The Lords of Atlantis

Author's note:  

This story is part of the back story for the Atlantis Unleashed Universe  as a whole.  It actually deals with my world's premier hero, the one whose name I use as a pen-name: Cobalt-Blue.  It takes place directly following the events of Paraforce 2: Murphy's Law.  Several of the characters mentioned in passing can be found in the stories, Cattin' AroundA Gathering of Gatherings, and What Once Was Lost.  Dacyn, my character from Imperial Entanglementsis the youngest son of Katherine and Dannon mentioned in this story.

As always I appreciate feedback.  I can be reached at Cobalt-Blue.

    Katherine awoke and looked at the chronometer; no it was a clock.  She had to remind herself to think in English.  It had been a long time since she'd thought in English.  After five hundred years of living in Earth's ancient past she'd almost forgotten how to use the language of her birth.   Now that they were back in the twenty-first century she was having more trouble adjusting to returning to English than her husbands.
    The clock read 6:25 in tall Arabic letters, not the neat Atlantean script to which she was accustomed.  There was a stirring downstairs in the main foyer. She cast her mind out to find out what it was.  Someone was insisting that Vander, their chamberlain awaken them, to give them some news.  Vander, however had not attained his position by panicking easily and was quietly biding his time.  He knew that she would be rising soon anyway and was giving them the time to do it on their own.  
    She sat up in the huge bed of their chambers and smiled at the sleeping forms of her husbands.  Even after all these years, after all the centuries together they had not changed much.  Adam was on the outside on one side, and Sloan on the other, always vigilant, always the first line of defense; then she was next to Adam's massive form, and Dannon's slight form, spooning up to Sloan; finally sweet quiet William in the middle. She realized that there was an underlying psychological message in the order of their sleeping arrangements, but she didn't like to think about it.  William was not the weakest; in some ways, he was the strongest among them.  He'd been the one to finally bring down their ages-old enemy, the sorcerer Shadu.  He'd done it, not with magic, not with a blaster, and not with his powers.  He'd simply stuck a boot-knife into the sorcerer's black heart; simple, effective, and deadly.
    "Do you have to think so loud?" Adam asked sleepily next to her.    
    "Was I thinking loudly?" she asked with a smile.
    He turned to face her, his cobalt blue eyes smiling up at her. "Not really.  Didn't you know that every time you touch my mind I notice?  We all do.  I just wake up when you do it."
    She smiled and snuggled down against him, feeling the steely hard warmth of his flesh against hers.  It was exciting.  Adam as probably the most powerful transhuman to ever walk the Earth.  His physical strength rivaled that of any other being on the planet, physically, he was totally indestructible, and was virtually immortal.  Of course they all were. In the five hundred years that had passed while in ancient Atlantis, physically, they'd barely left their teen years.  Dannon hadn't even made it to the middle of his.  "Why do you wake up when I touch your mind?" she asked.
    He pulled her gently into his arms and held her against him. "To make sure that you are okay.  I do the same whenever any of you wake up."
    "Even me?" Sloan asked from across the other side of the bed.    
    "Even you, love," he said.
    "We're not going anywhere Adam," Sloan said.  "Nobody is going to take us away."    
    "I know," he replied.  "And I'm going to make sure of that."
    "Does this mean it's time to get up?" Dannon asked snuggling closer to Sloan as his blond hair bunched up on top of his head.  
    "Three minutes twenty seconds," William said patting him gently on his naked bottom.
    "What three minutes and twenty seconds?" Sloan asked.
    "That long until Vander open the door to tell us that there's a representative from Paraforce 1 downstairs."
    "I thought Dannon and Katherine were the telepaths," Adam said. "You know this how?"
    William reached across Katherine pressing his naked body against her to brush Adam's hair out of his eyes and said, "Because the Imperial Defense computers told me that he'd entered airspace an hour ago.  The house computer told me that he was downstairs, twenty minutes ago, and it just told me that Vander had left Quantum in the library with a promise to wake us."
    "You've got the house computers spying for you now?" Katherine asked reveling in the feel of having Adam's body pressed against one side of her and William's against the other.
    He gently kissed her on the nose and said, "They aren't spying.  I just set up some parameters so that we won't have any more ill-timed interruptions."   
    "Like the one that is about to happen?" Sloan asked.
    "No, like the one that would have happened if we didn't know about the fact that it was impending," he said.  "Now the question is, who gets to answer the door?"
    "I will," Dannon said rolling over Sloan as there was brief chime from the signal at the ceiling.  Katherine watched in admiration as the young-looking man, pulled on his robe.  For the millionth time in her life she smiled at the fact that although Dannon was physically smaller than all of them- Katherine included- he had the greatest male endowment of all four of her husbands.  
    He touched a pad on the wall to activate the privacy screen between the door and the bed and Katherine felt the energy field snap into place along the floor.  They could see the door with perfect clarity, but anyone looking toward the bed would only see a dark wall of shadow.  
    "My Lord, I am sorry to awaken you early, but there is a representative from the American Team, Paraforce 1 downstairs.  He says that he has an urgent message for the Lords of Atlantis from an unnamed member of he American military," the tall golden-skinned man told Dannon.
    "Maybe it's from Admiral Storm" Sloan said. "She's the one in charge of Shadowforce."
    "And is Quantum's mother.  If she sent him personally, that means it's something serious," William added.
    "Since when is Quantum on Paraforce 1?" Adam asked rolling out of bed and pulling on his robe.
    "Since half the team died at Wolf Creek.  He and Razorwing agreed to a posting to Paraforce 1 to try to fill in gaps left by the loss of Eclipse, Scream, Edge, and Feral," Katherine told her husbands.  She remembered the devastation of that day in the Mountains of North Alabama.  Too many transhumans had died and some of them were the greatest names since Katherine's and her husband's fathers and mothers had fought Shadu and the Valhalla Squadron during World War Two.  Actually two of her husbands: Sloan and Dannon had fought the same war as their parents as the teenage members of the Homeguard team.
    "Maybe we'd better check it out then," William said crawling down to the foot of the huge bed they all shared and grabbing his own robe.  "If a member of Paraforce 1 is delivering a message from Admiral Storm, that suggests it's too hot to go through normal channels.  That means it's very sensitive intelligence."
    Adam and Katherine exchanged knowing glances.  When William started sounding like that, it meant that he thought it was something serious.  All four of them had long ago learned to listen very carefully to what he had to say when that happened.  They nodded and quickly joined him.
    Meanwhile on the other side of the privacy screen, Dannon told Vander, "Tell Quantum we will join him shortly.  We don't mean to keep him waiting."
    "Very well, My Lord," Vander said as he bowed and exited the suit.
    "He flew all the way from North America?" Sloan asked pulling on his slacks and tunic.
    "It's no big deal.  Moonwind could have done it, I'm sure," Dannon said.  "And he probably wouldn't have set of the Imperial Defense Computers.  Actually considering the nature of Quantum's powers, he probably set them off intentionally to keep from spooking the Aeronavy."
    If anyone understood Quantum's powers, it would be Dannon. They shared almost exactly the same powers set; which makes sense because they are both the only survivors of a ground-zero AGG genesis event.  The only other person she could think of that had a similar power set was Noah Hale, the spiritwalker for the First Pride.  All three men shared similar powers, but there were differences.  Dannon and Quantum couldn't talk to ghosts, like Hale could.  Quantum couldn't read minds like Dannon and Noah can, and as smart as both Dannon and Noah, are they don't have nearly the intellect that Quantum has.     Katherine smiled at the thought as she sat at her dressing table and pulled her long golden hair back into a simple but elegant bun.  She would have to see her hairdresser later in the day for any official public appearances, but for now the bun would do.  She briefly considered a dressing gown, but opted for a simple Atlantean half-tunic over her bodysuit.  It served the requirements of modesty, while at the same time kept her warm.  Early mornings in October could be downright cold in Thule.
    Turning she found her husbands dressed and ready.  She saw that both Dannon and William had chosen a simple men's tunic over their bodysuits.  Sloan and Adam on the other hand simply chosen a short tunic over heavy leggings.   She smiled at the thought.  In their minds, they were the only two of the five of them that were allowed to leave the palace without those body suits.  They acted as more than just for comfort and modesty, they were also a form of high tech armor that would become rigid when impacted with kinetic force, and could absorb a whole range of energy attacks.  She, Dannon, and William had long since learned it was easier to wear the simple garment than to argue with Adam and Sloan about it.
    "Ready to find out what message Quantum is carrying from his mother?" Adam asked offering her his arm.    
    "Lead on Husband," she said.  It had taken her almost two hundred years to break Adam to the trappings and mannerisms of the nobility.  Dannon had shifted into the social graces of a noble quite easily.  Sloan and Willy had taken some work but they eventually came around.  Adam, however had fought the idea of acting like a noble in court tooth and nail.  It had finally taken Emperor Racyn III to convince him that he could be a more effective leader among the Atlanteans if he'd stop acting like a backwoods farmboy from Gondowa.  I think being compared to the Gondowans was what had finally brought it home to him.  People who would rather starve than hold a fishing pole irritated Adam.    
    She took him by the arm and the two led the others down the long elaborate hall, past the guards who stood sentry to the Imperial Quarters and onto the main balcony.  They descended the long winding marble staircase and entered the library to find Quantum standing at the window looking out over the grey granite cliffs to the wild North Sea spray beneath them.  Imperial forecasters were predicting an early and fierce storm season this year, and from the looks of things, they were right.  It promised to be a cold and dreary October day.
    Quantum himself was tall and whipcord thin.  His longish black hair hung to his shoulder like shining coal.  Katherine could see his deep blue eyes studying the sea beyond the reinforced glass with a disapproving frown.  She smiled at how young he seemed.  Barely nineteen, but there was the wisdom of a seasoned warrior behind those eyes.  She noted how his non-reflective black costume clung hungrily to his well-toned body like intimate shadows. 
    "I'm sorry to keep you waiting, Quantum.  What can we do for you?" Adam said with an infectious smile.
    He turned and gave the quintet a startled look.  Raising an eyebrow he said, "Sorry, I guess I was expecting your costumes."
   Katherine chuckled, "If you'd like, we could go change, but Vander seemed to think that what you had to tell us was important."
    He sighed and said, "Sorry Phantasia.  I guess I was being silly." 
    "Something has you discomforted?" William asked. 
    Quantum smiled and said, "Someone in the US and I'm not at liberty to say who, wanted me to give you some information.  Something has happened out west. Something that the administration is ignoring, but they think is important, and think that you might understand it better than us."
    "What is it?" Sloan asked and offered the young man a seat.    
    "Gates Murphy put together a team, twisted the rules a little bit and managed to drive the Blasters out of Bodego Bay.  Actually they captured three of them: Sister Slice, Stretch, and Da Man.  Hardcase got away, and Firefury is missing in action.   Last anybody saw of her, she was hitting the deck at close to a hundred sixty clicks an hour."
    Adam raised an eyebrow, "And this is disturbing how?"
    Quantum smirked.  "That's the good side of the situation.  The administration is threatening to court martial Captain Lee.  I'm not sure how that's going to play out.  He was technically within the parameters of his orders with what happened, but the law has never really meant a hell of a lot to that idiot in the White House.  The problem though comes from the refugee Paraforce 2 picked up."
    "There's a Paraforce 2, now?" Sloan asked.
    Quantum nodded, "Yeah, Murphy got a Shan Defender and a group of nocturnals calling themselves the The Wrought and went in with that new submersible carrier that just came on line and liberated the island.  The administration is doing everything it can to cover up the stories coming from the survivors.   As usual the legacy media is towing his party line and trying to ignore it."
    "Wait a minute," Katherine asked. "What do you mean survivors?  Did this new team do that much damage?"
    Quantum shook his head sadly. "No, I mean the survivors from what the Blasters and her gang bangers did to the citizens.  Out of a population of a thousand souls forty five were still alive, all of them women under the age of thirty and most of the pregnant.  No men survived and no children under ten survived."
    "And the administration just sat and let this happen?" Sloan demanded.  Katherine could see his knuckles turn white as he clenched his fists.
    "The president said he had to consider all of his options before he went in.  Hardcase was spouting the same kind of rhetoric as the president's form pastor, so he was loathe to be seen as using military force against her.  While he was thinking about what to do, American citizens were dying."
    "So, how did Murphy get Congress to approve funding a new Paraforce 2 team?  I mean they were dead-set against spending any more money for the Department of Nocturnal Affairs or the Department of Transhuman Affairs," Dannon asked.
    Quantum smiled, "Nothing succeeds like success.  The team had no backing whatsoever when it went in.  When the news of what happened there got out, and trust me, Murphy knows the right people to call to make sure it got out, the calls to Congress shut down the switchboard.  As the stories started hitting the new media, they decided the best way to shut her up was to give her what she wanted."
    "How about Captain Lee?" Dannon asked.  "How do you think that will turn out?"
    Quantum shrugged, "Probably a little better than Oliver North.  He won't get a pension, but they'll pin a medal on him and then get him to quietly resign.  I know Mom wants to hire him as an independent contractor, and Murphy has said there will always be a place in Murphy's Law for him."
    "Somebody does what's right and they lose their job," Adam murmured.  "Hell of a way to run a railroad."
    Quantum chuckled and said, "You sound like Mom.  I agree, it sucks and not in the good- my boyfriend has no gag reflex way.  But that's not the half of it."  He handed Adam an Atlantean data-drive.  "Somebody in the US and I'm not at liberty to say who, said you needed to see this information.  They wonder if it has anything to do with that Kheltian Nesting Stone that Shadu had."
    Katherine took it from him and walked over to the large desk in the library.  Touching the hardened oak surface she waited for the embedded computer to recognize her, and then lay the drive on the surface.  Five seconds later, a three dimensional image of young teenage boy with blond hair and golden eyes appeared to float over the desk.  As the image turned, it became clear the stylized organic armor that he was wearing was more for ceremonial purposes than it was for protection.   Katherine noted that it left the vast majority of his bare backside exposed, and who ever designed had decided to put nipples on the interlocking breastplates.  The desk began to speak:

Codename: Dragonphyre.  Power Rating:  Class 20. Possible extra-planar being showing transhuman powers without carrying the gene.  Claims to be one of the Dragonborn, a race of humans who've been fighting a hidden dragon menace on his Earth for the past twenty thousand years.  Claims that the dragons of his world have now entered ours with plans of conquest.  Allegations of dragons penetrating our realm of existence possibly confirmed by transhumans known as Witchcat, Magelight, and Lifeforce.  Subject has been scanned by bonded telepaths who confirm his story.

    "That information has about to be classified as top secret by the Director of the CIA.  Since about half of the president's advisors can't pass a security clearance check, the information won't be going to them.  The Director is trying to bury it so deep that nobody finds out about it.  Between the situation in Afghanistan melting down, Iran developing nukes, North Korea acting up, and now the loss of California, they feel the American people don't need any more bad news," Quantum said.
    "Never heard of anything called the Dragonborn," Adam said.  "The only known case of the Kheltian's mating with humans resulted in the eventual fall of the Atlantean Empire and that was after we went into time suspension."
    Quantum raised an eyebrow at that.  "Do you know anybody who might be able to help?"
    "If you can find Sam Hawkes, the old math teacher at the Homeguard Academy, he may be able to help you.  When it comes to arcane legends, the only person I know of who surpasses his level of knowledge is Avalon," Sloan told him as Dannon nodded in agreement.  "You may also want to consider contacting the Pride in Miami.  I understand they have contact with some very powerful mystical forces."
    "We're trying to avoid Avalon.  She and the magecats tend to react very negatively to any mention of dragons."
    "I can understand that.  They are rather dedicated to their Gods, and dragons are not seen as anything other than the scion of the Jotuns to the Nordic peoples," Katherine told him.  "I think Professor Hawkes or the Pride may be your best bet.  In the meantime, we'll check into what we can."
    "I'd appreciate it if you'd keep this conversation on the DL for now," Quantum said.  "Challenger isn't comfortable doing this end run around the president."
    "How do you like working with him?" Dannon asked.
    Quantum smiled, "It can be a bit difficult.  I can see why Mr. Knox wanted an established couple to join the team instead of a couple of single heroes.  They don't take to outsiders very easily.  It's not that they're unfriendly, it's just that there's a clear boundary between professional and personal interactions.  If it wasn't for Razorwing, I'd be spending a great deal of my time alone in my lab.  Don't get me wrong, I understand where they're coming from.  Feral was Moonwind's sister, Eclipse was her husband.  Scream was Eclipse's brother and Edge his wife.  For them it was losing two brothers and two sisters, not just teammates.    Razorwing and I are still just teammates, not family.  I don't know if we ever will be."  He leaned back and smiled.  "Actually Challenger is a lot like you, Blue," he told Adam.  "Upfront, honest, and one hell of an inspirational leader.  Moonwind is the silent genius type. He and I actually do have conversations in the labs.  Stride and Morn take their roles as rolemodels for black and Asian kids very serious.  They won't do anything to besmirch the trust they feel the American people put in them by making them Paraforce 1.  None of us will."
    Adam nodded and said, "That's good to hear.  In this day and age of crooked politicians and sleazy celebrities, people need heroes willing to be larger than life."
    "Even if most of us are queer as football bats?" Quantum said jokingly.
    "We can't help it if the gene that makes us what we are also lines up with the gene for same-sex attraction.  According to the Atlantean Church, Kiera Atlan wanted it that way to teach her children the importance of love," Adam said.  It wasn't like him to quote the teachings of the Atlantean religion, it wasn't something that any of them did very much.  Their conversion had taken so long, had been so gentle and so subtle that none of them ever realized it had happened until well after it had wrapped itself around their hearts. 
    Quantum chuckled and said, "Trust me, neither me nor by boyfriend are arguing with you.  It's just a rather juicy piece of irony that the real heroes left in the world, the real men, are the ones with boyfriends."
    Sloan smiled and said, "That's not entirely true.  Shadow Shroud and Night Angel are both straight.  So is Stride, and so was Eclipse, and Scream, and the Swordsman, and Midean Knight, and American Ace, Whyte Wolf, Sun Dancer, and Angel Blue.  There are more straight heroes than gay, or bisexual.  It's just that certain powers line up with our genetic code more often than others, and one of those was strength and durability; another was your particular power set.  But most, not all, but most of the male psis in the world are straight, as are most of the energy projectors."
    "What about the villains?" Quantum asked.  "Was Krieger really gay?  Is it true that the reason he had always been on the wrong side of history was because someone was holding that over his head?"
    Dannon nodded, "Yep. That is until Avalon brought his partner to us keep safe."
    "He turned over his lover to the sons and daughter of his arch enemy?" Quantum asked shocked.
    Dannon nodded, "An enemy who'd always acted honorably is preferable to a backstabbing ally.  By putting the young man in our care, he ensured that Shadu couldn't get to him.  He knew he had to trust someone, and we didn't fail him."
    "Where is he now?" Quantum asked.
    "The lover or Krieger?" Katherine asked.
    "Both I guess."
    "They're some where safe. Somewhere where they can start over and live out their lives as they choose instead of how the UN or Shadu would have them," Adam said rather fiercely.   The amount of loyalty the young hero felt toward his father's most powerful foe was in some ways very odd, and at the same time understandable.  Adam nearly worshiped his father, American Ace, and although he and Krieger had been on opposite sides of the war, the former German warrior had nothing but good things to say about the man.  It was the respect of one soldier for another.
    Quantam looked down at his wrist and frowned.  "I need to get back.  By the time I clear your airspace, I'm going to have to fly pretty damn fast and low to make it back to the States in time to not be missed."
    "We'll see what we can find out about these Dragonborn," Katherine told him.  "Try to keep us in the loop about what's going on on your side.  Since Atlantis declared itself a sovereign nation, travel to the US is more difficult for us."
    "Will do," he said rising from his chair and shaking first Katherine's and then Adam's hand. 
    He made his way down the line of transhumans the world had begun to call the Lords of Atlantis.  The last in that line was Dannon who smiled up at him and said, "There's a nasty storm brewing out there.  They're calling for thirty foot swells.  I wouldn't drop below two hundred feet if I were you, otherwise the wind'll slam you right into the deck."
    "Sounds like you're talking from experience." Quantum told the younger looking man.
    "I am.  Not everything we did in World War Two was fighting Nazis.  Some of it was rescue work," Dannon told him.  "I got slammed into the North Atlantic my first outing in a hurricane.  It wasn't a pleasant experience."
    "I"ll keep that in mind," Quantum told him.  "But I may not have much choice.  There are people at the Eisenhower Building we don't want to know where I've been."
    "Understood.  Just be careful," Dannon said as they watched Vander escort him to the door.
    "Why do I have a bad feeling about all this?" Sloan asked.
    "Because it's about to get worse.  The free world has always been able to count on the US to stand up for freedom and justice.  We can't do that now.  Someone else is going to have to fill that role, and I get the feeling that people are going to start looking toward us and the Shan Confederation," Adam said.  "It's a sad age we live in."
     "Where do you think we should look for information on these Dragonborn?" 
    "How about from the only real source we have?" Dannon suggested.  "Katherine and I can go talk to the boy."
    "You think that you might get more out of reading his mind than Coldfire?" Sloan asked.
    "No, I thought I'd simply ask him.  Knocking down the mind shields of a potential ally is never a good idea.  Sometimes people are willing to share information for simply asking nicely."  He smiled over at his husbands and then said, "And nobody asks nicer than me and Katherine."
    "That'll work, but only if you take one of us with you," Sloan said.
    Dannon grinned over at William and asked, "Willie, do you feel like a trip to the California Islands?"
    William chuckled and looked up from where he was studying the rest of the data on the computer and said, "I think they meant one of them, and I would have at agree.  If you're going into a that kind of chaos, I'd prefer Cobalt-Blue or Victory to be there to make people think twice about any mischief."
    "You're getting as bad as they are," Dannon said. "Katherine and I can more than take care of ourselves."
    "We know that," William said.  "But not everyone else does, and sometimes the threat of a wall of muscle goes a lot farther than than the threat of scrawny thirteen year old with a smart mouth."
    "I am not thirteen," Dannon said.
    "No, you're well over five hundred years old.  But most people don't realize that, and you still look like a thirteen year old.  Adam and Sloan may look nineteen, but it's a big nineteen," William said.  "Trust me, it's makes a difference."
    "You know the US may not want to grant us a diplomatic Visa.  It is a catastrophe zone, and we are technically the representatives of a foreign power," Katherine said.
    "Doesn't the High Quester have a humanitarian chapter in the area delivering medical attention and supplies to the area?"  William suggested.
    "You're right.  It's in Las Vegas.  I also remember authorizing a Force Squadron to guard their facility from raiders," Sloan said.  "You could always be going to shore up morale and deliver some new equipment.  Quantum did say that those women were pregnant by their rapists.  I'm sure we can find several healers who'd be willing to offer their services as counselors and as doctors."
    "I take it that means you think it should be me that acts as Willie's wall of muscle?" Adam said.
    Sloan smiled, "I have something I want to check at the Library in Tien-Keirr."
    "We're going to sunny Las Vegas, and you want to go to the South Pole," Dannon teased  Sloan.  "Suit yourself."
    "Hey we all have to make sacrifices for the Empire," Sloan said.
    "What are you going to to do, William?" 
    "Someone has to be here to deal with the opening of Embassy Row.  I'll be receiving our guests' diplomatic credentials," the handsome brunette answered with a smile.
    "Why do you think I'm going to the South Pole?" Sloan said.
    "Do you think the world will be safe if we leave William in charge of diplomacy for a few days?" Dannon asked.
    "The Empire will be, the world may belong to us when we get back if they piss him off," Katherine joked as she pressed the chime to summon their Chamberlain.


    Several hours later Doctor Sloan Carter was on a sub-orbital shuttle between Thule and Antarctica. The aircraft was an example of the advance technology that he and his family had preserved and brought forward in time with them.  At it's height, the Atlantean Empire had spanned more than just Earth, but several star systems as well.  Quantum's father had been a scientist from the Meirrian Empire stranded here when the university he worked for canceled his funding.  Meirria had been a former Atlantean colony that had fled the building civil war that had led to Sloan and his family taking their holdings into time suspension for three thousand centuries. 
    Of course  technology that had allowed that had been a gift from a source that Sloan had rather not think about.  It wasn't something that even the Empire had access to at the time, and the cost of it had been their only daughter.  Actually it was an attempt at payment from the Time Lords when they insisted that Winter would be better off educated by them than by her family.  The war that had set off, had threatened to become very very devastating; to the point that a future version of Winter herself had stepped in and stopped it.  She'd agreed to go with the Time Lords, but the technology was the cost, and she made it clear to them that she'd make them regret it later.
    Sloan shook himself out of the funk that those memories threatened to drag him into.  Nothing could be done about it now.  Three thousand centuries had passed, and they had not been able to contact her in this time.  If she were still alive, then she'd contact them.  If not, then that was one more thing Merlin would eventually pay for.  He watched as the Earth rotated under them as they reached orbit and the sky outside the ports shifted from blue to black. 
    "My Lord, we'll be starting our descent soon.  We're currently being tracked by the Russians, the Americans, the Chinese, and North Korea," the steward said coming from the forward area.  Sloan was shocked at how young he seemed, barely past the age of majority.  His skin had that golden bronze cast to it that was shared by most Atlanteans- especially those with the gifted gene- making his dark blue eyes and black hair appear to almost glow.  The Atlanteans were what the various writers using the pen name Kenneth Robeson were shooting for when they described their most famous pulp hero.
    "Thank you steward," he told the young man.
    "Is there anything you desire, My Lord?" the young man asked.
    Sloan shook his head and turned back toward the port.  "No thank you."
    "Very well," the young man replied and disappeared forward.  Briefly Sloan wondered at the rumors that must passing through the Admirals at the Aeronavy after two jump shuttles had been requested for the Royal House on such short notice.  Usually, they liked to be informed when the Royal Personages moved about the world. 
    They were very quick to point out that the five of them represented the last high noble house of the empire: House Atlan.  All noble ranks, duchies, and holdings now originated from them, and their safety had become paramount to both the Legions and Aeronavy.  He suspected that they were throwing less of a fit over his movements than that of Adam, Katherine, and Dannon.  He was at least traveling from one Atlantean city to another. They were leaving the security of imperial forces entirely.  He wondered how much of a security detail  the Admiralty had saddled them with.
    As he felt the shuttle's gravity shift subtly and they began their descent, he leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes.  Time had become such a twisted companion for him and his family, that reality sometimes seemed as fluid as the air around them.  He'd been born in the late nineteen twenties, the son of a US Army officer.  He'd traveled over most of the US as a boy, and when the War had started in forty-two, he'd moved to Washington. It wasn't long after arriving there that he'd met  Dannon Griffin,  and had gotten a first hand exposure to the Atlantean Gifted Gene Virus from the other boy.
    The two had become very good friends, but neither had ever crossed the line that they both knew was there and they both wanted desperately to cross.   They became part of the War Departments effort to deploy teenage transhumans inside the United States to deal with Nazi spies, fifth columnists, and the occasional transhuman villain.  He'd even gotten himself a girlfriend, in the form of Amanda Nelson, his teammate and the heroine Yankee Zephyr.
    As Victory, he led Yankee Zephyr, Northwind, Sky Dancer, and eventually the mage, Gate on various missions that were as exciting as they were dangerous.  They were doing quite well until Gate joined the team. The young mage seemed to have something to prove, he was always looking for insult where none was meant, and he was always picking on poor Dannon, who'd always been small for his age. His attitude was throwing the whole team off balance, and Sloan had been on the verge of asking that Gate be transfered off the team when disaster had struck.
    That fateful day was a blustery Autumn one where the weather couldn't decide if it was going to rain or snow, but only knew that it was in a foul mood.  The training exercise that had gone oh so wrong would be accented by a building thunderstorm that would do almost as much damage as the quake.  Gate, in an attempt to prove himself had opened one of his gates directly from the Earth's core to the surface at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.  He was trying to impress the brass by incinerating a target tank from below.
    Nobody at the time really understood how his "hell gates" worked;  they didn't understand that they literally weakened the fabric of space between points.   He picked exactly the wrong two spots to weaken and had set off an earthquake on the Delmarva Peninsula that threatened to sink it and Washington DC into the Atlantic. 
    That had marked one of the saddest days in Sloan's young life.  Dannon had acted without thought, and without concern for his own safety. Sloan also suspected that maybe Dannon was looking for a way out of the dance the two were doing.  He'd plunged himself inside the gate and and pushed his telekinesis to the absolute limit.  By sheer force of will alone, he'd held the plate together, and sealed the weak points.   But he'd disappeared, and was assumed dead.  The press had had a field day.
    Americans weren't quite ready for the children to go to war, to have them not return home.  Within a month, the team had been shut down, and been farmed out.  Beth had returned to her family in New England, and Amanda to Kansas.  Nobody knew what ever became of Gate.
    Two years later when he turned eighteen, Sloan volunteered for the Army and actually made it to the European theater, a sad and determined young man.   He'd lost himself in his duty, and by the time the war was over had decided to stay in for a while.  He completed a full twenty year stint first as an enlisted man and then as a mustang, rising to the rank of Major before finally retiring in '69. 
    Right after the war, he'd looked up Amanda and they began dating again.  Eventually they married and stayed together for almost ten years.  Finally, they'd divorced amicably, her pointedly telling him that she was not the one he really loved and that it was time he realized that. 
    Over those twenty years, he did come to realize that she was right.  He also came to realize that his aging had pretty much halted.  He slowly discovered the power to adjust his apparent age along about a twenty year scale, but for the most part, he did not feel the effects of it. He could appear to be anywhere from around fifteen to thirty-five. More importantly, he came to realize that not only was Amanda right, but that he'd loved Dannon Griffin, and deeply regretted never getting a chance to act on it.
    After the military, he drifted through several careers, including a time when he published Dannon's science fiction and fantasy stories that the young hero had written while on the team.  On a wild hair, he'd invested that money in Dannon's name and simply let it sit and accrue interest.  Stagflation in the nineteen seventies had threatened to wipe that money out, but he'd acted quickly and reinvested it into something that would eventually provide his once and future partner with a rather nice nest egg.
    In the nineties, he'd been approached by Beth and Amanda with the possibility of opening a transhuman school in Atlanta based off their old school in DC.  They'd convinced him and Sam Hawkes to come to work as both teachers and financial backers as well as sitting on the board of regents.  He found he genuinely liked teaching and molding young minds.
    Then in the fall of 2001 life hit him in the face with a two-by-four.  The courts in Atlanta came to them with young transhuman who had no ID, and no memory.  All he had was a name: Dannon Griffin.  He was the spitting image of their Dannon, his  Dannon. 
    At first Beth and Mandy had hidden him from Sloan. They ran every test in the book to try and figure out who he was.  When they ran out of tests, they started making up new ones.  They all pointed to one fact: This was Dannon Griffin, and something had burned out his memory until there was nothing left but his name and basic language skills.
    He was admitted to the school that term and Sloan's life had turned into a living hell. There were rules about certain things, and he wasn't about to cross those lines.  He'd hidden behind the school's military code all the way up until December.  Then terrorists set off dual dirty nukes in the US. The first wiped out the city of Orlando, Florida.  Dannon and his team stopped the second.  Dannon saved the city of Atlanta by flying the back-pack nuke miles above the city and then absorbing most of the blast.
    He'd been drunk as a skunk from the energy overload.  He'd probably had succumbed to the blast if it hadn't been for his teammate Libert-T had followed him on the trip up.  There was no way that Dannon Griffin would let a friend die if it was in his power to stop it, and it had been.  Instead he absorbed the heat, the light, the radiation, and the kinetic blast all at once and had become intoxicated.
    That had also been the impetus for him to start regaining his memories.  The first one to return were those of who he really was, and what his life had been like back in the thirties and and forties.  The hard part came later; the memories of where he'd spent the following fifty-plus years. 
    Dannon had kept asking for him while in the infirmary.  Finally, Sloan had relented and gone to see him.  What happened next shocked Sloan.  Dannon had kissed him hard and seriously.  It took every ounce of Sloan's will power to walk away from that kiss and return to his room to pack.  He'd decided to leave the school; give Dannon a chance at the teenage life he'd never gotten.
    Dannon had other ideas.   In the wee hours of the night, Sloan was sitting composing a letter of resignation when his door opened.  No knock, no warning, Dannon had simply telekinetically picked the lock and walked in.  "Sloan Michael Carter, it's time you and I had a long talk," he said.
    Sloan turned to see Dannon standing there in his cadet uniform and raised an eyebrow. "Aren't you supposed to be the infirmary cadet lieutenant?"
    "To hell with the cadet lieutenant crap, Sloan.  We were cadets back at the War Department.  That got us nowhere."
    "War Department?" Sloan asked raising an eyebrow. Surely his memory hadn't returned that much.
    "War Department, nineteen forty three and forty four.  You were Victory, and I was Sky Dancer.  You were making time with that leggy speedster from Kansas, and I was trying to make myself hate her and you for it," Dannon said.
    "What of it?" Sloan asked.
    Dannon stepped into the room and the door closed of its own volition.  Sloan heard the lock click into place.  "I may not remember where I have been for the last sixty years, but I sure as hell know what I felt back then and what I feel right now, Sloan.   It hasn't changed. I know what I've wanted since that first day you heard me sobbing in our quarters and held me while I cried out my grief over my folks." He walked over to where Sloan was still sitting at his desk.  He looked down at the computer screen and shook his head. "You're not running away from me, Sloan. I'll follow you to the ends of time itself.  We've got unfinished business."
    "What unfinished business?" Sloan asked.
    "That kiss in the infirmary for one," Dannon said.
    "That was out of line, Cadet," Sloan said.
    "Cut the cadet crap, Sloan.  You're my teacher now, so what?  You don't have to be.  I can withdraw from the school."
    "They'll put me under the jail for what you want, Dannon," Sloan had protested.
    "Who will?" he asked.  "Beth and Mandy don't care.  All they're worried about is that this might hurt the school.  It doesn't have to.  Even Professor Hawkes understands that I'm not a thirteen year old."
    "Maybe so, but the law doesn't work that way Dannon," Sloan had replied.
    Dannon sat down on the bed, tears were welling up in his eyes. "I know you still want me Sloan.  I can see it the way you look at me, I can feel it in your mind.  You're not some sick dirty old man.  I can feel what's inside of you.  You don't want Ethan.  You don't even want Ryan, and he'd jump your bones in a heartbeat.   This isn't an attraction to little boys, it's an attraction to me, damn it!"
    "Try telling that to a judge," Sloan said.
    "I could, you know," Dannon said with a smile. "I could make anyone investigating forget what they were looking for.  I could make a judge dismiss the charges...,"
    "No, Dannon!" Sloan had protested.  "That's not what your powers are for!  They're for helping people, not running roughshod over the law."
    "Then what do you suggest I do, Sloan? What do you suggest we do?  Technically, I'm not thirteen years old; I'm over seventy.  I was born June tenth nineteen thirty, to Daniel and Victoria Griffith in Bethesda, Maryland.  I was at Pearl Harbor when the Japs attacked it on December seventh nineteen forty-one.  I watched my house burn to the ground and was carried back the United States by my father before he died from the AGG virus he'd been working on.  I fought beside you when we took down that Japanese sub that sailed up the Potomac, I pulled your butt out of the water when you took that torpedo to the chest.  You ripped that deck gun out of its moorings when they shot me with it.  I stood there shaking in my boots when we thought your Dad was going to kill us both for sneaking out that night.  Damn it Sloan, this is me!  It's Dannon Griffin!  It's Squirt!  What do you suggest I do?  Do you really want me to walk out that door?"  Tears were streaming down his face by that point.
    "I don't know Dannon," Sloan had said standing up.  He never could stand to see Dannon cry; not that first night at the boarding school when he'd cried over missing his parents, not the night he'd purposefully not gone to him when he'd caught Sloan kissing Mandy, and not now.  He reached out and wrapped his huge arms around the smaller boy, and pulled him off the bed and tightly to his chest. 
    "I came back for you, Sloan.  All I know is that the thought of finding you again was the only thing that kept me going all those long years of battle.  Coming back to you, loving you Sloan," he said burying his head in the broad chest of the man that had loved him for sixty years.
    Sloan held him and let him cry, gently stroking the blond hair and kissing the top of his smaller head.  "Shhhhhhhh, Dannon," he whispered.  "We'll work it out.   I've been thinking about something for a while now.  Maybe it's time."
    Dannon slowly took control of his sobbing and pulled back and looked up at his oldest friend. "What?"
    "Sloan Carter has been around for seventy four years.  I'm starting to attract attention.  Maybe it's time for this Sloan Carter to go away forever."
    "You're not going to leave me, Sloan!" Dannon suddenly gripped him with a strength that threatened to break ribs. 
    "Shhh, I'm not going to leave you," Sloan said.  Tilting the young man's head back to look into his eyes, his heart melted.  Nothing had changed in nearly sixty years.  He was still the same blue-eyed scrawny kid who'd wormed his way into Sloan's heart when Sloan had been sixteen and Dannon was thirteen.  It took every bit of will power he had to not lean down and kiss those lips he'd been wanting for most of his adult life.  "I mean that it's time I take a new identity.  Become someone else.  Someone that can love you and nobody will say anything."
    "I don't understand," Dannon said, not letting go. 
    "No, I don't guess you would.   It's a little power I discovered right after I left the Army," he told him.
    "What?" Dannon asked wiping his nose on his sleeve.
    "I can turn my age back," Sloan said.  I can change it to between about fifteen when my powers activated, which by the way, in case you didn't know, is your fault, and what it is now.  It takes a while to take effect, but I can do it.  Start a new life as my own son, maybe."
    "You can do that?" Dannon asked.
    Sloan nodded and said, "Yeah I can do that."
    "You would do that for me? Give up your degree, all the advantages of being an adult?  All that money?" Dannon asked.
    Sloan nodded.  "For you?  In a New York minute," he quoted one of their favorite sayings from when they were boys.  He smiled, "Besides, we don't have to give up the money. If I'm my own son, I can always inherit it.  And you aren't exactly poor you know."
    "All I got is what's in my barracks," Dannon said.
    "Not true.  You've got a rather substantial nest egg.  I've been waiting for the right time to tell you this, but I had your stories published.   You're actually a rather famous author."
    "I don't care about that," Dannon said.  "All I care about is you." He buried his face in Sloan's chest and hugged him tight.
    "Okay then," Sloan said.  "Consider it done.  I'll start the process first thing in the morning.  It should take about two months to run my age back that far.  I'll have to disappear for that time though."
    Dannon looked up and asked, "But you'll come back?"
    "You betcha Squirt," he told him.
    "And we can be together forever then?" he asked.
    "You want forever?" Sloan asked.
    "I want forever," Dannon said.
    "Then forever," Sloan said not realizing just how long forever really was going to be, and not caring.
    "Sloan?" Dannon asked.
    "Since you're going to disappear anyway, that means we don't really have to wait do we?" he asked.
    "Wait for what?" Sloan asked.
    Dannon turned his face upwards, reached for the back Sloan's head and pulled him down into a very intense kiss.  He pressed his body tight against Sloan and the bigger man could feel the hard muscles beneath the cadet uniform.  Something long and hard was pressed against his thigh through Dannon's uniform trousers.  "For this," he said and began to roam his hands along Sloan's broad chest.
    "Dannon, you could test the will of a saint," Sloan told him taking him by the shoulders unsure if it was to push the boy away or to bring him closer to him.
    "You're no saint," Dannon said with a smile.  "And I'm seducing you, it's not the other way around."
    "Is this a seduction?" Sloan asked still holding him at bay.
    "Don't send me away Sloan," Dannon pleaded.  "I've waited almost sixty years for this.  I don't care what you look like now.  I don't care what you'll look like in two months.   I want you tonight."
    Sloan frowned slightly at the desperation in Dannon's voice.  "Are you sure about this?"
    A mile wide smile spread across Dannon's face.  "I've never been more sure about anything in my life."
    "I won't send you away then, Dannon," Sloan said.  He knew deep in his heart that he could never send Dannon away.
    The boy once again melted into Sloan's arms and hugged him tightly. This time it was more sensuous, more erotic.  He felt Dannon's hands begin to roam across his broad back, and up under the ratty Stone Mountain Tee-shirt he was wearing.  Nothing had ever felt more right to Sloan at that moment than holding Dannon in  his arms. 
    Without even considering the repercussions, he titled the boy's face up and kissed him long and lingeringly.  It was a gentle kiss, a kiss meant to convey love, and passion, not lust.  He felt Dannon lock his hands behind his head and literally pull himself up his body.  He felt the boy lock his legs around his waist as he deepened the kiss, opening his mouth to invite in the younger man's tongue.
    Dannon didn't wait for a second invitation.  His tongue began to dance inside Sloan's mouth as if trying to climb inside of him.  Sloan had had exactly one lover in his entire life, and that had been forty years and two lifetimes ago.  This was entirely new territory for him, and found himself feeling like a school boy on his first date.
    To this day Sloan did not remember undressing.  One moment he had his arms full of fully dressed Dannon, the next they both were stretched out on his bed, nude as the day they'd been born.  He smiled and looked down at Dannon's naked form.  His body was slim and well toned, and there wasn't an ounce of fat on him, baby or otherwise.  His skin was an almost alabaster white, and there was a hint of a tan line around his neckline.  His legs were almost hairless, and there was just the beginnings of fine blond curls under his arms and above his cock and balls.  Like most boys born in the late twenties, he was uncircumcised.  However unlike most boys or even men, he was hung like a horse.
    The dick that was standing rampant above his smooth stomach was a good nine inches long and maybe six and half in circumference.  It was dripping a small puddle of precum just below the cleft at the top of his ribs.  He was staring over at Sloan's own body with a hunger that bespoke of much greater age than he appeared.
    Sloan shook his head and took the time to look down at his own body and how it stood out in stark contrast to Dannon's.  Where Dannon was thin, wiry, and toned, Sloan was built like a body builder.  He was six one and massed out at nearly two hundred twenty pounds   Where Dannon was smooth over most of his body, Sloan was covered with fine curls of blond hair over his chest, arms and legs. One of Sloan's thighs was the size of both of Dannon's put together.  Sloan's muscles were well sculpted and he realized that he really did fit the comic book ideal of a superhero.  Whereas Dannon had nine inches of maleness, Sloan was more than happy with his own average six inches.  He briefly wondered how Dannon could wear gym shorts for PE.
    "You are unbelievable," he and Dannon said simultaneously.
    "Reading my mind?" he asked the younger man.
    Dannon shook his head. " Not unless you ask me to," the boy said.
   "That could be good or bad," Sloan told him reaching over and running a hand along Dannon's arm and down to his hip to grasp the large member waiting there.
    Dannon closed his eyes and smiled, "You know I've wanted you to do that since that first night in the dorm."
    "I've wanted to do it since then," Sloan told him, leaning and kissing him while running a hand up the long shaft of flesh. "But things were different in nineteen forty-two. This kind of thing wasn't accepted back then."  He felt Dannon reach over and grasp his much smaller but still substantial manhood and began to stroke him.
    "You're going to make me wait for two months after this aren't you?" Dannon said.
    "I don't see any other way," Sloan said. "Besides, you won't want to be around me for the next two months.  The hormones make me grouchy as a grizzly after spring thaw."
   "In that case," Dannon said and pulled him over onto his side and then dove down between his legs.  In an instant, Sloan felt Dannon's hot mouth engulf the head of his dick and begin to work his way down it.  Smiling to himself, he reached over and picked Dannon up by the hips.  It wasn't hard, the boy, no not boy- he kept having to remind himself, Dannon may look thirteen, but he was just three years younger than his own seventy-four- the man didn't weigh much and Sloan could and had in the war, lift a Panzer battle-tank. 
    Sloan found the end of the of Dannon's dick pulled it down to his own mouth.  He was surprised how hard the thing was, considering its size.  He'd always heard that exceptionally well hung men had difficulty getting completely hard.  That didn't seem to be a problem for Dannon.  He pushed the foreskin back and began to lick around the head before plunging his mouth down on it. 
    It was the first time he'd ever held a dick other than his own, much less sucked one. He found that he liked both the taste and texture.  He slowly worked his way down over a little more than half of it before he felt it hit the back of his throat.  He started to gag and quickly backed off and tried it again.  Before long he was working part of it with his mouth, another part with his hand while he played with Dannon's balls.
    It wasn't long before he felt a familiar boiling in his balls.  He pulled off the dick in his mouth and said, "Dannon, I'm about to...," 
    Suddenly Dannon gripped his hips fiercely and buried his face in Sloan's pubes.  The action forced Dannon's dick back against his mouth so he shrugged and resumed what he was doing.  Just as he thought he could take no more, the head of the dick in his mouth swelled and began to spurt hot streams of milky white cum onto the back of his throat.  The musky taste sent him over the edge and he felt his own balls retract tight up into their furry sack as he fired his own volley down Dannon's throat. 
     They both lay there for long moments, trembling before Dannon turned around and kissed him.  He could taste himself on Dannon's breath and decided that he liked the flavor.    Finally the smaller man pulled back and said, "How was that for round one?"
    "It was the best sex of my life."
    "So far it was the only sex of mine," Dannon said.  "But I've got plans for more tonight before you have to leave."
    Sloan had only nodded.  The two made love for most of the night.  Near Dawn, Dannon had crawled out of his bed and returned to his own room in the cadet barracks.  Sloan got the feeling that the other boys may have suspected what had happened, but said nothing.
    The next morning he tendered his resignation to Mandy and Beth and explained his plan.  They agreed to it on the stipulation that they could tranfer Liber-T to the Eton team. Sloan wasn't sure about that idea, but they insisted that having another brick come onto the team would cause her more problems than would be good for her.  He was more worried about how Dannon would take it.  He and Tanya were rather close, but he finally agreed to their terms though.
    At the beginning of the January term, Liber-T transferred to the London team, and Sloan Carter Junior joined the Homeguard team.  He even took his father's old code-name: Victory.  There was a period of fairly quiet bliss for the two young men.  For two years they'd had their fair share of adventures.  Sloan's experience had been a major asset for the team and they did rather well in the first days of the Transhuman Wars against the UN's forces.  It wasn't until, Ryan announced that he'd contracted HIV and resigned from the team that things started going down hill.  The loss of Angelsboi was as severe blow to the team's mystical side, and they never did get to replace him before it all fell apart.
    Liber-T had been killed in London two years later stopping an attack by UNIPACT Prime on the Tower of London.  He and Dannon then traveled to London to find out what happened and ended up in a fight along side Cobalt-Blue, Phantasia and Cyberstar against the sorcerer Shadu on the plains of Salisbury.  That was not the first time he'd laid eyes on Shadu, he'd seen him in battle against American Ace, Tigress, and the rest of the Strikeforce Liberty during World War Two.  It was the first time he'd ever faced off with him though.
    For some reason the sight of him and Dannon with the remaining members of the Eton team had panicked the ancient sorcerer. He threw everything he had at them.  Something went horribly wrong though.  The spell he cast somehow interacted with the energies that Dannon and Phantasia were tossing around along with perhaps the nature of the area where they were fighting.  One minute powerful psychic and magical energies were clashing next to Stonehenge and the next, they were standing between two warring factions of the first Atlantean Civil War.
     "My Lord?" the steward's voice pulled Sloan's mind from the distant past.
     Sloan looked up and smiled again at the young man and asked,"Yes?"
     "The pilot wishes to inform you that we are approaching Tien-Keirr. He wants to know if My Lord has a particular destination in the city in mind?"
     Sloan nodded and said, "Ask the pilot to please set us down at the nearest landing facility to the main Imperial Library that can handle the shuttle." He looked out of the port again and could see the blanket of whiteness that spread out below them. It was currently early spring in Antarctica and the snow had not yet ceased flying. Tien-Keirr was one of the seven House Holdings that they had managed to preserve. Four were in Antarctica- Tien--Kierr, R'Lae, V'Keirr; and S'Bael; Thule which was the capital was located in the North Sea about halfway between Iceland and Ilse of Harris; one in the Pacific, Meirr-Keirr which was about five hundred miles off the coast of California; and one, Hex-Rei in equatorial Atlantic right in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle. There had originally been eight, but the one in North America had been raided by a two Mideanites, and its technology stripped. Fortunately, it was the one base that had no Atlanteans in time suspension, but was simply a backup cache of equipment- including a starship.
     Tien-Keirr was located in the middle of the Trans-Antarctic Mountain Range, deep in a valley that was almost impossible to reach by land. At the height of the Empire it had been a thriving university city of almost five hundred thousand. Now its population was one tenth that, but it was one of the technological centers of their present-day Atlantean forces. It also housed the listening equipment that had recorded the last days of the Empire after House Atlan had gone into time suspension as well as most of history for the last three hundred millennia- what history that was broadcast that is.
    He watched the mountains flashed under them as the pilot brought them across the rugged granite edifices that basically divided the continent in half. You couldn't really call either side of it east or west Antarctica since from the pole, all directions were simply north. He felt the subtle shifts in gravity as the shuttle's compensators shunted their inertia away. In a matter of moments, the craft was first passing through the city's cloaking field, and then an opening in the main dome.
     As the pilot spiraled down toward valley below, Sloan glanced up at the great polyceramic girders that stretched from their moorings in the mountains to meet at central spine that ran the length of valley a thousand meters above its floor. Running between each of the girders was an energy field capable of withstanding several thousand terrajoules of force, and of keeping the heat generated by its inhabitants trapped inside. Along each of them ran huge illuminators that generated a full solar spectrum of light. The energy costs for maintaining that kind of environment would normally be prohibitively high, but Tien-Keirr and her three sister cities sitting at the South Pole used a geo-thermal power plant that was sunk deep into the Earth's crust. The city also had two clean fusion reactors that were currently idling because of the reduced population, as well and the ability that if need be, to tap into the magnetic field generated by the pole. The latter was purely for defensive purposes as it powered the city's defense grid.
    The shuttle slowed as it approached the climbing spires of the city and then banked off toward the ancient buildings of the university, Sloan wondered if this was just a wild goose chase. The university here housed the most complete collection of Atlantean history, philosophy, science, and even speculative fiction. In many ways it was the Atlantean version of the Library of Alexandria; without having been burned. It was very possible that it contained no information on these dragonborn. But if any place in the Empire would have it, it would be here.
    Five minutes after the shuttle set down on the pad outside the main adminstration building, the University President was escorting him to the archives. He smiled to himself as he thought about a line from one of the funniest movies ever made- "It's good to be the king." Of course, technically, he was only one fifth the king or emperor or whatever they decided to call themselves in this new era, but it was still good to be treated with deference. He and his family had earned it. They'd worked tirelessly for five centuries to build the might and power of House Atlan.


     William Norris sighed and looked at the itenerary that had been cobbled together. Adam's and Sloan's appointments for the day could for the most part be cancelled or postponed. It was Katherine's and Dannon's that was giving him fits. If he worked it right, he could make the reception ceremony for opening Embassy Row in the lower citadel, grab a quick sandwich or something on the way back to the palace and make his appointments with the several diplomats he had on his own schedule. After that, he could sit in on the negotiations with what he privately called "The Dictator's Club"; and then meet with the Shan ambassadors and Cabinet of Ministers to hammer out how they were going to handle their entrance into the world markets.  He and Dannon had some ideas there.
     Half of this was supposed to Katherine and Dannon's job, especially the meeting with the Dictator's Club. He really did want to have a telepath in that meeting. Oh well, he'd have to handle it his own way, and if they complained, he'd tell them to do it themselves next time. Of course at the same time, his meeting with that particular group may work out better in the long run. Those people didn't pay that much attention to what women had to say, and everyone treated poor Dannon like a teenager playing at politics.
     He looked at his choices for what to wear. Since they'd arrived back in their own time, Katherine had taken all of them shopping in London to update their wardrobe to something more appropriate for the twenty-first century. Frowning, he decided that that the Armani would probably be a better choice for today's events than his Atlanean Royal Mantel, something he was less comfortable in than even Adam.
     Grabbing a quick sandwich to tide him over, he headed out to where his pilot and escort would see that he got where he was supposed to be going on time. As he slid into the back of the flitter, he looked over at Marissa his personal assistant, sighed and held out his hand. She hand him the e-pad and he began to scan the speech on it. Finally, finding nothing to grouse about he raised and eyebrow and said,"Either you hired a new speech writer, or you had a long talk with the last one."
     She smiled and said, "English was giving him fits, My Lord. I hired a native speaker to write this one." That was one of the things he and Marissa had been fighting over. Much of the modern diplomacy was handled in English. All press releases had to be translated into at least one modern language, and the usual choice was English because it was after all his and his family's cradle language.
     "Where did you find a native English speaker willing to work for us that could pass our security protocols?" he asked.
     "He's  from the US who is teaching at the University here at Thule," she said.
     "Who's translating for his students?"
     "Nobody, he speaks Atlantean passably well," she says.
     "Must be a fast learner," William said.
     "I'm told he is. We considered paying him by the word for the speech but then realized that boring the diplomats of other countries to death would be in bad form. Instead, Vander gave him your speech in Atlantean, and he translated and cleaned it up."
     "Cleaned it up?" Wiliam asked.
     "Vander has a tendency to ramble- especially about the glorious past of House Atlan. This writer condensed it somewhat,"
     "How much?"
     "The original speech was twelve pages long," she said winking at him.
     William groaned. "And what is it now?"
     "Four," she said.
     "And all the pertinent information is still there?"
     "Oh yes," she said.
     "Double his salary," William said with a smile. He always did like someone who was short and to the point. "Now what is on the docket for today? I mean exactly what are we expecting out of the two o'clock and the five o'clock meetings?"
     "We understand that there will be an offer for Atlantean membership into something called OPEC by the Iranian ambassador. They are not happy with us or the Shan for introducing a cheap way of synthesizing hydrogen to Europe and the Americans. They are also not happy with us dumping so much oil on the market. They're making us quite a lucrative offer," she said with a twinkle in her eye.
         "You do realize Marissa, that the reason we're doing this is to break their power over the rest of the world. We're not interesting in making us or them any more money. With our fabrication technologies, petroleum is next to useless to us." He shook his head in frustration and said, "Why am I telling you this? You already know it."
     "Because you're one of those people who think out loud. Vander tells me that you once did it in front of the High Quester and managed to question her intelligence in the process," Marissa said with a smile.
     "Well, you know the game plan. We're sticking to it. The sooner we can get this planet off the petroleum standard the better. The sooner we can dry up the petrodollars fueling the UN and terrorism eveb better," he said.
     "And they say that your husband and wife are the master general politicians," Marissa said admiringly.
     "They are. I'm a rank amateur compared to them. They can talk you into handing over the code-key to your bank account and have you convinced it was your idea," he said. "But I'm the one who's here. They're off on other business right now."
     She laughed and tapped the glass to tell the pilot to lift off. "Okay, first up is Embassy Row. So far all of our allies have opened Embassies, plus China, Russia, Luxemburg, and the Vatican.  The others are opening today, including the newly added Iranian and Syrian Embassies."
     "The Vatican?" he asked.
     She smiled, "The Vatican. They want to send missionaries to convert the heathens who've never heard the Good News."
    "They are aware that our holy texts mentions their God too,and his wife aren't they?"
     "They're trying to work around that part. They're also trying work around the whole Lilith thing. It's not working, though. It keeps throwing their whole monotheism thing off."
    William smiled and began to review the speech.  Marissa was right, it was clear, concise, and to the point. It also had just the amount of flair to it that he could make it his own.   This was actually the easy part of the day. Everyone would be smiling and making comments about how dialog was the lifeblood of diplomacy and peace.   The knives came out in the private negotiations.  Within a few moments he'd downloaded the speech from the e-pad into his own mind and made several comments about where to add personal anecdotes. 
   Two hours later, he was in the flitter heading back to the palace.   Just as he'd expected Vander had arranged for a light lunch to be waiting for him inside the flitter- Burger King of all places.  He smiled at the irony of having fast food joints being the first outside businesses to penetrate the Atlantean market. Actually both Burger King and Wendy's were doing a rather brisk business. Unsealing the meal from the stasis chamber in which it had been placed, he tore into the Whopper like there was no tomorrow.  It wasn't exactly regal, but he was damn hungry.  He'd always been like that- he could eat a horse and not gain an ounce.
    Most people would be surprised to find out exactly how active he'd been as a child and even as a teenager.  He'd played baseball and football all through elementary school, and junior high; and in high school had even played rugby once he'd moved to England.  Of course, he hadn't been alone in those pursuits despite the pressures of all the secrets with which he lived.
    He had always lived with secrets- they weren’t that unusual for him.  He’d lived with the secret that his mom was much older than she appeared.  He’d lived with the secret that his mother along with his friends’ parents had been part of some government strike force.  He’d  lived “undercover” most of his life, as his parents and his best friend's parents had taken up farm life in the small southern town of Social Circle, Georgia.
Of course, there had been that two year stint when he was around four that both families had packed up and moved to England for three years.  It was at the beginning of the tensions that would eventually lead to the Transhuman Wars with the United Nations.  Then, the secrets were simply that they were involved with tertiary members of the Royal Family.
    Then they returned to the rural life of Central Georgia and fallen into the rhythms of the seasons.  He and Adam were almost inseparable as boys in school and around the small town.  Social Circle, Georgia was known for exactly one thing: the Blue Willow Inn made famous by Lewis Grizzard.  That and of course one killer toy-bowl football league in which both he and Adam had gleefully participated.  They had learned as much about being men from Coach Steve as they had about the game.

    In the summer they'd played baseball, Adam at second base and he at short stop. When the baseball season was over they'd spend their days fishing and swimming in the creek that ran through their adjoining property, or just exploring the woods.  Come fall, football season would begin.  He played quarterback, and Adam was one hell of an offensive and defensive lineman.  Then came basketball season, where he played center and Adam could hit from the corners so consistently as to be frightening- especially considering the bigger boy couldn't hit a free throw to save his life.

    About the same time Katherine moved to town and their best other friend had been returned to them. Her father thought that it would be a good idea to get her away from the eyes of the Royal-watchers.  Both he and Adam had discovered girls and each other at the same time.  It was an awkward time for all three of them. 
    They were all dancing around each other not know what they wanted or how to proceed.  He and Adam would spend half their time competing for Katherine' attention, and the other half competing with her for each others'.  This was also happening about the same time they were all coming into their powers, and really discovered who their parents were.  After Adam tossed a tractor that had fallen onto his father,  a "council of families" was called. This was the point they'd been informed exactly who their parents were and why they'd always lived undercover:  Adam's parents were in reality American Ace and Tigress; William's mother had been Firefox and his father was General Bramwell the team coordinator.   Katherine's father, the Duke of Orkney, had been intimately involved with the whole team from the first mission to recover the AG virus from Shadu to the final mission at the end of the war.  He'd been exposed to so many incarnations of the virus that it was a miracle he was only just a carrier.  The fact was that they were beginning to show signs of transhuman abilities was a result of those particular genetics. 
    They finally understood why Katherine's father was dead-set on keeping her away from most of the royals to whom she was related.  There were certain genetics they definitely wanted to keep out of the main line of the royal family.  The two boys were somewhat shocked to find out that he considered either of them to be far superior matches for his daughter than the blue-bloods of England. William suspected that he was looking to start his own eugenics program using his own daughter.

    The importance of keeping their secrets had been stressed to the nth degree.  Their parents still had enemies out there who would not hesitate to strike at them through their children.  It was a sobering realization that there were people who would be willing to kill them simply because of who they were.

In hindsight, it was funny that Katherine had been the one to finally put two and two together and come up with three.  She'd finally gotten tired of trying to figure out which one of them she wanted to see, so she sat them both down to try and talk it out.  She went through this whole speech to justify what she was feeling, then she looked at the two of them and reminded them exactly what it means to spend time around a telepath.
    It was Halloween night.  Being as they were now thirteen and too old to trick or treat, and they didn't feel like attending any of the local parties, they'd decided to rent some old horror movies and spend the night giving out candy- in costume- and just hanging out.  Part of that decision was based on the fact that Adam's dad was in the hospital.  The AG virus that had given him his awesome powers in the forties was starting to turn on him.  The years were catching up with him rapidly.  In a span of six weeks, he'd aged almost sixty years. They all knew it was only a matter of time.
    Adam's mother was at the hospital and it was well after the time trick-or-treaters would be out, so they pretty much had Adam's place to themselves.  They'd ditched what was left of their costumes and were wearing shorts and tee shirts sitting around on the sofa in the living room watching The Howling.  Adam was in the middle of them, with Katherine snuggled up on one side of him, and Willie was trying to get as close to Adam without actually crossing any lines.  Katherine had picked up on so many things that night that it was driving her distraction.
    Finally, she'd up and said, "It's time the three of us talk."

    Adam had looked over at her, his cobalt blue eyes appearing as dark slits under a lidded gaze.  "About what, Kat?"

    "You, me, you, Willie, me, Willie," she said.

   William had suddenly felt his heart start pounding in his chest.  "What do you mean?" he'd asked very warily.

    She then leaned across Adam pressing her body tight against the bigger boy and kissed William very seriously.  Then, pulling back part of the way, she kissed Adam just as seriously before sitting back up.  "Now it's your turn," she'd said.

    "What?" Adam asked.

    "Kiss him," she said, her voice deep, sultry and obviously unwilling to brook any argument.
    "What?" William said.

    "You two need to kiss and get it over with," she said in her perfect English accented voice. "I'm tired of all this dancing around.  You two have been pining over each other as much as you've been pining over me, and I've been wanting you both.  The best way to deal with this is simply to share.  You want Adam, and you want me.  Adam wants you and he wants me." She grinned and then added, "And to be honest, I want both of you so equally, that I can't decide.  Why should we have to choose?"

    Adam and William had looked at each other and then turned back to her.  Finally it was Adam who'd made the first move. He always was a man of action.  He'd leaned over and kissed William just as seriously as Katherine had the moment before.  William felt the kiss all the way down to his toes.  Adam's strength was intoxicating.

    "Now isn't that better?" she asked.

    Still somewhat shocked William had been unable to answer.  "I think I broke him," Adam said smiling.

    "He's just stunned," she said gently reaching over and running a hand down William's jaw.  "I think it's time we took our friendship to the next level."
    "Friendship?" William had finally found his voice.

    She shrugged, "Most boys run at the word relationship."

    "We're not most boys," William said rather proudly.

    She laughed and it sounded like tinkling glass, "I know.  That's why I'm doing this."

    "Doing what?" Adam asked.

    "This," she said reaching for the hem of her shirt and pulling it over her head.  Adam and William exchanged glances and grinned broadly before gazing at the picture of teenage perfection in front of them.  Her long blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail.  Her skin was freshly scrubbed to remove the last remnants of the Halloween makeup and had a healthy peaches and cream glow to it.  Her small pert breasts peeked out from behind the flesh-tone lace of her bra giving just a hint of her cleavage.  She smiled at them and asked, "Well?"
    Without a second second thought, both boys followed suit, removing their tee shirts with a single stroke.  Adam was already starting to show signs of the physique he would have in later years.  He was big and well-muscled,and his lats framed his pecs and his sides quite nicely.  He looked like he spent hours in the gym lifting weights.  William on the other hand was much smaller but a lot more defined, showing a runner's lithe and trim body.  William also noted that although his friend was much more massive than he was, William had the beginnings of a nice crop of chestnut brown curls on his chest and under his arms whereas Adam was bare-chested and had only finest of blond hair under his arms.

    "Now that's so much nicer," Katherine said leaning over and kissing both boys again.  "You two are really the cutest boys in school, you know."  She grinned wickedly and added, "Miles and miles of cute boys and you're all mine."  William felt that kiss to his toes.  He was already half hard from the first one and the one from Adam.  This just sent his dick straight up in his shorts.  He glanced over and noticed the substantial bulge from Adam as well.

    She slid over so that she was straddling Adams hips and reached down and ran a hand along the hard spike in William's shorts up his stomach and along his chest.  Then she reached back behind herself literally forcing he pert little breasts into Adam's face and unhooked her bra.  As she arched her shoulders forward it fell to the couch between them.  When she leaned back again, William remembered the sight of those beautiful orbs floating on her chest seeming to defy gravity.  With a smile he reached out and gently ran his hand along one outside edge of the one closest to him.   The skin was soft and the breast underneath pliable.  He ran his hand up and gently rolled the dark pink nipple between his fingers and enjoyed the feeling of them becoming stiff and hard at his touch.  He felt her run her hand back down his chest and then under the waistband of his shorts  He took an involuntary gasp of air when her hand wrapped itself around the shaft of his cock just below the head.  "Hmmm, nice," she said.  "Adam, why don't you have a feel?"
    Adam looked over at him.  William could see the desire in his eyes, and could see the question there too.  He nodded permission to his best friend and then watched a broad smile spread across the painfully handsome face.  Adam's touch was tentative at first; gentle and probing as he jockeyed for position inside Willie's shorts.  "This isn't going to work," Adam was the first of the boys to speak.  He pulled his hand away and lifted Katherine off his lap.  At first he had thought that Adam was going to put a stop to th play, but instead he reached hungrily for William's shorts and tugged at them.  Getting the idea, Willie lifted his butt off the couch and let his best friend pull his gym shorts and briefs all the way off in a single smooth motion. 

    Willie felt his his dick catch on the waistband of his undershorts and stretch away from his body, then clear the shorts and spring back to slap at his hard stomach with a wet splash of pre-cum.  On the other side of him, Katherine giggled and began to ease her own khaki shorts and panties down her legs.  William took the time to watch a small triangle of blonde hair appear for just a moment.  Then with a quick wiggle, she managed to push them all the way off into a pile around her ankles.  Lifting one leg and then the other, Willie watched in fascination as the lips of her sex opened and closed slightly with the movement.  He could make tiny beads of wetness along the length.

    Movement on his left caught his eye and he turned  see Adam doing the same.  As he dropped his running shorts, Willie was graced to see his best friend's hard dick for the first time in his life.  They both had seen each other on numerous occasions- in the showers after a game, every now and again at the urinal, but never this way, never hard and ready for action.  Willie knew that unlike him, Adam was uncircumcised and had always wondered what it would feel like to have that extra piece of skin rolling up and down on his dick.  He noted that the differences in their body sizes didn't seem to bleed over into the size of their dicks.  He was about two inches longer than Adam with about seven inches at the time, but was much thinner.  Adam on the other had was about five inches in length but had a huge girth to it.  William wondered briefly how he could get his mouth around that thing.  He also noted that whereas he had thick bush of brown hair at the top of his dick and around his balls, Adam appeared to have only a few fine blond hairs and his huge balls were totally hairless.
    He turned to see Katherine staring at both of them literally licking her lips.  "Methinks the future Duchess of Orkney is somewhat on the greedy side," Adam said with a smile in a perfect copy of Katherine's English accent."
    "Methinks you are right," Willie said back to him as he reached out and gently ran a hand down Adam's hard chest.

    Suddenly the bigger boy pulled William into a fierce embrace and kissed him soundly and seriously.  He felt Adam's rock hard body against his, his hot tongue gently probing at his mouth for entrance.  He could feel Adam's hands roam down his back to grasp a double handful of Willie's butt and literally lift him off the floor as their dicks ground into each other.  Willie reached around Adam's sides and ran his hands up Adam's broad back, reveling in the feeling of hard muscle; of pure unadulterated maleness.   
    After a moment, he felt another set of smaller hands gently pressing themselves between them, seeking to gain entrance.  The two boys separated and looked over at Katherine.  Both smiled and reached  out a near-side arm and encircled her, pulling her into the embrace.  She kissed first Adam, and then Willie as she snaked an arm under each of their shoulders.  "This is the way I want it forever," she said pulling back. "The three of us, no jealousy, no having to choose.  I choose both of you."

    Adam nodded and leaned down to kiss her.  William watched as the two shared an intimate embrace and found that the image stirred nothing but love in his heart.   When he reached over and kissed Willie, he knew the same was true for Katherine.  Then it was his turn t kiss Katherine, and he felt Adam's strong hands on his back, literally holding the two of them in his broad powerful arms.  When he pulled back from the kiss, Adam asked. "Where do we go from here?"
    Katherine smiled and said, "Well, I've got two willing and able hunks at my disposal, I'm on birth control, and we've got all night.  Where do you want to go?"
    "All the way," William and Adam said in unison.
    She laughed and said, "That sounds like a broad strategy.  Tactically how do we want to implement it?"
    William smiled and reached over and put his palm against her sex and and then stepped in close and kissed her.  She moaned quietly into his mouth as his middle finger laying along the slit slipped into the slippery hole he found toward the back.  She reached down, grasped his dick and pulled him closer.  He felt Adam come around behind him and pull both of him into his massive arms.  At that moment in his life, Willie had never felt safer than in both Katherine's and Adam's arms.
    He could feel the steel hard shaft of Adam's dick pressing against the crack of his ass and up into the small of his back. Adam began kissing him along his neck and down his shoulder.  Kissing back up his neck he whispered into Willie's ear, "I have an idea."

    "What?" Katherine asked.

    He smiled and moved around behind her and kissed her neck. He then pulled the cushions off the sofa and lay them out in a long line.  Gesturing toward the makeshift bed on the floor he invited Willie to lie down.  He smiled at him and collapsed slowly down on the bed, his dick sticking almost straight up in the air.  "This way, you get to control things a little more easily."  With that, he guided her over Willie and stroked her sex gently as he bade her to kneel.
    William watched a she lowered herself toward his dick, and he found himself buried in Katherine in one smooth stroke. It was hot, wet, and fantastic feeling.  He looked up at her face worried that he might have hurt her, and saw only a look of pure bliss.  She began to rock back and forth on him driving the top of her sex against his pubes.   As he began to thrust his hips up and down, Adam came around stood with a foot on either side of his hips facing Katherine.  Looking up, he could see where the bigger boy was slowly stroking his own dick as Katherine reached out to play with it.
    Katherine who stopped moving pulled him to her.  William continued to thrust up and down inside her, while watching her push Adam's foreskin back and begin to lick around the head.  It was one of the most erotic things he'd ever seen in his life.  Up to this point, he'd never even felt another boy or or girl for that matter, and now he had his dick buried in Katherine while watching her give Adam his first blow job.  He wasn't sure how long he was going to last.  He could already feel a familiar churning in his balls.
    He slowed down a bit, and let Katherine settle down on top of him, his dick still buried inside of her.  He let her rock back and forth on him while she took Adam's thick dick into her mouth.  He didn't want it to end, but he knew it was going to soon.  Suddenly he felt something touch his mind.  At first he wasn't sure what it was.  It was an echo of a feeling of something sliding along his dick head.  It was as if while he was making love to Katherine, something deep inside her was licking the end of his dick

    Then the feeling expanded again. He could feel something deep inside him; between his balls and ass stretch open.  He felt a fullness there he'd never felt before, and it was stimulating a part of his body that he wasn't sure he even had.   He felt something come into synch between the three feelings, and suddenly Adam's mind and Katherine's were opened up to him.  He realized that he was feeling exactly the same thing they were.  He was feeling his own dick buried deep in Katherine, as well as sharing the sensations Adam was having as Katherine would slowly push his foreskin back and lick around the head of his dick before sucking it deep into her mouth.  He'd always wondered what it would be like to have a foreskin, and know he knew.  Katherine had joined each of their minds together.

    It had the effect of bringing their sexual reactions into synchronization as well.  Katherine's seemed to be sped up as theirs was slowed down.  After a while, he stopped moving against Katherine and said, "Let's trade places."

    She smiled down at him and said, "You sure?"

    He laughed and told her, "Yeah, I'm sure."

    He could sense the feeling of regret, the feeling of sudden emptiness as she pulled off the top of him.   He rolled off the pillows and pulled Adam down onto them.  Before Katherine could reposition herself he smiled at her and said, "Wait a second."  The he bent down, pulled Adam's foreskin all the way forward and smiled at the way it bunched up at the end just before opening his mouth as wide as he could and taking it all the way down until he felt it touch the back of his throat.  Fighting his gag reflex he began to slowly give his best friend a blow job.    He'd been wanting to do this for quite a while; to taste Adam.
    He found the mixture of boy musk and saliva combined with the smell of Katherine's juices on his own dick to be a heady mix.  He looked up to find where Katherine had knelt on top of Adam's face as he was licking away at her sex. "Hmmm, you taste good," he said between laps.
    "Which one of us?" Katherine asked with a grin.  "You know, William has been there too."

    "Both of you," he said. 

    With that, William reluctantly gave up the dick in his mouth, rose and tapped Katherine on the shoulder.  When she turned around, he pointed to Adam's hard cock.  She pulled herself off Adam's face and scooted back.  William took Adam's dick and lined it up with her opening.  Again he felt that sense of fullness as she slowly lowered herself onto Adam's wide cock.  It was his turn to move around in front of Katherine who took his cock in her hand.  "Like I said, all mine," she whispered and slurped it deep into her mouth.

    He once again felt the feelings in his body snap into synchronization as she began to work his dick back and forth into her mouth.  Willie had no idea how long they were like that, moving against each other: Adam in Katherine's pussy, his dick in her mouth, Adam's strong hands playing with his butt. It could have been minutes, or it could have been hours.  All William knew was that the orgasm came on him so suddenly that he had no chance to warn Katherine.  He simply began to gush boy come all in her mouth.  At the same time he felt his own body contract around the digit Adam had buried in his ass, he could feel the echo of Adam's own orgasm deep inside Katherine. What he felt coming off the young English girl was beyond his ability to describe.  He felt something start somewhere deep inside the base of his cock and spread out up through his bowels and all along his spine.  He felt himself become weak in the knees, and sat back on Adam's hand, further impaling himself.
    When they came down from the high of their first session of lovemaking they went at it again, and then again. Before the night was over, they'd each had the other as a partner at one point or another.  Probably the best part of the evening was when he and Adam would take turns making love to Katherine while the other would fuck the one fucking her.

    The light jolt of the shuttle touching down at the palace pulled William out of his thoughts.  He realized that he'd gone and gotten himself all excited with nobody around to help him out with it.  He shrugged to himself and once again reached out and touched the electronic memory of the e-pad with his mind and downloaded the international news. By the time he'd sifted through the pertinent data, his excitement no longer showed in the front of his suit, and he exited the craft.

    "Your first meeting is with the delegation from China.  All they said was that it was concerning strengthening Atlantean-Chinese relations."

    "This is why I wish Katherine or Dannon were here.  They are better at getting to the  root of these kinds of issues," he said.
    "You could always hack their lap-tops," she said.

    He smiled and shook his head, "No, they're too smart to put anything of value within my easy reach.  I wouldn't be surprised if they were wearing those new psi-shields that the UN has been producing."

    "Are they effective?"

    "They're based on recovered Meirrian technology.  They're designed to block the  augmented mind probes and telepathy used by the Gem Corps.  Evidently they're next to useless against any natural Class 15 or above telepath."

    "That's not bad. There are very few of those among the humans.  Shadu did a very good job of hunting down anybody with any Mideanite blood, or the Gifted Gene over the intervening millennia that we were time suspension," Marissa said.

    "Yes, but it wouldn't stop Dannon or Katherine.  It probably wouldn't stop that Hale kid, we've been getting reports on from Florida, and I damn sure know it wouldn't stop a Class 10 Mideanite telepath."

    "They work with what they've got.  The technology was reverse engineered from a downed Meirrian space craft the recovered in the Gobi desert.  That's where they got their replicant technology too.  Fortunately, the craft's stardrive was totally destroyed as were its weapons."
    "How do you know all of this?" William asked.

    "It's my job to know.  It wasn't difficult to hack their computer files.  They are so busy launching attacks against other people's computers that they leave their own back doors open.  It's one thing to stop a baseline hacker; it's another to stop a technopath.  I asked the Intelligence Ministry to look into it about six months ago.   They sent me their findings last week.  You should have a copy of them in your files, if you ever bothered to read your mail," she told him as they entered the palace.  It was quite a trek between the landing pad, and the official offices of the government, and that gave him a chance to think about what she'd told him.

   After several moments of contemplation, he told her, "Rebuke noted.  I'll make it a point to read everything that comes into my office from now own."

    "Not everything," she told him.  "Just the important stuff."

    "How am I supposed to know what is important and what's not?"

    "That's supposed to be my job, if you'd let me do it. I'm supposed to act as a filter for you, to keep you from having to wade through all the mundane details and send you the important stuff.  You keep going around me to get information directly. I go to all the trouble to put together a daily update of information, and you ignore it, and download the whole database."

    He smiled at her, and said, "Okay, I get your point.  I'll read your updates first and then download the database."  It was true, but he was concerned that there might be issues he'd would find important that wouldn't make it into the database.  Case in point: the small town of Townley near where the Battle of Wolf Creek was fought, raised money for a monument to all the transhumans that died in that battle.  A statue of Tigress, Adam's mother who was one of those casualties was included in that monument. It wasn't the kind of news that made the big networks, but it was the kind of thing he was interested in; the kind of thing that he wanted to show Adam.
    They entered his office and he smiled down at his secretary, "Good afternoon, Valca.  How long have my guests been waiting in the outer office?"

    "Not long, My Lord.  They seem to be rather patient," he said.
    "Please inform them that I just arrived, and will see them momentarily," he told the young man.
    "Yes, My Lord." Valca was a rather young Atlantean, but he was one of the most efficient secretaries William ever had.  He had a quite demeanor that made one not seem to notice him until he was needed, then he was quick efficient and on top of the situation. Hr was totally unflappable.  "My Lord?" Valca asked as William was about to enter his office.
    "Yes, Valca?"

    "There is a communique for you on your desk from the Ministry of Culture.  You told me to inform you when it arrived," the young man said.

    William smiled, "Very good Valca.  Thank you."

    Entering his office, Marissa asked, "Are you avoiding going through proper channels again, My Lord?" Marissa asked accusingly.

    "Not at all, Marissa.  This one is a private project that Dannon and I are working on together."

    "Together, My Lord?" she asked.  "That is a frightening thought."

    "Dannon and I do a lot of things together, Marissa. Why would this frighten you?"

    "Because you're dealing with the Ministry of Culture and those people can be obstinate when it comes to protecting Atlantean culture," she said.

    "Well, Dannon and I are looking to translate some popular videos and songs into various modern language and sell them to various networks.  We're working with K'varien of the Shan to do the same with some of their more popular entertainments.  Some of it is causing some difficulties though. We've been out of touch so long, become so Atlantean in our own thinking, we sometimes forget what may or may not translate culturally."

    "Sex, and religion" she said simply.

    "You got it,"  he smiled.  "Atlantean poly-spousal marriages don't go over well just about anywhere except with the Shan."
    "I can imagine.  I've met with the Syrian Ambassador.  Although he's very comfortable with the idea of a man having more than one wife, the thought of a woman having more than one husband literally leaves him quivering in rage.  It was very amusing to watch when he found out I have a wife and two husbands," she said.  "He did ask for a male liaison next next time."
    William sat down and quickly read the communique from the Minister of Culture.   The man had some really good insights and made a suggestion that he and Dannon had only kicked around as a joke.  It made sense though when coming from an outsider.  He dropped it into the reader and sent a copy to Dannon's personal code.
     "Valca, please send in the Chinese ambassadors," he said into the transmitter on his desk.
    "Yes, My Lord."
    Half a minute later, the Chinese Ambassador and her attache` were entering the office.  William made it a point to meet them in front of his desk instead of from behind it.  He nodded his head in acknowledgement of their slight bow and smiled.  "Welcome to the palace, Ambassador Xing."
    "Thank you, Your Majesty," she said.  "This is my attache` Li Wei."
    William nodded to the young man and gestured to a small circle of chairs around a small table.  "Please sit.  Would you care for some refreshments?" He indicated the food platter on the table.  "It is traditional to offer guests a drink upon entering the place of business.  We have an excellent mead that many Atlanteans enjoy."
    Both ambassadors nodded their heads and Xing said, "Thank you, Your Majesty. You are most kind."
    William smiled at them and then nodded to for Marissa to pour.  Normally, he would have no compunctions about pouring himself but he understood that following tradition was very important in this particular culture.  Taking the small decorative cup, he leaned back and sipped it.  "Now what is it that the Atlantean Crown can do for the People's Republic of China?"
    Xing smiled and and said, "We are interested in the technology that you recently sold the International Alliance.  We understand that the world's power base is shifting, and would position ourselves to take advantage of it."
    William smiled, "Of what technology are we speaking?"
    Xing laughed and said,"The hydrogen cracking technology and the fuel cells you are selling to American, Japanese, and South Korean automotive industries."
    "I was under the impression that the Chinese government was very happy with its relationship with the OPEC nations and had no interest in alternative fuels," William said.
    "We have reason to believe that perhaps the use of fossil fuels will be declining.  We would rather make the changeover now, before the infrastructure becomes entrenched, than to have to tear down several billion yuan worth of construction to rebuild it to the hydrogen standard," Xing said.
    William raised an eyebrow and said, "I see.  Why haven't you approached our Ministry of Technology then?  They could be very helpful to you."
    "We are having difficulty making ourselves understood.  He feels that he needs the permission of your office, to make the sale.  There were some misunderstandings with Shan, as you understand."
    William nodded yet again. He knew exactly what this was about.  The Ministry did not want to embarrass the crown by doing business with the government that shot down the Shan bio-ship as it was trying to make an emergency landing, killing one of the two Defenders on board.  The subsequent incident between the US and the UN had just about led to a nuclear exchange.  Only the fact that the Shan launched a series of defensive orbital laser satellites had stopped the war.  It had been a sobering reminder of a political fact that many today wanted to ignore.  The only true path to peace was through strength, diplomacy without a big stick to back it up was the road to slavery.
    "So what you are really asking is for us to smooth the way for you to normalize relations with the Shan," William offered.
    "That would be most beneficent on your part," Xing said.
    "The Atlantean Crown would more than willing to help bring about better relations between the People's Republic of China and the Shan Confederation.  However, the I know what our counterparts in the Gulf are likely to say: Why should we accept relations with a people whose first reaction was to shoot at us- with nuclear devices no less."
    "The People's Republic would be willing to make a formal apology to any member state on the floor of the United Nations for our actions.  Furthermore, we'd be willing to pay reparations to the Shan Confederation for the ill-thought out actions of our generals- who by the way have been executed for their attack," Xing said.
    William leaned forward and listened.  "The problem is that neither the Shan nor the Atlantean Empire are members of the United Nation."
    "I am here to offer both the Atlantean Empire and the Shan Confederation membership, if you like jointly sponsored by the United States and the People's Republic," Xing said.
    William considered the offer.  With two members of the Security Council supporting them, then the general assembly's vote could be overturned.  "We will consider your offer, on the condition that Israel be given full voting rights."
    "The Arab Union will never agree to that provision," Xing said.
    "Then Atlantis would have to respectfully decline.  We are not interested in membership in an organization where one of our staunchest allies is unwelcome.  We would however be willing to act as an intermediary between the People's Republic of China and the Shan Confederation.  We could open back channels to negotiations."
    "Membership in the United Nations has many advantages," Xing said.
    "Such as Resolution 1666 which would make the vast majority of the Atlantean Empire slaves of that organization.  No thank you Ambassador."
    "Resolution 1666 has been repealed, Your Majesty.  It was passed through the use of psionic coercion."
    William smiled and said, "Perhaps so, but any organization that would pass such a resolution has to be considered suspect. Furthermore the curtails on freedom of expression that the UN put in place with its Amendment to the Declaration of Human Rights in March of 2008 makes it an organization that we want no part of.  Any government that is incapable of withstanding criticism or any religion that cannot stand questioning is too weak to be considered reliable allies.  We will pass on membership in the UN."
    "But even the other members of your International Alliance are members of the UN," Xing pointed out.
    "That is their decision.  The people of Atlantis want no part of it."
    "The people?" Xing asked.
    William leaned forward and stressed, "The people.  We may be monarchy, but we are a
constitutional monarchy.  Although I personally have more political power among my people than even your Chairman, I am still limited in what I can do.  The Atlantean people have spoken on this issue many times since we came out of time suspension.  We are not interested in allowing the UN dictate mediocrity to our greatness."
    Xing sat back and blinked several times at the iron in William's voice.  "If you feel that way about it..,"
    "We do," William said.
    "Then the People's Republic of China would still be interested in your offer of back-channel negotiations with the Shan Confederation."
    Willie's day went down hill from there.  His next three meetings were not half as cordial as the one with the Chinese.  At one point the Iranian Ambassador made veiled threats of being able to reach Thule with its impending nukes.  William told him in no uncertain terms that any such action would result in the whole of Iran looking like Mecca after the pressure wave from the Shan bio-ship plowed it into the Red Sea.  The Atlanteans didn't give a damn about world opinion, they would act brutally and efficiently to destroy their attackers- Keirra-Atlan would demand no less of them.  Referencing their Goddess left the man very unsettled.


     Dannon watched as the west coast of the North American continent slowly took shape as they re-entered the atmosphere from their suborbital flight.   By reaching an altitude of just under twenty-two thousand miles, the jump jet was able to traverse the world without technically violating any other country's air-space.   The descent however was going to be a hard brake two hundred miles west of the most westerly California Island and then dropping into a low flight path over the Pacific heading east back toward Las Vegas.  That way, they could enter the US without being noticed too much.  Being as most of the UN considered the Atlantean Empire and the Shan Confederation to be rogue nations, they had to be careful not be caught violating any other country's territorial rights.  Of course as far as Dannon was concerned being considered a rogue nation by any organization that treated Syria, South Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba as honored members was a badge of honor.
    He sighed and both Adam and Katherine looked at him.  "What's got you so pensive, Love?" Katherine asked him.
    He smiled wanly and said, "Just thinking about the general garbage we're putting up with since we've been back."
    "It's really not that different when we first started out in the Empire.  We began as foot soldiers, and worked our way up through the ranks," Adam said.
    "Yeah, but at least the Atlanteans gave us a chance to prove ourselves.  Now, half the world wants to see us sink beneath the waves again, this time permanently.  It feels like everybody's hand is turned against us," he told him.
    "Not the International Alliance," Katherine said.
    "We're losing the Americans.  Since the election, the American government has been turning away from its allies and toward the very people we've been fighting," he replied.
    "Not the American people, the administration.  This is starting to feel like the events leading up to the millennium, though;  when the times were the darkest and people were standing by and letting transhumans be taken by the UN.  The difference though is we are now in a position to stop them," Adam said.  "Don't forget that, Ahren neh," Adam said.
    Dannon smiled at Adam's use of the pet name, "Smallest love" in Atlantean.  It implied a small person with a big heart.  "I won't. It's just we've been through so much.  We landed in the middle of a fight at the beginning of the first civil war and we left at the beginning of the last one," he said.
    "Well, we would have stayed if Rallyn had decided to listen to us instead of chasing a piece of Kheltian tail.  He was the one that brought the Empire into a war against its own church, and he was the one one who took a Kheltian bride over the objections of the entire Rathamaer.  He  broke our highest law and began to study the mystical arts, forcing the High Quester to become more militant.  He was the one who caused the Second Civil War.  He was why we gathered House Atlan and went into time suspension," Adam said rather passionately.  Dannon knew that of all the members of the Rathamaer, also known as the Atlantean Imperial Senate, Adam had felt the most betrayed by Emperor Rallyn.  He'd literally cried the night the Marhawk resigned his post as Rallyn's protector to side with the High Quester.  With the loss of the Mideanites, the Empire was doomed; the first seeds of the fulfillment of the Dark Mother's Prophecy were sewn.
    Of course there were those that said that first seeds had been sewn on the day that the five of them had  appeared in Ancient Atlantis between the Imperial forces and those of Shadu, the Sorcerer in his bid to take over the Empire.  All they had known was that there were two groups of high tech forces shooting at them with grav-tanks, lasers, and the occasional spell.  When Adam took down a tank and William interfaced with its computer the had gotten a little better idea of what was going on.
    Shadu was a convicted criminal whose unholy rites had despoiled the very children of the Empire.  After his conviction and his manhood had been burned away by the High Quester, he'd managed to escape before he could be executed.  He was a wily and evil mage, now stripped of his natural power, who had to resort to sorcery to use magic.  Over a period of twenty years, he'd managed to recruit an army of the disaffected nobles and legion officers who'd been targeted during Racyn I campaign against corruption in the Empire.  This was his first and most effective push against the Empire, and it looked like he was about to take the Isle of Avalon, or what is now modern day Britain.
    The Imperial commander had ordered a cease fire when Liberty's Legacy had appeared on the battle field.  Shadu didn't and when that first particle cannon bolt hit Dannone, he thought Adam and Sloan were going to go ballistic- Adam especially; Sloan understood that Dancer could absorb energy.  Adam rushed forward, his white cape billowing behind him and literally folded the grav-tank in half with his bare hands.  After that, the Imperial forces left them alone and concentrated on Shadu's forces. Willie told them who was on which side, and they went to town.  It wasn't really their fight, but when he described Shadu's crimes to them, they decided to make it our fight.
    That first battle had set the stage for a slow rise to power in the Empire.  At first they had been interrogated, then slowly they won the trust of the Imperial officers on the scene.  It helped that Cyberstar was able to absorb their language from the computers.  His link to Phantasia helped disseminate it her and Adam.  She in turn disseminated it to Dancer and then to Victory.  Within a week they were all speaking halting Atlantean.   As they slowly figured out when and where they were- Ancient Earth some when in the Hoxnian Interglacial period of Great Britain approximately three hundred thousand years in the past- they realized that they could either adapt and overcome or they could die.  They chose to live.
    They spent twenty years earning the trust of the Empire and working to keep what was would eventually become known as Northern Europe from falling to Shadu.  The war between them and the Sorcerer became very personal.  It sort of became a joke to them.  He survived all those hundreds of thousands of years after they fought in Atlantis, only to be the one responsible for sending them back in time to start the whole cycle.  In their own time he'd been a monster- an evil sorcerer who'd fueled the Nazi war machine with the secret of transhuman genetics- something Adam's father stole and turned over to the Allied Powers only to have it accidentally released on North America and the secret of its creation lost with Dannon's father's death.  He'd whispered evil thoughts into the ear of a mad Austrian painter and saw that he rose to power.  He and Bludreich had been behind the concentration camps in Poland.  He'd worked with radical Islamicists after the war to spread hatred and distrust throughout the world, and he'd seen to the rise of the UN's power.  But the seeds of what he would become had already sprouted in three hundred millennia before.
    With Liberty's Legacy standing between his forces and the Empire, he could not pass. They eventually drove him back; back across Southern Europe; back across the Mediterranean and into North Africa and down into Central Africa or Gondowa as the Atlanteans called it.  Over a twenty year period they'd become something of a legend in Atlantis without ever even setting foot onto continent proper.  When they finally did, it was due to a summons by Emperor Racyn II and his sister, Kacyn, the High Quester.    They had just been happy to be of some use.  The Empire paid them a handsome sum first to fight for them, then to lead their Legions and Aeronavy into battle.
    Over those twenty years, they'd accumulated quite a following and had managed to do something no one else in the Empire had ever before done.  They united the Atlantean Gifted, those Atlanteans said to have been gifted by Keirra-Atlan herself with transhuman powers, under a single banner-theirs.  What they thought was going to be a simple ceremony to grant imperial citizenship, something that they had not had up to that point, was something far more profound and would effect them in ways that they had not even begun to suspect.
    Racyn did more than name them as citizens, he named them an Imperial House- the House of Atlan, as they had united the Great Mother's raucous children.  They were granted holdings- many of them were the former holdings of those officers and nobles who'd been in rebellion, including those of Shadu.  Their House seat was named as the Isle of Thule and they were given a voice in the Rathamaer. The five of them had been named as a single family, something that they had first questioned, since they were at that time obviously a triad and a couple.
    The High Quester had simply smiled and said, "Things change.  You are more of one family than two."  That was something that none of them understood for another ten years. 
    As they settled into life as a noble house, they began to discover that none of them really aged.  Sloan of course could still slide his age forward or backwards, but none of the others could, so he preferred to stay contemporary with his house mates.   There was the general political intrigue as would be found in any Empire, but Adam and Sloan proved to be a source of great inspiration for the house and Dannon and Katherine became some of the wiliest players of the great game.  Dannon knew that that there had been times when he and Katherine had crossed lines that neither Sloan nor Adam would ever cross. They had done things to protect their family, their house, and their holdings that were vicious to say the least, if not simply brutal and effective.
    About ten years after they had been named a Great House of the Rathamaer, nearing the thirtieth anniversary of their arrival back in time, Dannon, Katherine, and William began to realize something.  The five of them had closed ranks, they had become one family.  The triad and the couple had become a quintet, they simply had not consummated the relationship.  They began to discuss it among themselves and had come to the conclusion that everyone realized it except for Adam and Sloan.  Those two had not come to realize that the gentle touches and and hugs they shared with the three of them had morphed into something more than friendship. They had not come to realize that the two alpha males' bickering and good-natured arguing over inconsequential things was a cover for what they were feeling.
    One night the five of them were sitting in outer family room of the apartments that Katherine, Willie, and Adam shared.  Gifts had been exchanged; a nod toward both their own time's traditions and the ones of their new station. They'd long since turned off the news holos and were simply enjoying the fire on a cold Solstice night.  Outside the North Sea was quiet for once and the soft silence of the snow falling was blanketing the island province.  Dannon and Willie were curled up on on the large sofa on either side of Katherine drowsily listening to Adam and Sloan complaining about the taste of the local beer, something neither of them were drinking, but instead each had a glass of brandy.
    There was a gentle playfulness to their bickering and every now and again, one would reach out and touch the other as if to reassure them that they still loved each other.  It was sending surges through both Katherine and Dannon, and poor Willie was getting a double dose of it.  Katherine and Willie  both exchanged glances with Dannon who nodded to both of them.  Finally Willie had spoken, "Will you two just kiss and get it over with."
    Both had turned to him in shock and said in unison, "Willie!"
    "What?" Dannon said.  "Kiss each other so we can get on with the important stuff."
    "Dannon?" Sloan said with a confused tone.
    Dannon had stood and gone to his lover and stood on tiptoes to reach up and gently kiss him.  When he rocked back down onto his heels he said, "Don't you think I know what's in your heart, Sloan?  The three of us figured it out a year ago.  Kacyn was right. We aren't two families, we're one.  We don't know how it happened, we don't know when it happened, but what started out as a professional relationship slipped into friendship.   Somehow that became something more."
    "Katherine, Willie?" Adam had asked.
    "What? We agree with Dannon.  I can see what's in your heart, Adam.  You don't love us any less, you just love them too.  What did I tell you when we were thirteen?  We don't have to choose." she said.
    "Willie?"  Adam asked.
    "Shut up Adam and kiss him," the quiet William had said.  "You want to, I want to, and Katherine wants to; the same goes for Dannon."
    Adam had turned to Sloan and Dannon could feel something begin to reverberate between them.  He slipped to the side and watched at the two men stared at each other.  "Is this true, Adam?" Sloan asked.
    Adam nodded his head.  He swallowed hard and said, "I don't think I'd realized until they brought it up, but yeah, it's true.  You?"
    Sloan nodded and said, "Yeah.  I started to realize it a little while ago, I just didn't know that anyone else felt the same way."
    "We all do," Willie said. "But nobody was going to act unless it was something we all felt.
    "What now?" Adam asked.
    "You do what you've been told three times now," Katherine said.  "Kiss him."
    Dannon watched as two titans; men who were capable tearing plate steel as if were tissue paper; men who could take a direct hit from space based weapons and shake it off; closed with each other.  It was gentle, it was tender as they came together.  Adam lowered his head slightly and he and Sloan pulled each other into a powerful embrace and began to kiss.  First it was a gentle exchange slowly became more intense.
    Willie and Katherine pulled him down next to them on the sofa, but none of them took their eyes off Adam and Sloan.  They watched as the two men seemed to simply hold and kiss each other forever.  Strong hands roamed broad backs, kneaded firm buttocks, as they kissed and gently stroked each other's bodies.  It was one of the most tender and erotic sights any of them had ever seen.
    Dannon watched as Adam pulled away from Sloan and said, "If we're going to do this, let's at least get comfortable.  The last time I had a first time it was on the floor, and as special as that was, I'm not thirteen anymore.  I want a bed under me."  He turned to the rest and said, "And we're not going to be alone in this."
    "What? We'll join in," Willie said. "But first we want to watch."
    "You turning into a voyeur one us, William?" Sloan asked.
    Willie smiled and said, "Not at all.  But you have no idea how erotic the sight of you two like that is.  You want to move it to bedroom...," he paused, rose from sofa and opened the door to the inner sanctum of their quarters and continued, " all means, let's move it to the bedroom."
    Adam took Sloan's hand and led him into brightly painted room and to the large sleeping platform in one corner.  Katherine slipped up behind Dannon, ran a hand down the front of his chest and gently cupped his semi hard dick.  "We're going to need a bigger bed."
    "We'll order it first thing in the morning," Wilie said coming around to his front and kissing him.  He felt kiss all the way down to his toes as the brunette began to open the closures at the shoulders of his tunic.  He felt the garment fall down his shoulders and his arms to bunch up around Katherine's hand.  She stepped away from him and let it fall into a puddle at the floor.
    Willie knelt in front of him and began to open the front of his trousers to release the hardening dick that was straining at the fabric.  With a low whistle, Willie took his nine inches of hard meat in his hand and began to gently stroke him. He watched as Katherine knelt along side Wilie and began to lick at the head of his dick. 
     In front of him, he watched Adam and Sloan slowly undress each other.  Dannon felt his breath catching in his lungs as Sloan peeled away Adam's tunic to reveal the broad well-muscled totally hairless chest.  Of course a great deal of Adam's chest was naturally revealed by the cut out in the center of his costume, but it was first time he'd ever seen the beautiful blond man shirtless and in a state of sexual excitement.
    William smiled up at him and then stood to give Katherine room.  He gasped at the twin stimulations of Katherine's hot mouth over the length of his dick, and of seeing Sloan peel away Adam's slacks to reveal a hugely thick uncut dick that standing rampant at a good six and a half inches.  He was caught somewhat off guard when much to his surprise he felt Katherine's nose bury itself in the sparse blond curls at the base of his cock.  Sloan had never been able to take him all the way down his throat like that.
    Adam began to peel away Sloan's clothing as well, revealing a body that Dannon was intimately familiar with, but which was still always an exciting sight for him to see.  As the two men stretched out head to toe on the bed, he felt William's naked body against his back as the other man ran his firm hands over Dannon's chest.  He felt Willie kiss down his neck and down his back.  As Sloan and Adam sucked each other off, he took a slightly wider stance to give Willie access to his backside as he kissed down the crack of his ass.  The sudden warm pressure of Willie's tongue at his opening combined with Katherine's suction was one of the most intense feelings of his life.
    For long minutes he stood there, Katherine deep throating his nine inch dick while Willie probed his most private area with his tongue.  After a while Katherine, Wilie stood and came around beside him.  Katherine began switching from first his dick to Willie's only slightly shorter but much thinner eight inches.  About the third time she switched back to Dannon's dick, he felt William step behind him and bend down to place the head of his cock against Dannon's opening.  Dannon leaned back and kissed Willie for the first time and nodded saying "Please, I want you inside me."
    Willie kissed him again and then lined his dick up and gently entered him.  It was different than what he usually felt with Sloan. Willie's head was much broader than Sloan, but his shaft was somewhat thinner.  Plus he'd never been fucked and sucked at the same time.  It was a feeling he reveled in.  He looked over at the bed and saw Adam on his back as Sloan slowly lowered himself onto the hugely thick piece of meat that was Adam's dick.  He smiled and winked at his oldest lover who winked back at him.
    As the pressure in his balls slowly built, he felt Katherine's hand on his lower stomach, just above his dick.  She pulled off him and winked.  "Wait a minute," she said.  A she stood, he saw her fully nude for the first time in his life.  He was amazed at just how beautiful she was.  Dannon had never had much interest in the female form, but for some reason, he found the sight of her nicely shaped D cups to be very arousing.  The secrets of her sex below the sparse golden pubes suddenly made his dick throb.  She smiled at him went over to the bed and lay next to Adam, her legs open revealing the glistening lips of her sex.  "Come over here, Dannon."
    Dannon nodded  as Willie pulled out of him leaving him with an empty feeling.  He always liked to fall asleep after lovemaking with Sloan still buried inside him.  He crawled up the length of the bed and between her legs.  He ducked his head and licked at the slit running the length of her pubic mound.  He found the taste to be different, but at the same time very stimulating.   He ran his tongue inside and tasted a woman for the first time in his life.  After several moments, she began to pull him up her body.  As he stretched out on top of her, marveling at the feeling of her soft breasts under his body, she reached down and took the length of his dick and guided its head to her opening.  With a gentle thrust of his hips, he entered her slowly.
    She arched her hips up and locked her legs around his waist as Sloan leaned over from where he was riding Adam's nearly bald dick and kissed him.  The tight rings of her sex felt completely different than the inside of Sloan's ass.  Instead of the loose moist warmth of his male lover, he felt the tight muscular rings of Katherine's sex.  After a few strokes, he felt William once again climb up behind him and line himself up with Dannon's opening.   After a couple of false starts, the brunette finally managed to bury himself in Dannon's backside with a single stroke.
    It took a few moments to develop a rhythm between the three of them, but they eventually found a tempo that suited them all.  The tight feeling of Katherine's pussy around his dick was a completely new experience with him.  He'd never been with a woman before, so he was unsure of how to proceed.  Slowly he felt her mind reach out to him in a familiar touch.  A touch they'd shared many times over the past two decades, but at the same time was much more intimate.  As he reached out embrace her with his own mind, he felt the link that she shared with Adam and Willie unfold into the one he shared with Sloan.  The five of them became joined bodies, minds, and souls.  The link suddenly snapped into place with a ferocity that almost stunned him.
    He felt their sexual reactions fall into synchronization.  The mens' slowed and hers increased.  They all began to move in unison. As Willie would back out of him, he would thrust into Katherine, and Sloan would rise on Adam's dick.  When he would back out of Katherine, Willie would thrust deep inside him, touching places that Sloan had never reached, and Sloan would slide down on Adam's dick feeling stretched in ways that Dannon had never stretched him.  At the same time, he felt Katherine's reaction to his much longer dick almost but not quite reaching her cervix.  He knew that if he pushed too hard, he could hurt her, so he was careful not to overextend his thrusts.
    For what seemed like a lifetime the five of them moved against each other, their passions building like a slow fire. Each of them were feeling something different than they'd ever felt before.  At the same time, they were feeling the two links they shared, merge into one.  As he felt a familiar pressure in his balls begin to build, he could feel a wave of pressure about to break across Katherine's body.  At the same time he felt the strength of Adam's unbelievable grip on Sloan's dick and Willie's balls begin to contract up nearly into his body.  Suddenly it all broke into a mind-blowing orgasm.  He felt himself blast thick ropey spurts of cum deep inside Katherine, while his ass contracted against Willie's dick to milk it of a massive load of seed.  What he felt from Katherine was totally indescribable by his limited male vocabulary.  With a hint of chagrin, he noted that Adam's hand on Sloan's dick had been a grip that probably no human on Earth could have matched, and was exactly something his long-time lover had wanted, and needed.  He smiled at the sight of him launching long thick streams of cum across the bed to land on the floor behind Willie just before he blacked out from the overload of pleasure.
    When he'd awakened the five of them had talked for nearly an hour, and then had traded partners and made love again.  It went on like that all night.  They'd finally fallen asleep somewhere around dawn, spent and joined in ways that would shape them for the next five centuries.
    "That's quite a set of memories, you're wading through there," Katherine smiled over at him from her seat on the shuttle.  "What brought that on?"
    He smiled back, "Just remember how we got where we are."
    "I'd say you were remembering more than that," Adam said winking at him and pointing to the outline of his dick down the leg of his own royal blue costume.
    He laughed and said, "Just remembering that solstice night that we all came together."
    Adam nodded and said, "You said that you felt that the whole world had turned its hand against us.  Well when that happens remember who you are, and who loves you."
    "And I'll remember the people who died to get us where we are," he said.  Adam's own mother had been one of those casualties.  When the final battle against the UN came last year; when Shadu had garnered the last of his transhuman forces still loyal to him and the replicants they'd been churning out like so many toy soldiers and assaulted the one place on Earth where he could open a gate to summon the Dragon Gods of the Kheltians, even Tigress a long since retired magecat answered the call to defend the world.
    She'd died taking out an entire flight of power-armored UN soldiers.  Dannon suspected that she'd been looking for a chance to join her husband.  She'd been an old tigress looking for a place to die, and a chance to take as many of the enemy as she could with her.  She'd breached the fuel pack of the lead armored trooper and the resulting explosion had taken the top off a mountain.  Nothing had survived including the Greenbough's farm.  Dannon and the rest of his family were surprised to find out at the end of the battle that she'd not only been Adam's mother, but Trey Greenbough's great-aunt.  He also gained a new respect for the Greenboughs and their own faith when he felt a wild and powerful presence come to claim hers and many other souls on that field.
    "We should be landing soon," Adam said looking out the port.  Dannon wondered if he'd sensed what he was thinking about and had decided to change the subject.
    "What are we going to tell Murphy when we get there?" Katherine asked.
    "We're going to ask her very nicely to speak with the boy.  Outside of any outstanding medical situation, she really shouldn't turn us down. We've been on good terms with Murphy's Law in the past.  We're even supplying her with extra technology for several of her business centers.
    "I don't think she'll turn us down.  Besides, I want to speak with Witchcat about something," Adam said.
    Both Dannon and Katherine turned to look at him.  Dannon knew that Gates Murphy had to be under tremendous pressure right now.  The administration tossed her into the job on the West Coast, expecting to bury her with details, and she turned it into an unparalelled success.  At the same time she exposed what affect the dithering the president was doing while "carefully considered his options" had on the people in the disaster area.  His careful contemplation was costing American lives, and although the legacy media was trying to avoid the story, the new media was having a field day.  Dannon knew that now they were going to start digging into her personal life, to try and kill the messenger.
    He felt the shuttle begin to slow, and watched as they cut a path directly across several islands that made up what was left of California as they passed into to Nevada and the sun rose in the East.  They'd had to wait several hours before departing to avoid arriving in the dead of the morning as there was a seven hour time difference between Thule and the American west coast. The pilot was setting the shuttle down on the landing pad outside of the Murphy's Law building just as morning traffic was beginning to build in North Las Vegas.
    Dannon took a moment to inspect their costumes.  As usual Katherine reminded them all just how beautiful she was in her pale blue and white costume.  It wasn't the two pieces and of cloth and a band aid that Adam and William had designed for her as a joke when they were teenagers- Dannon had actually seen that costume and had been embarrassed for her.  Fortunately she had never worn it in public.  Her present costume was essentially a white Atlantean mantle and breast plate over her pale blue and white body suit. A long white cloak billowed out behind her, and her hair was pulled back into an efficient pony-tail.    She wore a collapsible battle-staff on her hip.
    Adam as Cobalt-Blue wore his trademark blue costume, with large ovals cut out across the chest, and along the outside of his biceps and thighs.  His long white cloak hung off his massive shoulders to match the white boots he wore.   Dannon knew that the material
of that cloak was both laser and bullet-proof and  the bottom was slightly weighted.  Adam could use it both to protect an innocent, or to lash out with deadly accuracy in combat.
    As Dancer, he was the only member of the team not wear a cloak.  Instead his bodysuit was not too unlike Adam's.  It was the same shade of blue, and was pulled tight across his chest and abdomen leaving inverted eye-shaped openings that decreased in size all the way down to his belt. It had taken years for Adam to become comfortable letting him wear the costume in public because of those openings.  But Dannon not only wanted them, he needed them.  It gave his skin direct contact with energy directed toward him to make it easier for him to absorb it.
    As they exited the craft, Dannon took time to enjoy the warm sun peeking over the eastern skyline.  The temperature was warm- nearing sixty- a welcome change to the cold autumn mornings of Thule.  He noticed how the shun splashed golds and reds on the glass edifice of Paraforce 2: Murphy's Law.   As the trio approached the building, the new Paraforce team exited to warily meet them.
    Even in his human form, Witchcat was imposing. He was almost as big as Adam and the ice blue material that stretched across his chest only accentuated his mass.  His long white-blond hair was pulled back in a pony-tail leaving only two braids hanging from the front of his pointed ears in a viking style.  Next to him, was Magelight in a dark blue and gold costume that looked like a cross between something from a comic book and something from a fantasy setting.  He too was giving them all a wary look.  Behind them were Coldfire and Lifeforce, both looking ready for anything.  Coldfire was dressed in red and white body suit, Dannon could see tiny white flames licking up and down her body.  Lifeforce was wearing simple black and gold bodysuit that accentuated her coal-black hair.  In stark contrast, standing with them was a Shan Defender.  Tall, male, with long hair the color of a good blackberry wine, and totally nude. The wings of skin that ran from his wrists along his arms to connect to his back were rustling slightly with the morning wind coming off the Pacific.
    They all looked ready for battle.  "Cobalt-Blue," Murphy said pushing her way past her team.  She was tall, taller than even Adam, with long red hair, and a killer figure.  She was wearing a simple charcoal pair of pants and matching sweater.  "I won't say this meeting is unexpected, but it is sooner than we expected."
    Adam nodded to her and said, "Ms. Murphy.  We were wondering if we could talk?"
    "Please, come on in." She looked back at her team and said, "I promise, they won't bite."
    There was a visible relaxation on everyone's part, and Dannon knew the general consensus was a relieved feeling of "No battle today."  Of course that was not to be.  No sooner had Witchcat  stepped forward to take Cobalt-Blue's hand than a rumbling explosion spit the air above the bay.  From a tear in sky flew six of the biggest damn lizards, Dannon had ever seen in his life.  "Crap, the kid was right!" Witchcat said as the lead dragon began a straffing run on the parking lot.



     With no consideration for his own safety, Cobalt-Blue pushed Dancer and Phantasia to one side and placed himself squarely between the oncoming dragon and Paraforce 2 behind him. There was no thought involved in it, he did what his instincts told him to do: protect others. The dragon seemed to be surprised at his action and hesitated for just a moment before opening its huge ten feet in diameter mouth and exhaling.
     He felt the intense heat cause the concrete beneath his feet pop and crack, he felt it splash outward and could sense his teammates scrambling to get out of the way. As the dragon passed overhead, sure that it had destroyed its target, Blue crouched and leapt straight up.
     Powerful legs capable of supporting over two hundred-fifty thousand tons of force propelled his two hundred fifty pounds of mass high into the air. As he approached the dragon's soft underbelly, he drew back a fist and slammed it into the juncture of two of the armored plates. The dragon suddenly hit with that kind of force screamed into the air as its body folded in on itself and was carried higher into the sky.
     Cobalt-Blue found himself trapped by the great scales folding in around him as the dragon was forced higher by the power of his blow. With a grim determination, he sank his hands beneath one of the plates and held on for dear life. When the dragon reached the apex of its arc, he felt its body straighten out and its wings deploy. The wings once again folded inward, and the up and outward again in an attempt to gain control of its flight.
Blue looked down to see far below him the five other dragons were circling the building as Dancer and Coldfire took to the sky. The transport that brought them there took off to get its passengers, the healers and counselors away from the battle. Good pilot, Adam thought to himself. With a grim smile he pulled his legs up and planted them on either side of the plate he hand his fingers under. Straightening his legs and pulling his hands toward his chest, he felt the plate come loose in his hands as he began to fall away toward the ground.
     He tucked his legs under himself and stretched his arms out to the side, one still holding the plate of dragon scale that he'd torn away. This along with the drag created by his cape acted to pull his shoulders higher than his feet, and bring him into a standing position as he fell. He watched as the ground rushed up to meet him and he smiled to himself. He didn't know who these dragons thought they were dealing with, but he'd spent last five hundred years of his life battling everything from sorcerers to grav tanks. They were in for an unpleasant morning.
     Below him, he watched as one of the dragons landed near the Shan Defender. Without thinking the man twisted and fired jet of water directly into the open maw of the dragon who was about to breath on him. Hot flame met with water propelled with enough force to knock a submarine off course. A great wall of steam roiled from the dragon's mouth temporarily obscuring the battlefield below.
     Entering the steam cloud, Blue braced for impact. When his feet hit the ground, he collapsed his legs to absorb part of the shock. It wasn't so much to keep the fall from hurting him, that wasn't likely to happen. It was to keep from spearing himself into the ground up to his armpits. As he hit, the concrete under him cracked and crumbled, and sent small pieces of shrapnel flying in every direction.
     He heard the primal scream of a great cat through the steam, but could see nothing. Suddenly something slammed into him with enough force to knock him off his feet. He felt his body wrap around what ever it was as they were thrown back across the street into the wall of the warehouses. Something in the air smelled odd and musky. He felt his heart begin to pump harder in his chest. His face and skin became flush, and he felt himself begin to harden in his tights. With a feeling of chagrin, he realized that what he was wrapped around was the Shan Defender, and he was getting an up close and personal dose of the man's pheromones. He wrapped his arms around the smaller man and twisted so that he took the force of the blow of them hitting wall and crashing through to the crate stacked room beyond.
     "Are you okay?" he asked the Shan as they came to a skidding stop against a palate loader on the far side of the warehouse.
     The man groaned under him and rolled off onto his hands and knees shaking his dark purple hair. "They hit like a whale," he said.
     "No kidding," Adam said standing and offering him his hand trying to ignore the spike in his tights.
     The man took it and stood. Looking down, he grinned sheepishly and said, "I apologize for that."
     Adam blushed and said, "I'll live." Looking back toward the shattered concrete wall,he said, I'm not sure about the dragon though."
     "Let us return to the fight," the Defender said in his stilted English.
     "Let us," Adam agreed grinning and running toward the hole. Beside him the Defender took off, blasting water down his legs to propel himself through the air past Blue and out the hole.
     Clearing the hole, Cobalt-Blue raced across the parking lot and crossed the street in a single bound. What he found as the steam began to clear surprised the hell out of him.  Two of the dragons lay on the concrete slowly disintegrating. Phantasia and Dancer both had a very self-satisfied grin on their faces, and were almost glowing with energy. To their left, Witchcat was in his battleform, his legs clamped tightly across one dragon's shoulders, just in front of where the wings were joined. His massive claws were digging huge trenches into the sides of the dragon's neck. Murphy was hanging by one hand from the dragon's horn and was trying to get a bead on the thing's eye with what looked like a Smith and Wesson Model 500.
     To his right Magelight had some kind wall of force spell going to protect himself and Lifeforce from a one of the dragons; this one's scales were a deep reddish brown. It appeared to be breathing hot lava on them. There were ice crystals hanging from the its scales and its wings looked like they'd been burned off. Lifeforce had a nasty burn running down her right arm and shoulder and was limping on her left leg.
     High above them, Coldfire was circling with an ice blue dragon. The dragon kept opening its mouth and breathing on her, but he could only see eddies of wind and ice crystals in the air. Every now and again the girl would gesture toward the dragon, and he'd reel back as if he'd been hit with a powerful blow. Snow was beginning to fall around them to melt on the warm ground.
     "You see if you can help Murphy and Witchcat, I'll give the twins a hand," Blue told the Defender. The other man nodded his head and veered off in midair toward his teammates.
Blue took a running leap over the force wall and landed in front of the dragon menacing Magelight and Lifeforce. The creature seeming to sense him, feinted with a head snap that was capable of swallowing the blue-clad hero whole. He rolled to the right and directly into the path of the spiked tail that slammed him into the ground . He felt the tail lash across his back several times hitting him so hard as to drive him deep into the concrete leaving a Cobalt-Blue shaped indentation.
     These things were powerful but they seemed to have no experience. If they did, they'd know better than try to harm him with physical force. He pushed himself up out of cement and shook the pieces out of his hair. He sighed and looked down realizing that he was still under the influence of the Shan's pheromones and that fact was clearly detailed in the indentation.
     He stood to see a flash of light appear in the dragon's wide open mouth. Suddenly it began to shake its head from side to side as if trying dislodge something holding its mouth open. It raised it's head high in the air and pointed its mouth downward. Blue watched as its chest heaved, and suddenly a ball of hot steaming lava built up behind something invisible. He watched as the dragon began to choke on the quickly hardening lava that could not escape its mouth.
     Suddenly panicking the dragon began to thrash its head from side to side trying to shake loose the ball of lava behind whatever was blocking its mouth. Chunks of lava begin to drip out the sides of its mouth as the dragon became desperate to breathe. It began slamming its head into the concrete trying to break up the blockage, but nothing seemed to work. Blue chuckled and winked over to Magelight and gave him a thumbs up. The other hero chuckled, winked back and then turned to tend his sister who was still hurting from the burns.
     BOOM! The Smith and Wesson barked five times at point-blank range into the dragon's eye. They were big, they were powerful, and they could take a lot of damage. However, these dragons were not Brandon Routh as Superman. With an impact capable of delivering twenty-six hundred foot-pounds of force per shot, fifty caliber rounds blew huge chunks of ocular material away from the dragon as they dug an increasingly deep hole into the creature's body until the last two penetrated the brain. With a quiver that ran down its whole body, the dragon simply fell lengthwise into the ground.
    "Incoming!" someone screamed from high above them. Blue looked up in time to see the huge shape of a dragon falling in a downward spiral toward them. He dove to the side pulling the twins with him. As the three of them cleared the parking lot to land in a large fountain on the far side of the building, they felt the ground shake as a blue whale sized dragon slammed into the ground.
     Then the phyre hit them. Energy began to dance up from the bodies of the downed dragons as if seeking something. It built into a vortex of blue-black energy then lanced out at all of them. He felt something surge through his body, and an alien mind, an alien power tried to penetrate his soul as he felt himself supercharged. Adam had spent most of the last five centuries mind linked to two of the most powerful telepaths ever to walk the face of the Earth. He felt the power infuse him, but the alien mind was shunted away as an unwanted husk.
     As he opened his eyes to look around, he saw a young boy, maybe just a little older than Dannon's apparent age stumble out of the front of the building; the boy from the computer file. He drew a heavy golden sword that looked to be made of orchalcum and smiled as it turned white-hot and burst into flames. Looking up at the single dragon still circling high in the sky, he shouted, "Come on! I'm not down yet!"
     Blue watched the remaining dragon take one look at the boy and suddenly speed away as fast as its wings could carry him. A shout went through Adam's head, He lives!
     The boy began to falter, his knees trembled and he started to topple forward. In a flash, the Shan was there to catch him. The boy smiled up into the Defender's face and said in a thick southern accent, "You're naked." He then passed out.



    Katherine sighed as the shuttle taking them home set down on the landing pad outside the Royal Palace.   The trip had been both exciting and fruitful.  By the time the mess with the dragons had been cleared up with the American government, they'd delivered the counselors and the healers and actually gotten to speak with the boy, it was late in the night.
     She and Dannon had been able to confirm his story: He really was from another realm of Earth, he had been thrown into this one by some kind of tear in space-time while fighting a dragon. The dragons of his Earth had been summoned here, and they made the dragons of Kheltia look like garden lizards. They were powerful beings capable of manipulating the very elements themselves, capable of shapeshifting to appear as human, and they were bent on conquest.
     He was a member of a secret order called the dragonborn who'd been fighting the dragons for twenty millennia and had recently lost both of his fathers to the them. There was more to it, but some of it was unbelievable. The boy was literally the avatar of a very powerful ancient warrior name Tyr, and the powers he possessed were awesome to    behold. That was saying something coming from the Lords of Atlantis.
    In the end though they'd come to the conclusion to warn the other members of the International Alliance and even the UN. Those that would take their warnings of an infiltration by shape shifting dragons might be of use. But for now, it looked like that even though the Transhuman War had finally ended, the Dragon War was just beginning.
As she entered the main hall she found both William and Sloan awaiting them. She took a moment to kiss her other two husbands reveling in having her family around her again. "We heard about what happened in Las Vegas. They're saying it was rogue transhuman activity," Sloan said.
     Adam shook his head, "Not transhuman, definitely dragon, and definitely, extra-planar. I think we need to shore up Imperial defenses. These things are tough. They can take down a class ten transhuman with ease. What did you find out?"
     "Nothing useful. There's some mention of a dragonborn in an old text that makes about as much sense as the stuff about the Dark Mother," he said. "I've got the chief librarian looking for me."
     "Good," Dannon said as the five of them headed toward the royal apartments
As they entered the living spaces, Vander appeared carrying a tray of refreshments toward the library. "Ah, My Lords, My Lady," he said with a huge smile. That worried Katherine, Vander almost never smiled anymore. "You have a visitor in the library."
     The five of them exchanged glances. It was unlike Vander to allow an outsider into the royal living space without informing them first. "Who?" Adam asked going to the door.
     "I gave my word not to say, My Lord," Vander said.
     Again Katherine raised an eyebrow at their chamberlain's unusual behavior. As Adam opened the door carefully he was suddenly hit with a flurry of white hair and dresses. "Daddy! I'm home!" Winter came charging out of the library and throwing herself into her father's arms.
     Katherine stood there dumbfounded, her heart swelling with joy and pride as the young lady they'd left three thousand centuries in the past made the rounds of all her parents, stopping to hug each man. She'd grown in the intervening times. Gone was the young girl with pig tails and freckles and replacing her was rather elegant young lady with long white hair and ice blue eyes. She stopped at her mother and kissed her gently on the cheek. "I've missed you all so much." She looked down between them and asked, "Are you getting sick in the mornings yet?"