A Teardrop of Fire (AU/CC ALL, Mature) Epilogue - 11/30/09

Finished stories set in an alternate universe to that introduced in the show, or which alter events from the show significantly, but which include the Roswell characters. Aliens play a role in these fics. All complete stories on the main AU with Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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PML
Obsessed Roswellian
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Re: A Teardrop of Fire (AU/CC ALL, Mature) Chapter 9 - 11/16/09

Post by PML » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:02 pm

Thanks as always to everyone following along this story.

BlueStar8- Thanks. I hope you continue to enjoy.

keepsmiling7- Tess and Max did love each other for a while. But it was a normal romance, and the wedding was kept because of its political significance. They still cared for each other, but the passion had long since faded.

chanks_girl- Thanks. Tess did what she thought was right and will now suffer for it. Even though it was perhaps the best choice she could have made. Running would have been a wiser choice, just not one she could make.

Michael liked to play practical jokes. Can you imagine what he might have done if he could have shape shifted?

That connection is important.

Disclaimer- Roswell is not mine and no infringement is intended.

Teardrop of Fire Chapter 10

Onboard the Roswell, In Antaran Orbit

The slow trip to the damaged platform had seemingly gone on forever. But the stealth systems seemed to have worked.

At least, they had been neither challenged nor destroyed.

That counted as a plus.

Once more they sat in the dining room and looked at one another. A sense of wonder and accomplishment suffused the faces of all the four personnel of the Roswell. They had already done something that hadn’t been done before.

Infiltrated an active Ancient Defense system. Of course they hadn’t gotten away yet, but still it was an accomplishment in itself.

The Roswell was not more than 3 kilometers from the dead platform. Now they needed to plan their next course of action.

“Well, my friends, we’re here. Now what?”

“Kyle, I would like to set foot on that platform. It seems mostly intact, I’m not sure exactly why it is down. But this is a priceless opportunity. We should take it.”

“Hmm. Sounds rather risky.”

Maria spoke up, “I’ll take her over in the Corsair. It’s been fairly heavily upgraded and should be able to hide from the rest of the platforms.”

Alex spoke up, “That actually shouldn’t be too much of a problem. My calculations place us at what seems to be a small seam in their defensive net. You could probably take a rock-hopper out there and the other platforms wouldn’t see you. Of course, we don’t know if the planetary batteries are still operational. As far as I can tell, there are no active scans coming from the planet. But…..”

“But what?”

Maria cleared her throat, “Standard military doctrine of the day kept the planetary battery scanning systems in reserve. It was too easy to detect the location of the batteries that way. Better to just link them to the orbital scanners and activate the planetary systems as needed. If they are there, likely there will be periodic maintenance tests.”

“Did they actually put that much defensive equipment on the ground, though. This platform system they have seems pretty thorough.“

“Kyle, this planet survived. And if I am right it was at least a Secondary Tier world. That means that they would have used serious force to crush it during the War.” Liz sighed. “Obviously their society did not survive or we would be talking with them right now. Probably much of their planetary infrastructure was damaged, or maybe population loss. Orbital platforms can’t stop everything. And if this planet was involved early in the war…. Well we don’t see planetary shields until later in the war. The Orbital Platforms would have kept the enemy at bay, but some attacks could still get through.”

“Doesn’t that argue against Planetary Batteries.”

Maria, Liz, and Alex looked amongst themselves.

It was Maria who spoke next, “No. Kyle these things were put in some pretty defensible spots. Mountains mostly, although there were some that were deep sea based. Basically, it would not be possible to root them all out without using enough force to destroy the biosphere. Its one of the reason so many of the worlds we find are completely devastated.”

“And why they developed planet busters. There was some talk of a cannon that fired through jump space to materialize in real space near its target. These weapons could be placed deep underground. And only neutralized at near planetary destruction.”

“My God. Were these people nuts? I’m beginning to wonder how anyone survived.”

Liz’s voice was quiet. “They mostly didn’t Kyle. Records from near the end…..”

Maria chipped in, “Kyle, these planet could take a serious amount of pounding. They were made that way so that the locals could afford to send their own ships off to pound the other guys planet. Near the end, the only way anyone felt safe was with the other dead. And….”

“They wiped each other out. One by one. Even with their own planet destroyed, well they had nothing to go back to, so they usually did as much damage as they could before they died.”

Kyle had never really fully understood the full horror of the Ancient Final War. “Didn’t anyone, just, just leave?”

“Yes. The Scouts find evidence of colonies started by some of the more rational survivors of the war. Some of the colonies lived and some died. Current speculation is that Dratha is one of those worlds, although most believe that it was at the very least a low level Tier Six world at the time.”

“My God.”

Maria walked over and gave Kyle a kiss. She sat down on the table next to him. “Are you okay?”

“I just never really thought about it before. I mean, you guys are all high profile people working for high profile organizations. In secret, but your still working for them. Me, I just take the missions and make sure everyone gets back home. My God. And these people were just like us. Human.”

“Mostly.”

“Why do we even bother. If we’re all just going to blow ourselves up…. Why are we out here?”

“To try to learn from the past. To bring back light to the void.” said Liz

Alex chimed in, “To bring back civilization and hopefully do it right this time.”

“Look, Kyle, we can’t guarantee that out descendants won’t be idiots. We can’t. We can only do the best to make the world a better place for them to hopefully do the same for their descendants. That’s all we can do. So are you better, baby? Me and Liz have a lot to do, and the longer we stay the more likely something could go wrong.”

Kyle shook his head. “Go. Liz, how long do you think it will take?”

Liz cocked her head back. “A couple of hours at the least. Maybe four of five. The Corsair is ready. I have prepped just about everything.”

Kyle looked over at Alex. “Are you going?”

“No. I want to, but I’m still working on a couple of some fairly complicated ciphers from the planet.”

“Any contact from them?”

“No. Nor do I expect any. Kyle there is a massive war down there. The most advanced areas seemed hell bent on smashing themselves. Of course, it looks like one of the groups is winning. Except for a general uprising by the populace. Messy. Very messy.”

“How bad could it be?”

Maria just looked at him sadly, gave him another kiss and looked away.

Liz looked down at her hands, folded gently on the table. Oddly a small tear rolled down her cheeks.

Alex looked suddenly very grim. He ordered a print out on some of the pictures he’d take on the planet. He looked at one of them, his face turning gray. “I can show you. But do you want to know?”

“Can’t I just access the feed?”

“Sure. And I recommend you do. But somehow pictures just have a more solid feel than video feed.” He handed Kyle the photos.

Kyle took a look. Cities on fire. Other scenes of destruction. But one was particularly horrific. A line of bodies. Impaled bodies lining both sides of a highway between two towns. “How many?”

Alex’s voice was tight with anger and revulsion. “At least ten thousand men, women, and children. And according to infrared, some of them are still alive.”

Kyle had fought the bandits and pirates that were endemic to the New Mexico sector. He had seen some fairly graphic violence and desecration before.

But never on such a scale.

“Can we stop this?”

Liz looked up, not even hiding her tears. And shook her head.

Maria grabbed both sides of Kyle’s face. “It is too risky. But you needed to know. It was Liz’s cameras who caught the activity starting. They’ve had a busy past couple of days.” Maria’s voice as harsh and bitter at the end. “If we get a chance latter to paste those folks, I say we take it. But were up here, and they aren’t. And if we do anything to call attention to ourselves…..”

“So we watch. And do nothing.”

Alex’s voice was hard. “We document it. And if we can get access to the butchers who did the deed, or better yet the leader that ordered it….. The Estarren Declaration gives us the right to hold a war crimes trial.”

“Cold comfort. Alex, continue your documentation. Liz, Maria, go over to that platform. Find what you can. I want to withdraw the ship out to ten Light minutes to do a first assessment and send more data back home. Hell, maybe we can get further instructions on what they want us to do.”

Maria slid off the table and into Kyle’s lap. She gave Kyle a passionate kiss. A few moments later she said breathlessly, “I’ll be back.”

Kyle kissed her back. “Be safe, both of you.”

“You, too. And be sure to eat something. You’ll need to keep your strength up.” She got up.

Kyle looked around. The room was empty. Just he and Maria. He smirked up at her and raised an eyebrow.

Maria looked around, slightly bemused. She turned back to face him. “When I get back. We are on the clock now so to speak.”

Kyle just shrugged.

Maria paused.

Kyle’s link could tell he was communicating with Liz.

Maria smiled. “Thirty minutes.”

“Well lets make the most of it.

--------

Alex was dawdling in the Maintenance bay watching Liz work. “So, Maria and Kyle.”

Liz stopped. “It’s not permanent Alex. She’s as romantic as you are. Or I am. She cries herself to sleep some nights. Its like she’s looking for someone that she can’t hope to find.”

“Oh, then why?”

It was the Boston that changed her. She might look healthy, heck she is healthy. But she’s nearly died more than a half-dozen times. She’s too stubborn to die. But she wants to use every minute she still has. Treats it as if it will be her last. And she likes sex. She likes Kyle, too. She doesn’t sleep with just anyone, but she isn’t going to wait. Not anymore.”

“And you?”

Liz smiled at him, “I’m like you. I know he’s out there. And it’s hard for me to commit when I know that it won’t last. I’m no saint, but I can wait.” Liz blushed slightly. And called up a view of the planet. “I dreamed of him last night. He’s down there. I can feel it.”

“Connecting with your inner Drathi?”

“I’m not Drathi, Alex. I’m not. Just human. But I know. He’s down there. And I will find him. Somehow.”

Alex nodded. “She’s on the run. Scared. I want to go down there….. But how, Liz. How can we get down there? Those planetary defenses…. They’re probably there. How can we get down safely?”

Liz hugged herself, “I don’t know. I don’t know how we could. Or even if we could persuade Maria or Kyle that we should. But I feel, I feel like we will. Like I know we will somehow get down there and meet with them.

Both of them were silent. Waiting and watching.

--------
A secluded cove, Eastern Coast of Ekedar, Antar

Isabel was used to the best. She’d grown up in one of the richer more modern kingdoms, and she’d always had money.

She still had money. It was just that at the moment there was little it could do for her. She was down to just using her wits and her powers to survive.

She needed to get off of Ekedar. The ship that Tish had said would be waiting for was a burning wreck by the time she had gotten to it. The entire crew had been slaughtered.

She’d be noticed sooner or later. Maybe they wouldn’t recognize her, but they would examine her. Would find her engrained Seal. The Seal she had received when she was ten, as did every member of her family.

And it wasn’t something she could remove. Not without pain or permanent damage. It was attached to that portion of the brain that interfaced with the soul. Removing it could kill her. Or render her soulless….

Isabel shuddered and remembered the Soulless Guard that Ekedar used as their elite soldiers. They would do anything that they were ordered to. No compassion, no mercy, their souls excised and removed from their bodies.

There had been a curious and horrible emptiness to them, even as they carried on what seemed to be a normal life. But they weren’t really human. Just animals with a human mind.

They didn’t have powers, but at the same time, many of the mental powers didn’t work on them. You could blast one of them, but there was no way to sway or manipulate them.

And they could not be sensed. They were hidden. Living ghosts.

No. She didn’t want that to happen to her. To die but still live. All from a couple of small incisions in the brain.

Would her ghost still follow her body? Or would those incisions kill it? Was there an afterlife?

Focus, Isabel told herself. Now is not the time for philosophizing. She needed to find a way off the island.

She sat down and watched the waves batter the wreck. It was more than fifteen miles to the coast of Teven from here. And Teven was experiencing as virulent an outbreak of violence as Ekedar.

It was too far to swim.

Avidar was over a hundred miles to the west. No hope of swimming that.

Any ship she tried to use would be stopped by the Ekedaran Navy. And she would be tested, the Seal found and…..

She looked up and saw a osprey flying out to sea. To bad she couldn’t fly. Think of the freedom…..

A slow smile drifted across her face. Maybe there was a way off the island…..

--------
Harding Castle, Teven, Antar

Tess splashed desultorily in her bath. This was the one place she could be alone and think. And even here there were servants just out of sight, waiting for her call.

She had thought she was used to constant interruptions in privacy as a Princess, but it was nothing compared to being a Queen.

And her options were so much more limited than she had hoped. She had hope that by taking the reins she would be able to at least start working on fixing the huge number of problems facing her nation. But trying to get her subordinates to change without using force, with out directly Compelling them to server her….

It was hard. Had this happened to her father? Had his position driven him insane? The absolute personal power coupled with the inability to enact change in the system…..

She wouldn’t let it get to her. She had made a few changes. And in time those small things would get larger and larger. Particularly as the grew used to her.

First she needed to crush the rebels. But no more atrocities. If she was going to kill them, she would just kill them. And it wasn’t like there weren’t a massive number of civic and infrastructure improvements to be made with prisoner laborers.

The population of the capital were horrified with reports of what her Father had done.

Tess wasn’t sure which was more horrible. That it was her father who had ordered it, or that he had servants willing and able to carry it out.

No. The secret police would have to stay for a while. But the atrocities had to end.

And she would end them.

There was a scuffle at the door. Tess raised herself slightly.

What could be the problem.

Inside came Vanessa Whitaker and around a half dozen men. The men were dressed strangely, an odd pale leather used as suspenders and bandoliers.

Skin. Cured human skin. Vanessa Whittaker was working with the Skins.

She could see one of the men, older and harder than the rest…. All of his clothes, all of them that she could see where off that forbidden leather.

Tess looked up at Vanessa, a woman who Tess had long hated and feared. But she wouldn’t have thought that even she or her perverted brother would consort with such… monsters.

But then she noticed the hair band that Vanessa wore.

Vanessa wasn’t just working with them. She was a Skin herself.

Tess couldn’t help shaking slightly. She reached out to use her powers before they got too much closer. And she caused most of them to stop.

But two of them were Soulless. And her powers didn’t work right on them. They rushed her and pulled her out of her tub.

And snapped a collar over her neck. Suddenly her powers were useless. She couldn’t sense anything outside of her own body.

“Well, well, well, how have you been your Majesty?”

“What are you doing here!”

“Bringing sensible government and realistic policy, of course.” Vanessa sneered at Tess. “You didn’t think you could actually change anything through the establishment. No, my dear, it all has to go. Be burnt to the ground and replaced by a better system.”

“The people won’t follow you. They will see through you and revolt. You’ll find yourself in my situation soon enough Vanessa!”

“I think not. Under my brother’s careful tutelage, your father made the Harding name hated and despised throughout the nation. I will be greeted as a liberator.”

“And when they find out what you are?”

“What? Their only hope of salvation in the face of extinction at the hands of the Beravans? No my dear, they will not revolt. They will praise me.” Vanessa turned and paced across the room. “I will admit that I have been impressed with your actions in the last few days. You might have actually have been a threat if you had started earlier. Not much of one, but still a better showing than I expected.” She paused dramatically and turned her gaze back on Tess. “In fact, I think I will give you a choice. I would have you join me, but I know that is not going to happen, so I won’t even bother wasting either of our time. But I might be able to let you live. Yes, yes, I think I can offer you a choice….”

Tess could not help a tiny trickle of hope. And shame. Because whatever Vanessa offered it would be horrible. And Tess could not believe that she would be good for her nation.

There was no way Tess could see that she could stop her. But if she lived, there would always be another chance. Another opportunity to throw down the oppressor and serve her nation.

Somehow.

“Yes, I believe I can offer you a choice.” Vanessa chuckled at a thought. “Yes a choice of impalements I suppose. My brother cares for you. Why, I will never know. But he has wanted you for years. Wants to possess you. Well here is my offer. You become Nicholas’s concubine, hell if he wants you for his wife you do that as well. But you publicly disavow yourself from the Harding name and lineage. For you and your heirs.”

Allow herself to be despoiled by that despicable man? Could she do it? Could she bear the shame and humiliation?

Maybe. If it gave her a chance to someday get her revenge.

Vanessa kept talking. “Of course, you would have to have a little operation first. We have a qualified Healer just outside the room. Just a few cuts inside the brain. And you will see everything in a different light.” She patted the arm of one of her men. Who looked back at Vanessa impassively.

Soulless. They were going to make her Soulless.

She would lose her powers. She would lose so much. So much of what made her Tess.

She would look like herself, might even think of herself as herself. But she had studied the effects at Caredon, as it was related in some ways to her powers of Domination.

She wouldn’t be a person. Not really. Just an animal which was conditioned like a human. And easily controlled.

“Never!”

Vanessa smiled. “Well perhaps this is for the best. Well then. I guess we’ll just have to get you ready for your next public appearance.” She made a gesture and the men began to beat her.

Tess screamed as the tortured her and tried to pull as much information out of her. Tess resigned herself to die.

And deep in her mind she could only pray that her sister survived. That Ava lived.

It would be her turn to salvage the Harding name.

--------
Near the Valcan Valley, Whiteridge Mountains. Antar

Max stood on the trail and looked off to the left. A road. An actual road. Not paved perhaps, but a sign of civilization at last.

Michael would probably still want to walk through the wilderness. Probably say it was safer. Make them harder to find.

Of its own accord his gaze drifted right. To an ancient castle. Once his family had lived there. Long ago, during an invasion by Tevenese forces. They had holed up in these mountains and slowly regained their nation.

Those days were long gone. Although if the news was any guide, things were bad just about everywhere at the moment.

Maybe he didn’t want to go home just yet. Maybe it would be a better choice to see the old castle. Who knows. Maybe they’d have to use it again soon.

Suddenly there was a woman there. Max found it hard to judge the age of her, but she was still very much a beauty. But her eyes, her glorious eyes showed so much age and hardship.

And on her ring finger she bore a Evans Signet. The sort only those of the Ruling line wore.

Max had one himself.

“Hello, Max.”

“Who are you?”

“No one that you’ve met yet. I just here to help you.”

“Help me? How? And who are you? I thought I knew all of my direct kin, and to wear that Signet without the proper bloodline is a crime punishable by death.”

“Oh, this? It is a wedding ring. I married into your family years ago. No, don’t bother trying to track me down in your tangled family. We haven’t met yet. But we will.”

Max felt very strange. As if he should know her, as if his very bones resonated with her presence. As if she were one of the reasons he existed.

“Why? And how?”

“Max, my dearest Max, you have a terrible decision to make. To go home and support your family, or to seemingly do the trivial. And what you must do will fight against every ounce of your sense of duty. I know you Max. You are intrigued by the ruins, but you will go home. Everything inside of you argues for it. And will keep arguing for it. What I need you to do will be hard, and not just on you. But on Michael as well.”

“So you want me to just go and abandon my family? They already think I am dead. But I can help them, I can!”


“Max, no matter what you do you can not get there in time. I have seen it. In countless iterations. You can not save them. You cannot.”

“Save whom? Save whom? Is Isabel in danger? Or Tess? Or, or the rest of the family? Tell me damn it.”

The woman sighed. “You don’t even know yet. Michael must be carrying the news back now. He told me you knew today, but I didn’t know I came too early.”

“Then what? What is going on?”

“Your world is falling apart. Michael will tell you that Isabel and Tess are dead. He is probably late, probably crying. I know that he loved Isabel dearly at this time. Even in his despair. He will not want you to see him affected so. He always tries to be so stoic, so tough. But there are times when it fails, the poor man. Seriously I do not see how Maria has stood it all these years.”

“But their alive?”

“Yes. Terrified but alive. Tess will be…. traumatized for a while. But she will live.” The woman shook her head, “I am wasting time neither of us has. You need to go to the old fort. And retrieve the Earth Key that it contains.”

“But why? There is already one in the Capital. Mom wears it around her neck.” Max’s heart fell when he saw the look of supreme pity in the woman’s eyes.

“I’m so sorry Max. Your mother is dead. Your capital over run. Khivar’s goons have the key. He means to command the Granolith. You can not let that happen. You must get there first.”

His mother was dead? His home destroyed? “My father?”

“The man still lives.” She shook her head, “No, I need to keep myself focused. Even small hints can cause the ruin of all.” She looked back up at him, her eyes full of fire and determination. “You must stop Khivar! He can not be trusted with the power that the Granolith can give him. Only you can stop him.”

“What? How? It is just me and Michael. And even if I have the Earth Key, I still will need to get the others. And then I would need to find the Granolith Chamber, and….. I can’t do it. But maybe, maybe if I hurry….”

“Max!” The woman touched him.

He was flooded with a stream of images. Images of her, of the stars, of things he could not even begin to describe. But his heart began to pound heavily.

“Liz?”

“So much for my careful controlling of events. I told you that the chaos factor would be too great…. Well, whatever. I doubt you understand even a tiny portion of what you just saw. But know that I know you.”

Visions of the woman, countless visions of her whispering his name in the dark, of depthless love and adoration.

“Who are you?”

Liz gave a small smile, “I am Liz Parker Evans. See I told you I wear this ring by right. I am your wife.”

“But how? I mean, time travel is impossible, and, and…..”

“Max, my time grows short. You MUST stop Khivar. And to do that we need that Key.”

“But Liz, you can’t go. Not yet. Not until I understand…..”

“Sorry, but there is no time. We will meet again. Tell Michael that Maria says Hi!” And she was gone.

Max heard an astonished grunt from behind him. “Tell me you just saw that?”

“That we are both hallucinating? I mean, who or how or…..”

“Her name is Liz. And she will be my wife.” Max was certain of that now. As certain as sunrise. “Michael, change of plans. We need to make a quick stop at that old fort over there.”

Michael wouldn’t meet his eyes. “Max?”

“Yeah?” Max began to gather up what he had set down while waiting for Michael. They could be there by tonight if they hurried.

Michael handed Max the newspaper he’d been carrying.

On the paper’s front page there was an edited picture of his sister hanging from a lamp post. And a revolt in Ekedar and Teven. Nothing on anything happening in Avidar.

Maybe if he hurried…..

No Liz told him he didn’t have time to save them. And he trusted her. He had never even met her but he trusted her completely.

PML
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 614
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 12:01 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Re: A Teardrop of Fire (AU/CC ALL, Mature) Chapter 10 - 11/17/09

Post by PML » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:23 am

Another day, another post. Thank you all for reading.

Begonia9508- Thanks. Tish was actually a very good agent. But her job was to protect Isabel. And she did.

Keepsmiling7- Thanks. There is a connection between them. And while his concious mind might not recognize all the flashes it did recognize his complete faith in Liz. Max is trusting in that.

chanks_girl- Thanks. Glad you liked the FLiz bit. As for Tess and isabel, both of them were much more exposed. Max only survived because Michael was there to save him. Or he would have died in chapter one.

Disclaimer- Roswell is not mine and no infringement is intended.

Teardrop of Fire Chapter 11

Onboard the Crashdown, Antaran orbit.

Liz smirked as Maria rushed on board. A couple of minutes late. “A little last minute calisthenics before the mission, huh?”

Maria’s cheeks were flushed and her eyes blazed with vitality. “Never get enough cardio. You should take note. Poor Alex has been pining away waiting for you to make the first move.”

“Alex and I are just friends, Maria. And if he’s pining, its not for me.”

“His dream girl? Well that’s all well and good. And if he finds her great! Who isn’t looking for their soul mate or something similar. I know I am. But I’m not going to sit on the sidelines and wait for him to show up. The universe is big. The odds of running into Mr. Perfect is nearly nil. So I’ll take my pleasures where I can get them.” She paused a few moments, warming up the engines. “And if Alex is off the table, I’m sure Kyle would be only happy to have you join us.”

“Maria!”

“Just a suggestion. Variety is the spice of life.” Slight pause. “So do you have a place on the platform you want me to set this tub?”

Liz added the coordinates.

The ‘tub’ was a Corsair class assault shuttle. It was an older style vessel, one that had been in use for decades. And with constant upgrades they kept making them. But it was fast and well balanced both for attack and defense. And its overpowered NAFAL drive made it great for hauling oversized loads for just about anything.

The had actually been a few occasions the Corsair had been used as a second string fighter. It was that versatile.

The Crashdown was equipped with the latest in stealth gear. It cost them in cargo space, but given their mission that wouldn’t be an issue. (It cut down the passenger seating to only 12. Seeing the Roswell only had 4 people…..) They should be safe.

The small ship separated from the Roswell. Liz looked up at the ship she had called home. When she looked just at it, it seemed huge. But when she took in all the empty space surrounding it, it seemed like a tiny ember in the dark.

So tiny. So fragile and precious.

She turned her gaze to the Orbital Platform. It too was large. Large enough that they would have to dock the Crashdown. Luckily there was a docking ring close to what she assumed was the command center form the platform.

Time to get to work.

------
Evans Castle, Whiteridge Mountains, Avidar, Antar

Max walked through the abandoned structure. It was amazing how good condition it was despite the years of abandonment. It wouldn’t be particularly comfortable, but it was a fairly good defensive position even today.

And then there was the central bunker. He didn’t even recognize the material. Even using his Caredon trained senses he could not make it out.

Evans Castle was built on an old Ancient Bunker.

Michael was silent as they walked through the castle, looking for the lost key. Finally, after hours of searching he said, “I can’t believe we are looking for something based on advice from a ghost.”

“She was my wife.”

Michael’s tone was very dry, “She didn’t look like Tess to me.”

“I’m not going to marry Tess.”

“That is because she’s dead.”

“Nope. She’s alive. Liz said…..”

“Liz was a hallucination brought on by spending so much time isolated. We should just go home and call it a day. Surely the Key has been found by now. It’s probably decorating some nobles hunting lodge.”

“Its here.”

“More of Liz’s wisdom?”

“Partly. But I can also feel it. I just wish I could locate it better. Its like there is interference or something.”

Michael stopped. “Yes. Yes there is. It is Ancient work too. I can tell.”

“Can you tell where it is coming from?”

“No. But lets work this out.”

“Hmm. Maybe if we work together. Mark points on the walls…. Triangulate and.”

“Yes. That could work.”
--------

Near the coast of Ekedar., Antar

Isabel slipped into the Aerodrome.

She had always loved planes. She’d even played around in one, had even dallied with the idea of becoming an aviatrix. But politics called to her more.

Still flying was fun. It was dangerous, but then so was horseback riding. Okay, so flying was more dangerous, and would be for some years. Still just the sight of that osprey…..

She would fly her way to freedom.

-------
Outside Harding Castle, Teven, Antar

The ceremony and celebration were over. Some people were still watching the twitching bodies of their former rulers as they slowly died.

One of the people watching was Mara.

Mara had been Tess’s sister. But no longer. To Tess Mara was dead.

Dead and worse.

As far as Tess could tell, not everyone was given the choice to become Soulless. But Mara had been one of the lucky ones. She’d had that choice. And at some point during her torture she’d taken it.

It almost made Tess want to cry.

Almost.

There were two reasons that stopped her tears. First was the fact that Mara would be another vector for the Harding line to continue. Sure most children born to Soulless mothers tended to be a little feral, often becoming sociopaths.

But the child would have a soul. Would be able to feel compassion and mercy and peace. So that would be just a tiny glimmer more hope for the family.

The second reason was that she needed to hoard the liquids in her body. The men who had impaled her were professionals. They had made certain that no truly vital organ was pierced. That she would slide slowly down the widening pole, the meat of her body clinging to the chill pole, reducing blood loss.

Impalement could lead to a quick death. Painful. It was never a clean death, it was always painful, but it could be quick.

But that was not what Vanessa had wanted. She wanted them to die by slow torture. Sooner or later exposure or thirst or blood loss would thin their numbers.

Of course there was still the chance that Tess might die from shock when the pole finally broke through her sternum. She could already see some of her family and friends slide further and further down the poles now that it had worked its way through their bodies.

And the cheers. That had hurt almost as much.

Vanessa had been right. She had been greeted as a liberator.

But it was Mara’s eyes that chilled her the most. The sense of almost understanding. And complete lack of empathy. Almost disdain for the family members she had once loved.

The Soulless did not love. Oh, they were not emotionless as some people thought. But they simply lacked the empathy for love.

And Mara had once been so sweet and kind. The nicest of her sisters. The one most devoted to charity and piety.

Now her eyes were empty. Staring at Tess with curiosity, but no sympathy, no fear, nothing. Just curious.

Tess couldn’t help as a tear slipped down her cheek. A tear for Mara. For Teven.

And for Tess. Her womb would never quicken. No children for her. No love left for her.

Only death.

Another tear slipped down her cheek as she struggled to breathe.

--------
Onboard Platform Seventeen, Antaran Orbit.

Maria wandered around the platform. She was looking for anything of technical interest. But in truth she was just sight seeing. Liz was downloading data directly from the re-powered computer onboard the platform. It was encrypted, but Alex apparently was relishing the challenge.

It was funny how similar the platform was to some of the defensive installations she’d been in. Almost completely automated, but a few humans thrown in to keep the computers honest.

And they had been so very human. So very tragically human. She was walking through the long abandoned sleep quarters. There were still pictures and posters on the walls, even after all these years. Preserved by the vacuum that now filled the platform.

No air, but the gravity generator was working just fine. Probably explained why the platform was still in orbit too.

But the AI was insane, its communication links to the others gone. It had been alone for hundreds of years. That was fine for the normal computers, but the AI’s…. They needed contact, even if just with other AI’s.

Of course, there were standardized cutouts form the AI. And Liz had used them. But she hadn’t had the heart to actually kill it. So the poor thing was babbling at the first people it had access to in years. It was probably using the loudspeakers too, but luckily she couldn’t hear them through the vacuum. No, just inane ditties on the comm band.

Well they wouldn’t be here long.

She looked in one room. There was a six inch long reddish crystal laying on the couch. She looked at it for a few minutes. It looked like those crystals that scidramas always had advanced alien technology use.

Huh. Still interesting. She picked it up.

Maybe Liz would know what it might be.

-------
Antaran orbit.

The crew of the Roswell were undoubtedly skilled. And they had worked hard, as had those who had put together the mission. But there are times when all the skill and hard work simply aren’t enough.

Sometimes you need luck.

Unfortunately for the Roswell, their luck had run out.

Five hundred years ago, back when the old Jump Gates had worked much more reliably, the Drathans had placed a colony on Antar.

Oh, there had been locals, of course. But the Ancient defense grid had been in stasis. Put there to protect it from the ravages of time should it be needed again against the Enemy.

The Drathans, naturally had lorded themselves over the locals. Between their technology and their budding Empire, they were much more advanced than the still recovering Antarans.

And so the locals were forced up into the hills, where one enterprising family found an ancient military establishment. And activated the grid.

The Drathan’s had placed a large colony on Antar by then, had in fact put down roots and planed to make it a regional capital. Even if that area of space had been fairly barren.

They tried to fight against the defensive platforms.

And they died.

Most of the debris from that conflict had long since either spun out into deep space or been consumed by Antar’s atmosphere. But not this particular burst from an Autocannon. More than fifteen high explosive tipped shells still careened around Antar as they had for almost five hundred years.

But today something would be in the way.

Today they would hit the Roswell.

The irony, of course, is that the shields on the Roswell easily contained the blast. Just a minor flicker of power from the starboard shield battery. The rounds were vaporized and no material actually reached the ship.

The flares from the attack were noticeable. A sufficiently significant anomaly that the ancient computers used their more powerful scans on full active power.

The Roswell’s stealth suite was good. But not that good. The ship was spotted almost immediately.

The nearest platforms began to fire. And below on the ground, the Planetary Defensive Batteries began to go on line……

Alex and Kyle tried to put up a good fight.

They lasted almost fifteen seconds. And the Roswell began to go down.

-------
Onboard the Roswell, Low Antaran Orbit.

Kyle was angling the ship sharply downward. Underneath the umbrella of death that the platforms provided. They would be limited in what they could shoot downward, if only to prevent massive devastation below.

Or so he hoped. Otherwise, he and Alex would be scattered atoms very shortly.

“Good bye, Liz. Good bye, Maria. It has been an honor to serve. Alex….”

“An honor sir.”

The Roswell entered Antar’s atmosphere.

PML
Obsessed Roswellian
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Re: A Teardrop of Fire (AU/CC ALL, Mature) Chapter 11 - 11/19/09

Post by PML » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:39 pm

Thanks again to everyone reading this story.

chanks_girl- Thanks. Max is in an interesting spot at the moment. A little will be explained in this part, more in the next. As for Isabel, well she makes her escape complete in this part.

Poor Tess.

BlueStar8- Thanks. Yes, Maria found a Key of Fire. And there is a reason one was up on the platform. The only platform not operational. But in surprisingly good condition.

As for Alex and Kyle, well a tiny bit in this part and more in the next.

begonia9508- Thanks. Three different groups of Antarans will meet three differnent groups of humans next part. Assuming I can cram all I want to in the next chapter.

keepsmiling7- Thanks

Disclaimer- Roswell is not mine and no infringement is intended.

Teardrop of Fire Chapter 12

Off the coast of Ekedar.

Isabel whooped as she soared past the beach. She was free from Khivar!

At least for now. Her long blond hair drifted behind her, bound only by the goggled helmet she wore.

This was fun!

Getting the biplane had been an adventure itself, requiring her to incapacitate two of the wardens at the aerodrome. As far as she could tell she had gotten off scot-free.

And so she thought until the first bullet slashed through the fragile fuselage. Luckily nothing vital had been hit. She turned her head and saw another plane following her.

This was getting much to close to the dramatic escapes of her heroic Golden Rose.

An air battle over the open sea!

Yeah. Thrilling for a kid.

Oh, who was she kidding. It was thrilling for her too. Just she didn’t remember feeling so frightened when she pretended to do all this as a kid.

She took evasive maneuvers.

A few bullets zipped by, missing her plane. The enemy couldn’t have that many shots in his gun. That was the good news.

Unfortunately her plane was unarmed.

And from the rate at which the other plane was gaining, slower too.

Isabel was in trouble.

She continued to maneuver the plane, denying her opponent a good shot. Trying to buy herself some time.

She needed to think! She had come from the most prestigious University on the planet. Her talents had been acknowledged by the High Table.

And some peasant or prole with a machinegun was going to cut her down.

Think!

What would the Golden Rose do?

A few more luckily unimportant hits on her plane.

Suddenly the air became choppy with tremendous turbulence. As across the sky an enormous teardrop of fire streaked across the sky. Towards Teven.

Isabel watched as a tiny spark shot off and crashed hard into the distant beach. The rest of the fireball drifted across the horizon

It took her a few moments to regain control of her plane. She instinctively turned her plane toward that fallen piece of debris.

She was curious about what it could have been.

And although she would deny it, she was drawn to it. It called to her.

She shook her head and looked around for her opponent.

The man was staring shocked at the path the fireball had gone. And he was close.

Hopefully close enough.

She closed her eyes for just a second, whispering prayers for Michael’s soul. She then raised her right hand from the shaky controls and leveled it at the opposing plane.

------
‘Remember Isabel, a blast is not a bullet or arrow. It flies strait and true.’

‘Like a bolt of light?’

‘Yes.‘ He held her body close and adjusted her arm slightly. ‘Okay focus your thoughts, just like you were going to hit it, but keep it focused. The tighter the blast the longer the range and the greater the damage when it gets there.”

Isabel summoned her power, moved it to her hands until her fingers began to tingle.

‘Focus, dear heart. Focus.”

Isabel squinted her eyes slightly and let the bolt loose. Part of the target was torn apart by the force. Isabel frowned. She had missed the center!

Michael kissed her. ‘Not bad, not bad at all. Maybe they should draft you as well.”

‘I wish the would. Then we’d never be apart.’ She tuned and held him close, ‘I can’t believe your going tomorrow.’

‘I don’t want to go…..’

‘Stay with me.’

‘I can’t. If I want to gain your father’s favor I need to distinguish myself.’

Isabel kissed him on the lips, ‘No, Michael. Tonight. Stay with me tonight.’

He kissed her back. After a few moments, he breathlessly said, ‘Are you sure.’

The first and only time Michael and Isabel had made love. He had been her first.
------

Rage at the unfairness of it all. That Khivar could live and that Michael was dead. That she had been fooled, had helped that monster.

All of it built up in her hand, her fingers burning with power.

The enemy plane was not more than twenty feet away, shocked to see her so close. He tried in vain to pull a pistol on her….

But it was too late. Her blast was already on the way, traveling at the speed of light. It incinerated the plane, its burning wreck spiraling down toward the waiting sea.

Isabel was breathing heavily, still caught up in the emotion. She watched in fury as the plane crashed into the sea.

And it hit her. She had just killed someone. It had been in self defense, but still. The man was dead.

It was possible that she had killed others in her attempts to escape Ekedar, some of those blasts had hit them hard. But she hadn’t been trying to kill. She’d only be trying to escape.

This time she had wanted that pilot dead. And she had killed him.

Isabel shook in her little planes cockpit. She was a killer.

‘What have I done?’

She banked and planned to land the plane on the beach. It was harder than it should have been as she was still shaking.

Even after the plane stopped, she continued shaking for some time.

--------
Ruins of Harding Castle, Teven, Antar

Tess was still alive. For a day and night she had slowly slid down this damnable pole. Slowly had her organs squeezed further and further apart. Slowly, ever so slowly bled to death.

Not that she was helping matters.

There was one glaring flaw with the collars that were used to damp powers. They worked by making it impossible to focus on anything outside the subject own mind, and as it turned out, the subjects own body.

This would not have helped most of the Tevenese nobility bleeding and gasping out their last in extreme agony. No, most of them trained only in the most refined forms of Domination.

Tess Harding had been trained at the Caredon University. She was well rounded.

Plus her boyfriend/fiancé had been an expert healer. Tess was always curious, always wanting new ways to use her gifts.

She was only an average healer. But on herself, she was able to do quite well. She was able to damp the pain a little bit. To reduce her blood loss.

She’d even been able keep warm and reduce the effects of exposure.

Assuming nothing strange happen she could live on for days.

And she cursed herself for it. Cursed Max for teaching her so much. Herself for learning it and just not being willing to let go. Not letting herself just die like she could see the rest of her friends and family do.

Not that what happened next really made her ready to die.

Whittaker’s people would not even let her family and the Court rest in peace. Instead they were skinning the bodies of the slain, treating and curing them.

And taken other trophies…..

Tess shuddered in revulsion, only to cry out in agony as the movement cause her body to slip a few more precious inches.

She looked again at the pole that was right in front of her eyes, poking through her chest. Passing all the way through her body.

It still struck her as a particularly painful nightmare. This couldn’t really be happening. Not to her.

She had almost hoped that her sternum breaking and the blunt tip poking through her chest would kill her.

But no.

She was too stubborn to die. Too stubborn to give Vanessa the trophies she wished to make of her.

And she hated herself for it. She hated herself for somehow believing that a miracle would come and save her. That the people would rise and free her.

That some damn white knight on a stamping stallion would come and save her.

She knew better. She knew she was dead. Knew there was no hope. That there had never been hope.

But the worse things got, the more the hope grew. The more she was certain that the Heavens would spit out a savior for her.

She wanted to scream, or to laugh…. But the movement would cause her to slide further down. Further in her world of pain.

And then she saw it. The skies seemed to burn.

And she began to laugh, the pain riding her with each gasping giggle.

She felt more than saw the fragment break off and fly into the Castle behind her.

Her savior.

She was doomed. She knew it. But she would not give up.

She just couldn’t. Anymore than she could give up the secret belief that her true love would save her.

It was stupid. Stupid, foolish and more.

But what the hell. You only die once. Might as well go along for the ride for as long as it ran.

And so Tess persevered.

Waiting to be saved. Not expecting it. But waiting.

------
Onboard the Roswell

Kyle smiled slightly as he saw Alex’s escape pod shoot off.

He himself planned on going down with the ship. It had been his baby and he had broke it.

It was tradition. One that he hadn’t fully understood until now.

He looked around his bridge for what he thought would be his last time. It had been a good life.

He should have told Maria that he loved her. It wasn’t quite true, he was fond of her, but love wasn’t quite it. But still he should have said it.

He should have done a lot of things.

Kyle Valenti calmly prepared for death……

Except the ships of the Aralian Space Service are made to save all personnel. Machines are easier to replace than personnel.

So the ship overrode Kyle’s plan to ride the Roswell to the ground.

Kyle had one moment of shock as his Captains chair shot into an escape pod and he zipped off away from the crashing ship.

The ship AI knew it would survive the crash and be able to rebuild. Kyle would not survive that sudden shock.

Humans, even augmented humans were fragile…. And precious.

Kyle was shocked as his pod flew into the air and crashed into a burnt out building. The remains of a Castle.

Harding Castle to be exact.

-------
Evans Castle, Whiteridge Mountains, Avidar, Antar

Michael and Max were wandering through the old corridors.

Ancient corridors were more like it. The wall material was the same incredible material he still couldn’t fathom from before. Like some odd mixture of concrete, metal, ceramic, and some other material.

Neither he nor Michael could affect it.

They had successfully triangulated where they thought the Key might be. Right beyond this wall.

Suddenly he heard alarms begin to ring. And voices crying out alert…. In a dead language. Or mostly dead.

He had studied it some in school. It was the root language for the languages spoken in both Ekedar and Avidar.

He looked over at Michael. Michael looked back and barked an order in that ancient language.

And the door opened.

His jaw dropped when he saw what lay beyond. A large column of spinning stone lay in a surrounding crystalline structure. Into which a golden colored rod was place at one of four cardinal spots.

The Earth Key.

But more. For that Key was place inside a device of great legend on Antar.

Michael and Max had found the Granolith.

-------
Onboard the Crashdown, Platform Seventeen, Antaran Orbit

Liz and Maria sat stunned. Their friend had crashed and were quite likely dead.

Unfortunately their platform had swept across the horizon from the crash.

“What now, Liz.” Maria’s voice was rock solid, but there were tears in her eyes.

Liz also seemed stoic, but was in shock more than anything else.

Everything had gone wrong so fast!

“We wait. Hopefully as we get nearer the horizon we will get a better idea of what happened.”

“How long?”

“Seventy-two minutes. We won’t be directly overhead, we won’t be able to see much. But the planet will no longer be in the way. If they can use their radios, we should be able to hear them.”

“And then what?”

“We save them.”

“And, and if their dead?”

“They are not dead. I will not accept it.”

“Liz. You were on the Boston. People die. They die every day. Seriously, if they are dead, what do we do? We can’t stay up here forever.”

“Maria, this ship only has NAFAL drives. Assuming the power held out it would take us over a thousand years to reach a colonized planet.”

“What about a working Jump Gate?”

“I’ll have to look. Maybe they have charts onboard this platform somewhere. That might save us some time. But it would still take us years.”

They were silent for a while, alone with their thoughts.

Fifty-three minutes.

“Liz?”

“Yes, Maria?”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too Maria.”

And they waited.

PML
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 614
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 12:01 pm
Location: Virginia
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Re: A Teardrop of Fire (AU/CC ALL, Mature) Chapter 12 - 11/20/09

Post by PML » Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:58 am

Thanks again for everyone following along this runaway train of a story. For those curious at home, this puts me almost two thirds of the way to my goal. And ten days to do it in. Wish me luck.

begonia9508- thanks

keepsmiling- Thanks. The Tess situation is about to be resolved. One way or another.

BlueStar8- Thank you. Some first encounters in this part. Hope you enjoy.

How do I come up with such a horrible torture. Unfortunately the answer is simple. History.

chanks_girl- Thanks. Most people want happy endings, I know that I do. But there is always a price to be paid.

Isabel will have a little help on the psychological issues in this part.

Disclaimer- Roswell is not mine and no infringement is intended.

Teardrop of Fire Chapter 13

Onboard the Crashdown, Platform Seventeen, Antaran Orbit

Liz quickly scanned all the frequencies on all the emergency bands, desperately looking for Alex and Kyle.

Nothing.

Either they had not had the opportunity to set up their transponders…..

Or they were dead. Both of them.

Liz closed her eyes. She had left the Massachusetts to avoid losing her friends. And no on her first mission, half of the crew was missing and presumed dead.

And she and Maria were trapped on a weapons platform, uncertain what to do.

Do they run? It would take centuries to reach any living world. Or do they try to make a life on this new dangerous world.

For Liz had been unable to contact Alex or Kyle, she had been able to pick up and translate much of the news of the continent their ship had crashed in.

Revolt. War. Depravity. Barbarism.

Visions of Kyle or Alex trapped among the vicious killers roaming the planet…..

Maria spoke up, “Well that is some good news anyway.”

“What? I, I can’t raise either of them.”

Maria sighed softly and looked away. She continued her sentence, her voice unaffected. “The Roswell AI survived the crash and is initializing repairs.

Sudden hope, if not for recovering her friends, at least leaving this horrible world danced before her eyes. “How long?”

“Current estimates?”

“Yes.” Liz paused. Maria wouldn’t drag this out unless something was wrong. “How long?”

Maria sighed. “Twenty-five years.”

“What!”

“That is the ships current estimates based on existing stockpiles and manufacturing capability. Apparently we got lucky. It crashed in an area with fairly useful ores. Otherwise…..”

“Twenty-five years?”

Maria just nodded. “We might be able to rig a Hypercom in a decade or so. Let the folks back home we need a pickup.”

“Do you have any good news?”

“Yes. Phase distributors are working just fine. So as long as we stay in range, food and supplies won’t be a problem.”

Maria had been in charge of logistics. So she should know. But maybe, just maybe the maintenance woes weren’t as bad as the AI thought.

Computers were terribly literal and often missed shortcuts that people saw. One of the reasons that people were still involved in exploration.

“That’s good. Your still hooked up with the Roswell?”

Maria nodded.

“Check to see if there are any active phase arrays or Hypercom pulses coming from the planet. The dinky sensors on this tub are too limited. But if the sensor array is working on the Roswell….”

“Well the AI is reporting that range is down to slightly less than a light second.”

Liz closed her eyes. This was what she meant. That would easily cover the entire planet. “Have it run the scan. And have it check and notify us if anyone accesses the Roswell’s logistics phase banks.”

“Now that is a good idea. If Alex or Kyle’s comm’s are down, but the rest of their equipment, any of it really pulls from the Roswell….. Have I told you that you are a genius?”

Liz looked out the window at the planet below. “Come on guys. You can’t be dead. Please…..”

--------

Ruins of Harding Castle, Teven, Antar

Kyle woke up. There was a bit of banging on the outside of his escape pod.

That damn AI had a lot to explain about its actions. Saving him and all.

Of course, now in the light of his continued survival…. Maybe the ship had made the right choice. Where there is life there is hope.

Now he just had to get access to some way to a radio. All he had on himself was a tactical combat suit, a few power packs….. He’d need them to power the suit. He accessed the under-suit to check its arsenal.

Still the same load he’d carried the last time he had gone bandit hunting. He’d have to make the ammo count as he doubted he’d be able to resupply from the Roswell.

How he wished he had loaded a long range com into his standard package. He had a tactical com, but its range was only 20 klicks, not quite good enough to contact Liz and Maria.

He activated the armor. The armor held in phase lock to the under-suit began to appear. It still had the bullet scars from his last engagement.

He’d promised himself he would get to it, but out of sight out of mind. Besides the damage was only cosmetic. Not that important to repair.

But it rankled. It reminded him of all the things he could have added, things he should have added. This wasn’t a simple bandit hunt, he was trapped on a hostile planet.

He was ready to fight off legions of savage barbarians…… And it was a seventeen year old girl.

Pretty with pale gold hair and bright blue eyes. Empty eyes. She looked at him calmly.

No fear.

“Are you a demon.”

What he looked like to her in his combat armor, Kyle did not know. But unless there were a great deal more mechanized warriors, you would think it would startle her just a little her just a little.

Nothing. It was almost if something were missing from her.

“Not exactly. Look, I come in peace.”

“An angel then.”

“Um. No.”

“I wish I could still see. It is so hard not being able to see anymore. Is anyone truly alive?”

“Okay. Well, I wish I could answer you. Um, do you know where I am?”

“My old home. You’ve smashed through a couple of the old walls.”

“Sorry.”

“Don’t be. Vanessa already destroyed it. Cursed it, even made it illegal to live here. But then it is alright for me to be here. I am cursed too.”

“Okay. Curses. Maybe you people are more primitive than I thought.”

The girl raised a glowing crystal from a pocked in her clothing. She held it to her head and her lips curled with sublime pleasure.

She began to cry.

Kyle just looked at her. “What is wrong?”

“I betrayed her. My last sister. And it just seemed logical. Rational. And now. Now it hurts. How could I have done that. How could I not have. I….” She fell to the ground and sobbed.

Kyle looked in askance at the shattered teen. At the gem she held even now up to her forehead.

He stretched a little and then tried to move around the kid…..

“NO! You have to save her. I, I can’t. I can’t be trusted. Not anymore. But if they kill her, if they impale her like they did Tess…..”

“What are you talking about.”

The girl led him to a window. What he saw there……

---------

They made sure she could see of course. See that the last of the Hardings was going to suffer one horrific fate or another. Where they had whispered offers to take the pain away to her and the others. To end the suffering at the cost of her soul…. Here they said it all loud enough for Tess to hear.

Why had Ava done it? Tess had always thought the girl had had more sense. But to trust Mara….. Couldn’t Ava tell that she was Soulless? That she couldn’t be trusted?

Tess watched in horror as the spread apart her sister’s legs to make the incision….. The last step before they mounted her on a stake. Before the pounded it into her deep enough to hold her steady so that she could dangle helplessly for their pleasure.

So that she too could die by slow torture.

She saw the woman in charge of the impalement fondle Ava and give her one last final chance….The pole was brought up to the incision…..

And the men carrying it turned into pink mist. One moment they were there and the next they were dead. Tess couldn’t help a small smile as she watched her tormentors, as she watched the Skins be butchered by whatever was coming from the building behind her.

It was almost funny.

Whatever it was avoided hurting Ava. One of the Skins noticed this and tried to use her as a shield.

The mechanical man walked past her and shot the man holding Ava.

It was over in minutes.

Tess tried not to laugh, tried not to move. It hurt so very much. Her mouth twisted into a wry grin. This was where in her dream her knight would show up and save her.

Oh, wait. She was completely impaled. Even if she somehow got down, how could she hope to survive?

She saw the robots head flicker and resolve into a man’s head, hair cut very short. Military.

Hopefully he could and would help her sister survive.

Tess heard the voices talking. She just stared at the sky. It was finally becoming real to her. Her death.

She really was going to die.

Why was she even bothering to hold on? Tess began to disengage some of the techniques she’d been using to slow her demise.

If she were dead, Ava would have no reason to stay here. No reason to be close enough for Vanessa to snatch her. Better if she were dead.

Time to use those techniques that had saved her for so long to instead hurry the process. There would be no salvation for Tess Harding.

Tess began to weaken her bloods ability to clot, to speed the blood loss.

And then the man turned around. It was the eyes, a near electric connection. And her heart began to pound.

Why now? Why not days ago, why right at the cusp of death?

Tess did not stint the tears now. The man she had wanted and waited for, the one she had known was coming for her stood before her. Stood at the site of her death and would never have the chance to love her. Nor she him.

How could fate be so cruel?

Tess’s eyes rolled into the back of her head, and she knew darkness.

--------
Northeastern coast of Teven, Antar

Isabel could only shake and rock back and forth in the plane. Her mind was a riotous confusion of self recrimination and despair.

But as she heard the footsteps grow closer to her now quiet plane, she could feel her fingers tingling.

She might not be sure that she deserved to live, but she would defend her life to the last. She had already shown herself able to kill…..

“Are you okay, ma’am?”

The accent was one she had never heard of before. And Caredon University had pulled the best from all of the Continent. Some outlander?

She was about to brush him off with a few harsh words when she looked into his eyes. And the despair flushed away. “Are you, are you real?”

“I have been looking for you for so long. I have crossed unimaginable distances. And here you are. I don’t even know your name.”

“Isabel.”

“Alex.” He reached out his hand to brush away a tear. And both of them moaned under the weight of sensation and memories.

Memories of countless forgotten dreams spent together, dreams of constant promises never spoken. But communicated across the vast and distant void.

And so they did what only seemed right and proper. They consummated those promises right there on the beach.

To her dying day, Isabel would never be able to look at a beach and not smile in memory.

There was no need to talk. Thoughts, words, memories, and sensations rolled across the bond they now shared. It was like a dream.

--------
Outside of Evans Castle, Whiteridge Mountains, Avidar, Antar

“So you really think this will be useful?’

“Maria, an active Hypercom beacon? Oh, yes it will be useful. At the very least we can rig it to call home. The best we can hope for is that we can salvage some parts and knock a decade or two off our departure time.”

“That much?”

“it’s the materials and the manufacturing that is going to take so long. The Jump Cores will be so much easier if we already have….. Hello.”

“What?”

“We have company. Look over there, four hundred meters.”

Maria looked through a set of binoculars and raised her eyebrows. “Hmm. Not bad. So which one do you want?”

“Maria…. Do you ever think about anything else?”

“Well I’m sure that if Kyle’s alive, he’ll probably find some local chick he’ll favor. So I might as well be on the prowl. You know, you could use some action yourself.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Liz raised up her binoculars. And it was the strangest thing. For a moment her eyes caught those of one of the men. He paused and she could almost feel an electric tingle run through her body. “I claim tall dark and handsome. Broody soldier boy is all yours.” And she began to walk briskly toward the two men.

She had talked to Alex about this, but she’d only partly believed. Now she hoped that Alex had been as lucky. That he would be alive to find his love.

She had. It was impossible, but she just knew. Just knew.

Maria called out after her.

Okay, so maybe Liz was over reacting, maybe there was some cause and need to be patient and cautious.

But she had waited her whole life for this.

And she wasn’t about to wait.

PML
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Re: A Teardrop of Fire (AU/CC ALL, Mature) Chapter 13 - 11/21/09

Post by PML » Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:55 pm

Thanks again to everyone following along this story.

keepsmiling7- Thanks. Please remember that Kyle had never let anyone die in his care. A perfect record. So while Tess has given up, Kyle hasn't.

Bluestar8- Thanks. No. They don't. And something is definately going on here. Altering probabilty at the very least. Some of the characters have noted how odd all of it is, but they are affected deeply by it and so....

begonia9508- Sorry, that was not my intention. My apologies.

chanks_girl- Thank you. As for A/I - yeah, but that has been hinted at through out the story. Pretty much they've been sharing dreams for years. Get them in the same room, both hungry for something to prove their alive and.... Well no waiting for one thing.

As for Kyle... Well under any normal circumstances Tess would die. It is just that Kyle has never lost anyone. And he's not about to start now. How he's going to fix her, well that is a problem. As for what goes on on Antar, well he's not going to have a lot of patience for it. And Tess will not be the only reason.

cjsl8ne- Depends on what you mean by rescued. Will they want to go home? Probably not. Will they want to control their own fate? Well that is a trickier question.

mary mary- Thanks. Kyle will do what he can. He has a perfect record for not losing anyone. And he's not about to start with Tess. As for Mara, well we shall see. She has been horribly damaged, as have all of the Soulless. Hopefully they can find a way to help her.

Disclaimer- Roswell is not mine and no infringement is intended.

Teardrop of Fire Chapter 14

Outside of Evans Castle, Whiteridge Mountains, Avidar, Antar

Max had tried to remove the Earth Key from the Granolith and failed. Now what?

Maybe there were some transcription, some old knowledge in the family library. He had to protect the Granolith from Khivar somehow.

The Granolith…..

If someone had told him that he would find it, that it was even real. Max was sure he would have called that person a liar. The Granolith was a fairy tale and nothing more.

But now…. Now after what he had seen, what he had heard while in that chamber as the Necklace protected the world from another outside force…..

“It is all real.”

“What? Max? Come on, snap out of it. We still have a long way home. There is no way I can dissuade you from this mad quest is there?”

“Michael, you saw it. You saw her. She told us to go to the old fort, to find the key…. And we did. Now we need to find the other keys. I know that Tess’s family has several of the Water Keys.”

“Alright then what. You said you were going to marry that Liz chick. How do you think Tess will feel, right after she gets over her delirium that you aren’t dead, to hear that you have no intention of marrying her? How will your father feel?”

“I will deal with Father when I get back. This is more important than anything, even the interests of Avidar. The world Michael, the whole world depends on this.”

“All because of Isabel’s current loser boyfriend?”

“Khivar is dangerous. If you read some of the file on him…..”

“And you let him date Isabel?”

“One does not let or stop Isabel in anything. You of all people should know how headstrong she can be. No I…. “ Max just stopped his mouth opening.

He had gotten what seemed like an electric shock rolling through the whole of him.

“Max? What is it?” Michael followed his friends sightline. Two women were advancing on them. Part of him reasoned that they could not be much of a threat. But their dress was entirely strange. And there was a sense of… force about them. As if there were energies lingering just out of sight that they could call on.

Michael readied his rifle.

Max absently reached over to lower Michael‘s arm. “Its her. It has to be. But why here, why now?”

“Who?” Michael looked carefully at the approaching women. One sent a hammer blow to his belief that he’d been hallucinating. It was a younger version of the woman Max had been talking to.

He was finished when he saw the other girl. Blonde hair, ruby lips in a knowing smirk, and brilliant green eyes that seemed so full of things she wished she could not recall.

Soldier’s eyes. One who has seen combat and much too much death. He knew that look. He saw it every time he looked into a mirror.

Now that they were closer, and his senses were set to full scan, he could tell they were not just flesh and bone. Something had been done to them. Something like what had been done unto him.

They were altered.

Michael’s mind was swirling in chaos. For he had dreamed of the woman. Had used her body to taunt Max. He knew every inch of it. From his dreams.

And now he wanted nothing more to know every inch in the flesh. Except of course that he wasn’t really a person any more.

Michael was a thing now. And Max’s father owned him.

How could he saddle a woman, especially the woman of his dreams with something like that? Michael closed his eyes in pain. Why now? Why would fate taunt him now?

Maria. Her name was Maria.

‘Tell Michael Maria says hi.”

Michael trembled slightly. What could he do? What should he do?

-------
Maria spoke first. “Well this is awkward.”

Max and Liz just stared at each other. From not more than five feet away. It made Maria want to look away. It just felt so like she was peeping in on something private.

Which was crazy, but that is how it felt. And the other man just looked at her impassively. But Maria got a sense that a lot more was going on in there than he was letting show.

He… intrigued her. In a way she hadn’t been in years. Outside of her dreams. In her dreams….. Maria felt her cheeks blush.

After all she had done in her life she didn’t know that they still could. But she felt the heat flood to her face. And not just to her face.

She wanted him. As in right now.

This was totally insane. Two of their friends were missing. They were looking for spare parts for their downed space craft and she wanted to fuck the first man she met?

No! Sure she had a rep, but she also had a sense of priorities too. Business first.

Right. So she had her implants flood her system with a calming drug. It didn’t make the feeling go away, didn’t completely dampen the ridiculous sense of desire. But it took the edge off slightly.

Business first, but she was damn sure that she was going to get that pleasure after. She’d start her seduction routine now, to prepare him for the assault she would make on him later. But she was afraid that if she started, she wouldn’t be able to stop. Even with medical support.

She made to open her mouth, to somehow wake Liz up. To actually start a dialog with these two men.

Liz’s object of affection beat her to the punch.

“Greetings. You both must have come a long way. My name is Max Evans. this is my friend and confidante Michael Guerin. And you must be Liz Parker and, let me guess, you are Maria?”

Maria’s mouth just opened. What the hell was going on?

------
Ruins of Harding Castle, Teven, Antar

Kyle set Tess down gently, careful not to move the remnants of the thick pole that stuck through her. He’d engaged his thrusters and cut her down, but he was afraid that if he removed it she would rapidly bleed to death. Already her blood was flowing much more freely than it had.

He dephased some of the equipment and medical tools that his armor had. It should be enough to stabilize Tess enough for him to run back to his pod. Hopefully the escape pod had a more generous medical selection.

Ava painfully walked over to where he was. Kyle had sealed the incision that those bastards had made and given her some general antibiotics and a dose of regen.

Hopefully they were as human as they looked and he hadn’t just killed the poor girl.

Ava looked up at him, “Can you save her?”

“I don’t know.” But he had to. The thought of her dying….. It hurt him in some odd way. Like he was losing an irreplaceable part of himself.

Ava just looked down at her twin. “She’s given up. She lived so long, long after the others had died, and now…..”

“Well she’d better ungive up. I don’t lose people.”

He ignored Ava’s gasps as he kept pulling items out of phase. If only the ship had not gone down. The Roswell could patch her up in no time. As it was his power was beginning to run low and his supplies were limited.

Kyle could use his link to access the power supplies aboard the Roswell, but he was saving that until he absolutely had to. It wasn’t rational, quite the contrary, but as long as he didn’t know for a certainty that the Roswell was completely destroyed he could still pretend that he and his friends might get off this rock.

Once more his thoughts went to Liz and Maria. Maria had assured him of the stealth capabilities of the Crashdown, but his memory of the other weapon platforms firing on him….

The Crashdown’s shields would buckle and shatter under that assault. They wouldn’t make it to the atmosphere except as ionized plasma. And he might never know.

All he had was a line of sight radio and short range fold comm. The later was perfect if his friends happened to be within a few miles, but was useless beyond that. And the radio…. Well it was just a radio. He could use the maser once he had a lock on their position, but he’d have to know exactly where they were.

And there was the whole power issue.

He injected ampoule after ampoule into Tess’s blood stream. All to stabilize her.

And she stopped dying. That damn pole was still stuck through her, but for now…. For now she would live.

He turned to a crying Ava, still standing by her sister. “Do you know how to shoot?”

Ava didn’t even look up but she nodded.

Kyle handed him her side arm. The ammo load it was carrying was undoubtedly overkill for most of what she might need to shoot at, made for cracking pirate space armor, but it would go a long way to keep anyone from trying to reverse his actions. “I need to get something from my pod. Stay here and shoot anyone who tries to hurt her.”

“Why? Why are you helping us?”

He just looked at her for a moment. “You needed help. And no one does that to people on my watch. What kind of messed up world is this anyway?”

“Thank you.”

“I’ll be right back.” He jogged back into the ruined building, back to where he had left his pod and that odd girl.

Hopefully she hadn’t taken anything.

Mara still lay crumpled up near where he had left her. She was sleeping, slight sobbing noises coming from her.

Kyle looked at her. There was more than a passing familiarity between the two girls he had just left and this one. Family. When he left he would carry her out. Maybe the others would recognize her.

He reached his pod and began to strip it of all its useful contents. There were quite a few survival supplies.

If he ever saw Maria again, he’d have to thank her. The pod he was in was definitely one that had been upgraded for this mission.

There were even some batteries he could use to power his equipment for some time.

Kyle sighed as he loaded himself up. He should check. He should see if the links were still available. See if the Roswell had weathered the crash, broken but not destroyed, or if it was a piece of rubble in a crater somewhere.

He activated his link. And smiled. The ship and its AI were online. He made a request on how to fix Tess with his available supplies.

He was whistling slightly as he carried the supplies and Mara back to Tess and Ava. When the stone that Mara had held when she had informed him of Ava’s impending execution slipped from her fingers, he stopped to pick it up.

Somehow it seemed important.

---------
Northeastern Coast of Teven, Antar

Alex woke up slowly, a pleasing warmth at his side.

Isabel Evans. Quite literally the girl of his dreams. Only she was real. He had known and yet, well he was Republican through and through. Drathan superstition was not thought well on. Particularly in a half-Drathan hybrid.

It had undoubtedly affected his career prospects.

But he didn’t care. And he had been right.

He savored the warmth and the link that he had to her. That was another thing that he had relished. Alex’s skills were untrained at best, and even then he wasn’t very strong. Not like his mother had been.

And she had always maintained that the one thing she had missed from her homeland were the links. To be able to feel the other person connected to you, to have true compete trust and intimacy.

Alex certainly knew he would never want any other than Isabel.

Her beautiful eyes opened. She looked at him in wonder. “Are you real?”

He kissed her. And as a few moments passed they separated. “I should get up. Don’t suppose you’re hungry.

Isabel stood up and stretched.

Alex could only watch her. Head cocked slightly to the side. She was so beautiful.

She smiled at his dumbstruck expression. “Sure. I haven’t eaten since….” Her expression grew sad. Since I’ve been on the run.”

He gave her a quick hug “I’ll be right back.” He ran and fetched some equipment and the survival tent. And some food. It would be fairly bland. Survival rations usually were. But he knew that she was starving. So was he.

Absently he checked his comm log.

Nothing.

He would have to get serious real soon and find out if the girls were okay. And if the ship had survived. But right now his thoughts were on the blonde waiting across the beach.
-------

Outside Evans Castle, Whiteridge Mountains, Avidar, Antar

All of them were sitting at an impromptu picnic in the shade. Both groups had much to hide, but to Michael’s dismay, and to a lesser extent Maria’s; Liz and Max shared everything.

Absolutely everything.

The idea of casual space travel, or of ancient chivalry burdened kingdoms struck each group as strange. But neither group accused the other of lying.

Somehow they were linked. And they could feel it.

Maria’s pleasant thoughts and designs on Michael were interrupted by the ship’s notification.

Someone had accessed Ship Stores. Kyle.

That was good. The ship even had a good idea where the user was. Only he had accessed the medical systems as well and called for details to repair some fairly traumatic injuries.

Maria sent an interrogatory to make sure the AI notified Kyle about them. And that they were on the way.

She could feel all their gazes on her. “Liz, we have to go.” She was aware of how tightly Liz’s hand gripped Max’s at the thought of leaving.

There was something unnatural about this whole thing. Something strange. But even learning that the others had abilities akin to and somewhat more advanced than those possessed by the High Nobility of Dratha, did not make her think Max and Michael were doing something to her.

All the crew of the Roswell had routine implants that made psionic assault very difficult if not impossible.

“Why?”

“I’ve found Kyle. We can come back.”

“I still need to check that Hyper beacon. You go along without me. I’ll be fine.”

Maria looked at her friend. She was hopelessly gone.

“Liz….”

Max spoke up and smiled at Maria. “I promise we will behave.”

“Just keep her safe, okay.”

“Will you be okay, yourself, alone?”

“Trust me buster, I can take care of myself.”

Michael looked at her, and for a moment his gaze was full of naked desire. Then it was gone. “Let me walk you to your ship at the very least.” He cast a few sidelong glances at Liz and Max.

Oh. So he saw it too. Wanted to give Max and Ms Prim some space. Was Max like Liz in that regard? Hmm, possibly.

She kept giving Michael sidelong glances as they walked along.

They had made it half way to the ship when they both decided to jump the other.

She would get Kyle. But he could wait a few moments more. He hadn’t seemed in danger in his interrogations of the ship. What was one hour, more or less?

PML
Obsessed Roswellian
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Re: A Teardrop of Fire (AU/CC ALL, Mature) Chapter 14 - 11/22/09

Post by PML » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:35 pm

And here is another part. Thanks again to everyone following along.

chanks_girl- Thanks. Tess isn't helping anyone. Kyle's just got her body so full of drugs it has no choice but to live. (Surgery to remove that pole is not going to be pretty.) The group will start to coallese starting next part.

keepsmiling7- Thanks. Here you go.

BlueStar8- Yes. Tess and Kyle will be a while. The others are enjoying their significant other immensely.

begonia9508- Think of Maria as being that sailor with a guy in every port. She really, really likes Michael, though.

Disclaimer- Roswell is not mine and no infringement is intended.

Teardrop of Fire Chapter 15

Whiteridge Mountains, Avidar, Antar

Maria looked over at Michael. At first glance you wouldn’t think Michael had that much emotion rolling through that head of his. He walked around basically radiating controlled fury.

No soft emotions allowed.

But if you looked hard enough, almost to the point where you were afraid you had imagined them, you would see his more human side. Because they were there. Maria was reading them off of him right now.

And it was confusing the hell out of her.

Love, elation, hate, and despair? Really? Could one person feel all that all at once?

Michael apparently could.

One of the reasons Central had picked her had little to do with her combat abilities, although those were pretty kick ass too. No it was her ability to see beyond the surface, to root out hidden cracks in morale.

Alex was better, but he was looking for different things. He wasn’t a soldier, he was a spook. He was looking for corruption or infiltration.

Maria just wanted to know if the men and women fighting with her would have her back in a firefight. And knowing where and when someone might crack was crucial to your survival.

She had always had the gift, used in other ways in her youth. To measure a crowd during one of her little singing gigs.

War had a habit of militarizing all of your skills. But when the other option was death….. It was adapt or die. And she had nearly died. Had ignored what her emotion sense had been telling her.

She had known her squad was near the breaking point, but despite some weird feelings she never thought it would be the sergeant that broke. Never in her wildest dreams. So she had ignored what she felt, and when he broke, the squad broke too.

She had held. Had gained her first medal for that action. But it had cost her. They hadn’t thought she would live. It was why she was so close to the legal definition of cyborg. Maria was lucky they had been able to clone as much as they had.

At least she could still have children someday. Even if her eyes were now green and not the hazel of her birth.

But the implants scared a lot of people. Because of her connections and her basic job description they had put more in during the surgery than just straight replacements. Maria was abnormally strong now. Her bones nearly unbreakable and even armor covering some of her vital organs.

A lot of guys couldn’t handle that she could twist them into a pretzel without breaking a sweat. It scared them off. Kyle had been a nice change, but both of them knew they weren’t permanent.

They’d even offered to help the other find the right person.

Michael on the other hand might be the one. Maria couldn’t explain it, she was falling hard. And talking to the man was like talking to a damn stone wall. Oh he would talk, would talk about local politics or about Max. But nothing about himself.

He seemed ashamed of what he was, whatever that was. It was quite frustrating. All that he would say was that he was a Protector.

Like that was supposed to mean something to her.

The passion had been off the scale. She’d been looking for kisses. Maybe a bit of heavy petting. Just sort of trying out the merchandise before she made her move to buy.

Only once they had started….. My God, she’d never had such a rush. What the man could do in a hotel room or something a little more friendly that out in the middle of the woods, she would desperately like to see.

And she would. If he thought he could brush her off after sleeping with her once, he was sadly mistaken. She was Maria Deluca, Hero of the Republic, and she always got her man.

“Michael, why are you so quiet?”

“Just thinking.”

“About?”

“Things.”

Grrrr…..

They walked into the next clearing. Or that is what it seemed to be.

How had they gotten so far so fast? Could she already be out of time?

“Michael.”

“Come on, we need to get you to your ship. I don’t feel comfortable leaving Max alone for this long.”

“We’re here.” Maria deactivated the stealth suite, now working on optical mode.

Michael gasped at the large ship. It was nearly a hundred meters long. And if this was a small ship, carried by a larger one….

How large had the Roswell been?

“Nice isn’t she. She’s a bit old. But they refurbished her nice back at base.”

“And this thing can fly?” It didn’t even have that much in the way of wings.

“Sure. I can take you up in it if you like.”

“I need to get back to Max.”

“Michael, I know you have feelings for me. Why can’t you talk about them?”

“Because they are impossible.”

“Why?”

“I told you. I am a Protector.”

“What does that mean? I realize you probably have an important job, maybe one that precludes a relationship with an off world alien. But I need to know why? I think, I think I could love you. If you would just give me a chance.”

“You don’t understand. I’m not human. I am a Protector. I wish I had met you before this had been offered to me. I was a fool and did not ask what price the power would come with. And Maria, the cost was just too damn high. But there is nothing that can be done. The damn man is safe from me impregnating his precious daughter and filling her with Low Nobility heirs. Although why Khivar is okay for her is beyond me. But he is the King. And he made the offer. He gloated about it when it was done.”

“Okay. I’m not sure I like the sound of that. What was done to you?”

“My organs were all removed and replaced. My bones changed. I don’t really have bones anymore, not like you do. More like a cartilage that I can set. Everything changed. All of it. Except for my brain. Aside from some minor changes, it at least is what I had. Although, they say the memories of my old life would fade. To allow me to serve unencumbered by my old life and affiliations. It has not happened yet. Except at the very edges. I begin to forget my childhood. The skills and talents will still be there, but my memory of learning them, my memory of my friends and loved ones…… All will fade and only duty will be left. I am not human now, but soon I will be less.”

“But why? Why would you do such a thing?”

Michael’s voice started shifting, growing higher in pitch. “So that I can do this.” Until there were two Maria’s standing there.

“Well, I guess variety in the bedroom is a given. Are you, um, complete?”

“I can emulate any human. So you see that I can not….”

“No, really don’t. I mean, its an issue. But then we haven’t talked about my cybernetics either. So, both of us bring baggage from our pasts. I’m willing to try.”

“But my memories will fade, and I will begin to think differently. Not human. I’ve talked to some of the older Protectors. They remember nothing of their old life. Just their skills. And they have no sympathy for anyone except those we serve. And I have to follow their orders no matter how grim they may be.”

“Even if they ordered you to kill me or our children.”

“There will be no children. I lack real generative organs. I am sterile. And yes. I would kill you if ordered.”

“Okay, so we need to decondition you and adopt. I can live with that.”

Michael opened his mouth and closed it. “It’s pointless arguing with you.”

“Yes it is. Just give in and tell me you are willing to try to.”

“I can’t.” And Michael turned and walked away.

Maria stood and watched him leave.

Damn him!

A slight smile flickered on her face. Now it was a challenge. And no one not even death had bested her yet.

She wasn’t sure they could work, their backgrounds were so different. But by all that was holy, Michael was going to give it a try. Whether he knew it or not.

Maria fired up the ships engines and flew to pick up Kyle.

--------
Ruins of Harding Castle, Teven, Antar

Kyle looked over the wall at the mass of enemy soldiers who had taken up positions. Apparently Tess was more important than he thought. They had run at him and died in droves.

Of course, he was pinned. He had to protect Tess and Mara. Ava could still move, but not fast. It was only a matter of time before they lobbed a bomb or brought some heavy artillery that would kill them.

If they brought a heavy enough gun it might even kill him.

He wished he’d at least had time to remove that damn pole. But Ava had been nearly over run by the time he had gotten back.

What he wouldn’t do for some back up.

Sometimes all it takes is a wish.

“Kyle, come in Kyle.”

“Maria?”

“Good, I was wondering why you weren’t responding. I have your location and I am three klicks away. Anything I should know about before I arrive?”

“Maria, I am pinned. I have three other locals. They all need some measure of medical care, one extremely serious. Have Liz prep the med bay on the Crashdown.”

“Um, Liz isn’t here.”

“She isn’t…..”

“No, she’s fine. She’s uh, checking out a possible salvage area for the ship.”

Why did it sound like it was a little more complicated than that. “Have you located Alex yet?”

“No. I wish we had satellite coverage. We might find him faster. If he survived he’ll need to access Ship Stores. We’ll find him then.”

Kyle nodded. They would be able to get together and figure out exactly what they were going to do now. Still….

He looked out on the massed troops. Men who worked for the people who had impaled Tess and her family. “Maria, I have a fire order……”

---------
Whiteridge Mountains, Avidar, Antar

Max’s head was throbbing as he woke up to the rocking cadence of a horse.

Wait, where was Liz! She had been right beside him, was now a part of him always. He had bonded her, had told her what it meant to his people.

And she had said yes. Said their marriage might be complicated, that she had other demands on her time.

Max didn’t care. He just wanted her. The vision had said they would be married, and now that he met the real Liz he knew why.

They were soul mates. It was just that simple.

The things he had seen while he was inside her…. He had seen stars and wonders and……

It had been magnificent. As had the second time. Both of them had been exhausted afterwards.

And now he was here, wherever here was.

“So, little brother, you are finally awake. You must have quite a story to tell, given that you’re supposed to be dead.”

Max’s mouth was dry. It was hard to talk, “Where is Liz?”

Max began to panic, he couldn’t feel her anywhere nearby. What happened to her.

“Oh, the girl. Well, I’m sorry. I could only carry one of you. You might as well forget her, by now the bandits will have killed her.”

NO!

He needed to concentrate, to focus on his new bond.

She was alive. That much he could tell. But there was something wrong with her. Something very wrong.

“We need to go back, Zan. She’s important to me….”

“Sorry that is not a possibility. Father wants to see you. Find out what you’ve been up to. Things have gone to hell lately. Just give her up. Plenty of common born out there willing to bed a Royal. Your Teven Princess is dead, too.”

Max promised himself he would find her. He would regain his love. His mate.

No matter what Father said, he would never marry another. Getting disowned might even be a wise choice at the moment.

He would find her. But he needed supplies.

-------
Northeastern Coast of Teven, Antar

“So do you think you can fix it?”

“Not a problem darling. Simplicity itself. Now the fuel, well that will take a little bit for me to brew. Ah, the wonder of practical nanitics.” He saw Isabel looking perplexed. “Really small robots. Operate on the molecular level.”

“Like this?” Isabel mended a hole in the fabric with her powers.

“Um, yeah, just like that.” He studied Isabel. There was so much he wanted to learn. About her, about her world. Mostly about her.

He loved her.

“Okay, if both of us work together we can get this plane up and running.”

Isabel placed her hands on Alex’s chest. “Alex, what are you going to do?”

“I will help you however I can.”

“What about your friends. Surely they will be missing you.”

“I will need to contact them. And soon. I’m pretty sure they’d be willing to help you to. Particularly if this Granolith thing has anything to do with the gauntlet of weapon satellites that protect your world.”

“Why are you people here, anyway. I mean if you can travel the stars, why come here?”

Alex looked up at the darkening sky. He still hadn’t learned the constellations here. In fact, he’d probably have to coordinate with the ship to name stars he knew from different angles. Four hundred light years could make for quite a shift in the constellations.

“There was a time when Mankind ruled the stars. And then what is happening on your world right now happened up there. Only the Ancients had much more powerful weapons. And they destroyed themselves. Your people survived. We have been looking for people just like you.”

“Why?”

“So that we can do it again. Only this time, we plan on doing it right.”

How much Isabel had been paying attention to his declaration he wasn’t sure.

Nor did he care. Those hands were making him think it was time for another rest break.

So he kissed her. She giggled and lead him back to the survival tent that Alex had erected. The bed wasn’t big, but it was a bed. And then there was the shower. She loved the shower.

Too bad she hadn’t seen the Jacuzzi Maria had shoehorned into the Roswell….

All thoughts other than Isabel fled. And he lost himself in her. All his cares and worries faded, would be dealt with later.

He had something more important to attend to.

-------
Bandit Camp, Whiteridge Mountains, Antar

Liz woke up. She could still feel some lingering affects of the intoxicant they had used on her. She vaguely remembered laughing and giggling like an idiot.

Some Antaran narcotic her implants had not been set to counter. She spent a few seconds rectifying that situation.

Her mind became crystal clear. Too clear in fact. She could sense her mate some distance away. She would need to recover him.

He was definitely genetically compatible, and the mixing of his geneline and hers would be highly advantageous to any children they might have. And as that was the only sure way of immortality, Liz planned on having as many as possible.

Preferably using the more modern tech found on the Roswell. Repairing and equipping its medical bay should be a high priority. She accessed her link at told the AI to factor that in.

That would add two extra years to their time on Antar. The repairs should be accomplished in short order, but it would use some critical spare parts that originally had been slated for use in upping the manufacturing capability of the ship.

Still any possible children she might have needed the highest odds of future survival.

She loved him. Except she wasn’t really sure what that meant anymore.

They had done something to her. Something horrible. Only she couldn’t bring herself to care.

She needed to escape and find Max. Those were her priorities. Then she needed to hook up with the others and they would go back to their ship. She was fairly sure she could convince Max to go with her.

And if he said no, she would kidnap him. She valued that genetic material. Plus the sex had felt very good. She felt the need for many repeat performances.

Liz examined her bonds. Listened to her captors. Not very efficient bandits. They were arguing over what they had taken from her. Apparently it had been much less than they had expected.

Max had escaped. Had been rescued. And she had been left here.

Whatever. She understood the need for personal survival. She prized it too.

She analyzed the situation. The guards were over there. Weapons there. Bonds with that level of thickness. Plan. Plan. Plan.

Execute.

Like all members of the Republican Space Service, Liz was fully combat trained. The RSS never had enough people to cover everywhere, and from time to time any member could be expected to defend themselves.

Not everyone was meant to be a soldier. The RSS understood that. But it trained them anyway.

Liz had done very well on those courses, like she had on all of her training. But the instructors did not believe that she had the right attitude to be a front line combatant. She wasn’t aggressive enough, not able to completely subsume her conscience in the cause of a mission. She might pause if she needed to kill someone.

Liz was a kind and caring person. Simply not the right temperment, and while they could have conditioned it out of her, made her into a soldier, there was no need. She had many other useful skills, ones rarer than the ability to kill.

Her captors had made a fatal error.

They had made Liz Soulless. She no longer understood mercy or compassion.

She was better trained and physically in much better condition. Her implants gave her an edge too. They made her able to think faster, to plan at such speed so as to be virtually impossible to trick.

And while that little psychic cut took away her empathy, it had done nothing to her intelligence.

They never knew what hit them.

She killed them all. Even the one she had beaten to submission.

Liz had paused as the woman had cried for mercy. She had paused because she thought she should feel something.

But she didn’t.

So Liz killed her.

She gathered her equipment, and any other supplies she might need. And walked off into the night. To follow Max.

He was her mate and she wasn’t about to let him go.

-------

Michael had been pondering what to do. Max was nowhere to be seen, but he had found Liz.

Had he completely failed? Was Max dead?

He just couldn’t accept it. No he would help Liz and then both of them would find Max.

It was worth the risk.

And then Liz moved.

She killed them all. Every last one.

Michael had waited, certain that Liz might kill him too if he disturbed her. As he watched he noticed that there was something wrong about the girl. Something about her had changed.

And Michael knew. Knew what had been done to her.

It would crush Max.

Liz was Soulless. And very, very dangerous.

There was no way he would risk greeting her. He would follow her, and if he found a situation where he could talk to her and be safe, he would take it.

Maybe Maria could get through to her.

Michael closed his eyes in pain. He took a few breaths and followed Liz into the night.

PML
Obsessed Roswellian
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Re: A Teardrop of Fire (AU/CC ALL, Mature) Chapter 15 - 11/23/09

Post by PML » Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:26 am

Thanks again to everyone following along this story.

begonia9508- Thanks. Liz killed them physically. Thinking of Liz as a Terminator from the famous films would not be far off. Only with much faster reflexes and a higher intellect. Liz is very dangerous right now. Potentially to everyone.

Natalie36- Thanks. Probably. I like happy endings.

keepsmiling7- Thanks. Max and Liz still have their bond. It is how Liz found him.

BlueStar8- Thanks. You are actually quite close. But not quite there.

chanks_girl- Things are looking okay for A/I and K/T. Sure Tess needs medical help badly, but they have access to it. As for Liz, well she is very dangerous as she is. And while that could be useful, she is quite capable of killing anyone right now. Except Max. That bond is still there. thanks as always.

Disclaimer- The characters of Roswell are not mine and no infringement is intended

Teardrop of Fire Chapter 16

Royal Encampment, Whiteridge Mountains, Avidar, Antar

Max had been looking for his opportunity to escape, but they were guarding him well. Even when he’d gone to the shower tent, there were several minders.

This was making him a little nervous. Why would his father be guarding him so closely?

He had just finished making himself presentable when he was politely ordered to attend his father.

There were now three guards. Using the senses he had gained from his years at Caredon, he could tell that two of them were Protectors.

They would be resistant to his powers.

What was going on?

As he entered the Royal Tent, he looked up at the makeshift dais that his father sat on. Nicholas Crawford at his side. Last he had known that little snake had been advising the Teven King.

Tess had hated him. And from the little Max had had dealings with him, he could understand why. There was just something wrong about the man. Some sense of corruption and evil. Supposedly he was also wise and crafty.

From what happened to the Harding dynasty however, Max could not see a reason to adopt the man to Avidaran service.

Max also noticed an uncomfortable Zan also in attendance. Zan was the current crown heir. Zan would not look at Max.

Something was definitely wrong.

King Philip Evans looked over at Max. “So, my son. How long have you been a traitor? How long have you and your sister worked for Khivar?”

“Khivar? He’s Isabel’s boyfriend, but I would never work with the man. His politics would see us all destroyed.”

“Exactly. They knew intimate details of our defenses. Knowledge that only one very close to the throne would have. And you were conveniently ‘killed’ so as to throw off suspicion. Zan tells me he found you inside of a Khivarist camp.”

Nicholas whispered something to Philip.

“Yes, yes. That is true.” Tears actually formed on his father’s cheeks. “I am holding you responsible for the death of Queen Diane and countless other members of the Evans family. Even little Sara, who you once pretended to care so much about. She was burned alive like the others. A public spectacle brought forth by your monstrous master, Khivar.” Philip sighed, “At least they were not impaled and flayed like the royals of Teven. Small comfort.”

“Father, I am innocent. I don’t know what lies Nicholas has been pouring into your ears, but I have done nothing of the sort!”

“Such insolence. Guards take him away. I want answers. And if he will not give them to me, we will force them out of him.”

Nicholas smiled, “Perhaps I can be of help in that regard, Your Most Gracious Highness.”

“Yes, yes, that would be good. Let my other questioners… prepare him a little first. I still need some advise regarding our recapture of the capital…..”

The two guards at his back seized his arms and pulled him away.

And his nightmare began. They had already determined his guilt. And they would torture him until he confessed it.

Or killed him first.

For the first time he was glad Liz was not here. He hoped that she was okay and that help had reached her. Because he was not going to escape this, save through death.

How had this happened? How had things gotten so bad at home? Had his mother’s death broken his father?

And Nicholas. Where had Nicholas come from? He would have had to leave right after the fall of Teven. Even then the time would be tight. Particularly with all the revolutions and uprisings happening. Unless….

Unless he were working for whoever was in charge of the revolutions. Khivar supposedly. Although, while Khivar had seemed quite intelligent and politically motivated, Max could not see him kill Isabel. Or do all the horrific things that were supposedly being done in the name of progress…..

Max tried to piece it all together in between the questioning. And he needed to think fast, because he knew they were just getting warmed up. He might not be able to think coherently soon.

---------
Roswell Crash site, Northern Teven Mountains, Teven, Antar

Maria was amazed at the level of activity already bustling from the ruined ship. Already robots were scurrying about setting up small industrial facilities needed to make the parts to rebuild the ship. She new that some of them were making the parts to make the parts to make the…. Well you get the idea.

This was going to be a long haul project.

Twenty-seven years by current calculation. Huh? Hadn’t it been twenty-five?

Liz had made some changes in priority. One of which was going to come in very handy.

“Kyle, Liz has put the Medical Bay on high priority. As soon as we land we can transfer her to the Roswell we can put her directly into medical.”

“The Medical Bay? Well that’s convenient. Um, but why? Is she hurt?”

Maria consulted the AI. “Apparently she accessed the fertility and obstetrics facilities.”

“My God…. Is she pregnant?”

“Not last I checked. Of course, I did leave her with a pretty yummy guy when I left. Maybe she got busy so to speak. Still getting ready to bear the children of a man you just met, well that would be pretty fast, even for me.” Only that is the boat I’m in too. What is it about these Antarans?

Kyle shook his head, “Liz? I don’t think so. I mean don’t you call her Ms Prim?”

Maria nodded. And thought about Michael. What was she going to do about him.

Maria had never fallen this hard this fast. Maybe Liz had as well. Or harder even.

No. Not possible. I mean what was left? Getting married? In the woods?

“I don’t know. There is a certain attractive appeal that these people have.”

“You’ve found someone.”

“Maybe. I, I don’t see how it will work. I mean, I want it, but he’s, he’s resistant.”

“So why would that stop you?”

“You’re not mad?”

“Look, we both knew that it wouldn’t last. That we weren’t meant to be together. Just two friends having fun. But if you think that you’ve found your Mr. Right, then let me know how I can help.”

Maria narrowed her eyes. This was much too easy. Unless…. Three possibilities. None of which he could have slept with, but still….

That electric tingle. That sudden sense of destiny…..

Yes it could have happened to him too.

Mara? No, too young.

Ava? Blond bombshell, pretty blue eyes, and from the little she’d spent with her a decent sense of humor.

No. No, Kyle liked her. But he hadn’t flirted with her at all. And Kyle was a flirt.

Tess. My God, it was Tess.

No wonder Kyle was in such a hurry to help the girl. Not that he wouldn’t have been anyway, Kyle was like that. But the sight of the woman he felt that tingle for….. The sense of destiny and possibility lost forever…..

“Tess?”

Kyle looked away. “I will never live this down. I mean Alex will make fun of me forever. Do you have any idea how much I have teased him over the years over his dream girl?”

“Liz said he thought she was down here. Liz said she felt something too.” Maria absently landed the Crashdown. The docking facilities were broken so they would have to manually carry Tess over. “And Max said something about being visited by a Future Liz. That was how he knew…..”

Kyle unstrapped an began to move to the passenger section of the ship. “So his name is Max.”

“That would be Liz’s. Mine is Michael.”

And they pleasantly chatted as they carried the surviving Harding sisters to the Roswell to be healed.

-------
Northeastern Coast of Teven, Antar

Alex finished phasing all of the unnecessary equipment away. Isabel was amazed at how he was able to dematerialize so much of his stuff for future use.

But happy. That tent had gotten a work out. And would again.

They were headed deeper into Teven. In hopes of contacting a certain Tess Harding. Apparently the Hardings controlled the Water Key to the Granolith.

Isabel already had the first key.

It took a bit of work to get the plane off the air, but it was fun. Somehow, Alex knew he would need this calm that he had gained over the last day. Because a lot of what was going on this planet was horrific.

And if he was going to be trapped her for a while, he wanted to make sure that he could carve out a little safety for himself and Isabel. To raise kids if she were amenable.

Alex activated the beacon. His friends would surely find him soon.

He was confident in their ability to survive. No, Liz and Maria were almost certainly alive. And likely would catch up with him soon.

Alex was even optimistic about the survival of the Roswell. It would likely take decades for it to self repair. But that would be fine.

As long as Isabel would have him, Alex wasn’t going anywhere.

-------
Outside the Royal Encampment, Whiteridge Mountains, Avidar, Antar

Michael was cautiously watching Liz, who was watching the encampment.

Surely she didn’t think she could eliminate all of them too? Besides they were Max’s countrymen and doubtless had his best interests at heart. His countrymen as well.

He knew they didn’t have his best interests at heart, but then he was not a royal. He was just another weapon in the King’s arsenal. A tool, and one the King could gloat over.

Michael fought again against the bitterness and hatred that welled up inside of him. Deeper now. Much deeper.

Because it would cost him Maria. He had thought he couldn’t hate them any deeper because of his loss of Isabel. But in retrospect, they had drifted apart during his years on the Front.

Also done by the King’s order. Most students were given deferment of service. Not him. The King probably had ordered him and his unit into some of the ridiculous suicidal attacks just to get him killed.

He could feel his teeth beginning to grind.

He looked up and felt a gun against his temple. “Hello Michael. I was wondering where you were. Why don’t we sit down and talk. And you can tell me who these people are, and why they are hurting Max.”

Liz. He had turned his eyes away from just a second and she was there. So fast.

“How long have you known that I was here.”

“Not nearly long enough. Did you follow me from the bandit camp?”

“I was looking for Max. I was going to free you I promise.”

“No need to lie. Let’s go back a little further in the woods and you can tell me all about it.”

Michael looked up at the cool Soulless eyes of Liz and agreed. Liz would likely have killed him otherwise. Michael didn’t even try to resist. He had seen her at the bandit camp. It would likely avail him little. No better to talk.

And they went off to discuss their next course of action. One that hopefully wouldn’t end with a bullet in his brain.

PML
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Re: A Teardrop of Fire (AU/CC ALL, Mature) Chapter 16 - 11/24/09

Post by PML » Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:48 pm

Thanks again for following along this story.

chanks_girl- Thanks again. Nicholas is a specialist in information gathering and subversion. King Philip was grief striken and an easy target for Nicholas. Remember that the people of Teven specialize in mind control.

BlueStar8- Nicholas is the go to guy for the enemy in terms of subversion. Edward Harding had not always been the evil man that Tess was forced to kill.

mary mary- Thanks.

Disclaimer- The characters of Roswell are not mine and no infringement is intended.

Teardrop of Fire Chapter 17

Royal Encampment, Whiteridge Mountains, Avidar, Antar

Max hurt. He hurt very badly. He was loath to use his talents of self repair while they were working on him. At least not directly.

There were some nasty things they could do to him. Possibly crippling his abilities. But while he could not imagine that there was any way he was getting out of this, a tiny spark of hope had grown as the day wore on.

Liz was near. And while he could still feel there was something wrong with her, he could also feel a cold rage burning within.

She was coming for him. How he knew, he wasn’t sure. But he knew.

Nicholas walked into the tent. He waved the other guards out except two. They were Protectors. There should be limits to what an outlander could do to him with them nearby.

Even if he was considered a traitor, he was still royal. And they had the protection of all the royal line. Except at the order of the King. So maybe he shouldn’t be too comfortable.

Nicholas pulled up a chair next to the one Max was bound to. “Well Max, here we meet again. Oh, maybe you don’t remember me. I was at the Harding Court. I was there when Tess killed her own father. Oh, how that caused ruffles in our plans! Did you know you brave little bride-to-be had so much steel? I certainly didn’t. It didn’t save her, of course. It actually helped the entire cause in its own way. Pushed back the fall of Teven to around when the general revolt was planned.

“Oh, yes Max. I work for Khivar. Make no mistake about that. We are going to replace this corrupt system with a better more egalitarian system…..” Nicholas paused and looked at Max.

Max just stared back at the annoy little man. He did remember him. Tess complained how rotten he and his sister had been. How corrupt, possibly even evil. The sister certainly had been. She had been exiled under threat of death for her participation in some cult. The last time he had seen her, Tess had been bitter about the fact that her father had not sent her to death.

Nicholas studied his face. “Well, I see there is no need to lie to you. We plan on improving the world by putting us on top of it. And riding it into submission. Just like I did Tess. Oh yes, she writhed and moaned underneath me before my sister set her on a pike in the Harding Courtyard. She finally had something from a real man. Not some over puffed noble. It’s too bad you won’t live to see it, but my sister plans on stuffing her corpse and placing it in her foyer. Quite the little object lesson don’t you think. Of course, we can’t impale you here. Pity. They call it barbaric.”

“Go away you pathetic piece of filth.”

“Oh, it talks! Fascinating I am sure. You don’t really understand what is going on here do you? I can’t impale you, but there are crimes on your Avidaran books that will allow me to burn you to death. I trust me I will make you confess to the deepest darkest heresy. Your father already believes, and if this were Teven, that in of itself would be enough. But he needs proof. And I will get him his proof. I will enter your mind and crack it like a nut. Not subtle perhaps, but good enough. And along the way, I will read your every thought. Khivar thinks you may know the location of the Fire Key. Not too mention the Earth Key. And then he will be able to control the Granolith. HE will be as powerful as the gods themselves. And he will shower his loyal……”

Nicholas never finished his statement. Kind of hard to talk when your head has exploded.
---------
Liz was using smart bullets. The explosive would detonate right after entering the wound. Most shots were fatal. No need for a head shot.

But he had been threatening her mate. And while she could not feel or understand love or many of the softer emotions, she had already made her decision that he had the genetic material her progeny would be partly made of. It would increase the odds of their survival.

Besides the sex had been great.

No. Max was hers.

The other two guards attacked her, but were not able to pierce her armor. And as they had yet to rediscover Munroe Effect to make shaped charged warheads, only the strongest artillery pieces could have penetrated the high tech armor.

Their pistols had no effect. And they died.

They did however make noise. Not much, not considering that the room Max was in was highly sound proofed. Torture was frowned upon in Avidar. So such ‘questioning’ typically took place out of the eye and ear of the public.

But the door had not been closed. Liz ran a couple of quick calculations. Small increase risk of discovery.

Her own guns were Gauss weapons, using magnetic energy to propel the bullet. And she had set the weapon velocity to below the speed of sound. So her weapon, and the weapon she had made Michael were actually quite quiet.

She walked over to a stunned Max and cut his bonds.

He looked up at her in wonder. “Liz.”

“Hello, Max.” Liz said. “Are you capable of movement?”

“I’m a little banged up I’m afraid. Just give me a moment.”

“Time is wasting.” Liz watched as Max raised his hands and placed them over his wounds. And they were gone. She casually flicked her sensor bar into the infrared. The effect should show a spike of heat in the affected areas.

There wasn’t.

Fascinating.

A new area of study to be explored.

Max looked up at her with a strange expression. One that she remembered and recognized. It used to make her feel something. Something significant.

She felt nothing.

Max cupped her head and looked deeply at her eyes, shielded as they were by the helmet. “Oh, Liz. Please, please, gods, no. Not her.”

“We need to go.”

“Please open your helmet for just a moment.”

Liz ran a quick analysis tree. Why would he want to see her eyes.

What had Michael called her? Soulless. Did that mean something? Was it related to her rapidly growing certainty that she was suffering some sort of brain trauma?

“Very well, we must hurry however. I do expect you to make this worth my time. I estimate a high probability that we will have access to the Roswell living quarters.”

“Sure, honey. Your helmet.”

She raised the visor.

“Oh, Liz. Why? Why did they have to do this to you?”

“Michael had the same reaction.”

“Michael is here?”

“He is gathering intelligence as to the reasons of your capture and subsequent torture.”

“He is a Protector, Liz. All it would take is one command by my father and he would…..”

“It is standard Drathi conditioning. I have dealt with this before. While genetic scans indicate that you are not entirely Drathi, there is a substantial chance that you and all of your family are descendants of Drathan colonists. I have given him a drug that should counteract some of its effects, but in the end it is only by conquering the compulsion that you gain free of it. There was enough of a chance of success that I deemed it wise. The only other choice would be to eliminate him altogether. There is a near certain chance that will cause Maria some level of distress, potentially leading to future conflicts and a reduction in my and the entire crew of the Roswell’s chance for survival. And the inevitable children that I will bear. His betrayal and potential death thereafter would have slightly less chance of causing said conflicts and reduction of survival possibilities.”

Max just stared at her.

“We should go.” Liz lowered her visor.
-------

Michael slipped quietly through the camp, disguised as one of the other Protectors. Michael could use his new abilities to hide what he was, but it was possible for them to detect that he was a Protector. And wonder why he was hiding.

Better for them to treat him like a Protector from the outset.

Michael’s goal was simply for information. Somehow he doubted that Liz trusted him fully to cover her back. Soulless as she was now she was intensely frightening.

Did Maria have some of those same implants that Liz did? Could she be driven to do what Liz could? Liz had casually remarked that Maria was even more synthetic than she herself was.

Partially synthetic people. Liz upon hearing what had happened to him merely gave him advice. And a shot of a powerful drug that she said would dampen, though not cancel the mind control affects of the conditioning he had been placed under.

She had been fascinated that he could shift forms and had asked if she could study him. She was content when he said that he would have to ask Maria.

A tiny seed was growing inside of him. Hope. Hope that his life was not truly over and that he was indeed more than just a tool.

He saw Zan lounging around, reading reports.

It was funny how much the older man looked just like Max. They could almost be doubles.

Zan looked up, “Ah, yes, just what I was looking for. If you will escort me, I need to check on my brother.”

Michael had no choice but to comply.

The reached the building right at the same time Max and Liz were escaping it. Liz leveled her gun at Zan, and would have fired, except that Max lowered her arm.

Zan stared at Max. “I didn’t believe that you were a traitor, so why are you trying to escape?”

“They weren’t questioning me, Zan. They were torturing me. Looking for a confession. And more. I know the location of the Granolith and with it we can stop Khivar.”

“The Granolith? That is a legend!”

Michael still pondered what the correct thing to do was. There was a large part of him that wanted to constrain Max. Because he had been constrained under royal orders. But they had been torturing him.

It didn’t matter. He needed to obey!

It was all he could do to stay his actions. Actions that he knew would undoubtedly lead to his death. Although, he did not know how effective Liz’s armor would be against a short range power blast. It was just possible that he could get her before she got him.

Outside of his military grade power blasts, she was effectively invulnerable here. The pistols would have little effect. In fact the futuristic pistol she had given him likely would have little effect on her.

This new Liz was cold and calculating. As she was about to prove.

Liz looked up at Max, “Max does your brother have a serious heart condition or other severe medical condition?”

“Not that I’m aware of.”

Liz raised her other arm. It flashed a light red light that refracted in the dust spit up by the camp. And then CRACK. A miniature lightning bolt flashed from her left hand. “As interesting as your conversation with your brother was, we need to go.”

Maybe Liz’s armor would be protected against blasts.

Max moved over to his fallen brother. “He is still breathing.”

“Max, we need to go. You can take him with you.” A cold smile slipped on here lips. “Maria is on her way. We only need to find a clearing for her to land. I doubt you want her to make one here.”

Michael nodded. Form the capabilities of the weapons he had seen, they likely could just blast an area out.

Still he stood there, uncertain what to do. His conditioning screamed that Liz had to be killed. That she was a danger to all of Avidar.

That was likely true. His dying would not change that. But maybe if he talked with Maria….. Maybe there was something she could do. Some way she could make Liz safer.

“Enemies in the camp! They have freed the prisoner.”

Alarms began to ring.

Liz turned to him, her gun carefully pointing down. He might just be able to get off the first shot. Just a flick of the wrist. He began to build up power potential.

She smiled that cold smile of hers, “Now is your opportunity. Your choice. If you go with us, you will see Maria again. The first step on the road to being a free man. Or you can stay and serve a man who hurt and betrayed you. Who took all that you gave for his nation, took all of your dreams and stole them.

“Your choice.

Michael closed his eyes and made his decision.

In the end, he really didn’t have a choice.

PML
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Re: A Teardrop of Fire (AU/CC ALL, Mature) Chapter 17 - 11/25/09

Post by PML » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:09 am

Sorry guys, this part is a little short. But so is my time and so I had to post something. It is setting up the next part, where Liz and company rejoin our friends. And decisions of what needs to be done are made. Thanks again to everyone.

And to my fellow Americans, Happy Thanksgiving! (Hey, I wish all the rest of you well too. I just don't know the date of your local harvest/ thanksgiving celebration.)

begonia9508- Thanks

keepsmiling7- Thanks. Michael's choice will be in the next part. Nicholas was really good at ruining rulers. The man was evil.

BlueStar8- Thanks. Yes, the Roswell can help. But it will be limited. Liz (and Mara) will need help from various others to find a way to fix what is wrong with them. As for Michael's conditioning, that is something they have dealt with. It can be supressed, but in the end it is the person's choice on whether to fight the conditioning that is key to breaking it.

Disclaimer- The characters of Roswell are not mine and no infringement is intended.

Teardrop of Fire Chapter 18

Somewhere in Northern Teven, near Harding Castle

Alex looked down and saw the slow burgeoning industrial age that was below him. Horse and buggy stood next to the rail lines that seemed to be the arteries of Teven.

Isabel said that Teven was a backwater compared to the other nations. But that it was catching up.

Or had been.

They had seen other things too. Horrific things. Whole villages slaughtered. Some impaled.

Definitely did not want to land in those areas.

It would be nice when their link finally gained enough strength to share thoughts. It was so hard to talk while the plane was flying. The primitive aircraft wasn’t even enclosed, so the wind wiping past added to the sound of the propeller. You could yell, but soft reasoned discussion was very much non evident.

Still it gave him time to think. And he had decided. No matter what happened, Alex was not leaving Antar. He would stay with Isabel, and together they would try to make it a better world.

He would still help his friends. Help them leave if they wanted to. But he was deeply in love. The only way he would leave is if Isabel did. And she was much to involved.

But he should get in contact with them. He had already surreptitiously checked to see if the Roswell was online or if it had been completely destroyed.

It was online. He hadn’t actually made any requests or contacted it at all. Maria and Liz would be watching those access points like a hawk. And Alex had just wanted some alone time with Isabel, before he deluged her in all the off world craziness that was part of his life.

Alex sighed and made the plunge. He accessed his priority only data nodes. The ship would flag his probable location based on the signal strength as well as a variety of other factors.

It could also transmit low level data traffic. Voice or video were too sophisticated, but it could send a text based message. He sent a message that he was alive. And that he would wait and check for messages periodically.

They landed and Alex synthesized some more fuel for the plane, while Isabel conducted maintenance.

He was pouring the fuel into the tank, watching as Isabel inspected the various ropes and gears. “I contacted them.”

“About time. You were worried about them.”

“Aren’t you afraid?”

“About what?”

“I don’t know. You know this is going to make you shift how you see the world. There are marvels and wonders that you have never seen. And…..”

“Your afraid that I won’t mess well with Liz or Maria.”

“They can be fairly intimidating. Well, Maria can. Liz just can be a little aloof.”

“So can I. Seriously, I’ve seen them in the flashes during our love making. I will get along with them fine. Even Liz.”

“Huh.”

“What?”

“I thought you’d have more of a conflict with Maria.”

“You never slept with Maria. You didn’t carry a torch for Maria through your adolescence. I don’t want to fight against her, she has known you so much longer that I have and…..”

“Isabel, you have nothing to fear.”

“I’ve made some bad choices, Alex. Let one lover get lead off to get killed. Let another rule me until it was almost too late. I still see Tish hanging on that lamp post. That could have been me.”

“But it wasn’t. It wasn’t Isabel. And we will defeat Khivar. Your family holds the Earth Key, Tess’s the Water Key. You hold Air. All we need to do is…. Well, I’m not sure. Where is the Fire Key kept.”

“Berava was not always a power. It was just a province of Maridar. Berava slowly grew in prominence and power until the crushed Maridar under their militaristic boot heels. The royal family of Maridar was in possession of the Key. So we‘ll have to search there.”

“Okay.”

“You’re going to help me?”

“Isabel, you’re going to have to pry me away from you with a crowbar. Of course, I’m going to help you. My friends probably will too. They hate injustice as much as you or I do.”

“So when will they contact you?”

“Soon. It will be soon.”

Soon happened an hour into their next portion of their flight just as they were nearing Harding Castle. Alex could all but hear Maria’s squeal at his survival.

But when she found out where he was, how close to the ruins of Harding Castle….. She made him stay in the air until she could get the Crashdown nearby.

-------
Roswell Crash site, Northern Teven Mountains, Antar

Isabel tried to hold in her shock at it all. She’d once thought herself on the cutting edge, highly advanced and well educated.

All of this came as quite a shock.

Oh, sure she had seen so much during her flashes from Alex. But still…. To see it in the flesh, to know that it was not a dream or imagining.

The Crashdown itself was over a hundred feet long. The Roswell could be measured in miles. Not many miles, but the sheer thought of something so huge actually flying…..

A sudden vision of herself in the pilot seat. Of flying not just through the skies of Antar, but through interstellar space itself. A sudden hunger arose in her.

Antar would always be her home. And her home needed to be put into some semblance of order. But she wanted it. Wanted it all.

She gripped Alex’s hands tightly. This was all so wonderful. It was all she could do to keep from skipping.

And Max and Michael were alive. She jotted out a brief note for Maria to hand to Max. That should persuade him to come with Maria and Liz.

She would need to talk with Michael in person. She owed him that much.

Isabel walked into the Medical Bay, still awed by all the wonders. And hugged Ava.

Tess, her old friend was floating in a capsule of liquid, something stuck in her various orifices. To provide air, water, and food. And take away the wastes.

Alex squeezed her hand, and gave her a kiss. He had work to do.

They were due to pick up Liz in couple of hours. Her message read that she had some task she had to accomplish first. But to be nearby when she was close to finishing it.

And so they would be. But for now Isabel spent a little quiet time with Ava. And listened in growing horror at her tale of how Teven had fallen.

Isabel should have killed Whittaker when she had the chance. Tess had warned her. Her family had warned her.

Too late now. But there would be other opportunities.

And Isabel would take them.

Whittaker and Khivar.

PML
Obsessed Roswellian
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Re: A Teardrop of Fire (AU/CC ALL, Mature) Chapter 18 - 11/26/09

Post by PML » Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:59 pm

Thanks again to everyone following this story.

Begonia9508- thanks.

chanks_girl- Thanks. Liz will be a shock to her friends.

BlueStar8- Isn't that the way it always seems to go. Particularly when you add they both think that attitude will be what the other wants.

Please note that Maria has no clue what she holds. And how that key got there is an interesting story. It'll be a while before it gets told unfortunately.

Disclaimer- Roswell is not mine and no infringement is intended.

Teardrop of Fire Chapter 19

Near the Royal Encampment in the Whiteridge Mountains, Avidar, Antar

Liz had been gratified that Michael had chosen to accompany them. He had many useful talents that she would like to study. Plus his presence would have a pleasant effect on Maria. Maria had always liked a challenge, and Michael was sure to be one.

It would be interesting to watch.

Still at the moment she was holing up in a nice defensive position. Michael was useless, unable to attack his former comrades. Max was willing, but needed to keep his shield up to protect the others.

That was okay. Liz was fine killing off anyone stupid enough to approach them.

Still if they came in large enough numbers, or with enough heavy firepower, they could overwhelm her.

Not for the first time, Liz regretted not carrying anything heavier that the two Gauss pistols. A chain gun like Maria’s or a plasma cannon like Kyle. And she simply had neither time nor material to make them.

Pity.

“Maria, come in. How much longer are you going to be?”

“This is the Crashdown Café, now serving northeastern Avidar with fire and destruction. I, Maria will be you server. Is there something you would like to order?”

“Very funny. Just get us out of here. “

Max heard her talking. “Is that them? I can’t here anything.”

Liz looked at him, a cold smirk flashing across her face. “Trust me Max, you will.”

Max looked at her, at her deadly pistols. Like Michael he could do the math. If one fairly peaceful explorer was toting armor piercing explosive handguns…. What would their flying craft carry? Particularly one that said no longer peaceful explorer lovingly considered the just deserts of those trying to kill them.

“Can you, can you try to limit the number of casualties? Try to have your ship kill too many of these people. Even if they are out to get us, they are still my people.”

Liz just stared at him for a moment. She nodded slowly. “Yes.” She called back to the Crashdown. “Max is asking to keep the casualties down when you get us. Is that possible?”

Maria seemed perky on the other end of the line. “One riot control special coming up…” There was silence for a moment. “Is Michael there?”

“He is.”

“Be right there.”

Max watched intently to the faint expressions on Liz’s face. He was starting to be able to read her emotions. They were there. Just faint, almost echoes of who and what she had been. She had asked. And they must have said yes.

Max turned to Michael, who was still holding Zan across his shoulders, “They’re almost here.”

Michael just looked at him in askance. He then stiffened. “What is that?”

“What is what?” Max started to hear a loud thrumming noise. A large object raced across the sky, flying over the field that surrounded their hiding place.

Tiny little teardrops seemed to fall from it.

-------
Michael could remember the front. The constant artillery as each side tried to pound the other to dust. By the time he had gotten there, both sides had given up many of the fruitless suicidal maneuvers, if only because neither side could afford the loses.

There had even been talk that someday, aircraft might be sturdy enough to loft bombs larger than mere hand grenades……

There was a sound that the shells made as the fell from the sky.

Sort of like what he heard now.

He was halfway to the ground when he called out, “DOWN.” He used his body to protect Zan from the blast of those tiny shells.

---------
The valley filled with an intense light and unbelievably intense noise. Noise from which they were partially protected from by Max’s shield. But which the enemy was not.

This completely shook the Avidarans. But it was Maria that broke them.

Everything they had seen was possible, if more advanced than anything they had seen. And Antarans in general, Avidarans in particular, were familiar with the Ancient equipment that was scattered around all of Antar. They knew that they were remarkably primitive compared to what their ancestors were. That advancement was possible.

Even a craft capable of dropping bombs was not totally far fetched. As Michael had noted, they had been rumored for years. That the craft was as large as it was, that it had no real wing structure. Well, they were distracted by the flash bang munitions the Crashdown had dropped.

But Maria lingered. A lone woman FLOATING over the battlefield. Firing a pair of rotary cannon that seemed to fell anyone she aimed them at.

True Maria wasn’t trying to kill anyone, and the ammunition would in fact only kill a few, the truth is being hit by several dozen bean bags flying at high speed will you to collapse.

And she was bullet proof. Of course, Liz was too. But Liz was hidden. They couldn’t see the fact that none of the bullets that hit her bounced off. Maria just took every shot that was aimed at her. Usually shooting back with unerring skill.

She was like a machine.

In fact, there were rumors of valleys that still contained Ancient war weapons, autonomic weapons that defended Ancient unused institutions, killing any who trespassed.

Maria seemed much too close to that description. Much too close.

They broke and ran.

---------
Alex looked down on the chaos of the battlefield below him, already calculating where to land. “Show off.”

Isabel sat next to him, hungrily looking at all the controls. To control this much power….. She wanted it. Not so much to blast her enemies, although that would not be a bad thing.

No she wanted to explore, to examine the far distant continents. To see things she had only read of in books. The speed this thing had…..

It was even capable of traveling faster than sound!

Alex leaned over and gave her a quick distracted kiss. “Enjoying yourself?”

“When can I learn to fly this ship?”

Alex looked over at her. “I will need to talk to Kyle. It would take years normally, but maybe if we do implant education…. That will speed things up. Still need to work on your reflexes and muscle memory. It would be a start. But….”

“But what?”

“We would have to cut your skull open and emplace your implants. And trust me it will take a little while for you to regain your balance. It won’t be easy, Isabel. I’m not going to lie to you.”

Isabel watched Alex with envy as he did several things all at the same time.

She wanted it all. Did he think that her learning at Caredon had been easy? That pushing her powers and abilities to the limit of human knowledge had been a piece of cake?

Isabel knew herself as strong and capable. Perhaps a trifle foolish at times. A bit too quick to trust.

A brief wind of uncertainty whistled along her soul.

Could she be wrong again? Could Alex be another Khivar in disguise?

Isabel’s smile broadened. No. Impossible. Khivar had never let her in. Never truly let her see the real man. Alex didn’t try to hide, he practically threw his mind and soul at her.

She had known him for only a bit more than a single day, and she likely knew him better than any other man she had ever known. And that included her brothers and Michael. Compared to him, she had never known Khivar.

Not really.

Alex would never betray her. Never.

She watched as Alex deftly moved the Crashdown over the site and landed. She hugged her brother as he walked into the ship, his eyes wide with surprise.

Isabel smiled. She remembered that look. She’d worn it herself not too long ago. She hugged her brother and held her close.

She let go as she felt the hackles along the back of her neck go up. She felt a sense of cold malevolence aimed in her direction. Cold and ruthless and lethal. She backed away from Max.

Max’s face flashed with both pride and sorrow, “Isabel, this is Liz. My wife. Liz, this is my older sister Isabel.”

Isabel gasped as she took the petite brunette’s hand. The sense of imminent death had faded, but a paradox remained.

Liz was simultaneously Soulless and bonded to Max. Which was by definition impossible as those bonds flowed through the soul. But one look in her eyes, and Isabel knew.

Liz WAS Soulless. There was no doubting that cold icy look. There was something about them that radiated death.

Isabel’s heart went out to her brother. “How?”

“She was captured and, and.”

“This needs to be investigated. I am unaware of the condition that both Michael and Max assume that I am in, but I am aware of some reduction in my ability to feel empathy. My cortical nodes note that it was not always so. Obviously I have suffered some brain trauma at the hands of those women..”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be. They are dead.” Liz looked up at Isabel. “You are the one Alex was looking for. Good. That will likely increase his long term potential capability. Even at the temporary cost of efficiency due to lack of sleep.” Liz then walked past her and into the cockpit.

Isabel looked at her brother. “Max….”

“I am not giving her up. I love her Isabel.”

“She can not ever truly love you again, Max. She is Soulless.”

“I will find a way to fix her, Is. I will.”

“It can’t be healed.”

“I will find a way.”

Isabel nodded. Her brother was almost as strong willed as she was. There was no point in fighting over this right now. It would be years before he gave up. If he ever did.

-------
Michael stared at the ship. It was huge, easily over a hundred feet in length.

Somehow it looked even bigger than it had when he had seen it first.

He hefted the still unconscious Zan to his shoulder and began to walk towards it. He heard a loud thump behind him.

It was Maria. She was staring at him, wondering.

He turned around and looked at her. She was wearing bulky armor, but her helmet had a clear face now. The shape changing even as he watched until there was nothing covering her head.

“You came.”

“I still don’t think we will work. But Liz convinced me I should try…. Should at least hold on to as much of me for as long as I can.”

“I won’t let you fade away, Michael. Even if we don’t work out, if we can not be anything more than friends…. I won’t let you become a thing.”

“Anymore than you have let yourself become one.”

“Liz told you about my implants?”

“More. Of course, you had already told me so much, Liz just filled in some details. We share more than I thought.”

“And hopefully even more.” Maria laughed. It was a clear pure sound.

Something for Michael to cherish. “Come on, we need to decide what we’re going to do.”

Maria nodded and they moved towards the Crashdown.

-------
Roswell, Northern Teven Mountains, Antar

Tess was having a pleasant dream. A dream without pain. Without the constriction of movement that impalement placed on the body.

She tried to keep her body still, to still the free feeling movements, to stop the swaying over her torso. Who knows how much pain and damage that would cause.

And she remembered him.

Why had he come to her so late. After she had given up.

She just wished they could have talked. Could have been together at least for a little while. Because her heart had leapt out at him. And she had known that he was the one for her.

But he was too late. She was already dead.

She opened her eyes. She was floating in some tank. And there were wires attached to her. Things sticking into her.

She tried to scream but something completely covered her mouth and nose. No sound came out.

She was trapped!

Her eyes whipped around the pod, looking out beyond it. And there on a bench was Ava playing chess with Mara.

How had Ava been such a fool to trust someone who was Soulless?

They both must be dead, and this must be some refined torture in some hellish plane of existence….

And then the door opened and he came in. Their eyes met and Tess calmed down. For there was one thing that she read in those eyes that soothed her fears.

Love, yes that was part of it. Neither of them truly knew the other, so at this part it had to be mainly infatuation mixed with lust. But the potential certainly lurked there.

No, what calmed her was the sense of hope she read in his eyes. The sense of countless days that lead ahead of them, allowing them to learn if they could truly love one another.

And Tess knew then that she wasn’t dead. She was alive. Hurt, maybe, possibly badly. But alive.

She had time again. Time and hope.

Locked