Chapter 03

Nyo suddenly found himself standing in an empty bedroom back at the Short Compound. He began looking around the room; clothing was strewn all over, complete with boxers hanging from the bed post.

"Who's room is this?" asked Nyo.

< You tell me. >

Something on the dresser caught Nyo's eye; so he walked over to the dresser and picked up the plaque that he found there. The background of what the plaque held was a semi-transparent picture of two young boys. They were standing in what appeared to be someone's back yard with their arms over each others shoulders, wearing matching Speedos; they both had huge grins on their faces. Superimposed over the top of the picture was a poem.

I sit here, Dream and wonder,
I look into your eyes and fade away.
You tempt me, you lure me,
Your innocence will let me dream today.
Your eyes, they look in beauty,
They send the sense of lovingness.
And they forbid me to look away.
Those eyes, they make me slowly drift away.
Today, is the day,
I'll never turn my back and walk away.
I'll tell you, I love you,
I'll take my chance, in a twist of faith today.
If only, you'll be mine,
I'll be with you, until the end of time.

Sean Short May 12, 2004

Nyo smiled as he finished reading the poem, "This is Sean and Cory's room. And this poem has to be the most beautiful thing I have ever read."

< Why? Is not T.S. Elliot a better poet? Does Emily Dickinson not do a more meaningful job at conveying emotion? >

"This poem says more about the relationship that these two young men have more then any thing ever written by someone else. It conveys more then Dickinson could ever hope to, but only in the context in which this poem is to be taken. This poem describes how Sean feels about Cory and no one else. Ms. Dickinson's poems can never compare or compete to this poem when it comes to describing how Sean feels towards the person he loves."

< And what is this poem to you Nyo? >

"Its love, it's something that I admire, something that is beautiful and pure, something that I can never have," Nyo said softly as he set the plaque back down.

< Oh, and what makes you say that? Do you think that you just would not be happy living with a normal human or do you think that I do not want happiness for you? >

"No, neither. How can I have something that I don't understand Ark? Why would anyone want to live with me, I wouldn't know how to complete them," said Nyo.

< Nyo, I think you are missing the meaning of what you just said. There is not a human alive that understands what love truly is without experiencing it. In all the years I have been recording their history, watching how they live their lives; I have never found the reason that one human falls in love with another. Some seek it and never find it, some find it when they are not looking for it, and often it appears and grows in the most unlikely of situations. The only way to understand love is to have it. >

Nyo sighed, "So why did you bring me up here other then to make my head hurt?"

The Ark chuckled, < It's an empty room and I thought you could use some rest. >

"You know it's a good thing you are a computer or I would smack you up side the head," replied Nyo as he spread out his arms and fell backwards onto the bed.

< Hmmm...just think what that bed has seen with them being so young. >

"Ahhhh, Ark! I thought you wanted me to get some rest! Now I'm not sure I can lay on this bed!"

< Shhhh not so loud Nyo, it will not hurt you; just get some sleep, from the looks of this group of children you will need it. >


Three hours later Nyo awoke to the sound of laughing and the pitter patter of feet passing the door of the bedroom.

"How long have I been asleep?" Nyo asked groggily as he slowly got out of the bed.

< Three hours; I am surprised that you slept through Sean and Cory coming in and packing their bags. >

"Packing their bags?" said Nyo.

< About half of the clan is going to a conference on Rigel VII, including Sean and Cory. >

"Why didn't you wake me? Are they gone yet?"

< They left just a little while ago, but I did not wake you because I can not talk to you off planet and Rigel VII is thousands of light years away. >

Nyo sighed, "Okay, well where are the rest of the clan members?"

< There are a few that just ran past this room; I think they are heading outside to play a game. >

"That could be fun to watch," said Nyo as he got up and headed for the bedroom door.

< Nyo, I know you want to watch them as much as you can but keep in mind that you are up here for another purpose. You are up here to give them information to test them, you have yet to do so. >

"Oh, and have you decided which one of them I should give it to and what I should give them? That's part of the reason behind me watching them."

< Well what do you think about giving them information about cell regeneration? >

"Starfleet has developed something very similar already," replied Nyo.

< Yes, but theirs can not re-grow limbs. >

"True but that might be too much and may not have quite the effect that we want," mouthed Nyo as he barely avoided colliding with one of the adults that was coming up the stairs as he was on his way down.

< We could give them something that is not medical related as well, could we not? >

"While that would be easier for us it would not be easier for them," said Nyo as he carefully slide out the front door.

< In that case would that not be ideal? If it is harder for them then that really is a test. >

"I'll think about it later," said Nyo. "Just remind me."

< You know I will. >

Nyo found five of the children playing in the front yard; he smiled as he approached them, "What game are they playing Ark?"

< I think they are playing soccer. It is a very popular game in Europe and a semi popular game in North America. When playing the game you would normally... >

"That's okay Ark, I don't need to know all about it," Interrupted Nyo. "I just wanted to know what it was called."

< Do you know which of the boys are out here? >

"I think that the older blond boy is Adam, the younger blond is his brother Tyler. The one with shaggy brown hair is Tommy and the one with strawberry blond hair is JJ."

< And do you know the name of the other one, the one with shoulder length dark brown hair? >

No sooner had the Ark mentioned the last boy did Nyo's arm began to hurt.

"Ouch! Why is the Phasenmorph hurting me?" asked Nyo as he quickly pulled up his sleeve and started rubbing the creature on his arm.

< Because the Phasenmorph realized that the last boy is somewhat telepathic. But it is not a normal kind of telepathy so it has to work extra hard to hide you from him. >

"He must be Kyle then," said Nyo. "Will the Phasenmorph adjust or will it do this the whole time I'm around him?"

< It will do it the whole time; it does not have enough energy to block him on its own so it is taking the energy from you, that is why it hurts. >

Just then a Florida State Police car pull in through the front gate not to far from where the children were playing. Nyo saw JJ wave at the rest of the boys telling them to rest and stay put as he walked over to where the car had just stopped. Nyo ran after JJ.

"Can I help you, officer?" Nyo heard JJ ask as the police sergeant stepped out of the car.

The officer looked over at JJ and in a tired tone he replied "Go on back to your game, kid. I'm just trying to ID the kid in the back; the only thing he would say is he needed to see someone here. It's nothing you need to worry about."

Nyo saw JJ quickly pull what looked like some form of clan ID out of his pocket. "With all due respect sir, it is now. I'm JJ Richardson, Head of Security for Clan Short. What can you tell me about the kid?"

The officer looked over the ID and then looked back at JJ in shock. "I guess the rumors are true! I really can't tell you much; the only thing he admitted to is being away from home for the last month. We don't even know his name or if he was kicked out or ran away."

JJ nodded and then was quiet for a second. "Go ahead and call in, let them know that we are accepting custody of him and will handle it from here."

"Don't you need to talk to him first?" the officer asked with surprise.

"Naw, that's what our Intelligence team is for." JJ replied with a grin. "I can only think of a few reasons to want to come here; all of which lead to him needing our help somehow. Would you mind if I get things rolling here?"

The officer smiled, "Not at all; I'll call in then start on the transfer paperwork. I will need an adult to sign it though."

JJ's grin got wider. "Sorry, I didn't show you my other ID." Nyo saw JJ retrieved the second ID and handed it to the officer.

"ENSIGN Richardson!!" the officer whispered in surprise. "I guess you CAN sign it; the guys back at the station ain't going to believe this!"

"Nothing like blowing away earthside officials by showing them how it's done," giggled Nyo quietly.

< Is this how they normally work? Shocking officials and throwing the legal system back at them? >

"By making those officials take responsibility for laws they claim to live by," said Nyo as if adding to what the Ark asked like it was fact.

Nyo heard JJ chuckled at the officer's remark as he turned towards the others, "HEADS UP!!! Tyler; Go get Teri; meet us in the conference room. Kyle; Kylegram the Three Musketeers, tell them to join us in the conference room; then get everything online in CIC. Tommy; I need all earthside Clan members who are available to meet in CIC and stand by for possible operations. Adam; stay here in case I need a hand."

Nyo just smiled as the officer watched in awe as what appeared to be just normal kids suddenly became all business as they scattered to perform their assigned tasks. The microphone the officer had been holding fell from his hand when he heard Kyle's report to JJ before he ran off.

"Jamie, Jacob and Justy are on their way. Justy's already alerted Terra Main to standby for a recovery team for Lil' Joe's belongings. He'll get the team together as soon as everyone's here." Without even waiting for a response, Kyle then ran off to the round building in the center of the compound.

"This is more fun to watch then anything I've seen so far, in just minutes they have already topped and surpassed what any government would have taken weeks to get accomplished," mouthed Nyo.

JJ turned back and giggled at the officer's stunned face, "When your Intelligence division is full of telepaths, you get quick results! Go ahead and finish; it's time for Lil' Joe to get out here and stretch."

As the officer dug out the transfer pages while shaking his head in wonder, Adam opened the back door of the cruiser and got a look at the boy inside, "DUDE! Are you okay, Lil' Joe? Mom's gonna FREAK!"

Nyo looked over Adam's shoulder as Adam helped the young boy out of the car. The boy appeared to be about eight years old; he had medium brown hair and it looked like he had not been eating regular meals for a while. The boy's clothes were torn and very filthy. As the boy stood up he happened to suddenly look straight at Nyo and Nyo was able to look deep into the boy's eyes. In that split second Nyo didn't just see a pair of steel gray eyes but he saw everything that the boy had been through. He saw pain, a kind of pain that Nyo didn't understand; he saw a desire, a longing to be safe, something Nyo had never felt. And finally he saw something that he knew nothing about, but it was something that he wanted just as much as this little boy; all at once Nyo knew and understood that the boy just wanted to be loved.

Nyo felt tears well up in his eyes as Adam leaned over and looking straight into Lil' Joe's eyes he said, "I don't know what happened, but you're safe now." And then Lil' Joe fell into Adam's arms.

Nyo got a few feet away and then wiped his eyes, "Ark, what happened to this boy?"

< Oh, some of the other boys here have been through much worse then this boy. >

"But I didn't see them then Ark," said Nyo as he wiped away more tears. "I didn't get to see their pain when they were being saved; I wasn't there to see how badly they wanted someone to love them."

< Take a deep breath Nyo, just calm down a little. The boy's name is Joseph Davis Hartman, he is eight years old and he ran away from home. He suffered some kind of abuse at the hands of his father, other then that I do not know anything else at this time Nyo. They will have a full report logged soon I expect. >

"Why would you do such a thing to your own son?" asked Nyo.

< Nyo, what this young man went through is nothing compared to some of the information that I bring in every day. I may not know the pain of those that are filed into my archive but I know that the acts done against them are far worse then anything that these boys have seen. >


< Why what? Why does humanity destroy its own kind? If I knew that then I would just have you fix it but I do not. Humans are horrible creatures; there are those out there that abuse, torture, rape, and kill other human beings just for the feeling of power that it gives them. They get to hold someone's fate in their hands and it makes them feel good, it makes them feel powerful. And you wonder why I seem to have lost faith in ever finding hope. >

"I want to help them," Nyo whispered.

< Who, Clan Short? >

"Yes but not just them," said Nyo. "I want to help them because they are trying their best to help others. I want to help extend their reach and help rescue others."

< If you were directly involved I guaranty that you would lose your self control, I guaranty that you will do things you will feel guilty about later. >

"Is that part of your skewed sense of right and wrong?" asked Nyo.

< Yes. >

"Is it worth it?"

< Ha, that is not for me to decide Nyo. If you could ask Cory Short if he thinks he did the right thing in killing that man to save CD from being hurt what would he say? If you could ask CD if he thinks that his father was wrong to do that what do you think he would say? If you could ask that dead man if he thinks it was wrong for Cory to kill him what do you think he would say? What humans see as right and wrong all depends on their own point of view. Cory would probably say it was worth it because that boy is now safe, CD would probably say that his father was right because that man was evil and was going to hurt him, and that man would probably say no because now he is dead and suffering for all of eternity for it. >

"I still want to help," said Nyo. "That boy, Lil' Joe, is worth saving in the clan's eyes, he is now safe and will be loved and taken care of; every child deserves that."

< Why? >

"Because they don't deserve to suffer for something they didn't do, and if they are not saved from the hell that they are thrown into then when they grow up, if they grow up, they will be worse off then those that brought them into this world."

< You are getting away from your mission; that is not what you are here for. >

"It's worth it," said Nyo defiantly.

If the Ark could smile it would have, < Where shall I get you started then? It is a big planet. >

"Let's start with some of the worst," said Nyo.

< Let us start where I think will teach you the most about human compassion. >

Nyo suddenly found himself not standing in front of the Short Compound but in the middle of a dark alley.

"Okay Ark, where have you taken me?" said Nyo.

< You said the worst; I said somewhere that you can learn. You are in the middle of Moscow, Russia. >

Nyo nervously looked around, "Okay, why here in this dark alley."

< There have been several reports coming in about children going missing in this part of town, and although the Moscow police have been looking into the affair they are in no hurry to solve this case. >

"Why?" asked Nyo. "Isn't that their job?"

< Because the children that have gone missing are orphans from a local orphanage and no one will miss them. >

"Do they have any leads?"

< Not really, they only have so much to go on. Eight children have gone missing, one of them turned up dead in one of the gutters...or at least what was left of him. >

"What was left of him? Did they do an autopsy?"

< Of course, would you like to read it? >

"Yes please," said Nyo as he pulled his hand held computer out of his kit.

Moments after he turned on his hand held the report came up on its screen.

Cycle Date: 07/04/12,004
Human Record Date: 07/04/2004
Report Number: 070412004M05A9
Subject: Moscow Missing Orphan Autopsy Case #092327
Report by: Dr. Karl Vladi
Filed by: ARK Global Data Archiving System

Subject's name was Maxim Valranok age 10. Subject was found in the gutters outside of the local post office at 10: 24pm July 4, 2004. Subject was found in seven pieces. After reassembling the subject it was found that several pieces of the subject's anatomy were still missing. Those missing pieces include the subject's genitals, eyes, tongue, heart, and the right and left thumb. After piecing the subject back together I was able to determine that the subject died from extreme blood loss but may have been alive when dismemberment started. Dismemberment seems to have been done with a very sharp saw. I was also able to determine that the subject was tortured for about three weeks before his death as some of his wounds had healed over. It also appears that the cuts that cover the subject's body were made with a very sharp instrument, possibly a scalpel, as the cuts were too clean; void of any jagged edges. I have contacted the orphanage where the subject was taken from about claiming the body but they have not come in to claim it as of yet.

By the time Nyo was finished reading he couldn't believe he was still reading about another human being. He just stared on in horror as he reread several sections of the short report.

< Would you like to see pictures? >

"NO!" shouted Nyo.

< Are you alright Nyo? >

"Who would do something like that to a ten year old boy?" whispered Nyo.

The Ark ignored the question, < Would you like to read the police report? >


Moments later the Moscow Police report flashed onto his hand held's screen.

Cycle Date: 07/04/12,004
Human Record Date: 07/04/2004
Report Number: 070412004M05A9
Subject: Moscow Missing Orphan Case #092327
Report by: Lt. Vladimir Demvolk
Filed by: ARK Global Data Archiving System

The body of Maxim Valranok age 10 was found in the gutter outside of the local post office at 10:24pm July 4, 2004. Valranok was found in seven pieces that were scattered down three blocks from where we found the head. No finger prints were found on Valranok's body. According to Madam Celica, the women who runs the orphanage from which Valranok was taken, young Valranok went missing four weeks ago. The only thing she could tell us was that Valranok was a good boy but she did not seem to care that the boy was dead. According to Dr. Vladi down at the morgue Celica is refusing to come and claim the body. We also interviewed one of Valranok's friends, Dominic Nimvok, from the orphanage but nothing important came of the interview; we could not get the boy to stop crying. One week later Nimvok disappeared as well. Both boys had blond hair and blue eyes as did all of the children that have gone missing from this orphanage. We have no suspects at this time.

Nyo shut off his hand held and sat down on a nearby box. He quietly stared off into space as he took in what he just read.

"Ark..." Nyo said at last. "Where am I suppose to go with this?"

< Forget for a moment who you read about and think of what you read about, any ideas on who it might have been? >

Nyo looked down at his feet, "Did they all come from the same orphanage?"

< Yes. >

"Then I would place Madam Celica on the list of suspects first," said Nyo. "But I don't think she's the one."

< Oh? >

"The autopsy said that the body of Maxim Valranok had clean cuts all over it, the doctor even thought that they may have been inflicted by a scalpel," continued Nyo as he thought out loud. "Are scalpels easy to come by in Russia?"

< Fairly. >

"But if they were clean enough for a doctor to notice then the person doing the cutting knew what they were doing," said Nyo. "So I would guess that the person we are looking for would have to possibly have daily access to the boys and know how to use a scalpel."

< That is assuming an awful lot Nyo, is it not? >

Nyo tilted his head and frowned, "Does the orphanage have a doctor?"

< Yes, his name is Dr. Tomas Waltkins; he's from North America. He came over to Russia a few years back because he wanted to help children. >

"Where does he live?" said Nyo. "I want to go talk to him."