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"Yoo-hoo! Davis!" A voice called from behind us.
I leaned over in my wheelchair to look around Ken to see who was approaching.
There she was, Mrs. Plimpton.
She was trying to run in her stiletto heels and polyester pink pedal pushers.
"Oh God!" Davis groaned as he saw his mother approaching.
"Everyone, wait up." Dad said from in front of us as he stopped.
We stood and watched as Mrs. Plimpton bounced and jiggled toward us at her best possible speed.
Something looked wrong about her but I couldn't really tell what it was.
"Mom, what are you doing here?" Davis asked in a pained voice.
"I needed to take Pookie out for a walk. Aren't you going to introduce me to everyone?" She asked hopefully.
"Um, yeah. Everyone, this is my mom, Hildie Plimpton. Mom, this is Marcus Teeter and his wife..." Davis trailed off.
"Doris, we've met." Mom said cheerfully as she stepped away from dad's side with a delighted smile.
"Okay. And this is Corina, Ken and Rory." Davis said in a quieter voice since it was obvious that he no longer had his mother's attention.
"Oh Doris, you're looking absolutely radiant this evening." Mrs. Plimpton said in a gushing, fake voice.
"Thank you Hildie, I love your hair. That is just soooo cute." Mom said with a grand smile.
"Well thank you for saying so dear. I found this lovely little place downtown that is such a treasure. Maybe we could go there together sometime next week, you know, for a girls day out?" Mrs. Plimpton asked hopefully.
Mom looked stunned for a moment, then broke into an even bigger smile as she said, "Now that Rory's getting better, I don't see why not. I'd love to."
Mrs. Plimpton looked down at me and I noticed a brief look of embarrassment.
Although it might have been fun to torment her about what happened earlier, one look at Mom's happiness convinced me that I should just leave it be.
I gave Mrs. Plimpton a little smile to let her know that everything was okay.
"Mom." Davis whispered in an aggravated tone.
"What is it dear?" Mrs. Plimpton asked happily.
"I think you're wearing that thing wrong." Davis said as he glanced at his mother's chest.
Mrs. Plimpton smiled and said, "'That thing' is a push up bra and I'm just trying to undo the unfortunate effects of gravity."
Davis shook his head and quietly said, "You've got it set too high. You could put an eye out with those things."
Mrs. Plimpton looked down for a moment, then back up at Davis with question.
"Davis, why don't you and Corina come over here with me. There's something I need to explain." Dad said as he tried to restrain his chuckles.
Davis glanced at his mother's chest again, then reluctantly walked over to Dad.
"So, have you heard what happened to Marsha?" Mrs. Plimpton asked Mom quickly.
"No, I've been staying in the house for quite a while, I don't know what's going on with anyone... who's Marsha?" Mom asked in confusion.
I felt movement and craned my neck to look up at Ken who had started moving me away from Mom and Mrs. Plimpton.
"I think Possum want's to check out those bushes." Ken said quietly.
I looked over at Possum and saw that he was pulling at his leash.
"Okay, I didn't need to get drawn into the old lady talk anyway." I said with a grin up at Ken.
Ken chuckled and nodded as he moved me off the sidewalk.
I glanced back at Mom and Mrs. Plimpton talking and said, "It's nice to see Mom doing something so normal."
Possum was sniffing around the bushes, then did his part to keep the local shrubbery from drying out.
"I love you." Ken whispered into my ear.
A shiver went down my spine at the sensation of Ken's warm breath.
I reached up with my good hand and pulled him down just a little bit further to give him a quick kiss.
"Boys?" Dad called out from ahead of us.
I looked over at Dad with question.
"Are you coming with us?" He asked, and I noticed that everyone was walking again.
"Sure." I said as I felt a blush rising up my cheeks.
"Busted." Davis said with a teasing grin at us.
* * * * *
"There's our house." Ken said to everyone as we continued to walk.
"Did you get a chance to meet JC when your parents bought the house?" Mrs. Plimpton asked with interest.
"Yeah. Uncle Chip and Uncle Josh are friends with my Pop. We visit each other all the time." Ken said happily.
"When they lived here I had the pleasure of speaking with JC while he was washing his car in the driveway one day... there was an instant chemistry between us." Mrs. Plimpton said with a dreamy look.
I looked up at Ken to find him trying to restrain his laughter.
I couldn't help but smile at his expression.
"Who's that guy?" Corina asked from ahead of us.
I looked over to see who she was pointing at.
"That's Deacon. That's his brother's house." Ken said before I could answer.
The next thing I knew, Ken was pushing my wheelchair up the sidewalk to where Deacon was sitting on his front porch.
"What's up Deacon?" Ken asked with concern.
"Lawrence threw me out." Deacon said sourly.
"Did you do something to make him mad?" I asked cautiously.
"No. It's nothing like that. We're having a date tonight and he wants to do something special so he made me come out here to wait while he gets it ready." Deacon said, sounding completely bored.
"Well, it sounds like it's probably going to be worth the wait." I said, trying to sound encouraging.
"Yeah, I just wish I'd brought my video game. He's taking forever." Deacon said, then propped his chin on the heels of his hands.
"Deke?" Lawrence called from just inside the door.
Deacon quickly stood and turned around.
"Oh, hi guys." Lawrence said shyly as he opened the door just a little bit more.
My eyes opened so wide I'm pretty sure they were about to fall out of my head.
Lawrence was wearing a long silk evening dress and had his hair... up.
The freakiest thing was that he was absolutely beautiful. I mean, I've seen a few pictures of cross-dressers and they always just looked wrong to me but Lawrence looked incredible.
"Was it worth the wait?" Ken asked from behind me.
"Oh yeah." Deacon said with a dreamy smile, then walked to Lawrence in the doorway.
"I'll see you guys in the morning." Lawrence said peacefully, then took Deacon's hand as he walked into the house.
"Yeah." I said in wonder.
The door closed and I just sat there and stared for a moment until Corina called out, "Is everything okay?"
"Yeah Cor. Everything's fine." I said as Ken turned me around and we started down the sidewalk again.
* * * * *
When the walk was finally over, we went back into my house and Ken took me to my room.
"Where to?" Ken asked as we walked in.
"Would you help me get ready for bed?" I asked quietly.
"Yeah. What do we need to do first." Ken asked with a smile that didn't hide the desire that he was feeling.
"Well, if you wanted to, maybe you could help me take a bath?" I asked hopefully.
"Sounds good so far." Ken said as he started moving me toward the bathroom.
"I was thinking that it might be fun if you took a bath with me." I said with a grin.
"Okay, it's sounding even better. Tell me what to do first." Ken said as he locked my wheels and moved in front of me.
"Before we start, I just need to remind you of one very important thing." I said as I looked into his eyes.
"What's that?" Ken asked cautiously.
"We have all night." I said with my best mischievous smile.
Ken leaned in and gave me the slowest, most mind blowing kiss ever.
* * * * *
I woke to the most wonderful feeling that I could ever have imagined.
Ken was snuggled up to my side, fast asleep.
I felt so safe, so warm, so loved.
When Ken and I started to take a bath together last night I just kind of figured that we would end up having sex before the night was over.
I didn't expect, I couldn't have imagined, what was about to happen.
We made love.
The whole evening was like a perfect dance.
Every touch, every word, every look was part of the experience.
I thought I knew what it would be like to love someone but I was so wrong.
Nothing in my life prepared me for what it was really like.
Ken snuffled against my side and the sight of him awakened the love in me all over again.
I don't really believe in karma and things like that, but if there is some balance in the universe, going through the last three years was completely worth it to end up with Ken.
A quiet knocking at the door caught my attention.
"You boys had better get up so we can have breakfast before we go to the doctor's." Dad said gently from the doorway.
I looked over at the clock and was surprised to see that it was after nine o'clock.
"I'll take Possum outside while you guys get ready." Dad said with a contented smile at us.
"Thanks Dad. We'll be out in a few minutes." I said peacefully.
Dad snapped his fingers and said, "Come on Possum. It's time to go outside."
Possum raised his head at the sound of his name, then slowly made his way to the door.
Dad looked over at us again and his warm smile told me more than words how happy he was and that he completely accepted us as a couple.
* * * * *
"Good morning. You look like you had a good sleep." Mom said cheerfully as she placed plates of food on the dining room table.
"Um, what is it?" Ken asked while he was locking my wheels.
"Tofu scrambled eggs and bacon, whole grain toast and fresh squeezed organic orange juice." Mom said happily.
"Oh... do you have any real eggs?" Ken asked hesitantly.
"Yes I do. They're from free range chickens fed pesticide free organic food." Mom said as she stopped to look at Ken seriously.
"Would it be okay if I had a real egg? I don't mind the fake bacon but I don't think I can handle fake eggs." Ken said hesitantly.
Mom chuckled and said, "It took a few weeks for us to get used to them. Give me your plate and I'll be back in a minute."
"Why do you have fake tofu eggs if she has real eggs?" Ken asked me with confusion.
"She thinks that too many eggs are bad for us. I'm not sure why. She uses the real eggs for cooking but doesn't cook us real eggs for a meal." I said carefully.
"I don't really understand about that health food stuff. I've always just eaten whatever was there." Ken said frankly.
"I used to do that too. But when I got sick, Mom thought that all the artificial flavors and colors and preservatives and growth hormones and other stuff that they put in food were making my condition worse. She figured that it was like my body knew what it needed to do to get better, but all the crap that I was eating was keeping my body from doing it... or something like that. Since no one that I've heard about with my condition ever got better, the weird health food might be why my condition stabilized. " I said in thought.
I looked away from Ken and saw that Mom was standing there with a plate and a shocked look frozen on her face.
"Mom?" I asked cautiously.
She blinked, then carefully sat the plate of food on the table in front of Ken.
"You... you really think my cooking might be what helped you?" Mom asked in a disbelieving tone.
"Well, yeah. Everyone who got sick like me has had just about the same treatments that I have and none of them ever got better. If it wasn't the health food, then I don't know what it was... Possum?" I finished with a one armed shrug.
Mom had tears gliding down her cheeks, then she swooped in and gave me a tight hug.
I glanced over her shoulder at Ken who was smiling at us.
"I didn't know what else I could do to help you but try to give you the best, most nutritious food I could find. That way your body had everything it needed to make you better." Mom said as she continued to hold me.
I brought my good arm up to give her a hug and said, "Thanks Mom. I think all the stuff you did worked."
Mom sniffed back her tears, then said, "I need to get your father's food."
I let go of Mom and watched her hurry out of the room.
Dad walked in a second later and broke into a smile as he looked at me and Ken.
"Did you boys have a good sleep last night?" Dad asked happily.
"Yeah we did. How about you?" Ken asked with a grin.
Dad looked surprised by the reply, then broke into a grin as he said, "Oh yes, the best sleep in years."
Mom rushed into the room carrying two plates and put one of them in front of Dad.
She put the other one down at the place beside his and took her seat.
"Ken, have you ever been to the Short Compound before?" Dad asked, then took a bite of his tofu scrambled eggs.
"No. I've been to Southcrest next door and I've been to Camp Little Eagle across the street." Ken said seriously, then took a drink of his juice.
"I was just trying to get an idea of what to expect." Dad said in thought.
"I don't know what it's like, but I bet it's going to be nice. Southcrest and the camp are both really awesome. Besides, Aunt Teri lives there and she's totally kewl." Ken said with a big smile.
"Aunt Teri?" Mom asked cautiously.
"Yeah. Teri Short, the director of Federation Youth Services." Ken said, then took another bite of his food.
"I've heard of her. She sounds like an amazing woman." Dad said frankly.
"Yeah. I guess so. I just know that she's really nice and that she's a good mom." Ken said simply.
"That's all I need to know. I like her already." Mom said with a smile.
As I was finishing up my breakfast, I looked over at Ken and asked, "How did you like the food?"
Ken considered for a moment, then said, "Everything was good. I like the whole grain toast and the orange juice. It's funny, I didn't know if I'd like the fake bacon, but I think I like it better than real bacon. It doesn't taste as... strong, I guess."
"I can let your mom know where to get some if you want." Mom said happily.
"I don't have a mom, but you can tell Juana if you want, she's the one who does the shopping." Ken said quietly.
"You told me about your dad, but what happened to your mom?" Dad asked Ken with concern.
Ken must have noticed Dad's expression too because he started by saying, "Don't worry about it. I grew up without my mom, I never knew her. My parents got divorced when Kev and I were just babies. Each of them took one of us and we grew up in different parts of the country. When my dad died, I went to Chicago to live with my mom. But when I got there she ran off because she didn't want to take care of two of us. In fact, from the looks of Kev, she didn't want to take care of one of us."
"Is that why he's so small?" Dad asked with concern.
"Yeah. She didn't feed him or pay much attention to him. Because of her, he's little and skinny and he never learned to read or write." Ken said with anger in his voice.
"Then it's good that you're both here now." Dad said quietly.
"Yeah. Things really worked out great." Ken said as his anger transformed into a gentle smile.
Mom started gathering our empty breakfast dishes and Ken hopped up out of his chair to help her.
"It's alright Ken, I don't mind doing it." Mom said with a smile at him.
"Please let Rory and I take care of the dishes. It's wrong for you to do everything by yourself." Ken said seriously.
"Alright. If you really want to." Mom said as she handed Ken the stack of plates.
"Rory, you take these and I'll get the glasses." Ken said and placed the stack of dishes in my lap.
I put my good hand on the dishes to steady them, then watched as Ken gathered the glasses and hurried out of the room.
"In case I didn't mention it before, I really think your boyfriend is great." Dad said with a gentle smile at me.
"You didn't need to say it, I could see it in your expression when you woke us up." I said honestly.
Ken walked back into the dining room, then unlocked my wheels and moved me into the kitchen.
* * * * *
"How do you want to do this?" I asked him curiously as he parked my wheelchair in front of the sink.
Ken took the stack of dishes from me, then opened the dishwasher that was right beside me.
"I'm going to scrape the stuff off the plates, then I'm going to hand you the dishes so you can load them into the dishwasher." Ken said seriously.
"Sounds good. Thanks for letting me help." I said, feeling so much love for him that I couldn't contain it.
He leaned in and gave me a quick kiss, then went to work.
While we were working, I heard movement from behind me and glanced to see Mom and Dad standing in the doorway watching us with big smiles.
I turned my attention back to my work, feeling a little self-conscious but also proud of my ability to help out.
As Ken was wiping down the stove and kitchen counters, there was a knock at the door.
I glanced back in time to see Dad walking away, toward the front door.
"Did I miss anything?" Ken asked as he looked around.
"I don't think so." I said with a gentle smile at Ken.
* * * * *
"Hi Pop." Ken said happily and gave Allen a big hug.
"How are you doing cute stuff?" Allen asked gently as he hugged Ken.
"Great. How was your date?" Ken asked quickly.
Allen smiled and said, "Perfect."
"Come on. Tell me all about it." Ken asked impatiently.
"We went out to dinner, then went to see a stage play. After that we spent the night at a hotel and that's all you need to know." Allen said, then kissed Ken on the top of the head.
"Okay Pop. Are we ready to go?" Ken asked quickly.
"Yes. Billy is probably already on his way. The guys are waiting out in the car." Allen said as he turned his attention to the rest of us.
I looked down at myself and realized that I was still wearing the sweat pants and t-shirt that I had slept in.
Ken must have noticed because he said, "I can help you to get ready."
"How about I help too? I have a feeling it will be faster." Dad said with a smile.
"Um, yeah." I said shyly.
* * * * *
I looked out the window curiously as the scenery passed us by.
"I don't know how much you know about Vulcans but Uncle Solak is really okay, isn't he Rory?" Ken asked from my side.
"Yeah. He's just... I don't know, kind of like a principal, you know, no sense of humor or anything." I said in thought.
Ken giggled and said, "Well, he's not that bad."
I nodded my agreement, then looked up as we approached a large metal gate.
Dad waited as Allen stopped at the guard station by the gate and talked to the security officer.
A minute later Dad pulled up and rolled down his window.
"May I see your ID Mr. Teeter?" the security officer asked professionally.
After looking at Dad's ID, the man looked at his data padd, then at each of us in the car.
After punching in some stuff on the padd, he said, "Welcome to the Short Compound. You can follow this drive and park in the first parking lot on the right."
"Thank you." Dad said, then started driving slowly.
"There's a Camp Little Eagle van." Ken said as he pointed behind us.
It was kind of difficult for me to turn around with the seat belt on, but I managed to catch a glimpse of the van.
"You mentioned Camp Little Eagle before. What is it?" Dad asked curiously as he continued to drive.
"It's the camp that my clan started to help kids who need it." Ken said casually.
"Here we are." Dad said as he pulled the car into the handicapped parking place.
Ken hopped out of the car and ran around to my side to help me.
By the time Dad had gotten the wheelchair out of the trunk, Ken was leaning over me, ready to lift me and help me into the chair.
"It looks like you guys have this all worked out." Dad said as he stood behind the wheelchair and watched Ken move me.
"Yeah. Come on Rory, I want to introduce you to the camp guys." Ken said with a gentle smile, then rushed around behind me.
It's been years since I wanted to be introduced to anyone. I just wanted to hide away from people so I wouldn't have to put up with their stares.
But as we approached the 'camp guys' I felt nothing but peace because I knew that Ken was proud of me and wanted to introduce me to his friends.
"Hey, what are you guys doing here?" Ken asked with a big smile.
"Dylan is going to find out what they can do to fix his face today and we came with him because he's our friend." A young boy said before anyone else could answer.
Ken smiled and said, "Rory, this is Obie. The guy that he won't let go of is Dylan. The other two guys are Jerico and Paul."
"Hi." I said shyly as I looked at the group of people curiously.
When I saw Dylan's shy expression I understood exactly what he was thinking.
He was feeling self-conscious and thought that everyone was staring at his face.
"Are your legs hurt or something?" Obie asked as he looked at my wheelchair.
Silence fell over our group as everyone seemed to be shocked by Obie asking the blunt question.
"Yeah. Something like that. They stopped working a few years ago." I said, and was surprised that I didn't feel the least bit uncomfortable talking about it.
"So is that why you're here?" Obie asked curiously.
"Yeah. There's a Vulcan doctor here that's going to look at me to see if he can fix them." I said with a smile at the boy.
I looked around and noticed that Kevin, Jake, Xain and Reuben had joined us.
Reuben walked up to me and hugged me from the side.
"Hi Reuben, how are you doing today?" I asked gently.
"I'm good. Kevin stayed at my house last night." Reuben said happily.
"Did you have fun?" I asked as I returned the hug with my good arm.
"Uh huh. We read lots of books and Kevin drew a picture." Reuben said happily.
Everyone got quiet and I turned in time to see another car pull into the parking lot.
"It's Uncle Chip!" Kevin said happily and broke away from the group.
"Hey Rory, how are you doing today?" Jake asked from my other side.
I released Reuben and said, "I'm doing great. It's really great to have all of you here." I said with a smile at him.
"We wouldn't miss it. And this gives Xain a chance to visit with his dad." Jake said as he put a casual arm around Xain.
I smiled at the gesture and reached up to take hold of Ken's hand.
"Rory, I want you to meet my dad." Lawrence said as he led a man toward us.
The man had blond hair and light blue eyes just like Lawrence.
"Rory Teeter, this is my dad, Joe Bowers." Lawrence said happily.
"Hi. It's nice to meet you." I said as I looked at him.
"It's nice to meet you too Rory." Joe said, then started looking around for someone.
Lawrence followed his father's gaze and called out, "Vince, come over here, I want you to meet Rory."
A younger boy walked over with a distinctly unhappy expression on his face.
"Rory, this is my brother Vincent. Vince, this is Rory Teeter, he's a friend of mine." Lawrence said as the boy approached.
"Hi." Vincent said, looking completely disinterested.
"Vince is unhappy because he has to see the doctor this morning." Lawrence said in an apologetic tone.
"I'm seeing the doctor too." I said, not sure if it would make Vincent be more at ease.
"Yeah. Sucks, don't it." Vincent said in a grumble.
"Not for me, but that's because the doctor might be able to make it so I can walk again." I said frankly.
Vincent looked down at my wheelchair, then reluctantly said, "Yeah. I guess that would make it not so bad."
A man approached us and it took me a moment to recognize him.
He was one of the doctors that I had seen on the terminal yesterday.
"Everyone, when I scheduled these appointments I didn't consider how much moral support these guys would be bringing with them. Since I have a waiting room instead of a convention center I'll need for my patients to come with me. Everyone else can go with Teri and Helen." Doc Austin said seriously.
"Right this way." A woman called from the other side of the large group of people.
As people started milling around, she added, "Come on everyone. Doctor's orders."
Doc Austin smiled at the statement, then said, "Right then. Rory, Dylan and Vincent, follow me."
"Can Ken come with me to push my wheelchair?" I asked quietly.
"That will be fine. Come on so we can get started." Doc Austin said and began to walk.
* * * * *
"Wait in here for a minute while I check to see if Solak is ready." Doc Austin said and left us in his waiting room.
"What happened to your face?" Vincent asked as he looked at Dylan curiously.
"I got shot." Dylan said frankly.
"With a gun?" Vincent asked in surprise.
Dylan flashed the 'Duh' look at him, then said, "Yeah."
After a long moment of silence, Vincent quietly asked, "Can I see?"
"Why?" Dylan asked with irritation.
"I guess because I don't like things being hidden from me. Even if it's really gross, I'd rather see than not know." Vincent said seriously.
Dylan considered for a moment, then reached up and pulled back the edge of the bandage.
I turned away before I could get more than a glimpse of the raw flesh that the bandage was hiding.
"Wow. That's really gross... kewl!" Vincent said in fascination.
I felt Ken's hand on my shoulder and looked up to find him looking down at me with concern.
I smiled up at Ken and took hold of his hand.
"Are you guys fags?" Vincent asked frankly.
I was so shocked by the question that I couldn't answer.
"Wait, wait. I said that wrong..." Vincent said quickly, then said, "I mean, are you guys gay?"
"Yeah." Ken said from above me and didn't sound very happy.
"I'm sorry I said it that way. I'm trying not to say stuff like that, I just... forget." Vincent said, then gave a little shrug.
Before Ken could answer I said, "As long as you're trying, it's okay."
I glanced up to see Ken nod his agreement.
"What about you? Are you gay too?" Vincent asked as he looked at Dylan seriously.
"Why do you want to know?" Dylan asked cautiously.
"Just because I want to know." Vincent said as he held Dylan's gaze.
I looked back and forth between the two as they seemed to be locked into a staring contest.
Finally Vincent said, "I guess if I know someone is gay, then I can be careful about how I talk and what I do and stuff like that. If I know someone isn't gay then I can just be me."
"Why don't you just be yourself all the time?" Dylan asked curiously.
"Because I say stuff like 'queer' and 'fag' sometimes. I don't mean to, it's just that that's the way my dad talked so..." Vincent trailed off uncomfortably.
"So you figured out that it's wrong but it's a habit so you do it without thinking?" Ken asked cautiously as he moved from behind me to take the seat next to Dylan.
"Yeah. I don't try to be like that. It just happens." Vincent said quietly.
"I understand. Well, if you say something wrong while you're talking to me, I won't jump on you about it. How's that?" I asked cautiously.
"Yeah. Thanks. It's funny, I lived my whole life one way, then in one day everything changed and I have to learn how to be another way." Vincent said absently.
"That happened to me too." Dylan said in thought.
"What happened?" Vincent asked curiously.
"It's a really long story and I don't feel like talking about most of it. The important part is that the guys I hung around with shot some people so the people they hung around with shot me." Dylan said uncomfortably.
"Maybe you shouldn't be hanging around with people like that." Vincent said quietly.
Dylan nodded and said, "I didn't have a lot of choices back then, but I'm in a lot better place now and I think everything is going to be better."
"So why are you here Vincent?" I asked curiously.
"I got a bump on my head a few days ago and had to go to the hospital. Doc Austin looked at it on Wednesday, but wants to see me again today to make sure it's all better. And I think from what Commander Dodds said on the way over here, I'm going to be getting a complete physical too." Vincent said without enthusiasm.
The door to the waiting room opened, then Doc Austin said, "Ken, would you please take Rory to room one so Solak can prepare him for the exam. Vincent and Dylan, you can both come with me."
Vincent looked at me as he stood and I got the feeling that he was still feeling bad about what he had said.
"Hold on Ken, I need to say one more thing to Vincent." I said over my shoulder.
Vincent stopped and looked at me curiously.
"I really understand Vincent. I promise that you can be yourself with me and I won't get mad if you say something that sounds wrong." I said with assurance.
"Okay. Thanks. I'm working on it and I'm really trying to be better." Vincent said shyly.
"Just keep trying. You've already figured out that saying those things is wrong. That was the hardest part." I said as I looked him in the eyes.
Vincent nodded, then walked to Doc Austin and Dylan who were waiting on him at the door.
* * * * *
Ken pushed me into examination room one where Solak was fussing with some weird looking electronic stuff.
Before we got completely into the room he turned to face us and said, "It's a pleasure to meet you in person Mr. Teeter and it is good to see you again nephew."
I couldn't help but giggle at being called 'Mr. Teeter' and said, "Please call me Rory."
"As you like." Solak said as he walked to my side.
"I will now relocate you to the biobed so we can take some preliminary readings." Solak said seriously as he reached down to pick me up.
"Would you like me to help?" Ken asked quickly.
"No nephew, that will not be necessary." Solak said as he picked me up.
From the way he did it, you'd think I was light as a feather.
"Wow. You're really strong." I said with amazement.
"Vulcans are typically stronger than Humans." Solak said without inflection as he gently placed me on the bed.
"How are you feeling Rory? Have you been having any discomfort?" Solak asked curiously as he worked the controls at the head of the biobed.
"No, not really. Since Xain did his relaxation thing on me, I've been really comfortable." I said in thought.
"That is good. These preliminary readings show you to be in acceptable health..." Solak trailed off as he started keying in different instructions.
"Is something wrong?" Ken asked from my side.
After a moment of looking at the readings, Solak said, "No. On the contrary, certain of your readings far exceed the norms of what is considered to be 'healthy' in Humans."
"I bet it's your mom's cooking." Ken said with a grin.
I smiled back at him and nodded.
"Please explain." Solak said as he turned his complete attention to us.
"Um, well. Since Rory got sick his mom has been getting health food for him to try to make him better." Ken said with difficulty.
"Health food?" Solak asked curiously.
"Yeah, it's food that's been grown without any chemical fertilizers or growth hormones or anything like that. She thinks that all the artificial junk that they put in food was making me get worse." I said with difficulty.
"Fascinating." Solak said, then started running another set of scans.
"Does that mean that the health food actually helped?" Ken asked curiously.
"I cannot say at this point, but my preliminary readings suggest that your exceptional level of overall health may have allowed your body to stop the progression of the neural degradation." Solak said carefully.
"So mom's cooking might have stabilized me." I said to Ken in case he didn't get what Solak was saying.
"Perhaps." Solak said as he looked at the new readings on the biobed intently.
"So does that mean that you're going to be able to help Rory?" Ken asked hopefully.
"I cannot say at this point. Currently I am running the standard diagnostic tests to assess Rory's overall condition. When Doctor Michaels has joined us, I will begin my examination of Rory's DNA patterns to positively identify the cause of his condition and then determine if the genetic replacement therapy I have developed will be of any benefit to him." Solak said as he started another set of scans.
"Um, okay." Ken said quietly.
Solak stopped his work and looked at us appraisingly for a moment, then said, "While we wait for Doctor Michaels to join us, perhaps I could perform another neural alignment treatment?"
I thought for a moment, then realized that he was offering to do what Xain did yesterday.
"Sure, if you think we have time." I said hopefully.
"I will be able to stop the therapy at any time without adverse consequence." Solak said as he placed his fingertips gently on my neck, then picked up my bad arm with his other hand.
"So you can stop when Doc Austin gets here and start back up when you're done with your exam?" Ken asked in confirmation.
"That is correct nephew." Solak said casually.
"Do we need to be quiet so you can concentrate?" I asked cautiously.
"That will not be necessary. I am accustomed to talking during neural alignment treatments." Solak said in a somewhat distant voice.
"So you do this a lot?" Ken asked curiously.
"No. But she who was my wife had a condition similar to Rory's. We would typically have a conversation during her neural alignment treatments." Solak said without emotion.
"So she had what I've got and now she's dead?" I asked as a tingle of fear ran through my entire body.
"No. I do not believe that you have the same condition. The symptomology is not the same. But her condition did lead to the eventual failure of each of her internal organs and finally her brain." Solak said distantly.
I felt Ken take hold of my good hand and give it a firm squeeze.
"Rory, would you please attempt to make a fist with your left hand?" Solak asked quietly.
I looked down at my left hand and was surprised to see that it was laying out flat.
After a moment of concentration, I was able to get it to make a fist.
"Very good. Please relax again so I can complete this phase of the therapy." Solak said calmly as he placed his hands on my neck and arm again.
I looked over at Ken to see him smiling at me happily.
I couldn't help but smile in return. I have two hands... my world just got even bigger.