BOOK 7 THE INTRUSION OF SHADES
(THE CLANDESTINED DISCLOSED)

 

 

 

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

 

 

PART 4

 

 

 

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

 

 

(Wednesday, February 2nd, 2000)

(Bitter Lake, NM)

 

Everett Hubble turned on his computer to retrieve his messages.  He had been in Ohio the last week, chasing down a lead that had turned out to be another hoax. 

 

He logged on to the computer and started the program he had designed.  It searched all internet news sources for certain words and phrases he had entered into it; alien, glowing handprint, UFO, FBI and military, among others.

 

The search was much easier with the help of computers than it had been in the past.  He remembered searching through stacks of newspapers for the slightest clue, often finding evidence of the alien days or weeks after it had left an area.  It had been frustrating for Hubble being so close so many times, but as the technology got better the closer he got.

 

With the help of the computer he received many hits each day and had to sort through all of the junk, looking for the real stories.  For a several years after his wife's death, he had tracked many reports of UFO sightings where mysterious deaths occurred and often the corpse had the telltale silver handprint. 

 

Hubble had acquired a large file about the shape shifter's activities and movements since the 1960s.  The alien had moved around a lot and had killed anyone who had gotten in his way, anyone who had gotten too close to him.  He had left bodies all over the southwest, obviously not concerned about being caught.  But in the last ten years the sightings and the trail of bodies had almost come to a stop.

 

Then Hubble had discovered a pattern of mysterious disappearances in military personnel and federal employees.  They were always single or divorced men who lived alone and usually no bodies were found.  The employee would simply disappear without a trace, leaving all personal belongings behind.  Occasionally the co-workers would report instances of strange behavior before the disappearance and the government's official pronouncement would usually be suspected suicide. 

 

The reason that the disappearances had attracted Hubble's attention in the first place was the one time a body was discovered.  There had been no official cause of death but the autopsy had mentioned the presence of a silver handprint.

 

Then just over five years ago, an FBI agent returned from a vacation and discovered while he had been away, someone who had looked identical to him, had not only been living in his house but had been going to work in his place. 

 

The government suspected espionage but Hubble had known the truth immediately.  The shape shifter had taken the FBI agent's place and it was probably just his good luck he’d been out of town or he would have been killed and replaced.

 

After that, Hubble had started checking back issues of papers and military records and had found half a dozen instances of mysterious disappearances since 1991.  And in the time since then, Hubble had found at least half a dozen more.

 

A beep from the computer drew his attention as the hits were displayed on his screen.  He hadn't checked in for over a week and the list was enormous.  Quickly scanning down the list, a word jumped out at him.  He pulled up the article and noted the date with a curse.  There had been a credible sighting in Roswell just last week and he had missed it.

 

He quickly tossed his belongings back into his bag.  He had to get to Roswell.  Maybe he would finally catch up to the alien he had been chasing for nearly thirty years.

 

 

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

 

 

(Thursday, February 3rd, 2000)

 

Sodan sat at a table outside the Crashdown Cafe waiting for Max and the others.  Along with their names, he had also discovered this was their regular hangout.  He shifted the small camera he carried to get some photos of the three for Alyssa to study. 

 

Sodan had been searching the southwest for the last ten years; checking schools, orphanages and foster agencies for any sign of Zan and the others.  Of course the job had been made more difficult because he had not been sure of what the children would look like.  He remembered the vague pictures Cuerena had put into the book.  They were her estimations of what the Royal Four would look like as children and young adults and they were all he had to go on. 

 

Alyssa looked somewhat like he remembered her image in the book, but there were differences and he was sure the others would be different as well.  He had been forced to carefully study each face he encountered over the years, to determine if there were any similarities to the images.  The only thing he had been sure of was their ages.

 

Sodan's attention was drawn to the Jeep that was just parking in front of the Crashdown.  He covertly snapped a couple of pictures as Max, Isabel and Michael emerged from the Jeep and entered the Cafe.  The children did somewhat resemble the images in the book, he had to admit, and he wondered if he would have recognized them if he hadn't seen them in the woods that night.

 

"Can I get you anything else?" asked the small brown-haired waitress, who served him.

 

"No," he said with a smile as he glanced at her name badge.  "I’m just finishing, Liz."  He handed her a few dollars, including a healthy tip.

 

"You're getting to be quite a regular," Liz said.  "Are you here on business?"

 

"Yeah, but it may be finished sooner than I thought."

 

He headed toward his car but stopped when a flyer on a telephone pole caught his attention. 

 

 

 

10th Annual UFO Convention in Roswell

February 4th - 6th

 

 

 

Sodan smiled, the irony appealing to his sense of humor, an alien attending a UFO convention. 

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - The UFO Convention)

(Friday, February 4th, 2000)

(Crashdown Cafe)

(10th Annual Roswell UFO Convention - Day 1)

 

The annual UFO Convention had always attracted a lot of customers, but this year with a sighting in the area just a week before, it was especially busy.  Liz had been running her legs off since the cafe had opened, helping one strangely dressed customer after another.  Of course she was hardly in a position to laugh, dressed as a waitress in an intergalactic diner, complete with antenna.

 

She hurried to seat four more hungry patrons and took their drink orders, and once again, Liz had the feeling she was being watched.  She had gotten the feeling off and on since they had opened that morning, but even though she had scanned the crowds several times, she hadn't been able to discover the source.

 

Liz returned to a table with the customers' order.  "Okay," she said, as she placed the plates on the table, "I have one Green Eggs with Moon Rock Hash and one convention special.  Can I get you guys anything else?"

 

One of the men turned to her, "I am Zinaplox from the planet Zedagon.  I come to destroy humanity and return to my home planet."

 

Liz smiled.  It was only about the fiftieth time today she had heard that line.  "Well then, it's really great that you're starting out with a nice hearty breakfast."

 

 

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

 

 

Sodan rolled his eyes, having overheard the conversation between the customers and the waitress, Liz.  Every UFO nut in the country must be here. 

 

He immediately decided to take a few days off from gathering information. It was useless trying to get anything done in this circus atmosphere. He should get the pictures he had taken of Max and the others developed, and he needed to do some research for a new cover identity for himself and Alyssa. Those tasks should keep him occupied until the convention was over and then he could get the rest of the information he needed.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - The UFO Convention)

(Saturday, February 5th, 2000)

(Roswell UFO Museum)

(10th Annual Roswell UFO Convention - Day 2)

 

Hubble took a seat in the back of the auditorium where the panel discussion was taking place.  It was obvious Jimmy Valenti knew more about this sighting than he was telling.  Hubble didn't know how to get the Sheriff to trust him but he had to get the information out of him somehow. 

 

As he sat listening to the eyewitness accounts, he looked around the room dismissing the fools surrounding him.  They were all tied up in their sweet alien fantasies with Captain Kirk and Luke Skywalker.  They wouldn't want to hear the story he had to tell them. 

 

The voices and the room faded into the background as he was instantly pulled back to the day when his wife had died.  He could see her lying on the ground, the shimmering handprint pressed into her chest, mocking him.  He knelt down beside her, gently touching her hair, not wanting to believe she was gone but knowing it instinctively.

 

Hubble was jolted back to the present as Jonathon Frakes introduced a new 'witness.'  "Our next direct contact witness is a Lawrence Trilling."

 

 Hubble had vowed he would find the alien who killed his wife, and when he did, he would make him pay.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - The UFO Convention)

(Sunday, February 6th, 2000)

(Roswell UFO Museum)

(10th Annual Roswell UFO Convention - Day 3)

 

Michael watched as Max left with the alien hunter, Hubble.  He turned to Larry who was standing nearby.  "Hey, what the hell's going on?  What's that guy doing with Max?"

 

"I don't know," Larry said.

 

Michael was not satisfied with his answer and grabbed the smaller man, slamming him into a display.  "Tell me what he's doing with Max!"

 

"All right," Larry capitulated.  "He came up to me after the panel discussion, all right?  He asked me questions about Max.  You know, what he did the day of the shooting?"

 

A feeling of dread raced through Michael. Max was walking into a trap. He shoved Larry again. "What did you tell him?"

 

"I told him I thought Max was an alien."

 

"Where are they going?"

 

Larry shook his head, "I don't know."

 

"That guy is a nut.  He could kill Max," Michael said, trying to get through to him.

 

"I really don't know where they went," Larry said with a shrug, "but I heard Milton tell Max to get Hubble to agree to do the panel.  Maybe they went to get his files or something."

 

Michael looked at him carefully and knew he was telling the truth. He turned away from Larry and his eyes jumped around the room as he tried to come up with a plan. He had to get to Max. He had to find a car. He swung back to Larry, "You got a car?"

 

Larry hesitated a moment and then reached into his pocket and handed Michael the keys.  "A old green Chevy van," he motioned with his thumb.  "It's parked around the side."

 

Michael ran out the door he had seen Max exit.  The Jeep had been parked right by the door but now it was gone.  He looked both directions down the street but the Jeep was nowhere in sight.  He approached two girls who were leaning against the building, smoking.  "There were two guys, one older, one younger.  They drove away in an old Jeep.  Did you see them?"

 

The girls both nodded and one spoke up, "That younger guy was fine."

 

Michael smiled.  Leave it to Max to attract every girl in the area.  "Did you see which way they went?"

 

"Yeah," the girl said, pointing south, "that way."

 

"Thanks," Michael said as he turned to Larry's van.  He drove as quickly as he could, carefully scanning the area as he went.  The van started to shake whenever he accelerated above forty-five but he pushed it to the limit, praying it would hold together. 

 

The sky started to darken as he continued and he wondered if he had missed them somewhere along the road but he decided to keep going for a few more minutes.  Suddenly he saw the distinctive glow of a Jeep's headlights parked in the lot of an out-of-business cafe.  Immediately he shut off his own headlights and engine, and coasted to the side of the road. 

 

As quietly as he could Michael crept forward, the bushes hiding his approach.  He could hear Hubble's voice before he saw them. 

 

"Valenti told me about the healing, about the handprint.  Just like Shelia."

 

"I am not him," Max answered.  "Whoever you think I am, I swear I'm not him."

 

Michael inched forward, trying not to give himself away.  This was not good, he thought to himself, not good at all.  How were they going to deal with this guy?  He knew their secret but he was obviously a nut.   Maybe they could use that to their advantage.  Maybe no one would believe him.

 

Right now it was more important to get Max away from him.  For that matter, Michael wondered, why was Max even listening to this guy?  Max probably thought he could talk the guy out of it. 

 

Hubble continued, obviously not convinced by what Max had told him.  "I know who you are, what you're capable of, and I won't let you kill again."

 

Michael shrugged.  If he could get close enough, he could take the guy out and then they could figure out what to do.  He came to the end of the bushes and looked around the edge.  The first thing he saw was the gun pointed at Max.  No wonder Max hadn't left, was the only thought that flashed through Michael's head before he leapt from the bushes to save his friend.  "Hey!"

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Blind Date)

(Monday, February 14th, 2000)

(Roswell Library)

 

Sodan watched as Michael and Isabel used their powers to erase all evidence of the fire they had started.  They were still looking for him but this time Max was not with them.  Sodan had noticed Max looking at the waitress Liz in the Crashdown Cafe.  Maybe Max was not as interested in his heritage as he should be.

 

Michael and Isabel climbed into the Jeep and Sodan waited until they had disappeared down the street before he emerged from his hiding place.  With a smile, he waved his hand over the ground re-igniting the fire.  He had gathered all of the information he needed.   

 

Sodan reached into his pocket, took out a photo and dropped it into the flames.  It was almost time for the reunion.

 

 

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

 

(Episode - Independence Day)

(Tuesday, February 15th, 2000)

 

Liz was trying to explain to Maria about what had happened with Max on the night of her blind date, but Maria just wasn't understanding her.  When she had kissed Max on the stage at the blind date party, the feelings that had raced through her were unlike anything she had ever experienced.  Since she had not been able to talk about it with Max, she wanted to share them with her best friend.

 

"I don't even know how to explain it, Maria, but listen.  Are you listening to me?"

 

"I'm listening," Maria assured her.

 

"When Max kissed me, it was like, I don't know," Liz trailed off, remembering the experience.  When they had kissed, it had been like she was connected to Max and with his help she could feel through new senses that she had not possessed before.  She paused wondering how much she should reveal to Maria.  "Okay, it was like I saw things, all right?  I could like, feel the universe."

 

 

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

 

 

(Carlsbad, NM)

 

Sodan entered the apartment carrying the box of photos and files he had gathered in Roswell, and Alyssa rushed to meet him.

 

She bounced around him excitedly.  "When do we leave?"

 

I have found the perfect new cover identities for us, " Sodan said, ignoring her question.  "A military consultant and his daughter who are scheduled to move to Roswell."

 

"Great," Alyssa said, as she started to leave the room.  "I'll start packing and..."

 

"Wait," Sodan said, stopping her.  "They are not scheduled to arrive in Roswell until the first week in April.  In the mean time," he said, pointing to the box, "you can learn everything you need to know about Max Evans, and you still need to work on your memory retrieval techniques.  You should be able to remember much more about your other life."

 

Alyssa shrugged, secretly annoyed about her lack of progress too.  "I remember things."

 

"But not enough,” Sodan said.  “We have worked on recovering your memory for ten years, and you only remember vague images and feelings."

 

"I remember living in the palace and I remember Zan," she said defensively.  "I remember loving him."

 

Sodan sighed, "Well you have a couple of more months to rediscover all you can."

 

Alyssa sat down with a huff.  "I don't want to wait that long.  Can't you just get into the computer and speed things up, you know change the dates?"

 

Sodan shook his head, "We need to be careful.  We don't want to risk raising any suspicions."

 

"What about the real consultant?" she asked petulantly.  "Um, what's his name?"

 

"Ed Harding and his daughter Tess."

 

"Well what about Ed and Tess Harding?  Won't their suspicions be raised when we show up?"

 

"No," Sodan said confidently.  "I will, reassign them."

 

 

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

 

 

When a week had passed since Kaldar had sent the signal and he had not seen Sodan, Kaldar started to worry.  He had returned to the cave outside the reservation but he had not discovered any sign that the other shape shifter had returned. 

 

When another week passed and Kaldar had still not seen Sodan, he started to discretely follow his master.  Kaldar reasoned that when Sodan contacted the children, he would be near-by to witness the reunion.  And if Sodan did not return Kaldar would know their location so he could send another signal.

 

 

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

 

 

Michael walked into the trailer, noting that Hank was drunk, and quickly ducked into his room to avoid a confrontation.  He collapsed onto his bed but Hank followed him, looking for a fight.  "I told you to do the wash," Hank ordered.

 

"I'll do it later," Michael said dismissively.

 

Hank came further into the room, standing over the bed threateningly,  "Today."

 

"I'm not your maid, "Michael snapped."

 

"Oh, you're right. You're good for nothing. Do the wash now."

 

"Go to hell, Hank," Michael said as he left the room.

 

But Hank was warming to his topic and followed him, "No wonder your parents left you out in the desert. Who'd want ya?"

 

"Who are you, father of the year?" Michael sneered.  "You're a man who keeps me around just to collect the monthly check!"

 

Max and Isabel stopped the Jeep in front of the trailer and heard raised voices from inside.  Worried for Michael's safety, Max burst into the trailer followed closely by Isabel.

 

Michael was surprised to see them.  "What are you guys doing here?"

 

Isabel eyed Hank suspiciously.  "We heard some yelling."

 

"What's going on?" Max asked.

 

"Just get out, all right?" Michael said, not wanting them to get involved.

 

Hank looked Isabel up and down, "Well hello dolly."

 

Michael came to her defense, "Shut up, Hank."

 

Hank ignored him.  "Wanna have a drink with me?"

 

Michael stepped closer to Isabel, "She doesn't want a drink."

 

Hank's gaze turned toward Michael, "Who the hell are you, her lawyer?"

 

Michael tried to calm the situation, not wanting Max and Isabel to see Hank at his worst.  "Leave her alone, Hank, all right?"

 

But Hank, fueled by the alcohol was eager to fight.  "I asked her a question. I'm waiting for her answer."

 

"Here's your answer," Isabel answered sweetly.  She took the drink that he offered and threw it at him.  "If you ever touch Michael again, I will kill you!

 

Hank was enraged, grabbed his gun and pointed it at Max and Isabel.  "You're gonna kill me? I don't think so!"

 

Max raised his hands and tried to calm the irrational man, "Just take it easy. We're going."

 

Michael stepped between Hank, Max and Isabel, raised his hand and unleashed his untamed power toward Hank.  For a moment, a chair wobbled and then slid across the floor and slammed into a wall, shattering it to pieces. The refrigerator doors opened and closed, the lights dimmed and brightened and a wind swirled loose papers around the room. Hank's gun started to shake, jerkily pointed away from the three and discharged.

 

Hank was stunned by what had happened.  "What the hell?" he yelled, fear making him more angry.  "Oh, you little bastard.  You're a freak.  I always knew it.  You're a freak!"

 

Max turned toward the door.  "Michael, let's go."

 

Isabel grabbed Michael by the arm, "Michael, we have to go. Now!  Michael!"

 

 

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

 

 

Kaldar had watched Max and Isabel go into the trailer where his master lived.  He had heard the escalating voices of his master and the human, and was on the verge of interfering when they had arrived.  Surely the three of them could handle one drunken human.

 

Kaldar listened carefully for a moment, but he could not hear any sounds coming from inside.  Suddenly the lights started to flicker and then a gun discharged. 

 

Kaldar ran for the door but it opened and the three children emerged.  His eyes flicked over them, checking for injuries and he sagged with relief when they all appeared to be okay.

 

He was close enough to hear their conversation, noting that his master was very angry.

 

"Congratulations,” Michael yelled, “you made it worse.  Now he knows."

 

Isabel tried to reassure him, "Michael, Hank was so drunk, he's not gonna know what he saw and he sure as hell isn't gonna remember it in the morning."

 

Michael shook his head, "Isabel, I can't go back there."

 

Kaldar stepped back into the shadows.  The human knew what they were and he couldn't be allowed to expose them.  Kaldar watched as his master walked away, and Max and Isabel drove off.  He knew what he had to do.  He would simply wait until the three were safely gone and then he would eliminate the threat.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Independence Day)

(Wednesday, February 16th, 2000)

(Liz’s Balcony)

 

Liz adjusted her telescope, bringing the stars in Orion into focus.  Sometimes it was easier to put things in perspective when she looked into the vastness of space.  It had upset her terribly when she had learned what had been happening to Michael.  How could one person treat another so badly?

 

She looked through the lens without seeing the stars that were reflected, her thoughts automatically turning to Max.  This situation must be hurting him terribly.  She knew he would feel responsible because he hadn't noticed anything wrong with Michael.

 

She was so deep in thought that the knock startled her, and suddenly Max was there as if her thoughts had conjured him.

 

"Liz, I'm sorry," he apologized for startling her, and also for coming to her with his problems, but she was the only one he had wanted to talk to.  "I..."

 

"No," Liz assured him.  "It's okay."  She was glad that he still felt so close to her, still cherished their friendship.

 

"I know we've been needing to talk," Max said.

 

Liz shook her head, "Yeah, there's, there's some more important things to talk about though.  I heard about Michael.  Are you okay?"

 

"Not really," Max admitted.  "I've just never seen him so upset.  I have this weird feeling that he's just gonna leave without even saying goodbye."

 

"You know, maybe," Liz said, not really sure what motivated Michael, but she did know Max and Isabel had always been important to him.  "Because if he did, he wouldn't be able to go through with it."

 

"I can't lose him."

 

The pain in Max's voice almost broke her heart and Liz would have done anything to make his pain go away but she didn't know how to make this better.

 

 

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

 

 

Kaldar watched from outside the trailer with a sense of panic as Michael packed up his stuff.  He had just found him after all of these years and now he was going to lose him again.  He couldn't let it happen.

 

Suddenly he saw Max coming and sighed with relief.  Max was in charge.  He wouldn't let Michael leave. 

 

But as Kaldar listened to their conversation, he realized Max was not going to stop Michael from leaving.  Max asked Michael not to leave but he didn’t order him to stay.

 

Kaldar watched as Max left, trying to decide what to do.  And as Michael walked out the door and toward the road, Kaldar made a decision.  He would use his powers to try to get Michael to change his mind about leaving, and if that failed Kaldar would go with him.

 

Staying out of sight, Kaldar ran to his truck and drove quickly until he reached the main highway, where Michael had gone.  Then he pulled over and offered his master a ride. 

 

After they had been driving for a moment he started using his empathy to make Michael feel homesick, as he reinforced it with his words.  "What a joke."

 

"Huh?" asked Michael, confused by the sudden conversation.

 

"Roswell,” Kaldar continued.  “Wouldn't bother, but it's on my southwest route.  Sell a lot of soda in these tourist towns."

 

"Yeah, right."

 

Kaldar could tell Michael wasn’t impressed but he continued and used another burst of power designed to make his master feel the warmth of home.  "I don't know why in the hell they come here," he said wryly.  "Aliens, I guess."

 

He watched out of the corner of his eye as Michael opened the package Max had given him.  Obviously his powers were working already.

 

"Ain't no aliens in that town.”  Kaldar continued with a smile, and sent Michael another wave of homesickness.  “Let me ask you something.  If you were an alien, you can go anywhere in the world, would you pick Roswell?"  He paused for emphasis.  "Trust me, there ain't nothing in that town."

 

They drove for another few miles before Michael asked him to stop the truck. 

 

"What's the matter kid?" Kaldar asked, feeling the loneliness pouring off his master in waves.

 

"I just forgot something, that's all," Michael said, getting out.

 

Kaldar pulled the truck back onto the road and continued in the direction he had been driving.  He watched in the rear-view mirror as Michael crossed the road and started walking in the other direction.  Back to Roswell.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Independence Day)

(Friday, February 18th, 2000)

 

Philip Evans had been able to rush through the paperwork to get Michael emancipated when it became known his foster father had beaten and abandoned him.  It was also to his advantage that Judge Lewis was an old friend of Philip's. 

 

The judge had interviewed Max and Isabel about their friend and talked to Michael about his plans for his future.  After only a few minutes of deliberation he had determined it would be in Michael's best interest to be declared an adult to be responsible for his own life.

 

 

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

 

 

Kaldar rammed the shovel down into the soft earth, manually excavating a hole that would have taken only seconds to dig with his powers.  He had needed to use his powers many times in the last few days and it had exhausted him.  He had been forced to wait a couple of days after eliminating Michael's foster father to gather his strength. 

 

Then he had taken on Hank's appearance and driven Hank's car to the Sheriff's station to explain to the Sheriff that he was leaving town, so Michael would not be blamed for Hank's disappearance.  The Sheriff had easily accepted his story and was even glad to see him leave. 

 

Kaldar threw a last shovelful of dirt behind him and finally climbed out of the hole, satisfied it was deep enough.  Normally he would have used his powers to dispose of Hank’s body, but organic tissue was difficult to manipulate and it would have completely drained him.

 

He returned to the car to retrieve the body, which he dumped unceremoniously into the pit.  Good riddance, he thought as he quickly covered the dead man with soil.  He expended a little of his precious power to return the ground to its pristine condition and climbed into the car and sank into the seat, his breath coming in gasps from the exertion. 

 

He waited a moment to catch his breath and shifted back into the guise of the drifter he had recently adopted.  He popped a handful of Tic Tacs into his mouth trying to ease the pain in his head, then he put the car in gear and drove into the desert to dispose of the vehicle.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Sexual Healing)

(Sunday, February 20th, 2000)

(Beneath the Sand - Near the Pod Chamber)

 

Venus reached the correct position in the sky and the programming of the orb whirred to life, activating the back-up signal to trigger the Royal Four's mating instinct.  The signal was carried on a frequency that could not be heard by human ears but was capable of traveling a great distance.  When the signal reached the intended recipients it would send their hormones into over-dive giving them the overwhelming urge to couple.

 

 

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

 

 

It's February 20th.

 

I'm Liz Parker, and lately I've been having these feelings, like I'm changing inside, and part of me doesn't want to change.  Part of me always wants to be my mom's little girl, but the thing is, these feelings are strong, dangerous, undeniable.  It's like I have no choice.  It's like, chemical.

 

 

 

Liz laid the pen Max had given her aside as she reread the words she had written in her journal.  She didn't quite know how to explain what had been happening to her in the last week but something was different.  It was as if something inside her was changing, coming alive, evolving, and not only was it changing her body but her mind and soul too. 

 

The feelings she had been experiencing were like nothing she had known before and more and more often her thoughts were directed to Max.  She had caught herself daydreaming about him with alarming regularity and although the situation and events in the dreams changed from day to day, the subject of her fantasies was always the same; Max.   

 

 

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

 

 

Since he had awoken that morning, Max had not been able to stop thinking of Liz.  He had been the one to end their relationship, but many times since then he had wondered if he had done the right thing.  The urge to go to Liz and beg her to take him back had been growing for weeks, but today it had been almost overwhelming.  He had argued with himself for days about the reasons why he should stay away from her, but more and more he could picture himself being with her, living his life with her, and as the day continued the reasons for staying away from her seemed to fade into the back of his mind.

 

As the sun set, he walked toward the Crashdown having made up his mind to win Liz back.  He could see her through the window sitting at the counter, staring into space, her mind obviously not on her job. 

 

Max stopped just outside the door, hit by the overwhelming impression that he was the focus of Liz's thoughts.  It was like he could feel what she was feeling, just for a moment, and then the sensation was gone.  He watched as Maria interrupted Liz, who sent a bowl of strawberries tumbling onto the floor.

 

Max pushed open the door, walked over and bent down to help pick up the spilled fruit.  "Hey," he said softly.

 

"Hey," Liz greeted him with a smile of genuine welcome.

 

Except for the night of the blinde date, that he barely remembered, it was the first time Max had been this close to Liz in weeks, and he was having a hard time keeping his thoughts under control.  He mumbled the first thing that came into his mind, "I hope this isn't my fault."

 

"Why would this be your fault?" Liz asked, obviously more in control of her emotions than he was.

 

"If I startled you," he said dumbly.

 

Liz smiled, "No.  You know, I always knock over strawberries this time of day.  Always.  I'm just gonna go get more berries."

 

She turned to go into the kitchen but Max didn't want the encounter to end yet.  "Well, wait,” he called, causing her to stop and turn back to him.  He held out a berry.  “Here's another one."

 

She accepted the berry and turned away again. 

 

Max watched as Liz retreated from him, but he couldn't seem to take his eyes off of her, and followed her to the door leading into the back.

 

Liz noted his presence with amusement and called over her shoulder, "What are you doing here, Max?"

 

Max slipped easily into flirtatious banter, "Well, I have orders from my planet to take over the Earth."

 

"Besides that," Liz countered.

 

Max sobered immediately.  "I want to make sure we can still be friends."  

 

Liz crossed to the other end of the room and suddenly she was too far away from him.  Max slowly stepped into the room, closing the distance between them.

 

"Yeah," Liz said, "I mean, we are.

 

"Good," he said, his eyes never leaving her.

 

"Why wouldn't we be?" she asked casually.

 

Liz was moving around the room as she was talking to him and it was driving him crazy.  She would get close to him and then retreat.  Her actions were arousing an instinct in him to stalk and capture and the feeling was only reinforced by their banter.  Max moved closer to her, stopping within inches.  "We really haven't been able to talk since, that night," he said, referring to her blind date.   

 

"Max, people do a lot of dumb things when they're drunk," Liz said, dismissing his behavior as she turned to face him.  She leaned in intimately, like she was sharing a secret, "Anyway, I understand."

 

Liz had missed the flirtation with Max, but now she wanted more.  She wanted Max to crave her like she craved him and she possessed an overwhelming urge to temp him into action.  Something within her was prompting her to act more outrageous, more brazen than she had ever imagined she could be; an instinct she didn't know she possessed dictating her actions. 

 

Liz held Max's eyes from just inches away and stole a glance at his lips.  Then she let her body brush his as she moved past him, and put an extra sway into her hips, knowing his total attention was focused on her.

 

Max thought Liz was going to kiss him and he leaned closer to her, but when she turned aside and brushed past him, he'd had to settle for inhaling the intoxicating scent of her hair.  He watched her walk to the refrigerator to get more strawberries.  She had her back to him, ignoring him, dismissing him, and he wanted her full attention.  He stepped closer to her again, "And we're friends?" 

 

Liz looked over her shoulder and smiled.  "Yeah.  We're friends," she answered briefly, and then turned her attention back to her job.

 

"Just friends?" he asked, feeling more than a little annoyed that she was still ignoring him.

 

Liz took the cartons of strawberries and headed for the counter.  She brushed past Max and glanced over her shoulder at him.  "Yeah," she agreed, "we're just friends." 

 

She turned away from him to put the cartons on the table, and he leaned in closer just intending to inhale her sweet scent again, but her flirtatious behavior had escalated his craving for her and he wasn't satisfied with just being near her.  He grabbed her arm and spun her around, pulling her to him and devouring her lips.  Something within him registered Liz's initial surprise but when her arms wrapped around his neck and she melted into him, all coherent thought was erased from his mind. 

 

As Liz became caught up in the sensations of being with Max again she unconsciously opened herself to him.  She wasn't aware their minds and souls were straining to become one and as the kiss deepened, their emotions took over and the connection between them slid into place.  It felt so right, so natural that Liz didn't realize what had happened and she was completely surprised by the deluge of images. 

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Sexual Healing)

(Monday, February 21st, 2000)

(Washington, DC)

 

Pierce glanced at the latest report about the Roswell subject, Max Evans.  Since Topolsky had left Roswell, the information coming to him had been very sketchy, but one sentence from the report caught his attention.

 

 

 

Subject Michael Guerin has become an emancipated minor and is moving into an apartment.

 

 

 

Pierce called Agent Marley who was handling the surveillance.  "Michael Guerin is getting an apartment.  This is a perfect opportunity.  Get in there today, when he’s at school, and set up a camera."

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Sexual Healing)

(Tuesday, February 22, 2000)

 

Song Playing: Love and Pride by Paul King

 

Max stopped the Jeep in front of Michael's apartment building.  All day he had been torn about the visions Liz was having.  On one hand, he was curious about what they might discover, but he was worried about the method they had to use to extract the visions.  He loved Liz and he wanted to be with her; that was not the problem.  The problem was, he didn't want to use her, and he certainly didn't want her to feel like she was being used.

 

He shook his head as he exited the Jeep and walked toward Michael's door, already having made up his mind.  He had asked Liz to meet him at Michael's apartment but he wouldn't use Liz to gather information.  She was just too important to him, and when she got there he would tell her.

 

Now all he had to do was tell Michael and Isabel, he and Liz wouldn’t be continuing.  Max knew they were counting on he and Liz to get more information, but they would just have to be disappointed. 

 

He pushed Michael's door open, "Uh, listen, Liz is on her way over."

 

A look passed between Michael and Isabel.  "Okay, we'll leave."

 

Max felt disgusted with the whole situation.  "You guys don't have to leave."

 

"Go for it, Maxwell, for the good of all mankind, you lucky, undeserving dog," Michael said, as he grabbed his jacket and clapped Max on the arm.

 

Max's response to Michael's words was automatic, "Michael, that's not what this is about for me."

 

Michael discounted Max's protests.  "Don't make me beg you to do what you and Liz obviously want to do anyways.  I really don't see a problem with it."

 

Max's anger increased.  "The problem is treating someone I care about like a thing.  To be used."

 

Michael took Max's words as an accusation and was instantly angry.  "What, and that's what I'm about?  Is that what you're saying?"

 

"The words are coming from your mouth, Michael," Max countered.

 

Isabel stepped between, worried that the argument was escalating too quickly.  "Okay, you guys, stop.  Enough."

 

Michael sighed, releasing his anger.  "Listen Maxwell, you are a sensitive guy.  And you have available to you one of the top three seduction lines in history, with 'it's gonna help me find my home planet' and you're refusing to use it.  No guy is that sensitive.  Use it."

 

Isabel turned off the lights and snapped her fingers, lighting the candles she had placed strategically around the room. 

 

Michael nodded, appreciating her work, "Nice."

 

"Umm," Isabel agreed

 

Michael opened the door and Liz walked in, but stopped when she saw the others. 

 

Isabel smiled, "Hi."

 

Liz gave her a brief smile, "Hi."

 

"How's it going?" Michael asked.

 

"Strange," Liz said honestly.

 

"I'll bet," Isabel said, suddenly realizing what was happening to Liz.

 

Liz looked down, obviously embarrassed.

 

Michael broke the tension, "All right.  We're leaving now."  He turned back to Max, motioning over Liz's head, "But I got some Chaka Khan cued up in the CD player..."

 

Isabel grabbed him, cutting him off.  "Yeah, okay.  Bye."

 

Liz waited until the door closed behind her to speak to Max.  "So, you told 'em, huh?"

 

"Yeah," Max said, feeling more guilty that he'd had to reveal what had happened between them.

 

"And now everyone's just sort of cheering you on, like at a football game."

 

"No.  No, it's not like that," he instantly denied, but he knew she had picked up on the undercurrents.  "I mean, yes, they want us to keep going so we can find out where all this leads.  But, that's not..."

 

"Max," Liz cut him off, "I need to find out where all this leads, too."  She pulled the collar of her shirt away from her neck to reveal the rash where the glowing hickey had previously been.  "Look."

 

Max was shocked by the appearance of the rash.  He had been afraid that there could be consequences if he got involved with Liz and he wouldn't know what to do.  But he reached out and covered the mark with his hand, instantly forming a connection and pushing his healing power into her to restore her smooth, soft skin.  After a moment he lifted his hand, "It's gone."

 

"Thanks," Liz said, moving closer, completely open, drawn to him in a way she didn't understand.

 

Acting purely on instinct, Max brushed his hand down Liz's arm, and somehow he was not surprised by the soft, golden glow that emanated from her skin.

 

Liz followed his gaze to the glow.  It seemed so natural and unalarmed she asked him, "Max, do you understand any of this?"

 

"No," Max admitted.  He was afraid that he might harm Liz in some way and hesitated. 

 

But Liz's curiosity pushed her to proceed, "Can you take your shirt off?"

 

Liz's question took him by surprise.  "Can I…?  Yeah," he nodded, quickly shedding his jacket.  Then he watched in surprise as Liz started to unbutton his shirt and pushed it down his arms.

 

Liz brushed her hand across his chest but was disappointed when no glow followed.  "I can't do it to you."

 

Max hurried to reassure her, "I'm glowing everywhere; my toes, my heart.  You can't see it.  It's on the inside."  He had promised himself they wouldn't continue the search, but being this close to her pushed all thoughts of anything but Liz out of his head, and he leaned in to kiss her.

 

Liz turned her head away.  "No, Max.  We can't do this."

 

"I know," Max agreed, as he took her head in his hands.

 

Liz shook her head, "You know, could I, uh...  Could I get sick?"

 

"I don't know anything," Max admitted.  "I don't even know who I am."  He was so intoxicated by her presence that he could barely think and inhaled the fresh scent of her hair. 

 

Liz felt like she was drowning in the emotions swirling around them.  It felt so right being in Max's arms, and every instinct she possessed told her everything would be okay.  The rational part of her brain had not shut down completely but it was fading quickly, and she was having a hard time focusing on anything but Max.  "You know, the... the mark went away because... because you touched it." 

 

Suddenly she was too far away from Max, and wrapped her arms around him, trying to continue her thought.  "Maybe... maybe it came because we were away for... too long.  That sounds really crazy, but... it could be a complete disaster."

 

Max reigned in his raging hormones, prepared to stop if Liz asked him.  "I can't ask you to do anything that might hurt you in any way."

 

"I know," Liz said.

 

Max continued, "And I have no idea what that is, and what's right, or wrong."

 

"I know," Liz said, trying to stay rational.  "I mean, and you know things," she faltered as Max kissed her neck but struggled to continue, "about me that you, um, that you shouldn't know.  And my mother...  My mother, who I love, is just gonna kill me,"

 

Max stopped her words with their first real kiss and it pushed them both over the edge. 

 

"...if I don't die from this," Liz said.

 

"You're right," Max said with a smile, as he attempted to kiss her again.

 

"But I can't stop," Liz gasped.

 

It was the thing Max had been waiting for, her permission, and when she said the words, he pulled her to him in a searing kiss.

 

 

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

 

 

(Later that night)

(Near the Pod Chamber)

 

Max and Liz dug furiously, both of them feeling the urgency to retrieve the object burried under the sand.

 

 

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

 

 

The orb sensed that it had been uncovered and its light sensor cleared, and it activated an indication light, sending a bright shaft of blue-white light into the night sky.

 

 

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

 

 

Song Playing: Breathe by Faith Hill

 

Liz and Max settled down onto the blanket and into each other’s arms, and Max turned over the orb they had found, examining it from all angles.

 

“I wonder if your people will come to investigate?” Liz asked.

 

Max shook his head, “I don’t know?”  He took Liz’s hand in his, “Are you sure you want to wait?  What if someone does come?  Are you scared?”

 

“No,” Liz said, looking up into Max’s face.  “I’m with you.  I know you’d never let anything happen to me.”

 

Max took Liz’s face in his hands and their lips met in a gentle kiss.  He had sensed her hesitation earlier to take their physical relationship to the next level and he would never push her.  So he simply enfolded her in his arms and placed a chaste kiss on the top of her head.

 

Liz sighed and snuggled into Max’s chest, reveling in the feeling of simply being together.  All she could hear was his soft breath and the sounds of their two hearts beating.

 

 

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

 

 

Kaldar was just settling in for the night, when a bright shaft of light caught his attention.  The light appeared to originate from the just over the rocks that housed the Pod Chamber, and Kaldar's first thought was that Sodan had returned and was sending him a signal.

 

He pulled himself out of his abode but collapsed onto the desert floor when his legs buckled under him.  He had expended a lot of energy over the last few days and he had not yet recovered.  He waited a few minutes and then tried to stand again, using a near-by rock to steady himself.

 

When he succeeded in getting to his feet, he carefully made his way to the area where he had seen the light.  Even though it was less than a mile away it took him over an hour to get there.  Kaldar carefully looked around, trying to spot Sodan, but the other shape shifter was not there.  Instead, he saw Max and a girl he didn't recognize lying together on a blanket, asleep, next to the old radio tower where he had buried the orb.  He crept nearer, trying to get a closer look, and then he saw the orb lying next to them. 

 

Kaldar shook his head in wonder.  He couldn't understand how they had found it.  He had buried the orb and told no one where it was.   How had Max found it?  He hadn't even emerged from his pod when the orb had been buried.

 

Kaldar studied the girl that Max had wrapped in his arms.  She looked somewhat familiar but he couldn’t quite place her.  Could this be Ava? he wondered.  Maybe Sodan had found the others after all and Ava had been reunited with them.  But if she was Ava, Kaldar asked himself, where was Sodan?  He should be here keeping watch over them.

 

Sinking the ground, Kaldar popped a few Tic Tacs into his mouth as the possibilities swirled through mind.  He had an impression the girl had something to do with finding the orb.  She had somehow led Max to it. 

 

Kaldar let his eyes roam over the girl, memorizing her face and once again noting Max's arm draped protectively over her.  Whoever she was, it was obvious she was important to Max.  Maybe, Kaldar thought, this girl was worth keeping an eye on.

 

 

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

 

 

 

TBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




BOOK 7 - THE INTRUSION OF SHADES
Part 5
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