Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 56 Pg 15 - 10 / 21

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Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 56 Pg 15 - 10 / 21

Postby Misha » Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:22 pm

Title: Of Journals & Journeys
Disclaimer: Gees, would I love to own them?! But nope, you all know who the owners are, and certainly that doesn’t include me. I’m just writing for fun :) But to make it official: The characters of "Roswell" belong to Jason Katims, Melinda Metz, WB, and UPN. They are not mine and no infringement is intended.
Category: AU - Max&Liz
Rating: YTEEN, for very occasional language and violence.


Summary: What if no shifters had survived the crash?

Life is predictable, comfortable and completely risk free for one Liz Parker, head of the biology molecular department in a small lab in Washington State. As far from Roswell and little green men as one could get. It's such a pity that trouble has found her in the form of Max Evans.

Life is full of invisible chains, a prison without walls for Max. He wants out, if only he can find the way to neutralize the drug that keeps him in check. Can he trust this doctor? Can he live with yet another person in his life looking at him as a thing and not a person?


AN: This story explores the idea of what could have happened if no shifters had survived the crash, meaning no pod chamber, no message from home, no Roswell as we know it. Yet a certain couple seems to be destined to find each other. Be aware that this is strictly a Max & Liz story, with no side couples. Sure, other characters from the show have important roles, but that's about it.

Many thanks to my betas, Michelle in LA and xilaj, who actually thought this was a good idea :mrgreen:
Last edited by Misha on Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:25 pm, edited 59 times in total.
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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 1 Pg 1 - 9/7

Postby Misha » Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:27 pm

-

Of Journals & Journeys

-





Journal entry 1, January 4th, 2011


Funny how I haven’t had a Journal since my high school years, back when I was a small girl from a small town, right in the middle of nowhere. When life was predictable. When your dreams could come true with just enough hard work and the future was waiting to happen.

When life used to be so easy.

I didn't know that then. The plan I set for myself worked perfectly well, one which was colored with the reds and browns of falls in Boston, and the smiles and hugs of my parents and friends when I graduated from Harvard. I wasn’t a small town girl anymore, and it didn’t matter that I came from a small town, either. I had the world at my feet, even if it was only the world of molecular biology. My dream became true.

The thing nobody bothers to tell you about dreams, though, is that you have to be flexible about them.

I’d dreamed of being head of the molecular biology department, until I realized what exactly a head of a department does. And how long it takes to be one, especially at Harvard. When a small, yet promising research lab had an opening for me at the other side of the country, I took it without a second thought. I was going to be the head of a department, one way or another, no matter where or what size.

So here I am, a name plate on my door proudly displaying Elizabeth Parker, M.D., three technicians under my wing, and a boss-slash-owner I hardly see. Dream job any way you look at it, if you ask me.

Until just about an hour ago, things had been pleasant enough. Predictable enough. Organized in the way I like things, where problems get resolved no matter how big they are. Science has a way of reducing everything to the smallest pieces, allowing you to find answers. Sure, it takes time and leads to many disappointments, but the beauty of it is that, sooner or later, you’ll get results. You'll get answers.

I guess that’s why he chose me. It makes sense, really. I have the skills and the equipment and the privacy. And he has… I don’t even have a name for what he has. While I look at what is under the microscope, all I know is that life is never going to be the same.

That suddenly, life is not going to be easy any more.



Chapter One
Friend or Foe



She was working late, as usual, but she didn’t mind. Lab work was a solitary job most of the time and she found that soothing. Her mind could work in peace, her thoughts rarely straying from what she had in front of her.

Everything in this little corner of her world was white, silver, or black, the expensive equipment on the other three lab stations neatly cleaned out for the day. White light reflected from the chrome instruments and the white tiles on her own station, making everything look sharper, clinical, leaving everything outside her personal space in black shadows. Rows and rows of test tubes waited to be used, while brown colored bottles on the shelves were perfectly aligned in alphabetical order. She never noticed how quiet things got when she was alone, never had a second thought about the things that lurked in those shadows.

Never heard him coming, either.

"Good evening, Dr. Parker."

Liz turned her head so fast she almost fell from her stool. It wasn't the fact that it was a man's voice, or even a stranger's voice that made her react so violently. It was rather the subtle danger that was in the barely whispered four words, something beyond rational that triggered some ancient instinct to skip fight and go directly to flight.

Ten feet away in the doorframe, a man looked at her intently, barely moving a muscle, certainly not concerned about how badly he had startled her. Certainly knowing he had her cornered.

"I—I— Who are you?”

Her heart rammed in her chest, the adrenaline surge far from over. If his voice had not warned her, his honey-colored eyes certainly dared her to run and never look back. Under the harsh white light, those eyes looked older. Way older. She didn’t notice the black leather jacket, or the dark jeans. She didn’t notice he wore no tags which would have granted him access to the lab where she was. All she did notice were those eyes. Hard, angry at their depths.

And scared.

He didn’t want to be here.

She didn't want him to be here, either.

Breaking the spell, he walked in, furtively looking around the empty lab. She was the only one here, probably the only one on the entire floor, a fact that came rushing to the forefront of her mind as he came closer.

"I’m Max.”

She swallowed hard, but she didn’t take her eyes off him. She didn’t like feeling trapped, but as long as she could read those hazel eyes, she felt like she knew what was coming. That she was still in control.

"I need your help." Those eyes didn't get softer, but Liz knew asking this was not only a big deal, it was also a carefully planned line.

"Help you… how?”

Three feet from her, he stopped. His eyes focused on the microscope she’d been using. She was not the only one tense in this room, she could tell that much.

"I need you to research… something for me.”

Drugs. It was her first thought. He looked like someone who kept secrets. Someone involved in illegal stuff. What would it be? A meth lab? Something that would need a chemist? She didn’t move. She never took her eyes off his.

"There’s… something… running in my veins,” he almost whispered, his eyes glued to the microscope as if it were the most fascinating thing in the world.

"I—I’m not the right type of doctor for…”

His eyes returned to hers, and her heart sunk. "No, you are the perfect doctor. For this.”

She barely shook her head, swallowing once again. Fear was replaced with purpose in the depths of those eyes. "Graduated first in your class. You love science. You love quiet.”

Her mouth became desert dry. He looked back at the microscope. She didn’t dare to breathe.

"So you'll do it for the science, for I have the perfect project for you."

Project is not his favorite word, Liz fleetingly thought, noticing how his eyes had narrowed at that. She couldn’t swallow anymore, but her mind had no problem guessing was being unsaid: or you’ll do it to stay alive.

She shook her head again, more at her own thoughts than at his last words. She did not need this trouble. He took a step back, and she was thankful for that.

"I don’t even know what you want me to find?" I don't even have a reason to find it!

His confidence sagged a little at that, and his eyes turned to the floor. Was it doubt that crossed his eyes?

"As I said… there’s something in my veins.”

"Drugs,” she stated.

"A drug,” he corrected. "Something you won’t find on the streets,” he tried to joke, but it came stressed. "It’s… highly addictive. I want you to find what it is, and how to get me off of it. Or if… I… can’t live without it, I need you to produce it for me, until I can find the right supplier,” he whispered now, more than doubt in those words making his eyes look vulnerable. Something like desperation.

"Who’s your supplier now?” she whispered back.

It took him a second, but he got his confidence back, and with it, his eyes closed off to her. "The US government. Make no mistake, Dr. Parker. If they find out I was here, they’ll kill you. If you contact anyone, they’ll know. It’ll mean a lot of trouble for me, but it’ll mean far worse to you.”

She shook her head yet again. "I don’t want— I don’t want any trouble.”

He looked at her, really looked at her, and she wondered if those haunted eyes were going to be the last thing she saw before he killed her. A tense, silent minute went by. Then he nodded to himself, and walked past her, to the lab station further into the room.

She could run. She had to run out of there, but her body didn’t move. Her eyes remained on his back as he opened a couple of drawers, looking for God knew what. Her curiosity won over her self-preservation instincts, but her breath caught in her throat when he finally found what he wanted from the third drawer: a syringe.

Now she stood up, her back to the door, her feet managing two steps back before he turned around, taking his jacket off. He wore a black t-shirt that let the world know he worked out. A lot. But all Liz saw was the syringe in his right hand, going to his left arm.

"I’m going to contact you in two days,” the syringe went in. He didn’t even flinch, "and if what you see in this sample does not pique your interest, I’ll never contact you again.” Blood quickly filled the plastic tube. Dread quickly filled her body.

He took the needle out, and one drop swelled in his arm before he wiped it out with his hand. He handed her the sample before she could even blink. "If you show it to anyone, anyone Dr. Parker, it won’t be pretty. If you don’t want to work with me, I’ll understand. If you do, we’ll arrange later meetings.”

Painfully aware of how scare she was –and how pale she must look—she received the sample with shaking hands. She wanted to trash it right in front of him, so he would know she was not interested in this kind of trouble. But she didn’t. She wouldn't risk her life for that. Once he walked out of the door, though…

The syringe felt heavy. Lead heavy. He could have placed a feather on her hands and the result would have been the same. He looked at her for a moment longer, maybe having second thoughts. Maybe wanting to make sure she had understood how serious this was. Under the unwanted weight of his stare, she looked down at the syringe, his dark red blood looking like any other sample she'd ever seen. She closed her hand around it, and looked up to ask a few hundred questions of her own.

Shadows were all her answer. She never heard him going, either.
"There's addiction, and there's Roswell!"

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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 1 Pg 1 - 9/7

Postby Misha » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:17 pm

Journal entry 2, January 6th, 2011.


Forty-eight hours don't seem like much, but for me, they were eternity.

I should have followed my first instinct and destroyed the sample. I should have packed my things and left the city that night. I should have done a million, sensible, logical things once Max walked out of that door. But once my hands stopped shaking, once my mouth started swallowing again, I took that vial of blood and looked at it under the microscope.

Like Pandora before me, I shouldn't have opened that box.



Chapter Two
Bad Blood



The lab was empty again. With half the lab technicians still on vacation for the year-end holidays, Liz had had the lab to herself for the last two days.

She shouldn't have looked, yes, but once she did… She had slept all of five hours since, and when she had, she had dreamed of those intense eyes, of the syringe filling with blood, of what she'd seen under the microscope.

What you see cannot be unseen.

Not enough blood was in that sample to run half the tests she'd wanted to, but the other half had come back with bizarre, intriguing results. Max was right: she would do it for the science. Not that she wasn't interested in the staying alive part, too, but this—this knowledge she now possessed? This was priceless. And dangerous. And barely the tip of the iceberg.

He stood in the doorway just like two days before, but this time, for the briefest of moments, Liz read wariness in his eyes. Then it was gone. He walked in, and stood right in the middle between her and the door, maybe unsure if he wanted to be there or not.He's afraid, she thought, still sitting on her stool, watching him with renewed interest.

A silent, heavy moment settled between them where both acknowledged that she now knew the truth about him.

"You're not— you're not human," she finally stated, the three words she'd been wanting to scream since the moment she'd seen his blood cells under her microscope.

"Not entirely. I've been told the right definition is a hybrid." His voice was quiet, but his body tensed. The bad kind of tensing, too.

Who told you? And a human-what hybrid?

"I— I tried to look for the drugs—"

"The drug," he corrected her, from plural to single.

She nodded nervously. "But… there's so much— so much to go through. A baseline to draw, for starters, and—" she kept looking at him, staring at him, trying to find something, anything that would give him away. He looked human, very much so, even if his blood betrayed him. Had she not seen him taking the sample from his own arm, she wouldn't have believed him. "—and other tests to be done. Are there any others like you? Someone who is not drugged?"

It was as if the light in the room had gone dimmer, everything about Max becoming darker, colder. "There are no others like me." There were daggers in those words. It even looked painful to say them. "I take it you want the job."

It wasn't a question, yet she didn't know what to answer. Yes, I want to know so much more about this, about you. And No, you mean more problems than I can handle. I'm just a small town girl, how can I get tangled up with something as dangerous as you?

What came out of her mouth instead was the question that had been running through her sleep-deprived mind for two days: "Why are they drugging you?"

"So I won't run," came his honest answer. "If you are going to do this, Dr. Parker, if you are going to take more of my blood and look for what I asked of you, you'll get to know things—things that if anyone finds out you know about them, it will mean you'll be dead before a day goes by. The research you'll do, you won't be able to use it for anything else, other than to help me. Whatever I say to you will go to the grave with you. If that grave comes sooner rather than later because you couldn't keep your mouth shut, it will be up to you."

He was giving her one last chance to back out. To tell him to go out of the door and out of her life. She knew he had researched her. She also knew he had picked her. He saw something in her that was trustworthy. Or disposable. She wasn't sure which, but she knew she had a 50-50 chance.

Plus, he was dead wrong if he thought that what she learned from him was not going to be useful in any other research.

"I want to know," she said in a far steadier voice than she'd imagined. "But I can't promise I'll find your answer. Your blood is too different. Researching you will take a good deal of time, and I'll be unable to trace the drug until then. Max—it might take me years before I have any answer for you. And in the end, it might still be a no. I may never find a way to get you off it."

She'd rehearsed that little speech for the last four hours, not knowing what kind of reaction to expect. What met her words was sheer determination.

"I know. But I have to try."

That night they settled a weekly routine. She would report to him, he said, verbally and all copies of her work would be kept at the lab. Nothing gets out of here, he added in that quiet yet menacing voice of his, no trace of vulnerability in those haunting eyes. "I need to settle some things," he said when he was putting his jacket on, "then we'll talk." He was gone before twenty minutes had passed, leaving behind him another full syringe.

When she saw him leave, she wondered what secrets Max carried other than his blood.
Last edited by Misha on Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 2 Pg 1 - 9/8

Postby Misha » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:38 pm

Let's see the other side of the story 8)



January 12th, 2011 – Day 1578 and counting


"Okay Max, you're ready to go," Frank says in his cheerful way, patting me twice on the shoulder as he's always done as long as I can remember. He's one of the few who've been part of my life since it began, so he's also one of the few who are not afraid of being in the same room with me.

He also gives me thorough monthly check-ups, and faster weekly ones. They used to be daily, but now that I'm all grown up, my body has stopped changing. I have not developed a new power for seven years now, and I reached my limit about four years ago, when I turned twenty-five. I can't heal myself faster, or move heavier objects, or sustain my shield longer than I did then, but Frank is always asking, always pushing to see if I have gotten just a little bit stronger.

He's also the one who gives me my weekly dose. We never talk about it. He doesn't like it any more than I do, but we are both powerless to stop it. It was the deal I agreed to. It is the deal I want to get out of.

He injects the amber liquid, and waits. He's looking for any ill reaction, and I'm not allowed to leave until an hour has passed. He sits behind his desk; I sit on his oversized green couch. We've been doing this for four years, 1578 days exactly, so we have this routine down to perfection.

There's no rush to this drug. I do not get high, or stunned, or delirious. I also don't get depressed, sleepy or in any way incapacitated. But my body feels relief. I am addicted to this amber liquid to the point I almost feel myself salivating when I see it every week. If I miss it, even by one day, I start shaking. In two days I have a full blow withdrawal crisis. I might be curled up on the floor, shaking and desperate, but I still am in full control of my powers. And I would do anything to get my dose.

They have only let me go through that twice, once to see my reaction, and the next one to make sure I wouldn't forget.

I think about it all the time.

I pick my book and make myself comfortable. The clock is ticking and it means I have fifty-eight more minutes to go before Frank declares I have survived another dose without my body outright breaking down in front of him. I've read his notes, and he thinks my metabolism will find a way to reject this drug eventually. I have lived four years of my life waiting for that to happen. It hasn't, of course, and I keep waiting. Once it happens, though, I'll disappear.

Working closely with Frank has taught me one more thing: it's not easy to work with my biology. The few things he knows for sure have taken him years to understand. That's why I had to start early on my escape plan. That's why I went to Dr. Parker last week. She's my plan B. It's going to be years before she finds anything, so chances are my body will figure it out first, and I won't have to depend on her.

On the other hand, I remind myself grimly, if plan A ever works, if my body does finally reject the drug and they find out about that— I might not even survive long enough to bask in my triumph.



Chapter Three
Away



It was late when his orders arrived. He was supposed to go to Parker the next day, but there was no way around it. He couldn't contact her, but he told himself that it was okay. She didn't say anything to anyone the first two days. She didn't run for the hills. And when he finally went to see her a week ago, she'd looked at him as something other. Just like every new doctor who ever saw him for the first time: professionally, clinically. Detached. It meant her scientific mind was engaged. And that was all he ever expected from her.

Somewhere deep inside, it hurt. To not be seen as an equal, not a who but a what. It shouldn't matter since disappointment seemed to always be part of his life, one way or another. He wanted to live free, it didn't matter what she thought of him.

It shouldn't matter, but it did.

He came back to the base three days later, his mission accomplished. Debriefing was always long where he was concerned, because there were too many things to explain, too many reports to fill out. What powers he'd used, for how long, at what time. Had anybody seen him?

That was their main concern: Had anybody seen him? He had to be careful, oh so careful, because if he was seen, chances were he would be put back in some dark corner. It would mean good-bye to his so called freedom, limited as it was. And his plan B.

By the time debriefing was done, he was too tired to play hide and seek and sneak out to go see Parker. Before he knew it, he was being drafted for another mission.

When he came back to the base from his fourth mission in a row, he started getting nervous. Maybe he had been followed. Maybe they were keeping him away so he wouldn't know Dr. Parker had just disappeared. More than ever, he wanted to go to her.

"Are you doing okay?" Frank asked, shining his pen-light on his eyes for the millionth time. Max used to think it was funny when he was a kid. It was just procedure now, meaningless and boring.

"I could use a little bit more sleep," Max said, barely suppressing a yawn, his words sounding slightly slurred. He wasn't sure in what time zone he was, but his body was pretty convinced it was nighttime somewhere. He needed to find a suitable bed now.

"They asked for you again, but I told them no," Frank said with a serious face. Several agencies used Max's abilities without really knowing what they were requesting, but Frank had the last word about Max's physical and mental health, and if he didn't give the green light, Max didn't go.

"Thank you," Max said sincerely. The price he paid for using his abilities without any resting time was that he needed his "fix" sooner, and Frank never liked to give him one outside schedule.

His left hand started shaking, right under the watchful eyes of his doctor. Frank frowned. "I'm keeping you here for the next two weeks. To hell with whatever they want."

Plan B would have to wait, he thought resignedly as he smiled to his friend.
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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 3 Pg 1 - 9/9

Postby Misha » Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:24 pm

I like this entry because it happens on my birthday :lol: So glad you guys are liking the story so far. It's quiet an alternative tale :mrgreen:



Journal entry 3 – January 27th, 2011


I haven't seen Max in three weeks, nor has he contacted me in any other way. I won't lie and say that I'm not worried there's going to be some man in a dark suit waiting for me at every turn I make, because I am. But I'm also far more worried about Max than I am for myself.

This is too important for him to just let it go. He was not playing with me. He needs to know how far or how little I've advanced. So I'm afraid someone found out what he was trying to do. They might not have found out he's already contacted me, that I already know too much, but it doesn't mean he's okay.

A small voice in my head says he's testing me. That he wants to know if the small town girl has the guts to keep this secret and not run for the hills. And I have been tempted.

The lab has been full for the past weeks, and I haven't dared even to look at the blood sample until I'm totally alone. I'm also paranoid someone is going to take the sample by mistake, even if it is in my office under lock, so in full blown paranoia, I watch it like a hawk.

It's all gone now, the sample. There's only so much I can stretch it to last. If Max doesn't come soon, I won't be able to go any further.

If he doesn't come soon, I'm going to start believing it was all just an extremely vivid, extremely weird dream.

Even if I know better.



Chapter Four
Reports



Liz was just about to leave when the shadow in the doorway made her stop.

"I was starting to wonder if I had dreamed you up," she said to try to lighten her heart. Maybe to lighten his, too. Maybe to just say something instead of stupidly staring at him.

"I thought you might be hungry," he said, coming into the room and walking past her, as if they did this all the time to the point that hello was no longer necessary. In his hands she saw a bag of Tai take out, her treacherous stomach grumbling in response. He placed the food at the end of her work station, and grabbed a stool to sit on.

He wasn't smiling, but his body language was friendly enough to indicate that he was expecting her to take a seat next to him.

He looks tired, Liz thought, resisting the urge to stare as she put her things down. He's tired and pretending not to be. "Are you okay?" she asked, helping him take the food containers out.

"I'm always okay," he said with just the faintest bite of irony. She didn't ask for more.

He passed her the black plastic fork and knife. She opened a drawer and got a couple of dishes out. They worked efficiently and quietly, setting their dinner for two. Small talk was out of the question, and they both knew it.

"What do you have?" he asked before they started eating, the smell of spices and chicken doing funny things to her increasingly grumbling stomach.

"A lot of things— and not much, really," she answered, looking at her food since staring at him was out of the question. "It would help me to know a few things. I mean, if you… don't mind."

"Ask away," he said simply, sticking his fork in the orange colored rice.

"How old are you?"

"Officially, twenty-nine. Depending on what exactly you're counting, I can also be twenty-three." He grabbed for his natural tea. This time, she did stare at him.

"You don't look twenty-nine," she said stupidly, thinking you don't look twenty-three would sound even worse. He didn't look like he was joking, either, but he had to. What kind of age could be measured in two separate numbers?

"Thank you. Next?"

"I know you said they were drugging you so you would come back. Why would you run away?"

"How is that medically relevant?" this time, his amicable tone was gone. While she studiously avoided his gaze by watching her incredibly interesting mustard dressing on her salad, she could feel his piercing eyes on her. Her cheeks grew red.

"I— I just thought— maybe it was a physical reason. Something that would help me understand."

He hesitated, something she wasn't expecting. It was such an un-Max thing to do, really. He took another bite, thoughtful this time.

"There is," he said, lowering his fork, "I mean, there is a physical reason why they want me back. But it shouldn't be relevant to what you're looking for." He grabbed a small Tabasco bottle from an inner pocket in his jacket and started to pour it on his food. As with all things Max, it was strange enough that she had to stare at it, wondering how he was going to be able to swallow that fireball.

"Are you…" going to be sick? "allergic to anything?"

"No. And I've been tested extensively, so there's no doubt about that."

"Any illnesses?"

"None. I don't get sick."

"Not even a cold?"

"Not even that."

"Ever?"

"Ever," he whispered, not really seeing his food as he stuck the fork into it, lost in his own thoughts and memories of what it meant to always be healthy.

It makes you different.

Awkwardness filled the silence between them. Even taking a drink or two from her Snapple felt forced, yet her tolerance to Tai food demanded she drank something, however inappropriate the timing was. He started eating again, and she stopped drinking, thankful. Biting her lower lip, words eluded her to keep asking her questions.

"Is there any chance I could get any clean sample from you?"

He shook his head, his turn to take a long drink. "The most I can try is a couple of hours before my next dose."

She nodded in defeat.

"Max? How— how long have they been drugging you?"

"Four years, three months, twenty-five days… and counting," he recited it as if the number were printed on the plastic fork. He tried not to stab at his food this time, but failed miserably.

What do you say to that? "I'm sorry"?

"What did they use before? To keep you there?" she asked, starting to feel sick.

Max stopped again, thoughtful.

"Nothing," he answered in a cheerless tone. "They used nothing," he repeated, but his shoulders sagged a little, and his eyes lost focus for a moment. "Nothing chemical, anyway."

She nodded as if that actually made sense, slowly returning to her food. Silence stretched again for a couple of minutes as they both kept eating.

"Do they hurt you?" she whispered, unable to look at him, feeling her stomach becoming solid rock. She'd run some pretty wild theories in her mind, but the way Max spoke seemed to point to her darkest thoughts.

A moment went by. Another. She risked looking up, finding Max slowly chewing, thinking through his answer. "You mean… physically? No. I am the only one they have. They sedate me for some testing, but it's in their best interest that I'm always at my top capacity. They are usually… decent people. I have nothing against them."

He looked at her, trying to see if she understood. Maybe trying to understand himself why he still respected the people he wanted to run away from. He looked at his food after a moment.

"About four years ago I helped them figure out some… complex things. They didn't think it was possible, but when I did… Let's just say it opened the world to me. So the problem became to have a leash on me while letting me do my newfound job."

"The drug."

"And blindly and stupidly I accepted." Frustration as palpable as the table they were eating on filled the space between them. "They'll never let me go, Doctor. No matter what I do, no matter how many orders I follow, or how willingly I participate on their schemes. I'm tired of living as a virtual prisoner, reporting to everyone, being told where to go, what to do, or who to—" He stopped, swallowing whatever he had in mind and his temper with it. It took him a moment, but he got his composure back. Now that he'd made his point, he stabbed at his food for his next bite in complete silence.

O-kay…

"What—what about your parents?"

"There aren't any," his tone was more subdued, though anger still lurked in his eyes. "I was created in a test tube."

"What? That's not possible!"

He shrugged, giving no importance to whatever she was about to say.

"No, Max. Science wasn't that advanced three decades ago. Hell, it's not advanced enough today!"

"I beg to differ," he said, still looking at his food and not her.

"I've seen pretty advanced stuff. Gene manipulation is in its infancy. What you are— whatever hybridization they say they created— it's still eons away."

"Think whatever you want."

It sounded so final when he said it like that. She felt insulted that he would place so little trust in her knowledge.

"They've been drugging you for four years, practically keep you a prisoner, and you believed them when they told you that?"

That stopped him in his tracks. "What else could it be?" he asked, for the first time in his life pondering the mysteries of his origins, it seemed.

She'd been thinking about it for three weeks straight and she had plenty of absurd theories running around in her head.

"I don't know, but you being created in a test tube thirty years ago is not the answer."
"There's addiction, and there's Roswell!"

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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 4 Pg 2 - 9/10

Postby Misha » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:00 pm

:lol: begonia, I meant the entry date, Jan. 27th ;) But thanks for the wishes!




January 30th, 2011 – Day 1580 and counting


The thing about Parker is that she's right.

From the first moment I asked when I was a little kid, I was told that I was a very special boy. Their miracle. They created me, and I was everything they had hoped for. As I grew up, the explanation became more elaborate, complex, but I remained the center of the wonderment, and what's not to like about that, right?

Yes, I was a test subject, but that never bothered me. I didn't know better, and they didn't seem concerned about it either. I didn't have a reason to distrust them.

What I never asked, what I never even thought about was, if I were such a wonderful boy, why didn't they make more of me?



Chapter Five
Roadblock



"Hey, how was the park?" Frank asked entering the small kitchen while Max chugged on his second bottle of water. He'd been running his usual five miles, and it showed.

"Cold and empty," Max replied, trashing the bottle into the plastics container in one perfect arc.

"Beats running on the treadmill, huh?" Frank pointed out, a smile on his face. The smell of coffee filled the small room as he filled his mug.

"Yeah," Max answered, not as enthusiastically.

He had run on a treadmill for the first twelve years of his life, not only because he needed to exercise, but because his endurance had to be measured. Every time he'd broken his previous record, he'd felt so elated. He'd given them his best, so it hurt to wonder why they hadn't done the same with him. Why hadn't they trusted him with the truth?

Was there a truth to begin with? What if Parker was wrong, after all? Only one way to find out.

"Oh, I was wondering," Max said, putting his half-thought plan in motion, "can I borrow your computer for a minute?"

Frank took his coffee mug and swallowed a drink before answering. "Sure. I'll be there in a moment."

"Thanks."

He hoped the coffee would last Frank a whole lot more time than it probably would, but he still didn't run to his office. Four locked doors stood between him and Frank's lab, and none of them represented a problem for him. In fact, half the missions he ever did needed him to get through doors.

No one looked twice when he entered the empty office.

Most of the time, a part of Max's job consisted in retrieving information. It was someone else's job to decipher it, analyze it, do whatever it was they did with it. It didn't mean he didn't know his way around computers, at least to an extent.

Passwords, on the other hand, were trickier. If he wasn't careful, he would end up frying the hard drive. Luckily for Frank, Max already knew his password.

Sparing one glanced at the closed door, Max went right to the heart of the files. Frank was a very organized guy, and his filing system did not disappoint.

"Come on, come on…" Tons of reports appeared at every click: about the last missions, about supplies, about the budget. He wasn't interested in those things. He was interested in getting Parker her files, the ones that would have his blood composition minus the drug.

He also wanted a couple of answers for himself.

Test results were never hidden from him. If he knew about himself, he could take care of himself. But information like biochemistry and genetics hadn't been something anyone thought he should know, including himself. That didn't matter now, either. What she'd said, about his origins, that had most definitely interested him.

If he'd been created in a test tube, there were bound to be thousands of files about the trials, about the donors, about the entire thing. Somewhere, deep inside, he was both excited and afraid that maybe there were more like him, siblings in a way, who had been kept from him.

He didn't know how to feel about that, but as the mouse kept clicking, Max started to look more and more at the door. Frank would not take much longer now.

There, he said under his breath, finding the files on his drug test results, part of what Parker had asked him. And there was also a problem: Frank didn't keep files older than three years on his hard drive. Nothing from before he'd started taking the drug would be on this computer.

Physical copies were not stored in here. If Frank wanted to see old data, he would connect to the network and get the files from the main server.

"Damn it!" he cursed quietly. It was one thing to go through Frank's computer, it was an entirely another to log in from there and roam through the server's files.

He needed a hacker. He needed it now.
"There's addiction, and there's Roswell!"

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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 5 Pg 2 - 9/12

Postby Misha » Sat Sep 13, 2014 2:42 pm

Aren't you guys psychics? 8)



Journal entry 4, February 3rd, 2011

This thing is consuming me.

And it's not just what I'm working with, what I'm seeing under the microscope. It's the secret. It's the mystery around Max. Does he even have a last name?

Ever since he took over my life a month ago, nothing else seems to exist. I get Mom's phone calls, Maria's phone calls, I give my reports to my boss, and I finish my work. I do the grocery shopping on weekends. But through all of that, all I can think about is the latest blood sample and the next test I want to run.

I'm also writing a list of questions I want to ask but don't dare yet. Max wasn't happy about my curious mind last time we saw each other, and they are not medically relevant as he put it. Yet I'm hoping that someday, over Thai food, he'll tell me.



Chapter Six
Long distance



"Ms. Parker, ladies and gentlemen!" Alex's voice came through the headphones, all energy and laughter. She'd been meaning to disconnect from her Skype two hours before, and then she'd forgotten.

Now, one of her best friends in the world was connected all the way from Norway and wanted to chat. She smiled, while nervously watching the door. They didn't have a particular day in the week, but last time Max had come it had been a Tuesday. Now was Thursday, and she got a nagging feeling that, if Max showed up tonight, he would have something interesting in his hands.

Or maybe he wasn't coming back. That was always a distinct possibility.

"Alex! How've you been?"

"Same old, same old. Listen, I have twelve e-mails from Maria complaining that you haven't written to her in a month. Anything I should know about?"

"Besides that she's a total drama queen?"

On and on they went, until she forgot all about watching the door, and became absorbed in catching up with her friend. Alex Whitman, senior chief of his own software company. And if everything went okay, he might be doing some software work for her boss's company in two months. He would serve as a developer and consultant, but maybe he would be able to catch a flight once in a while to the US. She hadn't seen him in the flesh for four years, and they both joked that once she won the Nobel Prize, she would meet him for lunch in Oslo.

A shadow caught her attention, and sure enough, Max stood on the doorway.

"Um, listen, Alex, I'm running late for something, but you should connect more often!"

"Says she, who goes underground for weeks on end! Take care of yourself, Parker."

She took a deep breath and turned to look at the main reason she should have a care of herself: Max.

"Doctor," he said, slightly inclining his head as he came into the lab.

"Max," she greeted back, feeling awkward again. This was the fourth time they'd met, and she still had a moment of flight or fight instinct kicking in every time she saw him.

Since last week, she'd wondered if Max was some sort of supernatural being. Was there a reason why he always came at night? As in, maybe the sunlight affected him?

On the other hand, she'd grown up in Roswell, New Mexico. She knew the kind of alien theories that made everyone laugh but that could, potentially, fit Max's past. The gene work she'd done on Max's samples seemed to back her up. Not that she was going to blurt it out. She'd gotten enough angry vibes from Max last time she'd poked into his origins.

"I found three year old files, but I haven't been able to open them up and read them. I don't have the right software, and I didn't want to risk being caught with it… I'm not sure if what I bring is just trash."

He gave her a USB flash drive, and once it was in her hand she didn't know whether to dive into it right away, or if Max wanted something else first.

"Report?" he quietly asked when she looked at him a little too long.

"I'm starting to get a sense of what's you and what's foreign. Is there any chance you could get me an actual dose?"

He shook his head. "Frank has them counted. It would be too obvious if one went missing."

Frank?

"What about the formula? Too much to ask?"

Max sat in a stool on the next lab station. "It's not made where I am. It's not made by the people who… know me."

He carefully chose that last word, Liz noticed. She nodded twice, and looked at the flash drive in her hand.

"Maybe he doesn't make it, but maybe Frank does have the formula."

In went the little device, and Max stood behind her. She started to copy the files onto her hard drive. In the monitor, Alex's Skype window was still open, proudly displaying to the world, "I'm a 00110010 kind of person".

"Your friend is into computers?" Max asked, reading Alex's status. She nodded.

"Almost got expelled from school for hacking into the system just to prove he could do it. Don't worry, he lives in Norway. And I—I haven't told anyone about… anything." It was her time to choose her words. Max simply nodded.

She opened the main folder, and 43 new folders came into view. They all were labeled with initials, and clicking on the first one, she was met with 365 files. All dates. A file per day. She thought she kept tight records on her work, but this Frank guy put her to shame.

"Do you know what the initials mean?" she asked.

"No…" he said in resignation, frustration filling his eyes.

"Okay… It'll take me a while, but… it's worth it, right?"

"I don't want you working through files," he said under his breath. He stepped away and looked at the ceiling, clearly thinking something through. "Leave the files alone for now. I'll try to see if I can get you something more refined. You keep working on what you were doing."

She bit her lower lip. "I need more samples from you. And not just blood."

"Okay," he didn't even blink. "I don't have time right now, and I'm probably going to be on duty all next week, but I'll see what I can do for my next visit."

He kept staring at her monitor, at the long list of files he didn't want her to waste time on.

"It'll take time," she said in a low voice, reminding him something he already knew. "But we'll figure it out."

"There's a chance…" he started, unsure if he should continue. "There's a chance my body will work this out by itself. So if I stop coming, don't… do anything. Trash it all. Leave nothing behind, okay? Just because I disappear doesn't mean you have free rein with what you have."

You might be dead, was the thought that flashed on her mind. "Can't you just… let me know? That you are okay, I mean."

"Once I'm off this thing, I'm off the map, too. It'll be too risky for me. And for you. You agreed to a lot of risks when you accepted my offer, Doctor. You don't need to add more to that list."

He took the flash drive out. A minute later, he was gone.
"There's addiction, and there's Roswell!"

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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 6 Pg 3 - 9/13

Postby Misha » Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:40 pm

Thanks for the reviews! They keep the muse happy :mrgreen:



February 25th, 2011 – Day 1601 and counting


Max…


Maggs is by my side the moment I wake up. Although wake up might be too strong a word.

Maggs is in her late fifties, seldom wears her lab coat, and they always call her when I have to be sedated for too-invasive testing. She's the person I trust the most besides Frank in this place, and just like him, she's been around me my whole life.

Once I started going on missions, I stopped seeing her as often. Whereas Frank is always with me when I'm at the base, Maggs just comes around every once in a while. And always when I'm feeling like crap.

"Hey…" she whispers, the light in the room dim to sooth my nerves. I try to sit up, and she stops me by placing a hand on my chest. It aches. Everything aches. Anesthesia and I are not good friends. "Shh… There's no rush."

But there is. I have to take my fix today. They picked today precisely because of that, so they can see some results about something or other that I can't recall right now. My body craves it. But I know how this goes: they won't give it to me until they are sure I'm out of the woods with the anesthetic. Which will take a couple of hours at best.

I start trembling.

Maggs soothes me, her hand lightly going up and down on my arm. Just like Frank, she was against me taking the drug, but she wasn't as vocal. She knew how important it was to me to go out. She also knew it wouldn't happen without me accepting the deal.

"I would have come back…" I whisper, watching the ceiling as I try to ignore my body's need for my fix. "I would have always come back…"

I feel tears pricking at my eyes. I'm always so emotional when I'm coming off these things that I should just go with it. There's nothing I can do against it, but a part of me is always ashamed about it.

Maggs doesn't say anything, and through her touch I got the distinct notion that she doesn't believe me. That once I had been out there, I wouldn't have come back. We'll never know now, will we?

All I can think about is how much I want this to stop.



Chapter Seven
Learning Curve



The last time he saw Parker, she inadvertently gave him an idea: learning to hack couldn't be that difficult if her friend had started doing it in High School.

His brain absorbed knowledge like a sponge, although if he went too fast or had too much, he would just shut down. That was the reason why he hardly ever scanned anything larger than a blue-print. He didn't have eidetic memory, but scanning was something similar: He could hold the picture crystal clear in his head for about a week. And then it was gone. It became part of his everyday memories, and he would still be able to recall some details, but not the whole thing.

He could learn languages fairly easy as well, but without practice, he would eventually lose the knowledge as well.

So hacking was something he needed to learn the slow way, and he wasn't sure if Frank would like him doing that or not. He was always so eager to see Max trying his hand at something new, and it would be so much easier to get this done if Max didn't have to sneak around it.

"I have a new project," Max announced with a mischievous smile, the same one that had gotten him extra ice cream when he was seven. Frank stopped typing and looked at him with raised eyebrows. The last time those words had been said, they had been coming from Frank. And they had ended Max a drug addict somewhere down the road. "Hacking."

Frank's eyebrows went higher. "You're already good with computers," he pointed out.

"I want to be better."

They looked at each other for a moment. It was at times like this that Max felt Frank could see through his very soul. "Getting bored with the books?" Frank smiled, referring to Max's choice of entertainment. Internet was not restricted to him, but he had to report weekly why he had chosen to see whatever he had chosen to see, so books were easier to explain than fifty thousand random pages that had showed up on his browser.

"Something like that…" he smiled back.

It took the better part of two hours to convince Frank that this was not a grand scheme that needed anyone's permission. He was just curious about hacking, and didn't want to be questioned about it till death did him apart. He already had to fill out a dozen reports per week with the little he already did. Plus, Frank would be responsible for his own reports on Max's progress. Metrics would be needed. Tests designed. And all just because he was bored.

It didn't really matter if Frank agreed or not to do this without anyone else watching over his shoulder, but it would certainly make it easier if no one knew the new skill he'd gotten. So when Frank finally gave in and started warming up to the idea of watching Max learning a new skill without having to do the million boring reports, Max's spirits were high.

Not even when he realized that hacking into school records was light years away from hacking into the main server three days later did he lose that sense of victory.
"There's addiction, and there's Roswell!"

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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 7 Pg 3 - 9/14

Postby Misha » Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:57 pm

I gotta warn you guys, my stack of new chapters is thinning... I have this written up to chapter 32, but betas do have a life, so... As long as I have 'em I'll keep posting :mrgreen:


Journal entry 5, March 12th, 2011


I've just realized I'm doing this wrong. In my rush to get this mystery solved, to understand Max, I've been trying to look at this in a straightforward manner.

Nothing is straightforward with Max.

It's not his blood alone that is going to spill the secrets of that drug. I have to play the devil's advocate here and understand why he's being given that sort of drug to begin with. Is he violent and it keeps him calm? Does it enhance his physical or mental abilities?

What happens when he's off it?

And as much as I want to trust him, should I really help him escape?



Chapter Eight
In Shadows



"I was beginning to worry you weren't coming anymore," Liz's voice was just calm enough to make that sound like a friendly hello. At least she hoped so. She'd been finishing the day's work, locking up files and checking everything was off. She wouldn't admit it out loud, but for a month now, she'd been giving Max five minutes extra to come. Or ten.

On the doorframe, Max's silhouette looked odd. Hunched slightly.

"Are you okay?" she asked, standing up, her attempt at lightness forgotten.

Max walked into the room then, his eyes looking more than tired. All of him looked drained. His hair was disarrayed, the telltale dark circles under his eyes a silent testament to his lack of sleep. Even the way he walked was slower, almost clumsy.

"I'm fine. Listen, I only have a couple of minutes before they start wondering where I am. What do you have for me?"

Even that tinge of arrogance that was usually in his voice was gone. All he really wanted right now was a bed, that much Liz could tell.

"I—I—" she stuttered, caught between the sight of Max like this and the memory of their last almost-fight. No fire was in Max tonight. "I'm done with all the average tests," she said, getting her mind on track. "Some things make sense, some… well…"

"I know. What's next?"

"Why are they drugging you?" she asked point blank, the question coming out like an accusation. Max actually seemed to stagger back.

"I thought I already told you why?" he answered with uncertainty, his hands going to his eyes. He was trying to suppress a yawn.

"No, I mean—I mean what's the reasoning behind this particular drug, physically… um, chemically? Does it make you better? Does it keep you alive?"

"It keeps me on a leash," Max answered with annoyance. Obviously, he hadn't paid attention to anything beyond the point of how this was screwing up his life.

"I know. Max, I'm not asking this out of some morbid curiosity—"

"No? Aren't all your questions about some morbid curiosity about the experimental subject you have in front of you? Don't you go night after night wondering what's the secret locked in my cells? What am I, Doctor? What am I, if not your lab rat for your dream project?"

Whatever had Max in a bad mood, was definitely turning darker. He stood barely three feet from her, but an abyss opened between.

"That's not fair. You came to me. You want out of this!"

He glared at her. She glared back.

His eyes lost focus for a moment, and he reflexively leaned on the counter where she'd been working until five minutes ago. He rubbed his forehead a moment later.

"I haven't slept in three days and I'm not even sure if I'm dreaming this conversation," he explained a moment later. "What do you need, Doctor?"

It wasn't an apology, but she was more than willing to take it as that. She sighed, collecting her thoughts as best as she could. It had been a long week, and antagonizing the man with the deadly skills was not smart either.

"I need to know what happens when they give you the drug, what effects does it have on you? It will help me narrow down my choices on where to look next."

"None. I don't feel anything. I'm not better or worse than I was four years ago when I wasn't taking it. Believe me, they have tested me a million times. But if I don't have it, things get bad, fast. If I miss it two hours, I start shaking. Six, I lose my muscular strength. A day—" he broke of, suddenly alert at something he'd heard. He stood up, anxious now.

Liz's eyes went to the door, her heart all that she could hear. For one horrible instant, she knew they had been caught.

"Listen, I can get you a video if you'd like, but I don't have time for this now. Do you want my blood?"

She nodded, her eyes still glancing at the door. Sure, she needed to sit him down and go step by step on the circumstances surrounding the use of this drug. But with the threat of discovery so vivid in her mind right now, all she wanted was for him to go.

"Are you sure you're okay?" she asked one last time as the syringe filled with the dark red of his blood two minutes later.

"I will be once you get me out of there," he answered with barely the hint of a smile.

"I'm going as fast—"

"I know," he said, meaning it, the syringe now full. "I just—I just need for things to calm down. I might not come for a couple of weeks."

"Okay… I'll have a list of questions for you to take home—"

"No," he cut her sentence, his eyes one hundred percent in the here and now. "If I'm caught with those, it's over. I'll make time on my next visit."

As usual, all that was left of Max a moment later was a vial of blood and a whole lot of unanswered questions.
"There's addiction, and there's Roswell!"

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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 8 Pg 4 - 9/15

Postby Misha » Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:09 pm

Thank you guys! It truly makes my day to get your reviews! Now, let's get further insight into Max's life.


March 15th, 2011 – Day 1618 and counting

There's nothing like your birthday to have everyone pay attention to you. And this year, celebrations started earlier.

My earliest memories are of Frank and Maggs looking at me on my bed. I don't really remember many specifics, as life was a constant routine for the first two years. A lot of learning, a lot of games.

Many people were in my life back then, a lot of white coats, and false smiles and hungry eyes. I didn't understand why back then, but I was aware I didn't like those people. I still don't.

I was always trying to be better. To impress them. And I got plenty of rewards and genuine smiles from a few of them. But as time went on, fewer and fewer people were allowed anywhere near me.

Knowing about me requires a clearance level so high they had to make up a new name for it. Or that's what Frank tells me, anyway. Unfortunately, once you get that clearance, it's hard to not see you around again.

And so, for the past two weeks, I've had to put up with Frank's nemesis and the bane of my existence: Dr. Samuel Summers.



Chapter Nine
Through the Hoops



"I think we would have known if Max was capable of telepathy by this point," the ever diplomatic Frank said with just a touch of impatience. That Summers thought Frank was beneath him and was taking things extremely soft and easy with Max was no secret. That Max foiled every single test as much as he could to disappoint Summers, was.

Alas, telepathy was really out of his league.

"And now?" Summers went on with the white cards, completely ignoring Frank's latest comment.

Hooked to so many electrodes he'd lost count, Max stared at the back of the white card. A star, a circle, three lines, any of a number of geometrical figures could be behind, and Max was half trying to actually see what Summers was seeing. The irony was that, had Max really had the ability to read minds, he would stay out of Summers's at all costs. Something was wrong with that man's soul.

"You're not even trying…" Summers warned, his green eyes getting darker.

"It's like Frank says, we've been doing this exercise my whole life, and I never get anything."

It was the wrong thing to say.

"Yeah, some of us think that has more to do with technique than with talent," Summers explained, placing the card face down. "Some think you would reach higher standards and accomplish better results if you were pushed in the right direction, by the right people."

It had never really occurred to Max that Frank could be replaced. That one day he would come from one of those missions to find a new doctor to handle him.

The mere idea of Summers giving him his weekly dose was chilling enough. Frank would understand once Max disappeared. Summers would hunt him down like a dog.

"We've tried a lot of methods, Samuel," Frank said, making Max cringe internally at their first-name status. "Maybe telepathy is one place where he just can't go. Or maybe he needs another telepath for it to work."

"That would be useless, now wouldn't it?" Summers answered, shuffling the cards thoughtfully, slowly. Calculating.

It was light years away from how Parker's eyes looked. It had been unfair of him to accuse her of seeing him as a lab experiment when he'd presented himself as one to begin with. With Summers around, though, it was hard not to feel claustrophobic and so utterly used.

If Max could read thoughts, though, he would be able to read their enemies' plans. Passwords, codes, meetings. The possibilities were endless. It would make escaping much more difficult, as well.

"Now, what's the card?"

With all his telemetry being recorded, Summers was aware of how much effort Max was actually putting into the task. Heart rate, oxygen, adrenaline, brain activity, it all changed when he was using his powers, or even when he was thinking about using them. The sooner he sees you can't do this, the sooner he'll leave, he coached himself, getting ready for one more time.

Three days ago he'd been wiped out after twelve hours of telekinesis gymnastics. Frank had let him go to get his head clear, and all he'd been able to think about was Parker and how much she might have advanced. He'd gone to her straight like an arrow, his idiotic impulse almost costing him his little secret. No one had been following him, but it had been pure luck. With Summers around, all bets were off.

"Hmm… pity," the doctor finally said five minutes later, for once assured Max had been trying his hardest. He didn't look pleased.

Behind him, Frank looked grim.

"Maybe there's something else I can do with the card," Max hurried to say, eager to please Summers so he would leave Frank alone.

"I'm listening," Summers said, while Frank frowned. With all his powers cataloged and tested, there was hardly any ace under his sleeve to show.

"I can't see what's on the card right now, but I can change it to whatever I want."

"By touching it, yes—" Summers said, unimpressed.

"We've been trying to eliminate the touching part," Frank interrupted, "but Max gets headaches, bad enough that he has to stop for the entire day. It's not viable for field use."

Frank's murderous glare at Max was impossible to miss. They both knew what was going to happen next before Summers opened his mouth. The good doctor would test Max extensively until either Max got it right, or Summers got tired of waiting for it to happen.

"Oh, that sounds interesting. Tell me more about it."
"There's addiction, and there's Roswell!"


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