By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 45

After Jesse, Utah and Brett Jones vanished, Scudder told Del Hawkins he wanted to be alone for a while.  Del excused himself and left.  Later in the evening Jerry sent for Hawkins.

“We can’t find him, Sir.” said Officer Krause. “I looked in his room and found a note on his desk.  It said he would be gone for several days and if you should ask for him, to remind you of your agreement for him to take some time off to visit a sick relative.”

Scudder was a bit bemused, but quickly caught on to his Commander’s hidden message within his note.

“Uh, yeah, that’s right.  Glad you reminded me.  I told him he could take some time to get away and visit his family.  Let me know when he returns and send him to me.”  Jerry smiled to himself.  He had no doubt Delbert Hawkins was with his young Temple Guard brother wherever they took him.  He knew Hawkins and Jones developed a father/son bonding and Del looked out for his younger buddy.  Jerry felt comforted someone he trusted was with Jones.  He missed both of them, but he felt he’d done the right thing.

* * * * * * *

Officer Brett Jones knew he wasn’t in heaven.  Things were strange.  Strange beyond belief, but he knew he was still alive and somewhere on Earth or near it,— perhaps, another dimension.  He couldn’t be sure, but he knew he was in good hands.  He just felt it.  He was being fussed over and taken care of by several handsome, perfectly formed naked men attending to his every need.  They were taking blood samples and running test of all kinds.  The big, good looking cowboy named Jesse gave him a feeling of ease and a sense of peace and well being.  Brett came from folks like Jesse represented.  He projected the ultimate father figure for Jones.  He was simple, somewhat grizzled, but with a deep abiding sense of strength to him that Brett trusted beyond measure.  Jesse’s companion, whether he was a handsome nude man or a dog, gave him courage and emanated unconditional love.  Even when Utah was in human form, Jones had an uncontrollable urge to pet him.  He was overwhelmed by the feelings of care that flowed easily from everyone.  Not only were they concerned for him, they were concerned for each other.  He was told to lie still and relax in the bed where he found himself transported.  They would see to him shortly.  They still had several tests they wanted to complete before they had a full picture of his damage and how best to go about treating him.  Jesse suggested they might have to try some radical procedures.  Jones could hear voices.

“Thanks for bringing the kids, Mr. and Mrs. Steele.   I think they might be able to help us with our patient.” Jesse spoke to Sonny and Vivian Steele.

“Well, them two rascals just guzzled a gallon or more of Horse’s milk and their bellies are swelled up like two ticks what just feasted on an old hound dog, but  they said they wanted to try if you thought they could be of some help.”

Jones could see a family with a fine looking, middle aged cowboy, his wife and two young kids.  He couldn’t believe his eyes.  Jones recognized the cowboy as Sonny Steele the famous champion rodeo cowboy.  He thought it was strange though, because the kids were naked, but then, several folks around the place were not wearing clothes.  No one seemed to take notice.  Everyone acted like it was just an accepted part of their culture.  Some wore clothes, others didn’t.  The kids were hugging and kissing everyone including the big naked men who were taking care of Officer Jones.  His caretakers stopped what they were doing to greet and welcome the children.

What he saw next shook him to his core.  Another, slightly older cowboy, who looked like an older brother of Sonny Steele’s walked up behind them closely escorted by an enormously hairy monster of a man.  They called the big furry man ‘Horse.’  He looked like pictures and drawings Jones had seen of a Bigfoot.  The kids ran to the big man-beast and leaped into his waiting arms.  They were kissing him and rubbing his fur, laughing and obviously glad to see him.  As he held one in each enormous arm, he kissed them back and had a big smile on his face.  The kids called the cowboy accompanying the huge beast ‘granddad.’  Could he be Sonny’s father?  No, he was much too young.  Then he heard Sonny call the man ‘dad’ and he knew the man named ‘Warren Steele’ must be Sonny’s father.

The perfect nude man, Officer Jones’ main caretaker, whom they called ‘Cable,’ seemed to be in charge and had two older cowboys who were conferring with him.  One was called Captain Jones, the other Cable called Admiral Long and sometimes ‘father.’  It was hard for Brett Jones to imagine Cable as Long’s son, but the other naked men called him ‘father’ as well.  He was puzzled, but he was told not to speak or ask questions; all would be revealed to him in time.  Their first priority was to save his life and repair his body.

They transferred him to a Gurney which seemed to float in the air without any support, but it moved freely when someone pushed it.  They placed him in a dark room with many electronic gadgets he never saw before.  They stood on the other side of a thick glass wall talking about what they were seeing on the screen imbedded in the glass.  He could see his own brain in a three dimensional holographic representation.  He could see where a blood vessel ruptured and the darkening tissue of his brain from blood that flowed into the surrounding area.

“See that darkened area, Adam?” Jesse spoke to the young boy he was holding in his arms as he pointed it out to him with his free hand.

“Yes, Sir, Master Jesse.” the boy replied quietly.  “I see where he’s bleeding.”

“You mean the tear in his vessel?  Good.  Good.  I was going to get to that next.  Do you think you can heal his wound and manage to push the blood out through his nose?”

“You mean flush it out— like, with a liquid?”

“Exactly, Son.  If we don’t get that blood out of there it’s going to make a large portion of the man’s brain go soft and he will die for sure.  We’re only keeping him alive now through artificial means.”  

“No problem, Sir.  Be happy to.  Anything for you and Utah, Master Jesse.”

Jones had no idea what they were talking about.  How could a five year old child heal his brain and flush out the blood?

“Can I help?”  begged the little girl as she came along side Jesse and took his free hand.

“We couldn’t do it without you, Eve.  While Adam is working on his brain, we’d like you to take control of his body, keep him alive and awake during the procedure and keep him as comfortable as possible.  Do you think you can do that for us, sweetheart?”

“Sure, Master Jesse.  No problem.  I’ll keep everything working.”

“Okay.  Time to go to work.  We’ll follow on the holo-grid screen and Captain Jones will tell you if you’ve missed anything.  We’ll be in constant communication with you and Officer Jones.”   

Jesse led the children into the room where Cable and David were propping up Brett Jones into a sitting position.  They had a table with metal pans to catch any blood and swabs to wipe his nose.  To Jones’ amazement he watched the children disappear into thin air, but they seemed to leave behind a thin cloud of dust-like particles he could see moving about like they were alive.  Jesse explained to Jones.

“If you haven’t guessed by now, the Steele children, Adam and Eve, are of another race, Officer Jones.  Mr. Steele and his lovely wife adopted them on a pleasure cruise to Mars about a year ago and they’ve acclimated themselves quite readily to their new parents and the folks, with which, they live.  They have several remarkable special abilities as you just witnessed.  They are going to help us repair your body.  They will communicate with you when they get inside you.  Just relax and let them help you.  Are you ready, Officer Jones?”

“I guess.  How are they going to get inside me?”

“Make yourself comfortable and take a deep breath.  Inhale slowly and deeply.”

Brett Jones had his reservations; however, he did as he was told and could see the fine particles moving through the air into his nares and could feel them in his lungs.  He immediately felt himself beginning to relax and a wonderful, euphoric feeling came over him.  It felt like someone gently but lovingly took control of his body and portions of his brain.  He heard a couple of small giggles in his mind.  Was he imagining it?

<< Hello, Officer Jones. >> he recognized the unmistakable young voice of the little female they called ‘Eve.’ << You have a fine, strong body.  You’re much too young and in excellent condition to be allowed to die. >>  he heard Eve compliment him.

<< Thank you, Eve. >> his thought projected to her, << I don’t want to die unless absolutely necessary.  Is that you making me feel so good? >>

<< Yes, Sir.  My brother is getting into your blood system and will be at the tear in your blood vessel within your brain in a few minutes.  I’m going to relax you.  I’ve taken over all your body functions.  Would you like an erection, Sir? >>

<< Uh, not right now, dear, but thanks for asking.  Maybe later. >>  Brett chuckled and heard her laugh again.  Others must have been listening in on their conversation as several of the men laughed at their exchange. << Do you do that for others, Eve? >> Brett asked out of curiosity.

<< Oh, sure.  We lie with daddy and mommy all the time.  It helps them and it helps me and Adam know how mating is suppose to go when we’re older and it comes time for us to take a mate and breed,— but, not with each other. >>  She added with another little laugh.  

<< I’m at the break in his vessel, Master Jesse. >> Brett heard a male voice in his head.

<< Do you think you can repair it, Adam? >> Bret heard Jesse send to the boy.

<< Piece a’ cake, Sir.  Fixing it now.  Taking some of my tissue and DNA material and piecing it in.  It will take a few minutes to stop the flow of blood.  I’ll let you know. >>  

The men didn’t have to hear it from Adam.  Neither did Jones.  He could see from the holo-grid projection the tissue was being quickly replaced and repaired and the flow of blood slowly became stanched.

<< Good boy, Adam! >> congratulated Captain Jones. << Ain’t never seen me nothing so fine and marvelous as that, Son.  You done good, cowboy, but we ain’t out of the woods yet.  Think you’ll have any problems irrigating the blood from his brain? >>

<< Can I have two pieces of cake, Sir?  One for me and one for my sister? >>

<< And all the lummox milk you can drink. >> came another voice.  The booming voice of their Uncle Horse.

<< Awe-right! >> exclaimed Adam.  It took about an hour for the boy to flush out all the blood from Officer Jones’ brain.  Adam kept insisting his blood was different from most humans, and he didn’t think it would hurt him to leave it where it was.  He thought it would eventually be absorbed back into his system, but Jesse was unsure.  He wanted it flushed.  Adam worked quickly and skillfully as the dark blood poured from Officer Jones’ nose into a waiting metal pan Cable held for him.

<< Don’t throw it away, gentlemen. >> Captain Jones instructed Cable and his assistants handling Jones’ blood. << Portions of the fluid are part of Adam which he will reclaim when he extracts himself from our patient. >>  They continued to take care of Jones until they heard Adam declare he thought he cleaned all of the blood from his brain.  Nothing was coming forth from the officer’s nose but clear fluid.

<< We can’t see a thing on the holo-grid, Adam.  You and Eve have done a wonderful job.  Come out and we’ll make sure you get some cake.  You and Eve certainly deserves a treat. >>  Jesse said with all the love in his heart.

Officer Jones could see Adam as he breathed him out from his body a little at a time.  More of the boy continued to flow as clear fluid from his nose.  The boy began to reform himself from the fluids mixed with the blood in the gauze, from liquid collected in the pans and from the material being exhaled by Jones’ breath.  Then he felt Eve let go of his autonomic functions and release his brain stem.  He was breathing and relaxing on his own.  He saw her escape his lungs next.  The children settled next to him in his bed and enveloped him in a cocoon of their love.  Jones never felt anything so wonderful in his life.  For the first time in his life he felt like he belonged to someone, something, to the world in which he found himself.  Tears were streaming down his face from the love he felt from these remarkable children.  He heard Sonny Steele laugh and then speak to him.

“They take a little get’n used to, Son.  Not to worry.  They do that all the time with us.  It’s jes' their way of joining and sharing their love with another.  We have no choice but to share ours with them.”

“You are truly blessed to have such wonderful children, Mr. Steele.”  Officer Jones whispered to Sonny.

“Thank you, Sir.  We’re right proud of them.  Couldn’t love ‘em more if they came from our bodies, and— sometimes they do.  If they get really frightened, they crawl inside us and hide.” replied Sonny with a smile.

About that time a parade of other cowboys walked into sickbay followed by other strange creatures and animals.  Following them was a large, ornate football shaped object that seemed to contain hundreds of different colored glowing crystals.  The two lead cowboy were perfect twins.  They looked exactly alike.  The children let go of him, reformed and ran naked to the two cowboys as fast as their little legs would carry them.

“Waco!  Indigo Blue!” they shouted as the jumped into their arms.  There was much hugging and stolen kisses and all the cowboys and critters made over Adam and Eve.  Then there were four younger cowboys about the same age as the two strange kids that healed Jones accompanied by two more huge lummox critters and several dogs who could speak.  They all looked like they were one large family— the most remarkable family Brett Jones ever experienced.  He was in awe of them and the love they radiated for each other.  He longed to be a part of their family.

“We heard you guys was heroes and help save this handsome officer’s life.” said the twin they called ‘Waco.’

“We weren’t no heroes, Captain Waco.  We’s just help’n out Master Jesse and Utah.” said Adam.  Waco grabbed him up and gave him a hug and a kiss and did the same with Eve.

“Well, to us you’re both heroes, and I’ll bet you’d have a hard time convincing officer Jones otherwise.  I know all the grownups are proud of you.”  Waco assured them.

The quieter of the two twins, Indigo Blue, approached Brett Jones and took his hand.  Jones felt a surge like an electric shock run through his body.  Did all these people have special powers?  Indigo Blue smiled at him as if he read his mind.

“Most of the younger generation have some powers.  We’re learning more every day as we teach each other.” said Blue.  “May I place my hand on your forehead, Sir?” Blue asked.

“Sure.” Jones said weakly.  Blue slowly placed his hand on Jones’ forehead and Brett could see a blue light emanating from under the cowboy’s hand.

“Is that why they call you ‘Blue?’” he asked.

“Exactly, Sir.  See those beautiful crystals in that case floating next to your bed?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“They are my birth family and my brother Indigo, who resides in this body with me, is a spark who came from my brother Waco.  We are a conjoined specie in a cloned body.  Say ‘hello’ to our new brother, Indigo.” Blue said quietly.

“Hello, brother Jones.  Welcome to our strange world.”  Another voice sounding exactly like Waco’s came out of the same body.

“You’re two beings inside one body?” Jones asked.

“That’s right.  It took us a while to adjust, but once we did everything worked out for the best.  We’ve sort of become, for lack of a better term, an interspecies chimera.  Beauty and the beast.  My handsome brother ‘Blue’ is the beauty, and I provide the beast part.” laughed Indigo.  Everyone laughed.

“It’s really quite the other way around, Officer Jones.” quickly commented Blue.

It was amazing.  Jones could actually tell the difference in the two’s speech patterns.  Blue continued, “My birth family would like to remain with you for a while.  They will sing to you and heal you.  Relax, learn their songs and their language.  Don’t try to sing with them yet.  You need to rest and heal first and then you may indulge yourself.  We’ll also bring the Kodaly family to sing with you if you like.  They are excellent musicians and we’re fortunate to have them as part of our extended family.  The rest of these critters and cowboy yahoos we’ll introduce to you later.  They are all part of our family.”

Suddenly six faces appeared whom Jones immediately recognized.  Two were Officer Brick Armstrong and his mate Timmy.  They were followed by Stan Edmonds, Jimmy-Bob Dodge, another Temple guard he knew as Ernie Shields accompanied by a fine looking middle-aged cowboy, and Jones’ beloved Commander Del Hawkins.  Hawkins got to him first and took him into his arms and sobbed to see him looking so well.  It was almost more than Jones could handle.  He started sobbing, too.  

“Be brief, gentlemen.” Cable interrupted, “We have to clear everyone out and induce a deep sleep for Officer Jones.  He needs time to rest and recover.  Our friends the Kryscells will stand watch with him and help him rest.” he said humbly but with concern.  Del Hawkins spoke to him.

“I’ll be here for a couple of days to visit with you and help you through this.  The holy prophet doesn’t know exactly where I am, but he knows I’m with you.  He won’t say nothing.  He knows I had to come and be with you, Son.  He knows how much I love you.”

“I love you, too, Sir.  Thank all these wonderful folks for being concerned and helping me.  I’ll try to live my life in such a manner to make them proud of me.”

“They know that, Officer Jones.  You rest and we’ll see you tomorrow.”

Everyone left except the naked men in the clinic they called ‘sickbay.’  Was he on some kind of ship?  And what of these crystals that were playing their lights over his body?  He closed his eyes, relaxed and listened.  He could barely hear a sound of someone singing from far away.  It was a single voice.  He could only hear fragments of the song until it seemed to get closer.  Another voice joined the first and made perfect sense as an accompaniment.  The more he could hear of the excellent music and singing the more he relaxed until he was drifting into nothingness; yet, it wasn’t nowhere.  He began to see the forms and shapes of the crystals singing to him, the geometric and harmonic progressions as one voice led into another and one tonality piled on top of another to go from dominant to subdominant and back in a slowly, powerful cascade of sounds.  He never experienced such euphoria,— such a sense of well-being.  It was even better than his trances he created for himself when he sang in the cathedral.  He could no longer control his body and felt himself starting to lift from his bed.  He felt several firm hands grab him and lower him back to the bed.  He didn’t open his eyes but he heard a voice in his head.

<< You are not to levitate until you are better, Officer Jones.  You’re hearing my voice.  I am Cable, in charge of sickbay and you must obey me.  You must remain immobile for at least three, twenty-four hour periods.  If the Kryscells cause you to levitate we will have to terminate their therapy. >>  

“No, no, Sir.  Please.  I will learn to control it.  Don’t ask them to go away.  They are much too beautiful.  I have only tasted their wisdom and beauty.  I’m just beginning to learn, and eventually I must sing with them.  I promise.  I will remain in bed for the time you require.  It isn’t too long to wait.  I’m sorry.  I’ve just never tried to control it before, but with their help, I know I can.”  Jones opened his eyes to look into the most caring pair of eyes he ever saw.  Cable smiled at him and gently put his hand on Jones’ shoulder to comfort him.

“I have faith in you, Officer Jones.” Cable spoke softly.

“Are you human, Mr. Cable?” Jones asked shyly.

“No, but I am the son of Lazarus Long; so are my brothers David and Jonathan.  Relax, all will be revealed to you.” was all Cable offered.  He looked deeply into Jones’ eyes, winked, turned and walked from the room.  Brett smiled to himself at the mystery of Cable’s words as he made himself comfortable.

Once again he heard the voices of the Kryscellians calling to him.  He projected to them his fear of levitating again.  To his surprise they sent to him an anchor.  He didn’t know any other way to describe it, but it was a tether to bind his soul when he became overwhelmed with his incredible lightness of being.  He understood it to be a gift,— a treasured gift he would use many times to overcome his helplessness during bouts of uncontrolled ecstasy.  He didn’t know how it worked, but it did.  He even let go a couple of times to check and would feel the covers on his bed begin to rise.  He immediately used his new found anchor to counteract the feeling and instantly dropped back into his bed.  He silently sang his thanks to the gracious crystals.  He was in awe of them and settled for tears streaming down his face as they sang to him and healed him.

* * * * * * *

Delbert Hawkins and those caring for Officer Jones were the only people allowed to visit him during his three day period of forced rest by Cable as instructed by Jesse, Captain Arlen Jones, and Lazarus.  He was to have no other visitors.  They insisted he be kept quiet and sleep as much as he could.  He was only allowed to sit up for eating.  They fed him the most wonderful foods.  It was simple but tasty and nourishing.  They gave him a milk to drink that was thick, sweet and also very good.  It tasted like liquid vanilla ice cream.  It was delicious.  He asked Cable about it.

“It’s lummox milk.”  Cable told him.  “It’s one of nature’s most complete foods.  It is already rearranging things in you body that are not up to standards or have become faulty.  You will never have another aneurism.  It will also give you the ability to communicate mentally with some folks and most critters.”

Jones felt himself healing quickly.  The Kryscellians were his constant companions, and he couldn’t get enough of them.  They would leave him for brief periods to be alone with his own thoughts.  It was like those periods were carefully planned for him to digest what he was learning and for his body to take a small rest from the work of healing.  When he began to long for them, they always reappeared to sing for him again.  The second afternoon, after taking some blood and analyzing it Cable called Jesse and Admiral Long into sickbay for a conference.  The men looked grave, but Cable seemed confident.  They came into his room and Jesse Watkins spoke to him.

“We’ve discovered something about your DNA we weren’t expecting.  We should’ve listened more carefully to Adam when he told us about your blood, but we thought he was too young and inexperienced to know what he was talking about.  I will never make that mistake again.” explained Jesse seriously.  “There’s still time to correct the anomaly, but we need to discuss it with you first.”

“Is it something bad, Sir?” Jones asked concerned.

“It depends on how you look at it.  In essence, Adam found the reason for your abilities to levitate, heal people with your blood and by laying on of hands.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing miraculous about it, but because it’s so rare, new to you and those who experience your amazing ability, it certainly might qualify as miraculous to anyone who knows nothing about evolution and the way it works.  The truth of the matter is, it’s in your DNA.  You have the power to heal yourself as well as others.  Your blood can heal because when your DNA comes in contact with another human, even by absorption through the skin by means of any and all bodily fluids, from minute traces of perspiration to waste, you can control their DNA to cause them to heal.  You can do it one of two ways; either by manipulating their DNA or causing yours to interact with theirs to heal them.  Your DNA is so pervasive the mere touch of your hand will pass enough of your genetic information to another person to enable you to heal them.  Naturally, until now you’ve been unaware of this ability because you do it subconsciously, but you can be taught and learn to do it consciously.”

“Is that how you heal others, Sir?”

“One of the ways, yes.  In that way, you and I are brothers; however, I use combinations which I can teach you.  I used the talents of Adam and Eve with you.  In another instance I used the innate healing powers of a young man to heal his mother with his gift of song.  You have the same remarkable ability.  In that way you and he are brothers.  Utah’s gifts helped me heal your prophet.  I could have healed you myself, but I couldn’t rid your brain of your blood without help.  Adam tried to tell us, your blood probably didn’t need to be excised; you may have been able to cause yourself to absorb the blood.  I considered it at the time, but I didn’t want to take the chance.

We didn’t know about your blood anomaly, because nothing showed up on your lab work.  It wouldn’t unless we ran a DNA sequence and there was no reason for us to do so.  That’s another lesson we learned from you.  From now on, we will immediately run a DNA sequence as part of any patient’s lab work.  Perhaps I should have guessed, but the condition occurs so rarely I failed to consider it.  You couldn’t have known about it either, but I’m confident you can learn to control it, just like the Kryscellians have taught you to adjust your ability to levitate.

“Why did this ability come upon me at this time in my life, Sir?  Why ain’t I been able to do these things all my life?”

“Good question, and there’s an answer for that.  You’ve always been able to adapt your DNA, but you just never knew about it and may never have known until you ran into someone with slightly different DNA.  It happened when you began to mess around with your holy prophet.  When Utah and I brought him back to life we passed onto him some of our DNA; however, while he absorbed enough to give him some powers a human wouldn’t ordinarily have, his body rejected most of it.  As time goes on he’ll retain less and less, but he has enough he passed some of our DNA on to you.

Long story short, you have a type of DNA rarely found in humans.  It hasn’t been recorded in several thousand years.  It is a highly adaptable form of DNA which you may have some ability to control; however, without that knowledge, if we left you alone, there was a better than ninety-eight percent chance you would’ve died and remained dead without our help with a jump-start.  We couldn’t allow that to happen.  We’ve been following your progress through Commander Hawkins and several of your brother officers who love you very much.

There is, however, a dark side to your anomaly.  You are also capable of shutting down a person’s system and terminating them like some legendary creatures of old.  I doubt that will ever happen with you, because you place too high a value on life of any kind.  You’re far more interested in giving of yourself through healing and saving lives.  If we thought otherwise we wouldn’t have revived you.

Now I must tell you what has happened.  By intermingling small amounts of his tissue and fluids with yours, Adam has inadvertently given you his DNA information.  A normal human body would have seen his patch as a temporary fix, quickly replaced it with its own DNA created tissue and ultimately rejected his.  The same would happen with his fluids.  Your DNA is so adaptable it can take on new information and transform yours into something totally new.  What?  We don’t know.  In essence, your DNA is comparable to a walking sponge, or it may even be possible for you to meta-physically change your own DNA.”

“You mean I could just think about becoming a certain way and my DNA would make my body do it?”

“Theoretically, yes.  It’s within the framework of possibility— absolutely.  You can cause the stigmatas in your hands, feet and side.  Then you can heal them as quickly.  You cause it to happen whether you’re aware or not.”

“Could I make myself better looking, Sir?”

“Why improve on perfection, Son?  You have developed your body to rival that of a young Greek god.” Jesse smiled at Officer Jones.

“They don’t call me ‘Dumbo’ for nothing, Sir.  I know it’s because of my big ears, but it’s also because I ain’t the brightest penny in the jar.  It hurts.”  Jones said quietly.

“Did you know before you discovered your extraordinary talents the Board of Officers felt you weren’t working out as an officer and were going to transfer you to another outfit?  Your brother officers made an appeal directly to your holy prophet not to approve their recommendation.  They loved you enough to place their own careers in jeopardy by going over the heads’ of the board to keep you on with them.”

“Naw, Sir, no one told me about that.  They did that for me?  Are you sure?” Jones was surprised and stunned as a bemused look broke across his face.

“They certainly did— everyone of them— to a man.  I can show you video of it if you don’t believe me.” Jesse placed his hand on Brett’s shoulder to confirm.  He continued, “I dare say there’s been a lot less jokes made since you’ve been healing folks to say nothing of your singing talents.  Your commander tells me what once was a name of derision, ‘Dumbo’ has now become a term of endearment in the sight of your fellow officers.  Even now,  they are praying for you around the clock in staggered prayer vigils.  Their prayers are earnest and being heard across the universe.  But if it is such a burden for you— yes, with some guidance and practice, you can change even that.” Jesse assured him.

“Is that how you can change Utah into a human and back again?”

“Exactly.” Jesse admitted, “Only, Utah has the power to do it for himself, if he wants.  I’ve taught him.  He knows how.  He just never has cared to exercise his option.  It's been known for thousands of years by more advanced civilizations human DNA is like a biological Internet which can be influenced and reprogrammed by words and frequencies.  DNA is not only responsible for the construction of your body, but also serves as data storage and communication.  Some have referred to it as genetic or sometimes incorrectly as eidetic memory.  In effect, the genetic code follows the same basic rules as human languages.  Human language did not appear coincidentally but is a reflection of our DNA— which begs the age old question— which begat what, the chicken or the cluck?” Jesse chuckled.  He continued his explanation.  “Assuming there is a supreme being, if, in the beginning, the word was God and man was made in God’s image, it makes sense that man must be the mirror image of that God.  That was one of the more striking messages of the Gospel of Thomas, that God is not separate but abides within all men.  The early Greek philosopher Epicurus was one of the first to understand that the Gods men  worshiped are to be found in their own invention.  Thus they had only but to hold up a mirror to metaphorically see their God.

Living chromosomes are capable of functioning just like a holographic computer using endogenous DNA laser radiation.  This means they are able to modulate certain frequency patterns— sounds, music and language— onto laser-like rays which influence DNA frequency and thus the genetic information itself.  Since the basic structure of DNA-alkaline pairs and language is of the same structure, no DNA decoding is necessary.  One can simply use words and sentences of the human language.  Of course, the frequency has to be correct, but that's where teaching and learning comes in.  We can instruct you how to reprogram your DNA, or others, through language and musical frequencies.  In effect, we will teach you to remember yourself.  That probably won’t make a lot of sense to you right now, but it will in time.”  Jesse smiled at him.

“Then what you’re trying to tell me is, I’m becoming like Adam and Eve, isn’t it, Sir?” Brett asked.

“Yes, Son.  Cable’s findings are irrefutable, but I have the ability to make it right, to cancel it out if you wish, but it must be done as soon as possible before it’s too late.  Since my decision was directly responsible for this error, I must in all good conscience make you the offer to correct my mistake.”         

“You have no idea what I might become?” Brett asked quietly.

“None whatsoever.  One can only speculate when you’re dealing with something as tenuous as specie DNA.  One specie may become dominant over the other or you may become a hybrid with the best of both.  There’s no telling, but you must consider if you go back with several new abilities, you won’t be able to use them regularly; otherwise, they’ll most likely become suspicious, put you in an institution and dissect you to find out why you’re the way you are.  With levitation and the stigmatas, you can hide under the protection of religious superstition.  The corporations or military wouldn’t dare try anything.  People would be rioting in the streets because they would be tampering with one of their favorite and most popular religious icons.  Furthermore, President Scudder’s ratings at the polls are through the roof because you’re one of his most popular Temple Guards.  You must continue to maintain that relationship, without drugs, for his continued protection.  I emphasize ‘without drugs’ because we have no idea what effect the drugs you were taking as a Temple Guard might do to you once you’ve changed.”

“I hardly take anything at all anymore.  Dr. Scudder ordered me off all drugs, Sir.  I’ll just tell him I was instructed not to take anymore drugs.”

“Good, it’s best to avoid them.  We suspect your brain hemorrhage might have been caused by a delayed reaction from the steroids.”

“Are you in contact with the ones you call the Ancients, Mr. Jesse?”

“Yes, Son.  A number of us are.  You have the ability, you just don’t realize it yet.  The Kryscellians sing with the Voices of the Ancients on a regular basis.  When you sing, they hear you.  The vibrations and sounds of your voice and soul are carried throughout the universe.  You have no idea how many critters with peaceful, intelligent, benevolent souls out there you have touched with your music.  Later you will meet young Johauk Kodaly who will explain it all to you.”

“Are the voices sometimes mistaken for the voice of a god or gods?”

“Sometimes— but let’s not get into theology here.  What you’re trying to ask is what the Ancients want of you, right?”

“Yes, Sir, but I don’t really need your answer, Mr. Jesse.  I know in my heart what they want.”

“Yes, so do I, Son.  I just had to hear it from you.  So do they, but I must ask,— are you sure it’s what you want?”

“Without a doubt, Sir.  I feel it’s part of my destiny.  I feel like you and all these wonderful people are part of my destiny.”

“I agree.  It is your destiny, but since I was responsible for this new development, it would be remiss of me not to offer you a choice.  For your  protection your own DNA is capable of rejecting this change on its own— only, you don’t know how to activate it yet, but we ain’t sure you’ll be able to reverse its effect later.  Little is known about Evanescent DNA; however, if it’s what you choose for yourself we’ll let the change take place.”

“It’s what I want, Sir.  I’m willing to take the chance.” confirmed Jones.

“That being said and understood between us, let me be the first to welcome you to our family.” Jesse took Brett’s hand and gently shook it.

“To be honest, I hoped one day I might be invited to join your wonderful family?”

“Certainly.  Without a doubt, you already are part of our family.  You will learn many new and amazing things while you are with us.  When you return they must remain locked away in you heart, but you won’t be alone.  You will have your Commander to lean on and we will be in constant contact with you.  We will come for you, Commander Hawkins and several others when the time is right.”

“Will it be the rapture, Sir?”

“Yes, in religious terms, for those who are unable to share the knowledge you will be given, it will be the rapture.  Between us and what you will learn, it will be the salvation of many and their final exodus before the Earth is destroyed by a combination of human stupidity, religious fanaticism, ultra-conservative fundamentalism, intolerance, misplaced faith, greed, treachery, mendacity and aliens that will make themselves known shortly.  Not all people will be chosen, Officer Jones.  You must make certain you are able to leave those behind who you know in your heart will not be saved.  If you are not able to separate yourself and choose to walk away of your own free will, you will perish with them.”

Brett Jones seemed stunned but satisfied for the moment.  It was some tough words, but there was no doubt whom Jesse was talking about.  It was a matter which didn’t need to be confronted at that moment.  One hurdle at a time.  Brett Jones made himself comfortable and took a deep breath.  He wondered what he would become.

 * * * * * * *
After the third day, Cable allowed Brett to be up and around.  Officer Jones kept his word, and for the most part, remained quiet, relaxed and slept a lot.  His fourth day, he had visitors all day.  He was amazed and thrilled by  the wonderful and unusual characters he was meeting.  By the end of the day Cable decided there was just too much traffic in sickbay and the decision was made to move Brett to the clinic in Parsons.  Before he left he asked Cable if he needed to dress.

“Only if you want to.  You’ll be accepted how ever you’re most comfortable.  Everyone who comes aboard the Bandersnatch or any of the other smaller scout-ships we have on board know the medical staff will be nude.  Me and my brothers don’t feel comfortable in clothes, but sometimes we have to attend functions outside the ship or in one of the communities and we wear our Western clothes.  They’re not so bad.  They’re very comfortable.  We don’t mind spending a day in cowboy clothes.  Besides, we’ve decided we look quite handsome in them.”

Brett decided to go Parsons in the raw.  No one said a thing.  Arnie Lewis and Dr. Randy Stevens welcomed him with open arms.  The were glad to have him as they hadn’t had a patient stay in their small country hospital since Indigo.  Arnie patiently explained where he was, about their small town of Parsons and the growing number of other communities.  That afternoon, Brett found out about Cable, David and Jonathan and several others of the android staff.  As Jesse told him he would be, Brett Jones was amazed.

The Kryscellians and Blue helped Brett through his transition.  They were able to understand his fears and help him make adjustments.  Indigo and Blue helped most of all because of their own problems with adjustments.  Indigo had come a long way and was more comfortable and confident in his position.  He probably helped Brett the most.  The fact that Indigo Blue dressed and spoke the cowboy lingo helped considerably to put Brett at ease.

He had, what seemed like, a never ending stream of visitors, well wishers and folks who seemed genuinely concerned about him and offered their help.  The strangest was a small fairy-like creature who was introduced to him as Master Waco’s slave.  Her name was Keekepata and told him a wonderful story of stowing away on young Captain Waco’s spaceship to come live with him and his family.  Keeke and her entourage of several Shushonni warriors and ladies visited him regularly.  

Brett’s friend and commanding officer was by his side at all times.  He revealed to Brett he was introduced to this strange new world of folks during his last vacation.  Brick and Tim picked up Del and brought him to spend his vacation with them.  He got to know and love everyone.  He told Jones about a brief trip to Venus and Mars to see the wonders of those worlds.  He even introduced him to their resident Venusian Ambassador Darryl.  Hawkins didn’t think he was being treasonous to his Holy Prophet but knew one day he might have to make a decision as to his loyalty.  He made it clear to Brett he would chose the folks who were taking care of him.  Brett had mixed emotions because of his loyalty and devotion for Jerry Scudder, but he was finding himself being unwittingly seduced into a relationship with these folks unlike anything he’d ever experienced.  They were becoming family and just seemed to accept him as one of them.  Nothing was held back from him or Del Hawkins because of their close ties with the Scudder regime.  It was as if they trusted the men to do the right thing.  
Two of his most treasured visitors became Adam and Eve Steele and their families.  As his changes took place, the children took him by the hand and taught him how to use his changes.  He learned he could make his body completely breakdown into its smallest molecular components and move about undetected by anyone unless they knew what to look for.  He appeared as dust particles floating in the air.  They taught him to change into anything he wanted.  He could become a dog like Moe, Patty or Utah and run and play with them.  He stood in front of a mirror and learned to change his facial features to become a stunningly handsome man.  Del Hawkins was impressed, but stressed he would have to return to the Holy City as the old ‘Dumbo’ Jones.  

The strangest thing happened to him.  He wasn’t ashamed or concerned about the way he looked any more.  His body was perfection itself, and he was more than adequately hung.  He decided his Dumbo Jones appearance was a perfect cover for the other changes that had taken place.  He had plenty of time to become someone else.  It just might even make it easier for him to walk away from Scudder if he had to.

* * * * * * *
It was the first week of summer and the boy’s collective sixteenth birthday rolled around.  By that time there were so many different, strange but wonderful people and critters it didn’t seem safe to have the festivities out in the open at Charlie’s ranch anymore where they might be observed.  Besides, as Darryl observed, it made it easier for him and the AIs to film everything.  It had been planned for sometime and it just so happened Officer Jones was rescued the week before.  Since the Coyote kids birthdays were in the summer Lazarus and Charlie decided they would make it one big birthday party for them all.  The members of the Grange planned a great blowout at Parsons on the Bandersnatch and the people of Parsons planned for it for weeks.  It marked a great passage for several of the boys and a time when Charlie had to start thinking about Waco growing up.

Charlie was faced with some tough decisions.  Waco was the best son he could possibly have had.  It seemed like no matter how many responsibilities he gave the kid, Waco took them on and never complained he was overburdened.  He looked at anything Charlie or Lazarus wanted of him as a challenge and an opportunity.  He never neglected any area of his life and kept his grades in the top two or three students in high school at all times.  He did have a tendency to expect the same from others and sometimes his brothers had difficulty keeping up with him.

The teachers in the high school were amazed by the Goodnight boys as they came to be known.  They were always prepared for class, always did their homework, did it correctly, and respectfully participated in class.  They also ran the tenor of the classroom.  If one of the other students got out of hand and weren’t paying attention, they would all turn and stare at the offending individual.  It would embarrass the shit out of the misbehaving student and they would sink low in their seats.  They made it clear they were there to learn, and they wouldn’t put up with anyone not respecting their right to do so.  The teachers loved them, and they were all top notch athletes as well.

Charlie anguished over what to do about Waco and his suitor, Captain Vinceeth.  Charlie had come to love Treygor like he was another son.  He had no problem with Waco and Trey being together before Waco was eighteen, but Charlie was a man of conviction and lived by the laws of the land even if he didn’t agree with them.  Lazarus suggested a solution by offering to buy Waco as his indentured slave for five years, but Charlie just couldn’t bring himself around to the idea.  Besides, he was growing more and more dependent on Waco to help him run all the things that were going on around the ranch.  Charlie couldn’t keep track of everything, but Waco and his brothers were always right there to remind him, take up the slack and lend a hand.  A solution to his problem came from an unexpected sources.  He was having a conversation with Hank Morgan about JR discovering Hank was his dad.  They were two fathers considering the future of their boys.  Hank shared with Charlie what JR asked of him on their trip across the galaxy.  Charlie roared with laughter.

“I wondered when he was gonna’ git around to it.  Waco and I made a bet.  Of course, Waco won.  I told him it would be in a year or so, but he insisted JR would test the water with you sooner.  Damned if he didn’t.”  Charlie looked at Hank sympathetically.

“Did you tell him it was all right with you for him to ask me, boss?”  Hank asked respectfully.

“Yeah, he asked me about it.  I told him to follow his heart, but for him to respect you as his dad and obey your wishes.”

“That’s exactly what he told me, but I told him to wait.  If he argued with me I would’ve been resolved not to, but he didn’t.  He just accepted my decision and told me he loved me anyway.  Now I don’t know what the fuck to do.  He’s got me dead to rights.  I ain’t got me no good argument not to.  It weren’t like he was asking for a steady thing.  Just a night on a fishing trip or a git-away trip to Mars,— just the two of us.  How often does that happen?  Hell, you and Master Waco don’t git away together no more often than we do.”

“Lord, don’t I know it.  I have to make an appointment months in advance just to have a sit down chat with him.”  Charlie complained.  The men shared a laugh.

“What do you plan to do about Master Waco and his warrior Captain?”

“Don’t rightly know, Hank.  I done made up my mind, I ain’t a’ gonna’ sell ma’ boy to Lazarus for no amount of money.  It was kind of him to offer, but I don’t need the money.  Waco’s all for it, but it just sticks in my craw.  I guess he’ll just have to wait until he’s eighteen and can make those decisions for himself.”

“Ain’t the legal age in Texas sixteen, boss?”

“Yeah, I think you’re right.  It was changed a number of years ago so’s Saint Bush could draft younger boys for his wars.  Waco becomes draft age this year, but he don’t have to register as long as he’s in school.  We don’t have to worry none about our slaves.  They’re considered personal property and ain’t subject to the selective service.  Actually, that only gives Waco another two years.  He’ll be a junior this coming year and next year he’ll be a senior.  The following summer he turns eighteen and is eligible for the draft unless he immediately enrolls in college.  As long as he continues his schooling uninterrupted, he won’t be subject to the draft.  Then he’s got another four to six years before having to go off and fight in one of the neo-cons never ending wars.”

“If Waco’s legal age what’s to keep him and his Captain from sharing something with each other?  What if he weren’t in the state or on the planet?  Would that make a difference to you?  Wouldn’t maritime laws apply to spaceships as well as navy vessels?”

“Don’t see why not.  Lazarus has the authority to marry folks.  He’s married any number of same sex couples and authorized the marriage of Lyle and Strom.  I see what you’re getting at, Hank, and it makes a lot of sense to me.  I gotta’ talk with Admiral Long about it.  After all, my boy is the Captain of his own ship.  That might be something for you to consider, too.  Waco and Lucas done got chore’ boy sit’n next to ‘em and taking the helm on all them flights to Venus and Mars.  He’s made a couple of trips with Bert and Phil Stamper as their first mate.  H’it ain’t gonna’ be long afore JR is Captain of his own ship.  What are you gonna’ say then?”  Charlie grinned  at Hank.

“Guess I’ll have to follow my Captain’s orders.  Hell, I don’t wanna’ have ta’ walk the plank in deep space.” laughed Hank.  Charlie laughed with him.  

“You’d make JR a fine first mate, Hank.  You always was good to take care of me when I needed it.  I’m almost a little envious of you and JR.”

“Have you given much thought to you and Waco sharing anything, boss?”

“We talked about it, but hell, we’d have to schedule it a year in advance.” Charlie laughed again.  “Who knows?  It’s like you said, it ain’t gonna’ be something we plan as a regular thing.  If it happens at all, it will be because we both happen to have a moment to share, which ain’t too damn likely the way things are going.  Things is git’n crazy.  What with having to sell directly to the city folks and people driving all the way out here to get meat I’ve been thinking on buying several more slaves.  We need the help.  That’s gonna’ increase you and Curley’s work load.  I know Lazarus has been depending more on you and Curley.  Maybe you and Curley should talk and we’ll think about promoting another couple of good slaves to lead cowboys.  You don’t even wanna’ know what Lazarus is talking about doing with the old Bloom place.”

“Them boys can’t keep nothing from Ida Mae, boss, and she tells me ever’ thing.  You know how jazzed up they git over any new project Master Lazarus wants to do; especially, if it means saving or helping kids.”  Hank chuckled.  “I think it’s an ambitious project, but knowing Master Long he’ll fund it well and see it’s all run in a first class manner.” Hank allowed.

“I know he will.  Lazarus has a great sense of organization and knows how to get things done.  He knows how to relegate authority and relies heavily on the talents and his trust in others.  He just seems to know when someone is right for a job.  I guess living several thousand years will do that for a man.”  Charlie smiled.  “Do you think we’ll ever be that wise, Hank?”  Charlie asked his slave.

“If I see my boy to adulthood, and he becomes a good man, I’ll feel like I done my job, boss.”  

“I share your ambition, Hank, but I don’t think either one of us got a worry in that department.  JR is gonna’ be ever’ bit as good, strong, and talented a leader as Waco.  I’m proud to have folks think on me as JR’s dad.”

“Me and Ida Mae deeply appreciate what you and Mistress Anne done for us and JR, boss.”

“It was worth it, but the heroine was Anne.  She had to live with folks thinking I cheated on her, but it never bothered her for a minute.  She told me it didn’t matter what others thought, we knew the truth and that’s all that mattered.  I was surprised to find out years later most of the Grange members knew the truth.  They figured it out for themselves.  Thank God them religious nuts never did.”

* * * * * * *
The big birthday celebration was to be held that Saturday and Sunday.  It was to be a two day event.  Saturday the town of Parsons invited everyone to a county fair and rodeo, and that Sunday they were invited back for a football game and the main part of the birthday party.  Friday evening everyone gathered in the auditorium on the Bandersnatch for the weekly video from the Banshee.  Of course Arnie and Randy Stevens were invited and brought Officer Jones and Commander Hawkins along with them.  They managed to get Brett some cowboy clothes, a nice hat, and a good looking pair of boots.  He looked sharp.   There’s just something about Western clothes that can make even the homeliest man appear handsome.  Del already had Western clothes stored away on the Buttercup.

There was excitement in the air.  The coyote kids were sitting in the front row between their older cowboy brothers.  The had grown so quickly they were about the size of regular ten year olds, but they would be only five years old in a couple of weeks.  Living on the ranches and having access to enhanced foods and mental stimulus from all the fascinating people and critters around them caused an unprecedented growth in them.  How many kids five years of age could boast having been to Venus and Mars no less than half a dozen times and could claim to have Mammoths, Mastodons, Unicorns, Centaurs, and warrior fairies for personal friends?  To say nothing of being able to speak with all the critters they loved.  They had their heads together giggling about something only they knew about.  Nobody else knew what burr they had under their collective saddles, but they couldn’t be made to tell.  Jack Hall, Buck, Warren Steele and Horse had been riding herd on them all afternoon and were almost worn out.  They were a handful and the delight of everyone.  The critters wanted to be wherever the young cowboys were.  

Brett Jones had never experienced anything like this group of folks.  He was introduced earlier to two of Waco’s cousins Gavin and Jerry.  Gavin was a fine looking young cowboy the same age as Waco and his brothers.  His little brother Jerry was a couple of years younger.  Then they introduced him to their parents Captain Trong and his human mate Commander Kyle Fielding.  Together they had two human sons, two lummox sons, one human daughter and the baby of the family was a lummox female.  Del Hawkins also introduced two more Goodnight-Long cousins  Bronc and Ts’gan and their dad Bron.  It became a bit confusing to Jones when his commander tried to explain Bron was the son of Master Waco’s lummox slave Ox, and Bronc and Ts’gan were his grandsons.  He didn’t even try to explain Lyle Chambers, Strom, Kuluke and T’kan.

The Shushonni flew in and landed on the shoulders or laps of cowboys and a couple landed on Ox and Strom.  There was much laugher, hugs and kisses like they hadn’t seen each other in days.  Brett Jones and his commander were joined by the Steele family.  Sonny, Vivian, Adam and Eve.  He was glad to see them.  The kids insisted on conjoining with him and he had a head sticking out of each of his muscular shoulders.   He laughed to himself what he must look like.  The kids got the joke and laughed, too, but they didn’t move an inch.  They liked the comfort of being with their Uncle Brett.  Beside, they told him their cowboy dad always insisted two or more heads were better than one.  A couple of the Shushonni flew over to him to inquire about his progress.    They couldn't help giggle at his three heads.  Keeke and one of her escorts ask if they might sit with him.  He was flattered and told them he’d be honored.  Keeke began to tell him what he was about to see.  The room went dark and the holo-video began.

Officer Jones was still becoming used to seeing new high-tech electronic marvels, but he was amazed at the stunning definition of the holo-vids.  It was like the person was standing there before them.  The man— Jones didn’t know if he was human or not— standing there was one of the most handsome humanoid creatures Jones had ever seen.  His body was perfectly developed even more than his commander and himself and he appeared in a tight uniform that left nothing to the imagination.  It was obvious the man was hung like a small pony.  Everyone applauded for him, and he grinned real big.  They all knew who he was.  

“That’s Captain Treygor Vinceeth.  He’s my Master’s suitor and my Lord Protector.” whispered Keekepata.  “He’s commander of the Visallian fleet and Captain of the Banshee.”  she added.  Captain Vinceeth began to speak.

“This week has been a busy one for us.”  As he spoke the video faded and his picture was replaced by pictures of the men of the Banshee going about their everyday routines.  They would stop and wave to the camera or give some secret signal to someone in the crowd.  There was much laughter, jeers, hoots and joking when a particularly handsome warrior would give his signal.  All the noise was coming from the cowboys on the front rows.  It was obvious several had close relationships with some of the crew.  Jones couldn’t get over how perfect every man on the ship was.  They made his corps of officer brothers look like wimps.

“What do you think of those warriors, Son?” his commander whispered.

“Unbelievable.  They’re awe inspiring.”  he responded.

“Where do you think I got the idea to get bigger?” said Hawkins.

“They’re amazing!”  exclaimed Jones.

The video ran about an hour.  It was entertaining, educational and funny.  There was a lot of inside jokes the cowboys fell out laughing over that were completely missed by Jones and his commander.  Finally, the captain came back on the screen and began to tell of having taken some new specie to Mars that the reptiles were decimating, and while there, they discovered another scientific marvel the androids in charge had brought out and dusted off.  Next appeared scenes from one of the many balconies in the huge cave and in the distance you could see some huge creatures flying in the air.  As they came nearer the cowboys on the front row gasped.  They could make out what they were before anyone else could.  It got very quiet in the auditorium.

“My God in heaven!  Voices of the Ancients forgive me!” exclaimed Waco.  “Flying horses!”  The others were talking among themselves.

“They’re friggin’ beautiful!” exclaimed Lucas.

“This is like something out of a dream.”  said Little Bear.  “I can’t believe it!  Wait ‘til I tell my granddad about this.  He’ll mess his pants.”

“I just did!”  laughed Jack Hall.

Everyone watched as the beautiful horses flew up to the balcony to take food from the nude warriors and fly away to land in the meadows and eat.  There were other nude warriors in the meadow passing out food for them and they didn’t seem a bit shy.  They would walk up to a warrior, nudge him and he would stop what he was doing to pet the beautiful animals.  Several allowed warriors to mount them and flew them up and around the area in front of the balconies to show them off.  Every cowboy got an erection.  The thought of riding a horse naked and flying through the air was just too sensual.  Captain Vinceeth was narrating what they were seeing and told all about the beautiful creatures.

“They’re from the planet Lira in the Pegasus constellation.  They have no natural predators on their world and once numbered in the millions in large familial herds.  They are highly intelligent and have a well developed society.  For the past five hundred of their years they have been kidnaped, killed and used for food by the Reptilian race.  They are down to less than several hundred herds with less than a hundred in each herd.  When we offered a safe refuge for them, many chose to come with us rather than have their race become extinct.  I told them we would take them to a hidden world where they could thrive and be safe to rebuild their society.”  

The video came to an end but the Captain never explained about the wonderful piece of technology they discovered; however, just before he signed off and gave his not-so-secret signal to his young cowboy lover, he mentioned it by speaking directly to the coyote kids.

“I hope you men kept our secret.”  They fell out laughing.  The captain winked and said his goodbyes.  That was the end of the video.  Everyone applauded.  Jones was stunned by what he saw.  Hawkins had to close his mouth for him.  Waco grabbed Bo and Lucas grabbed Jubal.   Little Bear grabbed Ranger Junior and Travis grabbed his little brother Cable.

“Okay, cowboys, the jig is up!  Fess up!  What do you know we don’t?  What has the Captain set up with you guys?  Who else knows about this?”  Waco demanded.

Jubal was their spokes-cowperson for the coyotes. “Ms. Myra and Kyron know about it.  Of course our dads, the Admiral and Mr. Goodnight, know about it.  Other than them, nobody but us knows.  It’s a birthday present for all of us, but mainly for our older brothers.” Jubal stated.

“When do we get to know about it?” Lucas demanded.

“Right now, but ya’ll gotta’ come with us.” said Bo.  The cowboys put their younger brothers down.  The coyotes took them by the hand and dragged them laughing and giggling to the large transport bay.  Everyone followed into the huge room that was used only for transporting very large animals or equipment.  It was an enormous area, one of the largest on the ship.

“Is ever’ body here?” shouted Ranger Junior as sort of a rhetorical question.  He could see almost everyone followed them.  “Okay, I guess we’re ready.  Happy Birthday, guys!  Mr. Kyron, if you would be so kind as to activate the transport.”

“Certainly, young Sir.  Happy to, and by the way, Happy Birthday to all you four fine young cowboys.” Kyron answered Ranger Junior.  The boys thanked him.

Kyron activated the huge transporter and the first to walk through was Captain Trey Vinceeth leading a winged-pony.  He and the pony were followed closely by the spacer-dogs Larry and Curley who were running around greeting their brother and sisters and everyone they could at once.   Waco went to his Captain and a cheer went up as they hugged and kissed before everyone.  Trey was followed by Commander Maddragon who was also leading a beautiful winged-horse.  Lucas went to him and did the same as his brother.  Then a flood of warriors, several more leading handsome winged-ponies passed through until those allowed shore leave were accounted for.  When they were all aboard the Bandersnatch everyone could see they brought six of the beautiful creatures with them; three stallions and three mares.  They were magnificent creatures.  While the cowboys could see in the video among the total number of winged horses many were as varied in color as the horses on Earth, but the six the warriors chose to bring for a visit were pure white.  They were stunningly beautiful.  They were just a little larger than an average Earth horse but not as big as Waco’s Ranger and his family.

“How is this visit possible?”  Waco gasped for breath.

“The androids told us about a huge transporter that had the potential to move people and materials over large distances.  We found it, tracked it down,  they dusted it off and made sure it was functional.  It can easily move us from Mars or even Venus right to Earth.  It requires enormous amounts of energy but the Ancients left ample supplies behind.  We don’t have to fly from world to world within a solar system.  We can simply transport.  We wanted it to be a surprise for your birthdays.”

“What a great surprise.” said Waco and a cheer went up from everyone.  “Come let’s take our honored guest through another gate to Parsons so everyone can enjoy their beauty tomorrow at the rodeo.  Strom, Lyle can we board them at your farm for their visit?”

Strom agreed and after everyone had a chance to greet the ponies they were led through another gate to their farm.  They were shown to the huge, comfortable barn on Strom and Lyle’s farm where they could stay for the night.  The cowboys already had their ponies stabled with Strom and Lyle, and Ranger and his family were there, too.  The cowboys pitched in, fed and watered them.  They also asked if they could groom them for the evening.  They were not used to such pampering but allowed the cowboys to do their thing in the spirit of learning new customs.  It didn’t take them long to become accustom such luxury.  The ponies relaxed and were well pleased with the attention and welcome they got.  A couple of warriors were assigned to stand watch over them all night and Larry and Curley were ordered to assist them.  They wanted to go with their brother, sister and parents to visit with them, but they were now spacer-dogs and just like their warrior brothers had their responsibilities.  There would be plenty of time to visit later.

* * * * * * *

After dinner that evening Charlie asked if he could speak to Trey and Waco in the living room.  He invited Lazarus to join them.  He poured four brandies and handed one to Waco.

“Hank Morgan brought it to my attention, according to Texas law the age of consent for males, or as they legally refer to it the age of majority, is now sixteen years of age.  Before he died, the Bush administration had it lowered from eighteen to sixteen so he could draft younger men for his failing wars; however, it still remains eighteen for females.  I called Judge Potter to confirm it.  So, I invited you to join us, Son, in a small alcoholic beverage this evening to celebrate you crossing that threshold.  This birthday officially brings you into adulthood, Son, and as far as I’m concerned gives you the right to conduct yourself and make certain decisions for yourself; that is, with the understanding as long as you are living under my protection as your father, in my home, you will respect my rules and requirements.  I realize that probably sounds more ominous and dictatorial than I mean for it to, because I have no doubt you will conduct yourself in an acceptable manner as you always have and take those things into consideration.  It’s only because of the exemplary way you’ve handled yourself, your responsibilities, and devotion to me I have come to the conclusion you should be rewarded by giving you this trust.   

I asked our ramrod to be present for a couple of reasons.  First to thank him for his generous offer to change your legal status to accommodate you and Captain Vinceeth, but furthermore to have him as a witness to my announcement to you.  It may have been easier to have indentured you, my Son, but my heart wouldn’t allow me to do it.  I love you far too much, Waco.”  Charlie paused for a moment.  Lazarus had a wry smile on his face like he knew without saying Charlie would never go for his offer to buy Waco.  Charlie raised his glass and the men followed suit.

“To my beloved son on his sixteenth birthday.  New doors have been opened for you, and I know you will handle yourself with the same manner of restraint and devotion you always have.  Happy birthday, Son.”  Charlie’s voice quivered just a bit.  The men clinked glasses.

“To Master Waco Goodnight!”  Lazarus exclaimed.

“To my beloved cowboy!”  Trey said quietly.

The four men threw back their drinks.  Waco sputtered a bit.  He’d never tasted a full drink of brandy before, and it brought to mind Little Bear’s metaphorical word ‘firewater.’  Trey was the first to hug and kiss him, followed by Lazarus and finally Charlie.  He held Waco in his arms and shed a few tears.  

“Does this mean— ?”  Waco said quietly, but didn’t finish his sentence.

“Yes, it does, Son.  You and Trey are free to consummate your troth to each other, but not under my roof or on Texas soil.  That’s another reason I invited Admiral Long to be with us.  Let it be understood between us four men, that on the Bandersnatch, the Buttercup, the Banshee, or any planet under Admiral Long’s jurisdiction you and Trey may do as you damn well please.”  Waco went to Trey’s arms.  Charlie refilled their four glasses  and held his up again.

“This is to welcome you into the Goodnight family, Treygor Vinceeth.  May you and my son find much happiness together, and no matter in what manner you choose to live your lives, may you give me and your family many grandchildren.”  The men drank again.

“I’m happy and honored, Mr. Goodnight.”  Trey said quietly.  “I will do my best to make your son— my beloved cowboy— as happy and contented as I can.  We have already spoken of children, and if we have our way, both families will be greatly blessed, but don’t expect all your grandchildren to be human.”  Trey laughed.  Lazarus and Charlie joined him.

“That’s for you to decide.  I will be happy with either.”  Charlie assured him.

“I take it you will be spending the night on the Buttercup?”  Lazarus smiled knowingly.

“With your permission, Admiral.”  Waco spoke.

“Of course you have my permission and the blessings of all your brothers, all those who know and love you, and every critter on four worlds— to include the good Captain’s world.”

“Thank you, Admiral.  We hope to keep this quiet until we can tell our giant brother the good news.”

“Do you think he’ll feel left out?” Charlie asked with concern.

“Who says we plan to leave him out?” smiled Treygor.  Waco nodded his head in approval.  Charlie rolled his eyes and shook his head.  They shared another laugh.

* * * * * * *

The news spread like wildfire.  They barely found Ox on the Buttercup at Jack Hall and Buck’s ranch.  He was with them, Warren Steele and Horse.  He already knew about it.  Waco allowed him to eavesdrop on his mind from time to time and would send him signals to listen when he thought it was something important he might be interested in.  Ox overheard the whole conversation between the men.  He was thrilled for his young Master and the Captain and looked forward to his brother’s coupling.  He already insisted he wouldn’t participate, but he wanted to share the experience with them.  They agreed.  They knew the first time for the lummox and the Visallian warrior with the cowboy they both loved beyond measure would be an experience that would bond the three of them together for an eternity.

Soon the gates between places were almost overheating with traffic.  The critters spread the word the Captain and Waco would be spending their first night together as a couple.  It was just understood that they would be accompanied by their protector, their beloved lummox, Ox or Garron as some knew him.  Everyone wanted to drop by and wish them well.  Much joking and good humor was offered, but no one stepped over the line of good taste.   

Waco’s cowboy brothers touched him with their well wishes.  Even the coyote kids had a hug and kiss for him.  They didn’t fully understand the total picture of what was about to take place, but they understood enough to know it would bring great pleasure and happiness to their big brother and a warrior they had come to love and admire.  That’s all they needed to know.

Brett Jones observed all of this.  He was amazed everyone seemed to know what was about to take place, even the youngest cowboys.  He was carefully told what was about to happen, but he was stunned by the acceptance of it all.  No one even suggested two or even three males, each of a different specie, who were about to spend an evening making love was unusual.  Everyone acted like it was the most natural thing these three could be doing, and so it was.  Jones thought of himself as a heterosexual, but after observing the acceptance and palpable joy that was shared by all, including the critters, was overwhelming to him.  He had to admit to himself he would have to rethink his position if he were presented with a similar situation as Captain Waco Goodnight.  The staggering hyer-masculine beauty of the Visallian warrior and the unmitigated lusty sexual draw of the huge lummox was enough to keep his penis engorged for the evening.  For the first time, he was thankful for the Western clothes they provided him, but he longed to rip them off and share the pride of his erection with them.  He could only hope for some relief with someone.  Otherwise, he was sure he would have to commit the sin of onanism.  Better he should discuss it with his commander or shoot his seed into the belly of a whore than to spill it upon the ground.  He wondered why life couldn’t be more simple for him.  Was the simplicity of these people and their acceptance of life a better way?  Was his beliefs and customs more complicated than they needed to be?  Jones had never been around people and critters who might overhear broadcasted thoughts.  He hadn’t yet learned to keep them private unto himself.  He never considered his thoughts might be overheard, until he heard some gentle laughter in the back of his mind.

<< You are welcome to share the evening with my mate and me, Officer Jones. >> Brett recognized the deep voice of the other giant lummox standing before him smiling at him. << Shall I help you off with your burdensome clothing? >>   Horse moved slowly to him and towered over Brett. << The only reaction will be several others throwing off their clothes. >> Horse chuckled.  Without waiting for an answer, Horse took Brett’s cowboy hat, set it upon a big rock and started unbuttoning his Western shirt.  Every eye was on Horse and Jones.  It was very sensual for Brett Jones and he couldn’t get his clothes off fast enough.  He became so aroused he began to float in the air.  Horse reached up and grabbed him by the ankle.  Everyone was applauding for the fine looking officer as Horse gently lead him to his mate.  Warren saw them coming and decided to welcome Jones as his grandchildren taught him.  He rose from the ground and simply walked to Brett with his arms extended.  They met and embraced in mid-air.  Horse let go and Warren walked Jones back down to the ground.

“Don’t worry, Son, me and my mate will take good care of you this evening.  Not to be afraid.  You won’t be asked to do anything to make you uncomfortable.  After all, I’m almost three months pregnant.  You may go inside me and visit our new son if you like.”

“Thank you, I’d like that, Mr. Steele, but maybe later.”  Brett was thrilled they thought enough of him to offer to share their evening.

* * * * * * *

The evening drew to a close and Waco led his two mates off to their apartment in the new hotel that was almost completed in the other valley on the Buttercup.  They cleaned up and began to relax with another drink.  Ox retired to his adjoining room for the evening.  He didn’t have to be present to enjoy his Master’s coupling with his handsome warrior suitor.  Waco and Trey walked out onto the balcony of the apartment and overlooked the beautiful valley which was bathed in artificial moonlight.  They embraced and shared a deep but gentle kiss.  All of a sudden there was a rushing sound coming from the distance.  Waco’s brothers got the bright idea it would be great fun to release the six winged horses into the pastures to graze for the evening.  He and Trey looked up to see them in full flight doing wonderful things in the air and finally flying up and around the balcony.

<< Come,  Master Waco.  We have been sent by your brothers.  You and your betrothed warrior Captain, our savior, come out from that place and meet us on the ground.  We would be honored to take you through the sky to celebrate your mating.  This is such a wonderful place. >>  Waco laughed and Trey looked at him with a bemused look on his face.

“What?” Trey asked.

“They want to take us for a ride to celebrate our joining.”

“Tell them, we would be the ones honored.  Should we dress?”

“Of course not.  Don’t be silly.  It’s warm out.” reassured Waco.  He took Trey’s hand and they walked out of the building to meet the six beautiful creatures on the newly planted lawn in front.  A few were grazing the lush grass.  One of the largest stallions came forward and knelt in front of Trey.

<< Since he can not hear me, tell him my name is Xenophene,* my gracious host. >> he spoke to Waco.

“He would have you mount him, Captain.  He said to tell you his name is Xenophene.  He can hear your thoughts, so if you become unsure he will adjust his flight to accommodate you.”

“Thank you, Xenophene.”  Trey spoke aloud as he mounted the stallion.  

Another stallion of equal size came forward and bowed low to Waco.

<< I am Belerophon.*  Please— sit yourself upon my back, my host.  Make yourself comfortable.  I would be pleased to take you through the air. >>

<< Thank you, gracious steed, the pleasure is mine. >> Waco answered.

<< Are you with me, my beloved lummy? >> Waco sent privately.

<< I am with you, my love.  Your eyes are my eyes.  Your heart is my heart.  Your happiness is mine, Master.  Enjoy your flight. >>  Ox wished his young Master well.

The six took off with a flurry of feathered wings.  They were remarkable animals.  Their wing spans were almost twenty feet.  Even with passengers the big stallions seemed to fly effortlessly.  It was like they were used to carrying people.  Waco asked Belerophon about it.

<< We used to live in a symbiotic culture with another form of humanoid creatures similar to the Venusians, although they were much more fragile than us, the snakes or the greys.  Unfortunately, they were a favorite food source of the Reptilians and the Greys.  They fought them as best they could, but they eventually perished.  There were so many more of us we thought we would never be threatened; however, when they were gone, they began to capture, kidnap and feed on us. >>

<< I’m so sorry, Belerophon.  My species has had its guilt when it comes to the wastefulness of our fellow animals.  We are trying to learn better ways, but I can assure you, you and your kind will be well protected and looked after as biological treasures. >>

<< We sense that from the way we’ve been treated.  Your ground-bound equines have nothing but praise for you.  Ranger is your biggest fan and his family swears by you and your brothers.  That’s good enough for us.  We’ve had some reservations about our decision, but after we arrived on Mars and spoke with the others there, we feel more at ease.  This trip to Earth has been a pleasure for us so far.  We’re looking forward to performing for your people tomorrow. >>

<< You will cause quite a stir, I assure you. >>

They flew up and over the tall redwood trees into the warm night.  Waco found the sensation as sensual as he thought it might be.  He was roaring hard and wondered if his beloved warrior was as aroused.

<< I assure you he is. >> came a voice in Waco’s head from Xenophene.

As they flew, Waco could see the other valley coming into sight.  He heard Trey laughing.  They could see small lights dotted around the valley.  All their families and friends were waiting for them in the valley lying on beautiful, handmade quilts.  There were many small paper sacks with candles in them lighting the valley floor.  Everyone waved as the winged ponies flew lower and began to put on a performance for the crowd.  They flew in circles, figure eights and did all sorts of beautiful maneuvers in the air.  The crowd would whistle and applaud.  Finally, Waco heard Johauk and his family start a song and everyone joined in.  It was an old camping song that had been the cause of many burnt marshmallows and dripping, lip smacking Smores.  It was simplicity in itself, but everyone knew the melody and some even knew the harmony.

Tell me why the stars do shine,
Tell me why the ivy twines,
Tell me why the skies are blue,
And I will tell you just why I love you.

Waco was astounded.  It was like the winged-ponies practiced some ballet to this song, and they were literally dancing in air to the music.  It was one of the most moving feelings Waco ever experienced.  By the time they got to the second verse, everyone had joined in and the valley was awash with song.

Because God made the stars to shine,
Because God made the ivy twine,
Because God made the sky so blue,
Because God made you, that's why I love you.

It suddenly dawned on Waco and Trey, this was a love song to them.  What greater expression of love could people have than to gather and sing to the two young lovers.

I do believe that God above
Created you for me to love;
He picked you out from all the rest
Because he knew I'd love you best.

It became too much for Brett Jones, but he was in no mood to anchor himself to the ground.  He started to rise into the air, but this time he wasn’t alone.  He found himself surrounded by Adam and Eve and Warren Steele.  Also joining them was the coyotes, Lucas, Little Bear and Chief Ten Penny.  Utah began to rise and took Moe, and Patty with him.  There was a wonderful mix of cowboys and critters flying through the air in a wonderful dance while they all sang their hearts out for the couple they were honoring.  The ponies were a bit nonplused, but Waco sent to them they all just recently discovered their new talents.  The winged-ponies relaxed and a great time was had by all.

The humans and the critters waved goodbye to Waco and Trey as the ponies circled one last time and headed back over the tree tops to the other valley.  Their visit was over, and it was time for the ponies to return the lovers to their nest.  It was wonderful to feel the rush of warm air against their bodies as they could hear the final chorus of the song beginning to fade in the distance.

Tell me why the stars do shine,
Tell me why the ivy twines,
Tell me why the skies are blue,
And I will tell you just why I love you.

They landed on the lawn and Waco thanked the beautiful horses for the ride.  Trey thanked them as well.  They wasted no time departing and flew back over the trees to join the others.  Waco and Trey stood hand in hand watching the last traces of the beautiful creatures disappear.  Trey took his cowboy into his arms.

“That’s going to be a tough act to follow, little one.”

“Am I really so small to you, Captain?” Waco teased.

“Only in my heart.  You’re growing by leaps and bounds and will soon be warrior size, but I remember the young boy who I first met as Captain of his own ship.  I thought to myself how neatly he would fit into my heart.  I wasn’t wrong.  You’ve dwelt comfortably within me these last four years.  You will always be my little one, the love that fits neatly into the pocket of my heart.”

“As big as your heart is, I would think there’s plenty of room for me to grow.” Waco teased.

“I should hope so, but the mind’s eye sees differently than the eyes in my head.”

“I always suspected you had a bit of the poet inside you, Captain.”

“Not really.  I’ve never eaten one that I know of— I undersand they're way too difficult to clean.” Trey shot back.  Waco groaned.

The men walked hand in hand back into the building and up the stairs to their apartment.  They shared one final drink on the balcony.  They were in no hurry.  They had the rest of their lives to enjoy their love.  Waco carried a deep itch within him he knew only one body within the universe could scratch.  He leaned into his larger mate, laid his head on his massive shoulder and whispered in his ear,

“I’m ready, Captain Hogarth Treygor Vinceeth.  I am yours.” Waco whispered and brushed his lips against his warrior’s ear.

“Then, Captain Waco Lariat Goodnight, this night I will take what is given unto me as my own.  You and your slave will become the shared warriors of my heart.” Trey reached down and scooped Waco up into his massive arms, kissed him deeply and passionately, then carried him to their waiting bed.

End of Chapter 45 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2007 ~ Waddie Greywolf
All Rights Reserved ~
Mail to: waddiebear@yahoo.com

*Xenophene = Ze-noff-a-nee   
* Belerophon = Be-lero-faun