BOOK 7 THE INTRUSION OF SHADES
(THE CLANDESTINED DISCLOSED)

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

PART 3

 

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Heat Wave)

(Thursday, December 2nd, 1999)

(West Roswell High School)

 

Isabel looked at Liz sitting on the grass beside her.  She had been so worried when Max had told Liz their secret, but Liz had come through for them time after time, and Isabel had to admit to herself it was nice to have a girlfriend who she could talk to.  She knew that Liz was hurting because of the situation with Alex, but they had to find out what he was going to do.

 

"So, what's going on with your little friend Alex?" Isabel asked.

 

"Yeah," Liz said softly, wishing she knew what was going on with Alex.   "He's pretty upset."

 

"Well, you've known him forever,” Isabel pushed.  “What's the bottom line?  Is he gonna cave?"

 

"I don't know,” Liz admitted.  “I kinda wish I knew what was going on inside of him."

 

"I'll look into it," Isabel said mysteriously.

 

 

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

 

 

It's December 2nd, 1999.
I'm Liz Parker.

 

And this heat wave has made everyone crazy.

 

Heat expands, melts, makes things boil, sets things on fire. And seeing the effect of this heat all around me just pointed out in this really blatant way how my life wasn't expanding.  

 

That I was stuck.

 

 

 

Liz closed her journal with a sigh, thinking over the events of the last couple of days.  When she had seen Michael and Maria together at the Crashdown, and everybody at school getting together, it had just reinforced the fact that she was not with Max.  He had been keeping her at arms length since the accident and it was driving her crazy.  She had hoped it would bring them closer.

 

Yesterday she had subtly introduced the party at the old soap factory into their conversation, hoping that Max would suggest they go together, but apparently she had been too subtle because he hadn't gotten the point.  She had been trying to coax Max into a relationship for weeks but maybe subtlety wasn't the best approach.  Maybe Max needed to be hit over the head with a sledge hammer, maybe she should make the first move.  Liz determined that the next time she saw him, she would just tell him how she felt.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Heat Wave)

(Friday, December 3rd, 1999)

(The Evans House)

 

As Max dressed for the party he remembered his earlier conversation with Liz.  She had said it wasn’t just his decision for them to be together and she was right.  He had been trying to protect her but she knew the risks as well, and she chose to take a chance.  He had never been good at taking chances but he was willing to try if it meant being with Liz.

 

He could still see her as they had sat together over the tray of slugs in the Biology classroom.  Perhaps it wasn't the most romantic situation but it had been pure magic for him because Liz had told him she wanted to be with him.  After all that had happened to her because of knowing him, she still wanted to be with him.  He had been so happy and he would have kissed her there, but then they had been interrupted.  

 

But tonight he would make sure they had a chance to be alone.

 

 

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

 

 

(Roswell Sheriff’s Station)

 

Max and Isabel watched from the Jeep as the kids were released from the jail. 

 

Isabel looked for their friends but they were not among the others.  "He let everybody else go except Liz and Alex.  We are so screwed."

 

"It's going to be okay," Max said.  Somehow he knew that Liz would come through for them again.  She would convince Alex not to talk.

 

"We should have told him," Isabel said sadly.

 

"What?" Max asked, not sure he understood.  His sister wanted to tell someone?

 

"Alex.  We should have told him about us," she explained.  "I, I know this sounds crazy Max, but I feel something about him.  Like, he's okay.  Like, we'd be better off including him."

 

 

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

 

 

Liz looked at Alex through the bars of the cell and knew it was do or die time.  Alex had not listened to any of her explanations and now the Sheriff was trying to scare him into talking.  She was out of time. 

 

"Alex.  Max and Michael and Isabel, they are different from us.  They're different from us in a way that, if the wrong people found out, they would be in a lot of trouble."

 

"I know the whole drugs thing is a load of crap, Liz.  I mean, why would the FBI be so interested in three kids into drugs?"

 

"No, Alex, listen to me,” Liz insisted.  “This doesn't have anything to do with drugs.  Alex.  Max, Michael, and Isabel," she paused trying to figure out how to tell him, "they aren't from around here."

 

"Where are they from?" Alex asked suspiciously.

 

Liz was at a loss for words and finally remembered how Max had told her.  She raised her hand and pointed up. 

 

"What?  Like, Wyoming?" Alex asked.

 

It was obvious he wasn’t understanding her and she raised her hand higher.

"Oh," Alex said, thinking he had finally gotten it.  "Okay.  Fine, Canada.  They're Canucks, so what.  You're saying the FBI is all over them because they're like, illegal aliens?"

 

Liz grabbed onto his word, "Yeah, sort of.  Listen, Alex.  They're from somewhere else."

 

"Liz, what are you talking about?"

 

"God, there isn't any way for me to say this, but to just, to just say this, okay?"  She took a deep breath, "Look Alex, they think they were in the 1947 crash, okay?  They were like in these incubation pods for a really long time.  Like 40 years, and they came out in like the form of humans, and now all of these people suspect them." 

 

Liz could feel the tears gathering in her eyes but she ignored them and continued.  "That's why Topolsky's here, and that's why Valenti arrested us, and that's why we're here because he knows that I'm involved.  And I'm really sorry, Alex, but you're involved, too.

 

Alex could see Liz's tears and hear the anguish in her voice, she was really scared.  "Liz, are you okay?"

 

"Alex you don't even understand.  The past few months have been like absolute torture lying to you.  I will never, ever lie to you again.  I promise."

 

Alex smiled.  He didn't know exactly what Liz had been through but it was obvious she believed what she was telling him.  She was scared for Max's life and that was why she had lied to him.  He would help her keep her secret until he got to the bottom of this.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Heat Wave)

(Saturday, December 4th, 1999)

 

Alex had spent a sleepless night trying to decide what to believe.  If he had heard the story from Maria, he would have taken it with a grain of salt.  She tended to be excitable and see things that weren't there, but it had been Liz.  For as long as he had known her, Liz had been very levelheaded.  He couldn't even conceive of a situation that would convince her aliens existed. 

 

It was now noon and he was on his way to talk to Maria and Liz.  He and Liz had agreed to get together today at her place and she and Maria would tell him the whole story.

 

He paused outside Liz's door and took a deep breath.  He knew there were no aliens but Liz seemed convinced that was exactly what Max, Michael and Isabel were.

 

His knock was answered immediately and he was pulled into a group hug. 

 

"Alex," Maria practically squealed with delight, "I am so glad you finally know."

 

"Yeah," he said, feeling a bit dazed, "me too."

 

 

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

 

 

Liz sat on her balcony with a feeling of contentment.  Alex knew their secret and he was their friend again.  She wasn't sure if he believed them, he had still seemed skeptical when he left but at least he trusted them again.

 

Liz looked down at the journal that lay in her lap and her thoughts turned to Max.  She had wanted to be with him so badly, still wanted to be with him, but it was probably for the best that they hadn't given in to their feelings.  She knew if they had kissed, she would never have wanted to let him go.

 

She opened her journal to the next clean page and began writing.

 

 

 

The heat wave finally broke and I'm probably the only person in Roswell who didn't benefit from it.  But it's for the best.  Because if Max Evans and I had given in to temptation, if we had kissed each other even once, it would have taken us somewhere we both know we never should have gone.

 

 

 

Yes, she repeated to herself, both she and Max knew logically that they weren't meant to be together but they both still wanted it.  She would make sure they didn't give in to the temptation.  It would have to be enough for them both to be friends.  She would have to be strong for both of them when she saw him again. 

 

"Liz, are you there?"

 

Her thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice that sent a surge of electric awareness through her and she let her journal slip from her fingers, along with her intentions, as she rushed to meet the man she loved.  

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Balance)

(Friday, December 10th, 1999)

(The Evans House - Max's Room)

 

Michael waited until Max left the room before he spoke to Isabel.  "Do you ever wonder what else he tells Liz that he doesn't tell us?"

 

"Oh, please," Isabel sighed, irritated to be put in the middle again.  "You're one to talk. What have you been whispering in Maria's ear lately?"

 

"At least I'm smart enough not to get attached.  I can walk away from anybody if I have to."

 

"What is that supposed to mean?" Isabel asked, the hurt evident in her voice.  Obviously Michael included her and Max in anybody.

 

"It means I'm not gonna let Max's mistakes keep me from finding out what I need to know."

 

"Oh, Michael, you promised," Isabel reminded him.

 

"I promise I'll be as trustworthy as Max."

 

He left the Evans’ house and walked to the highway.  As a car approached, he held out his thumb. 

 

After a few tries a truck stopped and the driver poked his head out the window, "Where to kid?"

"The reservation," Michael grunted.

 

The driver pushed open the passenger side door, "Hop in."

 

 

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

 

 

(The Parker House)

 

Maria wouldn't accept Liz's reticence when it came to her relationship with Max.  "Who wants to go first?" she pressed but when Liz remained silent she continued.  "Fine, I'll start.  It was," she paused looking for the right word, "explosive."

 

"Yeah," Liz sighed, starting to get into the spirit of the girl talk.  "Um, that's a really good word."

 

"Right?  It was like every cell in my body found the same cell in his and started heating up."

 

"And I got really dizzy,” Liz said.  “Did you get dizzy?"

 

Maria smiled, "I get dizzy just thinking about it."

 

"Okay," Liz started, "you know like all of that time that I spent with Kyle.  I didn't have any of those feelings that I did when I was with Max.  What about you?"

 

"I don't think so,” Maria said.  “And besides, I've come to the conclusion that it can never happen.  I mean, human-alien relationships are bound to be disasters.  Just don't think that you can enter into something with Max and expect not to get hurt in the end of it.  I mean, me?  I'm Teflon, babe.  Michael starts acting like a total loser, I just walk away.  But you and Max, ah, you guys have got that whole, look-into-my-eyes soul mate thing."

 

"Um, yeah," Liz stuttered, wondering if her feelings for Max were that obvious to everyone.  Liz knew she and Max were not supposed to be together, but somehow she felt as if it would all be okay.  "You know, this, this whole thing is just..." Liz wasn't sure how to explain her feelings, "it's gonna work out.  We just have to be prepared for anything that comes our way."

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Balance)

(Saturday, December 11th, 1999)

(Mesiliko Reservation)

 

As they waited for River Dog to return, Liz listened to Max tell her about first seeing Michael.  Max was scared and she could tell that talking helped keep his mind off what was happening to his friend. 

 

"You all right?" Max asked, sensing her sadness.

 

"Uh, yeah, it..." she paused not wanting him to know the real reason for her sorrow.  "It's just kinda sad, you know?" she quickly covered.  "Thinking of being separated like that."

 

But she needn't have bothered, Max knew exactly what she was really thinking.  "You're wondering if it could happen to me, aren't you?  If I could get sick like Michael."

 

"No," Liz denied too quickly.

 

But Max continued as if she hadn't spoken.  "I've been thinking about it a lot too.  Whether this is just our life cycle and maybe this is how we die."

 

"Max it's, come on, it's not..." she trailed off, not knowing how to reassure him.  Max, Michael and Isabel knew so little about themselves, it must be frightening.

 

"I can understand if you have doubts," he said, giving her a way out even though it was killing him.  "About us, I mean, second thoughts.  Because committing to someone is hard enough without having to wonder, if they're even gonna be here tomorrow."

 

 

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

 

 

(Nasedo’s Cave)

 

The bowl was passed and each of the friends took a drink to bind them together.  Max watched Liz as she hesitated over the drinking from the bowl.  He knew she was thinking of their earlier conversation.  She was worried about him.

 

River Dog noticed her fear too.  "You're afraid.  Not of the healing, your fear runs deeper."  He followed her gaze across the circle to Max.  Their connection was strong, he could feel it, but her concern for Max was causing her to worry.  "You fear for someone else, someone you care for a great deal.  Take a step back.  You cannot stop the flow."

 

"I'm sorry," Liz said to Max, seeing the disappointment on his face.

 

Max realized that Liz thought he was disappointed with her, when the truth was he was disappointed with himself.  Once again he had led Liz into a dangerous situation and he was glad she wasn't risking herself, and silently sent her his reassurance.

 

River Dog could see the blonde girl Maria, was worried that her friend had not joined the ceremony and he spoke to her soothingly.  "She'll find her own path. You take yours."

The friends joined in the chant, closing their eyes, and each of them found themselves in the desert-scape of Michael's mind. 

 

Max walked toward Michael but even as he was trying to help his friend, his mind turned to Liz.  And he cursed himself for selfishly wanting her there.

 

Liz closed her eyes with the others.  She felt so useless but she silently sent Michael all of her love and support.  After a moment she started to feel strange as if someone was staring at her across a room.  Slowly the feeling solidified, Max needed her, was calling for her and she desperately wanted to go to him but she didn't know how.  A bright light blinded her for a moment but her eyes quickly adjusted and she found herself in a desert with the others.

 

Suddenly Max's attention was captured by a movement across the circle.  Liz was there.  Even though she had not partaken of the water or joined the chant, even though she had stepped out of the circle, somehow she was there.  No, he corrected himself, he had summoned her there.  Max held her gaze for a moment, her presence reassuring him and then he turned his attention back to Michael.

 

 

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

 

 

As the darkness gathered, Kaldar stealthily approached the cave where Sodan used to live.  Occasionally he was compelled to check the cave to see if his comrade had returned, and this evening he had felt an overwhelming urge to go.

 

He settled into the trees intending to wait until it was full dark and then check the cave, but he had only waited a few minutes before several people emerged from the dark opening.  He faded back into the protection of the trees as he watched the seven people. 

 

Kaldar searched each face, carefully trying to determine if one of them was Sodan.  There were two young women accompanied by a young man and an older native-american man, but none of them were familiar.  Next came two more young men and another young woman.  The last young woman caught his attention.  Something about her was vaguely familiar but before he could determine what it was, his eyes wandered over the face of the young man at her side. 

 

Kaldar crept forward, not believing his eyes.  He was positive the young man before him was his master, and it chased everything else from his mind.  Even if the young man before him hadn't been an obviously younger version of the DNA donor, there was something about him that Kaldar knew he would have recognized.  After all of these years of searching, he had finally found his master.

 

He carefully followed the young people and the older man at a distance, until they reached a small red car and a Jeep.  The young people appeared to thank the older man and then they separated into the two cars.

 

Kaldar had left his truck in the desert by the pod chamber and he looked around desperately for transportation, but there was none.  He had just found his master and now it appeared as if he might lose him again.  His master climbed into the Jeep with a young man and woman and Kaldar concentrated on them, quickly scanning and memorizing the appearance of the license plate and the Jeep and three teenagers inside.  As they drove out of the reservation, he followed as quickly as he could, using bursts of speed to keep them in sight so he could see which way they went when they reached the highway.

 

He was exhausted when they reached the main road fifteen minutes later, but Kaldar thought it was worth it.  He had the makes and models of the cars and faces to search for, and he also knew where to start looking.  They had turned toward Roswell.

 

 

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

 

 

When Liz arrived home, she immediately reached for her journal and climbed out onto the balcony. 

 

 

 

I've always been the one who comes through in the time of crisis. I do what's necessary, and I don't panic. But seeing Michael so sick and having no way of knowing what was wrong or how to help made me scared. Scared that one day something could happen to Max and I wouldn't know how to help this person who means so much to me, who means everything.

 

 

 

Max arrived in the alley beneath Liz's balcony and paused at the bottom of the ladder.  He had allowed himself to live the dream of being with Liz long enough.  The events of the last few days had only proven to him that he could not allow himself the luxury of being with her.  She was all he thought about, even when Michael had been in trouble, and he couldn't let himself be distracted. 

 

It seemed so perfect when they were together, like they had been made for one another, like it was meant to be.  But he knew that no matter how much they wanted it, no matter how right it felt, it was only an illusion.  They were from two different planets.  How could their love be destined?

 

He climbed the ladder, more determined than ever to do what he had to do.  When he reached the top, he saw Liz writing in her journal.  "Is this a bad time?"

 

"No, it's not."  Liz greeted him warmly, "Hi."

 

Max fought to stay detached, "I just wanted to see how you were doing."

 

"I'm fine," Liz said.  She could tell something was bothering Max and sought a safe subject.  "Yeah, um, how's Michael?"

 

"Same as ever," Max said, looking for a way to broach the subject he had really come to discuss.

 

"That's really good."

 

"But I'm not, Liz."

 

"What do you mean?" asked Liz, suddenly concerned.

 

"I mean, one day it will be me, and I can't keep pretending that I'm normal."

 

"Max, look, you know, I didn't, I didn't mean to have doubts.  I didn't mean to let you down in the cave."

 

Max let her believe her misconception, it might make it easier for him.  "I don't blame you.  You had every right to feel that way, because what you felt is true."  He spoke the words that were breaking his heart, "We don't belong together." 

 

"Don't say that," Liz said breathily, feeling faint.

 

Max tried to explain his feelings to her.  "The other night, you know, when we went out and the whole day before, ever since we kissed, I've been off balance.  You made me forget that anything else existed, but that's not real."

 

Liz couldn't believe he was denying the magic that had happened between them.  "It is the only real thing that I've ever felt."

 

Max acknowledged her words silently, he felt that way too.  But he continued aloud, "Sometimes you have to take a step back to see what's really going on.  Maybe that's what we both really need to do right now.  Find our balance again."

 

"You know, Max, I thought that, I thought that we'd found it," Liz argued, trying to make him remember what had happened between them.

 

"You don't know how much I wish that could be true," he said sadly.

 

"Max," Liz continued recklessly, "how is it possible that I could be," she stuttered, afraid that she was really losing Max, "I could be the happiest that I've ever been in my entire life, you know, and now the saddest all at, all at one time?"

 

"I think that's what being in love is," Max said knowingly, because he felt the same way.

 

"Yeah, I think so, too."

 

"So we'll just take a step back," Max said, "for a while."

 

"Well, uh, you know, if that's what, if that's what you want, I..." Liz trailed off, not even knowing what she was saying.  She was trying to stall for time, to stop him from leaving until she could think of an argument that would make him stay.

 

"It's what I need,” Max said, “cuz I'm just as scared as you are."

 

Liz watched as Max started to climb down the ladder but she couldn't stand the thought that he was leaving her.  "No, wait Max."  She took his face in her hands and touched her lips to his, pouring all of her longing and love into the kiss.  She could feel Max's response momentarily and then his stubbornness took over and he shut down his feelings.  Liz felt desperation start to overwhelm her as his lips remained motionless and she pulled away.  "I just wanted to remember."

 

"Good-bye, Liz," Max said softly, feeling as if he were ripping out his own heart.  He took one last look at Liz and then climbed down the ladder.

 

Liz didn't regain her voice until Max had disappeared over the edge of the balcony.  "Good-bye, Max." 

 

She looked up to the stars, silently asking them why they had brought her and Max together only to tear them apart.  But the stars remained silent, their only answer a twinkling constellation and the planet Venus moving into position to create a perfectly shaped V.

 

 

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

 

 

Kaldar finally reached his home near the pod chamber.  It had taken over two hours for him to get there because he had needed to stop and rest several times.  He wanted to go to Roswell to start his search but he had to recover and gather his strength.  Now that he knew where to start it shouldn't take long to find them.

 

 

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

 

 

(Thursday, December 23rd, 1999)

 

Liz turned the pocketknife over in her hands.  She had purchased it to give to Max for Christmas just two weeks before, and then he had broken up with her.  Over a month ago she had heard Max tell Michael that he had lost his pocketknife and she had bought one to replace it.

 

The engraving had been an impulse.  She rubbed her fingers over the letters carved into the surface.  It was a childish sentiment but she thought Max would be amused by the play on words. 

 

 

 

Max and Liz 4 ever

 

 

 

Now that they were not officially together, the gift seemed inappropriate.  Liz had chosen it because she wanted to give Max something that would remind him of her.  She sighed.  They were still friends.  Maybe she should just give him the gift and explain about the engraving.  Max would understand. 

 

 

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

 

 

(Saturday, December 25th, 1999)

(Christmas)

(The Evans House)

 

Max put the box containing the pocketknife Liz had given him into the top drawer of his dresser next to a small, red velvet box.  He took out the knife and smoothed his fingers gently over the words engraved on it.  Liz had explained the circumstances surrounding the gift and he had agreed with her there was no reason to be embarrassed. 

 

Liz had suggested he could use his powers to remove the engraved message, just smooth it over as if it never existed, but he wouldn't.  This small gift Liz had given him would be the only physical reminder of the few wonderful weeks they had spent together, the few weeks he had been normal and perfectly happy.

 

He placed the knife back into its box and reached for the red velvet box, carefully opening the lid.  He took out the shining silver chain and laid the box aside.  The cool metal of the chain slid through his fingers, its gossamer texture and shining length reminding him of Liz's beautiful, dark hair.  His fingers glided over the chain's surface until they reached the three charms; two hearts bearing the names Max and Liz, on either side of a star.

 

He had also bought a gift before he had broken with Liz.  He had intended to give the chain to her for Christmas but unlike Liz, he had been too afraid to go through with it.  The chain and charms seemed too romantic and he didn't want to give her the wrong impression. 

 

So he had put the chain in his drawer and bought a safer gift to give her, a pen.  It was a nice, heavyweight pen, which would write at any angle, he had once seen Liz admiring.  He thought it would be perfect for her to use in her journal.  

 

Max placed the chain back in the box and carefully arranged it, before closing the lid.  It was foolish to keep it as a memento because it had never actually belonged to Liz, but he would keep it.  He replaced the velvet box into the drawer next to the box containing the pocketknife.  It was appropriate to keep them together, he thought, the chain and the knife, a double reminder.  They would remind him that he had dared to be normal, dared to reach for his dream, dared to tempt fate, and what it had cost him.

 

 

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

 

 

(Monday, December 27th, 1999)

 

Kaldar slowed his truck as he approached Goddard High School.  Many times in the last ten years he had checked the schools in the nearby towns in New Mexico looking for his lost charges.  When he didn't find them in the first couple of years he had started to despair that he would never see them again.  Children changed in appearance so quickly and he wasn't quite sure what they would look like.  He knew they would resemble their DNA donors but all of the donors, except the one that had been used for his master, had been so much older, he didn't know if he would recognize them if he did see them.   

 

Then he had seen them at Sodan’s cave.  Even though he had not immediately recognized Vilondra, he had felt that there was something familiar about her.  It was almost as if he could sense the alien-ness about her the same way he could recognize his fellow shape shifters even in disguise.  Then he had seen his master and even though he had remembered the outer form of the DNA donor, he felt he would have known him anyway. 

 

Kaldar pulled the truck into the parking lot and stopped immediately in surprise.  He had assumed that he could simply search the parking lot for the cars he had seen the kids use, but the lot was empty.  Kaldar looked at his watch; it was Monday morning, typically a school day but there was no one at the school. 

 

He put the truck into gear and made a U-turn into a convenience store across the street.  He entered the store and grabbed a few packs of Tic-Tacs before approaching the counter.  He motioned to the school across the street with a jerk of his head.  "School not in today?"

 

The cashier laughed, "No man, its winter break."  The cashier continued when he saw the blank expression on the other man's face.  "You know, for Christmas?"

 

"Oh," Kaldar said, understanding dawning.  "How long do they get?"

 

"They'll be back Monday, the third.  Man, high school, that was the life.  Can you imagine getting two weeks off for Christmas?"

 

Kaldar smiled and popped a handful of Tic Tacs into his mouth; he had never really had a vacation.  As a protector he was expected to always be on duty, and engineered not to require a lot of rest.  Since his resurrection he had needed a lot of time to build his strength, but even when he was recuperating he was on watch and making plans.  "No I can't."

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Toy House)

(Monday, January 3rd, 2000)

(The Evans House)

 

Isabel entered her brother’s room and looked at the expression on his face.  "You're really upset," she said referring to the fire and its after effects.  “This is bad.”

 

"I'm all right, Max answered automatically.

 

"Max, I know you.  You only ever listen to the Counting Crows when you're really upset."

 

"It's not just this.  It's," he paused, his thoughts automatically turning to Liz, and he spoke with a sigh, "everything."

 

Isabel could guess the direction her brother's thoughts were leading him, because of brief flash of pain that crossed his face.  "You were right to put the brakes on the Liz thing."

 

"Thank you," Max said sarcastically.  "You mentioned that, like ten times.

 

"It's just that you guys were getting so intense," Isabel tried to explain.  "It's one thing to have a little fun, but you know, we just can't get attached like that, Max."

 

"I know that.  Maybe I just forgot for awhile," he said, not able to keep the pain out of his voice.  "I know that now."

 

"And you can live with that?" Isabel asked, seeing for the first time how much it had hurt him to turn his back on Liz.  "I mean, you're okay with it?"

 

Max's mouth turned up at the corners as he attempted to smile to reassure Isabel.  "I'll be fine."

 

To Isabel it appeared more like a grimace than a smile and she winced at the empty tone in his voice.  She wished she could help him, take his pain away, but for the first time, she didn't know what to do for him.  

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Toy House)

(Friday, January 7th, 2000)

 

Max automatically went to the Crashdown.  Even though he wasn't with Liz, she was still his best friend and after the confrontation with Michael and Isabel he needed someone to talk to.  He stopped the Jeep outside and watched her through the window for a few minutes.  He loved to look at her, she had a natural beauty and her every action was graceful. 

 

He sighed as he got out of the Jeep and walked to the door, there was no use torturing himself.  They couldn't be together.  He had pushed her away and she was going back to Kyle.  He would just have to accept it as gracefully as he could if he still wanted her to be his friend. 

 

Max tapped gently on the glass to get her attention.

 

Liz crossed to the door and opened it when she saw who it was.  "What's up?"

 

"Nothing," Max said, not sure how to proceed.  "How's it going?"

"Fine," Liz said vaguely, knowing by Max's manner that something was wrong.  "Are you all right?"

"Yeah.  Yeah.  I just, I want you to know that it's okay.  I mean," he kicked himself mentally, he had to just say it.  "You don't have to feel uncomfortable if you and Kyle get back together."

 

"What?" Liz asked, not sure she had heard him correctly.

 

"I saw you two together at the Crashdown yesterday."

 

Liz couldn't have been more surprised if Max had slapped her.  He was the one who had ended their relationship and now he was giving her permission to date other guys!  Did he think he owned her? 

 

"Okay," she started, her temper building with each second that passed.  "Max, first of all, that couldn't be further from what's happening, and secondly," she paused, attempting to keep her anger in check, "if it was happening, I wouldn't need your permission, Max."

 

Liz had completely misunderstood his intentions.  He was surprised by her anger and he wanted to explain.  Max had never seen Liz angry before, but after the last few days it felt like he was fighting off the whole world, and Liz's anger brought his quickly to the surface.  "I'm getting out of here.  Now you sound like Isabel."

 

But Liz wouldn't let him leave that easily.  "Why do I sound like Isabel, Max?"

 

"She's got this thing all of a sudden that I'm controlling," he blurted out.

 

"Oh, so it's her thing," Liz said sarcastically, her wounded feelings making her cruel.

 

"What?" Max asked confrontationally, not believing that Liz would side with Isabel.

 

"Max," Liz said with a touch of exasperation in her tone, "just take a psych class, because you are controlling."

 

Max felt as if Liz was turning against him too and he was suddenly very afraid he was loosing her.  In his pain, he didn't realize that his voice was so harsh as he tried to explain, wanting her to change her mind and take back her words.  "Hey, I am who I am.  I've got a lot going on, and I'm trying to make things work."

 

But Liz was not affected by his angry outburst.  "Max, you know what your problem is?  You put everything on yourself, on your own shoulders."  She felt the anger drain out of her as she realized the truth of her own words.  Max felt he had to control everything to keep himself and the others safe and his world was spiraling out of control and coming down around him.  "Maybe you should have some faith in the people around you."

 

 

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

 

 

(Monday, January 10th, 2000)

 

Kaldar had spent the last week searching Goddard High School with no luck.  He had been disappointed when he hadn't found the cars in the school parking lot, but he reasoned that it was possible the kids did not drive to school.  So he had donned the appearance of a student and carefully searched every person in every class until he was satisfied they were not in attendance.

 

This week he would turn his attention to West Roswell High School.  It was the only other school in town and he felt sure he would find them there. 

 

He drove into the parking lot and circled toward the far end but he stepped on the break almost immediately.  The Jeep he had seen at the reservation was parked just a few feet away. 

 

Kaldar felt a sense of satisfaction.  All he needed to do was wait until they left and he could simply follow them home.  He had not failed.  After all of these years he had found his master.

 

 

 

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

 

 

(Thursday, January 20th, 1999)

 

Liz had hoped that once Max had cleared up some of the problems in his personal life he would reconsider their relationship but he had remained steadfast in his decision to remain apart.  They were still friends and saw each other often, in school and at the Crashdown but he was keeping her at arms length.

 

At first, Liz was desperate to find a way to get him back but as the days passed, her pride took over and she determined to show him the same amount of indifference as he was showing her.  She was friendly toward him, even if a bit too formal, but she wouldn't let him see she was pining for him.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Into the Woods)

(Tuesday, January 25th, 2000)

(Frazier Woods)

 

Kaldar had watched the three young people for over a week and he was completely convinced they were the missing Royals.  He had considered revealing himself to them but had dismissed the idea almost immediately.  He was not assigned to watch over them and now that he had found them he should alert Sodan.

 

But he didn't know where Sodan was, hadn't seen him in years.   He could use the communicator he had buried in the desert all those years ago, but it could be dangerous and he would use it only as a last resort.

 

But, Kaldar thought, maybe there was another way he could contact Sodan.  He remembered the signal Sodan had sent when he was first looking for the three.  It had been the symbol of Antar projected toward the sky in a bright light.  Simple but effective. 

 

Kaldar decided to go back to the cave and send a signal from the same place Sodan had used.  The signal would alert Sodan to the children's presence and Kaldar could stay anonymous.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Into the Woods)

(Friday, January 28th, 2000)

(Dallas, TX)

 

Sodan snatched a copy of the USA Today off the newsstand, one of the headlines catching his eye.

 

 

 

UFO Sighting in Roswell.

Read Rocky Calhoun's eye-

witness account on page 16.

 

 

 

He flipped to page sixteen and quickly scanned the article, certain phrases jumping out at him.

 

 

 

sighting in Frazier Woods, outside Roswell

 

near the alleged 1947 crash site

 

witnesses saw a bright light

 

a double armed, swirling pattern

 

 

 

He tossed money on the counter to pay for the paper and hurried to his office in the FBI building, where he was posing as an agent.  He closed the door and dialed Alyssa's cell phone. 

 

"Hi dad," she answered.

 

"Leave school now and pack up what you need.  I may have located the others."

 

 

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

 

 

River Dog quietly approached Nasedo's cave.  Since the sighting, he had come here several times to see if his old friend had returned.  He settled into the brush, concealing his presence and watched the entrance for over an hour, but saw nothing.  As it started to grow dark he turned to leave, but a sudden movement in the trees brought him to a stop. 

 

He watched as a figure stealthily crept toward the cave entrance.  As the figure approached the edge of the trees, the moonlight illuminated him enough for River Dog to determine that it was a man.  River Dog studied the other carefully.  The man wore a different face and perhaps he wasn't Nasedo but River Dog felt certain he was a visitor and he had come because of the sign. 

 

Nasedo had told him all those years ago that others might come, but it had been so long River Dog had thought no one would come.  Obviously he was wrong.  This man was here for a purpose and River Dog had always assumed it would be to look for Nasedo, but he must have been wrong about that too.  This visitor must be here because of the children.

 

After a few moments the other made his way into the cave.  River Dog waited until he was out of sight before he moved.  If he brought the children to the cave they would be reunited with their kind and his part would be finished.  He would go to Michael.  He had felt an instant connection with the boy, reminding him of the friendship he'd had with Nasedo before he had discovered what Nasedo was capable of.   

 

He liked the children, felt for them.  They were different than Nasedo.  He was truly alien and a killer but the children were at least partially human.  They had been raised by humans, but they were from another place and they belonged with their own kind.

 

It took him over an hour to reach the trailer park where Michael lived but when he found the boy he didn't waste any words. 

 

"It's time."

 

 

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

 

 

Sodan drove north on 285, pushing his car to the speed limit as the sun started to sink beneath the horizon.  He switched on the car's headlights and briefly illuminated a sign on the side of the road.

 

 

Welcome to New Mexico

Land of Enchantment

 

 

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

 

 

(Frazier Woods)

 

Kaldar watched from the woods as the three children waved their hands over the symbol he had burned into the ground.  Attracting them was an unexpected consequence but he was sure the signal would draw Sodan and now they would be looking for him.  Sodan and the children would be united and everything would turn out as it should.

 

 

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

 

 

(Saturday, January 29th, 2000)

(Roswell, NM)

 

Sodan sank into the bed in the hotel room and reached for the phone.  When he came to New Mexico to look for the others he had abandoned his identity in Texas.  He had learned all he could from that position anyway, which had not been much, and had been contemplating his next move. 

 

He had left Alyssa in an apartment in Carlsbad, even though she had wanted to come with him.  He wanted to make sure it wasn’t a trap, but Alyssa was anxious for progress and he called her to check-in.

 

She answered on the first ring, obviously waiting for his call.  "Have you found them?" she asked, getting right to the point.

 

"I saw them last night," he started casually. 

 

He had come upon the three missing Royals and an older man he had recognized as River Dog, in a clearing near the cave where he had lived.  Sodan had concealed himself in the trees and watched as the children used their powers to light a signal.  He had carefully familiarized himself with their appearances before they had been interrupted by the Sheriff. 

 

Obviously the Sheriff was investigating the sighting and he was suspicious of the children.  Sodan had started toward the human intending to eliminate him, but Zan had cleverly covered the reason for their presence by pretending to be lost. 

 

Sodan continued with his story to Alyssa.  "Zan and Vilondra drove away with some humans and I couldn't follow them but I trailed Alarath to his, um, abode."

 

"I don't care about Alarath,” Alyssa said petulantly.  “Did you find out where Zan is?"

 

"Not yet,” Sodan admitted, “but now that I know they’re here it shouldn't be too much longer."

 

"I want to come and help," demanded Alyssa.  "I’m sure I would know if Zan were near-by.  I would be able to feel it."

 

"Maybe," drawled Sodan, "maybe not."

 

"But you said Zan and I had a connection in the past," Alyssa said.

 

"You did, but you have not yet been together in this life.  Connections such as that are usually only formed after a coupling."

 

"But..." she started only to have Sodan cut her off.

 

"Alyssa, you will stay where you are.  Zan would want me to make sure you are safe, above any other consideration.  When I find something I will let you know."

 

 

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

 

 

(Special Unit Interrogation Center)

(Annapolis, MD)

 

Kathleen had been held by Pierce for weeks.  Then just a few days ago he had brought in Agent Stephens and started the interrogation process on him, as an example that he did not accept failure.  Stephens had tried to resign, promising he would just disappear, but that had only seemed to make Pierce angrier. 

 

Kathleen could still picture the look in Pierce's eyes as Stephens begged for his life.  Pierce had been almost gleeful. 

 

In the time she had been there, she had been questioned repeatedly by Pierce, and when he was not satisfied with her answers, he had used drugs and then pain.  She was scared for the first time in her life and she wondered if she would ever leave alive.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

TBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




BOOK 7 - THE INTRUSION OF SHADES
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