words, not understanding what the question was.
"Let me help." Mikey said tenderly, then asked, "What do you think I'm about to ask you?"
Vincent thought for a moment, then cautiously asked, "If I want to stop being a Trach Manja and let Thomas take my place?"
Mikey nodded, then raised an eyebrow of question.
"No. I don't want to give up." Vincent said quietly.
"I didn't think so." Mikey said with a smile.
After a moment of thought, Vincent cautiously asked, "You're going to ask all of us, aren't you?"?
"Not me personally, but yes, each of you will be given that choice." Mikey said honestly.
Vincent nodded, then said, "JonJon had the chance to give up his memories... that was his choice wasn't it?"?
Mikey slowly nodded.
"And Lehman made his choice this morning." Vincent said slowly.
"That's right." Mikey confirmed.
"But there's something bigger... something you're not telling me." Vincent said speculatively.
Mikey looked at Vincent with surprise at his unlikely leap in reasoning.
"We all made the choice to be Trach Manjai when we got our necklaces... this choice is something else." Vincent said as he looked Mikey in the eyes.
An uncomfortable expression came over Mikey's face. He obviously did not want to confirm or deny Vincent's speculation.
Vincent stared at Mikey distantly as he formed his thoughts.
After a long moment of silence, Vincent looked up and said, "Hold on... I think I got it."
Editor's Notes: It looks as if things are moving along now. We seem to have been present as Joel arrives. It was nice to hear from The Yorktown. All our friends there seem to be in good health and are doing well. I am sure that Vincent will continue to learn and grow through all of the interactions he has encountered and will encounter in the future. I can hardly wait for the next chapter to see what happens next.
Please don't forget to let MultiMapper know how much you enjoy his stories and Tell him you want more. Let's keep him busy writing more wonderful stories.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher