posted on 16-Dec-2002 9:12:21 PM
A/N:Well, this is my first Roswell Fan Fic, I mostly write General Hospital stuff. Some changes were made to the story line, and most will become pretty obvious in the Prologue, but some I feel I should state up front.

1. Alex is not dead, I can't tell you, yet, how he survived, since that's part of the story, but he did NOT die!!
2. Future Max did visit Liz, and he was not a mindwarp or something like that.
3. Tess is not pregnant with Max's child, they never slept together, it was another mindwarp.
4. Not sure if they ever stated if Kivar was Antarian or not, but in my story he is from a race called the Prexoran.
5. Departure happened, but just like the mindwarp on Kyle broke down, so are the mindwarps on everyone else.

Pairings: M/L M/M A/I K/T also, Jim/Amy, and several original character pairings.

Disclaimer: I have several original characters, and places which belong to me, but everything else, doesn't.

Feedback: If you like it, lemme know, 'cause then I write faster!! If you don't like it, lemme know, but tell me why, 'cause I always try to make it better. I don't mind criticism, as long as it's constructive.

Distribution: If you want it, take it, just email me and lemme know where it's going so I can go and see it. It's also posted on my website The Addiction

Royal Alliances

Prologue:

In the Earth year, 1949, two years after the Antarian Royal Four were sent to Earth, the Ikaydian Royal family, (feeling the oppressive shadow of the Prexoran menace, Kivar, stretch ever closer to Ikaydia [E-Kay-De-Uh]) decided to implement a similar method of preserving the Royal line. However, instead of using the spirit or essence of the Queen or her consort, they decided to create a hybridized heir. Queen Kadiya [cAh-dE-Uh] and the Royal Consort Orgustus [OR-gOO-st-Us] , gave of their flesh, twice, once for the Heir and then for a sibling. The decision was made to send along four other embryos, making six embryos in all, (The Heir, her Consort, two siblings, and two embryos from the most trusted Bodyguard family).

In 1950, (Earth Year) the ship containing the, as yet, un-hybridized embryos, was sent through a local wormhole, to Earth, with Kabo [Caw-bow] , the Queen's most trusted Doctor, to facilitate the hybridization. Unbeknownst to everyone, the wormhole acted not only as a passage through space, but through time, sending the ship to Earth year 1981. Unable to return, as the ship was running low on fuel, and unable to find a way to resupply or to contact Ikaydia, Kabo decided to implement the plan anyway.

Landing in a mostly unpopulated region of Colorado, the San Luis Valley, Kabo moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and began the process of finding families for his charges. Using the cover of being a fertility doctor, Kabo found six potential families, each in need of help to conceive, the Gregorvich's, the Whitman's, the Badrian's, the Parker's, the Valenti's and the DeLuca-Gossman's. So using the fertilized embryo of the Consort, and a fertilized embryo from the Gregorvich's, Kabo created a perfect hybrid, which he then implanted in Ana Gregorvich.

Seven months later, Sergei Gregorvich was born, and Kabo knew that he could complete his mission. The Heir, was next, using the same methods and was implanted in Safati Badrian, with Beronika Badrian as the happy result. However, Kabo decided that he should wait two years before attempting with the other four embryos. So in 1984, the Heir's two siblings, and the embryos of the Bodyguard, were implanted.

In 1984, the Gregorvich family had to return to the Soviet Union, but Kabo maintained close contact with them. The other families formed close bonds, some having known each other for years, and some they had just met, but all shared the desire for children. At nearly two years old, Beronika viewed the children of her 'Aunts' with joy and excitement. First was Kyle Valenti, followed by Maria DeLuca-Gossman, then Alexander Whitman, and lastly Elizabeth Parker.

Over the years the five children came to view each other as family, forming tight-knit bonds similar to their parents. However, with the divorce of Anthony Gossman from Amy DeLuca, things shifted, then in 1988, when Beronika was 6 yrs. old, the Badrian family moved to Denver, Colorado. All the families maintained a close friendship with the man who helped them, Dr. Kabo.

Doctor Kabo's true identity was found out in 1991, by Andrea Valenti, when, while visiting him at his lab, she accidentally happened upon him, healing a cut on his right arm. Kabo told Andrea the entire truth, and begged that she would not inform anyone else. Andrea agreed, on the condition that she be allowed to assist him. Kabo consented to her request, but warned her that it would mean leaving her husband and child behind, for the work they would do could put them in danger. Andrea acquiesced, for she knew in her heart that without help, Kabo's hard work and sacrifice, including the creation of the six children would all be destroyed and she could not let that happen. Andrea divorced Jim Valenti, and left Roswell and her young son, Kyle, behind.

The Badrian family, despite distance, (they moved frequently), maintained close ties to the four Roswell families. At age 10, in 1992, Beronika was the first to discover her powers, and made it known to Dr. Kabo, who took it upon himself (at the urging of his assistant, Andrea) to tell the Badrian's the entire truth. They in turn told the Parker's whom they viewed as family, (Beronika even called Nancy and Jeff, Aunt and Uncle). Jeff and Nancy made the decision not to tell any of the others, unless the children began showing signs of their 'otherworldly' heritage.

Now, nearly 22 years after first arriving upon Earth, Kabo has decided that it is time for the children to know the truth of their origins. Nearing her 21st birthday, Beronika is anxiously awaiting the time when the six children Kabo 'created' are together.




So what do you think? I will post the next chapter tomorrow.

[ edited 5 time(s), last at 21-Jan-2003 12:29:03 AM ]
posted on 26-Dec-2002 5:46:28 PM
Chapter One:

Nancy and Jeff Parker moved swiftly through the motions of preparing for the Sunday brunch crowd, as they had for the past 15 yrs. The Crashdown Café wasn't yet opened and the place was calm and quiet, the complete anti-thesis of what it would look like in a scant hour and a half. The quiet was disturbed by the sudden shrill ringing of the telephone, out in the dining area. Jeff glanced up from his prep work, smiling at Nancy as she moved through the swinging doors to answer the phone, before turning back to his work.

In the dining area, Nancy rushed to answer the phone before the noise reached up the stairs to Liz's room, knowing the troubles her daughter had been having sleeping lately, Nancy wanted her to be able to sleep awhile longer.

"Crashdown Café, how may I help you?"

"Aunt Nancy?"

"Nika? Is that you?" Nancy was thrilled to hear from the young woman she thought of as her niece. It had been nearly four months since they had last spoken, and that had been brief, as Beronika was rushing from plane to plane on a trip to the Mediterranean.

"Yes. . .it's me." Beronika hesitated, her voice unsure.

"Well, it's wonderful to hear from you honey!! How was your trip? Did you enjoy Greece?" Nancy didn't wait to hear Beronika's answer, she turned to the swinging doors, calling out loudly. "Jeff, Jeff!! Nika is on the phone!!"

Jeff exited the kitchen, wiping his hands on a small white rag, his face wreathed in smiles.

"AUNT NANCY!" The loud bellow from the phone drew Nancy's attention back to the phone, her eyes smiling.

"What dear?"

"Aunt Nancy, it's time."

Nancy looked at the phone in confusion. Jeff cocked his head at her questioningly, wondering what was going on.

"What do you mean, Nika?"

Beronika took a deep breath, exhaling it slowly, knowing that what she said next, it would hurt the woman she thought of as an Aunt. But she knew she had no other choice.

"It is time. I will be in Roswell today, and I have to take Liz with me when I leave."

Nancy's face whitened, her grip nearly crushing the old-fashioned phone, as her terror filled eyes sought out her husbands.

"NO! No! Nika, she can't! YOU CAN'T!!" Nancy's eyes filled with tears as her worst fears and dreams came true.

Jeff responded to the panic in his wife's face and voice by reaching for the phone and removing it, bringing it to his ear, he grasped Nancy's hand within his own.

"Nika? What happened?" Jeff asked in a calm voice, though he felt anything but.

"Oh, goddess, Uncle Jeff!! I am so sorry. But, but. . .it is time. I am on my way to Roswell now, and I have to take Liz with me, when I leave."

Jeff's eyes closed painfully, understanding his wife's anguish. Pulling Nancy into a quick, hard embrace, he kissed the top of her head briefly, letting himself feel the anger and helplessness of the situation for a moment. Taking a deep breath, in that instant he knew there was nothing he could do to stop the hand of time, that was determined to take his young daughter from him.

"Well," Jeff breathed out the word on a choked sob. "Well, then we. . .we will be expecting you."

"Uncle Jeff, I am so, so sorry. I know that it's sudden, but Kabo has told me that it is now or never." Beronika could feel the force of the couple's sadness seep through the phone.

Jeff fervently wished that it could be never, but also knew that was one wish that would never come true.

"I know, sweetie, I know. It's just, well, your Aunt Nancy, and I, we never, well we never told Liz. And we worked pretty hard to ignore the fact that this was going to happen." Jeff said softly, running his hand softly down the back of his weeping spouse.

"You, you mean, Liz has no idea?" Beronika was shocked. While it had been years since she had last seen the man and woman she called Aunt and Uncle, she had kept in close contact through those years, and she had always assumed that they had told Liz the truth. This was going to be harder than she originally thought.

"No, no Liz doesn't know. But, if you're going to be here, later, I guess it's time for the truth to come out." Jeff said sadly.

"What truth?" asked a wary Liz. She stood on the stairs, leading from the upstairs apartment. Her head was cocked curiously, though her face remained oddly blank of expression.

Nancy's head shot up, her eyes streaming with tears, her body wracked with the force of her contained sobs. Jeff jumped, his heart in his throat, tears leaping to his eyes as he turned to confront his daughter.

On the other end of the line, Beronika heard Liz's voice, her eyes closing as she said a soft prayer for her surrogate family.


Chapter Two:

Without saying goodbye to Nika, Jeff placed the telephone receiver down into its cradle, knowing that she wouldn't blame him at all. His heart twisted at the blank expression on his precious daughters face, something he was seeing more and more often, but which never failed to send chills down his spine. Something bad had happened to change Liz from a cheerful, outgoing and cooperative teenager, of last year, to this secretive and empty, young woman, who stood before him.

Nancy desperately tried to stem her tears, but it was no use. Her utter despair at the thought of losing her only child, to an unknown future, was tearing her apart. Knowing she would at one point be taken from them, and having it actually happen, were two totally separate things.

Liz simply stood silently. She was curious, but couldn't help the listless pose, her patience for the never-ending lies in her life had long since run out, and the knowledge that her parents had kept some "TRUTH" from her, no longer held as much significance as she would have once thought.

"Liz, I think we should all sit down." Jeff said, trying for calm, though it wasn’t working well, his voice cracking and his hand shaking as he ran it through his hair.

Liz walked up the stairs into the small apartment that her family shared, followed by Jeff. Nancy took a quick moment to gather herself together, as well as write a hasty note, simply stating that the Crashdown would not be open today, due to a family emergency, before trailing after her family.

Liz sat, her body somewhat slumped in the overlarge easy chair, she had chosen. Jeff chose to sit upon the couch, Nancy sitting beside him, her hand reaching out blindly to clasp his.

Jeff took a deep breath, steeling himself for whatever Liz's reaction might be.

"Liz, I don't think we, have ever told you about the hard time we had, conceiving you."

Liz's eyes sharpened as her head shot up. "What, you gonna tell me I'm adopted?" She asked in a razor-edged tone.

"NO! No, you are our child. I gave birth to you, Liz." Nancy said, her gaze searching Liz's.

"Yes, you are our child, Liz. But before you were conceived, your mom and I, we had to visit a fertility clinic, in Albuquerque. The doctor there, Dr. Kabo, was supposedly an expert in helping the hard to conceive. And he did help us, tremendously, for you were born in 1984, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, just like we always told you."

"During the time we spent at the clinic, we met some interesting folks, and made some friends. We even renewed some old friendships."

Liz met her father's gaze, then. Curiosity finally being shown on her face, she asked him, "What does that mean?"

Jeff hesitated, but seeing his daughters face show more animation than it had for weeks, urged him to continue.

"Well, it appeared that we weren't the only one's having problems conceiving. Sheriff Valenti and his wife, ex-wife, Andrea, had sought out the clinic, so had Amy DeLuca and her husband Anthony Gossman. It was nice seeing faces of old friends, since your mom and I had moved to Albuquerque, we hadn't seen them in years." Jeff paused, remembering the surprise they had all felt at seeing each other in the clinic so many years ago.

"We also made friends with two other couples, the Whitman's, Charles and Felicia, and the Badrian's, Muttahar and Safati. When we weren't at the clinic or working, us and the other 4 couples, would go out to dinner together or dancing, or maybe to a movie. We talked of our anxiousness to see and hold our children, names we liked, and about the frustration we all had. When in 1982, Safati got pregnant, we all were so happy, one of our own was gonna have a child, which meant that we still had hope."

Liz looked intrigued. She knew Safati, having called the woman Aunt for all her nearly 18 yrs. Last year, when she had left for the summer, she had gone to Safati's home in Florida, and spent time hanging out with Safati's two teenaged children.

"In the winter of 1982, December 31st to be exact, Beronika was born. Muttahar and Safati were thrilled, and they asked your mother and I to act as her godparents. We both agreed." Jeff sighed, his eyes misting slightly as he thought of how honored he had felt.

Nancy took over the telling, then, seeing her husband caught in his memories. "Soon after, Andrea became pregnant, and then Felicia. They were followed by me and Amy. And in 1983 and '84, Kyle, Alex, Maria and you, Liz were all born."

Jeff shook off his pensiveness, and retook the telling of the story. "We asked Muttahar and Safati to be your godparents, and they agreed as well. The next year, Grandma Claudia gave us the Crashdown, and we moved back to Roswell. Charles and Felicia moved out here shortly after, when Charlie decided to start his own accounting firm. Amy and Tony were already living here, as was Jim and Andrea. Muttahar and Safati, however, were obligated to stay in Albuquerque, for his job, but they both visited often."

Nancy again took over. "In 1987, Tony left Amy, and then Muttahar and Safati were transferred overseas. Then in 1991, Andrea and Jim divorced. The next year, we learned a dangerous secret."

Liz had been listening in fascination as her parents told the story, but her eyes narrowed at the revelation of a dangerous secret.

"In 1992, we were approached by Dr. Kabo, the miracle doctor that had helped us have you. He had been in contact with the Badrian's, who had told him of some unusual things, that Beronika was able to do. Dr. Kabo felt that he should warn us, and tell us the truth about you."

"About me?" asked Liz, her first words since Jeff had started.

Jeff ignored the interruption, knowing that if he didn't get this out soon, he would never be able to. "He told us an incredible story, one that seemed to come straight from the pages of a sci-fi novel." Liz's heart nearly stopped at her fathers words.

"He told of us a people, called the Ikaydians, who lived on a planet, in a distant star system. He told us how they were threatened by a terrible man, who sought to control everything. Kabo explained to us that the Royal Family, of Ikaydia, the Queen Kadiya, and her consort, Orgustus, decided to send him, Kabo, to a distant planet, Earth. Along with him, came 6 fertilized embryos, to be hybridized with humans. One of which was the Heir to the throne, one destined to be her consort, 2 of which were the Heir's siblings, and 2 that came from a respected family, who acted as the Royal bodyguards."

Liz was in total shock. Her hands were trembling, so she clenched them tightly in her lap, hiding them from view.

"Kabo, was sent through a wormhole, one that catapulted him not only through space, but apparently time as well. For when he left Ikaydia, it was around 1950, and when he arrived on Earth it was 1977. He set to work immediately, and in 1980, he succeeded in hybridizing one embryo, that of the Heir's Consort, by using a human woman's fertilized embryo, and his alien technology. That woman, Ana Gregorvich, gave birth to a son, Sergei."

Nancy again took over the telling, "The Gregorvich's, Ana and Stefan, returned to the Soviet Union, the next year. In 1982, Kabo, did it again, this time with the Heir, using Safati's embryo. Beronika is the Heir to the throne of Ikaydia. But Kabo didn't stop there, he decided that since the 10 of us were so close, he would use us. Having impregnated me, through in vitro fertilization, he used one of the Heir's sibling embryos and one of my own, and you were the result. He did the same to Andrea, Felicia and Amy."

"He told us that Andrea had been the first to find out, she had gone to work with him. She knew that when the time came, her son would leave, and she wanted him to be safe to do that, but also knew that in order for him to be safe, Kabo needed more help. When Beronika's powers manifested early, Andrea was the one to insist that the Badrian's know as well. We found out about Nika's powers, when we were on vacation with the Badrian's, which is why Kabo told us. We, your mom and I, decided that we wouldn't tell the other families, unless one of you kids started sprouting powers too."

"We had to tell you, now, because Beronika is on her way here. She says that it is time. We're not sure for what, but we made a promise to Kabo, when he came to us, years ago, that we would let you go. Once he explained how important you were, and we saw the proof of Beronika's powers, we knew you would leave us, for your destiny.

Together Nancy and Jeff turned their gazes from the floor to look at their daughter. What they saw surprised and worried them. Instead of shell-shock, Liz was laughing, silently, and so hard that tears were rolling down her face. She abruptly stopped, as she saw that they were regarding her seriously.

"YOU HAVE TO BE F**KING KIDDING ME!!" Liz shouted. Before Nancy or Jeff could respond, Liz leapt from her seat, running down the stairs.

"Well, that went well." Jeff stated sardonically, his sad gaze meeting his wife's, before looking after Liz's retreating form.


~⊕~⊕~⊕~⊕~⊕~⊕~⊕~⊕~⊕~⊕~⊕~⊕~⊕~⊕~⊕~

Sorry about not posting the next day but real life can suck on a major level, ya know? Anyways tell me what u think, kay?


posted on 31-Dec-2002 7:02:27 PM
A/N: Here is chapters 3&4 which I hope you enjoy!! Remember feedback is the thing that fuels my imagination!!

Chapter Three:

Liz ran, her hair flying behind her, like a flag waving in the wind. Tears streamed down her face as she replayed the entire conversation in her head. Replayed the events of the past two years. She paid no attention to the fact that she was clad only in a pair of baby blue sleep shorts and matching tank, or that she wasn't wearing any shoes, she simply ran.

The early Sunday morning was breezy and cool, and it appeared everyone was either in church or in bed, so the streets were empty. Her breath came out in harsh labored pants, that echoed in the silent streets. Her arms pumped, and her legs blurred as she attempted to outrun her own mind.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~

Jeff and Nancy stood at the door of the Crashdown Café, their home and workplace for nearly 16 yrs. They watched as their only child, their daughter ran from them and the truth. And together they prayed, to any and all the Higher Powers, that Liz would someday forgive them, and that she would be kept safe.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~

Liz rounded the corner, her eyes blurring with unshed tears, she darted into the street, trying to put as much distance as possible between herself and her parents. Unheeding of the fact that she was crossing the street, she looked up at the blare of a horn.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~

Beronika had driven the last 20 miles into Roswell at nearly 90mph. Her senses were screaming, and she knew it had something to do with Liz. Sergei, her fiancé, sat beside her, quietly, he could also sense the turmoil that was Liz's mind, and was just as anxious to arrive. Beronika slowed considerably as she reached the small town, following the posted speed limit, but just barely.

All of a sudden, as she was rounding the street corner, a small body darted out into the street, and Beronika leaned heavily on the horn as she nearly stood on the brake. Her eyes were drawn to the person who she had come so close to running over, they widened at the sight of Liz's panting, and grief-stricken face, which stared unseeingly back at her.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~

Liz panted with exertion, and then with fear as she came to the realization that she could have died. Looking up at the driver, she recognized the face, Beronika. Before she could take off running again, strong hands closed around her wrist. She tried desperately to remove them, but they were too strong. Turning to look at who was holding her, she spun too fast and combined with her earlier shock and then exertion, she fell into a dead faint.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~

Across the street, headed to the Crashdown Café for an early breakfast, Isabel Evans, paused to take in the bizarre scene taking place in the middle of the street. Watching as Liz Parker, the love of her brother's life, ran as if the hounds of hell were chasing her, then almost seeing her get run over, to her fainting in the arms of some stranger, Iz dug out her cell phone and placed a call. The person on the other end picked up on the first ring.

"Hey, Max? Something just happened. . . Meet me at Michael's." Without waiting for Max to respond, she hung up and made her way, cautiously, to Michael's apartment.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~

Sergei's strong arms closed around Liz's limp body, preventing her from crashing to the hard ground. Without breaking his hold on her, he lifted her into his arms, carrying her pliant body to the backseat of the 1999 Chevy Blazer, and placing her on the seat. Sliding her over, he sat down beside her and pulled her back into his arms, protecting her as Beronika started the car again.

Beronika was instantly on the phone, her gaze torn between the road before her, and the rearview mirror, where she watched her fiancé cradle the younger woman. The other end of the phone was picked up instantly, the voice anxious.

"Aunt Nancy-" Before she could complete her sentence, Nancy was telling Beronika what had so recently transpired. Ending with Liz's disbelief and then her panicked flight from the diner.

"Aunt Nancy, I found her. In fact I nearly ran her over! NO! She's fine, a bit out of it, " Understating things a bit, Beronika managed to calm her aunt down, before continuing. "I think it would be best if we head over to the Sleepytime Inn, and bring Liz back to the Crashdown later on. Maybe she will listen to Sergei and I. . ."

"Sergei's with you?"

"Yeah, he felt it was imperative that he come along."

"Good, I'm glad. Can, can you tell Liz, how very much we love her? And that, we're, we are very sorry?" Nancy's voice broke with the effort to contain her tears.

"Yes, of course. I will do that as soon as she calms down, okay? I just have a quick question, though. . . Has anyone told the other families, the whole truth?"

Nancy was silent for a moment. "No, we haven't. Oh, God! How can we possibly tell them, and not sound like raving maniacs?"

"Aunt Nancy! Calm down, Sergei and I discussed this on the way down, we thought it might be best if we got everyone together, for dinner and tell them then. We even thought we would demonstrate our 'differences' for them."

"Really? You would do that?"

"Aunt Nancy, these kids are my family too. I want them safe, and they will be safer if we can get them trained and prepared for the possibility of a Prexoran invasion. You know that, and I know that, and we also know that the other families will too."

"I hope you're right. Okay then I will invite everyone to the diner, we're closed for the day, anyway. And you can explain it all, okay?"

"Okay, and Auntie? It WILL be okay." And then both women said goodbye and hung up. By then the Blazer was parked in the Sleepytime Inn's parking lot, so Beronika got out and paid for a room for the night, while Sergei sat with Liz, who was still out like a light.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~

Fifteen minutes later, Sergei laid Liz upon one of the two queen-sized beds, her body curling into a protective fetal position immediately. Beronika sighed in exhaustion, she had started out from Denver, Colorado at 4am and here it was 9am and she was ready to fall asleep! Sergei obviously felt the same, so in unspoken agreement, they laid upon the other bed and fell into a light slumber, Nika's mind linked with that of Liz's so that she was instantly awakened once Liz began to stir.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~

Over at Michael's apartment, Iz was relating to her increasingly alarmed brother and Michael the events she had witnessed.

"--and then this really big guy, picked her up and put her into the Blazer. He got in after her, and then the car drove away, and they weren't headed to the Crashdown. Plus when I drove by the diner, there was a sign up saying that they were closed due to a family emergency." She said, finishing up quickly, seeing the first signs of panic cross Max's face, surprisingly she also saw it mirrored on Michael's as well.

Before she could say anything to attempt to calm them down, the phone began ringing shrilly. Michael moved quickly to answer it.

"Hello? Mr. Parker? Yes, I was just getting ready for work now." Michael wasn't lying, much, before Isabel had arrived, he had been about to head into work for the day. "What? A family emergency? Well, uhm, I hope everything will be okay, sir. . . Okay, thank you, sir, goodbye."

Max simply waited for Michael to explain, and for once Michael didn't make him wait for it.

"Mr. Parker, said that I wouldn't need to come in today, he wouldn't say much about the family emergency, and I understand, but he did say that it was about some bad news they had received. Then he said that it would be about 2 to 3 days, before they would open again, but that I would be paid for it, cause he knows my sitch."

Max cocked his head, his eyes half closed as he processed all the information he had received. Turning to Isabel, he asked, "Can you show me, us, their faces, the people you saw today, the man who picked up Liz and the woman, driving the car?"

Isabel thought about it, it had been awhile since she connected with her brother, but they had done it before, and her vantage point from across the street had afforded her a good look at both the driver and the male passenger. Nodding her head once, she moved to sit across from him, Michael sitting beside her, forming an almost equilateral triangle, as their arms grasped each other.

**FLASH**

Max and Michael stood beside Isabel as she watched Liz run straight into the street. They watched as the dark blue Blazer nearly mowed her down, and saw the panic on both the drivers face and the passenger. They saw the panic on Liz's face as she saw the driver, and watched as she fainted in the arms of the man.

**FLASH**

In an instant they were standing closer, right next to Liz, as the man scooped her into his arms. Time seemed to slow down, as they watched, they had time to take in details. They saw that the man carrying Liz was close to 6'6" tall, with short sandy blonde hair, and hazel eyes, and was tanned. That he was well muscled as he picked up Liz with ease.

Michael was taking in the finer details, checking to see if he wore rings, or a watch that was easily distinguishable, but saw nothing, until he saw the man's upper bicep as he lowered Liz into the car. There an armband tattoo was emblazoned, what looked like two words, and a larger symbol, in the center. The symbol was in deep red, the words in orange and yellow, outlined in black, each seemed familiar to him in some way, surrounded by a tribal design.


**FLASH**

Suddenly they stood on the driver's side of the car, looking at the woman driver, as she nearly stood on the brake to prevent ramming into Liz as she darted unseeingly into the street. Isabel took in the woman's shocked recognition of Liz, and then began to categorize the woman's features. Not able to tell her height as she was sitting, Isabel paid close attention to the woman's other features.

The woman was dusky skinned, not all of it coming from a tan, her eyes were a deep brown color, as was her hair, except two bright purple streaks that framed her face. She had a small silver hoop in her left nostril, and several rings in either ear, the hoops in the left side a literal rainbow, descending to a large purple hoop, the other side in silver. Her hands were devoid of any adornment, even polish, but as the woman raised a shaking hand to her face, Isabel noticed a tattoo on her inner right hand wrist. It was a small fetish-style bear surrounded by a tribal-style sun, with Asian symbols surrounding that. Isabel took a mental snapshot of it.

Max, on the other hand, wasn't noticing the small details, he was memorizing her face. For some reason, it seemed familiar, in more than one way. All of a sudden the woman turned towards them, and looked straight at him.


**FLASH**

And they were sitting back in Michael's apartment, looking at each other in shock. The woman had seemed to see them!

Michael stood, pacing frantically for a moment, running an agitated hand through his already tousled hair, before turning back to the others. "What the HELL was that?! I mean, she SAW US!"

Isabel wasn't paying attention to Michael, instead focusing on Max, who sat upon the couch, silently. His gaze met Isabel's for a moment, his eyes reflecting his puzzlement as well as something she couldn't put her finger on. Before Michael could continue his rant, Max stood, and said, quietly, "I don't know about her seeing us, but I recognize her. There's a picture of her on Liz's dresser, as well as in the Parker's living room."

Both Isabel and Michael looked at Max in shock.


Chapter Four:

"What?!" Michael and Isabel spoke, well, screamed in unison. Max waited for them both to sit back down, before he spoke again. It didn't take too long, since they were very curious.

"Yeah, her name's Beronika, and she's Liz's cousin. Remember when she went away last summer?" At the other's nods, Max continued. "Well, Liz went to stay with Beronika's mom, in Florida. Beronika was in France or something, she travels a lot. Anyway, Liz said that Safati, her aunt, has two other kids, Beline and Yusef, who she sees all the time. I asked Liz once about her, cause in the picture Liz has of Beronika, they look about 10 or so, and Liz said that she hasn't seen her in over 8yrs. But the picture in the living room, is of Beronika at about our age."

"Liz told me that whenever she's gone to visit her aunt, that Beronika's been outta the country, in some crazy places even. Like two years ago she was in Siberia. I don't know why she seemed to see us, but I remember her face, it's definitely Beronika." Max said, his voice calm despite the confusion he felt.

"Well, I for one wanna know why she could see us!" Michael spat.

"Okay, okay! I gotta say that I wanna know too. But what do we have to go on?" Max asked.

"Not much, but was it just me, or were the flashes kinda monochromatic, except where Beronika, Liz and that guy were?" Isabel wondered aloud.

Michael nodded his head, "Yeah I noticed that too. And even then, their clothes were kinda washed out, just a couple of things stood out."

"Alright, then let's go over what did stand out." Max said, his mind going over what he remembered. Isabel and Michael thought for a moment.

"I remember a tattoo. . . on the guy. It seemed kinda familiar, but I'm not sure why." Michael said, thoughtfully.

"I saw a tattoo on Beronika, too. And I remember her earrings, they were all different colors and she had like 10 in one ear. But that's about it."

"Okay, so the tattoo's. If you both remember them, they must mean something." Max stated.

"Yeah, but the one I saw, it looked like some real weird writing, but I have no idea what language." Michael said, getting riled again.

"Wait, before you get impatient again, think about it for a moment, you said it looked familiar to you," Max looked at Michael for confirmation, and at his nod, continued. "Well, if it looked familiar, you have to have seen it recently. Why don't you try sketching it out, and we can look it up on a tattoo website or something?"

Michael nodded his head, impressed. "Sounds like a good idea! Way to go, Maximillion!"

"What about the tattoo you saw, Iz?"

"Well, it was some kinda bear, in a sun, and then it was surrounded by some Asian symbols." Isabel stated vaguely. "I don't think I could draw it, I suck at that kinda stuff."

Max sighed heavily for a moment, before turning to look at Michael, who had gathered his art supplies together at the table. "Well, could you show Michael?"

Isabel and Michael looked at him quizzically so Max clarified. "Could you connect with him, and show him that way?"

Isabel looked at Max in surprise. He was taking charge, something he had avoided like the plague, for the past year, and for once, instead of sounding hesitant, he sounded like a LEADER. She nodded her head as she glanced at Michael, seeing a thoughtful expression on his face as well, when he looked at Max.

"Okay, then, I'm gonna grab Dad's laptop, and bring it over here, I'll tell him we're working on homework. Then we can look up the images on the Internet." Max got up from his seat on the couch and made his way to the door, waving a quick goodbye to the other two.

"That, was my brother, wasn't it?" Isabel asked in a daze.

"Yeah, yeah, THAT was Max." Michael said with an unusual emphasis, his tone thoughtful. Then his thoughts turned to their tasks, and he began to sketch the tattoo he had seen, he would puzzle over Max's transformation later.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~

At the Sleepytime Inn:

Liz struggled against the cloth that confined her, her body twisting and turning restlessly. Finally her struggles awoke one of the other occupants, not just her physical struggles, as it was really the turmoil in her mind that made Beronika stir. Beronika angled herself out from under Sergei's heavy arm, and went to the bed in which Liz lay.

"Liz?" Beronika shook the other girl, whispering for her to wake. "Liz, wake up hon."

Liz woke with a start, sitting straight up in bed, causing Beronika to lean back suddenly to avoid bonking heads with her. Liz leapt from the bed, going into a defensive posture immediately, moving to the corner of the room, as far from Beronika as she could get.

Beronika was shocked, but moved slowly toward Liz, her gestures as unthreateningly as possible. "Liz? You were having a nightmare. . .you're okay, I promise."

Liz shook the sleep from her system, trying to focus on the soothing voice of Beronika. Her nightmare was still playing in her mind's eye. She had been in the White Room, the one Max had been held in, and someone kept asking her questions she couldn't understand, and they would hurt her every time she didn't answer. She could see Max out of the corner of her eye, lying on a cot like hers, screaming something to her, but she couldn't hear him.

Beronika could see the terror recede from Liz's eyes, and breathed a sigh of relief. Though the expression that took over wasn't much better, anger sparked from Liz's eyes, and it was all aimed at HER!

"Liz, are you okay?" Beronika nearly kicked herself for asking such a stupid question, of course she wasn't okay!

"NO! Dammit, I'm not!!" Liz nearly screamed, causing Sergei to awaken. Sergei stayed laying on the bed, taking in the scene with interest, quickly figuring out what was wrong.

"I know, and Liz I am so sorry." Beronika apologized, not sure if it was for asking the question or for Liz being an alien or for what exactly but Liz's face relaxed a bit.

"I know your angry, Liz. At me, at your parents. But please will you listen for awhile, and I can explain a bit more than your parents could. . ." Beronika offered.

Liz nodded slowly, taking in the room for the first time, and noticing Sergei. Beronika smiled slightly, and introduced them. "Liz, this is Sergei, he's my fiancé."

"Sergei. . .Gregorvich? The Con-Consort?" Liz asked, hesitantly. Beronika looked surprised, but nodded. Sergei smiled, and held out his hand, which Liz took.

"Pleased to meet you finally, Liz." Sergei said, his voice deep and melodious, with a hint of an accent. Liz supposed it was Russian, but it was pretty faint.

"Yeah, I guess." Liz shook his hand.

"Okay, I guess you've heard about how we were created?"

Liz nodded, her eyes starting to fill with anger again.

"Hey! Liz, your parents, they weren't given any choice, okay? They weren't asked, if they wanted to have a half-alien child, that was all Kabo's doing. Kabo asked that they not tell you the truth, either. They were scared, so they listened. It wasn't some grand conspiracy, it was one man, who thought it would be better, FOR YOU, to grow up as a human. To have the benefits of that, and not have to live in fear of your 'secret'!" Beronika said in a rush, hoping to stem some of that anger in the other girls face.

Liz deflated slightly as she really listened to Beronika's explanation. Her anger simply left, as she realized the truth in all of that, and compared her experience growing up, with what she knew of Max's childhood. His constant fear, of being discovered, of being hated, or reviled. . .she hadn't had that. She'd had a normal childhood, full of joy and safety. Sighing, she nodded.

"I think I understand what everyone was doing. I will listen to you both, but I think I should call my. . .mom and dad." Liz hesitated before calling them her parents, but knew that that was what they were. She moved to pick up the phone, not seeing the confused expressions on Beronika and Sergei's faces as she calmly accepted what not so long before she had been running so desperately from.


A/N If you want to check out Sergei and Beronika's tattoos, go here : Tattoo
posted on 20-Jan-2003 11:39:09 PM
A/N: Sorry about the huge delay in updating everyone, but I'm in the middle of a huge move, (Denver, CO to Madison, WI) and am dealing with the back-lash from that, and quitting my job. BUT, I do have chapters 5-6-7-8 ready for ya, and will post them here before I leave on the 27th of this month. I will be incommunicado for at the very least, 3-4 days, but will be back, and hopefully with some new chapters ready to be uploaded!!

Chapter Five:

Part One:

Max returned quickly to Michael's apartment, laptop in hand, and with the pictures Michael had drawn of the tattoos, they started the search. Their first search, 'Tattoos', however, pulled up over 500,000 hits! Looking at each other in both confusion and a sense of the unreal, they decided to try to narrow down the search.

"Well, then let's focus on the parts of the tattoos. We know that the background of the guys tattoo is tribal, but what about the writing? Michael you said it looked familiar to you, in what way?" Max asked.

Michael looked over the detailed sketch he had done of the man's tattoo, trying to remember where he had seen the writing before, but coming up blank. Shaking his head in anger and disappointment, he glanced up at Max's face, surprised to see a faint smile upon it.

"What are you laughing at, Maxwell?"

"Nothing. Michael, I didn't expect you to remember right away, I wanted you to think about it for awhile, and Iz and I will search for the Asian writing on Beronika's tattoo."

Iz and Michael shared a glance, before sighing lightly in puzzlement, and then following Max's plan.

Max typed in the words, 'Asian tattoos', which brought up only 72 hits, but instead of being about Asian writing, it focused on full body tattoos of the East. Iz and Max shared shocked looks as they viewed a couple of pages devoted to this form of tattoo, which while it looked kinda neat, also looked very painful.

Michael began doodling, the way he found it easiest to think, starting to draw a random picture, while his mind focused on the mystery of the writing on the guys tattoo.

Iz and Max's next search, 'Asian symbols tattoos', brought only 2 hits, the first about temporary tattoos, but with pictures of Asian writing similar to the type they were looking for, as well as a name to go on. Kanji. Kanji apparently being a type of Japanese cuneiform, that was used often in tattoos.

Their search becoming narrower, they looked up 'Kanji Tattoos', which got them 97 hits. However it was at the very first site, www.kanjitattoos.com, that surprisingly held the answers to what they were searching for. Seeing that the sight had over 1,000 Kanji symbols, all in alphabetical order, they set to work.

The A's produced only one possibility and one that alarmed them. Alien. But they shook it off quickly, moving down the list, finding another, in the B's, Brother. The variant that meant Younger Brother, to be exact. Getting excited now, they continued their search. C's, D's and E's brought no results, but in the F's they had another hit. Family. G's through L's left them empty handed, but then one in M's brought results, Mixed Blood, making their eyebrows raise again. As they passed through N's through R's their frustration grew, hours had passed. Taking a break, they decided to see if Michael had gotten anywhere.

"Not really, I just kinda started drawing, while I tried to remember, but nothing really stuck out at me." Michael replied, while he worked on his sketch. Max glanced down at it questioningly, doing a double take when he saw it was a portrait of Maria, surrounded by the symbols! Ripping Michael's hand away from it, he ignored Michael's angry cry, looking at it more closely.

"WHAT THE HELL?! Maxwell! Why did. . ." But Michael trailed off as he really looked at what he had drawn and was at once reminded of where he had seen the symbols before. One week ago, on Maria's desk! She had been fooling around with a set of rocks, all inscribed with different symbols, and when he had asked what they were she had called them RUNES! She said that they were pretty old, and used in ancient times for divination and protection. Her mom was considering making them an item to sell at the shop, so Maria had wanted to try them out first. Maria had held up the book, that went with the rock set, and pointed to one on the cover, and that's where he remembered seeing the symbols before!

"MAX! I remember! I must have drawn Maria, cause my mind was trying to tell me! When I was over at her house last week, she was showing me this weird divination technique - -" Michael was cut off at the semi-incredulous looks Max and Iz were sending him. "What? So I pay attention to what interests my girlfriend, so sue me! Anyway, its called Runes, I think. and it involves stones, but she showed me this book, and it had some of those symbols on it!"

Max smiled at Michael's enthusiasm and his true devotion to Maria. It made him happy that his best friend, his brother, was so content at last. "Wonderful, now we have a place to start from! That helps a bunch!"

Michael preened under Max's praise. It wasn't often that Max did it, but when he did, it meant a lot.

"Okay, so come and check out what Iz and I found. . ." Max showed Michael the list of words and the corresponding symbols. Michael's reaction was not unexpected when he saw the words alien and mixed blood, he freaked out. Max was quick to calm him down though.

"Look, Michael, don't freak, ok? Let's figure the rest of these symbols out, it's only a few more. Then we will work on the guys tattoo, then you can freak." Max said, authoritatively. Michael calmed down, but his eyes still blazed with fear.

"Okay so we stopped at the S's, so lets finish that." And the three turned to the computer. Half way down they hit upon another translation, sister. Specifically younger sister.

"Okay, so what do we have so far? Alien, Younger Brother, Family, Mixed Blood, and Younger Sister. They all circle around a sun, with a bear in the center." Iz listed off.

"The bear is called a fetish-bear, it's Hopi, and Navajo." Max interjected. "When we were looking into the Mescalero reservation, I looked up some of the hieroglyphs. That one showed up a lot."

"And the sun symbol is a sign for a leader, in a lot of cultures." Michael said.

"Huh?" Iz asked, confused.

"Well, it seems to me that the tattoo has a lot of symbolism, in it. And I remember Mr. Heller, the art teacher, once said that most of the famous painters used symbols within their paintings to make a point. He told us that the sun stood for power, and leadership."

"Wow! Okay, but what does the bear stand for? And what about the tiny kanji symbols underneath Younger Brother and Younger Sister?" Isabel asked.

"Well, let's look up bear on the Internet, specifically fetish-bears." Max said, turning back to the computer. But their search brought up over 800 hits, most of which were about hand-carved objects d'art. Not very helpful.

"Okay so that didn't help. Where did you go to look up the hieroglyphs, Max?" Michael said, frustration evident in his voice.

"No, wait a moment. . .I found something!" Iz said, triumphantly, pointing to a website that described some American Indians' beliefs.

"The American Indians believe that everything in the universe, be it the wind and rain, the stone on the ground, the smoke from our fires, has a spirit life, since through recognition we give it life, therefore existence. A fetish is made from any material its maker chooses, whether it is a rock, a shell or an antler, and, carved into the form of a living being, it is believed to contain certain energies. For example: the fetish bear - which many tribes believe brings good fortune, healing, strength, courage and wisdom - will not only contain the spirit of the bear, but also of the rock or whatever material used, and of the person who carved the fetish." Isabel read aloud, from the www.american-indian-review.co.uk website.

"So maybe the aspects were what she was wanting. Good fortune, health, strength, courage and wisdom. All admirable qualities, and paired with leadership. . ." Max said, his tone soft as he thoughtfully contemplated the drawing sitting on Michael's small dinette.

"Okay, so the only things we couldn't find were the small symbols underneath the brother and sister symbols?" At the others nods, Max continued. "Alright, then let's start working on the runes thing. We can look up the rest later, sound good?"

"Yeah."

"Sure."

And as they bent over the computer, they were filled with a renewed sense of purpose. For some reason they were compelled to find the meanings of these tattoos, and as the search proved fruitful and interesting they found themselves drawn further into a mystery they felt connected to.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~


Part Two:

At the same time, across town, at the Sleepytime Inn:

"Uhm, Mom?" Liz asked hesitantly.

On the other end of the phone, Nancy sighed with relief. Hearing her daughters voice filled her with hope.

"Oh, honey! I was so worried. Nika said you were kind of out of it. I am so, so sorry."

"Mom, I was a bit 'out of it'. But I'm fine, now, and don't be sorry, okay? Nika made me realize something. That you didn't exactly have any choice about me being half, uhm, you know."

"Still, honey, we should have told you sooner. But, Dr. Kabo, said. . ." Liz cut her mom off.

"I know, he said it would be best if I grew up, normal, not having to fear. And I can't thank you enough, for loving me, for giving me safety." Liz was sniffling slightly.

"Liz, you are our child. Of course we love you!" Nancy said, sniffing back tears as well.

Nika and Sergei watched as Liz hung up the phone, having finished speaking with her mother. They had ended things well, it seemed, for Liz had a slight smile on her face. Suddenly the quiet of the room was broken as Liz's stomach growled loudly, followed quickly by both Nika and Sergei's as well. Three sets of eyes widened, and each of them colored in embarrassment, before they all burst out laughing.

"Oh my goodness, that was CLASSIC!! I'm guessing we're all hungry?" Nika asked, in between bouts of laughter.

Sergei and Liz both managed nods, nearly doubled over with laughter.

"I nominate Sergei to go out and grab some lunch!" Nika giggled breathlessly.

"And I second that nomination!" Liz said panting, her breath gone from laughing so hard. The situation might not have been all that funny, but coupled with the stress of the morning, they had all needed the tension-breaker.

Sergei sighed pitifully, making puppy dog eyes at the two girls, which only made them laugh harder. Heaving himself from the bed he had fallen onto, he made his way to the door, accompanied by the musical sound of their hilarity. Pulling out his keys, jingling them slightly, he turned to them, "So what do we wanna eat, ladies?"

"Senor Chows!!" Liz answered immediately, licking her lips in anticipation.

Sergei and Nika looked puzzled, until Nika remembered the Mexican-themed Chinese restaurant, and her expression turned just as greedy. "It's a great Chinese place, on the main street, Sergei. Easy to find. And you know what I want, General Tso's Chicken! With pork fried rice, and no egg rolls!! Oh and can you get me some extra hot mustard and sweet and sour sauce? What do you want, Liz?"

Liz looked at Nika, thinking to herself, 'A sweet and hot addict? Just like Max, Iz and Michael. . . Wonder why I don't like it, not that I've ever tried it. . .'

"Liz?"

"Oh, uhm, I'll have the same, I guess. But I want egg rolls!" Liz answered..

"Okies! I'll be back in a few." Sergei left to get their lunch.

There was a short awkward silence, but Nika was determined to break it.

"Liz, I gotta ask you something. . ."

"Huh? What is it?"

"Are you mad? With me?"

"Why would I be?" Liz was puzzled.

"Well, no one told you. And now, I just show up, disrupt your life, and have to take you away."

"I'm sorta used to this kind of disruptions in my life. . ." Liz muttered, softly to herself. Nika looked confused, but didn't mention what she heard. "No, I'm not angry. I'm just confused. Why now?"

Nika went to stand by the window, trying to collect her thoughts. Liz took the moment to really look at her, taking in the changes in the other girl. When they had last seen each other, Nika was long- haired, 12 yr. old, a little pudgy with baby-fat, and only had one set of holes in her ears. Now she stood 5'4" tall, not much taller than she was at 12, really, but her hair was cut short in the back with long strands framing her face, dark brown in the low light of the room, the purple streaks getting into her eyes. (A/N: Think Akima in Titan AE) Her ears were full of holes, Liz counted 8 in one ear, and 7 in the other.

Her body had become sleek, and she held herself with a certain grace that had been missing from the pre-teen Liz had known. Her clothing sense had certainly changed as well, 'cause 12yr. old Nika only wore jeans and a t-shirt. The clothes Nika was wearing now, were tight, lace-up black leather pants, and a crop top, sleeves ripped off, black t-shirt with Clash printed on the front in silver, with a pair of black Doc Martin boots, with silver flames painted on them.

Liz was shaken out of her inspection of Nika by the other girl's next words.

"Liz, when you were, created, I guess. . . Kabo put inside each of you a small micro-chip. It acted as a tag, it kept track of you, made sure you were safe. But it also inhibited your powers. But you see, it only would work until you were 18, after that it would degrade to the point that your body would flush it from it's system. But that would also mean that your powers would become active. Liz, you and Kyle, Maria and Alex will be turning 18 soon. Kabo was going to come and get you, but I thought all of this would sound better coming from me."

Liz stood in shock for a moment. Her mind was still stuck on Nika's sentence mentioning Alex. 'Nika doesn't know that Alex is dead! Oh GOD!'

Nika took in Liz's expression and misinterpreted it as her being overwhelmed. "I'm sorry - -" Nika started to apologize again, but was cut off by Liz's sobs.

"He's dead. He's dead!"

Nika became instantly alarmed, not knowing of who Liz was talking about. "Who is dead Liz? Who's dead?"

"ALEX!" Liz shouted, her heart tearing once again as she thought of her best friend.

Nika could do nothing but stand in shock, watching Liz sob.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~


Part Three:

Back at Michael's Apartment:

After a quick lunch of sandwiches and Snapple, the three set to work again. Pulling up the search engine once again, Max stopped, before putting anything into the search box.

"You know, we're going about this the wrong way." Iz and Michael looked at him, confused.

"We could always ask Maria, you know. I bet she's at loose ends as well, with the Crashdown closed. And I think she should know about this anyway." Max stated.

Michael bowed his head, chuckling ruefully as he realized how right Max was. "I'll call her now, can I borrow your cell phone, Maxwell?"

Max handed off to Michael, who moved out to the front porch to place his call. Iz took the opportunity to grill her brother on his strange behavior.

"Max, what's up with you, today?" Iz asked, getting straight to the point.

Max looked confused, "What do you mean?"

"You're going all leader-like, and it's in the best way. Your not hesitating, you're taking charge, and making great decisions. This is such a switch from past King Max. Before you were always looking for someone else to make the decisions, always so scared of it."

Max looked at his sister, his expression serious. "Iz, I can't explain it. It's not just because it's about Liz, either. It's like before, I was playing a part, a role everyone expected of me. And now, now I am that person, not just playing a role, anymore. I think, I finally accepted the inevitability of being King, and all that it meant. And you know, it's not bad, because I have you, Michael, Liz and the others."

"Well, I'm glad. Cause this you, is a lot better than the old one. I like confident Max."

"So do I, Iz. SO DO I!"

~⊕~⊕~⊕~


Outside:

Michael: "Maria?"

Maria: "Michael? What's wrong?"

Michael: "WHY do you always think something is wrong?"

Maria: "Because you only call me when something is wrong?"

Michael: "Oh, yeah. Well, this time I just need your help with something."

Maria, warily: "With what? Is the Czechoslovakian related?"

Michael, sighing: "Yeah, sorta. But it also has to do with Liz."

Maria, urgent: "Liz? Is she okay? What's going on?"

Michael: "Look, I can't talk about this over the phone, okay? I have to show you. . ."

Maria: "Okay. Hey did Mr. Parker call you as well?"

Michael: "Yeah, it has something to do with that actually."

Maria: "OH! Okay then I'm on my way now."

Michael: "Thanks, Maria. Oh, can you bring that book you have on runes, as well?"

Maria: "Huh?"

Michael: "Just do it, alright?"

Maria, getting angry: "Whatever!" Hangs up phone.

Michael, just sighs, before heading back inside.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~


"Okay, Maria's on her way over. Should we call Kyle too?" Michael asked.

Iz answered. "Nah, he's gotta work today, I'll tell him everything later."

Michael and Max exchanged glances, each wondering about the true nature of Isabel and Kyle's friendship, but knew that Isabel wasn't gonna tell them anything.

"Okay then. We just wait."

15 minutes later:

Maria had been worried ever since Mr. Parker had called earlier that day. First he had said that the diner was closed for the day, cause of some family issue, then he asked to talk to her mom. When she had gotten off the phone, she had said that they were gonna be having dinner over at the Parkers, and then went out to her studio. Maria had gotten concerned cause her mom's face looked so drawn, after the conversation she had had with Mr. Parker, but knew better than interrupting her mom when she went into her studio.

When Michael had called she was on the verge of going in search of Liz, and finding out exactly what was happening that the Crashdown was closed. Now instead she was heading over to Spaceboy's apartment, with her Runic Workbook of all things!

Without knocking, Maria walked right into the apartment, having been given a key to the place earlier in the month. She and Michael might fight like nobody's business, but she knew without a doubt that he loved her, after all, he was gonna stay not matter what. And even when she was furious with him, she couldn't deny that she loved him with all her heart.

"Okay, so why did I need to bring my Runic Workbook, and what does this have to do with Liz, and why the Crashdown is closed today?" Maria asked in a rush, going to stand by Michael, giving him a loving shove, before kissing him softly.

"Actually, we're not sure, but I guess we should show you what we do know so far."

And so the three placed a hand on Maria's shoulder and SHOWED her, what Iz had seen originally, then the flashes. Maria came out of the flashes gasping. What a RUSH!

"Okay, so what the FUCK was that?!"

"We're not sure, actually. But I remembered Beronika's face, from some pictures Liz has at her house. So we weren't too worried." Max said, calmly.

"Okay, I know Beronika and that WAS her. But who was that guy, and why did Liz look so upset, and why did she faint?" Maria was very worried.

"Maria, we're just not sure, but we figure that the flashes have something to do with it, also the way Beronika looked AT us. So we've been researching the symbols in the tattoos. We found most of the symbols in Beronika's tattoo. Here look," Max held up the paper holding the translations, and watched as her eyes widened as she read a few of the words.

"Alien? Do you think. . .?" Maria was becoming agitated.

"Maria, like I said, we're not sure. But now we need your help, okay? We want to figure out what the guy's tattoo means. But it looks like runes, at least according to Michael. He remembered having seen them before, at your house."

Maria nodded, she would do whatever it took to help her best friend.

"So then show us the book." Max said, holding out a hand for it. Maria handed it to him.

He placed it on the dinette, opening it. "Maria do you understand this at all?"

"Yeah, a little. But lemme see the tattoo, first okay?" Maria took the drawing from Isabel, sharing a smile with the normally aloof girl.

"It looks like two different words. Okay, one of the symbols is repeated, but the rest are singles. Let's just go to the index. . ." Michael was used to Maria's tendency to talk out loud as she worked, but Iz and Max were amused.

"Alright, see this index has pictures of each of the runes, and then it tells you where in the book to flip to, to get the information on them. Ok, here, look - -" Maria shows everyone the picture of one of the runes, called Ansuz, the only rune repeated in the tattoo. She flipped to the page which told about it.

"Ansuz, stands for the letter A, makes the sound: "aa" as in "aah". It stands for: Mouth (or Divine Breath). Colors related to the rune: Purple. Casting it can mean: Ansuz is a rune of divine force, a breath that powers life as well as existence. It is also a rune of intellectual activities. Ansuz is a symbol of stability and represents order no matter what problems may come to be." Read Maria, straight from the page.

"Okay, so it stands for the letter A. We already figured that the tattoo spells something out." Stated Michael, writing down the letter A under the two symbols on the page.

"Hey the next rune on this page, it's in the tattoo as well." Isabel pointed to the one that looked a lot like an R.

"Raidho, stands for the letter R, makes the sound: "r". It stands for: Wheel, Cartwheel (or Riding). Colors related to the rune: Blue (Black). Casting it can mean: This rune represents the "vehicle" (or method) that we use in order for us to achieve an object or goal. Raidho allows us to channel our energies in an effective way so that these energies flow in a manner that will help us obtain our goal. However to use this rune to it's full power we must know how to place ourselves in the "right place" at the "right time." Maria read.

"R." Michael wrote it down.

"Next one." Maria doesn't even have to turn back to the index, cause as the page turns she finds one.

"Kenaz, stands for the letter and sound "k". It stands for: Torch. Colors related to the rune: Yellow. Casting it can mean: Kenaz is the rune of knowledge, teaching and learning. It represents a torch, which provides us with the Inner Light that can help us see things clearly." Isabel read from over Maria's shoulder.

"K."

Again the opposite page held the picture of one of the runes that they were searching for. This time they all read it silently.

~~Isa, stands for the letter I, makes the sound "ee" as in "east." It stands for Ice. Colors related to the rune: Brown or Black. Casting it can mean: This is the third rune that is associated with winter. It represents an icicle and symbolizes static existence, the present. Isa is a rune that halts all activity and puts a delay in the progress of something. We can do nothing but wait for the transformation of this icicle to turn to water, or the delay to turn into a new starting point.~~

"So, I." Max said, taking a pen and writing it down.

"That one is kinda obvious!" Maria joked. Everyone laughed.

"NEXT!" Maria said enthusiastically. And instead of bothering with the index she just flipped through the pages.

"Wait, stop, go back a page." Isabel pointed at one of the pictures. "There's another one."

"Jera, stands for the letter y, like in "year". Stands for: Harvest, or Year or Season. Colors related to the rune: Brown. Casting meaning: Jera refers to the cycles of existence. It is the rune of completion. We cannot use this rune against the natural order of things. In order to yield great results we must use this rune properly and go with the natural order to get to the goal we want." Isabel read.

"So, Y?" Asked Max. Isabel and Maria nodded.

Michael was staring silently down at the next page, which held the last two runes, his expression frozen. Max turned to look at his friend, puzzled at his lack of response. Before Max could say anything however, Michael took the pen in his hand and wrote the last three letters in under the tattoo. An M, L and an E.

Isabel, Max and Maria followed his gaze down to the picture and stared in shocked silence.

The longer word, in yellow, spelt out, quite clearly, M-A-R-I-A, while the other, in orange, spelt out, K-Y-L-E. Turning to each other they felt fear.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~


Part Four:

At the Sleepytime Inn:

"Wha-What, what do you mean?!" Nika asked the sobbing girl. "That’s, that's not possible!"

Liz looked up at the stricken girl, her eyes filled with tears, her breath hitching in her chest. "Well, it's true. Alex, he died, in a car . . .accident." Liz hoped that Nika wouldn't question the hesitation in her voice over how Alex had died. Max, Michael and Isabel's secret wasn't hers to tell, and despite having told Maria and Alex, she wasn't exactly sure how to tell the truth about this.

"But, you're wrong! Liz! If he was dead, I would KNOW!"

Liz was getting angry, she had seen Alex's body, had seen the vehicle he had been in. Even if Tess hadn't killed him before the crash, he would have died.

"NO! You're wrong! I saw him! I saw the twisted, mangled, body of my best friend. HE IS DEAD!"

"Liz! Listen to me, okay! I meant it, when I said the chip's monitored you. Kabo sent me here, and told me that all of the chips were still active. ALL of them. Liz, if he was dead, his chip would be inactive! Alex, he's alive!" Nika said triumphantly, grabbing hold of the shocked girl, shaking her slightly to emphasize her point.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~


Unknown Location, a darkened cell:

Alex stirred, his body aching from the daily beating he received. Turning to his side, he looked into the eyes of his cell mate. Her face was as blood-streaked as his, though she had no bruises or marks on the rest of her body. He had done his best to protect her from their captors, but it didn't always help. All of a sudden, he heard footsteps nearing.

"Wake up. I think they're coming back!"

The girl turned slightly, trying to get comfortable, but between the pain from being beaten and a stomach swollen with pregnancy, it was impossible. Her blue eyes opened, pain shining through, her blond hair hanging in limp, dirty curls.

"Huh? Alex, it hurts!" The young woman whimpered.

"I know, Tess, I know. And I promise, we will get out of here. I'm not sure how, yet, but I won't let you or your baby die." Alex vowed.

"Alex, if I don't. . .make it. . ." Alex tried to cut her off, but she silenced him with a look. "If I don't get out of here, I want you to take my baby, and make sure that Kyle, that all of them, know the truth. About what happened to me, and to you. I heard what they did to us. What they made them all believe."

"I know. Tess, he will know the truth. I promise. They will know that you didn't kill me, that it wasn't you." Alex promised the delirious girl, stroking her hand gently.

"Thank you. Alex, I'm so sorry, I got you involved in this. I thought if I had you translate that book, that I could fight him, that I could protect them all, and all I did was get you taken, and they are in danger."

"I get that, Tess, which is why I helped you in the first place. But quiet now, okay, they're coming back."

And their darkened cell was bathed in light as the door was flung open, to reveal Nasedo and Nicholas.



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 20-Jan-2003 11:49:46 PM ]

posted on 21-Jan-2003 12:11:21 AM

Chapter Six:

Sergei pulled up to the Sleepytime Inn, feeling the tension and despair radiating from his love, even from the parking lot. Gathering up all the containers of food, he made his way quickly to the room, he could sense Nika's fear and anger. Opening the door, he found Nika and Liz in a silent face-off, their bodies and faces frozen in defensive postures.

Placing the food on a small table near the door, Sergei moved to stand beside Nika. Clearing his throat loudly, he broke the tense tableau. "Uhm, anyone care to explain, this?" Moving his hand between the two girls, to indicate the strained atmosphere.

Nika broke eye-contact with Liz, sighing loudly, and shaking her head with a mixture of anger and sorrow. Liz humphed softly, but said nothing, just turned to stare out the window.

"Anyone. . ." Sergei asked, his voice concerned.

"Liz told me something, distressing." Nika understated. Her statement was met with another humph from Liz, but Sergei's concern shone from his features.

"Now, she won't say how, but she insists that Alex is dead." Nika said baldly. Sergei jerked his gaze to Liz, his eyes widening with disbelief.

"But, but?" Sergei questioned incoherently.

"I know. Sweetie, I explained about the micro-chips, but Liz contends that she saw Alex's body. I tried showing her the readout on the palm-pilot that shows that Alex's chip is still in working order, but she won't look at it, nothing can convince her." Nika said tiredly.

"Liz? Liz, can you at least tell us how Alex died?" Sergei asked the sullen teenager.

Liz wasn't sure how to describe Alex's death without revealing Max's secret. And with all the talk of Alex being alive, she was forced to relive his death all over again. Unable to say anything at all, Liz became wracked with sobs.

Nika knelt beside the distraught girl, wrapping her long arms around her, glancing helplessly at Sergei. Letting Liz's anguish wash over her special senses, Nika wasn't even aware of establishing a **connection** with Liz.

**FLASH**

I'm Liz Parker and five days ago I died. After that, things got really weird....

**FLASH**

MARIA: Max Evans is staring at you again.

**FLASH**

MAX: Well I'm not from around here.

LIZ: Where you from?

[Max points up with his index finger]

LIZ: Up north?

[Max points higher]

**FLASH**

MAX: Sometimes you have to take a step back to see what's really going on. Maybe that's what we both really need to do right now...find our balance again.

**FLASH**

You will know them only by the evil within. Learn enough to use your skills, your knowledge, and your leadership to combat the enemy so that you can come back and free us.

**FLASH**

LIZ: So everything Nasedo told me was true. You and Tess were meant to be together.

MAX: Liz.

LIZ: I mean, it's your destiny, right?

MAX: I wish I could go back Liz. Back to when things were normal.

LIZ: Me, too. I just wish that I could have stopped you from saving my life that day in the Crashdown.

MAX: Don't say that.

LIZ: Max, the day that you saved my life, your life just ended.

MAX: No, that was the day my life began. Liz, when I was in that room, and they did what they did to me. You're what kept me alive. The thought of you. The way your eyes look into mine. Your smile. The touch of your skin. Your lips. Knowing you has made me human. Whether I die tomorrow or fifty years from now, my destiny is the same: it's you. I want to be with you, Liz. I love you.

LIZ: I love you. (They kiss.)

**FLASH**

LIZ: Max, you do have a destiny. You just heard it. I can't stand in the way of it.

MAX: But you mean everything to me.

(They kiss.)

LIZ: Goodbye, Max.

(She leaves.)

**FLASH**

MAX: I felt that...and I know you did, too, and I know you think that...that I need to let you go...for the sake of Michael, and Isabel, and my race...so you went to Tess. But she can't be you. Tess can never be you.

**FLASH**

LIZ: Don't say anything, ok? Um, because I...I came in here with this whole speech, and once you start talking, my speech doesn't apply, and everything gets changed, and I just want to make sure that I say everything to you, so just don't say anything. Just don't say anything. Ok, I...I just re-read "Romeo and Juliet", and you know, the first thing that I realized is that isn't even the title. It's called "The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet". They die. You know, she's this young girl, she...she's younger than me, and she dies. Look, I think the reason why people think that it's such a romantic play is they don't know what it's like to be put in that position...but when your life and...and other people's lives are...are put at risk, there isn't anything romantic about it. Max, you can't stop what's happening to you. I mean, your life will always be dangerous, but my life, it doesn't have to be. My life is only in danger if I am with you. I...I want to be in love with boys...normal boys. I...I want to see my 21st birthday. I...I want to have a wedding day. I...I...I want to have children...and I want my children to be safe. You know, Max, if...if you truly love me, you'll let me go. I may love you, but I...I don't want to die for you.

**FLASH**

FUTURE MAX: Just 25 minutes before I came here, I held Michael in my arms...dead. Isabel died 2 weeks before that. Now you have to do this. You have to find a way. All of our lives depend on it.

**FLASH**

LIZ: Don't you realize what you are to me...and you're always gonna be? You're the love of my life. Everyone else is gonna be second best. There'll never be another you.

**FLASH**

(Liz sees Max kissing Tess at the Prom, and leaves.)

**FLASH**

VALENTI: There's been an accident. Alex is dead.

**FLASH**

LIZ: You don't want to think that Alex was killed by an alien because that would mean you are responsible.

**FLASH**

JERRY: I thought about what you said. You know -- if I remembered anything? Look -- (shows something from his pocket) I got his credit card receipt. The company kicked it back 'cause of the way he signed it.

LIZ: (reads the signature line: instead of a name it's a string of binary digits)
11100100100111011001

JERRY: Does that mean anything to you?

LIZ: It means I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep....

**FLASH**

MR. STOCKMAN: Ms. Parker? Mr. Stockman from the embassy. We found your building. There's just one curiosity-- that structure was torn down in 1994. 3 people in my office have confirmed it. That building is gone.

LIZ: to herself: He never went to Sweden.

**FLASH**

Max: Liz... Tess is pregnant.

**FLASH**

Liz: (yelling) I-I trusted you, I gave you everything. I jumped off bridges for you, I broke laws for you, I risked getting shot for you, I trusted you! And you go off-- God, with Tess-- God, I saved myself for you!

Max: Saved yourself? You slept with Kyle!

**FLASH**

Max: Liz, you never slept with Kyle, did you?

(Liz shakes her head no)

**FLASH**

Kyle (to Liz and Maria): I carried his body. She made me think it was luggage. She killed him. Tess killed Alex!

**FLASH**

Nika pulled away from Liz, both girls gasping with the intensity of the flashes. Sergei looked on, anxiousness evident in his features. Tears streamed down Liz's face as Nika processed all she had seen.

"Liz, I never. . .I would never have been able to do, all of that! Goddess! Oh Liz, I'm so sorry! All this time, Kabo, Andrea, Sergei and I, we thought, we thought that we were protecting you! But you had to suffer through ALL of THAT, alone!" Nika had tears in her eyes as well.

Liz shook her head, sadly. "No, Nika, I wasn't alone. I had Maria and Kyle and. . .Alex. And I had Max. Even if it was only for a little while. He has a destiny, one which I can't compete with, and now, it seems I have one of my own."

"Liz, honey, they don't have to be mutually exclusive. And I intend to prove that, okay? But first things first, I guess I need to prove to you, that Alex really is alive, huh?" Nika stood, moving to her small duffel bag on the floor.

All this time, Sergei had remained silent, but now he cleared his throat, "Liz, I'm not sure exactly what happened, but you will always have us, now as well. No matter what."

Liz was touched, she moved to give Sergei a big hug, which he returned, with tears in his eyes. "I know that, I do."

"Okay, here it is. My proof." Liz turned to Nika, who held up a small palm-pilot like computer thingy. (A/N: Okay, so it's not a technical term, but I couldn't think of how else to describe it. LOL)

Nika moved to stand next to the other girl, holding it out to Liz to inspect. As she gave it to Liz, she wrapped her arms around Sergei's waist, nuzzling him softly, needing desperately his comfort. Sergei's arms wrapped around her in return, readily providing his love. Nika knew he was dying of curiosity, over what had just happened so she opened her connection with him and SHOWED him. Within seconds he understood, and tears once again sprang to his eyes.

Liz held the object, looking to Nika for more of an explanation.

"It's a hand-held monitor. See, there, " Nika points to a blue line. "That's you. It shows that your chip is still active. The yellow line is Maria, the orange one is Kyle."

Liz silently looks at the display, her eyes glued to the last line. It glows a brightly in the dim light of the motel room. "And the green one?" She asks hesitantly.

Nika's voice is soft, as she confirms Liz's assumption. "That's Alex."

Liz's eyes fly over Nika's features, searching for any sign of deception, knowing that she will find none.

"So, so. . .Alex, he's really, really ALIVE?" Liz asks, wonder and hope in her voice.

It is Sergei who answers, his eyes smiling softly at the happiness blooming on the formerly sullen girl's face. "Yes, Liz. Your brother is alive."

~⊕~⊕~⊕~


Unknown Location:

Alex groaned in pain, his nerve endings screaming, his gaze locked with that of his tormentor. Nicholas merely grinned, sadistically, his pleasure evident.

Tess watched in silence, her arms still cradled around her swollen stomach. Not wanting to watch the young man she considered a friend, being tortured, yet unable to look away for fear of losing him, Tess lost herself in thought.

'When did I become so human?' She thought to herself. 'When did I start to care so much?' In an instant a memory showed her the answer.

**FLASH**

Tess was cleaning up after the two Valenti men, chuckling to herself at home much of a pig Kyle was. Her arms full of magazines, she was suddenly spun around, causing her to drop the magazines.

Kyle's arms went around her waist, pulling her tightly to him. Laughing at his silliness, Tess made to move away but was stopped by a look in his eyes, and the sensual feel of his hands massaging her lower back. Kyle's eyes were smoldering, and she felt her cheeks heat with awareness. Pulling away hesitantly, she blushed further as she felt his awareness of her.

"Wha- what was th-th-that all about?" Tess stuttered.

Kyle had the grace to look a bit abashed, but answered without hesitation. "Me, and my realization that I acted like an ass."

Tess looked confused.

"All this time, that I've pushed you away, instead of telling you how I really felt. . . I was just so scared."

Tess now looked angry, her cheeks flushing with her ire, rather than lust. "Of what? Of me?"

"No. . .yes, a little. Oh it's hard to explain. It just felt so strange, I knew that I was falling in love with you, but at the same time, I was resisting it, cause of. . ." Kyle trailed off.

"Cause I'm an alien?" Tess said quietly.

"Uhm, yeah."

"Well then your right, you are an ass!" Tess practically growled.

Kyle looked up at Tess from his seat on the couch, nodding at her. "Yeah, I WAS. But you know what, I am in love with you. And I intend to prove it, too. " Kyle stood, grabbing hold of Tess' arm, and pulling her to him.

At first Tess resisted his kiss, but soon the feel of Kyle's lips against her own was making her melt. She had known she was in love with him for awhile now, but hadn't had the heart to tell him, when he had seemed so against all things "alien". Kyle's hands roamed over her body, grasping her to him. She reveled in the feel of his body against her own, and in that moment knew she would give up DESTINY for this man.

**FLASH**

Tess shook herself from her memories, forcing herself to recall that it was only 2 months later that she watched "herself" kill Alex, and make Kyle carry the body to the car. She felt the punch of sadness as she realized that Kyle, no doubt hated her now.

'It won't matter, that it wasn't me, that it was Nasedo. It won't matter that I actually saved Alex from the wreck. All that will matter is that in the end. . .Alex still died.' Tess thought, pessimistically. She figured that Nicholas and Nasedo were getting bored with Alex, who had fought so bravely against both Nasedo's mindwarps and Nicholas's torture, to the point of confronting his supposed torturer, HER.

Now, with Nicholas' boredom looming, Tess knew they had to either find a way out or all three of them would perish. And there would be no one left to tell the truth.

She recalled her capture by Nasedo, shortly after Kyle and she had first slept together. She remembered Nasedo putting on her face, and each night torturing her with stories of how he had placed doubt, or mindwarped someone else in her life. He told of how he had mindwarped the KING, into believing that he and Tess had slept together. She recalled her escape, only to be captured again, when she had tried to save Alex's life.

Alex and Tess had listened in horror as Nasedo told of the various ways he had destroyed the Royal Four. From 'Congresswoman' Whitaker's tale of Vilandra's betrayal, to convincing everyone that Tess was pregnant, and that the baby would die if they stayed on Earth. Nasedo hadn't left it at that, he had even mindwarped Kyle into seeing Tess kill Alex, and then placed a faulty mindwarp over that, so that when it fell. . .

Tess placed her hand once again on the swell of her stomach, thinking that it had only been 4 months since Alex's death, and her supposed journey to Antar. Tess knew that in about a month she would be ready to give birth. She could only pray as she heard Alex groan again, that her child, her daughter, would live to see her father's face. Kyle's face.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~


Part Two:

The four teenagers stared silently at the piece of paper, looking at the translation.

"How? Why?" Maria stammered. Michael saw the signs of imminent freak out and despite being nearly there himself, moved to comfort his girlfriend.

Max's eyes narrowed in thought, and Isabel went to the bathroom, grabbing a damp cloth that she brought back to Maria. Michael smiled in thanks, and cradling Maria, he wiped the tears from her face, as she cried in fear.

"Okay, I think it's time we found Liz. And found out what is going on." Max stated, his tone calm and collected.

"What are we going to ask her? 'Hey Liz, do you know why your burly friend, you know the one that caught you when you fainted, has your best friend and ex-boyfriends name's tattooed on his bicep?' " Isabel asked sardonically.

"If we have to." Max said, his tone held a warning. "We have to know, because for some reason those tattoo's, they are important. And it may not be our names, Izzy, but it's the names of our friends. So we ask, and hopefully we get answers." Max looked at Maria's terror struck face, then back to Isabel.

Isabel nodded, her face softening as she too witnessed Maria's fear. She knew the fear that could follow you through everything, and wouldn't wish it on her worst enemy, let alone a friend.

"Alright, then. How do we find Liz?" Isabel questioned.

Maria shook off her fear, snuggling into Michael's loving embrace, knowing that he would protect her it made her feel strong. "How about dreamwalking her?" She suggested.

Max and Isabel brightened at the suggestion, immediately moving to sit on the couch, Max pulling out his only picture of Liz and handing it to his sister. Michael and Maria watched from their seat on the large, tattered armchair.

Isabel got comfortable, and placing her hand on the picture, she watched as the wave distortion that signaled a successful dreamwalk moved across Liz's face.

**DREAMWALK**

Isabel stood in a motel room, quickly recognizing it as the Sleepytime Inn on the outskirts of town. In front of her stood Liz, her body held rigidly, as she stared at the face of the girl Max and Maria had named Beronika. Her arms were wrapped tightly around her own waist, as Isabel watched. Isabel could feel the tension grow in the room.

Suddenly she looked into the eyes of the strange man, who seemed to recognize her. Isabel took a step back, shock coloring her face. Liz turned, her eyes widening.

"Iz, you have to leave!"

Isabel shook herself, before answering the other girl. "Liz I can't. We are worried about you. . . and we have to show you what we found out about your. . .friends. . .please Liz!"

The woman, Beronika, stood. Liz moved between her and Isabel, though Isabel wasn't sure who she was protecting, Isabel or Beronika.

"Nika! I. . .I, I can't do this! They deserve the truth, I know that, but. . ."

"Liz, you must tell them! We need their help, and they need ours!" Beronika seemed to plead with Liz.

"Liz! What's going on!" Isabel saw the fear on Liz's face.

"I can't, IZ! Everything has been about protecting you, and I will always do that, but I can't tell you this. . .it will hurt too much, if it's not true. . ."

"Come to us, Vilandra. Bring Zan, Rath, Kyle and Maria. We have much to discuss." The man said, his tone soft.

Isabel stepped back, horror clear on her face. Isabel had enough time to see Liz's imploring face, before she was booted out of the dreamscape.

**END DREAMWALK**

"OH GOD!" Isabel sat up with this cry on her lips. Everyone jumped, Max pulling Isabel into his arms, as tears streamed down her face.

"What did you see, Izzy?"

"Liz is afraid, so afraid." Isabel said, tears falling.

"Of what?" Max said, trying to remain calm.

"I don't know! She said it was always about protecting us, but that it would hurt too much if IT wasn't true. I have no clue what she meant, but the man! He called me Vilandra, and he said, he said that I should bring Zan and Rath, and Kyle and Maria to them." Isabel was hysterical.

This time it was Maria who remained calm, moving to pull the other girl into a hard hug.

"Isabel, calm down. . .you said that they knew your Antarian names?" At Isabel's nod, Maria continued. "Well then, we already figured it was alien-related, now we know. SO we go to them, but we take precautions."

Max nodded in agreement. Michael gave Isabel an awkward hug, and then moved to help Max gather together what protection they could muster.

"It will be okay. But I think you need to call Kyle, and see if he can't get the rest of the day off, say it's a family emergency. He'll understand. I'll call the Sheriff." Maria said, rubbing the girl's back, soothingly.

Isabel nodded, pulling out her cell phone, and dialing the local auto shop that Kyle worked at. Maria moved to make her phone call.

"Kyle?"

"Isabel? What's going on?" Kyle sounded concerned.

"Uhm, well, can you get off? There's a, uh, family emergency. . ."

"Family, as in, of the Czech persuasion?"

"Yeah, and it looks like it involves you, Maria and Liz too."

There was a short pause, before Isabel heard Kyle clearing his throat. "I'll be there in five minutes." And he hung up.

On the other end of the room Maria was making her phone call.

"Valenti residence."

"Sheriff?"

"Maria? Is something wrong?"

"Uhm, can you come over to Michael's?"

With no hesitation, he answered. "I'll be there in a minute. Just tell me one thing. . ."

Knowing what he was asking, Maria answered with confidence. "Everyone's okay, right now. But this is big, okay?"

"Okay! On my way!"

And the phone was slammed down.

No more than five minutes later, both Valenti's were being filled in on the events of the morning. They were shown the flashes, then the research that the others had done. At that point, Isabel told them what had happened in her dreamwalk, ending with the strange man telling them to come, and bring the others.

Making a quick decision, they all moved to Jim Valenti's SUV, and piling in, they were on their way to the Sleepytime Inn within moments.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~


Part Three:

Crashdown:

Nancy still had yet to reach the Whitmans', knowing that despite Alex's passing, that they deserved to know the full truth of his conception. And Jim hadn't answered the phone either. Amy had promised to come to the dinner, but Nancy sensed some hesitation, figuring it had to do with telling Maria about everything. Suddenly the phone rang, startling her.

"Hello?"

"Nancy? It's Felicia Whitman. . .I'm returning your call."

"Oh Felicia! I'm so glad you returned my call. I was wondering if you and Charles could come by the diner, tonight? I have something I need you to hear."

There was a hesitation on the other end of the phone, "Uhm, okay. I think we can do that. I've been meaning to thank Liz, for her help, after. . ."

Nancy felt tears rise to her own eyes, as she heard the sadness in her friend's voice. She could only hope that her news wouldn't hurt her further. Clearing her throat she addressed the other woman. "Felicia, he was like Liz's brother. They loved one another, and his passing. . .it hurt her worse than we know. And I can tell you, she misses not only him, she misses you, and Chuck too. You were like an extra set of parents. She loves you."

"I know, and we love her as well. Maria too. When Alex was born, Chuck and I knew that we wouldn't have any other children, but we had friends, whose children would grow up with our son. And now. . .now I have those children, to remind me, of how wonderful my son was."

The two women talked for awhile longer, their tears mingling with laughter as they cherished the memory of a child who had gone.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~


Sleepytime Inn:

Liz was in tears once again, as she recalled her confrontation with the ghostly image of her love's sister. One part of her mind was thinking that she had wept more today than she had her entire life, while another part wasn't sure she could explain all that had occurred that day, and then bring up the possibility that Alex may still be alive. Especially to Isabel, who while seeming cool and collected most of the time, Liz knew that she was a mass of insecurities. Liz had no wish to hurt the other girl, at all, having seen how she had suffered after Alex had died. Now as she heard the sound of a car parking, Liz knew it was them, and she couldn't help but wish that this day was nothing more than a dream.

Nika said nothing as she prepared herself to face who she now knew to be the Royal family of Antar. The ones Kabo had told her had arrived on Earth in the 1940's, her counterparts. She wasn't sure how to feel about the fact that they were years younger than she was, but she knew, instinctively that she was much more prepared and more completely trained than they were.

Sergei's thoughts mirrored that of his love. And as he moved to open the door, he couldn't help but wonder what it was that drew two of the most powerful families in the galaxy to Roswell, New Mexico, and to each other.

Liz practically flew into Max's arms. He caught her and drew her close to him. In that instant it was as if the calm that Max had held onto so dearly, evaporated, and relief replaced it. Everyone felt the joy they exuded at the site of one another.

Isabel gazed at the man who had called her by her Antarian name, watching him as he watched Liz and Max. Maria was also watching the man, wondering about his tattoo, and why he seemed so familiar to her. Kyle was taking in the scene with a detachment he had learned as part of his Buddhist training, while his father stared at Beronika in astonishment.
Michael took everything in, his guard high, and his body tensed for attack.

Finally, Beronika took it upon herself to break the uneasy silence that had descended on the room. Moving to Liz and Max, her eyes full to overflowing with tears of happiness, she moved her hands and arms in a complex manner, ending in a short bow, to Max. Max stood, confused by the girl's manner, his arms still wrapped around Liz.

"Kumayo, Lein Zan, damao lat." Beronika said, the words flowing melodiously from her lips. Max simply continued to stare at her in confusion.

Maria raised her hand, and shook it slightly as if to gain attention, which she did as everyone turned to her. "Uh, excuse me, yeah, uhm, Nika? Question, uh, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?! Who is that guy, what are you guys doing here, why did Liz faint, why does that guy have mine and Kyle's name tattooed on his arm, for that matter why do you have Alien tattooed on your arm, and what the hell did you just say?!" Maria ranted, not even stopping for breath.

Beronika laughed, her joy ringing out in the room full of confused people. "How about I start off with what I said?" Nika answered, her voice still full of laughter. Max nodded, he too had been wondering what she had said.

"I spoke in the tongue of my people, and I said, 'Greetings, King Zan, blessed be.' Which is the traditional greeting of my people."

"Your people? And you still haven't answered the rest of my questions. . ." Maria asked.

"No I haven't, but you see, I was going to explain all of this, or rather most of it tonight, at the dinner, Nancy is holding. I guess I should just do it now, instead. All of you should sit." Each of the teens, and Jim did so, except for Michael, who stayed standing, his body still tense. "Rath, please, I will not harm you, nor your kin. I swear it on . . .on the Ushari Damae. The Blessed Spirits."

Michael glanced at everyone else's faces then reluctantly took a seat, though he remained with his back in the corner, and tensed, prepared for attack.

Then Nika, Sergei and Liz took turns explaining the events leading to them all sitting in this room. Isabel interrupted once to tell of what she had seen this morning, then Max and Michael told of their search for information on the tattoos. Maria's face became ashen at the thought of her being in any way alien, but as Michael's hands stroked her back, soothingly, she thought to herself that if he was by her side, she could handle anything.

Jim remained silent, his heart constricting tightly at the knowledge of what his ex-wife had given up in order to protect their son and him. Kyle's stoicism was breaking as he thought of all the anger he still felt at his mom, and reconciling that with the sacrifice she had made for him and the others. Iz, Max and Michael all felt similar degrees of relief and wonder at the thought that they weren't alone in the world, and that their journey could be shared by their loved ones in this room.

Everything stopped however, when Nika mentioned Alex, and his being alive. Isabel's face went pale, while Max and Michael nearly erupted in anger.

"WAIT! Please, let me finish, I beg of you." Nika held her hands up imploringly. Slowly everyone subsided, allowing her to finish. "Like I told Liz, the device that monitors Liz, Kyle, Maria and Alex, it merely shows that your chips are active, nothing more. I have no tools in which to find Alex with, I only know that he remains among the living."

"But I promise, I will do everything in my power to return Liz's brother to her." Nika finished.

"Her BROTHER?" Maria sputtered, while everyone else reflected their surprise.

"Yes, I did tell you that besides the Heir, myself, and my consort, Sergei, that two of my siblings, and two children of the most respected family of Bodyguards on Ikaydia were sent to Earth. Liz and Alex are my siblings."

"I'm your sister?" Liz asked hesitantly, raising her eyes to Nika. "Why didn't you tell me that?"

Nika hesitated, before replying, her voice soft, and her tone reflecting her insecurity. "I, I didn't, didn't want you to hate, me."

Liz rose, from her position on Max's lap, moving to stand in front of the other girl. Without warning Liz pulled Nika into a bone-crushing hug. "I could never hate you, Nika. You've given me hope, that Alex may still be alive, that I may have a future with my love. I love you."

Nika hugged Liz back, crying softly.

"Okay, okay, enough with the mushy stuff! I still wanna know why Sergei has mine and Kyle's name tattooed on his bicep!" Maria interrupted the moment, knowing that if it continued she would end up in tears herself.

"I want to know too." Kyle and Jim said simultaneously.

Sergei stepped forward to answer this question. "That would be because, you are my kin. What Nika failed to mention was that while you and Kyle come from the most respected family of Bodyguards on the planet of Ikaydia, was that I do as well."

"You're my. . . brother? Kyle, too?" Maria asked, her voice shaky.

Kyle looked at his father, the idea of him having more family exciting to him. Jim looked stunned, unable to comprehend all the information that had been thrown at him today. He could almost accept the fact that his only child was a half alien, but with everything else it was too much, Jim was on overload. Maria wasn't sure what she felt, but when she looked at Sergei, she knew what he said was true.

Instead of putting pressure on Kyle or Maria to say or do anything, Sergei turned the conversation to other matters. "In a matter of a couple of hours, we have to explain this situation, to Ms. DeLuca, and the Whitmans, I think its time we started planning that."

Max, Isabel and Michael looked shocked at the very idea of telling anyone. Sergei caught their looks of surprise, and fought back a laugh. "You did not think we would simply take Liz, Kyle, Maria and Alex without consulting their families, did you?"

"Well, uhm, yeah." Michael felt compelled to answer.

"No way! I don't want Aunt Nancy or Uncle Jeff to kill me, thank you very much. Not to mention what my mom, Andrea or Kabo would do to me if I did that!" Nika said shuddering lightly, before laughing.

Slowly one by one the entire room was engulfed in laughter as they released the built up tension of the day. Liz, Isabel and Maria were giggling uncontrollably, while Michael worked so desperately to maintain his stonewall façade. Max was helplessly laughing as he ping-ponged back and forth in watching the girls and Michael's struggles. Jim and Kyle were in the same position, but had the further enjoyment of watching Max as well. Nika and Sergei held each other, giggling softly, as they watched the teens mirth.

As the laughter faded, Isabel brought up a point that had puzzled everyone. "Nika, I understand that you say Alex is alive, which honestly, I am ecstatic about. . . but when you said that you had a device that monitored them, but couldn't tell you where he was, only that he was alive, how do you propose to save him?"

Nika smiled faintly, before shrugging. "I don't know, Vilandra, I am sorry."

Isabel looked disheartened. "Okay, I understand. But could you please call me Isabel. . .I don't much care for Vilandra."

Nika nodded. "I must call Kabo, and see if he has a device to search out Alex with."

Liz's head leapt from Max's shoulder, as she had a sudden inspiration. "Wait, Nika. . .I have an idea of how we can find Alex, right now!"

"HOW?" Nika was just as anxious to find Alex as everyone else, he was her brother, and she hadn't seen him in over 10 yrs!

"Isabel can dreamwalk him!" And as Liz said it, everyone realized what they had been missing. Isabel smiled brilliantly at Liz.

"Wait, but why didn't we . . ." Maria started to ask, but was quickly interrupted by Isabel.

"Because we believed that he was dead. There was no reason to dreamwalk a dead person." Isabel said softly.

Nika and Sergei looked confused, "What is a dreamwalk?" asked Sergei.

Isabel smiled, "If I have a picture of somebody, I can form a connection with their unconscious selves, either in sleep or sometimes when they are awake. That's how you saw me, earlier, I was dreamwalking Liz."

Sergei and Nika nodded thoughtfully, they had thought that it was merely an illusion sent to them.

"Huh, that makes me wonder, if I'm an alien, or part alien, why don't I have powers?" Maria asked.

"How about we answer the rest of your questions tonight?" Nika said, smiling at Maria.

"Sounds good to me, I never ate the lunch Sergei brought and cold Chinese doesn't sound good, maybe we should all head over to the diner, and get this over with. Then we can come back here and try to dreamwalk Alex." Liz stated, her stomach growling softly again.

Nika and Sergei laughed at the reminder of their earlier giggle fit, but agreed. Soon the entire group was headed to the Crashdown.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~


Part Four:

On the way over to the Crashdown, Isabel turned to Max, her wishes plain to see. "Max, uhm. . .can we, uh, I mean. . ."

Max knew exactly what she was asking, but wasn't sure how to respond. He desperately wished to tell their parents, but could he risk it? It seemed to him that Nika and Sergei weren't worried, so maybe. . .

"Call 'em, tell them they gotta meet us at the Crashdown, we can tell everyone at once. It makes sense, we can protect each other better now, with Sergei and Nika, and all the parents on our side." Max said decisively, after glancing around at the expectant faces in the SUV, knowing that everyone wanted this as well.

Isabel had tears in her eyes, as she leaned forward and kissed her brother on the cheek, before using her cell phone. Michael looked uncomfortable, but when Maria leaned into him, kissing him softly on the mouth and whispered to him, "They will accept you too," he relaxed. Max backed her up by squeezing his shoulder and nodding.

The large SUV arrived at the diner, and everyone piled out, heading inside quickly. Inside all of the parents, except the Evans' had arrived.

Felicia and Charles Whitman greeted the teens with hugs, and smiles. The teens returned them, but said nothing about Alex, they left that to Sergei and Nika to explain. Amy and Nancy left the kitchen carry massive platters of food, followed by Jeff with a tray of drinks. Kyle, Sergei, Michael and Max all moved to help the ladies, and Jeff, earning much gratitude.

Everyone avoided talking about why they were here, until the Evans' arrived, having been told by Nika and Isabel that they were coming. A scant 10mins. later the Evans' arrived, they had become worried when Isabel had called, Diane thought Isabel might have been crying, so they had rushed right over.

Once everyone was seated, Jeff had pulled together 5 tables for everyone to sit at, and had food on their plates, Nika stood and introduced herself.

"Hello, uhm my name is Nika, uhmm Beronika Badrian, I'm a friend of Jeff and Nancy's. Though I know a few of you, the Whitman's and Amy, uh I don't know the Evans'. So Hi!" The teens laughed at how awkward Nika had become, but everyone thought it was adorable.

Amy and the Whitman's tossed hello's back and so did the Evans'.

"I guess I should explain why I'm here, and why you’re here. . . No, first I should give you a bit of a history lesson. Please don't ask questions, and don't interrupt, and while this may sound incredible and unreal, I will be able to prove it all to you, in the end. . .Okay?" Nika received nods in return, from all, so she began her story.

"Now as I said this may sound unreal, but please hear me out. In 1950, a planet approximately 20 parsecs from Earth or 65 light years away, called Ikaydia, was facing invasion, from a man everyone called the Prexoran Menace. Prexor was where he came from, and he was as evil and as power mad as any dictator on Earth, worse perhaps since he had entire solar systems to conquer. The ruler of the planet of Ikaydia, Queen Kadiya and her husband, Consort Orgustus, were frantic to find a way to preserve the Royal line, in the hopes that someday there would be a way to overthrow the dictator."

Everyone sat in silence as Nika recited her tale, the parents, save for Jim, Jeff and Nancy listened in bemused disbelief, until they saw their children listening raptly. It wasn't something they could explain, but in that moment they began to believe Nika's tale.

"The Menace had taken over five systems, Biri, Koiru Prime, Rixu-Tlai, Kao'Vazu, and Antar." Nika looked over at Max, Michael and Isabel. "It was the last systems' capture, that set Kadiya to worrying, for they were allies of Ikaydia. The King of Antar, Zan, his sister, Vilandra, Second-in-Command, Rath, and his betrothed, Ava, were all killed."

This time the parents noticed that Nika was staring directly at Max, Michael and Isabel. Their gaze was torn between watching the teens reactions, and Nika's face as she told the story.

"With their deaths, the seven systems, known as the Galactic Empire, run by the Royal Alliance Council, dissolved. Soon the Empire was overrun by the Prexoran. The mother of the Royal Family of Antar saw this and decided to send the essences of her slain children, to Earth in hybrid bodies. Two years later, Ikaydia was the Prexoran's next target, and Kadiya and Orgustus turned to their friend and confidant, a respected doctor. This doctor came up with a plan to send three of the Queen's fertilized embryos to Earth."

Everyone listened attentively, leaning forward to catch every word.

"The doctor was sent along with the embryos, of the Queen, as well as embryos of the second most powerful family on Ikaydia. The six embryos, and the doctor traveled through a local wormhole, which would take them most of the way to Earth in a matter of hours, however it also took them 27 yrs. into the future as well." Nika paused, taking a deep breath before continuing.

"The ship with the doctor and the six embryos landed in a deserted area of the San Luis Valley in Colorado, in the year 1977. The doctor set up shop, as it were, in Albuquerque, masquerading as a fertility doctor."

Amy and the Whitman's gasped, knowing in that instant that what was said next, it would forever change their lives.

"Dr. Kabo, was the man you knew, who helped the families in this room, save the Evans', to conceive. I am Beronika Valencia Badrian, daughter of Muttahar and Safati Badrian, but I am also the Heir to the Throne of Ikaydia, daughter of Kadiya and Orgustus of Ikaydia."

Turning to Liz, she held the other girl's hand tightly as she told the last of her story. "Liz, is my sister, a daughter of Kadiya and Orgustus, while Alex is my brother. Sergei, my fiancé, is from the other family, and he will become my consort. Kyle is his brother, and Maria his sister."

"Your children, they are important. And right now they are becoming dangerous. Kabo implanted all of the children, except myself and Sergei, with small micro-chips, that monitored them, as well as inhibiting any powers they may develop. However the chips only had a life of 18yrs, and that is almost up. When they stop working, your children's powers will explode, unless we, Kabo, myself and Sergei, can train them. I must leave, tomorrow afternoon at the latest, and I must take them with me."

Jim, Jeff and Nancy were prepared for this, but Amy was in shock. The Whitman's were in tears, having to relive the loss of their only child with talk of his conception, but were also puzzled, with Alex gone, why were they there in the first place? Diane and Phillip Evans were also puzzled at why they were there for what was obviously a private meeting, one that involved alien's no less. . .



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 21-Jan-2003 12:12:43 AM ]

posted on 21-Jan-2003 12:18:05 AM

Chapter Seven:

Charles Whitman stood, his hand resting in his wife's, as he faced the young woman called Nika. Tears glistened in his eyes, but he was calm and composed. "Young lady, if what you say is true, why are my wife and I here? Alex has. . .p-p-passed on. What use do you have for telling us?"

Nika saw the anguish in his face, and couldn't help but catch a sob in her throat. They had lived with the knowledge of their son's death for 2months, what if she couldn't get him back? Sergei saw her indecision, and gave her an encouraging smile, silently urging her to continue.

"Sir, I-I-I, uhm, it was only two hours ago that I found out that Alex had passed away. Liz told me, letting me know some of her secrets in the process. She and the other teens here, and your son, lived through more in the last year, than any of you know. But as I told them, I have proof that Alex is still alive." Nika kept her eyes on Charles Whitman's face, saw him gray and gasp, and watched as he sought out his wife's face for confirmation of what he had just heard. Felicia was just as stunned, tears coming to her eyes, though they also filled with anger.

"HOW COULD YOU?! Why would you lie, lie about my boy like that? He's gone! He has to be, otherwise he would be here with us!" Felicia screamed, before collapsing back into her chair.

All of the parents looked shocked, except for Jim, (of course). Eyes wide, they were watching the faces of the teens, who all smiled and nodded at them, telling them silently that they believed Nika.

"Can I show you something?" Nika asked the distraught parents of her brother. She pulled out the hand-held monitor. She turned it so everyone could read the display. Pointing to the first line, she said, "This line, the yellow one, shows the status of Maria's chip, do you see the way it is slowly shrinking? That indicates that the chip is slowly degrading, and will be ineffective within a matter of days. The orange line is Kyle's. The blue one, is Liz's. And here," she points to the last line, glowing bright green. "this is Alex. The green one. His chip is still active, still monitoring him. And his is degrading faster than the others. I'm not sure why, and I'm still unsure how he is alive."

Felicia and Charles' eyes were glued to the monitor, looking hesitantly at Nika when she gave it to them to hold. Whispering softly to each other they took in the fact that their only child may still be among the living.

Nancy and Jeff held each other, praying for their friends. Amy turned to the comfort of Jim, who hugged her close. Kyle and Maria exchanged glances filled with a strange mixture of mirth and fear. Diane and Phillip were stunned by this turn of events.

Taking matters into his own hands, Phillip stood, he wanted to know why he and his family were there at all. Nika saw this, but was unsure what to say, if anything. Max closed his eyes briefly, gripping tightly to Liz's hand on one side, and Isabel's on the other, he stood to confront his father.

"I demand to know why we, my family-" He was cut-off by Max's stare. His son stood level with him, and the fear he saw gleaming from his eyes was overwhelming. "Max?"

"Dad, sit down, I promise I will explain, okay?" Max waited as his father sank slowly into his chair.

"Uhm, there's a lot I could say. I'm just not sure where to start." Max said, shakily. Liz gripped his hand tighter.

"Nika spoke of the Royal family of Antar, the King, Zan, his betrothed, Ava, his sister, Vilandra, and his second-in-command, Rath. She told you how their essences were contained in hybrid bodies, and sent to Earth." Max took a deep breath, keeping his gaze on the hand that was entwined with Liz's, seeking the comfort of her touch.

"In 1947, there WAS a UFO crash outside of Roswell. The government even knew that aliens' survived the crash. Among the survivors was a set of eight pods, each containing a hybrid baby. The pods were taken by one of the other survivors, a shape-shifting alien, and hidden. Four were hidden in a cave not far from Roswell. The others were hidden elsewhere." Max was hesitant to mention the Dupes, but felt the need to at least include them a little. "It took many years, over 40, for the babies within the pods to mature. In 1989, three of them opened, and two little boys and a little girl emerged."

Diane's eyes widened, the implications of what Max was saying stunning her. Phillip merely watched his son, closely.

"Those three children. . .it was us. Me, Isabel and Michael." Max stated calmly.

"Y-you're, al-al-aliens?" Diane stuttered.

"Yes."

"Well, that explains a lot." Phillip stated. Everyone's eyes swung to him, incredulously.

Max finally looked up at his father, his gaze stunned.

"W-what?"

"Well, we find two 5yr. olds wandering in the desert, they don't understand nor speak any known language, though they certainly seem to communicate between the two of them. You learnt to speak and read within days. Max, when you were younger, you could heal, with a touch. We even videotaped you doing it once. You both were so closed off, except with Michael."

Diane was nodding thoughtfully, her head cocked to the side, as she gazed at her silent son.

"Why didn't tell us?" She asked, then shook her head ruefully. "Of course, you were afraid, of our reactions."

Isabel stood, her arms crossed defensively in front of her. Max held her arm, comfortingly, as he watched his parents watch them. Michael simply sat silently, Maria's arm wrapped around him.

"Yes, we were afraid. Not just of you, but for you. You raised us, gave us love, and a home, but if we were discovered, we feared that you would be harmed. We thought that we were protecting you." Isabel finally spoke.

"Two years ago, I've was forced to reveal our secret to Liz, after she was shot, cause I healed her. Slowly we let her and the others in, but still we were afraid. We had a determined Sheriff on our cases," Max shared a rueful look with Jim, who grinned lightly. "As well as others. But last summer, we gained an adult ally, in Jim. We also found out about our destinies, and we again made the decision to keep it from you. I lived through torture, all to protect my family, and I'm not gonna regret that decision."

"T-t-t-torture?" Diane and Phillip stuttered together.

Liz took up the story, she could tell that Max was struggling not to relive his time in the White Room. "Yes, and not just physical. But it's not the point. . .the point is, will you accept Max, your son, and Isabel, your daughter, despite the fact that they are not human. Can you accept the fact that your son, is King, of an entire race of beings? Will you accept his powers and not revile him? His greatest fear, it's not the FBI or alien head-hunters, but whether or not you will be afraid of him."

Diane stood, followed by Phillip. She stood before her son, though she may not have given birth to him or her daughter, and unhesitatingly embraced him tightly. Phillip grabbed Isabel and the four gave meaning to 'group hug'. Max pulled away slightly, enough so that everyone could witness the joy and tears on his face, and yanked Michael into the hug as well. Diane and Phillip enveloped him as well, Diane showering his face with kisses, and Phillip gazing warmly on the wayward young man. Michael surrendered himself to the sensation of being within a loving family, his teary eyes locked with those of Maria, who smiled happily despite the tears streaming down her face.

Not a soul in the room was without tears in their eyes, as they felt hope fill them. The Whitman's had listened to the entire exchange, but their eye's had yet to waver from the screen. The Parker's were stunned by the revelation, of Max and Isabel, but saw Liz's obvious love for him and knew in that instant that their little girl was no more, in her place stood a woman, one of enduring strength. Amy and Jim watched the others, Jim stroking Amy's arm softly, as she watched her daughter gaze into the eyes of the Guerin boy, love shining from every pore. The Evans' felt a tension that held their son and daughter from them, break. Michael felt for the first time a part of the family he had so envied.

Nika and Sergei witnessed the scene with a sense that this was simply the beginning.

~⊕~⊕~⊕~


Unknown Location:

Alex shifted his aching body, trying to be silent so not to wake Tess from an already fitful sleep. In the months that had passed where they had been kept in this small dank cell, he had gotten to know and admire the girl, having seen the courage with which she protected her child. He could only wish in the silent moments before they came for him again, that someone would hear his silent pleas, and rescue them soon.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 21-Jan-2003 12:27:10 AM ]

posted on 21-Jan-2003 12:25:58 AM

Chapter Eight:

Small Clinic in Crestone, Colorado:

"Take this two times a day, Eli, okay? That should clear up the ear infection, and it won't interfere with the cough medication."

The older man, looked down at his patient, who smiled gratefully.

"Thanks, Dr. Kabo. Joanna was getting sick of hearing me complain."

"Well, tell her it should only take a few days, we can't have the Principal sick, can we?" Kabo laughed, slapping Eli on his back, companionably.

"I think the students would disagree, but . . . Hey are you and Andrea gonna come to the stables for dinner next week?"

Kabo looked uncertain, but he saw Andrea shaking her head 'YES' and nodded in response, then waved the smaller man out the door.

A tall man, towering over 6'7", he wore his salt-n-pepper hair long in a braid, his distinguished features, offset by the mischievous gleam he had in his green eyes. He never wore a suit or tie, both of which were entirely inappropriate in the small town in which he lived, preferring jeans and a white tee-shirt with a plaid button-up on, over it.

His work roughened hands had seen many of the children born in this town into the world, and he could honestly say that he loved the town in which he lived, the community was small but kind, having welcomed him nearly 15yrs before. He had made many a friend here, and when he was joined 8yrs ago by Andrea, they had welcomed her as well.

A small, (small) town, located in the San Luis Valley, in Colorado, Crestone was a former silver mining town. Now it was known more for the 'kooks' that lived there. Many UFO enthusiasts and hippies called the town and outlying county home, (The San Luis Valley has had over 5,000 sightings of UFO's in the past 15yrs, possibly more,) though the towns official population barely crested at 1,000. The local school was only 200 students, and it was Kindergarten thru 12th grade, and covered two counties!! (A/N: This town really does exist, as does the school, I should know, I graduated from it!! "Eli" is also real, he's my UNCLE! And yes he really was principal of my school.)

The nearest 'big' town, was Alamosa, nearly 50miles away, and its population was 7,000. This all suited Kabo, perfectly. He could continue practicing medicine, keep a low profile, and be in touch with the 'UFO' community which was based out of the small town. Andrea and he had made a small mark for themselves with a community clinic, which they ran, and were well liked by the community as a whole.

When Beronika was 12, and her powers had become more out of control, he had insisted that Muttahar and Safati send her here, to him, so she could be trained. For the next 6yrs he had the charge of the young Heir, and with Andrea's help had raised her well. She had gone to the local school, and been an exceptional student both in regular school, and in the studies he had set for her. She had seen her parents at every opportunity, but everyone, Beronika included, thought it would be safer for her to remain with the other Ikaydian.

Those 6yrs. had been wonderful, training the Heir as he had trained Kadiya before her. It was no small task, but he took so much joy from it, for Nika, was talented and powerful, and so much Kadiya's child that he became hopeful for the future of his people. With Andrea's help, and the love of her parents, he had raised the Heir, and he couldn't be more proud of her.

Now the other children were coming, and his duty would be to train them as best he could, in whatever talents they displayed, and if he could not. . .he would bind those powers, and send them home to their parents. They would not survive in a war against the Prexoran Menace, if they were untrained, or un-trainable.

Shaking these uncomfortable thoughts from his head he turned to Andrea, who he found watching him in bemusement.

"Heavy thoughts?" she asked teasingly.

"Aye, two tons or more!" Came his reply.

Andrea gazed back at her friend, the man whose cause she had given her life to.

"Well, shove 'em off, cause you have another patient coming in. It's Mrs. Shellabarger, her hip is hurtin' again."

"If she'd stop and let her boys do the heavy haulin' around that big ole place of hers, it might not hurt her so often. . .but that's like asking the sun not to rise. She wouldn't know what to do with herself!" Kabo shook his head ruefully at the thought of the 60+ yr. old woman who still insisted on doing some of the hardest chores around her ranch, despite having had a hip replacement.

Andrea laughed, agreeing with Kabo's assessment. Kabo took that moment to appreciate the view. Andrea was short, only about 5'5" tall, barely reaching his collar-bone. Her hair still the golden-blonde from when he had met her, though now lightly streaked with gray, was tied up with a strip of leather, though wisps had escaped to frame her tanned face. Wide green eyes, outlined by long lashes and a delicate brow. Her lips were perpetually bowed into a smile, her sunny nature shining through her grins. She was dressed as simply as he was, trading his plaid button-ups and white tee, for a long-sleeved thermal with the sleeves pushed up, or in hot weather, a tank-top. Her body fit from life out in the back of nowhere, she exuded a grace that captivated everyone around her.

"Well, send her in. And Andy," calling her by his pet name, "If Nika calls. . ."

"I'll interrupt ya, doncha worry!"

"Thanks."

~⊕~⊕~⊕~


The Crashdown:

Slowly everyone sat down again, and as their tears dried, their smiles grew. Finally the parents and children were sharing in each other's lives. Sergei and Nika sat to the side, observing it all, but time was limited and they both knew that there was still more to be said.

Sergei stood, a bit uncomfortable, and cleared his throat loudly, drawing everyone's attention to him.

"Look I know, really I know, how emotional this is for you all, I had to go through this myself. But as Nika explained, we are running out of time. Liz, Kyle, Maria and Alex's chips are degrading, we have reason to believe Liz's may have malfunctioned, and Alex is still missing. We have to resolve some of these issues quickly." Sergei sat down.

Jeff and Nancy looked alarmed at the thought of Liz's chip was malfunctioning. "What exactly do you mean about Liz's chip?"

Nika fielded that question. "Well, the chip's are designed to inhibit their natural powers, Kabo decided to do this so that they could live normal lives, among humans. It was so they could blend in. However, when Liz and I. . .connected, earlier, so that I could see what had happened to her and her friends, I also witnessed her **flashes**. Which highly resemble some of the powers Ikaydians possess. My thought is that when Max healed Liz, he scrambled the chips signals. Which could cause the chip to degrade faster."

Jim now looked alarmed, "Nika, he also healed Kyle."

Kyle nodded, but said, "Yeah, but I haven't had flashes or anything. No otherworldly powers. . .yet."

"I think I should call Kabo, inform him of what is going on." Nika pulled out her cell phone, and began dialing numbers, but soon felt a hand stopping her.

"Should you call, over a cell phone? Isn't it dangerous?" Max asked, removing his hand.

"Not really, it's not exactly a normal cell phone." Nika shows the crowd. While it resembles a cell phone, and even has the same capabilities of one, it also has a series of brightly colored buttons along the bottom and the display is much larger than a normal cell phone.

Nika points to one of the buttons, a bright yellow. "This one scrambles the message, making it impossible for anyone to understand what is being said," pointing to a violet colored button, "This one masks the signal, making it seem like normal radio waves. The others have various functions, but all are designed to in some way mask the phone's existence."

"Bet that cuts your phone bills down, but how do you get coverage?" Joked Michael.

Everyone laughs lightly.

"Oh you know, those interstellar phone plans!" Nika responded.

"AT&T has those now? I better get signed up!"

"Oh not AT&T, but Qwest, afterall they wanna take over the world anyway!" Replied Sergei laughing."

Nika giggles as she dials the last two numbers, waiting for someone to pick up.

"Crestone County Free Clinic."

"Andy?"

"Nika? Is that you?"

"Yeah, Andy, is Kabo around?"

"Sure sweetie, he's been really anxious, to hear from you! Is everything okay?" Andy could hear the tension in the girl's voice.

"It's hard to explain. . .could ya get Kabo, and then I can tell you both at once."

"Of course, he's with Mrs. Shellabarger right now, but he should be finishing up soon, gimme a minute okay?"

Nika waited patiently for Kabo to get to the phone. Less than a minute later, the man she thought of as a second father, picked up the phone.

"Nika? I'm so glad to hear from you, I've been getting worried."

"I can't explain, now, over the phone, but it's important that you send me a way to locate one of the kids."

"Nika. . .what's going on? What's happened?" Kabo sounded very concerned, 'What did she mean, find one of the kids?'

"I can't explain. I'm just not sure how to."

"Try."

"Onkayle, sha'bot ik sune kai. Alex lorv ze daivos. Ro lidan dromos zhe' icklan zanfeam gamos landorsh'n. Daz van lumor questo ik ze sant daivos, lumorl van?" Nika once again spoke in the language of the Ikaydians, which sounded like a mixture of Spanish, Japanese, and a bit like Native American, with some glottal stops and a weird lispy way of saying words.

Sergei wrote down what she had said, so that everyone would understand.

::Uncle, there is bad news. Alex may be dead. The police claim that he was in a car accident. But you would know if he were dead, wouldn't you?::

The other end of the line was silent for a few moments as Kabo attempted to comprehend all that she had said. Nika became worried however, and gave voice to one of her fears.

"Onkayle, Ve lumor questa ik Alex san daivos, roda?"

::Uncle, I would know if Alex was dead, right?":: Sergei translated once again. Everyone breathlessly awaited the answer, Nika holding the phone in such a way that everyone could hear Kabo when he spoke, yet still being able to speak clearly into the phone herself.

"Za Kinshe! Van der azadai, van der zet wasoli! Van lumor questo, xixiosticoliko!"

Everyone again turned to Sergei for translation. Nika was unable to say anything.

::Of Course! You are family, you are his sister. You would know, instinctively!::

There were shouts of joy as everyone in the room embraced, crying out in happiness.

"Nika, what's going on! I need to know!" Kabo shouted, Andy murmuring in the background.

"Onkayle, you and Andy should come down here. I'm not sure, but I think that the, Prexorans are here on Earth, and they may or may not know who we ALL are."

"We will be there in a few hours." Kabo said so simply, and then hung up.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 21-Jan-2003 12:28:05 AM ]