Seven Years Into The Future
"So this is Planet Z5, last hideout of the Black Rose," A red haired blue eyed Galaxy Ranger snorted as he looked through the rocky terrain with his binoculars. "Not much of a vacation spot is it, buddy?"
"I don't think it was meant to be, Lucky," His companion, a blue eyed, ash blonde haired, bearded Ranger with an unusual star shaped scar over his left eye remarked. He saw a large fortress in the distance. "There it is. Red Rose Refuge. Our contacts tell us Jefferson and his friends are in there."
Luke 'Lucky' Brand snorted as his friend. "Gonna have a lot of fun busting up that joint."
"Don't get too cocky Lucky," His companion gave him a look.
"Calm down Star Foxx I know how dangerous these xenophobic nutcases are," Lucky snorted. "Still got a sore shoulder from that last run in we had."
"That was your own fault. You had to try out that maneuver upside down didn't you?" He snorted in amusement. Little Zach had indeed grown up and become a Galaxy Ranger like his father before him.
But no one called him 'Little Zach' anymore. Everyone called him either Foxx or by his nickname: Star Foxx.
"Hell what's the fun in playing it safe?" Lucky readied his pistol. "Too bad we couldn't bring the horses with us."
"Yeah but these babies are pretty damn good in a pinch," Star Foxx grinned as he patted the side of his Ranger Light Cycle, a floating motorbike that packed enough firepower to blast open a tank. "Let's give our guys on the inside time to get ready. Remember to wait for the Captain's signal."
"Or that…" Star Foxx blinked as he saw the smoke rise from inside the fortress.
"! Let's ride!" Lucky whooped as they rode forth.
"Lucky how many times do I have to tell you to stop riding that thing upside down!" Star Foxx snapped as they attacked.
"But it's so much fun to shoot at your enemies when they're not expecting a move like that," Lucky grinned as he whirled around.
"Oh boy…" Star Foxx groaned. "And to think he's one of the least psychotic among our group…"
It wasn't long before the Galaxy Ranger team had subdued or taken into custody the remaining members of the Black Rose. "Any problems?" Star Foxx asked as they scanned the perimeter for things they missed.
"Nah. One great thing about these new teleportation devices," A familiar female Galaxy Ranger grinned as she tapped her wrist. "Can get in and out without any problems."
"Yeah it's the between the two that's tricky," Star Foxx snorted. "Anything we need to know, Irma?"
"Computer scanning some prison cells below on the lower level. One life form. Human," Irma said. She had grown her hair longer since childhood and had it in a ponytail.
"Time to perform a jailbreak!" Lucky grinned. He blasted open the door and ran in whooping.
"Uh that door was already unlocked," Irma blinked.
"Didn't matter…" Star Foxx went after his friend. "Lucky? Where are you?"
"Down here! Found this old timer in the last cell. Beat up a bit but the old guy's still alive," Lucky called out from one of the cells.
Star Foxx went down to help. He recognized him right away. "Holy…Walsh!"
The man had grown back his mustache, it was thick and a bit bushier than he remembered. As well as a beard. Walsh was also gaunt and thin and was lying on the ground of the cell. Lucky was giving him a drink of water.
"Just have some of this old timer," Lucky said. "You'll be all right."
"Thank you…" Walsh said in a raspy voice.
"Walsh, don't you recognize me? It's me! Little Zach! Well not so little anymore. They call me Star Foxx now, because of this," He pointed to his star shaped scar.
"Yes I remember now," Walsh said. "You also made quite a name for yourself already. I heard you single handedly saved the planet Kirwin from a pirate invasion."
"I got lucky. By then I'd gotten more bionics in both arms and legs like my dad," Star Foxx told him. He turned to Lucky. "Get the captain! He'll want to see him!"
"You know this old cowpoke?" Lucky asked.
"Since I was a kid," Star Foxx smirked. "Just get him."
"Okay," Lucky shrugged and reported in on the communicator. "How did you end up here?" Star Foxx asked Walsh.
"Bad luck and even worse judgment," Walsh grumbled. "Jefferson really hated me but because of Black Rose protocol he couldn't kill me. So he kept me prisoner for the past two years."
"Protocol? Oh right…" Star Foxx remembered. "That bloodline stuff…"
"For once I'm glad to be related to that hierarchy," Walsh grumbled.
"Captain's coming," Lucky ran in. "Hey medic! Over here!"
A medic walked in and started checking Walsh out. "He's a bit thin and malnourished but according to the scanners we found him in time," The medic said.
A purple skinned Po Alien Ranger walked in with a few more rangers. "Jefferson's dead," She reported. "Got stupid and tried to get into a gunfight with the Captain."
"Good riddance," Walsh grunted.
That's when he saw him. He was wearing his familiar black cowboy outfit with the long black coat and black hat. His hair had grown longer in the back and almost reached his shoulders but the face was still the same. And he knew those piercing green eyes anywhere.
"Walsh…" Captain Shane Gooseman looked at him, no emotion in either his voice or eyes.
"So you're a captain now?" Walsh sighed. "I always knew you had it in you to be a leader."
Shane was impassive. "You know I have to place you under arrest?"
"I wouldn't expect you not to," Walsh sighed. "I'm sorry I put you in this situation, Shane."
"Not exactly the first time you've put me in an awkward situation," Shane pointed out. "You know you have a lot to answer for."
"I know that. And I'm prepared to go to prison. Hell, it can't be any worse than being locked up on this planet for two years," Walsh grunted.
"Then it's my duty to inform you that you're under arrest," Shane said. "Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney and a speedy trial." Shane turned to Lucky. "Brand since it seems to me that you're the only one here who has no clue who this man is, you're assigned to guard him. That way I know he'll be treated without any favoritism."
"He's someone important isn't he?" Lucky blinked.
"You have no idea…" Shane grumbled as he went to check the other rangers in his squad.
"I guess I should escort the prisoner to the medical bay," Lucky sighed as he pulled out his handcuffs. "Sorry sir, but I gotta…"
"I know, it's procedure," Walsh nodded. "Nothing personal."
"Take him on board transport 3 with the other wounded," Shane ordered.
"Other than a few cuts and scrapes not many of our people were wounded," Irma reported as Lucky escorted Walsh to the ship.
It wasn't long before the ship was headed towards another strange starship. "What ship is this?" Walsh blinked as they went aboard the large black ship " I don't recognize the design."
"This mister is the Black Wolf. The fastest, meanest, newest S-F warship to come off the assembly line," Lucky smiled.
"Kind of small for a warship," Walsh blinked.
"It's specially made for Ranger Six Squads," Star Foxx explained. "BETA realized the need for special forces to have their own ships. It was one of Commander Cain's last projects before…" He stopped.
Before Walsh could ask before what, Irma spoke up. "Since the Crown Empire fell all those years ago, half the galaxy is filled with tin plated dictators and pirates trying to make a killing."
"Uh huh, we spend a lot of time in space hunting down those varmints," Lucky grinned. "You know how it is. We get sent out to try and bring a little law and order to the galaxy. It's a tough job."
"I can imagine," Walsh smirked.
Back on the planet Shane was finishing up with the cleanup. Galaxy Ranger Deena, a former Po Mutant guard was waiting for him with her team. Less than a year after the Po Empire had taken over Tortuna, the planet had formally entered the League of Planets. Sophipo and her brother were wise and kind rulers and the former planet of spies had changed and flourished into a more peaceful and prosperous world. The planet was still far from perfect, Tortuna City still had it's unsavory underworld that managed to survive despite the measures Prime Minister Geezy had taken. But the crimminals were much less powerful and dangerous than they were in the past.
Two years later several Po Mutants entered the Galaxy Rangers. Along with Leonoids and several other species. In fact one of Leonoid's princes had joined the Rangers as well. So there was Nimrod's younger half brother Jakar, a golden furred male with a neatly trimmed mane.
Shane had twenty rangers in his squad. In his opinion they were the finest in the fleet.
"Report," He ordered.
"All members of the remaining Black Rose on the most wanted list are accounted for," Deena reported. "Including Jefferson fifteen are dead, sixteen have been taken into custody. Most of the sixteen are not significantly injured."
"Except one guy who made the mistake of trying to grab Ranger Deena's breast," Emma Stark snorted. She had been transferred to Shane's ranger team a long time ago. "He's in intensive care. I've already downloaded what few files they have. This was the last functioning renegade group of Black Rose."
"No more cells?" Shane asked.
"They had references to a cell on Haven but since we already busted that up there's nothing left," Emma shrugged. "I'll analyze the material back on the ship."
"Then I guess it's safe to say that the Black Rose Society is finally out of business," Jakar smirked.
"Good riddance," Shane nodded. "Let's get back to the ship."
"Captain is it true that you found your…I mean…?" Emma began.
"Yes," Shane said tersely. "That will be all. Let's go home team and book these criminals." The others knew better than to push him on the subject.
Back on the ship Walsh had been cleaned up and shaved but still had his mustache. He was in a hospital bed handcuffed but in better spirits. "So you used to be a Galaxy Ranger?" Brand asked.
"Something like that, a long time ago," Walsh smirked. "Didn't they cover anything about how the Galaxy Rangers were formed back at the Ranger Academy?"
"Well I didn't exactly graduate from the Academy," Lucky admitted. "You see I'm from Ozark. Bluegrass County."
"Isn't that where…?"
"Slade attacked with his damned armada, yes," Lucky growled. "I was one of the lucky ones. My group barely held off the invaders from our town before the Galaxy Rangers got there. For all the good that it did."
Walsh frowned. Even in his prison he had heard what had happened. Some of the guards had family on Ozark where Slade had sent a huge armada and destroyed several towns and thousands of acres of land before being chased away by the Galaxy Rangers. He was still loose and one of the Galaxy's most wanted.
"Captain saved my life," Lucky said. "Then he gave me an opportunity to join the Galaxy Rangers. It's sort of a learn as you go program. He's a hard taskmaster but I'm not complaining. The captain is tough but fair. He never thinks of himself or his position. Only what's best for his team and justice. I'm proud to be a member of his squad."
"Is that so?" Walsh smiled.
"Believe it or not, The captain isn't from the Supertrooper System," Lucky said. "He's from Earth."
"I know…" Walsh smiled.
After the war the Supertroopers had been allowed to settle on both Xia Xiang and it's moon, which they named Wolfsong. Not surprisingly, they were welcomed with open arms by the remaining population which still revered Raja Brooke's memory. Both Tiger and Birdsong took control of Xia Xiang, taking up the mantle their genetic father once had. The people loved them as much as they did their father.
The fact that Tiger and Birdsong treated the non Supertrooper members of the population very well and there was a system of graft that benefited the entire planet didn't hurt either. Both siblings knew money was the best way to get things done. They paid off unions and other individuals in order to build roads, schools, a thriving boardwalk, casinos, scientific projects and so on. In return businesses would pay them a minimal small fee every week and vote for them in elections. Even though the system was crooked crime was surprisingly low on Xia Xiang and the people were so loyal and tight lipped there was nothing the Galaxy Rangers could do about it. For now.
There were some that said that Raja Brooke wasn't really dead. Just waiting for the right day of his return. After the battle of Xia Xiang his body was never found. Tiger and Birdwing insisted that they simply had cremated their father in a private ceremony but many suspected that was a lie. But there were too many other more important matters to deal with at the time and no one looked into the accusation. Even Cheyenne couldn't find any trace of him telepathically but since Xia Xiang had many anti telepathy technology built into their own buildings it was a dead end.
Spitfire had quickly assumed leadership of the Supertroopers at Wolfsong. Within a week to everyone's shock she had taken a new mate, a Supertrooper from the Xiangian Brigade named Lightstorm. Together they both ran Wolfsong and helped keep things peaceful. Well as peaceful as possible on a moon full of genetically engineered super soldiers.
However several Supertroopers like Webfoot, Ben Sharpshooter, Magpie and Peridot chose to remain on Earth and some even joined the Galaxy Rangers. Others became technicians and security forces for BETA. Shane Gooseman and Cheyenne Gooseman had ended up the leaders of that family of Supertroopers. The Supertroopers were eventually categorized into three different clans or packs. Wolfsong had the Moon Pack, Xia Xiang had the Star Pack, and Earth was called the Earth Pack.
Doc had made a comment at the time about them taking a cue from a series of books about cats. But no one paid him any attention.
It had also been decided that many members of the Xiangian Brigade of Supertroopers would settle among both Moon and Earth Packs. This would strengthen all the clans and form stronger bonds between them. Some members had been born fully decanted right after the war and a few of them were placed in the two other packs. Shane was certainly surprised when he saw three young clones of Gravestone, Chimera, and Jackhammer show up in front of him as new members of his clan. They were called Stonegrave, Griffin (A male version of Chimera) and Jackie Hammer (A female version of Jackhammer.)
One of the greatest ironies was that although Xia Xiang still remained a member of the League of Planets, it gained independence due to the settlement of the Supertroopers. Thanks to the Supertrooper Act on Earth and what would later be known as the Gooseman Proclamation (Named after both Cheyenne and Shane Gooseman) Supertroopers were given equal status with the rest of the League's citizens and it was illegal to create them as weapons of war. Xia Xiang and Wolfsong were given to them as part of a restitution agreement for their mistreatment in the past and the actions the Supertroopers fought in the wars.
For their part the Supertroopers had to agree to abide by the laws of the League of Planets and not create more Supertroopers in laboratories or through genetic experimentation. However they were allowed to have access to fertility treatments and other treatments so they could have children naturally. More and more Supertroopers were now having children like their human counterparts and loved them fiercely.
Surprisingly Supertroopers were starting to fit in with the League. Those that didn't join the Galaxy Rangers ended up performing security and bounty hunting jobs. If you wanted to protect something or someone, or needed a criminal to be hunted down, a Supertrooper became the best person for the job. Wolfsong had become famous for a guild of Supertroopers that worked for the right price. Often BETA and the League of Planets hired them for various duties as well as private citizens. Along with the Supertroopers that had become Galaxy rangers and the scientific work still done on Xia Xiang by Agrias Industries, Supertroopers started to become respected as well as feared.
It is worth mentioning that Ryker Kilbane was never revived. He was still frozen in a cryogenic chamber deep in the secret recesses of Xia Xiang for his crimes. That was unanimously decided to be his punishment. And a valuable lesson for younger Supertroopers to learn.
Lucky was about to say something else when Shane walked into the room. "I'm relieving you so you can get something to eat," Shane said. "Come back in two hours."
"Thank you, sir," Lucky said.
As Lucky left he overheard Shane say, "We need to talk." From the tone of his voice, Lucky decided it would not be a good idea to stick around and find out.
He found out the reason why in the mess hall.
"That guy is Commander Walsh and he's the captain's father?" Lucky shouted loud enough to wake an alarm clock.
"Say it a little louder, Brand," Jakar grumbled. "I don't think they heard you in the next galaxy!"
"Sorry. I mean Commander Walsh the guy in charge of the Supertrooper Project and part of the Black Rose Society? He's the captain's father?" Lucky was stunned.
"I swear you must be the only person in half the universe who didn't know the whole story!" Irma groaned. "I know Ozark is out of the way but still…"
"Wait hold on," Lucky held out his hand. "I thought the Captain was born in a test tube?"
"He was. But Walsh illegally put in his own DNA when the project was running low of suitable genetic material," Star Foxx explained. "Only the Captain survived that batch but he never knew that Walsh was one of his primary donors until the Civil War."
"It was a huge scandal," Emma said. "It nearly destroyed the Galaxy Ranger program and helped kick off the Civil War. And even after that BETA was never the same."
"Oh right, I remember hearing a story like that," Lucky frowned. "Imagine having to arrest your own father!"
"It must have broke the Captain's heart to do that," Irma sighed as she shook her head.
"Yeah…" Lucky said. "I wonder what's going to happen now?"
"That's up to the brass when we get home," Star Foxx sighed. "I'm not so sure that it's going to look good for Walsh."
"You said you knew him," Lucky looked at Star Foxx.
"Since I was thirteen," Star Foxx told him. "Beta Mountain was my home growing up. He was a huge part of it until…"
"Yeah…We know…" Irma patted his hand.
"A lot of people really got upset when they learned the truth about Walsh," Star Foxx sighed. "Including my father. He never forgave him. Not just for what happened with the Captain but for this…" He pointed to his eye. "Even though that wasn't his fault."
"And you don't hate him do you?" Lucky picked up on it.
"I wouldn't say hate. He really treated Goose pretty bad but I think in a weird way he cared about him," Star Foxx shrugged. "Goose forgave him. So no reason for me to hate the man. Everybody else on Earth though…"
"That's gonna be a different kettle of fish," Lucky agreed as he whistled.
Several hours later after the Black Wolf returned to BETA, the doctor had discharged Walsh and he was brought to BETA. They sat in Shane's office. "Small office you have here. Not very decorated," Walsh looked around.
"I don't get to spend much time in it," Shane shrugged. "Being Captain of the Black Wolf as well as training and overseeing Series Six Rangers keeps me busy."
"Including Little Zach. So little Zach is now a Galaxy Ranger," Walsh smirked. "God I feel old. Takes after his father I take it?"
"He's a good ranger," Shane smirked. "A lot like his father but not much a stickler for the rule book as Zach used to be. But in a good way. He's not half as reckless as I was."
"Not like that Lucky," Walsh said. "I can tell."
"He's not that bad," Shane let out a breath. "Who am I kidding? He's reckless though. He'd be almost perfect if he remembered not to put himself in danger while trying to help others."
"In other words he's just like you were without bio-defenses," Walsh smirked.
"Actually, he has them now," Shane told him. "They're artificial bio-defenses. Q-Ball found a way to grow 'em in a lab and implant them in a few rangers as part of an experiment. So far it's working out well. No signs of instability. Well Lucky was already a bit unstable before the bio-defenses so…"
"Hold on, there are Galaxy Rangers with bio defenses that aren't Supertroopers?" Walsh was stunned. "Let me guess, Cain's idea? I should kill the maniac for…"
"You're too late. Commander Cain died last year," Shane told him. "Heart attack. While he was with two strippers in the back room of a nightclub."
"That's pretty much how I thought he'd go," Walsh groaned.
"Actually we had a few incidents…" Shane winced. "There were two more before our current commander. One went crazy and accidentally electrocuted himself after a month with us. The second turned out to be a traitor working with Slade. He's dead too. BETA hasn't exactly had much luck with commanders."
"So who's in charge now?" Walsh asked.
"Do you remember Andrea Waller?" Shane asked.
"I remember a Lieutenant Waller that once worked on the Comanche," Walsh frowned.
"She got promoted," Shane said. "She's in charge of BETA now. She's not so bad. At least she doesn't drink as much as the others did."
"That may change some day," Commander Waller walked in. She was a African American woman in her early forties, fit and trim with short straightened hair in a bob. She had the air of authority. "Hello Walsh. I wish I could say this meeting was under more pleasant circumstances."
"It's good to see you again Waller," Walsh said. "I'm glad to see you've done well for yourself."
"Are you? I've had to take command of an institution whose only stain was it's commanding officers," Waller gave him a look. "A tradition started by you. I intend to break that tradition!"
"I'm prepared to face my punishment," Walsh said.
"Don't be so ready to head off to jail just yet," Waller said. "Fortunately for you…Gooseman has convinced me that you might still be valuable to us. And I don't just mean for your information on the Black Rose Society. That's pretty much all but disbanded. You were in quite a few other projects before the Supertrooper Project and the Galaxy Rangers. Project Pegasus for example?"
"That planetary exploration ship whose plans were scrapped?" Walsh frowned.
"Those plans were rediscovered and it turned out they were ahead of their time," Waller said. "With some modern day advances in technology it's possible to make the ship."
"You're keeping me from jail to make a ship?" Walsh raised an eye.
"Among other reasons," Waller said. "There's quite a few holes in the history of BETA before the Galaxy Rangers were formed and during the early years of that time. There were a lot of deals made back then. Deals you know about. Which is why we are having this conversation in Gooseman's office instead of mine."
"What about Negata? He was there for most of it and…" Walsh began. A look between Shane and Waller stopped him.
"That's right, you wouldn't know," Shane let out a breath. "We didn't exactly announce it to the galaxy. Nagata's gone. It happened four years ago. There was a fire at Longshot and…"
"I see," Walsh closed his eyes. "He was a good friend to me Shane. I know what he's done…What we did was wrong but still…"
"Let's not talk about that right now," Shane interrupted.
"The point is BETA still finds some value in you, Walsh," Waller said. "Obviously you are no longer allowed your previous rank. Or any rank at all. Your official title will be civilian advisor but you will be in Captain Gooseman's custody. And you will obey any and all orders given to you by either us or any other Galaxy Ranger. Is that clear?"
"Yes. Commander," Walsh agreed.
"And you'll be supervised," Waller smirked. "Not just by Captain Gooseman but by a few other former associates…"
"Former…" Walsh looked as Zach and Doc walked into the room. Except for the fact that Doc had a soul patch as well as a mustache the two men looked exactly the same as they did all those years ago.
"Well look who's finally crawled out of hiding," Zachery Foxx glared at his former commander. It was clear that he had still not completely forgiven Walsh for his past transgressions.
"Not now Zach," Doc gave him a look. "How are you doing Walsh?"
"Can't complain," Walsh shrugged.
"That's because you don't have any reason too, at least not yet," Waller smirked. "I'm sure though some of the duties Captain Niko Gooseman will charge you will be more than a challenge. I'll question you in the morning. I'll leave it to the Series Five Command to debrief you." Waller left the room.
"Series Five Command?" Walsh asked.
"The Series Five Team is now a command unit that's in charge of several Series Six Squads," Shane explained. "It became necessary for us to not only get our own squads but to oversee the training of new Series Six members after the Battle of Tortuna. Doc and Zachery have their own squads and Niko is training new recruits back at the academy and here. Especially those with psychic powers."
"She doesn't have her own squad?" Walsh asked.
"Let's just say our lives and plans changed in a lot of ways while you were gone," Shane smirked. "Ryder and Amy are part of Zachery's squad and Doc has Dea and Noah in his."
"Brass seems to think the two of us have a knack for working with Supertroopers," Doc smirked.
"Can't believe those four are Galaxy Rangers already," Walsh sighed.
"You know how fast kids grow," Doc smirked. "Speaking of which, when are you going to be a grandfather Zach?"
"Don't rush those two," Zach told him. "Little Zach and Amy have just gotten engaged so…"
"Engaged? They're engaged?" Walsh was surprised.
"Actually I was referring to Ryder and Jessica," Doc smirked.
"Oh the baby's due in July," Zach said casually.
"WHAT?" Commander Walsh shouted. "Are you…Those two?"
"It was quite a surprise for me too," Zach admitted. "But I couldn't ask for a better son in law."
"When did this happen?" Walsh asked.
"Got married last year in April," Doc explained. "It was quite a wedding."
"Mata and Hari are working on becoming Galaxy Ranger mechanics and technicians and Rei will be a ranger before you know it," Shane smirked. "And it looks like Dawnstar will follow right in their footsteps when she's old enough. Not to mention her brothers and sisters. Stingray and Darkstar had a boy and two girls over the years."
"Is that counting Flashfire's…?" Walsh began.
"No, they had three more kids besides Flashray and Firestar," Shane explained. "There's Darkray, Hopestar and Joystar."
"I sense a pattern here," Walsh remarked.
"Ray for the boys and star for the girls," Doc shrugged. "It works for them."
"With Dawnstar that's six," Walsh was stunned. "Six Supertrooper children at Beta. With a seventh on the way…"
"Actually there's a lot more than that," Doc snickered. Shane gave him a look. "You didn't tell him?"
"Didn't have a chance to," Shane said. "I guess you'd find out sooner or later. You see…"
"Oh great…" Walsh grumbled as he saw Brainchild storm up to him. To his shock right behind him were two smaller almost identical looking mutant children right behind him in little white suits and ties, except they both had tuffs of red hair on their heads and one had glasses.
"Hello Brainchild," Shane sighed. He then smiled at the two children. "Hey Brainy, Napoleon."
"Hello Uncle Shane!" The children said gleefully. "Did you have a good trip?"
"A very good trip," Shane smiled as he tussled their hair.
"Oh yeah! He had a ball while I'm stuck here! And whose fault is that? Yours!" Brainchild pointed to Walsh. "Look at what you did to me! You just had to put alien DNA in my body, didn't you? I suppose it never occurred to you geniuses to check if that DNA was male or female or other did it?"
"What in the world…?" Walsh was stunned.
"We found out that Brainchild can reproduce," Shane explained. "The hard way."
"Don't sugarcoat it! I got knocked up and it's all his fault!" Brainchild pointed at Walsh.
"How can you getting pregnant be my fault?" Walsh rolled his eyes.
"Sure! Deny everything!" Brainchild turned to his children. "Kids this is the man who ruined your father's life!"
"To be fair you didn't have much of a life before we came along," Brainy (The child with glasses) spoke up. "At least that's what everyone else tells us."
"You know that was your own fault for sleeping around without protection," Napoleon spoke. "Our Daddy was a slut."
"That is a horrible thing to say about your father!" Brainchild shouted. He turned to Walsh. "Do you see what I have to live with?"
"Can't be any worse than what we have to live with," Doc gave Brainchild a look. He looked at the kids. "Come on kids. Let's go have some ice cream and you can tell me all about your day while your father has his anxiety attack."
"Okay Uncle Wally!" They said cheerfully as they took his hand. Doc shrugged and walked out with the kids.
"Walsh would you mind staying in my office while I attend to Brainchild for a moment?" Shane groaned as he shoved Brainchild out the door. Down the hall he could be heard. "Can't you act like a civilized being for five seconds? No wonder your children don't respect you!"
"NOBODY RESPECTS ME!" Brainchild wailed.
"GEE I WONDER WHY?" Shane shouted.
"I JUST WANT WALSH TO KNOW WHAT HE'S PUT ME THROUGH!" Brainchild yelled.
"OH I THINK HE'S GOT A GOOD IDEA OF WHAT WE ALL HAVE TO GO THROUGH!" Shane shouted back. "I swear out of all the Supertroopers in this pack you're the one who gives me the most trouble! Even the kids aren't half as bad as…" The rest of it became inaudible as they moved down the hallway.
"Things have changed…" Walsh said as he looked at Zachery.
"Not everything," Zach growled.
"Zachery…Listen. I know you're still upset with me for what I did and I can't blame you…" Walsh began.
"Saying you're sorry isn't good enough for me," Zach got in his face. "After you disappeared again it broke Goose's heart. For the second time. It took a long time for him to get over you and I'm not going to let you do it to him again. So guess what Walsh? I've just been made your personal parole officer. It was a special request that the Commander and the Board of Leaders were only too happy to oblige me with! Which means I'll be watching you like a hawk. So if you even think about abandoning Goose again I'll throw your sorry carcass on the Deltoid Rock so fast you'll think I've developed teleportation powers! Have I made myself clear?"
"Crystal," Walsh said evenly.
"Good," Zach nodded. "And in case you haven't figured it out, I'm not the only one who feels this way. The only reason you are even tolerated around here is because of Goose and how everyone respects him. He's called in a lot of favors to save your behind and you'd better not let that be a waste."
"I won't," Walsh let out a small smile. "It's pretty ironic actually. He was once in the exact same position so long ago. It's like we've traded places."
"Yes he's responsible for you, so don't screw it up!" Zach barked before he left.
Walsh sighed and sat down on the couch in the office. He felt very old and very tired at that moment. Before he realized it he had laid down and fallen asleep. Until…
"Hi there! Don't I know you?"
Walsh awoke to find a certain annoying memory bird on his stomach. "You look familiar. Have I annoyed you lately?"
"I see one thing hasn't changed!" Walsh grumbled. "Figures you're still around you annoying sack of microchips!"
"Oh now I remember!" Bubblehead said cheerfully. "It's Captain Mustache! Hello Captain Mustache!"
"Who's Captain Mustache?" A white memory bird wearing a pink dress with long auburn feathers on her head fluttered next to Bubblehead.
"I think it's this guy," Bubblehead told her. "Who are you again?"
"Two of them…" Walsh groaned as he sat up and the birds fluttered to the side. "God no there's two of them!"
"I'm Ditzy!" The female memory bird chirped.
"She certainly is! Rarrr!" Bubblehead twittered.
"And I'm in a nightmare," Walsh moaned.
"Hi Mister I'm In A Nightmare! Glad to meet you!" Bubblehead chirped.
"Nice to meet you!" Ditzy chirped.
"Hold it right there! Don't move!"
Walsh turned around. There was a small boy about five or six years old wearing a brown cowboy suit complete with a brown hat, blue shirt, little boots and a toy badge as well as a purple toy gun. "Are you a bad guy? You're not going to rustle those birds are you?"
"Hold on there sheriff," Walsh smirked and raised his hands in surrender. "I'm just moseying on through here."
"This is Captain Mustache!" Bubblehead chirped.
"I thought his name was In A Nightmare?" Ditzy blinked. "Oh well same difference."
Walsh had noticed the boy's wild auburn hair and bright green eyes. "Is this your father's office?"
"Yup! This is my Daddy's office! He's a captain and the bravest Galaxy Ranger in the world! And I'm gonna be just like him when I grow up!" The boy beamed proudly.
"I don't doubt that," Walsh smiled. "What's your name, cowpoke?"
"Max Gooseman," The boy said proudly.
"It should be Dummy!" A blonde haired girl with pigtails the exact same age as the boy stormed in and hit him on the head. She was wearing a pink cowgirl outfit and also had bright green eyes. "Max you know better than to talk to strangers!"
"Calm down Cassie," Max grumbled, resisting the urge to hit her back. "It's okay. He's in Dad's office alone and Bubblehead knows him."
"Bubblehead barely knows his own name! And don't call me Cassie! It's Cassia!" The girl shouted. "Jaiden! Your stupid bird and our stupid brother is in here! Where they shouldn't be!"
Another little boy walked in the same age as the other two wearing a blue cowboy outfit. Walsh was stunned because while the other two children seemed to have a mix of both their parent's features, he looked exactly like Shane did at his age.
"Your bird?" Walsh asked as Bubblehead flew to Jaiden.
"My Daddy gave him to me when I was really little," The boy even sounded like Shane when he was small.
"Technically he gave us both birds when we were babies but Bubblehead really likes Jaiden," Max shrugged. "We're triplets."
"Don't give out any information to strangers! What if he's a burglar here to steal secrets and stuff?" Cassia snapped as she slapped his shoulder.
"He was asleep on the couch! What kind of burglar does that?" Max snapped. He slapped her back.
"Ignore them, they do this all the time," Jaiden didn't seem phased. "Guys remember don't throw any of Dad's stuff."
"Hey I don't throw stuff! Cassie is the one that throws stuff because she has a bad temper!" Max said. This earned him another slap. "OW!"
These are definitely Shane and Niko's children, Walsh thought to himself.
"You three are a real handful aren't you?" He sighed. "No wonder Niko doesn't lead her own squad."
"Huh? How do you know Mom's name?" Max asked as the two kids stopped fighting.
"Told you he could be a spy!" Cassia said.
"You said he was a burglar, not a spy!" Max snipped.
"Same thing!" Cassia said.
"Nuh uh!" Max said.
"Yah huh!" Cassia growled.
"Wait a second!" Jaiden looked at Walsh. "It's okay. We can trust him. I've got a good feeling about him."
"Are you sure?" Max got up from the floor.
"You know he's never wrong about this kind of stuff," Cassia said. She turned to Walsh. "It's one of his gifts. Sometimes he just…knows stuff about people."
"You mean he's psychic?" Walsh was surprised.
"Uh huh, jut like my Mommy," Jaiden looked at him. "I've seen you before. Sometimes when Daddy gets really sad I see your face in his head."
"Really?" Walsh was surprised.
"Also saw his face the day Mom got super mad," Jaiden said. "Remember the time she was screaming at Daddy saying 'This is all Walsh's fault!'? I think it was this guy she was talking about."
"Yeah that was weird that she blamed you instead of the kids for blowing up a wall," Bubblehead chirped.
"Blew up a wall?" Walsh asked.
"Well Mommy kept getting mad because Cassie and I kept making real guns," Max told him. "We're good shots too but we had to promise Daddy not to use real guns until we got a lot older or else Mommy would get really stressed out. So he gave us fake guns instead."
"I don't have a gun," Jaiden said. "I don't like them."
"He's weird," Max rolled his eyes.
"He doesn't need a gun with all the other stuff he can do!" Cassia hit him on the arm again. "You know that!"
"Wait you made guns?" Walsh did a double take.
"Well…" Max began then sniffed the air. "Daddy!"
"There you are! I should have known!" Shane walked in. On his back were two three year old girls, one with blonde hair, another auburn. Both were wearing pink and blue rompers and giggling like crazy. "Okay girls, down you go. Niko, I found them! They're in here!"
"Oh good…" Niko walked in wearing a blue and white uniform. Her hair had been cut shorter and only went down to her shoulders. But that wasn't the only change. She was also clearly eight months pregnant.
"Niko…" Walsh's jaw dropped.
"Hello Joseph," Niko smiled.
"I see you've met the triplets," Shane remarked. "These are the twins, Ariel and Aliza." He pointed to the blond then the brunette twin. "And uh, we're not sure what to name the next two." He pointed to Niko's stomach. "But we're pretty sure one of them's a boy."
"You've been pretty busy since I last saw you, haven't you Shane?" Walsh gave Shane a look.
"Let's just say I have my own methods for raising Supertroopers," Shane gave a wry smile.
"Who dat?" Ariel pointed to Walsh.
"Kids this is your grandfather," Niko explained. "This is Grandpa Joe."
"Grandpa Joe?" Walsh blinked.
"So it's Grandpa Joe's fault the kids like guns?" Ditzy asked.
"Oh right I'd almost forgotten that…" Niko gave him a look. "You and I are going to have a little talk about things you designed into people years ago. And I don't just mean the need some people have for shooting things!"
"Uh yeah…Apparently my uh accuracy is also inherited for uh…" Shane pointed to Niko's stomach. "Other things…"
"But we'll have plenty of time to discuss that," Niko smirked. "And you'll have plenty of time to get to know the kids."
"We're talking babysitting duty aren't we?" Walsh groaned.
"As well as Darkstar and Stingray's kids, Brainchild's kids and a few other half dozen kids we have here," Niko grinned.
"YAYY! WE GET TO PLAY WITH GRANDPA JOE!" The twin girls screamed and tackled Walsh to the ground with the strength of a linebacker.
"Yay! We get to play with Captain Mustache forever!" Bubblehead chirped.
"Forever! And forever!" Ditzy squealed.
"This is the real reason you kept me out of jail isn't it?" Walsh moaned.
"Welcome to the new frontier Walsh," Shane smirked, happy his family had been reunited at last.
And that's the end! This fic is over! Yay!
Bubblehead flew out. "That's the end of this fic? Are you kidding me?"
"It is kind of corny isn't it?" Zozo asked as he came out. "Doesn't seem like how Red ends things."
"AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! GET AWAY FROM ME!" Mogul ran for his life. He was chased by several tiny spaceships shooting at him.
"Zarthgons! Destroy the enemy of the Zarthgon Empire!" A loud voice shouted from a loudspeaker.
"What do you think he did to tick them off?" Zozo asked.
"I dunno, but it can't be good," Bubblehead blinked. "Must be a good reason why they're shooting at him."
"AAAHH! GET THEM OFF GET THEM OFF!" Slade yelled as he was chased by dozens of angry Pweeps.
"Also another one who probably deserves it," Bubblehead remarked.
"That's kind of a no brainer," Zozo said.
"AAHHA! KIDS NO! GRANDPA JOE IS NOT A HORSIE!" Walsh ran by with the Gooseman kids clinging to him. "OW! Stop kicking me!"
"Again, another no brainer," Zozo remarked.
"AAAHHHH! GET OFF! GET OFF!" Brainchild ran by with his kids clinging to him. "DON'T BITE DADDY'S EARS!"
"That one just explains itself," Bubblehead remarked.
"HELP! SOMEBODY HELP!" Buzzwang screamed as he flew by on a jet pack.
"That's new," Zozo said.
"Ooh that's a big hole," Zozo winced.
"I'm okay…" Buzzwang moaned in agony. "You would think that an android wouldn't feel pain after all these years. Who knew?"
"Yeah that's more like the end of a Red Witch fic…" Bubblehead remarked. "Good night folks!"