Author: Joan Z and Neichen
Summary: Xander has been rescued from his kidnappers, but an overdose of a memory-erasing drug has destroyed part of the mental pathways he used as a guide. The four men struggle to make the cross bonding work while trying to heal Xander.
The group suspects that Xander is still in danger from who ever shot down the
Warnings: Group sex, a four-way relationship, Hurt/comfort, explicit M/M sex
Acknowledgments: Thanks to my beta Kerensa and to Neichen for her encouragement.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. I am only keeping the fandom alive in our hearts.
Congressional Session, Washington D.C.
"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?"
"I do." The man standing at the table in front of the elevated bench that held four powerful senators had his hand raised. At a nod from the man swearing him in, he lowered his hand and took his seat. He adjusted his tie, unbuttoned his coat and waited for the first foray. It wasn't long coming.
"Please state your name for the record."
"Dr. Aaron Shamus." He had been a physician here in Washington for the last ten years. Gradually he had become part of the political machine. He had, what he believed to have been, a chance meeting with a certain influential sentinel to thank for it. Alpha Prime Byron Harris, had been sent to feel the doctor out and make sure he was someone the black ops branch of the government could safely bring into their plan to genetically create a super sentinel. The doctor considered Byron Harris to be one of his closest associates.
The senator chosen to lead the questioning cleared his throat before speaking. "Thank you for appearing before us today Dr. Shamus," he said, his face serious, but not unlike a kindly grandfather. The look was one he cultivated.
"You're quite welcome, Senator," the doctor said with a smile.
"You are a medical doctor, is that correct?" the senator asked.
"Yes, Senator, I have worked as a physician for more than 30 years, specializing in guide and sentinel medicine for the last 26 of those years."
"And," the senator continued, "You had extensive input with the drafting of this bill?"
"That's correct senator." Dr. Shamus nodded again, his face composed, his voice steady and reassuring, perfect for the televised hearings. No one would be nervous hearing that calming voice, seeing those sincere, caring eyes.
A few hundred miles away in his living room, Byron Harris smiled. It was all going according to plan.
The interviewing senator spoke again. He was sticking to the script word for word. Byron sipped his whiskey approvingly. He appreciated it when a plan came together like this. Flawlessly.
"According to the figures you've supplied us with," the senator continued, his eyes pinning those of the physician, "the guide population has been dropping steadily since world war one. Why are we only now addressing the matter?" His gentle sense of outrage was communicated in the tone of his voice, controlled, appropriate and concerned.
"An excellent question," Dr. Shamus responded. "It is a misnomer to say no attempt has been made to turn the guide birthrate around. We had wide-spread sweeping reforms twenty-five years ago. They were aimed at improving the quality of life for guides and hopefully increasing their birth rate." He looked at each of the men seated behind the bench. It took just enough time to increase the tension and anticipation in the room. Every ear was tuned to his next words.
"The reforms were not as successful as hoped," he understated. He didn't want to immediately jump into his proposal, which was as good as passed already. Still they did need the general population behind them if possible. It would smooth the process.
"They failed?" the senator asked, conveying a grandfatherly worry.
"They were successful in improving the quality of life for guides, but the birthrate is still falling, albeit more slowly." Shamus allowed. "We had one success, we did make the lives of all guides better. But we also failed. Half measures will not be effective. It is time we faced reality. We need a new plan."
Far away, Byron frowned, his hand flexing around his cut crystal tumbler of aged whiskey. He knew that that little statement had strayed from the testimony he had been expected to memorize. It was getting a little too close to making people think of this as government grasping for control over private citizens. It was imperative that that not happen. The common man could not identify his own freedom with that of sentinels and guides. Shamus had to ease off. Get back onto the approved script.
"And you have a theory on what is causing this declining birthrate?" the senator asked.
Byron had seen him blink at the additional words. Damn it, Shamus had better not screw this up. Their little group of conspirators dealt harshly with careless men. Bryon Harris glowered at his television set.
"It's more than a theory, senator. I have compiled extensive interviews with sentinels and guides, as well as, statistical findings. Sentinels are the cause of the guide shortage."
There was a pause as the Senator let the shock of the statement sink into the TV audience's consciousness.
Byron heaved a sigh. "Good. Back on target, you son of a bitch. Now stay there," he muttered. This was not the time for improvisation.
"Can you be more specific, Dr. Shamus?"
"Yes, the sentinel gene remains dormant during childhood and into the early adult age range. Sentinels typically do not trigger until the age of 25 at the youngest, with the vast majority triggering between the ages of 29 and 33. That gives sentinels plenty of time to marry and have children.
Guides are not so accommodating. They can be reliably tested for their level of empathy at the onset of puberty, usually 11 for girls and 13 for boys. Of course, that is too young to bond, but they are sent for training immediately upon graduation from high school so they will be prepared when they are old enough. Guides can successfully and legally bond with a sentinel at the age of 21; any younger and a true bond simply fails until the guide reaches maturity, with the current shortage most male guides are claimed by alpha sentinels as soon as they graduate from guide training at the age of 21. This means that guides do not have the same opportunity to procreate that sentinels do." Dr Shamus paused for a moment, taking a sip from the glass of spring water provided for him. He appeared to be thinking deeply, weighing his words. He raised his eyes once more, as if he'd thought through a difficult problem and come up with the best answer.
"Beta sentinels are the most rapidly growing population where sentinels and guides are considered. Alpha sentinels are as likely as guides to have a lowered reproduction rate. Whether or not they already have children, they simply tend not to go to the trouble of finding a surrogate mother to have another child with. That seriously impacts the birthrate of the Alphas. An Alpha sentinel is quite rightly focused on the relationship he has with his guide, and not the need to have more children. One reason Guides are so diligently tested for is so that we can monitor their population. The guide shortage triggers a sentinel to seek an early bond; it is a Sentinel instinct. That is why we have rouge Alpha
Sentinels attacking high schools and even middle schools to place a claim on a guide. But it has widespread consequences. Even when the guide is 21, the practice takes a large number of guides out of the gene pool."
"Yes, doctor but if my high school biology serves, it is the female that determines the population," the senator remarked. He was glossing over the rest of the doctor's statement, not bringing undue attention to it; he didn't have too. The mention, in passing, of the risk of wide spread sentinel attacks on high schools and middle schools was enough to bring the mundane population in line behind the new laws. All the senator had to do was let it be part of the record.
"That is correct, senator, it is the females that determine the population growth as a whole but the females do not determine the specific genetic markers within that population, that is done by both the males and the females."
"But if female guides are not being claimed by alpha sentinels and pass on their genetic make-up to the next generation why is the birthrate of guides declining?" The senator asked the question Byron was sure many of the viewers were also asking themselves. Here came the answer that their secret group of the government wanted them to have.
"As the guide population drops more sentinels are forced to choose females as guides. The choice of a female guide is not the preferred state for a sentinel, unlike the majority of other males in our society. Sentinels are best served by male guides in bond. It is a matter of physiology that has never been adequately explained by science, but it is irrefutable. In addition to being a second choice as far as sentinel health and function, we can see from the data that Alpha sentinels rarely have children with their guides. Which is a problem.
Moving on to the beta sentinels, a beta sentinel is more likely to have one child or two children at most. A female carrying the guide gene and mated to a sentinel or a mundane has only a one in four chance, per child, of passing on the guide gene. A female guide mated to a male guide has a three out of four chance, per child of passing on the guide gene, but there are few male guides available, Alpha sentinels have claimed them all."
"So what you are saying is that it is possible that we can turn around the guide shortage in one generation?" The senator asked, his tone filled with amazed hope, and fierce if muted triumph.
The emotion was ideal. The viewers would feel the rush of hope themselves. They would cling to the solution tenaciously, just as the government wanted them to. It was back on script and going well. Byron retrieved his glass and sipped.
"Yes senator, it is possible with the cooperation of sentinels and their guides. In addition, we can match guides and improve the gene pool, strengthen it."
"Surely you are not proposing that we break the bonds sentinels have with their guides in order to mate them with other guides."
There was careful outrage there. God, the man should have been an actor, Byron thought. He raised his glass in a salute.
And Shamus's response, his expression was pure artistry.
"No senator, sentinels need their guides. I am proposing artificial insemination and for those sentinels with female guides we could harvest eggs and use invitro fertilization with surrogate mothers. Of course sentinels would have the option of allowing their female guides to carry children to term themselves. Sentinels will also have the option of bonding into family units with both male and female guides. I believe that most guides, being empathic, will prefer to bond into family units and sentinels will allow it in order to keep their guides happy."
Byron Harris shuddered. No way he was going to let any male guide into his own house. Personally he would never allow the intensity of his own bond to control him. His female guide's low empathic rating allowed him to maintain his autonomy through their weaker bond, not surrender it. The thought of being an equal partner with a male guide made him nauseous.
"That make sense, doctor, but there is one thing I don't understand. Your bill also proposes that sentinels be required to donate their sperm. Why is that?"
"The birthrate of Alpha sentinels is also dropping, it is not yet at a crisis level but if we intervene now we can head off a crisis. Alpha sentinels are leaders. Beta's need them to maintain their sentinel abilities. Beta's and Alpha's have a special bond called a brother bond. The brother bond is permanent and unlike the guide bond there is no drive to renew it once it is forged. Beta's, without a brother bond to an alpha sentinel will loose their sentinel abilities within a year of triggering. Their abilities will either slowly fade or suddenly shut off while sleeping, we don't understand why, but the evidence is overwhelming. Since Alpha sentinels prefer male guides the only way to ensure that our society has enough Alpha sentinels in the future is through surrogate mothers who have the best genetic characteristics to combine with the selected male sentinels who are sperm donors."
"And you believe, doctor, that sentinels will simply comply with these laws?"
"I believe that there will be an adjustment period but when the sentinels see the need and logic behind the laws they will comply. We are flexible within the law. We are not forcing them to have children that the state will raise. The children can stay with their guide mothers. But if a sentinel feels strongly that a child will interfere with his bond then the child can be place for adoption. Sentinels can bond into family groups: packs, prides and hives. Pack bonding is common among sentinels in the military. The family groups would simply be an extension of already documented sentinel behavior.”
“Sentinels are dying from lack of guides,” the doctor continued, “suffering needlessly, and worse some go rogue and attack private citizens. That will only get worse unless we do something about it. All we are asking is that sentinels insure their future generation and the continuation of our culture and society."
"Thank you for your testimony Dr. Shamus, you have apprised us of a crisis that should have been addressed years ago. We must act swiftly if the situation is not to become even more serious," the senator said with a grave smile. "We thank you for your concern and dedication to this problem. You are dismissed. It is now one PM, we will break for lunch and reconvene for a vote in 90 minutes."
Byron Harris smiled. Done indeed, and well done, too. He felt an itch. Time to spend some time with his Guide. Her mouth and the rest of her body would feel that much sweeter on his cock tonight.