posted on 25-Oct-2001 7:14:40 AM
Title: Was It A Dream? Category: M/L’s children,…...Rating: G – PG-13
Author: jane E-mail: jwest⊕beaumont.edu
Disclaimer: See past 24 parts
Summary: AU, future fic. This is a sequel to “I Can’t, I’m Different!”, which is available on the Repost Board viewthread?forum=repost-fan-fiction&id=1141 (hope you like it!)
The link for this story on the repost board is: viewthread?forum=repost-fan-fiction&id=405

***Thank you, Ladylou for all of your help with this part, hope (all of) you enjoy it! Welcome new readers, returning friends and all of you Wonderful folks, who have been with me from the beginning! Thank you for all of your feedback, it Really makes my day! ~jane

Was It A Dream? Part 27

Niko Giuliani had been spying on the valley of Airatan, New Mexico, from a dilapidated old shack, at the top of a nearby peak, for two weeks. He had put up with the whining and crappy attitudes of the other two, so-called reporters; Mr. Marshall and Mr. Target, until he had become sick and tired of their complaints and told them to get out. Once they were gone, he had called the other three losers, who had stayed down in the valley; Mr. Hudson, Mrs. Penney and Ms. Sears and told them to come take their former associates places.

He was on edge; bored and restless, after a fruitless two weeks of watching that stupid, little town from this broken down shack. Even after seeing those mysterious lights, which bobbed and whirled their way around the valley, soon after sunset, each night, he was about to give up. But it was like that clown, Hudson said; they had put this much time and effort into this story, he couldn’t let Blair and Evans win, by giving up. Mrs. Penney had left that morning and good riddance to her, he thought. He didn’t need any of these losers, anyway. This was his story and his alone.

“Hey, another small plane is coming in for a landing.” Ms. Sears said, as she watched through her binoculars. “That is the second jet to land in less than half an hour.”

“Hmmm, maybe something is finally going to happen. Keep a look-out.” Niko told her as he went back to his musings.

“Something’s happening down there!” Sears called out a short time later. I’m seeing lights moving down the sides of the valley, as if an awful lot of people are gathering down by the river.” Niko, Hudson and McDonald jumped up off of their chairs and ran to the window.

“Oh S**T!” Niko exclaimed loudly, when a flying saucer appeared out of nowhere, to hover over the valley, below. “Where did that come from?” He asked, as they all grabbed their cameras and started recording what they were seeing.

“I would guess that a ship like that would have to have some sort of stealth technology, so that Earth’s detection systems wouldn’t be able to pick it up, as well as keeping ordinary people from seeing it, as it came into our atmosphere.” Mr. Hudson said, in the pompous, know-it-all way he had.

“Look, it’s starting to circle the valley!” McDonald exclaimed.

“It’s landing!” Sears yelled, not taking her eyes from the view-finder of her camera.

“It’s disappeared from view; I can’t see it anymore.” Niko said, disappointed. “We are going to have to take turns, keeping watch, tonight.” He instructed and they all agreed, before getting ready to settle down in their sleeping bags.

Niko was too wound up to sleep, so he took the first watch, but nothing else happened that night. When it came time for Ms. Sears to take her watch, he took great pleasure in shaking her roughly, to wake her up. If she weren’t so easy on the eyes, he would have pitched her out of the shack with the old broad.

“Get up; you were supposed to relieve me ten minutes ago. Do I have to do everything; have all the ideas, make all the plans and keep watch all night?”

“I’m up, I’m up.” Sears grumbled but Niko smirked when she didn’t make any other complaints. They all knew who was in charge. Yes indeed, Niko Giuliani was the man.

~*~*~*~

Niko was awoken, very early the next morning, by something loud being dropped on the floor, but he didn’t bother to open his eyes right away.

“What, what was that?” McDonald mumbled.

“Sorry, dropped the binoculars.” Mr.Hudson stage-whispered.

‘Man, didn’t that old fart have a volume control on that voice of his?’ Niko asked himself and rolled over.

“Mmwwhat time is it?” Sears asked, waking up.

“I don’t know, maybe four o’clock.” Hudson answered.

“Oh ⊕#$⊕%$!” Sears yelled, making Niko sit up and bringing McDonald up out of his sleeping bag.

“What was that?” He asked.

“That was our dear Ms. Sears, reminding us that she is not a morning person.” Mr. Hudson said, in that annoyingly cheerful voice of his.

“Hey, am I just sleep deprived, or is something glowing, down in the valley?” McDonald asked.

That got everyone up and looking out the window.

“I definitely see a green light…just like that ship gave off, last night.” Niko said, and everyone grabbed their cameras, just in time to see the flying saucer rise up out of the valley and hover there.

“Oh crap, it’s going to take off. We have to try and follow it!” Niko yelled, as they all grabbed their coats and ran for their car.

Niko could see the ship start to move slowly away from the valley, heading south, so as soon as the car doors slammed shut, he pressed his foot to the accelerator and streaked down the mountain at lightening speed. He heard the others yell or cry out, but only grinned and pressed down on the accelerator some more.

“Keep your eyes pealed.” Niko yelled, as they followed the ship.

Niko cursed as they would lose sight of it but then they would get a glimpse of it through the trees or over the top of another hill. The hours passed, unnoticed, as he made sure that they all stayed on high alert, keeping an eye out for the space ship. The sun came up and still they drove south, winding through hills and passing by cities and subdivisions; always just barely keeping a visual on the green flying saucer.

“Hey, I think we are coming into Albuquerque.” McDonald said, as he looked at a map.

“The traffic has certainly increased; cars and pedestrians” Hudson said. “Maybe the circus is in town. Could the ship be headed for the fairgrounds? Maybe we should try to get ahead of it and head there. If it were to attack, while all of these people are gathered there…”

“Yeah, you’re right, I have to get ahead of that thing; gotta get set up, so I can catch it all on video and grab the exclusive rights for my story.” Niko said, half to himself, but the others heard him.

“Your story, this is Our story.” Sears yelled at him from the back seat, but he just grinned and ignored her.

“If the craft is headed there, we have to warn the people, get them to evacuate the fairgrounds.” Hudson blathered on again.

“Evacuate, shmacuate.” Niko yelled. “Who cares about all those idiots, I’ve got to get there and set up my camera.” He put his foot down on the accelerator and almost hit some pedestrians who were crossing the street, ahead of him.

“Get out of my way!” He yelled at them, weaving his way through traffic, in a mad rush to get to the fairgrounds; nothing else mattered.

Cries of surprise and anger came from the crowd, as Niko smashed his SUV through the barricade, meant to keep vehicles off of the fairgrounds and came to a screeching halt.
He jumped out of the car and yelled at the others to get the equipment out.

A bunch of reporters came running over to Niko, asking what was happening.

“This is my story, all mine!” Niko yelled at them. “Aliens landed up north of here and now they are headed this way. I followed them here and so this is My story; you can’t take it away from me.”

“Aliens, huh? What did they look like?” One of the reporters asked, chuckling in disbelief.

“I don’t know, I only saw their ship, as it came in for a landing last night. Then this morning, it took off and headed this way. It’s kind of a bilious-green color, with flashing lights on the side; looks just like your typical flying saucer.” Niko answered, as he set up his own equipment.

“Hey you!” He yelled at another reporter, who was pointing his cam-corder at the sky. “I said this is my exclusive story. You’re not taking this away from me!”

“Hey man, I don’t know what you’ve been smokin’, but I’m just taking pictures of all these lovely balloons, which are floating by; you know, covering the fiesta. I don’t see any flying saucers.” Niko looked around, not seeing anything, but an enormous crowd of people.

“Fiesta; what are you talking about? Aliens are coming and I’m here to cover it!” Niko yelled, motioning to the north.

“I see it, Niko, here they come.” Ms. Sears said, from behind her binoculars.

“Where?” Niko demanded, grabbing the field glasses out of her hands.

“There.” She yelled, angrily, as she pointed to the dish-shaped object, which was coming their way as Niko looked through the glasses.

“Hey, Niko, is that you, son?” Niko looked up from the binoculars, at the sound of his father’s voice. ‘What are you doing here, old man?’ He asked himself, before his excitement came back and he pointed to the object, which was steadily coming closer.

“Dad; I’ve done it. I’ve finally found the story that’s going to make me famous! Aliens, Dad; they’ve landed on Earth and now they’re headed this way!”

“What are you babbling about, Niko? Aliens; what kind of crazy talk is that? There are no aliens coming to Earth.” Mr. Giuliani said and the old resentments leapt up within Niko’s chest.

“You’ve never believed in me; you’ve always been too busy, being the hot-shot photographer to ever care about anything I did, or felt was important.” Niko yelled at his father and then spotted Mason and Cheryl Blair and Max and Liz Evans in the crowd and ran over to them.

“You want to see aliens, Dad? These two are aliens!” Niko pointed to one of the sets of identical twins. He could never figure out which couple was which, but he didn’t care.

“Why don’t you try to calm down, Niko.” Blair suggested in an irritatingly soft and patient voice. “Mr. Evans and I went through all of this with you, two weeks ago. Remember, we had those blood tests run and took you on a tour of Airatan? The blood tests came back negative, didn’t they?” Mason asked, reasonably. “And you didn’t see any aliens down in those tunnels, did you?”

‘Don’t talk to me as if I’m some sort of stupid idiot, you can mollify.’ Niko fumed inside.

“Niko, the ship is coming closer.” Mr. McDonald called and Niko turned away from the dopes and the dupes, as he liked to call them.

“What do you say now, Dad?” Niko asked, sarcastically, pointing behind him.

“Son, it’s a hot-air balloon. Granted it is shaped to look like a flying saucer; I understand it belongs to a club in Roswell, but it is still a hot-air balloon. Look, you can clearly see the gondola and the propane burners.” John pointed out.

“Are you crazy, old man?” Niko all but spat at Mr. Giuliani. “What hot-air balloon? I’m telling you that that is a space ship; coming to do God-only-knows-what to us. The rest of you see the flying saucer don’t you? He’s just a crazy old man, right?” Niko was switching between anger, at his father’s stubbornness and a small sliver of uneasiness. He looked at all of the people who were standing around him. They were shaking their heads; looking between him and the sky, with pity on their faces.

‘Don’t look at me like that; as if I am some moron, who needs to be pitied.’ His mind screamed before he pointed to Max.

“What are you doing to all of these people? How are you hiding the truth from them? What alien powers are you using on all of us?”

“Niko, I’m sorry, but there are just no aliens. We’ve done everything we can think of, to convince you. Why are you holding onto this delusion of yours, son?” Max asked, in a sorrowful voice, his eloquent eyes radiating pity.

“That is no delusion; that is an Alien Ship!” Niko yelled, as he turned back and pointed up towards…a saucer-shaped…green…hot-air-balloon, which was floating closely overhead. A boy and girl were smiling and waving down at the crowds, from inside the basket, as an older man threw a bean bag over the side, to land in the center of the giant X on the ground, before they continued on their way, over the field.

“It was a flying saucer, I’m sure of it and they Are Aliens!” Niko yelled and pointed at one of the couples. Then he picked out Sue Blair’s face from among the laughing and jeering throng.

“Sue? Sue Blair; what are you doing here?”

“I’m here with my parents, of course, Niko.” Sue said, as she and some stud walked up to him. “You are hurting them and I don’t understand why. Daddy got you that job you wanted at the studio…” Sue put a soothing hand on his arm.

“And then he fired me.” Niko said, angrily and brought his hand up to slap her away, but the guy, in a lightening move, caught Niko’s arm in his hand, before he could hit Sue and all of a sudden, Niko felt as if all of his energy had drained out of him. Where had his adrenaline rush disappeared to? Niko wondered, as he dropped his hand.

“I don’t think you want to bring up all the legal reasons you were fired, in front of all these reporters, Mr. Giuliani.” Mason said, seriously and Niko shut up; he didn’t seem to have the strength, to make a retort.

“Come on, Niko, I’m taking you home.” His father said, firmly taking him by the arm.

Niko’s father helped him into his SUV and then blathered on and on, to the Blairs and the Evans for several minutes. As he waited for the old man to say goodbye, Niko noticed that Sue Blair and her stud were standing several yards away and that the guy was staring at him. As Niko watched through the window shield, he bent down and picked up a trampled dandelion. After straightening up, the guy twirled the crushed flower in his fingers, grinned at Niko and then…turned the yellow dandelion…into a fresh, red rose…twirled it a few more times…and turned it back into its original form, before laughing silently and turning away from Niko, to walk away with Sue on is arm.

Niko looked franticly around the car for someone, anyone to tell what he’d just seen, someone who might also have seen what that guy with Sue had done, but all he saw were people walking away from him or just walking by, seemingly unaware of everything which had just happened.

“Dad, Dad!” Niko yelled, as Mr. Giuliani got into the car. “You are never going to believe what I saw. That guy…that guy with Sue…he…he picked up a dandelion and turned it into a rose! I saw it Dad! They are aliens, they are!”

“Niko, Shut Up!” His father yelled. “There are no aliens, there never were any aliens. This was all just your idea of a sick joke to try and grab attention; well, no more. When we get home, I will lay out all the new rules by which you will live your life…working for me…or I will commit you to a mental hospital; out of which you will never leave. Do I make myself clear?”

“But Dad…” Niko whined, then took one glance at the angry expression on his father’s face and nodded. His head dropped back onto the head rest and his eyes closed as he lost what little energy he had left, while his father started the car and drove off.



TBC Feedback Please, oh please! Thank you, jane
I will post all parts to this story, on one string, on the Repost Board!
viewthread?forum=repost-fan-fiction&id=405


posted on 25-Oct-2001 7:15:48 AM

*** Here’s the link for back parts of this story ….
viewthread?forum=repost-fan-fiction&id=405
Please check them our and let me know what you think! Thank you, jane ****


Was It A Dream? Part 28 What REALLY Happened!

Up on a nearby peak, Friday evening, Niko and the other reporters were on edge, bored and restless, after a fruitless two weeks of watching the town from the shack or from down in the valley itself. Even after seeing the mysterious lights, which bobbed and whirled their way around the valley, soon after sunset, each night, Mrs. Marshall had given up and left that morning, totally fed up with all of them. Mr. Hudson, aka, Doug Maisels had actually needed to side with Niko, to keep the last two reporters from leaving as well. If they left, Niko might also give up and leave, but the plan was for Niko to receive the full treatment, so that in the end, he would be totally ruined and no one would ever believe him, or give him a job, ever again.

~*~*~*~*~

In Cambridge, earlier that evening, all of the friends carried their luggage and walked the two blocks to the neighborhood playground. It was a good thing that the park was a large one, because a few minutes after they arrived, a helicopter, large enough to carry all seven of them and their luggage, landed there. A quick flight over to the Boston airport and they were able to board the Community’s Lear-jet. Once they had taken off and were at their cruising altitude, the kids all settled down to read or take naps. Phil and Sue snuggled into each other’s arms and fell asleep for the rest of the flight.
When they landed outside of Airatan, all of their parents were there to greet them, including those of Audra, Shaun and Ed.

“Mom, Dad, I don’t know if you will remember meeting Shaun, before.” Amy Guerin introduced her boyfriend to Michael and Maria.

“Sure we’ve met before, but it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen you last, Shaun.” Michael shook the hand, which Amy wasn’t holding tightly.

“Nice to see you again, Mr. and Mrs. Guerin.” Shaun said, as they all moved to the convoy of vehicles, waiting to take the kids to their homes.

“Dee, come ride with us.” Libby called out from where she stood by a car, holding hands with her boyfriend, Marcus Guerin. Dee smiled at her twin and went to join them.


“Come on Phil and Sue.” Liz said. “Your parents and aunt just arrived half an hour ago and Sam should have brought them down to our house by now.” She told Sue.

The four of them got into the car and were soon home.

“Mom, Dad, Aunt Susan...and Sam; hi.” Sue greeted them all as they entered the house.

“Hello, Max, Liz.” Mason and Cheryl greeted their friends after hugging their daughter and surprising Phil by hugging him, as well.

“What’s this Sam is telling us about a space ship arriving here soon? I remember you mentioning something about one, two weeks ago, but I wasn’t sure if you were serious. Won’t Niko see it?”

“No, Niko is only going to see what we want him to see, don’t worry.” Max reassured them. “The ship comes in under a stealth technology, which keeps anyone from seeing it or any equipment from sensing it.”

“As soon as these kids put their luggage in their rooms, it will be time to go see the ship land.” Liz said.

“Why did the ship come today, of all days, Dad?” Phil asked, once they had all walked down to the valley floor, by the river, where the space craft would land.

“Well, as much as everyone here trusts in your plan and believes that it will work; word spread to our fellow Antarians, who live out in space and they are the ones who sent the ship.” Max explained to his son. “You might call it a Noah’s ark. In case something drastic happens, the mother-ship, which is remaining out in space, behind the moon, is large enough to take all of us on board and away from Earth in one trip.” At Phil’s pained expression, Max continued.

“As much as I trust in your plan and expect everything to go the way we want it to, I couldn’t tell them not to come. I didn’t ask the Alliance to send the ship, but as king, under these circumstances, I couldn’t take the chance that we might need their help.”

“Of course, Dad; I understand. Man, if anything really, really does go wrong, almost our entire civilization could be wiped out. I’m glad you allowed our people to send the ship.”

“But we’ll do our very best to make sure that we don’t need it.” Max told his son and heir, seriously and both men nodded in determination.

“Speaking of doing our best for the future of our people, maybe this would be a good time to introduce Sue as your fiancée and future queen.” Max suggested, glancing at Liz, who also nodded her approval. “Everyone is down here, in one place.”

“Alright, Dad.” Phillip told his father, after glancing down at Sue and seeing her nod, agreeably.

“May I have your attention?” Max called out loudly, as well as sub-vocally, over the Connection. “I would like to make an announcement at this time, if I may.” Everyone stopped talking, turned towards Max and moved closer; giving him their full attention.

“It is my pleasure to announce that our son and heir, Phillip has become engaged to the lovely young lady, standing next to him; Susan Blair, daughter of Mason and Cheryl Blair. And as Phillip’s mate, she will become your new queen, when the time comes!” Max said smiling happily, as the entire crowd broke out into cheers, clapping and many wishes for their happy future.

“Thank you for welcoming Suzie, the love of my life, into our community so warmly!” Phil called out, after the crowd had calmed down a little. “She is a very special lady and I love her with all of my heart.” Phil said, turning away from all the people and gazing lovingly into Sue’s eyes.

The crowd started to chant: kiss her, kiss her, kiss her…

“Would you mind?” Phil asked Sue quietly and she turned her head to face the crowd.

“No, I wouldn’t mind if you kissed me, in front of all these wonderful people, because I Love You TOO!” She said loudly, so that everyone could hear her and then she turned back to Phil, rose up on her tip-toes and welcomed his kiss.

Sue flung her arms around Phillip’s neck, holding on tight and kissed him back passionately, as only new lovers can do. The cheering doubled as they happily watched their handsome prince kiss his lovely princess. A few moments later, Phil and Sue came up for air and turned towards the crowd; blushing and waved happily. Just then, the ship was sensed by the Connection.

“Here comes the ship, guys; everyone link hands.” Isabel called.

With linked hands and using the Connection, they were able to look past the stealth technology and see the beautiful, graceful and almost fluid-looking ship come in for a landing.

“Oh man!” Mason exclaimed.

“That ain’t no flying saucer, that is a work of art!” Susan exclaimed, excitedly, as she clung tightly to Sam’s large hand.

“Wow!” Both Cheryl and Sue exclaimed in unison, as they clung to their respective lover’s’ hands, as well.

The bottom of the ship opened and was lowered to the ground. On the platform stood the dozen or so Antarians, who had come with the ship. The royal family, including Max, Liz, Isabel, Dee, Libby, Phillip and Sue; as his fiancé, moved forward to greet their visitors.

“Welcome, all of you.” Max said, as the travelers bowed low before him. “May I introduce my family? My wife and queen; Liz, my sister; Isabel, my daughters, Dee and Libby; my son and heir, Phillip and his fiancé and future queen, Sue.”

“Your Highnesses.” The group bowed again, even lower, to include the entire royal family.

Sue was shocked and excited about being included in such a formal introduction. This was so different from the informal and boisterous one, which had taken place only a few minutes earlier and she squeezed Phil’s hand and then felt his answering and reassuring squeeze back.

The visitors introduced themselves and Max thanked them sincerely and formally, for arranging to bring the ship to ensure an emergency evacuation, should such a measure prove necessary.

“We are about to perform our nightly entertainment for Mr. Giuliani and his associates. You have about thirty minutes, while we set things up, if you would like to take your luggage over to our hotel and freshen up first.” Max signaled to the hotel-owner, his wife and several young people, who came forward; ready to help their guests with their belongings.

“Thank you, Your Highness. Actually we would greatly enjoy watching your preparations, here, if you would be so kind as to explain everything to us. We can see our rooms after the entertainments are over.” The leader said and Max nodded and motioned everyone to move back to the group at large, so that Mason, Cheryl and all the newly arrived college kids could hear his tale.

“Almost two weeks ago, we met with Niko Giuliani and his associates. We performed blood tests, switching Alex, my brother-in-law’s blood for mine, to prove that Mason Blair and I and Cheryl Blair and Liz are not related. We also gave them an extensive tour of the town. Apparently that was not enough for them, because two of the reporters and one of us; Doug Maisels, who took the place of a third reporter, stayed in town and snooped around for a week, while the other four reporters took positions on higher peaks and have tried to spy on us, ever since. The three reporters; Marshall, Sears and Hudson, aka Doug, gave up snooping around town last weekend and moved out to join Giuliani and McDonald, who were the only reporters who hadn’t given up and left, up on the higher elevations. Mrs. Marshall has since given up and left, as well.” Liz took up the tale for the next part.

“This last week, we have just been giving them something to watch, while we had some fun as a community. We’ve held barbeques and roasted marshmallows over bonfires and set up candy and prize-hunts for the children among the trees, just after sunset, so that they had to use flashlights and their powers to find the treats. Their cameras will have picked up the good, wholesome fun we have here in Airatan, but Doug has mind-warped them to see…other things! Mostly they have not even bothered to check the pictures they’ve taken, but Doug has mind-warped them the few times they have. Tonight, we start the major part of our son’s plan.” Liz said, indicating that Phil should continue.

“Tomorrow is the grand opening for this year’s Albuquerque International Hot-Air Balloon Fiesta. Literally millions of people come to this famous event, which has been held outside of Albuquerque for sixty years, as of this year. I belong to the Roswell Hot-air Balloon Club and our balloon has always been in the shape of a flying saucer. We often perform a laser-show after sunset, to make it look as though the spaceship is attacking Earth. It has always been a big hit!” Everyone chuckled, remembering the fun they had, had at past fiestas.

“We plan to use this balloon and some mind-warping to lure Niko to the fiesta where I believe he will make everyone think that he is insane or where he will make a total and very public fool of himself, in front of the Press and everyone else there.”

“If my helpers would start spreading the envelope, the balloon out…” Phillip called out instructions, as he walked to the mouth of the balloon.

“Sue would you and Dee hold the mouth open, while I blow air into the envelope with the fan?” Sue happily agreed and watched, as air was forced into the enormous, nylon bag. It rippled like a wave, as other helpers held up the cloth all around the edges of the balloon.

“Tonight, I’ll use my powers to heat the air and make the balloon rise. I don’t want to use the propane burners to heat the air, until we’re aloft, because of the light they give off and the way they make the balloon glow. I only want the balloon to light up after we are aloft! Sue, would you like to go up in the gondola with me?” Phil asked, hopefully.

“Oh yes, I’d love to, Phillip!” Sue agreed, excitedly.

Phillip, Max, Dee and Libby all used their powers to heat the air inside the envelope and soon the balloon was floating above them all.

“How big is that thing, Phillip?” Mason asked, as he looked up and up.

“It’s only about twenty five feet, or two and a half stories, high; but it is at least fifty feet wide; unlike your traditional balloon shapes, which run thirty, forty, or even fifty feet high.”

“Ready, Sue?” Phil asked, extending his hand to her.

“Ready!” Sue said, as Phil helped her into the gondola and then got in himself. He used more of his power to heat the air more and then they were off. Their friends on the ground let out the long tether-rope as they rose higher and higher. The rope wasn’t really necessary, even at night, since Phil could perfectly control the direction of the balloon, but it didn’t hurt to be safe.

“Okay, Doug says that we are high enough for Niko to easily see us. Time to start the show!”

Phil reached up and started the propane burners, which let out an enormous and very bright flame, which lit up the balloon and made it glow an eerie green from within. Phil took Sue’s hand, so that she could link into the Connection and see, not only what their friends were seeing from the ground, but what Niko was seeing from his lofty perch.

“Oh my gosh, this is so great!” Sue cried out, happily.

“Ready to circle the valley a little? We have to give a little show; make it look as though we are coming in for a landing.” Phil explained and Sue nodded; her eyes huge.

Unlike a normal hot-air balloon, which can only control its direction by finding a stream of air, which is blowing in the general direction you want to go, Phillip was able to use his powers to make his balloon slowly circle a part of the valley.

“Alright, time for the space ship to come in for a landing.” Phillip said, as he indicated for Sue to slowly pull on the rip-cord, which in turn slowly opened the vent at the top of the balloon, letting the hot air out, as the ground crew pulled them down with the tether-rope. They landed with a soft thump and Phil helped Sue climb out, so that they could both help pull the deflating envelope down and expel the last of the hot air inside. They did this as many of the helpful children were doing too; they rolled together, over the trapped pillows of air.

“Mmm, that was wonderful!” Sue said, as she lay against Phil and kissed him, while they were hidden from view for a moment by the billowing nylon.

“Mmm, this is wonderful!” Phil corrected as he held her in his arms for a few moments until a couple little girls came bounding over the puffy, air pockets, towards them. Sue and Phil laughed along with their happy giggles, as they pushed the rest of the air out of the balloon, so it could be folded and packed away.

“All of the equipment should be safe here, under a tarp, until we take off before dawn.” J.J. Valenti said, as he stood next to his sister, Nancy and his father, Kyle Valenti, current and long-time Roswell Sheriff, who were all fellow members of the Roswell Hot-air Balloon Club.

“Yeah, we’d all better go get some shut-eye.” Kyle said, as he looked at his kids. “The three of us, because we are flying that balloon tomorrow and the rest of you, because you have to drive to Albuquerque and reach there before Niko does.”

“And we want to see you take off and make sure that Niko follows you.” Phil added.

Now that the entertainment was over for the night, everyone was heading towards their homes. They would all be up early to see the final phase of their plan take off and many of them would race to the fiesta-grounds, to see it end.

“Let’s go home, Phil.” Sue encouraged and the young couple started to walk across the valley floor and then to climb the steps up to the Evans’ house. Sue took the opportunity, which convenient shadows gave her, to have a few minutes of privacy with her fiancé. When Sue pulled Phillip into the first group of shadows, created by some blue Spruce, they were both neat in their appearances. When they stepped back out into the moonlight, their hair and clothing were…no longer…neat. With each consecutive shadow into which Sue pulled Phillip, or Phil pulled Sue, their appearances only became more lovingly disheveled and mussed, until they reached their destination and they paused for one, last kiss, one more caress. Afterwards, Phil passed his glowing hands over both of them, to return their clothes and hair to normal. When they stepped inside, through the family room’s French doors, Dee was there waiting to pick on her brother and good friend, as only a little sister can.

“Gee whiz you two, where have you been?” She asked, coyly…and loudly. I’ve been here for over thirty minutes. I was beginning to worry that you had fallen off the side of the mountain or something…is that a leaf in your hair, a few pine needles stuck to your sweaters?”

“With you to come home to, is it any wonder we took our time?” Phil replied and then grabbed his sister with a gentle arm around her neck and started to tickle her. “Brat!” Phil laughed, before he let her go.

“Did you two enjoy the stars and the moonlight?” Liz asked her son, understandingly.

“Mom and Dad only came in five minutes before you did!” Dee gleefully told everyone, as she stood a safe distance from her father.

“Um, moonlight, stars…yeah they were beautiful tonight.” Phil said, as he gazed lovingly at Sue; his actions saying clearly that she was who he saw as beautiful that night. “Don’t you agree…Dad?” He asked, looking over at his father, who was similarly enraptured with his view of Phil’s mother.

“Absolutely lovely, tonight and every night.” Max said and Liz rewarded him by actually blushing; something she still did, even after all these years, when her husband looked at her with that intense gaze of his.

Dee threw her hands up in the air at being unable to get the response she wanted out of any of the love-struck members of her family and walked off towards her room.

“We’d all better head for our rooms…to get some sleep.” Sue specified, as she kissed Phil goodnight and headed towards the room she was sharing with Libby.

Soon everyone followed her and the house settled down for the night. Up in Sam’s home, the Blairs were settling into their guest room, as well, but both Sam and Susan were looking out their bedroom windows, towards the moonlit valley, as they each thought about their feelings for that special person, who was in a bedroom on the other side of the house, from themselves.

~*~*~*~

Early the next morning, long before dawn, most of the Community was down on the valley floor, helping or watching as the balloon was spread out over the ground, ready to inflate, again.

“I thought you didn’t fly hot-air balloons when it was dark.” Cheryl asked Liz.

“Normally, you don’t, but it will look better, more secretive, if the ship takes off in the dark and Kyle, Nancy and J.J. need to reach Albuquerque at the proper time to take part in the first competition of the fiesta, which starts at 6am, before the air heats up and the winds pick up. It’s a long way to Albuquerque.”

Sue and Phil held open the mouth of the balloon, as Kyle used the fan to force air into the envelope, then he turned on the propane burners, to heat the air and the balloon started to fill up and rise. Shortly after that, Nancy and J.J. got into the basket with their father.

Up on the mountain peak, Doug had pulled the early-morning watch and knew what was going to happen anyway, so he made a point of accidentally dropping the binoculars loudly to the floor, they all needed to be awake, so they would see what was going to happen any minute now.

“Doug says that Giuliani, McDonald and Sears are awake now.” Max told Kyle. “It’s time to take off; show them what they want to see.

“Right; let go of the tether rope.” He called out.

The rope was released and the balloon took off, using the propane burners to heat the air and make the “flying saucer” glow from within.

“Doug says that they have all seen the ship and are headed for their car.” Max told the others. “We should be doing the same. Kyle will take them out of their way, but we still have a long drive ahead of us.”

Everyone ran for the battery-powered shuttle vehicles, which they had parked nearby and drove to the Community’s parking garage, near the entrance, where they kept their gasoline powered cars. Soon, there was a convoy of Antarians streaming down the freeway, towards Albuquerque. They had made preparations beforehand and were able to eat breakfast rolls and muffins on the drive south, past Santa Fe, to the Albuquerque fair grounds.

It was only seven o’clock in the morning, but there were thousands of people gathered together to watch the first competition of the fiesta; the bean-bag drop. Balloonists pick a spot at least five miles away; from a position they believe the winds will carry them over the fairgrounds, where a giant X has been placed on the ground. The balloonists hope that the winds they have chosen will carry them the closest to the X, onto which they throw a bean bag, with a colorful streamer attached to it, before they drift off to land somewhere else. The team, whose bean bag lands closest to the mark, wins.

Kyle and his kids were flying in from considerably further away than five miles; 120 miles at least and it was Nancy and J.J. who were keeping the balloon aloft and who were steering it where they wanted it to go, until they came into sight of other balloonists and their ground crews, driving below; then they used the propane tanks and allowed the winds to take them where they would. That was, happily, towards the fairgrounds.

“I can’t believe Niko has stayed with us all this time.” Nancy laughed, as she used her binoculars to pick out his red SUV, on the road below.

“Yeah, what a chase we’ve let them on. We flew straight, but they had to follow the roads, which snaked through the hills.” J.J. added.

“It’s a shame that we won’t be able to be on the ground in time to see what happens, first hand, but at least we’ll be able to see everything through the Connection.” Kyle said.

They allowed Niko’s SUV to get ahead of them, as Doug told them that the reporters in the car with him could see the fairgrounds from the road.

‘Niko wants to rush ahead of you.’ Doug told them over the Connection. ‘Not to warn all the people that an alien ship is coming, possible to harm them, but to make sure that he gets the exclusive rights to the story. I haven’t allowed them to see what all those people have really come to see, yet. He doesn’t care about them anyway, as long as he gets his fame and fortune from telling the world that aliens have come to Earth.’

“Oh man!” J.J. exclaimed in disgust, as he and his sister slowed the balloon and allowed Niko’s SUV to pass beneath them.

~*~*~*~

On the ground, at the fiesta, all of the Anterians had arrived and were trying to relax a little, by watching all of the lovely, multi-colored and differently shaped hot-air balloons floated by and dropped their bean bags, as they waited for Niko to arrive.

“Oooh, there’s the Tony-the-Tiger balloon and over there is the balloon for the Fiesta’s sixtieth anniversary; it looks just like a giant cake, with what looks to be sixty candles on top and a huge ‘60’ written on the side!” Dee pointed out.

“Here comes the Coke can balloon and wow, look at that one, it looks like a giant Chili pepper!” Libby pointed out.

“Here comes my favorite; the Witch balloon. How they ever get her inflated, much less off the ground, is beyond me!” Tess said.

The balloon was actually in the shape of a witch on her broom; complete with a pointy hat, a wart on her nose, green skin and a spider hanging from the end of the broom handle.

“Doug says they are almost here.” Max told everyone and then walked over to where Mason and Cheryl were speaking to John Giuliani. Max quirked his eyebrow, to indicate to his two friends, that the show was about to begin.

Cries of surprise and anger came through the crowd, as Niko smashed his SUV through the barricade, meant to keep vehicles off of the fairgrounds and came to a screeching halt, not far from where Max, Liz, Mason, Cheryl and Sneaky John were standing. He didn’t even notice them, as he yelled for the others in the car to get their equipment out.

Several Antarians managed to stop and calm down the security guards who had come running out after Niko and kept them out of the way…the last act was about to play itself out.

A bunch of reporters came running over to Niko, asking what was happening.

“This is my story, all mine!” Niko yelled at them. “Aliens landed up north of here and now they are headed this way. I followed them here and so this is My story; you can’t take it away from me.”

“Aliens, huh? What did they look like?” One of the reporters asked, chuckling at this wild, young man.

“I don’t know, I only saw their ship, as it came in for a landing last night. Then this morning, it took off and headed this way. It’s kind of a bilious-green, with flashing lights on the side; looks just like your typical flying saucer.” Niko answered, as he set up his equipment. “Hey you!” He yelled at another reporter, who was pointing his cam-corder at the sky. “I said this is my exclusive story. You’re not taking this away from me!” Niko yelled.

“Hey man, I don’t know what you’ve been smokin’, but I’m just taking pictures of all these lovely balloons, which are floating by; you know, covering the fiesta. I don’t see any flying saucers.”

“Fiesta; what are you talking about? Aliens are coming and I’m here to cover that!” Niko yelled, motioning to the north.

“I see it, Niko, here they come.” Ms. Sears said, from behind her binoculars.

“Where?” Niko demanded, grabbing the field glasses out of her hands.

“There.” She yelled, angrily, as she pointed to the dish-shaped object, which was coming their way and Niko looked through the glasses.

“Hey, Niko, is that you, son?” John came over to where he was standing.

“Dad! I’ve done it. I’ve finally found the story that’s going to make me famous! Aliens, Dad; they’ve landed on Earth and now they’re headed this way!” Niko pointed to the object, which was steadily coming closer.

“What are you babbling about, Niko? Aliens; what kind of crazy talk is that? There are no aliens coming to Earth.” John said.

“You’ve never believed in me; you’ve always been too busy, being the hot-shot photographer to ever care about anything I did, or felt was important.” Niko yelled at his father and then spotted Mason, Cheryl, Max and Liz, who had attracted quite a bit of attention from other photojournalists, themselves. Videos were rolling and camera shutters were clicking, as Niko ran over to them.

“You want to see aliens, Dad? These two are aliens!” Niko pointed at Mason and Cheryl.

“Why don’t you try to calm down, Niko.” Mason suggested in a soft, patient voice. “Mr. Evans and I went through all of this with you, two weeks ago. Remember, we had those blood tests run and took you on a tour of Airatan? The blood tests came back negative, didn’t they?” Mason asked, reasonably. “And you didn’t see any aliens down in those tunnels, did you?”

“Niko, the ship is coming closer.” Mr. McDonald called and Giuliani turned away from the foursome, as Doug dropped his mind-warp and went to stand anonymously behind his king and queen.

“What do you say now, Dad?” Niko asked, sarcastically, pointing at the hot-air balloon, which was coming closer.

“Son, it’s a hot-air balloon. Granted it is shaped to look like a flying saucer; I understand it belongs to a club in Roswell, but it is still a hot-air balloon. Look, you can clearly see the gondola and the propane burners.” John pointed out.

Niko looked up, but in his state of mind, he still could not see the truth, which was coming all the closer.

“Are you crazy, old man? What hot-air balloon? I’m telling you that, that is a space ship; coming to do God-only-knows-what to us. The rest of you see the flying saucer don’t you? He’s just a crazy old man, right?”

Niko looked at all of the people who were standing around him. They were shaking their heads; looking between him and the sky, with pity on their faces.

“What are you doing to all of these people?” Niko yelled at Max. “How are you hiding the truth from them? What alien powers are you using on all of us?”

“Niko, I’m sorry, but there are just no aliens. We’ve done everything we can think of to convince you. Why are you holding onto this delusion of yours, son?” Max asked, in a sorrowful voice, his eloquent eyes radiating pity.

“That is no delusion; that is an Alien Ship!” Niko yelled as he turned back and pointed up towards…a saucer-shaped…green…hot-air-balloon, which was floating closely overhead. J.J. and Nancy were smiling and waving down at the crowds, as Kyle threw their bean bag over the side, to land in the center of the X, before they continued on their way, over the field.

“It was a flying saucer, I’m sure of it.” Niko said again, as Mr. McDonald and Ms. Sears disappeared into the crowd.

All of the Antarians slipped back as well, allowing the Press to come in closer. Only Max, Liz, Mason, Cheryl, Phillip, Sue, Sneaky John, Susan and Sam remained within the circle, which had formed around Niko.

“It was a flying saucer and they Are Aliens!” Niko yelled and pointed at Max and Liz this time. Then he picked out Sue’s face from among the laughing and jeering throng.

“Sue? Sue Blair; what are you doing here?” As discussed before, Sue, with Phil by her side, walked up to him.

“I’m here with my parents, of course, Niko. You are hurting them and I don’t understand why. Daddy got you that job you wanted at the studio…” Sue put a soothing hand on his arm.

“And then he fired me.” Niko said, angrily and brought his hand up to slap her away, but Phillip, in a lightening move, caught Niko’s arm in his hand, before he could hit Sue.

‘Now, Doug!’ Phil yelled, sub-vocally, to an invisible Doug, who had come up with Sue and Phillip and casually moved around behind Niko, with a pneumatic drug injector in his hand…just in case. Doug quickly pressed the injector against the arm Phillip was holding. No one was able to see what he did and fellow Antarians were making sure that no camera caught the act on disc either.

“I don’t think you want to bring up all the legal reasons you were fired, in front of all these reporters, Mr. Giuliani.” Mason said, seriously, shutting Niko up.

“Come on, Niko, I’m taking you home.” Sneaky John firmly took a suddenly passive and tired-looking Niko by the arm.

‘I know I said that I wouldn’t rock the boat, but this slime ball tried to hit Suzie.’ Phil told his father and everyone else, sub-vocally.’

‘Phil…’ Max said.

‘Dad…’

‘Alright; get ready everyone, make sure that no one else sees.’ Max said, silently.

As John apologized to Mason, Cheryl, Max and Liz, on his son’s behalf and asked Mason to take care of his own rental car, the reporters drifted away. The mental break down of a tabloid reporter just wasn’t big news. There was also the fact that they all knew that Niko was a slime ball and none of them particularly cared what happened to him. They turned their attention back to the reason they were all there; the hot-air balloon fiesta and quickly forgot all about Niko’s wild ramblings.

As John put a quiet Niko into the passenger seat of the SUV, the group of Antarians was once again encircling their royal family and friends; to keep anyone else from seeing what was about to happen. John was saying a last goodbye to Mason and Cheryl while Sue and Phillip moved to stand several yards in front of the SUV. Phillip stared at Nko until Niko turned to him. Phillip then bent down and picked up a poor, trampled dandelion. He twirled the crushed flower in his fingers, grinned at Niko and then turned the yellow dandelion into a fresh, red rose…twirled it a few more times…and then turned it back into its original form again, before laughing silently and turning away from Niko, to walk away with Sue on is arm.

Niko looked franticly around the car for someone, anyone to tell what he’d just seen, someone who might also have seen what that guy with Sue had done, but all he saw were people walking away from him or just walking by, seemingly unaware of everything which had just happened.

“Dad, Dad!” Niko yelled, as John got into the car. “You are never going to believe what I saw. That guy…that guy with Sue…he…he picked up a dandelion and turned it into a rose! I saw it Dad! They are aliens, they are!”

“Niko, Shut Up!” John yelled, exhausted, angry and embarrassed by his own son. “There are no aliens, there never were any aliens. This was all just your idea of a sick joke to try and grab attention; well, no more. When we get home, I will lay out all the new rules by which you will live your life…working for me…or I will commit you to a mental hospital; out of which you will never leave. Do I make myself clear?”

“But Dad…” Niko whined, but after seeing the expression on his father’s face, Niko nodded and the drug took effect again. John started the car and drove off.

~*~*~*~

“We did it, we did it, we did it!” Dee jumped up and down, happily, after the Giuliani men drove off.

“We did indeed!” Max grinned. “Thanks to all of your help.” He raised his voice, so that the whole crowd of Antarians could hear him. “And a brilliant plan by your Prince!” Max laid a proud hand on Phillip’s shoulder.

“Thanks, Dad; thank you, everyone for your help.” Phillip called out to the crowd, as well. Then he looked down into the awe-filled eyes of his Suzie and leaned in to kiss her.

“Well, with that, I guess it’s time to head home and celebrate!” Max said and everyone cheered and headed for their cars.

“What did Doug do to Niko? Did he administer some sort of drug?” Mason asked from where he sat next to Cheryl, in the back seat of Max’s car.

“Yes, he injected a drug which calms the patient; makes them passive. It will leave no traces in his body and will slowly dissipate over the next twelve hours, without any side effects.” Max explained.

Liz changed the subject to a happier topic of conversation and the four of them chatted companionably during their long drive back home.


TBC Feedback Please, oh please! Thank you, jane
I will post all parts to this story, on one string, on the Repost Board!
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