BOOK 7 THE INTRUSION OF SHADES
(THE CLANDESTINED DISCLOSED)

 

 

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

PART 1

 

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

 

(Episode - Pilot)

(Sunday, September 19th, 1999)

(Roswell, NM)

(Crashdown Cafe)

 

"You're all right now.  You're all right."  Max said as he sat back, almost completely spent from healing Liz.  He took deep breaths and tried to concentrate on covering his tracks, but his brain was still reeling from the fact that he had almost lost the only girl he had ever loved. 

 

Michael's voice tore him away from Liz.  "Keys now."

 

Max's head cleared a little and he could hear the approaching sirens.  He tossed the keys to Michael.  They had to leave now to avoid the questions from the police.

 

Quickly scanning the area, Max’s eyes landed on a bottle of ketchup; his brain immediately connecting the red of the ketchup to the red blood on Liz's uniform.  It would be a perfect camouflage.

 

He grabbed the bottle, broke it and spilled in on Liz, covering the blood with the ketchup.  "You broke the bottle when you fell and spilled ketchup on yourself," he said, giving her a ready-made cover story.  Liz was looking at him like she was in shock and he wasn’t sure if his words were penetrating through the fuzziness in her head but he had to try.  "Please don't tell anyone."

 

Max followed Michael out the door but he couldn't leave without taking one last look at Liz, just to reassure himself that she was okay.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Episode - Pilot)

(Monday, September 20th, 1999)

(The Evans House)

 

Max reached over and turned off his alarm clock.  He had spent a sleepless night wondering what he should do about Liz.  It was ludicrous that she would think he was "not of this Earth" simply because he had healed her.  It was more likely she would think he was some kind of faith healer, a freak of nature.

 

He had considered going bacl to the Crashdown to talk to her, but he really didn't know what to say.  They weren't exactly friends and how would the conversation start anyway.  "So how about when you were shot and I healed you?  That was pretty weird, huh?"

 

Max shook his head.  It was an impossible situation.  He and Liz had known one another since third grade and they were friendly but they barely spoke outside of class or at the Crashdown.  He had always been careful to keep Liz at arm's length, along with everyone else, but yesterday when he had realized Liz had been shot, nothing else had mattered to him but making sure she was okay.  Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew he was risking his life to save her, but there had been no choice.  He would do the same thing again.  He just wished he had been thinking more clearly.

 

After he had gotten home, Max had played the afternoon's events in his head over and over, and once he had calmed down, he realized that he had made a mistake.  He should have had the presence of mind to remove the blood and bullethole from Liz's uniform, but his thinking had been so muddled it hadn't occurred to him at the time.  When he had seen Liz lying on the floor he had felt like the breath had been knocked from his body, and when he healed her and knew she would be okay, he had been so relieved he could barely think of anything else.

 

Liz would keep his secret, of that he had no doubt.  He had watched her closely enough all of these years to know what kind of person she was.  Liz would tell everyone she broke the ketchup bottle and no one would have any reason to question her story, he reassured himself.  No one would suspect anything out of the ordinary.

 

As for what he would tell Liz...  Max sighed, maybe he wouldn't have to tell her anything.  It was possible she would be so freaked by the whole episode that she would never speak to him again. 

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Episode - Pilot)

(West Roswell High School)

(Band Room)

 

Max knew he should have been worried when Liz dragged him to the band room to talk but the only thing he could think about was the fact that she was dating Kyle.  He had always known he could not be with her and he had accepted it, but he had never counted on having to watch her with other guys.  The sensation was more painful than he could have imagined and he couldn't stop the words, "So, you're going out with the Sheriff's son?"

 

Liz was taken aback by the unexpected subject.  "Um, yeah.  Well, it's kind of like this, this casual..."  She shook her head to clear the wayward thoughts.  "Okay Max.  Can we just focus here for one minute please?"  She slowly lifted the hem of her shirt to show him the mark he had placed on her stomach.

 

"Wow," was the only word Max was capable of uttering.  He was genuinely surprised.  He had never left a mark on Michael or Isabel when he had healed them.  Of course he had never healed a human before, and he had never needed to use so much of his power to bring someone back from the brink of death. 

 

The mark also meant that Liz was not likely to believe he was human.  Max’s mind raced with the possibilities.  Fate was providing him with the opportunity to tell the girl he loved the whole truth, and he desperately wanted to do it.

 

Liz continued after a moment, "Um, I, I scraped some cells from your pencil.  This is really hard to say, I'm trying to keep from blacking out here.  Um, the cells weren't normal.  So, Max, what I'm going to suggest to you is that we just go back to the bio lab now, so that I can take a sample, so that I can see what I'm thinking is wrong, you know?  That I got the wrong cells..."

 

Max interrupted her, having made up his mind to tell her the truth.  "You didn't."

 

"Okay," Liz started shakily.  "Um.  So help me out here Max," she said with a nervous laugh.  "I mean, what are you?"

 

Max exhaled a breath he felt like he had been holding for years, and started gently.  "Well, I'm not from around here."

 

Liz felt as if she might faint but she managed to ask in a soft, strangled voice, "Where are you from?"

 

Max couldn't quite bring himself to say the words, and simply pointed toward the sky.

 

Liz looked at Max's raised finger, suspicions flying through her head, but she chided herself for being ridiculous and asked the obvious.  "Up north?"

 

Max could tell that Liz already knew the truth but he wasn't sure she was ready to accept it, and he raised his hand a bit higher.

 

Liz voiced her most outrageous theory that was becoming, in her eyes, more and more likely.  "You're not an, an alien," she started with a touch of humor in her tone.  But when Max lowered his finger and kept steady eye contact with her, she felt her throat go dry and nearly choked on the words, "I mean, are you?"

 

Max felt a great weight lift from his heart when Liz finally said the words.  For the first time in his life he felt free, almost giddy.  "Well I prefer the term not of this Earth," he pronounced with a touch of irony, but when he saw Liz's reaction he quickly backtracked.  "Sorry, it's not a good time to joke."

 

Liz had figured out the truth but she was still reeling with his confirmation.  Max could see her struggling with the information and he spelled it out, "Yeah, I am.  Wow, it's weird to actually say it."

 

He watched with growing uneasiness as Liz quickly gathered her things and started toward the door.  "Liz," he said, walking toward her.

 

She spoke as she hurried toward the door, but she couldn't look at him.  "Um, Max, you know, I have, I'm gonna be late for my U.S. Government class, so I'm just gonna..." she trailed off as Max stopped her at the door.

 

"Liz, listen to me," Max said, his desperation mounting.  "You can't talk to anyone about this.  Not your parents, not Maria.  No one.  You don't understand what'll happen if you do."  He could feel her fear like a tangible thing and he didn't know if his words were getting through to her.  She wasn't looking at him and he worried she was rejecting him, but he spoke from his heart.  "Liz please?  Now my life is in your hands."

 

Liz glanced up at him and their eyes met.  Max stood back and allowed her to pass, wondering if he had done the right thing, but it was too late to wish back his actions.  It had seemed so perfect.  He had run through the scenario in his head so many times.  He would tell her what he was, and being the scientist she was, she’d be fascinated.  She would ask him about himself, about his world, his powers, and it would bring them closer.  She would grow to accept him and love him and they would always be together.

 

But the reality had not met his expectations.  Liz was frightened of him and he was not sure what she would do.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Max pulled into a parking space across the street from the Crashdown and stared into the cafe's dark windows, unsure of how to proceed.  When he had confessed to Michael and Isabel that he had told Liz about his true nature, they had been understandably upset.  Max admitted to himself if the situation had been reversed and one of them had betrayed their secret he would have been furious, but it was Liz.  Neither Isabel or Michael had ever been able to understand the instant connection he had felt with Liz when he had first seen her, and Max had grown tired of trying to explain it to them.

 

His heart had felt heavy since he and Liz had talked in the band room that morning.  Liz had rejected him, feared him, because of what he was, and even though he knew it was impossible for them to be together, he mourned her loss.  All day Max had tried to devise a way to win back her friendship, which he had discovered in the last few hours, was more important to him than almost anything else.  And he had come up with a plan, but it would require Liz to trust him.

 

Max started to climb out of his Jeep just as another car drove by.  He immediately recognized the red Mustang, it belonged to Kyle Valenti.  Max's gaze swung to the passenger in Kyle’s car and his heart sank as he saw Liz.  She had told him she was dating Kyle, but with everything else that had happened, the reality of the situation had just not reached his brain.  Liz was with another man.

 

Max reached to turn the key in the ignition and go home, but stopped, taking a deep breath.  It didn't matter that Liz was with someone else.  It was not like he could be with Liz and he just had to accept it.  But he could keep her as a friend, that was all he had come here to do anyway, he told himself.

 

He vaulted out of the Jeep and walked around to the back of the Cafe where the door to Liz's house was located.  He walked slowly, not wanting to see Liz and Kyle say goodnight; he wasn't ready to see the girl he loved kissing anyone else.

 

Pausing at the back of the building, Max carefully looked around the corner.  Kyle and Liz were illuminated by the light above her door and Max quickly pulled his head back.  They were talking, but he was too far away to hear what they were saying.  He waited a few minutes until he heard Kyle's car drive away and then waited a few minutes more, building his courage.

 

Suddenly there was a light above him and he knew Liz had climbed out onto her balcony.  He took a deep breath, this was as good a time as any.  "Liz!" he called, and waited until she looked over the edge.  "I have to talk to you," he said, and waited breathlessly until he saw her nod.  He let out a breath he had been holding, feeling the weight lift from his heart.  She was willing to talk; everything would be all right.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Episode - Pilot)

(Thursday, September 23rd, 1999)

 

Liz climbed onto her balcony and opened the journal she had just purchased.  She smoothed the first page back and started writing.

 

 

 

September 23rd

Journal entry one

 

I'm Liz Parker and five days ago I died. 

After that, things got really weird.

 

 

 

She recorded the events of the last few days and her feelings about them, and then she came to the reason she had bought the journal in the first place.  Max.  He had inspired feelings in her that she had not known existed and she wanted to capture them.

 

 

 

Max Evans has put a force on me. It's like my whole life changed in an instant. It's just so ironic that when something like this finally happened to me, it was with an alien.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Episode - Pilot)

(Friday, September 24th, 1999)

(Roswell Sheriff’s Station)

 

Jim Valenti impatiently followed Agent Stephens to his car.  Since the FBI had become involved, they had acted like he was crazy for suggesting the possibility of aliens.  "Listen," he called out to Stephens' quickly retreating form, "you guys told me to call you if I saw anything.  Well, my son saw that handprint."

 

"I'm sure he did," Stephens answered dismissively.

 

Jim couldn't believe it, but it looked like they were going to sweep this whole thing under the rug.  "What happens now?"

 

"I’ll have the lab check out the dress," Stephens said as he put the evidence into the trunk.  He had waited for years for a concrete confirmation of alien existence and he had been unlucky enough to have it happen in this town, with this Sheriff, who had a personal ax to grind.  "I'm going to handle this case in the proper manner without getting too personal.  I suggest you do the same."

 

"I'm not walking away from this," Jim assured him.  "I'm going to be a part of this investigation."

 

Agent Stephens sighed.  He was going to have to do this the hard way.  "Sheriff, do you know what everyone used to call your father?  Sergeant Martian.  You don't want to end up like him."

 

Jim shook his head.  "Agent Stevens, I was eight years old when my father discovered that corpse, my whole life I thought he was as crazy as everyone else did.  Crazy to believe.  Now I'm not so sure."

 

"Thank you Sheriff.  Your work is done now, we'll take it from here."

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Agent Stephens waited until he was on the road heading to the airport before he pulled out his cell phone.  He engaged the encryption device and dialed the number he knew so well.  The phone was answered on the other end on the first ring, as if the answerer had been waiting for his call. 

 

"This is Stephens.  Roswell is a blue-14 scenario.  I repeat a blue-14 scenario."

 

"Blue-14," the other man intoned emotionlessly.  "Is there any evidence?"

 

"There may be," Stephens replied. 

 

"Let me know the minute you arrive at Dulles," Pierce said.  He replaced the phone onto the cradle and looked at the other man in his office.  "Stephens is bringing the evidence with him."

 

"Blue-14 means positive contact doesn't it?" the other man asked.

 

Pierce nodded, "Although, every time in the past it has been reported, we have never identified a subject.

 

"If it is true, we’ll need to send in a team to check this out.  Do you have someone in mind to head it?"

 

"Stephens has recommended one of his protégés to me,” Pierce said.  “She has been with the Special Unit for a couple of years.  She's ambitious and not too picky about whom she has to step on to get the job done.  She might be the perfect one to head up this team."

 

"What's her name?"

 

Pierce glanced down at the file on his desk, "Kathleen Topolsky."

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Saturday, September 25th, 1999)

(Washington, DC)

 

Stephens indicated a chair across from his.  "Have a seat, Agent Topolsky."  He waited until she was settled.  "How long have you been with the group now?"

 

"Two years," she said with a laugh.  "Don't you remember?  You recruited me out of the regular FBI."

 

Stephens nodded, "Considering your background and work record, our superiors think you will be the best agent to head our latest investigation.  It would include a deep cover operation posing as a counselor at a high school in a Blue-14 scenario."  Stephens' eyes roamed over her face trying to gage her reaction, "Do you think you are ready for the responsibility?"

 

Topolsky's chin rose as she straightened her body in the chair, her eyes sparking with excitement.  "I’m ready, Sir."

 

Stephens opened the file before him and put it on the desk, turning it toward her.  "Good.  You will report directly to me.  Monday morning you will be installed as the new Guidance Counselor at West Roswell High School."

 

"Roswell?" she asked incredulously.  “As in Roswell, New Mexico?”

 

"Ironic isn't it?" Stephens asked with a smile.  "The place where it began is where it will end."

 

Stephens briefly outlined the events surrounding the shooting at the Crashdown Cafe, the testimony of the witnesses and the Sheriff, and the evidence of the dress.  

 

"Concentrate your investigation on the subject Max Evans, but also check out his friends.  Maybe you can get to him through them.  Check out the girl that was healed."  He glanced at the file.  "Her name is Liz Parker but she lied in her statement to the Sheriff so it might not be easy to get anything from her.  There was also a boy with Evans at the cafe on the day of the shooting.  Witnesses say he was running interference for Evans, so he must know something.  His name is Michael Guerin." 

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Episode - Morning After)

(Monday, September 27th, 1999)

 

Liz had been tossing and turning in bed for hours.  She was so excited about seeing Max again that she couldn't sleep.  The last time she had seen him was Friday at the Crash Festival and she was full of anticipation about their next meeting.  She had hoped he might come into the Crashdown over the weekend but he hadn't. 

 

Of course maybe it was wise for them not to be seen together too much, she told herself.  The trick they had played on the Sheriff at the Crash Festival would not make him less suspicious, but perhaps it would make the events on the day of the shooting seem like a hoax as well. 

 

She glanced at the clock; it was after one a.m.  Technically it was already Monday and in a few hours she would see Max at school.  She turned away from the clock and determinedly punched her pillow trying to find a more comfortable position, but the bed was not the problem.  There were too many thoughts running through her head she couldn't quiet. 

 

She tossed for a few minutes more but finally switched on the light and reached for her diary.  If she couldn't sleep, she might as well write.  It was a warm night and she climbed out the open window and settled into the lawn chair on the balcony.  She drew her knees up and opened the book, quickly skimming the words she had written.

 

 

 

It's September 23rd,

 

Journal entry one.

I'm Liz Parker and five days ago I died.

After that, things got really weird.

 

 

 

She had written on September 23rd that she had died five days ago but it had only been four.  Max had healed her on Sunday the 19th, 1999.  It was a date she would definitely never forget.  She sighed as she used her pen to cross out the number five and write in a four instead.  At the time she hadn’t realized, but her head had been so full of Max Evans it had even effected her basic math skills, and she was still having a hard time concentrating on anything but him. 

 

When he had reversed the connection between them it was if he had flipped a switch in her mind that allowed her to see him for the first time.  She had always been attracted to him.  Who wouldn't be?  He was handsome and smart and nice to everyone, even if he was a bit shy, but he always had a wall up around him that made it clear he didn't want any close attachments. 

 

She had believed that Max wouldn't be interested in her, small-town-girl Liz Parker.  He had always seemed way out of her league, so sophisticated and mysterious.  But when he had allowed her to see him, really see him through the connection, she knew he was everything she had ever wanted in a friend, a boyfriend, a soul mate. 

 

Liz supposed she had always wanted the same things most girls wanted, a husband, a family, a career.  She wanted to live a fulfilling, happy life surrounded by people she loved, and she could easily see Max as part of her life.  But because of who and what he was, there were possibilities open to her that she had never even considered. 

 

She glanced up at the stars and allowed her imagination to roam.  She pictured herself and Max standing of the bridge of a space ship, that looked suspiciously like the Enterprise from Star Trek, their arms around one another, gazing at the stars, exploring the universe together...

 

Liz smiled.  She was rushing things just a bit.  They had all of the time in the world and she anticipated enjoying every minute, but she was still impatient for it to begin.

 

She took up her pen and started to record all of the feelings that were rushing through her mind onto the blank page laid out before her.

 

 

 

September 27th

 

I'm Liz Parker and I will never look at the stars in the sky the same way again.

I'll never look at anything the same way again.

 

 What did Max Evans mean when he said, "I'll see you in school?"  Was it

"I won't be able to breathe until we meet again" or was it just something

someone says to, like, fill space?  And what is he thinking right now?

Is he also obsessed, tortured, going through one sleepless night to the

next, wondering what's going to happen between us?

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Episode - Morning After)

(West Roswell High School)

 

Maria stood with Liz at her locker, talking.  Suddenly Maria's voice dropped, "Kyle Valenti, headed this way."

 

Liz practically groaned aloud, "Like, in this general direction, or like, towards me?"

 

"Like, the latter," Maria said with a touch of doom in her voice.

 

"Oh God," Liz said.  She and Kyle had dated over the summer but she had mainly thought of him as a friend.  Who knows where it would have gone, but then the shooting had happened and Liz had discovered what real love was.  What she felt for Kyle was fondness, caring, friendship, but it wasn't love. 

 

"What are you gonna say?" Maria asked.

 

Liz wasn't sure what she was going to say.  After they had tricked the Sheriff at the Crash Festival, she and Max had talked.  They could both feel the pull toward one another like the attraction of magnets, drawing them inevitably together.  Their meeting had been electric and full of promise and possibilities, and even though they had agreed not to be together, Liz had not been able to face Kyle afterward.  It seemed like a betrayal of the feelings she and Max had shared. 

 

She had not heard from Kyle over the weekend and she’d hoped he would be angry enough not to pursue a continuing relationship between them.  Liz voiced her hopes to Maria as if somehow saying them aloud would make them come true.  "I don't even know if there's anything to say.  I mean, I saw him over the summer, and it was casual.  I'm sure now that we're back in school, he's just thinking of me as a summer fling."

 

"Liz!" Kyle called to her warmly.

 

"Kyle!" Liz returned with more enthusiasm than she felt.

 

"How's my girl?" Kyle greeted a surprised Liz.

 

Maria wanted to gag, and excused herself quickly, "See ya!"

 

Liz turned to Kyle, "Hey."

 

"Hey. How's it going?"

 

"Good," Liz said, and attempted to steer the conversation in a safe direction.  "You know, I'm just pretty loaded down with all this school stuff."

 

"Yeah I know," Kyle said amusedly.  "You take all that stuff pretty seriously."

 

"Yeah," Liz said, realizing there was one more area in which she and Kyle would never agree.

 

"Right.  Okay."  Kyle said distractedly.

 

"All right," Liz said with relief.  Apparently Kyle wasn't interested in pursuing their relationship or the reason why she had ditched him at the Crash Festival, and she turned to head to her next class.  

 

But Kyle stopped her.  "Listen Liz, I think it's important that we are honest with each other.  I was talking with Tommy Hilligan from the team, and he agrees with me.  A person should be on time, Liz.  I know we left things casual, and I understand that, but you did say that you would meet me at the Crash Festival.  I just feel that if you care about a person, which I do, then you should be on time.  The truth is if you were just some girl and you stiffed me like you did, I would walk in a second, but you're not..."

 

Kyle's voice faded into the background as Liz's gaze was caught by Ms. Topolsky coming out of the Registrar's office.  She was carrying a stack of files and Liz's suspicions about her kicked into overdrive.  She desperately tried to keep the teacher in sight as she dismissed Kyle.  "Kyle, I really want to talk to you about this, I do, but it's just not a good time.  I'm sorry, I gotta go.  I'm sorry."

 

Liz hurried down the hall trying to catch-up to Ms. Topolsky.  She didn't know what it was about the new teacher that made her suspicious, but as soon as Ms. Topolsky had started asking unusual questions in class, Liz had been worried.  For some reason there was just something about Ms. Topolsky that just didn't seem right.  Liz rounded a corner and ran straight into the other woman, knocking the files from her hands.

 

"Oh my gosh, I'm sorry," Liz apologized automatically, "I'm sorry about..."

 

"Parker, Liz," Kathleen interrupted her.

 

"Yeah," Liz said, trying not to let the suspicion creep into her tone.

 

"Photographic memory," the teacher explained.

 

"Wow, that's interesting," Liz babbled, trying to cover her nervousness.  "I've never met anyone with a photographic memory before."

 

"Helps in my line of work," Kathleen said mysteriously.

 

Liz reached for a file on the floor.  "Here, let me help you with that."

 

"That's okay," Kathleen said, but Liz picked up a file anyway.  The picture inside the file caught her attention immediately.  It was Michael.  Ms. Topolsky, the suspected spy and alien hunter, had Michael's file. 

 

Liz had to warn him.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Episode - Morning After)

(Tuesday, September 28th, 1999)

(West Roswell High School)

 

Max smiled, "So you think Ms. Topolsky is an alien hunter?"

 

Liz grimaced.  "When you say it like that, it sounds ridiculous."

 

Max's expression sobered.  He hadn't meant to make fun of her.  He was almost giddy that Liz cared so much about their safety, his safety, but now he was worried about her safety.  He didn't believe there was anything unusual about Ms. Topolsky but none of them could afford to act suspiciously.  "Liz, thank you, you know, for looking out for us.  But we have to go on with life as it was before this happened.  And we have to be careful now.  All of us.  You, too."

 

They parted and Max continued on his way to class, but his attention was captured by the Sheriff in the administration office and he was not alone.  He was talking to Ms. Topolsky.  Thoughts crowded into Max's mind at light speed.  Why would a teacher be talking to the Sheriff?  What if Liz was right?  Ms. Topolsky the alien hunter?  The FBI?  Was she really investigating them?  They couldn't afford to be at a disadvantage, they had to get all of the information they could.  But how could they do that without giving themselves away?

 

Max sat in his next class and didn't hear a word the teacher said.  He tried to conceive a plan to figure out who this new teacher was.  He discretely asked a couple of students where her office was, hoping he would get the opportunity to search it, but an off-hand comment by one of the guys he asked gave him a plan.

 

Scott gave Max a conspiratorial wink and a thumbs-up, obviously mistaking Max's interest in Ms. Topolsky for a crush.  "Yeah, I staked out that hottie yesterday.  She's in the office behind the eraser room on the 2nd floor and," he continued, lowering his voice, "she has sixth period free."

 

The 2nd floor eraser room, Max considered, would be perfect.  He had been in there before, actually cleaning erasers for extra credit, and he had noticed that the vent looked directly into the office.  He could hide there and check out Ms. Topolsky's story.  His thoughts strayed to Liz.  She was a part of this and he should include her.  She had spotted Topolsky for a phony before anyone else had even suspected.  Liz had great instincts and he could use her observational skills and intellect to back him up.  Yes, he thought with a smile as he scribbled a brief note to her, Liz was the perfect choice. 

 

It had nothing to do with the fact that he wanted to be alone with Liz, he assured himself, nothing at all.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

 

(Episode - Monsters)

(Monday, October 11th, 1999)

(West Roswell High School)

 

Kathleen Topolsky had fallen back on her training in psychology many times since she had joined the FBI, but it had never been more useful than on this assignment.  It had been easy to convince the principal of the importance of getting the sophomore class to start planning for their futures.  She had briefly outlined a series of short psychological tests that would help the students to look ahead and make goals to achieve their dreams.  The fact that the tests were really geared to give an accurate psychological profile completely escaped his notice.

 

She suffered through the interviews with most of the kids only half listening to their babble, waiting for the kids she was interested in, Max Evans and his friends.  She had hoped Michael Guerin would participate but he was once again absent. 

 

She had saved the subject of her investigation for last and was interested to see what his responses would be.  An alien taking a standardized test for humans, she could only imagine the possibilities.

 

Kathleen noticed that Max was nervous when he entered her office and she waited until he settled into a chair before she began.  "Okay, let's play a relationship game.  Tell me which character in this picture is most like you," she said as she showed him the picture, "and tell me what they're doing at the park."

 

Max blurted out an answer before thinking, "Probably the one behind the tree."  But when he saw the look on Ms. Topolsky's face, he quickly backtracked and tried to turn it into a joke.  "I was sort of kidding," he said with a laugh that sounded unconvincing even to himself.

 

Kathleen was somewhat taken aback by his obviously honest answer but her training kicked in and she hurried to agree with him, empathize.  "No, that's interesting.  That's a hard place to be."  She chose her words carefully trying to make herself seem approachable.  "I've been behind the tree myself.  In college I barely left my dorm for three years, then I realized that I had gotten myself into this situation where I wasn't really living.  I was just going through the motions, and it was really, really risky to change.  To get out there in the world."

 

Her words caught Max's attention.  "But it was worth it?" he asked.

 

She smiled, knowing she was getting through to him.  "Yes, it was."

 

"Coming out from behind the tree, huh?" he said echoing her words.

 

"Exactly.  You start small.  You say, 'Today I'm going to do one thing to get out there.'  Nothing big.  Just one thing."

 

"And, what did you do?" Max asked, genuinely interested.

 

Max was falling right into her hands.  If he was open to suggestion, her job would be much easier.  "I started a conversation with this guy I liked," she said simply. 

 

The bell rang, ending their session and she waited until Max left before making a note in her file next to his name.

 

 

 

has secrets

 

 

 

She almost laughed at the words she had written.  If Max Evans was what they suspected, that was the biggest understatement of the century.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Episode - Monsters)

(The Evans House)

(A few hours later)

 

Max looked out his window and considered the stars above.  One of them was their home.  Their real home.  After they had figured out what they were, he had often wondered if someone would come for them.  Had their parents been in the '47 crash?  Had others on the ship survived or were they the only ones? 

 

Now they knew that there was at least one other of their kind out there but they didn't know anything about him other than the fact that he might be a killer.  What kind of creature was he?  What if in his true form he appeared to be a monster?  Max shuddered; he didn't even want to think about it.

 

He and Michael and Isabel were essentially human.  Maybe that is why they were here, because their race, their planet, was dying.  Maybe they weren't meant to return.  Maybe they had been made so human because this was their new home.

 

His thoughts turned to Liz.  He had told her they couldn't be together because they were different but what if they weren't so different after all?  What if they could be together?  Maybe this other, the fourth alien could tell them. 

 

His gaze returned to the stars.  Home.  A real home.  Max had often wondered if he were offered the chance to go home, would he take it?  Earth was all he knew.  It was home to him.  

 

Isabel's voice interrupted his thoughts, "Looking for something?"

 

Max voiced the questions he had been pondering, "What if there is someone out there somewhere, waiting for us to come home, you know?  Another mom and dad?  I know we never really talk about this stuff.  Do you wonder about it at all?"

 

"Every day," she said wistfully.

 

"Well what if we could find out?"  Max continued, "What if someone had the answers for us?  Would you want to know?"

 

"I think I'd be really scared," Isabel said, echoing his fears.  "What is this about Max?  Is this about the key Michael found, because you know we can't do anything about it."

 

Topolsky's words echoed in his head.

 

 

 

'I wasn't really living.  I was just going through the motions.' 

 

 

 

He tried to find the words to explain what he had been pondering.  "We're always being so cautious, you know?" Max started.  "Always watching behind our backs.  Never getting too involved, but we're never moving forward either.  We're just kinda stuck, Isabel.  I'm not sure I want to be stuck anymore."

 

Isabel considered her brother.  Since healing Liz, Max had almost seemed like a different person, and she was afraid she was losing him.  "What's making you think about this?  The key or Liz?"

 

"I'm not sure," Max admitted.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Episode - Monsters)

(Tuesday, October 12th, 1999)

(West Roswell High School)

 

Kathleen Topolsky looked at Max sitting across from her.  He seemed more nervous than usual.  "Are you having a hard time with something in your life right now, Max?"

 

"No, not at all," he responded too quickly.

 

"Because some adopted kids go through tough times around this age,” she continued, ignoring his answer.  “You know, identity issues, things like that."

 

"What does this have to do with my career path again?" he asked suspiciously.

 

Kathleen could practically feel his discomfort and decided to back off momentarily, after all she did want him to trust her.  "If I'm going to help you figure out what you're going to become, maybe we should talk about who you really are.  Now, you're an excellent student.  Are you thinking of college?"

 

"It's a little soon for that."

 

Kathleen was somewhat surprised by his answer.  "Two years.  You don't think that far ahead?"

 

"Not usually," he admitted.

 

"What about the past Max?" she said hoping to push him into an answer.  "What did you want to be when you were five?"  She watched as his level of discomfort rose even higher, and suddenly the realization hit her.  "You don't remember anything before you were adopted, do you?"

 

"What does this have to do with my future?"

 

"Sometimes it's hard to move forward with your future until you can figure out your past."

 

Kathleen watched as Max absorbed her words and then quietly left her office.  She was getting through to him, but she was positive by his reaction to her question that he didn't remember anything before the adoption.  That was the reaction of a young child to a traumatic situation, not the reaction of a cold-blooded alien killer the FBI had been tracking since the '47 crash.

 

Her brow knotted in concentration.  There was no doubt Max was otherworldly, but the evidence was stacking up that he was not the alien who had left a trail of bodies in his wake for the last fifty years.

 

Kathleen reached for the phone and dialed the secure number. 

 

It was answered on the first ring.  "Control."

 

She gave her password.  "7 - 3 - 2 - 9 - 0."

 

"Report," said Stephens.

 

"I am making progress in gaining the subject's trust." 

 

"Anything else?"

 

She paused wondering if she should voice her doubts.  "Um, I think this may be a different subject than the one the Unit has been tracking."

 

"What makes you think that?" Stephens asked, not able to keep the surprise out of his tone.

 

"My psychology training.  His reactions are wrong for a hardened killer.  He just seems like a troubled boy."

 

"Maybe it's just a good act," suggested Stephens.

 

"Maybe," Kathleen agreed, "but if it is, he deserves an Oscar."

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Friday, October 15th, 1999)

 

Michael climbed into Max's window without knocking.  "Max this key thing is really bothering me..." he trailed off as he took in Max's appearance.  "What the hell is that?"

 

Max glanced down and the golden vest he was wearing.  "I didn't think it was that bad."  He shrugged, "I guess the badge is a little goofy."

 

Michael shook his head, "No, I mean what are you doing?"

 

"I took a job at the UFO museum."

 

Michael grimaced, "An alien working in an alien museum, nice sense of irony Maxwell."

 

"Irony aside,” Max started to explain, “the owner Milton, has all kinds of files about UFO sightings for the last fifty years.  He has connections with UFO groups all over the world and access to all of the UFO sites on the Internet.  I thought maybe I could learn something."

 

Michael nodded enthusiastically and slapped Max on the arm.  "Like I said, Maxwell, good thinking."

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

TBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




BOOK 7 - THE INTRUSION OF SHADES
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