Chapter 11

"What the heck?" said Dmitry as he stepped around Danny and Caleb as they sat at the table working. "Ark?"

"What's wrong," asked Dominic as he carefully pushed aside empty pizza boxes to get to the coffee pot.

"I'm not sure, Ark was in the middle of saying something and then just suddenly stopped," said Dmitry. "Ark can you hear me?"

Dominic carefully pushed more pizza boxes aside trying his best not to be noticed by the two other boys at the table and sat down. He slowly started sipping his coffee as Dmitry waited for a reply.

"About how many boxes of pizza do you think these kids went through?" asked Dominic.

"What?" asked Dmitry. "Oh the pizza, probably enough to feed a small country. At least they didn't miss the little bit we borrowed. This is strange though, I'm still not getting anything from Ark."

"Try the handheld," suggested Dominic.

"Ok, I'm gonna make myself a coffee, want one?" Danny asked as he stood up and headed over to the cabinet.

"Look out DT, Danny is heading for your side of the room," Dominic said to warn Dmitry.

Dmitry looked up from his handheld and then moved out of the way, "Thanks."

"Sounds great, we still have to figure out placement and map the internal wiring. That's gonna take a while." Caleb said as he stood up.

Danny handed Caleb a mug, "Sugar is next to the coffee maker, milk in the fridge. Have at it bro."

Danny then sat back down with his mug and watched Caleb start shoveling sugar into his cup.

"Dude, leave some room for the coffee." Danny giggled.

"Yeah," mouthed Dominic. "Coffee doesn't need that much sugar."

"You know they can't hear you right?" said Dmitry.

"I know but I can pretend they can," said Dominic with a grin.

Dmitry smiled and went back to his handheld.

Dominic watched as Caleb looked at his cup then back at Danny as he shoveled 4 more heaping spoonfuls into his cup with a grin.

"I like it sweet." Caleb said as both began to giggle.

"Jeez, a little coffee with your sugar?" added Dominic.

"You have enough sugar for four cups of coffee in there. I would hope you like it sweet. My teeth are rotting just thinking about you drinking that." Danny said as he watched Caleb pour a little bit of coffee in his cup, and topped it off with an almost equal amount of milk.

After stirring it and taking a sip, Caleb gave Danny a mischievous grin and then added two more spoonfuls of sugar.

"Gross dude!" Danny giggled as Caleb took another sip and nodded his head in approval.

"Sounds like he likes his coffee like I do," said Dmitry.

Dominic stared at Dmitry in disbelief, "DT, if I ever see you crucify a cup of coffee like that you will never hear the end of it!"

Dmitry giggled and then continued working.

"Good coffee bro." Caleb said as he sat back down.

"You mean you actually can taste coffee in that concoction?" Danny replied with a grin.

Dmitry groaned, "Damn it, I can't even get a connection to the database!"

Dominic slowly got up, gently took Dmitry by the hand and then led him into the lab that was right off the kitchen.

"DT, its ok, just calm down a little," said Dominic. "Why don't you take a break for a bit?"

Dmitry sighed, "Just a second, let me try something else first, if it doesn't work then I'll quit for a while."

"Ok," said Dominic as he sat down in a nearby chair.

"Crap, all I have access to, is what is on my handheld and their network here," said Dmitry.

"Maybe Ark had a power outage or something; either way I'm sure we'll be fine." said Dominic.

Dmitry gave Dominic a strange look, "I thought you'd be more freaked out about this than I am."

"What, about not getting a reply and Nyo having to be emergency teleported back?" said Dominic.

"Yeah," said Dmitry.

"I think of it this way, if Ark really meant to leave us here by ourselves then it wouldn't have given us any kind of Advanced Technology or made us Vifer," said Dominic as he took another sip of his coffee.

"I suppose that's true," replied Dmitry as he came over and proceeded to sit in Dominic's lap.

Dominic set down his coffee and hugged Dmitry, "Don't worry DT, they won't abandon us."

"I know," sighed Dmitry as he snuggled into Dominic. "Nyo probably wouldn't have even bothered with us at all if he wasn't going to look after us; I'm just worried about everything turning out ok."

Dmitry looked up at Dominic and noticed that he had his eyes closed, "Dom?"

"I'm listening DT, my eyes are just a little sore is all," said Dominic. "So what are we going to do?"

"What do you mean?" said Dmitry. "I thought we weren't going to panic."

"We're not, but we still need a plan of action just in case something bad happened to Nyo, Ark, and Stepan and we don't hear from them for a few days," replied Dominic. "I know we can get plenty to eat here but the bigger problem I think is staying hidden, our cloaks are not on the same power as our Phasenmorphs."

"Oh crap!" exclaimed Dmitry. "We'll run out of power in three days!"

"Exactly," said Dominic.

"And if something happened that was bad enough to take the Ark offline then it might take them a few days to get it back up," said Dmitry.

Dmitry sighed and then lay back against Dominic again.

"So what do you think we should do DT?" asked Dominic.

"Well...Nyo told us to watch the Clan and our best bet for them to be able to find us when they do get back to us would be if we are with the Clan," Dmitry said slowly. "I think for now we'll stick with them and if and when we become visible we'll deal with that then."

"Ok," said Dominic. "That sounds like a plan; for now let's find somewhere to get some sleep."

"You know we're alone in this room," said Dmitry with an evil smile. "We could stay in here and 'relax'."

Dominic grinned, "Sounds good to me."


"What do you mean Humanity hasn't reached peace yet?!?" shouted Tyne. "Ark wasn't supposed to give out any information until the time was right!"

"Well we didn't know that giving out a little information would set off some Founder Program," said Nyo. "Besides, it's been sixty thousand years since Ark was first brought online."

"What! Sixty thousand years!" said Tyne. "My father is going to kill me; or he would kill me if he was still around."

"We've been waiting such a long time for Humanity to get to where they need to be but after such a long time even Ark is losing hope," said Nyo. "We were hoping that if we could just give this group we found a little bit of help then maybe they can start Humanity in the right direction. I mean if this group was Humanity then we wouldn't be having this conversation."

"A group is not a species, Humanity is a lot bigger than that and some small group of humans are not going to be able to fix all that needs fixed," said Tyne.

"Well whether or not they can it's too late now, isn't it?" said Stepan.

Tyne sighed, "Yeah, it wouldn't do us any good to reset the program and I sure as hell don't want to go back into cryo-sleep. You said that this group is the best hope that you've seen in years?"

"Yeah," replied Nyo. "And trust me; we've been looking for a long time."

"So when did Ark create you?" asked Tyne.

"Towards the beginning of the Second Cycle, I'm a Vifer," said Nyo. "When we get Ark back up and running I'll let you read the files about what that means. First though we need to get Ark back up."

"Oh that should be easy," said Tyne as he went over to the control panel that had displayed his father's hologram. "I should just be able to unlock its systems and everything will come back up."

Tyne typed in a few commands and then half of the lights in the control room came back on, "What the heck, that should have worked. OH GOOD GOD! What the hell! You've added TWO more Memory Bays for Ark!?!"

"Well it ran out of memory," said Nyo.

"Is that the problem?" asked Stepan.

"Yeah actually it is, the original standby program never accounted for more memory," said Tyne. "How do you guys feel about going through each Memory Module in those bays and manually activating them?"

"You have got to be kidding," said Stepan. "Those things are a square mile each!"

"Well then we had better get started," said Tyne as he headed for the supply closet. "I'll need one of you to get me some clothes first though, unless you'd like me to run around without."

"Hey is there a way that we can just get the teleport system back online without the rest of the modules," said Stepan.

"Why?" asked Tyne.

"Oh damn, we still have the boys out there!" said Nyo.

"Wait, you have people on assignment that are now trapped out there?" said Tyne in a panicked voice. "Please tell me the Moroi are long gone."

"Information on the Moroi is restricted for the most part," said Nyo. "The only thing we do know about them is that they are still around, why?"

"Oh God, we need to get your people back as quickly as we can then, we can't leave any of our people stranded with a threat like that still present," said Tyne as he ran for the door. "Screw the clothes, just grab a tool kit and let's go!"

"How old did you say you were again?" asked Nyo as they scrabbled about to get tool kits.

"Fourteen, why?" replied Tyne.

"You kinda remind me of a few kids I know," said Nyo.

Stepan giggled.

"What?" said Tyne.

Nyo laughed, "I'll explain as we're working."


Dmitry slowly opened his eyes and looked around the lab. Thankfully they hadn't been disturbed yet otherwise they would have easily been discovered. Dmitry had thought it would save energy if they didn't have their cloaks on while they slept since they were in a secluded part of the house. So far it looked like they were fine but he could see that the sun was coming up.

Dmitry stretched a little, doing his best not to wake Dominic, who was sleeping peacefully next to him with his arm draped over Dmitry.

"Omigod!!! I'm sorry..." Dmitry suddenly heard Danny scream from the other room.

Both Dmitry and Dominic, who were now very much awake, jumped up and began a mad rush to get dressed.

"Crap, they're awake," said Dominic as he tried to find his jumpsuit. "Where the heck are my clothes?"

"We slept on top of them," giggled Dmitry has he was hopping around on one foot trying to get his leg in his jumpsuit.

"Thanks," grinned Dominic. "Did you sleep well?"

"Yeah I slept...aaaahh," Dmitry started to say as he fell over. "Great!"

Dominic helped Dmitry up, "Are you ok?"

"Yeah I'm good, just quickly get your cloak active before they decide to come in here," replied Dmitry.

"Do you think they'll have more coffee?" asked Dominic as he strapped his cloak on and turned on the power.

"Jeez, you and your coffee," smiled Dmitry has he finished zipping up his jumpsuit and activating his cloak. "Yeah I'm sure they'll have coffee; I'm pretty sure Marc and Danny at least drink it regularly if not religiously."

"What makes you think that?" said Dominic has he strapped his handheld to his belt.

Dmitry looked at Dominic and smiled, "Well, they own a coffee pot."

"Smart ass," said Dominic. "Lets go see if we can 'borrow' breakfast."

Dmitry and Dominic walked into the kitchen just as a kid with dark, shaggy hair came in the kitchen from the living room, "MAW! Y'all's done started cookin' an' ya didn' come an' git me? That there jus' ain' right!"

"That's Tommy from what the handheld says," mouthed Dmitry.

"Hey I just thought of something," said Dominic. "What language are they speaking?"

"I have a better question, are most of these boys naked?" said Dmitry.

"Timothy! Ricky! Y'all's done been told ya' gotta git sum clothes on before ya' get any grub! Git movin'!" Tommy said when he saw the boys sitting at the table.

"That's how they went to bed DT," Dominic said with a smile.

"Awww, how did I miss that!" whined Dmitry.

One of the women in the room quickly motioned to the boys, "Stay there guys; I'm making an exception to the rule today."

"That's Teri Short," said Dmitry. "She's pretty much the mother figure to all the boys."

"The handheld says that?" asked Dominic.

"Yep," answered Dmitry. "Ark sent us all the data it had on the Clan before we came here."

Teri then turned to Tommy, who skidded to a stop when he saw the look on her face, "Thomas Clyde Short! You are a guest in this house; is that any way to act? I believe you owe everyone in this room an apology; plant your butt in that chair until you can make it sincere."

"Yes Mom." Tommy replied as he hung his head, took a seat, and then laid his head in his arms on the table.

"That was kinda harsh," said Dmitry quietly.

"Must be a mother or a manners thing," said Dominic.

Joey looked wide-eyed at Tommy. "Dommee, wahd assepim wuwe doday?"

"Did he say my name?" asked Dominic.

"What Dommee? No I think that's supposed to be Tommy," said Dmitry.

One of the other women in the room noticed that Tommy was not responding to what Joey said and came over to the table, "I think that all you boys are supposed to be dressed in clothes before you eat. Teri is making an exception; that means that this morning you can eat like you are, but after this you have to be dressed before you can eat. Does that make sense?"

"That's Mary Owens, she's Jerry's mother," said Dmitry.

"You're like a running commentary DT," giggled Dominic.

"Uh huh, bahd Dommee dinna no eet doh?" said Joey.

"No little angel, Tommy didn't know. He got in trouble for the way he talked to you and your friends, not because he didn't know," Mary said to Joey.

"Oh. bahd id oday. I no mahd. Dommee no bee in tubbew no moah gwammah. Pweese." Joey almost whined.

"Ok Ark was right, I can't understand a thing he just said," said Dmitry. "Must have been luck last time."

"Shhhhh, I'm trying to listen," said Dmitry.

Mary kissed Joey's cheek as she rubbed his back, "Relax, it'll be okay. Just as soon as Tommy calms down and says he's sorry everything will be alright, I promise."

"Oday Gwammah." Joey replied.

A minute later a sizable group of kids wandered into the kitchen. When they saw Tommy all of them instantly got silent.

"Ok commentary," said Dominic. "You can start up again."

"You're kidding right?" answered Dmitry.

"Oh come on, there's only like twenty of them," said Dominic.

"You look it up," replied Dmitry.

"Ouch!" Dominic suddenly said as he clutched his arm.

Dmitry giggled but grabbed his arm too, "Well we know Kyle is with them."

"Ya think?" said Dominic as he backed away from the group of boys.

"Oh come on, he's just a boy, not the plague," said Dmitry.

"Tell that to my arm," replied Dominic.

"What's wrong, Mom?" Cory asked bringing their attention back to what was happening.

Before Teri could answer Tommy spoke up, "It's okay bro; I kinda let my Alligator Mouth get ahead of my Flea Butt. I'm sorry y'all; I shoulda been nicer an' ask'd before sayin' that stuff."

"Alligator Mouth and Flea Butt? I didn't know we had terms like that in Russian," said Dmitry.

Dominic shook his head, "DT I don't think we're speaking Russian right now, and I doubt they are either."

Suddenly Dmitry's eyes got really big, "Oh wow, I'm not; if I think about it I think I can speak Russian if I want to though. But what language are we speaking then?"

"Well I'm pretty sure everyone here is speaking English," said Dominic. "Whatever language Nyo speaks is what we're using I think."

Teri then walked up to Tommy and hugged him from behind, "That's better Tommy. Would you like to help Mary and me with breakfast?"

"Sure Mom; but I'd like it better if Mary got to spend time with Joey instead of havin' to cook. That way she can get ta' know the guys too," said Tommy as he wrapped his arms over Teri's.

Teri grinned and looked over at Mary, "That's my boy; he's kinda possessive of the kitchen! Would you like to spend some time getting to know the rats, Mary?"

"I don't care who it is but can someone start cooking," Dominic mumbled. "I'm starving too ya know."

"For now you'll have to settle for coffee...if we can get to it," said Dmitry.

"With this group I think I'll try and get food first or we will be going hungry," Dominic said quickly.

Mary smiled back. "That might not be a bad idea; I think I might have made a wrong impression on a few of the boys yesterday. Patriarch Short, could we start over?" Mary said with a smile in reply to what Teri said.

Cory grinned, "Let's just keep it informal, Mrs. Owens. It'd take me all day to list out what all of these guys do - and there's still more taking showers!"

"It's going to take me all day just to get to know their names," said Dominic. "They have titles too?"

"Did he say some were in the showers?" smiled Dmitry.

"You're staying in the kitchen," Dominic said firmly.

Dmitry giggled, "Aww you're no fun."

"Yeah I am," said Dominic. "When you're not interested in checking every one of these boys out."

Mary then walked over and gave Cory a quick hug, "In that case, just call me Mary. Jon is going to be back shortly; he's picking up lunch supplies. I owe you an apology too; yesterday I made the same mistake as Tommy here made this morning. I really should have listened better before running my mouth."

"Where were we when that happened?" Dmitry asked Dominic. "I don't remember even seeing Mary yesterday."

"We were inside," said Dominic. "Working, or at least I was; you were too busy seeing how far you could get your foot up my right pant leg."

"Oh yeah..." Dmitry said thoughtfully.

Cory returned Mary's hug, "Apology accepted Mary. I can see how this all surprised you. Would you mind if I took care of a little business first before I introduce you to the rest of the guys?"

"Oh business, Nyo wanted to see them in action," said Dmitry.

Dominic smiled, "Should we take a picture or something?"

"Now who's the smart ass," answered Dmitry.

"Go ahead Cory; from what I was told last night I'd like to see you in action," said Mary.

"Thanks." Cory replied. He turned and straightened his posture before speaking again, "Director Short, I require your undivided attention as soon as practical."

"Is it just me or did everyone in the room just sit up a little straighter?" asked Dmitry.

Dominic watched as Teri straightened her clothes and approached Cory, "No it wasn't you."

"How may Youth Services be of assistance, Patriarch Short?" Teri asked.

Cory motioned to one of the boys in the back of the group to come forward and join him. The boy was slim and had silver hair.

"If I didn't know better I'd say he was Vifer," said Dmitry.

"Director Short," Cory started to say. "This is Gavin Urt-lakin, formerly from Rigel VII. He is under Clan Short protection due to violations of the Safe Haven Act. Article 11, Sections 11.1 and 11.2; Article 17, Section 17.1, Subparts A2, A4, B2, and B3; and Article 68 Section 68.1.A are the applicable sections. As stipulated in Article 9 Section 9.1 Subpart A1 and Article 135 Section 135.3 Subpart A4 I am prepared to initiate placement of Gavin with a suitable family. After investigation of his history; I have determined that you would be the logical guardian. Do you accept this determination?"

"Ok he's from Rigel VII, that explains the silver hair," Dmitry added.

"Hey DT do we have a copy of that Safe Haven Act that he just sat there and quoted the hell out of?" asked Dominic.

"Yeah I think so," replied Dmitry as he pulled out his handheld. "I'll check."

"Hang on a second," said Dominic as he noticed the color had drained from Teri's face.

"Oh my God!" Teri whispered. She glanced at Mary. "Physical abuse and slavery, Mary." Teri then turned back to Cory. "Patriarch Short; I recognize your jurisdiction as stipulated in Article 9 and accept immediate placement of Gavin with my family."

Cory nodded, "That will be acceptable. Kyle; inform Headquarters of the updated status of Gavin and instruct them to transfer his records to Director Short's personal files."

Kyle paused for a moment and suddenly Dominic jumped.

"Oh God," Dominic cried softly as he sank to his knees. "He must be hurts, it feels like my arm is on fire."

Dmitry moved forward and carefully helped Dominic to his feet, "Come on, lets get you farther away from him, my side of the kitchen isn't as bad."

"Transfer is complete, status updated. Gavin, will you require your surname be changed to 'Short'?" Kyle said a moment later.

Gavin's gaze shifted between Cory, Kyle, and Teri, "Can I? What..."

Teri walked over and pulled Gavin into a hug, "Yes you may, Son. If you really want to, just ask; you don't have to change it if you don't want to. You're my son either way."

Gavin buried his face in Teri's shoulder as he began sobbing. "YES!" he choked out.

"Wait, what just happened?" asked Dmitry.

"I think they just did something that would take anyone else months to do," replied Dominic.


"So wait, let me get this straight," said Tyne as he slid out from under another memory module. "This entire group that you want to trust the future of humanity with is nothing more than a rag tag group of kids?"

"Yeah but these 'kids' get more accomplished in one hour then any human agency could in months and sometimes even years," replied Nyo from under a nearby memory module. "Blue is ready to come online."

"Ok," said Tyne as he went over to the power control panel and flipped the blue switch. "Right but they're still children, if after thousands of years the best hope that this crap for a species can produce is nothing more than children then humanity should be left in the darkness that it created."

"But Tyne, people listen to these kids," said Nyo as he got out from under the blue module. "In just a few months time they have saved more kids from bad situations then any government has since the Second Cycle. Not only that but they have spread their ideas and hope, even beyond this planet to other species on other worlds; they've even been recognized as a Vulcan Sub-Clan of one of the most power and influential houses on Vulcan."

"Ok you lost me," Tyne said as he wiggled his way under the next module. "What happened in the Second Cycle that can compare to this and what is Vulcan?"

Nyo picked up his tool kit and moved to another module, "During the Second Cycle several of the world governments were doing experiments with children that they had taken in; most were orphans or badly abused children at first. Later on, though, the governments took to creating the children themselves so that they had more control over the child's genetic structure."

"So they were creating and crafting sub-species then?" asked Tyne.

"Pretty much," answered Nyo. "That's how humanity went from only having three sub-species to having five."

"Five!? Jeez, so what have we ended up with?" said Tyne.

"Other than Founders, Moroi, and Empaths now we have Telepaths, Psychokinesists, and Vifer," replied Nyo.

"And which are you?" asked Tyne. "I noticed that you're not human or Founder, and you're far to awake to ever be considered Moroi."

"I'm a Vifer, I can absorb skills and I have unnatural long life," said Nyo. "Anyway, the Second Cycle did some very dangerous experiments with genetics, they even went as far as being able to put one persons soul into another humans body; very creepy stuff."

"So where did Ark get your genetics from then?" said Tyne. "If you get out before me the red module is ready to come online."

"Well it modified my genetics so that I fit what it needed more closely but the original genetic material that was used to create me was taken from one of the very first Vifer. I don't remember his name though I think it started with a Z," Nyo said. "Anyway enough about me, you asked about Vulcan. Vulcan is a Planet and a Species. The planet is a good number of light-years away from here and the species that lives there is probably the most logical and in my opinion boring species in the known universe. They value truth and honesty above almost everything while also seeing emotions as a weakness that needs suppressing."

"They suppress their emotions?" said Tyne. "Humanity values its emotions though, how can the two species get along?"

"Actually the two have had quite a few disagreements over the years," said Nyo. "Ark likes them though."

"Yeah I suppose it would," smiled Tyne. "So I assume from what you said earlier that their society is made up of different houses and clans."

"Its part of their past but is so deeply rooted in their society that it carries over to the present and is intermixed with their government," said Nyo. "Well through a few very interesting situations these kids ended up becoming a sub-clan of one of the most powerful clans in Vulcan, which is why they are called Clan Short."

"And so people take them seriously because of that?" asked Tyne.

"Yep," replied Nyo. "Hey I got a question, if a Founder can see the future did you already know what I was going to say? And if that's the case why did we have this conversation?"

Tyne laughed, "Actually yes I did have some idea what you were going to say. Think about it though, if We didn't still have this conversation even if I knew what you would be saying then we really wouldn't have had this conversation and so I wouldn't have seen what you were going to say in the first place. If I change the future there is no way for my mind to retain information that I would not have actually learned. It's a vicious cycle."

"Oh I suppose that makes sense," said Nyo.

"That and I get to know you better if I actually talk to you because then you get to know me too," added Tyne. "I'd rather take time to know my team; rather then have visions of them telling me about them."

"Your team?" said Nyo.

"Well this is a Founder Facility and I am the Ranking Officer," said Tyne.

Nyo got out from under his module, "What gives you the idea that I give a shit about what rank you were in the Founder Council."

"Excuse me?" Tyne replied as he got out from under the module he was working on and glared at Nyo.

"You heard me, I am Ark's Caretaker and I am the only one that will ever hold that position," said Nyo. "Just because you're a Founder doesn't give you the right to take that away from me, I was created for the position. The Founder Rank System has no place here because as far as I'm concerned it's outdated. I am the Director of this facility and was appointed such by the Ark."

"I was appointed to that position long before you were even created," Tyne fired back.

"Yeah but I've been doing this job for over fifty thousand years," replied Nyo.

"I...I'm not going to win this," said Tyne. "Fine, your the Caretaker and Director but then what will that make me?"

"Well what are you skilled at?" asked Nyo.

"Anything but diplomacy, my temper gets in the way," said Tyne.

"Wait, you hate diplomacy but you were gunning for my job?" said Nyo. "Eventually diplomacy will be a big deal for us."

Tyne sighed, "I know, I suppose I'm just use to everyone instantly listening to me without question. I didn't use to need people skills."

"Ok well Stepan is already filling the role of Chief Engineer, Dominic and Dmitry is our task force," said Nyo. "We could use someone for Tactical and Security; you could head up our Task Force, since the boys are relying on me right now for guidance, as well as maybe get Ark's defense systems back up to specs; we haven't bothered to keep the facility defenses up to date. What do you think? Think you can be Head of the Ark Tactical Task Force."

Tyne smiled, "I like that idea...ok I can do that."

~~~A few hours later in SC~~~

Dmitry and Dominic had followed the Clan of boys down to the beach where the clan was now relaxing and having fun. Dmitry though that it would be a good chance to do the same so he dragged Dominic a little farther down the beach away from the others.

"Don't take us too far DT we need to still be able to keep an eye on everything," said Dominic as Dmitry continued to pull him down the beach.

"I know but I want to get somewhere that we can turn off our cloaks," replied Dmitry. "I don't know about you but I'm getting tired of seeing you as a faded slightly blue version of yourself."

"Is that what I look like to you?" asked Dominic. "I guess my new eyes are filtering the blue out."

Dmitry stopped and looked around, "I think this is good, let's sit down."

The two boys deactivated their cloaks and then took a seat on the sand looking out at the water.

"So this is the ocean," said Dmitry as he took a deep breath. "Hey Dom, can I ask you something."

"Sure DT," said Dominic he laid his head in Dmitry's lap and looked up at him.

"Does it bother you, you know the way I act," Dmitry said timidly. "I just get the feeling that I bother you sometimes."

Dominic was quiet for a moment, "Yeah some of the things you do bother me some of the time but it's also why I like you. I don't know."

"Can you explain?" asked Dmitry.

"Well its just a few things," Dominic started to explain. "Like when you look at other boys for example, I know you're just playing around and yeah I can agree with you but it kind of gets me down that they can hold your attention better then I can with just their looks."

"Aw Dom I don't mean to make you feel down about yourself," said Dmitry. "You know that your better looking then most of them could hope for."

"But I know that DT," said Dominic. "I know how you feel about me, I just forget sometimes and that's when it gets to me."

"DO you want me to stop?" asked Dmitry.

"NO!" Dominic said quickly. "No DT I don't want you to stop, it defines you, and it's a part of you that I wish I had. You're bold, fun, energetic. I don't want you to stop because it's also something that I'm proud of you for, which is why it doesn't bother me that I don't have those same qualities. Besides, as long as I have you it's like having those qualities."

Dmitry smiled down at Dominic, "Oh ok, anything else?"

"Just little things," said Dominic. "Like the comment you started to make about magic this morning when Nyo said he wanted to see the clan working their magic."

"So you don't like me joking about us?" asked Dmitry.

Dominic thought for a moment, "Yeah, I think that might be it. I just don't see what we have as a joke I guess."

"I don't either," Dmitry said softly. "I'm sorry Dom; I was just trying to be funny."

"No you were just being yourself," corrected Dominic. "Dmitry I don't want you to change, that's why I haven't said anything. I like you just the way you are, not to mention we're way too young to not have fun; I mean we're only ten for crying out loud."

"So if I hadn't asked you wouldn't have said anything?" said Dmitry.

"That sounds about right," replied Dominic. "But only because I don't really see either one of these things as a problem. Yeah sometimes I forget to lighten up a little and I can seem like I'm upset but as soon as I realize it then I'm fine."

Dmitry grinned at Dominic and then ran his fingers through Dominic's hair.

Suddenly loud music came from where the Clan was and broke the silence.

Dmitry sighed, "Back to work I suppose."

"Later tonight lets take a break," said Dominic as he got up from his comfortable position. "No Clan watching, just us."

"Sounds like a plan," said Dmitry. "Let's go see what the Clan is up to for now before I decide it's better to stay here."

Dmitry and Dominic reactivated their cloaks and then headed back up the beach to where they had left the Clan. As they got there thought the music stopped.

"Ok, what did we miss?" asked Dmitry.

Just then Kyle went whizzing by them at top speed.

"He's in a big hurry," said Dmitry.

"Something's up," said Dominic as he jogged after Kyle. "After him."

"But please keep our distance, that is Kyle," replied Dmitry as he followed Dominic.

Up ahead they could the group that Kyle appeared to be heading for with what looked like Jerry's dad Jon, Cory, and Sean in the middle.

"I wonder what..." Dmitry started to say as they reached them.

"Memory ... returned ... dad," Kyle panted before Dmitry could finish his question.

"Oh SHIT!" Sean moaned. "Our dads died in a car fire when we were like four or so."

Tyler, who was on Aaron's shoulders, quickly scrambled off, "Get Mom bro; this is a bad one!"

Jon, who seemed to be in the middle of all of this, looked at Kyle then at Sean, "He lost that memory?"

Sean looked at Jon with a sad expression, "Cory lost all of his memory except for my name when Mikey died. The doctors said it was something called Traumatic Stress Syndrome. He still gets them back, but we thought all the hard ones were done." Sean then wrapped himself around Cory from the back, "Hold it together babe; you're gonna be okay."

"He's stuck at four years old in his head!" Kyle moaned. "This is his worst one yet. What the.... DANG IT! He's blocking me and Ty!"

"Cory?" Jon said softly as he pulling Cory into his lap, and tucking Sean under his right arm to keep him close. "Let it out little guy, I'm right here for you, let it all out."

Jon repeated softly as he rocked back and forth. Sean leaned into John's shoulder and began sobbing along with Cory.

Jon hugged Sean in close and rested his chin on Cory's head as he continued rocking and whispering; "It's ok Cory, Sean and I are right here. It's gonna be ok. Just let it all out."

After a minute of rocking, Cory looked up at Jon with tears still streaming from his eyes, "It hurts! Why does it hurt so bad?"

"Well son..." Jon began as he tucked Cory's head back into his chest. "I never knew your Dad, but it must have taken a very special person to bring someone like you into this world. It hurts me to have never met him. The hurt never leaves Cory, it changes. It never lets us forget. Because forgetting would be even more painful."

"Oh screw this!" Dominic suddenly said has he turned and walked away.

"Wait, what? Dominic wait!" said Dmitry as he ran after Dominic. "What's wrong?"

"That whole thing, its shit," replied Dominic as he kept walking.

"Wait, stop for a second," said Dmitry. "I don't understand."

"Look at them! Damn Americans," said Dominic. "They think they know pain? They don't even realize how good they've got it! 'Oh look at me I don't have a father' fuck that I've never had a father or a mother, I'm a damn orphan; the only people to ever care about me was you and Maxim, and look how poor Maxim is now! He's DEAD and the only people that will miss him is us! These damn kids think they've lost a lot? I want to see them wake up every day and know, not guess, but know that they're not wanted; when they can wake up and almost wish for death because they have it so bad, that's when they can say they've lost enough to cry over it! Before we were finally taken to the orphanage we spent two years on the streets by ourselves, two fucking years! Do you remember? We watched as Maxim's older brother tried, and I do mean TRIED to take care of us! He sold himself, his body, to try and keep us fed! And you remember what that got him? It got him killed!"

"Stop! Dominic please stop!?" cried Dmitry as he covered his ears. "I don't WANT to remember!"

"I'm sorry but I DO remember," replied Dominic. "And I thank God that I'm still alive every time I wake up, or every time I get to see your face again. And some kid is going to throw a fit because he doesn't have a father? He's got like sixty people here that would die for him if need be! Isn't that enough?"

"Dom just because you've lived through a lot doesn't mean that he's not allowed to feel pain for losing someone that he cared about," said Dmitry. "You can't take the right to feel away from anyone just because you think they don't deserve it or haven't earned it. Yeah you're right; here in America they don't have to worry about as much as we did back in Russia but that's not their fault, they didn't choose where to be born any more then you chose to have blond hair. Cory lost him memory and is still getting some of it back, he's having to relive events that have already happened and you're going to hold that against him? He's already mourned for his loses but he doesn't remember. Give him a break. Oh and those sixty so people that would die for him, yeah you're right they probably would but they look up to HIM; who does he have to look up to? Wanting, mourning, loving, respecting; he's entitled to these just as much as you are."

Dominic sighed and stared at his shoes, "I suppose you're right."

"Suppose?" said Dmitry.

Dominic was quiet for a moment, "You're pretty smart for a ten year old."

Dmitry giggled, "But I'm the smart blond."

Dmitry walked up to Dominic and hugged him, "Come on Dom, lets see if we can get something to eat and then find somewhere quiet to sit."

"You think they still got some coffee?" asked Dominic.


"Ok you can reactivate the second Memory Bay," said Tyne as he came back into the control room.

Stepan looked up from the central control panel, "Ok Tyne, thanks. That should at least bring a few of the Ark's systems back up."

Stepan entered a few commands and suddenly the lights came back to full power.

"Awesome, I've got the Ark performing system tests on its first two Memory Bays now," said Stepan. "So where's Nyo?"

"He went to get the three of us something to eat," replied Tyne as he pulled a uniform out of the supply closet and proceeded to put it on. "There, I don't mind no clothes but when I drop something hot I would prefer to keep myself safe."

"So about how long do you think it's going to take us to get the last Memory Bay online?" asked Stepan.

"Not really sure actually," said Tyne. "Hopefully just another day."

"Another day, but you guys got this one up in less time," said Stepan.

"Yeah but we haven't touched reconnecting bays to the Main Processing Core," replied Tyne. "That could take a day by itself because we have to practically climb 30 floors down into the core and work while suspended in the air."

"Climb?" said Stepan.

"Yeah the core is a sterile, cylinder shaped, mile deep chamber with the Central Processing Core at the bottom. The rest of the chamber is filled with everything else Ark needs in order to function, including its personality subroutines," said Tyne.

"Wow, ok well I'm just learning this stuff so that's good to know," Stepan said as he started looking over the Memory Reports as they were coming in.

"How long have you been an engineer?" Tyne asked as he sat down in a nearby chair.

"About two days now I think," answered Stepan.

Tyne stared in disbelief, "TWO DAYS! Jeez, talk about lack of experience."

Stepan frowned, "I'm still learning, I've only been here for that long."

"I'm sorry I just expected the person that Nyo has made his Chief Engineer would have a better understanding of the Ark's systems," said Tyne.

"If Nyo wants to make me Chief Engineer that's fine with me but that's his decision, I have nothing to do with it," replied Stepan. "So don't yell at me for it, I'm trying."

Tyne sighed, "Sorry, I guess I just kinda find Nyo inadequate to lead this facility."

"What and you think you could do a better job?" Stepan said sarcastically.

"It was my job before it was his," said Tyne. "He's made me the Head of Security instead."

"Yeah well how old are you again? Oh that's right fourteen. How old is Nyo? Oh right, a hell of a lot older," said Stepan. "He's got a very good idea what he's doing and has been doing it for a lot longer then you have been alive."

"Ok I give up, I'm just going to drop it," Tyne said in defeat. "It's not important."

"Good," said Stepan.

"So under what country are we located now?" asked Tyne.

"I'm not really sure, I didn't get to look at where we were," replied Stepan.

"We're under the southern most ice covered continent on the planet right now Tyne," said Nyo as he entered the room carrying a tray of food. "It's too cold to live there." Nyo set the tray down and handed Tyne a plate, "So I don't recommend on going outside unless you're dressed for it."

"Is the compound dome still intact?" asked Tyne.

Nyo handed Stepan his plate and then sat down, "Yeah the dome that surrounds the compound is still there and intact."

"Good that will make repairing the defenses easier," said Tyne.

"So what were you guys talking about before Ark's location?" Nyo asked as he took a bite of his sandwich.

Tyne gave Stepan a worried look as if he didn't want Nyo to know what they talked about.

Stepan stared back at Tyne with a black expression, "Just Tech Stuff."

"Oh ok," said Nyo as he took another bite.


Dmitry and Dominic watched as most of the Clan was loading one of the shuttles and getting ready.

"Ok now what!" Dmitry said in a panic. "One half of the Clan is going one way and then a few of them are staying here, where are we suppose to go!"

"Calm down DT, lets just pick a group," replied Dominic. "Do we want to stay here or go back with them to their HQ? It's really that simple DT."

"Well Nyo didn't tell us to leave but he told us to watch the Clan so.....I don't know Dom," said Dmitry.

Dominic smiled, "Here I'll make it easy on you, let's go with them. If something goes wrong then they'll be in a better position to help us not to mention I think it'll be more fun."

"Wait you know fun?" giggled Dmitry. "Ok Dom I think I can live with that.

"Ok cool, let's get onboard then before they leave," said Dominic as he grabbed Dmitry by hand and dragged him towards the shuttle.

"Damn I didn't think we were in that much of a hurry," said Dmitry.

As Dominic got closer to the shuttle he slowed down and then when the path into the shuttle was clear he ran through the door still dragging Dmitry with him. As soon as they were on board Danny came in behind them.

Once Sean, who was in the pilot's seat, saw that Danny was on he turned to Cory, "Seal the hatch, Mr. Short. Danny, your terminal is by the jumpseat; if you want to use it. Gavin, make sure everyone's belted in bro."

Gavin grinned, "Dang, it's good to have a real family! No problem, Bro!"

"Umm Dominic, where are we going to sit?" asked Dmitry.

"Oh well....umm find something to hang onto?" replied Dominic.

Gavin suddenly announced with a giggle "Passengers secure, Captain!"

"Smart Alec!" Sean replied.

"No; we left Alec on the ground!" Gavin giggled.

"Dominic! Hang onto what!?" said Dmitry.

Sean looked over at Cory, who had his hand over his mouth to hide his laughter, "I give up! Let's get going, Babe; next stop Kangaroo Land via Alligator Alley!"

"Wait did he say Kangaroo Land? I thought we were going to their HQ?" said Dmitry.

Dominic pulled Dmitry to the back of the shuttle, "How many times will I have to tell you to calm down? He also said Alligator Alley, that's in Florida where their HQ is."

"Oh," replied Dmitry. "Wait is Sean the one driving? Is he qualified to do that? Dominic I'm not so sure this is a good idea anymore."

Dominic laughed and then sat down on the floor, "You're hopeless."