BOOK 7 Đ THE INTRUSION OF SHADES
(THE CLANDESTINED DISCLOSED)
(Sunday - May 28th, 2000)
Song Playing: Every Time You Go Away by Paul Young
As Max walked he shoved his hands into his pockets and kicked a rock that was in his path, deep in thought. He felt he had no one to talk to and there was so much going on; his new role as the leader, the possibility of being attacked by their enemies, trying to keep the others safe. And his experience in the white room still haunted him, the memories of pain, the fear.
Of course, he thought, that was just what Liz wanted. She thought it would be easier to put their relationship behind them if they weren't in the same town. And if she had stayed, Max admitted he would have continued to pursue her until she had come back to him.
He had left his house that evening to take a walk and relieve some of his nervous energy, and once again he found himself outside the Crashdown. For so many years he had come here just to catch a glimpse of Liz and he still associated it with her, but a quick glance inside was enough for him to see it wasn't the same without her.
Max slumped down into one of the chairs on the sidewalk and ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. Nothing had been the same since Liz had walked away from him that day at the pod chamber. He felt unsure of himself in his newly discovered roll as the leader and there had already been things he wanted to discuss with Liz to hear her opinion. She knew him like no one else and he could tell her things that even Michael and Isabel wouldn't understand.
Liz was his best friend, his confident, his heart and soul, and without her he just felt torn, incomplete. And she had to know that, because she felt the same way about him. She also had to know that no one else could ever take her place in his life, especially Tess. It just wasn't possible.
Max saw Maria through the window of the Crashdown. He knew Liz had made her best friend promise that she wouldn't tell him where she was, and he didn't expect Maria to break her promise. But being with Maria was the only thing that brought him any comfort, it was the next best thing to being with Liz.
Maria saw Max sitting at a table outside and smiled sadly. She knew the separation was hurting both Max and Liz and she wished she could do something for them. She pushed open the door and slid into the chair next to him, "Hey."
Max smiled, "Hey."
Maria sighed. "So, I won't betray my best friend, but I think you and Liz belong together and maybe I can help."
(Tuesday, June 6th, 2000)
(Congresswoman Whitaker's Apartment)
Vanessa had not been able to contact Daniel for over three weeks and she was starting to worry. Sometimes when he got involved in his work he forgot to call, but he had never been out of touch this long. She picked up her phone and dialed his cell phone.
He answered almost immediately, "Pierce."
She was instantly relieved, realizing that she had feared for his life. "Daniel, I have been trying to reach you for weeks. Why didn't you call? Where are you?"
"I am back in Washington," Ed said vaguely. He didn't know who the woman was, but with some careful maneuvering, he might find out. "Sorry, I meant to call, but things in the case were coming to a head."
"Really?Ó Vanessa asked. ŇWhat happened? I thought that maybe you had uncovered an alien conspiracy and they had killed you to stop you from talking."
"No," he chuckled, covering his surprise, "nothing as interesting as that." Obviously Pierce had revealed the details of his investigation to this woman and he would have to convince her it was a hoax or eliminate her too. "The whole thing was just a big wild-goose chase."
Vanessa was stunned. After last talking to Daniel, she had been convinced he had really found the Royal Four. "What do you mean? You were so sure when I last talked to you that Max Evans was an alien. You were going to capture him and run tests to prove it."
Ed winced, hearing Max's name on her lips, but continued as Pierce. "We did, and the tests proved conclusively that he is one-hundred percent human."
"But the information Agent Topolsky had," she stuttered incredulously. "The lights in the sky, the girl who was healed."
"All just rumors, coincidences and hoaxes," he said dismissively, with a laugh.
"So youŐre abandoning the investigation?"
"ThereŐs nothing to investigate."
(Friday, June 23rd, 2000)
(St. Augustine, FL)
Song Playing: Missing by Everything but the Girl
Liz sank down onto the hot sand and crossed her arms over her drawn-up knees. She had been in Florida for over a month but the pain of leaving Max had not lessened. In a way, it was easier to be away from him because she knew if she would have stayed in Roswell, Max would have doggedly pursued her. So she had run away to the farthest place she could find.
She smiled sadly. She was a coward. Instead of staying and facing Max like she should have, she had chosen to let time and distance lessen the pain of their parting. But the joke was on her, because her plan wasn't working. If anything, Max's determination to keep them together made her love him even more.
Liz had left him because she didn't want to stand in the way of his destiny. Max was a King. He came complete with a mission to save his people, and a wife, and that didn't leave a place in his life for her.
She wiped the sudden tears from her eyes as she remembered Max's words from the cave.
Everything I told you before is still true. You mean everything to me.
Max meant everything to her too but instead of being able to revel in his love and return it, she had been forced to turn her back on him for his sake. She knew Max would have been happy having a normal life with her, but Liz couldn't let him settle for that, she loved him too much.
As Liz had listened to his mother's message that day in the cave, Max's own words from another day had also come back to haunt her, and every time she had felt like picking up the phone to call him, she had repeated them until she was strong again.
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. We don't belong together.
Liz had believed that Max was wrong until that day in the cave, and then she knew she was the one that had been wrong. They didn't belong together, they were different. And no matter what sweet words Max had spoken to her, no matter how many times he had begged her to stay, no matter much they loved one another, there were other things at stake.
Song Playing: Hunting High and Low by a-ha
Max threw rock after rock into the murky water of the quarry, trying to release some of the frustration building up inside him.
Michael was becoming more belligerent, pushing him to take some kind of action, but Max didnŐt know any more than they did, and he had no idea about what he should be doing. As far as he was concerned, Michael and Tess were simply grasping at any straw to help ease their confusion.
Michael, Tess and even Isabel seemed to be on some holy alien crusade, practicing their powers and cutting off all contact with humans. It scared Max that they all seemed to be rushing toward some preordained destiny and none of them had any control. He could feel his humanity slipping from him and was desperately trying to hold on to it.
The alien nightmare he was living had driven Liz away from him and he wanted nothing to do with it. He skipped meetings and training sessions that the others planned, and instead concentrated on how to win Liz back.
But along with his humanity, Max could feel Liz slipping from him. She had left town and still refused to talk to him. She had cut him off completely and even though Maria was on his side, Max was starting to wonder if Liz would ever change her mind.
He picked up another rock and hurled it as hard as he could into the water, the aching pain in his arm fueling his frustration and anger. Max grabbed more rocks and threw them one at a time until his arm felt like it would fall off, but it just made him angrier.
Using his powers, Max sent rocks scattering off the cliff and into the water below. Then he held out his hand and used his powers to lift a bigger rock and hurled it across the chasm, smashing it into the cliff the other side.
At that moment, he wished he had more destructive powers like Michael. He felt like blowing something up. He held out his hand again and concentrated on a large rock before him and willed it to shatter, but nothing happened. Concentrating harder, he built his power within and finally hurled it outward. He felt the power spilling down his arm and through his hand, but when it left his fingers, instead of the destruction he expected, a bright green wall appeared before him.
(June 30th, 2000)
(In the desert outside Roswell)
Grant set his equipment aside and started digging. He had just moved to a new site and was eager to get some preliminary readings of the soil.
He had dug down a little more than a foot when he struck something solid. Thinking it was a rock, he poked at it with his shovel to determine the size, but the dirt collapsed into a hole. There were old mineshafts and wells all over this area, and at first Grant wasn't surprised. But when the strange blue glow started to illuminate the dark opening, he bent down for a closer look.
Sticking his head inside the gap, he could see it was a small chamber, sporadically populated with clusters of blue crystals. Carefully he lowered himself down inside and noted that the crystals themselves were giving off the glow.
He reached out to touch one of the crystals with a smile growing on his face. He didn't know of another cavern even remotely like this one and a discovery of that magnitude could make his career.
He let out a whoop of joy and spun around, but stopped as he noticed that the hole he had just climbed through had closed. Thinking he must have been mistaken about where the opening was, he looked around, but quickly discovered he was sealed inside.
He let out a shaky breath wondering how he was going to get out, but a drop of moisture on his shoulder made him look up. At first he couldn't see anything, but then there was another drop and then another, and suddenly it seemed as if the crystals around him were melting. But they didn't move like any liquid he had ever seen. The substance appeared more like a viscous goo than a liquid, and it was moving against gravity, steadily toward him.
Propelled into action, Grant aimed his shovel at the place where he had entered, and hit it as hard as he could. A handful of crystals broke off, and encouraged by his progress, he did it again.
A slimy substance dropped onto his head causing him to drop the shovel to wipe it away, and it was quickly followed by another and another. Grant brushed the goo onto the cavern floor and reached for his shovel but the handle was covered in the blue goo. He grabbed the exposed end, intending to shake off the blue substance, but the goo held the shovel fast. More of the goo dripped onto his head and shoulders, and Grant released his grip on the shovel to wipe at it furiously, becoming more and more frightened.
Suddenly he heard a soft humming sound and turned to see what it was, but he slipped in a puddle of goo and fell heavily to the ground. He attempted to sit up but his hands and feet were encased in the goo and held securely. The slimy substance slowly oozed up his arms and legs, and he opened his mouth to scream just as a group of crystals across from him parted, and a creature that could only be described as a jellyfish, emerged from within.
(Thursday, July 20th, 2000)
(In the desert outside Roswell)
Courtney skirted the edge of the quarry and kicked some pebbles into the water. Every day she searched a bit more of the desert outside Roswell, where the computer had located the signal, but so far she had found nothing. She had been so excited that she would finally locate Rath and she had not considered she might have to spend more time futilely searching.
When Nicholas had contacted her concerning the point of origin of the signal, she had easily convinced him it had been too short of duration to trace but he had cautioned her to remain vigilant for the next occurrence. She had left her post at SETI in California the same day and traveled to Roswell, confident that Nicholas could not trace the signal from her amplifier because of the alterations she had made, routing all of the signals through the SETI computer systems. She would be able to keep in contact with Nicholas and he would never suspect she was not where she was supposed to be. She could locate Rath and convince him to return to Antar to lead their people before Nicholas and Khivar knew what had happened.
As she looked at the sun, which was starting to sink toward the horizon, she turned to start the long trek back to her camp. She had just topped a hill when the rumble of an engine shattered the silence and she quickly dropped to the ground to observe the newcomers.
A small, white SUV pulled into view, stopping near the edge of the quarry and two passengers emerged. One was a small female with curly, blonde hair and the other was a taller, dark-haired male. Courtney watched in fascination as they set up a line of rocks and the female spoke intently to the male. Then the blonde raised her hand toward the rocks and one by one, turned them each to dust.
Courtney nearly jumped for joy as she watched them set up another group of rocks. Finally she had found the Royal Four.
She eagerly memorized both of their faces and the vehicle, as the male attempted to duplicate the female's destruction, but his power was wildly out of control. He missed more than he hit, and Courtney almost laughed aloud as he accidentally caused some near-by brush to explode into fire.
She watched them until sunset, when they climbed into the vehicle and drove away. When they were completely out of sight, Courtney stood and stretched, hardly noticing her cramped muscles. After fifty years of searching, finally she had found them. She wanted to celebrate but contacting the others in the resistance would be too dangerous until they were ready to go back to Antar.
Courtney took a deep breath. There was still a lot to do. She would have to make her way into town, find them, determine which one was Rath, and then convince him to follow his destiny to lead their people in a victory over Khivar and the Tageonant royalty.
(Wednesday, July 26th, 2000)
(Congresswoman Whitaker's Apartment)
Over the past few weeks, Daniel had been acting less and less like himself and Vanessa was worried. She had begun to suspect his mind had been altered when he had been in Roswell. And the only beings she knew of who were capable of that, would be the Royal Four. She really didnŐt know what their individual gifts were, but she knew they were all very powerful.
It meant Max Evans was really an alien as Daniel had originally suspected. Vanessa glanced toward the phone thinking of Daniel. She had come to rely on his information concerning the FBI's investigations of alien activity, but since his return to Washington, he seemed convinced there were no aliens in Roswell or anywhere else. He had spoken of wasted time and effort, and the paranoia of his superiors, even suggesting the Special Unit be closed down. Vanessa had spent a lot of time trying to reason with him, to convince him everything that had transpired could not just be hoaxes, but he had stubbornly refused to reconsider.
But now that she suspected Max Evans to be one of the Royal Four, she couldn't let Daniel's continued disbelief hinder her mission. She had to start an investigation of her own.
She gathered the notes of her conversations with Daniel and quickly flipped through them. She used a separate sheet of paper for each teen's name and started to list any facts that had been gathered about them.
Max Evans, she mused, sister Isabel Evans and friend Michael Guerin, all three of whom had been found in the desert in 1989, the timeframe when the pods would have hatched. Curious that she had never noticed the connection before, she thought to herself. There were no records on any of them before that year and the humans had simply assumed they had been abandoned in the desert and placed them in the adoption program. Vanessa smiled. They were certainly three of the Royal Four.
Vanessa shook her head in disbelief. This information had been in front of her for months and she had just not connected the pieces. She thought briefly about contacting Nicholas with what she had learned, but quickly discarded the idea. She would find Vilondra and the Granolith herself, and then they could return to Antar and she would be hailed as a hero.
Vanessa eagerly took out the dossiers she had copied from Daniel's files and concentrated on the other female members of the group; Maria DeLuca, Liz Parker and the newcomer Tess Harding. Surely one of them had to be the fourth.
She scanned the information briefly on the three girls and came to a quick conclusion. Maria and Liz both appeared to be human. They had both lived in the same community all of their lives, they had birth certificates, early school records, baby pictures. She didn't think they could be aliens, unless their protectors had done a masterful job of concealing them.
So it left Tess to be the fourth. Her records were complete as far as Vanessa could tell, but Tess had been raised by a single parent who had moved around constantly with his job. Vanessa nodded, almost certain Tess had to be the fourth, but there was so little information and she had to be sure. She needed to go to Roswell to gather as many facts as possible, but she would be too easily recognized. She would have to send a representative.
She contacted her most trusted Lieutenant, Sacor, now her personal secretary, Scott Hancock. "I have a job for you."
(Thursday, August 3rd, 2000)
Finding the boy and girl that she had seen in the desert was easier than Courtney had expected. She had just gone to a few of the local teen hangouts in Roswell, and on the third day, she had wandered into the Crashdown CafŽ, and there they both were. A few days later she had gotten a job at the Crashdown so she could more easily keep an eye on their activities.
She had watched the comings and goings of the group of friends carefully to determine who was who. After a few days it was clear that Max was definitely the leader, leaving the hotheaded Michael to be Rath. It really hadn't surprised her after witnessing his performance in the desert. When they had been children together, Rath had always possessed a quick temper, usually acting first and questioning later. He could disguise himself with a new face, on a new planet, but nothing inside had really changed.
Courtney had tried in her brief time at the Crashdown to befriend Michael, but he was sullen and standoffish and made it perfectly clear he didnŐt want her friendship. But she wouldn't give up that easily. She would take things with him slowly and give him the time to get to know and trust her, and when he was ready, she would reveal everything.
(Saturday, August 5th, 2000)
Sacor had been in Roswell for a week but he had made little progress. He had thoroughly researched the Parkers, the Evans and Amy DeLuca, and he had determined that they were all apparently human just as Vanessa expected. But he had been unable to locate Ed Harding. It seemed that Mr. Harding had suddenly quit his job as a consultant to the army and taken a new position. He had been out of town for a couple of months, leaving his teenage daughter in town alone.
Vanessa suspected that Tess Harding was one of the Royal Four but Sacor had been unable to prove anything. He had carefully followed Max, Isabel and Michael hoping they would lead him to the fourth alien, but he had discovered nothing definitive. The three of them often met with Tess, Maria and Alex but nothing of significance had been discussed within his hearing.
He had overheard Max asking Maria about Liz Parker. Apparently Liz had left town suddenly at the beginning of the summer and had refused to tell Max where she was going. Sacor had immediately discussed this break in the ranks with Vanessa and she had told him to discover all he could about Liz Parker. If she wasn't one of the aliens, perhaps the rift in the friendships would persuade her to help them.
Sacor had availed himself of Liz's school records and sent all of the information on to Vanessa. He had also discovered that Jeff Parker was prodigiously proud of his only child and would, with practically no prompting, discuss her at length. Sacor had learned that Liz was spending the summer in Florida with an aunt and wasn't expected to return until just before the start of school. He had not been able to determine her reason for leaving town so quickly but it definitely had something to do with Max Evans.
Sacor had noticed another interesting thing in the time he had been in Roswell. He had seen a member of their group working in the Crashdown Cafe who was not assigned there. Her presence in Roswell was not only unexpected but also problematic. Because even though he didn't think Courtney would recognize him, he had been forced to limit his presence at the Crashdown to the times when she was not working.
He did not know the whereabouts of every one in their group but he had taken notice of Courtney's assignment at SETI with interest because he had wanted it himself. He eagerly passed the information about Courtney's whereabouts to Vanessa hoping to get her sanctioned or even executed for her disobedience.
(Sunday, August 6th, 2000)
(Congresswoman Whitaker's Apartment)
Vanessa had read Sacor's last report with a great deal of interest. Not only had he reported that Courtney was in Roswell against orders, but he had discovered there was a rift between two of the major players in the conspiracy; Max and Liz.
And for some reason Liz had not only left the state, but traveled to the other side of the country to escape him. The only reason that Vanessa could determine for LizŐs actions was love. Obviously something or someone had come between Max and Liz and Vanessa was convinced that if she could discover what or who it was it would lead her to the fourth alien.
But in order to do that, she needed to get closer to Liz. Vanessa flipped through the information Sacor had copied from LizŐs school records. Liz was an honor student, and before last year she had been active in several extra-circular groups, including the student senate. But in the last year, she had dropped her activity in all of the outside organizations. That timeframe, Vanessa noticed, fit with the date of the shooting in the Crashdown, that had led the kids to FBI attention. And if Liz left the state to get away from Max, maybe she wanted to distance herself from them altogether.
Vanessa needed a way to get Liz to interact with her, to trust her, and finally after hours of consideration, she conceived a plan. She would open a branch office in Roswell and hire Liz, the former student senator, to work with her. Surely Liz would jump at the chance to leave the Crashdown, where the Antarian royals regularly held court, and redirect her life to its former path.
Vanessa picked up the phone to set the whole thing up through her office. She needed this opportunity to be genuine. Liz was not a fool.
(Sunday, September 10th, 2000)
Song Playing: Only You by Yaz
Jeff dropped Liz's bags on her bedroom floor. "It's sure good to have you home sweetie," he said, as he pulled Liz into a hug.
Liz hugged him back, "It's good to be home dad."
She waited until he left the room before she grabbed her phone and dialed Maria. "I'm home," she announced to her friend.
Maria's squeal of delight coming through the receiver made Liz hold it away from her ear. "Maria calm down."
"I'll be over in five minutes."
"Maria, if you see, um anyone, don't tell them I'm back yet. Okay?"
Maria rolled her eyes, "Liz, you will have to face Max eventually."
Liz sighed, "I know, but just give me a couple of days to settle in before I see him."
Liz put down the phone, opened her window and climbed out onto the rooftop. It seemed like a lifetime since she had been home, but it also was much too soon. She had hoped the months away from Max would dull the pain of leaving him, but being away from him had only proven to her that she would never get over him. She knew now, it would be a constant battle against herself.
With a sigh, she planted her elbows on the wall and looked down into the street, but ducked quickly when Max came into view. Shaking her head, Liz laughed at herself. Of course she hadnŐt really seen Max, she had simply been thinking about him so much that she was seeing things.
Carefully she peeked over the edge of the wall, convinced Max wouldnŐt be there, but he was standing on the sidewalk, looking into the Crashdown.
Liz drank in the sight of him, feeling like she was alive for the first time in months. With her eyes, she traced the outline of the face that was so dear to her. Max looked older, tired, and she knew she bore the same signs of the difficult separation.
For a moment, it was as if Liz was perfectly in tune with Max. She could feel his emotions, almost hear his thoughts. Sorrow and regret were uppermost but they didnŐt overpower his overwhelming love for her. Liz longed to return his feelings, to revel in their love but she couldnŐt allow that to happen.
Suddenly Liz had the feeling that Max could sense her too. As his gaze turned toward her balcony, Liz ducked behind the wall again. It had been a close call and she was sure he hadnŐt seen her, but her heart was pounding.
Liz wiped angrily at the tears that suddenly filled her eyes. Her heart wasnŐt pounding because she was scared, it was pounding from the excitement of seeing Max.
(Episode - Skin & Bones)
(Monday, September 11th, 2000)
Vanessa had just arrived in Roswell and she already had a sense of satisfaction. She was interviewing Liz Parker the next day for a position as her assistant, and she had confirmed Courtney's presence in town with the poloroids Sacor had delivered.
Vanessa had suspected Courtney's membership in the rebel conspiracy for years, but with no proof to back up her suspicion, she had not wanted to subject an innocent to Nicholas' tender care. Now she could see that her soft heart had caused her to overlook a spy. But since Courtney had shown herself to be guilty, Vanessa decided to turn the situation to her advantage and deliver Courtney to Nicholas when she handed over Vilondra and the Granolith. It would put three big feathers in her cap, as the humans said, and it would assure her not only a promotion but also a place at Khivar's side.
Everything was falling into place for her. Now all she had to do was to determine which of the hybrids was Vilondra. Tomorrow Sacor would search Tess Harding's house for clues but Vanessa really did not expect him to discover anything. She was convinced Liz Parker was the key.
(Episode - Skin & Bones)
(Monday, September 12th, 2000)
Song Playing: Hanging by a Moment by Lifehouse
Max stood dejectedly on the sidewalk as Liz went inside with the Congresswoman. Their first meeting had not gone quite like he had pictured it. He had hoped that Liz would have changed her mind about being with him, but obviously she hadnŐt. She was doing everything in her power to move on without him, including changing jobs.
But he wouldn't let her. He wouldn't just sit back and allow her to push aside everything they had between them. He would use everything at his disposal to win her back.
(Episode - Skin & Bones)
(Monday, September 13th, 2000)
Ed pulled Max into the alley. "Did you find anything?" he asked, refering to MaxŐs search of Congresswoman WhitakersŐ concerning PierceŐs bones.
Max nodded, "The bones are going to be delivered tomorrow morning to the University in Las Cruces."
"I'll be there," Ed said.
Max smiled, "So, did you have a good time distracting the Congresswoman?"
"No comment," Ed said, and countered with a question of his own. "How have you and Tess been getting along?"
"Well, I haven't performed any mating rituals if that's what you're asking," Max said wryly.
Ed had noticed how Max had looked at Liz when they had been at the Crashdown earlier. He was still in love with her, and refusing his destiny with Tess. "You heard your destiny,Ó Ed reminded him. ŇYou heard it with your own ears."
"I just want to get Michael out of jail and go back to my life," Max said with a sigh. He was so sick of all of the destiny crap. "I'm not a King and we are not at war."
"You're the boss," Ed said. ŇI would just be careful not to confuse what you want to be true with what really is true."
Ed turned and walked away. He could understand Max's attraction to Liz. She was not only beautiful but loyal, intelligent and brave. Even after everything he had put her through, she'd still had the courage to openly defy him at the Crashdown. Yes, it was easy to see what Max saw in Liz, but Ed couldn't let Max's feelings for the human jeopardize their entire mission.
Brody Davis' attention was diverted from his computer by the three men who rushed into his office.
"Brody, we found something," the first man said as he slammed a long, curling piece of paper onto the table. He smoothed his hand over the wrinkled surface and pointed out a red spike on the graph. "We've gotten data from all of the sources and compared directional tracking. And weŐve discovered the signal's origin."
The second man piped in, "And you are never going to believe where it came from."
Brody looked at the men before him. "Well don't keep me in suspense."
"I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself," said the first man, shaking his head.
The third man was unable to contain his excitement, "Brody it's the place where it all began. Roswell! The signal is from Roswell."
"You're sure?" Brody asked, "Roswell?"
The three men nodded and Brody picked up the graph with a smile, "Roswell." He depressed the button on his phone, "Celia, get me on the next connecting flight to Roswell, New Mexico."
(Episode - Skin & Bones)
(Thursday, September 14th, 2000)
(Roswell UFO Museum)
Milton held out his hand to his visitor, "I'm Milton Ross, owner of the museum."
The visitor shook Milton's hand, "Brody Davis." He glanced at the building, "Nice place you've got here."
"Well thank you," Milton said proudly, "I have put together this whole collection myself. It's the work of a lifetime."
Brody nodded, "And would you ever consider selling?"
"Selling?" Milton asked with a laugh.
Brody smiled, "I have taken quite a fancy to the building and most particularly the location."
"Mr. Davis, everything in this museum, it's my life's pursuit,Ó Milton said. ŇItŐs my reason for getting out of bed in the morning. There is no amount of money you could offer me that would make me change my mind."
"I will give you one million dollars in cash for the building and everything it contains."
Milton looked at Brody with narrowed, suspicious eyes, "A million dollars?"
Milton smiled, "I have always wanted to go to South America and test my theories on extraterrestrial contact with the ancient civilizations."
Brody smiled, "I will have the papers for the transfer of ownership tomorrow morning."
Ed finally reached the Evans house. It had been more than twenty-four hours since he had been attacked by the Congresswoman. He had thought she looked familiar when he had met her as Pierce but it had never occurred to him that she might be a skin.
He had probably seen her on one of his visits to Copper Summit but he hadn't recognized her until it had been too late. She had taken him by surprise and sent an unexpectedly powerful burst of energy into his chest. Then she had searched him and found the amplifier he had taken from the skins and left him for dead.
Painfully he pulled himself up to Max's bedroom window. There was so much he needed to tell his young master, so much he had withheld, but there was so little time. He could literally feel himself dying. Whitaker had inflicted a mortal wound, they would not be able to heal him this time.
He knocked on the window, desperately hoping Max was there.
(Episode - Ask Not)
(Thursday, September 14th, 2000)
Song Playing: Open Your Eyes by Alter Bridge
Max burst through the doors of the Crashdown and slumped to the floor in exhaustion. "Nasedo's dead."
"What?" Michael asked, as Liz and Alex rushed forward to help Max into a chair.
"He came to me, injured. SaidÉ" Max paused to try and catch his breath, "said it was another alien, and that we're all in danger. He died, in my arms."
"Where is he?" Michael demanded.
"In my room," Max said softly.
Liz touched his face and everything else faded into the background. Max could literally feel her concern for him, pouring off of her. In the past, he had received impressions of what he thought she was feeling, but this time he was sure he was receiving her emotions. It was so powerful, so overwhelming and he knew without a doubt that no matter what she had said, she hadn't stopped caring for him. Her love for him was as strong as ever.
The horrific reality of NasedoŐs death fell away as he sank into LizŐs soft, welcoming eyes. The connection of minds and souls was everything he had ever dreamed a relationship with Liz would be, and he never wanted it to end.
He was so involved in the feelings passing between himself and Liz that he barely noticed Tess healing a scrape on his cheek. But when Michael and Isabel pulled him away from Liz, the tenuous bond dissipated. Max looked back at Liz, willing the connection back again but the moment of perfect oneness had passed, and as he was dragged out the door, he wondered if Liz had felt it too.
(Episode - Ask Not)
(Friday - September 15th, 2000)
(The Harding House)
Max looked at his hand where the skin had just disintegrated and then he looked at Tess. No matter what his personal feelings were about her, he was in charge and he was responsible for her. He couldn't just leave her in this house alone.
He immediately thought of Michael. He would be the perfect solution but Max knew it wouldn't be that easy. Michael didn't like or trust Tess and he wouldn't want her moving in with him.
Max cast his mind around for another solution and suddenly the words that Sheriff Valenti had spoken to him, when he had saved Kyle, came to his mind.
I don't care who you are, or what you are. I'll be here for you.
Max looked at Tess again. He would take her to the Valenti's for the time being, until he could work out a better solution.
(The Valenti House)
"Of course Tess can stay here," the Sheriff said, "but sooner or later people will start to ask questions."
Max nodded, "I thought of that so I made a copy of Ed's will and created a handwritten note requesting that you be Tess' guardian until she turns eighteen. I put them into an old envelope and changed the post mark to a couple of days ago." He handed the letter to the Sheriff. "You can say you got it in the mail today."
Sheriff Valenti opened the letter and read the note.
To Whom It May Concern,
My job requires that I leave town for a top-secret mission at an undisclosed location for an unspecified length of time. My daughter Tess is not able to come with me for obvious reasons and Sheriff Jim Valenti Jr. of Roswell has agreed to look after her while I am away.
We have no other relatives and in the short time we have lived in Roswell, our two families have become good friends. Tess has just started to settle-in and I really don't want to uproot her again to move her to a military base to live alone. During her life, it has been necessary for us to move several times and it is her wish as well as mine that she stay in Roswell in the care of the Valenti's to finish high school.
Tess and Sheriff Valenti both have access to the bank accounts and the safety deposit box containing the legal documents. Should any problems arise I have issued a power of attorney to Sheriff Valenti authorizing him to make any decisions necessary.
The Sheriff nodded, "This should work unless someone starts getting too curious."
Max nodded, "We'll worry about that if it happens."
(Episode - Ask Not)
(Monday, September 18th, 2000)
(Congresswoman Whitaker's Office)
"Tess," Vanessa repeated, as Liz left her office. She smiled. Finally she had discovered the identity of Vilondra.
A few days ago she had realized that Courtney was focusing her efforts on Michael Guerin, meaning he was the former King Zan. Leaving Max to be the former General Rath, whose former betrothed and the current bane of Liz Parker's love life was Princess Vilondra, now known as Tess.
Soon all of her hard work would pay off, she thought, as she peeled of a large piece of skin from her rapidly dying husk. She would make contact with Vilondra and together they would deliver the Granolith to Nicholas.
Vanessa glanced at the phone. She had not told anyone of her plans and in order to keep the credit to herself she had disposed of Sacor, just as she had disposed of the Royal FourŐs shape shifter protector.
Brody looked around his new office in the UFO museum. The equipment had been set up more quickly than he had thought possible. It still amazed him what money could do. With all of his new equipment he hoped he would be able to re-establish contact with the beings that were obviously visiting Roswell.
He reached for the chevron-shaped device he had purchased. The dealer who had sold it to him had guaranteed it was alien technology.
He'd had the device tested extensively but none of the tests had been conclusive. Brody had created a computer program to calculate every combination of the symbols and spent a lot of his free time trying them, but nothing had ever happened. He had started to think the device was a hoax until it had started beeping on that day in May.
Absent-mindedly he twisted the dial with the symbols, as he left the room. Suddenly the device emitted several beeping sounds and then a burst of light. Brody was so surprised, he nearly dropped the device, but a sound across the room drew his attention.
"Who's there?" he called out. "Stay where you are! Hey! Don't move!"
He could hear someone scrambling across the floor and then footsteps running out of the room, before he could reach them. He called out again, "Hey! Hey!"
He looked at the device in his hand, with wide eyes. He was right to have come to Roswell.
(Episode - Surprise)
(Sunday, October 15th, 2000)
(Chavez County Electric Power Facility - Plant #2)
Tess awoke to a throbbing pain in her head and quickly shut her eyes hoping to block it out. Then she suddenly remembered what had happened and looked around for her attacker. She was alone now, but the earlier events came rushing back. Whitaker had forced her off the road with her powers and done something that had knocked her out.
The next time she had awoken, it had been to Whitaker slapping her, demanding answers to her questions. Tess had been completely ignorant about Whitaker's main concern, a device called the Granolith, causing Whitaker to throw her into a wall.
It was then that Tess realized Whitaker had killed Nasedo. When she had blurted it out, Whitaker had only laughed, "I'm impressed, Vilondra, I always heard you weren't too bright."
Tess had raised her chin and haughtily informed the older woman she was not Vilondra.
Whitaker had studied her for a moment and then nodded, "Yes, I can see my mistake." Then Whitaker raised her hand and Tess didn't remember anything else.
Tess cradled her ribs and attempted to stand but the pain quickly forced her back down. She took a few deep breaths and used the wall to support herself as she tried to rise again, but cried out as the pain became unbearable. Desperately she looked around the room. She had to escape while Whitaker was gone. She was afraid of what Whitaker would do to her when she returned, or maybe, Tess thought, Whitaker had simply left her there to die.
Sitting back, Tess closed her eyes, forcing herself to calm down. She would contact Max, he would come to save her. Tess concentrated on forming a connection with Max, sending him images of herself in trouble but after several attempts she gave up with a heavy sigh. Max wasnŐt hearing her. For a moment she was surprised that he didnŐt respond, but a voice inside her spoke the awful truth. Tess hadn't wanted to admit it, even to herself, but faced so brutally with the facts she couldn't deny it. Max had never heard her, never even given her a second thought.
Tess felt tears starting to gather in her eyes and wiped them away angrily. She wouldn't allow herself to give in to weak human emotions. There was a perfectly good reason Max hadn't heard her. Nasedo had told her more than once that the females on Antar tended to have greater mental abilities, while the males' powers tended to manifest in a more physical manner. And, Tess consoled herself, when Max remembered her, they would form a particularly close connection.
And feeling better, Tess changed her attention and concentrated instead on contacting Isabel.
(Episode - Surprise)
(Congresswoman Whitaker's Office)
Vanessa smiled at herself in the bathroom mirror, the look of shock on Liz's face, when she had invited herself to Isabel's birthday party, still fresh in her mind. She had been forced to beat the information out of Tess, but it had been worth it. Isabel was Vilondra.
She had taken Tess because she had mistakenly believed she was Vilondra, but even before Tess told her the truth, Vanessa should have realized Tess wasnŐt Vilondra. Tess had been so easy to take prisioner, and Vanessa had always believed Vilondra to have more spirit than that. At least she expected more of a fight.
But now that Vanessa knew the truth, the differences between Tess and Isabel were obvious. Vanessa had never met the former Queen Ava, and really didnŐt know anything about her, other than she had married young. But she had expected the former Queen to have a more dignified bearing at least, not the whining, spoiled child she had discovered in Tess. Vanessa shrugged. She might not have known anything about Queen Ava, but Vanessa certainly didnŐt have any respect for her current form, Tess.
It was just one more reason to hate the Royal Four and everything they stood for, and one more reason to finish her mission quickly so she could return home. All she had to do was reveal herself to the Princess and they would return to Antar and Khivar.
Vanessa passed her hand over her face and hair, using her powers to refresh her makeup and smooth her hair, and then down her clothing to remove the wrinkles. She reached for the doorknob but paused.
It was a birthday party and she should arrive with a gift. She walked into her office and noted that Liz was gathering her things in the other room. Vanessa grabbed a Fed-Ex envelope and passed her hand over it, altering it into a gift box. Then she took a handful of pens and changed them into the rough shape of an alien. A little childish perhaps, she thought, as she placed the alien inside and passed her hand over the box again to wrap it, but she was sure it would get Isabel's attention.
(Episode - Surprise)
Michael followed Courtney out behind the Crashdown, and when he reached her grabbed the cigarette she was smoking.
"Worried about my health?" Courtney asked seductively.
Michael ignored her and got right to the point, "Who are you?"
Courtney was genuinely surprised by his question, "What?"
"You know what I'm talking about," Michael challenged.
Courtney wondered if Michael had discovered her true identity but played it cool. "Are you, like, high or something?"
Michael took the picture of Courtney, he had discovered in Congresswoman Whitaker's office, out of his pocket and showed it to her.
Suddenly Courtney was scared. It was a picture someone had taken of her in Roswell, "Where'd you get that?"
Michael shrugged, "From your file in Whitaker's office."
Courtney was really scared now. She had known Whitaker had set up an office in Roswell and had been careful to avoid her. But she was horrifed to learn that Whitaker knew she was in town and had obviously been surveilling her. Whitaker had to know she was in Roswell against orders, so why hadn't they come to get her? Courtney needed to get more information, and tried to push past Michael, "Get out of my face."
Michael stood his ground, "You're gonna tell me exactly what's going on."
"No," Courtney said stubbornly, not ready to deal with him, "I don't have to tell you anything."
"So, you working with her?" Michael asked belligerently. "You spying on us? Is that what you're doing?"
Courtney was surprised they had figured out what Whitaker was doing so quickly, but she put him off. "You're a big man, aren't you?"
"Don't jerk me around." he ground out. "If you're not working with Whitaker, then why does she have photos of you, documents, huh? Why is she watching you? Why is a U.S. Congresswoman interested in a waitress from Roswell?"
Courtney couldn't reveal the truth to Michael until she had gained his trust or the whole thing would be for nothing. She had to think fast to throw him off the track, "Because I was sleeping with her stepson, that's why!"
"Stepson," Michael said dully.
Michael was obviously surprised by her answer and she continued with her story, laying it on thick. "That's right. He screwed his life up with drugs, and I screwed my life up with him. When we got busted, do you know who went down for that? I spent 2 years in Buckman, and the only reason why I got out of there is because I promised that bitch that I would never see him again. So I guess that she's just making sure I keep that promise."
"All right," said Michael, still totally off balance from her answer. "Thanks."
"Thanks?" Courtney asked suddenly angry. Whitaker was after her and maybe all of the skins too and she could be dead tomorrow, and Michael had the nerve to thank her? She drew back and slapped him hard. "Jerk!"
Michael grabbed her shoulders and an electric sensation flared between them. It was different than anything he had ever felt, but familiar at the same time, and he looked at her as if she would contain the answers. He could literally feel Courtney's anger dissolving and being replaced by the desire to kiss him, and it was intoxicating. She felt familiar in his arms, as if she had been there many times, and for just a brief moment he had the sensation he was home. He started to lean in closer to her, when the sound of an approaching car drew his attention away from her.
Maria stopped the Jetta close to Michael and Courtney and yelled, "Michael, we got to go. Isabel's in trouble."
Courtney watched motionless as Michael and Maria drove away, feeling disappointed. For a moment she thought Michael was remembering her but then they had been interrupted. But she quickly pushed thoughts of Michael to the back of her mind. She could deal with him later, if she was still alive.
Her attention turned back to her more immediate problem, Vanessa Whitaker. Courtney thought it unlikely that Whitaker had reported her presence in Roswell to Nicholas, but she decided to go to her office and see what she could find.
She made the excuse of a headache to Liz, to get out of serving duty, and quickly exited out the back and ran down the alleys to Whitaker's office. Using her powers, she opened the back door and slipped into the dark room. Quickly closing the door and the blinds, she started searching in the desk. Whitaker was obviously a neat freak and it didn't take Courtney long to see there was nothing of interest to be found. Courtney carefully replaced everything she had moved, exited the way she had come, and headed toward Whitaker's condo, hoping she would find some answers there.
The condo was only a few blocks away and she was there in minutes, easily letting herself in the sliding glass door on the porch. She headed straight for the office, hoping to find a safe or confidential files, but discovered only a few copies of outdated FBI memos. But when she started up the computer she found a locked folder.
Using her powers to gain access, Courtney discovered an electronic diary Whitaker was keeping. She quickly scrolled through the entries to the ones that were from the last few months. Skimming the contents of the pages, Courtney found she had no reason to fear. Whitaker had political aspirations, hoping to gain favor by turning over Vilondra, Courtney and the Granolith all at the same time. She had even killed her Lieutenant to stop him from informing Nicholas before she was ready.
Courtney sat back in the chair and smiled. All she had to do was kill Whitaker before she could complete her plans.
(Episode - Summer of '47)
(Tuesday, October 17th, 2000)
(West Roswell High School)
Michael saw Liz at her locker and he used his ready-made excuse to stop and talk to her. "Have you seen Max?"
"Oh, Michael," Liz said, startled by his appearance and civil manner. "Um, no. He said something about stopping by the Crashdown later."
Michael could see something was wrong. He had never given much thought to anyone else's feelings, but now he felt guilty that he might be the cause of Liz's discomfort. "You okay?"
Liz was surprised Michael noticed her mood, much less asked about her. "Me? Yeah, sure. Why?"
Michael wasn't quite ready to confront the past head-on and grabbed for the closest point of disagreement, "Well, the whole Congresswoman Whitaker thing. We'll work it out."
Liz shrugged, "Yeah, I know."
Michael looked at Liz. She had stood up for them time and time again. She had risked her safety and possibly her life to save them and he had always treated her as the cause of all their problems. Liz really did deserve better from him. "And, uh, and this morning," he stumbled, "Yeah, I'm sorry."
Liz looked at Michael, her confusion evident on her face. "Thank you. Did Max ask you to do that?"
She smiled, "The whole being nice thing."
"No," Michael said, with a touch of humor, "I came up with it myself." He turned and started to walk away to stop any more of her questions.
Liz called out to him, "I like it."
(Episode - The End of the World)
(Monday, October 23rd, 2000)
Liz looked out the Jetta's window into the rainy night without really seeing anything. She had only accompanied Maria to the psychic to be supportive, she didn't believe in Earthly psychic abilities. But Madame Vivian's words had convinced her like nothing else could have and the possibilities behind the words left them echoing in Liz's head.
He chooses love.
He chooses you.
END OF BOOK 7 - THE INTRUSION OF SHADES (THE CLANDESTINED DISCLOSED)
In BOOK 8