Image: Geminiian Strike Fighter Model B Courtesy of ACFan and DSS Studios ©2018

Hearts Across Space

Copyright © 2004-2019 The Story Lover. All Rights Reserved.

Errata III: The Levels of Bonding

THIS STORY IS COPYRIGHT © 2004-2019 BY THE STORY LOVER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DISTRIBUTION FOR COMMERCIAL GAIN, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, POSTING ON SITES OR NEWSGROUPS, DISTRIBUTION AS PARTS OR IN BOOK FORM (EITHER AS A WHOLE OR PART OF A COMPILATION) WITH OR WITHOUT A FEE, OR DISTRIBUTION ON CD, DVD, OR ANY OTHER ELECTRONIC MEDIA WITH OR WITHOUT A FEE, IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED WITHOUT THE AUTHOR’S WRITTEN CONSENT. YOU MAY DOWNLOAD ONE (1) COPY OF THIS STORY FOR PERSONAL USE; ANY AND ALL COMMERCIAL USE EXCEPTING EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS REQUIRES THE AUTHOR’S WRITTEN CONSENT. THE AUTHOR MAY BE CONTACTED AT: thestorylover@gmail.com

From The Bondling Training Manual by Master G’

The following is excerpted from a series of monographs by the then student Sean Castellano later Archon S’ean Castellano, ‘Hero of Gemini’ and more titles than any Geminiian in history:

There are three common levels of Bonding with different degrees within each level. The three levels are Simple, Basic and Advanced or Complete. The basic differences between levels are the type of communication and whether the communication is one or two way. One of the other differences is the range of the communication.

 

 

 

All Bonded Partners must swear and adhere to a strict code of ethics regarding the use of their gifts. Advanced or Complete Pairs have to swear to a far more restrictive form of the oath as their gifts in concert are very powerful. The ingrained natural ethical behaviour as well as the intense ethical training given bondlings has rarely been broken in the history of Gemini. No Bonded Pair has ever been called to Justice for abusing their Bond. In the rare instances where a Bond was misused whether intentionally or accidentally the Bonded Community took care of the issue efficiently without prejudice and without appeal or rancour. It is for this reason and the overall benefits provide by ‘The Bonding Institution” that the average Geminiian gives no more notice to a Bonded Pair as to any other pair of Geminiians. In fact, most Geminiian’s can not understand other species’ abhorrence of Bonded Pairs.”

 

End of Excerpt.

 

The strongest Bond on record until the advent of S’ean Castellano and his Bond was the bond between D’avid Castellano and A’ndreas. Not surprising the third was the bond between A’ndreas and Sean Castellano before his Bonding. Up until this Bond was made public years after the events described in this treatise no one had ever come across the type of Bond that A’ndreas and Sean had created. For Sean and A’ndreas although not officially Bonded they had formed an Advanced Bond, which A’ndreas was very careful to conceal from Sean. It has been surmised that the Bond gained its strength from the fact that unlike most Archon Bond Teams A’ndreas on many occasions took D’avids’ place for many family occasions particularly during Barbara’s pregnancy and during some of Sean’s earliest years.

 The person who is bonded to a Bondling is usually referred to as The Bond. In some cases, among Advanced Bonds the term is interchangeable.

 

From The Prophecies of Gemini by Master J’

For as long as there has been a Gemini there has been “The Prophecy of The One”.   This prophecy is one of the strangest and most studied of all Geminiian Prophecies.   It is also one of the most misunderstood of all of The Geminiian Prophecies, because it is not about ‘The One’, it is about two of ‘The One’ and a Triad and a duo who are not what they seem to be.   There is also ‘The Other’ who is of the ‘The Triad’ yet not of Gemini yet of Gemini.   The prophecy is full of omissions and conflicting data.   Your assignment today is to write an essay on what “The Prophecy of The One” means in today’s terms. Here is the latest translation of “The Prophecy of The One”:

When the time is nigh, there will come ‘The One’ he will be a

Geminiian like no other yet like another!

He and ‘The Other’ will Bond yet Not Bond

A Team they will be across the stars and across the hearts

They will be joined by ‘The One’ a Bondling like no other

‘The Triad’ they form will never waiver yet their union

will be and not be, here and not here, there and not there.

‘The One’ a Bondling of youth with a heart unmatched

with powers unknown and a reach never seen

Yet without ‘The Two’, there will no Triad,

Without the ‘The Two ”there will be no The One’

For ‘The One’ is the reason for ‘The Two’

‘The Two’ are of ‘The Keeper’ and yet not ‘The Keeper’

For the job  of ‘The Two’ is to ensure that ‘The One’ is

around for ‘The Triad’ to form.

‘The Two’ will be bondlings yet never bond, yet their

bond with ‘The One’ will never a break

‘The One’ of Gemini will have two ‘Tears’ the others yet one.

Three will one, be the same,

yet two will be the same and yet not the same.

One will be/have ‘Tears’ of clear,

Three will have ‘Tears’ of blue

and two will have tears of blue yet not blue

clear yet not clear.

As you can see the translation has some uncertainties, yet it is the most complete one yet. The prophecy seems clear, yet it isn’t, you have one ‘week’ to submit your essay.


Chapter Three: The Prophecy Fulfilled?

Authors Note:

For the fullest understanding of this chapter, I strongly recommend reading Chapter Two again, and most definitely reading “The Prophecy of The One” before reading this chapter. Reading the ‘Errata III’ will also be helpful.

Upon getting out of the aircar the unexpected fanfare startled Sean, and he paused for a split second. As he recovered his poise, he took a quick look around him and got another surprise!

For arrayed as an honour guard up the steps of the Arconate Building were his ‘Companions’ along with members of Castellano Security and Arconate Security.

But the bigger surprise was the fact that the ‘Companions’ were dressed in Castellano House Colours. This was the first public display of the fact that ‘Sean’s Companion’s’ were more than just a group of friends

The ‘Companions’ were joined at the bottom of the steps by A’ndreas who became Sean’s escort as he strode by him. A’ndreas escorted Sean into the building’s antechamber.

Once inside the antechamber, Sean’s Mother gave him a quick hug and a kiss while whispering “I’m proud of you son” into his ear before heading to her seat in the families’ box.

A’ndreas gave Sean’s clothes a quick adjustment then stepped to his right side as Sean’s Father stepped to his left. At a signal from A’ndreas, the ceremonial guards pulled open the ornately carved doors leading into the Main Arconate Hearing Room. As Sean, his father and A’ndreas crossed the threshold, a trumpet fanfare sounded. The same fanfare as was heard outside. Sean, his father and A’ndreas took the prescribed three steps forward and stopped precisely together.

As the fanfare faded in the air, the majordomo stepped forward, pounded his ceremonial mace upon the Callistan Silestone Floor. When the huge audience chamber was completely silent, the majordomo announced in a deep booming voice that reverberated through the chamber “D’avid Castellano, Archon of Gemini, and Senior Arcon of Callisto, Marshal of Geminiian Space Forces, and his Bondling A’ndreas, Vice Marshal of Geminiian Space Force Intelligence, escorting Sean Castellano candidate for Heir to The Callistan Arconate.”

Upon finishing his announcement the majordomo again pounded his mace upon the floor and that signaled another Trumpet Fanfare to begin.

Sean’s heart stopped momentarily, for although he was aware of what anthem was going to be played at this time, the glorious sound of the trumpets still amazed him. The new anthem is The Castellano Family Anthem by J’ohan Strauss Castellano, as the first bridge of the anthem fades, Sean strode forward followed by A’ndreas and his father three steps behind.

As Sean took his first step forward, the trumpets took up the anthem again, this time joined by the Arconate band which had greeted him out front. The glorious sound of the family anthem filled the audience hall and brought a tear to Sean’s eye.

While the family anthem was playing, and the three were proceeding towards the dais, Sean was subtly looking at all the people seated in the terraced seating along each side of the aisle. Sean noticed that nearly all of the seats were filled including the balcony seats which had never been filled in his time.

It wasn’t until Sean looked up at the dais that he received his greatest shock of the night; so far. For upon the dais, in addition to the seven Callistan Arcons were two Senior Geminiian Archons. However, that was not the only shock for also seated upon the dais was the Interstellar Fleet Commodore who had presided at his last interview. Unbeknownst to Sean there were still more shocks yet to come.

Just as Sean and his escorts stopped at the prescribed spot for supplicants approaching the dais, another trumpet fanfare sounded this time the second bridge of the Castellano Family Anthem. Sean A’ndreas and his father stood at attention and in complete shock as the six Arconate Security Team members snapped to attention. While Sean and his escorts were standing dumbfounded three of the guards made a sharp left face, while the other three made a sharp right face an in sync marched of the dais in step. While the Arconate Security Team was marching off the dais, ‘Sean’s Companions’ were marching in and filling the spots vacated by The Arconate Security Team. In the interim ‘Sean’s Companions’ had made an addition to their matching ensembles, their heads were now adorned with emerald beret’s with the Castellano House Emblem. The beret was also bordered with intertwined gold and silver threads matching the border of Sean’s clothing.

As the fanfare ended the majordomo pounded his mace upon the floor thrice causing instant and complete silence.

Upon the sound of silence, the Vice Chair Arcon presiding today as Sean’s father was presenting him for induction as Heir and Junior Arcon, rose and moved to the rostrum in the center of the dais. In a clear, ringing and commanding voice R’obert questions “Who presents the supplicant for induction?”

In equally strong and commanding voices D’avid and A’ndreas announce “I Do”.

R’obert proceeds to the next question “And what is the name of the supplicant?”

Sean announces with a voice trembling with emotion and bravado “My name is Sean Castellano, son of D’avid and Barbara of the House of Castellano”

Proceeding to the next question R’obert inquires “Who vouches for his training and knowledge of Provincial and Arconate Laws and Procedures? Please state your name, rank if applicable and relationship to the supplican.t”

“I vouch for his training and knowledge of the laws and procedures and I proudly claim him as my son before ‘The Keeper’ and all of Gemini. My name is D’avid Castellano, Bond of A’ndreas, Senior Arcon of the Callisto Arconate, Archon of Gemini, Joint Space Fleet Liaison to the Geminiian Archonate and Marshal in the Interstellar Fleet”. Sean’s father answers in a resounding and proudly powerful voice.

R’obert questions the assembly again “And who will vouch for his ethical and sociological skills and knowledge?”

As A’ndreas opens his mouth to answer, another voice rings out in a commanding tone “One moment Arcon, I have a few words to say at this time if I may?”

R’obert caught completely unawares by this interruption, casts a quick glance at D’avid and A’ndreas before answering, and at their affirmative nods replies “Of course Commodore their floor is yours” while stepping away from the rostrum.

The Commodore steps up to the rostrum and in a surprisingly deep and mellow voice begins to speak. “My name is Commodore Mathias Peri of the Interstellar Fleet; I am here representing the Geminiian Joint Armed Forces Command. We would like to wholeheartedly endorse Sean Castellano’s induction as Arcon. We feel that he will be a superb Arcon and do well for the citizens of Callisto and the Planet Gemini. His integrity and personal honour are above reproach, as he has consistently proven to the military under the most intense pressure possible. The Military feel that he will be a fine and fair leader. I am also here to award Sean Castellano a Brevet Commission as a Lieutenant Commander in the ‘IF’. However, I have been informed that Sean does not wish to accept this honour until he has bonded and finished his schooling. This is a sign of how truly special this fine young Geminiian is! The Joint Chiefs of Staff have arrived at an acceptable compromise and have activated Sean’s commission and placed Sean on the rolls in an inactive and unassigned status…………………”

The low murmur that had been going through the audience, stilled abruptly as the Commodore began to speak. When the Commodore mentioned the commission, the audience came to rapt attention, and all conversation ceased entirely.

“If Sean enters the service at a higher rank than Lt. Commander, he will be automatically bumped one grade in rank with the commensurate increase in pay. That is all I have to say and again it has been an honour to be here for this occasion,” The Commodore then returns to his seat.

While The Commodore was speaking Sean was thinking ‘I have to go through this twice more. Can’t they just do this acceptance and bestowing in private?

The Arcon R’obert now completely recovered from his shock at such an unexpected occurrence, returns to the rostrum. ‘We thank you for the great honour you have bestowed upon us this evening,” R’obert addresses The Commodore who with a slight bow towards R’obert and Sean regains his seat. R’obert then turns towards the audience and begins to speak…………

Meanwhile, in a shadowy alcove near the right front side entrance, a barely visible blue robed professor slightly nods his head and mutters “It has begun” then silently leaves through the side entrance. As the shadowy figure leaves a faintly glowing ‘PS’ was visible if anyone was looking.

Back at the rostrum, R’obert continues “Again I ask who will vouch for the supplicant’s ethical and sociological skills and knowledge?”

A’ndreas quickly responds before he can be interrupted again and in a strong commanding voice reverberating through the hall that brooks no interruption answers “I Do, my name is A’ndreas Bondling of D’avid Castellano, Vice Marshal of Geminiian Space Force Intelligence. As The Commodore has stated his ethics and honour are above reproach, his integrity is unquestioned. As to his sociological skills, Sean evaluates every side of a proposal and the effects it will have on the persons involved. He then makes the decision that will provide the most benefits with the least amount of disruption. However, if in order to provide the maximum necessary benefits, sacrifices must be made, Sean will make the choice and then do everything Geminiian possible to mitigate the suffering of those affected…p; ”

While A’ndreas was speaking Sean was trying to figure out why his ‘Companions’ were on the dais instead of Arconate Security. ‘I am afraid to even think about what is going to happen next. First, the music and ‘My Companions’, then ‘My Companions’ on the dais and now The Commodore. I don’t know how much more of this I can take?’ Sean returns his thoughts and attention to A’ndreas as he was wrapping up his speech.

“I further affirm on my solemn oath as a Bondling that Sean Castellano meets and exceeds all requirements of an Arcon of Callisto and that he will fulfil all of his obligations and responsibilities with integrity and compassion,” A’ndreas finishes speaking and steps back behind Sean.

“Thank you A’ndreas and D’avid for your endorsements, due to the unusual events that have already occurred I am going to do something not usually done,” R’obert pauses momentarily.

A sudden hush and then quizzical whispers could be heard going through the hall.

R’obert continues “Rather than being interrupted at a more crucial point in the ceremonies I am hereby asking that if anyone else has anything pertinent to say please rise and be recognized”

At that announcement, you could have heard the proverbial pin drop. There were a few moments of complete silence then there was a rustle of robes from the VIP Seating. A green-robed Physico rose and announced “I have a few words if I may” all eyes turned to R’obert.

“Please identify yourself Senior Physico and then address the dais,” responded R’obert.

“My name is Ambrosius and I am the Senior Empathic Skills Professor of the Bondling Collegium in P/M and I am here at the behest of The Collegium’s Faculty Board. I was originally sent here to just observe these proceedings and acquire more knowledge about young Castellano. After observing these proceedings and what I have heard here tonight and adding the knowledge I have gathered from my investigation, I realized that I should make The Collegium’s feelings known publicly. Based on young Castellano’s monographs on the history and necessity of The Bondling Institution as well as other information we have acquired, it is the feeling of the board that Sean Castellano will make an excellent Arcon and be a credit to Gemini………………………….”

At that, there rose a cacophony of agreement from the members in attendance.

Ambrosius raised his hand and silence prevailed once more “I have also been requested to ask of young Castellano that he present his finding to the classes at The Collegium at his earliest convenience and that includes ‘His Companions’ the scholarship displayed in the monographs is phenomenal, the research was entirely new and did not rely on any previous documents on the subject. I was particularly intrigued because he did not use my own monograph yet arrived at similar conclusions. It is the differences that we are interested in as they can improve the Bondling Institution immensely. For The Collegium and myself Thank You.”

“Thank you Honoured Physico Ambrosius for your insightful input on the matter before us,” intoned R’obert with a slight bow towards Ambrosius.

“Are there any further comments?” queried R’obert in a tone that implied there would be none accepted.

R’obert then turns to the assembled Callistan Arcons and inquires, “Brothers we are agreed and unanimous?”

A thunderous “Aye” from the Callistan Arcons reverberated through the ancient audience hall.

R’obert then turned towards Sean and his escorts “Will the supplicant please come forward”

Sean took the necessary steps to the next marked spot on the tiled floor directly in front of the dais.

“Supplicant Castellano, why are you here?” questioned R’obert in a very serious tone.

“I am here to dedicate myself in service to the citizens of The Province of Callisto and request investiture as an Arcon of Callisto,” confidently replied Sean.

“And are you entering into this covenant of your own free will and desire?” questioned R’obert in the same serious tone.

Sean was thinking ‘this is finally going to happen; I am going to be an Arcon. I can finally get on with the next stage of my life. I can’t believe this is really happening thank ‘The Keeper’

Sean responded, “I am here completely of my own volition and completely free of all physical and mental coercions.”

“Normally at this time, I would ask for the required Empathic Scan Report from the Empath assigned to the Arconate. But due to the unusual nature and significance of this investiture, I am going to ask if the Eminent Senior Physico Ambrosius would do us the honour?” Robert addressed the question to Ambrosius.

Ambrosius rose and announced, “I would be honoured, may I approach the dais?”

“You may approach” responded R’obert with a tone of honour.

As Ambrosius was approaching the spot where Sean was waiting Sean was thinking “I thought we were almost done, what is next all this pomp and circumstance is making me tired and anxious’ in the middle of these thought Sean felt a slight pressure on his shoulder and heard a whispered “you will be fine, it will be over soon.” Sean turned to his left and saw Ambrosius peering down at him with a look of care and compassion.

Ambrosius whispered again “No, it was written all over your face.”

Sean relaxed and awaited the next step of the ceremony.

“Honourable Arcon under these circumstances I must ask the supplicant for his permission to perform the scan in public. As you know these scans are usually done in a far more private and contemplative location,” stated Ambrosius in a very professional manner.

“Proceed” replied R’obert.

“Supplicant Castellano, do I have your permission to perform the required scan at this location and at this time? Before you answer, remember you are under no obligation to acquiesce to this request. If you wish we can retire to a more suitable location.” Ambrosius informs Sean.

Sean turns for a quick look at his dad and A’ndreas who both quickly nod yes.

“I have no objection and neither does my father or my mentor, please proceed Honoured Physico,” replied Sean in a very respectful tone of voice.

“Sean, please relax your stance slightly and close your eyes, this will only take a moment” Ambrosius informs Sean in a calming voice. Ambrosius than placed his left hand on Sean’s shoulder and his right hand and then said “Now take a deep breath and relax, and let it out. Thank you, we are done” and then bowed slightly to Sean.

Sean was amazed again at the smoothness and warmth of Ambrosius’s mental touch and how quickly the scan was over.

“I have the results you have requested, but before I release them I beg a boon of you,” requested Ambrosius.

“And the boon is?” inquired R’obert in a slightly quizzical tone.

“I need to personally and professionally thank someone for the excellent teaching they have performed not only for this supplicant but for the people of Callisto and Gemini as well,” answered Ambrosius in a ringing proud voice.

“Boon granted please proceed” replied a very curious R’obert

“Bondling A’ndreas I personally and publicly commend you for a job well done. I could not have done a better job myself,” Ambrosius announce to the audience while looking directly into A’ndreas’s eyes.

“I am deeply honoured” replied an obviously stunned A’ndreas

“Your Honours, Candidate Castellano is completely free of all coercions and is here of his own volition. Additionally, he fully understands all that is expected of him and all that entering into this covenant entails,” Ambrosius reported confidently.

“Thank you for your assistance, you may join the supplicants’ escort for the remainder of the ceremony,” announces a jubilant R’obert.

With a slight bow towards the dais, Ambrosius joins D’avid and A’ndreas.

“Do you willfully enter into this covenant knowing it is for life? And that from this day forward you will be a public figure with all that entails?” questioned R’obert.

“I do” answered a proud and confident Sean.

“Please kneel and bow your head” requested R’obert. As Sean responded to his request R’obert turned toward the two Geminiian Archons with a questioning look, both of whom immediately nodded yes. R’obert then turned towards ‘The Companion’ Kevin and nodded, Kevin immediately left the dais and quickly returned with a white cloth object reverently draped over his arms.

D’avid and A’ndreas look at each other and both sent the same message to each other ‘what the??? His Arcon Sash is already there???’

Kevin then laid the object he was carrying on top of a seemingly identical one and then returned to his original place.

“Sean Castellano, do you solemnly swear to uphold all the precepts and laws of the planet Gemini?” asked R’obert.

With a puzzled tone in his voice, Sean answered “I do” ‘That is not the question I was expecting’ was the thought going through Sean’s mind.

“Sean Castellano, do you solemnly swear to place the interests of your constituents above your personal interests no matter what the cost? Do you solemnly swear to consider both sides of all issues before rendering judgment? Do agree to attend all sessions of the Arconate that are required except for the exigencies of school or military service? Do you solemnly swear to fulfil all of the requirements and duties of an Arcon of Callisto and of Gemini?” queried R’obert.

Sean was thinking ‘what is going on here that is two questions about the planetary Archonate. This was supposed to be my investiture as a Callistan Arcon, not a Geminiian Archon. I better answer’ “I do solemnly to faithfully uphold all precepts and laws of Callisto and Gemini and to place my personal interests below those of my constituents. I further swear to consider all applicable sides of issues before rendering a judgment or vote. I will faithfully attend all required sessions that I am physically able to. I solemnly swear this on the sanctity of life and the spirits of my ancestors.”

With Sean’s response, R’obert turned and picked up the white object that Kevin had so carefully placed earlier. R’obert then proceeded over to directly in front of Sean and announced looking at D’avid and A’ndreas “you may remove the over-tunic”

Sean’s Father and A’ndreas stepped to Sean’s sides and undid the special ties used to hold the over-tunic in place. After the ties were removed Sean’s Father grabbed the front of the over-tunic while A’ndreas grabbed the back. Both of them then simultaneously removed their portions of the over-tunic swiftly yet gently and then returned to their waiting spots.

While D’avid and A’ndreas were removing Sean’s over-tunic R’obert was unfolding the Archonate Sash which he was preparing to drape over Sean’s shoulder. As R’obert finished unfolding the sash, there was a gasp of surprise from D’avid and A’ndreas. Sean wanted to lift his head and see what the gasp was about but dutifully kept his head down.

‘It is all right Sean, there is no problem you can relax’ came a comforting thought from A’ndreas

R’obert leaned forward over Sean and carefully draped the sash over Sean’s shoulders and gave Sean a quick pat over assurance before straightening up and announcing in a voice that echoed and reverberated through the Audience Hall “Arise Sean Castellano Arcon of Callisto”

As R’obert was pronouncing the words “Arcon of Callisto” another voice joined him with the words “Archon of Gemini”

Sean started to raise his head and rise at R’obert’s voice but nearly fell when he faltered at hearing the second voice. His athletic training and balance took over and there was only a slight bobble of his head before standing upright.

R’obert bowed towards Sean and announced “Sean Castellano welcome to the Arconate of Callisto” and instead of telling Sean to turn and face the audience he stepped aside and turned the rostrum over to the Senior Geminiian Archon.

“My name is V’ictor Senior Archon of Gemini, Minister of Education for both Gemini and the Confederacy. I apologize for the changes in your ceremony and for usurping some of the honour of tonight’s proceedings. We had only arrived at our decision this afternoon after many hours of discussion and investigation. One the reasons I and my fellow Archon are here is the same reason the Esteemed Ambrosius is here. For reasons which will be explained to Sean in P/M 1 in two days at his investiture and acceptance, it was decided to combine the investitures. Sean our sincere apologies for any confusion the changes in the ceremony may have caused you. However, they didn’t seem to faze you other than a few slight twitches. I will see you in P/M 1 in two days to assign you to your new duties and formally welcome you to The Planetary Archonate. My Congratulations to you and your family.” As V’ictor finished speaking he bowed towards Sean and then resumed his position with his fellow Archon.

R’obert returned to the rostrum and directed Sean “Please turn and face your new constituents and let them see their new Arcon.”

As Sean was turning to face the audience V’ictor and his fellow Archon slipped off the dais and left the hall to return to P/M. 1 As soon as Sean faced the audience there was an outpouring of applause and cheers and before Sean could even raise his hand in response everyone in the Audience Hall was standing, including the Callistan Arcons upon the dais.

Sean was absolutely stunned at the response to his investiture and could barely hear R’obert and the other Arcons inviting him to join them on the dais. Sean was so busy waving to all of the audience members he was hardly aware that he was now surrounded by ‘His Companions’ and that his dad was pulling him towards the dais and that R’obert had reached down and was pulling him up while A’ndreas was boosting him up. While R’obert and company were getting Sean up onto the dais, Patrick and David were escorting Sean’s Mom and Michael who had suddenly appeared.

R’obert headed towards the rostrum with a still stunned Sean being dragged along for the ride. As soon as R’obert reached the rostrum, the room quieted, and he began to speak “It gives me great pleasure to present to you Arcon Sean Castellano your new Arcon and now Sean would like to say a few words” R’obert then stepped aside and let Sean take his place at the rostrum.

As Sean stepped up to the rostrum instead of silence, there was another roar of approval and the noise of thousands of Geminiians rising to their feet in a unanimous sign of approval. Sean stood there red-faced for several ‘mics’ until the audience quieted enough for him to be heard. “Thank you, thank you all for the honour you have given me today. I will endeavour to do everything in my power to sustain the trust you have shown in me. I must tell you that I am totally amazed at all that has happened tonight. I never in all my dreams expected to see so many of you here tonight; you do me and my family a great honour. ………”

Thunderous applause broke out again as Sean paused slightly as he was still choked up with the emotions of the surprising evening.

Sean continued when silence prevailed “I would like to thank all of those who have spoken up for me this evening and in the weeks prior to now. I would also publicly like to thank my Mother Barbara for her support and her training in matters of courtesy and deportment. She also instilled in me the need to listen to the children as well as adults and for that, I owe her a debt of gratitude I can never repay” Sean then stepped over and gave his mother a hug and a kiss on the cheek to the approval of all in attendance. Returning to the rostrum Sean continued speaking “a special thanks to my father who never pushed me into becoming and Arcon even when everyone said it was my destiny. My father also told to follow my heart but let my head guide me. The only thing he ever asked for his sake was that whatever course in life I chose to give it my all and give it my best. I will try and remain true to that motto in honour of my father. When I became interested in the laws of Callisto and Gemini and the reasoning behind them my father always found time to help me understand why the laws were necessary. One of the most important things he ever said is that laws must change as people and societies change and that blind obedience to outdated and bad laws is a crime against society as a whole. He also taught me to make sure that a law that is being considered is for the benefit or protection of all, not just a few. One thing I remember him saying over and over again is that a law written for a single Geminiian or just a few Geminiians is a law that will hurt far more people than it will ever help. I vow to make sure that before such a law is passed while I am an Arcon or as the case may be Archon that such a law is absolutely necessary and that there is no other way to resolve the issue.

What can I say about A’ndreas who has always treated me with respect, not like the snot-nosed kid I really was? He was the Big Brother I never had yet when my father wasn’t available he was there for me as well. When it came to my ethics training and the development of my empathy and my slight communications gift, he was relentless. He allowed no shortcuts and always made sure that I totally understood the reasons behind the strictures regarding the legitimate uses of any gifts. As to the training regarding working my Bond, it was exhausting, thanks to him I probably know as much about the history and benefits of The Bond as anyone outside of The Bondling Collegiums. It was due to his excellent instructions that I decided to do some personal research and wrote my monographs as a result. He would give me pop quizzes at all hours of the day and night on what and when to use empathy and what was an ethical use of my Bondling and what wasn’t. If my Bondling is half the Geminiian A’ndreas is, I will consider myself lucky.” Sean paused is his speech as R’obert had stepped up and whispered something to him.

“I have just been informed that I need to cut my remarks short as I am needed in a meeting and that I am leaving the first thing in the morning for P/M 1. So again my heartfelt thanks I will do my best to retain your trust.” Sean then bowed to the crowd who had again risen to their feet and followed R’obert and the other Arcons from the dais. He was closely followed by A’ndreas and his parents with ‘His Companions’.

Once inside a large conference room, R’obert announced, “We won’t be able to hold our planned meeting due to happenings in P/M. Sean and his family need to leave here shortly and I still need to go over some things with them personally. After congratulating Sean individually I will take them to the private conference room go over my news with them and then return for our scheduled meeting, I will bring everyone up to date then. In the meantime Congratulations to the Castellano’s and welcome Sean to the Callistan Arconate.”

Sean started to ask a question but his father laid a hand on his shoulder and whispered; “later in the private conference room, I have a few questions myself”

“D’avid, V’ictor asked me to give you this data crystal before he left. He said this will explain everything, he also asked me to apologize for him having to leave so quickly. If you will take your party to the conference room next to your office, I will join you in a ‘mic'” R’obert addressed D’avid and his family.

As Sean and his family were entering the conference room, his dad had led them to, he saw Steve, Tommy and Dion following Michael out the rear entrance. He started to ask where they wear going when A’ndreas said I’ll explain in a ‘mic’ and gave Sean a reassuring pat on the shoulder. Sean just shook his head and grinned and followed A’ndreas into the conference room. As soon entered the room he notices his dad plugging the data crystal into a reader and beckoning A’ndreas to join him. As A’ndreas went to join his Bond Sean’s mother enveloping Sean in a smothering hug bestowing kisses on his cheeks and forehead muttering “Oh Seany, o’Seany” while crying tears of joy. Sean looked up at some motion by the door and saw Patrick and David standing on either side of the doorway and trying not to laugh at Sean’s predicament. As expected, they were both failing miserably. Sean looked around the rest of the room quickly and caught Kevin’s eye where he was standing next to A’ndreas. Kevin nodded back as to say you wouldn’t dare. Sean just flashed back and ear to ear smile and then said to his mother “Thanks Mom I was glad you were there too, why don’t you go give Patrick and David a hug also they were great tonight too, and I’ll go over and see what Dad’s crystal has to say.”

Sean’s Mom replied, “that is a great idea they looked and acted fantastic tonight and they do look great in our colours, don’t they?”

“Mom!!!!” Sean replied and just shook his head and laughed as his mother headed after her next victims.

Sean headed over to his dad and A’ndreas “What’s up guys why all the rush and the changes?” inquired a concerned Sean.

“I am not totally sure, but I understand a little more now. V’ictor is doing both of us a huge honour and a great favour at the same time,” replied his father with a slight note of concern in his voice.

“Honour, favour in a rush job?” inquired a completely perplexed Sean.

His father broke into a grin and was unable to answer, so he turned to A’ndreas who smoothly replied “Well Sean it is all partly your fault,” and before the puzzled young Arcon could respond A’ndreas continued “and partly the Militaries fault. In fact, mostly the Militaries fault. It seems they want your Father to attend a high-level Confederacy Joint Military Council Meeting in his role as Commodore and The Archonate wants him to attend as their Liaison and observer. Wait there is more he has to be there in five ‘days’. It also seems I am commanded to attend a similar conference on the intelligence side two days later. So the honour and favour are that we will be able to attend your investiture in P/M rather than you being there alone as it seems both of these meetings may be rather lengthy and there is a strong chance we both may be gone for a long time.”

Sean’s father took over now as he had recovered enough to speak “It is your fault, Sean, because we taught you well and you did too good a job on those monographs of your.”

“Too good of a job, how is that possible?” asked a slightly perturbed Sean.

“I believe we can answer that” replied Ambrosius and R’obert who had entered while A’ndreas was speaking.

“Please do” replied D’avid pleased that he didn’t have to explain that one to his anxious son.

R’obert began “For the last several turnings there has been a high percentage of Bondings that didn’t quite mesh as expected and were not as productive as they could have been. The Planetary Archonate, as well as several of the major Arconates, has been quietly investigating the situation. What little we have been able to determine is that the procedures for the actual Bondings have either been changed or completely ignored in some cases…………”

“But that isn’t ethical and totally against tradition” interjected a totally shocked and dismayed Sean, and before he continued Ambrosius picked up for R’obert.

“Yes, Archon Castellano it is” replied Ambrosius in a very calming and soothing tone. As the effect of his words and tone affected Sean, Ambrosius continued “As I was just confirming for The Arcon R’obert that is not supposed to be happening.”

R’obert continues “Until now we didn’t have anyone other than A’ndreas to verify our findings, However, A’ndreas is not an Arcon and is not always available. The present Archon who is Director of Planetary Education under whose purview The Bondling Collegiums fall isn’t Bonded. As such he doesn’t have the understanding or the knowledge necessary to handle this situation…..”

“Okay, I can understand that but how do I fit into the equation?” asked a still confused Sean.

Kevin moved over behind Sean and wrapped his arms around him in a comforting hug. Sean for some reason realizing he will need the emotional support leaned back and let Kevin support him. Sean soaked up the mental energy and support emanating from his best friend. Just as he started to relax completely he caught the tail end of Kevin’s thought. He was about to scream ‘No!! They can’t, they wouldn’t I am too young’ but his Dad’s voice interrupted him.

“Now I understand the rest of V’ictor’s message; We had been discussing this issue among ourselves and in committee and because of the facts that R’obert mentioned we haven’t been able to correct the situation until now;” and as D’avid finished these words, he turned to his son and announced “May I proudly present the new Deputy Director of Planetary Education and Archonate Representative to The Bondling Collegiums.”

With those words, the room went completely silent until Sean moaned “Oh No” as he passed out in Kevin’s arms completely overcome by the day’s events. The last thing Sean heard before the blackness overtook him was A’ndreas’s words in his head ‘I told you so’

Sean’s mother tried to rush to his side but Ambrosius stopped her with a bear hug and assured her that her son would be fine. While Ambrosius was reassuring Barbara, Kevin was laying Sean down on the sedan behind him. It seems that A’ndreas had figured that this might be Sean’s reaction after reading V’ictor’s message and had readied Kevin in case it happened. A’ndreas figured Sean would react that way not out of weakness but because he would instantly realize the import of his appointment.

Ambrosius was talking to Barbara “R’obert has informed me that I will be assigned to Sean while he is learning the politics of his position. And that everything would be done to ensure that Sean’s Bondling is the best possible match for him.”

Barbara was reassured by Ambrosius’s words and by R’obert’s confirming nod. When she looked for her son and husband, she found Sean lying on the sedan with his head now in Kevin’s lap. Her husband was standing at the head of the sedan looking down at his son with a look of proud contentment. That look alone told her that everything was going to be okay. The sight of A’ndreas kneeling at Sean’s side whispering encouraging comments while rubbing Sean’s arm chased away the rest of her concern and with that, the mind of an Estate Mistress and Wife of an Archon took over and she started snapping out questions and commands.

As Barbara started taking command Patrick hurried over and with an elegant bow and suave tone in his voice announced “Mistress Barbara; Master Michael, Steve, Tommy and Dion are taking care of everything. They have an Archonate Courier Aircar ferrying them at top speed to the Estate where everything that your family will need has been packed by your servants. Michael will personally see to your husband’s and A’ndreas’s things that your servants wouldn’t pack. My sister is meeting them at the Estate to assist with your things and has asked me to give you my com so she doesn’t miss anything. Steve is personally taking care of Sean’s things while Dion and Tommy serve however they can. All you need to do is get this group over to The Archonate Suite at The Elysium Hotel where the staff is awaiting you…

“But, But” was all Barbara could get out before Patrick continued in the same smooth, cultured voice which indicated hours of vocal practice for situations like this. “It seems V’ictor commed Master Michael this afternoon just before we left as it seems his plan would be necessary.”

“PATRICK!!!!!”

“Yes Mistress Barbara.”

“PATRICK!! What is this Mistress Barbara and Master Michael bit? I have been Mom or Barbara and Michael has been Mr. Mikey for as long as I have known the lot of you and the truth in plain talk none of this courtier malarkey you have been spouting,? Sean’s Mom demanded of ‘His Companion.”

“Mistress Barbara ———– Wait please let me finish….. It is Mistress Barbara and Master Michael because I know I mean we are on duty as Sean’s Personal Security Force and as of this moment we are serving as Castellano Security as well. As such we are reporting to Michael and that requires the title of Master and as you are the Mistress of the Estate your position requires that I call you by that title. As to the Courtier Malarkey as you called it all ‘The Companions’ have been taking classes that teach us how to move around in any situation or society we may encounter. Michael and A’ndreas arranged it so neither Sean nor you or your husband knew about it. We hope to be able to blend into a Formal Dinner Party for the Sphynxian Embassy or a local pickup ‘Frissoc’ Game. In most cases, we will just be assisting Sean’s Bond and adding additional security. However, our main purpose is that wherever and whatever Sean is doing he will have someone from ‘HOME’ with him. All of us have our families’ complete support in this matter. And yes they all know it may mean space travel and that it may be dangerous at times. It is just that all of us and our families see something great in Sean that we all feel needs to be nurtured and protected at times. And before you ask, yes even protected from himself. We have also received a lot of the same training that Sean has had from A’ndreas in how to assist and work with Bondlings. We know that whoever Sean’s Bond will be there will times that he will be overcome by everything that will be going on. When that happens we will assist both of them by doing whatever is necessary.”

“I just have one more thing to say and then we need to get moving everyone has an early morning tomorrow and we haven’t celebrated yet,” replied a clearly emotional Patrick.

“Okay, Patrick what is it and thank you for everything you have said,” answered a very impressed Barbara.

“I am sure you have heard the story about how ‘The Companions’ were formed” and at a nod from Barbara, Patrick continued “what you may not have known is we swore a pact to be “Sean’s Companions” no matter what happened, even if Sean said no, which he tried to. The fact is that Sean makes each of us so much more by what he does for us and what he gives us from himself. When we are with Sean, it is like nothing can happen because we all feel as one with Sean at the center both directing and protecting us. I know we were supposed to run interference for Sean keep him out of the reach of the hangers-on and the people who just wanted to use him for their own gain. But as we got to know Sean that all changed and that “Frissoc’ 3 Game was just the culmination of that change. What your son means to us can not be put into words; the closest word would be ‘Love’. For he loves us as much as we love him and yes some of us will be leaving loved one’s behind but the rest of us will try to fill that emotional void. As to the physical side of the equation as your son would say “Gentlemen don’t kiss and tell” but seriously we will look out for Sean until he finds his soul mate which as I am sure you know will be male. And when that happens we will attend and protect him as we would Sean himself. That is the other reason all six of us have joined we want to have at least two of us with each member of the trio at all times. I hope that answers all of your questions as I have no more answers left,” Patrick told a very impressed and surprised Barbara.

Sean’s Mom replied by wrapping Patrick in a smothering motherly hug and telling him “Thank you, my dear Patrick, I now know my Sean far better than before today. And thank you all for everything you have done and for everything you will do. But and I do mean this when in private and at the estate it is Barbara, D’avid and Michael for everyone Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, Mist……… I mean Yes Barbara,” replied Patrick

“Good, now let’s get this show on the road we have a party awaiting us” and as she said that proceeded to walk over and grab her husband by the arm and drag him out of the conference room followed by A’ndreas escorting a fully recovered young Archon.

Quartermasters HQ Aero Militas, Lysander:

Flash Priority Message:

Regarding Mark VII Skinsuits issued to Marshal Castellano – all updates and refits to follow assigned highest priority. All necessary services to be provided immediately orders to contrary must come from Joint Chiefs.

End Flash Priority Message

Flashback Four Turnings:

Alexii’s first trip to the Winter Solsticeum in Postale/ Milita 1 was a momentous occasion. Alexii had finished at the top of his class in all of his subjects and received the trip to the festival as a reward. It was Alexii’s first festival as a bondling and without his parent and his ‘brothers’. Logen and Cobi were in the Med Center recovering from some mysterious illness, which just happened to occur just before the two had a big test in their comparative religions class. When Alexii first heard about their illness he was going to cancel his trip. Upon hearing that Ambrosius assured Alexii that he would personally assume their care. Alexii tried to protest that he needed to stay with his ‘brothers’ Ambrosius overruled him and told Alexii that he needed time away from those two and that they would be fine for a few days away from him. Alexii reluctantly agreed when Ambrosius informed him that he would make sure their room was close to his quarters and that Ambrosius himself would com Alexii if anything changed.

While Alexii was mulling things over Ambrosius was thinking ‘Those two little devils thought they could pull the wool over my eyes, did they? They forget to shield their thoughts because they didn’t know I was close enough to hear them. The two younglings planned to sneak out of the Collegium during the excitement of the new class of bondlings coming in and the award winners leaving for the festival. Well, I have a few surprises for those two imps myself‘ Alexii interrupted Ambrosius’s thoughts when he said “Okay Brosius if you will take good care of them I’ll go. Don’t worry Lexi you’ll have a great time and the boys will be better when you get back” Ambrosius assured the anxious young bondling as he was thinking ‘Oh they will be fine all right, when I get done testing them they will be so exhausted they won’t have any energy left for hijinks or chasing after you. While I can understand that for some reason fate has decreed that the three of you are bound together, the three of you are becoming too dependent on each other. A little break will do us all good’ “Now scoot little one and finish packing so you won’t miss the hoverbus and the rest of your classmates who passed their exams as well.” Alexii gave Ambrosius a big hug and said, “Thanks for looking after my little ‘brothers’ for me ,”and turned to leave.

As he was nearing the doorway Ambrosius stopped him saying “Just a minute Lexii I forgot to give you this message crystal for A’ndreas. You do remember where to meet him and don’t forget to give him a hug for me,” “Of course I remember where to meet him, who do you think I am Jared? Don’t worry I know how good of friends you and A’ndi were and how much you miss him. I’ll tell him you will see him as soon as you can. Did I forget anything? Alexii answers with a smirk and a twinkle in his eyes. “No, that is everything” a highly bemused Ambrosius replies ,”Now scoot you little Rascal” Alexii hurries out the door then sticks his head back in and says “Brosius, I’ll give A’ndi a hug and a kiss from you” and the dashed back out the door before Ambrosius could reply.

Ambrosius just shook his head as he remembered how peaceful things were before Alexii and his ‘brothers’ showed up. ‘I wonder if this old place will ever recover from that day.’

Ambrosius returned from his woolgathering and headed towards the Med Bay where the supposedly ill younglings were ensconced.

As Alexii was finishing his packing, he was thinking about his meeting with A’ndreas ‘I wonder why Ambrosius was so determined that I meet with his old friend. He also didn’t explain why I was supposed to meet him at the members’ side entrance to Archonate Headquarters. Oh well, I guess I’ll find out tomorrow at lunch after the morning session of the Archonate. As to why his professors thought that attending the last session of The Planetary Archonate before the winter break, was a reward was beyond his ken.’ Alexii closed his travel bag and headed to the meeting place for the hoverbus.

Ambrosius waited until he saw the hoverbus leave before he entered the Med Bay where Logen and Cobi were resting on their sedans. Ambrosius walked through the doorway, took one look at the two brothers looking like angels while they slept. However, Ambrosius knew better, he walked over to the end of Cobi’s sedan and bellowed “Ok you two good for nothing miscreants, get your lazy behinds up and get to your room, shower and dress in your exercise clothing and be back here in thirty mic’s and no dawdling! I know you are not sick so get a move on, I’m waiting.”

The boys jumped off their sedans and took one look at Ambrosius’s face and ran out the door without a word. Once out of Ambrosius’s sight and hearing Logen turned to Cobi and asked: “Cobi are we in trouble Brosus looked really mad?” “I don’t know Logen, I jus don’t know. I think we oughta hurry just in case” replied a nervous Cobi.

As the two younglings ran out the door Ambrosius broke out with a huge belly laugh thinking ‘this just might work’ he then proceeded to set up some exercises on the comm terminal next to the sedan that Cobi had vacated. By the time he had programmed the terminal, he could hear the two younglings running up the hallway.

Cobi came through the door first followed by an obviously reluctant Logen trying to hide behind his older brother. Ambrosius with a very stern look on his face but with a twinkle in his eyes said in a gruff voice “Have a seat you two and not a peep out of you until I am finished” The two younglings bolted like scared Terran Jackrabbits towards the sedan that Ambrosius pointed at.

When the two had seated themselves they were sitting as close together as possible with sitting in one of their laps. They looked up with fearful eyes expecting the worse. Logen reached over and grabbed Cobi’s hand and held on for dear life.

“Are you two ready two ready to listen?” Ambrosius asks in a very stern tone of voice?

The two huddled together on the sedan nodded a barely perceptible yes.

“Okay, I am going to say this once and once only, DO NOT PULL A STUNT LIKE THIS EVER AGAIN! DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?” questioned Ambrosius in a bellowing voice.

Cobi and Logen answered simultaneously in a quivering voice “Yes”. The two younglings had started to relax slightly when Ambrosius hadn’t threatened to suspend them or kick them out.

“I know why you did what you did but, if anyone else had found out it may have been the end of your time here and you know what that would have done to Alexii……..”

As soon as Ambrosius mentioned their ‘brother’ the two younglings’ heads dropped in shame.

Ambrosius paused until the two looked up at him again “I know you only faked being sick to be with Alexii,” as he said that he put his finger to his lips and Cobi stopped what he was going to say “As I was saying you did it for Alexii’s sake. I also know you are not Alexii’s brothers no matter what story the three of you tell……”

While Ambrosius was going on with his explanations Cobi and Logen looked into each other’s eyes and asked ‘How does he know all this, what is going to happen now?’ Ambrosius raised his voice slightly and caught their attention again.

“I don’t know who you two really are and I don’t care, I know you only desire to protect and befriend Alexii. Since I love him like a son, I am going to help you……………..”

With those words, Cobi and Logen sat up straight like they had been hit with a bolt of lightning and a very quizzical look in their eyes.

Ambrosius continued as if nothing had happened “Alexii doesn’t know it yet but instead of the three-day weekend, he is expecting he actually will be gone for two weeks. Don’t worry he will be contacting you by comm as soon as I let A’ndreas know things are cool. A’ndreas is going to be giving Alexii some specialized training as well as some hands-on instruction on how The Archonate functions. While that is happening in AM/PM I will be giving you two some in-depth testing to find out exactly what your psychic strengths and weaknesses are. The two of you are going to show me how you do that dual shield of yours……..”

At that point, the two younglings fell off the sedan and nearly passed out in fright as they didn’t think anyone knew about that skill. As they slowly recovered from the immense shock, they looked into Ambrosius’ eyes and saw only care and concern. As they started to sit up a pale blue glow enveloped, then for a brief moment as it did they both heard a soothing and caressing voice whisper in their head ‘everything is fine little ones, he is one of us he just doesn’t know it yet’ at that the blue glow disappeared and the two younglings looked up at Ambrosius with a look of serene peace upon their faces. The two also had a deeper respect for their Physico and Alexii’s friend.

As this was unfolding before Ambrosius’s eyes he was thinking ‘So that’s how things are, my plan is definitely the right one now’, “Are you two okay?”

Cobi answered as Logen was still clearing his head “You just surprised us is all. We didn’t think anyone knew about that trick. We don’t know how we do it we just know we can.”

“Okay boys lets get started, Cobi you stay here and do the exercises on the comm terminal. Logen you and I will go down to the shielded workroom and talk. I just want to get to know you better and see if I can help you learn a few things. We are going to use the workroom, because the shielding will stop us from interfering with Cobi. He will need to concentrate to finish the exercises. After he finishes, we will switch positions. Tomorrow we will be joined by a friend of A’ndreas his name is Michael and he works with A’ndreas. Michael is the Head of Castellano Family security; although you are young, he is going to you some self-defence and also give you some exercises to increase your vision and perception. Michael will also teach you some things to look out for in protecting Alexii and possibly someone else.”

As Alexii and the rest of winners unloaded from the hoverbus, there was a collective gasp of awe from all assembled. The majority of the young bondlings were frozen in shock as they caught their first up-close look at the home The Planetary Archonate. Although all of them had seen the building on their comms at home and at the Collegium most of them had never seen it up close and personal. Not only was the building one of the most beautiful they had ever seen it was by far the largest. ‘The Arkitect’ who had designed the building transcended genius for he had designed a building that looked as if it belonged on a half gee world not a planet with Gemini’s 1.1 gees. If the Callistan Arconate Building was slightly reminiscent of a Terran Gothic Cathedral in style and design, The Planetary Archonate could be said to resemble The Parthenon from Terra but only vaguely. For although the shape was similar and the overall design was there, with columns evenly spaced around the perimeter supporting a pitched roof the resemblance ended there. For ‘The Arkitect’ in his genius had used perspective and proportion to cleverly disguise the true size of his creation. From a distance, the building looked like an average size public building something you would see everywhere, but when you arrived up close, you could see that the building was three or four times the size you had thought it was. ‘The Arkitect’ had taken the straight columns and had gracefully tapered them and had added sweeping tapers to the roof as well. All the straight edges had been rounded so there were no angles to help gauge size. The roof had a vaguely Pagoda-like look but without any sharp edges. The building had an ethereal almost floating on air quality to it. If a picture of the building was shown to a Terran, they would claim it was Science Fiction and impossible. The design was one of the Wonders of the Galaxy.

Unfortunately, there is very little known of ‘The Arkitect’ other than he was possibly of The Castellano Family and that he had a necklace with a supposedly clear stone. ‘The Arkitect’s’ name and other information for some reason never appear in any of the buildings documentation other than as “The Arkitect”. ‘The Arkitect’ disappeared shortly after the completion of his outstanding creation, and has never been heard from since.

After the bondlings had recovered from their shock at the magnificence and the size of the building before them they looked up and saw their tour guide a Junior Archon who was only a few turnings older than most of them except for Jared who may have been his age.

“My name is R’obert but please call me R’ob (pronounced Raab) as not to confuse the elders with the Chief Archon R’obert. It will be my pleasure to give you a guided tour of The Archonate. As we will be touring the majority of the building including some work areas, please remain as quiet as possible except in the public areas or when answering my questions. Now please follow me” R’ob then turned and led the group of young bondlings up the wide expanse of steps into The Archonate Antechamber and then paused and waited until the whole group was assembled.

After the group was completely assembled in the antechamber R’ob got their attention by asking “Will Alexii please come forward?”

With a lot of giggling and elbowing a surprised Alexii made his way to the front.

“I am Alexii” the normally confident bondling shyly announced. “How can I help you?”

“The Bond A’ndreas mentioned you are interested in historical artifacts and in architecture and suggested that I let you be the first one into the main chamber hall,” responded R’ob.

A suddenly delighted young bondling responded joyously “Thank you R’ob I would really like that.”

“Okay follow me and please pay attention and stop when I do without running over the one in front of you” R’ob addressed the group of bondlings who of course broke into laughter at the mental picture they saw.

As the group proceeded to the large ornately formed bronze coloured metal doors each over 30 ‘feet’ high and close to 40 ‘feet’ wide each bondling was trying to figure out how they opened when R’ob stopped and turned to face them.

“Any questions?” R’ob asked and instantly all eyes turned towards Alexii. While Alexii wondered why everyone was looking at him, several of his companions were whispering questions to him. The majority of the questions were “how do we get in there? We can’t open those doors they are too huge! How big are they and so on?”

“Could you please tell us how the doors open and later tell us how big they are” asked a nervous Alexii who was not used to being the center of attention in public.

“First off, there are two answers to your question. The main doors are opened by hidden motors powered by ‘Eggs’ but are only opened for major ceremonies. There is another door hidden in each main door that is opened for normal use. Where the main doors swing inward the hidden doors slide inside the main doors. The doors open on voice command attuned to members and the workers who have clearance. I hope this answers most of your questions for now. We are on a tight schedule so we need to get moving.” responded R’ob.

“Alexii if you would do the honours, the command is ‘Open’ and if the rest of you would wait until Alexii enters and I say follow.” R’ob addressed the group.

Alexii cautiously approached the huge doors and gathered his confidence. When he got within three ‘feet’ or so he stopped and said much more forcefully than before “Open” and two smaller doors that were not previously visible noiselessly slid open. When the doors finished opening Alexii cautiously steeped through the imposing entrance and came to a very abrupt stop.

If the outside was shocking the inside was completely stunning, and Alexii stood there completely frozen in awe for in front of him was a huge cavernous space that was beautiful beyond description. The opening was at least the size of two ‘Frissoc Fields’ 3 long and one and a half wide yet there were no visible columns or supports. What was even more amazing was the height of the ceiling it soared majestically at least eighty feet tall or so it seemed to the enthralled young bondling. It seems ‘The Arktitect’ had struck again the floor was inlaid in the Geminiian equivalent of marble with patterns that were pleasing to the eye yet not distracting. There was a main pattern that did grab your eye and that pattern branched several times and took you to the main exits from the chamber. The lighting came from skylights and windows both visible and hidden and from globes cunningly suspended from the arching ceiling with seemingly no visible means of support. What seemed to be offices and conference rooms along the perimeter were in fact cleverly concealed flying buttresses as well as the offices they looked like. Alexii finally remembered to breathe when R’ob walked up to him and inquired “Stunning isn’t it?”

Alexii was only able to nod yes as he was still too busy taking in all of the sights including the balconies, the dais at the far end of the hall and the stunning murals which graced some of the walls. When he had finally recovered and could breathe again he turned towards R’ob and said “Thank you very much, and I will personally thank A’ndreas this afternoon. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen”

After a very thorough tour, R’ob led his slightly weary group back to the main audience chamber. Alexii and the rest of the winners have just been escorted to the VIP Seats in the main audience hall of The Planetary Archonate in P/M.

Shortly after they were seated there was a slight gong and from what they now know was the members’ entrance a small entered the hall and headed towards their appropriate seats. Alexii wasn’t really paying attention to the group of five who entered, two adult Geminiian Males one with an Archon Sash, an Adult Geminiian Female whose arm was entwined with The Archon’s. In addition, there were three teenaged Geminiians who were chatting among themselves.

Alexii suddenly paid attention when the group split up the two adult male headed towards the seats behind the dais while the female and the teenagers turned towards the family seating to the right of the VIP Box. Alexii turned to his classmate Jeremie and asked: “who are they”.

“The Archon of Callisto and his family” replied Jeremie wondering why Alexii asked, everyone but everyone knew who D’avid Castellano and his son Sean was.

As Sean, Kevin and Steve and Barbara passed in front of the VIP Box a stray beam of Solarius struck Sean directly in front of Alexii as and as he heard a slight gasp turned and looked directly into Alexii’s eyes. All Alexii could see was this golden glow emanating from Sean’s hair where Solarius’s light had hit him. Sean winked and continued walking towards his families seats. Jeremie turned towards Alexii and found a totally entranced young bondling. ‘He is mine, he is my Bond’ were the only thoughts going through Alexii’s head. The final session of The Archonate was totally wasted on Alexii as he couldn’t get Sean out of his mind.

Ambrosius was just finishing his afternoon snack and was getting ready for a well-deserved nap after dealing with the two imps, when his door chime went off and kept going off. “Hold on to your breeches, I am coming, I can never get any peace around here” Ambrosius was muttering loudly to himself and to his door. As he got near the door the chime started again and he could hear two young high-pitched voices screaming “Brosius, hurry its Alexii, hurry and open the door, hurry Brosius it’s Alexii” Ambrosius got to the door and pressed the release panel and stepped aside just in time as the Cobi and Logen fell inside as a single body.

“Okay, you two where’s the inferno?” asked Ambrosius of the two panting younglings and then started laughing at the stunned looks. Ambrosius stopped his laughter quickly at the dismayed looks on Cobi and Logen’s faces. “What is it younglings?” Ambrosius asked in a calm and soothing tone “and please one at a time.”

A worried Cobi replied, “something is wrong with Alexii, we can’t understand him, he just keeps repeating the same thing over and over, and he won’t answer us.”

“What is he repeating over and over and what do you mean he isn’t answering you? I thought you promised not to try to reach him?” Ambrosius asked the two slightly calmer younglings.

Logen answered the second question “Brosius we didn’t until you wouldn’t answer your comm, and Alexii wouldn’t stop broadcasting we can’t get him out of our heads! We kept our pwomise!”

“Okay, little ones first let’s shield you from Alexii” Ambrosius replied calmly while moving over to the two concerned younglings and putting a comforting arm around them. The two younglings immediately wrapped Ambrosius in crushing dual bear hug.

“Okay, now take a deep breath and hold it for thirty ‘seconds’ now imagine yourselves opening a Bumbershoot and Alexii’s thoughts are raindrops bouncing off. When you have finished letting out your breath, you will no longer hear Alexii.” Instructed Ambrosius in a hypnotic tone of voice

When the two younglings’ faces had finally started to relax Ambrosius let out the breath, he was unaware that he had been holding in. “Okay is that better now? Can you still hear him?” questioned the concerned Physico.

“Much better Brosius, we can still hear him but he is faint and not driving us crazy.” Answered Cobi with Logen nodding his head yes.

“Cobi can you tell me what is wrong with Alexii and what he keeps sending over and over?” Ambrosius asked as calmly as possible while still holding the two closely.

“I’ll try Brosius but he isn’t making any sense,” replied Cobi and then continued he sent “‘He is MINE, He will be my Bond, He is MINE, My Bond, My Sean'” over and over.

As soon as Ambrosius heard the words “My Bond” and “Sean” a strange feeling overtook him one he couldn’t identify as good or bad. He finally just figured it meant something major was going to happen and hoped it wasn’t too portentous or planet shaking.

“Cobi did Alexii send Sean’s last name?” queried Ambrosius with a leaden feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“Casta something” replied Logen as Cobi was still trying to remember.

“Great ‘Keeper'” muttered Ambrosius and then calmly “Cobi and Logen please listen carefully, Alexii will be fine there isn’t anything wrong with him. I have to comm someone and I’ll be right back. Why don’t you two lay down on my sedan and take a short nap? And don’t worry everything will be fine.”

“Okay, Brosius but hurry back we want to know what is happening to our ‘brother'” both Cobi and Logen answered together.

Ambrosius released his hug from the two and made them comfortable on his sedan then headed towards his office to comm A’ndreas to find out if what he thought had happened had.

As soon as Ambrosius had finished his conversation with his dear friend A’ndreas, he slumped forward in his chair with his head in his hands. If anyone had happened to come in at this time all they would have heard was “Great ‘Keeper’ he really went and did it this time, It is way too early but ‘Que Sera, Sera'” over and over.

Finally, after several minutes he pulled himself together splashed some frigid water on his face and headed towards his favourite alcove just outside his quarters.

Upon entering the alcove he calmly seated himself and while looking at the beautiful vista the alcove looked out upon whispered “I truly hope you know what you are doing” as soon as he finished a feeling of complete and utter serenity came over him. Ambrosius then left the alcove felling far better than he had since the two imps had interrupted him.

Upon entering his quarters Ambrosius looked upon the angelic features of the sleeping younglings and thought ‘If only they could stay that way.’ Ambrosius then walked over next to the two and extended his hands’ palms down over their foreheads and quickly relaxed and went into his deep scanning trance. As usual, he felt absolutely nothing from the two younglings. ‘Nothing’ wasn’t exactly a true description for he did feel a positive energy emanating from them that was completely clean and natural. However, that was all he felt no thoughts, no emotions nothing else. Ambrosius wasn’t worried because at least he could feel the positive energy coming from them none of the other Physico’s could even feel that much.

Ambrosius then reached down and gently shook the two awake. Cobi and Logen looked up at Ambrosius with sleep-encrusted eyes and asked together as usual “Alexii, what about Alexii?”

“As I said before Alexii is fine and will be fine. He just had a shock to his system and as soon as he adjusts to it everything will be okay ‘at least I hope it will’ so don’t worry about Alexii I’ll explain everything in just a mic. First of all, A’ndreas will look after him until he has regained his senses and it won’t take long” Ambrosius replied with a calm and caring tone and the two younglings relaxed and lay back down waiting for Ambrosius to finish his explanation.

“Okay, you two listen carefully; you do know why Alexii is here right?” Ambrosius asked the two as he pulled his favourite overstuffed chair next to the sedan so he could rest his aching neck.

Cobi answered, “to become a Bond.”

“Do you understand the levels of a Bond?” inquires Ambrosius

A feisty and slightly irritated Logen testily replied “Brosius we are not children! We go to classes with Lexi and he splains everyting to us! Der are tree levels, simple, basic and complete. So der!”

“Well, it seems that Lexi has completed the first stage of a ‘Basic Bond’ …….”

“Yeay” escaped from Cobi and Lexi

Ambrosius continued as if he wasn’t interrupted, “And he also seems to have fallen head over heels in Love.” Ambrosius paused and raised his hand towards the younglings and they stopped what they were about to say. “But there is a problem the person he has started to Bond to has already been selected for someone else.”

Ambrosius paused for a minute to let his last comment sink in.

“And?” questioned Cobi

“Yes, who is it?” also questioned Logen

“Okay, okay hold on tour breeches I am coming to that but first………….”

“Brosius WHO IS IT?” came the question from the two anxious younglings.

“Before I continue, I must stress how important what I am about to tell you is and that you must never speak of it to anyone outside of this room except for Alexii and A’ndreas! Absolutely NO ONE! A’ndreas is explaining this Alexii now. When you see Alexii you must make sure that he doesn’t talk to anyone about this. In fact, don’t even talk about this anywhere but here, the workrooms when you are alone or in an alcove! Do you understand me?” asked Ambrosius in a very serious tone.

The two slightly crestfallen younglings responded “We understand, we talk to no one about Lexi’s Bond”

“Now tell us who it is?” Cobi requested.

“The person Alexii is linked to is Sean ………………”

“BROSIUS!”

“Okay, the person Alexii is linked to is Sean Castellano and his Bond is supposed to be J…………”

“Brosius, not Jared, please say it is not Jared, not that Jerk he is rude and mean to Lexi,” implores Cobi with Logen chiming in with, “yeah what Cobi said, Jared stinks!”

“Don’t worry about that now it is still four turnings before Sean is scheduled to Bond. All we have to do is keep Alexii out of trouble for four turnings while I see what I can do,” Ambrosius finishes his explanation looking at the two imps who are now completely relaxed.

While Ambrosius was finishing his explanation he was thinking ‘Four whole turnings trying to keep Alexii out of trouble, ‘Keeper’ help me I wonder I can still join the IF?’

“One more thing the link Alexii and Sean is only one way and is only partly open. A’ndreas is going to put a temporary lock on it until I can fix it permanently. We will deal with Alexii’s Love fixation …….”

“Brosius that is not nice to Lexi'” came out of Both Cobi and Logen’s mouths.

“Youngling’s Alexii is only ten turnings old, he can’t know what love is at his age……..”

“Ambrosius, Alexii is an Empath and as you have stated many a time, he is the strongest Empath you have ever encountered and I quote ,”He is almost as strong as I am and will be stronger yet” end quote. So if Alexii says he is love than he is. Deal with it,” came out of Logen’s mouth in a deep baritone of someone many years his senior.

Ambrosius’s jaw hit the floor, and he looked around to see who could have said what he just heard. Because not only was the voice way too deep for Logen, but the phrasing and intonation were not his either.

Logen caught Ambrosius staring at him with a completely bewildered and befuddled expression. “What, what did I do? What did I say” Logen asks out loud to the room and at a giggle from Cobi turns towards his brother “Bro did I do it again?”

“Bro you should have seen the look on Brosius’s face when the words started coming out of your mouth. He looked like he had just been hit by a ‘Frissoc Disk’. “Cobi replied trying not to laugh and failing miserably.

“Ambrosius sometimes words come out of Logen’s mouth in strange voices and we never know when or who is going to speak. It only seems to happen for impordant tings and lately, Lexi seems to cause it,” explained Cobi, as he tried to help Ambrosius understand that Logen had no control over what had just happened.

“Okay, we won’t worry about that now, we have more important fish to fry, like keeping Jared and Alexii separated until we can teach Alexii how to control himself around Jared.” Ambrosius relayed to the two younglings.

“Now this is what we need to do,…………………………………………”

End Flashback:

At a lonely Geminiian Space Laboratory located near the border of Geminiian Confederacy Space, a small matte black egg-shaped ship was with no visible markings or means of propulsion was making its final docking approach to the unassuming asteroid.

This outpost at the far reaches of Geminiian space is a top-secret listening post and weapons testing station. It is the closest Confederacy Outpost to Terran Space yet as neither The UTC nor Geminiian Confederation was aware of each other’s existence that is a moot issue.

The ship had been dispatched to the outpost to verify some anomalous readings. They were also going to run some additional tests with the new equipment they were ferrying. The crew was also to return the data collected back Geminiian IF Intelligence.

This mission was considered extremely vital to Geminiian security as this was the only outpost in that sector of space. And there were no plans in the near future to construct another one. There was no hurry to build another outpost in that sector as there were no colonization plans for the sector. Whether that was by design or not, was anyone’s guess.

After the ship had docked, and the crew disembarked led by the ships commanding officer a Lt. Commander and followed by the remainder of the ship’s crew two ensigns. They were greeted by an ensign who saluted crisply and then led them to their briefing with the base commander.

This was going to be a tricky situation as the ship’s commander technically outranked the base commander who was only a Senior Lieutenant. However, as Base Commander, he was in charge of the base and only had to obey the Lt. Commander if he had orders to relieve him.

The Base Commander dismissed the ensign who had acted as a guide and introduced himself to the ship’s crew. After the introductions had been completed the LT. Commander asked to see the data in question. Lt. Stevenson the base commander pressed an indent on his deskcomm and asked for Ensign Smith to bring in the data crystal that he had requested to be prepared. After Ensign Smith had departed Lt. Stevenson handed the data crystal to the Lt. Commander. After inserting the data crystal into the viewer attached to his utility belt, he began asking a few questions of Lt. Stevenson.

Commander Peri then turned towards the two ensigns and gave a few orders regarding their assignments. The younger ensign made eye contact for a few meaningful seconds, then with a quick salute and an “Aye Commander” exited the base commander’s office and proceeded to catch up with the other ensign. The two ensigns headed towards their assigned stations and the work ahead of them.

While Commander Peri was giving his orders the Lt. Stevenson was making notations on his deskcomm while watching the interplay between the Lt. Commander and the ensign with slightly raised eyebrows at the unspoken communication. ‘Is there something else going on or is the ensign in command and not the Lt. Commander’ were some of the thoughts going through Lt. Stevenson’s head. The Lt. decided to remain silent and just keep a weather eye peeled.

After completing their installations and training the techs that would be using the new and the updated equipment the visitors headed towards the galley for a quick snack before their return trip to Gemini.

While his crew was in the galley Commander Peri was finishing up his tour of the station “you have an excellent crew and a well-run station here Lt.” the Commander added to the Lt… “Thank you, sir, we have all pitched in to make sure everything ran as smooth as Callistan Lormsilk” replied Lt. Stevenson. “I’ll gather my crew and we will be on our way, we have a tight schedule to keep and Fleet wants this data back ASAP, thank your crew for their assistance. With their help, we were able to cut two ‘hours’ of our estimated time. Until we meet again Lt.” The commander said addressing Lt. Stevenson returning his salute as he headed towards his ship.

After they had left the station Commander Peri asked his crew “any problems or suspicions?” One of the ensigns who in reality was a Captain in the Engineering Department of Fleet Security replied “Nah piece of cake, installations went perfectly, software upgrades worked flawlessly, no one was paying attention when I disabled the security protocols. I was able to install the traps and filters without anyone being the wiser. I wiped the logs restarted them and inserted the information from my data crystal. If anyone checks the logs, they will see exactly what they are supposed to see and nothing else.”

“And how did the transmitter install go Lt.?” “As well as could be expected, although I didn’t have a lot to do. The tech assigned to me loves to crawl into the bowels of machinery, so he did all the dirty work,” replied the Lt.

“So now whenever the same signals are intercepted they won’t display on the scanners, but will be routed to the data trap and will micro burst transmitted to the stealth satellites we laid on our way here. Fleet Security and PS will get the data a day later and no one on the station will be wiser. Let’s head for home flank speed after a job well done” said Commander Peri and started the craft on its return trip home to Gemini.

The morning after Sean’s induction as an Archon started off with another surprise. For instead of The Castellano Family Aircar that was supposed to take the family to P/M 1 The Archonate AirLimo was waiting at the curb, flying both The Archonate Pennon and The Pennon of a Grand Marshal of The Geminiian Space Force. As Sean turned to ask his dad where their aircar was an officer in the uniform of The IF stepped out of the Limo and addressed D’avid. “Marshal Castellano?” when Sean’s father acknowledged him by stepping forward the officer continued “these are your new orders sir, I will await you by the car I assigned to your for the duration.” The officer handed over the orders saluted and then returned to the Limo.

A’ndreas caught the look D’avid gave the young officer as he returned to the Limo and smacked his Bond on the shoulder. D’avid turned and looked at A’ndreas with a look that said ‘BUSTED’ and then shook his head and just grinned and then started opening his orders.

Sean was watching this whole by-play with a perplexed look on his face and turned to his mother and was about to ask her a question.

“Sean honey, don’t worry it is just a game those two play. Your father is completely devoted and in love with me. The Bond he shares with A’ndreas doesn’t diminish the love we have. You know the Bond he shares with A’ndreas is not a problem with me; it just proves again what a wonderful man your father is. We both know that there is no-one but your father in A’ndreas’s life other than the two of us. They play this silly game to try to drive each other crazy. You know your father never had another male as a lover other than A’ndreas. Your father isn’t a lover of men; he is a lover of A’ndreas! You know I love A’ndreas deeply as a friend almost as much as I love you. You can quit blushing now son. You and I are extremely lucky people we have two people in our lives who love us deeply and will always cherish and protect us. If anything should ever ‘Keeper’ forbid happen to your father, we will pick up the pieces with A’ndreas and continue on with our lives with A’ndreas staying with us. Whether you know it or not, I made this perfectly clear to your father and A’ndreas, A’ndreas is part of this family now and will remain so. You should have seen the look on their faces; well if you look in a mirror right now, you would see the same look. So you see son, I just ignore the little game they play even though they do it to try to make me jealous the three of us know it is just a game. So let’s go find out what this is all about” Barbara then grabs Sean by his arm and pulls him over to where her husband and A’ndreas are standing dumbfounded.

D’avid had just finished reading his orders and his feelings of joy and confusion were driving A’ndreas crazy. D’avid put A’ndreas out of his misery by handing the orders to him. Once A’ndreas started reading he understood the mixed emotions, he was receiving from D’avid. Basically, the orders stated that D’avid was promoted to Grand Marshal as it seems the Council Meeting he was to attend was more important and serious than originally thought. With his promotion orders also came an official communiqué from The Archonate changing his status from an observer to a representative. With his dual position and rank, D’avid would be one of the highest-ranking attendees.

“D’avid, I will be joining you sooner than we expected. I am to attend the opening day, give a report and my replacement will arrive shortly thereafter. It seems our friend Michael will be replacing me. His commission is being reactivated with a promotion to Post Captain something unheard for an officer without a ship. Wait, a ‘mic’ there is an addendum regarding the Limo, your Quartermaster friend found a loophole;” A’ndreas points to the AirLimo with a grand sweep of his arm and continues “I present to you ‘The GSF Castellano'” and then broke out laughing followed quickly by D’avid, Barbara and Sean who had just walked up and heard the announcement.

Sean with a huge grin on his face on his face asked the group “If there are no more bombshells can we please get in the Limo? I don’t want to be late for my ceremony.”

Upon hearing that Sean’s father started laughing out loud and nodded his head to Patrick and Steve who had come up alongside Sean. At D’avid’s nod, the two ‘Companions’ grabbed Sean and started carrying him towards the Limo while saying “Yes your majesty, right away your majesty”

With that, the tension that had been building finally came crashing down and everyone relaxed.

When the group finally arrived in P/M 1 Sean was pleasantly relieved to see no bands or large welcoming group waiting. In fact, as the AirLimo pulled up in front of the Members Entrance only V’ictor was there to meet them. V’ictor entered the AirLimo and directed the driver to head to the Hotel Andromeda. V’ictor then turned and addressed the party in the Limo “I just wanted to personally welcome all of you to Postale/Milita and Sean I just wanted to say welcome personally. Tomorrow’s ceremony will be a private one as I understand you have had enough pomp and circumstance for a while”

“Thank you V’ictor I really appreciate that” replied a blushing Sean.

“You are most welcome Archon Castellano; I also wanted to let you know what we have planned for you today and tomorrow. This afternoon check into your rooms and get settled. I will need to meet with D’avid for a little while, and then there will be a private dinner for you here at the Hotel. After dinner Sean I have tickets for you and your ‘Companions’ for the Regional ‘Frissoc’ 3Playoffs between your own Callistan Rangers and our own Postale Arsenal……………….”

As soon as V’ictor mentioned the playoffs Sean and Patrick let out a whoop of joy that was probably heard back in Callisto.

V’ictor continued on as he had not been interrupted “of course Michael will be along with and If you would do me a big favour, I would like my youngest son to attend with you………..”

There was something in V’ictor’s tone of voice that caught the attention of Sean and ‘His Companions’ and they leaned forward to pay closer attention.

“With both of his brothers away from our home Neil has been a little lonely lately and slightly down. He is only twelve turnings and misses his big brothers,” V’ictor was interrupted this time by Steve.

“We would be glad to have him along with us; my younger brother is his age and hangs around with us sometimes. I am sure we will all get along fine, right guys,” a chorus of yes’s and of course answered his rhetorical question. “Just tell him not to wear Arsenal colours” Steve replied while grinning ear to ear.

“Well now that, that has been settled on to the rest of us. Barbara, you will be my guest at a Social at The Archonate in honour of The ‘Frissoc’ 3 Playoffs and you can bring A’ndreas and your husband if you would like,” supplied V’ictor.

“We would be honoured to attend kind sir and thank you for your most kind invitation” Sean’s Mother quickly replied before her husband or A’ndreas could respond to V’ictor’s gibe.

“Perfect” replied V’ictor that wraps up today’s schedule now on to tomorrow’s. S’ean your Induction/Welcoming Ceremony will be at Nine  A.M. in The Archonate Main Conference Room which just happens to be next door to your new office Deputy Director. At approximately 9:15 we will meet with your new boss Archon Jacob to go over your new position and get to know each other a little bit. After that you will meet your office staff your Office Manager assures will be to your liking and he will meet you with the rest of your staff. After lunch Archon Jacob has scheduled a meeting of all the Planetary Education Department Heads to bring you up to speed. I understand he has meetings planned for the next day as well. The day after is your Bonding Ceremony and The Archonate will be attending. I will let you folks get settled, D’avid and A’ndreas I will see you this afternoon,” concluded V’ictor. After shaking everyone’s hands and exiting the Limo V’ictor headed towards his personal aircar and back to work.

As the group was exiting the Limo and heading into the Hotel A’ndreas took one look at Sean’s worried face and said with a grin “Sean you aren’t being thrown off of the deep end, at least not yet. And after keeping this group of hooligans in line The Department of Planetary Education should be a snap.”

Sean had to break out laughing as he watched ‘His Companions’ attacked A’ndreas and bring him to the ground tickling him as they did it. D’avid steps back and raised his hands as if surrendering and then said: “He said it, not me” then turned to his wife and son and continued “Come along family our rooms are waiting” The three then headed into the Hotel followed by Michael directing the Hotel Staff with their baggage.

While V’ictor was laying out his schedule Sean was thinking ‘Can I do this, I am too young for this much responsibility? Surely they don’t expect someone my age to solve all of these problems?’

Seeing the pensive look on Sean’s face Tommy nudged Patrick who got A’ndreas’s attention. Tommy then reached over and began massaging Sean’s shoulder while sending as much reassurance through his slight mental link as he could. A’ndreas picking up on Sean’s concerns sent him a reassuring message.

While Sean was lost in his own world thinking of all the challenges lying before him he became aware of a pleasant sensation spreading from his neck and shoulders. Suddenly he ‘heard’ A’ndreas ‘Sean everything will be fine, you won’t be alone. No one expects miracles from you they just want you to apply the same things you used on your monographs to this job. Remember you will have a large staff to help you know and Archon Jacob is the one responsible, not you. Don’t forget those young rapscallions of yours will be around also’ Between Tommy’s massage and A’ndreas’s calming thoughts Sean began to relax and pay attention again.

Sean took one last look at the melee between his friends and mentor and got a huge grin on his face. He then turned around and walked up behind his parents putting an arm over their shoulders and walked into the Hotel finally feeling at peace with himself.

The following morning dawned bright and beautiful and after a wonderful Buffet Breakfast served in the conference room attached to their suite, the troupe embarked in The GSF 6 Castellano for the short trip to The Archonate. Sean was a little out of sorts because only Patrick of ‘His Companions’ were riding with them to ‘The Archonate’. Michael had explained to him that they were running a few errands for him and they would be at The Archonate when needed. Sean had a much more restful night than he had expected, he had gone to bed very restless and was having a hard time going to sleep. Just as he was about to get up and walk around his door slid open and a feeling of warmth and comfort came over him. Kevin sent ‘Relax and go to sleep Sean, I will sleep with you and keep you comfortable’. Kevin then slid into Sean’s bed wrapped his arms around Sean and whispered “sleep”. Sean didn’t remember anything until he was rudely dumped out of Kevin’s comforting arms and onto the floor by the rest of his laughing ‘Companions’ all shouting “Up and at em you lazy sods”. Kevin and Sean threw whatever they could reach at their friends then headed towards the Balnea as “The Companions’ beat a hasty retreat. Sean turned to Kevin and said “thanks”. Before he could continue Kevin interjected “There is nothing to thank me for. I just did what you would have down for anyone of us and any one of us would have done for you. You are my best friend and I saw you were restless, and I knew you wouldn’t sleep well without some comfort. I almost had to order a bed for seven, cause all of the guys wanted to help. A’ndreas even volunteered to get a cot and stay with you, but we convinced him we could handle it. I pulled rank as your best friend so that is what happened. END OF STORY”. Kevin then smacked Sean on the shoulder and said: “Got it?”

Sean smartly replied “Yes Sir” gave Kevin a mock salute and ran into the Balnea 7.

Once the group arrived at The Archonate, D’avid escorted them to the conference room where V’ictor and the other Archons were gathered. Sean was amazed because over half of the assembled Archons were in their early to mid-twenties. Sean gave his father a quizzical glance, his father whispered “V’ictor will explain, it is one of the reasons for a private ceremony”

Sean nodded okay, and they proceeded into the room. As they entered the room V’ictor arose from his seat and came to greet them.

“Bienvenuto Archon’s Castellano, Madame Castellano and Master A’ndreas. I am very glad to see all of you again. I will introduce everyone shortly but we have two pieces of business to take care of first. Archon Jacob, please let me introduce you to your presumptive new assistant. Jacob stepped forward and joined V’ictor, “Jacob I would like to introduce you to Arcon Castellano who wrote the monographs that sent you to Lysander with a spacecraft. “Young man you don’t know how glad I am to meet you. Your monographs display a depth of understanding of The Bondling/Bonding Institution that is unparalleled for a non-bonded person. You are exactly what we have been looking for and once your Bonding is completed you will fit in perfectly. After seeing you I can understand some of your concerns, However, put them aside completely as I heartily concur with V’ictor’s assessment and will make the announcement to the public myself. Additionally, with The Esteemed Physico Ambrosius at your side and with my complete support and the full backing of The Archonate your word will have the weight it needs. So relax until this afternoon when the real work will start,” with that Jacob reached forward and shook the stunned Sean’s hand and then turned and congratulated Sean’s parents.

“Sean please step forward and kneel” V’ictor announced and directed Sean to a spot in front of him. Sean stepped forward and dropped to both knee’s thinking ‘finally something is going right and without all the publicity and pomp’. V’ictor addresses Sean, “Do you willingly and without reservations affirm your previous oath as an Archon of Gemini?

As Sean replied “I do” the room broke into applause so loud Sean could barely hear V’ictor announce “Arise Sean Castellano Archon of Gemini”.

Sean looked around the room quickly and noticed all of ‘His Companion’ had arrived now the work could start.

Flashback Six Turnings:

 [Authors note: You might want to listen to “Summertime” by Kenny G while reading this passage it will definitely enhance this passage.

TSL]

As Alexii headed towards home after a very interesting day at the nature preserve he had a very satisfied grin on his face. Alexii was walking a little slower than usual as his new-found friends were walking with him.

Alexii was so happy that he now had real flesh and blood friends that he hadn’t even realized he was walking slower than normal. With Logen on one side and Cobi on the other Alexii was in a walking daydream.

In fact, Alexii was so far out this world with happiness, that he never noticed that Logen and Cobi were getting him to answer all of their questions and never really answering any of his.

The three boys were meandering along the tree-shaded path hand in hand chatting away like Terran Magpies. Although the two younger boys were not twins they were playing Alexii like they were. Cobi would ask a question and almost as soon as Alexii had answered Logen would ask another one. The hapless Alexii was so enamoured with the two boys who he had begun to think of as his brothers, that he didn’t realize he was bouncing back and forth between the two like a Terran Tennis Ball.

The boys were so involved in their conversation that they failed to notice what an unusually beautiful day they were having. The sky was an unusually intense shade of cerulean blue with only a few high wispy clouds to mitigate the heat of Solarius. There was a slight breeze keeping the temperature very temperate. The most irritating stinging insects were strangely missing, a very strange occurrence for this time of year. The usual humidity of this time of years was strangely on vacation as well. It was almost as if the fate had decreed a perfect day for a meeting that would have profound consequences for Gemini for turnings to come.

As Alexii was walking along he was thinking ‘Where have they been all my life? I hope I can keep them I really like them, I wonder if Mom will like them? Oh well, we are almost home we’ll find out soon’

Cobi turns and looks up at Alexii and asks “Are we almost to your house my feet hurt?” and from Alexii’s other side Logen chimes in “Can you carry me, Lexi, I can’t walk anymore?”

Alexii picks up Logen in his arms and cuddles him tightly as they turn into the path that leads to Alexii’s home. “We’ll be at my house shortly and you can rest while you comm your parents” Alexii informs his two young charges.

Cobi asks Alexii very shyly “Do you think your mom will like us?”

“Of course she will” Alexii responds quickly while removing one of his hands from carrying Logen and musses Cobi’s hair. “My mom has been wanting me to have some local friends for a long, long time” Alexii continues replying.

“I wike you Lexi” Logen murmurs in Alexii’s ear as Alexii returns his hand to holding and reassuring the tired youngster.

“I like you too little one” Alexii whispers into Logen’s ear.

“Is that your house up ahead,” queries Cobi?

“Yes it is, we are almost there just another minute and you can rest and cool off” Alexii reassures the youngster who is stoically trying to keep up with Alexii. But what Cobi doesn’t know is that Alexii as young as he is realized that Cobi was tired also and had been slowing his pace so slightly that Cobi never caught on.

Cobi then looks up at Alexii’s home and sees a woman standing in the door looking down the path towards them. Cobi then steps behind Alexii and whispers, “Is that your Mom?

“Yes it is, but don’t worry she doesn’t bite” Alexii whispers back as a great big grin covers Cobi’s face. Alexii has to hold Logen a little tighter as the youngling starts laughing in his arms.

Alexii turns and looks down at Cobi “Wave to my Mom for me” he asks. Cobi looks up at him and says “Really?”

“Yes” Alexii answers it will surprise her and my hands are full as he sports an ear to ear grin.

A few seconds later the tired three boys reach the fronts steps of Alexii’s home and start to greet Alexii’s mother when Alexii opens his mouth and turned his mother speechless!

“Mom, I found two new brothers, can I keep them?” Alexii boyishly asks his mom after putting Logen down, but not without ruffling the youngster’s hair.

Alexii’s mom was just about ready to ask who the two boys with Alexii were, when he popped such a totally unexpected question. She stood there mouth gaping and eyes bulging while Alexii calmly introduced the two boys.

As they say out of the mouths of…………………………………………………

End Flashback

Back on Terra, Alexander was having a recurring dream that was driving him crazy. He kept dreaming of people milling around at some type of meeting; they were people he had never seen before. The problem was he couldn’t distinguish their faces or even their nationality. The architecture was similar yet different, and the differences were annoying him, because he couldn’t place where the architectural difference came from.

Alexander decided to forget about the buildings and try and to remember the rest of the dream. He could remember a strange feeling like he was leaving his body on earth and his mind traveling somewhere. There were fragments were he thought he saw the blonde wrapping his arms around the person he thought of as his brunette. When he felt a headache coming on he decides to stop for now and go take a quick hot shower before class. As he was heading to his first class, he ran into his friend Chris who looked at Alex and just shook his head. “What?” asked a slightly irritated Alexander. “Alex you look like crap, was it the dreams again?” questions Chris and continues “I worry about you when you look this” “Chris my man you have no idea, it isn’t so much the dreams themselves, it is trying to remember them” replies Alexander. “What do you mean I look like crap I took a shower, shaved and my hair is perfect? I am also wearing the slacks that Jane loves and the shirt you love so much because it shows off my abs the ones you wish you had” Alexander queries his friend. “Alex, Alex, Alex it isn’t the clothes it is your eyes, the way you slouch and the way you dragged your sorry butt over here and if that wasn’t bad enough you could carry a week’s worth of groceries in the bags under your eyes. And to top it off your eyes are red and lifeless the sparkle is gone.” Answers Chris and then quickly continues “the dreams must have something to do with Jane, cause you haven’t even asked about her or even looked around for her. Alexander looks at his friend in awe at the concern he has shown and then quickly checks out the surroundings to see if any teachers were around. He then turned to Chris and said “before the rest of the gang and the professor get here can we cut and go talk? I really need to talk about these dreams and Jane wouldn’t understand what is bothering me.” Chris replies “Okay, I think that is a great idea, as long as you help me make up the work we miss and the work Professor Ashkevron is going to slap us with for cutting class” “Deal, lets split, let me text Jane that I am sick and will catch her tonight,” replies Alexander as he pulls out his cell and pecks away while walking towards the parking lot with Chris.

Sean and A’ndreas are going over the final plans for Sean and his Bondling’s retreat after Sean has completed the Bonding Ceremony. They will be gone for approximately two weeks, while they get to know each other and learn to work together.

A small mixed force Geminiian Confederation Space Force patrol was on a routine training and integration mission in the farthest reaches of Lynxian Space. This mission was important only in the fact that it was under the overall command of a Lynxian Commander. The main issue was that the Commander was female and neither the Fortian’s nor the Centaurian’s had female officers. The second in command was a Geminiian Commander who in all actuality was a Captain in the Geminiian IF. The Geminiian’s sole duties were to assist the Lynxian Commander and to ascertain the ability of both the Fortians’ and the Centaurians’ to adapt to female officers.

The patrol consisted of Light Cruisers and a few scout ships and a supply ship. The patrol was only supposed to last a month just long enough to shake the crews down and identify any integration issues. There were two Lynxian Light Cruisers and two Lynxian Scouts, One each of Fortian and Centaurian Light Cruisers, Two Geminiian Light Cruisers, Two Scouts and the Geminiian Supply Ship rounded out the patrol.

Unknown to any of the crews of the patrol, they were being shadowed by two of the Geminiian Strike Fighters, in fact, these were the latest models with the brand new stealth skin that had just been developed. In addition to absorbing or reflecting all known scan technologies in such a way that the ship was virtually invisible except to the naked eye if you knew where to look. The new skin also completely absorbed and redirected all energy being radiated from inside the ship. Since these ships were powered by ‘EGGS’ there was virtually no energy propulsion traces.

This was a training and shakedown mission for the new Strike Fighters as well. They were shadowing the patrol to see if the patrol ships would spot them as they were going about their training exercises. The new Strike Fighters were basically Long-Range Fighters that had beefed up armament slightly larger crews and were much faster than the standard ship born fighter. Geminiian IF wanted to use them fast courier ships also in areas where they couldn’t provide escorts. The only problem with the new ships was in order to have a larger crew and heavier armament they had to trade off some of their armour. The hope was that the new stealth skins would alleviate some of that problem. Additionally, the ‘EGGS’ that powered them were oversized so some of their energy would be available to increase their shield strength.

Shortly after their weekly command conference, as the commanders were returning in their shuttles to their respective ships, the Fortian Light Cruiser which was the point ship picked up two unidentified ships on its scanners. The Lynxian Commander ordered one of the Lynxian and one of the Geminiian Scout ships to investigate. As the scouts’ ships headed towards their interception points the Lynxian Commander ordered the other ships to tighten up their formation. This would allow better overall point defense and with the Lynxian ship at the front and the Geminiian ship taking the rear far better offensive firepower would be achieved. The commanders in their shuttle had to adjust their courses and increase speed to catch up with the changing position of their ships. The Geminiian Commander, who now had the longest way to go, decided to change course outside of the formation and wait for his ship to catch up with him. This move proved to be extremely advantageous in the next few ‘mics’.

The two scout ships arrived at their intercept point at nearly the same time and found nothing. As soon as they had moved into firing range, the objects had disappeared from the scanners. As the scouts turned to resume their normal flanking positions, space turned itself inside out. A multitude of small sleek matte black delta shaped ships suddenly appeared and streaked through the formation firing green globes which rapidly enveloped every ship in the patrol and then before any ship could return fire the second wave of ships attacked and fired blue beams of energy at all of the englobed ships simultaneously. The second wave of ships resembled flying wings. There was a multitude of explosions and when the last explosion died the Training Patrol had vanished.

The Geminiian Commander as soon as he saw the first wave of the attackers did the only thing he could do in the face of such an overwhelming attack. He quickly had his pilot kill all energy sources in the shuttle except for enough life support to keep the crew alive. Thanks to his quick thinking his shuttle and its crew were the only survivors of the patrol.

The two Strike Fighters had a quick plaser communication as soon the last of the flying wing-shaped ships had vanished. One ship made a slow, stealthy exit and prepared for an all-out run to Gemini to bring back word of this attack. The second ship was going to try and rescue the shuttle crew. Hopefully, there was only the minimum of three crew members on the shuttle; otherwise, someone would be left behind.

The shuttle crew was going over their options and had pretty much decided they didn’t have much of a chance. The next supply ship wasn’t due for another four days but it the rendezvous site was one day’s flight time past the ultimate maximum flight time of the shuttle. The pilot and the security officer that always attended the commander were taking inventory and reducing all energy consumption to its lowest possible settings. While they were taking inventory, the commander was reviewing the astrogation data to see if they had missed anything. When suddenly he felt an immense chill and the view screen seemed to darken so he turned and looked out into space and wished for the rest of his life he hadn’t. For sailing into his sight at the extreme edge of his vision was what he decided was a globe-shaped ship the size of the largest moon he had ever seen. He wisely said nothing to the crew.

The crew of the remaining Strike Fighter was just preparing to try to initiate a plaser communication with the shuttle. Some sixth sense made the Lt. Commander hold his order to initiate the contact. At the exact instant, the communication would have been initiated the passive scanners all went off in a screeching cacophony of sound. Luckily the scan tech killed the alarms almost as fast as they had sounded. The ship that the scanners had picked up now filled the scanners making them useless. The entire crew on the bridge was frozen solid in shock; you couldn’t hear a single breath. Without even thinking or getting permission, the communications tech quickly killed every non-essential power using equipment in the ship. He wanted to ensure that there was no accidental leakage of energy to betray them to the behemoth out there. It seemed like days before the behemoth finally passed from the reach of their passive scanners when it was only a few hours.

The ship’s commander let the engineering department bring the air scrubbers online to improve the atmosphere and remove the odour of tension from the air.

Meanwhile, things in the shuttle were getting very anxious for all concerned. It was finally decided to aim for an old abandoned intelligence outpost that was just under their maximum endurance threshold. It was a long shot but they couldn’t reach the rendezvous with the supply ship under current conditions. The problem was that every minute they were in hiding from the mysterious attackers cut down their chances of making it to the outpost with enough power to restore the equipment there.

Finally, the Lt. Commander gave the order to the communications tech to initiate communication with the shuttle. The relief that the crew of the shuttle felt at hearing the communications tech’s voice was felt throughout the Strike Ship.

Several hours later the entire shuttle’s crew had been situated aboard the strike ship and had begun their return home.

What none of the remaining crew knew is it would be a long time before they saw Gemini and their families again. The crews of both Strike Fighters and the shuttle’s crew would be guests of ‘PS’ and IF Intelligence at a remote R&R Planet for prolonged debriefings.

The head of The Main Bondling Collegium starts to present his bondling candidate Jared to Sean Castellano and the honoured guests.

As he begins to speak he is interrupted by an angry bondling candidate Alexii shouting “He is mine, he is my Bond, My ONE!”

As Alexii is running across the stage towards Sean, there is a flash of blue lightning between them.

Alexii throws himself at Sean’s feet wrapping his arms around Sean’s legs and holding on for dear life while sobbing “He is mine” over and over.

The President of The Collegium prepares to order Collegium Security to arrest and remove Alexii.

When he opens his mouth to give the order Ambrosius moves quickly, putting one hand on the President’s shoulder and commanding “HOLD” The security forces obey instantly and the stage became totally still.

Whenever a Senior Green Robed Physico speaks all Geminiians listen and obey.

Ambrosius takes control of the situation by announcing in a strong clear voice “It is over The Bonding has been completed!”

Before this announcement has had time to sink in there a loud crash of thunder and the thrumming of a large harp.

As soon as the sounds had ceased a large blue globe of light surrounds Sean and Alexii and a powerful motherly voice rings out “It is done, Let it be”

As the crowd starts to recover from this startling announcement from ‘The Keeper of The Planet’ there is heard a large crackling sound and a hazy image begins to form on the stage.

As the image begins to clear Ambrosius is stricken still, for the image is Alexander!

As the crowd shrinks back in awe Alexander’s image speaks “He is mine, they are both mine, leave them alone”

As soon as he finishes speaking his image begins to disappear, but before it can disappear totally it too is surrounded by a globe of blue light and a thundering announcement “He is mine as well”

The globe and image disappear and the crowd breaks into a roar, Ambrosius begins to step forward and calm the crowd when Sean steps forward lifting Alexii to his feet.

Once the globes had disappeared, the crowd could see two shining blue objects hanging by an iridium chain from the necks of Sean and Alexii. What wasn’t visible was the similar clear object hidden beneath Sean’s tunic.

Sean then announces in a strong and commanding voice that could be heard outside of the amphitheatre “I am S’ean Castellano, and this is my Bondling A’lexii, this ceremony is over!”

S’ean then took A’lexii by the arm grabbed Ambrosius with his other hand and quickly left the stage.

TBC.

Authors Notes:

Sorry, this chapter took so long to get done, but there was a lot to tell and those two imps Cobi and Logen decided to tell their story now. I hope this chapter answered a few questions and didn’t ask too many more. The boys, S’ean, Alex and ‘The Companions’ are taking a short break while the story switches to the other planets in The Confederacy. Don’t worry they will be back in Chapter Five. Chapter Five will take up where Chapter Three ended. Remember, feedback is always welcome. Thanks again to my Beta Readers, Jeff’s Fort and Akeentia and as always thanks to Gunrunner for making this story fit to read. ACFan I hope I did your “Blue Glow” justice.

Till next time TSL

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Editors Notes:

Well, I have to apologize for making everyone wait for this chapter, but the complexities of it were something I couldn’t just rush through. As always, I would like to thank TSL for allowing me the opportunity to work on such an amazing project, TSL, you are truly talented and I am honoured to work with you. I can’t wait to see what comes next for our group.

Drop TSL a line, let him know what you think …

-Gun

P/M – The city of Postale/Milita located 20 milums SW of AP/AM (Aero Postale/Aero Milita)

Empathic Scan Report – required of all supplicants for an Arconship/Archonship to prove that there was no coercion and that the supplicant was of sound mind

See Chapter Two

For readers of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series, this scene may seem familiar. The idea for this scene came from the “Ground and Center” lessons in several of her books. I want to thank her for the idea. I also want to thank her for her wonderful stories.

See Errata II for an explanation.

Geminiian’s Space Force

See Glossary of Terms

Plaser- Pulsed Laser instead of a continuous stream of light a plaser beam consists of micro-pulses of beamed laser light.

2019 Story Lover Productions. All Rights Reserved.

 

Published March 13, 2019