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Red Shift Part 2 Chapter 27

Post by WR » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:06 pm

Hi everyone!

A thousand apologies for my rather disjointed posting lately. I won't offer up any excuses. Just know that I am sorry.

So anyway, here is part 27, which you should have had last week. I will hopefully be back on track with this story now.

Red Shift

Part 2

Chapter 27

The days blurred by as only lazy summer days can. Lyle returned home and Raul arrived to take his place as Leia's puppy. Like Anders and Lyle before him, Raul was a constant companion to Leia. They were just as inseparable but more platonic than Luke and Julia, who continued to confound everyone and remain just friends. The main difference between Raul and the other two was that he was an organizer. The small group of friends were hardly ever allowed to just sit on the beach anymore. Raul was always organizing their days into some kind of event, even going as far as allocating who should bring what.

Eager to escape another one of Raul's scheduled beach events, Luke and Julia had plotted to escape by themselves for the afternoon.

"At the southern end of the Island is a place called Turtle Beach, Luke," Julia whispered to him over an ice cream. "You know, past where we went for my birthday."

"I remember," Luke nodded. It had been one of the best nights of his life.

"I thought maybe... you know... just you and me... on our own..."

"Sounds, uh... great," Luke nodded, his heart racing. Any time with Julia was good, but alone time was even better. "I'll be here straight after your shift and we can sneak way."

Which was exactly what they did. When Julia's shift finished, she hurried from Scoops before Alison could catch her. Luke already had her beach bag with her towel and bikini with him, and hand in hand, they headed to the southern end of the Key.

They had a late lunch together at a beach side bar where Julia used the ladies room to change into her bikini. Out on the sand, they laid their towels side by side and proceeded to enjoy one another's company. They applied sun screen to one another which invariable led to the need to cool down in the sea. Luke was constantly glad that he wore Bermuda shorts which helped to hide his obvious excitement. When they weren't swimming, they were talking. Of little things. They were slowly getting closer. Closer than they had ever been. They were laying on their sides, their heads propped up by their hands. Luke's thigh was pressed against Julia's. She neither flinched, nor moved away when it had happened. Their faces were so close, they could feel each other's breath.

"Julia," Luke's heart was beating a mile a minute. "There's something I have to tell you." He swallowed. His eyes drifted to her lips. "I've wanted to tell you this right from the first time I saw you. I've thought about telling you a hundred times, but..." Luke took a deep breath. "Julia, I..."

"Hey guys," Alison called from a short distance away. Hans was trailing behind her. "Why didn't you let us know you were coming all the way out here? I never would have found you if I hadn't called your Mom and she told me you'd be here." She dropped to the sand beside them. "Cozy, huh?"

Julia had never hated anyone as much as she hated Alison right now.

* * *

"There it is guys," Raul turned in his seat on the bus next to Leia so that he could face the others. "Tampa's Adventure Island."

Bored with just sitting on the beach, Raul had suggested that they catch the bus to Tampa and visit the locally famous water theme park. Armed with towels and sunscreen, the six teenagers had followed Raul's suggestion and early that morning, had made their way to the park. As they climbed from the bus, they could see the various slides and flumes rising into the sky on a network of scaffolding. Already, they could hear the joyful screams of the holiday-makers.

"And if you two brainiacs get bored," he grinned at Luke and Julia. "There's always the Native American exhibition next door."

Although his ideas for organizing things had often irritated the gang, they had all agreed that this was a spectacular excursion. At Leia's suggestion, they had split up into separate pairs with plans to meet at one o'clock for lunch. Hand in hand, as always, Luke led Julia to the Wahoo Run.

The Wahoo Run was a white water raft ride. Luke held Julia tightly as they hurtled along a half enclosed tunnel which corkscrewed towards a giant splash pool. Squealing with laughter, Julia pushed herself into Luke's protective custody.

After the Wahoo Run, it was the Aruba Tuba. This was a crazy, wild slide where Luke and Julia got whisked, siphoned and pushed through a series of open and closed twisting and turning slides.

The Calypso Coaster was next. Sharing a raft, they floated gently along a Rambling Bayou River as they used the compact confines to press against one another.

Just before lunch, they had time to try the Everglides. This was a crazy toboggan ride. After careering down a seventy-foot watery slope, they were launched side by side down a super fast double water slide into a waiting splash pool. They skimmed across the surface like a pair of skipping stones before coming to a stop, laughing hysterically. As they climbed from the water, Luke stood protectively in front of Julia while she rearranged her bikini top.

Over lunch at one of the many diners, they all exchanged information about the rides they had all tried. They parted soon after, heading for the ones that they had not yet got to.

Luke and Julia found the Gulf Scream straight after their meal. This was a body slide that Julia stood at the top and refused to try. It took Luke all of his persuasive best to entice Julia to launch herself down the massive two hundred and ten foot body slide. When they landed in the pool at the bottom, they made a huge tidal wave.

The Key West Rapids were a series of cascades through tubes and pipes negotiating twists, turns, speedy slopes, water mines, pools ands showers before landing in a huge splash pool. The Runaway Rapids was a series of five separate fast moving waterways that ran from the top of a mountain like structure. And finally, there was the Tampa Typhoon. Julia refused point blank to even climb the stairs. She watched Luke from the bottom of the seven story building as he practically free fell down the slide.

"I want to go again!" his face shone with excitement. "But you don't have to wait. You can have a go on one of the others again, if you want," he pointed at the slide next door.

They both separated. Julia climbed to the top of the Aruba Tuba and squealed as she slid through the twists and turns. Luke wasn't waiting when she finished, so she made her way back to the Tampa Typhoon, expecting to see him there having yet another go. He wasn't. She retraced her steps but he wasn't waiting for her by the Aruba Tuba. Julia started to look around her, trying to find Luke.

She found the other couples, making their way to the Endless Surf, a large pool with a machine that made large waves.

"Have you seen Luke?" she asked them, but no one had.

The Wahoo Run was easily the tallest structure, so Julia climbed to the top and from her lofty vantage point, started to scan the crowds below. She couldn't find him. Puzzled, she turned and leaned against the barrier, wondering what might have become of him. That was when she found him. Luke was no longer in the park. He was at the Native American exhibition next door, standing in front of what looked like a log cabin. With a frown, Julia pushed against the flow and climbed back down the steps.

"I've been looking for you," she called to him in a strained voice.

She was surprised to find Luke still standing in front of the strange log cabin. The cabin was octagonal in shape, built with a series of interlocking logs to form its walls. At roof level, the logs started to shorten as they worked inward to create an almost domed roof.

"Luke?" she called, worried that he had not reacted to her presence. "Hello, Luke!" she called again, touching his arm.

His reaction was startling. It was as if someone had touched him with a live electricity cable. He jumped, he blinked, he noticed Julia was beside him.

"Julia?" he frowned. Luke looked around, as though he was surprised by his surroundings.

"You should have told me you wanted to see the exhibition," she narrowed her eyes. "I'd have come with you. Are you okay?"

"I..." he blushed. "No, no, I didn't want to see the exhibition. I wanted to see this."

"What is it?" Julia turned to look at the cabin.

"I saw it from up there," he pointed.

Julia could see the tops of the Wahoo Run and the Tampa Typhoon.

"It was sort of... calling me. Like a memory wanted to see it... if that makes any sense."

"Uhm..." Julia was shaking her head. "Do you have an interest in Native American architecture?" Julia looked at the plaque next to the building.

"I've seen something like this before," Luke shook his head. "Somewhere recently."

"Not unless you've been to the Midwest, Luke," Julia smiled looking back up at him. "Have you?"

"No," Luke shook his head. "Just Raleigh and here."

"This is a Hogan, Luke," Julia returned to the information plaque. "It's a traditional dwelling of the Navajo tribe. So unless the Navajo were indigenous to North Carolina, which I doubt, then maybe you saw it in a book."

"Maybe," Luke nodded. "But I don't think so. What's it doing here, in Florida?"

"According to this, the famous Chiricahua Apache... that's the uh, another name for Navajo... so this war chief, Geronimo was exiled to Fort Marion here in Florida. I guess he and his people would have made one... or two. Are you okay, Luke?" Julia's face was a mask of concern. "You don't look so good."

"I'm okay," Luke continued to stare. "It's not right though. Something's... missing."


"I don't know," he sighed. "Jules? Whereabouts did Geronimo come from?"

"Well, Arizona, I guess... and..."


"New Mexico."

* * *

All too soon, August was drawing to a close. The signs started to mount, pointing to the end of the summer. The first and least noticeable was the earlier sunsets. The 'back to school' ads everywhere was another sign. When Allan and Debra flew in for the last week, everyone knew that the holidays were almost over. On the Sunday night, Omi, Granny and Debra had organized a huge dinner, held in Omi and Opa's back yard. Julia, Alison and Raul were all invited, of course. Wearing a lovely yellow sundress that showed off her tan, Julia stood by the back gate, waiting for Luke to finish some task he had been given.

"Hello, Julia," Debra stepped up next to the lovely young woman.

"Oh," Julia jumped slightly. "Hey, Mrs. Skye."

"Oh, please," she waved a hand. "Call me Debra. I won't feel so old, then."

Julia smiled, nodding her head.

"Looking forward to getting back to school?" Debra teased.

"Oh, yeah," Julia nodded in all sincerity. "Absolutely. I totally love school."

"Yeah," Debra smiled. "Luke does, too."

"He said," Julia smiled.

"So, I hear you're planning on going to Harvard."

"That's the plan," Julia shrugged. "I just hope my grades will stay high enough."

"I want to thank you," Debra took Julia's hand in hers.

"What for?" she frowned.

"Because you make Luke come alive. I know he isn't really my son but I was always worried about him. You know, being such a loner."

"Well..." Julia was blushing. "He makes it so easy to be friends with."

"Except you would like it to be more than friendship, right?"

"No," Julia's eyes widened. "No, I..."

"I can see it in the way you look at him, you know," Debra smiled at her. "But you know what? It's not all one way, you know. And I happen to think that it will all work out fine. You just have to believe."

"Yeah," Julia looked down at the ground. "I guess."

After the meal, the whole group was sitting around the two joined tables, just generally talking.

"Say, Hans," Allan called out. "You up for another fishing trip?"

"Cool!" Hans nodded. "Maybe we'll catch that Marlin this time."

"How about you, Luke? You up for it?"

"No, thanks," Luke shook his head.

"Luke's afraid of boats," Hans chuckled.

"No I'm not," Luke objected. "I've never even been on one before. But the idea of sitting on a boat and holding a line over the side does not exactly sound like fun."

"You've never been on a boat, Luke?" Julia twisted to look at him.

"No," he shook his head. "There's uh... lots of other things I'd rather do."

The evening went on as the last of the sunlight faded away. The lanterns came out and with them, came the funny stories of the first few months of Leia, Luke and Hans life with the Skye's. Nothing was said of their lives previous to that.

* * *

"Do you ever think about it?" Julia asked as hand in hand, Luke walked her home.

"What?" Luke smiled.

"Your life before you were adopted. I've never heard any of you say anything about it."

"No," Luke shook his head. "Because it's not important."

"It's what shaped you, Luke," she looked up at him. "The past. Who you were is what shapes who you are."

"To be honest," Luke grinned. "We've had such a good time since we were adopted, we've completely forgotten everything that happened before we washed up on that beach."

"You washed up on a beach?"

"Yeah. Our, uh... there was a plane crash." Luke hated lying to Julia. He tried to keep as much truth as possible in his story. "When we washed up on the beach, someone took us to hospital. We were in shock or something. Anyway, some lawyer came and collected us and took us to Debra and Allen's in Raleigh. The rest, I guess you know."

"I knew you were in a crash," Julia frowned. "I never realized it was out at sea. So... so when was your crash?"

"Early October, I think." Luke thought hard. "Fourth or fifth, maybe?"

"I remember you saying, now. So... if you think about it, then, your life began around the same time as mine," she smiled.

No, Luke thought. My life didn't begin until the day I met you.

As they turned up the path that led to her house, Luke spotted the Fire bushes.

"Did you, uh..." he smiled. "Did you remember to collect you bra that time?

"Uh huh," her eyes sparkled as she laughed. "But don't you dare get any ideas that that's a habit of mine. For your information, that's the first time I have ever disobeyed my mom and only the second time I ever went out without my bra."

"When was the first?"

"My birthday," Julia seemed annoyed that he had forgotten.

"I knew that," he grinned. "I wanted to make you say it. So, uh... have your parents seen your pierced navel yet?"

"God, no!" she exclaimed. "They would kill me."

"They'd be angry, yeah," Luke chuckled. "But they wouldn't..."

"You don't know my mom," she shook her head. "Anyway, what about you? You should get one too, you know."

"Me?" Luke gasped.

"Yeah," Julia giggled. "I think that would be so sexy. You could have one right here." Julia stopped in front of Luke and reached up to touch his eyebrow. "Or here," she traced a line with her finger down to Luke's lip. "Or... what about your tongue. Lyle said that it increases a girl's pleasure."

"Julia!" Luke choked.

"Oh, Luke," she teased. "Lighten up. Oh! I know!" She reached up and lightly pinched his nipple through his polo shirt. "How about here?"

"I will if you will," he winked.

"Luke!" Julia's eyes widened.

"Who need's lightening up now?"

"Well," she gave a bashful smile. "Maybe next time you visit, I'll pencil it in."

"You would?" Luke eyes widened. "Really?"

"Sure. Like you said. I will if you will... or did I just call your bluff?"

"A pierced nipple, huh?" Luke started to grin.

"Only," she blushed. "I don't think I could let you watch this time. And I certainly don't think I could show you."

"Hardly any point then," he smirked.

* * *

The return of Sandra from her visit with her distant relatives was another sign that the summer was ending. Her first port of call was to go and see her best friend.



The two girls leapt into an embrace.

"How was your trip?" Julia seemed eager to hear all about it.

"We went, we visited, we came back," she shrugged. "Enough about me. Jules! Look at you. You are glowing, girl! Are you and Luke finally doing the..."

"Sandra!" Julia pressed her hand to Sandra's mouth. "No. For your information, Luke and I are good friends. Very good friends."

"Still?" Sandra frowned. "He's not, like, gay or something is he?"

"No!" Julia sounded indignant.

"Only I felt for sure that you would be telling me that you gave up your cherry to Luke, cause boy, did he have the hots for you."

* * *

Alison's farewell was a tear filled event. She had held a small party at Scoops after her last shift. Mr. Faulkner promised her that she could have a job with him any time she wanted. When it was time to leave, Alison went to all her friends one by one and left them with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Hans was second last.

"Well...?" she raised her eyes.

"Well," he shrugged.

"You gonna write this time?"

"Yeah," he nodded. "I'll write. Don't expect much, but I'll write."

She stood waiting. When he didn't move, she rolled her eyes, gave a loud 'tut' and pulled him into a fierce embrace, leaving them both blushing furiously.

"Well... goodbye, you," tears started forming when she turned to Julia.

"Yeah," Julia nodded, her own tears rimming her eyes.

"Look after your self."

"You too. Stay in touch."

"You know I will."

The two girls hugged. Alison's mouth was close to Julia's ear.

"Tell him," she whispered.

And then Alison was gone. Raul left soon after.

* * *

The day of their departure had arrived. The three teens loaded the cars with the luggage and turned to say goodbye to their grandparents. Everyone was quiet and subdued.

"We had a great time," Luke assured them all as he said his goodbyes. "The best."

"Then we look forward to spring break," Opa winked. "If not before." He nodded toward the road.

Luke turned to see Julia walking up the path. He went to her, aware that everyone was watching him closely.

"Thanks for coming," he looked down at the ground and drew his foot in a line.

"I said I would," Julia too, looked at the ground. "You will keep in touch, right?"

"Of course I will," he nodded. "So..."

"So..." Julia repeated.

Quite suddenly, she burst into tears. She took his face between her hands and kissed him hard on his lips.

"You just look after yourself!"

And then she was gone, running down the street as fast as her legs could carry her. As he watched her leave, with a strange feeling of déjà vu, Luke promised himself that he would never, ever let her do that to him again.

* * *

The journey to the airport was muted. No one was speaking. While the parents were looking forward, the three kids were very much absorbed with their own thoughts as they stared into space.

"So," Allan called, trying to cheer everyone up. "Did you all have a good time?"

"Yeah," Leia answered for them. Her voice was quiet. She looked at Allan, but she soon looked away again. "Really good. Thank you."

* * *

On the plane, Luke sat next to the window, his eyes staring at the clouds. As Florida fell further and further behind, the sense of loneliness grew deeper and deeper within him. Leia was next to him, deep in thought. On the other side of her, Hans was asleep.

"Luke," Leia pulled him from his daydream. "I was kind of thinking. About Anders, and Lyle and Raul. You know. How I like all three of them. Only I can't date them all, right? I mean, I have to make a decision, right?"

"I don't know, Leia," Luke shrugged. "Why can't you just date them all for a while. I mean, you don't have to make a commitment, do you? I mean, you're only fifteen."

"I had this dream..."

"A dream dream or one of your dream walks."

"Just a simple dream," she rolled her eyes. "There were these three bowls of ice cream, right? But I was only allowed to choose one. They're all different and I liked them all. And I knew that I had to make a choice and that the one I chose would turn into something awesome, while the others would stay just the same. But I know... I know I have to make a choice. Does that make any sense?"

"About as much as my life does right now," he smiled.


"Yeah," he nodded.

"Want to talk about it?"

"Not right now," he shook his head and turned to face the window again.

Because the truth was, there was no choice for him to make. It was Julia. Yes, she may love someone else, and yes, she might be just a friend, but Luke knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he had found her. She made him feel almost whole. And somewhere deep inside him, Luke knew that things would never be the same for him again.

* * *
Last edited by WR on Mon Apr 17, 2006 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RED SHIFT - Part 2 Chapter 28

Post by WR » Mon Apr 17, 2006 2:53 pm

Hi everyone,

Sorry I'm late, but with this being Easter weekend, I was struggling to get some online time. Here I am, though. Better late than never, right?

Okay, that hogan, and Luke's memory. And the wish that Hans wiould have seen it... You have all come across that memory before. I introduced nothing new. That's all I will say.

Now, I'm sorry that I am not responding indivisually, lately, but time is pressing so heavily on me just now. Back to normal soon... I hope.

Red Shift

Part 2

Chapter 28

Part 2

Chapter 28

After the long and lazy summer, it was time to return to school. Although they soon settled into their traditional routines, all three of the kids seemed somehow different, changed by their time away.

Hans was a little more outgoing, complaining less and working on his powers, with which he was showing signs of control now. True to his word, he exchanged the occasional e-mail with Alison, and even called her up one Friday night. His first words were to order an ice cream. Alison actually saw the funny side, although she did demand a tip.

Although Leia was still the popular ice-cool princess of the sophomore class, her attitude toward the guys had changed. While she flirted, and accepted the odd date, she allowed no one to get anywhere near as close as the three muskethounds - as Luke and Hans referred to them. She corresponded almost non-stop with them and spent most evenings talking to them through an Instant Messenger.

Luke, however, seemed a little more quiet than was normal. But only in terms of actual communication. He spent less time in his room, that is, when he wasn't online with Julia. They exchanged emails daily, and often sent little text messages throughout the course of the day. At school, it was noticed that he seemed far more attentive to others although the girls were still left disappointed, especially after Leia accidentally let slip that Luke had fallen in love.

But the first weeks moved on. September rolled to its conclusion. The first anniversary of the Alien occupation was marked with an address from President Holly Clayton, but there was no rhetoric and no promises that the invaders would be thrown back. Hans passed no comment.

The day after the unwanted anniversary, Hans and Leia arrived home from school, both held looks of consternation on their faces.

"Oh, hi, kids," Debra was in the kitchen preparing their dinner. "How was school today?"

"Fine," Leia dumped her bag on the floor and opened the refrigerator to pull out two cans of soda. She threw one to Hans. "You know, same old same ol'."

"So... where's Luke?" Debra glanced through the window.

"Don't know," Hans popped the tab on his can. "He didn't show."

"Well," Debra frowned. "I hope he's okay."

"Maybe he's met a girl," Leia laughed. "He's quite the man of the moment right now. He seems even more mysterious than ever to the bimbos at school."

"Luke and another girl?" Debra shook her head. "I doubt it."

Luke didn't show up until moments before Debra served their evening meal. He entered the kitchen door just as Hans, Leia and Allan were sitting down. Aware that all four pairs of eyes were on him, Luke washed his hands at the sink, took a can of cherry coke from the fridge and sat down.

"So where have you been?" Leia finally asked the question everyone was thinking.

"Nowhere," Luke shrugged, taking a gulp of the sweet, fizzy drink.

"You must have been somewhere," Hans snorted.

Allan chuckled as he rose from the table and crossed to the television set in the corner, switching it on.

"Oh, Allan," Debra shook her head. "Not at dinnertime, please."

"Sorry," he returned to the table leaving the set on. "There's something I need to listen out for."

Debra scowled as she placed the dinner plates before them. Since their return from Florida, the kids rarely watched television anymore. Well, except for Hans and his obsession with old sixties sitcoms. And the only articles in the newspapers the kids seemed remotely interested in worried her. Like all kids approaching the age of joining Planetary Defense Force, they seemed inordinately interested in the Alien occupation.

They ate their meal with the news in the background. While Allan, Debra, Leia and Hans indulged in small talk, concerning their day, Luke remained quiet.

"I uh," Luke finally broke his silence. "I tried out for the JV soccer team tonight."

There was a stunned silence. Sentences were left unfinished. No one ate, no one moved. Everyone was staring at Luke as though he had just grown an additional head.

"That's great, Luke," Allan had the biggest smile.

"Oh, Luke," Debra had a satisfied grin. "That's really good news."

Hans and Leia remained silent.

"So?" Allan finally asked.

"Uhm," Luke dipped his head. "What?"

"How did you get on?"

"Okay, I guessed," he shrugged again. "The coach says he'll let us know soon."

"Us?" Allan continued.

"The 'newbies,'" Luke nodded. "He told all the guys from last year that they were already in, but he just needs to decide on what new guys he's going to add."

Surprisingly, it was the arrival of a woman no one had known before and no one wanted to meet whom interrupted everything and threw the Skye household into turmoil.

"And now the weather," the voice on the television announced. "Hurricane Natalie is, of course, on everyone's mind and tonight for the people in Florida, it's the 'only' thing on their minds. As you know, Natalie has been wreaking a path of death and destruction across the islands of the Caribbean, including the hundred and fifty dead in the village of San Sebastian on the western most tip of Cuba. Hurricane Natalie has been racing North across the Gulf of Mexico, making for Florida, gaining in power as it approaches. Experts agree that Hurricane Natalie is already more powerful than Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans just last year. Experts are suggesting that the winds could reach as high as one hundred and forty miles an hour. We now believe that Natalie will reach landfall on the Florida coast here in the St Petersburg and Tampa area. For days now, citizens have been boarding their houses and many are moving inland. Sally Westenburg is in Sarasota, a town just south of Tampa, and is where the eye of Natalie is scheduled to pass. Sally."

"Thank you, Bruce,
" Sally was standing in a strong wind, holding her hair in place with one hand and her microphone in the other. "Here in Sarasota, as it is in all the neighboring areas, there's a steady stream of refugees leaving the predicted path of the Hurricane. But spare a thought for the citizens of Siesta Key. With only two bridges off the island and only a few hours before landfall, it looks as though the majority are going to have to ride it out. Already, elements of the National Guard are turning people away from the bridges."

The ringing of the telephone caused everyone to jump. Allan hurried to the phone in the living room. Although everyone strained hard to listen, all they could hear was the soft murmur of Allan's voice.

"That was Dad," he informed them when he returned. He looked at the kids. "Him, your Grandma, Opi and Oma are barricading themselves in."

"What?" Leia demanded. Her voice was shaking. "No, they have to leave. Make them leave. Tell them."

"They can't," Allan shook his head. "They got turned away. Too many people were trying to get out."

"They..." Debra's face was ashen. "They're not going to hide in the cellar, are they?"

"No," Allan shook his head. "They're smarter than that. I told him to call us as soon as they could, you know, afterwards, but... I doubt they'll be able to. The lines will be down. I was going to go down there, but Dad says no. He told me to stay put. That he would call us if he needed us."

Luke leapt from his seat and raced for the phone.

"No, Luke!" Allan yelled. "Keep the line clear, in case..."

"Of course you can call," Debra interrupted, catching Luke's stricken look. She knew he would have disobeyed Allan anyway. "Come on you three," she closed the kitchen door. "You can help with the washing up.

"Please don't answer the phone," Luke muttered as he pressed the number that he had memorized. "Please don't be there. Please be somewhere far away. Somewhere safe."

The phone rang once. Twice. Luke's heart was pounding. Three times, four times, his heart started to calm down. Five times, six times. He was breathing easier. Seven times.


"Mr. Cartier?" Luke's heart fell. "It's uh... Luke. Luke Skye."

"Hey, Luke," Mr. Cartier sounded both surprised and tired.

"Is, uh... is Julia there?" Please say no. Please tell me that you sent her somewhere safe.

"Sure, Luke," Luke's world fell away. "Hang on, I'll get her for you. But be quick, yeah? We have to get into our shelter."

"Luke!" Julia sounded afraid, yet pleased that Luke had called her.

"Julia!" Luke exploded. "What are you doing there?"

"We're getting ready to ride out the storm," Luke could tell she was trying to sound brave. "We couldn't get off the island."

"I wish you weren't there, Julia," Luke's voice fell. "I wish you were here with me where I could keep you safe."

"Me too, Luke," Julia breathed.

"I called as soon as I heard. I... I haven't really paid attention to the news."

"Yeah, well, you know, Luke. We've been hit with a hurricane before. Hurricane Charley a few years ago. It's... it's no biggie."

"Didn't Charley pass to the south of you?" Luke narrowed his eyes, "Wait. I thought you said you were in a coma until last year, and you were in a Miami hospital. How do you remember the hurricane?"

Julia started to laugh.

"That's hardly kind of relevant under the circumstances, huh? But the Hurricane still came by and it had winds in excess of one hundred miles per hour."

"This is different, Jules. They're predicting winds in excess of one hundred and forty. And you're brushing it off like..."

"Luke?" Julia interrupted. Her voice was shaking. "I'm scared."

"I wish I was with you," Luke spoke in a tender voice filled with the love her felt but could not admit to her. "To keep you safe."

"I wish I was with you," Julia whispered. "Anywhere but here. Look, I... I have to go. The wind's picking up. Dad's calling me."

"Julia," Luke called, afraid she would hang up on him. "Call me as soon as you can."

"I don't know when that will be. If the lines are down..."

"Let me know that you're safe as soon as you can. Please?"

"I will," Julia confirmed. "You know I will."

"Take care, huh?"

"Yeah, I will. And Luke?"


"Thanks. You know..." She sucked in a long juddery breath. "For calling."

Luke placed the handset down onto the cradle as gently as he would have placed Julia down. He stared at the phone for a long while before he finally released a deep breath. He returned to the kitchen where everyone was still clearing up. They were working in silence. They all paused, watching him.

"That was Julia," he waved an arm in a random direction.

Luke seemed suddenly numb. He looked lost. Like an automaton. "She, uh... they didn't get off the island either."

"She'll be okay, Luke," Debra went to him and pulled him into an embrace. "They'll all be fine."

"I hope so," his voice was small and very, very frightened. "'Cause... cause I never told her."

* * *

No one went to bed that evening. No one felt like sleeping. Everyone sat in the living room, staring at the television set while Allen changed from one channel to another, trying to find news of the hurricane.

Even if he had found something, Luke would never have noticed. His thoughts were a number of states away, firmly fixed on a certain dark haired girl who owned his heart.

"I don't want that hurricane there," he whispered to himself, shaking his head. His eyes were closed in deep concentration. "I want it to go away. Anywhere but Florida. I really want Julia to be safe. Please, if there is a god, send it away. Turn it due west."

Time dragged by. It seemed to last forever. Allan commented at the time the hurricane would have hit land. More time passed.

"According to the news earlier," Allan looked at his watch. "The eye of the storm should be over the Key just about now."

"I hope they realize it's just the eye," Luke murmured.

He knew that Julia was an intelligent girl, but he hoped that she would be smart enough to stay safe even if it would feel like the storm had finished. The rest of the storm wouldn't be far behind. He was interrupted from his thoughts by the ringing of the telephone. Luke reacted first and beat Allen to the phone by a hands length, even though Allan was right next to it. No one even noticed his use of a little alien Voodoo to make sure he got it first.

"Hello?" his voice was almost desperate.

"Luke," Julia's voice was filled with relief. "It's Julia."

"Julia!" Luke gasped. "It's just the eye! The storm's not over. Get back into safety!"

"No, Luke," she laughed. "We're all safe. Everyone's safe. The Hurricane, it changed direction. It turned west and headed for the Gulf. It missed us, Luke. We're all safe."

Holding the phone to his ear, Luke started to shed tears of relief.

"I'm so glad you're safe, Julia," he released a long held breath. "So glad."

"Okay," her voice seemed filled with emotion. "Look, Mom and Dad need the phone now, so I better go now, okay?"

"Yeah," Luke nodded. "I expect Allan and Debra want to call their folks, too."

"Luke?" her voice was quiet.


"I..." there was a pause. "Thank you. For being there."

"Me too," he whispered.

* * *

With the threat of harm to their loved ones gone, they finally all went upstairs to get what sleep they could. In the privacy of their bedroom, Hans was strangely quiet. Luke could almost hear him thinking.

"So," Hans broke the silence when they were both laying back in their beds. "Soccer, huh?"

"Yeah," Luke nodded in the dark. "And before you say anything..."

"I wasn't."

"Excuse me?" Luke lifted his head.

"If that's what you want to do... then go for it. Just, uh... be careful, yeah? The last thing you need is to be taken to hospital and for them to find out that your blood is different."

"Who are you?" Luke chuckled.

"The thing is," Hans ignored the tedious joke. "When the time comes, I know that I can trust you to do the right thing, right?"

"Of course," Luke nodded. "I always knew that one day, we would have to deal with those guys in New Mexico. I mean, I know that they are here because of us. I just don't think that they are our friends. And I also don't think that we're ready to face them yet."

Hans passed no comment. Thinking that he had fallen asleep, Luke smiled, and closed his eyes. He was just on the edge of sleep when Hans spoke up.

"I'm glad that Julia is safe."

"Yeah," Luke smiled. "Me too. Thanks."

"I don't know why you don't just ask her out properly."

"Because she's in love with some other guy," Luke groaned.

"Bullshit," Hans spat. "If you asked her, she would jump through hoops for the chance to date you. She's special, Luke. And she's good for you. Do you remember that night you sent me flying? Julia's birthday? I never even felt you use your powers. It was so tight and compact. She does that for you. She, like, helps you concentrate or something."

Luke said nothing.

"I'm really sorry for the crap I dumped on her, Luke. I'm really sorry for hurting her like that."

The way that Hans rolled over and pulled the covers over him told Luke that Hans wasn't expecting an answer.

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri Apr 21, 2006 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RED SHIFT - Part 2 Chapter 29

Post by WR » Fri Apr 21, 2006 3:07 pm

Hi everyone,

Well, it looks like t hings might be getting back to normal. Here we are with another Friday, and a post for Red Shift. Hopefully, I can soon get back to the other story :wink:

Thank you for your patiance and understanding.

Arianneleigh - Hans just had some things to resolve. Amongst them, his humanity. :wink:

Timelord31 - The problem with it hitting NM is that it has to go through TX first. :wink:

roswell3053 - Was there any doubt that everyone would remain safe? :wink:

roswellluver - Sounds like it. :wink:

Ellie - Yes, Luke's powers seem inordinately stronger. I wonder if there's a reason for that?

Smac - Yes, I think things are returning to normal. Luke trying out for soccer is his way of killing time. Something to keep him busy, and Lyle did suggest this to him. And yes, Hans sure seems like he's getting a little more... normal.

paper - Luke is too, it seems. :wink:

frenchkiss70 - Yes, there does seem to be something really different between Luke and Max. It's funny you should ask about whats going on in NM, and whats going on with Tess and Nikolas... As for that fourth pod...

VeronicaB - LOL - I like the idea of Hans being abducted and replaced by some alien being. Sounds like the basis of a good story... oh.

tequathisy - One can only hope that things will get better for our couple. :wink:

Emz80m - PW soon. Promise. :wink:

youre my dreamgirl - Luke really did want that hurricane to go away, didn't he?

BehrObsession - Yeah, it seems that they are starting to actually function as a team now, Huh?

Maeglina - Well... I guess I do saga-ish well. ;) BRH was a saga. Thank you. :)

mareli - Yeah. But they each still believe that the other... you know. LOL. And looks like we have a long couple of months while they are apart coming up, then. :wink:

smokie - Pigheadedness can be a word if you want. It sure fits. :wink: As for asking Luke what he was going to say, well you know how Alison dominates a conversation. :wink:

I suggest that you read this chapter carefully. Something important is coming up. Hope you catch it.

Red Shift

Part 2

Chapter 29

He was laying on his back, naked, staring up at the ceiling, deep in thought. The blonde woman lay on her front, her golden curls spilling across his chest. While one of her hands teased at his manhood, one of his drew lazy circles on her back.

"That was great, babe," the blonde gasped.

"Yeah," the man with the boyish body nodded. "It would have been even better if we had made any progress with our... problems."

"Any one in particular?" Tess raised her eyes.

"Let's start with this mysterious faction that got in your way last year, when you were chasing down Zan. The ones that tried to kill him."

"Nothing," she shook her head. "We haven't found hide nor hair of them. We believe they have moved out of the state... maybe until they have their own reinforcements or something. But we'll keep on looking. We have patrols out almost constantly."

"What about that area in the Northwest. Did we ever discover the source of the resistance there?"

"We assume it was just another part of this other faction. The area is in the hands of the US Military now, and as it's not really necessary for us to hold it... I mean, I don't think Max ever went near there."

"Which brings us to the search for the seal."

"What can I say, Nik?" Tess rolled over and sat up. "Our scanners have found absolutely no trace of the seal. Nothing."

Nikolas narrowed his eyes.

"Could Zan have passed the seal on to Rath, or Vilondra? Michael, or... Isabel."

"No," Tess shook her head. "I mean, he could have, if he had known how, or if he had even thought of it. But they both died that night, too. So if either one of them had it, it would still have been there. We would have found it by now."

"So where is it?" Nikolas demanded. "Could he have hidden it somewhere?"

"Where?" Tess turned to look at him. "We've scanned every inch of New Mexico... I mean, New Antar and we have found nothing. And Zan hardly even left Roswell, let alone New Mexico, so I doubt..."

"He came to Copper Summit" Nikolas reminded her. "And he came to New York for the summit."

"We know he had the seal when he was in New York," Tess reminded him. "So he couldn't have hidden it at ant point up to then. And I don't think he set foot out of Roswell since. Wait. After I left, didn't he go to Utah? And to Los Angeles?"

"We had him followed," Nikolas shrugged. "He was looking for the ship. If he planned on returning home, he would have needed that seal. So he would have had to keep it. Besides. Zan was too cautious to just leave it anywhere, and too suspicious to leave it with someone he hardly knew. He would have kept it close to him. I take it you checked the grave of his bitch. Maybe he gave it to her?"

"First place I checked," Tess shook her head. "And the others, too. Nothing."

Tess stared into space, her mind playing with a concept that unsettled her.

"You don't suppose that he would have been stupid enough to leave it with those dupes, do you?" I mean, Rath and Lonnie, those Morons from New York. Or what about Ava? Maybe he left it with her because Parker trusted her or something?"

"No," Nikolas snorted. "He definitely didn't leave it with them."

"How can you be so sure?" Tess's eyes narrowed. "It's something he would have considered, because... I mean, they did come from the same DNA and shit."

"Hardly," Nikolas grinned. "They weren't even your dupes."

Tess was quiet for a moment.

"Excuse me?" she breathed at last.

"They weren't the second set of pods you told us about."

"I don't understand," Tess looked confused. "Then how..."

"We never did discover what use the second set of pods were for. Never found 'em, neither. But based on what we knew about Zan and his military strategy, we believed that they would be used as decoys. Someone to lure us away from the real set and the Granolith, to keep these ones safe. But no matter how hard we tried, we never found that second set. And your Nacedo was no help, either. He didn't know where they were taken, although he did believe that they were damaged. Maybe they never opened. Anyway, when Larek and the others demanded that summit, and stipulated that Zan be present, we took a calculated gamble that we could bluff Zan into giving up the Granolith and return home. We had already driven that wedge between him and his bitch, so why wouldn't he want to return?"

"But how... They looked so real."

"Remember a few years back, when Zan suddenly changed on you? How all of a sudden, he was always in your presence and not hers?"

"Yeah," she nodded. "She screwed Kyle and Max saw them."

"Yeah," Nikolas smirked. "But you don't know how that all came about, do you?"

"In all honesty, I don't really care. What does this have to do with the dupes?"

"I'm getting there," Nikolas laughed and rose from the bed. "Back after you guys rescued Zan from the FBI, and you managed to scare off that Parker bitch. You assured us Zan was as good as yours."

"Yeah, but..."

"And then she came back, and it really looked like he was not going to give up on her, and you were nowhere in the frame... so..." Nikolas took a deep breath. "Remember those Husks? The ones Courtney destroyed when you came riding into town? Well, we needed that Seal, and you really weren't making any headway, so we took two of them, even though they weren't quite ready and we kinda did a little modification on them."

"Modified how?" Tess narrowed her eyes.

"We managed to make one look like Zan as he was then, and another we made to look like how we figured Zan would look a dozen or so years older. The older one told her that he had come from the future, and that them being together caused everyone's deaths, as well as the destruction of the world."

"Oh, please," Tess rolled her eyes. "And she fell for that?"

"Not at first. And we suspected she wouldn't, which was why we made the second, younger Zan. The older one told her how certain things would happen and behold. They happened. Completely staged. He told her that 'her' Max would come by with a Mariachi band and guess what? Max and a Mariachi band turned up. Only it was 'our' Max, of course. She started to believe him, then. Anyway, because she loved him, she was willing to do anything to prevent that future from happening like we told her. But the real Max was resisting her attempts to break them up. We couldn't believe it when she came up with this plan. See... we told her that Zan would come to her, with tickets for a concert. A favorite band of theirs. Can't remember. We made up some crap about how the two of them fucked that night and never looked back, which is what sealed their fate. So she told Future Zan that if the younger him saw her in bed with her ex-boyfriend, he would finally get the message."

"So she fucked Kyle to deliberately break them up? What a slut! Hang on. How did you know Max would really turn up if you made that part of the story up?"

"That was the tricky part." Nikolas nodded. "We had someone start talking to Zan at that center where he worked... this place, actually. He brought up the subject of girls, and managed to drag the problems Zan was having from him. So this guy, full of sympathy, gives Zan these two tickets for a concert that night. Says he can't go 'cause of work problems. 'Course, they were fake. He was never going to use 'em anyway. So he tells Zan to use them to make things right. That he should get on over to his girl right away. Zan was so love struck, the stupid moron beat a line straight to her window, right on schedule and I guess caught them at it. The rest... is history. The stupid moron we had posing as the older Zan nearly blew it at the end though. He started to dance with her instead of making out like he disappeared. She might have twigged had I not had the foresight to rig a remote detonator to his valve."

"Wow. She came up with that part of the plan herself? And I never even thanked her," Tess smirked. "Great though the story is, what does this have to do with the Dupes?"

"After Courtney destroyed the Harvest, we managed to salvage a couple of Husks. We managed to convert them into replica's of Rath, Lonnie and Ava," Nikolas chuckled. "We pulled the same stunt twice. In order to convince Zan to help, we simply made out that the dupe Zan was dead, because neither of the 'Zan' husks survived."

"What happened to them?"

"One, we had to sacrifice to make Parker believe he had vanished as we said he would, and the other... it hadn't matured properly... and... nevermind. Anyway, in both cases, we needed you to stay out of the loop so that you acted... naturally. So you see, if Zan had given either Rath or Lonnie the seal, we would already have it in our possession. And we know that the traitorous bitch who played Ava never saw Zan after he left for the summit, so..."

"Okay, so... we know that Zan had the seal at the summit," Tess was tapping her cheek.

"Correct," Nikolas nodded.

"And there's another set of pods out there," her eyes narrowed."


"They could be wandering around right now."

"They could be," Nikolas continued to bob his head up and down. "But where?"

"So there's another Zan out there," Tess turned to face him. "Maybe the seal made its way to him."

"Impossible," Nikolas shook his head. "The seal is a physical entity, not a spiritual one. It has to be picked up and carried. It can't just disappear and reappear elsewhere. Someone would have had to have picked it up and taken it to the other Zan. I take it there were no unauthorized trespassers that night... other than that force?"

"No one," Tess shook her head. "So... so maybe this other set are the real set and this one was the dupe set. Maybe this Zan, Max, never had the seal."

"But, we all saw the seal," Nikolas frowned. "When Zan turned up at the summit. He was checked by the emissary. Zan had the seal."

"Oh, right," Tess rolled her eyes. "'Cause we both know that things like that can't be faked; that people can't be tricked into seeing what they want to see."

"Are you suggesting that someone mindwarped us?"

"Was bringing Max back from the future a mindwarp?"

"So you think it could have all been a ruse?" Nikolas's jaw dropped. "And that would explain why everyone thought that what you returned to Antar in was the Granolith."

So..." Tess was looking uncomfortable. "If the seal isn't here... and there's another set of pods out there somewhere... Maybe... maybe the Granolith is somewhere else, too. All these years and we've been played for fools." Her face went white. "Zan's out there somewhere. And this time... this time, he knows that it was me who betrayed him."

"Perhaps not," Nikolas shook his head. "He never knew for sure who betrayed him. This Zan sure didn't know. Why would the other one?"

"I can't help feel that we're missing something."

"Perhaps. So maybe the Granolith is somewhere else, too," Nikolas frowned. "Which would explain why our sensors haven't picked anything of that up."

"No," Tess shook her head, pulling herself from her dark thoughts. "The Granolith is here. I can feel it. Besides, there was no time for them to move it that night of the crash." She fell silent. "Do you want me to find Zan and try to convince him that I'm his 'destiny' again."

"Well, we did it once," Nikolas sighed. "And this time, there would be something going for you."

"What's that?"

"You already killed Liz Parker. What's the likelihood of lightning striking twice and him falling for some human girl?"

"I don't want to do it," Tess shook her head.

"Don't worry," Nikolas smirked. "There's three good reasons why it wouldn't be a good idea this time."

"And they are?"

"First, who knows how old they are? Maybe they're into their forties or fifties by now."

"That will make it easier, if anything," Tess countered, although she did not look happy. "How could he resist such young and tempting flesh as myself?"

"Two," Nikolas ignored her. "What if Ava from their set is with him and romantically linked?"

"Please," Tess shrugged. "Zan and I were never in love."

"And three... I do not relish the thought of you having to put out for that bastard again."

"How many times do I have to tell you," Tess walked up to Nikolas and put her arms around him. "I never put out for him in the first place. It was all smoke and mirrors. And a hint of warping and memory implanting."

Nikolas started to laugh.

"You know, from all the pain that you caused him... for nothing... I almost believe it was real, myself. You 'are' evil."

"And don't you just love it," Tess smirked.

Nikloas touched her face before turning away.

"Where are you going?"

"I need to see if we can sneak some teams out to hunt for Zan."

"Later, Nik," Tess started to touch herself. "How about you come and see to my needs a little more."

"Yeah," he nodded, licking his lips. "It's not like Zan's going anywhere."

There was a knock at the door. Tess pulled a sheet to cover herself as Nikolas, not bothering, called the visitor in.

"What is it?" he demanded when the soldier entered the room.

"Sir," he saluted. "My Lady. We thought you should know. We... We've detected the Granolith."

"About freaking time," Tess stretched on the bed. "Where did you find it?"

"Uh, no," he shook his head. "We didn't find it. We detected it. Someone has accessed its power. Someone's used it."

Tess sat upright, her face going deathly white.

"Oh, god!" her voice quaked. "Zan just used the Granolith. He's out there, he has the seal... and..."

"He knows how to use it," Nikolas's face was as white as Tess's. "This is not good."

* * *

President Holly Clayton sat at the head of the huge desk and looked around at the assembled statesmen and women around her.

"Good afternoon," she gave a nod. "Lets get started shall we?"

Around her, the assembled men and women nodded.

"Before we deal with the matter of the Hurricane approaching Florida's shores, let's start with the current situation inside the 'Alien Curtain', shall we? Johnathan?" She turned to the Secretary of State, Jonathan Teague. "What's the situation amongst our people in there? How are they holding up?"

"As you can imagine," he took a deep breath, "being inside the 'Alien Curtain' is not a good place to be. Thanks to your man on the inside, we have a steady stream of information, so we have a pretty good picture, at least, amongst the civilians. For the people who are too old, or too sick, or too weak to work, things are grim. It seems food is only doled out to those who work. The people try to ration their food, especially among family groups, but by necessity, those conscripted to work, especially in the mines get the lions share. Hospitals are filled to capacity and they have an acute shortage of medicines and facilities. Fortunately, the Skins have allowed all Doctors and Nurses to remain working rather than mining but it's not enough." He paused and took a mouthful of water. "The number of Capos..."

"Capos?" President Clayton interrupted.

"Yes," Jonathan looked at the president, a little shame faced. "It's the, uh, term they've taken to using for the human who work for the Skins. You know, traitors, quislings... whatever. They used the term in the Nazi concentration camps, for the inmates who worked for the Nazis. I guess those on the inside consider New Mexico is like a... giant... concentration camp."

"Arbeit macht frei," the Secretary of Defense, Avi Bernstein muttered, his face turning pale.

"Anyway," Johnathan Teague shifted in his seat. "Everyday sees the numbers of Capos swell. The promise of good food and their, uh... choice of... women..."

The room pulled a collected face of disgust.

"It's a lure," he continued. "And it's not just their choice of women. Enrollment as a Capo is not restricted to heterosexual males. These Skins are definitely an equal opportunities employer. Anyway, there's a small army of Capos."

"Is anyone taking their names?" Paula Kopinsky, the Attorney General asked.

"There's no need for that," Johnathan shook his head. "To help them recognize their own, the Skins tattoo their Capos. On their wrist, actually."

"Another link to the Nazis," Avi shook his head.

"I imagine that once we have removed the invaders, anyone found to have been a Capo will either surrender themselves to the authorities as fast as possible or they won't survive for very long without their new friend's protection."

The room fell silent.

"Have the resistance cells been set up?" President Clayton asked at last.

"Yes," he nodded. "And as your man suggested, they are all based around close family units. Families stick together and are unlikely to turn Capo or informer if it's likely to endanger their own relatives. At the same time, small militia units have been established. Again, as your man suggested, they are working closely with the local indigenous population. It's, uh, interesting to note that there is not a single Native American that works for the Skins. For the last year, they have all been training in the old ways. When the time comes, we will have a sizeable secret army, ready to strike from within when we make our assault."

"So what exactly are the Skins mining?" the president leafed through her notes to find the answer.

"They appear to be mining silicon," Johnathan continued. "It seems that they can use this to manufacture their aircraft and... tanks, or whatever they are. They make their guns and everything with them. It seems that this Silicon conducts their energy so efficiently that it magnifies their power. This can be used for either propulsion, or for their weaponry firepower."

"So... basically, they've been building up their forces?"

"Correct, Madam President," he nodded. "But only in terms of their vehicles. It seems they won't trust even their Capos with guns... and without alien powers, they couldn't use them in any case."

"And we know that our own weapons can take them out," Edgar T. Wallace the third, the General of the Army nodded. "They blow up just as effectively as our own tanks and APC's. It's their infantry we have trouble with. And their Air Force."

"Has there been any progress on that front?" the President turned to the General. "Their infantry, I mean."

"No," he shook his head in frustration. "Our problem is that we don't have any of those 'husks' to examine, or test against. But every soldier has received training on how to attack the special valve at the base of the Skin's spine. I believe that we'll be well prepared, even without any specialist weaponry."

"Okay," Holly Clayton nodded. "So basically, they have been building up their own forces. How are we doing with our own forces?"

"At present," the General rose. "We have only essential forces overseas now. Embassy staff for the most part. And we have withdrawn our Embassies from any country that shows any hostility toward us. We also impose sanctions against them using our own situation as justification. It also helps when we threaten that we will not pass on any technology that we develop to defeat the aliens. It's surprising how many people want to be our friends right now. It seems that even the most hostile of our enemies fears that they too might be invaded soon. Of course, this concern is helped by strategically leaked information. As for our armed forces, we have seventy percent of our army and airforce as well as the marines based in a cordon around New Mexico. All units have been issued with anti tank and SAM missile systems. We have also set up Patriot and SAM sites throughout all major cities of the US. To boost our numbers, we are rushing all training programs, in many cases, completing basic training while troops are garrisoned. We also have offered inducements to all ROTC units to get them into the army as fast as possible. Then there's our Planetary Defense Force. Volunteers are flocking in, including vast numbers from foreign countries. We keep these 'foreign' units rather isolated, for obvious reasons. All told, we estimate that these auxiliary forces have so far added another fifty per cent to our numbers. I would feel happier if we could count on air support when we do make our move, but as things stand, flying against their ships would be suicide, so we'll have to do it without them."

"Have we made any advances in that area yet?" the President looked to the General of the Air Force, Arthur Hollis.

"Not yet, no," he shook his head. "It seems that they can maneuver their ships with just their thoughts. We have nothing to compete with that, even if we could match their speed. However, when the time comes, we will not sit back and remain idle. We have the pilots training extensively in low level flying and close support for the ground troops. If those alien ships want to fight us, they'll have to come lower and within the range of General Wallace's SAM units."

"Has anyone been able to determine why the Skins were unable to secure the Chaco Canyons?"

"No. Ma'am," Avi Bernstein, the Secretary of Defense. "We have sent units of our Special Forces in to take a look and they have set up surveillance, but found nothing. We even asked the Native Americans to take a look, and they spent a whole week there. No one can see any reason for the Skins failing to take that region. The Native Americans claim that they feel like they are being watched, but as the ancestral spirits are strong there, perhaps it is simply that. Whatever, it seems that Chaco would be a good place to use as a spring board for an invasion."

"Probably not," Paul Anstolini, the Secretary of the Interior shook his head. "The seat of alien power is here at Roswell. This is where their leader, a young man called Nikolas, who is apparently, some great general from this Antar, and his... uhm, partner. Tess Harding. Or rather, Ava. Any invasion of New Mexico should be from as many points as possible to split their forces, while the main thrust should come from here..." He slapped the map at Bronco, Texas, on Highway 380."

"They'll be expecting that," General Wallace shook his head.

"Yes," Paul nodded. "Which is why we will also have a team on standby that will sneak into New Mexico through a back door. Our man is looking into that now, but he believes that it's there. And he doubts that a single Capo would even consider it."

"Madam President," a black suited member of the secret service approached her. "I've been asked to give you this."

Holly took the sheet of paper. Her eyes widened and she gave a brief smile.

"Well," she addressed the group. "It appears that we no longer need to discuss the Hurricane. Apparently, it has just turned due west and is heading into the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. It's strange that our own meteorological team didn't spot that coming. But I guess we can continue with the situation at hand. Are there any questions?"

"I have a question," Terrance Maynard, the Speaker of the House of Representatives leaned forward. "Madam President? I would feel a little happier if I knew just how it is that this James Valenti knows so much about the way these aliens think and work. I mean, how did he discover so much information, including the names and relationships of their leaders, and their roles on their home planet in the few hours he had between the initial assault and his subsequent escape from Roswell?"

"Are you suggesting that we can't trust him?" General Wallace shifted with discomfort. His manner suggested that he had been having the same consideration.

"I trust him," Holly shrugged. "He told me his story and I believe him. How he came to have this information is not relevant to our situation."

"With respect," Johnathan Teague looked at Terrance and nodded. "I rather think it is. We're going on so much faith right now. While it's true that his information has proved highly accurate, I really believe that we need to know just what it was that James Valenti told you."

Holly Clayton looked from one member of her cabinet to the next. All of their faces showed that they expected the truth from her.

"Well," she sighed. "I suppose it doesn't really matter, seeing as they are all dead. It all started a long time ago, when a boy fell in love with a girl."

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri May 05, 2006 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RED SHIFT - Part 2 Chapter 30

Post by WR » Fri Apr 28, 2006 3:25 pm

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all your comments. I'm glad that my twists and turns keep you guys interested. It seems however, that a vital piece of this story has nit yet sunk in. That's okay, because I will explain this later, including how it seems that our Max and co were the dupes after all. I think you might be surprised by how this all comes out.

youre my dreamgirl - Thank you :)

Maeglina - Well, N & T now "suspect" that there is a Zan out there and can access the Granolith, and they think that maybe they should look for him, And they will surely realize that the new Zan will be as secretive as the old and how would the Prez even know about them? AND the only podsters ANYONE knows about are the dead ones. The thing about people abusing Luke's power, no one knows about him... at least, no one who needs to know.

roswellluver - Thank you. :)

paper - Well... it's not that Zan can control the weather. Something else. As for women and weapons. I'm sure many women resisted, but it's funny what many will endure to survive.

Timelord31 - Why would they look for anyone? Even Valenti believes that they all died. Who would even imagine their rebirth?

roswell3053 - And guess what? Thats not the last twist regarding the dupe. :wink:

Emz80m - Well... not quite. He didn't seem to really know what he did, did he?

tequathisy - So it would seem. :wink:

ladylou - Thank you, and welcome from lurkdom. :) It's correct that they appear to be the second set of pods. As for the fourth... there's an important reason why she's not there. If you think about it, I'm sure you can see why.

omwf - Well, you know, you don't have to use that threat of London being close to Paris just for murder, you know. :wink:

VeronicaB - It certainly sounds like Valenti is in New ANTAR, and he seems to have a hand in setting up the resistance. As for the second Ava, they left her in the pod, remember? So... is she out there somewhere?

Ellie - I think that Valenti is having a huge hand in things, but remember that as far as they are all concerned, there are no 'good' aliens anymore.

frenchkiss70 - Were they an item from day 1? Well... maybe. We'll see. The FM thing, like the Summit, was an attempt to get Max to go home, WITH the Granolith. At this stage, I would have to say that yes, Max and co WER the dupes. Unless it turns out she was an alien on Antar and has as yet not appeared, Liz was never part of the plan, so no decoy. As for Julia... time will tell.

Roswelllostcause - Well, it seems that Tess believes Nikolas loves her. Who knows? Apart from me, that is. :wink:

mareli - Well, I am sure you will find those answers out soon. :)

aurorasky - Well, they need to find Luke before thay can 'dupe' him.

AJK001 - So it would seem, but the thing is, does he know that he used it? He doesn;t apper to.

smokie - Well... seeing as I wrtote this chapter waaay back (last year, in fact) then I would hope my hiatus had no affect. :wink: I think it's safe to assume that Luke knows nothing of the granolith, or what he did/can do. The President is only aware of the podsters who died. How could she know about Luke and co? How I will get them into the fight is going to be Part 3. But there is still a lot to happen in part 2, first.

And now we are back to Antar for a continuation of history.

Red Shift

Part 2

Chapter 30

The days flew by and with it, a flurry of activity seemed to sweep through the caves. The only ones allowed in the main chamber were Dalena, Hentz, Artan, Rath, Vilandra, Ava and four guards, specially chosen for their loyalty to King Deryn and to Prince Zan. And of course, there was Zan.

"We are the only people in the entire galaxy that will know of my plan," Zan spoke in a hushed tone, as though he was afraid his voice would echo all the way to Khivar. "And I hope that it will stay so, for our very lives depend upon this plan."

He paused and looked at each person in turn.

"Now, you may not be aware of this," Zan indicated Artan, "but Commander Artan was in charge of our survey ship, the Gem. He arrived on Antar just after the outbreak of hostilities. After parking the Gem in a cavern on a lower level, here on this island, he fled to Torania, where he joined up with my mother." Zan nodded at his Mom.

"Wait," Rath held up a hand. "You mean we have a ship? Is it armed?"

"It is, Rath," Artan answered for Zan. "But it's defensive canons only. There's no way it can be used to assault something that's heavily defended, especially if they have attack ships of their own."

"My plan," Zan continued, noting the look of disappointment on Rath's face, "is not to fight. My plan is that we shall take the ship, and run. We will fly to a planet far away from here to await the day that we can come and free Antar from the slavery that Khivar is subjecting everyone to."

"But when he asks for our answer, and we refuse to surrender, he will attack," Rath pointed out.

"Which is why we will surrender to him," Zan smiled.

"Uh, Zan?" Vilandra put her hand up. "How can we do both?"

"It's like this," Zan smiled. "When Commander Artan passed by the planet Earth in a distant galaxy, at my request he collected some DNA samples. Among other things. I had originally just planned to study it, but... Now, using the Seal," he tapped his head, "I have accessed the Granolith to provide me with information on how to create..." he looked around the room. "Clones."

The room remained silent.

"Of ourselves."

The room grew even quieter.

"So we're going to send clones in our stead," Rath narrowed his eyes.

"No," Zan shook away Rath's answer. "A clone would have no... mind. It would be a body, nothing more. The only brain activity would be the impulses sent out to keep the bodies organs functioning. It would be as though they were in a coma. Call me pessimistic but I think Khivar might notice the difference and smell a rat."

"So... these clones," Ava frowned. "What are they for?"

"The clones will be made from a mixture of the human DNA that Artan brought back and our own DNA. It will then be... blended with our... essences. You know... who we are, what we look like... that sort of thing. The clones will be placed into life support pods, where they will stay during transportation to the planet Earth. Once there, our four volunteers here, and Hentz who I will be assisting in the whole setup and creation, will set up a central base of operations where they can look after us until the Pods hatch, and then raise us and train us for our return."

"But you just said these clones will be... brain dead," Rath objected.

"Here's where the clever bit starts. As you are aware, the Granolith can send out these pulses, which is how it detects things. Ships, planets, that sort of thing. The returning pulse can bring with, certain... information. I have made a slight alteration so that it can send out a pulse and find the four of us, regardless of where we are. It will search for us every minute and check on our health status. Should it detect that we are dead, the pulse will return... with our soul. Or at least, the makeup of it broken down into series of binary logic."

"What?" Vilandra gasped. "It can do that?"

Zan gave a weak smile.

"This is where I need you to trust me, Vilandra," Zan took a deep breath. In theory, it can. In practice... I just don't know."

"Oh," she nodded, her eyes wide.

"So you're hoping," Rath's eyes were narrowed to two little slits, "that if Khivar breaks his word and kills you, the Granolith will find out, grab our souls and pull them back here where they will be placed in our clones, and then the rocket gets sent to Earth?"

"Close," Zan nodded. "The Granolith will grab our souls and pull it back to the space ship which will already be on its way to Earth. It launches when we speak to Khivar to give him our answer. The Comms activity will hide the departure of the ship."

"But..." Vilandra found her voice. "You just said the Granolith will pull it back to the space ship. That kind of implies that the Granolith will be on board."

"It will be, Lonnie," Zan smiled. "We're sending the Granolith away. We're taking it as far from Khivar as we can."

"The Granolith is here?" Rath's face fell.

"The ship will be loaded and ready to go by the time we surrender to Khivar," Zan continued. "With it will be all sorts of machines to help us, to implant our memories, our personalities... By the time we reach Earth, we will be ready and become ourselves. Assuming Khivar has betrayed us, that is. And in case he somehow finds out, we have a second set of clones. Backups. Duplicates. Decoys. Call them what you want. These four gentlemen," Zan indicated the soldiers, "will be our protectors. They will be undergoing certain modifications on board the ship. The Granolith will change them so that they can blend in better on the planet. They understand the reasons, and are wholly compliant with the idea. Thank you, gentlemen," Zan gave them a smile.

"One other thing," Hentz stepped to just in front of Zan and turned. "You will be in a hostile environment down there. And I don't mean the atmosphere. To help you all, we shall advance the human brain you will posses so that you can utilize the amazing potential that they posses but don't yet know how to access. In short, you will be better than they will. Stronger. But because they are so superstitious, so afraid of differences, you will be hated and vilified should they find out. Hide these abilities. Do not expose yourselves, under any circumstances. Avoid contact. Stay away. Do not meddle in their affairs. Trust only yoursleves. You will need to stay... detached."

"Detached," Rath nodded. "Avoid contact. Trust no one. Check."

"Any questions?"

"What about the seal?" Dalena spoke out. "If it is in your brain, then it will be here in Antar, where Khivar is bound to find it."

"The Seal comes out," Zan smiled. "It will be placed in my clone's brain."

"Zan!" Vilandra gasped. "You can't! You'll go mad, like Daddy."

"It's only been in for a while, Lonnie," Zan smiled. "It has to come out so that it can be placed in my clone."

"Will that work?" Dalena turned to Hentz. "I always believed that when the Seal detects a change of DNA, it would fight the host, at first. What happens if the host has no mind to fight back with?"

"That is a risk we must take," Hentz shrugged, "And something we will only know the first time that Zan tries to access the Granolith in his new form."

"I have a question," Vilandra whispered colse to Zan's ear. "Suppose Khivar keeps his word?"

"Then the ship gets recalled," Zan smiled. "Once I'm convinced that there is no threat to our lives... or to the Granolith."

"You know," Rath gave a small smile, interrupting the private conversation between the siblings. "I kind of hope that the sucker does betray us. This sounds kind of exciting."

Zan gave his friend a huge smile of gratitude.

* * *

"We've talked it over, Khivar," Zan remained as impassive as he could.

When you have always had access to something as amazing as the Granolith, there had never been any need to develop any kind of defensive radar. During the war, Khivar's forces had been forced to develop a basic scanning system, in case the Monarchists ever did gain access to some kind of sky ship. However they relied on radio waves, and the Monarchists had discovered that use of a radio, while being detected by the scanner, also blinded it during the transmission. It was this that Zan was counting on.

"And what is your decision?" Khivar's smile was tight.

The survey ship, Gem, slipped its mooring and eased itself out of its underwater cavern hanger and into the water.

"We've decided to surrender to you, Khivar," Zan kept his face straight.

Moments after leaving the cave, Gem broke the surface and accelerated upwards to escape Antar's gravity.

"You have made the right decision," Khivar started to nod. "All Antar will rejoice at your wisdom."

The ship glowed red, orange, yellow and then white as the heat built up against its leading edge as it pushed through Antar's atmosphere.

"We shall see," Zan sighed. "How do you want to play this?"

The bright light surrounding Gem vanished, to be replaced by darkness. Commander Artan looked through a viewing panel at the planet shrinking below him.

"May the Gods be with you, your majesty," he saluted. "I hope that I might serve you again, one day."

He turned to the bridge, pressed a series of illuminated panels and sat back into his seat.

"Prepare for Stellar Pulse," he spoke into a small microphone.

Moments later, the Gem vanished in a blur of white light, speeding its way to a small planet, thousands of light-years away.

"I'll send a ship," Khivar nodded. "I will have soldiers on board, so make sure that no one resists us."

"You overestimate us, Khivar," Zan gave a soft snort. "We have only four or five dozens with us."

"What happened to the rest of your armies?"

"Gone," Zan shrugged, "Killed in battle, deserted when the King was executed, or deserted when we decided to surrender. Many believe that this is a trap."

"You have my word, Zan. Your men will not be harmed, as long as they swear allegiance to me, now."

"We shall see," Zan looked at Khivar.

Rath gave him a thumbs up signal. Gem was safely away.

"Send your ship, Khivar. Let us end this folly and bring peace to Antar."

He broke off the transmission and turned to his mother. He hugged her tightly.

"Go," his smile was sad. "Rally those who will one day rise against Khivar. Keep the flag flying for the day I will return to Antar to lead us in battle."

"You sound like you already know that your souls will fly to Earth," tears trickled down Dalena's cheeks.

"I feel it, Mother," Zan whispered. "Khivar can not be trusted. If it does come to the worst, spread the rumors. Let the people know that Zan will return. He will return with those loyal to him at his side, and bring Antar and the other planets to a real peace where each has his own say."

"I will, my son," Dalena hugged him tightly. "I pray that the Gods will watch over you. I will pray that your stay on that planet will not be a lonely one. You will be surrounded by those who love you, and I know that you will one day make a fine King. I also pray that when the time comes, you will find the strength to leave your life down there behind to return to us."

"I will, Mother," he nodded. "I will return and be stronger for it. That, I promise."

"Come, Lady Dalena," one of her guards urged. "Khivar will be here within the hour and we must reach land before then."

Lady Dalena's boat was the last to leave. The few thousand soldiers who had already left did so with the orders to spread the word, that after Zan's execution, Zan would return, the once and future King. That Zan will one day redeem them all and return them to a life of peace and prosperity.

The history of Antar had just taken a dramatic turn.

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri May 05, 2006 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Red Shift Part 2 Chapter 31

Post by WR » Fri May 05, 2006 3:12 pm

Hi everyone!

Well, regarding that last chapter, I guess if I could quote a certain Prime Minister that this country had, then I would have to say... "This is not the end. Nor is it the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." :wink:

Aw, come on. I love history. What can I say? :wink:

Thanks for your comments regarding that chapter. I'm glad you enjoy these forays into the past. I was worried that posting them like this would lose momentum, but I'm glad I stuck to my guns. You might like to know that I wrote every word of ALL of these history chapters even before I wrote a single word for the rest of the story. :)

Arianneleigh - Well, that's the thing about plans. Even the best of them can go wrong. But just how wrong did the plan go?

roswellluver - Yes, as good as Zan was with military tactics, he was better with plans on a more grand scale.

omwf - Ah yes. Who made the non-alien clones? And who knew to make them when the first alien podsters were only about 8 or 9 years old? ( 8 or so years before Max healed Liz, who told Maria and Alex, and before Kyle was shot, and way before Isabel even knew Jesse...)

frenchkiss70 - I think Zan might have had a little help from the Granolith. He bore the seal (for a while) and so had access to information he wouldn’t have otherwise had. As for the rest of your comment... all I will say is, you nailed it. :wink:

Timelord31 - Ah yes... Because Luke is not the dupe, he is bound to feel more of a desire to abandon Julia than Max felt to abandon Liz. :wink:

roswell3053 - You are so close. You are missing just one little ingredient. Reread that history chapter, and then think again about your comments. Oh, and remember that the 'dupes' from NY was another of Nikolas's tricks. Read the chapter prior to that last one again.

paper - because the seal was never there???? :wink:

VeronicaB - Well, some amazing things start to emerge and so many questions will be answered. Oh boy, are you guys going to love it (or hate me... :wink:)

Roswelllostcause - As I said earlier, he did have help. As for cloning the humans, who indeed? They had to have been cloned at least 15 years ago, when Max was starting to watch Liz from afar.

BehrObsession - Thank you :)

tequathisy - Who says anything went wrong? :wink:

Red Shift

Part 2

Chapter 31

"So what about you?" Julia giggled down the phone line. She had already been speaking with Luke for an hour and had so far only talked about her and what she had been up to. "What have you been doing with yourself?"

Apart from missing you, Luke wondered?

"Well," he started to turn pink. "I played in my first game today."

"You did?" she squealed. Luke could imagine her bouncing up and down on her bed. "Come on, buster. Tell me all about it."

"I didn't start or anything," Luke shook his head looking down at his feet. "I came on as a substitute just after halftime. Danny, the regular starter, he got injured. So they, uh... sent me on in his place."

"That's great, Luke," Julia enthused. "I mean, I'm sorry that Danny had to get hurt, but I'm glad you got a chance to play at last. What was the score when you went on?"

"We were, uh, losing," Luke shrugged. "One to nothing. And we were getting kind of anxious 'cause..."

"And your team hadn't been beaten yet," Julia finished. "So how did you do?"

"Okay, I guess," Luke sat down on the edge of his bed.

"Anything good happen?" Julia laughed. Getting information out of Luke about things that he did was like getting blood from a stone.

"Well," he started. "I ran around a bit."

"No kidding," Julia rolled her eyes. "Luke! C'mon! Tell me what happened."

"I made a few good tackles..."

"I didn't think you could tackle in soccer," Julia interrupted.

"It's what we call it when you take the ball away from an opposing player," Luke told her. "By kicking it with your foot," he added hastily.

"Oh," Julia nodded. "Okay. So you made a few tackles, huh?"

"Well... yeah. I kind of stopped them from building up any more attacks, which meant that they didn't have anymore opportunities to score against us. I also started a few attacks of our own. You know, tackling the ball away from their player and making a couple of passes to set up chances of our own. That sort of thing."

"Sound's like you made a big impact," Julia had a huge grin.

"Yeah," Luke started to smile. "I guess the coach was impressed. Especially when I, uhm... kind of... scored the equalizer."

"What?" Julia squealed, falling of the bed. "You scored a goal! Oh, Luke! Well done! Tell me about it."

"Well," he leaned back against the headboard. "I just made a tackle on the edge of our penalty box. Tony was out on the left wing, screaming like a banshee to give him the ball. So I passed it high over the heads of their midfield right into Tony's path. So I started to run up field to support our attackers. Tony and Barry made a quick series of passes so that Tony got in behind their defense and put in this amazing cross for our attackers. But the big defender got to the ball first. He headed it out and it came straight to me. I kicked it before it even hit the ground and it kind of... went in. Lucky, really."

"Coming from you," Julia was buzzing with excitement, "that means that it was a perfect shot that left the goalkeeper no chance and just missed his finger tips as he tried desperately to stop it."

"Uh, yeah," Luke nodded with a shy grin.

"So what was the final score?"

"It was a tie. One to one."

"So you were the big hero, huh?"

"I guess," Luke nodded. "They kind of carried me off the field on their shoulders."

"Huh," Julia's mood seemed to change. "I expect the cheerleaders were all over you, right?"

She could not help her sudden overwhelming sense of jealousy as she saw a mental image of Luke being swamped by a horde or scantily clad, blonde and buxom cheerleaders, offering themselves to him... They got to see Luke in action and they got to flaunt themselves over him afterwards.

"I just wanted to get out of there," Luke shook his head. "I wanted to call you and tell you that I finally got to play."

Ever since the Hurricane threat, Luke and Julia spent time on the phone talking to one another. When they had to surrender the phone, they resorted to the computer, using the internet messaging service and a web camera to keep in touch. Although it was nice seeing their image, the sound of the other's voice was better. And in all of their conversations, neither of them brought up the subject of their respective soul mates.

"Oh," Julia broke out of her sour mood. "I forgot to tell you. I won't be around tomorrow night."

"Oh?" Luke raised an eyebrow. "Got a hot date?"

"Oh yeah." Julia laughed. "With my niece and nephew. I'm taking them trick or treating."

"Lucky you," Luke grinned. "I don't know any little kids so I don't get to go out and get lots of freebie candy. So what are you dressing up as?"

"I'm going to be a witch," she chuckled.

"A witch, huh?" Luke smirked. "A traditional ugly witch with warts and a beaked nose, huh? And long straggly, black hair."

"Nu uh," Julia teased back. "It's not so much a long, loose robe I'll be wearing but a short, tight mini dress with a plunging neckline. Oh, and high heels."

Hundreds of miles north, Luke was starting to burn a bright green color.

"You should, uh... go traditional, Jules," he managed to squeak. "You know, in case you spoil it for the kids, huh?"

"You're not a little jealous, are you?" Julia started to twist the phone cord around her fingers with a sly smile.

"Uh, no," Luke lied.

"Luke?" Julia's voice dropped to a low whisper. There was a hint of pleading to it. "Is there any chance you could come down for a visit any time before Spring Break?"

"I'd like to, Jules," Luke sighed. "I really would. But I really don't think it's possible. I'll ask, but I don't think..."

"Okay," she nodded in a whisper. "Uhm, my Mom's making funny signals with her finger and her throat. I think it's time to go."

"Okay," Luke nodded. "I'll speak to you... soon."

"Yeah. Bye, Luke."


Long distances sucked.

* * *

There had been a change in their friendship. It had only been subtle, but things were not the same. It seemed to start on Halloween when Julia had been unavailable because of her trick-or-treating with her niece and nephew. They had started talking every other night from that time. And then, with Luke being involved in his soccer games and extra training, that soon changed to only three times a week. And now, because of a road trip for Luke's soccer team, they had not spoken in a week, not even a text message. Luke could not have felt more miserable. Neither could Julia. In both cases, they each believed the other to be involved with someone else. But as soon as he got home, there was one thing Luke had to do, before anything else.

"Hi, Julia," he beamed. "I just got home. Did you miss me?"

"You bet!" Julia felt elated that he had called. "How are things with you?"

"They're pretty good," he nodded, wishing he could tell her how he felt. Their silence was hurting him. "How about you?"

"Great," Julia smiled, wishing that the distance between them was only measured in mileage. "I've missed talking to you, Luke."

"Yeah," Luke agreed. "Me too. I don't like it when we can't talk to each other. I'm sorry if I made you feel bad."

"It's not you, Luke," Julia sighed. "It's just..." How could she explain? She couldn't. "So how did it go?"

"It went well, actually," he grinned. "I started every game."

"You did?" Julia started to bounce with joy. "Luke, that's great. How did you do?"

"Personally? Or as a team?"

"Let's start with the team. How did you do as a team?"

"We went undefeated," Luke shrugged as though there had never been any doubt.

"That's terrific," Julia rolled her eyes. "So how did you do, personally?"

"I uh, started every game, as I said..." he nodded. "And I uh, scored a few goals. Well, more than a few, actually. I scored two goals in each game and uhm... three in the last one."

"So," Julia giggled. "I expect you're the hero, huh?" She was glad that cheerleaders didn't go on road trips.

"It's uh... the homecoming dance tomorrow."

"Oh," Julia's blood went cold. "Right." She tried to sound light. "I expect you'll be on the arm of the Homecoming Queen, huh?"

Luke made no reply. Tears stung Julia's eyes as she realized that he was in fact, going to be the date of the Homecoming Queen.

"I expect she's the Head Cheerleader, huh?" Julia tried hard to sound like she was teasing him. "Blonde? Big breasts?"

"Yeah," Luke nodded. "Actually, Tamzin is the head cheerleader, she is uh, blond, and I guess she is rather, uhm... well developed." But not at all what he wanted in a girl. All he needed was Julia.

Julia wondered how long Luke had been dating her and if that was why they had not been talking as much, lately.

"Luke?" her voice sounded quiet. "You know this soul mate of yours? Do you think she would appreciate you seeing these other girls?"

"It doesn't mean anything, Julia," Luke sighed. "It's just a dance. I'm not dating her or anything."

Julia felt a little better at that.

"And in any case," he continued. "I'll probably come home early. I'm kind of tired anyway. You know, with training, and playing and having to keep up with my school work." Not to mention, honing his powers in secret. "Dances like this... they're not my thing, you know? I'd much rather take 'you' to dinner and maybe a little dancing after."

"Really?" Julia breathed.

"Listen," Luke sounded energized. "We're one win away from the state championships and we have a really important game coming up. Against our arch rivals, actually. We have identical records and it's a huge game. It should be an amazing game. And I was wondering... well, hoping, really. I was hoping that maybe you could... uhm, you know, maybe come up and sort of... uh, maybe watch me play?"


"You could stay with Leia. And Alison, too, cause she's coming up. And so is Anders and Lyle and Raul... and Allan and Debra are coming to the game, too... and ... Julia?"

"I'll ask, Luke," Julia sighed. "But I don't think it's going to happen. My parents are kind of old fashioned. And besides, I have my own homework too, you know."

"Oh," Luke sounded deflated.

There were a few moments of uncomfortable silence.

"Julia? Are you cross with me for some reason?"

"Why should I be?" her voice was a little cooler than normal.

"No reason," Luke shook his head. "You just seem... a little off."

"I'm tired, Luke," Julia fought back her tears. "I could use a good night's sleep. That's all."

"Okay," Luke nodded. "Maybe I should go then. Let you get some sleep."

"If that's what you want." She couldn't believe she was treating Luke like this.

Luke made no reply. They both remained silent.

"Jules?" his tone was soft and caring. "I'm sorry if I said something to upset you, okay?"

Julia wanted to cry.

"You get a good night's sleep and I'll call you tomorrow."

"Yeah, sure," she rolled her eyes. "Have fun with blondie."

Julia hung up immediately and ran to her bedroom, sobbing her eyes out. She felt bad that she had treated Luke so poorly, but the merest thought of him with someone blond and well built, things she was not, it just hurt too much. There was only one thing for it. She returned to the telephone and punched in the well remembered numbers.

"Hello?" the voice at the other end answered.

"Oh, Alison," Julia wailed. "What am I going to do?"

* * *

Normally, Luke avoided any form of shopping expedition, especially with Leia or Debra. But this was different. The shopping Mall was strewn with the festive lights and decorations that proclaimed that Christmas was on its way. Luke had asked Debra to come to the Mall with him in order to assist his purchase of a most important present. One that he hoped would help bridge the gap that had opened up between him and Julia, a gap that he hated more than anything else. He wanted Debra to help him find the perfect Christmas present.

"What is it you are looking for, exactly," Debra asked him after they had visited a number of different stores.

"I'm not really sure," Luke frowned.

He picked up an expensive bottle of perfume.

"What about this?" he called Debra over. "Do you think she will like it? I mean... it's not over the top, is it?"

"You really like her, don't you?" Debra smiled.

"Yeah," Luke nodded. "I just wish... I wish she wasn't so head over heels in love with someone else. Maybe then I could get her to notice me."

"How do you know she hasn't already noticed you?" Debra remembered her conversation with Julia last summer.

"She didn't come up to that Championship game," he shrugged. "Everyone else did."

"Well... from what I saw in Florida, she noticed you, Luke."

"Yeah," Luke ducked his head and scratched his ear. "But this other guy..." He waved his hand. "So is this too much, do you think? She won't think I'm trying to be... you know..."

"Buy it from your heart, Luke," Debra placed her hand on Luke's. "Give it to her honestly. That will say it all."

"I want something that will let her know that in spite of the things that have been going on between us, she's still important to me."

"Why?" Debra gave him a hard look. "What's been going on between you?"

"I really don't know," Luke sighed. "I figure I must have done something wrong because she's gone all distant on me. But I really don't know what."

"Maybe she thinks she's lost you to someone else and doesn't know how to react to you."

"But I haven't!" Luke blurted. "I mean... I told her about how I had to take Tamzin to the dance that time... Do you think that's why she wouldn't come up to watch that game? 'Cause she thought she would see me with someone else?"

"Maybe," Debra placed a hand on his shoulder. "But maybe her parents wouldn't let her come. I think I know what the biggest problem is between the two of you, though."

"What's that?" Luke looked hopeful.

"Communication," she smiled. "You two are so afraid of hurting the other that you don't say what you really want, or mean. Maybe that should be your present to her. Communication."

"What? You mean, like a cell phone or something?" he shook his head. "She already has one."

"No, Luke," Debra rolled her eyes. "Give her the truth for Christmas."

"Oh," Luke looked down at the ground.

* * *

"Merry Christmas, Luke," Julia called down the phone after calling him at the earliest opportunity.

"Merry Christmas, Julia," Luke was grinning. "Thanks for your present. It was great."

"You like it?" she smiled. "I wasn't sure what else to get you, and I remembered how you were looking at them that time in town..."

"I love it," Luke glanced at the stack of CD's from the last decade. They were full of tracks from bands such as Counting Crows and Gomez. I've already played one of them. How about your present? Did you like it?"

"Oh, Luke," she gushed. "It was fabulous. Thank you so much."

"So you like it?"

"I love it. In fact, I'm wearing it right now." She looked around to check where her parents were. "That's all I'm wearing," she whispered.

"Julia!" he gasped.

"I'm kidding, Luke," she started to laugh. "Besides, that's another brand. And I can't wait to wear it for you when you come to visit me again."

"And I can't wait to smell it on you," he grinned.

"We're having a big party for New Years," Julia told him. "Is there any chance you could come down for it?"

"I really want to, Jules," he sighed. "But Allan has a big works party he has to attend. It's a family thing, so..."

"Oh," Julia's smile faded. She knew that he was paying her back for not coming up to his soccer game. "Well... if you have to go then, I guess you have to go, huh?"

"Sorry," Luke's voice deflated.

"Oh, Luke, you know what? My Mom's calling so I have to go now, okay? Bye."

As Luke listened at the end of the line to the silence that she had left in her place, he wondered what had happened to their friendship.

* * *

Her Christmas had been the most miserable one she could ever remember. Seeing as there had only been two of them... Her friendship with Luke was on its last legs. She had treated him rather badly, but then, he hadn't exactly been keen to see her again in any case. He hadn't even called her since their last conversation on Christmas day. And he hadn't once appeared on line. She had stared at his name, blocked of course, for ages, willing him to log on to see if she was around. But he hadn't. New Years Eve appeared all too soon, and she was now attending the huge party that the Chamber of Commerce was throwing. Trying to enjoy herself, she had danced a few records with Richard Madly, but it was hardly the same thing as dancing with Luke. Still, he was pleasant company and it did make the other girls look at her with envy. And he kept Kevin Bryly, the waiter from the Indian restaurant who had been pestering her for a date all semester, away. But even Richard was starting to make her feel claustrophobic with his constant attention so she had retreated to the ladies restroom for a bit of respite. In only another few moments, the year would come to an end. A year in which she had found, and lost the love of her life and never once sampled it. Her cell phone started to ring and she answered it without checking the display.

"What!" she barked a little testily.

"Julia?" Luke's voice filled with concern. "Is everything okay?"

"Luke!" she breathed, her spirits soaring high. "You called."

"Of course I did," he laughed. "Look, I'm sorry I can't be with you, you know, physically. There's no where else I would rather be than with you, but this thing we had to come to... It's important to Allen."

"Are you having a good time?"

"It's okay, I suppose," Luke shrugged.

"Are there any girls there?" her voice tightened.

"I haven't really noticed," he shook his head. "I think Tamzin's here somewhere, but to be honest, Jules. I'm really trying to avoid her. Ever since that dance, she's been trying to get me to go out with her, and I'm really not interested."

"Really?" she was feeling better already.

"Really," he nodded. "I would much rather spend time with you, than her, even if it is only on the phone."

They continued to talk, catching up with each other. There had been so much that they had missed.

"I'm sorry to hear you didn't make the State finals," she sympathized.

"We had a great season, Jules," Max grinned, "I won the team's MVP award, and I had a blast playing, so the State finals weren't that important to me. Maybe next year."

"Absolutely," Julia laughed. "And maybe, you know... this time, I could get up to see you play."

"I'd like that, Julia. I'd love to take you to our Homecoming Dance next year."

"Talking of which," she looked at her watch. "It's nearly midnight, Luke. Do you want to get back to see the New Year in with your family?"

"I'm with the person I want to see this New Year in with, Julia," Luke spoke with a tight hoarseness. "At least... in spirit."

Together, over the airwaves, Luke and Julia counted down the seconds together. As fireworks erupted in both Raleigh and Siesta Key, and while everyone was shouting 'Happy New Year!' at the top of their lungs, the two teenagers sat in a contented silence. A kind of electric charge swept through them.

"Happy New Year, Jules," Luke finally spoke.

"Happy New Year, Luke," she breathed back. "Did you feel that?"

"Like some kind of static charge?"


"I did," Luke nodded.

"Do you think that was normal?" she wondered out loud.

"I don't think our... friendship could ever be classed as normal, Julia," Luke smiled.

"Well," she grinned. "Who wants normal anyway? Normal is for other people. Not us."

Together, Luke and Julia laughed the early stages of the brand new year away.

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri May 12, 2006 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RED SHIFT - Part 2 Chapter 31

Post by WR » Fri May 12, 2006 4:30 pm


Doesn't Friday come around quick? As always, a huge thank you for all of your wonderful comments. I know things are a little frustrating right now, but trust me... things are starting to speed up now. I hope that you will enjoy these next few chapters as they (and one in particular) will reveal so much to you. :) And what a huge shock is coming your way! I really hope it will surprise you. :wink:

youre my dreamgirl - frustrating, aren't they? :wink:

Ellie - Well, I "could" have thrown them together right from day 1, but then my story would have been finished now and you would not have had all that summer fun... :wink:

Timelord31 - Oh, Spring Break is one complete barrel of monkeys! :wink:

paper - I think it might be more along the lines of something more significant. :wink:

Emz80m - Jules is coming to terms wqith something Liz never really had to. Jealousy. And, may I add, no differently than the 15 year old girls I remember from my youth. :wink: I was always in the wrong, even when I didn;t even know that I was. 'Cause I should have just known. :wink:

roswllluver - Well... rest assured that they DO get together. Eventually. :wink:

roswell3053 - Yes, first part correct. YOu have just missed the clue about the seal. The second part, you are very very close. And you are a little off with Kal's role. As for the appearance of the humans... then you need to do a little more research about a certain term related to this story. :wink:

omwf - Ooops... never meant to increase the confusion... but then, maybe I did. :wink:

tequathisy - Well, just remember that she is still only 15... and the thought of a buxom blonde... Need I say more? :wink: That and those damned hormones.

lazza - Yes, absolutely.

VeronicaB - LOL.... you wouldn't really hate me, would you? :wink:

BehrObsession - Byt their problems spring from the fact that they each believe the other to be in love with someone else, and each dreads the day that they meet up with significant other, which we all know is each other. :wink:

smokie - Computers? Infernal? :wink: As for Luke, I guess he only gave her the perfume after all. :wink:

Roswelllostcause - Yes! Julia cannot see that Luke really cares for her because she believes that he is in love with someone else, and she wont say anything herself, because she is afraid that she will lose her friendship with Lukje, painful though it is. And the same for Luke.

Red Shift

Part 2

Chapter 32

As January grew old, Luke and Julia's friendship seemed back on at least an even keel, even if Julia did seem a little distant and preoccupied a few times when they talked on the phone. But at least they were talking. Luke valued her friendship, even though he knew that one day, he would have to give her up when he finally had to face whatever mission he had been sent here for. The first indication that that time was nearer than he would have otherwise wished was when the plain white envelope with the single word, 'Luke' arrived.

"What is it?" Hans demanded.

"Sorry," Luke smirked. "I discovered last summer that X-ray vision isn't among my repertoire of powers."

"Ha ha," Hans sneered. "Open the frigging thing already."

Luke slipped his finger under the gummed flap and slid it along the edge, tearing the envelope across the top crease. Inside he found a Christmas card.

"Great," Leia rolled her eyes. "Either someone sent us their card late, or else very, very early. Who's it from?"

"Lucas," Luke read the single word on the card before looking inside the envelope again.

"Well someone should buy that man a calendar," she shook her head. "Talk about an anticlimax."

Both Hans and Leia were turning away.

"Wait," Luke called. "What's this?"

From inside the envelope. Luke pulled out an impossibly thin piece of paper. It was so thin, no normal human would have spotted it inside the envelope. It was completely blank, however.

"It must be something," Hans was getting excited. "You don't just slip something that thin inside a Christmas card. Maybe there's a message written in invisible ink. Don't we need to heat the thing with an iron to make the lemon juice go brown, or something?"

"Very good, Hans," Luke smirked. "You learned something useful from all those comics after all."

"I'll go get the iron," Leia held back her laughter.

"Somehow, I don't think that's the answer," Luke shook his head. "Lemon juice is great for human invisible ink... but I think this might be something else."

Concentrating, Luke passed his hand over the paper. The first thing that happened was that the imprint of a silver hand appeared. Looking at the others for the encouragement to continue, Luke placed his hand upon the print. It was an exact match. The imprint disappeared to be replaced by thin, spidery writing.

"That's one heck of a secret message," Leia whispered. "Whoever sent it sure didn't want just anyone reading it."

"Happy New Year," Luke read. "Recess is over, it's time to start the real preparation. Hone your existing powers. Experiment with them. Look for new ways to use them. Start thinking outside the box. Work on your strength, too. The best way to do that is through exercise. And because your powers come from your mind, that's what you should exercise the most. The time is getting on and you need to be ready."

"That's it?" Hans narrowed his eyes when Luke had remained silent for a moment. "Nothing about those aliens in New Mexico?"

"Nope," Luke shook his head, checking the other side of the paper. "That's it."

"Well, it's something, at least," Hans had a look of ecstasy. "The time is coming and we have to get ready. Right? I'll drop all contact with Alison, now. This doesn't concern her. You guys should do the same. We can't have any distractions now, and those guys aren't involved in this. It's not like they can help us, anyway. We need to make plans for training. Like the man said, we need to start thinking outside the box. This is really it."

He stopped and stared into space for a moment. He then turned to Luke.

"You told me that when the time came, I could trust you to do the right thing."

"Yeah," Luke nodded with a sigh. "And maybe you're right. This is it. This is that time."

"So from now on, after school," Hans watched Luke with suspicion, "we'll head on out to that abandoned quarry and practice. Agreed?"

"Agreed," Leia nodded.

"Agreed," Luke copied his sister. "Except for one thing. I'm not dropping any contact with Julia. You said it yourself, Hans. She's good for me."

* * *

The old quarry was a few miles out of town. The path to get there was so bad, it was highly unlikely that anyone had been there in decades. There was a single peak above the quarry from which a person could see all around them. So while two of the trio practiced in the quarry below, the third stood watch to make sure no one came upon them while they were exhibiting their powers.

Over the following weeks, both Luke and Leia were showing perfect control. Already stronger than they could have imagined, their strength grew day by day. Luke could narrow his destructive beam so tightly that he could drill the smallest of holes clear through solid rocks and the rusted metal beams. He could also lift heavy rocks over twice his body weight and throw them a dozen yards or more. His healing was amazing. He had such a fine control on it, he could heal small animals without having to make any mental connection to them, although he did still leave the imprint of his hand upon them still, at least, for the major injuries. Luke had also discovered that he could manipulate the molecular structure of any inanimate object great distances away, as long as he was touching something that ultimately touched his target. Another of Luke's abilities was a shield. And he found that he could shape this shield as a wall in front of him, an umbrella over him, or as a small hand held force, like a shield a knight might carry. He had also discovered that by moving it in a certain pattern, it bent light waves around him, causing him to vanish from sight unless someone was intently searching for him.

For her part, Leia was getting so good with her dream walking, that she could enter the dreams of anyone whose mental image she could recall. She could also step into the consciousness of people who were awake, plucking thoughts from their innermost recesses. Hans and Luke both quickly learned that they could block her from seeing into their minds and now practiced this as a matter of course. Both had things they would rather keep secret from their sister. Another of Leia's abilities was discovered quite by accident. In the same way that she would 'read' a person's thoughts, she could 'write' them. Leia was able to plant 'suggestions' into people's minds. While there were those who seemed naturally immune to these suggestions, she also discovered that she could not make someone do something that they would not normally do. It did come in useful when she wanted to prevent a certain jock from asking her out on a date.

Hans, however, seemed to slide backwards. The only control he showed constant prowess with was the mind shield that prevented Leia from reading, and from writing his thoughts. He was even struggling to blast rocks. He was once so destructive that even Luke could not better him, although he tended to approach them differently. Luke exploded them from the inside, a trick he learned from the film, Armageddon. It seemed that the harder Hans concentrated, the less control he had.

"It's been like this ever since you broke contact with Alison," Luke pointed out as they cycled home after their latest practice. "That wasn't the wisest thing you've done. Leia and I both show good control and neither of us stopped speaking to our friends."

"I suppose," Hans grunted.

"Give it up, bro," Luke shook his head. "Give Alison a call and get back on board."

"Yeah," Hans nodded with a heavy sigh of defeat. "Maybe you're right. I'm going to have to grovel big time, aren't I?"

* * *

"Are you okay, Jules?" Alison asked during one of her regular phone calls with Julia. Like Luke, Alison and Julia kept close contact with each other. "You've been sounding a little low since New Years,"

"I'm..." Julia hesitated. "I'm okay," she finally finished.

Alison knew that Julia was going to say that. She just knew that something big was bothering her friend.

"I guess it's this thing with Luke. I mean... God, I hate long distances. And it's not like I'm even dating him or anything. We're just good friends, you know? Really good friends. But I really miss him, Alison."

"Cheer up, Jules," Alison soothed. "Spring break is right around the corner and we'll all be there soon."

"You're coming up too?" Julia perked up a little.

"Heck, yeah," Alison grinned. "Try keeping me away. Besides. I think my chica could use some one on one Alison time."

"I think you're right," Julia gave a sad sigh.

* * *

Alison was the first to arrive in Siesta Key, turning up on the Friday night only hours after school had let out. She called Julia immediately and the two friends met up at the same bench on which they cracked those jokes about the Star Wars connection to Hans and Luke.

"Chocolate chip wookie," Alison smirked.

"Laughing at Luke doesn't seem appropriate now, somehow," Julia shook her head.

Alison waited for Julia to continue, but she remained silent.

"Oh," she smirked. "I've got some news for you."

"What's that?" Julia didn't sound happy at all.

"I went on a few dates over the last few months."

"You did?" Julia looked surprised. "Oh."

"Well, a week into the New Year, Hans went all silent on me again so I thought... tough. It's not like I don't have my share of guys interested in me."

"So you haven't heard from him at all since then?"

"Oh, yeah," Alison nodded. "He called me up the other night about two weeks ago and said that things had just gotten on top of him for a while. At least he did have the good grace to actually mumble a 'sorry'."

"So..." Julia took a deep breath. "How are things between you two, now?"

"Oh, okay, I guess," Alison shrugged. "I mean, he's no Luke, right?

"Uhm, no," Julia agreed with a weak smile. "He's certainly no Luke. But did you tell him?"

"Tell him what? That I went on a date or two?" Alison shrugged. "It's not like he's shown any interest himself. But I'll tell you one thing that should be fun."

"What's that?"

"When Spring Break is over, we're not flying straight home to Jackson. Instead, Dad has a Monday morning meeting somewhere else. And because I don't go back to school 'till Wednesday, we're going with him. So when Spring Break is over, we're flying north to... Raleigh."

"No!" Julia gasped. "Really?"

"Uh huh," Alison nodded with a huge grin. "And Allan and Debra are putting us up. Isn't that so cool?"

"Lucky you," Julia's face fell. "You get to see their home and... you get to see Luke's welcoming committee."

"I've already seen their home, Jules," Alison told her softly. "And as for a wel..."

"That's right," Julia interrupted. "You went up to see him play his soccer game. Did you have a good time?"

"It was awesome, Julia," Alison grinned. "We had so much fun up in the stands, acting like Luke's personal cheer leaders. And he played so well, too. It was a pity they lost, but he was easily the best player. And afterwards, all the cheerleaders wanted to hug him and stuff but he just blew right past them to join us. And they like just shrugged and looked disappointed. Like they were used to him doing that to them. Julia, it's like I keep telling you. Luke has eyes only for one girl."

"Yeah," Julia nodded. "That girl he met last Spring Break"

"No, you doofus," Alison rolled her eyes. "You. When are you going to get it into that pretty little head of yours? He may have met someone he thought he was in love with, but then he met you. And she's been history ever since. Ask him if he ever sees her anymore? And who did he see the New Year in with? Her? And how can he ever talk to her if he's always on the phone to you? Julia? This is your early morning wake up call."

Julia fell silent.

"You still hear from Luke, right?"

Nodding, Julia started to cry.

"What's up, babe?" Alison frowned at her friend. "You've had a long face ever since I got here. Something up between you and Luke? Did he do something to..."

"It's not Luke," Julia looked up with tears in her eyes. "It's me. It's something I've done?"

"What did you do?" Alison's voice was quiet.

"I feel so trapped," Julia started to sob. "And the thing is... I don't even know how it happened. And I don't know how to get out of it."

"By Luke?" her eyes narrowed. "You want to end things with Luke? Not that they ever started, really."

"No," Julia tried to wipe her eyes. "Not Luke. Someone else. I only had a few dances with him, but... And I think my parents thought I liked him or something. And he keeps asking me out in front of them, and I try to say no, but my Mom or my Dad, they say I would be happy to. So I've had to go out on dates with him. It's like they're forcing us together or something. I try to tell them, but they just don't listen. And I tell him that it's only casual, that I just see him only as a friend, but I really don't think he listens. I thought, at first, he saw it that way too, you know, 'cause he has all these plans. But lately, it seems his plans include me, too."

"Whoa, whoa," Alison grabbed Julia's arms. "Are you telling me you have a boyfriend now?"

"No!" Julia snapped. "He's not my boyfriend! You're just like the others. You don't listen. We haven't even kissed, Alison. I don't want to date him, but I keep on getting trapped or pushed into it."

"Well..." Alison took a deep breath. "So you went on a few dates. You're only fifteen. It's not like your engaged or anything. No harm in that, right? I mean, now that Luke's back on the scene you can tell this guy that you've met someone else."

"I've already told him I don't want to date him. Dozens of times. But like I said, he just doesn't listen."

"Well," Alison smiled with sympathy. "Maybe he'll get the message when he sees you hanging all over Luke during Spring Break, right?"

"Except that Luke and I are just friends and I would never hang all over him." Julia started to sob again. "And after I went all jealous on him and that bimbo he never even dated. Oh, god, Alison. Luke's going to hate me."

"Luke could never hate you, Jules," Alison sighed.

"It's just... sometimes, when Luke called, it was just as I was about to leave, or just as I got back, and... I felt so guilty, you know? And I didn't know what to say, and..."

"Want me to come with you to speak to this guy?" Alison hugged Julia. "Trust me. He'll listen to me."

"It wouldn't do any good," Julia shook her head. "Richard's away for Spring Break. He's gone to some army camp in Texas for some training course. Exams and something," she waved her hand aimlessly.

"Richard?" Alison's eyes widened. "Julia, please tell me that this Richard guy isn't some ROTC junkie who's got this great ambition to be some hot shot officer or something."

"Yeah," she nodded, wiping her eyes. "Richard Madely. Why?"

"Oh, god," Alison squeezed her eyes shut and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Last spring break, Luke and Hans were totally humiliated at some paint ball thing by this Richard and his posse. And he kept rubbing their noses in it at their birthday party. Luke really hates the guy, which is just so unlike Luke. There's no one you could have dated that would have made Luke feel worse."

"Oh no," Julia wailed, tears streaming down her face. "After I treated Luke so badly 'cause he had to go to that dance with that cheerleader, he's going to think I did this as pay back. He's going to think I'm deliberately trying to humiliate him."

"Jules," Alison urged. "I don't care how you do it, but you better make sure this guy knows it's over before Luke finds out. 'Cause you know what Luke's going to think, don't you."

"What's that?"

"Your soul mate?"

Julia's eyes widened and she burst into tears again.

"What am I going to do, Alison?" she wailed. "How can I face Luke ever again? It's like I've deliberately betrayed him in the worst possible way."

"Well... let's fight the fires when we have to," Alison was in thought. "Like I said, you have to let Richard know it's over and whatever you do, don't say anything to Luke."

* * *

"Good to be back, kids?" Omi greeted Hans, Luke and Leia along with Allan and Debra when they arrived in the middle of Saturday morning.

"Yeah," the three teens responded, though there was hardly any evidence of enthusiasm.

"Well," Omi grinned. "Get your things packed away and you can go off and find your friends."

Hans and Luke helped Leia carry her things up to her room.

"I can understand why I'm a little apprehensive," Hans confessed to Luke. "Seeing as Alison is bound to give me a hard time over going silent on her for a while. But what's up with the two of you? I thought you guys would be buzzed over meeting the others again. Especially you, Luke."

"I am, I guess," Luke nodded. "It's just... Sometimes when I've spoken to Julia, it's like... it's almost as though she doesn't want to talk to me. I mean, other times it's okay, it's just... Do you think maybe she's getting fed up with me?"

"It happens," Leia shrugged. "but I just don't see it with Julia. Maybe you're imagining it."

"So what's buggin' you?" Hans turned to Leia.

"Do you think the way I'm treating those three is fair?" she asked.

"In what way?" Luke looked up at her.

"I mean, I like all three of them, and all three of them like me. But I can't decide which one I like the most, okay? And by not deciding, all three of them are stuck in some kind of limbo, waiting for me to make up my mind."

"Have they complained about this?" Luke gave her a sympathetic smile.

"No," she shook her head. "It's just... Ugh! I hate all this secrecy!"

"Ditto," Luke sighed.

* * *

The gang's meeting place was still Scoops, even though there was as yet, no waitress service. Julia was working the evening shift, so they all sat at a table near to the doorway to enable her to join in with the conversation from time to time.

"So I hear you three are all rooming together," Alison was looking at Raul, Anders and Lyle.

"Yeah," Anders nodded. "We all met up at the airport and drove down with my parents. Makes sense if you ask me."

The strange trio had built up a peculiar friendship over the winter and at Luke's soccer game, they had even stripped off their shirts to reveal the letters 'L', 'U' and 'K'. When they discovered that Hans had chickened out, they had been forced to replace their shirts, but not before Lyle tried to persuade Leia to join them as their 'E'.

"Here's your ice cream, guys," Julia brought out a tray stacked with their orders. As she moved around the table delivering their treats, she kept glancing at Luke, and then looking away again. "Just don't expect this kind of service every time or else Mr. Faulkner will give me some grief."

"Are you kidding?" Alison laughed. "He loves you too much."

Julia looked at Luke and blushed before once more, looking away. Lyle looked from Julia to Luke and back at Julia again.

"You're quiet, Leia," Raul observed.

"Listen, guys," Leia didn't look up from the table. "I know you all kind of like me, okay? But I'm not ready for any kind of romance or anything. I've seen you looking at the girls around here, and I just want you to know, I won't get angry or upset if you want to date them or anything." She paused for a moment. "God, that sounded bad."

"You think we all have a crush on you?" Lyle laughed. "Nah, we just liked following you around."

All three of them laughed, but all three of them could not hide their disappointment.

"I want you all as my friends," she whispered. "And if I dated one of you... it might ruin 'your' friendship. I just..."

"Don't worry, Leia," Anders nodded. "We understand. And we did talk about this. If one of us dated you, we wouldn't hold it against him. Or you."

"But we'll respect your wishes," Lyle continued.

"And if ever you change your mind, you just let us know."

"Thanks," Leia whispered with a nod.

Of the three of them, it was Anders who made the first move. Talking with Sandra, he seemed to be getting on with her remarkably well.

"Hey, Jules," Lyle had gone inside to order an ice cream.

"Hey, Lyle," Julia smiled. "What can I get you?"

"Well," he grinned. "I'd like a Chocolate Bomb, please. But you know, I was kind of thinking, maybe you and me could go out on a date. The movies or something."

"Oh," Julia blinked. She looked through the window to the table where Luke was talking with Leia and Alison. "Uhm... no. I don't think that would be a good idea. Sorry." She turned to get a bowl, ready to make Lyle's order. "Oh, and Lyle," she looked at him. "If you try to make Luke feel small or something by teasing him with the fact that you asked me out, I'll poison your next ice cream."

"You really like him, don't you?"

"Yeah," she nodded, glancing out the window at Luke's serious face. It was strange seeing him like that. When he was with her, he always looked so relaxed. "Yeah, I do. And if you so much as breathe a word of that, I'll make sure you start singing soprano again."

"Relax," Lyle held his hands up in mock surrender. "I'm on your side. The two of you look good together. I only asked you out 'cause I figured... maybe it would kind of kick start him into asking you out."

"No you didn't," Julia shook her head. "You were trying to score one over on him. And using me to do it... That just doesn't... seem right."

* * *

Sandra, Alison and Julia were the first to arrive on the beach the following morning. They staked their turf and waited for the others to arrive.

"Hey," Anders arrived first, placing himself next to Sandra.

Raul was the next to arrive, escorting a tall, blonde girl.

"Hey, guys," Raul nodded. "This is Wendy. She's from Sarasota."

Everyone said hello and the introductions were made. Lyle was the next to arrive, with his arms wrapped around a brunette girl who was introduces as Claire. Almost from the second they sat on their towel, the couples were wrapped up in a make-out session.

"That's fast," Alison nodded with wide eyes.

Luke, Leia and Hans arrived a short while later. Hans placed himself next to Alison and almost immediately, the two began to bicker. Luke placed his towel next to Julia's before sitting down next to her.

"Hey," he smiled at her.

"Hey," she smiled back but wouldn't hold his gaze. "Oh, that's Wendy, that's Claire and this is Hans, Leia and Luke."

Luke looked at the newcomers and then at Julia.

"I'll, uh... I'm just going for a swim," Luke waited a moment, hoping that Julia might join him, but alone, he walked down the beach to the shore.

Lyle was still making out with Claire when Luke returned. Raul and Wendy were sunning themselves, holding a quiet conversation, while Anders and Sandra were sitting in the shade, laughing at each other's jokes. Hans and Alison were still fighting over something. Leia was sitting on his towel, talking to Julia. Their sudden silence let him know that he had been the topic of conversation.

"Did you have a good swim?" Luke thought Julia was trying too hard to sound light hearted.

"Yeah," he nodded. "It was great. Cold, though. I really missed.... This place."

"Did you know that it's warmer out in the gulf?"

"Really?" he knew she was trying hard to sound like she wanted to talk.

"Yeah," she nodded. "There's this place where there's like, this sand bar. And apparently, there's this underwater vent that heats up the water. And it attracts all these fish 'cause of the food chain thing."

"Cool," Luke nodded. "How do you know about it?"

"I uh, read about it," she blushed.

Julia soon fell quiet leaving only Hans and Alison to provide the entertainment.

"Oh, for goodness sake," Leia snapped. "Either give it a rest or take it somewhere else!"

Stunned into silence, Hans and Alison looked at Leia before climbing to their feet and wandering off down the beach to continue their fight.

* * *

"Is everything okay, Julia?" Luke asked her as the time for her to leave for work approached.

"Yeah," she nodded. "I'm sorry, Luke. I haven't been much company, have I?"

"No, it's just..." he waved his hand in the air. "I just..."

"Hey, Jules." Alison called. "Are you working tomorrow night, too?"

"Uh, no," she answered after throwing Luke an apologetic smile. "Why?"

"We should go out. All of us."

"Where?" Leia asked.

"Remember that place we went to last year for your Birthday, Jules?"

"The Turtle Beach Pub?" Sandra added.

"Uh huh." Julia nodded.

"We could go there."

"Why?" Hans narrowed his eyes.

"The food was good," she shrugged.

Everyone remained silent, clearly suspecting another reason.

"Oh, okay," Alison rolled her eyes. "I thought it would be fun if we had a go at the Karaoke."

"I have to go," Julia climbed to her feet and started to gather her belongings.

"Can I walk you to Scoops?" Luke looked at her hopefully.

"Yeah," Julia nodded. "I'd like that. Thanks."

She was thrilled when he reached out and not only took her beach bag from her but her hand, too. Neither spoke as she led him to the public showers,

"Thanks, Luke," she smiled. "But you don't have to wait. Go back and join the others."

"Oh," he nodded. He 'was' smothering her, after all. "Okay. I'll see you... uhm, tonight, maybe."

"Okay," she grinned. "Cherry Surprise?"

"Yeah," he chuckled before he turned away with a sad smile and walked slowly back to the others.

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri May 19, 2006 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Red Shift Part 2 Chapter 33

Post by WR » Fri May 19, 2006 4:21 pm

Hi everyone.

I hope you all had a great week. Mine was okay. Hectic, though.

Thanks for all your great feedback. :)

AJK001 - Welcome back :) Well, they haven;t exactly been going badly, either. Just a little complicated.

smokie - Well, seeing as it was me who wrote them... :wink: There actually is a reason why I'm doing this, other than to torture you. :wink:

roswellluver - Well, it wasn't that cryptic. Just that whatever they are supposed to be doing is getting closer.

Smac - What else would Luke think? He knows that he has to go to a war zone, he suspects that they are in for a hard time, so why whould he think anything other than keeping Julia at a safe distance? Julia and Richard? Being forced together by HER parents? All will become clear.

roswell3053 - Did you pick it up this time? Any of it? :wink:

frenchkiss70 - Yes. I doubt Luke would be impressed. Hope he never finds out. The only obstacles these two have are all self made. :wink: Julia's parents... there is a reason.

tequathisy - Yes, she is, but remember that she hasn't had that life altering moment that Liz had. She has not seen into Luke's soul. Regarding Julia and Lyle... hmmm.. why would she think that her and Lyle together would be bad?

BehrObsession - Thank you :) And reason for parents is explained... eventually. But you know? Some things happen tonight that will help shape their relationship. :)

confusedfool - Thank you. And Welcome. :)

Timelord31 - Very long indeed! :wink:

VeronicaB - Julia? NOT be nice? :wink: Yes, Luke feels that he has become a nuisance to Julia. Not a nice feeling.

Roswelllostcause - YOu had to mention the 'H' word. Senators get knocked out and you have to be so insensitive as to... :wink: Well now I am just in a plain ol' mean mood. :wink:

HBGO - Glad you like it. :) No plans for a sequel, sorry. But you never know. If I ever run out of ideas, I can always revisit Echo.

mareli - Not Liz. Not the Parkers. Julia and the Cartiers. :wink: And there is a reason, and a damned good one too! :wink:

paper - Think about who it is we are talking about. At a guess, I would say that the person who sent the card is Lucas' boss, the one he warned Luke and the others never to try and track down.

Red Shift

Part 2

Chapter 33

"Morning, Alison," Julia greeted her friend at the door. "I just want to thank you again for helping me last night. I couldn't have done that by myself."

The two girls linked arms together and walked down the road, heading for the beach.

"I see what you mean about him not listening," Alison chuckled. "I mean, I had to scream down the phone at him. You told him, what? Three times? Four? And all he kept saying was 'We'll discuss this when I come home.' Wrong! You don't discuss nothing with her. She don't want to date you, bozo."

"I can't believe you called him a bozo."

"Well, he is," Alison rolled her eyes. "I mean, come on! How plain do you have to make it? The only way he would listen was if I insulted him."

"I'll still have to face him when he comes home, though," she sighed.

"Be strong," Alison held her arm. "And keep a mental picture in your mind of Luke's face if he ever finds out about Richard. That should give you enough strength. But think of it this way. What kind of life would you have if you married him? Jeez! The guy's a freaking control maniac gone out of control!"

"I hope he accepts it," Julia nodded. "That I'm not dating him, I mean."

"He said he did," Alison smirked. "I mean, I made the moron repeat it enough times."

"Thanks, Alison," Jules gave her a big hug.

"Just go put a big smile on Luke's face," Alison smirked. "Poor guy looks cute when he's moping, but there is a limit, you know."

* * *

"Are you ready, Leia?" Luke called up the stairs. "Hans has already left. I'm all set to go."

"Oh," Leia appeared at her door dressed for a day in town and not the beach. "You go on ahead. I have some research to do."

"What kind of research?" Luke frowned.

"Me and Julia are going to sing a duet tonight," she smiled. "And I'm going to find the words. Nothing like being prepared."

"Oh," Luke nodded. "So you already know what song you'll sing, huh?"

"I do," she grinned. "But Julia doesn't."

"So, is Julia going with you?"

"Oh, no," Leia laughed. "Julia doesn't even know she's singing with me, yet."


"And don't you dare tell her," Leia laughed. "Don't go spoiling the surprise. Decided what you're going to sing, yet?"

"Me?" Luke's eyes widened in panic. "Sing?"

"Come on, Luke. I've heard you, when you think no one's listening. You have a good voice."

"No way," Luke turned to leave. "Not in this lifetime."

* * *

There was no sign of Julia when he arrived at the spot on the beach that they had taken over. Sandra and Anders had already claimed their place in the shade while Raul and Wendy were discussing the possibility of going surfing. They all said hello to him.

"No Lyle, today?" Luke raised an eyebrow. "Or is he playing tonsil hockey indoors today?"

"He's picked up with some buddies from last year," Anders called over. "There's a big pick up game of beach soccer going down. I think that the thought of him having some broad screaming his name while he plays might give him some parity."

"Parity with who?" Julia announced her arrival. "Hey, Luke."

"Julia," Luke was surprised to see her. "I thought you'd be working."

"No," she smiled at him. "It's my day off? Why, are you disappointed?"

"What, me?" he shook his head. "No way. Not at all."

"Have you set your towel out yet?"

"Uh, no," he blinked. She was being far more talkative today. "No, I..."

"Come on," she grinned at him. "Here will do."

"Hey, Luke," Alison winked. "So where's Hans?"

"Right here," Hans called as he crossed the sand. He was looking at Alison. "Come on, you. We got plans."

"We do?" Alison narrowed her eyes.

"Yeah," Hans nodded, holding up two tickets. "Dolphin cruise. Leaves in twenty minutes."

"But... my stuff."

"We'll be gone three hours, tops. They'll still be here."

"I've always wanted to see the dolphins," Alison was bouncing on the spot, looking at Julia.

"Go," she grinned at her friend.

They watched the amusing couple leave.

"So what's this about parity?" Julia peeled off her sundress and sat down on her towel. She reached into her bag for her sunscreen.

"I, uh..." Luke's mouth went dry. "Lyle's playing soccer."

"Oh," Julia nodded, her eyes meeting and holding his. "And did you want to go join him or something?"

"No," he shook his head as Julia offered the bottle to him. Not any more, he didn't. He was far too interested in that cold, cold water that he was suddenly needing. And that was before he put any cream onto Julia's warm, smooth skin.

* * *

"Are you going to sing, tonight, Luke?" Julia asked him as they led the large gang along the boardwalk toward the Turtle Beach Pub.

They had all met at Scoops, well ahead of the time they had booked their table for. Luke and Julia had arrived first and had sat together, their shoulders pressing against one another. Alison arrived with Hans. Apparently, he had gone to collect her. Raul and Wendy turned up after them and were followed by Lyle and a new brunette he introduced and Carla. Leia was just behind him and Anders and Sandra brought up the rear. When they were all set, Luke rose, took Julia's hand and they led the gang toward the pub.

"No," he shook his head. "I don't..."

"I'd like to hear you," she smiled up at him. "But that's okay. I understand."

"How about you, Jules?" Lyle spoke from behind them. "Are you going to sing?"

"Me?" she laughed. "Sing? You guys wouldn't thank me. How about you?"

"Oh, yeah," he grinned. "Me, Anders, Raul and my man Hans are gonna do a number."

"A 'number' being the operative word," Anders rolled his eyes. "I'm the only one who can carry a tune."

"Hans is going to sing?" Luke looked over his shoulder at his friend who was holding Alison's hand.

"I asked him to," Alison shrugged.

Shaking his head, Luke turned to look forward again.

"Don't worry," Julia whispered. "I would never ask you to do something you don't want to do."

"Thanks," he grinned. "And I think it's only fair to warn you, I think Leia is going to..."

"Julia," Leia appeared at their side. "Luke, do you mind? Can I have a moment?"

"Uh, sure," he glanced at Julia, his eyes forming an apology.

"So, what's up, Leia," Julia watched Luke drop back to talk with Hans.

"I was thinking we could do a duet tonight," she grinned.

"What?" her eyes snapped from Luke to Leia. "You have got to be kidding."

"Nope," Leia shook her head. "I'm quite serious."

"There's no way I am getting up on stage to sing."

"Well, I guess I'll just have to tell Luke about our little chat yesterday then," she smirked. "The one where you told me how the thought of Luke dating Tamzin reduced you to tears. About how upset you were to hear that Luke thinks he's overcrowding you..."

"You wouldn't," Julia narrowed her eyes.

"You never know," Leia grinned. "I might."

"That's blackmail."

"No it isn't. Blackmail is doing something for gain. What am I gaining out of this?"

"My humiliation," Julia pouted.

"Trust me, Jules," Leis hugged her. "We'll wow them."

* * *

"I hadn't counted on this," Alison looked around the large room, filled to the rafters with kids from colleges around the USA. Kids who were all a lot older than them. This didn't prevent the college students from checking out the newcomers, though. "I didn't think it would be this packed."

"We could go somewhere else," Hans looked hopeful.

"Are you kidding?" Alison turned on him. "You thought I was complaining? Sheesh. If I'd a known there would be this many people, I'd have called an agent."

A waiter, a student herself, led them to their table. Julia and Luke took two chairs next to each other.

"Is this the same menu?" Alison complained. "Didn't they have the chili here last time?"

"They have the chili again?" Luke's mouth started to water.

"You can count me out," Julia rolled her eyes.

Once seated, the party of eleven proceeded to order their meals. Whatever conversation the rest of the group had, Luke and Julia were left out of it. They had long ago vanished into their own world where only the two of them existed.

"I'm sorry for yesterday, Luke," she lowered her eyes. "I wasn't myself."

"That's okay," he nodded. "I understand."

"It's nice of you to say so," she gave a soft smile, "but I know you don't. And I know my... behavior hurt you a little."


"It's just," she took a deep breath. "I have something kind of complicated going on right now, and it's causing me a few problems. Problems I really could do without."

"Is it anything I can help you with?" he gazed into her eyes.

"Just being here helps," she smiled. "But I think it's taken care of, now."

"Okay," he nodded, wrapping his hand over hers. "But if it comes up and bothers you again, you'll tell me, won't you?"

Julia could only nod, her saucer wide eyes staring into Luke's.

* * *

A steady procession of students, predominantly girls with pop star fantasies made their way to the microphone at the invitation of the MC who was using a small laptop computer to log the entrants. Some acts were met with applause while others were jeered. Some, whose voices sounded more akin to strangled cats received hearty laughs. Alison was bouncing in her seat with anticipation as more and more people were called. At last, the MC called her name. Squealing with glee, she scurried to the stand.

"This should be good," Hans smirked.

Alison closed her eyes and took a deep breath as the intro to her song started. At the precise moment that the song started, she stepped into her act. It was almost as though KT Tunnstall herself was out there.

Her face is a map of the world, is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl, she's a beautiful girl
And everything around her is a silver pool of light
People who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She'll hold you captivated in her palm

Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see) this is what I want to be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see) why the hell it means so much to me
(Suddenly I see) This is what I want to be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see) why the hell it means so much to me

I feel like walking the world like, like walking the world
You can hear she's a beautiful girl, she's a beautiful girl
She fills up every corner like she's born in black and white
Makes you feel warmer when you're trying to remember what you heard
She likes to leave you hanging on her word

Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see) this is what I want to be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see) why the hell it means so much to me
(Suddenly I see) This is what I want to be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see) why the hell it means so much to me

And she's taller than most, and she's looking at me
I can see her eyes looking from the page of a magazine
She makes me feel like I could be a tower, big strong tower yeah

The power to be
The power to give
The power to see, yeah, yeah (Suddenly I see)
She got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see, yeah, yeah (Suddenly I see)

She got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see, yeah, yeah, yeah (Suddenly I see)
She got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see, yeah, yeah (Suddenly I see)
She got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see, yeah, yeah

Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see) this is what I want to be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see) why the hell it means so much to me
(Suddenly I see) This is what I want to be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see) why the hell it means so much to me

It was true to say that Alison was incredible. She received the loudest, longest ovation of the night so far. It had set the standard so when the quartet of Anders, Lyle, Raul and Hans were called next, the audience was eager to hear another class act. What they got instead was a hilarious murdering of the classic Rolling Stones track, Jumping Jack Flash. At the end, Anders hurried off as fast as his legs would carry him. Raul and Hans sauntered back, while Lyle milked the laughter for as long as he could.

"Well," the MC applauded as Lyle finally left the stage. "That was certainly... different. And now we have a duet performed for us by the lovely Leia Skye and Julia Cartier."

Polite clapping as well as a wolf whistle or two greeted the young girls as Leia led a shaking Julia to the stand. Luke made a mental note to ask Leia if she had used her 'suggestive' ability to persuade Julia to do this. When the intro started, it was Julia who sang first, taking the part of Celine Deon in the classic Streisand, Deon duet, Tell Him.

I'm scared
So afraid to show I care
Will he think me weak
If I tremble when I speak
What if
There's another one he's thinking of
Maybe he's in love
I'd feel like a fool
Life can be so cruel
I don't know what to do

And then Leia sang.

I've been there
With my heart out in my hand
But what you must understand
You can't let the chance
To love him pass you by

They sang together, in perfect harmony.

Tell him
Tell him that the sun and moon
Rise in his eyes
Reach out to him
And whisper
Tender words so soft and sweet
I'll hold him close to feel his heart beat
Love will be the gift you give yourself

And then Leia sang alone again.

Touch him (Oooh)
With the gentleness you feel inside
Your love can't be denied
The truth will set you free
You'll have what's meant to be

Together, they finished the verse.

All in time you'll see

Julia then sang alone, with Leia singing answers.

I love him (
Then show him)
Of that much I can be sure (
Hold him close to you)
I don't think I could endure
If I let him walk away
When I have so much to say

They then came together again for the chorus.

Tell him
Tell him that the sun and moon
Rise in his eyes
Reach out to him
And whisper
Tender words so soft and sweet

Hold him close to feel his heart beat
sang Leia
Love will be the gift you give yourself Julia replied.

Julia continued to sing alone, finishing the verse together and staying together until the end of the song.

Love is light that surely glows
In the hearts of those who know
It's a steady flame that grows
Feed the fire with all the passion you can show
Tonight love will assume its place
This memory time cannot erase
Your faith will lead love where it has to go

Tell him
Tell him that the sun and moon
Rise in his eyes
Reach out to him
And whisper
Whisper words so soft and sweet
Hold him close to feel his heart beat
Love will be the gift you give yourself

Never let him go

The audience applauded, whistling, shouting and stamping their feet. Alison grabbed Julia with a big hug upon her return.

"Jules!" she gasped. "You have an awesome voice."

"I was so scared, Alison," Julia was staring blankly, shaking like a leaf.


"And what?"

"Did you even listen to what you were singing?"

"No," Julia shook her head. "Like I said. I was too scared."

Luke resisted all attempts to persuade him to get up and sing. Everyone tried, but it was a surprise as to how he was finally encouraged up there.

"Okay, folks," the MC clapped as the latest singer left the stage. "We've heard a lot of talented people up here tonight, but apparently, there's someone out there who hasn't gotten up to sing yet."

The room was filled with a lot of nervous shifting seats.

"And I have here," he waved a piece of paper, "a note from a Julia asking that we all try to persuade her friend, Luke into singing. So how about it, folks. Let's give it up for Luke!"

Everyone clapped, many called for him to sing. A few whistled. Relieved that it had not been them called out, those others who hadn't yet sung started to chant.

"Luke! Luke! Luke!"

"Luke!" Julia's voice was not shouting for him to sing. Her face had a look of horror. "I never..." she shook her head. "It wasn't me."

Luke nodded, showing her that he believed her. Behind them. Lyle's laughter was far too suspicious.

The rest of the crowd, while applauding, joined in with the call for Luke. Julia looked at him, at his 'deer in the headlights' stare.

"You don't have to, Luke," she gave his hand a squeeze.

"Come on, dude," Lyle nudged him, "It will only get worse if you don't go up there."

Luke's feet took him up to the stand. He was burning a scarlet color.

"What are you going to sing?" the MC whispered while his fingers poised over the keyboard.

"I... I don't know," Luke stammered. "I hadn't really planned on singing at all."

"How about this one," the MC grinned, typing in the name of a song. "Do you know it?"

"Yeah," Luke nodded, his face showing no sign of calming. "I think so."

"Appropriate, seeing as who got you up here, don't you think?"

"Uh huh," Luke continued to nod.

"The words come up on the screen and change color when you need to sing that word, okay? It's all in the timing. You ready?"

"As I'll ever be," Luke gulped.

As the solo guitar intro started, the MC handed Luke the microphone and stepped back into the shadows. It was time for Luke to sing.

A love struck Romeo sings the streets a serenade
laying everybody low with a love song that he made
finds a streetlight steps out of the shade
says something like you and me babe how about it?

Unsteady at first, Luke's voice grew in confidence, and he didn't sound all that bad.

Juliet says hey it's Romeo you nearly gave me a heart attack
he's underneath the window she's singing hey la my boyfriend's back
you shouldn't come around here singing up at people like that
anyway what you gonna do about it?

Juliet the dice were loaded from the start
and I bet and you exploded in my heart
and I forget I forget the movie song
when you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?

Come up on different streets they both were streets of shame
both dirty both mean yes and the dream was just the same
and I dream your dream for you and now your dream is real
how can you look at me as I was just another one of your deals?

Well you can fall for chains of silver you can fall for chains of gold
you can fall for pretty strangers and the promises they hold
you promised me everything you promised me thick and thin
now you just say oh Romeo yeah you know I used to have a scene with him

Juliet when we made love you used to cry
you said I love you like the stars above I'll love you till I die
there's a place for us you know the movie song
when you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong?

I can't do the talk like the talk on the TV
and I can't do a love song like the way it's meant to be
I can't do everything but I'd do anything for you
can't do anything except be in love with you

And all I do is miss you and the way we used to be
all I do is keep the beat the bad company
all I do is kiss you through the bars of Orion
Julie I'd do the stars with you any time

Juliet when we made love you used to cry
you said I love you like the stars above I'll love you till I die
there's a place for us you know the movie song
when you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong... Julia?

As Luke sung the last word of the chorus, incorrectly, a shiver ran down Julia's spine. There was a sudden peel of thunder and a bolt of lightening. The crowd, silent for a moment erupted into a long, loud explosion of applause. As he returned to his friends while the clapping continued all around him. Still burning a scarlet color, he was met with handshakes and backslaps from his friends. Julia pulled him into a tight hug.

* * *

Safely tucked up in her bed, Leia found herself in her own dream for a change. The dream started with the echoing sound of a young woman singing, unaccompanied.

I've been there
With my heart out in my hand
But what you must understand
You can't let the chance
To love him pass you by

Leia found that she was out for a walk with her three friends, Anders, Lyle and Raul. No matter how long they walked, the scenery around them stayed the same. Nothing got any closer, nothing got farther away. When she looked down at the ground, she found that they were on a large treadmill.

"You're getting nowhere," a flower beside them spoke to her. "All that effort and nothing changes."

"So what should I do?" Leia asked the flower.

"If you actually made a choice," it informed her, "you might get somewhere. Time is getting on."

Leia awoke with a start as the single voice started to sing again.

* * *

"You were awesome, Luke," Julia grinned up as they were saying goodbye on her front porch.

"You were better," Luke looked down to the ground.

"We were both good, then," she smiled. "You know, it's nice to see you really have fun for a change. Sometimes, you seem too serious. Like you feel guilty if you just sat back and let your feet up."

"I always have fun, with you, Jules."

"I have fun with you, too, Luke," she was gazing up into his eyes.

They seemed almost molten in the light. Burning hot pools of liquid gold. And they held hers, mesmerizing her, captivating her.

"Julia," he whispered, reverently.

"Luke," her mouth formed, but barely a sound escaped.

Their heads dipped toward one another.

"Say goodnight to your friend, Julia," Mr. Cartier's voice called from the door as the porch light came on, spoiling the moment. "It's late."

"Well..." Luke was acutely aware that the man was watching him. "Goodnight, Jules. I'll, uh... see you tomorrow."

"Tomorrow," she nodded, her face clearly showing her disappointment. Luke did not catch the angry glare she threw her father.

He waited until the door closed and the light went out before he turned, and with his heart floating, headed for home. He had nearly kissed Julia, and she looked like she wanted him to. She looked as though she had been so disappointed that her father had stopped it. Maybe, just maybe...

"You're playing with something that doesn't belong to you," a young men spoke.

He found his path blocked by two or three dark figures. He sensed more behind him. Max became aware that he was now surrounded by a gang of maybe seven or eight young men. Each one of them looked older and bigger than him. Each one of them was dressed in combat fatigues.

"Taking liberties with someone else's property," another added.

"You stay away from Julia," the first voice commanded. "You don't even belong on the same street as her, you got that?"

Max remained motionless. He knew what was coming. It didn't matter what he said to these people, he was not walking away from here without some kind of beating.

"And just to make sure you understand that we mean business..." they started to close on him.

Luke tried to defend himself, without resorting to the use of his powers, but outnumbered as he was, all he could do was to hold his arms in front of his face as he was pushed to the ground. Hidden behind his arms, a green nimbus made sure that no bruises would ever show there. The rest of his body, however, was not so lucky and steel capped army boots can do a lot of damage, even though he had pulled himself into a fetal position.

But then help arrived in the form of Hans, Lyle, Raul, and bringing up the rear, Anders. On their way home from escorting their dates, they had come across Luke and his new friends. Even though they were the superior force, when Hans threw their biggest guy clear across the road, the cadets broke and fled.

"You okay?" Hans helped Luke to his feet.

From the way he winced and groaned, everyone knew that he would be covered in bruises tomorrow.

"Those bastards!" Lyle was almost foaming at the mouth. "You okay, Luke?"

"It's not as bad as it looks," he nodded at Lyle, but his glance told Hans he would have to heal most of it as soon as possible.

Luke was in a lot of pain, and he was sure that he had suffered some internal damage.

"They can't kick for sh..."

"Who were they?" Raul stepped forward. "What did they want?"

"I've seen most of them before," Hans turned to look up the street. "They were those goons that were hanging with that GI Joe last Spring Break."

"Like the man said," Lyle asked. "What did they want?"

"Me to stay away from Julia," Luke groaned.

"Sandra said she's been out with this hot shot ROTC guy called Richard Madly a few times," Anders spoke in a soft whisper. "Looks like he thinks it's more serious than she does."

Luke's face fell, matching the free fall plummet of his heart.

"Julia's dating Richard Madly?" his voice came out like crackling leaves.

How stupid could he have been? Richard had not been around last summer, hence the reason why they had not gone paint balling AND the reason why Julia was able to spend time with him. Hadn't he been told often enough that she was in love with someone else, her soul mate? And that someone else was... Richard Madly. He had so nearly crossed the line, and then... this.

"Luke..." Hans began. He was speaking so that only Luke could hear.

"I know," Luke nodded sadly. He looked at Hans with a look of determination behind his blank stare. "I understand. I have to stay away. It was okay before, but now... I'm attracting attention to us."

"A few months ago," Hans shook his head and pulled Luke to face him. "I would have agreed with you. But humans... they stand up for what they want, too, you know. I said it before and I'll say it again. Julia's good for you, Luke. Fight for her."

"This could escalate, Hans," Luke squeezed his eyes shut. "And these people... they're one step away from the military. Is it really worth blowing our cover over?"

* * *

Last edited by WR on Fri May 26, 2006 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RED SHIFT - Part 2 Chapter 34

Post by WR » Fri May 26, 2006 3:56 pm

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the delay, but I've been a little pressed for time lately. But here I am, better late than never.

roswellluver - Thank you :)

mezz - Well, thank you for delurking. :) Good to hear from you again. :)

smokie - Uhm... because that would not be our Luke. :wink: And whoever said that path of true love runs smooth? :wink:

Timelord31 - I think Luke's response is going to be pretty obvious... don;t you?

roswell3053 - LOL. Not to worry. All of it will become apparent, eventually. You probably have got it, just don;t realize the signifigance of it yet. :wink:

omwf - Well... Max never went to Liz and said "Your boyfrined's buddies just mugged me." So...

tequathisy - Luke would not be Luke if... :wink:

VeronicaB - I have never beaten up, nor had anyone beaten up over a girl. :wink: Will Luke stay away? Do bears... you know what I mean. :wink:

BehrObsession - Well, it all depends on Julia finding out, doesn't it? And like I kept saying... there is a reason for Julia's parent's reaction.

roswck - Yes, Leia cannot decide who is more important to her, but one thing is clear. She has to choose and she can only choose one.

NorafanofMaxandLiz - Hans seems to be developing into Luke 'right hand man', don;t you think? :wink: As for Luke thinking he has to sacrifice Julia... might be too late. :wink:

frenchkiss70 - Richard is not there right now, but these military types tend not to act unless under orders, so you decide. :wink:

Roswelllostcause - Well, Liz hardly got terribly mad at Kyle. She just called him on his choice of friends and then said that they couldn;t see each other any more. :wink: The difference between Kyle and Rixhard... Kyle actually listened. LOL.

Red Shift

Part 2

Chapter 34

"In the cold light of day," Lyle was inspecting Luke as he stood in the circle of friends in the corner of Omi and Opa's back yard. Only Hans, Luke, Leia, Lyle, Anders and Raul were there. "You don't look too bad. I really thought you were going to be black and blue this morning."

"I'll say," nodded Anders. "When I saw you on the ground, and saw how they were all kicking into you..."

"Doesn't bear thinking about," Leia was looking particularly pale.

"No noticeable bruises," Raul shook his head in amazement.

"Like I said," Luke shrugged. "They weren't very good."

"Steel toe caps don't need to be good, Luke," Lyle was looking at him through narrowed eyes. "They just hurt. A lot."

"Well, I'm not saying I got off Scott free," Luke shook his head. "But I'll live. I just won't be taking my shirt off any time soon."

"I'm surprised they didn't damage your kidneys, or rupture your spleen or something," Raul dug his hands into his pockets.

"One thing's for sure," Lyle smirked. "We can't let you go off on your own again. Next time you walk Julia home, we'll be riding shotgun."

"There won't be a next time," Luke looked down at the sand.

"What?" Anders gasped. He looked to the others for support.

"This guy doesn't want me anywhere near Julia," Luke waved his hand in the air. "So that means I have to stay away from her."

"I never took you for a coward, Luke," Lyle shook his head. Anders and Raul joined him.

"It's not about cowardice!" Luke snapped in anger. "What's going to happen the next time they decide to warn me to stay clear of Julia? You caught them off guard last night, and they broke. When they see that I have a 'gang' with me, they'll just round up some more of their buddies and wait for all of us. And who knows? Maybe they'll even come armed or something."

"We can..." Hans started, but Luke reached out and silenced him with a hand on his chest.

"So you're going to give Julia up?" Lyle had a look of disappointment. "Just like that?"

"When I first met Julia," Luke's voice was quiet, more self assured, "she warned me that we could only be friends; that that was all we ever could be. She's been in love with this other guy for ages, and even if he is a total creep, I'm going to respect her choice. Because she's my friend."

"What a crock of shit," Lyle spat.

"I have to say, Luke," Raul shook his head. "I agree with Lyle."

"You know what, Luke?" Lyle continued. "You are so blind!"

"They say love is blind," Luke shrugged.

"What are you going to tell Julia?" Anders asked. "I mean, how are you going to explain why you're 'staying away' as you put it?"

"Nothing," Luke ordered in a commanding tone. "No one says a word about this. Not to Alison, not to Sandra and especially not to Julia. And none of you treat Julia any different, okay? This is not her fault, so... I want your word on that."

Inexplicably, the five of them all nodded their acquiescence to Luke.

"Oh," he remembered. He turned to look at Lyle. "And not a word to Wendy, or... the babe of the day."

* * *

"I meant to ask," Luke held Hans back as the others headed for the shade and the cold lemonade that Omi had brought out for them. "What 'were' you guys doing in that part of town? By my reckoning, you should have been a few streets over. Wasn't that a little out of your way?"

"I heard you calling for help," Hans narrowed his eyes. "Why else would I come running in like the goddamned cavalry?"

"You heard me calling for help?" Luke eyes grew wide.

"'S what I said," he shrugged.

"Hans," Luke turned to face the sea. "I never called out. I never even said a word to those guys, let alone calling out for you."

"I heard you all the same," Hans was looking at Luke with suspicion. "You yelled, Hans, I'm in trouble."


"Look, no need to call me names just 'cause you can't remember calling out for help in the middle of a freaking mugging!"

"Hans," Luke looked confused. "I never said that out loud."


'I never said that out loud. Like I'm not saying it out loud right now, either.'

"Shit, Luke!" Han's jaw dropped. "You've remembered how to communicate like when we came out of the pods. Try it on Leia."

The two of them rejoined the rest of the gang.

'Leia,' Luke called. 'Hans just told me that he thought your ass was getting big.'

Leia spun and in one fluid movement, deposited the contents of her lemonade in Hans' face.

Luke started to howl with laughter.

"What did you say to her?" Hans demanded while Anders, Lyle and Raul looked at the pair in confusion.

* * *

"Wow," Alison shook her head at Sandra. "You ever seen her glow a more rosy color than that before?"

"Not since I came home last summer," Sandra watched her friend Julia as she buzzed around Scoops practically singing. "I think Luke caused it that time, too."

"She has definitely got it," Alison smiled.

"Whatever 'it' is," Sandra smirked as she watched Julia disappear into the changing rooms at the end of her shift. Her eyes widened. "You don't think they..."

"Jules and Luke?" Alison laughed. "Nah. You can bet that their first time's going to be in a four poster bed in some romantic hide-a-way, probably the day they get married."

"Ready?" Julia was grinning like the proverbial cat with the proverbial cream when she emerged from the changing room, dressed in a floral sun dress over the top of her bikini.

She was practically bouncing as they headed for the beach.

"The wonderful things about Tiggers," Sandra sang with a smirk, "is Tigger's a wonderful thing."

"Their tops are made out of rubber," Alison joined in. "Their bottoms are made out of spring."

"Luke's in for an interesting time, then," Sandra started to laugh. "Boing!"

Alison hooted with laughter.

"Come on slow pokes," Julia continued to dance along.

Julia knew that her friends were making fun of her, but she didn't care. She was just too eager to see Luke. She knew that things had changed between them. If it hadn't been for her father, someone she still had not forgiven, Luke would have kissed her last night. She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would have kissed her with all of his being. She could see the disappointment in his eyes when 'he who shall remain nameless' called her in. As soon as she could, she would arrange for an opportunity for Luke to kiss her, maybe when they went out to play in the sea. She could pretend to get knocked against him. He would catch her and... Heaven!

When she saw the collection of towels and bags, she cast her eyes over the people already assembled. Hans was there, as was Leia. Anders was sitting up and smiling at Sandra's approach. Raul was there, too, talking to Wendy. She seemed quite nice. Julia decided she must get her number before she returned to Sarasota. And Lyle was there with... was that another new girl friend? But there was no sign of Luke. After dropping her bag in the sand, she looked out at the water. Perhaps he was swimming. But she could not see him out there, either.

"Has anyone seen Luke?" she turned to the others with a frown.

Everyone said that they hadn't.

Searching the beach for any sign of him, she did not see everyone except Alison and Sandra exchange uncomfortable glances. With a dull ache in her heart, she sat down on the edge of a chair. Alison peered over the top of her sunglasses and frowned. Something did not seem right to her.

* * *

As had become their custom, the gang again met up at Scoops. Hans arrived with Alison, Sandra and Anders turned up. So too did Raul, Wendy, Lyle and... Bunny? When Leia arrived, alone, Julia's face fell.

"Is Luke coming?" her voice was edged with sadness.

"Sorry," Leia shook her head. "He wanted to come, but he got roped in to helping Opa and Allan fix some loose tiles over the porch."

It was too weak, and Julia was too astute to be taken in by her excuse.

"I'd have helped," Hans offered. "Except I've got two left hands." He held his hands up together, one facing forward and the other facing back, giving the illusion that he had two left hands.

It didn't help. It was so unlike Hans to say something like that that Julia knew it was a lie. Luke was avoiding her.

"Hey," Anders launched a brave attempt to change the subject. "What do you give a man with two left feet?"

No one even tried to answer.

"A pair of flip flips," he started to laugh, even if it was a little forced.

Most of the gang just rolled their eyes.

"Have I done something to upset him?" Julia looked away from Anders and at Leia. "Is he mad at me?"

"Luke?" Leia rolled her eyes. "Mad at you? What planet do you live on?"

Julia reached to her throat and started to caress her medallion.

"Why is it..." she finally asked Alison, "that every time I take a step forward, I take two steps back? It's like I'm being punished or something. Maybe I was really bad in a previous life."

* * *

During her next shift, Julia was the complete opposite to how she had been yesterday. She was miserable, a fact that one or two regular customers had commented on. Julia was merely going through the motions behind the counter. Her eyes were red and puffy, indicating that as well as crying, she had not slept at all.

"Maybe he'll be there today," Alison tried hard to cheer her up as they walked toward the beach together.

"Maybe," Julia nodded but she clearly did not believe it.

Once again, there was no Luke. Julia sat on her towel with her knees drawn up, staring silently out to sea. She ignored all attempts to draw her into conversation. After an hour, she rose and gathered her things.

"I have a headache," she announced. "I'm going home. See you tomorrow."

Alison watched her leave. When her friend was out of sight, she rounded on Hans.

"What the heck is going on with those two?"

"I don't know," Hans shook his head. "Maybe you should ask Luke."

"I would if he ever showed up."

"Well here's your chance," Sandra pointed up the beach. "Here he comes, now."

Luke looked no better than Julia. It was obvious that he did not like the situation any more than Julia did, but this gave Alison no indication as to what had happened between the two of them. After an hour, Luke returned home.

"What is up with them?" Alison demanded.

"Maybe they had a fight?" Sandra offered.

"Not those two," Alison shook her head. "No way. There's something else going on."

* * *

"I have a plan," Alison gathered her friends in a conspiratorial huddle when they had all met up at scoops. Neither Luke nor Julia had turned up. "Listen. We have three days left of Spring Break, right? And then Luke and Julia part until summer. With the winter they've had, their friendship won't make it. If we don't get those two back together, then they're never going to happen."

"Maybe they don't want anything to happen, anymore," Hans narrowed his eyes.

"Yeah, right," Alison rolled her eyes. "We need to set them up."

"I'm not so sure this is a good idea, Ali," Anders shook his head. "I mean, we don't know what's going on between them."

"I'll tell you what's going on between them," Alison would not let it go. "Nothing. And that's just not right."

"Leave it alone, Alison," Hans sighed. "We can't fix everyone's problems."

"Not everyone's," Alison grinned. "Just theirs. Those two are so in love with each other that they can't see straight. All that wasted nobility! Each one thinks the other loves someone else. Horseshit! So here's what we're going to do. We girls are going to have a girls' night out. Just us. And you boys, you're going to have a guys' night. Okay?"

"I fail to see how that's going to get them to admit their feelings for one another," Raul shook his head. "At least, not to each other."

"That's because you don't know that we're going to organize it in the same place, somewhere there are lots of guys, at the same time, only... no one else is going to turn up."

"Except Luke and Julia," Leia laughed. "They'll be there on their own."

"And Luke won't leave Julia on her own where she might feel uncomfortable with all those older guys around her," Sandra grinned. "So he'll stay with her, and then he'll walk her home."

"And we all know that when they're on their own, they actually do talk," Alison nodded. "And with the way Julia's feeling, she's going to find out why Luke's staying away from her if it kills her."

"Except that it might end up killing the wrong person," Hans mumbled to Leia. "What happens if..."

"Leave it to me," she gave him a nod.

* * *

Standing outside the crowded bowling ally, Julia could not understand why Alison had made her walk here by herself. Although things had been going well between her and Hans, this was a girls' night out, so it wasn't as though she was meeting him somewhere and arriving together. Taking a deep breath, Julia pushed through the large glass doors and entered the building.

Wearing a short denim skirt and a powder blue top, she felt a little self-conscious as she felt the eyes of a dozen guys on her, sizing her up. Peering around the room, she could not see if anyone had arrived yet. She hoped she wasn't the first. Some of these guys were making her feel a little uncomfortable.

"Hey there, darlin'" a voice drawled behind her. "You can stop looking, you found me."

"Excuse me?" Julia turned to face the young man who had been addressing her.

"I said, you can stop looking, I... Never mind. The name's Pat. I'm from Ohio. Come on," he placed an arm around her waist. "Let's get you a beer so we can get better acquainted."

"No, no," Julia fought to free herself. "Let me go. I'm meeting someone."

"Sure," he grinned, pulling her closer. "You're meeting me. You prefer something stiffer? You really gotta loosen up."

"She said let her go," Luke appeared at her side and grabbed the man's arm by his wrist.

Julia's 'friend' sized Luke up. He was a head taller, and had at least twenty pounds on him, but staring into Luke's darkened eyes, he backed down.

"Didn't know she was taken, dude," he shrugged and melted into the crowd.

"Luke!" Julia gasped with relief. "Thank you, I was so scared."

"Are you all right?" Luke held her arms lightly, looking into her face.

"I am now," she nodded, her eyes locked onto his.

"What are you doing here?" he started to frown.

"I'm supposed to meet Alison and the others here," she looked down, remembering that he was angry with her. "We're having a girls' night."

"But we're having a guys'..." He fell silent as he quickly looked around the room.

Julia looked up again.

"Alison," they said together.

"We've been set up," Luke chuckled. "Haven't we?"

"Looks that way," Julia looked away again. "I know you don't want to be with me, so I'll just..." She started for the door.

"It's not that," Luke shook his head and stared at the floor.

"Not what?" Julia hesitated and turned back to him.

"It's not that I don't want to be with you. I do. I mean, to be your friend. But... I'm sorry, Julia, it's just that... I've had it brought to my attention that we've been getting a little... close."

"What if I want that?" Julia swallowed.

"What about your boyfriend?" Luke's eyes widened.

"My boyfriend?" Julia gave a weak smile. "Luke, that guy I'm in love with. That I've been in love with all these months... It's..."

"Excuse me?" one of the waiters interrupted them. "Are you Luke Skye?"

"Uh, yeah," Luke nodded, his eyes narrowing. He was expecting to see someone in military fatigues somewhere close by.

"This is for you," he handed Luke a note.

"Luke," he read to himself, "Rival gang suddenly found SUGGESTED maneuvers out in woods for rest of Spring Break a good idea. You're on your own. Leia."

"Julia," Luke looked up from the note, smiling. He loved Leia's new power. "Let's get something to eat, have a nice time together and just have some fun. You know, we go home soon, and I really, really want to spend the rest of the week with you. With my good friend."

"Okay," she grinned. She would show him 'friends'.

* * *

"I had a great time tonight, Luke," Julia was holding his hand but had wrapped her other hand around his arm.

Walking her home through town, she was so close to him, Luke could feel her heart pounding. He could feel her warmth pressing up against him.

"Me too," his voice came out hoarse.

"The meal was good," she smiled. "And the dancing... It was so nice to dance with you without having anyone breathing down our necks."

"You didn't count those hundred other couples crowded onto that small dance floor as breathing down our necks?" he chuckled.

"That wasn't crowded," she smirked. "That was intimate."

Intimate had been right. Forced into keeping himself pressed against her, he had not been able to hide his obvious arousal from her. And she had not once reacted badly to it, rather, she seemed almost as though she was trying to press against it as much as she could. His mouth had been dry all night, in spite of all the water he had been drinking.

"Recognize this place?" Julia's eyes sparkled in the streetlights.

If Luke had not known better, he would have said that from the way she was acting, Julia had been a little intoxicated. Drawing his eyes from her, he looked at the building in front of them. The sign said 'Primal Urge Body Art Salon'.

"Isn't this where..." his eyes dropped to her navel.

"Yeah," she giggled. "Remember what we said last summer?"

"You want to get your nipples pierced?" Luke raised an eyebrow.

"No," Julia shook her head with a snort. "But you know what? I was thinking that maybe we could get a tattoo together."

"Do you mean we each get a tattoo, or we each get the same tattoo?" he gave her a wry smile.

"Same tattoo," she smirked. "I will if you will."

"It has to mean something, Jules," he narrowed his eyes. "I'm not doing it for the sake of it."

"Yeah," she nodded. "And I have just the design."

"What's that?" he glanced at her with suspicion.

"I thought it would be really neat if we both had this," she held her pendant up for him to see. "You know, 'our' galaxy."

"Really?" Although Luke was surprised, it sounded so right. "You want to have that tattooed on your body?"

"Why not?"

"Okay," Luke grinned. "Where?"

"I was thinking I could have mine here," she turned and pulled the back of her top up, revealing the smooth skin at the small of her back. "How about you?"

"Up here, perhaps," Max placed his hand on his upper left arm. "So when should we get it done? How about tomorrow?"

"So soon?" Julia hesitated. "Are you serious?"

"I am," Luke nodded. "Or have I just called your bluff?"

"Okay then," she grinned. "Tomorrow it is."

They stopped by the fire bush tree, the one that had once played hiding place to Julia's bra. They both smiled at the memory.

"I think we should say goodbye here, Luke," Julia looked up at him. "You know, my Dad... he..."

"Okay," Luke nodded. "So, uh... I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Sure," she grinned. "I'm on the early shift, so we could meet up after work to go get the tattoo done. And then afterwards, perhaps we could maybe get something to eat?"

"I'd like that," he took both of her hands in his.

"Good night, Luke," she whispered, looking up into his beautiful eyes.

"Good night, Julia," he murmured to her.

This was it, they both thought. Their eyes drooped closed as their faces edged together. Their lips met oh so softly before they pressed them together for a moment, each one savoring the touch, the texture, the experience. Luke's tongue darted across her lower lip before he pinched it between his own lips. Julia's upper lip pressed down to trap his upper lip while her own tongue teased him.

One hand held Julia around her waist, holding her to his body, no longer caring that she could feel his passion for her. His other hand laced his fingers through her hair at the top of her neck. Julia's arms wrapped around him, holding herself to him, hanging from him. It seemed as though she had been built just for this fit.

When their tongues finally met, a series of explosions set off in their souls. But as glorious as it felt, Luke was beginning to panic. Almost immediately, a connection had started to form. Whenever he had formed connections with injured animals, it had taken a lot of hard work to form. And it had been so easy to keep them from turning personal. But it was taking all of his strength to keep this connection closed, and Luke just knew that if it ever opened, things would never be the same again. Julia would see him for who... for what he was.

"Jules," he gasped, breaking from her.

"Luke," she sighed, pressing herself into him. "Oh, Luke."

As far as Julia was concerned, that had not been enough. She could feel him holding back. Something had been worrying him. Probably the thought that she was in love with someone else. An idea came to her, though. One that she knew would finally make Luke realize the truth, and hopefully, Alison would be right when she said that for Luke there was no other girl. So for now, this kiss was enough. She could wait. She would let him go... for now.

"Soon, Luke Skye," she gave herself a satisfied smile as she skipped up her front steps. She turned and gave a little wave to Luke, hiding in the shadows by the bush. "Soon."

* * *

"Does anyone have any idea how it went last night?" Alison asked the gang as they lay on the beach waiting for either Luke or Julia, and preferably both to arrive.

"Not me," Hans shook his head. "He got in a little after midnight and went straight to sleep. He was gone when I woke up."

"Maybe he's with Julia, at Scoops," Anders suggested.

"Nope," Sandra shook head. "I stopped off there earlier. He's not there. And neither did she say anything. She looked kind of worried, though."

"Worried?" everyone sat up and looked at her.

"Yeah," Sandra nodded. "Like nervous, or something."

"Not happy ecstatic?" Alison frowned.


"Not miserable upset?"

"Nope," Sandra shook her head. "She looked like she was waiting for something she wasn't looking forward to."

"You don't..." Alison swallowed hard. "You guys don't think they... and now she's afraid she might be..."

"No," Leia shook her head emphatically. "No, not Luke. If there's one thing Luke is, it's... No. He would never even do that. Not unless... Julia seduced 'him'."

"And Julia would never do that," Alison shook her head, looking relieved. "So it would take Luke to seduce her... which she would give in to."

"So what if they just..." Lyle started to grin. "You know, gave in together."

"No," Hans shook his head. "I don't think it worked. Even if they did do the deed, there is no way Luke would let Julia suffer on her own. He would be with her, giving her his support. And if they were back together, then there's no way that they could stay away from each other."

"Back to the drawing board," Alison groaned.

The day dragged on and even after Julia's shift had ended, there was no sign of either of the missing friends.

"I'd better go find Julia," Alison sighed. "I think she's going to need a little time with a friend."

"Yeah," Hans nodded. "I'd better go and find Luke."

"Make sure you find out exactly what went wrong, okay?" Alison grinned at him. "This isn't over, yet."

* * *

"Who's going to go first?" Luke asked as they stood outside of the door of the Body Art salon, hand in hand.

"How about we flip a coin?" Julia, shaking with her nerves, looked up.

"I'll go first, if you want me to," Luke smiled at her, rubbing his thumb over the back of her hand.

"Would you?" she smiled with appreciation.

"Of course I will," he chuckled. "As long as you give me your word that you won't back out."


Taking a deep breath, Julia pushed the door open and started to step in. She felt Luke hesitate.

"Luke?" she turned and looked at him. He was very pale. "Are you all right?"

"White?" Luke shook his head. "I mean, uh, what?"

"Are you okay? You look kind of..."

"Sorry," he took a deep breath and steeled his nerves. "Let's go."

"You decided what you want done?" the big burly tattoo artist dressed in black indicated the books with all the designs.

"Uh, yeah," Julia nodded. "We want this one."

She handed the man a sheet of paper with the picture she had copied from her pendant.

"I've never seen anything like that before," he shrugged. "What is it?"

"It's uh, the pictorial representation of a distant galaxy," Luke told him.

"You guys science fiction fanatics? Trekkies?"

"No," Julia shook her head. "We're just really into science."

"You're geeks?" he looked incredulous.

"Yeah," Luke smirked. "We're a couple of geeks."

"Awesome, dudes," the artist grinned. "So who's first?"

"Me," Luke raised his hand. "I want it on my upper left arm."

"Okay," he nodded. "Could you take off your shirt and sit there?" he indicated the chair.

"Oh," Julia remembered. "Could you do it in a mauve color?"

"Sure," the artist nodded at a color chart. "Pick the right shade."

Having selected the color, Julia watched intently as the man cleansed the top of Luke's arm before shaving it with a disposable razor. Using a violet pen, and using small holes he had punched into Julia's drawing as a template, he sketched out the design.

"That alright?" he looked at her.

"Perfect," Liz nodded with a huge smile.

While the needle punctured his skin, Luke couldn't help wincing once or twice. By the time it was finished, Luke's arm looked so red and angry, Julia almost had second thoughts.

"Just remember how fast you healed when you had your piercing," Luke reminded her.

"Just take off your shirt and lay down," the burly man indicated the bench.

"What?" Julia's eyes widened.

"Kidding," he smirked. "Just pull your shirt up half way."

With her lower back bared, Julia laid on the couch with Luke holding her hand, as well has holding her shirt up out of the way. She jumped only once, when the man started up the machine.

"You big baby, Luke," she giggled. "All that wincing. I can hardly feel a thing."

* * *

After only a few hours, the redness and the swelling had gone done. Their tattoos looked as though they had had them for months, not hours.

"It looks totally awesome, Luke," Julia ran her hand over his marked arm.

"Yours does, too," he smiled, his hand teasing over her back.

"Maybe we should think about those piercings, huh?" she grinned.

"Like I said last summer," Luke smirked. "I will if you will."

"Luke," she stopped at the fire bush tree and looked up at him. "I don't have to start work until six tomorrow evening. It's your last day and I was kind of wondering... Do you want to do something special tomorrow? Just the two of us?"

"Sure," he nodded.

"Okay," Julia broke into a huge smile. "Be right here at nine o'clock, sharp. You need a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, your swimming trunks and a towel. That's all. Okay?"

"We're going to spend the day on the beach?" Luke tried to hide his disappointment.

He would have preferred something a little more special than that.

"You'll see," Julia grinned at him. "Well... goodnight."

"Goodnight, Julia. I had a great time today."

"Me too, Luke. And thank you for being such a great..."

Their lips started to drift together.

"Julia?" her father called from the porch. "Is that you? Say goodnight now. It's late."

"He's starting to annoy me," Julia shook her head. "'Night, Luke."

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri Jun 02, 2006 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RED SHIFT - Part 2 Chapter 35

Post by WR » Fri Jun 02, 2006 3:16 pm

Hi everyone,

As usual, thank you all so very much for taking the time to continue reading my stories, and thank you fir taking that extra moment to tell me your thoughts.

So they finally kissed. Well, not a real kiss, because Max would not let the connection, which seemed surprisingly close, to him, open.

But perhaps it's like foodgates. Maybe something is open now that can't be closed. :wink:

youre my dreamgirl - Heh heh... you thought THAT was cute? :wink:

BehrObsession - Well... not quite a 'real' kiss, but it did curl their toes. :)

smokie - Oh, yes. Major surorises. :wink: Yes, Luke used houcus pocus, both to protect julia from the pain and to heal the tattoos.

Emz80m - We will find out Julia's father;s motives soon.

roswell3053 - Let's just say that their day is... well, special. :wink:

tequathisy - They are 15, nearly 16. And Liz has that fake ID she used for her piercing, and hey! Luke is her good friend. :wink:

frenchkiss70 - Yes, I think Luke is in for a tough time if he plans to keep his distance. :wink: Oh my! If that connection opens, what indeed? :twisted:

roswck - We are in for some rather interesting chapters :)

VeronicaB - Heh heh... seing as she CAUSED the misunderstanding, seems fitting that she should be the start of the solution. :wink:

Timelord31 - Great plans. :wink: Oh yes.

mareli - well... depends what you mean by big. :wink:

xmag - Well, things are kind of moving off of that topic now. Clearly, not knowing the grand scheme of things, no one sees anything signifigant in that fact.

Arianneleigh - They bring out the best... or worst in each other. :lol:

roswellluver - Thank you :)

Roswelllostcause - LOL. Well, he's a concerned father and has his own motives. :wink:

paper - I think Luke had a 'hand' in that. :wink: Why would someone clone Kivar? Whoever set all this up is clearly an ally of Zan's. Why clone his mortal enemy and then introduce him to the mix? And someone is clearly looking out for Luke and co. A protector?

Smac - Julia didn't finish because they were interupted by a messanger. After that, with a green light for Luke, it kind of got forgotten. :wink:

Red Shift

Part 2

Chapter 35

They sat alone in the courtroom's antechamber, waiting for the summons. As a condition of surrender, Zan had insisted that the four of them be kept together, or he would not formally abdicate and hand over all vestiges of power, as Khivar had demanded. Khivar, eager for the whole thing to run smoothly, had agreed. They had resolutely stuck together during the journey home, during their imprisonment in a fine house outside of the capital and all the way through the four-day trial. When the jury had retired to decide upon their verdict, they had been escorted to the small holding cell where they waited for the word on their future. There was the sound of footsteps outside. The door slid open to reveal a dozen armed guards.

"It is time," one of them spoke, full of reverence.

Rath stepped out first, making sure that this was not some trap to attack Zan. Zan followed, and then motioned for the two young ladies. They were all startled by the soldiers' reaction.

"Atten-tion!" one snapped.

All twelve men snapped to attention.

"Captain Vynta," the leader gave a crisp salute by touching his ceremonial sword to his face. "Come to escort General Zan and General Rath into the chambers, sir."

"At ease," Zan saluted back.

He had understood at once. They were treating him as a soldier and not as a King. It was their way around a general order from Khivar not to show the King and his party any respect. Instead, they were showing two brave Generals the respect they had won on their own merits.

"Carry on."

"Sir!" Vynta brought his arm down. "About, turn," he ordered.

The soldiers turned one hundred and eighty degrees in perfect time. Zan gave an inward smile, imagining that they had drilled that one maneuver a hundred times or more, just to make sure that they executed it perfectly on the day. This day. The soldiers had formed two lines of six with a gap wide enough for another person to stand between them. They were honoring Zan and Rath by allowing them to march in as soldiers, rather than being dragged in as criminals. With Zan in the lead, the two men walked to their position in the middle rank. Vilandra and Ava followed them.

"Escort detail," Vynta called. "Escort these officers to the chambers. Slow, march."

With a slow, steady pace that was another sign of respect, the small procession marched into the courtrooms. As they entered the room, the entire audience rose as one. Those in the military, saluted. No one disputed Zan or Rath's military abilities. A hush went around the room. Zan could not help smirking at Khivar as he fumed at the head of the table with the other two judges. Khivar had so clearly wanted to see Zan humiliated.

The Royal Four, as the people of Antar had come to call them, sat at their table with their defense team. They all knew that the trial was simply a showcase. Something to help Antarans believe that justice was being done. The whole population expected some minor punishment, followed by some kind of declaration that would make Zan a figurehead, but one that could be viewed upon with dignity, and respect. Antar was looking forward to a coronation to mark the first step of healing. As the foursome sat down, the jurors filed in to take their seats.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury," Khivar looked at them, every one chosen by Khivar himself. "Have you settled upon a verdict?"

"We have," the one nominated as the leader nodded.

"To the charge of Treason against the states of Antar, Parthrea, Kulka, Dents and Torania, what say you?

"We find the defendants guilty."

There were one or two gasps among the crowd.

"And to the charge of prolonging the illegal war started by his father, what say you?"

"We find the defendants... guilty."

Khivar had to shout long and hard to restore order. This was soon achieved rather dramatically, however, when additional soldiers entered the room. Khivar's own troops.

"Your majesty," Khivar gave a slight bow, saying the words wit a sneer. "Is there anything you wish to address the court with?"

"If it pleases the court," Zan gave a polite nod.

He rose to deliver his prepared speech.

"It is with great reluctance that I accept my responsibilities toward Antar and the hurt it has suffered. Being its King, as yet not crowned, I wish to see peace restored, and Antar healed of its wounds. To that end, I hereby abdicate my throne and resolve to abolish all ties to that throne from my family and any of its heirs, for so long as the peace is maintained."

Khivar's eyes widened at the additional words to the rehearsed script.

"Furthermore, I hand over to Khivar, all vestiges of power and rule that I have in my possession ... for the safe keeping until Antar chooses a ruler that it deems worthy."

Khivar's face grew red with rage but he forced himself to remain calm. When he had regained the self-control that had been severely shaken, Khivar leaned forward.

"You may approach the bench," he motioned Zan forward.

"Now what?" Zan raised a quizzical eye at Khivar's outstretched, open hand.

"Nice speech," he glared. "Now give it to me."

"Give what to you?" Zan looked confused.

"The Seal!" he barked in a hoarse whisper. "Give me the seal."

"I don't have it," Zan shook his head. "It was in my Father's possession. And since you murdered him... He never gave it to me. I've always assumed you already had it. That's why we surrendered, Khivar."

"Where is it?" he barked.

As one, every head in the courtroom turned to Khivar.

"I don't have it," Zan raised his open hands.

Khivar glared at him again, his face growing red with rage.

"Return to your seat!" he snapped.

As Zan returned, Khivar again struggled to regain his control. He rose from his seat and looked out to the people. After a few moments, he raised his hands aloft in a grand gesture of requesting everyone's attention, which he already had.

"I have thought long and hard on this matter," he spoke at last. "And deeply have I been troubled. Antar is divided. Its people all supporting someone else, rather than any one person, even over one who now rules. The only way to heal those divisions is to unite those factions. And the only way to unite separate factions is to remove the very reason for those factions." He paused again, aware that all of Antar was listening with bated breath. "So to that end, it is this court's decision that King Zan, Queen Ava, General Rath and Princess Vilandra be taken from this court, to the public gallows in the main square where they will be hanged till they be declared dead."

There was no uprising from the Royal Four. There was no outcry, no public demonstration. At least, not in the courtroom. Not yet. The general public were still trying to take it all in. The only sounds were from Ava and from Vilandra, who both cried 'No,' at the condemnation of death.

The soldiers, as stunned as everyone else, took a few moments before they were in any fit state to lead the four away. Zan was comforting his young wife, Ava while Rath comforted Vilandra. Both men, however, held their heads high. Outside of the room, there were four sets of six guards, all dressed in black.
"Rath," a thin man with dark hair spat the name. "You will go with those men. Ava, you will go with these ones. Vilandra will go with them and Zan... You will come with us."

They were not allowed to say goodbye to each other. Soldiers from the four squads grabbed their prisoner and without ceremony, bound them tightly, cuffing their hands behind their backs. They were then dragged away to four separate vehicles to take them to the Town Square. There was hardly any time for any one to cry out.

Vilandra was at the back of the line of prisoners, contemplating all that she had witnessed that morning. Khivar had assured her that Zan would not be harmed and yet, here they were, being loaded into the vehicles that would lead them to their deaths. Her tears fell like drops of rain. Ava was the first. The guard helped her into the first vehicle, closing the door behind her. The vehicle sped off, disappearing through a throng of black robed soldiers who were holding the crowd at bay. The next to go was Rath. He turned around and sought out her face. He gave her a smile and then ducked his head as he was manfully pushed in.

"No!" she cried, furious that it had been her betrayal that had led them to this.

Vilandra couldn't believe that Khivar had broken his word and had turned her into Zan's unwitting executioner. She broke free from her guard, hurtling into the back of Zan's guard, knocking him free.

"Run!" she cried out as she turned to kick out at another approaching guard.

Snarling like a cornered fox, she hurled herself at the approaching help. Stunned by her sudden ferocity, Zan was rooted to the spot. Then he was suddenly covered by a swarm of soldiers who had appeared from around the corner. There would have been no chance of escape, even with Vilandra's distraction. There was the loud retort of a blaster. Vilandra felt the burning sensation between her shoulder blades as her world started to grow dark.

"I'm so sorry, Zan," she gasped. "Please forgive me."

Vilandra collapsed to the ground, dead.

"No!" Nickolas yelled out.

Anger burned through his words. This was not supposed to happen. His orders had been to take Vilandra straight to Khivar. There would be a lot of fallout over this. With his face burning in fury, he pulled the soldiers clear of Zan, now helpless on the ground.

"It's all your fault," Nickolas kicked out at him. "You stupid, fucking moron!"

Nickolas took all his anger and his frustration out on the prostrate form of Zan, his heavy military boots introducing themselves to Zan's face, over and over again. With his arms locked behind his back, Zan could not even protect himself. When he had kicked Zan's face into unrecognizability, he started on his body. He only stopped when another guard finally pulled him away. Zan had not uttered a single sound.

"Remove that," Nickolas indicated Vilandra's corpse. "And shove that," he waved at Zan's battered body, "in the vehicle. He's caused me more than enough trouble for one lifetime."

* * *

Rath stood on the gallows alone, wondering where everyone else was. Ava had been the first to leave, yet she was not yet here. And where were Zan and Vilandra? A momentary hope welled inside him that somehow they had escaped. Perhaps soldiers, loyal to the monarchy had somehow whisked them away to safety. That hope was partially dashed when a vehicle arrived, pulling up at the base of the gallows. Ava climbed out. Her face looked haunted, empty of hope. All through her trial, and even after the sentencing, she had held an air of confidence, like she knew that nothing would happen to them. For perhaps the first time, he had felt proud of his Queen, convinced now that she would be a fine companion to Zan, especially now that they would be sent to another planet to try again.

Another vehicle arrived, removing the hope that Zan was free. The door opened to let out a few guards. The prisoner that followed, supported between two guards, was not recognizable as Zan. His face was a mass of blood and bruises, black, blue and red. Both of his eyes were swollen shut and there were no complete teeth left in a mouth that dribbled blood. Just jagged remains of white or empty gaps.

"Oh, god!" Ava cried. "Zan!"

She tried to rush to his aid but was prevented from doing so by her bonds and the two guards holding her. Rath shook his head and called the men in that vehicle every name under the sun. He made a silent promise there and then that when Zan's plan came to fruition and he was again in a position to wage war on these men, then their leader would pay a very heavy price for every injury inflicted upon his friend. Nothing would get in his way. When he found himself at Zan's side, on the planet Earth, he would work tirelessly to complete their mission. They would stay detached, they would avoid contact with the humans. They would work hard, the four of them, find their way back to Antar, and seek to end all of the injustices that Khivar had perpetrated. Someone would pay for what had been done.

Ava was weeping now, finally giving in to the fear of their deaths. Zan could do nothing, he was surely in too much pain to even realize where he was, if he was even conscious. He just stood there, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings. Rath stood and stared at Nikolas, his fury and hatred allowing him to maintain his poise. He started to wonder where Vilandra was. Then he understood. She was being spared.

"It was Vilandra," Rath groaned. "She betrayed us. She gave up our position to Khivar."

The hangmen slipped the nooses over their heads and tightened the knots, positioning them so that they sat at the correct place behind their heads, the place where the knot would snap their neck and kill them outright. Nickolas stepped up onto the gallows and twisted Zan's noose so that the knot was no longer correctly situated, but sat at the side of head. The drop would not break his neck. Instead, he would slowly choke to death. A long and agonizing end.

"You bastard!" Rath called just as the trap door fell away.

Only Zan, through the haze of the choking pain that enveloped him heard the gasp from the crowd. His life slowly ebbed away; not quickly, like his friends. Zan's life trickled away like the sands through a narrow funnel. His lungs pounded at the lack of enough oxygen. His neck burned with choking pain as his mind started to go black. He wished that his eyes would allow him to see the Antaran sky one last time. His heart pounded heavily in his chest. Zan could hear the black clad soldiers laughing at him as well as some wailing in the crowd. On and on, his agony went. No one sought to put him out of his misery. They wanted it to go on, at least, the black clad soldiers that had become a hated sign of Khivar's rule did.

And then, mercifully, it was over. The pain vanished. The laughter turned into the sound of wind rushing through the trees in summer, thick with leaves. The darkness faded and light grew around him. It was not a white light, like the priests had expounded in their tales of the afterlife. It was blue. And it was warm. It was comforting. And so, he allowed himself to succumb. Zan finally found the peace he had craved for so long. He gave in to the deep sleep that was seducing him. All consciousness vanished.

* * *

"I am sorry, Excellency," Nickolas nodded to his newly titled Emperor. They had gathered in Khivar's private chambers. "It happened too fast. She fought to free him and one of the guards just... fired."

"No matter," Khivar sighed.

"And I didn't think you were going to execute Ava, as well," Nikolas continued. He allowed his feelings for her to show. "I thought you were going to spare her. She was a useful ally, after all."

"And she still is," Khivar was staring into space. "She still is."

"How do you figure that?" Traydn's eyes narrowed. "She's dead."

"She's as dead as Zan, anyway," Khivar nodded with a rich laugh.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Nikolas looked up sharply. "I saw him die with my own eyes. I saw them all die. I didn't even let them cut Zan down till he'd dangled for a good hour. He's dead."

"I spoke to her," Khivar's voice was filled with worry. "In the vehicle on the way to the gallows. She hadn't been able to contact me in days and I wanted to know why. It seems something Zan had been doing was affecting the radio. No one could call in, or out while Zan was working with it. And of course, here... He never allowed any of them out of his sight."

"What was he working with?" Traydn narrowed his eyes.

"The Granolith."

"The Granolith is on that island?" Nikolas raised an eyebrow. "We must go and retrieve it at once."

"It's not there anymore. He sent it away. On a ship. With Zan's clone."

"Excuse me?" Both of the Generals' mouths gaped.

"Okay, now listen," Khivar growled. "This is extremely complicated and I really don't want to have to repeat it."

He explained Zan's plan to his two generals.

"So what are we going to do?" Nikolas had taken it all in.

Already, his mind was formulating a dozen plans, each one as wild as the next. But sometimes, amid wild plans comes a gem.

"Firstly, we shall pretend that we have the Granolith, at least, for as long as we can. In the meantime, we strive to get it back. Ava. uhm... 'volunteered' to die so that she could go with them. We can expect her to work against them in that life as she did in this. The same terms. She's also going to try to come back with his seed in her belly so that we can use the Seal should it reject my DNA."

"What?" Nikolas had a strangled tone.

"Don't let your feelings get in the way of this, Nikolas. There are plenty of willing young women who would throw themselves at a position of power."

"But she's only one against... them," Traydn observed.

"Don't be too sure," Khivar smiled. "Vilandra is with them, too, the two of them might find a way to work together. Her attempt to free Zan, I will assume to have been an anomaly. But we will send them some help." He looked at Nikolas. "This is where you come in. She's your mistress, I want you to follow them. Take however many men you want, but you will find Zan, and capture him. I want Zan alive if you can. His seed in Ava's belly if you can't. I want the Seal and I want the Granolith. I would also like Vilandra back, though clearly, she is of less import. Do you understand?"

"I do," Nikolas saluted him. "I won't let you down. Do we know what the conditions are like on this planet?"

"No," Khivar shook his head. "I'm afraid we do not. There was a survey ship out that way, and I know that Zan was interested in this place, but I never found out what happened to it. So you had better take the HUSKs, just in case."

"HUSKs?" Nikolas frowned. "What are they?"

"It's the Hydration Utility Symbiosis Kit," Khivar grinned. "It's a new Bio suit my scientists have been working on. For when I start my planetary conquests. It basically acts like a second skin. One that can be shaped however we want it to look. Perfect for blending in with the local populace. Almost as good as the shapeshifting ability Zan gave his guards."

"But they've never been tested," Traydn blinked. "Have they? Surely you can't consider risking such an important mission with untested equipment? I mean, isn't this the suit that has a symbiotic relationship with the host? We have no idea how well they will work. Or of any side effects."

"We can test them on the way," Nickolas nodded. "I will have everyone wear them at all times, finding out all they can. By the time we reach this insignificant planet, we will know everything there is to know about them, and will have made any necessary modifications."

"How soon can you leave?"

"I need but two more days," Nickolas grinned with all the malevolence he held for the prince. "Then I can go after Zan, get my woman back and end this. Once and for all."

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RED SHIFT - Part 2 Chapter 36

Post by WR » Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:42 pm

Hi everyone,

As always, I have to thank you for your wonderful feedback. And I also would like to thank you for nominating my stories for the upcoming awards. :) Can I just ask why, after you guys howled at me for my cliff hangers during "Blue Remembered Hills", no one nominated it as most suspenseful? :lol: Looks like I'm going to have to sharpen my act up. Good job I haven't started Part 3 yet. YOu want suspense? :wink:

Okay... remember that I have been saying that there is a reason for Julia's Dad's behaviour? Well, tonight... I answer a whole heap of questions. And true to form, I leave you with more. :wink:

A word about the seal. Seems many of you got a little lost. When Dalena, Zan's mom turned up, she gave Zan the seal. And Zan used that seal to control the Granolith to work out his plans. He then removed the seal and placed it with on of his clones. Okay? So the seal is on it's way to Earth with either Luke OR Max. :wink:

smokie - It's probably a safe bet that Ava has been working against Zan for a long time. Vilondra though, she has been misled. She was promised that no harm would befall Zan. Scant consolation, but still...

BehrObsession - Yes, it seems that our group has been spared having a traitor among them, and have been allowed to develop into a real team.

roswell3053 - Absolutely. And what loyalty she is showing Nicholas. Years of separation...

omwf - You are right. But this was was pure malice.

Timelord31 - Thank you :)

frenchkiss70 - Right from the very beginning. They DID marry, I just glossed over it. It was mentioned during a conversation between Rath and Zan, where Zan specified how the marriage was unconsumated because he did not want a child born in such bleak conditions.

paper - Hope your question was answered.

you're my dreamgirl - Yes. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

VeronicaB - Yes, not very noble deaths, but then, is any death truly noble? Your last question is probably a fair assumption. :wink:

roswellluver - Thank you :)

sylus27 - Thank you :)

lazza - LOL. Well, somehow, I don;t think the history books were qritten by fanfic writers. :wink:

Roswelllostcause - Thank you :)

AJK001 - Well, no one is supposed to like them. :wink: So job done! :lol: Here and now coming up. :wink:

mareli - Yes. I think it;s fair to say that Nikki doesn;t like Zan. Maybe because he thinks Zan has been taking liberties with his girl. :wink:

NorafanofMaxandLiz - LOL. Yes. lots of people have wanted to smack these two, :wink: Oh yes. How wierd were those coma's. :wink: Hmmm....

Okay - lote to love in this chapter... lots to hate. :wink: One of my best. :wink: And perhaps, one my longest!

Red Shift

Part 2

Chapter 36

"Julia!" her mother called her from the front door. "Alison's here!"

"Damn!" Julia swore to herself as she glanced at the clock. It was already seven thirty. She was meeting Luke in an hour and a half and she still had lots to do. Alison was bound to want to tag along. "Send her in."

Hopefully it would be a quick visit. Alison was not normally such an early riser. Alison entered Julia's room to see her, still dressed in a cute, very short pink nightdress, running around from one cupboard to another.

"Good thing I wasn't Luke," Alison smirked, sitting on the edge of her bed.

"You're out early, Alison," she tried to hide her anxiety. She did not want to have to invite the gang to join them today. This was supposed to be about just her and Luke. "What's up?"

"I just came to see if you wanted to come with me and hang with Hans and Luke on the beach," Alison shrugged. "I expect if we call around there before they're fully up, we could persuade Luke to come and not try to hide away. You know, seeing as you have practically the whole day free. I even bought you a gift, look." Alison held up a large white bag.

"Thanks, Alison," Julia smiled at her. She really was a good friend... when she wasn't getting in the way. "But, uh... I have plans today."

"You do?" Alison looked disappointed. "Wait. Do your plans have anything to do with a certain dark haired, amber eyed beach god?"

"Uhm..." Julia stopped and bit her lip. She turned to Alison with a huge smile on her face. "Yeah, it does."

"That's good," Alison nodded in approval. "So the alone time did you two a lot of good. Do these plans include sun, sand and sea?"

"Sun and sea, yeah," Julia grinned. "But sand? Not necessarily."

"Sounds intriguing," her eyes widened.

"You're not upset with me?" Julia stopped.

"No way," Alison shook her head. "I know you'd rather be with Luke than me. It's okay."

"Thank you."

"So do you need any help to get ready?"

"Actually," Julia broke into a huge smile. "Yeah, I do. Could you pack my red bikini, that beach towel, my sunscreen and my sunglasses into that bag over there? I'll go take my shower."

Julia went through to her private bathroom, starting to pull her nightdress off. As soon as she was out of sight, Alison took out the small yellow bundle of cloth from her bag and placed it at the bottom of the bag Julia had pointed to. She then placed the towel on top of it and then added the sunscreen and the sunglasses.

"Jules?" she called out above the noise of the shower. "Will the two of you be alone?"

"I hope so," Julia giggled from the shower.

"Then take a huge tip from me," Alison smiled at her friend's response. "When you shave your legs, do your bikini line, too."

"Huh?" the shower stopped. "Why?"

"Trust me, Julies," Alison chuckled. "Better to be safe than sorry."

"How much?"

"As much as you dare."

"Alison?" Julia's voice sounded unsure. "Why?"

"Trust me babe," she grinned. "You'll thank me later."

The shower started again.

A little while later, Julia emerged from a cloud of steam with a large, white bath towel around her. She also had another wrapped around her hair. Julia reached into her drawer and pulled out a pair of white panties.

"You wearing a skirt, or shorts today?"

"Shorts," Julia paused, as she was about to step into her panties. "Why?"

"You should wear a thong," Alison grinned.

"I'm only fifteen, Alison."


"I'm not a slut."

"Hey," Alison looked offended. "I wear thongs all the time and I'm no slut. And Luke would certainly never think that of you, either."

"Well, I don't have any," Julia shook her head. "And I don't think you're a slut. I just..."

"Here," Alison reached into her bag and threw her a small pair of panties, still with the store label attached.

"This is my present?" Julia raised her eyebrows.

"Nah," Alison laughed. "That's Luke's."

"Alison!" Julia gasped.

As she tried to step into the small thong, Julia's towel fell from her, revealing her body to Alison. Her eyes widened.

"Nice bikini job," she smirked.

"Well," Julia blushed as she pulled the thong up. "I didn't know how much, and... Is it too much?"

"For me, yeah," Alison chuckled. "Not for Luke, though. Maybe not enough for him."

Julia turned to her drawer and pulled out a pair of white shorts: hot pants would be a more accurate description.

"Whoa, Julia!" Alison gasped. "When did you get that tattoo? Tell me that's not something Bozo made you do!"

"No," Julia started to turn crimson. She had forgotten all about it. "Luke and I had it done yesterday. He has the same design on his arm."

"You little devil, you," she nodded her approval. "Belly button rings, tattoos, you wear thongs, you shave your bush... Wait! You said yesterday? It looks totally healed and everything. That must be an amazing place."

"Do I look alright?" Julia turned around.

Her shorts were high tight and she wore a white sleeveless blouse which would be tied around her midriff when she was out of sight of her parents. They still did not know about the piercing, let alone the tattoo.

"You look stunning, babe," Alison grinned. "No VPL, either. You'll do, Chica. You'll do. Go knock him dead."

"Well, I have a few things to prepare before he meets me up the road."

"He not calling for you?" Alison frowned.

"I told him not to," Julia shook her head. "My Mom and Dad get kind of antsy when I'm with him. They still think I'm dating, uhm... Bozo."

"Well, I don't want to spoil your plans," Alison rose. "So, adios mi hermana."

"See you later, Alison. You coming in later tonight?"

"Nah," she grinned. "Hans is taking me to the movies."

* * *

"You have got to be kidding!" Luke stared at the huge sailboat moored at the side of the dock.

The idea of going to sea in a boat didn't really appeal to Luke, but as he turned to see Julia again, in that amazing shirt, and those hot, hot shorts where he could see the dimples where her buttocks met her legs... He'd follow her to hell and back.

"Do you like it?" Julia grinned at him. "It's ours. The Tranquility. She was built in 2001."

"She?" Luke raised an eyebrow and looked at her.

"Yeah, Luke," Julia smirked. "All boats are female, so you really should get on with her."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Luke frowned.

"She's a twenty-three footer," Julia ignored his indignation. He was faking it, anyway. "It has four berths, but don't worry. We're not staying overnight."

"Berths?" Luke shook his head.

"Beds," she laughed. "Two double rooms with two double beds. And I had the galley... the kitchen filled, so we have food and drink and... Don't worry, Luke. I know what I'm doing and we won't go far. Do you trust me?"

"Of course I do," Luke nodded.

"Well then, good," she smiled at him. "I've spent nearly every weekend over the last year and a half learning how to sail this thing. Now climb aboard and let's weigh anchor. Oh, can you cast off fore and aft?"

"Could I have that again in English, please?"

Ten minutes later, Julia and Luke were cruising under the power of the boat's engines out into the Gulf of Mexico on board 'The Tranquility'.

Sitting back on the large padded seat, Luke was watching as she worked the boat's controls. When she faced him, the sun sparkled from the pin in her navel. When she had her back to him, her tattoo was visible between her shorts and her white shirt. And he could not see any line under her shorts, forcing him to wonder if she was wearing any underwear at all, because she was also clearly bra-less. Every which way he looked at her, she was beautiful. Hot. He swallowed hard and wondered if maybe they were too far away from shore for him to take a quick dip now. That water sure looked cold.

"Come up here," she turned and caught him appraising her. "I'll teach you a little about sailing."

For the next hour or so, Julia taught him the rudiments of sailing. He proved remarkably adept and was only hit by the swinging boom, once.

"You're a natural, Luke," she grinned at him.

"Give me a good teacher," he smiled. "And I can learn anything."

"Remember I was telling you about that sand bar," Julia called to him as he finished winding in some cables for her. They were coming about, preparing to heave to. "The one where the water gets warmed by these underground springs?"

"Yeah," Luke finished his job and jumped down beside her.

"It's just over there," she pointed to where the sea changed from a deep blue color to a more pale azure.

"Wow," Luke looked at the changing colors with a sense of awe.

They dropped the anchor, pulled in all the sails and descended into the galley - Luke was even learning the language - where Julia started to prepare their lunch. They returned to the deck to eat in the open air and sunshine.

"This has been the most amazing day, ever, Julia," Luke smiling broadly. "This really is special."

"I'm sure it can't compare to sitting in an old bucket filled with fish guts and stuff while you try to catch marlin."

"Even though I've never tried it," Luke grinned, "I can safely say that I much prefer this to that any day of the week." He paused. "Unless you were there with me."

"After lunch," she smiled at Luke who was still looking over her body. "We can get changed and go for a swim."

"Yeah," Luke nodded. "A swim would be good about now." He hoped the water would be cold enough.

* * *

"You go and get changed first, Luke," Julia started to collect the plates. "I'll just tidy up."

"Okay," he nodded, handing her his empty plastic beaker.

He climbed to his feet and descended the stairs to the galley below. Picking up his bag, he went though into one of the cabins. Closing the thin ply door behind him, he stripped off, folding his clothes neatly onto the berth. He reached into his bag for his Bermuda shorts.

"Oh, no!" he groaned when all he could find was a small pair of Speedo's. "Alison!" he growled.

What could he do? If he remained dressed, then Julia might get upset and think he was still holding back from her. But if he went back up wearing these... there was no hiding. His reaction to her would be blatantly obvious. Luke thought back to the previous evening when Alison had cornered him on his way home from Julia's. He had spilled the beans about almost everything, including their planned day out today. She had returned this morning only moments before he left, insisting that she help him pack his bag. She must have pulled a switch on him. His face grew even more scarlet when he pulled the Speedo's out and a couple of condoms fell from them. Groaning with embarrassment, Luke pulled on the swim suit and then wrapped his towel around his waist.

"Fashion statement?" Julia smiled at him when he climbed back on deck.

"Something like that," Luke gave a weak smile.

"Okay," she reached out and ran her hand over his tattoo. It sent a shiver down his spine. And hers. "My turn. Won't be long." She descended down into the galley.

A few moments later, he heard her cry out.

"Are you okay?" he dropped down to the galley himself.

"Yeah," she called. "It's just... hang on. I'll be out in a minute. You go back up. I'm okay."

"Moments later, Julia came up from below with her own towel wrapped around her like a dress."

"Looks like I've started a trend," Luke smirked.

She gave him a nervous smile.

"Are you okay?" he frowned.

"Yeah," she nodded, sitting down on the stand beneath the steering wheel. "Look, I didn't plan this, okay?"

"Plan what?" Luke frowned, sitting down on the deck so that she didn't have to stare up into the bright sky at him. "I already said that today was the..."

"Alison came to see me this morning," Julia explained. "She packed my bag while I showered, okay? And she told me she had this present."

"And?" Luke narrowed his eyes. He could see where this was going. He would bet anything that her present was a new, very small bikini. He was glad that he had the towel on him.

"And it's, well... small."

"How..." his voice cracked, "How small?"

"Uhm..." Julia looked out to sea. "It's really small, Luke. Really small."

"I had a visitor, too," Luke coughed. "She uh, swapped my Bermudas for a pair of small Speedo's."

Julia couldn't help wondering what he looked like in them. Her mouth went dry.

"We, uh... we can, you know," Julia waved her hand toward the door. "We don't need to go swimming."

Luke and Julia were staring at each other, both had a kind of burning in their eyes. They both wanted to see the other, but they did not want to cause any embarrassment to them. Or themselves. It looked, however, like the day was over.

Julia started to twist and turn her head. A look of concentration appeared on her face.

"Can you hear that?" she asked Luke.

Now that she had mentioned it, he could. He could hear a series of high-pitched clicking and whistling sounds. Whatever was making the sounds, it was coming from more than one source. Julia climbed to her feet.

"Oh my god, Luke!" she exclaimed with a huge smile. "It's a pod of dolphins!"

"What?" Luke joined her on his feet.

Swimming in a circle around the boat was a group, a pod of dolphins. Although they were for the most part, adults, there were a few smaller dolphins with them. Luke and Julia watched in awe as the family group darted through the water around the boat like living torpedoes.

"I've never seen them this close before," she was smiling widely, her eyes never leaving the graceful creatures. Every now and then, a dolphin would leap from the water, perform some aerial acrobatic and reenter the water with grace any high board diver could only envy. Julia was already at the edge if the boat, leaning against the rail.

"Are they dangerous?" Luke remained in the center of the cockpit, watching the dolphin's frolics from there.

"Oh, Luke," she turned to face him. Her eyes were alive with excitement. "We just have to swim with them. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity! Once in two lifetimes!"

"Is it even legal?" Luke stepped a little closer to the rail.

"Come on, Luke," Julia grinned. "It's not like they're going to report us or anything."

"I suppose not," he gave her a grin.

"Anyway," she reached for the towel. "I don't care. I'm going in. You coming?"

She pulled the towel free to reveal her yellow bikini that she was almost wearing. It was, without a doubt, the smallest item of swimming apparel that Luke had ever seen, barely hiding the most important bits of Julia's beautiful anatomy. She was absolutely stunning and his eyes were practically bulging from his sockets. Luke's body reacted immediately.

"Probably," he muttered, looking down at himself.

He watched her, his eyes fixed to the naked pale globes of her perfect backside, as she climbed over the padded bench at the back of the boat and onto the small platform. In a graceful arc, she launched herself into the water. Throwing caution to the wind, he dropped his own towel and, all too aware of his painful erection only just encased in his Speedos, vaulted over the side of the boat and into the surprisingly warm waters of the Gulf.

Having never swam with dolphins before, Luke did not really know what to expect. They kept on swimming close to him, their warm and surprisingly smooth bodies sometimes pushing him, almost as if they were herding him. And always toward Julia. The clicking they kept making seemed mostly intelligible to Luke. It felt as though he should be able to understand what they were trying to say, which puzzled him, because he knew that he couldn't.

"Luke, look!" Julia's excited call distracted him. Holding a large dolphin by his dorsal fin, she was being pulled through the water, her chest making a huge crest of water. Luke hoped her top stayed on... or perhaps he hoped it would come off. "Isn't this just the best fun ever?"

Luke felt some pressure under his feet. Seconds later he was being rocketed skyward by a couple of playful dolphins, pushing him with their noses. He flew high into the air.

"Wahoo!" he shouted before he fell back to the sea.

Julia was right. This 'was' fun. Together with the dolphins, Luke and Julia had a total and complete blast.

* * *

"That was the most amazing experience of my entire life," Julia's face was alight with excitement. They were bobbing in the water by the platform at the back of the boat, watching the dolphins that had started to swim in a circle around the boat again. "Wait till I tell Alison. She's going to be so jealous. Her and Hans only saw dolphins from a distance when they went on that cruise. And we swam with them!"

With a smile of pure bliss, Julia took hold of the handle and used the low step to lift herself from the water. In all the excitement, Luke had forgotten about their state of dress. It all came back to him, hard, as he watched Julia climb up. Her thong bikini bottoms were almost transparent now. Only the thin strip of material hid her from his sight. Julia too, suddenly remembered what she was wearing and turned to look at him. She flushed when she saw him staring at her. And she blushed even more when she realized that she liked it. Julia hurried up onto the platform and over the railing into the cockpit.

She turned to watch Luke climb up, finding her eyes fixed to the impressive bulge in his Speedo's. She swallowed hard as she thought about what that bulge could be used for. She wondered if Luke would like a Cherry Surprise for dessert? Feeling more than a little lightheaded, Julia sat herself down upon the long padded bench that ran along the back of the boat. Uncertain what to do, Luke just stood there. He could not take his eyes off of her luscious body.

"You can sit down," Julia patted the cushion beside her. "If you want."

Luke nodded and joined her on the bench, their skin barely touching. Luke wondered if she could see the moisture evaporating from him as steam? Julia raised her eyes, wanting to look at Luke's face, but they never rose higher than his lips. Luke's eyes wander up her body, from the yellow bikini clad cleft between her legs, past her pierced navel with the glittering jeweled pin, over the gentle swell of her breasts, capped her perky nipples, up her neck, her chin... to a safer area, now. Her lips. Her warm, moist lips. The ones that just parted and are moving up toward his.

"We'd better put on some sunscreen," Julia broke the spell.

Luke berated himself. What had he been thinking? Even though his goons were out of the way, Julia still had a boyfriend, and he would not be so crass as to seduce her when she had brought him out for a pleasant day together. Had they have kissed, Luke knew that he would have been unable to control himself. She drove him wild without even trying to, and that Bikini that Alison had given her... He made a mental note to thank her for that.

"I'll do you first," she smiled.

"Excuse me?" Luke shook way his thoughts.

"The sunscreen," she was pouring some into her hand. "I'll put some on you, first. Stand up."

Standing with his back to her, Julia slid the white milk over his still damp body as sensuously as she knew how. Slow and soft. Luke was mortified at his body's reaction to her, especially when her hands started to tease the backs of his legs. When her small hands ran up the insides of his thighs, he really thought he might... 'lose' it.

"Turn 'round," she playfully patted his backside.

Luke held his eyes closed, not wanting to see her look of horror as he turned to face her. When she didn't scream, however, he opened them again. Her little tongue was poking from the corner of her mouth as her hands rubs the cream into his firm chest while she tried hard not to glance at his bulge. His mouth had never been so dry. When she started on his legs again, Luke started to concentrate on the hardest problems of calculus that he could remember.

When it was his turn to apply sunscreen to her, Luke copied her and started on her back. He paused for a moment before he had to rub the cream into her exposed buttocks. Julia both giggled and let out a barely audible 'oh'. As he applied the cream to her back, taking extra care over her new tattoo, Julia reached back and unfastened her bra strap to allow him better access. Her hands held the tiny cups to her front. She purred with pleasure as Luke massaged her neck and her shoulders. He dropped to his knees in front of her, applying the cream to her feet, her shins. Luke left the last few inches at the top of her thighs for later. He was only too aware that his face was only a short distance away from her... well, from her. As his hands caressed her stomach, he worked the cream around her navel pin, making her giggle. And then Julia completely shocked him. Julia completely shocked herself! In a move that was so bold, and yet so unlike her, she lifted her hands away and allowed her bikini top to fall.

His heart pounding wildly, Luke could only stare at her.

"You..." he had to swallow, first. "You are so beautiful, Julia."

"You don't think I'm... well, too small, do you?"

"No," he smiled at her, his ears still burning. "You're perfect. Absolutely perfect."

"You'd, uh... better put some cream on me," she gave a shy smile. "I don't want them to burn."

With his eyes widening to saucer-like proportions, Luke nodded. His hands were shaking as he reached out to caress the protecting milk onto her small breasts. They both emitted audible groans as his hands covered them. Luke could feel her nipples biting into his palms. Unable to prevent himself, Luke closed his eyes and leaned forward to place a soft kiss on her lips.

As soon as their lips met, it was almost as though sparks began to fly. Had he not known otherwise, Luke would have said that they had been directly beneath a fourth of July firework bonanza. Electricity crackled from every pore as their lips pressed against one another. His lips parted to engulf hers, teasing them. She did not remain passive, however, and wrestled with him for dominance. Their tongues dueled. They kissed. It was a momentous kiss, a kiss of ages. It was the kiss of lost soul mates finding their true halves once more. A kiss that was a long time coming. Longer than the few months that they had known one another. But there was something else. Almost too late, Luke remembered the connection that had started to form the other night when they had kissed by the fire bush trees. This strange connection that was so close to the surface of their consciousness, he wondered how he had never noticed it before that night. He wondered if Julia was even aware of it. It seemed to Luke that this connection had already existed, like he and Julia had already shared it once before. But this connection would let her see everything. Every secret he possessed. He did the only thing he could. He slammed it shut and leaned every tiny drop of his powers against it.

He felt Julia shudder at the sudden loss the instant he closed that opening door. Yes, she had clearly felt it. And what was more, she had been welcoming it. It seemed to drive her forward with more determination, almost as though a part of her wanted to force that door open. Almost as though she knew that it was supposed to be open and would not tolerate its closure. Keeping their lips in contact, and breathing very, very heavily, Julia turned her body, pushed Luke back against the seat and threw her leg over his thighs. Julia was now straddling him. He could not have escaped even if he had wanted to.

"Luke!" she murmured into his mouth.

The name was momentarily unrecognizable. He did not know who Luke was. Because this was not Julia with him. They were someone... else. He knew that these two people did belong together. He knew that he had promised it. When her soft core pressed down against his iron rod, his hand slid from behind her, finding a perfect breast. She continued to grind herself against him while his fingers teased her small but hard nipple. His other hand was holding her back, just over her tattoo.

Julia's mind was flying. The desires and the sensations that ran through her body did not belong to her yet she wanted them so very much. Strange things were happening to her. That doorway, for one. It was so important to her to get through it, yet Luke... no, not Luke, someone else obstinately refused to let it happen. And her behavior. While not her, it just seemed right. Like this was something that should have happened a long, long time ago. Sensations rose and fell within her. She felt like her body was about to burst and yet the fingers on her nipple drove her feelings even higher. Her whole body shuddered as the most extreme, pleasurable feelings that she had ever experienced coursed through her. She cried out loud and long as her body was flung to the heavens with her first ever climax. She was vaguely aware that Luke had cried out, too, but that hardly mattered right now. Their blazing eyes met. Both were almost totally black. She continued to explode with spasm after spasm. Slowly, Julia became Julia again. And as she did so, the realization of what had just happened dawned on her.

She leaned forward, her forehead pressed against his.

"Oh my god, Luke," she wailed. "I'm so sorry."

Julia started to cry. Why, she had no idea for it was not with shame. What had happened to her seemed more than natural; it somehow seemed... not enough. Yet what of Luke? What must he be feeling? Was what she had just done to him, rape?

"I'm so sorry," she whimpered again. "I didn't mean..."

"No, no, no," Luke gasped, his eyes looking into hers with such deep, caring compassion. "It's my fault. I should never have allowed this to get so out of hand. I mean, wow... I never..."

"Me neither," Julia let out her breath with a faint smile.

"Did it...?" Luke started but hesitated.

"What?" Julia wanted him to continue.

"I mean, did it feel good?"

"Oh, god! Luke!" she giggled. "It was... I could... I mean..." She paused to try to collect her thoughts which were running like loose chickens. She took a deep breath. "It was fantastic. But what about you? I mean..."

Luke looked down where she was still pressed against his Speedo's. There was a large dark stain. Some white, sticky fluid was seeping over the waistband.

"Oh," she smiled at him. A sudden look of panic engulfed her and she moved herself off of him. "I can't get pregnant from this, can I?"

"I don't think so," Luke shook his head with an embarrassed chuckle. "Oh, god, Julia," his face fell. "What are we going to do? Your boyfriend..."

At the same moment, Julia was adding her own concern.

"Your soul mate..."

Both fell silent, looking at one another.

"Julia?" Luke started. "As long as we don't ever regret this and not let what happened cheapen our friendship... Well, I'm glad that I shared this with you, Jules."

Julia was too emotionally weak to protest, to let him know the truth. There would be time for that later.

"Me too," she nodded, smiling at him. "I mean, it's not as though we physically made love. Is it? We're both still virgins, right?"

"Yeah," he nodded. His heart was doing cartwheels right now. She had not yet surrendered herself to anyone. "Our virginity is intact. But I have to tell you, Julia. I don't think anyone will make me feel like you just did."

"Me neither, Luke," she sighed with pleasure. He was still a virgin, too. "Me neither."

"Do you, uh... want to have your shower first?" he asked her.

"If you don't mind," she nodded.

Julia suddenly felt a little awkward, in spite of what they had just shared. She covered her naked breasts with her hands. She rose from beside Luke and started to walk toward the doorway to the galley. She paused to bend down and pick up her bikini top. She stopped and turned back to Luke with a grin.

"We could always shower together."

Luke gave a soft chuckle.

"Better not," he swallowed hard at the mere thought. "Or that virgin status will be put to the test."

"I'll go..." she pointed to the galley and blushing furiously, she descended through the doorway. "It's yours for the taking anyway," she whispered when she was on her own.

* * *

Luke could not remember a single instance that he had felt more uncomfortable. He desperately needed to clean himself up, and cool himself down, in either order. He gave a momentary thought to taking up Julia's suggestion and following her into the shower. But he knew that that would not be one of his best ideas. She belonged to someone else. So, instead, Luke vaulted over the rail and into the sea.

The dolphins appeared again, swimming around the boat. It was almost as though they had vanished to give him and Julia their privacy. Shaking his head at the thought, Luke started to clean himself. The proximity of the dolphins and their silence started to unnerve him, so he climbed back up onto the boat. At once, the dolphins started their clicking song again. Only this time, Luke was startled when he realized that he was making sense of their clicking sounds.

"You chose her to be your Queen," they seemed to be singing to him. "The time is getting on and you must acknowledge her. Before it's too late."

Too late for what, Luke wondered.

"You can't do it without her. You have already chosen her."

Luke frowned, wondering what was happening to him. Then, as one, five dolphins leapt into the air leaving only their tail fins in the water. Then, as they proceeded to 'walk' backwards, it looked as though they bowed to him.

"Your Majesty," they sang to him before dropping back into the water.

"I'm getting sunstroke," Luke looked up into the sky.

"What was that?" Julia climbed back up on deck wearing her white shorts and her white tied top.

She was toweling her hair dry. Luke would never get over how beautiful she looked and how she never failed to affect him. She walked up close to him, deliberately showing him that she was not going to treat him any differently after their earlier interaction. That she was comfortable with his presence. She reached out a hand and caressed the top of his arm, the one with the tattoo.

"Nothing," Luke shook his head. "Just thinking out loud"

"Look at that," Julia pointed out to sea.

The dolphins had again leapt from the water to perform their walking trick and again performing a bow. This time, however, it appeared that they were bowing to Julia.

"Your highness," theirs chattering seemed to say.

"What was that all about?" Julia was smiling wide eyes at their antics. "Did they just bow to me?"

"And why not?" Luke gave a wide smile to hide his confusion. "Everyone says that they're intelligent and you do have this regal quality about you."

"And what was with the pattern they made?"

"Huh?" Luke looked out to where the dolphins had dropped back into the sea, leaving five large splash ripples. What pattern?"

"Like the letter 'V'," Julia pointed at the image. "Made from five dots."

* * *

"What did you do with your bikini?" Luke asked her as he helped Julia carry the boxes of unused food back to her house.

"I hid it on the yacht," Julia laughed. "It's kind of like my tattoo and my piercing. No way can I let my Mom and Dad see it."

She was wearing a soft white sweater against the cool evening chill, as well as to hide her rebellious secrets from her parents.

"You go home, tomorrow, huh?" Already, Julia was starting to feel the pain that Luke's absence would bring.

"Yeah," he nodded. "Summer seems like such a long way away."

"Yeah," Julia sighed as they arrived at her front gate. "Well... here we are."

"Here we are," Luke nodded, placing the box down on the ground.

Without any hesitation, Luke leaned own and gave Julia a soft and tender kiss. His hand caressed the nape of her neck.

"Will you come by Scoops this evening, please?"

"Of course I will," he nodded. "See you later."

"Later," Julia nodded and watched him leave.

During his walk home, Luke could not help the tears that welled in his eyes. One day, someone else would get to take Julia into his bed, to make love to her, to love her and cherish her for the rest of their lives. All he would be able to offer her was a lifetime of uncertainties as he followed his own destiny, which, as far as he knew, did not lie on this planet but another, a long way away. Luke knew that soon, he would have to let her go.

* * *

She waited until he had turned the corner, giving her a last wave before he vanished from sight. She waited a moment before releasing a deep sigh. Tonight, she would make sure that he knew how she felt about him. As she turned to enter her home, a shadow moved from behind some nearby bushes. He was dressed just like any other tourist. His eyes narrowed as they rested on Julia.

"Yeah," he nodded. "She's lovely, all right. Too bad I gotta spoil everything. Too bad for you, kid. Welcome to the real world."

* * *

Luke was using the upstairs bathroom to get ready to go out and have his last few moments with Julia. Who knew how often they would be able to spend time together in the summer? With her boyfriend, and her boyfriend's goons, Luke doubted that it would be very often. Perhaps, after her shift, they could spend some more time together, just walking in the night air, talking and generally enjoying one another's company. And maybe he might kiss her again, one final time before...

"Luke," Opa called from the bottom of the stairs. "You have a visitor."

Drying his hands on the small towel, Luke left the bathroom, ready for his last night out with Julia. In fact, he was half expecting Julia to be his visitor. They did, after all, have a lot to talk about. But it wasn't Julia waiting for him at the front door but her father.

"Mr. Cartier," Luke was surprised to see him. Had he heard about what happened on the boat?

"Good evening, Luke," the older man nodded. "I wonder if we might have a word? Could we, uh, go for a walk?"

"Sure," Luke nodded, wondering what was going on.

They walked out through the back gate and followed the boardwalk away from the town, away from Scoops, Luke noticed.

"You and Julia seem to be getting along rather nicely," Mr. Cartier broke the silence.

"Uh, yeah," Luke nodded. "We're uhm... good friends."

"But you'd like it to be more, right?"

"Uhm..." Luke looked down at his feet.

"Were you aware of the fact that Julia was in a coma for most of her life?" Mr. Cartier asked.

"Since she was born, yeah," Luke nodded, still looking anywhere but at Julia's father. "She told me that."

"Julia is a remarkable young woman, Luke," he nodded. "Already, after having been in school for only two years, she's caught up with everyone. Her teacher's say that she's the most intelligent person of her age that they have ever encountered."

"Uh, yeah," Luke smiled, remembering that the question he had heard her ask at MOSI was after she had been awake for only six months. "I kind of knew that."

"The thing is, Luke... when... when Julia was born... in that coma... we could never have afforded to keep her alive. I mean, most coma patients have their life support switched off eventually, unless you have some kind of wealth behind you. Which we never had. But then, you see, this foundation approached us. They offered us unlimited finances to keep Julia in care until she recovered. And all we had to do was give our consent that when the time came, we would let Julia go. She has this important... destiny."

Luke was growing to hate that word.

"They said that we would recognize when that time came, because it would be something that no one would be able to explain. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

"Not really," Luke shook his head.

"The representative from this foundation told us that Julia was destined for greatness, that she would achieve something that no other human could ever hope to achieve. He also said that she would one day be the partner to a great leader, someone who will save mankind." Mr. Cartier stopped walking and looked directly at Luke. "Uhm... You see, Luke. There's this guy... a local. I believe you may have heard of him. His name's Richard Madly."

"Uh... yeah," Luke's heart was threatening to stop beating. "We've met."

"He has this whole amazing destiny, Luke."

Yup, it was official. He 'really' hated that word.

"He's a rising star in the military. He's taking up a commission in this Volunteer Force, a Captain. At only Eighteen! And one day, he's going to be a general. And do you know what he'll be doing soon?"

"What's that?" Luke voice was hoarse.

"These aliens in New Mexico. You don't think our government is going to let them stay there, do you? There will be a war soon, and I believe that Richard Madly will be instrumental in their defeat. With Julia as his destined partner."

Luke remained silent.

"So you see, son... You're holding her back. This infatuation she has for you... Look, you care for her, I can see that. And under any other circumstances, a father would be glad to have someone like you dating his daughter, but... Let her go, son. Let her go on to fulfill her destiny."

* * *

Luke stood by the end of the counter inside Scoops, watching Julia serve a procession of customers who had come to order some sweet frozen delights. He had been hoping that they would find some time to talk, so that he could explain to her why he would not be walking her home that evening, why he would not be contacting her any more. It hurt his heart to even think of such a thing, so he was glad that she was too busy for him to talk. Watching her in such a glowing mood was too pleasurable. Perhaps they could speak at the end of her shift. Would she be upset? Would she just shrug and say how much fun it had been, but it was now time for her to put her boyfriend first? He could not stand the thought of giving up their friendship.

"So what's up?" Julia had finally found the time to speak to him.

The customers had died down a little and only a few people were in the store, either eating their ice cream or working there.

"I want you to understand, Julia," he took a deep breath. "I value our friendship over everything else. And I would never let that friendship die away, okay? It will always be a part of me, just like, in a way, you will always be a part of me."

Having never been dumped before, Julia did not recognize the words as such.

"Why should it?" she smiled.

"Because of what happened today, partly," Luke shrugged. "I mean... It happened, Julia. And nothing can change that. I won't say I'm sorry, because that wouldn't be true. But it shouldn't have happened, and we'll both never stop thinking about it whenever we see each other."

"It was... totally amazing, Luke," Julia gave a bashful smile. "And I'm glad it happened, 'cause it gives me the strength to tell you something."

"It's okay, Jules," Luke nodded slowly with a sigh. "I know. I don't want to jeopardize your future with the man of your dreams, okay? What happened will remain between us and no living soul will ever find out."

"Luke," Julia rolled her eyes. "There's something I need to tell you. It's about the man of my dreams. Luke, he's..."

"Nobody move and nobody gets hurt!" a scruffy man with desperate looking eyes burst through the glass doors of Scoops, holding a handgun and waving it at the people in the store.

There were screams and shrieks as everyone tried to find something to hide behind.

"You," he pointed the gun at Julia and tossed her a canvas bag which she caught. "Put all the money from that till into the bag."

Nodding, Julia turned to the cash register, pressed the 'No Sale' button and the drawer popped open. She pulled out all of the bills and shoved them into the bag. Pulling the drawstrings closed, she turned to face the man with the gun.

"Now bring it to me, toots."

"No," Luke took a step that placed him directly between Julia and the gun. Holding his eyes on the man all the time, he held his hand behind his back and took the bag from Julia. He tossed it back to the robber. "You've got the money. It's what you came for. But you won't be taking any hostages." Especially not Julia. 'Hans, get Leia. Come to Scoops right away!'

"Shut it, punk," the gunman snarled. "Get over here, bitch, before I shoot your Romeo, here."

"Luke, it's okay," she started to walk around him.

"No!" Luke shook his head, moving to block her. "No one is going anywhere with him."

"Out of the way, kid. Don't make me shoot you. Or your pretty bitch, cause she'll be the next one, right after you."

"You won't be shooting either of us," Luke muttered, holding the man's malicious stare.

"Look punk," he spat. "The time's getting on and I gotta do this. It's for your own good. Now send the girl out. You got to three. One."

Julia tried again to get past Luke and again, he stopped her.


"Luke," Julia sounded frantic.


The sound of the gun was very loud, especially in the confines of the small room. In the blink of an eye, which everyone did when the gun went off - blink - Luke threw up his shield, just big enough to protect both him and Julia and then let it down again. No one even noticed. The man was already running through the door.

"Are you okay?" Luke turned to find Julia on the floor with blood seeping through a hole in her abdomen. "Julia!" he cried, dropping to her side in an instant.

"The bullet must have ricocheted!" Luke was berating himself. "I should have covered us completely."

Pulling open her dress, Luke placed the palm of his hand over her wound. It was like a key slipping into a lock. It was as though he had done this before. Already, there was a silver handprint that fitted his own imprint and he had not yet even used his power. What did it mean? But time was moving on. The dolphins had said that, too. Julia was dying. Luke could feel her life ebbing away.

"Julia," he urged. "You have to look at me."

Her eyes fluttered open, showing her pain as well as her complete and total trust in him. He concentrated on healing her. The connection appeared again, more urgently this time. He knew that he could not let it open. Not anymore than it already had. But it was almost impossible to stop this time. Images seemed to seep through the gap. Images of a dark haired girl playing pat-a-cake in a playground, of the same girl wearing a dress with a cup cake pattern. Confusing images of Julia's childhood when he knew that Julia did not have a childhood. And then he saw her, waking up from her coma, not knowing who she was, but knowing that she was waiting patiently for someone, knowing he would be coming for her, because he had promised before he died that he would. Luke was so terrified by what he was seeing that he did not fully heal her. He patched her up so that she would not die. The paramedics would get her to hospital and no one would know how close to death she was.

"You're alright now," Luke gasped, starting to move away from her.

"Luke," she cried. She looked dazed and confused. "Please, stay with me."

"I have to go," he rose to his feet. "Please, Julia. I have to go. I can't ruin your life again."

As the paramedic pushed past him, Luke backed away. Their eyes remained locked as Julia struggled to keep him in sight. He was torn, but he knew he had to leave. He turned and ran out into the night. Let the police come and find him. He wondered why he had told Julia that he couldn't ruin her life... again?

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Last edited by WR on Fri Jun 16, 2006 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.