Title: Hail Jing-Bang – 43
Author: Red the Mighty
Email: red⊕ctepc.com
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Roswell belongs to 20th Century Fox and UPN and not to me.
Category: Other (CC)
Summary: Secret bases, conspiracies, evil aliens, truth, lies, betrayal, and things not being as they seem. All that good stuff.
Spoilers: Could be anything up to To Serve and Protect I guess.
Feedback: Yes please. I love feedback; it makes me so happy.
Archive: Hey, it’s all yours, just drop me a line telling me where so I can visit.

You can find all previous parts to Hail Jing-Bang fic here
http://www.geocities.com/redthemighty/library/fiction_roz.html

Just reposting this here, in case somebody missed it. *big*

******

"Don’t say it," Max ordered preemptively when he saw his sister stalking towards him.

She gave him a humorless smile. "Mom saw you two."

"I told you not to say it," he groaned. "I’m trying very hard not to think about that right now."

Isabel threw herself casually onto a chair next to her brother and poked disinterestedly at the papers spread out on the small table in front of him. "Can I just tell you how tired I am of having to cover for you? I can’t even begin to imagine having a more annoying brother."

Max glanced sideways at her, giving her a sour look before turning back to what he was doing. "Michael?" He suggested.

Isabel considered it for a moment but then shook her head. "No, not even Michael. Honestly Max, what the hell did you think you were doing sleeping with Liz while our parents were out here? Are you completely insane or has this whole king deal sucked out your last remaining brain cells?"

Max sat back with a weary sigh and glared at his sister. "Did you come in here for a reason or was it just to bitch me out."

"Mainly just to bitch you out," she confirmed. "And to tell you that we’re leaving in a few minutes."

Max nodded. "Good. I think Michael’s right." He stopped speaking and gave his sister a small smile. "And who thought those words would ever come out of my mouth? Anyway, I think he’s right and I’ll feel better when we’re all out of here. This just sitting around is making me nervous."

"Are you going to come say goodbye to Mom and Dad?"

"Oh, uh, yeah. I’ll be right there." Max shuffled his papers uncomfortably.

"Don’t be such a coward," she chastised with a roll of her eyes. "Mom’s not going to let you get away without a little talk. Whether it’s now or next week, she will get you."

He quirked his mouth in a small grimace. "Yeah, yeah. I know. Give me a break, Is."

"Well then, get off your ass Max." Isabel stood up and stared at her brother until he moved to join her.

He followed Isabel while she strode briskly towards the waiting vehicles and the knot of people gathered there.

Max nodded to Alex and Kyle who were leaning tiredly against a truck chatting genially while they watched the others mill about preparing to leave the camp. Isabel stopped next to Alex and gave Max a significant look. He shot her another glare and approached his parents.

"Hey Mom, Dad, you guys ready to leave?"

"Are you sure this is a good idea Max? Maybe we shouldn’t be separated. Didn’t you mention that you four were more powerful together?" His mother asked, worry heavy in her voice.

"Well technically Isabel is my heir, until we can figure out where the Disciple is and how to deal with him, it’s better if we’re not together. Don’t worry, it’ll be fine. We’ll be harder targets to hit if we’re in smaller groups." He stopped speaking when he noticed how pale his parents had become. Maybe it was best if he didn’t tell them all the details, he thought. "Um, so anyway, hopefully it won’t be for too long and we won’t really be out of contact with you. Michael’s sending some of his people with you and I’ve got some of mine going with you, too. Plus, Isabel and Tess are more then powerful enough to keep you all safe."

"And what about you?" Philip asked his son.

"I’ll be fine. Between Michael, Liz and I we shouldn’t have too much problem. I hope." He shrugged uncertainly. "It’s the best we can do for now."

Diane wrapped Max in a tight hug. "I don’t like this, Max, but I understand. Please, promise me you’ll be careful sweetheart."

Max returned his mother’s embrace. "I promise. Look, it’ll be okay. Really," he tried to comfort his parents but his words sounded weak and hollow to his own ears. He was sure they weren’t any more convinced by his efforts then he was.

He pulled away from his mother and noticed the others had begun to climb into the vehicles. "You have to get going," he told them quietly.

Max stepped back and watched almost numbly as the small group drove out of the camp. He shoved his hands in the pockets of his jacket and simply stood for a while. His stomach was churning, his nerves wound so tight he could hardly stand still. There was so much going on and at the same time nothing he could do right now. He had to wait and wait and wait. Turning abruptly he jogged back towards his tent, desperate to do something to take his mind off of his worries.

"Back off, man, just back the hell off."

Max stopped running and turned his head towards the angry roar that erupted to his left. Michael, Maria, and Liz were sitting near the command tent, watching as the camp was disbanded. Surrounding them were the swarm of officers and stewards that followed the royal family wherever they were. Michael had one of the men by his lapels, pulling him down to where he was sitting.

"If you touch me or my stuff again . . ." Michael trailed off dangerously, bringing his hand up, the green glow of his powers reflecting in the nervous man’s eyes.

Max growled softly at the new tension, annoyed that Michael couldn’t even seem to make it through the day without reverting to his usually irritable self. Max rolled his head tiredly on his shoulders before walking over to his friends.

He needn’t have worried that Michael would go too far. Seconds after Michael grabbed the man; Maria smacked the back of his head and pulled Michael’s glowing hand down, liberating the poor fellow. The man stumbled back slightly, looking about wild-eyed. Maria gave Michael a dirty look and stood up to put a gentle hand on the man’s arm.

"We have him on medication, the doctors say he should be able to go out in public unsupervised soon. We don’t even have to keep him in restraints anymore," she told him with a smile.

The man laughed nervously. "Yes, ma’am."

"And, hey, if next time you need to get our laundry you want to bring a bazooka with you, I totally understand. Just try not to get anything on my red sweater. That really cute one with the low neck."

"Yes, ma’am, I’ll try." His gave her a much more relaxed smile and bowed slightly as he left.

Maria turned back around and aimed a kick at Michael’s leg. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

He pushed her foot away. "Look, I’m sick of these guys hanging all over me."

"Michael this is their job. It’s that man’s job to make your life easier, not that you deserve it."

"I don’t need some guy hanging around asking me if I need something every two seconds," he shot back hotly.

"Michael, jackass, do I need to explain to you again that you are these people’s General?"

"That doesn’t mean I need some geek breathing down my neck."

"Let these people do their jobs and get over yourself. Got it? Please don’t make me make your life hell."

Max stood by, amused, while the pair bickered. He glanced down at Liz who gave him a wry smile and rolled her eyes. She held her hand out to him and let him pull her up.

"If you two are done, we should probably get going," Liz told them.

Michael muttered something under his breath, making every appearance of reluctance before finally getting to his feet.

"What’s wrong, Michael? This was your idea," Liz said.

"Yeah, I know it was," he replied shortly. "I’m just tired." He shrugged uncomfortably. "And I just don’t like . . ."

"What?"

"Nothing, never mind."

Maria rolled her eyes, then grabbed Michael by his neck, pulling his face down to hers. "Get used to it, Michael. You wanted me with you, well here I am. So don’t pull any of that wishing I was somewhere else crap."

Michael pulled back, a slightly offended look on his face. "How do you know that’s what I was going to say. I could’ve been about to say I don’t like not getting any sleep. Or that I just don’t like missing this part of the hockey season. Games are starting to really count now, you know."

"Give it up, Guerin," Maria told him with a smirk.

"You’re delusional, Deluca. You know that right?"

"You know, I think I must be. I mean, here I am dating a Weekly World News cover story."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"Figure it out, Michael."

"Was that an alien crack?"

"Michael, would I ever mock your heritage?" Maria said sincerely, clasping her hands to her chest.

Michael narrowed his eyes and glared down at her. "Yes," he said simply.

"Han, Leia," Max interrupted hurriedly, taking advantage of the slight lull in their spat. "If you could save this conversation for later, I’d really like to get out of here."

Maria sidled over to Max, happily ignoring Michael’s indignant sputtering, and slipped her arm in his, drawing him away. "So where we off to, Girlfriend?"

Max gave her an amused glance and finally laughed outright. "We’re off to the lovely Desert Inn out on Highway 70."

"Ahh, swanky. In that fleabag sort of way. How’d the King score such super digs?"

"They don’t ask any questions and they don’t see anything," he told her.

"Just the way we like it," she said sagely.

******

"Why are you running girl?"

Liz looked back over her shoulder, fear gripping her belly, but she remained silent and pushed her legs to run faster.

Liz ran down a snow-covered hill, her feet slipping and sliding out from under her. She fell once, and after looking frantically behind her, she picked herself up and ran again.

The Disciple stood at the top of the hill, glaring down at her in disgust.

"What purpose does this serve, girl?" He yelled after her. "I am the one who should hold the Oracle. I am the one who has the power. I can bring new life on this world and others. I can spread our greatness across the stars again."

Liz ignored him and pushed on. She looked around, her panicked gaze falling on a building at the bottom of the hill. It looked familiar to her but she couldn’t place it. She started towards it, hoping that it would offer her some sanctuary from the men behind her.

The Disciple’s man loped easily after her, darting over snowdrifts and gaining on her, step for step.

Liz’s breath was coming harder now, her chest tight with dread. Her arms tightened around the parcel in her arms. She couldn’t let them have it. If they got it everything would be over. All over. She’d die. Max would die. Worlds would die.

The Disciple’s promise of life was the biggest of lies.

She stumbled again, her tired legs balking at her demand that they keep going. She caught her arm painfully on a fence post and dropped her package on the cold, wet ground. She dove on it, her fingers scrapping on the rocks and ice.

Lurching forward without a glance back, she knew she was almost out of time. They were too close. So close. She’d failed.

No, she told herself as firmly as she could manage in her terrified state. Not yet. It was never over as long as she was still alive and as long as she still had the Oracle, it wasn’t over.

She skidded to a semi-stop in front of the building and wrenched the doors open, throwing herself desperately inside.

She dashed down a long corridor, looking about for an escape of any kind. She rounded a corner and saw what looked like a library down at the end of another short length of hallway. Ignoring her burning lungs, she made her way into the room. She thought that at the very least she could hide in the stacks of books. She slipped around the bookshelves, winding her way through them, as though through a maze. She stopped briefly, leaning heavily against a shelf, gasping for breath. She stuck her head around the corner and her heart froze in her chest when she saw the Disciple and his man standing in the doorway looking calmly about. She threw herself back and stared up at the ceiling. Fear and frustration were eating at her and she was desperate to get safely away with the object in her care.

She darted a look around and almost cursed herself for being such an idiot. She unwrapped the Oracle and concentrated on it. In a matter of seconds it had gone from a bizarre prop from a sci fi movie to a biology text book. She took a book off the shelf behind her and replaced it with the Oracle. She closed her eyes briefly and made a small prayer. Then she wrapped the book she’d taken and glanced furtively around the library. The Disciple was standing near the front while his man sniffed around the stacks. Liz noted a fire exit on the far side of the room, and after a moment of hesitation she made a mad dash for the door.


******

Liz shot up in the bed, clutching her chest and gasping frantically for breath. "Oh god. Not again. Oh god. Oh god." she chanted desperately.

Strong arms went around her and she turned her tear damp face into the warm chest next to her.

"Liz?"

"I’m sorry. Go back to sleep," she whispered hoarsely.

"Tell me," Max demanded quietly.

"That, that dream with the Disciple. Where he’s trying to get the Granolith from me." Liz took a deep shaky breath and wiped her eyes.

"Liz, it’s okay." He rubbed his hand gently up and down her spin. "The Granolith is safe."

Liz reached up and traced her fingers across his forehead and down his cheek. "Oh, Max, I don’t think so. I think the Disciple is too close to the Granolith. I – I have to protect it Max. I think that’s what the dreams are."

"But how are you supposed to protect it, Liz?" Max asked. His fear for Liz was evident in his voice.

Liz let her head drop heavily onto Max’s shoulder and leaned into his warm embrace. "I don’t know, Max."

******

Red