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.

Moderators: Anniepoo98, Rowedog, ISLANDGIRL5, Itzstacie, truelovepooh, FSU/MSW-94, Hunter, Island Breeze, Forum Moderators

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 19 - 11/29/09

Post by PML » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:31 pm

And so the crazy month of November rolls to an end. As does this story. The goal I had set out on, the crazy goal of everyone of us striving to tap out a novel in the course of a month is fifty thousand words. And despite a last minute holiday, work being nuts, visiting relatives and a last minute bout of the flu.... I have done it. With an awe inspiring fifteen minutes to spare.

So, okay on the word count I am fine, but what about the story! And the truth is, this story is not fully completed. So, how do I justify making myself successful at meeting the crazed goal and yet not leaving the story ending badly. (Which might still happen, but having Liz vaporize all of Ekedar to kill Khivar on the last page just didn't seem to solve all the problems.)

Simple. Sequal. This story is the first in a series of stories set on Antar. Whether I will finish it up in the next story or if it will become a trilogy or more, well that remains to be seen. There will be changes, I fear.

One is that I simply will not be updating this story as fast. It is just not possible, particularly when you consider I have other stories that are all but begging to be updated. The other is simply my desire to actually do more non story related things, to not feel the sense of pressure to churn out another 2k words.

But I do like to write. And hopefully at least some of you will stick with this story, and possibly the others that I will joting down on this site. (And who knows, maybe even someday on real paper.) So I will continue this story, but it will not be Teardrop, but rather a different title for the sequal. I'll think of something. Probably in a week or two. After I've at least gotten one update for my other stories out. I think they deserve that at the very least.

Thank you all for following along.

Begonia9508 Thank you.

BlueStar8- Liz is quite capable of showing and feeling emotions. She just doesn't have any true sense of empathy. Her implants allow her to mimic it to some degree. Particularly when they show how effective it trul is. Emotions exist for a reason. So hers are highly calculated, but they feed the remnants of her other emotions. It is why she makes a certain choice later on in this part.

And it is much more complicated than a simplelobotomy. That could be easily fixed.

There are reasons for her believing and needing to believe that it is permanent

Thank you.

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

Teardrop of Fire Chapter 20

On board the Roswell, Roswell Crash site, Northern Teven Mountains

Max lay in Liz’s bed, holding her close. He lifted his head slightly to look at her face. So peaceful now that she was asleep.

But even now something was missing. Part of Liz had been cut away. She was Soulless.

He was beginning to think that he knew nothing about the condition. He had thought it had made the afflicted emotionless machines. But he Liz even now had emotions. They ran cold, and calculating, but they were still there.

And the bond they had sworn to, sworn to and sealed. It was still there. A bonding of two souls, two spirits. How if she was truly without a soul, could he still be bound to her?

He ached to heal her. But one major change that had come was the need for caution. This new Liz was very dangerous. Potentially to anyone.

Possibly even to him.

And as much as she could still love, she loved him.

Max closed his eyes. Liz’s return amongst her friends had been a sad affair. These people had been her friends, her close companions. And yet she had been icy and all business with them.

She knew that it hurt them. Maria had walked off in tears. Max had been gratified that Michael had gone to her then. Had comforted her.

Liz’s breathing changed and she stiffened in his arms.

She was awake. Her empty eyes looked deep into his. He could almost feel the cold wheels of her thoughts moving.

“I am damaged. I do not truly understand what has been done to me, but I do recognize that face. I will seek to remedy this new lack of mine. For myself and for our future children.”

“Liz…..”

“I know that you felt a lack in my performance last night. A lack of passion.”

“No Liz, I….”

Liz place a finger on his lips. “I can effortlessly recall our first time Max. I can recall the rush of emotion, even if it seems… hollow to me now. I remember it. You likely felt some of that last night, even as I am. But I doubt I was able to reciprocate properly. Nor as long as I am afflicted will I truly be able to do so. I may be able to emulate it to some degree. Perhaps that will suffice for now.”

“Liz, you can’t just pretend that you feel. I know a little about the Soulless, although Tess undoubtedly knows more. She studied them. But even I know that they still have some emotions. There is no need to simply pretend, just show me what you feel. That will be enough. And then one day I will heal you. We will over come this.”

“You wish to heal me now? To use your gifts to probe my body and mind. Very well, you may try. But be careful of the implants. Some are quite delicate, and would be difficult to replace here on Antar.”

Max licked his lips and began. He formed the beginnings of a connection, founded on the link they even now shared.

And nothing. He could not enter her mind or body. It was like she was shielded somehow.

“I will need to talk to Tess.”

Liz looked at him. “Perhaps some of my defensive implants are also at work. The Drathi are quite capable at infiltration and subverting the open mind. While defensive techniques are taught, so to are defensive apparatus also placed near the various psionic entry points. Sometime later, when the Med Bay is ready, I will deactivate some. And we can study. You can study my injury, and I will study you.”

Max looked at her. “A fair deal. I love you Liz.”

Liz just looked at him. “And I value you. I know that at one point it was love…. And I want that feeling back.”

---------

Michael stood in a chamber unmoving. He could feel eldritch energies flowing about him. And through him.

Maria stood at the console that scanned his body. Searching for what had been done. Not so as to change it, but to understand.

Maria had lost her best friend. Liz was for all intents and purposes gone. Oh, her body was still there, but the woman she had known, had spent hours talking to…. She was gone. Not dead perhaps. But gone.

She hoped that she might one day regain her friend. That Liz, even the current cold and ruthless woman that had replaced her warm caring friend, would use her profound intellect and find a way to regain herself.

Soulless. To be without a soul…..

No it was too horrible to consider.

Maria had talked to Ava’s younger sister, Mara, another of the Soulless and found her strange. Almost alien in her regard to life. Maria had dealt with cold and psychopathic individuals before. But never one quite like Mara. It truly was like she was missing some elemental to the human condition.

Truly missing her soul.

But while Isabel and Michael seemed to place Liz in that same category, Maria couldn’t. Liz seemed like she was missing something. But she was not emotionless. She was simply very, very cold. Calculating.

What could make for such a difference?

Maria shook her head and looked again at the scans. Michael was right. Most of his body was synthetic. But it wasn’t any more severe than what she had seen in the Service.

According to Republican Law, Michael would be considered an Android. Would not be considered fully human and would lack certain rights. Mostly restrictions to allow constant monitoring.

The Republic had actually run into a couple of rogue systems populated by Androids, and they had been adamant about the destruction of mainline humanity. Naturally the Republic was more than a little concerned about other strange Androids.

But despite that, he would be considered human enough to be a human variant. To actually have rights.

Robots did not have rights in the Republic. Not unless they were fully autonomous. And proving that was almost impossible. Many mainline humans would fail that test.

Maria had actually found a man that she liked who had a higher synth percentage than she had.

Too bad she didn’t understand what many of the implants and changes did. Nor did the Roswell.

Shape shifting had never exactly been a goal of Republican scientists. Maria paused. Maybe she should talk to Alex about that. Maybe IACOM had done something along the lines of what had been done to Michael.

“So are you done?”

“You can get out now.”

“And?”

“I don’t know. It’ll take more study. I’ve never seen anything like it before. But maybe Alex or possibly Liz…..”

Michael shivered. “That woman scares me.”

“Me too. And she is my best friend.”

“She is Soulless, Maria. She has no friends.”

“But what does that mean? I mean, can you truly remove someone’s soul? I mean would they still be alive afterwards. No they did something to her, and if it can be fixed, we will fix it.”

“We?”

“The crew of the Roswell. I am sure Max will help. Will you?”

“How exactly do you expect me to help? I’m a stone age primitive compared to you people!”

Maria smiled. “Primitive, maybe. But not stupid. You can learn. More you won’t have our preconceptions any more than we will have yours. You might be surprised. And there is one thing that you can do no matter what.” She walked over and held him.

“What?”

“Love me.”

Michael kissed her and carried her off to her bedroom. Maybe sex wasn’t the only thing she wanted. But he would love her as long as he was able to. Until he forgot what it was like to actually be human.

And maybe, with her he would not forget.

-------
Tess sat quietly in a large well appointed chamber. These people knew a level of luxury that any Royal line on Antar would kill for. And yet it was not richly appointed.

A strange contrast.

Then again, they were truly professionals. Artisans of a sort. Not truly noble or noteworthy.

There had been a time when that would have mattered to her. Not anymore.

The old Tess Harding had well and truly died back there on a pike in Teven. The new one…. She wasn’t sure exactly what she was or what she wanted. Only that the old drives and needs were different now.

Max was here. She had seen him once or twice. But she was no longer interested in him.

Kyle. She was interested in Kyle. The captain of this vessel, but a commoner.

Very well, so be it. The old order was gone and broken; and she needed to find her place in the new order.

Ava walked into her room and looked at her.

Tess was grateful to Kyle for more than her own life. He had managed to save her twin sister as well. And Mara.

Mara quietly followed Ava. She had taken to following her elder sister everywhere. Her curious but blank stare drinking everything in.

She made Tess want to hug herself. Soulless. Mara was still Soulless. And while Kyle had promised to help her as much as he could….. Tess could tell they had never run into anything like it before.

Worse one of their compatriots had fallen under its dark spell. And they let her run around free and powerful. Still acknowledging her as one of them. The one in fact most likely to find a cure for the blight.

As if there was a cure.

Ava spoke, “Hey. Are you okay? It is good to see you up and about.”

“Why did you come to me? Why didn’t you obey and do as you said and flee?”

“I couldn’t. Maybe you didn’t know, but the Skins were already active in the City by then. And they were looking for something. Possibly someone. I’m not sure. Just that it wasn’t safe.”

“But why did you follow Mara? She’s, she’s Soulless! You know they can not be trusted.”

“She is still our sister. She’s still in there somewhere.”

Tess looked in revulsion at Mara.

Mara looked at her quizzically. And reached into a pocket and produced a small gem. She held it to her head. And tears began to flow.

Her eyes changed back into something similar to what they had been before that horrible morning when everything had gone so very wrong. And tears began to stream down Mara’s face.

Mara rushed over to Tess and held her. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry!” And completely broke down sobbing in Tess’s arms.

Tess just stood there and comforted her younger sister. She looked up in askance at Ava. And Ava merely shook her head.

This wasn’t possible. These emotions, this level of empathy….. It simply could not come from someone who was Soulless.

Kyle had said that it had been Mara who had led him to save Ava and Tess.

Maybe she could save her little sister after all.

Ava joined them and for a moment all the world was full of warmth and love. Their family was all but annihilated, their home in ruins, even their nation burned. But for one timeless moment they were together.

Tess herself began to weep as she could feel as the empathy began to leak back out of Mara. As she slowly became her Soulless self.

There was something in that gem. Something precious and wonderful.

Perhaps even a cure.

And Tess felt that old strength return. That sense of determination and self mastery. Only now it did not demand order and national greatness. Her patriotism for her nation had been long since spent.

No this fire was personal. She would find a way to cure her sister.

Somehow.

Kyle. Kyle should know about this gem.

--------

Isabel floated and fought against the sense her body was telling her that it was falling. She closed her eyes and floated.

Alex watched her from the wall grip he was holding onto. He wondered how long it would be before she realized how vulnerable you truly were out in the middle of a room with no leverage.

Well she was still slowly drifting towards one wall. Hopefully she would not over compensate like most people new to zero g. And this was true zero g, not free fall. The same generators that could compensate for rapid changes in speed or allow everyone to walk as if the ship were not laying at a fifteen degree angle could just as easily cancel out the local gravity.

For himself, Alex had missed the feeling. He personally preferred microgravity. Just enough so that you lost that falling feeling, but could move easily and all but float.

He felt a slight tug. He had no idea what it was. Except that Isabel’s hand was slightly glowing and there was a massive smile on her face.

Oh. Yeah. She’s telekinetic. Alex let go and slowly drifted to his lady.

Isabel’s face held a frown as she watched him drift towards her.

“What is wrong, love?”

“I just thought that without your weight I would be able to pull you faster.”

Alex chuckled. “I still have all my mass. That doesn’t go away.”

“Hmmph. I always hated physics. Always so damn boring. And your still mine, stuck in the middle of the room with me. My oh my, what are we going to do?”

Alex kissed her. And laughed as they began to spin uncontrollably. Isabel was trying to undress, but without leverage and unfamiliar with the peculiarities of zero g…..

Alex reached out with his implants and changed the setting to micro g and they slowly drifted towards the floor.

“But I wanted to try it out in zero g!”

“And we can. Later. But we don’t have the right gear. Harnesses to keep us together and the like. We should work our way up to it. For now, lets try a nice reduced level.” Alex steadily increased the gravity to allow them to remove their clothes easily.

And told the ship AI that he and Isabel were busy. And the room was taken.

He set the gravity to slightly less than twenty percent. “Lets start from here…..”

-------
Hours later.

Kyle sat at the same dinner table that he and the other’s of the Roswell had met over countless times. Only now there were others present.

Their new friends and loved ones. Gained surprisingly fast. Fast enough that he was starting to come to Alex’s crazy theory that Fate and Destiny had somehow decided that they were needed here. That they were somehow serving the divine will of the cosmos.

Okay, so he wasn’t willing to go that far. Drathi superstition got so strange after a while. And you could so easily read into it and see what you wanted to see. No. He wasn’t ready for that.

In truth, he wasn’t sure how much Alex himself believed. The man was clearly besotted with his Isabel. Enough to argue that she be trained in shuttle flight.

Like they needed another pilot. All the Roswell’s crew was shuttle certified. Both Kyle and Liz had fairly good astrographic ratings as well.

Kyle shook his head. What was sad is that he was likely going to allow it. What harm could it possibly do? It wasn’t like Alex was demanding that Isabel have the security clearances necessary to fly the Roswell or for that matter the Crashdown.

Just a couple of small implants. That is all Alex was asking.

What would Liz say? She was in charge of cyber/biologic integration. Liz had already okayed the minor changes made to Tess.

Telling Tess about those changes…. Well how do you tell someone that their digestive system is now partially cybernetic. Sure it was wet wear cybernetics, totally organic…. But it was still partly controlled by cybernetic implants that would work with her bodies own systems.

Tess might never even know if Kyle didn’t tell her. But he would. He wasn’t looking forward to it. Some people got irate over even medically necessary implants. And her culture was so much lower technologically.

He was avoiding the reason they had called this meeting. Tess had asked him if he would ask the others to examine her younger sister Mara. She was also Soulless, but she apparently had some sort of device that could free her from the state for short periods of time.

Liz. They could get Liz back.

He looked at Liz now. He could remember joking with Maria over how kind and gentle Liz was. How useless she would be in a fight. Not in a ship board conflict, but up close and personal. She just wouldn’t want to hurt the other person.

Maria had disagreed. Had said that there was steel underneath all of the fluffy kindness that Liz often showed.

Even Kyle knew that the woman could be driven and ruthless. That was one of the main reasons they hadn’t worked as a couple.

But now….. The new Liz was a killer. There was no doubt about that. You could all but feel death radiate from her. If you got in her way, if she did not see a reason for your continued existence….

You would be dead. And she would feel no guilt.

Only, that wasn’t how she acted. He could tell that is how she felt, but it wasn’t how she acted at all. She was as solicitous as she had been before. Only she was much colder.

She looked at him. “Kyle, I was conducting some experiments in my lab. Is there a reason for the interruption?”

“Yes. Tess?”

Tess stood. She looked pale but beautiful in her new ship suit.

He would have to ask her if she wanted anything more refined. The ship could probably make what she wanted.

Tess looked over at Kyle. She waved over at the hallway and Mara came in. The same sense of coldness that radiated off of Liz was there as well. But Mara did not radiate the sense of competence and chilly implacableness that came from Liz.

Tess placed a hand on Mara’s shoulder, “Now use your gem.”

“Here?”

“Yes.”

Mara reached into her pocket and produced a gem. She placed it on her forehead and her eyes… changed. Became human again. An anguished and tormented human, but human. “Oh, Tess….”

“Shhh, it will be okay. These people may be able to help you.”

Liz stood up and walked over to them. She was almost trembling as she looked at Mara. “May I?”

Mara looked terrified. Frightened that she would lose the last tiny bit of who she had been. She looked at Tess.

Tess could not help her eyes from watering, “Please, she needs to know.”

Mara placed the tiny gem in her hand and watched in dismay as Liz raised it up to her own forehead. Would the more powerful woman simply take and keep it. What would she do if she only had the emptiness left?

Mara fell to her knees in remembrance of the darkness that so filled her life now.

Liz also fell to her knees. Tears streaming down her face. She looked up at Max. “I love you Max.” And meant it. The icy demigod of death had gone. And left Liz in its place.

For now.

Tess said softly, “It will fade.”

Liz looked down at the gem, at glitter that was inside of it. Was it a tiny bit less than it had been? She quickly ran a program using the cameras in the room.

Yes. Each use took some of its power. And soon it would be gone.

But she didn’t want to be stuck the way she had been. To be almost alien to herself and all she had once believed in. How had she lost her empathy?

She could even now feel it leaving….. Feel her heart grow cold. Just one more use of the gem….

But it wasn’t hers. It was the little girl huddled on the floors. Was she going to steal it from a seventeen year old girl?

One without implant support. She at least had her implants to keep her relatively rational.

Liz reached out and ordered a set of implants for Mara. Logic nodes and cortical nodes. It would be cold comfort for the girl. Just like it was for her. But it would be comfort.

She handed the gem back to Mara. “Don’t use it all up. I might be able to make a form of whatever that is.” She looked back at the table, “Alex, do you recognize it?”

Alex just sat there stunned. “I will look into it. We might have something in the records.”

Mara held the gem tightly in her hands. And then gave Liz a large hug. To enjoy the warmth while she still could.

Liz held her back. She said, “I’ve ordered some implants for you as well.”

Kyle cleared his throat, “Is that wise, Liz.”

Liz kissed Mara’s forehead and rounded on Kyle, passionate anger flowing from her. “Kyle, I can barely stand what I have become with all the assistance my implants give me. This little girl has to face the darkness alone and unaided. That gem is almost spent. Unless we can find another, she will be lost. Its cold comfort, but it is something. This will happen Kyle.”

Kyle nodded.

Isabel spoke for the first time, “What about the Granolith?”

“I found it, Is.”

“Okay, but what do we do about it? I have the Key of Air. If we find the others, we can access the Granolith and use it to save the world.”

“How?”

“What exactly is the Granolith anyway.”

And haltingly the Royal Four, royal no longer spoke of the legendary device. One that among other things controlled the Necklace of Antar. Controlled those weapon platforms that had so recently caused their ship to crash.

Maybe with it they could contact home, maybe they could repair the ship.

Maybe they could go home.

They talked long into the night, everyone aware of the two whose demeanors grew steadily colder.

There was much to do. And much planning to do before action could be taken.

What they could do, they would do. And when they were done they would shake the galaxy to its foundation.

But that is another tale.

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 19 - 11/29/09

Post by PML » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:36 pm

Well and here is the epilogue.

Thank you all again.

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

Teardrop of Fire Epilogue

Caredon University, Ekedar, Antar

Khivar Vetanari sat quietly in his apartment. It might seem strange that the effective ruler of Ekedar should still have such a humble abode….. But then again this was not so humble an apartment, having been custom redesigned to his and Isabel’s dictates.

Khivar closed his eyes in remembrance of his dead girlfriend. Dead at his hand.

But she had chosen it. She had chosen her family over him. Had chosen the old mad order that he would replace.

She could have been a goddess. But she chose to remain human.

Someday soon he would have to choose a replacement for her. Someone he could rule Antar with. Someone to bear his heirs.

But not today. Not for sometime to come. He still mourned her.

Khivar injected more of the serum into his veins. It strengthened him. Provided what little solace remained to him.

It was perfecting him, tearing away the weaknesses that made him human. He was already half a god, and soon would be so much more.

Only five others had ever injected it. Four of them now lay dead. Dead at his orders. And he had been able to make such good use of the fifth.

He wondered if Vanessa ever wondered how her brother, Nicholas had ever grown more powerful than her. Even the smallest taste of the serum could leave dramatic marks.

As the others learned to their dismay. Particularly after they understood what the serum had contained. They, the so called Royal Four had immediately decided to have it destroyed.

What did it matter to assume the strength, the concentrated essence of others? They had just been criminals or those too broken to live a normal life.

They had turned on Topolsky at the end. Had shown the evidence of what had been done to the High Court at White Hall. And Topolsky had barely escaped before the Soulless Guard claimed her. Aided by the one man who truly understood what she had.

Even now Khivar had her researching more effective and efficient ways to drain power and reallocate it to those more deserving. Her most recent discovery, one that she had made not more than six months ago was truly revolutionary.

He walked over to the table stiffly, slightly shivering as the serum rushed through his body. And looked at the table and smiled. The large Emerald shimmered with its captured power.

No longer did one have to actually be present when the cut was made, but one could regulate the percentage of gain. His gem was actually the master of all the others. And through them it gleaned a portion of every drained Soul.

He caressed the gem and felt a rush as the stored power flowed into him, as it became part of him.

Khivar had always been strong. Now he could lift his house in the air and float it a half continent away.

So much power.

Unfortunately he still needed the serum. The gem did not fully capture the essence of those collected. The power thus gained was more a pool of power to draw from. But one that could be used up.

The serum left permanent changes.

A knock on the door. Khivar let the messenger in. Both of them moved to a sitting room. This one was decorated with various pictures of aeroplanes. They had been such a passion of Isabel’s….

Khivar shook his head. “Report.”

“Yes sir. Whittaker reports that she has found the Water Key and is sending a copy to Ekedar as per your agreement. She also wishes to hold a conference as soon as she consolidates her power. Preferably with the leaders of the Avidaran and Beravan revolutions.”

Khivar nodded. Vanessa would bear some watching. She might become a threat. Of course, he might have other uses for her.

She was easy on the eye after all. And ruthless enough to sleep with him with a sight for gaining an advantage. She certainly had in the past.

“Go on.”

“Revolution forces in Avidar have found one of the Earth Keys as well. It will be delivered along with Diane Evan’s head.”

Khivar smiled. He had always hated Isabel’s parents. They had despised him and the feeling had been mutual. “Any word from Berava?”

“No sir. Word is that they have begun serious fighting in the major cities. The Beravan Army has remained loyal to the Emperor.”

That wasn’t really that much of a surprise. Nor was the level of resistance in Avidar. Avidaran cities might have fallen, his revolutionary appeal worked so much better in those towns highly industrialized. Towns where the living conditions were dire, and the distinction between high and low were vast.

Some Avidaran lords had been more vicious in their repression than others. And in truth, compared to much of the Continent, many of the Avidaran poor were better off than most Teven serfs.

That was why he sent Nicholas to the Avidaran king as soon as Tevan fell. He would reward Nicholas well if he managed to fell not only one kingdom but two.

The man was a weasel made human flesh, but he was his weasel. And he was very good at what he did.

“Any word from Nicholas?”

“No sir.” The messenger paused. “There were confused dispatches from loyal elements in the Avidaran Army. Something… strange had happened. A vessel appeared in the sky and shattered an elite patrol. None of your agents could make out clearly what had gone on. But they thought it had something to do with an Ancient weapon.”

Khivar looked away, lost in thought. Could someone also be involved in reviving Ancient technology? Could someone already found the Granolith? Had it been used?

No. If it had he wouldn’t still be here. They would undoubtedly have reduced this building to rubble. Many did not truly know what the Antaran Necklace truly was. So many of his more superstitious countrymen thought it had been place there by the gods to protect them.

And that was partly true. It had been placed to defend them from outworlders. But those ‘gods’ were just the Ancients. Just advanced technology.

When he had all the Keys, when he had found the resting place for the Granolith…. He would control them. And it would be to do something so much more effective than to simply protect against beings who likely were long dead and gone.

He would rule this world. And in time as his power grew he would rise and grasp the power of the Ancients. And rule the stars.

Nothing would stop him. Nothing at all.

---------
Council Chambers, New Mexico Worldship.

A weary James Valenti looked down at his data slate. “Now onto our next order of business. Has there been any contact with the Roswell?”

His fellow Councilors remained silent. They represented the dominant factions involved in the New Mexico Sector.

It was the newcomer among them who spoke up, her eyes filled with a shared pain. “There has been no word. Not from any of our sources. I’m sorry, Jim.”

Valenti looked over at the dark haired woman. Amy Deluca was from Central. There were no doubts about that fact, although her affiliation was not well known outside of these chambers.

She too had lost a daughter on that mission.

He nodded, trying not to drink in Amy’s beauty. But it had been a long time since Michelle…. Now was not the time.

“I will contact IACOM to see if there have been any Drathan involvement. As it is, all we have is that last Hypercom message stating that they had arrived in system. That the defense system was very much active. And that their stealth suite seemed to be effective against it. If anyone has any further information?”

Several shaken heads.

“I want all of you to assess the information and consider the possibility of a follow-up mission.”

“But the Roswell was the best ship we had in the sector!” said one of the locally elected Councilors. “We can not afford to send another ship down a rabbit hole. I’m sorry Jim.”

“I did not ask for a future mission plan. Just an assessment based on the information they sent back to us. That much you can do. I know that such a mission is impossible now, what with the new Drathan incursion. But times can change. And we must learn what we can. I will not have my boy die in vain. We can’t get there to save him, but we can understand what he gained for us. Do you understand?”

“Yes, High Councilor.”

Valenti looked over at the other Councilor and locked gazes with him. The other man dropped his gaze and looked at his hands. Valenti sighed. “Okay, next order of business……”

Locked