"Zipper, buddy, what did you mean when you said we needed to go to Arkansas so your grandpa won't be lonely?" Dixon asked the little guy once they were all back at IFS HQ.
"Well, you're not going, but I have to, and Emmy and Enny said they would go with me," the boy answered.
"Oh, is that so?" Jessie asked as he turned to look at his boys who both grinned back at him.
"Dis a Popsicle Patrol mission, Dad," Emile told them all proudly.
"Yeah, you and Daddy got the bidness to did wit you new job ("Yes, you and Daddy will be busy with your new job")," Etienne added. "We did this for our first mission of the Popsicle Patrol. Oncle Kyle say he going to been keep the eye on us, but he say he knowed we be fine, and this what need to been done to heal some old friends. ("We will be doing this as our first mission of the Popsicle Patrol.  Uncle Kyle said he will be keeping an eye on us, but he says he knows we will be fine, and that this has to be done in order to heal some old friends.")"
"It means Grandpa won't be lonely and we will save Unca Jasey and Unca Mitch too," Zipper told them.
"Wait a minute! Zephraim, baby, how do you know about my Uncle Jason?" his mother blurted. She turned to Dixon and Jessie and explained, "He was my mother's younger brother. He disappeared when he was fourteen and no one ever saw or heard from him again. My mother was devastated. He just left in the middle of the night and never came home."
"He tried to find Grandpa, but bad people got him and did mean things to him before he got there and he gave up wanting to live because he thought Grandpa didn't want him," Zipper announced. "Grandpa didn't know that he couldn't make Unca Jasey forget everything. Gigi forgot, but Unca Jasey didn't. He 'membered everything but he couldn't talk to nobody about none of it and that made him sad. Unca Jason went to go find Grandpa and ask him about it, but he didn't make it there. The bad men found him first. Grandpa felt it when Unca Jason left this timeline, and he knew that he would never be as happy with anyone else, so he's been sad and lonely all this time. We gotta go to Arkiesaw and stop Unca Jasey from dying so him and Grandpa can meet again."
"We want to took Thibbie wit us, but he say he don't work so good back then wit no techie stuff to help him did stuff ("We wanted to take Thibbie with us, but he said he wouldn't function at maximum efficiency in that time without all the technological backup he has now")," Emile told them. "He say it fine to took Uncle Doug which the good thing cause Zippy said we going to need the doctor for his Oncle Jase. ("He said it would be fine to take Uncle Doug with us which is a good thing because Zippy says we will need a doctor for his Uncle Jase.")"
"Are you saying you need to time travel for this trip?" Jessie asked.
"Unca Kyle says that's my thing," Zipper grinned proudly. "Just like Grandpa and Unca Mitch, and Grandpa Darien, and super great grandpa Tarien."
"Zipper, you talk about grandpas. My mother had girlfriends, and she went to a sper.... a special hospital to get me, and I never met my grandfather, because he died not long after Uncle Jason disappeared. He couldn't forgive himself for not protecting and being there for his son. He didn't commit suicide exactly, he just stopped wanting to live anymore. And who is this Uncle Mitch you keep talking about?" his mother asked.
"He's your big brother, Mommy."
"I don't have any brothers or sisters, dear," Alia Nelson reminded her son.
"I know, Mommy," Zipper said rolling his eyes dramatically. "I gotsta go save Unca Jasey first ("I have to go save Uncle Jason first."). Everything will be fine once we save Unca Jasey."
"Dixon, is any of this making any sense to you? Alia asked desperately. "I was told by all the adults I met in Orlando at your wedding that I should relax and go with the flow but this is just way beyond anything.... He knows all about an uncle of mine that I've only heard mentioned a couple of times in my whole life and he is going to go save this uncle from dying and I'm getting really overwhelmed here."
"I'm not entirely sure what is going, either," Dixon confessed. "All I know is that I have Kyle in my head telling me to trust my gut and let the children lead us. And they're right, I can't go with them, because I have duties for the Clan. I have to accept my role, and part of that is delegating missions to be run without me, learning to trust them to know what they are doing. They need this chance to grow, and so do I. I won't force you to stay to help me, but I do sort of need you. If you want to go with the little ones, I will understand."
"Dixon, I realize you are my boss and the Clan is all about kids helping kids, but come on, Zipper's only three years old," Roger complained.
"Dis a job for the Popsicle Patrol, Oncle Roger ("This is a job for the Popsicle Patrol, Uncle Roger")," Emile assured the man. "We took good care of him, we promise ("We will take good care of him, we promise")."
"Emile is the commanding officer, but Zipper is the lead operative for this mission," Dixon stated firmly. "As I said, I won't order you to stay here, but I will be requiring the services of a shuttle pilot. Apparently, Jessie and I get a working honeymoon."
"We don't let you down, Daddy," Etienne said quietly as he walked into the room wearing a long sleepshirt that matched Emile's pajamas.
"I know you won't, sweetie," Dixon said with a kiss to his son's nose that had the six year old Cajun giggling and squirming into his lap for a cuddle.
"So when do you leave?" Jessie asked his children.
"They're time traveling; does that really matter?" Dixon laughed.
"Which Miky do we get to see for your trip?" Jessie asked next.
"No Miky's for this, Unca Jessie," Zipper announced proudly. "I do this trip."
"Ok, I'm confused now," Jessie admitted. "Are you a Mikyvis now?"
"No, I'm not a Miky," Zipper giggled. "Unca Kyle says you get to find out when it's over."
"Well, that's encouraging," Jessie said, rolling his eyes. He suddenly disappeared and when he popped back into place, he was dripping wet, and was cuddled between Clothilde and Cedric the alligators.
"Dinogators!" Zipper squealed with joy and ran over to hug the female gator, who hissed and grunted a few times. "That would be awesome! I ask right now. It be fun to show off my new room in the new house ("I will ask right now.  It will be fun to show off my new room in the new house")." He turned to his parents and gave his best puppy dog eyes. "Could I had the sleepover with Cloey and Ceddy and Emmy and Enny and Jules and Julie and Thibbie? That the whole Popsicle Patrol. ("Could I have a sleepover with Clothilde, Cedric, Emile, Etienne, Jules, Julie, and Thibbie?  That's the whole Popsicle Patrol.")"
"Sure what parent would deny their three year old son and his friends the chance to have a sleepover with two alligators, one that's bigger than them and one that's bigger than me?" Alia said flatly just before she passed out. Roger carried her home after she fainted, while all the kids followed along riding on the alligators. Cloey and Ceddy's parents had been waiting outside the command center for them all.
"Wait, isn't Thibbie our division A.I.? Jessie asked as he watched the little Cajun talking android ride away.
"I'm the A.I., sho nuff," Thibbie's voice came from his communicator. "But thanks to my four Papas, I had the android body too, so I could been official part of the Popsicle Patrol."
"So does that mean you are Intel Field Services, but loaned out to Popsicle Patrol, or Popsicle Patrol loaned out to us?" Jessie continued.
"You silly, Unca Jessie," the A.I. giggled. "Me, I'm both. My brain Intel Field Service; my body Popsicle Patrol."
"Well, that's clear as mud," Jessie pouted.
"Well, hopefully working with me this week will distract you a little bit," Dixon said as he kissed his husband on the cheek.
"We're really going to work for our honeymoon?" Jessie returned with a pout.
"Yes, we are," Dixon nodded. "As the newly appointed Commander of the Clan Space Fleet, I have to tour all of the ships assigned to us, and as my second in command, that means you're with me. Huey will be CO here while we're gone."
"We're going on spaceships? WHOOPEEEE!!! We do get a honeymoon," Jessie squealed happily.
"We will be inspecting the ships, Jessie. There may not be much fun to it," Dixon said with a smile.
"Dixie, we're going to be on spaceships. How can anything about spaceships not be fun? More to the point, how can anything with you not be fun?" he asked as he leaned in and kissed his husband on the cheek.
"Oh, wow, I just realized; this is our wedding night," Dixon said with a little blush.
"Yeah, it is. So, why are we still in the office? Thibbie, can you maybe...."
"One shortcut to you room, coming right up, Oncle Jessie," the AI announced with a giggle. A second later, Dixon and Jesse were in their room in Wiggins House. "Don't been worry, Oncle Dixie and Oncle Jessie, when the house get moved, they add the special feature you room. The wall let the sound in, but don’t no sound got out less you want it. You said lower the sound barrier, to did that. It go back up same way. ("Don't worry, Uncle Dixie and Uncle Jessie; when the house got moved, a special feature was added to your room. The walls will let sound in, but no sound goes out unless you choose to let it.  You speak the words lower the sound barrier to do that.  It goes back up the same way.") Wiggins House, raise sound barrier, Commander's quarters."
A rather generic sounding digital voice replied, "Sound barrier active."
"It dim the light and played the music too," Thibbie informed them. "Congradumacation on you nuptial. ("Congratulations on your wedding.") Thibbie out."
"I have to say, I had sort of hoped you would get Starfleet rank, Commander," Jessie whispered as he stepped closer to Dixon.
"Why would a Vulcan Clan do that?" Dixon asked him in return.
"Well, I just thought your title should be Rear Admiral, since your rear is so admirable," Jessie grinned.
"Really? That's what you want to start our honeymoon with?" Dixon snorted.
"Hey, I'm a dad now, I'm supposed to tell bad jokes," Jessie said with a shrug. Dixon groaned and shook his head before looking back up at his love.
"Speaking of being a dad, can we...."
"Of course we can check on little Evie before we get comfy for the night," Jessie agreed. "I know we won't be able to see all of our kids right before bed every night, forever, but I want to make that a habit for every night that we can."
"I knew you were the right guy for me," Dixon smiled and grabbed his husband's hand and kissed him before they went and checked on little Evander in the nursery.
"Oncle Dixie, you got the job to did afore you gone to bed," Thibbie's voice announced from Dixon's communicator. "I promise it only took the minute, though. You and Oncle Layton got to met the new Night Security Chief."
"Can't I meet him in the morning when it's not the first night of my honeymoon?"
"It not good for her to hung around in the daylight much, Oncle Dixie, more better you meet tonight."
"Fine.... let me get dress...... DANGIT! Thibbie! I should have more on than my underwear for official business, you know," Dixon griped as he suddenly appeared in the control room in headquarters wearing nothing but a pair of silk boxers that had the word no printed all over them. He looked over at Layton who was covering his giggles with a hand over his mouth, and then he saw the new security chief for the night shift. "Thibbie, dim the lights in here forty percent."
"I assure you, Director, that my eyes are not bothered by the light," the very pale teenage girl assured him. "Your appearance on the other hand....."
"Exactly why I want the lights dimmed," Dixon snapped. "If I can't get clothes, at least make it darker in here so everybody doesn't have to see everything. The lights darkened and Layton suddenly lost his battle to keep his laughter contained.
"I think I would have preferred the sunshine," the girl wearing the black uniform moaned and covered her eyes.
Dixon looked down and realized that in the lower light the other word on his boxers now showed more prominently. He squealed a very manly protest, it did not sound like his son's four year old girlfriend at all, and tried to cover all the YES's on his underwear with his hands. "THIBBIE! Clothes NOW, please." A fuzzy pink bathrobe and matching slippers appeared on Dixon. Instead of groaning or fighting more, he simply cinched the belt of the robe a little tighter and stood proudly. "You know what, I am not bothered by this at all. It's quite comfortable in fact, so there." He stuck his tongue out at the computer console that had the direct interface with Thibbie when his body was not around. "Shall we get on with this so that I can get back to my husband?"
"Lieutenant Bambi Borgia, reporting for duty, Director Wiggins-Blankenship," the girl said formally as she saluted.
"At ease, Lieutenant," Dixon smiled at her. "As you can see, we are a very informal group most of the time," he added as he indicated his current attire. "Can you tell me a bit about yourself?"
"How much time do you wish to take up with this, Director?" she asked with a smirk.
"I'm not sure what you mean," Dixon said cautiously. He sat down in the command seat and indicated the others to take seats as well. They were then interrupted by Danielle entering the room.
"Dixie, if you're just here for a meeting, get out of my chair," Danielle scolded as she walked up to him. "What the heck are you wearing, bro? Shouldn't you be wearing I don't know, something like a uniform if you're doing division stuff?"
"Take it up with our sweet little computer nephew," Dixon retorted. "Thibbie popped me over here to meet Bambi before I could get dressed."
"Oh you poor dear," Danielle told Bambi. "Forced to see the boss in his birthday suit on your first day."
"I had my boxers on," Dixon protested.
"I take it you will be working security on my shift?" Danielle asked the new girl.
"You are correct, Lieutenant Commander," Bambi replied as she once again saluted.
"Ok, don't ever do that again," Danielle said quickly. "I'm Danielle, not Lieutenant Commander and I do not get saluted."
"Unless we are at alert status," Layton reminded her.
"Yeah, yeah, the boys like their titles when they are playing war," Danielle said dismissively. "Look, I know when to use protocol, but if it isn't absolutely necessary, I won't do it."
"Fair enough, Danielle," Layton smiled. "That seems to be the official view around here, anyway."
"We are a family first," Dixon nodded.
"You may want to rethink having me in your family, then," Bambi said as she studied the floor by her feet.
"You're from those Borgia's?" Layton asked her as he took a step closer to her. When she nodded silently, he walked up and put his hands on her shoulders. "We don't care what your ancient ancestors did. Do your job and we will have no problems with you."
"Umm, they weren't exactly ancient ancestors for me," Bambi whispered. "My father was Giovanni Borgia, the Infans Romanus. But, Lucrezia was my aunt, not my grandmother, no matter what historians have tried to claim."
"Wait... The Lucrezia Borgia was your aunt? So that means you were born...."
"Do you have a problem with an older woman as an employee?" Bambi asked directly.
"Not at all, in fact, Mamee will be very happy to have someone around that can make her feel younger," Dixon grinned. He got serious as he stood up and walked over to Bambi. "I don't care who your family was or what they did; we are your family now if you want us to be. Probably even if you don't, because Mamee won't let you go once she finds out someone around here is older than her. Now, you are welcomed, we're glad you're here, you have my sympathy that you have to work with my grouchy sister...."
"HEY! I can thump you just as easy as I do Davey," Danielle yelled.
"I have a honeymoon to get back to now," Dixon said waving his sister off dismissively. "Thibbie, you can get rid of the pink fuzzy stuff AFTER I get back to my room."
"Umm... Dire... Dixon? Could I possibly... I mean... it does look pretty comfortable," Bambi said quietly.
"Thibbie can leave them in your quarters... which brings up a question," Dixon said as he turned back around to face the room. "Thibbie, where will our new security member be staying?"
"Way head of you, Oncle Dixie, she got the basement room in Wiggins House now that Poppa Smurf and Daddy Nate got their own underground house for to live in."
"Thanks, Thibbie. I'm ready to go home now. Sis, you're in charge until morning, please don't mutiny and don't sneak into Davey's room and scare him half to death, even if he deserves it."
"Well, darn there goes plans A and B for my shift," Danielle teased her brother as he left the room to walk back home.
"Would it not be quicker to have the A.I. unit transport him back?" Bambi asked once the door had closed.
"Yeah, it would, but Dixie needs time to be alone sometimes and think through what he's got going on in his head. So, would it be rude of me to ask more about you?" Danielle answered and then asked.
"My father, well my whole family really, had a number of enemies," Bambi began to explain. "My grandfather was not well liked in Rome, even though he was the Pope. He was the first Pope to not be Italian. Then there was the way my family had habits of dealing with people they didn't like. One of the families that my relatives moved against had connections that were unknown to my family, Moroi connections, and here I am."
"Yeah, but why not stay in Italy? Why cross the ocean to a whole new country?"
"After a while it gets difficult to explain why you aren't aging," Bambi shrugged. "It's easier to pick up and leave than it is to stay and explain. Besides, I have to eat, so I learned to travel for that. That was a lot more explaining I didn't want to do." She sat at the security terminal for the compound and logged in while she kept speaking. "Before you ask about my lack of accent, I should point out that when you have been around as long as I have, and moved as much as I have, accents disappear eventually. My first language was French not Italian, though. My father was serving in the court of France when I was born."
"So, I'm not as much into the classical education as my brother, how long have you been around?"
"It's generally considered rude to ask a lady her age, but you're pretty cute, so I'll let you get away with it. I will be 470 years old in March."
"Wow! Yeah that definitely makes Mamee and Auntie René look a lot younger," Danielle marveled. "Wait a minute; did you just call me cute?"
"It was a slip of the tongue, Lieutenant Commander," Bambi said quickly. "I do try to not allow my personal interests to distract me from work."
"I'm not even a baby compared to you though. I'm only eleven, but I'll be twelve this month," Danielle blurted. "Yeah, listen to me bragging about being almost twelve to someone almost 470. Geeze, I sound dumber than Davey. Ok, shutting up now and focusing on work," she mumbled and blushed intensely.
"Lieutenant Commander Wiggins, perhaps after the shift is over, you could show me to my quarters? I was given to understand that they are somewhat hidden in the home of the director," Bambi said a little hesitantly.
"Lieutenant Borgia, are you asking me out?"
"Am I in trouble if I say yes?"
"No, there aren't any rules against involvement with coworkers, even of different rank in the Clan," Danielle stated a little nervously. "The Clan would be in trouble if there were, since quite a few, if not all, of the top brass, so to speak, are partnered with their second in command. Dixon's no exception."
"In that case are you going to say yes, if I am asking you out?"
"In that case, Danielle, I am most definitely asking you out," Bambi smiled.
"I am SOOOO shutting my brothers out of my head in the morning," Danielle whispered.
Clan Short Archivist Review Notes:
I apologize for any errors remaining in this chapter, as I had a very hard time wrapping my brain around the acadianismes. I caught as many of the major errors that I could, they were few. It looks like things are getting very interesting for Dixon and his gang.
I'm sorry, TSL. *hands you a bottle of Tylenol* I went back in and bootboxed what I think are the most difficult to follow spots of dialogue. Hopefully this helps all of you.