COTS: Ep. 8 -- Moments (Z(M)/L; TEEN) 3/24/07 [WIP]
Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 11:04 pm
Lovely Banner by mrsjbehr. You rock girl!
CHILDREN OF THE STARS
Episode #1: The Pilot
AUTHOR: Melissa (aka Angel Kisses 70)
CATEGORY: AU with Aliens; Zan(Max)/Liz; CC
DISCLAIMER: I don’t own Roswell or its characters. That honor belongs to Melinda Metz, Jason Katims and the rest of the legal eagles at the networks that produced and aired the show. I do this only for my own amusement and that of other Roswell fans. I get no money, from this, only feedback. Also, if you read a line that sounds like it's from the show, that's because it is. It's not mine. I didn't write it. I will be using direct lines from the show quite often in this series.
SUMMARY: What if Liz, Maria, Alex and Kyle were the aliens instead of the Pod Squad. They’re still human, but instead of the Antarians crashing on Earth, what if the humans crashed down on Antar? What would the show be like then? Here's my version of Roswell which (hopefully) balances the sci-fi and the romance better than the TV show did.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Our podsters go by their Antarian names in this fic since they are from Antar. Their personalities will be like they are on the show.
To the mods: I'm reposting the first 9 episodes (chapters) of this fic here, since I have started to rewrite it and the original posting has long been deleted from the board.
* * * * * * * *
Liz Parker gazed at the stars above her. It felt odd to see them just hanging there and not streaking by as she’d seen during the entire eighteen years of her life. And, to be sitting on real grass, instead of the computer-generated stuff from the holo-room, was amazing. Unable to keep it all straight, she pulled out her palm-sized, voice-activated computer log.
"Earth time: 2208, September 23rd. Personal log, entry number one. I’m Captain Elizabeth Parker and five days ago, I died. After that, things got really weird....”
* * * * * * * *
Five days earlier....
“One stabilizer for the auxiliary engine on Level Two, and one isolinear chip for the main frame in Engineering. Is there anything else you need me to do, Sir?” Liz asked, standing at attention.
Captain Jeff Parker looked at his daughter and smiled. “At ease, Lieutenant. Work detail is officially over. Why don’t you go and hook up with Maria and try and stay out of trouble, okay? I really don’t want to see your name in Chief Valenti’s security report for the second day in a row.”
“Yes, Sir!” she replied, then relaxed and smiled sheepishly at her father. “You know Dad, that incident in the mess hall wasn’t really my fault. Kyle’s the one who started the food fight.”
“And you just had to be the one to finish it?”
“Well, you’ve always told me a Parker takes no threat lying down. We fight, or we die trying.”
Captain Parker rolled his eyes. “I think I taught you too well. Just behave yourself okay, or at least stay out of the Chief’s way.”
She nodded and left the auxiliary engine room.
“You are so bad girl,” Maria De Luca said, joining her out in the main passageway. “You know perfectly well that you started that food fight.”
“No way. That is so in your imagination,” she denied, continuing to head for the turbo lift.
“Hey, I was there! What was it that ticked you off? Oh yeah! Now I remember.... Something Kyle said about you learning to follow orders when he was your husband.”
“Kyle is full of himself,” she replied. “And he can dream on about marrying me, especially if he thinks I'm going to take orders from him.”
Suddenly, a loud explosion violently rocked the ship.
“What the hell?” Liz asked, picking herself up off the floor.
“Code Red Emergency. All hands to stations. Code Red Emergency.”
“Where are you going chica?” Maria asked, watching Liz run in the opposite direction from where they’d been headed. “You know we’re supposed to go to the nearest pod chamber.”
“Maria, a Code Red means we’re in mortal danger, and I, for one, refuse to cower down inside a life pod, and wait for whatever just hit us, to kill me!” she yelled over her shoulder.
Maria watched Liz for a brief two seconds, then sighed and ran to catch up with her.
Stepping out of the lift and onto the bridge, Liz was met by total chaos. Glancing at the nearest stat screen, she cringed at the video of the huge crater where the main engines had been. This was not good, especially since she knew the auxiliary engines were still offline and being repaired.
Captain Parker was barking orders to his frantic bridge crew. “I want Level 3 sealed off now. Ensign, do we have auxiliary engines up and running yet?”
“Sir,” said a female tactical officer, “Whatever hit us, wasn’t a natural phenomenon. Something out there attacked us.”
“Where did it come from?”
“I don’t know, Sir, but without our engines, we’re being pulled in by the system’s sun’s gravitational force.”
Captain Parker looked away from the forward monitors and spotted his ashen faced, yet stoic looking daughter. “Get to the life pods. We’ve got to get you out of here before we get too close to the sun,” he yelled at her.
“No, I’m not leaving you!”
“That’s an order Lieutenant. It’s imperative that you and the other young ones get away. Our mission must be carried out. You are our last hope. Now go!”
“Maria, get her out of here!”
“Sir, please. Come with me!”
Captain Parker walked over to his daughter and hugged her briefly. “I go down with my ship and the rest of her crew. You know that. Head the pods towards the third planet in the system. It’s a class M planet. You’re the Captain now, Elizabeth. May God go with you and your crew.”
She hugged her father. “I love you Daddy,” she whispered. Then releasing him, she followed Maria back into the lift. She stared for the last time at the handsome man who was her father, before the lift doors closed.
As she and Maria ran to the nearest pod chamber, they could feel the rumble and shaking as the ship was drawn closer into the sun’s gravity. Finding one pod remaining, they quickly entered and strapped themselves in.
“All clear, Captain.”
She looked at Maria, startled, before realizing that she was in charge now. “Fire thrusters.”
They were thrown back as the force of the escape thrust shot them forward and out into space.
“Avert all power to the engines. We’ve got to break from the sun’s pull,” Liz ordered.
“But the radiation--”
“Will be minimal if this works. Otherwise, it won’t matter. Just do it.”
Maria nodded, lowering their shields and re-routing power.
She felt the kick as they broke free. As they sped away towards the third planet, the ship was enveloped by a brilliant, flash of light that lit up the darkness of space. She knew that the mother ship had just been incinerated by the sun. “Rest with the angels, Daddy,” she whispered.
Suddenly, a blast rocked the little pod. “What was that?”
“We’ve been hit. I think something’s shooting at us!” Maria replied.
She checked the monitors. “I don’t see anything--” Again, another blast rocked them. “Put rear deflector shields at maximum. Since we can’t see what’s firing at us, we’ll have to out run it. Continue on course for the planet.”
“Captain, we won’t have enough power to land. We have a fuel leak in the left thruster.”
“Then get us close enough so that we can use the planet’s gravity to pull us in. Try to control the angle, otherwise we’ll burn up in the atmosphere before we smack into the surface.”
While Maria concentrated on the flight trajectory, Liz tried frantically to find their attacker. She watched her monitor with horror as the other life pods also came under attack by the unseen enemy. Opening up communications, she ordered the remaining pods to head to the third planet.
“We’re coming up on target,” Maria reported, sweat forming on her upper lip. “Hang on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!”
As they streaked through the planet’s atmosphere, Liz tried to see where they were landing, but there was too much turbulence to focus on anything.
“Brace for impact!” Maria yelled. “5... 4... 3... 2... 1....”
As they slammed into the ground, Liz heard the tearing sound of metal screeching in her ears. She was thrown forward as their movement was suddenly stopped by something solid in their path. Slamming into the forward console, she gasped as she felt cold, hard steel pierce her lower abdomen. Just before passing out, one last thought flitted through her mind, “I’m going to die.”
* * * * * * * *
Liz came to and found herself staring into the most beautiful pair of amber brown eyes that she’d ever seen.
“Zan, what are you doing?”
She swallowed, tasting the blood in the back of her throat. “Are--are you an angel?” she whispered hoarsely as she realized the eyes were part of a very handsome man.
The man with the beautiful eyes looked at her with great concern. “It’s going to be okay.”
She closed her eyes, as the world kept going out of focus.
“Look at me,” the man whispered, placing a hand over her lower abdomen. “You have to look at me.”
She managed to drag her eyes open and focus briefly on those beautiful, soulful eyes. Suddenly, her body convulsed as a warm, tingling sensation built slowly inside of her. She felt as if light were being poured into her veins. It was so beautiful.
“Oh my God! Liz!”
She briefly registered the sound of Maria’s panicked voice, and the authoritative voice of another stranger ordering her friend to “get back.”
Then, just as suddenly as they’d started, the sensations stopped, and she realized that the pain was gone. She could breathe normally again!
The man bending over her stood up slowly, shaking. “You’re all right now. You’re all right.”
“Zan, they’re coming. We need to go, now!”
The man turned to nod at his friend, and then looked back at her. “You’ll be fine. Please don’t say anything to the others when they get here.”
She nodded, standing up. “Your name is Zan?” she asked in amazement.
“I’m Liz. Thank you.”
Zan smiled shyly at her. “You’re welcome, Liz.” And then he was gone.
She suddenly felt so alone, even with a hysterical Maria clinging to her and pointing to the figures coming over the ridge. “Don’t say anything about this to anyone. Do you understand Maria? That’s an order.”
Maria nodded, too frightened to speak as they were surrounded by ominous looking, military soldiers with very dangerous looking weapons.
* * * * * * * * *
Liz sat alone in a white room that was devoid of all furnishings except for the metal chair on which she sat. She knew they were watching her. She could feel their eyes on her--cold, assessing and judging.
She didn’t know how long she’d been in the room, but it’d been quite awhile since Zan had healed her. She sighed as she thought of his soulful eyes that had looked at her as if she was the most precious thing he’d ever seen.
Suddenly, the door opened and a tall, forbidding-looking man entered. He was clothed in a long, flowing robe of blue and purple, and his skin was a pasty white, almost gray in color. When he stopped in front of her, she saw that his eyes were the color of obsidian.
“Why are you here?” the man asked.
“I don’t know,” she replied. “Your people brought me and my friend here--at gunpoint. We didn’t really have a choice.”
“Why did you land on our planet?” he asked, ignoring her sarcasm.
“Well, again, we didn’t have much choice, as we crashed. Our main ship was attacked and destroyed. What’s left of my crew escaped in the life pods. We landed here because your planet is hospitable to our biological requirements.”
“Who attacked you?”
“I don’t know. We couldn’t see them. I think they had some sort of cloaking device.”
“Who are you?”
She straightened and lifted her chin. “I am Captain Elizabeth Parker, former Lieutenant Commander aboard the U.S.S. Jamestown. When our captain went down with the ship, I immediately became the leader of my people.”
“What are you?”
“We’re humans from the planet Earth, the third planet in our solar system, located in the Milky Way galaxy. My people and I are from a colonization ship--one of the last of our kind. We were attempting to cross the galaxy in the hopes of finding an uninhabited or sparsely populated planet to make as our new home world, so that we can rebuild our society and culture.”
“Why did you leave this Earth?”
“We had no choice. Our planet was going to die when the Hapsburg-Reilly Comet slammed into it. For our race to survive, we had to get off world and go out into space. Our ship was one of hundreds. All went their separate ways to try and cover as much of the galaxy as possible.”
The man looked at her with absolutely no expression what-so-ever, as if everything she’d told him went in one ear and out the other. After a few seconds of silence, he turned and left the way he’d entered.
“Well, good-bye to you too,” she said out loud to the closing door.
Turning back to face forward, she stared at the mirrored wall directly across from her. She knew they were on the other side of that wall, standing there, watching her. If that was the game these beings wanted to play, so be it.
Alone, Zan gazed at her through the observation wall. He was entranced. He’d never seen anyone like her before. He could swear he could almost see a glow coming from her entire being.
She’d told the Examiner that her name was Elizabeth Parker, a very strange sounding name. But, when he’d healed her, she’d told him her name was Liz. He loved the way it rolled across his tongue when he said it aloud. “Liz.”
He watched her suddenly stand up and walk towards him. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear that she could see him as clearly as he could see her. She stopped short of the wall and raised her right hand, pressing it firmly against the glass wall. Fascinated, he reached out and pressed his own hand directly over hers so that the only thing separating them was the thickness of the glass.
He quickly withdrew his hand and turned to face his best friend and future second, Rath, who was standing in the doorway. He was also his co-conspirator in his escape from the palace this morning, and the secret keeper of his accidental meeting with the humans.
“What is it Rath?”
He nodded and mentally prepared himself for his father’s appearance. Standing tall, he bowed slightly as King Marek of Antar, Supreme Ruler of the Five Planetary Confederation swept into the observation room with his band of advisors.
“Zan,” Marek said somberly, “so nice of you to join us today. No secret escapes to gallivant around the countryside? No shirking of your royal duties as the Crown Prince and future leader of the Confederation?”
He remained respectfully silent.
Marek turned to the Chief Examiner that had been questioning Liz earlier. “Well, what can you tell me about these beings that have been landing all over our planet for the last few hours?”
The Chief Examiner cleared his throat and glanced at Liz, who still stood with her hand pressed against the wall. “Yes, well,” the man said, clearly flustered by the intense look in her eyes. “While these creatures do look similar to us, they are not like us. Their cellular structure is different. Also, their brain capacities are not utilized as fully as ours. Their race has not evolved to our level, and really aren’t much more intelligent than the Gandar beasts that roam the Azulite Forest in the southern hemisphere.”
Marek nodded thoughtfully. “What do you think, my son?”
Zan glanced at Liz, and then looked back at his father. “I think they are quite intelligent and mean us no harm. I believe her story. But, to be on the safe side, I suggest we keep them here for closer observation and allow them only limited access to the palace and our city. Only then, can we learn of their true intentions.”
Marek nodded. “So be it. We will allow Captain Parker and her friend to stay in the palace. Bring that male the agrarian escorted in from the southern province to stay with her also. The rest of her crew are to be kept away and corralled in a secured section of the city. If this is an invasion force, she won’t be able to ascertain how many men she has left.”
“And if she’s telling the truth and they’re peaceful?” he asked his father.
“Then we shall see....”
As his father and his advisors left the room, Zan took one last look at Liz before following them out. He already knew her intentions, because he’d seen everything about her when he’d healed her. And what he’d seen had made his soul sing.
“I can’t believe this Zan,” his sister, Vilandra admonished as she paced across the floor of her bedroom. “You sneak out of the palace and the city to go traipsing around the countryside which has been strictly forbidden. Then, to top it off, you go and heal some unknown creature that just crashed on our planet! You could’ve been killed by your act of lunacy.”
“And you,” she hissed, pointing a finger at Rath, who lay sprawled across one of her chairs, “How could you let my misguided brother do this?”
“Hey, don’t turn this around on me,” Rath replied, glaring back at her. “I’m not the one who thinks it’s his sacred mission to help all living creatures who are hurt--even if they might bite his head off!”
Zan sighed and looked at his sister. “Nothing bad happened. Everything was okay.”
“For now,” she snorted. “But what if she’s a spy? We’re in the middle of major unrest within the Confederation. There are those that want to see the ruling family ousted and would have no qualms about assassinating the future ruler!”
“You sneak out of the palace all the time to meet perfect strangers,” he replied defensively. “Why should what I did be any different?”
“Because, I don’t go around healing any of them, especially ones who ‘crash’ practically on top of my head! Besides, I’m not the heir to the throne.”
“Lonnie,” he said, looking at her imploringly, “if you could’ve seen what I saw when I healed her--.”
Vilandra froze in mid-pace and looked at him in shock. “You connected with her?”
“Not by choice. It just sort of...happened. Don’t worry, it’ll be okay.”
“Don’t you realize that changes everything?” she hissed.
“No, it doesn’t.”
Rath stood up as he absorbed this unexpected and unsettling piece of information. “Zan, she’s right. By connecting with this stranger, you’ve put our entire future at risk.”
“No, I haven’t,’ he replied angrily.
“Yes, you have. When your father finds out--”
“But he’s not going to, because you’re not going to tell him,” he warned Rath. “And neither will you, Lonnie. We’ll just act normal, and no one will be the wiser.”
“Act normal?” she asked incredulously. “That’s your big plan? Don’t you realize that it’s only a matter of time before Father finds out? And when he does, let’s just say I don’t want to be in your boots.”
“I couldn’t just let her die,” he stated quietly.
“What if she says something to one of the Examiners or to Marek?” Rath asked.
“She won’t tell anyone.”
“Really? How can you be sure?”
“I just can! No more questions. This interrogation is over,” he snapped and stormed out of the bedroom.
When Liz walked into the guest suite that an armed guard had escorted her to, she was suddenly knocked back against the closed door by a body slamming into her and squeezing her tightly.
“Liz, oh my God! I am so glad to see you. I was so scared. They asked me all kinds of questions. They had me locked in a little, white room--.”
“Maria,” she said forcefully, grabbing her best friend by the arms, “What did you say to them?”
“That we’re humans who were passing through their system when we were attacked, and our ship was destroyed.”
“You didn’t tell them about...?”
Maria looked at her quizzically, and then nodded in understanding. “Oh you mean about the ‘thing’ at the crash site?”
“No, I didn’t. In fact, they didn’t even ask if anyone was hurt.”
“Good,” she sighed in relief, releasing her grip on Maria.
“So, what exactly happened out there? What did that guy do to you?”
“Nothing, Maria. He did nothing,” she replied tiredly. “Let’s get ready for bed. We’re supposed to meet the King tomorrow, and I need some sleep.”
Maria looked hurt. “Oh, okay....”
Liz took off the jacket of her uniform by pulling it over her head.
“Liz,” Maria asked softly, pointing, “what is that?”
She looked down where Maria pointed and gasped. The hem of the tank top she wore under her jacket had ridden up, exposing a silver handprint on her stomach. She quickly pulled it down. “Good-night, Ensign,” she replied in a tone that breached no arguments.
“Um, yeah, good-night Captain,” Maria said, watching Liz disappear into her bedroom and shut the door.
Once she’d changed into the sleeping gown that had been left for her, Liz decided to go out on the balcony off her bedroom and gaze up at the stars and the planet’s two moons.
She looked around at the sound of her name.
Looking down, she spotted Zan standing near the shadows. She sucked in her breath at the sight of him. He was clothed in some sort of loosing fitting white vest and pants, and in the glowing moonlight, he definitely looked like the angel she’d thought him to be after the crash.
“I have to talk to you. Can I come up?”
“Yes,” she replied, stepping back to watch him quickly scale the large tree next to her window. When he jumped onto her balcony, she was reminded of a graceful feline crouching before its prey.
Standing up, he drunk in the sight of her. The light from the two moons made her skin luminescent and her hair shimmer as it moved across her shoulders. She was dressed in the traditional Antarian sleeping attire; its billowing folds concealing most of her body from his gaze. But, on her, it was enticing, making him suddenly want to peel it from her body, to see what it would reveal underneath. Swallowing, he looked into her beautiful dark brown eyes. “I can’t imagine how you feel right now. I mean, with everything you’ve gone through in the last day.”
“I’m still trying to absorb it all,” she conceded, trying hard not stare at the large expanse of bare muscled chest that his vest revealed to her gaze. “Trying to get my bearings straight, you know. Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe the half of it.”
He smiled at her.
“What?” she asked, wondering if she had something from dinner caught in her teeth.
“Sorry,” he replied, shaking himself out of his reverie. “I keep picturing you in that gown with the, um, big purple flowers on it.”
“Forget it. It was a long time ago.”
“Oh my God! That’s right,” she whispered in amazement, “You’re talking about the dress I had when I was a little girl! But, I just met you. Did you like read my mind or something?”
“No, I don’t read minds. When I healed you, I made this, this connection with you. And I got a rush of images...an image of that dress, as you call it, flashed into my mind, and I knew how you felt about it.”
She stared at him in wonder, almost afraid to ask the next question. “H-how did I feel about it?”
He smiled softly as he remembered what he’d seen and felt. “It was your most prized possession. Your mother made it for you before she died. You wore it until it was too small to fit you anymore. You cried the day you realized that you’d never be able to wear it again. But, you kept it and slept with it under your pillow every night until your ship crashed.”
She nodded in shock.
“Just having it near made you feel as if your mother wasn’t truly and completely gone,” he whispered, taking a step towards her when he saw the look of sadness cross her face. “I’ve never tried this before, but maybe, I can make the connection go the other way. So you can see... you can know that...that I’m okay.”
She nodded again.
He reached out to touch her face, but hesitated. “I have to touch you. May I?”
“Yes,” she whispered breathlessly.
He placed his hands on either side of her head. “Now, just take deep breaths, and try to let your mind empty.”
She nodded slightly and stared deep into his beautifully expressive eyes. Suddenly, a rush of images flooded her mind.
She saw Zan as a young boy sitting on the lap of a beautiful blonde woman, playing something that looked like pat-a-cake with an adorable little, blonde girl. She saw him playing some sort of sports game with the young man from the crash site. She saw him staring at the stars, looking so very lost. Finally, she saw him discovering her broken and bleeding body among the wreckage of the pod.
She could feel everything he was feeling. She felt his overwhelming loneliness. And, she could see herself as he saw her. She gasped as she realized he thought she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.
He pulled away from her, reluctantly dropping his hands from her face and back to his sides. “Did it work?”
She nodded silently, staring at him with wonder. Something deep inside her soul cried out and recognized him, and she chuckled mentally at the irony of the situation. Here she’d finally found her soul mate after crossing seven solar systems, only to find him on an alien planet, unable to do anything about it because of her sworn duty.
Tearing her gaze away from his face, she stared at the balcony door. “Um, I really need to get some rest now.”
Zan felt his stomach drop with disappointment.
“It’s just that I have a very important meeting tomorrow that will determine the future of my people.”
“I understand,” he mumbled.
“Can you come back tomorrow night? I have a lot of questions about you and your planet.”
He smiled happily. “Yes, I will.”
“Good,” she said returning his smile. “Good-night Zan.”
“Good-night Liz,” he said softly as he climbed over the balcony railing. And then, he was gone.
She sighed as she searched for any sign of him, but to no avail. “Maybe he is an angel,” she whispered at the two moons, before turning around and walking back into her bedroom.
When Liz walked out into the main room of the guest suite the next morning, she gave a cry of joy. “Alex! You’re alive! I’m so happy to see you!”
“Thanks,” Alex replied, giving her his famous goofy grin and a big bear hug. “It’s good to see you, Lieu--no, wait, it’s Captain now.”
She sobered immediately and looked over at Maria, who was standing off to the side looking extremely nervous. Then she looked back at Alex. “How long have you been here?”
He shrugged. “About thirty minutes. You were in the shower, so Maria and I caught up on all that’s happened to us in the past forty-eight hours.”
She glared at Maria. “You told him!”
“Told me what?” Alex lied badly.
“Alex...,” Liz warned.
“Well, you are my best friend, and Maria’s my best friend, so....”
“Maria, I asked you not to tell anyone! In fact, I believe I gave you a direct order.”
“Liz, I’m sorry, but I needed to talk to someone. And you were being so closed off. Who better than Alex?” Maria explained quickly.
“Because Zan asked me specifically not to tell anyone. You were there, so you’d already seen.”
“His name is Zan?” Maria asked with sudden interest. “Oooh. We’re on a first name basis now, are we?”
“Who’s Zan?” Alex asked.
“The hunky alien guy who healed Liz’s stomach wound after the crash yesterday,” Maria replied, waggling her eyebrows.
Liz threw up her hands in exasperation. “Okay enough with the eyebrows you two! It’s time for serious discussion here. Alex, what about the rest of the crew? How are the others?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t seen any others. My pod mate was killed in the first explosion on the Jamestown, so I was alone in the pod. I had a problem with the guidance system. I think I was hit by some stray fire from whatever it was that attacked us. I had to put down in some remote farmland. Some farmer brought me to what I think was the nearest law enforcement building. Then, they brought me here.”
She chewed her lower lip thoughtfully. “I guess I’ll just have to ask the King when I meet him in a little while. Maybe, he can give me some answers.”
“Well, what are we waiting for?” Maria asked, throwing her arms around her two best friends. “We’re as ready as we’ll ever be to meet this King--you know, since our dress uniforms incinerated with the Jamestown. These aliens didn’t do too badly on cleaning and preparing our uniforms.”
Liz assessed their appearance. Maria’s blonde hair was cut just below her ears in the regulation Ensign style that all female, non-officers were required to wear. Her blue, one-piece, body-hugging uniform was also standard issue for all non-critical ship’s personnel. Maria had been a cook in the Mess Hall. Alex’s short brown hair was carefully parted to the side and his face was clean-shaven. His two-piece, forest green uniform denoted his status as being in the Science and Technology branch of the ship’s personnel, as well as his status as an officer.
Her own shoulder length, dark brown hair was pulled up into a regulation chignon. Her two-piece uniform was red since she’d been a Lieutenant Commander on the ship. Now that she was Captain, she wasn’t supposed to wear red, but she liked it. It suited her. “Besides, where am I going to find a purple Captain’s uniform on this planet?” she thought.
“We’ll do,” she said, straightening and putting on her ‘Little General face’ that her father used to tease her about. “Come on crew. Let’s go see where fate takes us.”
After eating breakfast in a private dining room under the watchful eyes of a half dozen guards, Liz, Maria and Alex were escorted to the King’s Council Chamber.
“Your Majesty,” announced the stout doorman, “the visitors from the planet, Earth: Captain Elizabeth Parker, Chief Science Officer Alexander Whitman and Ensign Maria De Luca.
Liz glanced at Alex and raised an eyebrow at his self-promoted title. He grinned sheepishly at her and shrugged. She nodded and smiled her acknowledgment.
“His majesty, King Marek of Antar, Supreme Ruler of the Five Planetary Confederation, bids you entrance and welcome.”
As the little doorman scurried out of sight, Liz and her friends strode confidently into the council room. Alex and Maria flanked her on either side, walking a step behind to emphasize her status. Passing the various, seated council members and dignitaries in the room, she walked directly to the head of the table and bowed.
“Your Majesty,” she greeted solemnly. Maria and Alex followed suit.
“Captain Parker,” Marek greeted. “Good morning. I trust you and your crew slept well.”
“Yes, your Majesty. Thank you for your generous hospitality.”
“Now then, what can I do for you Captain?”
She looked Marek directly in the eye. “I need to know the status of my crew. I need to know how many survivors there are and how they’re doing. Also, I wish to see them in person.”
Marek looked at her thoughtfully. “Well Captain, you do get straight to the point. I do not know the latest number of survivors we have found, the last time I heard, it was around twenty-four. That’s including you and your two crew members here. They are being brought to the capital city of Gravis that lies around my palace. They are being treated for their injuries, fed and clothed. But, as for seeing them, I’m afraid I can’t permit it...at least for a few days.
“My people are getting ready to celebrate the Joining of the Moons. It is a very significant time since this event occurs only once every fifty years. We are also in the midst of Confederation talks and security is extremely tight. Once both of these events are over, hopefully, your remaining crew members will have been found and brought in, giving you an accurate count. Then you may address all of them at once, instead of as they straggle in.”
She looked at Marek with narrowed eyes, and then relaxed. “Fine. I will wait to see and talk to my crew. However, I request that they be told that I am alive and well, and that I’ll be there soon to address all of their questions.”
Marek nodded. “Now that we’ve got that out of the way, maybe you would like a tour of the palace and see the surrounding city from the safety of the palace walls.”
“That would be lovely, your Majesty,” she replied, flashing him her best smile.
“Your guide shall be my son. He’s a flighty youth, but what can you expect from an eighteen year old,” Marek said, shrugging.
“I don’t know your Majesty. You tell me. After all, I’m only eighteen, as is most of my crew.”
Marek narrowed his eyes at her sarcasm. “Yes. Well, an Antarian eighteen year-old is a little different from a human eighteen year-old, I’m sure.”
Marek turned his head and snapped his fingers. “Zan!”
She startled at the sound of the familiar name. “It can’t be...,” she thought. But it was.
Zan emerged from the door that led into the King’s private chamber. This morning he was dressed in a white vest that was trimmed in gold braid. He wore a pair of black, tight-fitting, leather-like pants and boots. His black hair that had fallen so adorably over his eyes last night when he was standing on her balcony was now slicked back from his face. As he approached her, she saw the guilt and pleading in his eyes.
“He didn’t want me to know that he’s the Crown Prince!” she thought in sudden realization. “Fine, if that’s the way he wants it....”
“Captain Parker, I would like you to meet my son, Crown Prince Zan, and future leader of the Confederation.”
She heard the low murmur that went through the assembled dignitaries at the last part of Marek’s statement. She bowed slightly. “Your Highness. It is an honor to meet you. I must say, you’re not what I expected.”
He flushed, and she swore his ears turned pink.
“Yes, well, I get that a lot. If you and your companions will come with me, we can start the tour, so my father and the other dignitaries can get back to their conference.”
She looked at his proffered arm, then up at his pleading eyes. “Very well,” she agreed, and stiffly placed her hand on his arm.
The tour hadn’t gone very well. Liz ignored Zan’s attempts to draw her out, and Alex and Maria’s endless questions gave her a headache. When Zan invited the three of them to dinner with him, his friend Rath, and his sister Vilandra that evening, she begged off. After reassuring Maria, that yes she would be fine once she had a nap, she managed to ensconce herself safely inside her bedroom.
Needing to relax and forget about the surprise she’d received, she stripped out of her clothes and filled the tub in the bathing area with hot water. Settling herself into the steaming liquid, she felt instantly at peace. She sighed, closing her eyes.
She opened her eyes open and abruptly sat up. The water was cool, and she realized she’d fallen asleep in the tub.
Looking over her shoulder, she saw Zan standing awkwardly in the doorway, trying to look anywhere but at her. Her stomach did a little flip and she smiled, but promptly hid it when she remembered why she was in the tub in the first place.
Grabbing a towel from the floor, she promptly covered herself. “Do you mind?”
He blushed. “Sorry, I’ll go wait on the balcony.”
“Please do,” she snapped, and proceeded to get out of the tub and dry off. Quickly donning her discarded tank top and panties from the floor, she grabbed a plush robe from the back of the door before heading out into the sleeping area.
Belting the robe tightly, she padded silently on bare feet to the open balcony door.
“I’m sorry Liz,” he said without turning around from his observation of the now night-filled sky. “I didn’t mean for you to find out this way.”
“Why didn’t you just tell me who you were to begin with? I would have understood.”
“It’s just that I’m not supposed to be outside the palace walls, let alone the city. We’re in a time of civil unrest here, and it isn’t very safe for members of the ruling family, if you know what I mean.”
“Father would have thrown a fit, huh?” she asked softly, walking up to stand beside him. “I know how that is. My father used to be the same way.”
He glanced down at this tiny woman who’d found the empty place inside his soul and filled it. He wanted to touch her so badly. But he couldn’t. “So, do you have any questions for me?”
“Oh yeah, I do. Okay. Here we go. What is the Five Planetary Confederation exactly?”
“It’s an alliance between the five inhabited planets in our system to help govern trade and produce goods for the betterment of all the inhabitants. The other planets are not like Antar. Neteru and Osir are basically desolate planets, whose only value in our system is the mineral resources they produce. Tollan and Votan don’t have the resources, but do have the means to produce serviceable goods from those resources. On Antar, we have both, so we are the governing planet, as we understand all sides of the equation. Each planet has their own Royal family that governs the people, and act as delegates to the Confederation conferences.”
“Which is what is going on right now?”
He nodded. “Lately, there has been a turn in the satisfaction of the status quo. Certain leaders on certain planets have begun to create pockets of civil unrest. If we cannot stop it, then we could have the makings of an interplanetary war on our hands.”
“Why aren’t you at these meetings?”
“Because, I don’t agree with my father’s position on this problem. And rather than have his son and heir disagree with him in public, he’s--”
“Relegated you to playing tour guide. Out of sight, you can’t stir up trouble,” she said, a mischievous look in her eyes.
He grinned. “Yeah, something like that.”
“All right.” She glanced up at the stars and the two moons hanging over their heads.
“What is this Joining of the Moons your father mentioned today at the meeting?”
“Oh that. It’s an old Antarian legend. Long before we had the capabilities to travel in space, there were two lovers--a great warrior named Antares and his beautiful mate, Echo. And like all great tragic love stories, they were soul mates who could not be together. There was a great war and one day, Echo was given the news that Antares had been killed in battle. The news so devastated her, that she miscarried their child--a son. Unable to go on, having lost both her mate and her babe, she threw herself off the cliffs into the Krystlyn Sea.”
“Oh how sad,” she whispered.
“Yes, it was. For on the day she threw herself into the sea, Antares returned home from war, wounded but far from dead. When he heard about his mate and child, he went mad with grief. He tore off his clothes and wandered naked through the wilderness. The gods of old witnessed Antares’ grief, and wished to reward him for battles well fought in their name. So they raised Echo from the Krystlyn Sea and placed her in the heavens so he could see her always. That's her,” he said, pointing to the smaller moon.
“When Antares saw the new moon, he wanted to join her, so he threw himself off a cliff in an attempt to reach her. Of course, he couldn’t fly, and he fell to his death. The gods were angry over their warrior’s suicide since they still had plans for him, but the god of Love took pity on the lovers, and set Antares in the sky as the larger moon.”
“That’s so beautiful. But where does the Joining come in?”
“If you wait a minute, Miss Impatient, I will tell you. To appease the other gods, the god of Love placed Antares in a different orbit from Echo. They would be able to see one another always, but not be able to touch. However, the god of Love tricked the other gods by placing Antares in such a way that once every fifty years, he would be allowed one night of love with his beautiful Echo. When the occurrence happened for the first time, fifty years later, instead of being angry, the other gods wept at the lovers’ beautiful joining. They declared the occurrence to be sacred, and that any Antarian who kisses their love for the first time on the night of the Joining, would be destined to be together forever.”
“So what exactly is the Joining in the scientific sense?”
“Quite the analytical mind, aren’t you?” he teased with a smile. “In the scientific sense, it’s really a double lunar eclipse. The larger moon, Antares, moves behind the smaller moon, Echo and they in turn are covered by the shadow of the planet, thus ensuring our mythical couple some privacy. Oh, did I mention that the planet’s name, Antar comes from Antares?”
She shook her head.
“Yes, the gods wanted the couple to have their son, who was named after his father, with them, so they placed him within the planet, so that his parents would always revolve around Antar.”
She sighed. "I don’t think I’ll be able to look at those moons in the same way again. When does the Joining occur?”
“Tomorrow night. Would you like to watch it with me? Maria and Alex can come too. Rath and Lonnie will be there also. It’ll be perfectly safe.”
He smiled. “So, any more questions, O Curious One?”
She shook herself from the spell that his story had woven around her and mentally checked her list of questions. “Um, just one more. What exactly did you do to me at the crash site? I was definitely dying. How did you heal me? You even repaired the hole in my uniform!”
“Oh that...well, my people have the ability to manipulate molecular structures. I’m one of the few Antarians who are powerful enough to repair the extensive damage that was done to you. And I’m the only one, who can bring back the ones who are on the cusp of death.”
“I was dead?” she squeaked.
“Almost. Your heartbeat was so faint; I almost missed it when I dragged you out of the wreckage.”
“That’s why you didn’t want me to tell anyone. No one knows about this particular trait of your ability do they?”
He nodded slowly, wondering if she would think him a freak. He was not prepared for the response he received.
“It’s a beautiful gift. Why don’t you want anyone to know?”
“Because people would expect me to be omnipotent. And I can’t be. I’m just...me. I can’t fix everything. So I keep quiet, and fix what I can.”
“So when you healed me, you risked this knowledge getting out, didn’t you. It wasn’t just your Father’s rule.”
“Why? Why would you help a complete stranger, especially since you’d never seen a human before? Why?”
Staring at her, he slowly reached out and caressed her cheek. “It was you.”
She turned her face into his palm and smiled. “Zan.”
Looking at her, he wanted to kiss her. Just bend down and brush his lips softly across hers. She wanted him to. He could see it in her eyes. “I have to go.”
“What?” she asked, as he pulled his hand away from her.
“I’m sorry, Liz. I can’t.”
“Zan, wait. Where are you going?” she hissed as he jumped over the railing to the soft ground below and ran off into the shadows. “Zan!”
“Okay, so he just like ran off?” Maria asked Liz at breakfast the next morning.
“Yeah,” she replied, “It was really weird. Maybe the questions got to personal?”
“I don’t think ‘what the heck did you do to me?’ is a terribly personal and embarrassing question. I think the boy just got cold feet.”
“It doesn’t matter anyway,” Alex said staring intently at the two women sitting across from him. “It’s not like there can ever be anything between you and Zan.”
“Why not?” Liz asked indignantly. “Is there something wrong with me that would make me so unattractive as a lover?”
Alex shook his head. “No, the problem is you already have an intended mate.”
She bristled. “Kyle is not my mate yet! I don’t even know if he’s alive! Besides, I didn’t want to be mated to him back on the Jamestown.”
“Liz, you know the rules,” Maria said softly.
“Screw the rules!”
“Elizabeth Parker, such language! Did you kiss Zan with that mouth?”
“No Maria, I didn’t. Look, we have no ship, and we could very well be stranded on this planet forever. How can we possibly be expected to be made to mate only with other humans?”
“Because that’s our mission, and you’re our captain. You set the example,” Alex said firmly, leaning forward in his chair. “We don’t know if the other colonization ships survived. For all we know, we three and the two dozen survivors staying in Gravis are the last of the human race. We have an obligation and duty to our species to try to help it survive, thrive and grow.”
“We’re meeting them for the festival tonight?” Vilandra asked at breakfast. “Wasn’t it enough that we had dinner with them last night?”
“Lonnie, they’re our guests, and Father wants me to keep an eye on them. I can’t do it alone. It’s too dangerous. I can’t be alone with Liz.”
“Why?” Rath asked, staring hard at his best friend. “Why can’t you be left alone with Captain Parker? What happened between you two? You’ve been practically throwing us together with that boring science guy and his wacky girlfriend like we’re some kind of buffer?”
He stared at the food on his plate. “I, um, reversed the connection.”
“Oh Zan, you didn’t!” Lonnie cried. “How could you do that? It was bad enough that you connected to her during the healing, but to deliberately do it?”
“I know. It’s just that she was curious about our people and what I did....”
“You have to stop this, now,” Vilandra ordered. "You know you’re not free to pursue this relationship. You have too many duties--”
“And too many responsibilities as the Crown Prince and future leader of the Confederation,” he mimicked. “I know, I know. I’ve heard that speech so many times from Father, that I hear it in my sleep. I will stop it. Tonight. After the festival.”
“You’d better Zan,” Rath warned softly, “Otherwise we’re all doomed.”
Liz had thought all day about what Alex had said, and she sighed. He was right. She had a duty that she’d sworn to uphold when she’d become an officer on the Jamestown.
Now as she walked behind Zan and the others through the palace gardens, she braced herself for what she was going to have to tell him. King Marek and the other planet dignitaries were seated in the royal observation box on top of the palace walls. So, it was just the six of them, wandering around and watching the two moons move closer together.
Spotting a beautifully exotic, white flower blooming in the moonlight, she bent down to smell it. It was amazing to smell a real flower after eighteen years of fake ones in the holo-room.
Suddenly, she froze as the sound of movement in the near-by hedges caught her attention. Pretending to be looking at the moons, she moved closer, and spotted a dark figure in the shadows of the middle hedgerow.
“Liz! What are you doing?” Zan called out as he approached her.
The glint of metal in the moonlight caused her to react instinctively. “Run Zan!”
Throwing herself at the assailant, she quickly dodged the murderous swing of the would-be assassin’s blade. Sweeping her leg around to knock her opponent’s legs out from underneath him, she felt the sting of an energy blast grazing her side.
“Hey, no fair fighting dirty,” she said, and stomped down hard on what she thought should be the tender area between the assassin’s legs. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to faze him, as he grabbed her foot and threw her across the garden. She slammed into the trunk of a near-by tree. Dazed, she managed to focus her vision, just as the assassin raised his blade to remove her head from her shoulders.
She flinched as a blue-colored blast of energy slammed into the assassin’s back. The assassin screamed in agony, then crumpled to the ground, dead.
She looked in the direction of the blast to see Rath, his hand outstretched, standing next to Zan. Maria and Alex ran up to her.
“My God Liz, are you okay?” Maria asked frantically.
“Oh yeah. Just a bump on the noggin and a little singed around the edges. Nothing major.”
“What in God’s name possessed you to go after an assassin unarmed?” Alex demanded.
“He was going to kill Zan. I was trying to give him time to get away. What in the heck was that thing?”
“A Neteru mercenary,” Zan replied as he, Rath and Vilandra came over to inspect the body.
“Why didn’t he curl up in agony when I stomped him between the legs? That move always works.”
“Because they’re eunuchs,” Rath said. “I’ll take the body to the guards and see if I can figure out who this corpse was working for. Then, I’m going to have a word with the Chief Examiner about his security measures.”
Zan nodded. “Lonnie, take Alex and Maria back to the palace. We’ll watch the Joining from the balcony in your room.”
“But, what about you and Liz?” Vilandra asked, glancing anxiously between the two.
“We’ll be right behind you,” he said crouching down to check out the wound to Liz’s side. “I just need to patch Liz up a little bit before she moves, okay?”
“Fine. Whatever. Just remember what I said earlier.”
As the others walked off, Liz looked up into Zan’s concerned expression and winced.
“Sorry. You got a bit of an energy burn. Sometimes Rath can be a little wild with his shots.”
“Rath did this to me? Remind me to pay him back when we get inside,” she gasped.
He placed his hand over the burn.
She watched in fascination as his hand began to glow. She could feel the warm, tingling sensation start to flow through her torso.
“There,” he said, “All better.”
Staring into his amber brown eyes, she touched the back of her head briefly. “What about this lump?”
“I think I can handle that too,” he whispered, as he kept his right hand on her ribs and used his left hand to heal her head.
This time she saw and felt the flash of his desire to kiss her. Tilting her head back and slightly to the side, she drew in a deep breath, causing her lips to part invitingly.
He stared at her and groaned. He couldn’t control it. They were safely hidden in the shadows of the tree. He had to kiss her. Lowering his head, he softly brushed his lips against hers.
To Liz, it felt like a butterfly’s caress--quick and gentle. Then it changed, as she felt his grip on her side and the back of her head tighten.
He had to taste her. Just a little more. She was so sweet. He reached out with the tip of his tongue and lightly licked her lips, coaxing her to open up to him and respond. She did so willingly, meeting his tongue thrust for thrust with her own.
High above them, directly over the tree they were under, Antares joined with his beautiful Echo just before they too were blanketed in the privacy of the planet’s shadow. And all across Antar, hundreds of Antarians kissed their true loves for the very first time.
Walking through the gardens towards the palace, Zan and Liz held hands in silence. As they stepped into the light from the palace windows, she pulled her hand away from him.
He turned to look at her. “Hey,” he whispered.
“Hey,” she said smiling slightly.
He reached out and pushed a stray piece of hair behind her ear. “You had a, uh, from the fight....”
“Hair thing, right. Thanks.”
“Zan, it’s not going to work you know. We can’t let what happened tonight, happen again.”
“I know. I just don’t care.”
“But you should. You’re the future king of your planet, and I’m a homeless human who’s suddenly in charge of trying to keep her species from becoming extinct. You and I can never be.”
“I can’t help it. I want this to be something more. You fill up that lonely place inside my soul,” he said, looking at her with hopeful, puppy-dog eyes.
She smiled sadly at him. “I really wish this could be something more. But it can’t. We have different....”
“Destinies,” he whispered softly.
He sighed. “I guess I’ll be seeing you around.”
She nodded and started to walk away, but stopped to look at him once more. “Zan.... Thank you for saving my life.”
He smiled and reached out to briefly caress her cheek. “Thank you,” he whispered, then dropped his hand back to his side and watched her walk into the palace alone.
“It’s been five days since my ship crashed, my father died, I became the leader of my surviving crew, and I almost died. But then the really amazing thing happened. I met someone who was as lonely as I was, and he brought me back to life.”
Putting away her computer log, she glanced one last time at the two moons, Antares and Echo. The Joining was over. There would not be another for fifty years. “At least they can still see one another,” she thought, standing up. “Even if they can’t touch.” Turning to the tree that grew by her window, she climbed it, jumped to her balcony, and walked into her bedroom.
**FADE TO BLACK**
**end of EPISODE 101**
I know that some of you have read this before, but I also know that there are a lot of new faces on the board who have never read this. I hope you enjoyed it anyway.
I have 8 MORE episodes of this series already written. I will post one a week, every Saturday night, just like a weekly TV show.
Oh, and Petal, if you're reading this, would you be interested in doing a banner for the series? I would really like one for each episode, but I'm not sure if the mods will allow that.