Chapter 02

Nyo sat down in a chair in the family room of the Short Compound a few hours after he had arrived and he softly and quietly sighed to himself.

"Ark I need some help." Nyo mouthed to the Ark.

< What's wrong Nyo? >

"I don't understand the relational structure that this clan, that this family is exhibiting. When I got in here there was no one here, apparently they were over at one of the other members house recording a song this morning; all of them. But when they returned they acted in a way that I can't understand."

< I need more information then that Nyo if you want me to search the archives. >

"No no no Ark, you misunderstood. I don't want you to search for anything; I've searched the same database that you will. I searched for anything on human relationships and emotions in regards to families, friends, and any other kind of anything regarding to humans before I came here."

< What is it that human parents would say? 'That's my boy?' >

Nyo frowned, "But Ark, that's part of this problem that I don't understand. The way that all of them acted around each other when they first came back to their house was something I've never read about."

< Nyo, what are you confused about? >

"Ark, just the way that they came in the front door and how they acted after coming home was enough that I could spend weeks analyzing just that experience. They were like human children are said to be; loud, rowdy, and energetic. But there was something more then that. Some of them were carrying some of the others, some of them were hanging off of some of the others, some of them were..."

< That does not sound abnormal to me, are you sure you read all of the records that I have? >

"Ahh, this isn't coming out right Ark; it was just different, it was nothing like what I've read."

< Perhaps it is just different to watch and experience humans as apposed to reading and studying them. >

Nyo shook his head, "That may be it Ark, but I thought I would understand them better then I do. I'm one of them in a way and yet just watching them pour though that door and set me astray, wait no astray isn't the word I'm looking for...I think just confused covers it."

< Nyo, genetically you are human but you are also genetically completely different from any human you will come across. >

"But Ark, although I was really confused about that it can't possibly compare that to what I'm sitting here watching. From what I know from the archives the two boys over on the love seat are the clan Patriarch, Cory Short, and his life partner Sean Short. And I also know from the archives that the other boys in the room are their sons but as I said, the two on the love seat are boys."

< You are starting to confuse me Nyo. >

"What I'm getting at Ark is that they are parents but they are still children themselves, I would guess around the age of 14 give or take a few months. But from what I know about human children they are always suppose to be wild, crazy and uncontrollable. I'm sitting here watching most of the boys playing games and their 'parents' are cuddled up on the couch watching them, just taking it all in."

< What is confusing about that? >

"All of it, I don't understand the what or the why involved."

< Give me a specific instance. >

"Well for starters, what is cuddling!?! I've picked that word up from them over the last few hours but I'm completely unaware of what that involves."

If the Ark could smile it would have, < Nyo, you are trying to understand too much but missing what you are actually looking at. Forget the words, forget their age and what you have heard about how they should act. >

"But what about what I've studied?"

< Nyo studying about humans is one thing but have you ever watched any of the live feeds that I have recorded? Humans never act like you expect them to. But forget even that for a moment. If you ever get a chance to experience and watch and in some cases live what you have studied about them you have to learn about it all over again. If you try analyzing these children then you are going to wear yourself out, they are different than all of mankind which is why you are here in the first place. These children are nothing like humanity and yet they are to be its saving grace. But even though you want to understand them first before you carry out our plan you are making a big deal about absolutely nothing. Forget what you know, from what you have seen just today what can you tell me about the word cuddling? Is it so hard to understand what it could be if you yourself used the word to describe what the two young men on the couch are doing? Look at them Nyo and learn, look at them and understand. >

"I...wha..." Nyo stopped and thought for a moment. "Did I answer my own question before I asked it?"

Nyo looked across the room at Sean and Cory sitting on the love seat and tilted his head. Suddenly though Cory had made a comment that Nyo didn't quite hear but it caused one of the other children to say something.

"That's 'cause you're still a kid, dufus!" said one of the children that was playing a video game.

Nyo witnessed as Cory pulled the boy into a headlock and replied, "Don't you forget it either, Deej!" he giggled. "Who's the dufus now, silly boy?"

The boy named DJ reached around and started tickling Cory. "You are, Dad!"

Suddenly both boys were on the ground wrestling each other.

"What are they..." Nyo started to say but stopped when he suddenly realized that he didn't have to completely understand what was going on to understand the relationship that was shared. He didn't have to know all the whys just know that it was part of something larger then just the two he was watching.

< Nyo? >

"Ark, I think you're right; you don't have to understand to know."

< Very good Nyo... >

"From what I've read about them the boys that make up this clan saved all of the boys within it. They started small and as more and more of them joined together, helping one another, they in turn learned from this and went about doing the same. Ark, if someone were to save you from something dire would you not care more for them? Would you not have a bond with them that would be different, unexplainable, and mean more to you and them then everyone else?"

< And you wonder why I care about your well being so much. You saved me from my own decay Nyo. >

"Yes but you created me for that purpose, you did it out of need. These boys saw others in dire need of help and instead of waiting for this corrupt world to help them they went out and just did it, they helped those that needed their help. I take it that I don't understand though because I have never been apart of something like this."

< Nyo, in all reality you are not really meant to understand; it's not what you were intended for when I created you. I also know you want to understand these children because they seem to be the hope that we have been looking for but I thought you are up here to just plant information, nothing else. That was the plan, was it not? >

Nyo frowned and quickly got up from the chair he was sitting in. He left the family room and when he found an empty room he slipped inside.

"What exactly am I to you Ark? I've never really thought to ask this before but what am I really?" Nyo said out loud.

< You must be quiet Nyo, they will find you if you are not silent. >


< You are my Caretaker, the first one I have ever made. You are alive to ensure that I live. >

"But why did you make me human if you never intended me to understand humans at some point? Why not just make me a mindless robot?"

< Humanity as a whole is the most illogical, irrational, and parasitic species that lives on this planet; I wanted to understand them better, I wanted to know why they do what they do but after having watched them for a while I wanted to really know if I, the created, could perfect the creator. So I worked to perfect that parasite so that it would live forever, prosper, and have the knowledge needed to maintain my systems. I created you out of need to keep myself alive, much the same reason humanity created me to keep their history alive, but I wanted to make you what I figured my creators wanted humanity to be. >

"So I'm meant not to understand because I was never intended to interact with any other humans be begin with?"

< Precisely. >

"Ark, if I am to know who to give this information to, the way I intend to give it, I have to at least understand humans a little."

Nyo waited for the Ark's reply but all he heard was silence.

"Ark?" mouthed Nyo but again there came no reply.

Suddenly he got a reply, < If it is that important to you and you are that determined to understand them then alright. While I do not understand why you would want to understand them, they will only confuse you. I will give you as much information as you need but only because it will help my set mission. >

Nyo smiled, "Sounds like a deal."

< Nyo the group you were watching in the family room has left the state. >


< They are visiting a Starfleet Admiral on the west coast of this continent. Shall I help you locate some other children in the house? >

"Actually, would it be possible to still follow that group?"

< I suppose, but I can not be moving you all over the world all the time. Where shall I teleport you to? >

"Right into the Admiral's office if you can, just not right on top of anyone please," said Nyo.

< As you wish... >

Nyo suddenly found himself no longer standing in the room he was in but now standing directly on top of the Starfleet Admiral's desk.

"Jeez Ark!" mouthed Nyo. "And you yell at me for not being careful!"

The Ark chuckled, < Well you did not say where in his office. >

Sitting behind the desk was who Nyo assumed was the Admiral and just as he got off the desk the office doors opened and in walked Cory Short in full Starfleet uniform.

"Hmmm, he looks good in that uniform," commented Nyo as he found an empty chair to sit in.

"Ensign Cory Short, reporting as ordered, Admiral." Cory announced as he came to attention in front of the Admiral's desk.

As the Admiral got up from his chair Nyo noticed the look on Cory's face, he looked almost worried.

"Ark do you have any idea what this is about?" Nyo asked but before he could get an answer the Admiral started to speak.

"Ensign Short; recently you lead a mission to rescue a child. During the mission, you made a decision which resulted in the death of an adult on the premises. You failed to report the actions of one of the officers under your command which clearly violated Starfleet regulations. I have reviewed your report with your Commanding Officer. Due to the issues involved, the official report released to the public will stand. Internally is another story. Captain Kirk is of the opinion that a Court Martial is not necessary in this case. He has assured me that you have been counseled as to the implications of the actions you allowed. Upon review of your record and consultation with Captain Kirk, it is my decision that you shall be required to perform a non-judicial punishment of 100 hours of community service. In addition, you will have a reprimand for your actions inserted in your permanent service record. Failure to complete the community service in a timely manner or any violations of Starfleet regulations within the next year will result in this being reopened and referred to a Board of Inquiry for Court Martial. Is that understood, Ensign?"

"Yes Sir." Cory replied.

Nyo noticed that Cory looked like he was trying hard not to burst into tears.

"Then I shall consider this matter closed unless you give me a reason to act otherwise. At ease, Ensign," said the Admiral.
As soon as the Admiral had said this and Cory relaxed from standing at attention the 14 year old officer and clan Patriarch practically collapsed on the floor in tears. Nyo jumped to his feet wanting to help but the Admiral made it to Cory first and helped him into a chair.

< Nyo, what were you about to do? You know you can not be noticed! >

"Well I...well I'm sorry. Who is this jerk though, and for what is he reprimanding Cory," mouthed Nyo. "It makes me want to smack the man."

< Why? You mean to tell me that you have been watching this young man and his family for only a few hours and you are willing to stand up for him? >

"Well...yeah, so what's wrong with that?" asked Nyo defensively.

The Ark laughed, < Nothing Nyo, relax; I was just pointing out your attachment after such a short period of time. Anyway, this is Admiral Morrow the commander in chief of Starfleet. I do not have the rest of the information you are asking for yet though, apparently that is classified. >

"And classified stops you why?" asked Nyo.

< Patience Nyo, just give me a few minutes. >

"Sorry for being such a baby, Sir," Nyo heard Cory say from across the room. "I guess I don't deserve to be an officer."

"Cory, don't worry about it," replied Admiral Morrow. "I've seen men a lot older than you lose control when placed in a situation like what you just went through. You made an error in judgment and are now answering for it. That is all I ask of any officer under my command; you have earned your bars more than quite a few of your peers of the same rank as you. Your record saved you from a court martial; you just need to think things through before you react."

Cory gave the Admiral a small smile. "Thanks sir; I feel a little better now."

Admiral Morrow went to his terminal. "Lieutenant, send in Ensign Sean and the rest of his family."

< I can not access that particular file for some reason Nyo, it has been sealed. >

"I'll get it in a few minutes," mouthed Nyo.

Just then Sean and the rest of his and Cory's boys entered the room.

"Daddy, why were you crying?" one of the boys asked as he ran over and perched on Cory's lap.

Nyo watched in a sort of awe and longing as Cory wrapped his arms around the boy and replied, "Don't worry about it, son. Daddy just did some stuff wrong when he rescued you and has to suffer the consequences."

The boy looked over at Admiral Morrow with a look that could have melted glass, "You made Daddy cry. He didn't do nothin' wrong! If it wasn't for him, the bad guy was gonna put his thingie in my butt and make me hurt and bleed back there. Daddy saved my life; just like he saved my little brother and my big brothers."

"Ark, get me to the closest computer console, I'm lost if I don't know what they are talking about," said Nyo.

A moment later Nyo found himself standing in an empty office about half the size of Admiral Morrow's.

"Who's office is this?" asked Nyo as he rushed around the desk and brought the computer that was there out of standby.

< How should I know, you said the closest computer console. Although I was thinking of just telling you to walk across the room to Admiral Morrow's computer. >

Nyo just shook his head as he pulled out a small device from his computer kit on his belt and placed it on top of the computer monitor.

He push a few buttons on the top of the device and then spoke to it, "Tap this computer and translate all data into the language of the second cycle."

< And I though you would have bothered to learn how to read English before coming up here. > teased the Ark.

"I can speak it but reading it drives me nuts! It's the biggest written linguistic mess I have ever tried to learn," said Nyo as the computer monitor flashed a few times and then displayed in a bizarre language.

< The secure file that I can not open and the file you are looking for can be found either in Admiral Morrow's files in the Clan Short directory or under Ensign Cory Patrick Short. >

Nyo brought up Cory's record and quickly found the file he was looking for. After a minute or so he was able to get the file open.

"That was the worst encryption I have ever seen," said Nyo as he started looking over the record. "I could have written a better encryption program in my sleep."

< You know more then they do about such things, it's your job. >

Nyo kept reading but nodded his head in acknowledgment.

< Well, what did you find? >

"From what this says while they were on a mission to save the boy that was sitting on Cory's lap..."

< The boy's name is Cabe, although they call him CD because he can play any musical instrument after watching it played only once. >

"Right, well while they were rescuing him Cory apparently killed someone. It says here that the man he killed was the one responsible for the sexual torture that all of the children at that house had to endure."

< And that was wrong because... >

"He shouldn't have killed the man, that was part of the problem," said Nyo.

< But if that man was about to do what CD said he was going to do and had been doing from what you just told me then what is the problem with killing him? >

Nyo shook his head, "Maybe you should go over your right and wrong algorithms a few times Ark. Maybe my hope in these children is misplaced."

< And maybe you should look over some of what goes on in this world. The reason that humanity has never reached true peace has to do with people like that man that young Mr. Short killed. When the world is filled with that kind of evil right and wrong are different then what you are use to Nyo. >

"Well the other part of the problem was that it wasn't reported properly," said Nyo. "That is most of the reason that Cory was reprimanded."

< That's a small price to pay for what the outcome was. >

"You know, if you change your views one more time I think I'm going to give up trying to figure you out," Nyo commented as he took his device off the top of the computer monitor. "You seem to be against saving the world one person at a time and yet when it happens you are all for it regardless of..."

< It is more the method then anything else Nyo, one day you will understand what I really mean by right and wrong being different depending on its application. For now just trust me when I say that Cory Short did the right thing and the world is a better place because of it, your hope for this group of children is far from being misplaced I assure you. >

Nyo sighed almost in relief, "Ok, so have they left yet?"

< They are in the Medical department getting standard exams done; they should be heading home after that. >

Nyo grinned, "Medical exams huh, that could be fun, I'm over due for one of those."

< So I'm taking you back to their house then right? >

"Oh Ark, you're no fun," pouted Nyo.

< You have too much fun when it comes to your own medical exam. >

Nyo closed his eyes and smiled, "So back to their house then."

Suddenly Nyo vanished and the office they borrowed was empty again.