posted on 2-Sep-2002 7:26:03 PM
This is a sequel to the fic Common Ground; for those who missed it, here's the url:

viewthread?forum=dreamer-fanfiction&id=156917

I don't claim to own anything except my overactive imagination, all my new and old readers enjoy.

Robyn


Part I - Keeping Up the Act


"Please, Liz."

"Maria, I said no. I don't want to have a party." She took a long drink of her beer and sighed. The party was a bad idea but she knew that Maria wouldn't leave her alone until she relented. Even though it was a lost cause, Liz wasn't going down without some semblance of a fight; she wasn't a pushover even though she often played the part.

Since high school graduation, Liz had been allowing bits of her true nature and attitude to seep into her "Little Lizzie Parker" routine but she was still a far cry from total conversion. She had talked it over with Michael and they had agreed on a gradual adjustment. They didn't think that her few friends and casual acquaintances were ready for a complete personality overhaul and they didn't want to raise any undo suspicions. Meaning that timid Liz Parker would let Maria Deluca steam roll right over her eventually, it would be out of character if she didn't. Of course, Liz thought, it would only be after a significant amount of groveling.

"Come on," Maria urged, "it'll be the best birthday bash ever. We can invite all of your friends, have lots of food, drinks and dancing."

"As I've told you countless times before, Maria, that day is meaningless," she replied giving the girl a pointed stare. "Shall I make a list of my reasons? Hmm, let's start with the fact that I have no idea as to my actual birth date, I'm adopted remember. I also don't like to have lots of attention, which a birthday party is sure to give me." Liz halted her dissertation momentarily to see if Maria understood her. "Besides, the only friends I have are you, Alex and Michael. Two of which I live with above this bar and all of which I work with on a daily basis. So, as you see, there is no need to have some kind of fanciful soiree in my name."

Nope, her argument was a no go; Maria was purposefully being obtuse. She only ignored Liz's comments and continued with her justifications. "You're missing the point, Liz. It doesn't matter that the day means nothing to you; it's just a day to signify how special you are. It gives your friends and family a chance to show you how much you mean to them."

Liz gave Maria a skeptical glance and took a swallow of her beer, saying nothing. Normally she admired Maria's tenacity but right now, she just wished she would back off. It didn't look like it would be happening anytime soon however.

"Liz," Maria pleaded. "Birthdays are intended to be a fun celebration of all the years that you have lived. You're supposed to do something out of the ordinary. Be wild and let down your hair for once in your life. Let me throw you a party and you can shed 'Perfect Lizzie Parker' for the night."

If she only knew, Liz thought smirking slightly before removing her eyeglasses to wipe them clean on the hem of her oversized T-shirt. Maria and Liz had been sitting at a booth in the Crashdown for the past half-hour. The obstinate blond had been trying to talk her into a birthday party for the past month, but still Liz resisted. She didn't want the unnecessary attention, especially now. It had only been a couple of months since she, along with five others, had broken into a local military base to procure information pertaining to a secret government association known as Manticore.

Liz's brothers and sisters were now in the process of eliminating all of Manticore's sites within the United States and around the world, hopefully ending the organization for good. Zack, her brother and commanding officer, would not allow her to go on active duty to help out her family due to complications that developed during the operation at the base. She had argued that her near death experience had nothing to do with the mission, just her own imperfect physiology that she happened to share with each member of her family, including him. The argument had fallen on deaf ears, though, as he ignored the plea and issued a direct order to keep out of the fray.

After many imploring and long debates, Zack and her other siblings, however, had given Liz permission to run the command center in Roswell, New Mexico. Liz, her boyfriend, Michael, and adoptive brother, Alex, were coordinating the attacks, keeping tabs on all of the units and acquiring all of the needed supplies. They were busy night and day, working in the Crashdown and running the headquarters for Zack. The last thing that they needed was to have a big summer blowout at the central location.

"What if I like being 'Perfect Liz Parker', as you put it. I don't have the time or energy to be anyone else."

"So that's what this is about," Maria babbled determinedly. "Don't worry, you won't have to do anything. I'll make all of the plans, supply the food, decorations and music. I'll make out a guest list. Do you think that Alex will help me? He is, after all, your brother. I know," she spouted excitedly, "I'll have my mom make the birthday cake, she's the best in town. Do you want chocolate or vanilla? Never mind, I'll make it a surprise. Anyway, I'm going to have to make a trip into the city to buy supplies..."

Liz cut her off with a sharp, slashing movement of her hand. "Maria, stop. I haven't said yes. I want to make this perfectly clear, I don't want a birthday celebration in any way, shape or form."

The terse interruption did nothing to phase Maria and she continued with her rambling, "Ok, so it won't be a birthday party. How about an end of the summer bash? We could...."

Intervening again, Liz said brusquely, "Alright, here's the deal. Do you promise to leave me alone and plan this by yourself if I agree?"

Maria nodded her head enthusiastically, squealing in delight.

Liz sighed dramatically not attempting to disguise her displeasure concerning this decision. "Do you promise me that this will not be, in the slightest way, a birthday party and that I won't have to torture and/or maim you before the night's over?"

More head nodding. She looks like one of those damn dashboard dogs, Liz thought dryly.

"Then it's a deal," Liz said simply, her tone clearly stating that there was no room for negotiation. "You plan the party and leave me out of it as much as possible."

"You won't regret this, Liz," Maria gushed, moving over to Liz's side of the booth to wrap her in a tight hug. "It'll be a night that even you will remember."

A night that even you will remember. The words reverberated through Liz's head sending a cold chill throughout her body. Why had she given in to Maria's demands?


[ edited 59time(s), last at 19-Feb-2003 3:57:25 PM ]
posted on 3-Sep-2002 8:11:47 PM
Bump.

If there's more interest, I'll post the next part tonite.
posted on 4-Sep-2002 5:47:34 PM
Part II - The Past Summer

Trudging up the stairs to her apartment, Liz continued to mentally berate herself. Why had she allowed Maria to talk her into a party? Why couldn't she be the strong-willed soldier when she was around that girl? Sometimes she hated the gutless, diminutive figure that she portrayed daily, Liz thought grumpily.

There had been something about her final decision that had left an ominous feeling in the pit of her stomach. A feeling that Liz wished she could place or ignore. Maybe it's nothing, she thought, but quickly dismissed the idea; her instincts had never been wrong before. Shaking her head violently, Liz attempted to force out all of the possible scenarios that were beginning to form in her overtaxed brain.

Walking into the living room, Liz grabbed a chair and rotated it until it faced the dining room. She needed to remove herself from her foreboding thoughts and knew just the solution. Settling down into the seat, Liz turned her attention to Michael Guerin who was, at present, leaning heavily over the dining room table submerged in his own thoughts.

He looks good, she thought, raking her eyes over him and taking note of his appearance, just the distraction that I need. Michael's meager attire consisted only of a ratty pair of tight, faded blue jeans, leaving his feet and chest bare. Liz wasn't about to complain; Michael was definitely good eye candy, she thought losing herself in thoughts of what his trim, muscular body could do to her.

The exposed skin of his back was well defined and bronzed from the long hours they had spent training out in the desert. His silky, tawny-colored locks had grown in length over the summer and now extended past his shoulders in waves. Tracing the contours of Michael's back with desire-laced eyes, Liz sighed, Michael really is a beautiful man, she thought smugly, and he's all mine.

Letting her gaze wander away from Michael's form, Liz analyzed the dining room. The area had undergone a massive transformation over the past couple of months. She noted all the alterations with a touch of sadness; it no longer reflected the loving household that the Parkers had made it. It's once warm and homey atmosphere had been replaced with one of utilitarian coldness and sterility.

After Zack had approved her petition, the first step taken had been to establish a centralized headquarters. Upon mutual agreement, they had decided to convert the dining room for that purpose, deeming it the most suitable area. Alex, Michael and Liz had acted quickly and efficiently, packing up all nonessential items and stowing them away.

All of the furniture that would not be beneficial to the cause was moved into other rooms. The hutch, which had once stored her mother's fine china, now housed their steadily increasing number of weapons: various rifles, pistols, ammunition, grenades and cutlery. Alex's workstation, which was once found in his room, was now located in the corner of the room and had been greatly expanded to include more sophisticated items. The new equipment was thanks to Logan Cale, a close friend and her twin sister's, Max's, beau; he had made sure that Alex had top of the line equipment before heading back home to Seattle in June.

In addition to the new computer equipment, maps and building schematics had been plastered over the walls until there was no exposed wallpaper. The largest singular covering was a world map that blanketed a third of one wall. It was peppered with colored stickpins, each signifying a Manticore location. Red pins noted the sites that were destroyed and no longer functioning, green those still up and running. Out of the dozens of pins stuck into the map, four were still green. Currently, plans for the final missions were strewn out across the table and any other available surface.

Sighing, Liz thought about Zack and her other siblings; they were doing a great job of dismantling Manticore. The only regret that Liz had was that she wasn't out there with them. She belonged out there, in action, fighting alongside her brethren, but she had been forbidden. Zack didn't want her out there after the last assignment Liz had completed. She had almost died and he refused to acknowledge her complete recovery. Smiling slightly, she glanced up at Michael's figure slouched over the worn tabletop. If it hadn't been for him, she would have died.

Michael had stayed with her sharing his energy and extending her life until help could arrive. He and his family had exposed their other-worldliness in order to save her life. Max Evans, Michael's king, had used his alien skills to heal a ruptured artery in Liz's brain. Not only did he reverse the aneurysm, but it also seemed that he had corrected the cause of the seizures. Liz had not suffered one in the three months since.

Despite the fact that Liz was more physically fit than ever before, Zack did not trust the aliens. He was not convinced that the healing was permanent and had vetoed any active involvement on Liz's part. Reliving the confrontation with Zack caused Liz's head to begin aching slightly and she raised her hands to massage the dull pain from her temples. Liz understood his concern, but that didn't mean that she had to like it.

In fact, Zack's whole attitude towards the aliens irritated her. They had entrusted their secret to five outsiders (Zack, Max, Logan, Alex and herself) in exchange for her life. It seemed unfair for him not to trust them; they had given up a lot to keep her alive. Not only did he not trust the aliens but he also didn't want her to either. He had ordered Liz not to tell them about her transgenic status. The only exception to the rule had been Michael.

Glancing back up to Michael's half-naked body, Liz felt her eyes soften and a genuinely happy smile emerge on her face. Zack did trust Michael, implicitly. He had begrudgingly acknowledged the seriousness of their relationship, especially when he found that Michael would do anything to protect Liz. Michael had a mutual respect for her eldest brother but always managed to butt heads with him. That was until they started planning the raids on Manticore.

The faith and acceptance that Zack had bestowed upon Michael had proved to be beneficial in more ways then in regards to Liz's safety. They had discovered that he was a natural born strategist; he even surpassed Zack's extensive tactical understanding. Not one of his plans had failed if implemented exactly to his specifications. The stratagems that he supplied were responsible for each and every downfall of Manticore's facilities. One by one, every operation had all gone down without the slightest indication of a problem; even after the security details had grown larger and tighter after each raid.

Knocking her head gently against the back of the chair, Liz made a decision. I need to concentrate on the here and now, she reminded herself. I cannot continue to dwell on the past or Zack's commands any longer. Soon the fight will be over and I will be able to concentrate on my life. Hmm, my life, my future and the role that Michael will play in it. I like the sound of that, she thought, smiling inwardly.

The pleasant thoughts quickly dispersed before she could stop herself. As Liz's glee faded away, she remembered her foreboding feelings concerning the upcoming party. Why do I feel like something bad is going to happen?

posted on 5-Sep-2002 8:22:54 PM
I hate to disappoint all of my fans, but I've had a computer malfunction and lost my hard drive. My wonderful and talented husband managed to recover my fanfic files but until I get my computer working again I won't be able to post.

Robyn
posted on 2-Oct-2002 9:10:31 PM
Bump
posted on 4-Oct-2002 12:25:58 PM
Thanks KEmperor for reading my story!!

Robyn

Part XV - The Queen

The dining crowd in front had thinned out quite a bit and all the orders were done, giving Michael a chance to relax. Tiredly, he propped himself against the counter and thought about his girlfriend. He hoped that Liz's day was going well; it was a reprieve in which she was greatly in need. Sighing, he wondered if she and Isabel had found some common ground; he knew that they could be good friends if they just got over their mutual stubbornness. Why is it, he thought, that all of the people in my life are inflexible mules? he thought sarcastically.

Michael's thoughts were interrupted when a short blond popped her head into the kitchen. Great, just what he needed another lecture from Tess. "Can I help you with something, your Highness?" Michael growled in an unwelcome manner.

"I came to talk to you about Liz," she replied menacingly, walking into the kitchen and standing opposite from him.

"Of course you did," Michael said crossing his arms over his chest defiantly. "What else would you want to talk about? It's not like you haven't made it your goal to destroy her life."

"She's destroying yours, why wouldn't I want to return the favor," she sneered.

"I don't know, Tess, maybe because somewhere in the middle of that black, rotting heart you feel the tiniest bit of compassion."

Tess returned his comment with an icy glare. "Max told me about the bruises, so I thought that I would come speak to you while Liz was away. Maybe you won't be afraid to talk while she's gone."

"I have nothing to speak up about. I'm sure that if Max told you I had bruises then he also told you how I had gotten them." Michael turned away from Tess to grab a new order ticket off the wheel. "If you don't mind, Tess, could you show yourself out, I've got work to do."

Opening her mouth to protest, Tess was interrupted by a presence at the door. "You heard him, he has work to do."

"I don't have to listen to you, Liz Parker," Tess hissed.

"You do when you're on my property. Now would you please leave."

Michael watched in horrified fascination, he could feel the tension in the room escalating to precarious levels. Tess wasn't budging from her position against the back wall and Michael noted the steely determination in her eyes; he needed to intervene and fast. "Tess," he said nervously, "please leave. I promise I'll talk to you later."

"I'm not afraid of your human, Michael. If she wants me to leave, she can make me."

"I'm going to ask you one more time, Tess," Liz said unemotionally. "Would you please get the hell out of my establishment?"

"I've got something to say to you, Liz," Tess spat. "First, you corrupt Michael and turn him against us and now you're going after Isabel. What do you think you're doing?"

Michael waited for Liz's reply but was surprised to find her silent; it couldn’t be a good sign. Studying her features, he tried to obtain some indication of her state of mind and did not like what he found. Her lips were pursed into a tight line. She had her arms crossed in an intimidating fashion. And her eyes, they frightened him the most; they were completely devoid of any emotion, the soldier stoicism shining through. Please let Tess shut up, he pled silently.

Of course she didn't. "I want you to stay away from me and my family."

Silence. Michael continued to eye Liz warily. She had not broken her steady glare directed to Tess and had yet to change her stance. If he hadn't known any better, he would think that Liz was ignoring Tess's outburst. But he did know better, it was the calm before the storm. "Tess, leave Liz alone," he pleaded.

"I'm not talking to you, Michael. I'm having a nice little chat with your girlfriend," she said, her eyes lighting up dangerously. "Or should I say, talking at your girlfriend."

Continued silence. Damn that soldier mentality; Michael knew that Liz could stand there all night. Normally, it wouldn't bother him so much but Liz's quiet demeanor was enraging Tess more than her yelling back ever had.

"Are you going to butt out of our lives?" Tess asked, slowly growing more irate. Tess's hands were beginning to tremble slightly where they were clenched tightly at her sides and her face was turning a crimson shade.

Liz answered with more silence. Michael knew he'd have to find a way to intervene soon; he wasn't the only alien that had problems controlling their gifts when angry.

"Answer me, damn it." Tess started to shake tremulously and Michael felt her energy charge. The only answer Liz gave was more silence and steely resolve.

The air in the room crackled and Michael could tell that Tess was not going to hold in her rage any longer. Before he could reach out to stop her, she released her built up energy and levitated the butcher knife that he had been using earlier. The blade hung in midair for a split second before it was flung forcefully across the room at Liz.

Panicking, Michael watched in terror as the blade soared straight on a collision path with Liz's head. Raising his hand, he intended to shoot a bolt of energy at the knife to change the trajectory but stopped when he saw Liz finally reacting. Faster then his eyes could process the information, she raised her arm, grasped the knife by its handle, sufficiently halting its forward progression. In a less then a moment, she had turned the tables on Tess, redirecting the blade in her direction. Currently, the knife was soaring towards her blond head as she looked on in silent bewilderment.

With a dull thrumming sound, the knife embedded in the wall a mere millimeter from Tess's ear, sheering off a few of her golden locks. As she stood sputtering in fear, Liz made her exit calling angrily over her shoulder, "I'm getting the hell out of here, Michael. Don't wait up for me."

Michael watched Liz leave out the back door, suddenly insanely angry with Tess. Preparing to rip into her, he was stopped short when he noticed Isabel huddling shakily outside of the doorway. "How did she do that?" she asked timidly.

Outside, Michael could hear Liz's motorcycle roar to life and peel out of the alley. Glaring between the two girls, Michael chose to ignore the question. Right now, he'd be lucky if he didn't blast them to smithereens. "Tess, I warned you not to mess with her, but did you listen to me? No, you just had to go and try to prove some sort of moot point."

"But...but, Michael..." Tess choked out.

"No, I'm through with you for tonight. Go home and cool off; when you feel like apologizing then I'll speak to you," Michael interrupted angrily. Tess nodded her head obediently and shuffled nervously out the door.

"And you, Isabel," Michael said turning to address the cowering girl, "I thought that you two were supposed to be out shopping and bonding today. Why was Liz home so early?"

"I had to start my shift," she said guiltily. "If I had known, I would have kept her away for a little while longer." She reached out and touched his forearm. "I know what I saw, is she one of us? Was that some sort of side effect of the healing?"

"No, she's not one of us and that was not alien related. Despite what Tess says, I have never blatantly lied to any of you about Liz. Believe me when I say she has secrets of her own that don't concern us. She's been hiding what she is for longer then we have and that's all I’m allowed to say."

"She let something slip today while we were out; said that she might have to leave Alex alone. What did she mean by that?"

Sighing, Michael raked his hands through his hair. Damn it, he had thought that Liz had gotten past that. Manticore was all but destroyed and she would soon be able to lead a normal life, one where she wouldn’t have to worry about leaving Alex behind without a second thought.

"Can we talk about this later, Isabel? I really need to catch up with her and try to calm her down. Can you get Alex to man the kitchen? That I went after Liz?"

"Sure, no problem, but how are you going to find her? She could be anywhere."

"Don't worry, I know where she is."

posted on 6-Oct-2002 12:34:34 PM
bump!!!!
posted on 8-Oct-2002 1:11:09 PM
bumping for now, I'll post more later today.

Robyn
posted on 8-Oct-2002 8:24:39 PM
Thanks to DreaminFehr and Snowdove30



Part XVI - For the Taking


Climbing off of his motorcycle, Michael looked up at the sheer cliff wall looming in front of him. A smile crossed his face as he remembered his and Liz's first journey there and all of the trips since that fateful night. This had been the site of their first kiss and had become so much more since then.

The place was a monument to Michael's readjusted life as it was the first place where he had decided to follow his heart instead of his head. Here, he had found someone that could relate and understand his thoughts and actions, something that he had never even considered possible. Here, his heart had found and made room for Liz Parker.

Michael knew that the escarpment was special for Liz, too; she had been the one to bring him out here and introduce him to it. He wasn't the only one that had found and welcomed change out here. The plateau had been her high place, a sanctuary where she could look back on the few happy memories of her past and look forward to new ones. Now, it was their fortress of solitude, a place where they could come and enjoy the moment instead of dwelling on the past or dreaming of the future.

Over the months that Michael and Liz had been together, she had come out here often; sometimes he would join her, other times she would insist on being alone. Here, she could forget all her problems and find peace. It was where Michael knew she would be and he hadn't been disappointed; her motorcycle was parked in the shadow of the stone.

Quickly, Michael ascended the steep gradation. Rock climbing had been a necessary skill to learn when he started dating Liz and she had been a very willing teacher. They had spent many a night scaling various formations, working on his skill and maneuverability, and the rewards, both mentally and carnally, had been worth every cut, scrape and fall he had suffered.

Within minutes, Michael had reached the flat expanse of the mesa. Pulling his body up and over the edge, he walked over to where Liz lay on her back staring at the great expanse of stars shining in the sky above her. Pulling off his jacket, he sank down beside her and used the coat as a makeshift pillow.

"What are you doing here?" he heard her ask quietly.

"I thought that you could use a friend," Michael replied simply, letting her decide the direction the conversation would take.

Liz rolled over and entwined their legs together, pressing her body to Michael's intimately. Softly she stroked his chest through the rough material of his shirt and nuzzled his stubble-covered cheek with her nose. "I don't need a friend right now," she purred. "I need a lover."

Michael's body responded immediately to the dulcet sounds of her voice and he couldn't help but lean in for a kiss. Intending only for a brief encountering of lips, he had to suppress a surprised gasp when Liz deepened the union. She roughly pushed her tongue into his open mouth and moved to straddle his hips. The ferocity of her kiss increased drastically, what she wanted from Michael unmistakably clear.

Breathlessly, Michael broke contact with Liz to get his bearings. "We need to talk about what happened tonight," he panted trying to hold her body and lips at bay.

"I'm through talking, Michael, that's all we ever do and it hasn't accomplished anything. Right now, I need to feel. I need to have some other emotion in me besides loathing, anger and violence. I need you inside me. I need to feel your love for me as you approach your climax, to feel your seed fill my womb. It makes me feel alive. Help me, Michael; I need to know that I'm human. Please, give this to me," she begged. "I need you."

"I need you," Liz repeated softly meeting his eyes.

The sadness and fear that Michael saw reflected in the depths of her chocolate pools awed and concerned him. She was vulnerable, a very un-Liz like trait. She was the strongest person that he knew; she was aggressive and self-reliant, anything but vulnerable. Distress flooded through their connection as Michael mentally reached out for Liz, immense anguish. He could easily read the inner turmoil and found it centered on the events back at the Crashdown tonight and from the dinner a couple of days ago. Liz was terrified, not for her secrets or safety but of herself and what she was becoming.

Michael knew that they needed to discuss the earlier incident but he could not refuse her heartfelt plea; they would talk later. Right now, she needed his assurance and love, not pretty words but actual, physical contact. With his eyes, he indicated that he understood and would not deny Liz what she desired. She sighed in relief and slowly began to grind their lower bodies together.

Sitting upright, Michael threaded his fingers into Liz's hair and brought their mouths together giving her the passion and intensity that she craved. The heat of the kiss spread to his body, scorching him, melting any further resolve that he might have had. Her need was becoming his and he desperately wanted to be with her, in her. He needed to be surrounded by her moist, waiting heat, to be buried deep inside her, to touch her soul.

Urgently, Michael began to strip Liz of her clothing, only breaking their kiss to pull her shirt up and over her head. Savagely, he worried her newly exposed breasts with his lips and teeth, encouraged when he heard her growls of contentment. Roughly, he brought his hands down to encircle her waist before sliding them up her sides and around her back to draw their chests closer together. Liz arched into his touch and threw her head back moaning his name.

Drawing back slightly, Michael clenched her sensitive nipple between his teeth and pulled it taught. Liz's body convulsed in pleasure at the slight sting of his ministrations and her fingers fisted in his hair almost painfully. Impassioned beyond any point of regaining control, he turned his attention to the upper swell of her left breast. Primal instincts overwhelmed him and he felt the pull to leave his mark on her body. Michael gave in to the need; waiting only until Liz nodded her head ever so slightly in permission. Slowly, his teeth bit into the soft tissue as his lips closed over the area sucking forcefully.

Releasing Liz's tender skin, Michael leaned back to admire his handiwork, pleased at the dark bruise staining her, otherwise flawless, breast. Looking up at the angel straddling his body, he growled possessively, "You're mine."


posted on 10-Oct-2002 9:00:26 AM
bumping for now. will post more tonite,

robyn
posted on 10-Oct-2002 5:37:58 PM
Thanks to Anya, Tabasco Liz, KEmperorand Anya again.

Robyn


Part XVII - Mine

Approval gleamed in Liz's eyes as she held his gaze. Wantonly, she threw herself back into the moment needing to return his favor, to brand him as he had her. Frantically, she pulled at the buttons of his shirt, ripping the garment open when she couldn't manipulate the tiny clasps quick enough. Laying him back on the ground, she slid down his body, distracted momentarily when she encountered the stiffness in his groin. Taking a deep breath, she reluctantly continued her descent pressing her stomach firmly to his growing hardness.

Giving Michael a mischievous grin, Liz seductively purred, "My turn," before dropping her mouth to his naked left pectoral muscle. Never breaking eye contact, she clamped down on the firm area with her teeth and repeated his earlier actions. His eyes darkened with desire at her ministrations, which she continued until he had a stigma that matched her own.

When finished, an indescribable impetus came over Liz. It couldn't be explained in words and there was nothing malignant in it's nature; something about it just seemed so right. Willingly, she submitted to the impulse and let it consume her body, mind and spirit. Wordlessly, she let it guide her movements, climbing off Michael and rising to her knees beside him. Silently, he copied her actions until they were facing each other mere inches separating their sweating bodies, the same forces seemingly leading him.

Meeting Michael's glazed eyes, Liz felt herself falling into their depths and forming a mental connection stronger than any she had ever been a participant in. Their thoughts mingled until she was unsure as to whose they were. As always, she found herself enjoying Michael's presence in her mind, he belonged there.

"Duk ammon," they stated simultaneously. Instinctively, Liz raised her left hand and brought it up to cup Michael's cheek and pressed her right hand to cover her mark on his chest. Vaguely, she was aware that he was mirroring her actions and words.

"Sig kuna di ammana," they spoke together. As the words floated out of her mouth, Liz felt a warm surge of energy deep within her body. The intensity swelled and began to course through her veins, pleasantly filling her thoughts and senses with impressions of her and Michael's love. When she became accustomed to the currents she found that the swirling energy was shifting and changing to a steady hum. It was concentrating in the palm of her right hand, the one positioned on Michael's chest. The vibration echoed to Liz from Michael where his hand was flattened to her flesh.

With a tingling jolt, the energy began spilling out of Liz's hand to pool in the mark she had made with her mouth. Michael's body answered in kind, delightfully flooding her senses with his raw, unrestrained essence. She became lost in the transfer and connection, reveling in all that was Michael. He was a warrior, a protector, a lover and a friend. He was her everything and she his. Liz felt his passion, trust, fear, happiness and overwhelming love as they were fed through the bond and knew that she was sending hers to him as well.

Unable and unwilling to move, Michael and Liz silently agreed to let the power flowing between them progress and expand. The current was stimulating and pleasurable, not in any way undesirable. It was an experience that she would not break away from if she had been given the choice. Her senses were heightened and she was instantly tuned in to Michael's lust and desire. With the newfound sensitivity, the barest touch of his hand on her left breast made her burn with unrestrained passion.

Tilting her chin upwards, Liz met Michael in the softest of kisses, a light brush of velvety lips. The kiss ignited the energy coiling in their bodies, stoking it to a raging inferno. Suddenly, a kiss was not enough for her; she wanted, no, needed, more. Feeling no compulsion to bury or ignore the sensations, she parted her lips and fed hungrily on her lover’s welcoming mouth.

Their mutual need for each other escalated at the deepening of the kiss and Liz could feel her energy begin to blend with Michael's. All thought abandoned her as they stood simultaneously and began to shed the rest of their clothing. Slowly, she slid the zipper of his jeans open and felt him mimicking her motions. She traced her fingers along the waistband of his pants briefly before shoving her hands underneath his boxers to caress his erection. When she felt him reach her core with his own nimble fingers, she stopped teasing and pushed his pants down to his ankles. Liz's own jeans pooled at her feet and she became distracted while impatiently kicking her shoes off to step out of them.

Once stripped completely of all her garments, Liz lay back on the ground pulling Michael on top of her. Growling viciously, he fell on top of her and began to devour her mouth. Before losing herself in his ravishing, she guided his erection to her entrance and helped him slide inside. Releasing animalistic noises at the contact, she encouraged him to drive into her heat powerfully, meeting him thrust for thrust. Liz's orgasm approached quickly with great force and she allowed her body to succumb to it, screaming out in rapture as Michael continued to pound into her. Flipping them over, she rode him hard and fast wanting him to come screaming her name. As her second orgasm started, she felt Michael unraveling beneath her. The explosion of energy was intense as they fell over the brink and into blissful darkness.

posted on 11-Oct-2002 2:58:54 PM
Thanks again to Anya and Tobasco Liz!!!


Part XVIII - The Morning After


An unwelcome light greeted Michael upon waking in the morning and he groaned in response to the blinding intrusion. Warily, he blinked his eyes open noticing immediately that he was not in his bed, that he was, in fact, sprawled on the desert floor with a familiar weight pinning him down. Grinning down at the dark head of hair, Michael began to stroke her mane contentedly. He always liked waking up with her in his arms; he only wished that he knew where here was.

Shifting slightly, he scratched his eyebrow and tried to remember where he was and how he had gotten there. Liz was upset last night. He came out to find her. They were on top of their plateau and he had driven his bike out here. Okay, that answers that question, but why are we still here?

Slowly, the memories from last night began to trickle to the forefront of his mind. Liz needing to feel him. Marking her. Him being marked by her. Frantically making love in the sand. They had been savage, primal and animalistic in their lovemaking last night, Michael remembered. They had been overwhelmed by intense need and urgency. What was that? Michael thought. They had had sex many times and in almost every way imaginable but last night he could not have stopped if he had tried; something had driven them forward and carried their passion to new heights.

Liz wiggled in his arms and began to suck gently on his neck. Moaning lightly at the contact, Michael pulled her up for a proper good morning kiss.

"Morning to you, too," Liz mumbled sleepily, breaking away from the kiss and looking around the area. "What are we doing out here in the desert? I don't remember being tired or falling asleep."

"I remember following you and having some of the best sex of my life but I'm kind of hazy on the rest of the details," Michael replied honestly.

"Well, maybe this will refresh you memory," she purred sitting up astride his hips.

Michael's manhood flared to life and he was just about to act on his impulses when he noticed the mark on Liz's bare chest. His body froze instantly and he stared in shock. How had he left a mark like that? It wasn't a bruise, it was a tattoo and it was glowing dully in the early morning sun. Momentarily rejecting his enflamed passion, he looked at the tattoo in wonder slowly raising a hand to trace the design.

"Michael, what is it?" Liz asked her voice slowly trailing off to a whisper. "Oh my God."

Tearing his eyes away from Liz, Michael chanced a look to see what had distracted her. Following her fingers to his left pectoral muscle, he gasped when he observed an identical tattoo etched into his skin. The colors were vibrant and the design extraordinary. Two swords were crossed over a starburst of deep blue. One blade was heavy, thick and black while the other was of lighter stock and shimmered in silver; blood tipped the ends of each weapon. The swords obviously indicated Michael and Liz's roles as protectors and soldiers and that did not trouble him, it was the third object that he didn't understand. Looped around each hilt was a golden circle; the circles were conjoined beneath the clashing swords. Upon initial inspection, he had thought that it was an infinity symbol but a closer investigation showed him that they were rings linked together.

"Wow," he stammered. "I didn't know that I could do that."

Smiling, Liz replied, "We did that. Now we share the same mark, our mark."

Affectionately, she raised her hand to caress the emblem of their love. As her fingertips brushed across his tattoo, a bolt of ecstasy rushed through Michael. Hissing, he snapped his eyes shut and commanded, "Do that again."

Once more, Liz stroked Michael's chest sending waves of pleasure throughout his body, this time accompanied by flashes of last night. The images hit him with a brute force: the synchronous movements, the ache to be together and the simultaneous words. Somewhere deep in the recesses of his mind, he recognized their actions and the strange words. They had completed a ceremony from his past, not just any ceremony but an Antarian one of great importance.

"Liz," Michael said with an emotional rawness in his voice. "I know what happened last night."

"What is it?" she asked concerned. "Is something wrong?"

"I think it's great but you might think otherwise," he replied cautiously. "Do you remember what we did before we made love?"

"Yes," Liz said, "I remembered it in flashes when you touched your mark on my chest."

"It was a ceremony, an ancient Antarian tradition." Michael paused momentarily before continuing, "Last night we bonded."

"What do you mean 'bonded'? We've had sex before, why was this one time any different?" she asked with confusion.

"Not bonded as in sex, Liz." He hoped that his next words wouldn't make her hate him. "We bonded as in spiritually, mentally, physically. We now belong to each other, life mates, inseparable from one another. We will never be able to find solace or happiness in anyone else ever again. Our lives are now entwined, for better or worse, for the rest of our lives."

Liz turned her head away so Michael couldn't read her eyes. She had yet to say anything and he was worried; did she not want this? "Say something," he pleaded, "please. Do you hate me? I don't want to lose you but if you don't want to be my mate, I'll leave." Sadly, he laid his head back in the dirt and closed his eyes willing the unshed tears away.

Soft drops of warm rain splattered down into Michael's face before he could properly start mourning his loss. Opening his eyes, he found Liz weeping above him but smiling happily. "I'm honored to be yours. I love you and don't want you anywhere but in my life everyday for as long as I live."

"So you're not mad?"

"How could I be? I've been bonded to the man I love and have been promised that his love will be returned to me forever." Grabbing his hand, Liz placed it over her left breast then brought her hand to rest on his speaking the words from last night, "Duk ammon. Sig kuna di ammana.” Forever mine. I am yours for all eternity.

posted on 13-Oct-2002 6:50:39 PM
Thanks to Anya and Tobasco Liz.

This next part's kind of short but I promise the next will be longer. I could be persuaded to post sooner given the amount of response. Hint, hint.

Robyn



Part XIX - Responsibilities


It was growing late in the afternoon when Michael and Liz finally made it back to the Crashdown. They had found an extremely pleasurable way to celebrate their new closeness and had a hard time breaking up their tryst. It seemed that the bonding had affected their sex drive, increasing it dramatically. Which is saying quite a bit, Liz thought humorously. She suspected that the marriage of their souls had other affects as well but so far they hadn't had any indications; all they could do was wait, it was only a matter of time before they surfaced.

Upon opening the door to the apartment, they were greeted by an extremely agitated Alex. "About damn time you two got home," he spat furiously gesturing with his hands.

"Relax, Alex," Liz told him taken aback by his attitude. It was nothing like the happy-go-lucky man she had lived with for so many years. "What bug crawled up your ass this morning?"

Alex glared at them menacingly. "While you were both out doing whatever the hell that you were doing until..." he glanced at his watch, "...three o'clock this afternoon, I've been getting obscene phone calls from our 'commanding officer'. Seems that he was supposed to get the preliminary plans for the Lubbock expedition this morning, but someone forgot to send them. Any guesses as to who he blames for the incident?"

"Shit," Michael hissed angrily. "How in the hell could I forget to do that? I'm sorry, Alex, I didn't mean to leave you to deal with Zack. I'll handle this, let me take a quick shower then I'll gather the material and you can send it to him."

Michael raced out of the room and Liz turned to follow him. "Oh no you don't, sister," Alex said grabbing her arm. "If you go help him, he'll never get out of there and I'm not about to listen to another of Zack's outbursts."

"Chill, I'm just going to grab some clothes and use your bathroom. Is that all right?"

"Fine, but you had better be quick; we've got a lot of stuff to do tonight."

"Yes, dad," she said grinning. "I'm sorry that we weren't back any sooner but something happened last night and we lost track of time."

"Do I want to hear about it?"

"Probably not, but I'm not even sure that I could explain it. It was…different and definitely alien in origin."

"Dangerous?"

"No, not at all. It was actually..." Liz searched for the right words to tell him, "...quite enjoyable."

"That's enough, I don't need to hear anymore," Alex groaned. "Please, go take your shower, maybe it will cool down your libido."

"Fat chance of that happening," Liz mumbled under her breath as she made her way into her bedroom.

posted on 14-Oct-2002 6:58:21 PM
I wanted to say thanks again to my readers, especially Anya and KEmperor.

Robyn


Part XX - After Effects


After a brisk, and extraordinarily cold, shower, Michael haphazardly dried his body off and pulled on a pair of boxers. He still couldn't believe that he had completely forgotten about the plans; it was unlike him. Zack was probably furious and he was sure that he'd lost any ground that he had captured yesterday on the phone. Wondering how he could be so stupid, he shuffled out to the dining room and collected the papers that he needed Alex to send.

"Ouch," he yelled jerking his finger into his mouth. Stupid paper cut.

"Are you okay, man?" Alex asked concernedly. "Liz told me something happened last night, something alien. Did you get hurt?"

"Thanks for your sympathy, Alex, but I'm fine," Michael said forcing a smile on his mouth for Alex's benefit. "I'm just a little upset with myself; I'm sure my stunt this morning isn't doing too much for my request."

"And what would that request be?" Liz asked from the doorway. Damn, he thought, eyeing her damp hair, flushed skin and skimpy attire, a pair of his black silk boxers, a black, cropped tank top and his mark displayed proudly, unhindered by a fabric covering. He felt his desire for her stir and cursed silently, that cold shower was all for naught if she was going to prance around like that.

"I'll tell you later," he murmured stalking towards her.

"Um, guys," Alex interrupted, clapping his hands in impatience. "Task at hand please. You can return to your nookie later, after you've gotten all of our asses out of the hot water."

"Mud," Michael muttered breaking eye contact with his goddess. She brought him to his knees with just a look, a word, a soft intake of air; he loved her with everything that he was and now she would be his forever.

"What was that, Michael?" Alex asked grinning maniacally. "I don't think that I quite heard you."

Michael ignored his friend and finished gathering all the papers he needed. Hurriedly, he organized the sheets then thrust them into Alex's waiting hands. "It's up to you now, buddy. Scan them, encrypt them and send them. Come on we don't have all night, some of us have better things to be doing with our time," he said smirking.

Alex frowned, "One of these days, Guerin, I'm going to get the last word." Sitting down at his desk, he began to type away at the keyboard furiously, seemingly ignoring the other two occupants in the room.

Feeling Liz's presence, Michael turned around to gather her in his arms. "Don't you have any decency? I mean, what were you thinking wearing that in front of a sex-crazed alien? Did you want me to ravish you right here in the middle of the apartment?"

"Well, that was the idea," she purred, nuzzling his neck. "But now I've got other plans. Give me your hand; it's dripping blood all over my carpet. I leave you alone for a couple of minutes and look what happens."

"It's just a paper cut," he replied examining the wound with a frown, "although it is a little bit deeper then I thought."

"Let me see it," she demanded, "I'll let you know how bad it is; I am, after all, a trained medic."

Reluctantly, Michael held out his hand to let Liz assess the jagged cut. "See I told you it wasn't...Ouch," he shrieked when she probed the wound. Yep, definitely worse then he thought, he was starting to get a little light-headed, but he’d never tell anyone that. Raising a hand to brace himself, Michael grabbed a hold of Liz's shoulder brushing her tattoo with his thumb in the process.

Warmth surrounded Michael's body as he felt the energy in Liz grow and reach out for him at his light touch. The power surge was brief and when it was over, he no longer felt unsteady and the stinging in his finger had ceased. Casting a cursory glance at his finger, Michael observed that both the cut and blood were gone showing a perfectly healthy finger.

"Well, I think we've found another side-effect of the bonding," Liz stated wryly, looking somewhat amazed at the discovery. Michael nodded in agreement; she had healed him, he had nothing to do with it. It appeared that she could access some of his alien abilities, healing at least, which others, he didn't know.

Neither paid any attention to Alex as he stared at them in shock, that was until he spoke up; they were too busy trying to understand what was happening. "What do you mean by that? What effect of what bonding? And when did you both get tattoos?" he asked, his eyes darting between Michael and Liz.

Seeing an encouraging look in Liz's eyes, Michael decided to tell Alex everything. "Last night we bonded, it's an Antarian custom very similar to Earth marriages. The tattoos are a result of the ceremony and signify our relationship to each other."

"What?" Alex stammered. "Married? How could you just get married? Did you ever think that I might want to see me little sister get married?"

"Alex," Liz said soothingly rubbing his back, "he said that it was similar to marriage. Trust me, you didn't want to be there; it was a very...personal experience and not meant for public viewing. And it's not like we planned for it to happen, we weren't even aware of what was going on at the time, it felt right so we went with it."

"So are you or are you not married?" he asked trying to clear his confusion.

"No, not married, at least not by Earth's standards," Michael stated. "It's more like we've declared ourselves mates...”

"...for all eternity," Liz finished. "The tattoos symbolize our love, our individuality and our intertwined lives."

"What did you mean by effects?" Alex questioned curiously.

Michael was uncomfortable with the question so he softly cleared his throat and let Liz answer it. "Well," she said casting an amused glance at Michael, "we seem to have developed an almost overwhelming sex drive."

Alex groaned loudly, "How can you two crave sex anymore? You already go at it like rabbits any time you're alone in a room for more than a minute." Liz opened her mouth to speak but was stopped by her brother’s waving hand. "You know what, I don't want to know, forget I asked that last question. Liz, you said something about another effect?"

"I just healed Michael's paper cut; it appears that I'm accessing or developing his alien powers."

Alex's draw dropped down to his chest. Before he could recover from the shock of Liz's statement, Michael pressed on. "We don't know if she's going to inherit my abilities but it's a pretty good guess. We'll test them out later and see but right now we just don't know what either of us is capable of, I don't really remember anything about the outcome of a bonding and I’m positive that there has never been one like this before."

"Who knows," Liz added softly, "Michael, you might even take on some of my characteristics."

"As if you weren't both freaks before," Alex joked, "now you'll have to contend with a combination of alien know how and Manticore engineering. Promises to be loads of fun, I'm sure."

Before Michael could voice an acceptable retort, the ringing of the phone broke through the silence of the apartment. Zack.

posted on 16-Oct-2002 12:11:10 PM
Bump
posted on 17-Oct-2002 12:05:53 PM
Thanks Snowdove30 and Littlebit.


Part XXI - Facing the Music


Taking a deep breath before picking up the phone, Michael prepared for his unavoidable ass chewing. "Hello, Zack."

"Well, if it isn't Michael Guerin. I'm guessing that you have a very good explanation for your lack of performance today but..."

"Actually..." Michael interrupted.

"As I was going to say, I don't want to hear it," Zack said stiffly. "Your failure disappoints me and I would reprimand you if I had the time, but I don't; in about an hour, my team is heading out to hit the second to last base. I will say one thing though," he said, his voice growing more chilly and authoritative, "don't ever let me down again or you will regret it; I can promise you that."

"I won't fail you again," he said, breathing a sigh of relief and scratching his eyebrow. This was not quite the tirade that he had been expecting and was happy that he wouldn't be getting reamed. Zack must be getting soft, he thought smirking.

"Just so you know where you stand, Michael," Zack stated. "If it hadn't been for your exemplary performance this summer, I wouldn't be giving you a another chance. You have proven your worth."

Michael's jaw dropped open at the words and he didn't say anything. A compliment from Zack was extremely rare and he was slightly stunned at the moment. With fierce determination, he swore that he would not make Zack regret it.

Before the conversation could get too personal, Zack changed topics. "I've looked at the prelims that you had Alex send me a little while ago. They're crude and need some work but I think this approach is worth pursuing. I want you to have a complete draft prepared for me by Wednesday night so we can go a week from that day. Field reports have shown that security is most lax on that day and will give us a little bit of an edge."

"Right," Michael said in agreement. "We'll get on it immediately and pound out more details as soon as you send your recommendations."

"Check the extra equipment that we'll be using and procure whatever else we're going to need. Have Alex memorize the compound's security systems and contact Logan; they'll need to collaborate on this."

"Zack?" Michael asked, his heart pounding in anticipation. "What about Liz and me? Any specific instructions?"

"Have Ash fit you both with a vest and some weaponry."

"You're allowing us to join an active unit?"

"I'll see all three of you in Lubbock in a week and a half." With his final statement, Zack hung up the phone cutting off any further questions from Michael.

A slow smile spread across Michael's mouth, they were going to Texas.

"That does not look like the face of a man who just got reprimanded by the CO from hell," Alex stated dryly. "Good news, I hope."

"Very good news, Alex," Michael said giving him a meaningful look.

"Really?" he said, a smile emerging on his face as well. "I didn't think that he would cave."

Michael noticed Liz looking between him and Alex with a question in her eyes. "What am I missing here? What good news?"

"Well, Liz," Michael stated gently grabbing her shoulders and looking deeply into her eyes. "Looks like we'll be making a trip to Lubbock next Wednesday. Seems that Zack agrees with me and wants us out on the front line with him."

Liz's eyes lit up happily and she launched herself at Michael, nearly knocking him over with the force of her reaction. "It seems, to me, that we have some celebrating to do," Liz stated drawing him into a deep, passionate kiss.

"As much as I hate to say it, and I really, really do hate to say this," Michael groaned, "the celebration is going to have to wait. We've got a deadline to meet if we don't want Zack to revoke his decision."

posted on 20-Oct-2002 8:38:53 PM
Thanks to Snowdove30 and KEmperor for keeping my story in circulation.

This part and some of the upcoming ones are some of my favorites in this fic, I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I do.

Robyn


Part XXII - Hormonal Urges

"You can't put it off any longer, Liz," Michael stated reproachfully. "You promised to meet with Maria on the phone earlier, so you're going to go downstairs in five minutes and see what she has to say."

Liz's only response to his chastisement was a low growl and an annoyed glare at her boyfriend. She could feel the familiar rush of blood stirring within her body; she was going into heat. The last thing she needed was to go down to the Crashdown and argue party semantics with Maria and Isabel. If she didn't get Michael into bed, soon, it was going to be hard to contain her temper and frustration.

Sniffing the air, Liz noticed that Michael had a different scent today but what it was she couldn't place. Amusedly, she wondered if the bonding might have affected his response to her feline urges. If that was the case, there was no way in hell he would let her stay away for long, she thought grinning.

Stepping into his personal space, Liz wrapped her arms around Michael. Nipping at his collarbone with her teeth and dragging her nails down his bare back, she couldn't help but groan when she felt his arousal begin to grow and press against her stomach. Hastily, she pushed him against the wall and attacked his mouth.

If Michael was feeling any of her increased ardor, he made no indication of it. Instead, he halted her attack and began pushing her gently, but forcefully, out of the room. "Go," he commanded. "There's nothing up here for you to do at the moment anyway. We finished with the plans and Alex is the only one that has any actual work to do. Right now, we're just waiting on word from Zack about last night's raid and then we're going to send out the plans that we slaved over last night and all day today."

"I don't want to go," she purred stopping in the stairwell and turning towards him with a fierce determination in her eyes. Stepping close to Michael, Liz drew his head nearer and rubbed her cheek alongside his, reveling in the scratch of his beard stubble and marking him with her scent. She heard him sigh contentedly but he kept shoving her down the steps.

"I don't know what's gotten into you tonight, Liz," he said pulling away from her, "but you need to go. Maria and Isabel are waiting and you promised. I'll be down later, after I've helped Alex. Now scoot."

Somehow, while Liz was lost in the wonderfulness that was Michael, he had gotten her out of the apartment and halfway down the stairs to the restaurant. Before she could protest, he withdrew back into their home and closed the door behind him. Reluctantly, Liz turned and walked down the stairs not bothering to try the door, knowing instinctively that he had sealed it using his alien powers.

--------

What the hell was that? Michael thought as he leaned back against the now closed door gasping for breath. It had taken all of his willpower, and then some, to push Liz out of the apartment. The way she had been all over him and the fierceness in her eyes led him to believe that she was going into heat. No, he was positive that's what was happening and was well aware that she would need him soon. That wasn't the strange part; it had been his response to her advances that had shocked him. Michael had never felt her want so intensely, the feeling was almost palpable.

Struggling to regain his composure, Michael shook himself and walked into the living room just as the phone rang. Picking up the receiver, he almost screamed in relief. Surely an argument with Zack would cool off his libido. "Zack," he breathed into the mouthpiece. "How did it go?"

"Surprisingly easy," he replied calmly. "The place was nearly abandoned, only a couple handfuls of guards, it was like they knew we were coming and cleared out before we got there."

Michael frowned and sat down in a wooden chair, it wasn't good news. "We knew that it was a long shot they wouldn’t figure out what we were up to. Do you think that they've moved everything to their last location or somewhere new?"

"I don't really know but I guess we'll find out in a week. As it was, there was no vital information available and the few soldiers that they did leave were incompetent. No one was injured and we all made it back to the rendezvous without an incident."

"That's news that I like to hear. What are we going to do about next week? Still go on as planned?"

"Yeah, we're not going to back down now. Manticore knows that we're closing in on them and they are planning something big. If we took the chance to back off for a while, their forces would regenerate and we'd have more problems then when we started this venture. I don't want to see that happen and I'm pretty sure that I can speak for the others. We've worked too hard and too long to quit when we're so close."

"I agree with you," Michael stated nodding his head. "We need to strike now. I just don't like your report; it probably means that they are amassing their remaining troops in Lubbock. I have the final plans a little early and I'll have Alex get them to you as soon as possible. We'll probably have to tweak them some more due to the new data."

"I'll get you more exact information as soon as I can, Michael. I've already sent out more scouts to run perimeter checks and whatever else they can manage. I'm not going to lie to you, next Wednesday does not look like it will be a fairy tale ending."

"You didn't have to tell me, I already knew. Nothing, in either of our lives, is ever simple, but we'll pull through, we always have."

"Keep that optimism, you'll be needing it."

Optimistic, hmm, he guessed he was, now who would have thought that? "You could use a little of it too, Zack."

"I'm a soldier, Michael, through and through. I don't let emotion and hope cloud my senses and decisions. Maybe after this is all said and done, we'll see, but right now..."

Zack's voice trailed off and Michael realized that he had let more information out then he had intended. Sensing that he would be uncomfortable with his new insight, Michael changed the subject. "I'll have Alex email you the plans after I get off the phone and we can discuss them tomorrow."

"Sounds good, soldier," Zack stated stiffly, the momentary breach into his thoughts sealed tightly. "I'll call tomorrow and make sure that Ash is there, I want to talk to her."

The line went dead and Michael returned the phone to the base. Motioning to Alex, he signaled for the man to transfer the recent changes to Zack; he was too lost in his thoughts to speak. Frowning, he scratched his eyebrow knowing that if the details of the upcoming mission weren't perfectly wrought then he risked losing Liz, Alex, her family and even her domineering older brother. They deserved a chance at happiness and living without fear, Michael just hoped that he was strong enough to be the person they needed him to be. Not the protector from an alien planet but the leader and strategist that they depended on.

Abruptly, Michael was roused from his thoughts when he felt a wave of pure lust course through him. Standing rigidly, he was slightly surprised when he knocked over the chair that he had been reclining in. Bending over to return the chair to its rightful state, he felt another ripple move through him. Grasping the chair tightly in his hands, Michael fought the overwhelming sensations and was vaguely aware that Alex was staring at him curiously.

"Hey man," he asked, "are you all right?"

Michael's head snapped to Alex's voice, a sound that suddenly grated on his every nerve. Glaring at his friend, he struggled against the need to jump over the table and beat Alex senseless. What the hell was going on? Michael thought. Catching the glitter of his newly acquired tattoo, he suddenly knew.

Consciously or not, Liz was pulling him to her; he was feeling her go into heat. Somehow, his alien/human body was responding to her animalistic urges. He realized that he could liken himself to a tomcat on the prowl. He needed to fight or claim his territory and breed.

Alex started to speak again but stopped when Michael narrowed his eyes and hissed at him angrily. If he said another word, Liz's brother, or not, he was going to get his ass kicked. Clasping his hands more tightly on the back of the chair, Michael tried to control the torrent of raging hormones. No good, he thought, digging further into the hard wood of the chair, feeling it splinter and crack in his vise-like grip.

An unexpected hum started in the back of Michael's mind giving him a solution to his problem. Leaping into action, he knocked Alex out of his way and sprinted down the stairs to the Crashdown, to Liz. The hum let him know that she needed him just as badly, just as quickly, just as forcefully and that she would be ready and waiting.




posted on 23-Oct-2002 4:42:47 PM
First of all, I want to thank Malaskor for bumping my fic. I was wondering though, are many people reading this or am I just wasting my time posting? Just curious.

Robyn


Part XXIII - Giving In to the Force


Liz tried to listen to the conversation and even add a few comments of her own but she found herself distracted. Distracted by the sight and smell of so many men. They were everywhere and her skin burned to be touched by one of them, all of them, anyone that would have her right now, anyone that would give her sexual release.

Damn, Michael, she thought, why did he have to send her away now? If he didn't show up any time soon, she was not going to be held responsible for her actions. Desire coursed through her body; desire to be claimed, to be taken, to be bred. The lust and awareness had never been this intense before and she wondered at it. The feelings were overwhelming and if Maria hadn't boxed her into the booth, she would be upstairs shredding Michael's clothing to feel the smooth skin of his naked flesh rubbing up against her body. Luckily, she was strong-willed and stubborn, but a girl could only maintain her disposition for so long before she cracked.

A hum started in the back of her head and that was all it took. Liz broke. Ignoring the protests of Maria and Isabel, she leapt onto the table, scattering their drinks and food to the floor, unaware of the incredulous stares of the other customers. They didn't matter; Michael was coming for her.

Quickly, she escaped into the back room and spied Michael rushing down the stairwell. A shared look of mutual need passed between them before time disappeared. Suddenly they were locked in a tight embrace, ravishing each other's mouth, seeking out a release.

Clothes evaporated with a flick of a wrist, whose, Liz was not sure. The fire that had been raging in her loins for the last half-hour was immediately stoked at the first contact of Michael's smooth skin. Reacting the only way she knew how, she wrapped her legs around his hips and impaled herself on his body. Immense waves of pleasure and ecstasy washed through her; finally she was where she had been craving to be all night.

Both groaned at the swift joining of their bodies. Growling uncontrollably, Liz barely felt as Michael slammed her naked body into the brick wall of the break room, she was too caught up in the sensations that he was creating in her. Ignoring the rough surface as it dug into her back, she let herself enjoy the overwhelming passion and lust of the moment.

As he began to pound into her body, she found herself unable to remain quiet and called out his name in great, bellowing gasps, vaguely aware that he was following her example. Meeting Michael thrust for thrust, she felt her body quickly approaching orgasm. Blissfully, she exploded to the erratic tempo he had set letting warmth and pinpricks of sensation spread throughout her body. Even as her body cooled down, she could feel another orgasm approaching and this time she knew that he would join her in release.

Her second climax was approaching fast when she heard the doors creak open. Growling menacingly, Michael turned away from the spot he was worrying on her neck long enough to throw out a hand and force Isabel back through the door to the restaurant before slamming it shut. Seeing Alex at the head of the stairs, Liz mimicked Michael's actions and threw her brother back into the apartment, securing the door lock after he passed through.

Throughout the interruption, never once did they break their tempo and soon Liz forgot about the intrusion. She concentrated on the feel of Michael moving in and out of her body and felt a surge of happiness. This was where she always wanted to be. Teeth bit into the tender flesh of her neck and she threw her head back in rapture as she let her second orgasm overwhelm her. Her body was hypersensitive and trembling in ecstasy as it acknowledged her lover's release, his seed planted in her body, seeking out her womb.

Panting heavily, they both slid to the floor, no longer containing the strength to maintain a standing position. During the fall, Michael's hold on her never faltered and she ended up lying beside him on the cool tile. Meeting his gaze with hooded eyes, she saw the wonder and confusion etched in his own. He wanted to know why he had reacted so strongly but she didn't have his answers, she could only speculate.

Liz's sex induced haze was starting to wear off but she still could not make her body function properly. Just as well, she was quite content to remain in Michael's sweaty embrace until morning. Taking a moment to gather her thoughts, she found that the earlier humming in her brain was still there and stronger. It was a pleasant feeling, full of love, contentment and astonishment yet it held a note of worry. Instinctively, Liz knew that she was feeling Michael's emotions and from the look of wonder on his face, he hers.

Michael was the first to break the comfortable silence. "Sorry I booted you out of the apartment, I think that we wasted some incredibly valuable time," he said smirking tiredly.

"You're just lucky that I'm not going to hold it against you. As soon as we can find a more suitable venue, I'm going to demand a repeat performance." Liz smiled lazily, despite the fact that she was thoroughly sated, she could feel desire swirling low in her belly.

"You better hope that I'm inheriting your stamina as well as...well...whatever this is."

"We both know what this is; I'm in heat, you responded like the alpha male."

posted on 25-Oct-2002 4:35:42 PM
Sorry about my potential threat to nix this fic, I'm just a little self-conscious about my writing so when noone says anything...well you get the picture. Anyway, here's the next part and a special thank you goes out to QueenBee05, KEmperor, Snowdove30, Malaskor and LittleBit.

Robyn


Part XXIV - Caught in the Act


"Has your reaction always been this strong?" Michael asked curiously, although he already knew what her answer would be.

"No, must be an alien perk," she said grinning at him. "It does add some spice to our sex life, doesn't it?"

"I didn't think it could get any spicier." Gently, he began to stroke her back with his hands, which had suddenly become extremely restless. Groaning, Michael realized that the desire he was convinced he had exorcised in Liz hadn't completely dissipated. In fact, it was coiling through his body like a hungry beast only slightly appeased for the time being. They needed to relocate soon, he thought mischievously or else someone would stumble in on...

"Shit!" Michael yelled. Now that he remembered, he could hear people banging on the door trying to get in. "Liz, I think that we're in for a lecture, a beating, anything. I blasted Isabel out of the room and then sealed the door."

"I wouldn't worry about that so much, Michael," she said somewhat aloofly. "I did the same thing to Alex."

Michael eyes widened and he stared at her; she nodded indicating that she wasn't lying. Sure enough, a pounding could be heard from the upstairs apartment and horrified yells. How had he missed that? Oh yeah, he had been busy burying himself deep within his girlfriend.

"So you've inherited healing and power blasts, what else do you think will pop up?"

"Perhaps we should discuss this later?" she suggested chuckling lightly. "I do believe that our siblings are trying to get to us at the moment."

Impishly, Michael glanced to the door that hid Isabel from view. "What are we supposed to tell her? Alex is in on our little secret but I don't want to tell Isabel yet."

"First, let Alex in, maybe he'll have a suggestion or, better yet, a solution." Raising an eyebrow in amusement, Michael cast her a questioning glance. "What?"

"Do you really think that your brother wants to see us naked?" She smirked at his answer. "Again, I mean."

They dressed quickly in spare clothes they found in the employee lockers then let Alex in. When the door opened, he stumbled down a couple of steps before catching himself on the railing. "What the hell is going on? With the way Michael rushed out of the apartment, I thought that we were under attack. And who is banging on the other door?"

"Everything's fine, Alex. There isn't a siege, just Isabel trying to break her way in here." Liz said soothingly.

Alex crossed his arms over his chest and began to stomp his foot impatiently waiting for an answer. "Alex, man, she's in heat," Michael told him in explanation.

"That's all," he exclaimed, his shoulders relaxing slightly. "I've dealt with it before."

"No, it's different this time," Michael replied. "The affects were increased in Liz and spilled over to me through our new connection."

"Meaning?"

"Think of it in terms of animals," Liz said matter-of-factly. "I went into heat and Michael was the male that needed to claim me."

Alex's eyes grew wide and his jaw dropped as he understood the comparison. You'd think he'd handle surprises a lot better after all that we've put him through the last couple of months, Michael thought amusedly. "Well, I thought you two were horn dogs before and now you're telling me that I'm going to have to suffer through this several times a year. Do you have no shame? If anyone's going to be getting that much sex I think it should be me."

"Want to say that again, Parker?" Michael said glaring at him and taking a step forward. Perhaps present conditions were influencing his possessiveness, but no matter, he wanted to rumble and Alex was providing an outlet. "I do believe you're dating my sister."

"Michael," Liz said placing a restraining hand on his arm. "Cool it. You fuck his sister every night in the room across the hall from his. You don't get to throw stones. Besides, she's outside this door and we need to let her in."

Relenting, Michael grumbled loudly and allowed Liz to wrap her arms around his waist. "Any ideas as to what to tell Isabel, Alex, my dearest brother?"

"Tell her the truth," he said bitterly, "that you couldn't wait until you got to a more secure location before jumping each other's bones. She'll believe it, I complain about you two all of the time."

Michael cast another glare at Alex before releasing the door sending Isabel and Maria tumbling to the break room floor. They splayed out before them in a tangled pile and he couldn't help but laugh as they tried to straighten themselves. Soon he found himself followed in his humor by Alex and Liz. With the stress of the confrontation over, Michael found the situation hilarious, he and Liz had gotten caught once again in the throws of passion.

"I don't find what's so humorous about this," Isabel stated icily. "I heard my brother and friend screaming bloody murder and I couldn't get in to help them."

"Believe me, Isabel," Liz chuckled, "we weren't screaming bloody murder."

"Actually, quite the opposite, Iz," Michael managed to choke out through bursts of laughter. "I don't really think that there would be anything that you could do to help, nothing that wouldn't be construed as incest in forty-nine states."

"Oh my God," she stuttered, "you were..." Isabel didn't finish the sentence, her cheeks flushed red and she joined the other three in laughter.

Maria had yet to say or do anything since toppling headfirst into the room. Turning to see her reaction, Michael felt his mirth renew. Her eyes were darting rapidly back and forth between him and Liz trying to process the new information; she appeared disbelieving. "Alex had mentioned your escapades but I thought he was just kidding. I mean this is Liz Parker we're talking about."

Alex, Liz and Michael collapsed to the floor clutching their sides at the hilarity of her statement but Isabel stopped laughing and looked to Maria. "Why is it that I feel I'm missing out on some private joke?"

posted on 27-Oct-2002 11:05:39 AM
Thanks to LittleBit, KEmpror and Anya.


Part XXV – Gearing Up for Battle


Tuesday, the night after Michael and Liz had attacked each other in the break room, they, along with Alex, were working quietly on their roles for the upcoming week in Lubbock. After the events of the following night, they decided not to leave the apartment for fear of a reoccurrence. As it was, Liz was certain that Isabel was suspicious of the incident and they didn't need to add any more fuel for her speculations.

While serving their self-imposed imprisonment, Michael and Liz had dealt with their heightened sexuality in the only way they knew how, lots and lots of carnal pleasuring. She smiled smugly to herself, it had been a very welcome gift when Michael not only showed signs of increased stamina but wakefulness and her own personal favorite, agility. To say that their night had been enjoyable would be an understatement; it had been exquisite.

As much as she had enjoyed their twenty-four hour interlude, Liz was glad to feel the effects of her heat fading away. She liked to be in control of her body and when she was in heat, she was far from in control. Shaking herself, she concentrated on the task at hand; if she thought too much about last night and earlier in the day, she would only re-ignite her dampened passion.

Picking up a knife, Liz glanced about her seated body and at the silvered weapons. Moments earlier, she had spread their accumulated arsenal around where she sat on the floor and was now picking through it carefully. The mission was in a week and she was occupying her time trying to tamp down her excitement by checking and rechecking all of the equipment. Despite her training, the promise of the forthcoming endeavor was threatening to bubble over and betray her mercenary skills and attitude. She was like a caged bird that had been promised a chance to fly; hence the need to occupy herself with busy work.

Carefully, Liz raised the steel to the blade she was holding and preceded to hone the edge to razor sharpness. Satisfied with her handiwork, she set it down and picked up the next one. There were four more to do and then she was going to overhaul the guns before constructing the explosive devices that they would need to blow the last Manticore establishment sky-high.

Catching herself merrily whistling the theme song to Mission Impossible, Liz chuckled. Perhaps I'm enjoying this a little too much. Casting a cursory glance around the room, she tried to judge if either of the men had heard her. Nope, they were both too busy to be bothered by her musical attempts.

Stopping in her task briefly, Liz analyzed the two men in her life. Alex was, at present, talking on the phone to Logan in Seattle. They were coordinating their roles for next Wednesday and fine-tuning the list of equipment that each would need to bring with them. As he talked his arms and hands gestured about his body wildly, it was clear to Liz that he was just as excited as she was.

Liz wondered if he was aware how much his involvement meant to her. He was human, no special powers or abilities; the only connection was his undying love and devotion for a woman that he looked to as the sister his parents never got to have. Alex may think that his only value was his exemplary computer skills but he was more then that, truthfully, he was her moral support. His presence Wednesday would demonstrate that he believed in Liz and wanted to be a permanent part of her life.

And Michael, he was at his all too familiar perch pouring over details, maps and plans for the millionth time. Everything had to be perfect, and despite his earlier accomplishments, Liz knew that he was worried he was inadequate for the job that he had taken. If the bunched muscles in his back weren't enough of an indication, she only had to observe his scrunched forehead or his hands that were drawn into fists so tightly that the knuckles gleamed white.

Despite his demeanor, Liz knew that he was excited as well, but he couldn't let it show. If he allowed the slightest bit of enthusiasm to spill over he would also give away his nervousness. And we can't have that, Liz thought amusedly; we don't want anyone to know that Michael Guerin might be afraid or insecure.

If it hadn't been for their new attachment, Liz would've passed her insight into his emotions as a result of their time spent together over the last couple of months, but she knew better. The hum from their joining yesterday had yet to go away and neither really thought that it would. It was a constant vibration in the back of Liz's brain that allowed her to sense his emotions. The connection was not telepathic, as with her sister, Max, but just an acute awareness, clues and indications as to the other's mood.

They had discovered over the course of the day that the hum grew louder the closer they were in regards to body proximity or the more heightened the emotions of a situation. Right now, it was like the steady purr of a kitten, quiet and comforting. Liz couldn't hold back a chuckle at the comparison; Michael probably wouldn't like it too much.

Liz's laughter turned into huge guffaws when she noticed that she'd drawn Michael's attention. His eyebrows were raised in a silent question but all she could do was shake in a futile attempt to bottle her mirth. Behind him, Alex paused long enough in his conversation with Logan to direct an annoyed glance in her direction before returning to the phone. Sucking in big gulps of air, Liz avoided Michael's penetrating gaze in an attempt to control herself. The hilarity of her thoughts came to a screeching halt, however, when she heard the distinct metallic snick of the downstairs lock opening.

posted on 28-Oct-2002 6:45:23 PM
Thanks to KEmperor, katie, Snowdove30 and LittleBit for the replies.


Part XVI - Full Alert


Immediately, Liz froze where she sat on the floor doing a quick assessment of the situation. Someone had managed to bypass the door lock, two deadbolts, the security chain and electronic alarm system. No normal human would be capable of doing so, at least not that quickly and without drawing her attention before now. They've found us, she thought grimly, time for me to go into action.

Jumping up, Liz turned to warn Michael but found him already looking at her quizzically. His head was cocked to the side and confusion was clouding his usually alert eyes. So he had heard it, too. Their earlier assumptions had been correct, he was going to be inheriting some of her abilities. She wished that they had time to discuss it now, but it would have to wait until later; an enemy was among them.

Motioning to Michael to remain in the dining room, she swung a fleeting glance to where Alex sat at his desk; he was still chatting animatedly on the phone, oblivious to the potential threat. She'd let him stay unaware for the moment, Michael would protect him and perhaps he would unwittingly serve as a distraction. If he was talking on the phone the intruder wouldn't know that their presence had been sensed, right?

Footsteps crept slowly up the staircase; they would have been imperceptible if it had not been for her excellent sense of hearing. Casting another look at Michael to make sure that he understood his role, Liz noiselessly climbed to her feet grabbing one of the knives she had been sharpening. Stealthily, she crept to the entrance to await her prey.

As the intruder reached the landing, Liz flicked off the light in the stairwell sending the room into inky darkness. Before the person could react, she rushed out blindly acting on instinct and relying on her night vision and other heightened senses.

In the dark of the entryway, she lashed out with her right foot landing a flying roundhouse to the prowler's face. The blow stunned the trespasser and knocked them to their knees gasping for air. The person's right arm moved upwards in an attempt at defense but they weren't quick enough for Liz's catlike reflexes. Lightening fast, she grabbed the extended arm and wrenched it painfully behind their back.

Wasting no more time, Liz hefted her blade and, ever so carefully, placed it against the intruder's neck. The person stopped moving immediately and she used the slight reprieve to examine the apartment for co-conspirators. Utilizing her enhanced sight and hearing she studied the area and found no other companions. Strange, she thought, why would Manticore only send one assassin after us?

Deciding that she would puzzle over it later, Liz jerked her prisoner to an upright position and began to march them into the dining room. The person was trembling slightly, a fact that Liz could not easily dismiss. Anyone that would be attacking us would know beforehand what he or she was getting in to, so why were they scared? Soldiers showed no emotions; at least that's what I was taught at Manticore. Ah, she thought, maybe they're not from Manticore.

Solemnly, Liz flipped the light back on only to be greeted by a couple of less than expected reactions; Michael's jaw dropped down to his chest immediately and Alex released the phone to the floor. Obviously, they were both in shock. Who have I captured?


posted on 29-Oct-2002 9:40:50 AM
No, I didn't skip any parts. My guess is that they got deleted whenever the story switched forums. I'll try to get the rest of the fic reposted tonight, but I'm not making any promises, grad school has been calling for a while and I've been ignoring until now. Thanks for letting me know.

Robyn

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 29-Oct-2002 9:42:07 AM ]
posted on 30-Oct-2002 11:18:46 PM
Once again, thank you to all my readers and a special thanks to Anya, KEmperor, Bored to Mundane life, Tabasco Liz, and Snowdove30.

I swear that I will get this on the repost board before the weekend; I didn't forget, just got preoccupied with life and other such annoyances.

Robyn


Part XXVII - Questions Anyone?


With her rush of adrenaline finally dying down, Liz took a moment to study the prisoner. They had a distinctly feminine form, not so surprising; I am, after all, a girl. Reasonably tall, again that was not all that shocking. Soldiers came in all shapes and forms, didn't they? Long blond hair pulled into a ponytail; hmmm. Black leather pants, bright pink top and large dangly earrings; kind of flashy, not exactly what I would have chosen to break into someone's apartment. It was the smell that gave her pause, however, it was familiar; she knew it from somewhere, it was a unique combination of jasmine, lavender and something else.

Curious as to the identity of her prisoner, Liz retained a firm grip on her blade and used her other hand to grab the captive's shoulders and spin her around. Standing before her, sporting a rapidly darkening bruise on her right cheek was one Isabel Evans and she looked terrified.

Quickly, Liz dropped the knife from Isabel's neck and threw it to the floor. She wasn't a danger to them; at least she hadn't been in the past. I guess I’ve blown my cover now. We'll just see how she reacts to our operation once she's gotten over her fear and astonishment, Liz thought somewhat amusedly.

As the blade hit the carpet, Alex and Michael let out a joined sigh of relief before hurrying over to Isabel's side. The woman scorned Alex's attention and grabbed Michael's arm possessively letting him guide her to a chair. Clinging to what she knows, can't say that I blame her, Liz thought. Alex cast a hurt look towards her then dropped down beside Isabel placing a comforting arm around her shoulders. After a moment's hesitation, she leaned into it, relaxing significantly. Well, at least I didn't screw up too much for him, looks like she'll let him work it out.

"What the hell were you thinking, Liz?" Alex shouted glaring at her. Sure, almost kill his girlfriend and he gets defensive.

Giving him a pointed look, Liz stated coolly, "How was I supposed to know that your girlfriend would be sneaking up here? We can't be too careful, it could have been anyone."

"At least we know that we're prepared now," Michael said smirking and giving her a sympathetic look. Have I mentioned how much I love that guy? Liz thought. She should have known that he wouldn't be angry with her, he would have done the same thing; act first, ask questions later.

Turning to Isabel, Liz dropped to her knees to look into the frightened woman's eyes. "Isabel, I'm really sorry. I've been a little high-strung lately and wasn't quite expecting you to come barging into my home unannounced."

"I...I just wanted to...to surprise Alex," she stuttered. "I haven't seen him since yesterday because he's been so busy. I wanted to see what he had been up to..."

Isabel's voice trailed off and Liz noted that she was taking in the room and it's present condition. The lack of typical dining room furnishings, the large computer terminal and a sizable cluttering of papers indicated that they weren't up to anything ordinary.

Having no idea as to what to say to Isabel, Liz remained silent. The alien was sure to have questions and she would answer them when they came but how exactly do you start a conversation like this one? Liz knew that she should be upset about the predicament but inwardly she sighed happily. There would be one less person to hide from, one more person that could see the real her.

Overcoming her earlier fear and trepidation, Isabel suddenly shouted in irritation, "What in the name of Antar is going on here?" Determinedly, she shook off Alex's embrace and stood to stare Michael fully in the eyes. Probably thinks that it's related to aliens, Liz thought; she's about to get one hell of a shock. "And how in the hell was Liz able to best me in a fight? I'm an alien for crying out loud and she’s a human and a tiny one at that."

posted on 31-Oct-2002 3:44:35 PM
Thanks to Bored to Mundane life. Happy Halloween everyone and here's the next part.


Part XXVIII - It's What I Am


Michael turned and gave Liz a questioning look; it was her decision to make. She shrugged and indicated that it didn't matter, taking that as his queue, he turned back towards his sister. Smirking he asked, "So, do you want the long or short version?"

Isabel's mouth opened to retaliate but it was Alex's voice that broke through the mounting tension. "Stop joking around, Michael," he growled out then turned to his sister. "Liz, I know you're going to tell her so stop stalling and get on with it. I'm not in the mood for either one of your antics and I'm sure Isabel isn't either." Done with his interruption, Alex sat back on his heels stiffly but not before giving both Liz and Michael mutinous glares. Michael noticed Isabel give Alex an appreciative glance before she, too, sat back down in the chair glaring at him and Liz.

Placing a comforting hand on Liz's arm, Michael gave her an encouraging squeeze and a quick kiss to the temple. "Go ahead," he whispered. "You've been wanting to tell her this for a while now."

Nodding slightly at his comment, Liz squatted down in front of Isabel and grasped both of her hands with her own. Her emotions were ranging wildly in the back of his mind but mostly he caught waves of relief, happiness accompanied by an overall wariness. He understood how she felt; one less person to lie to, one more person that would know the real person behind the Liz mask but how would she react.

"Before I start with my explanations," he heard Liz state, "I want to apologize. I would have told you earlier, actually I wanted to tell you,” she said with a grimace, “but I couldn't. You and your family have done so much for me and although I haven't lied to you, I haven't been completely honest."

"Honest about what?" Isabel asked confusedly. "This isn't alien related?"

"Far from it, Izzy," Alex spoke up softly rubbing her back. "Just listen to what she has to say."

"Like I said before, I couldn't be honest with you. I was not allowed for various reasons but mainly because telling my secret puts other lives in danger. I'm sure that you can appreciate that."

Michael watched Isabel nod distractedly at Liz's statement; he knew that she comprehended the importance of what Liz was about to tell her. Slowly, understanding began to replace the anger and confusion in Isabel's expression. "Go on."

Hearing Liz take a deep, calming breath, he sent all the love and compassion that he could muster through their link. Michael wanted her to be aware that he was with her every step of the way. A silent partner that would stand in the shadows and help whenever she needed him.

Liz sighed gratefully then turned her back to Isabel. Reaching up to her neck, Michael pushed her hair gently aside and exposed the identifying bar code to Isabel. Her hands reached out impulsively and brushed the tattoo lightly, a soft gasp releasing from her lips. "What is it?"

"I was not born Liz Parker, that much you already know. She, however, does not exist, never has." Liz rotated her body back to facing Isabel. "The tattoo on my neck is my name, more accurately, my designation. I was introduced into this world as X5-456, self-given title, Ash. I am the result of years of genetic manipulation and recombination."

She paused long enough in her dissertation to make sure that she still had Isabel's attention then continued. "It was determined that if scientists could get the right DNA soup, they would be able to create the most highly evolved species on this planet. Fortunately for you, Michael, Max and Tess, they are unaware of your existence or would have used your genetic material in the process.'

"Anyway, the scientists succeeded with their experiments resulting in me and my family. They termed us super soldiers, if you will. It was thought that instead of sending ten or twenty men into combat they would be able to send only one having the same results."

Watching amusedly, Michael observed Isabel's mouth form a silent 'O' at Liz's well-placed words. "As honorable as those intentions may sound, it was not the life that we wanted. We were just children but we knew of our importance and the fact that, to them, we were only objects, weapons." Liz paused to let the information sink in. "About ten years ago my family and I escaped. Somehow, I made it to Roswell, New Mexico and have been in hiding ever since under the guise of Alex Parker's sister."

Liz finished and rocked back on her heals; all they had to do now was wait for Isabel's reaction. Michael wasn't certain as to what her response would be but was pretty sure that it would be a positive one. Several minutes passed by before Isabel's look of stunned disbelief changed to one of sympathy and recognition. They waited with bated breath for her first words.

"Michael was right," she stated confidently. "You do have more in common with us then we could ever know. How long has he known, Liz? Or would you rather I call you Ash?"

Placing his hands on his girlfriend's shoulders, he stated, "Since this May."

"And you can call me Liz. Ash is a part of me that, hopefully, I'll be able to leave behind soon." Liz inclined her head and grinned up at Michael. Warmth spread through his body. Everything was going to be all right.

"And Alex, is he like you?" Isabel asked curiously.

"Nope, I'm just a regular old human, nothing exciting about me and my physiology."

"Oh, I wouldn't say that," Isabel mumbled. Speaking louder, she said, "How long have you known about Liz?"

"Since about six months after she came to live with us," he replied. "Although I was pretty suspicious before that point, she walloped me pretty good the first time we met."

"Oh, come on. Haven't you gotten over that yet?" Liz teased. "All I did was try to get you to leave me alone. He wouldn't take no for an answer, Iz."

"Believe me," she said, "I know how stubborn he can be. How do you think that he finally convinced me to go out on a date with him?"

"Hey ladies," Alex said feigning hurt, "I'm still in the room."

"Like I could ever forget about you," Isabel said grinning. "Anyway, we're getting off topic. How did you find out, Michael?"

Now that was a story he liked to tell. Rubbing his hands in anticipation, Michael prepared to start his tale but was interrupted by Liz. "I'm afraid that story is going to have to wait till another day. Right now, we really don't have the time for reminiscing. Zack, my brother, should be phoning soon and we've got some things to do before then."

posted on 31-Oct-2002 3:46:13 PM
I've put Issues of Trust up on the repost board, so for all of you that want to read it, it can be found at:

viewthread?forum=repost-fan-fiction&id=23328
posted on 2-Nov-2002 3:55:13 PM
Thanks to KEmperor, Bored to Mundane life (2X), and Snowdove30.


Part XXIX - Expanding Ranks


At Liz's mention of Zack, Michael and Alex grunted dishearteningly before returning to their previous tasks, reviewing the projected plans and divvying computer responsibilities. Leaning over, Liz began collecting the weapons she had scattered on the floor earlier all the while keeping an eye on Isabel.

Placing the knives back to the appropriate shelves in the china hutch, Liz turned to see Isabel stand up and approach her. Together they gathered the remaining pistols and returned them to the cabinet in silence. Finishing quickly, Liz let Isabel break their comfortable solitude. "I guess being a super soldier explains the knife throwing, the curious word slip-ups and why you were able to drive your fist through a steel bathroom stall," she stated grinning.

Michael's head jerked up at the last item on Isabel's list. He narrowed his eyes accusingly at the statement but remained silent. Good boy, she thought, he's knows that I'm not in the mood for a lecture right now. "So, can I say, from the smile on your face, that you're not angry with me?"

"Honestly," she replied, "I'm a little miffed but if anyone can comprehend where you're coming from, it's me. I can't hold your need for privacy against you, the same thing has saved me from exposure a number of times."

"Thank you for being so great about all of this; I was afraid that you would resent me because of it."

"Hey, don't even think about it. Did you really believe that I wouldn’t understand or that I’d go running out of your apartment screaming my head off? Give me some credit," she said smiling brightly, "not all that much shakes me anymore. I knew there had to be something special about you, why else would Michael be so smitten?"

Liz couldn't help but return Isabel's grin; it was contagious. I guess with everything that has happened in her life, my news really isn't all that out of the ordinary.

"Now," Isabel said changing the topic, "You'll have to let me know what other things you can do, you know besides whip my sorry ass. Maybe you can even give me some pointers, I mean, I can't rely on my alien prowess all the time, right?"

"You betcha. I'll enroll you in Parker's Military Training Academy immediately." Alex groaned loudly in the background. "Do you have a problem with that?"

"Nope, no problem," he gulped. "I'm just not sure Iz knows what she' getting herself into."

"Don't listen to him, Isabel," she stated smirking. "He's just upset because even though he's a whiz at Quake it doesn't translate over into everyday life." Alex scowled at Liz and Isabel looked slightly confused, only Michael bellowed loudly at the comment, at least one person appreciated her humor.

"Ok, I think we should stop picking on Alex," Isabel stated, "sometimes it's just a little too easy." Alex redirected his glare. "What are you guys doing? And what's up with that big map?"

Before answering, Liz led Isabel over to the table in the center of the room, eyeing her uncertainly. "The map is part of the project that we've been working on with my family all summer."

"Project?" Isabel commented amusedly. "From the looks of it, I would say that you're planning a mass takeover of a high-security government facility." She looked up to Michael and Liz's faces to be greeted with dead seriousness, the gaiety drained out of her features. "Please tell me that's not what this is. Please."

"We can't do that," Liz heard Michael say. Good, she thought, he not going to deny it or skirt the issue.

Isabel turned a worried frown to Liz. "Do you want me to lie to you, Izzy? I will but only if it will make you feel better."

"Why are you doing this?" she asked hesitantly, almost as if she feared the answer.

"We're destroying Manticore," Michael replied stiffly. "They are the people that created Liz and her siblings. They've decimated and shattered enough lives with their existence, it's time that they were gone."

"Look at that map over there, Isabel," Alex said speaking up and gesturing with his hand. "Notice that green pin near Lubbock, Texas, all the rest of them red. That pin indicates the last site, after it's gone, Liz won't have to live in fear for her life anymore. She'll be able to have what you've always wanted, a normal life."

With Alex's heartfelt words, all of the indecision disappeared out of Isabel's eyes leaving behind a fierce determination that Liz recognized all too well. "Tell me what I can do to help," she said, her eyes flashing.

"Are you sure about this?" Liz asked smoothly. "When I told you about me, I had no intention of dragging you into my mess."

"I'm positive," she replied. "I'll do anything for my friends."

"Welcome aboard," Liz said grinning.

"What about Zack?" Alex and Michael asked simultaneously.

"Let me worry about my brother. He's hardly in the position to pass up free help, we're going to need all the aid we can get if the reports are half as bad as he alluded."

"I would second guess you," Michael said smirking at her, "but I'm well aware that you know what you're getting into, Liz."

"I can handle my brother. So, now that that's settled, is there anything that you need to know, Isabel?"

"There aren't any more secrets?"

"Well..." Liz and Michael replied drawing the word out.

"What is it?" Isabel asked dejectedly.

posted on 4-Nov-2002 3:25:57 PM
Thanks to KEmperor and Bored to Mundane life, you're comments are greatly appreciated.


Part XXX - Alien Information


Looking towards Liz, Michael searched for a sign that it was okay to reveal their new, and very alien, connection. Seeing her nod in consent, he grabbed the hem of his T-shirt and jerked it up and over his head distantly aware that Liz was mimicking his movements.

"Whoa!" Isabel shrieked excitedly while quickly averting her eyes. She looked towards Alex for answers but he remained silent, merely averting his eyes. "Alex, stop them. Michael, Liz, what the hell do you think you're doing? I'm aware that you have a sex drive that would rival the entire crew of a naval battleship but come on..."

Michael smirked as Isabel's voice trailed off; her sudden intake of breath made it was apparent that she had seen the reason behind their removal of clothing. Reaching out to a topless Liz, he motioned for her to come closer then wrapped his right arm around her. With his other hand, he pushed the strap of her satiny bra aside fully exposing the tattoo above her left breast. Delicately, Michael skimmed the tattoo with his thumb causing it to light up and Liz to tremble in his arms.

A loud gasp rushed out of Isabel's throat in surprise. "What are they?" she asked glancing quickly between the two standing before her.

"I think you know what they are and what they mean, Is," Michael said softly brushing a kiss across the top of Liz's head. The brief touch had set his simmering desire into overdrive and it was all he could do not to pull Liz into the closest room.

"You're right, I do know," she replied confusedly then muttered the same words that they had spoken that night. "Duk ammon. Sig kuna di ammana. You've bonded with Liz. It means that you've found your perfect match and chosen your mate. You're linked together for the rest of your lives." Isabel's eyebrows scrunched together in frustration. "But how did I know that?"

"Instinct, memory, call it what you will but it doesn't change what it is, or what it means."

A huge grin spread across Isabel's face and she reached out enveloping both Michael and Liz into a hug. "I knew that you two were good for each other but I had no idea that this was possible. I'm so happy for the both of you to have found each other." Isabel pulled away slowly, casting a quick glance in Alex's direction. Murmuring quietly to herself, she said, "It gives me hope for the future."

If it hadn't been for the acute hearing he had inherited from Liz's side of the connection, Michael didn't think that he would have heard Isabel's words; she’s spoken them so quietly. Smirking knowingly, he cast his own look towards Alex and received a glare from Isabel at his efforts. So Liz was right in her assumptions about their relationship, there was definitely something more serious going on then just a casual fling.

The phone rang, distracting Michael from his musings on Isabel and Alex's relationship. Liz answered it before the bell stopped ringing and brought the receiver up to her ear. Sitting down in a chair, he leaned back to listen to her side of the conversation. "Hello?"

"Yes, we've been busy. Michael is patiently waiting for the new scouting reports. Alex has been talking on the phone to Logan all day. I've been checking over the weapons stash and gathering the materials to build the incendiaries."

"Why would I start lying to you now?"

"Yeah, yeah. I don't think that I would have been much of a conversationalist yesterday any how."

"I went in to heat, if you must know," she stated angrily.

"That's besides the point, anyway the effects are wearing off. Michael has done a lot to help me out." Liz winked at him and he stifled a groan. Did she really have to talk to Zack about her sex life?

"No, I'm not pregnant." Michael choked on his tongue and started sputtering. Alex grinned widely and pounded him on the back; Isabel just sat back and smirked. Really, he thought glaring at his sister and roommate, did Zack have to go there?

Michael was still slightly irritated with himself for not using protection the other night and Liz was constantly trying to assuage his guilt. It had taken lots of prodding on her part and a thorough scan of his girlfriend’s body on his to convince Michael that she was not with child. A fact that had greatly relieved them and had prompted Liz to send Alex out for an economy-sized box of contraceptives. It was a task that Liz’s brother was still grumbling about.

Tuning back to the phone conversation, Michael heard Liz say, "Do we have to talk about this now?"

"Yes, I'll have all the devices ready to go by next Wednesday. I haven't failed you yet and I don't intend to start now. This is important to me too."

"We have another addition to the team." Liz jerked the phone back from her ear quickly. Zack's cursing could be heard very clearly and Michael had to bite back a laugh.

"It's Isabel Evans."

"Yes, the alien." Liz rolled her eyes dramatically and grinned over at Isabel.

"Don't worry, she won't be going in with us. I'm posting her at the van with Logan and Alex, they can always use the extra set of eyes."

"Zack, she wants to help and I'm not going to turn her away. She knows what our lives have been like for the last ten years."

"Yes, I told her, after I almost killed her."

"No, I don't want to argue with you. She won't get in the way and if I find her not to be an asset we'll definitely leave her behind." While she was talking, Liz shook her head at Isabel indicating that she wasn't serious.

"I was right about Michael, wasn't I?"

"What Zack is speechless? I never thought I'd live to see the day."

"Oh, all right," she said dropping the phone to her chest. "Michael, Zack wants to speak with you."

Shaking in mirth, Michael grabbed the phone out of her hands and gave Liz a light kiss. Into the receiver, he said, "I told you that sitting around was getting to her, Zack; she's been getting vicious with her commentary. Not to mention the fact that she's in heat."

"Don't start with me, Michael," he replied. "I just got enough shit from Ash. I wanted to give you the field reports."

"All right," he said grabbing a pen and paper. "I'm ready."

"The perimeter is sealed tight, guards at every fifty yards. All the sniper towers are filled. The only trucks that have been going in contain cargo, food and munitions from what we've been able to see. No one visits and no one leaves. It looks like they're planning for a siege, which means that we won't be able to postpone the date. We can go no later then next Wednesday."

"Any word on Lydecker or the X7's?"

"We know that they are there, but so far they've kept a tight lid on them. Our preliminary reports indicate that a full unit is there so we’ll go with that. I'd rather overestimate the size of their force then underestimate it."

"Is that all you have for me?"

"Yeah. I know it's not much, but I'll keep you posted."

"From the looks of it, I won't be altering the plan too much. We don't really have any more information then we did before although we'll have to take out the snipers before we enter."

"Do whatever you have to, but let me know. I'll call again Saturday. And Michael?"

"Yeah?"

"Get Ash to relax, she sounded a little high strung earlier." With his last words, Zack hung up the phone without saying goodbye.

"Well?" Alex asked raising his eyebrows.

"Looks like the plan is still on for Wednesday. We'll just have to make sure that Isabel's ready to go by then."

posted on 6-Nov-2002 2:16:52 PM
Special thanks to KEmperor, Bored to Mundane life and BaBee_ImaJyn.


Part XXXI - Parker's Academy for Military Training


Standing alone on the hot desert plain, Liz squinted at the horizon watching as the heat rose off the ground in waves. She might be some sort of super entity but it was still damn hot outside. Ah, nothing like August's in New Mexico, she thought grumpily.

Sensing movement behind her, Liz spun to address the three people that were waiting for orders, Michael, Isabel and Alex. Today, they would start conditioning Isabel. Later, she and Michael were going to experiment with the physical aspects of the bonding ceremony, find his limitations and so forth.

"Okay, troops, it's time to get to work," she said taking on a serious tone of voice. Standing at attention with her arms crossed behind her back, Liz continued, "We have a lot to do today and I want no horsing around."

Liz focused her gaze on Isabel and caught her smiling slightly. "Something funny, soldier?" she shouted retreating into drill sergeant mode. Alex took a quick step away from his girlfriend and Liz fought back a grin at his reaction. He knew that she was a bear during training and had taken the brunt of some of her tirades. But this was real life and she couldn't afford to be soft or lenient, even if she was dealing with her family.

The grin dissipated from Isabel's face and she shook her head timidly. "Now let's get one thing straight before we get started." Liz looked at each person in turn daring him or her to interrupt. "What we will be dealing with in the near future requires strong mental and physical discipline. One wrong move next Wednesday may cost the life of someone that I care about so you'll have to excuse me if I take my position a little bit seriously."

"Now, Isabel," she said stopping before the woman and speaking in a softer tone. "I realize you're new to this and it will take a little getting used to but just be happy that you're getting me and not Zack." Out of the corner of her eye, Liz could see Michael and Alex nodding enthusiastically in agreement. Cheeky bastards, she thought amusedly.

"Now, from what Michael has told me, you have no munitions experience and we'll work on that tomorrow." Isabel opened her mouth to protest but Liz interrupted her. "It is necessary, especially since you don't have any offensive skills of an alien nature. Michael and Alex both carry, too, so you won't be alone.'

"I don't mean to offend you, but from what I observed in my attack last night, you're not too adept at defending yourself physically either."

The woman in question scowled. "Are you just going to pick on me today? I'm sorry that I've been trying to live a normal human existence for almost eleven years."

"I'm not picking on you, just making observations. Giving you an advance warning as to what we'll be concentrating on. The defensive skills will come in time and I'm not overly worried about you learning them immediately. I do, however, want you to be comfortable with some basic techniques before next week. You won't be joining us inside the facility but will be staying near the van with Alex and Logan keeping watch. We don't anticipate trouble but I'm sure that we'll draw some, we always have in the past.'

"Anyway, you'll be an extra set of eyes and ears so that they will be able to concentrate on what's going on inside the compound. The better trained you are, the more efficient you'll be. Understand?"

"Yes, sir," Isabel said frowning slightly. With her ice princess facade cast away for the time being, Liz could tell that Isabel was worried about being a disappointment. Quickly, she moved to reassure her and reduce the pressure. So much for being a cast iron bitch, Liz thought facetiously.

"Now that's the spirit. And don't concern yourself with trying to learn everything too fast, I'd rather you be confident with a few moves then so-so with fifty." Isabel gave her a grateful look and Liz let a smile emerge on her face. "If you're half as quick at learning as Michael is, I'm sure you'll do just fine."

Liz stepped back from her audience and clasped her hands behind her back. "Ok, Isabel, I want you to observe only for this first lesson, so go stand over to the side with Alex. Michael and I tend to get a little rough during practice and I don't want to unintentionally hurt you." Smirking at Michael, she motioned him closer with her hands and prepared to battle.

posted on 8-Nov-2002 2:55:28 PM
Thanks go out to KEmperor, Bored to Mundane Life and Littlebit.


Part XXXII - Face Off


Stripping down to her sports bra and stretchy workout pants, Liz gulped a drink of water then waited for Michael to get ready. He, too, had dressed for the heat and lost his shirt; now, he was clad only in a pair of nylon biking shorts and running shoes. Yummy, she thought distractedly. Catching his mutual appreciation of her body, she smirked slightly then let her mind empty, focusing only on the task at hand.

Michael had not uttered a word since the group had arrived at the quarry almost half an hour ago; Liz guessed that he was using the time to plan his course of action. Although he didn't take it personally anymore, he really didn't like to lose a sparring match to her, that much she knew. Each trip out to the desert, he tried some new technique and combination; the creativity and adaptability that he demonstrated still amazed her.

Despite his commitment, however, Michael was still no match for an X5; she wound up kicking his ass about nine times out of ten. But his determination and enthusiasm awed her; it was a testament to his dedication and willingness to learn. Maybe, just maybe, the traits I passed along to him through our bond will even things up a little bit. He'd like that, she thought wryly.

Locking eyes with her opponent, she braced herself for the assault. With Isabel and Alex watching on in obvious interest, Michael and Liz began to circle each other warily. A determined light filled his eyes and she caught a slight smirk on his lips before he launched his offensive.

Feigning a right jab then a left cross, Michael backed off slightly before repeating the punches. The repetitive motions were hard and fast, the first striking Liz's chin and the second narrowly missing her right cheek as she ducked out of the way. Quickly, she countered with a sharp kick to his shin then a hook to his stomach.

Momentarily, Michael dropped to his knees but was up again before Liz could continue with her assault. Reinitiating his attack, he proceeded to throw well-aimed punches and kicks at her head and torso. The swings were fast and possessed more discipline then she had ever seen him demonstrate, even so, she still managed to block and avoid a majority of the strikes by weaving her body to and fro.

Remaining on the defensive, Liz took several steps back making a circuit around Michael. The current route was getting them nowhere, their skills were pretty evenly matched and they were each anticipating the other's moves. Silently, she marveled at her discovery, due to the bond, they were acquiring skills that neither would be able to develop naturally: Liz, alien voodoo, and Michael, agility and strength with precision, accuracy and control. Humorously, she raised an eyebrow at him in which he replied by shrugging; right, they'd talk about it later.

Shifting tactics, Liz went on the offensive for the first time that morning. Foregoing the traditional exchange of blows, she opted to use brute force. With her exceptional speed, she launched her body in Michael's direction planting her shoulder in his chest and knocking him to the ground. Rolling head over heels, Liz came out on the bottom where she drew her legs up to her chest tightly. Quickly, she released her coiled muscles and sent Michael flying through the air to collide with an accommodating rock wall.

Again, Michael was up and moving within seconds giving Liz no time to continue with her attack. Reacting on impulse, she pivoted with her right leg and brought her left foot up quickly. The foot hit the desired target, connecting with his chest and knocking him to the desert floor. Recovering immediately, he managed to roll away from Liz's next attack and land in a squatting position. Kicking his right leg out, Michael swept her feet out from underneath her body.

Manipulating the momentum of her body for her own benefit, Liz bent her torso and planted her hands into the sandy soil. Doing a series of back flips, she escaped Michael's next moves and gave herself a moment to rethink her approach. With her enhanced hearing, she heard him coming up behind her very rapidly. Course of action decided in her mind, she waited for his attack.

Sensing that Michael was within a foot of reaching her, Liz ran forward and up an adjacent stone wall flipping overtop of his head. Landing directly behind her assailant, she kicked him hard in the knee hearing a distinct snap. Pain popped up in their connection, damn, she thought. Regretfully, she gripped him in a headlock and forced him against the jagged cliff. He squirmed and twisted in her arms, elbowing her mercilessly in the sides, still she refused to relinquish her hold.

Liz silently begged for him stop resisting, she had broken something in his body and knew that he was in pain. Stupid male alien pride, she thought irritatingly, just accept that you lost again.

Her wish was granted as a dejected Michael ceased all movement. "All right," he mumbled breathlessly. "Uncle."

Retaining her grip, Liz replied matter-of-factly, "Now we both know that's not the password, Michael."

The reply was a long, drawn-out sigh and some grumbled obscenities. "Damn it, woman," he growled. "Can't you see that I'm hurt? Won't you just let it pass this once?"

Smirking, she tightened her grasp and said, "What do you think?"

"Okay, okay," he said in a nasally voice. "I'm your bitch."

"Got that straight," she said smugly lying him gently down on the ground and propping his back against jutting rock. "Now how's that knee?"

posted on 11-Nov-2002 6:57:47 PM
Thanks again to Bored to Mundane Life.


Part XXXIII - Sharing the Power


"I think you tore some tendons and dislocated it," Michael said gritting through his teeth at the pain. "Care to fix it?" Liz gave him an incredulous look and he nodded to her encouragingly. "We need to see what you can do." Her expression didn't alter so he continued, "Don't worry, I'll help you every step of the way."

Wordlessly, Liz sank down beside his body and placed her palms over his damaged knee. When forming a connection with her, Michael was faintly aware of Isabel and Alex approaching, asking if they needed any help. Distantly, he heard himself answer, "No." Already, he was deep within Liz's mind, losing himself once again in the woman he loved.

Michael thought that he might be rushing Liz with his request, but they needed to know their limitations. All the alien powers were brand new to her and he wanted to see if she would be able to control them and exactly how strong she might be. He figured there was no better time then the present to try out her healing capabilities.

Feeling energy begin to pool inside Liz, Michael took over the connection, mentally shoving her in the right direction. When she finally concentrated the energy into his knee, he felt intense warmth spread out from the tattoo on his chest, knowing intuitively that it was glowing brightly with a silvery blue sheen. Liz's hands started to emit a soft white glow of their own which grew to encompass his rapidly swelling kneecap. The energy continued to flow until all the muscles and tendons had re-knit and aligned themselves properly.

As Liz was finishing the doctoring, Michael realized that she was panting heavily and shaking slightly. With a final shudder, she broke their connection and collapsed on top of his legs, her head falling limply into his lap. "All better?" she asked breathlessly.

"Yeah, Liz. I'm all better now, thanks to you." Tenderly, he brushed a few stray hairs out of her face and whispered in her ear, "Hey, just relax for a little bit, healing takes a lot out of you especially when you're just starting out."

Liz's eyes slid shut immediately, succumbing to the exhaustion. Michael raised his eyebrows in surprise; he hadn't thought that she would give in so easily. Manticore had taught her that sleep was vulnerability and it was a concept she still honored. Even after their intense training workouts, she rarely needed more then a brief nap before she was ready to go for another forty-eight hours. Softly, he stroked her hair; she must have really overdone it.

As he listened to Liz's breaths evening out, Michael was rudely reminded that they were not the only two present. "What the hell just happened here?" Isabel shouted angrily. Alex placed a restraining hand on her shoulder and motioned for her to calm down, but she continued her tirade. "I know that you said Liz was a super soldier but the skills she listed were enhanced physical attributes. I don't recall anything metaphysical in that inventory."

"Iz," Michael replied in irritation. "You're right, it's not one of her natural abilities. What you witnessed is due to the bonding. It seems that we have inherited each other's specialized abilities."

That was obviously not the answer that Isabel had been expecting. Her jaw dropped low forming a silent 'O' and her eyebrows knit together in confusion. Suddenly her jaw clamped shut with an audible click as she seemed to clue into what he was relating. "What do you mean 'we'?"

Sitting up straighter, Michael pulled Liz close to his chest before answering. "So far, I've picked up her enhanced hearing, smell and sight." He took a moment to glance at Alex who was soothingly rubbing Isabel's back. Probably a good thing that he's here to run interference, Michael thought, she’s going to be upset that we kept all of this from her.

"Is that all?"

"Well, we'll have to wait until Liz wakes up to see, but if I'm right, I've also acquired her faster reflexes and strength. Normally, I can't hold myself for as long as I did today in a head-on battle with her. Right, Alex?"

"Yeah, I agree and I'm sure Liz will too. You were both pretty kick ass today, it was like watching a dance," Alex replied in wonder.

Noticing the strange look on Isabel's face, Michael gently prodded, "Iz, what is it?"

"Are you going to tell Max about this?"

"I hadn't planned on it," he sneered, instantly becoming upset. "Just because he is my king doesn't mean that I have to tell him every aspect of my life. He'll just use the bond as an excuse to yell at me and curse Liz some more. Until he responds in a mature and positive matter to her, he has no need to know the depth of our relationship."

Isabel moved to interrupt his tirade but Michael stopped her with an impatient wave of his hand. "Max still believes that we won't last, that I'm, what did he say, sowing my wild oats, or some such nonsense. He's being pig-headed and this won't do anything to change his mind. In fact, it will probably just infuriate him all the more."

"I think you're wrong, Michael," Isabel said in defense of her brother. "Max is more accepting then you think he is, he's just suffering a lapse in clarity and letting himself be influenced by Tess's overwhelming hatred."

"Think what you will, Isabel," Michael snorted disdainfully, "but I'm not telling him." Looking at her pointedly and with venom in his voice he continued, "And neither are you."

A murderous expression emerged on Isabel's face and her eyes narrowed into slits, "I have never betrayed you, Michael, and I don't intend to start now." Turning on her heel sharply, she marched away from them and into the desert.

Casting a reproachful glance at Michael, Alex hurried off after Isabel calling over his shoulder, "Take care of Liz, I'll go get your sister."


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 11-Nov-2002 7:04:31 PM ]
posted on 13-Nov-2002 2:57:31 PM
Thanks go out again to Bored to Mundane Life and KEmperor, you guys are the best!

Partially because I'm exciting about my upcoming move to Colorado, the other part being that I don't want to write my stupid term paper, I've decided to post two sections. The next one will start the mission.

Everybody enjoy!!!


Part XXXIV - Coming to an Understanding


As Michael listened to Isabel and Alex's hushed conversation in the distance, he silently blessed his new hearing capacity. How had he ever thought that Liz couldn't hear him? He'd been such a fool but she had humored him each and every time that he thought he was surprising her. Michael smiled at finding a new depth to the woman that he loved.

Honing in on the distant sounds of his sister and her boyfriend, he heard Alex speaking. "Stop, Isabel, please. Michael didn't mean anything with his words, he and Liz are just a touchy subject around you and your family."

"All right, I'm listening, Alex. State your case and be quick about it." Michael fought back a laugh at Isabel's petulant voice; he hoped Alex knew what he was getting into.

"Isabel, Michael has been angry and disappointed with you, Max and Tess for a long time now. Every time that one of you insulted or abused Liz, his ire and defensiveness got stronger."

"That's no excuse to doubt my loyalty. I'm trying to atone for my indiscretions, not make more of them. I would never betray his trust to anyone, including my brother." Michael could just imagine Isabel’s stance; arms crossed over her chest, right foot thumping rapidly against the ground and her lip stuck out in a pout. Her anger had stopped him a few times and he found renewed respect in Alex Parker, maybe he was strong enough to be with Isabel after all.

Alex offered up a heavy sigh before responding. "Isabel," he said in chastisement, "stop acting like a child. Granted Michael could've been a bit more polite but we both know he tells it like he sees it, no beating around the bush with him. And besides, how was he supposed to know how you would react?" Alex paused briefly in his dissertation. "You've been happy with their relationship for how long now? A week?"

"Two weeks," Isabel interjected meekly.

"It doesn't matter how long, Izzy. He's barely had enough time to come to grips with your sudden acceptance and I know that they are both trying to get past your condemnation and doubt. You really hurt him so don't expect him to take you back with open arms. Besides, we are both aware that Michael, even though he's loosened up somewhat in the past couple of months, is always suspicious, almost paranoid half of the time." Humph, Michael thought grumpily, paranoid my ass.

"But I..."

"No," Alex stated forcefully. "Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You know that he loves you and will always be there for you no matter what. He once thought the same of you and, even if you don't think that you did, you betrayed him. Cut him some slack, Isabel, it's the least you could do after the way you treated him and Liz the entire summer."

Michael heard a whispered, "Ok," then gentle sobbing. Deciding that he no longer needed to eavesdrop, he quit listening and turned his attention to the longhaired beauty in his arms.

Twining his fingers through the dark locks, Michael inhaled deeply and tried to relax, jumping slightly when he heard Liz speak. "Alex is right, you know. You could've been a little nicer to your sister. She's trying at least."

Frowning at her admonishment, Michael thought about his choice of words. Sighing, he admitted to himself that he might have been a little too harsh. "I guess that I snapped. There's just been too little trust for too long and I couldn't hold back." Taking a deep breath, Michael then continued, "I am sorry and I would like to say that it will never happen again but I can't make that promise."

"I don't expect you to promise me that, if you did I'd have to kick your ass again." Michael looked at Liz amusedly where she lay on his lap. "Your expressiveness is one of the things that I love most about you."

"One of the things?" he smirked.

"Does someone need their ego stroked?" she purred.

"If that's what you want to call it, then yeah, I'm in need of a good, hard 'ego' stroking right about now."

"Well, big boy," she growled seductively, "I'd like to accommodate you but we've still got to teach Iz some self-defense techniques before we can call it quits for the night. That is, of course, if she hasn't changed her mind."

"She'll be back," Michael said confidently. "Isabel's not a quitter and she really wants to make it up to us for her behavior all summer. If I might ask, why did you forgive and let her in so easily?"

Liz paused a moment before answering his question and her eyebrows wrinkled in thought. “She’s your family, Michael,” she stated. “Isabel loves you and wants you to be happy; she genuinely wants to be included in your life and has accepted that I’m going to play a part in it. It took her a little while but she has finally seen that we love each other and that I would do anything for you.” She stopped and cocked her head to the side before finishing. “Besides, I’m tired of wasting my time hating her; she’s sincere, that much I’m sure.”

“I think so too but it’s still going to take a while for me to completely forgive my sister.”

“I know that and I think on some level she does too. Luckily enough for you, everyone reserves truckloads of patience when dealing with you.”

Michael scowled at her comment and turned his head away. “But you’re worth every bit of it.” He rotated his head back around to give her a sheepish look and she continued, “Now let’s round up the troops, we have some learning to be done.”

--------

Part XXXV - The Days in Between

As Michael had predicted, Isabel did return and her determination to do her best and win their trust was greater then ever. She had approached the lessons with fervor and they proved to be both productive and informative. The training sessions showed that Isabel had a natural aptitude for self-defense; a fact that surprised them all, especially Isabel. Liz had been happy to find that the female alien was enjoying her training much more so then Alex and Michael ever had.

After one particularly exhausting drill, Liz and Isabel had discussed her enthusiasm to great extent. The woman had replied simply after much thought, "It's freeing. I don't have to rely on everyone else to protect me just because I'm a girl and I can do this without tapping into my alienness, it makes me more human. And even though I'm still getting used to the rudimentary skills, I'm more confident in myself, in both body and mind."

Liz had agreed whole-heartedly with her friend; Isabel was definitely changing. She was displaying a more confident attitude and had begun to laugh more often and she had only been a part of their exclusive club for a week. She fit comfortably into their fold and had found her own niche in the group, trading barbs and sarcasm with ease. Her role in the group was clearly defined; she was a confidant, a supporter, an advisor, a friend and an overall wardrobe critic. Isabel accepted it all readily, eager to be a part of the action instead of sitting on the sidelines like she had done in the past. Definitely, it was a change for the better.

To Max and Tess's displeasure, Isabel had basically relocated to Liz, Michael and Alex's apartment for the week. It had been her idea; she thought that it would be easier for her to attend the daily training exercises if she wasn't under the ever-watchful and suspicious eyes of her brother. They all had agreed without question, Liz and Michael slightly relieved at her decision and Alex more than eager to have his girlfriend as close to him as possible. Michael, however, made sure that she had her own room, as far away from the sex-deprived teen as she could get.

--------

The seven days had passed relatively quickly and with little activity, the only actual incident involving the other half of the pod squad. The skirmish had happened after the initial announcement of Isabel's relocation and had been exclusive to Tess and Isabel. It was a short affair that left Isabel and Liz collapsing in peals of laughter to the floor after it was over.

The confrontation had started with fierce demands and insults on Tess's part and had proceeded to grow ugly when she had tried dictating her authority to the alien princess. Before Liz or Michael had to step in, however, Isabel had easily put Tess into her place and dismissed the blond from the restaurant. Perhaps Liz had been giving Isabel a bit more training then she had originally thought; it seemed that she was developing her backbone as well. Max's reaction had been unexpected; he had only raised an eyebrow in question before trailing after Tess with a slight smile on his face. Liz had decided that there might be hope for him after all.

--------

Decked out in full gear, Michael and Liz had practiced their part of the mission repeatedly. Liz had demonstrated the mechanics of her self-built incendiaries and made certain that Michael knew the essentials before handling them. The explosives were an important part of their action in Lubbock and they couldn't afford for any 'human' error.

Together they had tested Michael and found that he did, indeed, acquire each of Liz's specialized abilities. He could jump as high and far as she could, his stamina, strength and agility were all at the same level as hers and he could hold himself much better in a fight. He didn't, however, obtain her singular connection to Max, not that they had expected him to; it was unique even to them.

Although neither one voiced the words, they were both slightly relieved at their findings; the assignment would run a lot smoother with Michael up to par with the X5's. They threw themselves into honing and developing his new abilities, preparing for the coming Wednesday. As the days flew by, Liz could not get the overwhelming feeling of approaching danger out of her mind. Something was coming and it wasn’t good. She was pretty sure that it wasn’t the upcoming mission but something to do with the day of Maria’s party.

Liz had begun to sense someone watching her every move more frequently over the past week but when she had investigated there was no one to be found. That fact did nothing to ease her mind; each passing day made her a little more tense and apprehensive. She thought that it might have been her recently overactive imagination, but it also seemed that Isabel was picking up on something out of the ordinary, too. None too quickly, it was time for them to travel into Texas, to Manticore's Lubbock holding, and finish what they had started almost four months ago. She had pushed her worry to the back of her mind; she would deal with it later, when she had more time.


posted on 15-Nov-2002 4:07:26 PM
Thanks to LittleBit, KEmperor, Bored to Mundane life and Snowdove30.


Part XXXVI - Ready, Set, Go


"Okay, Isabel," Zack snarled menacingly. "Do you understand what you're supposed to be doing?" Michael grinned; his sister's presence was pissing off the CO and he was enjoying it slightly more then he should.

"Yes, sir," she replied sarcastically, raising her hand to her brow in mock salute. Liz really had had an influence on his sister’s attitude. "I stay at the van to watch and listen for any individuals that may be approaching. If I find anyone, I let Alex and Logan know then try to discourage the advancement."

"How?" he asked crossing his arms over his chest at the obvious defiance.

"Any way possible," she said smiling. Zack's expression didn't change so she elaborated, "Use my feminine wiles and if that doesn't work my fists, as a last resort my prowess as an otherworldly being."

Distracted momentarily while stifling a chuckle with his hand, Michael missed Zack turning his hard eyes in his direction. "What's so funny, Guerin? Got something that you want to share?"

"No, nothing at all, Zack," Michael stated regaining his earlier pose of nonchalance. There was no need to piss him off now; they had to have their minds on the moment and he didn’t want to waste his energy fighting with the CO.

"I'm just curious, but are all aliens so stubborn and insolent?" he asked in an off-handed manner.

"Well, you know what they say about curiosity, don't ya?" Michael replied, his eyes sparkling with humor. "It killed the cat."

"Ha, ha, Michael," Liz interrupted, "you're bloody fucking hilarious." Turning to Zack, she continued, "What are our assignments and when do we head out?"

"We have three groups of three and two of two, which you already know. Krit and Syl have section Alpha. Brin, Jack and Tinga have section Beta. Jondy, Zane and Jace have section Gamma. I'm pairing up with Ben and we'll be taking Delta. Ash, Max and Michael, you will be taking the last section. Everyone else is already set and I'll be joining Ben when I'm done here. You know your route and instructions. I want you positioned for entry in a half-hour, we go in at exactly one hundred hours. Mark time, 24:28:31."

Michael raised his arm and reset his watch, observing the others echo the movement. After preparing all week, he didn’t think that he could’ve been more ready to get started. The expectancy was beginning to drive him crazy and Liz wasn't helping matters at all. The hum that had been so insistent throughout the week was roaring loudly with her excitement of the impending siege. He wondered, amusedly, how she kept it all inside. On the outside she was a calm, steady, emotionless wall but inwardly she was trembling wildly with anticipation.

"Alright, I'm heading out," Zack announced. "I don't think I have to remind you about the importance of tonight, so I won't. Everyone be careful and I'll see you in two hours." Zack hopped on his motorcycle and sped off down the road trusting Michael, Liz, Max, Alex, Logan and Isabel to get moving.

"Okay, everyone, listen up," Max said, taking charge. "Alex and Logan, you have your weapons and instructions so get the van out of here and into position. Isabel, go with them, keep an eye on them. Ash, do you have her arsenal?"

"Yeah," she replied pulling open a bag. "Iz, here's the pistol that we worked with and a couple of extra clips. If someone threatens you, don't hesitate to fire but hold out until it's absolutely necessary. We don't want you to attract any undo attention which gunfire is sure to do." Isabel was already wearing the kevlar vest that Liz had fitted her with and had a short dagger strapped to her thigh. Michael knew that she was pumped and ready to go.

"Ok, guys, get out of here," Max commanded holding up two fingers. "We'll see you in two."

Michael watched the van until it disappeared in the distance; he hoped that they would be seeing them soon. It was an unspoken decision on their part not to have lengthy good-byes with their loved ones. They would be seeing them in a couple of hours so there was no need to; there it was again, he thought, that optimism. If it kept them alive, then that was all that mattered.

Slowly, Michael came to realize that Liz had calmed down tremendously. The buzz that had been raging in his head was reduced to a less distracting murmur; she was burying her feelings and slipping into her soldier's countenance. It was scary how fast the transformation had been. Using Liz as his model, he erected his own wall, blocking his widely ranging emotions. With the barrier firmly in place, he turned to his team.

"Here," Liz said handing them each a shoulder duffel. "In all three of these there are five charges, fifteen total. As we all know, we are to plant them and then get the hell out of the building. I'm confident of my skill in constructing these but, regardless, be careful. They are set for remote detonation and Zack has the controls, he will not hesitate to ignite it if we are not accounted for. We are to be out of that building before two hundred hours and we will be."

"Is everyone ready?" Michael asked, shouldering his bag and rechecking his equipment for the last time.

"Set." Liz and Max stated simultaneously. Each sported an identical facial expression and stance; they were dressed in the exact same clothes and carried like weapons. The two sisters were a force to be dealt with and Michael was glad he wouldn't be on the receiving end this time.

"Let's go," Michael said taking point and jogging towards their assigned outpost. The time had come, his final test. Did he have it in him to protect his family and friends?

posted on 20-Nov-2002 3:33:10 PM
Thanks to Bored to Mundane Life, Snowdove30 and Littlebit.


Part XXXVII - It's Too Easy


"Gee, Michael, slow down," Max teased as she ran up behind him. "We don't have to go so fast and we don't want to wear out your human body before we're even inside the building."

"That's not going to be a problem, Max," he smirked. “I can take whatever you throw at me.”

"What does he mean by that, Ash?" she queried.

Stopping to scan for sentries, Liz squirmed uncomfortably before replying, "We've all been so busy this week that I haven't had time to tell you. I'll give you a more detailed report later but right now all you need to know is that we each developed the other's skills. Michael is just as adept at our Manticore engineered fighting skills as we are."

Max gave Liz a silent reprisal before speaking, "Does this have anything to do with me blacking out the other night?"

Gasping, Liz unconsciously let her emotions surge for a moment and clamped a hand to her mouth. How could she think that it wouldn't have had an effect on her sister? "I didn't realize...Shit, are you okay?"

"Just peachy," she retorted. "We'll discuss this later, I hear the first sentry approaching. Spread out, I've got this guy. Michael you go right, Ash left; take out any guards you come across then return. It's almost one and it’s time to set this game in motion."

Silently, her sister and Michael stalked off in their assigned directions and she to hers. Creeping stealthily in the region indicated by Max, Liz heard low voices chatting straight ahead. Squatting behind a tree, she listened to their conversation, picking up whatever clues she could.

"There isn't anyone coming to this place, Gentry. I don't understand why we have to patrol every night; it's a waste of time, if you ask me."

"I didn't ask you, Blake, you took it upon yourself to tell me. And it's not a waste of time; I was at one of the last sites attacked, the one over in Georgia. There was nothing left and I was one of two survivors out of a total of eighty-six stationed there. If the higher ups say that there is a threat, then there is; they wouldn't lie about something like this." Smart guy, she thought, too bad he has to die.

"Post twenty, check in," a garbled voice said from a transmitter attached to Blake's belt. Quickly, the man grabbed the walkie-talkie and edged away from Gentry. Hmm, not keeping to his post, huh, bad soldier. Liz waited until she heard him answer, "All clear in section twenty," before attacking. She dispatched the man with ease, grabbed his radio then turned in the direction of the other man.

Despite the man's earlier paranoia and boasting about being one of two survivors, he was seriously inept for his assignment. Liz pondered the curiosity while she made her way back to her designated position. She considered that the two soldiers were oddities, more like she hoped they were. Please let Max and Michael have better news, she thought.

"Ash," Max whispered into her mind when she caught up to her sister. "Something's wrong, that man was too easily taken out."

"I had the same problem and I believe Michael did, too." In fact, she knew he did. The emotions that he had so carefully blocked out earlier were raging through her head; he was extremely unhappy.

Soft footfalls approached Liz from behind and she turned towards them. Michael's exterior still held his earlier calm but his eyes were lit with a dangerous fire. "It's a trap," he said mechanically. "They knew that we would be here tonight."

Liz and Max nodded silently in agreement, nothing else needed to be said.

--------

Part XXXVIII - Going In


"Max," Michael stated turning to the young woman, "get on the horn and let Logan know what we found out, Liz and I are going to scout to the fence and see what else is out of place."

Michael crept up to the boundary with Liz beside him; he readily scanned the area looking for any discrepancies. No, he thought, shaking his head, it can't be. The plan they had developed was rooted in the fact that they would be able to sneak up on the base without being seen. There had been lots of cover in this area and now it was gone. Using his new telescoping vision, he could see every identifier in the five hundred yards that lay between them and their destination. There was nothing, no trees, no buildings, no cover at all.

"That's not the only problem," Liz said breaking his surveillance. "There aren't any snipers in the towers."

What? he asked silently. Sure enough, they weren't there but where were they? Hurriedly, Liz and Michael rushed back to where they had left Max.

"Max," Michael spoke quietly, "we need to get moving."

"What did you find?" she asked.

"All the ground cover was removed today, we're about to step into a no man's land. The snipers are no where that we could see, either."

"What's the plan?"

"We head out but we'll have to scrap most of the strategy from the original. We'll just worry about our section and let everyone else handle theirs. Do you think that we need to notify them about our discoveries?"

"No," Liz answered with conviction. "They already know and will be taking action. Zack hasn't called us back in, which means he is confident that everyone will be able to adapt. We were trained for this kind of eventuality."

"Let's rock," Max stated before jumping over the fence. Michael and Liz quickly followed pursuit, easily clearing the twelve-foot boundary. Landing upright with his legs already in motion, he raced to the compound; everything, for the moment depended on speed.

When they were about two hundred yards away from the safety of the walls, Michael heard a shot ring out in the night; several others immediately accompanied it. They had found the sharpshooters and they were positioned in the ground underneath turf shaded camouflage. Weaving intermittently through the barren land, he attempted to fend off any and all shots; if he kept changing his trajectory then they would have a harder time of locking him in their sights.

His careful avoidance of the leaden projectiles was almost for not when his body came to a momentary standstill upon looking over to Liz. Her body jerked as a bullet collided with her chest and she tumbled to the ground. However, before Michael could go to her, she was up and running again, spurring him into immediate action. A motion that was none to soon, he thought as he felt the disturbance of air near his cheek.

They made it to the wall with no further incidents, stopping only long enough to dispatch the snipers that they came across. "Are you alright, Ash?" Michael heard Max say. Anxiously, he listened for Liz's reply.

"Yeah, just fine. Luckily, it hit my vest and only knocked the wind out of me. I'll probably have a nice sized bruise tomorrow but right now, I'm good to go."

Michael felt himself relax slightly at her announcement; he hadn't lost her yet. "Are you two ready for the next phase?"

"As we'll ever be," they replied together.

"Is there any way you could stop doing that?" he asked exasperatedly. Their only answer, cheeky smiles.

Anxiously, he led his team in scaling up the outside wall of the building; they would start at the top floor of the two-story structure and work their way down. Time to see what we can do, he thought indifferently. Michael no longer felt the need to prove himself or his worth, he just wanted to get them out alive and, preferably, in one piece.

posted on 21-Nov-2002 10:14:44 PM
Thanks to LittleBit and Bored to Mundane Life.


Part XXXIX - Cleansing Manticore


Cursing under his breath, Michael reached for the last grenade on his belt, pulled the pin, waited three seconds then flung the object out the open doorway and down the hall. It would be much easier if could just use his alien power blasts, he thought begrudgingly. Stepping away from exposure quickly, he covered his head with both arms and awaited the explosion. This was not going well; no, not at all well.

They had been able to place the first eleven charges without incident; it had been odd but welcome. It was when they were working on the twelfth that Zack's voice could be heard over the communicators. His tone was calm but had an edge to it; Michael had known instantly that something was wrong. Zack had informed them that they had been incorrect in their assessment of troops in the base. Deadly wrong in fact, there was not just one full unit of X7's but two.

Soon, every group had started transmitting over the COM system. Zane and Tinga had been seriously wounded and had to retreat to safety, but at least they were getting out. Zack had had to leave Ben to fend for himself while he laid the rest of the charges; he was too injured to move without assistance. Krit and Syl had finished their section but were surrounded. The announcements had hit Max and Liz hard but they were dealing with it the only way they knew how, by finishing their job. It was the least they could do for their falling family.

Just as quickly as the barrage of static voices started, they had ended. Michael could only pray that they had some sort of disrupting device, he didn't want to think of the other possibilities or what it would mean for his sister and Alex. The silence didn't last long, though; soon the air was filled with gunfire and the scurrying feet of the approaching enemy.

Michael's assessment of the situation had been short and sweet; they needed to get their asses in motion. Right now, evacuating was not an issue. They had three bombs left to plant, which was why they were currently trying to clear a path through a legion of soldiers and not leaping out the nearest window to safety. Luckily enough for his team, no one had received injuries up to this point.

Suddenly the hallway behind him exploded in bright orange flames and screams of agony; Michael grimaced, he may have liked the life of a soldier on Antar but here on Earth he could only see death as murder. Deciding to assuage his guilt later, he rushed out the door with Max and Liz following closely. They sprinted down the passage stopping only momentarily to position one incendiary before continuing with the last two.

Time was running out but they could not afford to separate to speed up the process. There were just too many X7's moving about the joint. At least that was all there were, they hadn't had to worry about any other troops; apparently Manticore felt that their special troops were enough to thwart a unit of X5's. Michael prayed that they would soon be proving those bastards wrong.

Another five minutes and Max had positioned her last explosive. One left to go and Liz carried it. They hurried down the suspiciously empty corridors, keeping a keen eye on every direction, entrance and vent. Movement behind them, movement in front. Shit, Michael thought, an ambush. Before he could react, he observed Liz rip the last grenade off her belt and yank the pin with her teeth. Have I mentioned how much I love this woman yet today? She held it for a full five seconds before forcefully tossing it towards the awaiting troops.

The explosion was close this time and Michael hadn't taken any precautions to protect his body. A spattering of dirt, drywall, blood and chunks of dismembered bodies rained down on him. Wiping his eyes furiously with a grime-covered hand, he continued on through the path that his girlfriend had created. Max and Liz rushed out ahead of him searching for any survivors and seeking out the last location for the bomb. Shots rang out harshly reminding him of his already damaged hearing.

With ears ringing, Michael raced down the hallway, away from the would-be captors and assassins and into unknown territory. Another round of bullets was fired behind him and he stumbled as several of them imbedded in his armor covered back. He silently thanked Mr. Kevlar or whoever had been the genius behind the hard rubber covering.

Michael was in the process of regaining his scattered control when he saw Liz and Max both get struck; his girlfriend in the back and upper right arm, her sister high on her left hamstring. Liz never once broke stride as the bullets impacted with her body; she kept moving, even going so far as to wrap her injured arm around Max's waist to help her keep running.

Their escape came to a halt when they reached their destination, a small room housing the mainframe for the entire base. The computer contained all of the research data for the entire X series project; it would be their coup de grace.

Slamming the door behind him, Michael used his powers to seal it shut then turned to Liz. "Set the last charge so we can get the hell out of here."

"I can't," she said holding the explosive out to him, "it got damaged in the last round of bullets."

"Shit. Alright we're leaving now, if we stay any longer we're going to be killed."

"Calm down, Michael," Max stated impatiently. "She can fix it."

"Can you?" he questioned.

"Yeah," Liz responded, "just give me five minutes."

"It'll have to be faster then that," he said glancing anxiously at his watch, "we've only got four before they remote detonate."

"Then I suggest you busy yourself with clearing out the hallway. Take my gun and see if you can pick any of them off, and Max, do what you can, I'll have this repaired in no time."

Liz set about her work and Michael reluctantly turned back to the entrance with Max at his side. Throwing open the steel door, he aimed and took out one X7, hitting her directly in the face with his shot. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Max fell two before she discarded the weapon and challenged one of the remaining three in hand-to-hand combat.

The clip clicked empty on Michael's pistol and he tossed it aside taking a defensive stance against the two other X7's. He and Max moved until they were back-to-back leaving one less angle of approach for their enemies. The X7's rushed him and he fought them with all he was worth, flailing wildly and giving everything he had to the attack. He had thought that the X5's were amazing but these guys were something else; he feared that the only thing keeping him alive up to this point was the fact that they were only ten years old and still somewhat inexperienced in active combat.

Some way, he wasn't sure how, Michael managed to connect one of his feet to the side of an assailant's head; he heard a nasty crack just before the child sank to the ground motionless. Now he was one-on-one with the only standing opposition; Max had dispatched her target and was lying limply on the floor beside its body.

Seeing a glitter of silver in the young man's hand, Michael reached for his own knife only to find it missing. Relying on his reflexes, he fended off the attack only receiving a few deep cuts and scratches but he was unable to break through the other's defense. He backed up to try another approach only to be tripped by one of the fallen enemy bodies. Even in death they still fight, he thought grumpily as he tumbled to the ground. The assailant used the blunder to his advantage and rushed Michael, his knife outstretched and poised for the kill.

This is it, Michael screamed inside his head; slamming his eyes shut, he waited for the biting pain of the sharp blade as it tore into his flesh. Five seconds and the deathblow still hadn't come. Cautiously, he opened his eyes and stared at the sight in front of him; the child was obviously dead. No one could survive the blade of a seven-inch knife being driven in their throat up to the hilt. Max was standing immediately to his right, a smirk on her face. He looked up to her gratefully before withdrawing the weapon and wiping the blood on his already soiled T-shirt.

Casting a quick glance to his watch, Michael muttered a resounding “Fuck” before pushing past Max and grabbing Liz's arm. Forcing her to look at him, he yelled, "We've got to get out of here detonation is in exactly ten seconds."

"One more minute, Michael," she yelled back distractedly. "I just need to set it and we can leave."

Nine.

Max cast a glance at Michael and he motioned for her to get the hell away.

Eight.

Michael took a step in Liz's direction, cursing her foolishness and sense of responsibility. Why wasn't she any faster? Why couldn't she just leave?

Seven.

Liz finally secured the bomb to the mainframe.

Six.

Time was running out, they weren't going to make it out of the room in time.

Five.

From the end of the hallway, Max turned and yelled worriedly, "Hurry up."

Four.

Liz flipped the switch to arm the explosive.

Three.

Liz picked up her bag.

Two.

She turned and stepped towards the door.

One.

Michael grabbed Liz, pushing her out the exit in front of him, using his body to shield her from the blast.

The second before the room behind him exploded into a cloud of dust and flame, Michael watched Max hobble out a window to safety. He spared a last glance to the woman that held his heart and her shocked expression rocked him to the core. "I love you, Liz," he mumbled into her dark hair.

The shock wave caught him blissfully unaware as the bombs were detonated. Heat and flame bit into his back and left side scorching his already abused body. Michael wrapped his arms tightly around Liz, enjoying her warmth for one last time before everything around him went black.

posted on 23-Nov-2002 2:55:43 PM
Just wanted to let everyone know that I won't be updating this until after Thanksgiving. Have a great holiday!!!

Robyn
posted on 2-Dec-2002 6:36:30 PM
Thanks to everyone for the bumps (Bored to Mundane life 2x, RoswellLady, demonyte 2x, Snowdove30). I had a great Thanksgiving and hope that everyone else did too.


Part XL - Let Me Follow


Liz groggily opened her eyes and felt a heavy weight holding her to the ground. What? A hand was tugging frantically at her arm but she ignored it; she needed to get her bearings and figure out where she was before she dealt with the person intruding into her personal space. Flexing her muscles, she tried to dislodge the object holding her down only to find that she couldn't move her right arm.

Finally, after much lifting, she managed to climb out from beneath the behemoth holding her down, her right arm hanging broken and useless at her side. No, she thought blinking her eyes rapidly, not a behemoth, Michael. Oh God, the explosion; he protected me from the brunt of it. She dropped down beside him screaming hysterically, "Please don't you die on me, damn it."

Her silent prayers were answered by a sharp, crippling pain coming to life in the back of her head. Doubling over in pain, she let out a short sigh of relief, Michael was alive, but barely, and he was in tremendous agony.

Someone was shaking Liz, trying impatiently to get her attention. Right, she thought, my sister. "Ash, get it together, we need to get out of here pronto. The building probably won’t stand much longer, most of the structural supports were blown in this section."

Tears poured out of Liz's eyes as she tried to focus on her sister’s words. Clutching her head, she answered, "I can feel his pain, Max; I can't block it out. It's overwhelming me. Help us please; I can't have him die for me. I can't live without him."

Confusion lit Max's face but she did as Liz asked her the only way she knew how. She felt their connection flare to life and soothing words and feelings flow through it. Slowly, she recaptured her poise, blocking out Michael's familiar presence until they got him out of the building and to safety.

Between the two of them, Max and Liz hauled Michael outside through the rubble and to the periphery. Unable to get him over the fence without further injury, Liz decided upon a new route of action and impatiently blasted a hole through the wire. As fast as they could, she and her sister carried him to the van where, hopefully, their getaway driver was waiting for them.

Entering the clearing, they found no people, no van, nothing but tire tracks and scorched grass. Liz dropped to the ground no longer able to squeeze back her tears. Her lover, and mate, was dying and she was helpless. Her sister attempted to wrap comforting arms around her but she shrugged them off roughly, she had an idea.

Placing her hands above the blistered and blackened skin of Michael's back, Liz tried to make her energy pool and perform the process she needed to heal. Nothing happened. She tried again, still nothing. Why was it that she could blast a hole through a steel fence but she couldn't heal the man that she loved?

The question was pointless; she already knew the answer. Michael's life was ebbing and she had blocked their connection so that she wouldn’t have to deal with his crippling pain. She needed him to broach the alien abyss but, even if she reopened the connection, he was too wounded to guide her. Liz choked back a sob; she couldn't even return the service he had provided for her so few months ago. He was dying and with him any alien powers that she might have used to save him. There was nothing more she could do, so she collapsed on his chest and vowed that she would join him in death.

That was how Isabel found them; Michael charred and sprawled on the dirt floor with Liz weeping above him. Liz watched the alien approaching across the field and felt hope swirl in her anew. Isabel made her way over to the huddled pair and leaned down beside Michael’s body to quickly assess his condition with her alien powers. Sadly with tears trailing down her cheeks, she raised her eyes to meet Liz’s, "I can't help him, Liz; there’s too much damage. We need to get him to my brother."

Liz felt her brief glimmer of hope fade away with the announcement. She was numb. She was cold. She was scared. She was losing Michael. She had probably already lost most of her family, if not all. Alex was nowhere to be seen. Had freedom really been worth this price?

Shutting her mind off from the unwanted thoughts and events that she couldn’t change, Liz let Isabel take charge of the injured team. Together, they got Michael loaded in the van where Logan and Alex waited with light injuries. On the periphery of her consciousness she felt the van start moving and frantic voices yelling at her to snap out of it. It was a command that she couldn't obey.

Once they were in the sanctity of the vehicle, she reopened her connection with Michael just to feel him one last time. Soon the emotions and physical pain overwhelmed her already weak and battered body and she followed him into unconsciousness. This is where I belong, she thought, alongside my love in sweet oblivion.

posted on 6-Dec-2002 12:44:46 PM
Thanks to Bored to Mundane Life, demonyte, and LittleBit.


Part XLI - Awakening


Awareness returned slowly to Michael's sleep addled brain, making him very cognizant of the throbbing pulse located directly behind his closed eyes. Instinctively, he moved to raise both hands to the aching temples but halted when the action made the muscles of his back scream out in agony. Releasing a low moan, he decided that absolute stillness would be his wisest course of action.

"It's about time you woke up, Michael," he heard a voice say softly to him. "We've been wondering when you would wake up."

Michael's eyes fluttered wide open and he stared about the darkened room. A silhouette approached from the far corner bearing a striking resemblance to his brother. "Max," he said with a raspy voice, "where am I?"

"You're in my home and have been for the last two days. You've actually been a pretty good house guest for once, considering that I didn't have to listen to your continual complaints or worry about finding you food to eat," Max said jokingly, sitting down on the edge of the bed.

Michael attempted to sit up and meet his brother's eyes but once again found himself in a tremendous amount of pain. "I wouldn't be moving if I were you," Max stated reproachfully helping him settle back down into a comfortable position. "I healed most of the damage but drained myself before I could complete the job. You'll probably be sore for a couple of days, so take it easy."

"How did I get here?" Michael queried confusedly.

"Isabel brought you, Max, Logan, Alex and Liz here a couple of days ago."

"Liz, where is she? Is she alright?" he asked frantically as he remembered the events from the other night. Ignoring his protesting muscles, Michael lurched to a sitting position and tried to sense her presence, her emotions, anything that would indicate her condition. The pain in his head proved to be too much and he couldn't will himself to concentrate; the ache was just too damned distracting.

"Relax, Michael," Max said pushing him back onto the bed gently. "She's just fine and will be much better now that you're awake. It took some heavy negotiating but Alex, Isabel and Max finally got her to leave your bedside to get in a shower and a bite to eat." Michael cast him an incredulous glance so he added, "She'll be back in a few minutes and you can see her then. You scared her, scared all of us actually, but Liz the most. She gave up on you and was prepared to join you." Max clasped his hands in his lap and refused to look at Michael directly.

"What do you mean, join me?" he asked afraid of the answer.

"She was dying, Michael. Liz was refusing to fight and letting your guys' connection drag her down with you."

Michael couldn't keep the shock off of his face; Liz had given up just so she could be with him. He tried to be angry about the new information but couldn't. He knew somewhere deep in his heart he would have done the same thing, therefore he couldn't hold it against her; it was better to be dead then to live the rest of his life without his mate.

Wait a minute, Michael thought as Max's words sank in; he had said ...your guys' connection... So Max knew about him and Liz being bonded and he didn't seem angry. Michael raised an eyebrow at him questioningly.

"I saw it when I healed you," he replied with a small smile on his face. "And just so you know, Liz and Isabel were right, I do understand and I am happy for the both of you. She is a wonderful girl, a special woman and is perfect for the likes of you."

"Do you..." Michael started.

"Yeah, I know about Manticore and what you were up to the other night. They couldn't very well keep it a secret after they brought you and Liz back here nearly dead. And I thought you were a stubborn jackass, do you have any idea how infuriating Liz’s brother, Zack, is?"

Michael fought hard to contain his laughter at Max's statement; he knew all too well the type of person Zack was, not to mention his overly protective nature when it came to anyone in his family. He wished that he could have seen Max going one-on-one with the man; it was probably a note-worthy occasion. Making a mental memo, he decided to have Alex tell him about it later; he would definitely add some color to the tale.

Turning his attention back to Max, Michael heard him release a ragged sigh. "I do wish that you would have let me in on your secret earlier but I know why you didn't and I'm not angry."

"How charitable of you," Michael mumbled sarcastically. "Forgiving me for your being an ass."

"Please, Michael, can we not start this now," he pleaded. "I'm trying to say that I'm sorry not wage another witty verbal battle with you."

"That's just because you know you won't win," Michael declared triumphantly with a mad grin on his face. He had known that Max didn't mean anything by the statement but what was that saying, old habits die-hard.

Max answered with a sheepish smile, "Maybe so, maybe so. Do you think that you can get Liz to give me lessons in verbal combat? Maybe then I'll be able to hold my own against you in a battle of wits."

"I think you're going to need a lot more then a couple of lessons from me," a female voice said from the direction of the doorway. "We might even have to enlist the help of Alex, Michael and even your sister, Isabel, she's been coming along nicely."

"I'll leave you be," Max stated, looking somewhat uncomfortable. Hurriedly, he headed towards the door. "Let me know if you need anything."

"Max," Michael started then waited until his brother turned towards him. "Thank you for everything."

Silently, Max nodded his head and closed the door behind him.

--------

Part XLII - Tender Moments

"Hey," Liz said softly, "how do you feel?"

"A lot better now that you're here," Michael replied, reaching out for her hand.

Liz watched him anxiously, expecting him to disappear before her eyes. She had come so close to losing him and she didn't think that she could go through that again. Feeling her eyes grow teary, she turned her head away.

"What does a man have to do to get a kiss around here? Do I have to remind you that I nearly died? I think the least I deserve for being your body armor is a kiss."

Turning back to Michael, Liz felt all of her cares and worries drift away. He was fine, a little banged up, but he was still with her and that's all that mattered. Quickly, she moved to lie above him on the bed, raining kisses all over his face and neck.

"Don't." Kiss. "You." Kiss. "Ever." Kiss. "Try." Kiss. "To." Kiss. "Leave." Kiss. "Me." Kiss. "Again." Liz felt Michael's arms reach up around her and pull her closely to his chest. The tender healing wound on her right shoulder and recently repaired broken arm ached but she ignored it, deciding instead to capture his mouth with a deep, probing kiss. She lost herself in the moment, drowning in the softness of his mouth and lips; that was until he yelped in pain.

"Maybe we should take it a little bit slower, babe," Michael stated through gritted teeth. "I still seem to be a little sore."

Rolling over on her side, Liz propped her head up on her left elbow, careful not to put any pressure on her right arm, and studied the bedridden man. "When's a little pain stopped you before?" she asked teasingly. But at Michael's exasperated and pleading look she added. "All right, I can't say that I'm feeling one hundred percent better myself but I promise we'll make up for the lost time when we're both able to move without pain."

"How are you doing?" Michael asked with concern. "Max said that I pulled a number on your system."

"I'm doing better then you are," she stated with a wry grin. "I had a bullet wound in my shoulder, a broken arm, some scratches and abrasions but they're healing. And now, since you're on the mend, I won't have the agonizing pain of what you went through lingering in my head anymore."

"I'm sorry about that," he said turning away.

"No, never be sorry," she implored grabbing Michael's chin and making him face her. "It let me know that you were alive, suffering, but alive." Gently, Liz ran her fingers through Michael's long thick hair; it was the only comfort she had had for the last two days while he lay unconscious. "I love you."

"I love you, too."

posted on 7-Dec-2002 12:25:45 AM
Just a pathetic bump for myself.
posted on 9-Dec-2002 8:34:54 PM
Special thanks this post to Bored to Mundane life and Snowdove30, you guys keep the parts coming. Anyway, here's the next section, just tying up some loose ends before I move on to the next sequence. Sorry, but there won't be any Tess parts for another couple of postings.

Robyn


Part XLIII - Casualties of War


They had been lying silently in Maxwell's room for a good half-hour before Michael worked up the nerve to ask, "How did everything turn out?" He couldn't look Liz in the face; he couldn't see the pain that the question would dredge up. Before he lost consciousness, he was aware that people were hurt and more then likely dying; people that were her family.

Liz grew eerily silent and turned away from him. Just when he thought that she wasn't going to answer, she started speaking. "From a mission standpoint, it was a success. Manticore is gone. All the files were destroyed. There are no more living X7's. The only missing piece is Lydecker; no one has seen him or his body. He may still be out there."

"And..." Michael encouraged forcing Liz to look him in the eye. There they were, the tears that threatened to spill over; someone had died. Despite the pain, he drew her tightly to his chest and whispered soothing words until she regained control enough to speak.

"Alex, Logan and Isabel never really had any problems and suffered no major injuries except Alex's broken arm. Krit and Syl made it out okay, pretty banged up, but okay, Jondy and Jace, too. Max had a gunshot wound in her leg but we removed the slug and she's healing up nicely." Liz paused and Michael felt her draw a deep breath before continuing. "Zack, he's doing alright but he lost an arm. I think that Logan's already working on getting him a prosthetic. And Brin, well she hit her head, hard, and doesn't remember much of anything. It's probably for the best anyway; it'll make a fresh start easier for her."

"What about Ben, Jack, Tinga and Zane?" he asked softly. The last he remembered three of them had been injured badly enough to have to leave the facility.

Tears soaked Michael's chest through the thin fabric of the sheet covering him. The worst of the news was coming, he wished that he could stop listening and never hear the words, but he needed to know. If he didn’t know, he wouldn’t be able to help her through this.

"Zane and Tinga met up outside of the complex when they were escaping to safety. They had just about reached the perimeter when they were set on by a couple of soldiers. Tinga...Tinga threw her body in front of Zane's and took a bullet in the forehead. She...she died and saved his life.'

"After Tinga had to leave the building, Brin and Jack set the rest of the charges and were getting ready to leave when they were attacked. We don't know what happened, Brin doesn't remember, but Krit and Syl found Jack...found him with a slit throat.'

"And Ben...Ben, Zack got him to safety but the wounds were too severe. They tried to get him here so that Max could help him but he died in transit."

Liz's body shook violently as she let the sobs wrack through her body, Michael could do nothing but hold her. She had lost members of her family, brothers and sisters, people that she had known all of her life. He couldn't even begin to imagine the pain of such an event; all he could do was be there for her. Silently, Michael prayed for Tinga, Ben and Jack and hoped that they had finally found peace.

posted on 11-Dec-2002 3:47:42 PM
Thanks Anya and Bored to Mundane Life, I dedicate this part to the two of you.

Robyn

To everyone that is interested, I think that I'll be able to get one more part of this posted before I'm gone for the rest of the month. To all of you that celebrate the holidays, have a great time. Have a Merry Christmas and I'll try to enjoy mine.


Part XLIV - Final Confrontation


“Where do you want me to put this, Maria?” Liz asked tiredly as she walked into the empty restaurant. In an effort to distract her mind from the deaths of her siblings, she had thrown herself whole-heartedly into the ‘Summer Bash’ as Maria had taken to calling the party.

"Just put it over there, Liz,” Isabel said from atop a ladder, gesturing slightly with her free arm, the other occupied at the moment with a strand of white Christmas lights. “Maria ran over to her mother’s to get your birthday cake and left me in charge.”

“Figures,” Liz mumbled setting the box down. “She talks me into helping and then skips out on all the hard work.” Letting loose an exasperated sigh, she continued, “And I think I remember specifically stating that I didn’t want a damn cake.”

Isabel chuckled in response, “You know Maria.”

“Humph,” she growled. “Tonight I’m going to pretend that I don’t.” Turning to the stereo, she asked, “I’m going to change the music, any suggestions?”

“Anything heavy, it hasn’t been the kind of week where I can listen to that light, sappy shit that Maria programmed in the player for very much longer. I’m even going to go so far as to suggest one of Michael’s CD’s,” Isabel replied with a false shudder.

“You read my mind,” Liz smirked then placed one of her boyfriend’s Tool CDs in the tray. Tuning out the restaurant for a few blissful moments, she let herself get caught up in the dark lyrics. Definitely a band suited for her current temperament.

Liz was knocked out of her reverie when Isabel asked in concern, “Are you sure that you should be here? It's only been six days."

"Thank you for asking, but I want to be here," Liz stated truly appreciating the woman's worry over her well-being. It was Tuesday, only five nights since she had lost three members of her family and had come close to losing Michael, and myself, she thought distractedly. "It's going to help take my mind off of everything for a little while."

Isabel gave her a knowing look then smirked. "What does Michael think about you being down here helping set up and tend bar for 'The Greatest Summer Bash Ever'?"

"To tell you the truth," Liz grinned and perched herself on top of the bar to watch Isabel string the lights. "I don't really know. I think that he's probably upstairs having kittens right about now, wondering where I am."

"He's just worried, you know," Isabel commented while climbing down from the ladder and walking over to sit on the stool beside Liz.

"I know he is and he has been great through all of this," Liz said chewing on her lip thoughtfully. "But we both are aware that I will get through this, that my family will get through this. We're strong people and even though we're hurt, we will survive. We always have."

"Well, I'm here if you need me."

"I know and I'm grateful for all that you've done for me and mine. You risked everything for all of us and we'll never forget it."

Shrugging off the comment, Isabel asked, "Where is the rest of your family, if I might ask. Are they going to be here to help celebrate?"

"No, they’ve already scattered. Krit and Syl took Brin to get her established somewhere; they said that they would let me know where they all would be living. Jace went back home and Jondy took Zane to her house to look after him until he's up and moving around again. Max and Logan returned to Seattle yesterday and took Zack with them. They are going to get him fitted with a new arm then come back down here for a vacation. They think that we are all overdue for one."

"I won't argue on that count…," Isabel said her voice trailing off. Breaking away from Liz's gaze, she glanced around the bar apprehensively, studying each nook and cranny. Hmm, Liz thought curiously.

"What is it, Isabel?"

"Huh? Nothing really. I've just been getting this weird feeling that someone is watching me but I'm sure that I'm just being paranoid. So much has been going on recently and I haven't really had the chance to let my nerves settle down.” Shaking her head slightly, she continued, “Anyway, moving on to a lighter subject, we are supposed to be throwing a party after all, have you had any luck getting Alex to submit?"

"No, he's being pretty stubborn and won't let Michael or Max look at his arm," she laughed despite the nagging feeling in the back of her mind. She had sensed something off, too, but wasn't sure what to do about it. Ignoring it for now sounded like the best policy to her; surely the bad guys needed a break, too. Not that she could really tune out the feel of danger.

Liz decided to wait until Michael came downstairs and ask him about it, until then she would try to relieve Isabel's tension by joining her in making fun of Alex. "He told me, and I quote, 'I'm a big man and I can handle a little bit of pain,' which was followed immediately by him tripping and banging the broken appendage on the doorframe. He screamed like a little girl then stomped off to sulk in his bedroom."

"Big man?" Isabel repeated snickering.

Soon both women were giggling loudly before they completely broke down and cackled with abandon. It felt good to laugh again, Liz thought, she hoped there would be more days like this.

Suddenly, Liz’s radar kicked into high gear; there was definitely something off. Glancing about the unoccupied room, she tried to place the disturbance but couldn’t. Was this what she had been waiting for all these weeks? Had someone finally found her?

A loud thud sounded from behind the backroom door and she abruptly climbed to her feet. “Isabel, stay here, something’s not right.”

“No, I can feel it too, you might need my help.”

“I don’t want to argue with you, Iz, so please just listen to me. If I need you I won’t hesitate to call.” She turned to Isabel and demanded with her eyes that she stay in the dining room. Seeing her nod reluctantly in consent, Liz hurried into the break room to be greeted by Alex and the man that was holding a gun to his head.

Anger coursed through her veins, how dared he come after her through her family. Gritting her teeth, she managed to grind out, “Wish I could say it was a pleasure to see you again, Lydecker, but I’d be lying.”

“Now is that any way to treat your father, 456? I thought that I had taught you better then that,” he replied menacingly.

“You’re not my father, you bastard,” she spat. “Let Alex go, I’m the one that you came here to get.”

Lydecker shook his head condescendingly, “I don’t think you understand, 456, you destroyed my life’s work and now I intend to destroy you. You are going to watch each of your family and friends die one-by-one starting with Mr. Parker here.”

posted on 13-Dec-2002 12:04:15 PM
Thank you to Bored to Mundane life, you're my biggest fan.

Now before you read this and ask, I'll just tell you; I am evil. Enjoy and I'll see ya next year!!!


Part XLV – Confronting Death


Liz heard the hammer on Lydecker’s gun click and forced herself to remain still; she didn’t need him to speed up whatever he had planned by her jumpiness. Alex’s eyes were wide, frightened and slightly bulging from the pressure that was being applied to his neck to hold him in place. Lydecker’s face was lit up in a manic glee at the prospect of killing her brother; without a doubt he had lost his mind.

Desperately, Liz tried to come up with a plan; anything that would help free Alex from his captor but her mind kept coming up blank. Her soldier mentality was failing her when she needed it the most, Liz’s fear for her brother was outweighing all her other senses and try as she might, she couldn’t block her emotions out. Deciding that she needed to keep Lydecker talking to her to buy time, she asked, “Can’t we discuss this? There’s no need for anyone to die here.”

“What a liar you’ve turned out to be, 456,” he replied coolly, his eyes trained on her face. “We are both aware that people have already died; my friends, co-workers and my new class of X7’s. They have been destroyed and with them part of my sanity. Do you know what it feels like to have your life’s work erased completely? To know that my children were responsible for it’s destruction?”

“We did what needed to be done. Manticore was an unholy abomination; it was time that the world was ridded of it,” Liz answered icily, her cool persona finally drowning out her emotions. “And what type of man does it take to base their life off the exploitation of children? To breed them to be assassins, mercenaries or spies? What right did you have to play God?”

“You complain about the life that we gave you,” he sneered, “if it hadn’t been for myself and the scientists, you would never have been born. You and your ‘family’ wouldn’t have existed.”

“Am I supposed to be thankful to you for the life that I’ve been forced to lead. Never once have I been able to be myself for fear that you would find me and drag me back to that hellhole you call a life. I’ve had to lie to my closest friends because I didn’t want to place them in danger. I’ve even had to sacrifice my happiness just so that I could live one more day. Yeah, you could say I’m grateful for your interference in my genetic makeup.” Liz paused for a moment and checked on Alex’s condition, he was starting to pant heavily from lack of oxygen and his body was growing limp making it harder for Lydecker to hold onto him. “Oh wait,” she continued turning back to the intruder, “did you want me to prostrate myself before you and worship you for giving me life.”

“Tsk, tsk, 456,” he said shaking his head and tapping the barrel of the pistol against Alex’s temple. “It seems that being out in the world has made you a bit of a smartass. I’d quit mouthing off if I were you; don’t want to make me angry, this thing has a hair trigger and I really don’t think that you want to see Mr. Parker’s brains spattered all over the wall.”

“Does it matter what I say, Lydecker? I mean, aren’t you just going to kill him anyway?”

“Not until I’ve had a bit of fun first,” he stated grinning. “Now I rather hate to admit this, but I’m proud of you and the rest of the X5’s, you’ve turned out to be a much better breed of soldier than we had originally counted on. I mean, you destroyed the entire Manticore operation, that’s no small fete for a large army and with thirteen soldiers that’s really saying something.”

Literally biting her tongue, Liz kept herself from spitting back any negative comments. Michael was getting closer, almost to the stairs; he had finally picked up on her distress. If she was lucky, maybe she could use his entrance as a distraction and get to Alex.

“What no clever comeback?” Lydecker said leering. “What do you think Alex has to say about it, huh?” Roughly, he pulled Alex tighter into his grip and ground the nose of the gun into his head. Her brother was trying to be strong but he unconsciously released a whimper that set Lydecker smiling madly. “Oh I don’t think he liked that, do you, 456?”

Liz ground her teeth together and silently damned the man to hell. That’s where he belongs, she thought, in the pits of the fieriest hole that she could find. May he burn for all eternity. As if in slow motion, she watched as Lydecker pulled back on the trigger and fired the gun into Alex’s head.

posted on 31-Dec-2002 11:32:29 AM
Hey everyone,

Hope that you had a great Christmas and are planning for an amazing New Year. I made it back into town a few days early so I might get a part posted sooner than I originally expected.

Robyn
posted on 31-Dec-2002 11:43:43 PM
Happy New Year everyone!!! Here's the next part and I'm sorry that it took so long, I've been busy. For all of you out there that haven't experienced the joy of buying a home, let me tell you that it is a highly involved endeavor that takes up way too much time. Anyway, that was my own personal rant for the night, I'll only be back for about a week and a half then I'm up and moving halfway across the country. Colorado here I come. Enjoy, I hope this part isn't too disappointing.

Robyn


I'd like to thank everyone who read this fic whilst I was out looking for a new home and visiting the family back in good ol' Missouri. This part is dedicated to Bored to Mundane Life (4X), LittleBit, demonyte, Tabasco Liz, and GEZ1987, thanks for reading!!!



Part XLVI – The Tide Changes


The explosion of gunpowder that Liz had been anticipating didn’t happen, only the click of the mechanism as it fired on an empty chamber. Alex’s eyes squeezed shut and she could see tears seeping out of the corners. He would be emotionally scarred but at least he was still alive, with a rush of air, she released the breath that she had been holding.

“Got ya, didn’t I?” Lydecker smiled then cocked the gun a second time. “Do you want to bet on whether there’s a bullet in the next chamber? No? Well I’ll just show you then.”

Liz’s muscles coiled and prepared to run forward when several things happened at once halting her actions. With a violent push, the break room door had swung inward and flown into the wall emitting Isabel with her arm poised and ready for battle. The door at the top of the stairs opened with an equal intensity and Michael rushed down to the room. Lydecker swung his head back and forth to look at the new entrants and began to depress the trigger once more. This time Liz knew that he had live ammunition loaded into the chamber, she needed to get to Alex before the pistol was fired, there would be no more warning shots.

In what seemed like an impossibly long moment of time, she rushed Lydecker and grabbed Alex yanking him out of his captor’s arms and pushing him to the ground beneath her. Distantly, she heard Isabel scream a resounding “No” and turned to see what was happening. Her right arm was still extended and directed at Lydecker’s form and her forehead was wrinkling from the strain of her concentration. Slowly, the hand that was holding the gun began to move. Through Isabel’s influence, his wrist rotated around until the nose of the pistol was lodged firmly beneath his chin. Lydecker stood stiffly, unable to move from the force she was applying; his eyes finally losing their manic glow.

--------

An eerie silence fell over the room as the threat changed sides. Michael waited quietly at the foot of the stairs his arm raised and ready for action; his emotions calm now that he had found everyone alright for the time being. He had almost lost his mind when he had awoken from his slumber to find Liz’s connection swimming in fear and anxiety. Something bad had been going down and he had wasted no time in coming to her rescue. It had somewhat surprised him, however, when he found himself face to face with one of his girlfriend’s biggest demons.

“So you’re the infamous Lydecker,” Michael stated wryly. “Thought that you’d be bigger.”

“Michael,” Liz grumbled, “now is not the time.”

“What the hell are you?” Lydecker shouted hysterically at Isabel. “You’re not one of my kids.”

“Bright one, aren’t you?” Michael spat turning towards his sister. Her expression rocked him to the core; she was angry, that much was obvious, but for the first time in his life, he knew that she was not going to restrain her fury. Her eyes were glazed over and a murderous smile had snuck onto her face. “Isabel…” he mumbled in concern, taking a step towards his sister.

The calling of her name seemed to draw Isabel out of her trance; her eyes regained clarity and she shouted, “Die you son of a bitch.” As Michael watched, Lydecker’s finger eased back on the trigger and the shell exploded, the bullet impacting in his brain. Blood and other bits of gore sprayed the wall behind him but Lydecker’s body remained still and upright.

Looking back to his sister, he observed her arm drop weakly to her side as Lydecker’s body simultaneously thudded to the floor to land in a motionless pile. Quickly, he rushed over to Isabel and gathered her into his arms as she collapsed to the cool tile. She lay weakly against his chest panting heavily at her exertion. “He was going to kill Alex,” she mumbled brokenly. “I couldn’t let him do that. I’d do anything for Alex, I love him.”

Meeting Liz’s eyes, Michael motioned for her to bring Alex over to Isabel. Immediately, they wrapped their arms around each other and began sobbing. “I love you, too, Izzy,” Alex murmured softly.

Silently, Michael and Liz walked out of the break room and left Isabel and Alex to their privacy. “Are you alright?” Michael asked once they were out in the dining room.

“I will be,” she whispered lowering her head to his chest and enclosing him in a tight hug. “Just hold me.”

Michael complied and pulled her as close to him as he could, “I guess it’s over now.”

“Yeah, it is.”

It was about damn time.


*****

Come on, did you really think that I'd kill Alex; he's one of my favorite characters.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 1-Jan-2003 8:20:52 PM ]
posted on 2-Jan-2003 9:37:58 AM
Just bumping my story.
posted on 3-Jan-2003 12:43:38 PM
Just wanted to let my few readers know that due partially to the lack of response but more precisely to the fact that I'm moving to a different state a week from today, I probably won't be posting much in the next couple of weeks. Computer is going by truck and it will remain locked up on it for an undetermined amount of time and then I have to deal without internet access for a little while all whilst not being able to unpack until the carpet in my new house gets replaced. And to top it all off, I start classes on the day that we close on our house. Needless to say, my life is going to be hectic for a little while. I just didn't want any of my readers to think that I had forgotten about them. Just so you're aware, feedback does a lot for my motivation (I'm smiling evilly as I write this). Anyway, readers take care and I'll try to get a few more parts out before I go to the Colorado wilderness.

Robyn
posted on 22-Jan-2003 8:15:17 PM
Hello all my readers out there!!! I'm moved into my new home, although it's far from being finished; we now have internet access so I can't really complain. Anyhow, here's my latest part hope you enjoy it. I appreciate, and greatly look forward to, any and all feedback that comes my way.

Robyn


Part XLVII – Dealing With It


“Isn’t that sweet? You guys are so cute together, did you know that?”

Michael’s head jerked up at the sound of Maria’s voice as she entered through the front door of the Crashdown carrying a chocolate frosted cake. Liz met his eyes momentarily before pulling out of his embrace. “I’m going to go in the back and help Isabel with the rest of the decorations.” Placing a quick kiss on his cheek, Liz turned on her heel and bolted through the swinging door to the back room.

“Was it something I said?” Maria asked worriedly.

Think fast, Guerin, you’ve lied before. “No nothing of the sort,” he replied slowly scratching his eyebrow, “it’s just that when you left Isabel in charge she turned into the party nazi and has gotten Liz sort of jumpy.”

Maria laughed, “Well, I’m back now so she doesn’t have to worry. Why don’t you go check on her and I’ll get the rest of the stuff out of my car?”

“Can do,” Michael stated letting a relieved breath out of his mouth when Maria turned away. Before she could change her mind and make him help out, he darted through doorway to Liz, Alex, Isabel and the mess that they had to deal with.

“Okay folks, what are we going to do now?” he asked addressing the three people huddled together on the floor. “We need to get this out of here,” he said while indicating the body with his left hand.

“Did you really think that we hadn’t already thought about that?” Isabel replied bitterly. “We voted and unanimously decided that we should leave him there as a memento for all the hell he’s put everyone through with his wasted life.”

“Isabel,” Alex said smoothly. “Don’t take your anger out on Michael. He’s just trying to get us moving.” The man gave him an apologetic smile and replaced Isabel’s head on his chest. Michael dismissed whatever misgivings he had ever had about their relationship with the man’s words; it was plain that Alex would do any and everything that he could to protect his sister. Here he was, barely escaping from death and he was comforting his sister with a smile on his face.

Liz climbed up from her spot on the floor and grabbed some trash bags out of the storeroom. “Wrap these around him. Alex, can we use your jeep?”

“Yeah, I’ll go bring it around the back,” he said moving to his feet and pulling Isabel up with him.

“I can go get it, you don’t have to,” Michael told him.

“Yes, I do,” he said fiercely gritting his teeth. “You and I can take him and dispose of his body while Liz and Isabel stay here and keep Maria distracted. I’m sure that any one of you can get the blood stain up easily with your powers so we don’t have to worry about cleaning this mess.”

Michael nodded his ascent; he wasn’t about to argue with the man, Alex was determined to get some sort of closure on the situation and it wasn’t his place to interfere. “All right, go get the jeep and we’ll bag him.” After he had exited the room, Michael asked, “Are you two going to be okay here by yourselves?”

He observed Liz glance over at Isabel before she answered, “Yeah, we’ll be just fine.”

“Don’t worry about me, Michael,” Isabel stated firmly glancing back over towards Liz. “I’ll be able to deal with this in time but right now, I just need to do something normal and forget about it for a while. Helping Maria out will be a welcome distraction.”

“If you’re sure,” he said giving his sister a quick perusal before tugging a trash bag over Lydecker’s head. Somehow he refrained from gagging due to the mess the gun had left behind and helped Liz finish wrapping the body.

“I’m positive. I’ll be fine. Liz will be fine. You’ll see for yourself when you return. Tell Alex I love him,” she stated before quickly glancing at the body wrapped in plastic then ducking into the dining room.

Liz walked up to him and cupped his cheek in her hand. “Be careful and burn his body once you’ve found a secure location. We don’t need anyone finding him ever.”

“I’ll see you after a little while,” he stated confidently then turned to place a kiss on her palm. Raising his arm, he cleaned the room of the gore then hoisted Lydecker onto his shoulder and stepped out into the sunshine. Maybe he was picking up on some of Liz’s residual anxiety but for some reason he didn’t think that the excitement was over for the night.

Tossing the body in the back of the vehicle, Michael hesitantly climbed into the seat beside Alex. “Let’s hurry up and get this done, I don’t want to leave the girls here by themselves for too long.” With effort, he managed to push the threat of danger out of his mind; this surely was the storm that Liz had been anticipating for the last couple of weeks, right?

posted on 25-Jan-2003 9:44:28 PM
For those of you interested, I've got a new story up on the UC board. As with all of my previous stories, it's a polar fic. The title of this one is Through the Never.

Hope to see all my readers at my other story.

Robyn
posted on 27-Jan-2003 4:45:36 PM
Thank you to LittleBit (2x) and Bored to Mundane Life


Part XLVIII – Letting Go


“Let’s go dance, Liz,” Isabel said smiling evilly. “We can show all those men over there just what they’re missing out on and have some fun while we’re at it.”

It had been about an hour since the guys had left and the party was now in full swing. So far each girl was doing a great job of ignoring today’s events and blanking them from their minds. Instead of being angry and depressed, they had decided to enjoy the party and leave their worries for a later time. It was all done and over with, they couldn’t change anything now and neither one really wanted to. A morbid thought, but Lydecker had been intent upon killing them until they managed to out maneuver him.

Nodding her head enthusiastically, Liz stood up and let Isabel drag her out to the dance floor. She was going to take the advice that Maria had offered what seemed like years ago and let her hair down. Liz was going to be herself; be Ash, a free spirit with a damn-it-all-to-hell attitude. Her family would not like her mourning their deaths, they would want her to celebrate their lives and revel in the gift that they had given her.

Tinga, Jack and Ben were gone but they would never be forgotten; they would live forever in her heart. Her brothers and sister had given up their lives so that she, Liz Parker, could live; the least she could do was show her appreciation of the present. And Isabel, she needed a chance to be wild, to stop thinking and to forget that she had just killed a man. We really do need a vacation, she thought tiredly; super soldiers and aliens still get them, right? They don’t always have to fight for their lives and protect the public from Manticore and its similar institutions.

Casting a quick glance around her, Liz made note of the men that her companion had indicated earlier. They were watching her and Isabel intently, she noticed. The feeling that they invoked was uncomfortable; it was as if they were studying their every movement and calculating when they should attack. Try as she might, Liz couldn’t dismiss the attention that the men were paying to them. She hoped that it was just common, everyday male behavior but her anxiety kicked in and she began to wonder if their intentions were a little more Machiavellian. The attack earlier had shaken her slightly and now she was starting to see enemies everywhere.

Shaking her head, she pushed the thoughts aside and picked up the beat, grinding to the music with Isabel. The music washed over her and she decided to hell with the prim and proper attitude; she was supposed to be unwinding from her life and taking a break from the everyday.

Noticing that not only were the creepy guys watching her dance with Isabel but that all of the men in the restaurant were now eyeing them. Meeting her partner’s eyes, Liz let a wide, devious grin break across her face, which was quickly mirrored by Isabel. “Typical,” Isabel stated feigning disgust and wrinkling her nose.

“Yeah,” Liz replied wryly, “all men are ruled by their dicks and the overwhelming desire to see to women get it on.”

Isabel laughed and moved closer to whisper in her ear, “Want to give them a bit more of a show?”

“You betcha, I’m all for giving men heart attacks in the name of good fun and dancing.” Liz edged them towards the center of the floor and danced around Isabel’s body laughing the entire time.

Despite the unsettling feeling niggling in the back of her mind, she was having fun and enjoying the movement of the dance. She and Isabel danced and teased their male audience for an hour before catching the bemused looks of some of their friends. Several times they had had to fight off the unwanted advances of their admirers but they were able to quickly maneuver themselves out of danger. Danger, Liz chuckled inwardly, like any of these men were a threat.

Finally, tired of dancing and the persistent groupies they had gathered, Liz and Isabel stepped off of the floor to disappointed groans from their adoring fans. Out of the corner of her eye, she observed the men that had been making her uncomfortable earlier were no longer present. She sighed gratefully and scanned the remaining members of her and Isabel’s audience. Some of those guys were just pathetic.

Biting back laughter, Liz wrapped her arm around Isabel’s waist and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. Their watchers lunged forward in anticipation to which Isabel and Liz burst out laughing gleefully. Everyone turned away from the couple and they settled onto stools taking a much-needed minute for the consumption of beverages. Their mirth and momentary alleviation over their behavior was disrupted, however, by a high nasally voice intruding into their conversation. "We need to talk now."

"Tess," Liz snarled, looking at the woman in disgust. "I don't have anything more to say to you. I believe I made that clear a couple weeks ago in the kitchen."

Several bulbs shattered in the overhead lights as Tess’s body began to tremor in anger. "You listen to me, human," she spat angrily. "If I have to make a scene right here to get you to speak to me, I will.” Liz raised a questioning eyebrow at the petite blonde in irritation. “Now are you going to make me do this the easy way or the hard way, Liz?"

"I prefer..." she began hotly only to be quickly interrupted by Isabel before she could complete a sentence.

"Why don't we just step outside for a little bit you two?" Isabel suggested shaking her head in warning to Liz. "We could all probably use some fresh air away from all of these people." She nodded her head towards a booth containing Max and some other guys; Liz also noticed that their earlier group of admirers had returned and were watching their every move. Something wasn’t right with them, perverts, she though disgustingly.

"Yeah," Tess sneered, "we wouldn't want anyone to overhear us, now would we?"

"Let's go," Liz ground out turning towards Isabel. "Lead the way, Izzy."


--------

For those of you interested in my work, check out my new MI/L fic on the UC board

viewthread?forum=uc-slash-fanfiction&id=14544


posted on 1-Feb-2003 12:03:19 AM
Thanks to KEmperor, demonyte, and Bored to Mundane life, you guys are great!!!


Part XLIX – The Standoff

Hoping to defer any interference from Max or anyone else for that matter, Liz had allowed Isabel to lead both she and Tess outside to the alley behind the Crashdown. Hopefully, she would be able to settle her differences with the infuriating alien but under the dark and cloudy sky it was doubtful. She looked around and instinctively assessed her surroundings; the only light that shone was coming from a single red bulb above the exit and a streetlight in the distance. Ah, the perfect setting for their final showdown, Liz thought humorlessly. This was all she really needed to top her day off, not to mention her week, dealing with the alien queen's insecurities and unwarranted anger.

As if in testament to Liz's mood concerning the current situation, a light rain started to fall. The cool water seeped into her skin and clothing doing anything but make her day a little brighter. In a futile attempt to calm down her rapidly growing anger, she took a deep breath of the cool, night air. When her irritation had slightly receded, she raised her eyes to greet Tess's cold blue gaze. "What did you want to talk about, Tess?"

"I just wanted to tell you to get the hell out of Michael's life. You're destroying his responsibility towards us, his family. Michael no longer listens to me and he's never around when we need him. He's made it to one out of the last four meetings we've held these past two weeks," Tess replied.

"Maybe he's just tired of the company. All I've ever seen you do is bitch, why would anyone want to stay away from that?" Liz retorted.

"What are you holding over him? Did you threaten to out us? Is that why he's avoiding us? What is so special about you?" Tess shouted.

"Tess," Liz heard Isabel interject threateningly but she and Tess both ignored the pleading woman.

Clenching her fists tightly, Liz countered, "Did you ever stop to think that he might possibly love me? That Michael is with me because he wants to be?"

"How could he love you? Little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes, a prude and an ill-mannered bitch; why would anyone choose to love you?" she asked snidely.

"What's the matter, Tess? Are you jealous because no one wants to be anywhere near your cold, inflexible body?"

Tess took a step towards Liz, her hands shaking violently. "You bitch," she shouted. "You almost get Michael killed three months ago with your inexperienced friends trying to break into that air force base and you wonder why I don't like you. Not only that, but now Michael is keeping secrets from us; secrets that might cost all of our lives."

Liz took a deep breath and closed her eyes in an attempt to rein in her temper; at least Tess didn't know about last week. Letting her eyes slowly reopen, she noticed that the rain had started to come down in torrents. That does a hell of a lot to lighten the mood, she thought angrily. Taking a step closer to the irate blonde, Liz quietly told her, "Whatever 'secrets' Michael is hiding from you have nothing to do with you or your alien conspiracies. You have no business trying to get him to divulge the information; it's not his to tell.” She’d had enough and wasn’t going to listen to Tess a moment longer. “Now if you're done," she stated pivoting on her heal and turning towards the backdoor, "I'm going to go back to the party before anyone figures out we're gone."

Turning her back to Tess, Liz took a step to leave but was stopped by a hand grasping her shoulder. Grabbing onto the hand firmly, she lifted the person and flung them overtop of her head slamming them into the pavement. What she saw surprised her; it wasn't Tess or even Isabel but a man, one of her and Isabel’s ogling admirers, dressed in black. Quickly, Liz turned back to where the two aliens had been standing. Both girls were in the process of being dragged to separate vans. There were too many for her to fight alone, she needed backup and fast. How had she not sensed their intrusion?

Opening her mouth to yell for help, Liz was interrupted when hands clasped over her mouth and arms, securing her tightly. Without warning, a sharp, biting sting erupted in her neck creeping out to encompass her body; someone had injected her with a drug, a fast acting one. Her body suddenly went limp and she couldn't stand on her own, let alone put up a fight. The last thing that she was aware of before being sucked into oblivion was a young man running towards them screaming for the attackers to stop then nothing but perpetual blackness.

posted on 3-Feb-2003 1:20:58 PM
Thanks again Bored to Mundane life.

Part L – Missing

Needing something to relax his high-strung body after disposing of Lydecker, Michael had positioned himself behind the bar with Alex. The other man was on his third glass of vodka, neat while he was mixing his second White Russian, heavy on the Kahlua and a dash of Tabasco. Maria and Max approached him as he was raising the drink to his mouth. Taking a swig of the concoction, he asked tiredly, "So what's up, guys? Need something to drink?"

"No, no," Maria said, "I've still got my beer. I was just wondering if you've seen Liz; she was supposed to help me bring the food out about fifteen minutes ago. Last time I saw her she was sitting up here at the bar."

Max scanned the crowd then cast a worried glance at Michael. "I've got a better question for you, Michael. Have you seen Tess? I saw her arrive about twenty minutes ago."

"Shit," Michael growled making his own surveillance of the Crashdown. "I can't feel Liz and Isabel's gone too. Tess better not be laying into Liz again or there is going to be hell to pay."

"I'm sure it's alright. They're probably just having a quiet conversation out in the alley. I don't think they would make a scene here, too many witnesses."

“Or potential casualties,” Alex added quietly. “Knowing Isabel, she’s probably trying to mediate the discussion.”

Ignoring any further comments, Michael walked out from behind the bar and made his way to the back door followed by Max, Alex and Maria. He was hoping that he wasn't too late to stop any of the girls from causing too much damage. Clenching his hands into tight fists, Michael cursed several obscenities under his breath and pushed the break room door open only to be met by a soaked, frantic and clearly upset Kyle Valenti.

"Michael, thank Buddha. They took them. I don't know who it was; I was too far away to see. They dragged them into a couple of vans then took off."

An uneasy feeling settled into the pit of Michael's stomach and he felt his hands grip tightly onto Kyle's shoulders until his knuckles turned white. "What are you talking about? They took who?" Please not let it be Liz, he thought, not Liz.

"Tess...Isabel...Liz," the distraught man choked out.

Michael's hands dropped back down to his sides and he stepped away from Kyle. He felt his knees collapsing beneath him then fell to the floor. Looking out into the pouring rain, he uttered only one word, "Liz."

posted on 4-Feb-2003 1:10:05 PM
For a little clarification, it was Isabel's idea for Liz and Tess to step outside; she was there the entire time but tried to stay out of the argument.

As for demonyte's other question, I'm not telling; you'll have to keep reading to find out. Hee Hee.

Robyn
posted on 7-Feb-2003 11:22:03 AM
Hey loyal patrons,

Just another part to post. Hope you enjoy it!!!

Robyn


Part LI - What Do We Do?

A day had passed and they still didn't know what was going on. Michael had spent a sleepless night pacing around the apartment stopping only long enough to launch into verbal tirades directed at Alex. The young man had yelled back and there had been some objects thrown but it had done nothing to reduce the tension. And to top it off, there was still no word about the girls or their captors.

Michael turned to look at Liz's brother across the table; they had been sitting in silence for about an hour after a particularly rough bought of screaming. Both were pondering whether the kidnapping was the result of an alien thing or because Liz was an X5; they had no way of knowing, not that either option was pleasant.

Trying to keep his thoughts from straying back to his morbid theories as to what could be happening to the girls at any given moment, Michael planned what he would do to the men that had taken them. No quick, merciful death for those bastards, it was going to be a long, drawn out, bloody torture. Taking a swig of the beer clasped in his hand, Michael finished it off and slammed it to the table. Helplessly, he spoke to the air, "What are we going to do?"

Michael watched Alex fidget with his sling before swallowing hard and answering quietly. "We need to get a hold of Zack. He might know what's going on and he'll know where Maxie is."

Hope flickered anew in Michael's brain at the statement. "Maxie. Why didn't I think of that before? She'll be able to locate Liz." He hadn't been able to feel Liz through their connection but maybe her sister could; you know, twin sense and all.

As the thought crossed his mind, Michael heard the phone ring. Picking up the handset, he impatiently yelled into the receiver, "Who is it?"

A female voice floated to his ears. Thank God, he thought instantly regaining some of his composure; she was just the person that could make his day better. "Michael, it's me Max. What's wrong? Has something happened to Ash?"

"We don't know. My sisters and her were abducted last night from the Crashdown," he rushed out. "We haven't heard anything from them for about a day and the rain last night washed away any tracks or clues that the kidnappers might have left. Please give me some good news. Tell me you know where she is."

There was a long pause before Max answered. A strangled sob erupted from her throat, "I don't know where she is; I've been blocked somehow. I haven't been able to feel her since last night. Oh God, I just thought that she wanted some time alone." As Michael listened, Max dropped the phone, letting it slam against the floor.

Michael relaxed his grip on his own receiver and felt it get pulled out of his loose grip. Putting his head in his hands, he struggled not to release the cry that was surging up through his body. No, he thought, this can't be happening. I refuse to believe that she's gone, that they’re gone. Stop it, he berated himself, it's not over yet; you will find them. Coming out of his trance, he watched Alex talking into the phone for about a minute before hanging up.

"Logan said that they would be here in a couple of hours; he's going to charter a plane and bring himself, Max and Zack to Roswell," Alex informed him. "I'm going to check again and see if I can find anything matching the description of the vans that Kyle gave us. I want you to get Max and bring him here; I know he'll want to be involved and that he's probably pacing a hole in his carpet at home." Alex released a sigh, "I also think that you should make sure he knows all of what has been going on for the past couple of months. Answer all of his questions about Liz, Manticore, everything. It concerns him now, especially if Isabel and Tess were taken because of who Liz is and what we've done."

Nodding his head, Michael let Alex tell him what to do. He needed direction; he was a man of action, sitting still was only driving him insane. Grabbing his jacket and helmet, Michael rushed out of the apartment and headed towards Max's house.

posted on 9-Feb-2003 2:08:08 PM
Part LII - All Alone in Alien Captivity

Liz awoke to a pounding headache and a cold numbness throughout her body. Concentrating, she attempted to move her limbs only to find that they wouldn't cooperate. Terror threatened to debilitate her even further when she realized that she couldn't think clearly and what vision she did have was blurry. Squeezing her eyes tightly shut, Liz silently prayed that this wasn't real. It's just a bad dream, she told herself, just a bad dream.

Bright white light greeted Liz's eyes when she finally managed to pry them open again. Scanning the area around her, she observed that she was lying in the corner of a small, sterile room. Four simple cots graced the walls and a toilet and sink were located opposite to the only apparent exit. No not a dream, she told herself, this is very, very real.

Why don't I remember how I got here?

Suddenly, Liz felt an overwhelming urge to vomit and forced a path to the toilet. When the heaves subsided, she sank shakily to the floor. I wonder what they gave me; I don't think that I should feel this bad, Manticore engineered us to be immune to most drugs. They must have used some kind of nerve inhibitor and muscle suppressant, which would explain why I'm having problems with my motor skills.

Slowly, Liz's senses began to return to her body. She could wiggle her toes and fingers and the light was no longer blistering her eyes. Focusing on her sister, Liz tried to open a connection only to be met with a mental wall. Frantically, she tried to feel Michael but she soon realized that she couldn't. They must be going crazy by now; please help me, she screamed silently to no one in particular.

Letting her shoulders slump forward, Liz tried to reenact what she last remembered. I was fighting with Tess. Isabel pulled us out to the alley behind the Crashdown. Told Tess off. Went to walk back into the Crashdown. Seeing a man run towards me screaming stop. Shit, nothing else; my mind's a complete blank.

Let's think, why was the man yelling? Bolting upright, Liz recalled everything in vivid detail. I threw someone into a wall. I turned to see what the hell was going on. Tess and Isabel were being dragged into a van. I felt a needle puncture my neck.

Tess and Isabel, where were they? Am I here because of them, or are they here because of me? Growing more frantic, Liz desperately tried again to reach her sister but to no avail. Feeling the need to vomit resurface, she wrenched out of her thoughts and gripped the toilet hoping that she was spewing the toxin out of her body.

As Liz was throwing up, the door to the room opened. She raised her head to observe the new presence and marked their description in the back of her mind. It was a man about six-foot tall, trim with brown hair and icy blue eyes. His lips were pulled into a tight line and he had his hands clasped firmly in front of him. The suit-clad man took another step into the room and the door closed behind him.

Liz could only watch weakly as he stalked towards her and gripped her head firmly between his hands. Roughly, he tilted her head until she could meet his eyes. Using her best acting abilities, Liz forced the contempt from her gaze and feigned schoolgirl innocence and absolute terror. She wanted to see how much he knew about her before she showed him her true colors. "Where...where am I?" she stammered out, extraordinarily proud of the effort.

The man's eyes softened slightly and he released his hold on her. "I'm not going to tell you where you are but I will say that I'm sorry. We thought you were one of them," he said while leering at her.

"One of what?" Liz asked dumbly. "I don't understand."

Sneering, he replied, "An alien. The two girls that you were with are aliens."

"What do you mean aliens? They can’t be from a different country, I’ve gone to school with them for years.”

“Not foreigners, you twit,” the man spat in irritation at her obtuse act. “Aliens, as in from outer space.”

“I don't believe you, they're my friends. Tess and Isabel are just like me. We were all planning to go to college together in a couple of weeks. Where are they? I want to see them." She let a sob shake through her body before she dropped her chin to her chest and wrapped her arms tightly around her thin frame.

Liz sensed the man approach and then felt him lay a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry but your 'friends', as you call them, lied to you; they are nothing like you, not even the same cell structure or species. As to your question, they are both here and we haven't killed them...yet. They will be joining you shortly; we just had to run a few tests."

The man stood to leave and Liz raised her head to watch him. Stopping at the door, he turned to address her one last time, "We are sorry that you're here; we figured out that you were human too late. We won't allow you to leave but we're not going to drug you anymore. You can live out your last days in peace, without any contaminants in your system. As for the nausea, it ought to pass in a day or two. Once again, I'm sorry."

Pretending to sob uncontrollably, Liz watched out of the corner of her eye as the man stepped through the doorway and into the corridor. So it is an alien thing, she thought. They're not going to give me any more drugs so I should be able to contact Maxie in a day. Crawling over to a bunk, Liz settled herself in then did something she had done in a long time, pray.

Please let Tess and Isabel be okay. And please let Michael and my family find us.

posted on 12-Feb-2003 2:55:22 PM
Just bumping my story
posted on 14-Feb-2003 12:04:30 PM
Part LIII - The Protector

An indeterminate amount of time later, Liz heard the door open again. Sitting up on her bunk, she was able to see four men drag in the limp bodies of Isabel and Tess. They unceremoniously dumped them onto the floor then retreated out of the room, securing the door behind them. Liz stood up from her position on the bed and made her way to the women.

Liz sighed in relief when she found both Isabel and Tess to be breathing, although she worried about their state; they were both far from conscious. Taking Isabel into her arms, Liz moved her to a cot then covered her with a blanket. She repeated the process with Tess then went to the sink for a damp cloth.

Working first on Isabel, Liz washed off her face and bent to examine for any injuries. She cringed when she lifted the woman's arm. The appendage had numerous puncture wounds and small lacerations had been made sporadically about it. Luckily, the only open wounds appeared to be on her arms; the only other damage she could see was a large scattering of bruises that littered Isabel's smooth, delicate skin. She whimpered in her sleep and Liz's breath hitched; what had they done to them?

Reluctantly, Liz moved away from Isabel to assess Tess's physical state; she looked slightly better than Isabel did. The woman was not quite as pale and her bruising seemed to be far less. Liz felt her anger for the woman drain away; she'd had a hard life. Realization washed over her; Tess was probably trying to keep me away to protect herself and her family from being hurt again.

Taking her damp towel, Liz leaned over to wash Tess's face. When the cloth touched her cheek, Tess's eyes popped open. Her heart wrenched suddenly when Tess curled her body in a ball and started to chant, "Please don't hurt me."

Gently, Liz unrolled Tess and spoke softly to her, "Tess, honey, it's me, Liz. I'm going to take care of you. If I can help it, they won't hurt you anymore."

After a moment's hesitation, Tess opened her eyes the relief obvious. She reached out and wrapped her arms around Liz's waist tightly. "Liz, I'm so scared," she wept, the tears soaking into her tattered shirt.

Liz stroked Tess's hair soothingly, "Shhh," she whispered. "Get some rest, I'll watch over you." She felt Tess nod slightly then held onto her until she fell asleep. Looking at the two incapacitated aliens, Liz vowed to get them out of there even if she had to sacrifice herself; no one deserved to die this way.

--------

Part LIV - Sister Connection

Drumming his fingers impatiently on the table top, Michael looked around the room to each of the gathered members; Logan, Maxie, Zack, Alex, Max and, against everyone's wishes and better judgement, Kyle Valenti and Maria Deluca.

The last two would not leave or buy the cover story and they sat watching everyone silently. The other five looked just as clueless as Michael did due to the fact that they had no idea where to start looking for the missing girls. Another day had passed and there was still no word as to where Liz, Isabel and Tess were. Michael stood up from his seat abruptly and began to pace back and forth through the room.

"Michael, you need to calm down," Max said. "We don't need your ‘emotions’ getting out of whack and tearing this place apart."

"Maxwell," Michael growled as he stalked towards him. He got up in Max's face and poked him in the chest, "Don't start with me. I'm not in the mood for you to play king."

Before anyone could respond to Michael's comment, Maxie jumped off of the couch and shrieked. "I can feel her."

Dropping his hand and ignoring the perplexed looks on Kyle and Maria's faces, Michael hurriedly asked, "How is she? Does she know where she is?"

"Ash seems to be okay although her mind is a bit cloudy; she doesn't seem to be able to feel me yet." Maxie frowned, "She's somewhere north, but I'm not sure where. She's not scared for herself although I get a feeling that she's terrified for Tess and Isabel's welfare."

Michael fell to the couch muttering, "It's because of me."

"We don't know that, Michael, and right now it doesn't matter," Zack stated from where he sat testing his new limb. "We've got a lead and we're going to follow it. We need to hit the road now; we've wasted enough time as it is." Turning to Maxie, he asked, "Do you think you can track her?"

"Yeah, she acts like a homing beacon; the closer we get to her the stronger the signal will be."

Finally having a course of action, Michael stood and started issuing orders. "Alex and Logan gather up the computer equipment that we used to break into Manticore last week; we'll probably need it once we find the girls. Max, go get the van that Logan rented and pull it around to the back. Maxie, help me gather up the weapons and armor in the dining room; I'm sure we'll need it. Zack, make your phone calls and get whoever is capable briefed and ready; we don't know what we're going up against and we may need to use them."

Everyone nodded to Michael and set about doing their appointed tasks. That was easy, he thought, it's great to know that everyone trusts my decisions. Well, everyone, that is, except Maria and Kyle; they stared at him with shell-shocked expressions. "What do you two want?" he asked tersely.

Maria was the first to respond, "What do you want us to do? We're coming with you whether or not you want us."

"I don't have time to argue, Maria, so if you both want to help, fine but stay out of my way." He had more pressing matters to worry about then Maria and Kyle learning his secret, namely finding the three most important women in his life. "Go into the kitchen and pack up whatever food you think we can take; who knows how long we'll be gone." As an afterthought, he added, "And Maria, call someone to cover at the bar." Kyle opened his mouth to speak but Michael halted him, "No questions until we're on the road; we don't have the time."

Quickly, everything was gathered up and taken down to the van. Less then a fifteen minutes after Maxie received contact from Liz, the group was on the road and northward bound.

posted on 15-Feb-2003 3:38:10 PM
Thank you loyal readers for your warm response and interest in my story. Here's the next part.



Part LV - Making Contact

Liz was sitting on the floor quietly between Tess and Isabel's bunks. The girls had both been sleeping for about fourteen hours and she was hoping that they would wake soon. Food had been brought in about an hour ago but no one else had been by. All of the free time that Liz had was spent trying to open her connection to her sister; she had yet to do it.

Trying one last time, Liz imagined herself stretching out with her arms and reaching for the connection in her mind. Finding the action to be fruitless, she was about to give up for the night when she felt it flaring to life. Giddily, Liz concentrated on the weak link forcing energy through it to make it stronger. Suddenly, she felt the comforting touch of Max's mind in the back of her head. Grinning maniacally, she thought to her, "Sister, oh God how I've missed you."

"Ash," Max replied happily, "it's about time. We've all been distraught trying to find you. How are you? Are Isabel and Tess with you?"

"I'm good, whatever serum they injected me with is slowly passing through my system. It had some kind of neural inhibitor in it; I assume that's what broke our connection and why I can't sense Michael's emotions. Our captors haven't tried to harm me in any way; they only took me because they thought I was an alien." Liz paused before answering the other question. "Isabel and Tess are both here with me but they're not doing so well, Isabel especially. I don't know how much more they can take; both of them are weak and have been sleeping for over fourteen hours."

"You're going to have to get them to hold on for a bit longer. We're on our way but it might take another day for us to get there, we don't know your exact location," Max replied earnestly. "I don't suppose you know where you are?"

"No, I didn't wake until after I was already in this room and I haven't been out of it since I got here. I'll do what I can with Isabel and Tess but hurry; they need to get out of here and soon."

"We'll be there as fast as we can. Let me know if anything changes or if you get any new information. I'll be here if you need me."

"Thanks, Sis," Liz replied. "I need to go but I'll keep you posted. Warn me if you pop in again, I think that complete attention will be the key to surviving this hellhole. Tell Max that I will take care of his family and let Michael and Alex know that I will be seeing them again. I love you guys. Be careful."

Feeling significantly better, Liz let the connection drift shut then opened her eyes to find herself staring into a pair of startled blue ones. Blinking in surprise, she placed her hand on Tess's blond head and soothingly began to stroke it. "How are you feeling?" Liz asked quietly letting her concern show in her voice and expression.

Hoarsely, Tess replied, "I've felt better. How's Isabel doing?"

"Honestly, I think that she's worse off then you. She has yet to respond to any stimuli and I've heard her whimpering while she's sleeping." Liz helped Tess to sit up in the cot. "Let me go get you some water. Are you hungry? They brought us food although it's probably cold by now."

Handing the water to Tess, Liz sat beside her on the bed and wrapped a supportive arm around her shoulders. Tess sipped the water and looked over to Liz thankfully. "I think I'll skip the food for now; I'm not feeling so great."

"The nausea will pass; at least mine did. Do you need me to do anything?" Liz asked.

"I'm fine, but thank you," Tess replied timidly. Pausing briefly, she let an uncomfortable silence fall over them before continuing. "Do you mind if I ask why you're being so nice to me? I mean, I've never treated you very well and your feelings about me were pretty obvious."

Sighing, Liz addressed Tess truthfully. "You're right, I didn't like you. You were mean to me; you even tried to kill me a couple of times. Since we've been in here, however, I've come to realize that you were scared of me. I represented change; your foursome was expanding against your wishes. You were afraid that I'd take Michael away from you and that Max and Isabel would follow the example, leaving you all alone. Tess, you were just protecting yourself and I can't begrudge you for that when I've been doing it all of my life."

Tess nodded in acquiescence, "Michael's right, you are a smart, wonderful person. I promise, if we get out of here, that I won't give you a hard time anymore; you deserve better then that."

Liz mentally sighed, a great weight had been lifted off of her shoulders and a truce had been made. "We're going to get out of here; I won't let us die in here. My sister is on her way and she's bringing Michael, Max and some others with her."

Feeling Tess jerk away from her, Liz wasn't surprised when she asked, "How do you know that and since when do you have a sister?"

"There is quite a bit about me that you don't know, Tess. However, I don't think this is the place to be talking about it. Are you strong enough to open a connection so I can show you?"

"I think so; I don't believe the drug they used is as effective on us as they thought it would be. Let me look into your eyes."

The girls turned on the cot until they were facing each other. Tess brought her hands up to cup Liz's face; instantly the connection was opened. She fed Tess a brief history of her life as an X5 and her relationship to her sister. Before Liz forced Tess out of her mind, she showed her feelings and intentions towards Michael; she hoped that this would allow Tess to better understand their need to be together.

Liz watched as Tess removed her hands and folded them in her lap. A tear slowly crept out of the corner of her eye before she enveloped Liz in a fierce hug. "I'm so sorry; I didn't know. I'll make it up to you, I promise."

Withdrawing from the hug, Liz told Tess, "You already have made it up to me. Once you saved my life, now it's my turn to save yours."

posted on 16-Feb-2003 10:44:16 PM
Part LVI - Tripping

"So you're telling me that you, Isabel, Tess and Max, the guy I'm currently dating, are aliens?" Maria asked hysterically, in reply to which, Michael nodded with a slight smirk; she was certainly making a spectacle of herself.

"And that Zack and Max over there are some sort of genetically engineered soldiers? And that Liz, who I have known for the greater portion of my life, is just like them and Max's twin sister?" Michael nodded his head again this time unable to keep the smile from fully emerging on his face. What else was he supposed to say? They had already been over their life histories; there wasn't much more to tell.

"Max, is this paranoid freak here telling me the truth?" Maria asked turning to his king with wide, frightened eyes.

"Yes, Maria," Max said reluctantly. Soothingly, he tried to placate her rapidly shifting emotions by adding, "Although we're aliens and they're genetically engineered super soldiers, we're not dangerous."

"Unless provoked," Zack chimed in threateningly. Michael watched Max turn a disgusted look to the X5 before refocusing his attention on his girlfriend; personally, he enjoyed the CO’s sense of humor.

"Oh God," she shrieked, "I need my cedar oil." Max moved towards Maria and placed a calming hand on her shoulder only to have it shaken off in disgust. Michael chuckled slightly, thankful that she wasn't his girlfriend; Maria was just a little too high maintenance.

"Do you think Tess would go out with me?" Kyle queried absentmindedly to no one in particular.

Michael snapped his attention over to where Kyle was sitting and sized him up. He didn't quite know what to make of the man; he hadn't flipped out like Maria had, as a matter of fact, he'd been pretty calm throughout the entire explanation. Liz had always thought that he was a decent enough guy with a slight penchant for sarcasm and beer; maybe it was time that he got to know him a little better. Kyle, obviously, was worried about his sisters and Liz; he had willingly joined the team and was prepared to do whatever needed to get them back. Although Michael was still annoyed that he was tagging along, Kyle's determination was a good mark in his book.

Raising an eyebrow at the curious man, Michael said hesitantly, "I don't know, Valenti, you'll have to ask her. If I might say, though, you seem to be taking all this new information rather well."

"I always knew that there was something different about Tess, something extraordinary; now I know what it is," he mused. "Can't say that I expected her to be the reincarnated queen of an alien race, but hey who am I to complain; I always wanted to date royalty." He grinned wryly, "Anyway, do you think I stand a chance with her?"

"Just wait and see for yourself," Michael answered bemusedly. Maybe Kyle would be a good influence on Tess; he could help her to change her predisposition about the humans. Yeah, he might just be what they had been waiting for. If, no, when, Michael corrected himself, they got them away from whoever was holding them prisoner, he would make sure that his sister gave Kyle a chance.

"Hey guys," Maxie piped up from the front seat. "I hate to interrupt question and answer time but we're getting pretty close to Ash and the aliens." Her face wrinkled into one of annoyance as she stated the last word.

Michael scowled at her; sometimes she was too much like her sister. "Where are we heading?"

"We're going to Casper, Wyoming for now," Zack stated. "When we get closer we'll have a more precise indication as to where they are. We should be arriving within two hours. I'm going to put some calls in and have the group meet us there as soon as they can."

"So what do we do until then?" Kyle asked.

"We wait," Michael replied gruffly. What was that saying? Hurry up and wait. It didn't really matter to him what it was, the idea behind it was pissing him off. He wanted Liz beside him and he wanted her there now.

Losing himself to an inner rant, Michael tuned out the rest of the individuals crammed into the van and prayed for some indication that she was all right. A few moments later, he got the answer that he needed. As suddenly as it had been taken away, it was back; he could feel his girlfriend, his lover and his mate. She was very much alive and waiting for him to come get her.

posted on 19-Feb-2003 3:56:57 PM
Part LVII - He's Back

Watching Isabel as she slept, Liz let her thoughts stray to the idea of escape and the fact that they had been held captive for three long days. The short snippets of conversation that she shared with her sister did little to alleviate her perpetual sour mood and unrestrained anxiety. And the continual isolation in the small room seemed to be bringing back the unwanted memories of her days in Manticore.

As of yet, she had not seen anything but the gloomy, white walls of their prison and for that she was grateful. Unfortunately, Tess and Isabel had not been so lucky; they had been removed for several hours every day and subjected to tests and other unspeakable atrocities. Their absence and pain upon return was enough to distract Liz's mind from her own emotional horrors. However, she couldn't afford to dwell on her inner turmoil and past recollections, there were others that needed her to be strong.

Liz had taken care of the two women the best that she could with the resources that were available. She helped them to their beds each time they returned, made sure that they ate and drank and tended to whatever emotional needs that she could. An uncomfortable situation but it was the least she could do for them; they needed a shoulder to cry on.

Tess had turned out to be the stronger of the two aliens. Instead of being frightened and meek, she held herself brave and determined much like the queen she must have been in her former life. Liz had noticed a fiery glint to her eye, a familiarity that she could empathize with; Tess was committing herself to freedom and retribution. She would see to it that Isabel got out alive and that the captors received all of the punishment that they had coming.

As for Isabel, she wasn't doing well and both she and Tess were worried about her. She hadn't held up to the torture, or tests as they liked to call it, and Liz didn't think that she would be able to handle many more rounds, if any. Isabel hadn't spoken since they had been brought into the room other then to scream in terror or mutter unintelligible pleas. Her will was broken and no matter what either Liz or Tess tried they couldn't get through to her.

Feigning sleep so as not to arouse the suspicions of the guards, Liz had laid down next to Isabel all night for the last couple of days. She had been there for the girl through each nightmare, holding her tightly when she thrashed and called out in her repose. It was one of the first times that Liz had ever felt helpless; all she could do for her friend was whisper soothing words and give her the comforting touch that she so desperately needed. She silently cursed the bastards that had placed them in this position and vowed that she would aid Tess in whatever revenge she deemed necessary.

Jolting upright, Liz reached up and grabbed her head as a flood of emotions hit her. She tumbled out of the cot, hitting the floor painfully with her elbow before lying motionless on the tile trying to control the torrent. It was too much at once after almost four days of nothing. Liz could feel Michael and his fear was overwhelming, although still a bit hazy in her mind.

"Liz? Liz, what is it? Please talk to me," she heard Tess shout frantically through her daze. "Please, you can't leave me. Liz, Liz." Tess erupted into tears while Liz desperately tried to get a handle on everything. "I can't do this on my own."

Taking a moment to concentrate, Liz managed to balance out Michael's fluctuation of emotions with her sister's. When they had been pushed to a distant, familiar buzz in the back of her brain, she sat up and wrapped her arms comfortingly around Tess. The poor girl, she thought guiltily, I probably scared her to death; I've been her only rock throughout this ordeal and she thought she was losing me.

"Tess, shh," Liz whispered into her hair. "Honey, I'm fine and I have good news. Michael and Max will be here soon. We're going to go home."

"Really?" Tess asked unbelievably holding on to Liz with an iron tight grip.

"Yeah, sweetie. I promise." Pulling Tess back slightly, Liz looked in her eyes and started to form a plan. She couldn't wait for the group to make one; they needed to get out of there now. The two aliens weren't mentally strong enough to go another round of tests and she wasn't certain how long it would take for Michael and her family to break them out; it could be days. They weren't far away, hopefully less than half an hour's drive. If they managed to escape now, they would have someone and somewhere in which to run.

Mind made up, Liz asked, "Tess, do you think that you would be capable of doing a mind warp long enough to create a diversion while I incapacitate the guards?"

Fierce determination filled Tess's features and stance when she caught on to what Liz was saying. Her moment of weakness had passed; it was time to be the strong person that she was. "Yeah, I could do it but I'm not sure how much time I'll be able to hold it; I'm pretty weak. They've made sure to keep us drugged and low on energy," she sneered. "They must have been watching us for days before they took us and we never noticed."

"Don't think about that now, we'll come out of this okay and no one will ever hurt you again, I promise," Liz vowed. "Let's go back to the plan for a moment, the mind warp wouldn't have to be long, I can take out the guards in no time. Our main problem, though, is going to be getting Isabel out; she's in no shape to move but we can't wait for the cavalry. I'll see what I can do to revive her then we'll wait for the next time someone enters the cell."

"How are you going to wake Isabel?"

"Let's just say that Michael taught me a few tricks." Climbing to her feet, Liz moved over towards Isabel's bunk and laid her hands on the woman's forehead. Taking a deep breath, she focussed like Michael had been teaching her and forced a little healing energy into the blond.

Isabel's eyes fluttered open slowly and absorbed her surroundings with fear before bringing them back to rest on Liz. A look of calm flickered briefly across her face until she shifted her gaze to Liz's left shoulder. Wide-eyed she spoke hurriedly, "Liz, you shouldn't have done that; you've given yourself away."

Looking down, Liz spotted the reason for Isabel's declaration; her tattoo was glowing brightly through the fabric of her shirt. Shit, she hadn't even thought about the mark, she had only been concerned with Isabel's health and safety. Cocking her head to the side, she heard the rapid approach of the guards and the recognizable tread of the brown haired man. It looked like her actions hadn't gone unnoticed.

"Tess," Liz rushed out. "The plan is still good. Give them a few moments with me, do a mind warp then get yourself and Isabel out of here."

"Liz, are you sure?"

"We have to do it now, our window of time has run out and if we wait, we won't have the element of surprise on my part."

"What about you?" Isabel asked hesitantly while climbing to an upright position on the bunk. "We're not leaving you behind."

"I won't be far behind you," Liz lied, she couldn't let them know what she had planned or they wouldn't go for it. "I'll deal with the guards then follow after you."

Liz quit speaking just as the door flew open and banged loudly against the wall. "It seems that you been keeping something from us, Liz Parker," the man said. Taking a step forward, he reached out and ripped the shirt from her shoulder. "Well, what do we have here?"