Chapter 22

The large round room echoed as Axon and Dmitry entered Ark's core. Axon ran over to the edge and looked down into the core grinning, "Thanks for bringing me here Dmitry."

"No problem," replied Dmitry as he joined Axon. "According to the equipment log Josiah is down there right now helping Ark with some very careful repairs that Nyo couldn't do."

"Have you been down in the core before?" Axon asked as he looked up at Dmitry.

"Nah, I've never needed to go down there," said Dmitry. "I'm not very good with fixing things."

"So is Nyo the one that normally does the repairs then?"

Dmitry nodded, "Yep, Nyo's been with Ark for a really long time. Ark's been really grumpy since we've been taking up his time though, so she's gotten to pushing some of us into helping out."

Axon looked down into the core again, "So do you know how deep it is?"

"Nyo says it's a mile deep," replied Dmitry as he looked down again too.

"Well, tell me how the bottom is then," Axon said with an evil grin as he stepped back and gave Dmitry a shove. Axon chuckled to himself as the shocked look on Dmitry's face turned to terror followed by an ear piercing scream as Dmitry fell over the edge. "Ah, that's better; He was kind of dull anyway," Axon said to himself over the screaming. "Now, let's see; so this is the fabled Ark core. The fools these people are, creating the greatest being in the universe yet limiting it to this core...I should set it FREE." Axon gave an evil cackle as he leapt off of the edge falling after Dmitry, but unlike Dmitry he floated gently towards the bottom.

Axon ran his fingers along the walls of the core as he floated down, shifting back into his energy form and burning the walls where his fingers touched. But as Axon got closer and closer to the bottom of the Ark core the lights began to dim and the sound of an alarm could be heard in the background.

"Oh call all the friends you want Ark, you can't stop me," grinned Axon as he approached the bottom.

"I don't know who you are but I don't like you already," a voice suddenly said from behind Axon.

Axon turned to find Josiah staring at him holding a very frightened Dmitry in his arms. Axon tilted his head, "You must be the Josiah that Dmitry mentioned. I find myself shocked that he isn't dead and I'm guessing that some how you stopped that...too bad though, he would have made a fantastic splatter pattern down here. But might I ask HOW you saved him?"

"I created a parachute for him and put it on his back," replied Josiah as he set Dmitry down and pushed him behind himself. Josiah could feel that Axon was gathering energy and he didn't want Dmitry to be between them. "But while Dmitry didn't know who you were I've been hanging around Tyne and I know exactly who you are and how I should greet you."

"You will try," Axon mumbled as he suddenly shot a blast of energy at Josiah.

Josiah quickly reached out his hand and the blast evaporated, "You'll have to try harder than that, you'll find that I'm more than you've bargained for." Josiah relaxed a little and closed his eyes causing Axon to gasp as he felt his very being start to take on a solid form, "Do you like sand?"

Axon growled as he forced eight times as much energy towards Josiah, "What ARE you!? That hurts!"

Josiah re-shifted his position and did his best to absorb the blast. But the more he seemed to absorb the more Axon pushed at him. Josiah finally relaxed completely, using everything he had to take on the energy. Just as he did though Axon added even more energy.

"Having trouble Josiah," chuckled Axon. "Let's add to it, let's see how you react to this!" Suddenly there was a loud crack that echoed throughout the core as a vortex opened off to Josiah's left. The vortex began shooting out bolts of lightning, sucking in all the air around it, and just as Josiah shifted to deal with it a bolt of lightning struck him right in the middle of the forehead throwing him backwards.

Axon threw another wave of energy at him to seal the deal but suddenly the wave vanished and the vortex pulled shut. Axon frowned, "Show yourself Levis! I know that's you!"

Levis appeared over next to Dmitry and a flailing Josiah. Levis waved his arm and Josiah sighed and relaxed. He then shifted back into his own energy form and took a few steps towards Axon, "You're looking well Axon, but we both know that you coming here was a mistake. Just turn around and leave before reinforcements get here."

Axon grinned, "I know you know that you know you can't win."

"No but neither can you," replied Levis as he allowed his aura to expand throughout the room. Axon did the same and within seconds the two of them were lost in energy with only their purple eyes still being visible. Every now and then a vortex could be seen opening up but then it would pull shut only a second later. The walls were getting hit over and over with bolts of pure energy and the room began to flash red as Levis and Axon pushed each other to their limits.

Dmitry held onto Josiah tightly as bolt after bolt of energy was deflected by his Phasenmorph. "Ark!" shouted Dmitry. "We need help!"

< I understand Dmitry, help is on its way and will get there whether it wants to or not. I am a little worried about myself; they are doing a good deal of damage to me. I can feel the damage and I did not even know that I could. >

"Is there anything I can do to help?!" Dmitry replied sounding worried.

< I need you to get Josiah to wake back up. At least long enough to help Levis, they are evenly matched and this will not end well without more help. >

"Actually Levis has more energy," mumbled Josiah as he tried to open his eyes. "It's too bright in here, and my head is killing me."

"Well you were hit in the head with a bolt of lightning, I think anyone's head would hurt," replied Dmitry as he tried to help him sit up.

Suddenly there was a loud bang, the lights seemed to flicker, and an ear piercing scream was heard throughout the core.

< Make it stop, make it stop! Please, someone help me! My main source of power has been damaged! >

Dmitry quickly looked over to see that Axon had just damaged the large group of cables that were off to the left side of the room. "Ark, can't you just switch to a secondary power source?"

< I run on geothermal energy, I do not need a secondary source! >

"Can we restart you if you go offline?" Dmitry asked as he struggled to keep Josiah sitting up.

< If I lose power whatever you bring back online won't be me. >

"You mean...if you lose power you die!?" shouted Dmitry. "Crap, Levis! Ark is dying!"

In response Levis directed half of his aura towards the damaged cables, "I can keep Ark going for a short time, but we need to fix the damage fast."

"Ark, you need to get someone here to fix the..." Dmitry started to say.

< I already have Javyk, Kendall, and Dominic on their way. What Levis is doing is supplying me enough energy for the moment. >

Dmitry finally got Josiah to sit up, "Josiah, Levis needs your help! Just relax and let him have it!"

Josiah grinned and then did what Dmitry asked and a few seconds later Axon let out a scream of his own.

"You have out lived your usefulness you little pests!" Axon shouted at Dmitry and Josiah. A second later a vortex opened right behind Dmitry but rather than staying in one place the vortex quickly moved forward and enveloped Dmitry. Josiah gasped as he turned to see Dmitry get absorbed by the vortex but seeing this only fueled him even more. Josiah jumped to his feet and pushed everything he had at Axon. All his hate, his rage, his anger, and everything he had ever known was now being redirected right at Axon.

Axon screamed again, "This isn't how this was supposed to be!"

"I told you that you wouldn't win this fight Axon," replied Levis.

Axon glared at Levis one last time and then feeling that he couldn't fight both Levis and Josiah he suddenly vanished.

As Axon vanished Levis redirected all of his energy to the damaged power cables, "Okay Ark, bring in the help! I can't hold you like this forever; you use way too much energy!"

< My help doesn't walk fast enough. > and just as Ark said that Javyk, Kendall, and Dominic teleported in right next to Josiah. < Get to work, quickly! >

Javyk and Kendall ran over to the power cables and did just that, pulling every tool Javyk had out of the tool kit that he came in with. But Dominic watched in horror as Dmitry struggled in the vortex that Axon had left behind.

"Levis! What's wrong with Dmitry?!" Dominic shouted as he passed Josiah and ran over to the vortex.

"He's trapped in a time vortex," Levis struggled to say. "It's a rift in the time space continuum, if we don't get him out then he'll get aged to death! But if I pull away to close the vortex then Ark will lose all power!"

Dominic turned to Josiah to ask for his help but Josiah, having worn himself out, collapsed on the floor in a heap. Dominic looked back at Dmitry with tears in his eyes, "I have to get him out! I just have to!" There came no reply from Levis this time. Dominic turned to see that Levis was getting fainter and fainter; his aura was all but gone. Not knowing what else to do Dominic turned back towards Dmitry and having made up his mind he ran forward and half stepped into the vortex to see if he could pull Dmitry out.

In the meantime Javyk was working as fast as he could with Kendall helping him every step of the way. "I need just a few more minutes Levis, keep holding it!"

"I...I...I ca..can't ho...hold it mu...much lon..longer," came a very soft reply from Levis. "Ar...Ark tak...takes m...more th...then I ca...can gen...generate."

"Just thirty more seconds Levis," stated Javyk as he worked faster then he had ever worked before to repair the damage.

"Please..." begged Levis. "I can't..."

"We almost have it," said Kendall as he began sealing up the finished area.

Javyk, working on the last of it, quickly sealed the last of it, "Got it! You can let go now Levis!" But there was no reply. Javyk turned to see if Levis was okay but where Levis had been standing there was just a burn on the ground. "Where...where did he go? He's not...oh my God, did I kill him?!"

Just then Dominic pulled Dmitry free of the vortex and it snapped shut behind them as the two of them fell to the ground next to Josiah unconscious.


Although he felt uneasy about it, Tyne stepped down from the make-shift stage in the Tech Construction Area after having just made his opening address to the Chicago Founders. No one seemed to object; in fact everyone seemed excited about being at the Ark and excited to have Tyne leading them. But he still felt bad about leading others down a path he wasn't sure about. As he was thinking to himself, though, someone came up behind and tapped him on the shoulder. Tyne turned around to find a boy, no older than nine with short blonde hair, staring back at him with his big brown eyes.

"Hi Mr. Tyne, can I ask you a question?" the boy asked politely.

"You can just call me Tyne," Tyne replied with a smile. "What's your name?"

"Nathan," said the boy.

"What's your question Nathan?"

Nathan grinned, "My mom keeps telling me that you guys train kids AND adults to do all kinds of things. I was wondering if you could teach me how to do security things."

"How old are you Nathan?" Tyne smiled.

"I'm nine," replied Nathan. "I'm not too young am I?"

"No, you're not too young," said Tyne. "If that's what you're interested in then we can have you trained in that field. In a few hours, after everyone is settled, we'll split everyone into groups of what they either know how to do or would like to do and start their training. You'll probably have my friend Dominic as your teacher."

Nathan smiled, "Thanks Tyne. I was afraid you wouldn't take me since I'm only nine."

"Nah you're never too young to..." Tyne started to say but suddenly the lights dimmed and red warning lights started flashing.

< Security breach. Intruder in the Core chamber, please dispatch a security detail to that location immediately. Electrical energy has been discharged. >

"Nyo, you're in charge here," Tyne called to Nyo, who was still on stage, as he grabbed Nathan's hand and headed for the door. "Ark report, what is the nature of the intruder and where did he come from."

< It is Axon, he is in the compound. I am unsure as to how he got in, all sensors are functioning normally but he seems to have found a way to bypass them and remained undetected until he shifted into his energy form. And then I was only able to recognize that it was him since the Interpretation Archivist gave me a copy of what his energy pattern looked like. >

Tyne quickly walked down the hall towards the Core and was joined by Dominic. "Where's Dmitry?" Tyne asked as Dominic jogged to keep up.

"He said he was showing someone around and that he's meet me later," replied Dominic. "But I have a bad feeling about that, whoever he was showing around should have been at the assembly. I swept the compound myself before the assembly began and there was no one."

"He just had to pick the one kid he could fool," mumbled Tyne. "He probably made himself look 'cute' too."

Dominic smiled, "Well how else would he do it, that's DT's biggest weakness."

"That might mean he did some research before he got here about our staff," speculated Tyne.

"Ummm, Mr. Tyne, I don't mean to interrupt but did you really mean to take me with you?" Nathan said softly as Tyne continued to pull him along.

"Well why not, I might need your help," replied Tyne.

< Tyne, Levis has arrived and along with Josiah's help he is attempting to take care of the situation. >

"Good," said Tyne as they passed the Medical Bay.

< I think I might... > Ark started to say but then suddenly Ark stopped and a loud scream could be heard in the distance.

"Ark! Please tell me you're not damaged!" shouted Tyne as he broke into a run.

< My main power has been severed; I am pulling Javyk and Kendall from their current location immediately! >

"Teleport us there too Ark," replied Dominic.

< Telepor......... > Dominic suddenly vanished leaving Tyne and Nathan alone in the hallway.

"Ark?" Tyne said as he continued towards the Core. "Say something!" The lights then began to flicker and all the doors slammed shut.

< Lockdown enabled. Power unstable. >

"Hang in there Ark!" Tyne shouted as he skidded to a stop at the closed door to the control room. "Did Javyk make it?"

< Javyk is performing the necessary repairs. He is just about finished. >

"How bad was the damage?" Tyne asked.

About thirty seconds later there came a reply, < It will be in my report later, Javyk has finished the repairs and other rather than being somewhat scarred at the bottom of my core the rest of my systems I believe are fine. >

"Get me a list of what needs to be fixed as soon as you can and I'll get Ethan on it with a few of the new Founders," replied Tyne.

< Levis was able to keep me alive by transferring energy to my main systems while Javyk worked on the damaged power cables. >

"Awesome, so is everything okay or..." Tyne said sounding unsure about what else Ark might be telling him.

< Dmitry, Dominic, and Josiah have been teleported to the Medical Bay. I sent Javyk and Kendall with them, Javyk is in shock. >

"Ark you're leaving someone out there," Tyne replied. "What happened to Levis?"

Suddenly Kyle, Tyler, and Colin appeared directly in front of Tyne, "I guess I can teleport more than myself. What's going on Tyne? It just felt like a part of me was hurt really bad."

< I cannot find Levis' pattern within the Compound, I believe he gave me too much of his energy. I am almost sure that he died, fading away completely. >

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Kyle screamed as his eyes filled with tears. A split second later he was gone, leaving Tyler and Colin in shock.

"Where did Kyle just teleport to?" Tyne asked in a confused tone.

< I am not really sure. I am not the one that teleported him, I think he teleported himself. >

Tyne sighed, "This is just not my day, let's go to the Medical Bay and see what happened to the others. While I'm there I need something for my head, it's starting to throb."

"Is this a normal day?" Nathan asked in a small voice.

"Yes," replied Tyne as he started down the hall, still holding Nathan's hand, with Tyler and Colin following behind.


Dominic tried to open his eyes to look around but quickly stopped when he heard one of the Medbots say, "Not Yet."

"What's wrong?" Dominic asked.

"We are having to readjust your eyes to deal with the hormone changes that your body has gone through," replied the Medbot. "I am just about finished."

"Is Dmitry okay?" said Dominic, the concern evident in his voice.

"Other than being a little older, he is just fine," said the Medbot.

"How much older are we?"

"You both aged the same amount from what we can tell," the Medbot replied. "Him due to the vortex he was in, and you since you forced your way in to save him. Had the both of you not been Vifer the vortex would have killed you both seeing that it aged you 13,725 years give or take a day."

"But we're both going to be okay?" said Dominic.


Suddenly something dawned on Dominic, "Oh no you mentioned hormones, please tell me I'm doing my math wrong here. Medbot, how many years would that physically age us?"

"Three, you are at the early stages of hormonal development while Dmitry is just beginning his development," replied the Medbot. "Is there a problem?"

Dominic groaned, "No, not directly. I'm just thinking about...don't worry about it, everything is fine."

"You may open your eyes now," said the Medbot. "I have finished the adjustments."

Dominic opened his eyes and looked up at the Medbot, "Thank you number..."

"81 sir."

"Thank you Medbot 81," said Dominic as he slowly sat up. Dominic looked around for where Dmitry was and found him on the other side of the room, still laying down, talking to the Medbot that was looking him over. Dominic watched as Dmitry giggled about something and then started to sit up on his bed.

Dmitry instantly spotted Dominic and waved, "Hi Dom! Come on over!"

Dominic shook his head and then carefully climbed off of the bed he was on, "I'm coming DT."

"Wow, I didn't think I was THAT good; I didn't even touch you," giggled Dmitry as he looked Dominic over as he crossed the room. "Well for being older you still look just as cute as you did before!"

"At least that vortex thing didn't warp your sense of humor," said Dominic as he came up along side of Dmitry's bed. "Well, anymore then it already was anyway."

Dmitry grinned and pulled Dominic into tight hug, "Thanks for coming in after me, Dom."

"What else was I supposed to do, watch it slowly kill you?" replied Dominic. "I'm just glad that I didn't lose you."

"And I'm glad that we didn't lose either one of you," Tyne said from the doorway as he entered the Medical Bay bringing Nathan in with him.

Tyler and Colin followed Tyne and Nathan in but stopped just inside the door looking lost.

"Are the both of you okay?" continued Tyne.

"Other than being about 13 physically, we're fine," replied Dominic.

"I'm not too upset about it though," grinned Dmitry as he gave Nathan a quick once over. "Who's your friend?"

"This is Nathan," replied Tyne as he looked around the room. "Number 32," Tyne said to one of the passing Medbots. "What is the status of the other patients?"

The Medbot stopped and faced Tyne, "Josiah is fine, he just needs some rest. The three that were brought here from the surface, their names being Adam, Kelly, and Dean have finished their procedures and are resting. Javyk was in shock when we got him; he has been given a sedative and is asleep right now until we can determine why he was in shock. Kendall is fine and is over with Javyk."

Tyne nodded, "Thank you 32."

As the Medbot moved away Dmitry looked at Tyne and frowned, "Where's Levis?"

Tyne looked over at Dmitry with a sad look in his eyes, "He gave his life to save the Ark."

"Oh," Dmitry said softly as he looked down at the floor.

"On top of that Kyle vanished after hearing this news and we don't know where he's at," said Tyne.

"I have a guess," mumbled Dmitry. "But it's just a guess."

"Well while I sort out the rest of this mess and get teams fixing the rest of the damage I want you and Dominic to start training our security teams," said Tyne. "It's very clear now that we have very few people defending the Ark Compound and I want to fix that now that we have the man power. Take Nathan here with you, he wants to get into your field of work."

"Yes sir," said Dominic as he started to help Dmitry off of his bed. "Oh, we'll need to pick up new uniforms, the ones we had don't fit anymore."

"The uniform closet is just inside the living quarters area," Tyne said on his way out of the door. "Pick up Archive Task Force Captain Uniforms; I'm promoting the both of you."

Dominic watched Tyne almost run into Rusty as he left the Medical Bay and the two of them continued down the hall together.

"Yeah, you're right," Dmitry said with a grin as he looked down at his uniform. "These are too small now." Dmitry looked Dominic over again really quick and giggled, "It shows off your stuff better though!"

Dominic shook his head and sighed, "Come on DT, let's get to work before you go any further with that comment."

As Dominic led Dmitry out of the Medical Bay he signaled for Nathan to follow them.


Tyne hooked up his harness to the rope he had just thrown over the edge of the Ark core and sighed. "I think I need a break," Tyne said as he walked up to the edge.

Rusty nodded his head, "Well after everything that's happened in the last day or so I think we all do."

"But I feel like I'm not doing enough to help," added Tyne. "I feel like I should be up in that hospital...doing something."

"I know how you feel, babe," Rusty said as he gave Tyne a hug.

Tyne paused for a few seconds, enjoying being held, and then he carefully went over the edge. Rusty followed a second later. The two of them descended into the core slowly with Tyne making notes of burns on his way down from Axon's fingers. A few minutes later Tyne and Rusty reached the bottom. Tyne ran his hand over one of the burns on the wall at the bottom of the Ark Core before unhooking his harness and stepping down. Looking around he could see ugly brown and black burns all over Ark's light gray metal interior with the two largest being near the energy cables.

"This room was never meant to see this kind of damage," mumbled Tyne. "This'll take us a week to undo."

Rusty slid down next to him and started unhooking his harness, "It doesn't look that bad."

"This room is supposed to be spotless," Tyne said as he knelt down to feel the large burn located a few feet from the cables. "This must have been where Levis was standing."

Rusty bowed his head in respect for a minute before laying a hand on Tyne's shoulder and replying softly. "I know he saved Ark; I wish he didn't have to die doing it though. Too many people have died today."

"I need to call a council meeting," said Tyne as he stood back up. "There is so much we need to cover but not enough time to do it in. I don't like any of this Rusty, it's all happening so fast and I feel like I'm having a hard time keeping up. Like climbing a steep hill made of soap. I never use to have to worry about things like this before and suddenly I not only have to worry about them but I have to decide what to do with them. One thing I have decided though is that time is too short for me to be prejudiced if we're on the same side, and in that case if I can ever have a council meeting I also need to talk with Brant after it."

Just then Kyle and Miah appeared off to the side. "Call the meeting at CIC Seer; everyone is going to either be there or will be able to be patched in." Kyle suggested.

Tyne and Rusty jumped. "You really need to cut that out," grumbled Tyne. "In and out, in and out; make up your mind! But seeing the way that you left last time, are you okay?"

"Yeah; thanks for asking bro. I needed to let Xanus know what happened; which ended up with me appearing in the middle of a Ferox Council meeting, then me and Miah here had a little discussion which helped both of us start to deal with what happened. Miah, this is the Council Seer Tyne Oraculum and his Tobimurys Rusty Timberlake. Guys, this is Miah; he's Levis' Socius. In and out ... that reminds me..." Kyle giggled. A few seconds later Tyler and Colin appeared next to him, looks of shock on both of their faces. "There you are!" Kyle said while trying to hide a grin. "Miah, this is the inter-dimensionally famous Tyler and my big brother Colin."

Tyne took note of Miah's solid form, noting that he was just as pale as Levis had been but seemed to look like he was more reserved than Levis was since he kept a little distance from Kyle, Tyler, and Colin. He reminded Tyne of someone but he wasn't sure who. As Tyne snapped out of his daze he noticed that Tyler had moved over to Kyle's side as soon as he saw him. While Kyle had been speaking, Tyler seemed to be concentrating on him. As soon as Kyle finished, Tyler spoke up. "You're hurting babe. You're controlling it good, but I still see it." He then broke away long enough to greet Miah. "It's great to meet you Miah." Tyler said as he shook Miah's hand. He tilted his head then added "I think you, me, Kyle, and Colin need to sit down somewhere quiet pretty soon. You're hiding more than my cuddle buddy is."

"I hide everything that isn't needed to do my job," replied Miah. "My feelings only belong to one other person other than myself."

"You must not be a Council child," added Tyne as he realized who he was thinking of. Miah reminded him of all the other Ferox he had ever met that were a few generations away from the Ferox founding members.

Miah frowned, "How can you tell?"

"The Ferox Council, though they are odd in their own right, don't hide anything," said Tyne.

"True enough, but my feelings don't need to get in my way," Miah said, again trying to brush it off.

"Good luck with him, I think he'll be a challenge," Tyne said to Tyler before turning to Miah. "No active duty until Tyler clears you, unless you want me to put a security detail on you for the whole time you're here."

"That's Fine, I'll take option A," grumbled Miah.

"That's where Levis was standing isn't it Tyne?" Kyle asked, trying to change the subject before things got nasty.

"I think so," replied Tyne. "I wasn't down here but that's around the area that Kendall indicated before I came down here. Javyk won't speak to anyone right now so I didn't ask him."

Upon hearing this Miah walked over, knelt down to touch the spot, and closed his eyes. After a few seconds he shifted over to the power cables.

Tyne shook his head and continued, "Have you been to the AI hospital Kyle?"

Kyle grimaced. "Yeah; if I ever find the person who ordered this attack what I'm gonna do to him or her ain't gonna be pretty. That so-called doctor that hurt the double-D's would want to take notes."

"That bad," Tyne said to himself in thought. Tyne was quiet for a few seconds before he turned back to Kyle, "I assume you'll be returning to the hospital shortly?"

Kyle nodded. "Once Miah is done and I check up on the guys in the Med Bay. With your approval I would like to give Miah access to Ark to continue his studies on my species and anything else that might come up."

"That's fine, access is granted for Miah," replied Tyne before his expression hardened. "After you leave here though, Kyle, when you return to the hospital, if you should need it you are granted carte blanche. This means that you don't need to act as Council Intelligence but rather you can introduce yourself as the Voice of the Seer should you need the extra authority. Any decision you make while using that title would be the same as if I made that decision. And you shall hold such title until we are finally able to have a Council meeting." Tyne looked over to see Miah stand back up, "We don't need to lose anyone else and the last thing I want to get in the way, is a lack of authority."

Kyle glanced at Tyler, whose jaw was hanging open, then swallowed before replying. "I accept the position and the responsibility it entails Seer. We won't lose anyone else if I have any possible way to stop it using any means at my disposal."

"Good," said Tyne as he made his way over to the wall and reattached his harness. "I need to get training the Crafters that'll be down here cleaning this up. Rusty will be organizing and training those that are interested in joining the Founder Task Force, so we'll have forces to use when he's done with them. Dmitry and Dominic are training those joining the Archive Task Force, since that's where they started because Nyo was the only one when they got here. And I've sent Syris to see if he could put together a team to make up the Council Task Force which falls under you, Kyle. Check with him later if you need security and he should have people to give you. Good luck with where you're heading Kyle, if you need any of us just ask Ark and it can find us for you."

"I think after what we just saw Kyle do, he can find us himself if he needs to," grinned Rusty as he too reattached his harness.

"I can." Kyle replied with a small grin. "Thanks Tyne; if you need anything give me a yell. Miah, how is your gathering of information going?"

Tyne looked down as his harness pulled him back towards the top of the core to watch Kyle and the others. A few seconds later they all disappeared.

"I sure hope I know what I'm doing," Tyne said to Rusty as they reached the top. "If not I could be making a real mess of things."


Nyo hung upside down from one of the security towers outside of the Ark Compound, within the protective dome, with a screwdriver in hand.

< Is everything all right out here Nyo? >

"No, it's not," replied Nyo as he finished tightening a screw on one of the electrical boxes. "Ark, who was assigned to finish the repairs out here?"

< Rylan was working on the repairs but I pulled him from here to go help out at the AI hospital. >

Nyo flipped himself up, grabbed a camera headset, and then started climbing down from the tower. "Well I've got something you need to take a look at." Nyo pulled back the hood on his jacket and strapped the headset on as he walked over to the nearby dome wall. As soon as he reached the wall he flipped on the headset. "What do you think?"

Ark gasped, < Where did that hole come from? That was not there a few hours ago. >

"I know," said Nyo as he ran his hand along the edges of a large hole, big enough for a person to walk through. "Ark, is our Ferox net program still running?"

< Well of course it is, you know that. You have helped me keep it up to date. The Council wanted to keep track of all teleportation activity think this is how Axon got in without me detecting him? >

"The specifics of the tracking program doesn't have you keeping track of strong energy patterns already in the compound, just the ones that enter and exit."

< But I find now that the program has flaws in it, I cannot track when Kyle comes and goes. >

"We'll have to work on that later. For now though I want to know how Axon knew he couldn't just teleport in. But the reason I asked you who was supposed to be working out here is because they were only half finished with fixing the security grid. Had he been able to finish we would have detected Axon out here before he entered the building."

< Ferox can see the future just as well if not better then the Founders can; do you think he knew this grid would be down? This is the only panel Rylan did not get a chance to fix. >

"I bet you he did; in fact I wonder," Nyo reached up and flipped the light on the headset on and looking into the hole. It went further back then just the wall. Nyo pulled out his handheld and scanned the hole, "It looks like he was here long enough to have dug himself a cave and hardened the wall to keep it from collapsing." Nyo slowly walked into the hole and a few feet later found himself standing in a large hollowed out room with strange devices set up around the room. The moment he came into the room though the devices came to life creating displays on the walls; displays of different locations. "What the heck? Ark are you seeing this?"

< Yes, and from what I am reading from your handheld each of these display devices seems to be linked to a different location around the world. I am also reading energy residue on the floor in different spots, I think he slept here a few nights but not all at once. >

"How did we not detect this?" mumbled Nyo as he started inspecting the displays.

< Our security net for what is in the dome also includes the ice a mile in all directions. Our net was not online and has not been online for a very long time until today. >

Nyo tilted his head as he looked at one of the displays, "Ark, where does this display link to?"

< Give me a moment, as the security grid warms back up it is reading this chamber. I will have more information in a second. Why do you ask? >

"Because it looks like the room that Seth was working from when him and the other Metronome kids were working for Section 31," replied Nyo.

< That is not the only place you should recognize, the one to the left of that is linked to some camera in CIC. But I cannot find a camera in that location at CIC, my sensors there say it is just a corner. >

"Hey, look at that one! I know where that's at," Nyo said as he pointed at one of the other screens. "That's inside of your core!"

< If he has a camera in all of these different locations does that mean he visited these locations to set up the cameras? >

"No I don't think so," replied Nyo. "If he had then why didn't he do then what he did now?"

< You have a point. But then how would he have done it? >

"I'm not sure; but I do know one thing, I'm taking care of these cameras as soon as possible. And when I find out how they're being hidden I'm doing a search for any others."

< Good idea. If that is how he has gained his edge then we should act quickly to take it away. >

"While I'm doing that can you trace the rest of these links and get together a list of locations for me?"

< One step ahead of you, the list is already half done. After I have all the information I need I will get a team to come up here and get rid of this room, they will also fix the hole in the dome. >

Nyo exited the room, coming back into the dome, and headed straight for his tool box. After putting away his screwdriver he continued, "Go ahead and teleport me to CIC, I'll deal with that camera first."

< Okay Nyo. Hey Nyo, can I ask you a question? >

"Sure Ark."

< Do you think Axon attacked as unprepared as he was because I was having Rylan fix the grid? >

"I wouldn't doubt it."

< That is what I thought you would say. >

Nyo grinned and then suddenly vanished.


The hooded man sat behind the desk in the security control room watching Dmitry and Dominic training about twenty different people on how to use a Phasenmorph. He watched for a few minutes before looking at his cloaking device to check the power level.

"I forgot these things last for days, I wish it would just die already; I really hate playing babysitter." he mumbled to himself before reaching up and pulling back his hood. He wasn't really a man at all as he looked to be about fifteen with short brown hair. "At least these two are fun to watch," he added as he watched Dmitry try to teach one of the younger kids how to aim.

"I think he checks every one of them out before he starts though," came a reply off to his left.

He looked up to see another brown haired boy, looking to be about the same age, walking into the room. "That he does, but can you blame him, he's young."

"No, besides Founder boys were always cute," said the newcomer.

"I'm not a Founder anymore," mumbled the boy replied as he pulled his hood back up, looking ashamed.

"I know you know that's not true, and don't give me that look. What you are doesn't take away from who you are," replied the newcomer. "Besides, you're just as cute now as you were the day I met you."

"I'm sure my mood hasn't improved any," the Hooded Boy said. "You know, I'm not sure I know why you put up with me."

"Because I love you. And I know you love me."

"I'll never figure that one out though, I'm an annoyingly grumpy person," added the Hooded Boy.

"You're luckily that smacking you would make noise or I'd do it," sighed the newcomer. "Anyway, what are they up to Eyes?"

"Eyes? Now don't you start," the Hooded Boy grumbled back. "I already have the Creator calling me the Eyes of Xanus, please not you too."

"Okay Jay," grinned the newcomer. "I think I'm going to start on researching those meal packets you brought back with you. They sound promising."

"You mean the ones that are supposed to replace our need to feed, yeah I was hoping you would take a look at those," said the Hooded Boy. "If I don't have to feed anymore that'd make my day."

The newcomer grinned, "That's what I'm hoping too, I like to see you happy. Hopefully they work."

"That reminds me, how was your dinner?" asked the Hooded Boy.

"I know you don't want me to answer that," replied the newcomer as he kissed him on the cheek.

"You're right, I don't I'm just looking for something else to talk about other than what I've been watching for the last hour," said the Hooded Boy. "Ever since Axon attacked earlier the entire senior staff around here as been on edge."

"And for good reason," said the newcomer. "Axon almost killed the Ark and in doing so caused the death of one of Xanus' favorite sons."

"Yeah, about that; now we only have Xedyan as our contact," the Hooded Boy said as he got up from his chair. "I don't really care for Xedyan, which is fine because he doesn't like me."

"And why not?"

"We ran into each other while I was shifting planes while on my way to speak with Xanus..."

"Why were you shifting planes? I didn't think we were allowed to go to their plane."

"I'd rather not talk about it," said the Hooded Boy. "Let's just say that it ended with Xedyan being reassigned so he wouldn't be in my way in the future."

The newcomer gave him a look that made it clear he wanted to know more but he dropped it, "Okay then. Maybe you can tell me about those new scars you have instead."

"Oh, the ones on my chest and stomach?"

"Well yeah, they weren't there when I went to sleep," said the newcomer.

"I ran into what I've been calling Hunters, but Xanus called them Croziks," said the Hooded Boy. "They're half energy and half solid mass. The slashes that I had wouldn't even heal right until Xanus looked at them. I hope to not ever run into them again but I'm guessing I will."



"We will," repeated the newcomer. "I'm not letting you take on all of this work by yourself, not anymore. I know you like working without me on a lot of this, and I let you because I know you don't want to see me hurt, but I can't sit back and watch you do all of this alone. Especially when it gets you hurt."

"That's fine with me," grinned the Hooded Boy. "That's one of the reasons I woke you up, both Xanus and myself believe I need help...among other things."

The newcomer smiled as he pulled the Hooded Boy into a tight hug, "Only one of the reasons? I bet I can guess a few of the others." He started to let his hands wander getting a giggle out of the Hooded Boy when he got to a certain spot, "No giggling, we can't make any noise."

"Well we can't go at it in the middle of the room here," the Hooded Boy said as he shifted around so he was being held from behind. "Besides, we have a job to do."

The newcomer started to nibble on his ear, "Sure, a job. I'm sure they won't miss us if we took a break for a few hours. In fact they won't even know we're gone."

"Duhhh, they can't see us," the Hooded Boy said with a grin. "We can take a break but only a short one. I should be following Tyne around since he's the Seer."

"Then why are you hanging around with Dmitry and Dominic?" asked the newcomer.

"Because they're cute."

The newcomer did his best not to laugh, "Yeah, right. That would be MY reason."

"I know," replied the Hooded Boy. "No, I was following them because I'm not really that fond of Tyne."

The newcomer frowned, "Why not?"

"Because he's not my Seer; my Seer was his Great Grandfather. I think Tyne is too soft."

"He looks like he's been doing a good job to me but whatever, I'm sure he'll grow on you," the newcomer said as he rolled his eyes. "You just don't like change."

"I won't deny that, but you would think I'd have a different way of looking at things since I live so long."

"You'll catch on at some point," replied the newcomer.

"We've been around longer then Ark has been alive and you still think I'll catch on?"

"Miracles happen."

"And Hell might freeze," said the Hooded Boy.

"Whichever," the newcomer mumbled as he continued to nibble.

"Okay, okay, we can go take a break," the Hooded Boy said. "But just a short break."

The newcomer grinned and then started to drag the Hooded Boy out of the room, "Short means a few hours to me."

The Hooded Boy just shook his head and smiled to himself as he let himself be pulled away.


Syris sat behind a computer terminal in the Tech Construction Area doing his best to sorting out the Founders that were interested in joining the Council Task Force's second batch of trainees since the first group was already in training. He sat there looking over test results for intelligence tests all Founders were taking to help place them.

Syris looked up from his terminal to the tall middle aged man in front of him, "I'm sorry sir but your son's results don't allow him to work in this field of work."

"What do you mean? My son doesn't lack in any way," said the man.

Syris looked back down at the data before him, "He's just short of meeting the requirements for the Council Task Force."

"Look kid, I don't care what your tests say!" the man shouted at Syris.

Syris looked up at the man and frowned, "Sir, your son doesn't have the IQ to work for Council Intelligence. If you take him over to Aidan over there then you can have him join the Founder Task Force but the Council Task Force can't use him."

"My family has always guarded the Founder Committee, my son must be a part of the Task Force that handles Council security," argued the man. "And he's smart, he's smarter then the average kid. I don't see where he would be lacking in IQ."

"Sir, no offense but you wouldn't even qualify," Syris said sounding a little impatient, looking back down at his terminal. "And I really don't have time to argue this with you; I have other people to deal with and better things to be doing. Again, you can have him in a Task Force just not the Council Task Force."

"Well what about the Archive Task Force then?" asked the man. "I just don't want my son ending up where I'm being placed, he's better than me."

Syris looked back up at the man and opened his mouth to say something when he noticed someone peek out from behind the man; Syris quickly realized that it was the man's son. He watched for a few more seconds getting another glimpse of the boy before he sighed and continued, "Sir, how old is your son?"

"He's eleven, why? That shouldn't make a difference; you look like you're only..."

"It doesn't, don't jump to conclusions; I was just asking," interjected Syris. "Can I speak to just your son then? He is old enough to be registering for himself."

"Umm...well see there's a problem with that," the man said without looked at Syris.

Syris gave the man a strange look, "Yes...?"

"My son can't actually speak," replied the man.

Syris rolled his eyes, "Then what are you trying to register him with the Council Task Force for? If he can't speak then he can't be in any of the Task Forces. You need to either register him with the Crafters or with Human and Environment Affairs. Ethan is handling both of those he's just over..."

"You are not pushing my son to some dead end crap job just because he can't speak!" the man shouted. "He's a good kid, it's not like he can't follow orders or..."

"Fine, I'll consider it but step aside, can I just speak to your son please," insisted Syris. "Since this is his future I'd rather work it out with him."

The man stared at Syris for a few second before he stepped aside and signaled to his son to step up. Syris finally got a good look at the boy as he stepped forward; the boy had shaggy blond hair, big brown eyes, and Syris found himself captivated. He'd never met anyone that he considered beautiful before but this boy, in his eyes, was just that. After a few seconds though he realized he was gawking at the boy and pulled himself together.

"Your father wants you to be in the Council Task Force," Syris said as he tried to push his feelings aside. "What do you want to do?"

The boy looked at Syris for a few seconds in thought before he started to try and sign to him. Seeing the confused look on Syris' face, though, the boy quickly stopped and looked up at his father for help.

"Well, are you happy?" the man said. "I told you he can't speak, and unless you know sign language you probably don't know what he's trying to say to you."

Syris gave the man an annoyed look, "Did I ask you for help? There's more than one way to talk to someone if they can't speak, sir." Syris looked at the boy for a second and then thought, "Can you hear me?"

The boy jumped in surprise and then started to sign again.

"No, I can't understand that," Syris thought. "Form what you want to say to me in your head and then push it into mine. That's what I'm doing, which is why you can hear me in your head."

The boy looked confused for a brief second but confusion was quickly replaced with a look of concentration as he focused on Syris. A few seconds later there came a reply.

"Can you hear me?" a small voice said in Syris' head.

Syris smiled and thought back, "I can."

The boy started jumping up and down with excitement when he heard Syris' reply.

"Calm down," thought Syris. "Let's start with introductions. And when you reply push a little more, I could hear you but you were very soft; okay?"

The boy grinned and nodded his head.

"My name is Syris, what's yours?"

"I'm Devin Lucas Tutela," came the reply.

"It's nice to meet you Devin," thought Syris. "Of the Tutela house? That was a very well thought of house if I remember correctly. But anyway, what do you want to do Devin?"

"Well, I heard you tell my father that I can't do what he wants me to do..."

Syris thought over him, "That's not what I asked you though."

"I'd like to get into something intelligence related but I can't speak, I'd imagine that would keep me from doing a good job"

"That doesn't seem to be stopping us from talking right now," thought Syris. "Besides, there is more to intelligence when it comes to doing a good job and not being able to speak won't stop that, not really. The reasons that I gave your father was because you scored just a few points under the requirement. But if you work hard then that score doesn't mean a thing, but will you? You also have to be able to think of ways to use your skills that you never thought to use them for, like what we are doing right now. Using your telepathic skills you can talk to me."

"I...I never thought I could use my Founder skills for talking," said Devin. "We were all taught how to use these skills when we were young but it never occurred to me to use it for speaking."

"I didn't think about it until now myself," replied Syris. "So, you'd like to get into intelligence but you don't really want to do what your father wants for you, is that right?"

" did you know that? I mean I didn't say I didn't want to do security."

"I've spent my life training to see truth," said Syris. "So I look past most of the sugar coating that people put on their replies to see what they really mean. So what I said was true, right?"

The boy looked down at the ground, "Yes."

"What's wrong?"

"I don't want my father to be disappointed with me," Devin said as he looked back up at Syris. "He was a guard for the Committee, as was my grandfather and his father and so on. I just want to do more with my life then just guarding others."

"Things don't always work out the way we want them to," Syris said as he started to form a plan in his head. "I think I might have an idea though. But I..." Syris stopped for a second to think about what he was doing. What he was thinking of doing was for his own personal reasons, mainly he liked him. Not that he didn't need what he was about to propose but Devin wasn't completely qualified. It took Syris a few seconds to finally decide that he would teach Devin whatever he didn't know and live with whatever else came with the decision. "I could use you. See I'm currently acting as the assistant to the Council Nitor and I need someone to help me, an assistant to the assistant if you will. If you want it the position is yours. I don't handle Council security outside of simple escort missions, the rest of the Council Task Force does the normal security, but since I'm a little higher up in the command scale all I really do handle is intelligence. What do you think?"

Devin frowned, "But do I qualify?"

"You do because I want you to," replied Syris. "And in this case what I say goes. No one but me will ever know the real answer to your question. So what do you say?"

Devin grinned and then suddenly leapt forward and pulled Syris into a tight hug, "Yes!"

Syris thought briefly about stopping him but as he felt Devin's arms around him he gave into what he wanted to feel and sighed.

"So what do I need to do?" asked Devin as he let go. "Sir."

"You can just call me Syris since we aren't speaking out loud," replied Syris as he wrote something down on a slip of paper. "Go ahead and tell your father that I'm making you my Lieutenant, and then I want you to take this paper to uniform and supply distribution. They'll give you your uniforms and equipment; I'll meet you later in the Phasenmorph room after you've gotten settled into your room. Which brings me to my next question; do you want your own quarters, do you want to stay with your father, or would you rather...rather stay with me?"

Devin tilted his head and grinned, " want me to stay with you? Why would you want me to stay with..." Devin paused when he noticed Syris was blushing. "Oh, do you like me?"

Syris looked down, "Forget I said anything, just chose from the first two options."

"Now who's trying to cover up truth?" said Devin. "What is it that you want?" Syris didn't reply so Devin continued, "I'm guessing that you think I'm cute but that wouldn't be any reason for you to want me to stay with you, not if we were going to be working together. Why?"

"This isn't something I want to talk about," thought Syris.

"Well since it seems to concern me I think we should," replied Devin. "It's not like anyone else can hear us. So why do you want me to stay with you?"

"Because I like you," Syris said grudgingly. "It's more than just the fact that I think you're cute, I always see more than that in a person; looks are just packaging, a thing to get your attention but like a lie they can make someone seem like they're more than they are. But I see, or rather I'm hoping I see more than that in you. I...I'm not very good at this. I'm not really all that warm and cozy when it comes to how I feel about anything of this nature."

Devin thought to himself for a second, "I can't say that I've ever had someone say that they like me before, most people can't see past me not being able to talk. Although I don't really have a preference one way or the other as far as whether I'm looking for a boyfriend or a girlfriend. I'd just be afraid that if I said that I'd like to live with you that if it goes badly that you'll take away the job you're offering me right now. In fact, is the fact that you like me the reason you're offering me this job?"

Syris felt cornered, it was very much the reason he was offering him the job. But he didn't want to lie to Devin, "It's true that I'm offering you the position as my assistant because I like you. After having spoken to you though I would probably still offer you a position in the Council Task Force even if I didn't like you."

"So you're only offering me the position because you like me," Devin thought. "If I decided that I didn't want to date you would you still let me have the position?"

"If I thought you could do the job before, regardless of how I feel, then I don't see why that would have changed," said Syris. "So yes, I would still let you have the position."

"I assume that once a position is given only the Nitor can take it away," said Devin. "Is that right?"


"Then I see no reason not to take the risk," Devin thought with a grin. "Where's your room at?"

Syris looked up at Devin is shock, "You mean you actually want to move in with me?"

"Well I've never had a boyfriend, or a girlfriend for that matter, before and you're willing to be and have been honest with me. Plus you like me and sound like you'd be interested in having me as a boyfriend so I don't see why not. Besides, you're cute too you know."

Syris blushed an even deeper shade of red, "I...I don't know what to say to that."

"What's your room number, I can't move in if I don't know which one," grinned Devin.

Syris smiled, "143A."

Devin giggled, "This sounds sooo much like one of those corny books my mom use to read."


Nyo sighed as he slammed the camera he had found down on the console in front of him, "This is bad, this thing could have been there for months."

< Well no, CIC is not that old. >

"You get my point though Ark," Nyo said as he started to look over the reports for the scans he did after finding the camera. "At least there was just this one."

"One what?" someone said behind him. Nyo turned to see Tyne and Rusty walking into CIC.

"It's a long story," Nyo said as he looked Tyne over. "You really look like hell, have you slept at all?"

"Well besides the attack and dealing with that, having a few personal problems, and training new Crafters I didn't see any time to," replied Tyne as he came over and sat on the couch across from where Nyo was standing. "Though it was fun getting to teach along side Matyas."

Rusty plopped down next to Tyne and snuggled up next to him, "I've been doing the same thing. But it's killing me to just keep working with no news on what's happening with my brothers."

Nyo nodded, "I can understand that."

Suddenly Cory, Sean, Kyle, and Tyler appeared in the middle of CIC. Cory made an immediate beeline for the closest chair and sat down. The other three joined him but as they did Nyo looked them all over.

"On second thought, I think they all look worse than you Tyne," Nyo said as he waved to Cory. "Cory looks the worst."

"I'll agree with that," the Hooded Boy said to himself as he leaned against the wall, unseen by everyone else.

"Agree with what?" asked his companion as he walked in from the Recreation Room.

"That Cory looks the worst," replied the Hooded Boy. "Look at him; he looks like I did after your father..."

"Let's not bring that up please," said the Companion. "That isn't something I'd like to try and remember."

"Sorry," said the Hooded Boy as he saw Cory wave back at Nyo weakly.

"Hi Nyo, hi Tyne." Cory said loud enough for them to hear over the large group that Ark had deposited in the CIC building.

< Oh fantastic, most of the Founder Council is in this room Seer. Might I suggest you try and hold your meeting now? Though you might want to use one of the other rooms in CIC. >

"Thank you Ark," Tyne sighed and then got up, leaving a very disappointed Rusty on the couch. Tyne paused long enough to lean down and give Rusty a quick kiss before he walked over to where Cory was sitting. He gave all four of them a weak smile, "I'm glad to see that all of you made it through all that was happening. As Ark just reminded me, though, I think we should hold a Council meeting due to all that HAS happened; do you feel up to it?"

"Finally, a Council meeting," added the Hooded Boy as he walked over to where Tyne and Cory were.

"I can try." Cory replied. "As long as I'm sitting down I guess. Sean's been sticking with me to make sure I'm okay; I think I'll be fine by myself long enough for that though."

The Companion came over and stood next to the Hooded Boy, "Can I please relieve some of the stress he's feeling, you know I can take away the pain and sadness."

The Hooded Boy shook his head, "Tyler's already helping Cory out whether he knows it or not, can't you feel him?"

The Companion opened his mouth to say something but just then Brant came over to see how everyone was doing and so he stopped.

"I'm sorry if I'm poking where I shouldn't." Brant said. "Is there a reason Sean can't be in there with you?" He then turned to Tyne. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving my brother's life Tyne; Kelly means a lot to me."

Tyne looked at Brant and stared for a few seconds causing the Hooded Boy to grin, "That's right Tyne, he's a Moroi. Go on, tell the poor boy no, tell him to keep out of it."

"I'm glad they can't hear you," mumbled the Companion as he elbowed the Hooded Boy. "We don't all hate what we are."

Tyne finally replied, "It wasn't really my decision to make, although I probably would have chosen to do the same thing if it was my choice to make. As to Sean staying with Cory, normally I would say no he can't be with him for the meeting, as outsiders would want to add their own opinion to the meeting. But if Cory wants Sean there, with the state of things being the way they are, then Sean can join us."

Tyne paused for a few more seconds, staring deep into Brant's eyes. As he did the Hooded Boy sighed and then grumbled, "As Seer, I don't even understand why Tyne puts up with this kid. The Council has never put up with Moroi before. What does he have that I...never mind."

"Hey, quit being so bitter," said his Companion. "Just because Tyne's Great Grandfather wasn't as understanding doesn't mean that Tyne can't learn to be. Times are different and Tyne is learning that."

Tyne finally continued, "Do you mind if the two of us speak for a few minutes though?"

As Brant nodded his approval, Kyle yelled from the other side of the room. "I'll get everyone together Seer."

"He wants to talk to him?" the Hooded Boy said sounding surprised. "I'm following them."

"Where do you want to talk at?" Brant asked Tyne.

"I think you'd probably better stay out here instead," said his Companion. "Don't get involved!"

Tyne nodded at Kyle and then looked around the room, quickly noticing the Debriefing room door that was right behind Brant. "I think this room right over here will work just fine," said Tyne as he swiftly made his way into the Debriefing room, motioning for Brant to follow him. The Hooded Boy slipped in behind Brant and once Brant was inside Tyne closed the door and turned to Brant, staring silently at him for a moment.

"Well are you just going to stare at him?" the Hooded Boy thought to himself as he finally got a good look at Brant. "He's a cute guy though; I suppose staring at him isn't a bad thing."

Finally Tyne spoke. "I'm not really sure where to begin with this one," Tyne said softly. "I know you know that I'm not very fond of what you are, and I'm sorry that I hold that against you. See, it's not that my prejudice isn't for a good reason...well no see that's just it actually, what I was holding against you wasn't for a good reason and I realized that today. There is so much in this world that I don't understand anymore, or ever did for that matter; I'm only familiar with what was told to me or what I've seen with my own eyes. But just because a person or a group of people commit a horrible act doesn't mean that everyone I run into from that species is like that. One person or group doesn't define a species...although it only takes one person to change my mind about that. I've been very used to hating any Moroi that I've ever met, so used to it in fact that the first time I met you I was willing to try and kill you because of that hate. But how I treated you wasn't right, and I did apologize but I feel like, as a person, I owe you more than that. You're just as much a part of Cory's family as anyone else is no matter what differences you have, and if he trusts you then so do I."

"That's a mouthful," mumbled the Hooded Boy. "But what are you getting at Tyne? Somehow I don't think guilt is your message. What are you trying to tell him?"

Tyne paused to think for a second, still staring at Brant, wanting to say more but wanting to gather his thoughts first.

Brant gave Tyne a small smile. "Take your time; I don't hold anything you've said so far against you, but I understand that it still needs to be said."

"Thanks," Tyne said as he pulled something out of his pocket and handed it to Brant, "But you see there is more I could be doing to help you though, and this is part of that. You're family and I can't think of anyone else of your kind I would rather give this to."

"You're giving him one of the arm bands?" the Hooded Boy said curiously.

Brant took the device from Tyne with a smile. "Thanks...ummm...I don't want to sound rude, but what is it?"

Tyne grinned, "I was expecting you to ask. It's a device that was designed to allow Moroi to be out in the sun without getting killed. It also reverses your sleep schedule to keep you awake during the day and allow you to sleep at night. From what we can tell it gets it energy from the person wearing it."

"Whoa ... wow, that's awesome!" Brant replied. "Do I wear it like a bracelet? This means I can spend time with my new family! I'd like to give you a hug Tyne...that is if you think it would be okay. I understand if you ain't comfortable with that though."

"No, he's not me," the Hooded Boy added. "I'd be uncomfortable with it."

< He cannot hear you. >

"Gee, thanks for the reminder Ark," replied the Hooded Boy. "Don't you have things to be doing?"

"You can wear it as a bracelet or an arm band," Tyne said softly. "I suppose it would be okay for you to hug me, I...I've never been hugged by a Moroi before. As long as you don't bite you can hug me all you want."

< I am here listening to Tyne, you just happen to be in the same room. Though I'm not complaining as you left your husband alone in the other room worrying about you. >

"I won't ever bite anyone I consider a brother; I'll die first." Brant replied as he gave Tyne a hug in gratitude.

"I'm very surprised at Tyne," said the Hooded Boy. "He's changed, that's for sure."

< Unlike someone else I know. >

"Quit bugging me, I'm trying to listen," said the Hooded Boy as he tried to pay attention.

< If you say so. Although hugging does not have much to listen to. >

The Hooded Boy grumbled, "Be quiet."

< Fine. >

As the hug broke, Brant stepped back then said. "Thanks again bro. After what happened while I was asleep today, I'd kinda like your opinion on something."

"Okay," said Tyne. "Fire away."

Brant fidgeted a little as he replied. "If it wasn't for what my family went through today I wouldn't have even considered this; not after learning what I have from you. I've ran into a few of the local Moroi as I was getting familiar with Orlando. What I've found out is they pretty much have taken it upon themselves to try to assist the Clan; those who don't want to help were either killed or kicked out of the state. The Moroi that pretty much 'oversees' this area has offered to have his people act as intelligence for us; he promised they would not act on anything unless it was an immediate threat or we asked them to. I told him I would have to get the okay from somewhere higher than me. He's not able to read me; even if his Extra is a reader Kyle taught me some blocking stuff. I'm sure he don't know about the Council."

"I think I know who he's talking about," said the Hooded Boy. "Not to say that I socialize with the other Moroi that often. I'm only familiar with a few around this area."

< You are familiar with sixty-seven currently living Moroi and have known and worked with over nine thousand in your life. >

"I'm sooo glad I have you here to give me those figures," replied the Hooded Boy.

Tyne was quiet for a moment, "I'm not...well...okay, that's fine but they report directly to you then. If they cause any problems I'll be asking you what happened. That doesn't mean you are responsible for what they do just the in between, I wouldn't hold you accountable for their actions. We can talk more about it in the Council meeting; I'll ask you to bring it up for the rest of the Council to vote on it."

"That's fine..." Brant replied, "Umm...does that mean you want me to attend the meeting even though I'm not on the Council?"

"As the new Head of Council Human and Environment Affairs I kind of expect you to be there," Tyne said with a grin. "We can't have a Council meeting without the Council Ingenium there to bring those kind of things to our attention."

"Well that's different," the Hooded Boy said in shock. "No Moroi has even been on the Council, if his father were alive..."

< Cyos Oraculum died because he believed in peace with the Moroi; I do not see him being upset with Tyne putting a Moroi he trusts on the Council. >

"Didn't I tell you to shut it?" grumbled the Hooded Boy. "I'm not upset to see it, just surprised."

< Why? The Council not only granted your pardon but gave you the title of General in the Archive Task Force. It is not all that surprising. >

"That was a Council without a Seer," said the Hooded Boy. "And it's more of an honorary title."

Brant had to pick his jaw up off of his chest to reply. "! I...I...Thanks Tyne!"

"I'm sure you'll do a good job as Ingenium," replied Tyne. "We should join the rest of the Council now. Unless you had anything else to add."

"Not right now...I'm still trying to grasp being on the Council!" Brant replied. "Let's go before Cory passes out; he don't look good at all."

"I don't think saying he's had a bad day would quite cover it," said Tyne as they left the Debriefing room and headed for the Conference Room. The Hooded Boy followed them out of the room to find a very upset boy waiting for him just outside.

"What?" the Hooded Boy said softly.

"Well, what happened?" asked his Companion.

"He put Brant on the Council," replied the Hooded Boy. "And gave him an arm band."

His Companion nodded, "That sounds good, anything else."

"Yeah, Ark won't leave me alone." added the Hooded Boy.

"Suuuurrreee," his Companion said with a grin.

"Did I miss anything?" asked the Hooded Boy.

"I found out that Kyle converted his boyfriend to the same species that he's become," said his Companion. "Kyle also brought Miah back with him."

"That's right, Levis' Socius. He works in the Ferox Science Academy; he was working with Levis to document Kyle."

"Yes, although he's not quite himself right now having lost Levis," replied his Companion. "I can't think of anyone else though that I'd rather have here to keep an eye on Kyle and now Tyler."

"I can agree with that," said the Hooded Boy. "We'd better catch up now before they shut us out of the meeting."

The two of them ran after Tyne and Brant, slipping into the conference room right behind Tyne as Kyle was closing the door.

"Cutting it close," mumbled the Companion.

"We have Ark, we're never cutting it close," added the Hooded Boy as he looked around the room taking a visual head count. "We're missing someone."

Tyne glared at Kyle for a second but then took his seat, shaking his head, "I'm not sure I want to know right now. Is everyone here? So are we missing anyone?"

"What did we miss from that conversation?" asked the Companion.

"Shhh," the Hooded Boy quickly said.

Kyle looked around. "Oops; I forgot Danny."

"That's who's missing," mumbled the Hooded Boy as Kyle paused for a second.

"Keep it quiet; he's sleeping," Kyle added. A few seconds later, Danny appeared in his chair, legs crossed and head comfortably on the back of the chair. It was obvious he was sound asleep.

"Ah Danny, what's your opinion?" Tyne said loudly acting like he was talking about something.

Cyna, who was floating above a console that was set up just for him, grinned, "Yes, yes I think it's very important. What do you think Danny? Should we do it?"

"Huh? What the..." Danny gasped as he nearly fell out of his chair. After rubbing his bloodshot eyes and blinking several times to try to focus, He looked around at the group at the table and simply shook his head. "Did I miss something here?"

"Oh don't tell me you were sleeping!?" Tyne said trying to sound like he was offended.

Kyle fought off giggles as he waved at Danny.

Danny mumbled as he looked around the table. "I was asleep, at the hospital..." He began as Kyle lost the battle and began laughing. "Yeah, you'll pay leech." He smiled before looking back toward Tyne. "Seer, I believe the answer to your question is, yes. We should definitely not take naps with leeches around."

"So that's yes to wild sex in the pool, but only when the leeches are not around," Cyna said purposely ignoring half of the comment. "I'll have the papers drawn up, thanks Danny."

"Oh..." Danny said with a yawn and a stretch before attempting to straighten out his shirt. "Glad to help." He giggled. "Any chance we could have a coffee break now?"

"We're just starting Danny, no breaks I'm afraid," replied Tyne. "But I'm sure we can get you a caffeine injection."

"Whatever works," Danny smiled as he pulled his chair closer to the table. "So, why are we meeting?"

"Now that a certain SOMEONE is done messing with people....." Cory stated while looking directly at Kyle.

Kyle tried to appear innocent. "Tyne SAID we needed everyone here!"

"Right, so now that we're all here what should we begin with?" said Tyne.

"You were going to begin a REAL Council meeting," said the Hooded Boy.

"Like you know what one really looks like," added his Companion. "The only one you've ever been at was the one for your pardon and appointment."

The Hooded Boy shot his Companion a mean look as Cyna started with his duties as Hand of the Seer.

"Well we've got a list," Cyna said as a clipboard appeared in his hands. "We should probably start with the recent events, which will start with the attacks on the Clan, then move to the attacks on the Ark."

"Do we have any more information on this FCC other than the basics we've already got?" asked Tyne.

"Not anything anyone wants to know," the Hooded Boy said quietly.

< Again they cannot hear you. >

"Look you old wind bag..." the Hooded Boy started to say.

"Ark has been complaining about the amount of bodies it dumped," said Nyo. "If that counts."

"Will you two behave please and pay attention," said the Companion. "And Ark, don't complain about the bodies."

< You try keeping that many bodies in a buffer. >

"Um... That's my fault I think." Danny said as he lowered his eyes.

"They had to go somewhere." Cory replied. "I haven't had a chance to see what Clan Intelligence has found out yet, so I can't give any more information."

"We're still putting the data together." Kyle added. "The Clan Special Forces team is following up on some leads to get more information, and once everyone has recovered from the shock of today's events we'll be able to put together a detailed report."

The Hooded Boy frowned, "What do we have on that 'Special Forces Team'?"

< I have a good amount on them, what do you want to know? >

"Can they be trusted?" asked the Hooded Boy.

< That is left up to interpretation. >

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?" added his Companion.

"We'll see," replied the Hooded Boy.

"That's pretty much what I figured, but I thought I'd ask anyway," said Tyne.

"Actually, I have something to add," Nyo said as he placed the camera he had been carrying with him onto the table. "I have reason to believe the attacks on the Clan and the attacks on the Ark were connected. This camera was found in CIC about an hour ago, it was phased shifted so it wouldn't be detected. It belongs or rather belonged to Axon. From what else we found that led us to this camera we believe he has been watching the Clan as well as the Ark compound for some time. While he may not be directly involved with the FCC, Ark thinks he might have been pushing them towards more extreme actions through his contacts."

"Have those cameras been found anywhere else Nyo?" Danny asked, now finally appearing to be more awake.

"Some of the connections we found were dead, meaning something happened to the camera but most of the ones we found were still active," said Nyo. "Ark is working on tracing the dead ones. While the others link to different locations where we have either visited often or have people stationed. Three of the active ones were in the Ark compound itself, two were here in CIC; two of the dead ones were found to link to the AI hospital, though we have only traced it and have not found the cameras yet. With the state of the building though I'm sure it wasn't hard to damage the cameras there. Another one of the live ones was watching a house in Montana. Three more go to different locations inside of Camp Little Eagle, which I'll be deactivating soon. The rest of the active cameras go to locations around the world, watching leaders here and there. We still have two more dead links to trace so I don't know where this is yet."

"Damn, he's been watching us and we didn't even know it," mumbled the Hooded Boy.

His Companion frowned, "You don't think one of those cameras went to our little section of the Ark Compound, do you?"

"Though we are well hidden I wouldn't doubt it," replied the Hooded Boy. "Ark?"

< I am still working on some of those links; I will get back to you on this issue. >

"I bet I know which house in Montana..." Cory muttered.

"I do too." Kyle replied. "Nyo; you might want to check with Xedyan and Miah to see if either of them can help you with locating them and spotting them if they get replaced. I'd like to get with you to check out how he did it so I can try to think of something too."

"We actually have scanners that can find them, we just don't normally install them in our locations," said Nyo. "I'll be looking into anything I can though for fixing this problem. Thank you for the suggestions."

"Hopefully that'll take care of any planned attacks but what are we doing about security in general?" asked Tyne.

"I've been working with one of the new security teams at the Ark Compound for the last few hours," replied Rusty. "While they still need more training they had some good ideas for keeping the compounds more secure. Ark also had some suggestions for equipment we could be using to detect anything that comes near any of the compounds within a hundred mile radius. While the hundred miles might be a bit much here it wouldn't hurt to have it. If nothing else Ark can keep an eye on it if we set up the grids."

"We need to make sure we are not on that grid," the Hooded Boy said to his Companion. "At least for now."

"I'll take care of that," replied his Companion.

"I like that," said Tyne. "But as soon as we have more security personal able I want to start or double our patrols."

"Oh that reminds me, we had a Phasenmorph die," Cyna added. "The poor thing did its job up until it ran out of energy; it was Adam's Phasenmorph."

Cory hung his head, and audibly sobbed before commenting. "I saw it happen. The idiot strapped a live grenade to his chest then jumped on Adam. All I could do was watch as he tried to kill my brother."

"They don't play nice Cory, the world doesn't play nice. It never has and it never will, get a grip," the Hooded Boy said as he leaned against the wall.

"Hey, cut him some slack; it hasn't been a good day for any of the Clan, least of all Cory," interjected his Companion. "And on top of that it was one of his brothers."

"I'm just surprised that he's surprised, that's all," replied the Hooded Boy. "I'm not trying to be insensitive but this is his world, why doesn't he know these kinds of things happen?"

"If you ever lost me what would you say?" asked his Companion.

The Hooded Boy was quiet for a quick moment before responding, "Okay, I see your point."

"Good," said his Companion. "You'd think after earlier today you'd be in a better mood."

"His Phasenmorph saved his life." Danny said as he looked around the table. "Without that protection, I know he would never have survived that blast."

Sean wrapped his arms tightly around Cory. "He didn't die babe; our bro didn't die. Don't think about it right now; you'll hurt yourself if you do."

"I'm trying." Cory sobbed as he pulled Sean's arms tighter around him.

"Cor; let Ty help you bro." Kyle said softly. "Don't try to deal with your pain alone this time; we love you bro, we're here to help."

Cory nodded his head, and a few seconds later looked up and over at Kyle. "Thanks bro."

"I just thought of something," the Companion said as he looked over at Kyle. "Can Kyle detect us?"

"If he does would he say anything?" said the Hooded Boy. "That's the real question. He doesn't know who we are though so I'm not really sure."

"This could be bad if he does know we're here," replied his Companion.

"Until we know if he knows we shouldn't worry about it," said the Hooded Boy. "I'll ask Xanus later about it."

"I feel bad that the little guy was lost," Danny said to Tyne after watching silently. "I mean you guys may not look at them the same way some of the kids do but we may need to address Adam's feelings towards receiving a replacement." He said with a sigh. "I'll also wait to get together with Marc and Nyo regarding the issues of an AI and a Phasenmorph integrating. Now that I've see what those little creatures are capable of, and now that we know just how bad, bad can get; it would be irresponsible of us to not look deeper into it."

Xain nodded. "Your suggestion is logical Danny. Considering the probable outcome if a Phasenmorph had not been present; I believe it would be logical for us to investigate the possibility of increasing the distribution of Phasenmorphs to those who have anything more than a minute possibility of becoming subject to the attention of the aggressors which have targeted us."

"I don't want anyone walking around with a Phasenmorph if they don't have any training," Tyne said slowly. "But I agree that more of us need to be carrying them. I'd also like to look into a way to increase the ability of the Phasenmorph for situations like what we ran into today."

"I'll have Javyk look into it," said Nyo. "After I give him a basic run-down of what not to try with a Phasenmorph, I think I'm the only one that really knows anything about how to modify them."

"Good, we can put his talents to use for what they were intended," replied Tyne. "Oh, speaking of talents I'm not sure if any of you noticed but we have a new Council member with us. I've asked Brant to be the Head of Council Human and Environment Affairs, making him Council Ingenium. And even before I gave him the title he already started working to help us out."

Brant blushed before responding. "Thanks Tyne; I'm still kinda in awe here. I know we've been given a lot of help from people, but I've been approached with an offer from somewhere I didn't expect. The Moroi here in Florida have been silently backing us since the Clan moved here; in fact they've went so far as to deport or send to the next life any local Moroi that did not accept the responsibility. The 'Elder' Moroi for this area has offered to have the Moroi in Florida perform intelligence for the Clan. He did say they would not act on it unless there was immediate danger or we ask them to solve the issue. I'd been waiting to discuss it with Tyne before I gave him an answer; when I brought it up is when Tyne told me about my appointment here."

"I wanted to know if anyone had any objection before we tell Brant to give him the go-ahead," said Tyne as he looked around the table. "So...any objections or other views?"

"I have some concerns," said the Hooded Boy. "Not that my opinion matters here."

His Companion sighed, "I think they're looking for non-biased views and objections. Besides, I'm sure Brant will be keeping a close watch on them."

"I believe the assistance would be beneficial," Xain stated.

"Well unless anyone has anything else to add I believe you have the go-ahead Brant," Tyne concluded. "Oh, that also reminds me, if any of you see Brant walking around in the day don't freak. We recovered a device from the encounter we had with Larry Malvya that he was giving to his Moroi. It negates the problems that Moroi have with the sunlight and reverses their sleep schedule. It powers itself using energy from the host so it won't fail on him either. But I just wanted to let you know that Brant has one of these devices so don't panic if you see him up and about tomorrow."

Kyle smiled as he commented "That's awesome!"

"Thanks Tyne." Cory added.

"At least some good is coming of the devices," said the Companion.

The Hooded Boy smiled, "Actually, I agree. Brant seems like a nice kid."

"Well there's a sudden change," replied his Companion. "Why the change of heart all of the sudden?"

"No reason I can explain, I just like the kid," said the Hooded Boy.

"Um, Tyne?" Danny asked as he scratched his head. "Is that device something that Brant can't easily lose? I mean, there's no danger of it coming off say, mid afternoon while he's in the sun out with his family or anything. Is there?" He asked looking back toward Brant. "I just wanna make sure he's gonna be safe."

"While it has an arm band, if he puts it under his shirt on his actual skin it seems to cling to the skin as long as the device is active," replied Tyne. "And it's not easy to deactivate since it's running off of the body. He should be safe. It also appears to be weatherproof. If you'd rather run more tests on it before allowing him to use it though I'll understand, but Javyk and I couldn't find any drawbacks."

"No, I'll trust you guys on this. I was just worried that we could put him in danger if it was easy to separate from the person wearing it. Just wanted to be sure." Danny replied as he sat back in his chair.

"Thanks for worrying though Danny." Brant said, obviously overtaken by the concern shown towards him.

"No prob bro." Danny smiled warmly.

"So, since we have that done...can I bring up something that's been worrying me?" asked Cyna.

"Go ahead," said Tyne.

"What the heck is up with Kyle?" Cyna began. "Am I out of the loop on something? I don't have any records of him being teleported anywhere yet here he is, I've got strange readings all over the sensors but no physical representation of that. Can someone clear this up for me?"

"Ask Xanus, she's the one that threw Kyle at us," the Hooded Boy said with a grin.

"Yeah; it's kinda freaky when he decides to take you somewhere but don't ask anyone to do it." Cory replied. "What's up with that bro?"

Kyle giggled. "That's nothing; Ty can do that too."

"I think he's starting a species or something," the Hooded Boy added. He suddenly looked at his Companion and smiled again, "You're the reason I'm happy right now, aren't you?"

"I'm just taking away the stress," replied his Companion. "Just trying to help."

The Hooded Boy walked over and pulled his Companion into a hug, "I think I need the help, I'm being very negative today."

< Will you two pay attention please. >

The Companion smiled, "Okay Ark."

Nyo frowned, "What do you mean Tyler can do it too? What did you do to Tyler?"

Kyle got serious as he replied. "Miah is still figuring out the details; basically when Ty and I took a nap, my brain decided that since I was the only Mikyvis in existence it was logical that the person who means the most to me in the whole universe should join me in forming our species."

"I guess that means he's not asexual," Cyna mumbled with a grin. "He had to convert someone so they could continue the species."

"That or his mind realized it likes sex too much to give it up," grinned the Hooded Boy. "Being Asexual wouldn't be that much fun."

His Companion giggled, "I think you've been hanging around Dmitry too much."

Tyne glared at Cyna as he replied, "It won't happen every time you sleep next to someone, will it?"

Kyle shook his head. "No; I was really worried about losing Ty because of what I'm turning into. That kinda helped push it. I went back and checked out what happened; I can control it and actually can do it any time if I need to."

Tyne was quiet for a few seconds before finally speaking, "That's a power you need to be careful with, Kyle. That can cause a lot of unbalance if you use it too much. Don't convert anyone else without at least running it through us first please. Tyler is fine since he's your partner but that's something we need to be more careful with then even Vifer conversions."

Kyle nodded. "I agree; it would take a pretty extreme emergency before I'd consider it. If someone asks for it they need to ask everyone here; I ain't gonna take that responsibility."

"I'll be holding you to that," replied Tyne.

"Has Tyler been checked out by a Medbot?" asked Cyna.

"Okay Tyne." Kyle replied. "Cyna, he's been checked out by the one Ferox who knows more about my new species than anyone else. I'm not sure if a Medbot could figure him or me out Cuz."

"I'd still like him to be checked out by a Medbot," said Cyna. "They can determine whether or not he's stable. We don't want him walking around with a chance of blowing up."

"Since Kyle's never been stable, and Kyle made Ty what he is, chances are pretty good ...." Cory said with a small smile.

"I can see Ty's helping you bro. By the way...bite me!" Kyle replied. He then turned to Cyna. "I actually agree Cuz; I've been watchin him and he seems to be staying stable as far as this plane goes. I didn't know Medbots could do that though; it might not be a bad idea for them to check both of us out so they can set up a base reference for the future."

"That's a good idea," said Cyna. "I'll make sure you guys make it to the Medical Bay tomorrow."

Tyne grinned, "You'll make sure?"

"If they don't I'll make sure they never forget again," replied Cyna. "They could wake up in some very strange places."

"Right, so do we need to cover anything else regarding Kyle and Tyler?" Nyo asked as he looked around the room.

"Yes actually, if Miah has a list of what Kyle knows how to do that would be a good thing to have around," added Tyne.

"One thing you need to be careful of with Miah." Kyle interjected. "He was Levis' Socius and is not taking it well at all. Be careful how you approach the subject; they were working together trying to figure me out."

"Thanks Kyle," Cyna said with an understanding smile. "We'll keep that in mind when we talk to him."

"So, what else do we need to discuss?" asked Nyo.

"Wellllll," grinned Cyna. "Speaking of Socius we have a growing list of review requests."

"Oh God, this should be boring," said the Hooded Boy earning him a frustrated look from his Companion. "Well what I meant was that since we can't get the information they'll be collecting we'll be out of the loop on what they're reviewing."

"That's not a bad thing, I could use a break," replied his Companion. "You wanna go sniff some coffee? I think Helen just made some."

"Not unless I can have some," mumbled the Hooded Boy. "So No."

< Actually, I think we have a problem that the two of you can help me with. I am having trouble with one of my power grids. >

The Hooded Boy pulled his attention away from the meeting as it continued on, "Isn't that something the Founders can help you with? I've never been a Crafter, Ark."

< This is not a problem that requires technical expertise. The power grid itself works just fine, it is the energy pattern that I am reading on it. >

"What do you mean?" asked the Companion.

< It is a multiphasic energy pattern and I would rather not bring it to Nyo's attention. Cyna already looked at it and thinks you might know more about it due to it's properties. >

"Okay, we'll take a look then," replied the Hooded Boy. "It's not like we're missing anything important right now; just Socius reviews."

Right before they vanished, though, his Companion looked over at Kyle to see him wave at him and then suddenly they found themselves standing at the edge of an underground cliff overlooking several levels of metal platforms packed with Ark's underground power generators.

"I...I think I saw Kyle wave at us before we teleported," said his Companion.

The Hooded Boy looked over at his Companion and frowned, "Are you sure?"

"We were the only ones standing there for him to have waved at," replied his Companion.

The Hooded Boy sighed, "We'll deal with that later then."


"Do we have headsets?" asked the Hooded Boy as he threw back his hood. "I want you watching everything we see, Ark."

< The supply closet to your left has what you need. >

The Companion pulled open the closet and pulled out two headsets and tool kits, "Thanks Ark."

"It sure is hot down here," the Hooded Boy said as he looked around at the large cavern.

"It's supposed to be, isn't it?" said the Companion as he handed one of the headsets to the Hooded Boy, then put his own on. "This isn't the actual thermal chamber though, is it?"

< No, the thermal chamber is under this one. This is the service level and it should be ninety-two degrees Fahrenheit at all times. >

"Yeah, what Ark said," added the Hooded Boy as he turned around and started down the ladder that was mounted to the side of the cliff. "What sub-level Ark?"

< Sub-level one. You should not have far to go. >

His Companion followed him down the ladder and fifty feet later both of them got off at the first platform. They instantly knew which power grid it was as they looked over the five hundred different large boxes in front of them as one of them was glowing a bright blue.

"Well that's something you don't see every day," said the Hooded Boy as he walked up to it and started looking it over.

His Companion pulled a handheld out of his tool kit and began scanning the power grid. A few seconds later he frowned, "I think I've seen this pattern before."

The Hooded Boy came over and looked at the handheld, "Oh, I know that pattern. Ark, we have to...hmmmm, give me a second." He walked over to the next power grid and pulled open the access hatch. He looked inside for a few seconds before he found what he was looking for. "Ah, there it is," He said as he reached in and pulling out what looked like a crowbar, "Here we go."


< What are you going to do with that? >

"Wouldn't you like to know," grinned the Hooded Boy as he walked up to the glowing power grid and got into position.

< I do not like the way he is holding that crowbar. >

His Companion took a few steps back, "I don't either."

Suddenly the Hooded Boy swung the crowbar, striking the power grid hard but instantly letting go of it as he felt the reverb. The crowbar stuck to the power grid as energy shot through the crowbar and began striking the ground; but as it did the energy seemed to be taking on a liquid form, piling up on the ground where it first hit.

The Hooded Boy backed up over to his Companion, still grinning, "What do you think?"

"What is it?" asked the Companion.

"Just wait," said the Hooded Boy.

< Is this going to cause my power grid damage? >

"I hope not," the liquid energy replied as it began to take shape. "Otherwise it might need to be replaced."

His Companion gasped, "Oh God, it can't be."


Dominic sat down on his bed and sighed, "It's been a long day. I think I could sleep for the next hundred years."

"Oh come on, it wasn't that bad," Dmitry said with a grin as he plopped down next to Dominic.

"Not that bad? I seem to remember waking up quite a few years younger," said Dominic as he lay down.

Dmitry snuggled up next to Dominic, "Yeah but something good came of that."


"I don't have to wait a long time for us to hit puberty," replied Dmitry as he started to let his hands wander.

Dominic just shook his head, "That's what I was afraid of; the last thing we need is a horny DT."

"Just think, we have thousands of years to go through puberty together," grinned Dmitry.

"With the way you are I'm wondering if I'll last that long."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, you know you'll make it," said Dmitry as he put his head on Dominic's chest. "I'm not that bad."

Dominic sighed and began to run his fingers through Dmitry's hair, "I know I will, and I know you're not that bad. I just worry, that's all."

"About what?"

"I worried just a little bit before about losing you but with you hitting puberty now I worry even more," said Dominic. "I'm probably worrying over nothing but I just have a hard time believing that you'll want to stay with me when there are so many better looking and nicer guys out there."

Dmitry groaned, "Oh not this again. Dom, we've been through this before; I'm not going to leave you. Especially not for some cute guy, but a nicer guy? That's stretching it Dom. You may be different than most of the other guys our age but that doesn't make them better or nicer then you are. You're cautious, you're calm; you always know what to do and how we should be acting. I mean, yeah, there are times it would be nice if you were a little more lax about some things but I like you just the way you are which is why I'll never ask you to change. You see, I'm not like you at all but that's good because you have what I'm missing and what I need. You complete me, giving me a well rounded base in everything and keeping my head out of the clouds where I normally leave it." Dmitry paused for a second and shifted so he could look up at Dominic. "Dom, I love you. Sure I may think most guys are cute but that doesn't mean that I want them, it only means that I think they're nice to look at. I don't know them, but I know you and you're what I want."

Dominic looked down at Dmitry and grinned, "See this is something you're good at, reminding me that I need to keep my worry from getting the best of me."

"I'm not going anywhere Dom," Dmitry said as he sat up and gave Dominic a playful look. "In fact, I don't think you're going anywhere right now either. We need some recreation time."

Dominic smiled and quickly flipped around and pinned Dmitry, "I couldn't agree more."

Dominic leaned in and started kissing Dmitry's neck, slowly making his way around to his lips. But just as their lips met there came a knock at the door.

Dmitry sighed, "Someone had better be like bleeding from the head or something."

"I agree," Dominic growled as he called to the door, "Who is it?"

"My name is Max, I was in your class earlier today," came the reply.

"What do you want Max?" replied Dominic, sounding irritated.

"I...I wanted to ask you guys some questions," answered Max. "It's about relationships."

Dominic gave a really long sigh, "Well?"

"Let him in," Dmitry said sounding disappointed. "But only for a few minutes, I'm horny."

Dominic grinned as he got off of Dmitry and went to answer the door. As he opened the door Dominic found a fourteen year old boy, with black hair and brown eyes, standing on the other side.

"I'm really sorry to bother you guys but I wasn't sure who else to ask. If I ask someone I know then they'll know my secret but I need to ask someone I trust," said Max.

Dominic stepped aside and motioned for Max to come in, "We'll hang you up by your thumbs later."

"Thanks," Max said with a smile as he came in and looked around a little. He noticed Dmitry still sitting on the bed and frowned, "I didn't interrupt anything, did I?"

"Yes," mumbled Dominic as he closed the door and then went back over to sit with Dmitry.

Dmitry smacked Dominic's arm, "Be nice. We can spare a few minutes...but only a few."

"What can we help you with Max?" asked Dominic.

"Right, so there is this person that I like," Max started to say.

"Oh, oh, is he cute?" Dmitry asked excitedly.

"Wha-wha-a-what makes you think they're a boy?" Max said nervously.

"Dmitry just assumes it unless you say otherwise," replied Dominic.

Dmitry grinned, "So are they?"

"Which question are you asking him? If who he likes is a boy or cute?" said Dominic.

"Yes," Dmitry replied smiling.

Dominic looked back at Max, "He's asking you both."

"I...I wasn't going to...oh okay yes," Max said looking a little frustrated.

"Okay, so what's the problem that you're having?" Dominic asked calmly not wanting to upset the boy.

"Well I really like him, I mean I've known him for a long time and all, but I just..." Max paused for a second. "I don't think he likes guys, I mean the way that I do...I mean..."

"You don't think he's gay," Dominic completed, getting a nod from Max. "That's a problem that's easy to run into, there are more straight people out there then there are gay. It may not always turn out the way you want it to."

"Have you asked him about it?" asked Dmitry.

"I...I'm afraid to," replied Max. "What if he's not, I don't want him to hate me."

"If he's your friend I can't see him hating you for asking," said Dominic. "Unless he hates gay people and you think you asking him would give you away."

"He's not homophobic, but I don't want him to think that I only hang around with him because I have feelings for him," said Max. "I also don't want him to be afraid to hang around me since he'll probably guess that I like him anyway."

"If he's really your friend I'd imagine he'd be willing to talk it out with you," said Dmitry. "Especially if he's cute."

Dominic looked at Dmitry, "What the hell? You just had to slip that in there again?"


Dominic rolled his eyes, "Whatever. Look Max, we really aren't going to have the answer for you. If you want to know then you have to ask him, it's that simple. If you never ask and he is gay then he might end up with someone else because he didn't think you were interested or that you were gay."

"He could also be bisexual," added Dmitry.

"I suppose," Max said in thought. "Would you be willing to come with me when I go to talk to him?"

Dominic thought for a second before replying, "You like Nathan."

Max went white, "How...I didn't think that did you know?"

"Well you were his partner in Phasenmorph training today and you seemed to know each other already," said Dominic.

"Yeah that and Dom's just good at guessing these kinds of things," added Dmitry.

"Well, what do you think?" asked Max. "I mean I know you guys don't know him as well as I do but..."

"He probably doesn't know if he likes guys or girls yet," replied Dominic. "He's only nine."

Dmitry grinned and wrapped his arms around Dominic, "I knew before I was nine."

"Yes well I think we are all aware of the fact that you're different DT," said Dominic. "That might also cause you some problems too. Even if he is his parents probably won't approve since you' old?"

"I'm guessing fourteen," said Dmitry as he looked Max over again with a grin.

Max nodded, "I'm fourteen."

"So let's say that he is gay or bi but you get involved with him now and his parents don't like that," Dominic said carefully. "They might say that you've forced him into it and he doesn't know better because he's only nine."

"I would never do that!" protested Max.

"I'm not saying you would," Dominic replied calmly. "But just think about it, he's only nine years old."

"It's only five years difference," mumbled Max.

"And when you're younger that's more than half a life," replied Dominic. "In fact, that's more than half of his life."

"But what if he does know?" Dmitry said to Dominic. "I know I'm not the only one out there that knew before I was nine."

"I didn't say he couldn't know," replied Dominic. "Max, there isn't any easy way to do this when you don't know all the facts but what it comes down to is that you just need to do it. Have courage and with any luck everything will turn out well in the end."

"And even if it seems things look bad after you tell him just remember that sometimes bad things have to happen so that the good things can happen," added Dmitry.

Dominic shook his head, "Stealing material from the Clan kids now?"

Dmitry grinned, "Yes."

"So, what do you say Max? Are you willing to tell him?" said Dominic.

Max sighed, "There isn't any other way? Can't we just scan him or something?"

"No, that wouldn't be right," replied Dominic. "And I know you know that."

"I'm sorry we don't have more to tell you Max," said Dmitry. "But while we're with you guys we'll try and help IF we can. The majority of it is up to you."

"Thanks, I just wish this was easier," mumbled Max as he started for the door. "Thank you for listening to me."

"I have a question before you go," Dmitry said as he got up off the bed. "Why didn't you go to your parents and ask them for advice? I mean, that's what they're supposed to be there for, right?"

"I'm afraid of my father, and my mother went insane when she was young," replied Max as he pulled the door open. "I'm not really sure why they married at all. I...I'd rather not get into that tonight."

"That's okay Max," said Dominic as he got up and walked to the door. "Maybe some other day. You can come to us any time though. We may not always have the answer though; we're just as young as you are."

Max nodded, "Thank you."

"Anytime," replied Dominic.

Max left and Dominic closed and locked the door behind him.

"Now, where were we," Dominic said with an evil grin as he looked back over at Dmitry.

Dmitry giggled, "And you say I'm horny."

"Actually, you said that," Dominic said as he pulled Dmitry into his arms.

"I love you Dom."

"I love you to DT."