Title: Hail Jing-Bang – 46
Author: Red the Mighty
Email: red⊕wdsection.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.

All previous parts can be found here
http://www.geocities.com/redthemighty/library/fiction_red_hjb.html

******

"They took her."

Michael repeated those three words over and over. Sometimes his voice shook with rage and other times it broke with anguish. Max propped his friend up and carried him through the rock opening into the Granolith chamber.

"We have to find her," Michael groaned and slid down against the wall.

"We will, Michael. I swear," Max told him.

Max reached his hand out to attempt to heal Michael’s wounds, but Michael pushed him away.

"I’m fine. Save it for later." Michael looked up and met Liz’s eyes over Max’s shoulder. "We’re here. Now what?"

Liz wrapped her arms around herself. "I’m not sure. Um, I guess, I’ll go look at the Granolith. Maybe, I don’t know, maybe something will happen."

"Will you be okay here?" Max asked Michael.

Michael nodded, his head dropping back against the rock. "Go on."

Max scrambled to his feet and ducked through the small opening, coming up behind Liz. She was staring at the Granolith, deep in thought. Max walked further into the chamber and contemplated the softly glowing object. He shoved his hands into his pockets and looked up at it. There didn’t seem to be any change in the Granolith, no new lights, no strange noises, it sat as it always had. Seemingly waiting for some key or bit of knowledge to activate it and bring it to its purpose.

He glanced over at Liz and frowned, concerned, when he caught the rapt expression on her face. She was frozen in place, her eyes half-closed, as if in a trance or deep meditation.

"Liz?" Max asked softly, hesitantly.

There was an alarming lack of response from her at his quiet inquiry. Her eyes didn’t slide over to meet his and her body remained immobile.

"Liz?" He called more loudly, more demanding of a response.

She gave no indication that she heard him at all. Not a muscle twitched anywhere in her body.

Max found himself frozen by a dilemma. He absolutely did not like the way Liz seemed to be entranced by the Granolith. They understood so little of its working that he couldn’t be sure that this wasn’t in some way incredibly dangerous for her. Nor did he like how vulnerable he felt while it held Liz in its thrall. If she were to remain frozen like that when their enemies came at them, how long would he be able to protect her?

Max circled the Granolith one more time and came to stand behind Liz. He rested his hands gently on her shoulders but made no further move to try and interrupt her and whatever she was doing. He decided to let her continue as she was until they were threatened or he saw some sign that it was harming her in any way.

A few long minutes later Michael’s harsh, tired voice broke the silence in the chamber. "What’s going on?"

"Uh, Liz is, well, actually I don’t know what she’s doing but she’s not really here right now. I don’t know if it’s more dangerous to try to shake her out of this or leave her as she is."

"Well, crap."

"Yeah."

They stood silently for a time after that brief exchange. It didn’t last long and soon anxiety took over both young men.

"How long do we let her stare at this thing?" Michael asked. He was sitting on the floor again, resting against the wall.

Max looked at his friend closely. "I wish you’d let me heal you."

"Let it go, Maxwell. I’m fine. They beat the shit out of me but I’m not gonna keel over or anything. Besides, we’ve got more to worry about. Your girlfriend’s supposed to protect this thing but so far her definition of protection is kind of unimpressive. Hope you guys do better then that when you’re going at it."

Max rolled his eyes. "Michael."

"I’m just saying."

"I know what you’re saying and if you have any suggestions I’m more then willing to listen."

"Do you think they’ll be able to get in? I mean is the, uh, lock just coded to us or do you suppose another alien, like the Disciple could get in?"

"I have no clue. I guess we should assume they can get in."

Michael climbed painfully to his feet. "That sucks. We have no way to defend ourselves here if whatever Liz is supposed to do doesn’t happen."

"We’re just going to have to make sure she gets the opportunity to finish what she has to do here."

"Good plan, Maxwell," Michael snorted wryly. "Well seeing as I hate to interrupt your staring contest with the inanimate object, I’m gonna go sit in the other chamber."

Max ignored Michael’s gibe and turned his attention back to Liz, doing the only thing he could think to do; he wrapped his arms around her waist, settled his jaw down on the top of her head and waited.

"It’s not ready yet."

Max’s arms tightened involuntarily at the suddenness of Liz’s voice.

"What just happened here? You zoned out for about ten minutes."

Liz sighed deeply and leaned back against Max. "It’s kind of hard to describe. It wasn’t words or even images, it was like pure idea, pure thought. I’m still not even sure what this is all about. I mean, my part in it all. But it did let me know that it’s not ready yet."

"We don’t have forever. The Disciple could be here any second," Max argued.

Liz pulled away from Max and turned to look him in the eye, exasperated. "You go right ahead and tell it that."

Max rubbed his jaw in irritation and stalked towards the Granolith. He resisted the urge to kick it, instead reaching out to run his fingers along it.

"I think I hate this thing," he groused.

Max spun around at a shout and a scuffling of feet on dirt behind them. Michael tumbled into the room, followed by four men. Max and Liz both assumed a defensive posture, side by side, backing up to the Granolith. Michael pulled himself over to collapse at the feet of his friends.

Two of the men took up positions by the door while the other two walked confidently into the room, their gazes locked on the Granolith.

"Tall one’s the Disciple," Michael hissed before breaking off into a painful, wracking cough.

The Disciple looked down at Michael and gave him a cold smile. "I’m so disappointed in you, Rath. I was certain you were more intelligent then this. You see, I have the Granolith, and you could have had the power."

"You don’t have the Granolith yet," Liz said defiantly.

The Disciple’s mouth twisted into a snarl of extreme distaste. "Human," he growled, his voice dripping with revulsion. "Your presence here is the most loathsome kind of defilement. You debase this sacred artifact."

He took a menacing step towards them, stopping when Max raised his hand ominously.

"And you, your Majesty," he sneered. "Rutting with a human? If I ever had any doubts that you were not fit to be King, your vile associations with this . . . this primitive would have set my mind. You would taint the royal blood of Antar with this filth?"

Max could feel his mind growing hot with rage. "Liz is more then you could ever imagine."

"She must be a convincing little whore."

Max’s entire body tensed in fury, the muscles of his neck corded and standing out in sharp relief. He focused his powers, readying a blast, but Liz’s hand on his shoulder warned him to hold off.

"Max, he’s just trying to make you angry," she whispered.

"Try? I’d say he did it," Michael coughed.

Liz stepped closer to Max and slid her hand down his arm, trying to get him to lower it. "Max, the Granolith. That’s what’s important."

"Yes, the Granolith," the Disciple spat. "Your time is done your Majesty. Your army is defeated, your power is gone, and you are no longer worthy of defending this most holy relic" The Disciple nodded his head towards the man standing next to him. "Tesher. We’re done with the King."

"Very good, my lord," Tesher told him, a malicious grin stretched across his face.

Max brought his hand back up again and Michael mimicked the action, both men’s palms glowing with dangerous force. Tesher and the two men by the entrance raised weapons and took a step towards them. Michael released a blast of energy that blew one of the men back against the wall of the chamber. His head struck with a sickening thud and he slumped bonelessly down to the floor.

Michael got to his knees and spat at the Disciple, "You’re just going to kill us, Zhilag. We’ve got nothing to lose. So, man, if we’re gonna die I think you’ll be coming with us."

Tesher grabbed a weapon from the still standing guard and turning, fired at Michael. When the wave washed over him, Michael screamed in agony and collapsed again. Max’s eyes widened in realization and for a brief moment his mind went blank with panic at the remembered anguish. A split second later the Disciple let loose a blast of energy at the trio, Max got his shield up just in time, but the force was still enough to knock them back against the Granolith.

While the men were struggling with their battle of wills and power, Liz had stumbled back against the Granolith. Her hand went out to catch herself from falling further and a jolt of electricity surged through her body. It felt like fingers of lava spreading through her body and deep in her mind a whispery voice told her to hang on. Gritting her teeth, Liz tried to follow the voice’s advice, but her awareness of the chamber seemed to be drifting away from her.

The Disciple was the first to take notice of Liz. "What is the human doing?" He shouted.

Max took his eyes from his adversary and glanced over at Liz. Tendrils of blue fire arced and danced across her body, and the whites of her eyes seemed to glow a brilliant red. The sight of Liz helplessly enveloped in the maelstrom of energy tore through Max, ripping his soul apart. He threw his head back, roaring in pain and rage and brought his hands up, intent on throwing every bit of his power into a final, desperate explosion.

"Max, don’t." Liz’s voice, strong and sure, broke through his agony. "Come here. Stand by me. Michael, you too."

Max’s body hummed with the barely contained energy he’d summoned, the effect of that roiling power was that his mind seemed to have temporarily stopped working. Fortunately his innate trust of Liz was so deep and true he obeyed her automatically. She reached out a vibrantly glowing hand to him, he clasped it tightly and a tingle of heat spread from her body into his, calming him and stilling the tempest inside.

Michael also followed Liz’s orders unquestioningly. He pulled himself up as much as he could and with a pained groan, pushed his battered body to her side. Trying to catch his breath, he took quick stock of his injuries, and a nagging voice in the back of his head told him he was quickly becoming a liability to his friends. The smallest movements jarred various internal injuries, driving knives of pain into his damaged flesh. He knew that he wasn’t going to be able to help his friends much longer, a gray mist was already swirling at the edge of his vision, accompanied by black spots dancing across his line of sight. Liz reached down her hand and ran her fingers soothingly through his hair. It was a temptation to let himself float away into sweet unconsciousness and for a moment he teetered on the brink of oblivion, but as Liz continued to stroke his hair he could feel a cold shiver start at the top of his head and slide down his body, almost as though he was standing under a cool waterfall. As the chill washed through his body he could swear he actually felt his injuries mending themselves. Bone and flesh, sinew and muscle knitting together under his skin. Michael glanced up at Liz, wonder etched across his face.

Liz’s actions seemed to be unconscious; her gaze was locked on the stunned and furious face of the Disciple.

"I don’t think the Granolith likes you. You might want to rethink your plans," she told him.

"I don’t care what you think, girl. The Granolith is mine and you are dead," he shouted.

Liz eyes widened in anger, red light arcing across the room ominously. "The Granolith is mine."

The Disciple laughed suddenly, a harsh barking sound that echoed discordantly off the chamber walls. "Ignorant, arrogant human. Yours? Do you honestly believe you can control this power for long?" He turned his taunting remarks to Max. "How does it feel, your majesty, to know that for all her protestations of love her goal was power? How does it feel to see the true loyalty of your wench?"

Max smiled grimly back at his enemy. "Best feeling in the universe."

The Disciple snarled menacingly and took a step in their direction. Blinding blue and green lights shot from the Granolith and wove a web of sparking flame around it and the trio standing by it.

"The Granolith is not for you, Zhilag," Liz told him coldly. "It belongs to the royal family. Its power is mine and you will never get it."

"You are not royalty," the Disciple raged. "I will not stand by and watch you profane this holy place. Tesher, kill them," he screamed.

Tesher looked uncertainly back and forth between the Disciple and Liz. "My lord, the shield . . ."

"No excuses."

Tesher licked his lips and approached the Granolith slowly. He jumped as more lightening flashes darted around the room but he steadfastly continued on. When he was a hand’s breadth from the shield another bolt shot out, this time finding a mark. Tesher shrieked in pain, his body jerked and fingers of fire burst through his skin. One final charge and he was thrown clear of the shield, landing in a smoldering heap at the entrance to the room.

Liz’s face went white and a swell of nausea rippled through her but she composed herself quickly and addressed the Disciple. "We seem to be at a stalemate."

The Disciple straightened his spine, brushed back his hair, and straightened his suit jacket. "I have all the time in the world, child." He turned abruptly and left the room. The last remaining guard shot them a wary look then edged his way out as well.

Liz took a deep breath and wiped her hand across her forehead. She looked behind her and saw both Max and Michael slumped against the base of the Granolith. They looked as wiped out as she felt.

"Are you guys okay?"

Max reached out to grab her hand and pull her down next to him. "I guess. What’s going on here, Liz?"

"It’s a defense mechanism. The Granolith is protecting itself and us," she told him.

"I thought it wasn’t ready."

Liz shrugged. "You know as much as I do."

Michael ran a hand through his already unruly hair. "So basically until it’s ‘ready’ we’re stuck here."

Liz nodded her head. "Yeah, I’d say that’s fairly accurate."

"Any idea how long this will take?" Michael asked.

"Not a clue."

"Cause you know, Maria is still out there with that piece of slime. If he hurts her, Liz . . ."

"He won’t," she said hurriedly. "He’ll probably try to bargain with her. We have some time, Michael."

Michael shook his head. "You don’t know this guy, Liz, I do. He wants one thing only and he doesn’t give a good god damn about any human that gets in between him and the Granolith."

******

Red