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Red Shift Part 3 Chapter 17

Post by WR » Fri Jan 26, 2007 4:19 pm

Hi everyone!

Two weeks ago, I was told my internet would be down for approximately one hour while they upgraded some equiptment at my local exchange. Two weeks later...

The joys of technology.

Thank you all for voting for me and my stories. PW picked up another, RS picked up a few and even my Xmas fic picked one up. :) Thank you so vvery much.

Anyway, I'm under the weather tonight, so I'm just going to post and run, I'm afraid.

Red Shift

Part 3

Chapter 17

The road was strange. Strange, yet in so many ways, it seemed so very familiar. He had seen it somewhere before, only it had been different. Where he had expected to see one thing, something else was there instead. And there were buildings that he could not help feel just should not have been there. He could not help shake the sense of déjà vu that was surrounding him.

A short distance from him, a little up the street, there was a small crowd gathered. There were perhaps forty to fifty people. Most of this crowd, perhaps seventy five percent were older teenagers or young adults. All were dressed in strange clothing; flowered smock type tops, long flowing skirts or dresses and bell bottomed jeans. The clothing had badges sewn on to them, and were died with mysterious circular 'splash' type patterns. They all wore flowers in their hair. The carried large placards or long banners with words he could not quite make out. They were chanting, too, walking in a circle in front of a building obscured by the small forest of placards. Strange words involving counting numbers.

Across from this group was a thin line of green clad deputies and blue and grey policemen. They were watching the group patiently, neither moving to or from the circular parade of brightly colored people. Behind them, a small group of bulldozers and their drivers sat patiently waiting, watching the scene before them.

As the circle turned, a young woman walked into view; a woman whom he recognized.

"Maria?" he called out. "Maria? What are you doing here?"

But Maria ignored him and continued with her chanting. At that moment, one of the deputies stepped forward, and grabbed Maria. It was a signal and the other officers of the law also stepped up and seized someone while one or two of their comrades assisted by protecting them from a sudden rain of placard. The man who grabbed Maria flipped her and expertly snapped a handcuff over her wrist. With a quick jerk, he had Maria's arms pinned behind her back and the other half of the cuffs found her other wrist.

"Kyle!" he gasped, recognizing Maria's captor. "Kyle, what are you doing? Let Maria go."

Like Maria before him, Kyle ignored him, instead, leading a violently resisting Maria to a police vehicle. He turned to survey the scene of violence, and he could not help but gasp. Now that the placards and banners had fallen, he could see what they had been hiding. The building was strange. It was almost a dome, but not quite. Octagonal in shape, it rose from the ground, constructed with a series of long, thin tubes forming the vertical walls. At about head height, the length of the tubes shortened, interlocking as they spiraled over the top, affecting the curved domed roof. From the dome's pinnacle, a long, misshapen spike speared upwards, a number of jagged protrusions sticking out from it. It looked like a missile. An ugly, garish missile.

With a start, Max Evans woke up from his dream, convinced that he could hear someone chuckling in the recesses of his mind.

* * *

President Clayton was sitting behind her huge desk in the Oval Office. Across from her sat three of her Chiefs of Staff. She looked pale, and rather shell shocked.

"Do you want to run that by me again?"

"It seems that those kids, the ones that Jim told you about... it seems that their death's were prematurely exaggerated."

"Which ones?" she shook her head. "The aliens... I mean, the hybrids? Or the human counterparts?"

"Both," was the reply. "All of them. They've all turned up at Chaco Canyons. Marched in, as bold as brass by all accounts, bringing some stragglers in with them."

"So how on earth..." she pulled a grimace. "So what did they do? Some kind of resurrection thing? Can this Max Evans bring people back to life?"

"We have no idea how it happened," he shook his head. "The people concerned seem to be tight lipped about it. All we know is that a group of teenagers turned up and they answer to the names and descriptions of the original gang. Uh, we've sent a message to Valenti for confirmation, but I have no doubt as to where his particular loyalties will lay. His son is with them."

"What does this mean for us?" she turned to look at the map of New Mexico pinned on the wall behind her desk. "For any future plans of a counter attack?"

"Hopefully, they will help us," was the reply. "I mean, they are the mortal enemies of this Tess and Nikolas, by all accounts. Madame President, it strikes me that we have a golden opportunity here. We should extend an invitation to these... hybrids. We can use their knowledge and expertise to train, and later, lead our forces. And maybe they can assist us with developing new weapons too."

* * *

Max was on his hand and knees, crawling over a large map that had been rolled out on the floor like a large rug. The length and width of this map was almost three times Max's height. With his feet pointing southeast toward Roswell, Max was currently looking down on the Chaco Canyons.

"You developing a God complex?" Michael snorted as he emerged from his bedroom.

Max looked up, his original mask of concentration falling to a look of disappointment.

"Oh," Max sighed. "Is Maria still in bed? I kinda thought Liz was with her. She wasn't in her room when I woke up."

Michael gave a small smile at Max's disappointment.

"She is," Michael nodded. "With Maria. They left ages ago."

"She did?" he looked up, a stricken look on his face. "What do you mean, left?"

"Relax," Michael smirked. "Something about checking out the lay of the land."

"I hope they stay in camp," Max frowned.

"Well, Isabel went with them," he shrugged. "I think that between the three of them, they'll be fine. Anyone tries anything on them, then if Maria doesn't screech them to death, Isabel can blast them."

"Not funny," Max shook his head.

Michael just shrugged.

"So what you looking at?"

"I'm just trying to find something," Max returned to the map.

"The Granolith?" Michael started to look at the map's features.

"I hardly think we'll find it marked on a map," Max gave a smug smirk. "Like some tourist signpost."

"So, what then?"

"What do you remember about the night we died," Max rolled over and sat down on Albuquerque.

"Dying," Michael shrugged. "Wasn't our finest hour."

"Seriously, Michael," Max shook his head. "What do you remember? That night, when we drove out to the chamber. Can you remember what happened?"

"Yeah," Michael nodded with a look of disgust. "We got outflanked. We got caught between two units of Nikolas' men. When we tried to retreat from the first group, we ran headlong into Tess."

"That's what I remembered, too," Max nodded. "But then I started thinking. And something didn't add up. Something wasn't right."

"Care to explain?"

"Remember how we ran into that first group? It was like they knew we would be there."

"Tess would have warned them that we might show up," Michael shrugged. "Not exactly a surprise."

"But they were shooting to kill," Max stated. "They killed Isabel. And then when we ran into Tess... I can remember her shouting something about taking me alive. And then one of the first group was shouting that he had us cornered, he was shot by the Tess's group. Does that sound like they were working together?"

"Not especially," Michael shook his head with narrowed eyes.

"There were two separate groups out there that night, Michael," Max was frowning. "With different agendas. One group wanted us... at least, me, alive. And the other, I think they wanted us dead."

"So you're saying that there is a second group of aliens on this planet, and that both of them are hostile to us."

"Actually," Max took a deep breath. "I think there might be three."

"How do you figure that?"

"Although maybe this third group is another part of the group that wants us dead... and that's what has me worried."

"What makes you think there's a third group?" Michael asked again, wondering if Max might be cracking up under the strain of recent events. "I only saw something that might... or might not have added up to two separate sides. How can you figure a third?"

The knock at the door interrupted them.

"Come in," Max looked up at the door.

Jim Valenti opened the door and stepped into the room.

"Max," he nodded touching two fingers to the brim of his Stetson. "Michael. So what's with the note?" He nodded back at the closed door.

"What note?" Michael frowned.

"The note on the door," Jim looked at Michael. "The one that says 'Knock and wait to be invited in. You getting all regal on us, Max?"

"When I close the door," Max shrugged. "Only I can open it."

"Is that necessary?" Michael rolled his eyes.

"Not when Liz isn't around," he sighed. "I guess not."

"You wanted me, Max?" Jim decided that it would be better to talk business than let Max miss Liz.

He had heard of Liz's disappointment in not sharing a room with Max. Jim wondered how much that decision had been based on some kind of respect for his diminutive girlfriend, and how much was based on the fact that Max knew her parents were still alive.

"Yeah," Max nodded, his game face on again. "Jim... how much do you know about what happened the night of the invasion? I mean the whole event and not just what happened in Roswell."

"Only what we pieced together for our report to President Clayton. When I knew what was going on, I reported to an army officer to tell them everything I knew about the skins. I figured, with you guys either dead or in hiding, my silence was doing more harm than good. Anyway, this officer guy flies me out to Washington where I tell Clayton and the chiefs of staff everything."

"This report..." Max ignored the implication of Jim's admission that the authorities knew about him and focused on his immediate problem. "What did it say about Chaco Canyons, Jim?" He looked down at the region on the map. "Why didn't Nikolas's forces capture this area? Why didn't they take all of New Mexico? And how come he's left it pretty much alone since then?"

"That's pretty much a mystery to us, Max," Jim shook his head. "We don't know why they left this place alone. It was kind of uninhabited at the time. "We've been using this place as a base ever since we discovered that any kind of sensors won't work anywhere within 20 miles of the canyons' periphery. And there is too much open country out there for the aliens to cover. So we can pretty much move about undetected."

"So that's another unanswered question," Max shook his head. "Not only do I not know why this corner of New Mexico is unoccupied, but why don't sensors work here?"

"Max, I don't know if you understand or not, it's not a corner of New Mexico that is unoccupied. It's an island. We are in a small island that is unoccupied. The borders themselves got taken a few months later."

"What's so special about this place?" Michael stepped up to stand at Max's side, joining him in looking at the map.

"When we first set up here, Max, we had all sorts of tests run. Even River Dog and his boys came up to take a look. The sensors found nothing... not surprisingly, but River Dog said that they felt a presence there, but that it was very old."

"The Granolith?" a look of hope lit up Michael's face.

"No," Max shook his head. "I'm pretty sure that the Granolith is close to Roswell. Nacedo would not have had time to move it this far."

"Not the night of the crash, no," Michael shook his head. "But he had plenty of time between then and when we hatched."

"No. Not with Nikolas looking everywhere for him... and it. It would have been safer wherever it was. Is."

"So what could this presence be, then?"

"I think there's another army of aliens here," Max spoke in a whisper. "An army big enough and capable enough to have repelled Nikolas' attempts to take this area."

"What?" both Jim and Michael started looking for hidden enemies.

"I think they're on our side," Max smirked at their antics. "At least, they are not on Nikolas's side."

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend, huh?" Michael narrowed his eyes. "But what if they are allied to that group who tried to kill us?"

"Because they would have done something by now," Max shrugged. "They would have had a lot of opportunities to kill me. Us. And they haven't, so..."

"No," Jim shook his head. "Max, we've been using this place for two years now. And we have pretty much explored every room, every cupboard and every alcove. If there was an army of any size here, we would have seen them by now. We only found empty buildings."

"Perhaps," Max smirked, "you only saw empty building because that is all you were permitted to see."

* * *

"Madame President?" the tall, dark suited man entered her office after being granted permission to do so by her secretary. "I wonder if I might have a moment of your time."

"You'll have to be quick, Mr. Larkin," she indicated the seat across the desk from her. "I have a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a moment."

"The New Mexico situation?" he raised an eyebrow.

"As it happens," she gave him a wary glance, "Yes. Yes it is."

"It's about the current situation there that I've come to speak with you."

"I see," she nodded. "Go on."

"An opportunity has arisen. An opportunity that does not come ones way very often in a given lifetime."

"And what opportunity would this be?" she frowned. "Mr. Larkin, if you have some input to the current military operations, I suggest that you approach General..."

"This has nothing to do with 'current' military operations," he shook his head. "And everything to do with future military operations."

"I don't understand."

"As you are no doubt aware, three teenagers have arrived at the resistance base in Chaco Canyons," he started.

"How did you know about that?" she demanded.

"Madam President," he looked offended. "I think that in my capacity, you should be more concerned if I did not know about their arrival."

"Go on," she nodded.

"According to my sources," he nodded, "these three teens are of an extra terrestrial nature and lived in Roswell prior to the alien invasion. And also according to my sources, they were all killed in that same invasion. Yet here they are, large as life. Madame President, for this ability alone... Think about it. We need never fear death again."

"You're hinting at something else," her eyes narrowed.

"Yes, I am," he agreed. "As the leader of the largest military force on this planet, what would you do if you wished to apprehend a couple of teenagers that were currently residing in a foreign country? Would you invade that country? Would you risk the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of soldiers and civilians, just to apprehend these teenagers? No, of course you wouldn't. If diplomatic means had already failed, you would probably authorize some kind of covert kidnapping."

"Where are you going with this, Larkin?"

"Again, my sources are hinting that this whole invasion has been staged just so that the alien forces can apprehend these three teenagers, and something that they have in their possession."

"What's that?"

"Power," he shrugged. "It doesn't really matter what it is, it's what it can offer us. It's what 'they' can offer us."

"If you're suggesting that we recruit these people to assist with our counter offensive against the occupying aliens, I think that assistance is already pretty much guaranteed. Mr. Valenti has already intimated that both he and River Dog have acknowledged him as their new Commander."

"But are they in the best location for that?" he gave her a cryptic nod. "I suggest. Madame President, that we extend an invitation to Max Evans and his friends to join us here in Washington, where we can... control this power. I mean, look at this. These three teenagers, accompanied by a diverse number of friends, crossed into New Mexico completely undetected by both our own sensors, and apparently, alien ones. They then proceeded to move on to Roswell, across open countryside, again, undetected even by the Native American scouts. Two of them, with their friends, then accompanied the resistance to Chaco Canyons, while the third, this Max Evans, walks right into Roswell. There, he rescues some captured soldiers right from underneath the alien's noses and then 'walked' across hundreds of miles of hostile, inhospitable territory with these soldiers, completely undetected, in only a few days. Madame President. This young man has so far managed to pop up, unchallenged, in the middle of two heavily guarded compounds. Think of the power that he must posses... his abilities! And when the aliens have been defeated, there will be all kinds of worldwide repercussions, all kinds of fallout. If we alone have the means to defeat an alien threat, then we can proclaim ourselves defenders of the planet and pretty much control the United Nations. We know that we are no alone anymore. We can use the threat of not offering assistance to any other nation to secure our own peaceful future."

"Are you suggesting that we incarcerate him and hold him in a white room?" she looked shocked. "I think you might find he will be most resistant to such an idea. I know I am."

"Madame President," he put on his game face. "You are the leader of the free world. You have an occupying force of aliens abusing American Citizens. The world's eyes are upon us. It's 'Little Boy' and 'Fat Man' all over again. Do you have the guts to drop this bomb?"

* * *

Unlike any other group of young people out and about in the compound, the quartet of Liz, Isabel, Maria and Kyle did not move around anonymously. Everywhere they went, people stopped and stared. They were the alien and the humans who were in love with aliens. Not everyone knew what to make of them. More than once, one of the soldiers had been heard to mutter "damn traitors" under his breath. As well as the occasional "what a waste."

"Why are we doing this again?" Kyle was trying his best to look like a body guard, but in the face of so much weaponry, it was hard to look unflustered.

"Two reasons," Isabel smirked. "The first is to meet and greet as many people as possible to show them that we're just ordinary people. You know, hearts and minds."

"Uh huh," Kyle nodded. "And the second?"

"Keeping Liz away from Max as long as possible," Maria laughed. "Until he comes to his senses and gives in to his human hormones."

"I'm not keeping away from Max," Liz objected. "I'm giving him his space while he works out how we're going to beat Tess. I'm merely rationing my time with him is all."

"Oh, yeah," Maria nodded. "And he will so cave. This time next week, you'll be sleeping together." A wicked grin passed her lips. "Or not."

For the most part, the Native Americans treated them like any other member of their rather large group. This helped most of the other people, especially the civilians at least tolerate them. The soldiers looked at them with a little suspicion. Maria had worked out that they were not sure where their loyalties lay. Were they with the aliens, or the humans.

"We're all fighting against Tess and Nikolas," Liz had pointed out.

"All they see are aliens, Liz. Aliens over there, aliens over here. And it's kind of strange to them."

Liz knew, however, that once Max and Michael started to show the qualities that has surfaced of the last few weeks, then the soldiers would be right behind them.

She liked this Max. He was still as gentle and kind, and open, but there was a hint of steel to him. She even thought his stubbornness was a little cute.

They were currently talking to a small group of soldiers who had arrived the same day as Richard - whom they had not seen since that last confrontation. Cat came bounding up and sat with them, as though he had been a part of their group all the time.

"Hey, Julia," he announced his presence.

Liz just shook her head and decided against correcting him.

"Wow," he grinned. "Who would have thought that you were practically some queen of a distant planet, huh?"

"Uh, yeah," Liz blinked.

"And I sat with you."

"Yes," Liz grinned. "Yes, you did. Better not let my boyfriend hear you say that, huh?"

"Oh, right," he nodded. "Cause I expect he can do some terrible things to me."

"Yeah, 'cause he really does terrible things to me, too, sometimes."

"What?" Cat gasped, his face turning white.

"Sometimes, he tickles me," Liz shook her head. "And other times, he like... just kisses me senseless, you know?"

"Funny," Cat shook his head. "I thought... I liked you better the way you were back at camp."

"Oh, and here's the other one," Liz pointed at Craig Easton walking toward them with Pam Troy next to him.

"Oh my god!" Liz exclaimed, seeing that their hands were joined.

Her face broke out into a huge smile when she heard Pam laugh. It seemed that Craig was just what Pam needed.

"Ladies," Craig gave an informal salute. "Kyle, Cat."

"Hi Craig, hi Pam," Liz beamed up at them. "You seem to be doing much better," she placed her hand on Pam's arm.

"Uh," she started to blush.

"And, Craig," Liz stood up. "Thank you so much for looking after Max when you guys were heading over here. It meant a lot knowing he had someone to trust."

"He's easy to trust," Craig shrugged. "Any alien who goes out of his way to save a stranger's life..."

"Thank you all the same," she reached over and pulled him into a hug.

With a sudden jerk, she pulled herself away from him, her face drained of all color.

Liz?" Maria gasped. "Liz what's wrong?"

"Max!" she gasped. "I have to see Max." She looked around in sheer panic. "Right now."

* * *
Last edited by WR on Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Red Shift Part 3 Chapter 17

Post by WR » Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:50 pm

Hi everyone.

I am sooo sorry. It was an accumilation of a hundred different things but I finally have the next chapter ready.

I'll press right on so I can get this up faster, but I have one comment to make regrding a question someone recently left.

It's about the Granolith and about all the times it seems to "activate" It has nothing to do with someone getting their memory back. Think about when it gets activated. CLUE - the first time was when that hurricane changed direction.

And so... on with the story...

Red Shift

Part 3

Chapter 18

"I don't understand," Maria shook her head. Liz was in Max's arms, gaining comfort that only he could provide her. "She got a flash from Craig, right? So... what? He's an alien too? Is he part of this third group that Max was talking about? Tell us again what you saw, Liz."

"A big battle," she pulled herself back from Max a little. "It was like, the middle of some war. There were those alien ships everywhere in the sky, pounding the ground forces below. And following up this air assault, alien ground units were attacking the soldiers who were trying to find cover from the air attack. It was... it was chaos. The defenders were being... slaughtered."

"So you were seeing the original invasion, two years ago?" Isabel queried. "Was Craig involved in that?"

"It's like I said," Maria shrugged. "He's part of the alien army Max was talking about. He was here during that initial attack."

"No," Michael shook his head. "According to Jim, Nikolas's goons never took the Chaco region. He was pushed back. What Liz saw sounded to me like they were actually winning. Like Nikolas was overrunning Chaco."

"It wasn't a flash from Craig that she saw, Maria," Max spoke from the top of Liz's head. "It wasn't a flash at all. We only get those when things are a little intense. I don't think a friendly hug counts as intense."

Liz shook her head, almost as though she was afraid Max might be feeling some form of jealousy.

"So what did she see," Maria frowned at him. "I mean, she still gets flashes, right? So what did she see?"

"I think...," he paused. "I think she saw the future."

"You mean, like a premonition?" Anders leaned forward in his chair. "Are you saying that you can see the future?"

"Apparently," Max nodded.

"Cool," Kyle smirked. "That's gonna come in handy next time we play the lottery."

"Can we focus here?" Max shook his head. "I think that what Liz saw was an another attack by Nikolas and Tess on Chaco Canyons. One that hasn't happened yet. It's my guess that she's aware of our presence, probably from when Sean found Julia, uh... Liz. And my little sortie into Roswell. Anyway, if she's still looking for the Granolith, she's probably scared that we're going to find it first, if we haven't already found it. So, I think they're coming here... for us."

"But how is that even possible, Max?" Isabel narrowed her eyes. "How is it that Liz can see the future?"

"I think," Liz took a deep breath. "I think it's something that happened to me from when Max healed me. I think he gave my mind a kick start and I can do things. Well, at least one thing."

"No," Isabel shook her head. "That was a different Liz. I mean... she died. Sure, we all got reincarnated, but you have different bodies. Different minds."

"I think," Liz gave Max a look of adoration, "that we have enough proof that our minds, at least, are the same. I 'am' Liz. Then and now, I am still Max's Liz."

"Okay," Raul nodded. "Let's say that it was a vision of the future. The important question is... when?"

"I'm afraid it's not exactly a precise science," Liz shook her head. "It's not like a got a handbook along with this ability. Maybe if Craig had been reading a newspaper or something... All I know is that Craig was on a patrol or something when we get attacked."

"At least we know that it's not today," Michael shrugged.

"How do you figure that?" Max looked at him.

"Because he's not on patrol today," Kyle looked up. "He starts his tour of patrols tomorrow morning."

"It was morning," Liz looked up, her eyes darkening. "In my vision. The sun was low, and to the east."

"That's quite a detailed vision you get there," Maria smirked. "You get anything when you're with Max?"

"When it comes to Max," Liz grinned, "I'd like to be surprised."

"Michael," Max spoke in a tone that suggested he would accept no further discussion on this matter. "Make the arrangements. We're leaving."

"Just us?" Maria frowned.

"No," Max shook his head. "Everyone. I want Chaco Canyons to be a pile of deserted ruins when the aliens attack."

"Max," Michael looked astounded. "We don't have to run. We can stand and fight."

"We're not ready," Max shook his head. "And we're too few."

"But this third group... Our possible allies..."

"We don't know what their agenda is," Max shook his head. "Maybe they won't fight this time. Maybe they have already left. I am not going to count on something that I don't know anything about."

"And if they 'are' here? You're going to leave them to Nikolas's wrath?"

"If they are loyal, they'll come with us. If they are nothing to do with me, I'm sure they are aware of Nikolas's plans, now. So... Okay, I want everyone leaving in small groups between now and midnight, Leave anything that's not essential."

"What if they won't go?" Michael narrowed his eyes,

"That's not an option," Max shook his head. "And this is not a discussion. Chaco Canyons 'will' be deserted by midnight tonight,"

"Where are we going, Max," Liz gave him her full support.

"Northeast," he smiled, placing his finger on the map. "Right here."

"I don't like this, Maxwell," Michael shook his head. "We have a chance to do Nikolas some damage here, I still think we should stand and fight,"

"No," Max shook his head. "When we meet Nikolas, it's going to be at a time and place of 'my' choosing. Not his. I want the advantages on my side, not his."

* * *

The moon was low in the distant sky. Sitting on his horse high on a ridge above the Chaco Canyons, Max paused to look back at what had been home for only a couple of days. Illuminated by the weak moonlight, Max could see the ruins in the distance.

"I wish I could let him know we're not there anymore," Max shook his head. "It would be a shame to see those ruins destroyed."

"They're just ruins," Michael shrugged, "Better them than us, I guess."

"I hate this," Max turned away and frowned. "That Earth has become a battlefield for a war that was fought on another planet, hundreds of light years away."

"We didn't start it," Michael gave Max a fixed look. "But we'll sure as hell finish it."

"But at what cost?" Max frowned. "How many more Pam Troys are out there? How many peoples lives have been ripped apart, just because in a previous life, I thought it would be smart to hide out here."

"At the risk of being blasé," Michael smirked. "That was probably one of your best ideas. If we had stayed on Antar, then you would never have found your heart, Max. You would never have found what you had been missing when we were fighting on Antar. And quite frankly," Michael smiled, "I think that Liz Parker is the best damned weapon we could have ever found."

"She's not a weapon," Max glared.

"Sure she is," Michael did not even flinch. "She's like a suit of armor, or a shield, or even a damned sword. With her at your side, Max... you are Nikolas's worst nightmare. And do you want to know what I think?"

"I'm sure you're going to tell me."

"I think that in our previous life, when we lived in Roswell... I think that you almost got it right back than. I think that if only you and Liz had managed to... to stay together, I think... I think we would have won, even then."

"No," Max shook his head, staring into the distance. "We were doomed to die, even then. The time wasn't right, and I think that's why Liz was reincarnated, I think... I think the Granolith did something. I think that when I healed Liz, it recognized her importance... and..."

"Max, Julia was born years before you healed Liz. You're kind of stretching things, here."

"Can you explain to me how it is that Liz was murdered by Tess, and then the following year, we meet up again, in identical bodies, with identical thoughts? Can you honestly tell me that Julia and Luke were any different to Max and Liz?"

"Just as sappy," Michael shook his head with grin. "But whatever, Max. She's the best weapon we could have."

"Speaking of Liz," he gave a heavy sigh. "Is she still mad at me?"

"I expect so," he nodded. "Making her leave with one of the first groups was not your wisest decision."

"It was the only way I could persuade the rest of the women and children to leave first," Max groaned. "Being a leader is a lonely job, Michael. Sometimes, you have to make a decision that you really don't want to."

"She'll forgive you," Michael laughed. "It's not like you sent her somewhere you're not going to go yourself. You'll see her later on today, I expect. Did you ever try to talk to her, you know, like you can with us?"

"No," Max shook his head. "I think I'm afraid to try. 'Cause if I do and she doesn't hear me... Maybe... maybe it's like it's not..."

"Don't," Michael barked. "Don't even finish that thought. Being away from Liz is bad for you, 'cause you would never even consider that when she's at you side. If you don't realize that the two of you were born to be together, then you, my friend, are hopeless."

"Sorry," Max shrugged. "It's just... Sometimes, I can't believe that she is so... I mean, look at what her life has been like since she met me. Tell me she hasn't been through hell because of knowing me."

"Look at it this way," Michael looked up into the air. "If you hadn't have healed her, she would have been dead. No reincarnation. Gone. Even if she hadn't have died then, if say, she lived... Then she would not have been murdered by Tess. And when the aliens attacked, because that had nothing to do with Liz, then your friend Sean would have treated her like he treated Pam Troy. Which life would you prefer for Liz? The one she has? Or that other one?"

"When did you get so wise?" Max scratched his ear.

"It's been a gradual learning curve," Michael shrugged. "I've been spending way to much time around you and Liz. Why not send Liz a message. If she gets it, she gets it, and if she doesn't, well, she will still love you."

"I do love you, Liz," Max's thoughts went out across the desert. "Don't ever forget that."

If Liz received the message, Max didn't know. All he knew was that there was no reply.

"Come on," he sighed. "Let's go."

* * *

A couple of hours away, following the bed of a dried river, Liz was riding at the head of a large group of predominately women and children.

"But he promised you," Maria complained. "He promised that you would stay together."

"I know, Maria," Liz nodded, glancing back at the following group.

"And as soon as it's time to saddle up and head out, what does he do? I'll tell you. He sends us away with the women and children."

"I know, Maria," Liz sighed.

"It had been like this ever since Liz informed Maria that they would be amongst the first to leave, along with most of the civilians.

Although she showed support for Max and his decision, that was not to say she had agreed to it, nor accepted it so easily. She had argued with him, even bringing out the big guns with an accusation that he did not love her. To say that she was mad would have been an understatement. She had been livid. But she was not about to let anyone else know that.

"I mean, it's not as if we haven't all faced any danger before, and it's so not like you to take this laying down, Liz."

"Who say's I'm taking this laying down?" Liz turned to Maria. "Just because I appear to have accepted things doesn't mean that Max and I won't be discussing this later."

"Give him hell for me, too," Maria growled.

"Hello, ladies," a willowy Native American woman joined them.

"Hello," Liz nodded. "Tanisha, right? River Dog's daughter?"

"That's right," Tanisha nodded with a big smile, pleased that the girls had remembered her. "You seem to be having some difficulty with your roles."

"What roles?" Maria glared. "We've been sent away with the women and kids. I mean, we've fought with them. We stood up to the FBI with them. Well, Liz did. At least she and Max were together when they were running away from them. It's not like we don't know how to stand and fight."

"I thought Max's decision was made just so that he could avoid a fight," Tanisha smiled gently.

"That's beside the point!" Maria exclaimed. "They sent us ahead to keep us safe!"

"I think," she sighed, "that if safety had been Max's most pertinent concern, that he would have kept you close to him and Michael, rather than send you with a large group of unarmed civilians with only a small armed force for protection."

"So what's your point?" Liz finally spoke, carefully considering Tanisha's words.

"My point is this. Among my people, Max is seen as a leader. We have been expecting him. And when he makes a decision, we will support that decision. We may not like it. To many of the young braves, running away like this is too much like cowardice, but they will accept his wisdom because he is like our enemy. He is part of them. Liz, you have been wise not to show your animosity towards Max's decisions, but you have not been wise enough to take up your role wholeheartedly."

"That's the second time you have mentioned our roles," Maria objected. "How are we supposed to know what our roles are?"

"You are the wives of our leaders," Tanisha smirked. "And Liz, you are the Queen. Does that not give you certain obligations towards Max, and his followers? They are your followers, too."

"I'm not Max's Queen," Liz shook her head. "We're not married."

"Yet," Maria added.

"The marriage ceremony is only a formality," Tanisha shrugged. "You and Max have been married in spirit since the day he healed you. You have been his Queen forever."

Liz thought about this for a moment before she looked up at Tanisha.

"What must I do?"

"Well," Tanisha shrugged. "While I am sure that being separated from the man you love is painful enough, you did not have to suffer as traumatizing an ordeal as some."

"Traumatizing?" Maria spluttered. "Ordeal? It may have escaped your notice, Tanisha, but we had to get murdered and reincarnated to get here."

"Yes," she agreed. "And always, you had those you loved, or who loved you by your side. Others were not so fortunate."

Liz spun in her saddle, he eyes seeking out only one person. She spotted her, a lone figure riding morosely amid a small gaggle of other women. Her face was haunted and her eyes darted around her as though she was afraid that hidden enemies were about to pounce at her.

"Pam," Liz's heart fell. "I've been so caught up with my own feelings, I forgot how she must be feeling. Craig had to stay with his unit."

Liz pulled her horse's reigns and turned to join the sad young woman.

"Hey, Pam," Liz gave her most heartwarming smile.

"Hi, Liz," Pam's eyes lost some of that haunted look at once. "How are you doing?"

"Pretty good," Liz nodded. "How about you? You okay?"

"Sure," Pam looked down.

"Just missing Craig, huh?"

"Yeah," Pam looked back up. "I expect you're missing Max, too."

"Yeah," Liz smiled. "But Max and I... we go way back."

"Tell me about it," Pam gave a little chuckle. "I was there, remember?"

"Yeah," Liz started to laugh. "Sometimes, the two lives I've lead get a bit confusing."

"What's it like, Liz? I mean... having someone love you like that? Like Max does."

"You know," Liz spoke after thinking for a while. "I think you already have a little understanding of what it feel like. I've seen the way Craig treats you."

"Yeah," Pam nodded with a blush. "But you know... it's nothing like the way Max looks at you. Like, without you, he's nothing. And there's this whole... King of an alien planet thing."

"Does that worry you?"

"No," Pam shook her head. "He saved my life, he healed me. I guess you know what that can do to a person's perspective. And it wasn't the aliens who hurt me. That was done by a sadistic human being. No one made him hurt me like that."

"I'm sorry," Liz's voice fell. "I'm sorry that you had to suffer all of that. And you know, if Max could heal..."

"I've already had Max apologize that he can't do anything to my mind," Pam smirked. "So you don't need to, okay? God, you two are so suited to each other. I really pity Tess and Nikolas when Max decides it's time to fight. But right now, I guess he needs to make sure everyone gets to safety, huh?"

"Yes," Liz gave a slow shake of her head. "Max always thinks of safety first."

"That's not so bad, is it?" Pam cocked her head. "I mean, what's wrong with making sure no one gets hurt? I'm sure people will die when Max does decided to stand and fight, but why let people die needlessly? And that includes people like you and me. No matter how much we want to be with our respective partners, sometimes, there are things they have to do without having to worry about us."

"When did you get so smart?" Liz laughed.

"Hey," Pam pouted. "I've always been smart. I can't help it if you had me pigeonholed as an airhead."

"Sorry," Liz smiled. "I guess I never took the time to get to know you better."

"Why should you have?" Pam raised an eyebrow. "Not when you had two of the hottest guys in high school drooling over you."

"Max did not drool," Liz objected. "Pined, maybe. But drool? NO, he was way too reserved for that."

"Yeah, he was kind of..."

"Hiding behind a tree."

"Yeah," Pam nodded. "Yeah."

"Everything okay?" Maria joined them.

Without warning, Liz gave a startled shriek. She sat upright in her saddle and looked around her, a huge smile on her lips.

"What?" both Maria and Pam started to look around, wondering what had startled Liz. "What's the matter?"

"Oh, nothing," Liz's smile was electric, like it was after Max had kissed her. "Come on. The sooner we get these people to where we're going, the sooner we can get things ready for the guy's to arrive."

Liz pressed her horse forward.

"What's up with her?" Pam shook her head.

"It's only ever one thing with Liz," Maria rolled her eyes.


"Max," she nodded.

* * *

"Here they come," Max nodded southeastwards where a large number of plumes of dust were rising into the early morning light, tinted a pale orange by the sun just breaching the horizon.

"Just ground?" Michael raised his eyebrows. "This sucks. We could have ambushed them if they are only using ground troops."

"Liz saw air units, too," Max shook his head.

"Maybe they think you can control the Granolith?" Michael shrugged. "Maybe they changed their mind."

"Why would they think that?" Max looked at his friend. "It's not like I've used it already." He turned to look at the dust columns. "And like I said. I am not fighting when Nikolas wants, but when I want."

Above the plumes, small black specks appeared, heading directly for the Chaco Canyons, some miles away from Max's current position. They could not hear anything, but the sudden flashes of light followed by rising clouds of dust and smoke from the ruins made Max only too happy that he had the place evacuated. They watched as the aerial bombardment continued. The ground units arrived shortly after and would have been mopping up any resistance, had there been any. It would have been a massacre.

"Any questions?" Max turned his horse and started to ride westward.

Michael stared at the scene of carnage and shook his head.

"I think it's going to be a big mistake to attack Nikolas with just human forces," Michael conceded.

"Glad you agree," Max smirked over his shoulder. "Now come on. I want to get back to Liz. I'm sure they'll be waiting for us."

"At Shiprock," Michael nodded. "What a strange name for a mountain."

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri Feb 23, 2007 4:32 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Red Shift Part 3 Chapter 19

Post by WR » Fri Feb 23, 2007 4:54 pm

Hi everyone!

Yay!!! I'm posting on time!! :)

As always, thank you all so very much for your support. For one reason and another, it's been a difficult start to the year for me and I think (hope) things are settling down at last. Anyway, at least I have this chapter ready on time ;)

omwf - oops, sorry. no, don;t ever lose hope. Things may get a little hectic for me but I will never leave you in the lurch.

Natalie36 - thank you :)

xmag - Hi :) Just like Max needs Michael and Isabel, Liz needs her firneds too. :)

Timelord31 - Michael is still impetuous. But yes, he will soon start realising that he has a more important role to play.

raemac - Thank you :)

Ellie - Liz heard... did she try to reply? :wink:

smokie - slaves? lol. No, Max does no realise he is controlling the granolith, because he has not even considered it. After all, wishing away a hurricane does not mean you have power because it goes away. ;)

TheAntarianKing - Max is ever the cautious one. ;) Of course he would come up with that decision. Michael listens now. He might argue but at least he listens. And Liz just needs to see that she needs to let Max be the King as well as her soul mate.

Emz80m - Yes, I decided to give Liz her powers, but minus the green crackly bits because they are at least useful :wink:

AlwaysRoswell - Thank you :)

BehrObsession - But then why should Max understand its true power when he can't remember it? He needs to learn, first. Ah, so far, only Max can communicate with his mind. The others can't remember how to do it, and Liz hasn't even tried.

Cocogurl - Michael is growing into his role. He wants to fight. After all, he WAS a general. He's just learning that there's fighting, and there's fighting. :wink:

frenchkiss70 - Well, Max is still learning. He never had a Queen on Antar.
He had Tess. :wink:

Roswelllostcause - Heh heh. I am glad I an generating all the questions.
Hope I answer some of them at least. :wink: Eventually. lol

Roswell3050 - Glad you enjoyed it. :)

VeronicaB - Yes, Liz just needs to learn that sometimes, she is going to
have to share some of Max's burden. Which, I think, was pointed out to her. :wink:

Red Shift

Part 3

Chapter 19

Riding amid the cluster of women and children, Liz was looking tired. They had ridden all through the night, making only short stops for food and to rest the horses, always pressing on as soon as possible. Even sailing a boat by night had not been as tiring. The first tendrils of dawn were beginning to appear far to the east. There was a faint glow starting to appear on the horizon.

"You look wrecked," Maria told her.

"Thanks," Liz rolled her eyes.

"Would you rather I gush on about how great you look?" Maria widened her eyes. "'Cause I have to tell you, that's not me, you know? But seriously, babe. You need to relax a little. It's not like you could do anything if something does go wrong."

"What if I'm not good enough, Maria," Liz turned and looked at her friend. "I really don't think I'm being a very good Queen."

"What are you talking about?" Maria blinked. "It's not like Max would have anyone else."

"They always watch me, Maria," Liz spoke quietly. "It's like they are waiting for me to crack or something, like this is some kind of test. Like, if I fail, then Max has to choose someone else as his Queen."

"Like that's ever going to happen," Maria chuckled. "Look, Max did not fall in love with you because you would make a good Queen for his followers. He fell in love with you because you are good for him. I doubt he cares what other people think. And I know you want his people to love you, but trust me. They will. Just don't over do things and be yourself."

"It's so hard," Liz sighed. "I don't know how Max put up with it for all those years. And when he was so much younger, too. I mean, even though it was only Michael and Isabel... and then later, us, he was always being looked to as our leader. I think that's why he cracked when... when Tess... No one gave him any support, any help. We all just expected him to have the answers."

"But he wasn't supposed to," Maria shook his head. "It sounds to me like he was supposed to fail in that last life. He was supposed to find out who betrayed him, die, and then get reincarnated without his betrayer so that the three of them could move on to the next phase."

"Except something happened that no one foresaw," Liz shook her head. "They met us. And somehow, somewhere along the line, someone knew how important we were, and used the Granolith to clone us, and make sure that if we died too, we would be reborn right along with them. I mean, look at how we all ended up on vacation in the same town."

"You are aware that you are suggesting time travel here, Liz," Maria gave her a sideways glance. "Because when our bodies were born, in those comas, that was like in 1990 or something. The year 'after' they came out of their pods. We never got to know Max and his secret until... until he healed you nine years later. So who knew how important you were to Max, at least 10 years before the two of you fell in love? One year before the two of you even met?"

"I don't know, Maria," Liz shook her head. "But I bet the Granolith was involved."

"You're not thinking of how you were tricked that time, are you?" Maria's eyes widened. "How they said the Granolith could be used for time travel?"

"I don't know," she sighed. "Maybe. But how else can you explain it, Maria? How else could all of this be possible? Look at us. We're sixteen again, and yet we have the minds and memories of people who should be in their mid-twenties."

"Ladies," Tanisha had moved her horse to join them. "Our journey is nearly over. You will see our destination when we clear these mountains."

"How far away are we?" Liz looked aver her shadow at the growing light. "Can we make it before dawn?"

"Seven, perhaps eight miles," Tanisha nodded. "And it's pretty open countryside, too. So I would advise that we hasten our journey. We do not want to be caught out in the open."

"Okay," Liz nodded. "The horses can have a good rest when we get there, right? Let's get them moving."

"See," Maria grinned. "It's not so hard."

* * *

Once clear of the small mountain range that they had cut through, all Liz could see was another mountain range in the distance. In the growing light, however, she slowly became aware of a single peak, standing alone, in the middle of the plain. As they crossed the Red Rock Highway, the mountain was clearly visible, a huge, dark peak rising into the sky. In the gloom, it looked almost like an ancient castle. Or a large clipper ship.

"Shiprock," Tanisha spoke with a soft reverence.

"Awesome," Maria murmered.

"Yes," Tanisha nodded. "And there are many stories associated with it. We call it Tse 'Bit'Ai, the rock with wings."

"How did it get that name?" Maria frowned. "Cause I can't see anything that might look like wings."

"It's a sacred place to the Navajo," Liz was still looking at the rock. "Isn't it? What can you tell us about it."

"Shiprock," Tanisha explained, "is composed of fractured volcanic breccia and black dikes of igneous rock called minette. It is the erosional remnant of the throat of a volcano, and the volcanic breccia formed in a diatreme. The exposed rock probably was originally formed 2,500-3000 feet below the earth's surface, but it was exposed after millions of years of erosion. Wall-like sheets of minette, known as dikes, radiate away from the central formation. Radiometric age determinations of the minette establish that these volcanic rocks solidified about 27 million years ago."

"No," Liz frowned with frustration. "Not the scientific explanation, although that was kind of interesting. I meant, legends and stuff."

"Like the pair of you enjoying taking the wind from Max's sails," she grinned. "So I like to take the wind from yours."

"Gee," Liz rolled her eyes. "Thanks."

"According to legend, this name comes from an ancient folk myth that tells how the rock was once a great bird that transported the ancestral people of the Navajos to our lands here. The Navajo ancestors had crossed a narrow sea far to the Northwest and were fleeing from a warlike tribe. Tribal shamans prayed to the great spirit for help. Suddenly the ground rose from beneath their feet to become an enormous bird. For an entire day and night the bird flew south, finally settling at sundown where Shiprock now stands. But, you know, geologists tell us the rock was formed during the Pliocene, the remains of a volcano, so the legend of the rock is more likely to be a metaphor, like some of your biblical stories. It might be hinting of the site's magical power to lift the human soul above the problems of daily existence into an awareness of the great spirit."

"Wow," was all Liz could manage. "But if the sight has such significance to you, why do you allow it to be used as headquarters for the resistance. I mean, what if Nikolas and Tess come?"

"Then," Tanisha laughed, "the great bird will rise again and take flight, saving us yet again."

Liz started to laugh too.

"Thank you," she smiled. "For letting us borrow it."

"And you didn't think you were good enough," Tanisha shook her head with a grin. "You will make Max an awesome queen."

* * *

"They should be safe by now," Max looked at his watch. "If everything went as planned, they'll be at Shiprock now.

"If anything went wrong," Michael spoke in a soft tone, "we would have heard by now. Relax. Nothing went wrong. Nikolas came, Nikolas saw and Nikolas conquered. He's gone home now, happy that his plan went without a hitch. Probably drinking soda and playing his Nintendo."

"I don't think finding the place deserted could be considered hitch-less," Max raised his eyebrow.

"But he went home. He will look at his maps and wonder where we went. And where is he going to come up with? Mountains, maybe. Canyons, caves, that sort of thing. But a single peak of old volcanic rock? Not exactly my first choice to hide a large army, and I doubt it would be his, either."

"He was always a great general," Max shrugged. "Maybe he will consider it."

"And we were great generals, too, Max. Don't forget that. You fought him on Antar and he did not defeat you. Remember that."

"I don't remember," Max shook his head. "How is it that you do?"

"I don't know," Michael frowned. "I only just now thought of it. How much longer until we reach Shiprock?"

"Missing Maria?" Max gave Michael a grin.

"Not as much as you're missing Liz," Michael chuckled. "But, yeah. Yeah, I am."

"Not for a few hours, yet," Max nodded. "We're riding due west until we reach highway 491. On the other side of the highway is a ridge of mountains that runs North all the way to Shiprock. We're following that on the western side, so we can stay hidden from any patrols Nikolas might send out. And there are more canyons to hide in if he sends out any ships."

"Got it," Michael nodded. "And as your second in command, I have a suggestion."

"What's that?" Max asked.

"If, and I stress that, 'if' Nikolas finds us, you take whatever means necessary to get the hell out of here. You leave me to do the fighting."


"I mean it, Max. If Nikolas kills you, or worse, captures you, it's all over. For Earth as well as Antar. Whatever happens, 'you' have to survive."

"My plan is for all of us to survive."

"Well, I doubt that Nikolas will be that keen on following your plans. He has plans of his own."

"Then I have to make sure that whether he likes it or not, he dances to my tune and not I to his."

"You even talk like a king," Michael shook his head.

* * *

"Who would have thought that the center of that thing was hollow," Maria shook her head as she stared up at the huge black rock.

"It's not something we advertise," Tanisha grinned. "And so it makes a great hiding place. I doubt even your Nikolas would know that it was hollow."

"And inside, it's really like some kind of underground city?"

"Yes," she nodded. "We have a spiral walkway that runs around the inner wall, and small caves open onto this path. A small army can hide inside. A small army 'does' hide inside."

"Why didn't your people hide there when the white man waged war on you," Liz narrowed her eyes. "I mean... with a place like this..."

"It was not time," Tanisha shrugged. "That was not the war for which it had been created. There is more to the story of the great bird. The great spirit that caused the great bird to bring us to safety, did so on the condition that one day, the Navajo people would help a great king from a distant world. We were to prepare for that day by making the places for his army to form. The buildings at Chaco, and the caves inside the mountain. All of these were built for Max. And as was foretold, he has come. Max will use this mountain as his base from which he will defeat his enemies. On this world and on his own."

"Did the great spirit name the King as Max?" Liz asked. "I mean, how do you know it's him?"

"The great spirit said that we would know. That he would be one whom the people love, from both this world and his own. And do you not love him? Even Maria loves him, though not in the way that you do. And his brother and sister, who ride with him. And your friends. And the people whose lives he has touched on his journey. Can you tell me that they do not love him in their own way? We know it is him, because it 'is' him. Max is the Great Spirit."

"Like, he's your God?" Maria frowned. "Oh, please don't tell him that. He'll be impossible to live with."

"I did not say he was out God," Tanisha shook her head. "I said that he is the great spirit. The one that saved our ancestors."

"Uh, but that was like, thousands of years ago," Maria narrowed her eyes.

"Yes," Tanisha smiled. "It was. And of course, their tattoos helped."

"This time travel theory of yours, Liz... It's sounding more and more likely all the time."

"Come, Tanisha smiled. "We should get under cover before it gets too hot."

"In a moment," Liz nodded. "I want to make sure everyone has made it safely. Go on inside, I'll come in later."

"Okay," Maria nodded. "I'll send someone out with water. And Liz? Wear a hat."

"Yes, Mom," Liz grinned.

"I mean it, Liz. If you don't wear a hat, I'll send someone out with one. And I will give them 'my' permission to kick your backside if you don't put it on. Unless you want sunstroke for when Max arrives."

"He'll just heal me," Liz shrugged.

Maria just rolled her eyes, and turned toward the hidden cave entrance.

* * *

The first thing that surprised Maria as she emerged from the long tunnel and into the huge hollow center of the old volcano was how much light there was. The second was how cool it seemed; almost as though huge fans gently blew fresh air through the entire complex. She could not help wondering if any alien hocus pocus was involved in this. She stood and stared up at the vast interior wall, with a huge walkway that spiraled ever upwards. There were people everywhere. And lots of them, too.

"Maria?" she heard someone gasp. "Oh my god, Maria! Is that you?"

Maria turned to the surprised voice.

"Mom?" she gasped upon recognizing her mother. Maria's Mother. The older woman was rushing toward her. "Mom? Oh my god, Mom!"

"It 'is' you!" Amy DeLuca exclaimed. "Oh my God, Maria! Oh my God!"

"Mom!" Maria was running toward the woman running at her. "I can't believe it! Mom!"

The two met in a collision of arms and legs, both enfolding the other in a fierce embrace. They hugged one another for a long time, in complete silence. As one, they leaned back from the other as if to get a better look.

"I thought you were dead," they both spoke at the same time.

"Oh my god, Maria," Amy gasped. "They told me you were killed. But I hoped... I always hoped that you got away with Michael and the others. I hoped... and I was right!"

"No, no, Mom," Maria shook her head. "I did die. In an explosion. Tess killed me, mom. And Max was badly hurt in the explosion. And they took him to hospital. But Michael and Isabel got him out, and they ran away, into the desert. But Tess, she cornered them, too, and they all died."

"We all assumed they got away," Amy frowned. "Jim always said that if they were alive they would have made contact, so he knew they were dead. But we... that is, me, Dianne and Philip all hoped... Wait." Her face fell into a frown. "How is it you're here now? Are you a ghost? Am I cracking up?"

"Oh, mom," Maria shook her head. "It's just so complicated. We... I... God, where do I start? Okay, okay. Originally, Max and the others were killed on the planet they came from, okay. No, wait. You did know they were aliens, right?"

"Jim told us all about it," Amy nodded.

"Okay, so Max and the others were killed, okay? Only he came up with this plan. See, he created two sets of clones. And their essences were placed into one set. And they were reborn here in Roswell back in 1989. As six year olds. And then., two years ago, Tess betrayed them and murdered us all. Okay? Now it seems that in his old life, Max suspected that one of his friends was a traitor. Turns out it was Tess, like we all never saw that one coming. And so the three of them were reborn into the second set of clones, okay? This time, Tess wasn't one of them. So they were already stronger. Only... somehow, and I really can't explain this, we were reborn too."

"That explains why you look so much younger," Amy appraised her daughter. "But if you were reborn two years ago... Maria, have you aged sixteen years in just two? And why do you have Maria's memories? How come you know who I am? Maria, I'm confused."

"You think 'you're' confused?" Maria shook her head. "Ohmygod, Mom!" she exclaimed. "Is that a rock on your finger?"

"Oh," Amy looked at the two rings on her finger, an engagement solitaire and a wedding band. "I sort of got married."

"Uh huh," Maria nodded. "Jim, right?"


"Maria?" she heard a tentative voice call out.

Maria turned to see two familiar faces approaching them.

"Nancy!" she cried. "Jeff! We all thought you were dead!"

"No," Jeff shook his head. "Very much alive. We weren't in Roswell on the day of the invasion. Jim took us all out into the desert."

"All?" Maria narrowed her eyes. "As in the Evans, too?"

"Yes," Nancy nodded. "They'll be so pleased to see that Jim was wrong. Where are they, by the way? Max and Isabel?"

"They'll be here later," Maria started to grin.

"Well," Jeff sighed. He seemed so sad, still. "I can see that you two have a lot of catching up to do. We'll leave the two of you alone. We can talk, later."

"Oh, hey," Maria called. "Could you guys do me a favor?"

"Sure," Nancy nodded. "What can we do for you?"

"There's a young girl outside, pretty much acting like she's some queen or something. You can't miss her, she'll kind of stick out like a sore thumb. Anyway, I told her to put on a hat. Could you go out and see that she's wearing one? If she's not, you have my permission to kick her butt."

"Okay, Maria," Jeff laughed, taking a baseball cap from his pocket. "She can wear mine."

"Perfect," Maria grinned as they pair headed for the tunnel.

"What was all that about?"

"That," Maria grinned, "was probably the best present I could ever arrange to give someone."

"It's just a hat, Maria," Amy narrowed her eyes.

"Is it?" Maria grinned. "Let's go see. And did you see that they didn't notice that I looked younger."

* * *

"Max," Liz hurled herself into his arms just as he had climbed down from his horse.

"Liz," he held her tightly. "You are such a sight for sore eyes. And a sore backside."

"You did it, Max," she smiled. "We're safe. We're all safe."

"Yeah," he nodded. "But for how long."

"You can take off your crown, now," she smiled. "At least for a while. Max? You will be patient with me, won't you? I mean, while I learn how to be your Queen?"

"My Queen," Max smiled. "Do you know how much I like the sound of that?"

"Just don't expect any patience from me, Max," Maria grinned from her embrace with Michael.

"That would be too much to hope for, Maria," Max grinned. "A patient Maria would be like a sensitive Michael. Just... wrong."

"Hey!" Michael objected. "I have a sensitive side."

"I can vouch for that," Maria kissed Michael's nose.

"Did you get any sleep at all?" Max turned back to Liz.

"No," Liz shook her head, her smile was from ear to ear. "I met a few people."

"You met your mom and dad, huh?" he smiled. "I bet they were as surprised to see you."

"How did you know?" she frowned. "Can you read my mind, as well as talk to me?"

"Would it bother you if I could?" he grinned.

"Not really," she shook her head. "But it would feel weird, and I would be sad that I couldn't read yours."

"No," Max shook his head. "I can't read your mind, but I already knew your mom and dad were still alive. Jim told me back at Chaco. I decided to let you get surprised. Like your mom and dad were. Did they take it well?"

"Sure," she shrugged. "If you count fainting as 'taking it well'."

"Both of them?" his eyes widened.

"No, just my mom. My dad couldn't speak for almost ten minutes."

"Are they okay? I mean, with me... us..."

"Yeah," she nodded. "But I can tell you one thing."

"What's that?"

"You really should have taken up my offer of sleeping together. Because now, I'm sixteen and back with my parents again."

"Does your room have a balcony?" Max raised his eyebrows.

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri Mar 02, 2007 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Red Shift Part 3 Chapter 20

Post by WR » Fri Mar 02, 2007 4:57 pm

So far so good. Another Friday night and another post. :) Things are looking good.

Thank you all for you feedback. I hope I can maintain you interest in my story as I manouver the situation to head toward the next stage of the story. I have to get a few things done first and it's taking me some fancy manouvering to get there.

I am sorry that I did not detail all of the reunions, but how many times can you write "Oh my god, I thought you were dead!" in an interesting manner. :wink:

raemac - you're welcome

quinn - well... according to Mareli, it's 441 pages long! sone not exactly light reading. :) But I hope it's as exciting the second tie around.

Natalie36 - Yes. I'd like to keep them together, but sometimes, Max will have to do things without Liz... and vice versa.

Smac - Watch for a very important PM. :wink: You have a friend in a high place. :wink:

TheAntarianKing - Well, they did have plenty of warning and plenty of time. Shiprock is only about 60 miles as the crow flies from Chaco Canyons.

moonstone - Hello and welcome. Glad you are enjoying the story.

Ellie - I think they are starting to feel that frustration :wink: Yes, the legend I quoted is real (one of many) but the interior is not.

Rai - Thank you :)

Roswellluver - Well, that particular trio will be addressed later, but for now, I need the gang to do some other tasks. :wink:

VeronicB - Sorry that you missed your reunions, but I expect you can imagine how it went :)

omwf - Shiprock is hundreds of miles Northwest of Roswell, the environs of which is where Nikolas and Tess were recently informed they believe the Granolith to be located. :wink:

Timelord31 - Max doesn;t think he messed up. He believes that getting intimate with Liz at this moment is a bad idea. He might WANT to, but he will not do so. Not yet.

roswell3053 - I am sure they will accept anything, to have their kids back. :)

Cocogurl - Sorry for the lack of detailed reunions. I hope you understand.

Roswelllostcause - As I have said before... sorry.

BehrObsession - Funny you should bring that up :wink:

smokie - It show, huh? You should know by now that I do stacks of research. Nothing if not accurate. :wink: Excpet for the lack of Denny's in Boston. :wink:

katydid - yes, very strange indeedm but thry're not looking gifthorses in the mouth... :wink:

mareli - I 441 pages? Wow. I have been working on this story for over a year now! Wow! Hey, have you seens Sirio's work? She translated "Of Cabbages and Kings" into Italian. :D

polar vixen - nah, I lied. :wink:

LOL - when I write all this, and then post, I always have my iTunes playing. 2220 songs to choose from and it just chose Romeo and Juliet. :)

Red Shift

Part 3

Chapter 20

He was only half asleep, lying next to a very beautiful young woman. To his eyes, she was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was his soul mate, his 'Liz'. She was sleeping beside him, a smile of content on her lips. They had spent most of the evening kissing, cuddling... making love. She lay on her front, her bare back exposed to the moonlight. Her chocolate locks fanned across the pillow. The room they were in was identical in every way to her room in Roswell, the one above the Crashdown. He sighed with satisfaction; things just could not get any better.

A sudden, loud wailing sound split the night. It was a high pitched siren, rising and falling in pitch. It was deafening, almost as if the siren was close by. Liz was up and out of bed in a flash.

"Duck and cover, Max," she yelled at him, her face showing her fear.

"What is that noise, Liz?" he asked her.

"Duck and cover!" she called again, moving to her window. "Duck and cover."

"Liz?" he frowned as she opened the window. The noise got louder. "What are you doing? Come away from there."

"Duck and cover, Max," she called as she climbed out through the window. "We have to protect ourselves. We have to hide. Duck and cover."

"Liz," he shouted, moving to the window. "Come back inside. What's going on?"

"Duck and cover, Max," she urged him as she rolled herself into a small ball in the middle of her balcony."

"No, Liz," he shook his head, reaching for her arm. "It's not safe there. We can't hide there."

"Yes, we can, Max. This is the perfect place to hide. It's better like this."

"No, Liz," he tried pulling her again. "We can't protect ourselves here. Not in the open."

"Yes we can, Max," she looked up and smiled. "Surely, you of all people know how easy it is to hide in plain sight."

Max woke up to a darkened and empty room, his pounding heart the only sound he could hear.

* * *

The most amazing thing about Shiprock, to Max's mind, was what Jim had called, the War Room. All of New Mexico had been laid out on a large floor surface, the size of a football field. It wasn't a flat map, either; it was completely three-dimensional. Every contour was accurately depicted; every mountain, every valley, every road, walkway and town had all been painstakingly crafted. It was to this room that Max was drawn, right after a large communal breakfast with his reunited friends and family.

"Hey, Max," James Valenti entered the room, calling him from his deep concentration. "Where's Liz?"

Even though he had only been reunited with his old friends for less than a week, it was now strange seeing one without the other. During their waking hours, they were normally inseparable. Maybe it had been a mistake to reunite the kids with their parents so early.

"She's, uh, with her parents," Max waved a hand while he crossed from Roswell to El Paso in a few steps.

"And your parents?"

"Are with Isabel," he finished. "I'm going to see them later. The two of us together are kind of overwhelming for them, and when you add Liz and Kyle to the mix... I think it's still all very strange to all of them. And knowing that I'm, uh, alien as well. Was it me you wanted to see, or Liz?"

"What are you doing?" Jim ignored the question, curious as to why Max was studying the map so hard.

"Sun Tzu," Max replied, "said that in the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to capture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them."

"Who is this Sun Tzu, Max?" Jim nodded. "Some general from home?"

"In a manner of speaking," Max looked up and grinned. "This home, actually. He was an ancient Chinese general. He wrote 'The Art of War.'"

"You see war as an art form?" Jim raised his eyebrows.

"No," Max shook his head. "But he makes sense, doesn't he? I mean, what good is it to New Mexico or it's people if we totally rip everything apart just to kick out the aliens?"

"So you're... what? Trying to find the best place to have your battle?"

"Yeah," Max nodded. "Someplace that will give me all the advantages and none to Nikolas."

"In the open, I think their ships will tear us apart," Jim observed. "So maybe we should fight in the mountains."

"The trouble with mountains is that the fight would be long and drawn out. That will cost, Jim. Resources. Men. And where would the non-coms hide? I don't suppose we have an infinite supply of ammunition, or food. I think we would lose a lot of people that way. Nikolas, too."

"Better his soldiers than ours, I suppose."

"The soldiers," Max nodded. "I take no joy from killing people, Jim. Enemy or not. I wish I could do this peacefully." He finally turned away from the map. "What did you want to see me about?"

"I received this today," Jim handed Max a long letter.

Max raised his eyebrows and took the letter and cast his eyes over it.

"An invitation to meet President Clayton, huh?"

"Well," Jim shrugged. "I guess it does make some sense in a lot of ways. I mean, you do have a lot more knowledge than I do. And you know what they say; knowledge is power."

"That's what I'm afraid of," Max nodded.

"Besides," Jim continued. "A meeting like that would help a lot to make sure that we get all the co-operation we need as well as proper co-ordination of any future offensive that we might launch against our common enemy."

Max looked up through narrowed eyes.

"Is that you talking, or her?"

"Her, I'm afraid," Jim nodded. "I was talking as an American citizen. But do you want my opinion as a friend?"

"Sure," Max nodded.

"I say that this is too good an opportunity for them to get their hands on you. Max," Jim shook his head. "I see a white room written all over this."

"Let me think about it," Max nodded his agreement before he turned and headed for the door.

"Which means you will discuss this with Liz," Jim smiled to himself when Max had vanished from sight.

* * *

"Max!" someone called from down the corridor. "Max, wait up!"

Max stopped and turned to face two young men running to catch up to him.

"Anders," he nodded. "Raul. What's up?"

"We wanted to ask you something, Max," Raul stood to one side of him, allowing Max to continue his journey.

"Yeah," Anders nodded from his other side.

"Go ahead," Max nodded. "You know I have no secrets from you."

"We want to know who we are, Max," Raul blurted.

"You're Raul," Max shrugged. "And you're Anders. Uh, guys?"

"No," Anders shook his head. "What he meant to ask was, who were we, Max? And more importantly, who were we to you?"

"Yeah," Raul continued. "You and Liz, Michael and Maria, Isabel and Kyle, you guys obviously all have a history. You all got your memories back, and you all have people who were waiting for you, here. Where are our memories, Max? Where is our family? No one knows who we are, I mean, were... and yet..."

"You must have been important to us," Max nodded with understanding. "The fact that you were in the same kind of comas as Liz and the others, because you woke up near enough the same time... and the fact that you have been there with us... for us, ever since we all met up that spring... I'll bet anything that Tess had as much to do with your deaths as she did ours. And that means that you were, in some way, important. We just don't know how yet. Your memories are not important." Max paused. "I'm sorry. Let me rephrase that. They're not important to me. If you were important to us in the past, then you are just as important to us now. When your memories do return, then you will see. As for your family... well, we are all your family now. Maybe not by blood, but by a common cause. You are as much a part of all this as Kyle or Maria, or even Liz."

"But what can we do for you, Max," Anders spoke after a lengthy silence. "We're not warriors or anything. We're geeks, Nerds. We're clever at school, me with computers and technology, Raul with words and stuff. How can that be of any help to you?"

"It might not seem like there's much you can do for us, now," Max gave him a sincere smile. "But one day, soon, I bet we'll find something really important for you to do. Something that only the two of you can do."

"You sound more like a politician every day," Anders shook his head.

* * *

Sitting in a sunny alcove just outside of the entrance to Shiprock, a small, soft and very warm pair of hands appeared from behind him, covering his eyes. He could hear her soft whispered laughter.

"You had better be my girlfriend," Max smiled, "or else she's going to kick your butt for messing with her boyfriend."

"I can take her," Liz mimicked a gruff voice.

"Uh huh?" he asked. "And what if she develops an alien blast?"

"That's not so funny," Liz shook her head, removing her hands from Max's eyes.

"Oh," Max pulled her into a hug. "I didn't say that to make you feel bad."

"It's okay," she shrugged, welcoming his embrace, returning it. "I've really missed you."

"Yeah," he nodded. "Our time really is limited at the moment. What with your parents, and my parents... Are you sure they're okay with... you know... me."

"How can they not be, Max? I wouldn't even be here if you hadn't have healed me all those years ago. They do know that my relationship with you is not up for discussion, it's a given."

"That's good," Max smiled at her. "They seem a little afraid of me."

"Give them time, Max," Liz soothed. "They've had a lot more shocking news to take in than the others. I'm alive again, reincarnated somehow by aliens, and am in a strong and steady relationship with one of the aliens, who just happens to be a king, and has already lived twice before." She started to giggle. "They also think I've been intimate with said alien king. Max, they must be thinking that they're in the twilight zone."

"I know," he nodded. "And my parents are probably equally as demanding on my time as yours are. Plus... I have all this... leadership thing. And all I want to do is to sneak off somewhere quiet with you. Don't ever think I'm trying to avoid you."

"No tactic discussion today?" she raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah," he nodded. "Jim came to me earlier. He had some news for me. I needed to talk to you about it. And Raul and Anders caught me on my way here. They wanted to speak to me too. Just..." he waved his hand in the air. "So many things to consider."

"Well," Liz turned to face him better. "Share them with me. Let's see if between us we can figure something out?"

"When I have you?" Max grinned. "Heck, we can figure anything out."

* * *

It had been Maria's idea. A huge, family celebration, a barbecue, outside in the shelter of some of Shiprock's foothills. Such rations as could be spared had been gathered together and all of the friends and family members, expanded to include Catt, Craig and Pam as well as River Dog and Tanisha. Jeff and Philip took care of the cooking, while River Dog regaled anyone who would sit still long enough with old stories.

The mothers gathered together to discuss their children and what cute couples they made, while the kids did what they did best. Horsed around, mainly. Frisbee's were thrown, an impromptu game of tag broke out, and the parental units could only laugh when Liz and Maria pulled Pam into the game. It was especially good to hear the haunted young woman laughing, and behaving like a teenager.

The sun started to fall just as Jeff announced that dinner was ready and everyone sat around a large but well protected fire, listening to River Dog and his amazing stories.

"Go away!" Maria called out, interrupting his latest story.

With on hand holding her dinner plate, the other was waving frantically around the air.

"Go away, damned fly!"

"Ah," River dog smiled. "Do not be so hasty to offend such a small creature. For even the smallest of creatures can be as mighty as the largest."

"Another tale, River Dog," Max spoke above Liz's head, buried against his chest.

"Sure," River Dong nodded with a smile. "How the fly saved the river. Many, many years ago when the world was new, there was a beautiful river. Fish in great numbers lived in this river, and its water was so pure and sweet that all the animals came there to drink.

"A giant moose heard about the river and he too came there to drink. But he was so big, and he drank so much, that soon the water began to sink lower and lower.

"The beavers were worried. The water around their lodges was disappearing. Soon their homes would be destroyed.

"The muskrats were worried, too. What would they do if the water vanished? How could they live?

"The fish were very worried. The other animals could live on land if the water dried up, but they couldn't.

"All the animals tried to think of a way to drive the moose from the river, but he was so big that they were too afraid to try. Even the bear was afraid of him.

"At last the fly said he would try to drive the moose away. All the animals laughed and jeered. How could a tiny fly frighten a giant moose? The fly said nothing, but that day, as soon as the moose appeared, he went into action.

"He landed on the moose's foreleg and bit sharply. The moose stamped his foot harder, and each time he stamped, the ground sank and the water rushed in to fill it up. Then the fly jumped about all over the moose, biting and biting and biting until the moose was in a frenzy. He dashed madly about the banks of the river, shaking his head, stamping his feet, snorting and blowing, but he couldn't get rid of that pesky fly. At last the moose fled from the river, and didn't come back.

"The fly was very proud of his achievement, and boasted to the other animals, 'Even the small can fight the strong if they use their brains to think.'"

Max gave a soft smile and nodded.

* * *

The women were cleaning up - if throwing the remains of the picnic onto the fire could be classed as cleaning, while the men sat back and drank beer. At least, those who were old enough and possessed only human DNA were. Each group was discussing their own subjects. Max was simply watching everyone interact, a soft smile on his face. These were the most important people in his life; they all knew his secret and they did not care at all.

"Bet you wish you slept with Liz when you had the chance, huh?" Michael settled beside his old friend.

"At least," Max shrugged, "I can look Jeff in the eye."

"Just don't let her die a virgin again, huh," he chuckled.

"I don't plan on letting her die at all," Max shook his head. "Wait. She was a virgin? Still?"

"What do you think, moron?" Michael grunted. "That whole Kyle thing was a setup."

"I know that," Max nodded. "But what about that guy... the one she was going to marry? You know, when I was kind of obsessed..."

"Max," Michael sighed. "Of course she was still a virgin. If you can't tell when Maria and Liz are setting you up, or if you can't tell that Liz has always been as loco for you as you have been gaga for her, then you, my friend, are in for a rough ride. The two of you deserve each other. A pair of love struck virgins, in two lifetimes."

"Only one lifetime," Max shook his head, looking down at the ground. His mood darkened. "It seems that only Liz was the virgin when we died in our last life."

"Max," Michael put his hand on Max's arm. His voice lost it's usual edge. "You never made love to Ava when you married her on Antar, when you had no one else. And with you so much in love with Liz on Earth... there was no way you would ever do the dirty with Tess, no matter what state you and Liz were in. Believe me, bro. She warped you."

"I wish I could be sure," Max nodded. "I know she's forgiven me, but sometimes, I feel so guilty, you know?"

"Trust me, Max," Michael smiled. "If you only ever trust me on one thong in your whole life, trust me on this one. I don't believe that you screwed Tess. You were as virgin when you died as Liz was."

* * *

The evening was drawing to a close. The Parkers had already made their way back to the rock, taking a very sleepy Liz with them. She had been as busy as Max over the past few days and did not have his alien metabolism. River Dog and Tanisha had gone with them. Max sat to one side of the fire, tracing his finger in the dust while he watched his parents joke and laugh with Jim while Michael, Maria, Anders, Raul, Craig, Pam and Catt all played charades.

"How on earth do you know about that thing?" Amy spoke from above him.

Max looked up to find her standing behind him, looking down at the ground his fingers had been drawing in. Max looked down to see the strange building that had been haunting him since his awakening back at the lighthouse. The strange Native American lodge with the missile shape protruding from the roof.

"You know what it is?" he suddenly felt embarrassed, although he did not know why.

"Sure I do," she nodded. "But how do you know it? That thing was from way before you were even born."

Amy's eyes widened when she realized what she had just said.

"Oh, Max," she gasped. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean..."

"No," Max shook his head with a smile. "It didn't offend me. The opposite, in fact. Because that means you see me as someone... normal."

"Oh, Max," Amy sat beside him. "How can anyone look at you and not see normal? I mean, I know you saved Liz's life, that time. And Kyle's. And then you somehow caused them all to be reincarnated..."

"That wasn't me," he shook his head. "I wasn't around then, either."

"Well, it was because of you," she shrugged. "I don't really want to think about the nature of that reincarnation because it makes me think of too many things I would rather not consider while sober. Even if the only thing you had going for you was the fact that my daughter loves you... in a best friend's boyfriend sort of way... that's enough."

"Uh, thanks," Max blinked. "I think."

"The girls are so right," Amy laughed. "You do look adorable when you get embarrassed. So tell me. How do you know that old building?"

"I take it you recognize it?" Max raised an eyebrow.

"Recognize it?" Amy gave a fond smile and looked over at Jim. She started to toy with her wedding ring "It's where I met my husband."

"How do you mean?" Max looked over at his friend, Jim Valenti.

"I was protesting, outside of that building. I was, oh, about Maria's age, I suppose. Maybe a little older. There was a whole group of us, you know, waving our banners like you do. Funny how there were no Native Americans fighting to keep it."

"Keep it?" Max narrowed his eyes. "What do you mean?"

"They were tearing it down, Max," she told him. "They tore the thing down. Town modernization or something. But at least we found a good home for all the artifacts that were inside."

"Amy," Max's voice went quiet, silenced by the one in his head.

'Find it?' the voice was laughing. 'It doesn't even exist.'

"Where was it?"

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Red Shift Part 3 Chapter 21

Post by WR » Fri Mar 09, 2007 5:07 pm

There very nearly wasn't a post tonight. First of all, my internet has been down (agin :( ) since Tuesday evening, and when I finally got on tonight, I find that BelevnDreamsToo had problems with her email and her beta'd version of this chapter never arrives. Luckily, my newest member of my Beta Team (take a bow, Smac) sent hers to me and so I am able to post tonight after all :) Yay!

Rai - I do not mind Lurkers at all. A big hi to all of you. But I love it when they de-lurk and say hello. :)

roswell3053 - If Raul and Anders get their memories bak, you'll be the first, erm, second... or third... whatever, to know. :wink:

Timelord31 - I have been posting TONS of clues. :wink: BTW - "We can work it out", by the Beatles is playing on iTunes right now. :lol:

Cocogurl - YOu might recall from an earlier chapter that Tess already confessed to Nikolas that she did not have sex with Max.

Natalie36 - Thank you :)

katydid - Yes. I love the old more questions than answers game :wink:

Emz80m - Thank you :)

moonstone - That's always been Max's nature. He is a peaceful man who will fight if he has to. The problem with Anders and Raul finding out who they were to the group might lead to some kind of pain, don;t you think?

omwf - Sorry. Maybe if Alex's parents had more substance...

confusedfool - well, as long as you catch up, then missing a part or two is forgivable. :wink:

roswellluver - It seems he might :wink:

VeronicaB - The dreams do mean something. They are connected. LOL! A CLUE!!

Arianneleigh - If by "this" you mean SHiprock. No, Shiprock does not have/Is not the granolith.

smokie - And you know me too well :D Yes, it's surprising how many clues I leave lying around, once you understand what they mean. :wink:

Roswelllostcause - Oh, yes. Everything always ties up in my stories. Just have to wind all the thread in is all. :wink:

BehrObsession - Heh - yes, I think that was the idea... everyone thinkng... :twisted:

cwm_ - Yes indeed. :)

Red Shift

Part 3

Chapter 21

The pale moon light streamed through the open window. The young teenager stared out at the ruined building across the street.

"Nikki?" the small blonde woman called in a sleepy voice from the bed behind him. "Whatchya doing? Come back to bed."

"We should pull that place down," he pointed out of the window with his chin.

Naked, Tess climbed from their bed and joined Nikolas at the window.

"It reminded me of my victory," she sighed, wrapping her arms around his body. "Every time I looked out this window, or walked along this street, I would see it and I would be reminded that I killed her. That I killed them all. It would remind me how, in the end, I had beaten them all."

"And now?" he turned to face her with his eyebrows raised.

"Now?" she groaned, letting go of him and sitting on the edge of the bed. "Now we know he's alive, and so is she... well... It's just a reminder that he wasn't as dumb as we thought."

She looked up, her eyes wide.

"I mean, shit, Nikolas! How the fuck did he have her reincarnated? Him, I understand. Michael and Isabel, too. He made two sets. We always knew that."

"He knew he was going to be betrayed," Nikolas nodded. "He knew he was going to die. Now he knows it was you who betrayed him. Quite clever, really."

"But how did he create a clone of her?" Tess shook her head. "Where? When?"

"He never had the seal at all," Nikolas stared at the ruins. "We were tricked. We wasted all that time searching for him, and all those resources trying to get to him. Damn! We even invaded New Mexico just to get the fucking thing. And it was never here."

"And she's out there," Tess stared at the floor. "And if I know Max, he's found her by now. This is not good, Nikolas. Not good at all. When he's with her... he's different. Stronger. He thinks better when she's around to challenge him. Who knows what they're planning?"

"We need that seal," Nikolas turned and faced Tess. "But more importantly, we need to find the Granolith before he does. Any luck on that front?"

"Huh?" she looked up. "What?"

"The Granolith," he repeated. "Are you any closer to finding it?"

"No," she shook her head. "We're positive it's close by. I actually thought that maybe it was in the Crashdown," she looked at the window. "But Parker only opened it in '84. That was, what? Thirty seven years after the thing got hidden?"

"Maybe there are some hidden caves or something," Nikolas moved and sat at her side. "Under the streets or something. I mean, you said that on Antar, it was hidden in a huge cavern on the Island. It would be pretty hard to hide a huge cave right under the city limits. There must be some form of record. In city hall, maybe. Send someone over there and have them hunt through the records. Look up all the geological studies of the area. They must have made some when they built this building. It's a fallout shelter for fuck sake. We even still have the Air Raid siren."

"I'll get DeLuca on it," Tess nodded. "First thing."

"He still alive?" Nikolas peered at her with a single eyebrow raised.

"For now," Tess nodded. "He has his uses. Besides, he wants to find the Granolith as badly as we do."

"Why?" Nikolas looked surprised. "Have you promised him something?"

"No," she chuckled. "Moron thinks that if he finds it, he can use it to kill you and me and take over this operation."

"Stupid humans," he shook his head. "Too many stupid sci-fi films."

"That's not the only reason I keep him, though," she smirked. "He also reminds me that even the mighty Liz Parker had her weaknesses. He fooled her, hook, line and sinker."

"You really did not like her," he grinned.

"D'ya think?" she looked at him in wide-eyed innocence.

"Okay," Nikolas nodded, his shift in demeanor informing Tess they were going to talk business again. "Of all of us, you know him best. You were with Zan for all that time on Antar. And you were with Max for a while, here on Earth. What makes him tick? We know he isn't at Chaco. He might never have been there. There's sign that people did live there, but they vanished. So where would he go? Where would Max Evans - or Zan for that matter, where would they hide?"

"All he knows is Roswell," Tess shrugged. "Oh, the pod chamber, and Frazier woods. And there was that one time we went to UNM to do that thing to the Cyclotron. But he never went anywhere... wait! Wait!" Her eyes widened. She rolled her eyes. "Oh, man. I can't believe I never thought of this before. Of course, the freaking place is perfect!"

"Where?" Nikolas looked excited. "Where do you think he went?"

"After we rescued him," she grinned. "From the Feds, that time. Valenti took us to an old silver mine. We holed up there for a while we planned how to get rid of the special agents. I can't forget that I forgot all about that place!"

"Right," Nikolas nodded. "Get dressed. We're making a road trip."

"Gee," Tess smirked. "Just like the old days."

"'Cept in the old days," Nikolas's grin was cold, and cruel. "You never had an army behind you."

* * *

"You're up early," Jeff Parker observed.

"Yeah," Liz nodded, finishing her breakfast of a spicy porridge made from the wild wheat that was grown in secret by the tribes of the resistance. "Max wants us in the War Room." She looked up. "By 'us', I mean..."

"Not us," Jeff gave a weak smile.

"Sorry," Liz nodded. "You know, Max is still trying to come to terms with the fact that everyone knows his origins. He's been so secretive for all these years... Old habits die hard."

"It's the same for fathers as it is for aliens, Liz," Jeff nodded. "I worry about you. I worry that maybe you've got yourself involved in something that's too big for you."

"I didn't start this, Dad," Liz shook her head. "But I plan to be there when it's finished. Max is going to see this through to the end, but he can't do it alone."

"Doesn't he have Michael? And Isabel? Liz, what about your own life? What about your dreams? Your future?"

"I still have them both," Liz nodded with enthusiasm. "And they both go through Max. He needs me. He needs me every bit as much as I need him. I have no idea where this will take me, but I should be dead, Dad. I died, twice. And both times, Max has given me my life back. I am so not going to turn my back on him."

"Where do we come in, Liz?" He looked at her. "We're your mother and father and we hardly see you."

"If things were normal, Dad," Liz sighed. "I would be with my boyfriend every minute I could. Parties, movies, making out in his car. You'd hardly see me then, either."

"Normal," he scoffed. "What's so great about that?"

"Do you know," Liz grinned. "Max asked me that same question, once."

"Will we see you at all, today?" he raised his eyebrows.

"Sure," Liz nodded, washing her plate in a bucket of water. "How about you and mom have lunch with Max and me?"

"Okay," he nodded. "See you later."

"Bye," Daddy," she kisses his cheek and scurried out through their door.

"Bye," he whispered at the closed door.

A few moments later, someone knocked.

"What did you for..." Jeff opened the door, expecting to see Liz. "Instead he saw a young soldier. "Oh," he blinked. Can I help you?"

"Good morning, Mr. Parker," the soldier nodded. "Yes. Yes, I think you can. And I can help you."

"Oh?" Jeff raised an eyebrow. "In what way?"

"I want to help you get your daughter back," he gave a form smile. "My name is Richard Madley. Perhaps you've heard of me."

* * *

"As you all know," Max spoke to his friends, each one of them sitting somewhere on New Mexico. From his seat on top of Shiprock, he looked around at all of them. "We're going to have to face Nikolas."

"Yes," Michael punched the air. "When? Where?"

"All in good time, Michael," Max sighed. "'Where' is something I haven't worked out yet. And 'when'. 'When' is another matter altogether. Certainly not until I get the Granolith back. Which is one of the two reasons I brought you all here. We're going to start making plans to get the Granolith back."

"That means a trip to Roswell," Michael's eyes narrowed. "And if we're going to Roswell, why not face the runt then? Why not take him on in his own stronghold?"

"The rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it can possibly be avoided," Max gave a soft smile. "So I'm going to avoid that."

"What?" Michael blinked. "What rule?"

"We don't have enough forces to conduct a siege, Michael," Max shook his head. "And he can call up reinforcements. He can catch us, in the open, between a rock and a hard place."

"We can call for reinforcements, too," Raul pointed out. "The whole US Army is waiting to go."

"But will they get to us fast enough?" Max looked at Raul. "I plan to be alive when I get the Granolith. I plan for all of you," he reached out and took Liz's hand, "to be alive when all of this is over."

I want action, Max," Michael exploded, climbing to his feet. "All this skulking around... We're better than this. 'You're' better than this. We have to take action soon or we're just going to waste away here, like some ghost army making threats against the enemy but never carrying them out."

"The man does have a point," Kyle agreed. "The ration's aren't going to last forever, and these people are looking for real leadership. Not just more mouths to feed."

"Not to mention," Anders added, "that there are people suffering out there. Don't think for one moment that Pam was the only girl... woman... to be used like that."

"Which is why I want to go and get the Granolith," Max nodded. "As soon as I have that, I can start to plan Nikolas's demise. But I am not going to ride across hundreds of miles of open desert without transport. Horses are all well and good, but Nikolas knows that we're out here. He'll be watching for us more carefully. I want to get in quick, and out even quicker. Once I have the Granolith in my possession, I cannot risk Nikolas catching me with it."

"So you just blast him to kingdom come," Isabel smirked. "Actually, smithereens sounds like a better place."

"I don't know how powerful it is. Or how to control it," Max shook his head. "What do I say if I tried to destroy Nikolas and accidentally blew up the planet?"

"Ooops?" Liz giggled.

He wanted to throw her a reproving glance, but he could not help laughing with her.

"So what's your plan?" Maria asked.

"My plan?" Max looked away from Liz, very slowly. "We're going to make a raid. Hit and run. On one of Nikolas's bases. We're going to steal as many transport vehicles as we can."

Silence descended upon the war room.

"That will be three, then," Michael shrugged, breaking the silence.

"How do you figure that?" Raul frowned.

"Because I get the feeling that only those with our... abilities can pilot them." He looked to Max. "Right, Max?"

"I need more than three," Max smiled. "So... so I'm going to try to contact this other group of aliens. You know, the ones we can't see?"

"What if they're not really there?" Maria frowned.

"Then we only get three ships," Max shrugged.

"What if they're not loyal to you?" Liz's voice held a tremor of fear.

"If they are loyal to me, then they'll help," Max smiled at her, trying to reassure her. "If not... well, we know that they are not hostile towards me, so maybe we can come to some kind of alliance. As for knowing if they're there. It just makes sense, Maria. I don't know how I can explain it, but I know they are there. I just know it."

"Max?" Michael asked after another long silence. "Are you suggesting that you know where the Granolith is?"

"Yes," he nodded. "Amy told me."

"My Mom?" Maria gasped. "She knows where the Granolith is?"

"No," he shook his head. "She knows where is was."

"Was?" Isabel asked. "Are you saying that it's no longer there?"

"The building isn't, no," Max chuckled. "And neither is the Granolith. But I think I know where it is. I think I've even seen it."

"But..." Michael started.

"You said the Granolith was one reason you got us here, Max," Liz interrupted him. "What's the other reason?

"Oh," Max nodded. "Yeah. It, uh, it seems that someone wants to meet me."

"Who?" Michael's annoyance at Liz's antics vanished. "Nikolas? Tess?"

"No," Liz shook her head. "I'd feel happier if it was one of them."

"Who, then?" Isabel's eyes narrowed to tiny slits.

* * *

"I've missed this," Max murmured into Liz hair while he was saying goodnight to her.

They had been saying their good-byes for nearly half an hour, in a shadowed nook near the door to Liz's apartment.

"Me too," Liz groaned, arching her neck to offer more of herself to Max's lips.

"I wish we were together when we made our trip from Florida," he whispered when he kissed his way up her neck to her ear.

"I wasn't invited," she reminded him.

"You ever going to let me forget that?" he nibbled on her earlobe.

"Depends," she caressed her temple against the bridge of Max's nose.

"On?" he raised an eyebrow.

"How well you treat me," Liz sighed. "Any time I think you're growing lax in your attention, then I'll bring that subject up."

"I love you," he sent to her mind.

"And that's another thing," she twisted away from him. "You have to stop doing that at inopportune moments. Like when I'm trying to have a serious conversation with my mom. One moment I'm telling her how great you are to me and the next, I've totally lost my thread and I'm grinning like a loon."

"You want me to stop?" he raised his eyebrows together.

"No," she shook her head. "I guess not."

She stared intently at Max.


"No," he shook his head. "Sorry."

"I wish I could do it to you," she whispered. "'Cause then it would be like proof that we're supposed to be together."

"You still need proof?" Max blinked. "After everything that's happened to us? We even have the same tattoo."

"Yeah," Liz giggled. "And I think my Dad wants to talk to you about that."

"He knows?"

"I kind of let it slip when I was telling them about our lives in Siesta Key. Sorry."

"Parents," Max groaned.

"Say goodnight now, Liz," Jeff Parker called from the doorway.

"I thought that's what we were doing?" her eyes sparkled with mischief. "Do you have any idea how weird this all seems, Max? Having a father scolding me like that?"

"Actually, I do," Max laughed, moving in for another heated kiss. "Remind me again why we don't do this more often?"

"You tell me, oh great and noble leader," Liz smirked. "I guess you don't find me as interesting as Jim. Or River Dog."

"Liz, I," Max leaned away.

"You are so easy, Max," Liz shook her head. "You know I totally understand."

"Liz!" Jeff called.

"Okay," she sighed. "This is starting to get old. When do you think we can be together together, Max?"

"You'll be the first to know," he nodded. "Right after me."

Max waked with his hands in his pocket, headed for the apartment he shared with Isabel and his parents. Phosphorescent lichens growing on the interior walls provided illumination for him to see the darkened path. As usual, his mind was on Liz. He wondered if he should send her a message, a naughty one suggesting that he would like to see her right now. But if she was talking to her mom, or her dad, maybe it wouldn't be such a good idea. She was probably being told off. As he was bound to be. Scolded by his mom for being out so late. There were no two ways about it. Being a teenager with raging hormones and the leader of a resistance movement, not to mention an entire planet in a distant galaxy was sometimes confusing. Without warning a dark shape stepped out of the shadows. Max, alert in an instant, saw that he wore a military uniform. A deep crimson uniform that looked a little too ornate to be of earthly origin.

"Good evening, your majesty," the voice hissed.

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri Mar 23, 2007 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Red Shift Part 3 Chapter 22

Post by WR » Fri Mar 23, 2007 5:08 pm

Hi everyone,

I do apologise about last week, but when you hear the main reason WHY I was extremely tied up, I think you might be pleased I was :D :wink: All I will say right now is be patiant. :)

PML - Thank you :)

thetvgeneral - Well, all will be answered, but in my own good time :wink:

Timelord31 - I'm sure Liz made it plain enough that she and Max are an item. Hope he listened. :wink:

Ellie - Well, I'm sure Jeff isn;t over emotional at her return and realises that all that you said... :twisted:

Rai - Richard has it bad for Liz. And he believes he can out manouver Max. After all, he DID beat him at paintball! :lol:

moonstone - lol - just letting you know I still know how to do them, the cliffies, I mean. :wink:

omwf - Assuming they are friendly aliens, huh?

VeronicaB - Dads are dads. :wink: And yes, I think Max has been learning a lot about leadership from somewhere. I wonder what that book he was reading was?

roswellluver - Thank you :)

you're my dreamgirl - I'm sure Max 'feels' like blasting him :wink:

BehrObsession - Give the guy (Richard) a break. He's in love with Julia. People who love her do strange things. :lol:

Cocogurl - Maybe Max should challenge him to a rematch. :wink:

Mareli - It seems Max knows MORE than even HE thinks :wink:

Emz80m - I think he's hoping to get a little extra inside influence. He had Julia's father in his pocket...

roswell3053 - I'm sure Jeff is a wise, well adjusted man. :)

roswelllostcause - Yeah, it was a tricky place to leave it, but here I am, back now my beta team is all set again :D

BelevnDreamsToo - WB :) Oh, you just love rubbing it in, right? It's a good job you never told them that I often send you stories that never get posted. :lol:

smokie - Well, he is meeting Max alone, on a darkened walkway, in the middle of Max's territory...

Red Shift

Part 3

Chapter 22

"Who are you?" Max asked the man who had appeared like a ghost, in front of him.

His heart was pounding wildly, and he was amazed that his shield was not already up. But it was ready. The man looked like a soldier, an alien soldier, although he held himself with an air of a commanding officer. Even in his own state of anxiety, Max could sense the older man's apprehension; almost as though the man was about to perform some duty that he had been waiting to perform for a long time. He coughed, clearing his throat.

"Your Majesty," he gave a stiff and formal bow. "Colonel Barynt, at your service. I believe you are expecting me."

"Expecting?" Max blinked a few times, his head still spinning. Even the manner in which he had been greeted had knocked him for a loop. Your Majesty? "Colonel Barynt... Are you... Are you from Antar?"

"Yes, sire," he gave a small nod.

"And am I right in assuming that you were the ones I thought were with us at Chaco? Were you the ones who resisted Nikolas's invasion when it first came, two years ago?"

"Yes, sire," he nodded again. "That was us."

Max's heart pounded even more wildly now. He wished Liz were here to support him, but was glad that she wasn't, in case the answer to his next question was not what he hoped. He took a huge, deep breath.

"Where..." his voice came out like a hoarse rasp. "Where do your loyalties lie, Colonel Barynt? I guess you're not an ally of Nikolas, or of Kivar. But are you friendly towards me?"

"I am, sire," he nodded with a small smile. "We are. We all are. I am the commander of what is left of the Bloodguard."

"The Bloodguard?" Max narrowed his eyes. He couldn't help the chill that ran down his spine at the sinister sounding name. "What is the Bloodguard?"

"We are the Antarian Royal Guard, sire," Barynt nodded. If he felt any disappointment at Max's lack of knowledge, he did not show it. "We are sworn to protect the bloodline of the Crown of Antar, and in so doing, I now present myself, and my men to His Majesty, King Zan of Antar. The end of a long journey, that started long ago with orders from your father. We are here and we are your servants, sire."

"My..." Max blinked again. "My father ordered you to come here?"

"Not directly," Barynt gave a small smile. "But his initial orders were the beginning. He ordered us to leave the field at the battle of Javex Rocks, to simply... vanish. In secret. We were to make it look like we were defeated in battle, wiped out. He did not want Kivar to miss our presence and become suspicious as to our whereabouts. It took us longer to get to this planet than it did you and your family, sire. But as ordered, we made our way to Chaco Canyons and defended it until your arrival.

"How..." Max reached out to the nearby wall to steady himself. He was reeling. "How did my father know I would go to Chaco? How did he know I would want to meet you? How did he know these things?"

"Whether your father knew these things or not, sire, I have no knowledge," he gave a sad shake of his head. "All I know is that before the battle, King Deryn approached me with my orders. During the fighting, we just... left the field. Many of my subordinate officers thought I was committing treason and I had to do some fast talking. But here we are. We have been waiting for the day when you would let us know that you needed our services again. It has been a long wait."

"And he ordered you to make your way here. To Earth. To support me."

"Uh, no, sire," Barynt gave a sympathetic smile at his reeling king. "Those were your orders. Your father ordered us to the island which we later discovered housed the Granolith. The one where you found us, waiting. You then ordered us to leave Antar and fly ahead of you to this planet."

"By 'us'," Max swallowed. "How many do you mean?"

"A full Battalion, sire," he smiled. "Three thousand of the best warriors Antar has ever seen."

"And vehicles?" Max's mind narrowed. "Ships? Heavy weapons? And why did you never make contact with me?"

"We have only our personal light weaponry, sire," he nodded. "Standard issue. And we were unable to bring any vehicles. At the time, we had none that could be spared. And as for making contact... Sire, our orders were quite specific."

"What exactly were your orders?"

"Our orders were to fly here to Chaco Canyons and remain hidden, no matter what was happening to you and your family, elsewhere. We were not to approach you until the correct time, which would be when you lead us here to Shiprock. Our primary responsibility was to protect Chaco Canyons, to keep it free from Nikolas's occupation forces and safe for your eventual arrival."

"So why have you contacted me now?"

"Because your orders also stated that at Shiprock, you would give an indication that you wished to contact us, as you said you would."

"Have you been spying on me, Barynt?" Max's eyes widened. "Have you been following me, waiting for me to say when I wanted to see you?"

"No, sire," he nodded without a trace of embarrassment. "Your orders also contained almost exact dates and times that all of these events would occur."

"What?" Max blinked. "You mean..." he raised his eyebrows. "Exact?"

Barynt simply nodded.

"And these three thousand men. Where are they?"

"They are all here," Colonel Barynt lifted an arm and pointed over the safety railing.

Max followed his arm and looked down in the courtyard below. Even in the faint light, all he could see was an ocean of crimson. Rank upon rank of men wearing the ceremonial uniform of the Bloodguard. Looking as though they had only recently graduated from some Antarian cadet school, they all snapped to attention, which made it look like a wave had rippled across the surface of the crimson pond. Max's heart pounded in his chest.

"My god," he gasped in a low, soft voice, leaning against the barrier and surveying the men below. "I have an army."

"You have better than that, sire," Barynt stepped beside him and saluted. His face swelled with pride. "You have an army of Bloodguard. And we have maintained our training and our discipline during our decades in hiding. We are ready, and we are awaiting, sire."

"Dismiss the men, Barynt," Max nodded. "Uhm... Michael and I... we'll uh, we'll inspect them in the morning. This is all too much for me right now. And then I guess we should talk. Your officers and us. People are going to wonder where the heck you came from."

"Very good, sire," Barynt turned and gave Max a formal salute. "Permission to ask a question, sire."

"You don't need..." Max frowned, but changed his mind. "Very well, Colonel. You may ask."

"It's just that the men, sire... well, and the officers. Well... we have all been wondering, sire. Ever since your arrival at Chaco. Your majesty? Where is her highness?"

"Her highness?" Max frowned, looking over his shoulder at the doorway where he was saying goodnight to Liz. "Do you mean Liz?"

"No, sire," Barynt shook his head. "Not your human mistress. Your wife, sire. Her highness, Lady Ava. Your wedding was broadcast to our ship, and the men... They have been dying to pay their respects."

"Oh," Max looked down at the ground. "I guess maybe I'm going to have to explain a few thing to you at this meeting we'll have. I bet this is one thing Zan never considered when he was making his plans."

* * *

It had been a very uneasy morning. The inhabitants of Shiprock awoke to find a large body of alien soldiers wandering around their camp, as if they owned the place. Not even the night's sentries could explain where they came from. Max was waiting in the War room for his friends, knowing that as soon as they had heard that there was a large army of soldiers in the courtyards below, they would all rush to meet him. He had left messages that he would be there.

Of all of them, only Liz stopped worrying, the moment she saw that Max himself was rather calm.

"What is this, Max?" Michael demanded. "What the freaking heck is that army doing in our midst?"

"Why didn't you warn us?" Isabel was nearly red with rage. "I thought Nikolas had attacked us, and..."

"Do you want me to tell you?" Max raised his eyebrows. "Or should I just let you shout at me some more?"

"Why don't you tell us, Max," Liz stood beside Max and placed her hand on his shoulder while she glared at Michael and Isabel. "Since that was what you called us for, right?"

"Good idea," Kyle nodded.

Raul and Anders also nodded.

"Okay," Isabel grumbled.

Seeing that he was now alone, Michael nodded, but he did not stop seething.

"That army," Max nodded toward the doorway, "is right at this moment, preparing themselves for an inspection by King Zan of Antar and Lord Rath, the Over General of the armies of the Royal House of Zan."

"Come again?" Anders blinked.

"They're the Antarian Royal Guard," Max nodded. "They are all sworn to protect me. They are loyal to me, and me alone. Well, and you guys too since you're all loyal to me, too. I mean, you are loyal to me, aren't you?"

"These soldiers," Kyle rubbed his chin line. "Antarian Royal Guard, you say?"

"Right," Max nodded.

"Well trained?"

"The best."

"Well disciplined?"


"They're the Bloodguard," Isabel's voice was etched with awe. "One squad of them are worth a whole regiment of Nikolas's troops. They are the best."

"And they're here to serve Max?" Kyle eyes widened. "They will protect him?"

"To the death," Michael nodded, looking at the closed door.

"In that case, long live the King!" Kyle snapped to attention, saluting Max.

"What are they doing here, Max?" Isabel frowned. "Were they on the ship with us? In the crash?"

"No," Max shook his head. "No, they came on a different ship. An old freighter, Colonel Barynt said. And no, Michael. I strongly suspect that the ship returned to Antar. Or at least, to a friendly planet. As for what they are doing here. I ordered them here, apparently. I gave them orders to fly to Earth; to protect Chaco Canyons when Nikolas invaded, to keep it secure for our arrival, and to follow us to Shiprock. And do you want to know the really scary part?"

"What's that?" Michael turned his attention to Max.

"Zan gave them exact dates and times that everything would happen."

"What?" everyone gasped.

"How could you have possibly known?" Isabel demanded. "Max, that was over fifty years ago. And you were on Antar when you made those plans. You were still Zan who had never set foot on this planet. How the heck could you have known when Nikolas would have invaded? When you would arrive at Chaco? How could you have known when Nikolas would try to attack us there? I mean, we only knew that he was going to strike because Liz saw it. In her visions."

"Don't..." Maria swallowed. "Don't tell me that you knew even then, that you were going to meet Liz. Come on, Max. How could he have known that you would heal her one day? And if he knew that, why did he allow Tess to kill her? To kill us?"

"I don't know," Max shook his head, reeling a little under Maria's questions, ones he had not considered himself.

"I'll tell you one thing, though," Kyle started to grin at Liz.

"What's that?" Liz frowned.

"There goes your 'Planner of the Millennium' title."

* * *

After breakfast, crowds thronged the walkways above the courtyard. The edges of the huge courtyard itself was packed, leaving the middle free for the three thousand crimson members of Max's Royal Guard to stand in ranks, all waiting for a ceremony they had left a distant planet, thousand of light years away to attend. There was a reverential hush throughout the whole interior of the mountain.

After much discussion among the group of friends, Liz had persuaded Max, and Michael, that they could not, no, that they 'would' not perform this ceremony in their jeans and t-shirts. The girls, with the help of Isabel, had produced two outfits for the pair, as well as suits for Kyle, Anders and Raul. The girls themselves were wearing formal dresses and looked every bit as resplendent as their partners.

As monarch, Max's suit was the easiest. He wore a black suit, white shirt and a tie, the exact color of the orbs they had found. The color of the house of Zan. With Liz's help, Isabel had created a badge, the shape of the whirlwind galaxy, the shape that was tattooed to her back, for Max to wear on his breast pocket. He also wore a mauve sash. Although he refused a crown, he looked a lot more regal than he had been of late.

Both Isabel and Maria had insisted that Michael could not wear a mere suit. He was, after all, Max's second in command, AND the Over General of the House of Zan. And that meant that although Max was technically the Commander in Chief of the whole of the Antarean Army, Rath was now the commander of the Antarean Army here on Earth. So, as he stepped out beside Max, he wore the crimson dress uniform of the Bloodguard. On each shoulder, five buttons, each the shape of Max's badge, left no one in doubt that he was considered the Commander of the Bloodguard. Michael finally had his army.

Three thousand men is a large body. Although most of the spectators had long left to do something a little less boring, Max and Michael took their duties seriously. And because they did, so too did their friends. Max was first, standing beside Colonel Barynt as he shook the hand of each and every soldier for his loyalty and his presence, offering only a cursory glance over their splendid uniforms. Michael, however, took his command far more seriously than Max and pointed out a number of minor flaws on a handful of men. As far as he was concerned, Max could afford to be all ceremony. He was, after all, their King. But these men, Michael would count on to protect those he loved the most on any world. And to do that, he needed total and complete discipline.

"This," he smiled to himself as he crossed from one group to another, "is what I was born for."

* * *

For reference, the part you want is - Part 2, Chapter 15 on Page 3. :)
Last edited by WR on Fri Mar 30, 2007 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Red Shift Part 3 Chapter 23

Post by WR » Fri Mar 30, 2007 3:25 pm

Hi Everyone!

As always, thank you so much for your awesome comments. Yes. things are starting to pick up again. Something big is going down! lol.

Timelord31 - I'm sure Liz can win them over. :wink:

Cocogurl - Hmmm... Well, Zan must have known something. And if the Granolith gave him the information, a) How did the Granolith know what would happen in the future? and b) Is the Granolith a sentient being with the power to make suggestions? MOST IMPORTANTLY - IF Zan knew he was going to meet Liz, KNEW Tess would betray him, KNEW about the skins, etc, why did he need a second set of pods to help uncover who betrayed him? Why didn't he leave himself more information to help him when he emerged? And Zan never had visions before, so why would he have them, then? You are light years froim the answer I'm afriad. :wink:

katydid - thanks :)

roswell3053 - Now they have an army, which is still a fraction of the Skin's forces on Earth, I wonder what they will do with them?

Ellie - Remember the FMax was a Skin generated hoax. He never existed. IF the plan came from the Granolith then that suggests the Granolith can do things for itself. Why not just let Max know everything he needs to know? No. Zan must have recieved the information from another source.

AlwaysRoswell - Thanks :)

Ladeia3 - Thank you :)

VeronicaB - While the Granolith could not have developed the plan, I'm sure it's somehow involved. Remember - IF someone KNEW all this would happen, why was Max so woefully uninformed? If Zan KNEW Tess was going to betray them, why did he not prevent her from going with them? And do you think Zan would allow Tess to kill Liz? Or the others? Just to find out who betrayed him when he already knows?

omwf - The chapter reference was only to where we lost the Bloodguard. I was convinced someone would ask "where did they come from?" :wink:

Emz80m - Bringing it :wink:

roswellluver - Thank you :)

kay_b - It will take some getting used to, but I am sure the Bloodguard will soon like Liz. :wink:

mareli - Hmm.. Blame Liz for Tess... Ooooh. I like it! :twisted:

Roswelllostcause - Well, what do you think most armied would like to do to trampy blondes? :lol:

BehrObsession - Please remember that Max has a force of only 3000 Bloodguard. Nikolas has enough to occupy New Mexico. Tens, if not hundreds of thousands. AND Nikolas has air support and fast transport vehicles. This is not Thermpoplae, they are not Spartans and Max is not Leonidas. No last stands from our Max, we hope. :wink:

HeavenLi24 - Wow. Have you checked out Shiprock on GoogleEarth, with 3D turned on? Awsome. I have used GoogleEarth a lot for this story. I used it to coordinate Luke and Julia's separate jouneys, etc.

Red Shift

Part 3

Chapter 23

"Seeing those soldiers like that," Jeff Parker was shaking his head, "and seeing Max walking up and down like he was some kind of a, a..."

"A king?" Jim finished. "Look, Jeff. They laid it on the line when they first arrived. The kids stood there with Max out front and he came right out and told you that not only was he an alien, but he was a King, too. Didn't you believe him?"

"I think..." Philip coughed to clear his throat. "I think that it just never really sunk in. Until now."

"That wasn't a handful of soldiers out there," Nancy shook her head as she pointed toward the door that lead to the walkway. "That was a goddam army. I mean, come on, Jim. New Mexico is invaded by an army of aliens. Max comes back from the dead, along with our kids, tells us he's an alien and now he has an army at his beck and call? I mean... how do we know he's not in cahoots with this other lot?"

"Do you mean the 'other lot' that chased him across New Mexico and attacked them at Chaco?" Jim was starting to feel more than a little anger towards Jeff and Nancy right now. "Do you mean the 'other lot' who killed them all in the first place?"

"So he says," Jeff narrowed his eyes.

"Jeff, if it hadn't been for Max, you would have lost your daughter way back before the millennium. He took a big risk saving her life like that. A 'huge' risk. And it nearly killed him, too. Did you know that he was captured by an alien hunting group of the FBI? Did you ever see that alien autopsy film? Max experienced it first hand. Because he saved you daughter when he didn't have to."

Dianne gasped in horror.

"It's water under the bridge now, Dianne, Philip," Jim turned and offered them his sympathies. "I doubt Max even remembers it, now."

"How about you, Amy?" Jeff turned to face Amy Valenti, sitting against the wall with her eyes staring at nothing. "What are your thoughts?"

"Well..." she focused on Jeff. "Maria was married when she... And now she's back with me, again. While it's true she has the body of a sixteen year old girl, she has done nothing to suggest that she has the mind of one. And if she's still in love with Michael... Jeff? Nancy? These kids, they made their choices all those years ago. They've known about the status of Max and Michael for years and not once have they chosen to turn away. It worries me, yes. I have no idea where this is going, but Maria's not my little girl any more."

"And something you have to factor in," Jim sat down in a chair. "As far as the resistance is concerned, Max is considered the head honcho."

"Liz is our little girl," Jeff shook his head, refusing to see reason.

"Like Amy said," Jim exhaled. "They might have the bodies of kids, but they have the minds of adults. And that's how they want to be treated. And Amy was also right about something else. They have all made their choices and that's why they are here. Don't try to unmake their choices because you don't know what they might do."

"Are you suggesting that Max might... harm someone... kill someone if they wanted to leave?"

"What?" Jim looked up in amazement.

"Max would never kill anyone," Diane shook her head. "Unless he had to, as a soldier, I mean."

"If any one of them, if any one of you told Max that they wanted out, Max would do everything in his power to help them leave. And if Liz decided she wanted to leave... While Max would not like it, he would never stand in her way. He would do everything in his power to see she gets through to safety. But you know what? Liz would never want to leave."

"We need to think about this," Jeff and Nancy rose together.

"Just remember, Jeff," Jim called to him. "She ran away from her home in Florida to go after him. Doesn't that tell you anything?"

With their hands held tight, Nancy and Jeff left the room.

"They're just scared," Philip whispered as they watched them go.

Everyone nodded.

* * *

"It's not how I would like it to be, Liz," Max smiled across the table at which he was sitting with Liz. The table had been set up on a ledge, high up on the side of Shiprock, facing west, toward the setting sun. They were having dinner together, alone. "Somewhere nice, and... safe. Somewhere like the Turtle Beach Pub." He gave a smile. "Even with the risk of karaoke."

Liz gave a short smile and took a sip from her plastic beaker of juice.

"You know, I'm really sorry..." he looked over at her. "About the lack of our alone time."

"I know," Liz nodded, staring down at the table. "I understand. I mean, I'm the one who told you to be a King. And now you have all those soldiers."

"Liz," Max looked down at the table, too. "I know you're here with me, but you know? You're not really with me. Are you."

Liz didn't answer. The silence stretched for a few moments.

"Ever since that ceremony, today," she finally spoke. "I've been thinking."

"Oh?" Max's voice came out thick. "Why do I get the feeling that I am not going to like this?"

"Max?" Liz looked directly at him for the first time. "What am I doing here?

"Uh," Max blinked. "Do you mean, here on this uh, date with me?"

"What am I doing, here? At Shiprock. With you."

"We're here at Shiprock, mainly because you found out that Chaco was no longer safe," Max narrowed his eyes. "You're with me because we belong together, Liz. Everything that's happened has pushed us here, together. It's almost as though it had been planned this way from the very start."

"And that's just it, Max. We're together because someone wants us to be. But I can tell you one thing. Those soldiers? The Bloodguard?" She waved toward the mountain's interior. "They don't want us to be. Together, I mean."

"They're soldiers, Liz," Max waved a hand in the air. "From a planet a long way away. And they have lived down here, dreaming of the day they get to serve the King and Queen they love. Only, they've been imagining a different Queen."

"Yeah," she nodded. "A psychopathic, murdering, traitorous bitch. What's not to love?"

"Wait till they get to know you better, Liz," he nuzzled her neck. "They'll love you like I do."

"It was awful, Max," Liz turned to look at the sunset. "All those soldiers, staring at me. Hating me. The King's mistress. That's what they called me. Your 'bit on the side'." She gave a self deprecating snort. "Except I don't even get 'that' particular pleasure."

"I explained what was going on to Barynt," Max sighed, reaching across the table and taking her hand. "And he briefed the men. I'm sorry that I can't make them understand."

"It's not your fault, Max," she sighed. "I'm not blaming you. If it had been just one or two, I could get over it, you know? But all three thousand of them? Max, that's a lot of hatred. They just don't like me."

"Well," Max pulled a grimace. "I'd say that's their problem. And something they are going to have to deal with because I'm not giving you up. I'll give up my throne, first."

"Don't you see, Max?" Liz's voice was etched with pain. It reminded Max of another time. "You can't. You finally have something to work with, something to help you beat Nikolas and the rest of the aliens. You can't turn your back now. You have this..."

"Liz," Max snapped. "If you try to pull the same stunt on me that you pulled that time we heard that message, I'm going to spank you. I love you, Liz. I will do anything and everything in my power to do what I have to do, but I recall telling you that I cannot do it without you. It's not a question of desire. It's about ability. Without you, I can't do it. So Liz. Don't you dare run down that hill on me again. Not without a good solid reason, like you really don't love me after all. Or like you don't want to be with me. If it's your fear that's doing this, if you think I'm going to turn my back on you because someone in my army doesn't like you... I don't care about them. I care about you. I love you."

"You're their king!"

"And that does not give them the right to tell me who I can, and cannot love. If I tried to tell them how to live their lives, I expect I would soon lose their support. They have to learn that demands like that go both ways. If they want to fight for me, great. I welcome them. If my loving you means they are no longer loyal, then they were never loyal to me in the first place and I have no room for people like that. They get the leader they deserve, Liz. If they want me as their leader, then they are getting you, too. It's a done deal. Now, are we finished with this?"

Liz climbed to her feet, pulling her hand free from Max's. She looked out across the plain at the beautiful sunset.

"I'm... I'm going to get an early night, Max." She did not look at him. "It's been a long day."

"Good night, Liz," he called after her, watching her until she disappeared through the doorway. "I love you."

Max sat in silence, watching the door. He stayed there until the sun had finally disappeared behind the distant mountain. Not for the first time, Max wished he had never left Siesta Key. He wished he was still Luke, and Liz was Julia, and they were still kids, in love. As far as he was concerned, being a King just sucked.

* * *

"Come in, Colonel Barynt," Max called to his officer who was standing by the door of the War Room.

"Your Majesty," Barynt gave a formal bow before he entered the room.

He then marched smartly up to Max and saluted. Max gave a half salute back.

"I'm, uh, sorry," Max tugged at his ear lobe. "I'm kind of new to all this military stuff. The king stuff, too. We've, uh, been pretty informal up till now."

"I understand, sire," Barynt gave a smile. "You did not have anyone teaching you otherwise. You have not been raised to be the king you are. I'm sure Ava would have..."

"Barynt," Max snapped. "Let's get one thing straight. Ava, we knew her as Tess, is a traitor. She not only killed my friends, but ultimately forced me to kill myself."

"But Ava was not trying to kill you, sire," Barynt was shaking his head. "She was trying to get you to accept your..."

"She was 'trying' to get the Granolith and the Seal to hand over to Kivar, Barynt. She was 'trying' to betray me, and all those loyal to the Crown of Antar. You represent the Bloodguard, Barynt. The Royal Antarian Guard. That means you are supposed to be loyal to the King. Are you loyal to the King?"

"Yes, sire," he snapped to attention and saluted. "But her highness..."

"I'll say this once, Barynt. And perhaps you would be so kind as to pass the message on to the rest of the Bloodguard. You had a choice. You can either fight for me, against the enemies of the Crown of Antar. Or, you can choose to side with Ava. Tess. Who is with Nikolas in Roswell, hunting high and low for me, so that she can deliver the icons of power to a usurper, a traitor. A murderer. As soon as you make your decision, let me know. If you still want to serve Tess, I will grant you free passage to Nikolas's territory. If you want to keep the distinction of the Royal Antarian Guard, then you are never to mention the traitorous bitch's name to me again. I cannot and will not order you to like Liz, but I will order you to refrain from showing your displeasure of her. Come and find me when you make your mind up.

"There is no need, Sire," Barynt shook his head. "I am loyal to you. And if... her highness is to be replaced then I am loyal to your new... choice. The men, I know, will make the same choice. It is, after all, you to whom we have sworn allegiance. But we have been waiting for decades for your arrival. Please forgive us if it takes a little time to get used to the new status quo."

"Good," Max nodded, breathing a sigh of relief. "Now, have you had much opportunity to assess our allies?"

"Indeed I have, sire," Barynt nodded. "The aboriginal population, the ones called Native Americans, are very fierce, very brave and very loyal. However, their lack of training as a cohesive fighting unit means that they are best suited to stealth, or as skirmishers. They are best utilized as individuals. If they had access to weaponry that would kill Antarian's, rather than relying on lucky shots to the HUSK valves, then they could cause total devastation among Nikolas's forces.

"Have you had a chance to see the soldiers in action?"

"On the whole, they are well trained, and well disciplined. They are, however, suffering badly from culture shock. I have the distinct impression that they are used to conducting their warfare through superior numbers and superior firepower. As well as superior technology. For the first time in their history, I suspect, they are facing an enemy who, although fewer in number, has far superior firepower and an even greater superior technology. When it comes to fighting, I am sure they will acquit themselves well, but I fear, like the Native Americans, they will suffer horrendous casualties."

"Suppose I wanted to conduct a lightening assault on one of Nikolas's outposts? Under the current circumstances, what would you recommend in terms of force to use?"

"That would be easy, Sire," Barynt shrugged. "Any planned assault should be carried out by the Bloodguard."

"I understand," Max nodded. "But for the sake of moral, for the sake of... any alliances, then I really need all of them to be involved. Not as observers, and not as a token force."

"But, Sire," Barynt objected. "Forgive me, but you are risking their lives."

"No," Max shook his head. "They risk their own lives, in much the same way you do. I don't want them to, any more than you do, but I bet if I ask for volunteers, there's not a single soldier, or Native American that will stay silent."

"If you plan a surprise assault..." Barynt started to consider.

"Not an assault," Max shook his head. "A hit and run raid. In, take something we need, and out again."

"Even so," Barynt waved his hand at the huge three-dimensional map. "Any force of significant size would leave trails, dust plumes... A scout ship might spot them. Your Majesty. Please consider the implications."

"I will Colonel Barynt," Max nodded. "And I don't plan on taking any more men than I need to. I will leave the numbers to you and Michael, when you work on the tactics for my plan. But I want at least one third of the force we take to consist of resistance. In the case of the resistance, I will leave it to them to determine who goes and who stays. So I will leave the decision of which units of Bloodguard goes, to you."

"Ah, Max," Philip Evans announced his arrival at the War Room. "There you are."

Philip entered the room with Jim. Barynt blinked when neither men saluted or bowed.

"Dad, Jim," Max couldn't hide his smile. "Good to see you. Colonel Barynt, may I present Philip Evans, my human father, the man who cared for me when we emerged from our first set of pods."

"It is an honor to meet with you, sir," Barynt gave a formal nod. "I am sure that King Deryn would be very grateful to you and your wife."

"Thank you," Philip nodded. "Uh. And thank you. For coming to my son's aid."

Barynt was about to speak, but a shake of Max's head silenced him. Max could imagine Barynt taking umbrage at the claims of being Max's father.

"And this is Jim Valenti. One time Sheriff of Roswell and leader of the resistance. And in many ways my mentor."

"Colonel Barynt," Jim saluted with two fingers tapping the brim of his Stetson. "Must be quite a shock seeing your King like this. A sixteen year old human kid."

"The body is merely a vessel," Barynt shrugged. "The spirit of Zan is still within him, and it is Zan whom we serve, not the body."

"Good answer," Jim nodded.

Philip started to chuckle, shaking his head as he did so.

"What's so funny?" Max couldn't help grinning at his father's laughter.

He understood that he would have had little to laugh about over the last two years.

"Well," Philip shrugged. "If someone had told me, back when we found you, that day on the road, alone naked and helpless, that you were a King from a distant planet... I could have accepted a bodyguard, the way you looked after Isabel, and Michael, too. But a King? Someone as shy and introverted as you were? But I understand all that now. And seeing you, and hearing you," Philip nodded at Colonel Barynt "Max, you are every inch a King. You have well and truly grown into the role."

"Thanks," Max smiled. "I think. Was there something you wanted? Or did you just come to poke fun at me?"

"Actually," Philip looked at Jim." Yes. There's something we wanted to see you about."

"Oh?" Max looked intrigued.

"It's something Liz said," Jim stated.

"Uhm..." Max frowned. "Have either of you seen Liz today? She didn't meet me for breakfast."

"I think Jeff and Nancy are talking to her," Jim shook his head.

"Max," Philip spoke softly. "You have to understand Jeff and Nancy's more protective nature. They lost Liz, a young woman in the prime of her life. And now... it's like they've been given a second chance. It's hard, Max. Hard to come to terms with the revelations that we've been hit with. Unlike some," he looked at Jim, "we didn't have years of knowledge to prepare us. So give the Parkers' time. They'll soon see that Liz is more than a sixteen year old girl with a twenty six year old mind."

"So anyway," Jim paved over an awkward situation. "The other night, at that party, Liz said something about taking everything on yourself."

"Yeah," Max nodded. "She does keep telling me I'm..."

"Controlling," Philip nodded. "Yes, we noticed that back when you were in Roswell."

"And?" Max gave a soft snort.

"Well, it's just... It's just..."

"Max," Jim took over. "Back on your planet, Michael was a general too. A damn good one, if the stories we hear are true."

"King Zan was an awesome general, too," Barynt interjected. "He faced Nikolas, perhaps Antar's greatest general, and was not beaten. Zan more than held his own."

"Well," Jim nodded. "We kind of figured... We figured..."

"Max," Philip continued. "You know, during World War Two, Winston Churchill was the leader of a small nation that was being threatened with extinction. And he led that nation through the darkness, brilliantly. But he left the strategies to his generals, his seconds in command. He told them what he wanted done, and left them to plan how best to do it. Now," he looked at Barynt. "I know you were a great general, too, but don't let that small detail fool you into arrogance. That was Hitler's downfall. A couple of successes where his generals told him he could have no success and he believed he was the greatest general in the world. We've been told how Michael was also a great general. How he was your instructor at one time. Use Michael, Max. Listen to him. Reign him in when you must, but let his natural warrior tendencies free. You might even find out that between the two of you, you are more than a match for anything Nikolas can throw at you."

Max looked at Barynt and grinned.

"It looks," Barynt smiled back, "as though you have surrounded yourself with wise advisors."

"Where is Michael, anyway?" Jim looked around the room.

"Lord Rath is currently with a number of squads of the Bloodguard," Barynt smiled. "If he is to plan any future tactics, then he has to know the way the Bloodguard works and operates. He must understand their tactical capabilities."

"So he can come up with the tactics for my plans," Max chuckled.

"Are you gentlemen finished for the day?" a soft voice called from the doorway.

"Liz!" Max's face lit up as he turned to the doorway.

"Liz," Philip and Jim both gave a smile at the change that had come over Max.

One moment, he was a leader, a King. And the next, he was a teenager again. Barynt, too, noticed his change of demeanor.

"Miss Parker," Colonel Barynt gave a formal bow. He then turned and gave another bow to Max. "I can see our time here is done, your majesty."

"And what can I do for you?" Max turned to Liz.

"Have you guys finished with him?" she asked Jim and Philip.

"I think so, yes," Philip nodded. "Why?"

"Because you know what they say about all work and no play?" Liz raised an eyebrow. "Well, it's play time."

"Uh huh," Jim smirked. "Behave, you two. Remember that Jeff doesn't care if you're a king or not, Max. No crowning until after the wedding."

The two men left laughing at Max's burning face.

"You know," Liz looks up at Max's blushes. "I think I might just let slip to Amy what Jim said. That'll teach him to mess with my boyfriend."

"Uh, Liz?" Max frowned.

"What?" She gave him a look of innocence. "You look after me, I look after you. Deal?"

"Deal," Max sighed. "Now what was it you said about playing?"

"After," she moved in for a kiss, "I apologize to you for last night."

"Already forgiven," Max breathed as their lips closed.

"Max?" she murmured into his mouth. "If I run down the hill today... does that promise of a spanking still hold?"

Max wondered if choking with someone's tongue in your mouth still needed the Heimlich maneuver.

* * *

"Mr. Parker?" Richard Madly stepped up beside Liz's father. "You wanted to see me?"

"Yes, Richard," Jeff nodded. "I need to know more about my daughter's life in Florida. I need to determine for myself, the influence this young man has on her."

"Julia was a great student," Richard nodded. "Honors in everything she did. It was like she already knew everything. She had... has a bright future ahead of her, if..."

"So what changed?"

"Three guesses," Richard shrugged. "'He' came. One summer, him and the others just turned up. And he hypnotized her or something. Me and Julia had been in love for some time. We even made plans for our wedding."

"What makes you think he hypnotized her? I mean, how can you be so sure that she really didn't just... fall in love with him?"

"Well," Richard thought. "Think back to the time before. Did your daughter start behaving differently? Out of character? Did she suddenly break up with a another guy for no apparent reason?"

"Now that you mention it..." Jeff was nodding.

"Would you daughter have ever had her navel pierced? Or got herself tattooed? That was all him. He is controlling her, he is doing something to her mind. For her own sake, we need to get her out of here."

"Why has it taken you this long to bring this to my attention?" Jeff wondered.

"You think this is easy for me?" Richard blinked. "When I saw all the shit in Chaco, when he surrounded them with those glowing lights and stuff... I'm not afraid to admit that it scared the crap out of me, Mr. Parker. I thought she was one of them. I panicked and ran. It's taken me this long to come to my senses and decide to fight to save the girl I love. Can you say the same thing?"

"How? Where can we go?"

"When him and the others go on this mission. I have found a small squad of men, loyal to the human race. They will help me, follow me. We can sneak away when everyone is more interested in what's going on elsewhere. We'll head due west. As the crow flies, it's only twelve miles to the border. Once we reach Arizona, we'll be safe. She'll come to her senses, then. She'll become the girl we both love."

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Red Shift Part 3 Chapter 24

Post by WR » Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:34 pm

Happy Easter to all my Christian Readers.
Happy holidays to all my readers fo other demoninations.

Hello to everyone!


Yes, even though it's a Bank Holiday here, you get an update! However, I am pushed for time, so I hope you will forgive my lack of individual comments this evening.

Can I just say that Jeff is a firightened Father. He sees his daughter, with an alien, who he learns had mysterous powers. And her best friend, who he could ask for confirmation, is also with an alien. Who also has mysterious powers. And to top it all, he now has a personal army who by all accounts is man for man, worth three of the enemy aliens, and who knows how many of human soldiers? Of course he's scared. :twisted:

Red Shift

Part 3

Chapter 24

In the capital city of the Ice Kingdom of Kalacia, on the planet Anter, the former Queen of Antar, Lady Dalena, sat in her private chambers, talking softly with a lovely young woman of sixteen years. She enjoyed the company of young people, mainly because she had been denied the chance of ever having grandchildren of her own. The pair sat on a sofa, in front of a small occasional table on which a tray with some steaming drinks sat.

"I think the powder blue gown would suit your coloring best, my dear," Dalena eye's twinkled. "Watch the young men compete for your attention, then."

"I'm not so sure, my Lady," her eyes lowered. "I mean, I'm not sure I want all of them to pester me. Just a few."

Dalena's head leaned backwards with laughter.

"Valda, you are a treasure," she continued to chuckle. "I'm sure that your Uncle, Lord Heldin has already chosen one or two suitors for you."

"And probably not the ones I would choose for myself," Valda rolled her eyes.

At the knocking on the door, the young lady rose from the sofa and crossed the room and opened the door.

"My Lord?" she curtseyed.

"Might I have a word with her highness?" the man asked with a gentle bow.

"I will see if my Lady is in," she nodded, closing the door behind her.

She returned to the sofa and repeated the curtsey in front of Lady Dalena.

"My Lady," Valda spoke a little more formally then before. "Lord Larek requests an audience with you."

"Show him in, Valda," Dalena sat more upright.

"At once my Lady," she curtseyed again and returned to the door, opening it.

"Her Majesty will you see you now, Lord. Larek," she held the door open for him.

Lord Larek gave a nod and strode into the room. He stopped in front of Lady Dalena.

"Your Highness," he bowed. "Please forgive this intrusion, but I must speak with you."

"Of course, Larek," she smiled at him. "What is it?"

"We have received word. From Earth."

"From Zan?" she sat forward, on the edge of her seat, eagerly awaiting the news of her children.

"Not from Zan, no," he shook his head. "But it does concern Zan. It seems he is planning some kind of military action against Kivar's forces on Earth."

"He has the Granolith?" her eyes widened. "Then why has he not contacted us?"

"We do not think that he has the Granolith as yet," Larek shook his head again. "But we believe he must know of it's whereabouts. However, our agent suggests that this primary assault is merely a means to obtain transport, rather than having to rely on the animals the humans ride."

"Are the humans that primitive?" she blinked in astonishment. "I thought they had advanced beyond that."

"They have," he nodded. Apparently, the resistance forces use draft animals to move about in secret. They emit far less heat than any of their earthly vehicles and so are near invisible to Nikolas's heat detectors. But they are none the less, slow and Zan does not want to be running from an enraged Nikolas, relying merely on these animals for his escape. He plans to steal transport for his own troops."

"But he will surely need more than one or two vehicles," her eyes narrowed. "He will need more unless he plans to take on Nikolas, alone with just a handful of humans."

"No, my lady. It seems that Zan is not alone. He also has your daughter Vilandra, and Rath with him, although Vilondra is remaining behind in case anything should happen to Zan. It seems that neither Vilondra nor Rath betrayed him after all."

Dalena was silent for a moment.

"What of Ava?" she frowned.

"Of Ava, there has been no word," Larek sighed. "If our agent knows her whereabouts, he has not reported it. Neither has he reported whether she lives or not."

"I pray that she is nearby, Larek," she closed her eyes and looked heavenward. "We will need our Royal 4 to be united and strong when the time comes."

"But my lady," Larek blinked. "Surely you can see that Ava's absence can be interpreted as the fact that it was she who was the traitor?"

"Perhaps," Dalena gave a small smile. "Offered the right incentive, anyone can become a double agent. I am sure that Ava will come to her senses. But I am a little concerned. It worries me that Zan leads an army of primitives against the hardened troops Kivar has sent. Please tell me he has developed weapons to use against them."

"Better, my lady," Larek gave a huge grin. "Zan leads a battalion of Royal Antarian Guards. Every bit as hardened in battle as Kivar's."

"The Bloodguard?" Dalena gasped. "But I thought... we were told that they were wiped out at the Battle of Javex Rocks."

"Yes," Larek agreed. "When Kivar unleashed his new army. I remember the shock waves that swept the planet. But it seems that they were not defeated after all and are now on the planet Earth. With Zan."

"But how?" Dalena's eyes narrowed. "Larek, I saw them load that ship. The Gem. There was not enough room for a Battalion of Royal Guards. And Zan had no access to a ship before the Gem's arrival. Well, that is one mystery we shall not uncover until Zan returns and tells us himself. But I for one am glad that he has units loyal to him, and to him alone. The Earthling forces will always have their own agenda, and will always be more loyal to their own leaders than ours."

"Somehow, the Royal Guard have appeared on Earth and now ride with Zan."

"And they," Dalena gave a smile, "will remind my son of his duty, and where his heart truly lies. Has our agent given any word as to when we might expect them to return home?"

"None, my lady."

"I'm starting to wonder if I must do something to hasten his return."

"Like what, my lady?" Larek frowned.

"I sit here, in command of a huge hidden army. Maybe the time has come to start snapping at Kivar's heels."

"My Lady," he bowed formally. "You know that if you command it, I would attack the walls of Kivar's palace... your old palace with my bare hands. But I beg you. We must wait for Zan's return or else we could lose any momentum we gain."

Dalena looked at Larek for a moment.

"Send word to our agent. Zan must be encouraged to return home as soon as possible." She thought for a moment before a small smile came to her lips. And tell him to extend that invitation to Ava to join us here, also."

* * *

It had taken a week to plan. A week during which the forces of the resistance, as well as those of the regular army trained alongside the Antarian forces, known colloquially as 'The Bloodguard'. No one knew the true purpose of this training, except for the closed circle around Max Evans. Everyone however, knew that something was up. There was an air of tension, as well as excitement over the camp. The first blow against the alien invaders was about to be struck. No one was in any doubt.

While the sergeants drilled their men and overwhelmed them with tactical training, Max and his advisors poured over the large map in the War Room, choosing where the best place to strike would be. In the end, they had chosen the town of Los Alamos, to the north of Albuquerque. The reason for this choice was that current intel suggested that the force there consisted of only six thousand enemy aliens and perhaps another thousand human Capos. Although Nikolas had made Los Alamos his training ground for his Capos, as well as a staging post for a number of ships and transport vehicles, it was also the lightest defended. Intel suggested that there would be as many as fifty vehicles and twenty ships. A splash in the ocean to Nikolas, but to the resistance, it was a veritable treasure trove.

As soon as the transport had been secured, the Loyalist troops were to break off all hostilities and withdraw. Barynt knew that the Antarian soldiers, in their HUSKS, would not chase them into the desert without the protection of their ships. Neither would the Capos be brave enough to chase a larger, and better armed enemy. The Capos knew that the Native Americans would be waiting for them. Max had asked just who it was who had started the rumor about a bounty being paid for Capo scalps. There had been much laughter that night.

All of the planning, and all of the training had led to this. Under an even bigger cloak of secrecy, the forces who had been selected for the assault had left Shiprock. Only those closest to Max knew what was going on. Although not accompanying the assault squads, Liz, Maria, Isabel, Kyle, Raul and Anders still had their parts to play. They were pretending to be going on dates, or just 'hanging' with the missing high profile aliens. In fact, both Anders and Raul had, on occasion, masqueraded as Max and Michael to make it appear that Liz and Maria were walking with them. Of course, no one thought to wonder why the couples never seemed to make out at all.

The squads, after travelling only at night, and in small groups, finally came together on the southern outskirts of Los Alamos, near an old Quarry, which had been converted into the Skin's military base for the region. A large, camouflaged pavilion now housed the Military Commanders of the Loyalist First Strike Group. Two thousand Bloodguard, five hundred Native Americans and two hundred regular army, almost the entire force rescued from the air base south of Roswell had joined them. They had also been accompanied by three hundred volunteers of all races, creeds, colors and religions. Max, Michael, a small group of Bloodguard officers, a couple of U.S. Army Colonels, and a couple of Native American elders were standing around the table on which a detailed map was laid. The only light source was a strange glow from Max's hand.

"Once more," Michael looked up at the men. "Major Zaltig and Major Hoetz will take their forces, flanking left and right. Here, and here." He stabbed the map for emphasis. You are to sit tight and wait for the flanking maneuvers their commander is bound to order. You will halt their movement and bottle them up tighter than a... I don't want anything to get past you. Okay?"

"Yes, sir," the two men saluted.

"Major Dhar," Michael continued. "You will take your light force, consisting of mainly Native Americans because they can move swiftly, to the rear. At the designated time, you are to make as much noise, and create as much havoc as you can. I want their commander to believe that they are being attacked from the rear by as heavy an army that is hitting their front. The three groups will leave shortly," Michael checked, " to get into position. "At oh-two-fifty, Honiahaka will go over the wire, helped by his two companions. We're relying on the stealth of you three. Don't let us down. Once you are over, he will make his way to the transmitting beacon. We need to silence any requests for help. I don't want Nikolas to know what's happening until it's a history lesson for him."

"Once you plant the charge," Max reminded the Brave called Honiahaka, "you're to make your way back to rejoin the friendlies. Under no circumstances are you to try anything heroic."

"Yes, sir," Honiahaka grinned, which did little to ease Max's concern over that part of the plan.

"At oh-two-fifty-five," Michael looked around. "The wire fence will be cut at these ten points, here."

Michael pointed to ten points along the southern run of fencing.

"Colonel Barynt and I will move the men in through the fence," Michael continued, "taking positions at these points, to shield the vehicle compound from the main base. We should all be in position by precisely oh-three-hundred. You all have your allocated objectives. Major Trevellan, along with one hundred members of the U.S. Army detachment will make his way directly to the vehicle compound, where they will eliminate all resistance. You must prevent any ships from taking off at all costs. Destroy them if you have to. Once secure, you will protect the compound until we can send pilots to take the vehicles. You'll have twenty braves with you. Let the braves move out front, they can identify the enemy and lead you to them. In the meantime, we will repel any attempt by the skins to reach the vehicle compound. Once we have the vehicles secure, and the pilots in place, we will begin the embarkation of our troops, and stage a defended withdrawal. Is everyone on the same page?"

"Yes, sir," everyone echoed.

"Okay," Michael grinned. "It's oh-one-hundred. You have a little less than two hours to get into position. Watches synchronized?"

"Yes, sir," they all nodded.

"Okay," Michael let out a deep breath. "Go."

"And good luck," Max added. "Be careful. No heroics."

Everyone stood to attention and saluted. Max and Michael both saluted back before letting them all disperse.

"Doesn't that feel weird?" Max raised his eyebrows. "So, everything's ready, huh?"

"Of course," Michael nodded.

"I figured as much," Max sighed. "Just have to wait now? Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected."

Michael looked at Max for a moment before giving a smile.

"Why don't you get some sleep, Max?"

"I can sleep later," he took a deep breath. "I've never done this before. Sending people into battle."

"Not in this life, no," Michael shook his head. "And you're not sending them. I am."

"You might be in charge, Michael," Max gave him a fixed look. "But it was my idea to come here and take the ships."

"Which reminds me," Michael smirked. "What is your task, again? Let's go over 'your' part in the plan."

"Funny, Michael," Max glared. "Real funny."

"No, tell me," Michael demanded. "'Cause I want to hear you say it."

"I'm to stay here," Max sighed. "With the communications team and wait for your signal."

"Right," Michael nodded. "And if you get the bug out call, you get the hell out of here. You do not, repeat, do not wait for me or come riding in to rescue me. You get out. You stay hidden and you make your way back to Shiprock. If you so much as get sunburned, Liz is going to skin me alive. And even if I'm dead, she'll find a way to bring me back to life just so she can do it."

"You've been spending way too much time with Maria," Max smirked. "You're such a drama queen."

* * *

Liz stood on the flat, rock balcony, half way up Shiprock, staring eastward, toward the darkness that was growing. No one who was privy to the plan would be sleeping that night. Behind her, Isabel, Maria, Kyle, Raul, Anders and Cat were sitting at a table upon which pots of coffee were being kept warm by small candles. Their parents were in the other room, behind the rock door, all watching their children. Knowing that something was up, most were praying for the safe return of the absent few. Two others, however, were praying that that cause of all the tension was something that they had been waiting for.

Maria climbed from her seat and went to her friend.

"He'll be okay," she whispered in her ear.

"I know," Liz nodded. "I wish... I wish..."

"Me too," Maria nodded. "God, I hate this. Why couldn't they have been born a couple of court followers, huh? I mean, Michael would make a pretty mean court Jester."

Liz gave a soft snort.

"Yeah, I can just see him in one of those funny three pointed hats, juggling a couple of balls while everyone ignores him."

"Nah," Maria shook her head. "He would never last as a jester. He would yell at everyone 'cause they weren't watching."

"I hope he watches Max for me, Maria," tears welled in Liz's brown eyes as she looked at her friend.

"Of course he will Chica," Maria's eyes were filled with tears of her own. "Just like I know that Max will watch Michael for me."

* * *

Michael took another look through his binoculars and then checked his watch, again. He gave a silent prayer to any listening gods and gave a short sharp wave of his hand.

"This is it," he whispered to no one in particular.

All along a line of men, the signal was passed silently. Three men, crouching low to the ground, moved across the desert, as though they had been born to this task. Michael watched them until they vanished into the darkness. Even his vision, better in the low light than the humans, could not see them. He remembered how in training, the first two men would stand with their backs to the wall, hunched over slightly, their hands cupped low, at knee level. Honiahaka then ran at them at full speed, springing into their cupped hands. The two men then catapulted the brave high up into the air. After a series of somersaults, Honiahaka would land safely on his feet on the other side of the wall. Michael wished he had visual confirmation that this part of his plan worked. He really did not want an army coming down in his back. Not to mention Max, poorly protected further up the road.

"God, I hope he listened to me," he muttered. "And if not me, then Liz."

Michael knew that Liz had exacted promises from Max that he would not do anything she would consider stupid. Coming from Liz, that covered quite a lot.

The single cry of a Screech Owl tells him that Honiahaka was safe and making his way to his assignment. Michael looked at once to the Bloodguard sitting beside him. He was watching a small black square.

"Nothing," the soldier shook his head. "No undue activity."

"Good," Michael nodded. "Anything moving in the compound?"

"A few," he nodded. "I would say they are mostly human."

"Better," Michael sighed with relief. "If they get any ships into the air, we're toast." He turned to a couple of Native Americans behind him. "Go knock on the doors."

The two men nodded and both took off, running in opposite directions down the line. Unseen, dozens of men crept forward, each one carrying a pair of heavy wire cutters. A couple of Screech Owls cried out into the night. Michael looked skyward before silently berating himself, remembering that these were the signals that the fence had been breached.

It would have been quicker to simply 'wave' the fences away, but Max had warned them that Nikolas would likely add traces of depleted uranium to the chain link fences. Knowing that three aliens were at large, he would take no chances. Sometimes, human methods were better. Another screech owl cried out, a long, piercing cry.

"This is it," he said louder, so his neighbors could hear.

Adrenaline surged through his veins as he leapt to his feet and hurried toward his designated station. In spite of the nervous energy, he felt a strange calmness about him. It felt as though he had done this so many times before. Which, of course, he had. But not in this lifetime. Not even in this century. Warfare, it seemed, was like riding a bicycle.

All along the fence line, soldiers ran to the openings, marked by a Brave, waving them through the gaps. The first squads through were already setting up mortar lines. They did not have many, but they had enough. They would form a long line, just behind the main forces. Michael looked once at the hollow that was his designated station, approximately halfway along the defensive line of attackers and started to run hard toward it, before glancing toward the vehicle compound to his side. Trevellan and his men were scarcely visible in the dark, but he could see them making good headway. Already, he saw one or two Native Americans working their way among the vehicles. Michael reached his station and scrambled to where he could watch, and react to whatever his enemy would throw at him.

"So far," he mumbled. "So good."

By the time the first mortars landed, they should be overrunning the guards. Michael looked at his watch before looking at the buildings that housed the Skins they had come to do battle with. He was just thinking how accurate the map was in the war room when he heard the first set of "whump" sounds from behind him. Moments later, whistles from ahead of them were followed by loud and sudden explosions. Some burst in the open ground, others hit buildings. The mortar's trajectory would be adjusted, and Michael knew that from that point on, the bombs would rain down in a line, directed to land amongst the advancing Skins. Bullets might not kill them, but fire, and shrapnel to the valves of their husks would. It had started.

Five miles away, Max could only wince as he heard the distant rumble of mortar shells. He stared at the light show reflected off the cliff faces. The tiny Royalist forces had engaged in battle with Kivar's army.

The Antarian civil war had truly reached Earth now. The time to fight back had arrived.

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Red Shift Part 3 Chapter 25

Post by WR » Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:28 pm

Hi everyone!

Thanks again for your support. With things picking up a bit, I hope you will continue to enjoy my writing. Apart from Richard because we all know his motives are anything but honest, please consider the point of view of the potential antagonists. They all see things differently to us.

Timelord31 - At this point, Max has not seen the need for personal body guards. After all, Liz and Maria are in the middle of his base camp!

roswellluver - Well, they were both militarily trained, remember.

roswell3053 - remember that Zan's mother has been counting on the Royal Four's return for fifty years. She believes that Ava will see the light and return to loving Zan when they return. After all, she does not know that she betrayed them on Antar and she has seen how their minds can be 'turned' under human influences (Zan falling for a human girl) To Dalena, Max and Liz would be like someone from our era dating a woman from the stone age.

Emz80m - I think Liz's parents are not so much as doing anything as allowing things to be done, to get Liz to safety (as THEY see it)

dawnuk - Dalena does not know Liz. She does know Ava. Ans she knows there is a planet, if not a whole solar system to heal. She has to work with what she knows. And all she knows is that Zan loved Ava (at least, thats what she thinks) After all, they did get married.

raemac - well, what do you think might happen? :wink:

omwf - at this moment, Zan;s mother has no influence over what happens on Earth unless it's through her mysterious agent. As we do not know who this is, we have to wonder how much influence this person has.

Cocogurl - oh, always surprises. :) Always surprises.

BehrObsession - we all know and understand Max and Liz's relationship. But consider it from the POV of her parents. Would this not frighten you if it was your child involved? It would scare the cr@p out of me. Jeff and Nancy's only fault is that they are not listening to the right people. Plus they are forgetting something rather signifigant.
As for Dalena, she wants the return of the status quo. She wants the Royal Four to return as promised. Liz is not part of that quartet. Ava is.

Roswelllostcause - I think you are right. But hey, let him sweat. :wink:

VeronicB - lucky that momma is so far away right now! :)

Ellie - at present, Max has no idea about his mom;s machinations. I'm sure, once he finds out, that he will do something about them.

Jull_ana - Kill Nancy and Jeff? Shock! Horror! :twisted: :)

katydid - yes. :) all that angst I can lay on you! lol

smokie - like I have said, when you are thousands of light years away, perception can be changed. Maybe Dalena believes that Zan and Ava have true love that can be resurected when they return.

Red Shift

Part 3

Chapter 25

While mortar shells rained in front of the distant buildings that housed the enemy forces, Michael took the opportunity to turn and check the progress of the squad he had sent to secure the vehicle compound. He could see skirmishes breaking out as his own men met with sentries and overwhelmed them. Although he knew that any guards posted would not likely cause him any problems, Michael's greatest fear was that the Skins would get a couple of ships up in the air before he could seal them off. And he didn't want to risk denuding his own alien forces by taking the ships too early, in case the Skins had SAM weaponry of their own. He wanted to draw the entire garrison out and then pin them down, in the open, where any such weaponry would be easily spotted and dealt with.

Meanwhile, the enemy were making their own counter moves. Like a swarm of bee's, the forces loyal to Nikolas poured from the buildings, immediately taking shelter where they could. Max's units let loose with a hail of bullets. Even the Bloodguard had received basic training in this antiquated weapon. They wanted to keep the final surprise for later.

"Shit!" Michael exclaimed, as an alien blaster hit the ground in front of his position, showering him in dirt and debris. He turned to face the oncoming enemy, who was now rushing toward his defensive positions, making use of whatever cover they could. "That surprised me. I was sure he would just send out the Capo's first."

"Should the Bloodguard return fire now, sir?" Barynt asked.

"Negative," Michael shook his head. "I don't want them to know about you until it's too late. For them. The shock should knock the wind out of their sails and even up the odds. For now, they're to keep firing the old fashioned way."

Michael looked back at the mortar teams, working like maniacs to maintain the support. They were doing a great job keeping the oncoming enemies heads down, as well as preventing them from massing their own firepower. He turned and saw how they were doing a terrific job of adjusting the trajectory so that the shells continued to fall in the middle of the enemy. Michael couldn't help wondering if the Skins had access to any alien equivalent of mortars.

But still the enemy kept advancing. Michael could see that they were losing men. Mostly humans, he knew, but he had seen one or two skins explode into dust. Enough to make them consider their mortality and hold back a little.

"So much the better for when they finally see the Bloodguard," he grinned to himself.

The Skins, however, 'were' making headway and were advancing on Michael's positions. Soon, they would be in the carefully constructed 'killing zone'; areas where they would have teams firing upon them from three sides. Michael had placed his squads on a zigzag line where each squad could defend another, as well as creating firetraps. Once the Skins had reached these areas, he knew the commander would order a flanking maneuver. Maybe from both sides.

Even Max had seen that this would happen. Which was why they had placed valuable troops to protect their flanks. Once the reserves had been committed, once the reserves had themselves been pinned down, then they would release the Bloodguard's natural weaponry. The result, they had all hoped, would be catastrophic for the defending garrison. Up until now, there was no reason for the Skins to assume that this was anything other than the first attack of the resistance. Once they realized just who they were facing, both Max and Michael hoped it would buy them the time to stage their strategic withdrawal.

In fact, the enemy commander had not even waited for the advancing units to be pinned down. Eager to crush this attack, he had already sent his reserves to outflank the attackers.

"Earlier than I thought," Michael's eyebrows raised when he heard the first explosions ring out to the west.

This explosion was followed by a few more and then the eastern sky erupted. It was time. Michael wished that he would be able to see their faces when the Skins saw what was attacking them.

"Give the command, Colonel Barynt," he grinned. "Cut the Bloodguard loose."

As the night sky illuminated with the sudden return of alien fire, Michael could only shake his head.

"Welcome to the real War of the Worlds."

The surprise had a profound effect. The enemy fire faltered for a moment and the enemy units actually fell backward, taking the mortar teams by surprise. For a while, their shells pounded empty spaces. However, the Bloodguard were methodically firing upon the lead units, both human and Antarians, with devastating effect. Cries and screams mingled with the explosions and the radio next to Michael's position was giving constant updates.

"Report," Michael spoke into a transmitter.

"Red Leader reporting," a disjointed voice spoke. "East flank secure. We have them pinned down. They are trying to withdraw but we are making them stay."

"That's good, Red Leader," Michael nodded. "Keep them pinned down. They can't fight if they're hiding."

"Blue Leader reporting," another added. "West flank secure. Enemy have fallen quiet, repeat enemy has fallen quiet. Do you wish us to pursue?"

"Negative," Michael shook his head. "Keep your eyes open and watch for them trying to outflank you. Await further orders."

There was no call from White Leader. That meant one of two things. Either White Leader was not able to call in his position because it had been over run, or, the more likely scenario, no one had tried to slip out through the back door yet.

"Green Leader," another voice joined in. "Transport compound all secure. Repeat, transport all secure."

"Good," Michael grinned. "They haven't realized what we came for yet." He lifted the transmitter to his mouth. "Sit tight, Green Leader. We'll get the pilots to you A.S.A.P."

With the vehicles secure, it was time to make their withdrawal.

"That wasn't so hard," he looked at Colonel Barynt. "We've achieved total surprise and we have the entire garrison pinned down." Michael looked across the open ground at the pockets of resistance. He started to grin before lifting up the receiver. "Blue Leader, Red Leader. Start to move in. Repeat start to move in. Let's evict these unwanted neighbors."

"Sir," Barynt looked sharply at his commander. "His Majesty's orders were just to take the ships and evacuate."

"Things change," Michael shrugged. "I'm reacting to the battlefield. You have your orders. Now lets go and put the squeeze on these guys. It's time to take out the trash."

* * *

A few miles away, Max stood high on a ridge and watched the distant light show. He knew the moment the Bloodguard entered into the fray. The lighting effects changed. With every light burst, now more frequent than a Fourth of July party, Max could not help flinching. Those lights represented death.

"They've broken radio silence, sir," the radio operator called from the small comms tent at the base of the path that lead up to the ridge. "They tried both flanks. Both pinned down. Everything is going as planned."

"Good," Max nodded. "He should be pulling out soon. He's probably sending the pilots across, now."

"Negative, sir," the operator shook his head. "He's given orders to advance on the enemy."

"What?" Max gasped, staring at the lights as if willing them to stop.

He was about to call Michael on his own personal frequency. He was about to tell him off and order him to stick to the plan, but something started to tickle the back of his head. Something was teasing the periphery of his mind. Something was coming. With a look of dread on his face, Max turned one hundred and eighty degrees and looked away into the darkness. A patrol was heading this way.

"Someone's coming!" he called to his men. "Five, maybe six vehicles."

"Reinforcements?" Craig, one of the team who volunteered as Max's guard, called up from below.

"Maybe," Max was still staring into he darkness. "Most probably a patrol. They're not in any hurry. But if we don't do something, then Michael's going to have some unwanted visitors. He'll be caught between the two forces in maybe ten to fifteen minutes."

Max ran down the hill, barking out orders.

"Warn him!" he called to the radio operator. "Tell him six vehicles, probably loaded with reinforcements, E.T.A. ten minutes."

"Yes, sir," the operator nodded, turning to his radio set.

"Do we have any heavy weapons?" Max called to Craig.

"A couple of LAW's is all," Craig shrugged.

"What's a LAW? Max narrowed his eyes.

"A Light Anti-tank Weapon," Craig grinned. "It's an extendible tube like thing that can fire an armor piercing missile."

"Will it stop an alien troop carrier?"

"So we're told," Craig nodded. "Wait. Max. I think it's best if we just get the heck out of here. I've seen Michael in action, what he can do, and if 'he's' afraid of Liz, then so am I."

"No way," Max shook his head. "I would rather get captured by Nikolas than face Maria if anything happens to Michael. Grab any weapons you can and come with me." He turned to the radioman. "Tell Michael we're going to watch his back for him. Tell him to send anyone he can spare."

Max started to move along the track that lead to the road, followed by only ten soldiers. Only four of them were Bloodguard.

* * *

"They've spotted the lights," Max noticed that the convoy was racing along the road at a high speed. "Are you sure you can hit them when they're going that fast?"

"Standard procedure?" Craig answered with a question.

"If standard procedure means taking out the lead vehicle first, and then the last one, trapping them all in a line, then yes. Standard procedure. And I want three groups. One to my left and another to my right. Two Bloodguard with me."

Shadows darted to take positions while two soldiers took out a small tube, and extended it. Both men knelt on one knee and took aim. Craig fired first. Everyone watched the missile streak away into the night, smashing in to the side of the first of the alien vehicles. It exploded, and slowed to a halt. The following vehicles all stopped suddenly, each one colliding with the one in front. As the last vehicle stopped, another missile sped through the darkness, it's successful strike effectively trapping all the vehicles in a line.

Time stood still for a few moments before the doors burst open and the alien soldiers surged out to deal with the 'upstarts'. When a hail of bullets as well as alien blasters rained down on them, they too took cover.

He was, Max had decided, outnumbered by at least four to one. In spite of their elevation, and their cover, the enemy units were working well together and were almost at the base of the hill, where more cover would be afforded by the rocks and natural outcrops.

"Just keep them pinned as best as you can and pray someone gets here quickly," Max urged.

* * *

Michael's first reaction at the news that Max had disobeyed him and was heading off this new threat was one of anger, fury, even.

"Kings," he spat. "Why the hell can't they do as they're told?"

The soldiers around him turned with a look of surprise on their faces. But Michael didn't care. They weren't the ones who would have to tell Liz that something had happened to Max. And they weren't the ones she would flay alive. And they weren't the ones Maria would flay alive for letting her best friend get upset like that.

But then his mind started to kick into gear. He knew that Max had no other choice. Just as he had reacted to the changing battlefield, so too had Max. Zan had been a great general before, he was sure he could hold his own, still. Plus there was the fact that looking after Michael was second nature to Max. So that meant that he had to get some help to Max as fast as he could. The sooner he sent reinforcements, the sooner Max would be protected.

"Ployden!" he called to one of the Bloodguard squad leaders. "Take a hundred Bloodguard and head over to the compound. Take a many vehicles as you need and get to Max as fast as you can. Expect to meet enemy forces, expect to find Max outnumbered and pinned down."

He looked around, hoping for inspiration. Max was not reckless. Michael knew that he would be careful, but he would not withdraw until he knew that his forces were secure from their rear. Michael needed something to get there faster than Ployden, to give him support."

"And get some ships in the air!" he barked. "Get Max some air cover!"

An explosion rocked nearby, showering Michael's position with dirt and debris. The Skins were mounting a counter attack. "Us too!"

He turned to watch as a group of Bloodguard overran a bunker full of Skins.

"Come on Max," he urged. "Talk to me."

* * *

In spite of the valiant efforts of his small team, the alien forces were creeping forward. Max was also worried that they might be flanking him, as well. They certainly had enough men to do that. Ammo for his human troops were running low, too. He could not help remembering Liz's parting words to him.

"Be careful out there, Max. Listen to Michael; do as he tells you. And above all else, you make sure that you come back to me. Got it? I can't lose you."

"We'll have to hope that Michael's got a rearguard set up," he called out. "Let's start to withdraw."

It was a good idea, but not one that the enemy was going along with. The Skins fire rate seemed to increase, once they realized that their opposition's had faltered. Still, Max tried. While two units fired, the third moved back to a new position. It was slow. Painfully slow.

"Damn," Max cursed. "Why hadn't I thought of this?"

Because this was not your choosing, he reminded himself. They always had the upper hand here because you were forced to react. They called the shots on this one.

"I should have prepared for a patrol, or reinforcements."

"Next time," Craig grunted. "Come on, go, go, go, go, go."

From overhead, a sudden droning noise pierced the sound of explosions. It sounded like a couple of large bee's were hovering.

"Great," Max shuddered. "Just what we needed."

The ships started to fire upon the advancing enemy, however. They were pounding the large concentrations of Skins.

"Thank you, Michael," Max heaved a sigh of relief.

"I never once thought I would ever say this," one of the Native Americans started to chuckle. "But, here comes the cavalry."

In the distance, Max could see a row of vehicles racing toward them. 'His' reinforcements, this time. Below them, the enemy had fallen silent, taking what shelter they could from the death that rained down from above. In the end, they did the only thing they could. It wasn't white, and it wasn't exactly a flag, but it meant the same thing.

"It's all under control here, Michael," Max sent out his thoughts. "Thanks."

* * *

Faced with the sudden appearance of their own ships, firing on their positions, and with the knowledge that he was facing the Bloodguard, the enemy commander gave the order for his own troops to withdraw. The Skins tried to leave through the backdoor, leaving the Capos to face what they themselves would not. However, they found that backdoor locked, and as soon as they engaged the force barring their way, the ships were there. After a short firefight, he gave the order to surrender. He briefly wonder if he should try to send a message to Nikolas, to warn him of the Bloodguard's presence, but decided against it. Let Nikolas find out the hard way, just as he had done. Besides, he really could do without hearing the names that his 'commander' would call him.

* * *

Max picked his way through the debris that littered the battle field. All around him, soldiers were working to remove their dead and wounded. The Capo's would be left, but strangely, Max had ordered that the enemy alien's be gathered, as well.

"I do not want them festering in some laboratory specimen jar," he had told Colonel Barynt with a shudder. "I wouldn't wish that on anyone."

"It's easy enough to deal with them, Max," Barynt gave him a gentle smile. "Just 'pop' their seals. Better than a funeral."

He found Michael giving some orders to a squad of Native Americans, overseeing the movement of a large crowd of overweight looking humans. From their treatment, Max had little doubt that these were Capos.

"Turned out better than I hoped," Max nodded at his old friend. "Well done, Michael."

"Thanks," he grunted. "Care to explain to me what that little stunt of yours was all about?"

"You're welcome, Michael," Max grinned. "How many ships did we capture? Vehicles?"

"All of them," Michael grinned back. "But the six you had that run in with are too damaged to be of use."

"I want them totally destroyed," Max nodded. "Not only to prevent Nikolas from using them, but I don't want anyone reverse engineering them."

"It's not like humans can pilot them," Michael shrugged. "But they'll be destroyed."

"So," Max looked around. "Casualty figures?"

"A total of twenty six," Michael's face fell solemn. "Lighter than we anticipated. We got lucky. Six Native Americans, three soldiers, seven Bloodguard and ten from the volunteer squads. Max, the volunteers are just too badly trained. The Natives, too for that matter. And they make up the bulk of the wounded. This was just a small outpost. And we had the element of surprise."

"I'll have to rethink their usefulness to us in a full scale battle," Max acknowledged. "What about theirs?"

"Nikolas actually only lost nearly a hundred," Michael's eyes widened. "Near as we can tell. All that firepower, and surprisingly few people died."

"Altogether?" Max raised an eyebrow.

"No," Michael shook his head. "I was only counting the aliens. He lost close to six hundred Capos. It seems they were used to rush our defensive positions when they thought we were merely humans. They were decimated by the mortars. We've also taken nearly four hundred of them prisoner. Oh, and we've, uh, rescued close to three thousand civilians. Workers... I mean, slaves, mostly. All of the Capos had a woman here, too."

Remembering the condition of Pam, and Sean's treatment of her, Max could not help shuddering. He wondered if he might be considered cruel if he gave the Capo's their freedom. In the middle of the arid desert.

"Plus, we have close to six thousand Skin Prisoners of war. Max? What are we going to do with all these people?"

"We've given Nikolas the equivalent of a black eye, today," Max considered. "I don't want anything left here for him to find. Nothing to tell him what happened here today. I want this to become his own Mary Celeste. We'll take the Capos to the US Authorities to stand trial. The civilians, we'll get to safety and hospital. As for the Skins... For now, we'll take them to Shiprock. Take as much of that fencing as you can and we can use it to fashion some POW cages. We have some transport now. Let's start getting everyone out of here and head for home."

"Take a ship, Max," Michael grinned. "Go let the girls know we're both okay."

Max nodded with a huge grin. A grin that fell from his face while his face drained of all color.

"Max!" Liz's panicked voice echoed in his mind. "Help me, Max!"

* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Red Shift Part 3 Chapter 26

Post by WR » Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:30 pm

Hi everyone,

I apologise for missing last week's post, but circumstances conspired against me and I am only just now able to post the next chapter.

I hope it was worth the wait. :)

Timelord31 - I expect all hell as broken loose :wink:

roswell3053 - You can bet that Max will do whatever he can to get to Liz. As for Michael, no. He was doing what any good battlefield commander would do. He reacted to the changing situation. Exactly what Max did. And that patrol would still have come anyway.

eric1978 - Or is it something more? Maybe Nikolas found them!

ladylou - exactly! Michael was being a good battlefield commander. He saw an opportunity to inflict an even heavier defeat upon Nikolas. So great was their surprise that the almost invited Michael to overrun them.

Emz80m - Max's "Liz"dar can sure come in handy.

roswellluver - lol - hey, it wouldn;t be my story without a cliffhanger or three :wink:

raemac - nope. never could, never will. :twisted:

mareli - Well, it won;t take a rocket scientist to work that one out :wink:

VeronicB - well, they were watching for an opportunity. And this one seemed too gold plated. And Jeff knew that something was up. Liz worried sick and no sign of Max??

Jull_ana - lol - yes, you did say that. And no one did get rid of them. :wink:

Ellie - Sure doesn't.

cocogurl - Maybe he's too late?

omwf - or maybe it's worse than that! :wink:

Roswelllostcause - Mad Max, too! lol! Welcome to the thunderdome! :D

Rai - lol - leaving peeps hanging is what I'm best at :wink:

smokie - lol - hey, what do you mean, reverted?? Wasn't that battle scene my usual self??

cwm & omwf - thank you for the bumps

Red Shift

Part 3

Chapter 26

The knocking at the door was loud and insistent. In spite of the room's occupant's wishes, the intrusion would not go away. It merely became more urgent. The red luminous numbers on the clock showed that it was already past ten A.M.

"What is it?" Nikolas rolled from next to his lover and bellowed with an angry voice that suggested 'it' had better be good.

Tess released a heavy groan and rolled over. As she did so, the door opened. A soldier, expecting the worst, eased into the room with a look of deep apology. Nikolas was noted for frequently shooting the messenger.

"Sir," he swallowed hard. "The uh, our base at Los Alamos? It's, uh, gone, sir."

Nikolas struggled to an upright position, pulling the blankets off of Tess's torso, who simply pulled them back with a snort of disgust.

"Gone?" he blinked. "What do you mean, gone?"

"Just that, sir," his heart was pounding with apprehension. "Disappeared. Every one of them. All of them. The ships and the transports, too. Men, Capo's, slaves... all gone, sir."

"Gone where?" Nikolas narrowed his eyes. "What are you talking about?"

"A routine patrol from Albuquerque never made it home this morning. The commander from Albuquerque put in a call to Los Alamnos to see if they had made their stop during the night, but got no response. So he sent another patrol. Sir, they arrived at Los Alamos fifteen minutes ago to find it totally deserted. The outer walls have been breached and there are signs of a battle. The only dead we found were the bodies of Capos. Which makes sense considering the, uh... nature of our HUSK's."

"Who did this?" Nikolas yelled. "And why did the commander not call for help? Why did he not inform us as to what was going on?"

"The beacon was destroyed, sir," the soldier shook his head. "Whether it was done before or after... I would think that the silence was due to the former."

Tess, alert now, was sitting up.

"Did Zan do this?" she demanded.

"Of course he did," Nikolas spat. "Who else could have taken on one of my bases?"

"But how?" Tess shook her head. "How could the three of them take on a base with, what? Six thousand of your troops, and one thousand Capos? And how did three people move... how many vehicles were there?"

"Uh, fifty transports and twenty ships."

"You know that you can only pilot our vehicles if you can control them with your mind," Tess reminded them. "Apart from our own forces, there are only three other people on this planet that I'm aware of, four if you count the missing protector, who can do that."

"So what are you suggesting?" Nikolas looked at her.

"I told you I met resistance that night. When I was chasing down Zan. I told you there were others like us on the planet. And then there were those ones who were protecting Chaco." She looked at the messenger again. "Did you find any other bodies at all?"

"Just Capo's," he shook his head. "But if these others also had HUSK's..."

"Put up scout ships," Nikolas barked. "Comb the North East sector. There has to be a trail somewhere. And better send some more scouts to Chaco. I want the area searched thoroughly."

Nikolas climbed from his bed as the messenger, glad he was still alive, ran like the wind to relay the orders. The older man in an adolescent's body stared at a large map of New Antar.

"Where are you?" he muttered to himself.

"More importantly," Tess joined him. "How did he manage to wipe out an entire base like that and just vanish?"

* * *

Under any other circumstances, this would have been the most exhilarating experience of Max's lives. Racing at breakneck speeds, barely a few meters above the surface of the desert floor in an Antarian ship, powered by only his mind, was straight out of any science fiction film he had ever seen. And it was for real.

However, he had no time to dwell upon any of this. He was concerned only with getting to Liz as fast as possible. While one half of his mind was focusing on keeping the ship moving forward, and maintaining a safe height, the other half was constantly calling out to his soul mate.

"Liz! Liz! Please answer me, Liz!"

Not once had he stopped to consider the implications of Liz's message. Other than the fact that she had called for help. Liz had spoken to him telepathically. Only the other day, she had been bemoaning the fact that she could not do that, and yet, something had frightened her enough to enable her to do so.

It was easy to demand a ship, easier still to learn how to use it. Where Liz's safety was concerned, Max was a fast learner. While it was true, the first ten minutes had proved a little unstable, he soon got the hang of the instructions he had been given and was now flying like he had been born to it.

His unique long range radar easily warned him of any obstacles that were in his path, as well as the appearance of any enemy ships. As angry as he was, he was tempted to engage these ships and blast them from the air, venting his frustration on them, but that might slow him down. Instead, he used that same long range radar to find a different route around the trouble and kept to his flight path. It only took him forty five minutes to reach Shiprock.

From the panic he had felt in her voice, Max had expected to find Shiprock overrun with Nikolas's forces. He expected to have arrived right in the middle of a full scale attack. Instead, everything looked normal. A small squad of Bloodguard immediately surrounded what they had considered an enemy ship landing in the middle of their forces but snapped to attention when they saw the pilot emerging.

"Where's Liz?" he barked, before he had even reached the ground.

The soldiers looks at each other in bewilderment.

"Uh, sire?" the sergeant blinked. "As far as we are aware, Miss Parker would be with her parents in their quarters."

Max stopped and allowed his connection with Liz to tell him which direction she was. The feeling of her presence did come from the direction of Shiprock, but it felt off. Like she was further away. Was it the rock that was making it feel like that?

"Come with me," Max started to run toward the door. "And someone get that thing under cover."

* * *

"Where's Liz?" he demanded of his father as he burst into their chamber.

Philip's eyes widened when he saw the panicked look on his son's face.

"Max, what's wrong?"

Diane emerged from the bedroom to join her husband.

"Isn't she with her parents?" she asked.

"I went there first," he started pacing. "She called to me. She called for help. I came straight here and now I can't find her."

He turned and left the chamber with his parents hot on his heels.

"Where are you going?" Philip called after him.

"To find her," he shouted back over his shoulder. "I'm following her."

He met Anders and Raul along the way. Kyle and Isabel soon joined them, along with Jim, Amy and Maria. Catt, too was tagging along. Not one of them had seen Liz. Everyone was asking anyone they could find if they had seen Liz while Max followed his sense of her.

"You are looking for your Queen?" Riverdog appeared in front of him.

Standing with Riverdog was another Native American, who was covered in dust. He had been speaking with Riverdog as they approached.

"Yes," Max snapped. "Have you seen her?"

"I know where she is," he nodded. "She is with her parents and some soldiers. The one you call Madly leads them. They are currently five miles west of here, trapped in a small canyon where they tried to hide from one of our patrols."

"Is she all right?" Max urged. Why would she call for help if she was with her parents? Madly wouldn't do anything stupid with them around. Would he? Wait, wait. "What are they doing five miles west of Shiprock?"

"It sound to me like they were making for the border, Max," Jim told him. "It sounds to me like Jeff snapped and is taking Liz to safety."

"But... but she's safe with me." He turned to face his father. "Isn't she?"

"Not from Jeff's point of view, I guess," Philips shook his head. "But what I don't understand is why Liz would allow them to take her away. I mean, this is the girl who followed you across America to catch up to you. The same girl who was up all last night worried sick about you. Doesn't sound to me like she would suddenly change her mind."

"Perhaps the fact that she has been rendered unconscious would explain that," Riverdog sighed. "She is definitely not there of her own free will."

"How far, did you say?" Max demanded.

"Five miles," Riverdog pointed to the west.

"Someone get me a horse!" Max called out.

"A horse!" Kyle echoed, trying to relieve the tension a little. "His kingdom for a horse!"

"Shut up, Kyle," a dozen people snapped.

* * *

Max found the patrol quickly enough. They were made up of a dozen Native Americans, and a half dozen Bloodguard. It had been Max's idea to have the Bloodguard learn the ways of the Natives. Cross training was always a good thing. The patrol had mounted a discreet picket around the mouth of a canyon.

"Sire," one of the Bloodguard saluted.

"Report," Max barked, swinging down from his horse.

Behind him, he could hear the others riding hard to catch up to him.

"The one called Madly, along with a dozen others, have Mr. And Mrs. Parker and Elizabeth with them. They are some fifty yards back, around an elbow in the terrain, behind some boulders, in the shade of some trees. One of the Braves has suggested that this is a Mexican Standoff. However, I have had no experience of this maneuver, sire, and so cannot provide you with sufficient tactical details to effect a counter maneuver."

"Right now," Max stared into the canyon. "I think I'll just go and talk to them.

"I'm coming with you," Philip announced. "Perhaps I can talk some sense into Jeff."

"Me too," Jim added.

"Me three," Maria announced.

"No, Maria," Max shook his head. "If Madly starts shooting, I want you back here where it's safe."

"That's my best friend in there, Mister, and if you..."

"I just left 'MY' best friend back at Los Alamos to finish up our operation there, Maria!" Max barked. "And if you think I'm repaying his loyalty by letting you put yourself in danger, you thought wrong. Now stay here. That's an order."

"Max," Maria put her hands on her hips and tried to stare Max down. "I know that you can protect me just as well as you can Jim and your Dad. And if it makes you feel better, I'll stand right behind you. No place safer than that, right? But I know Jeff Parker better than the three of you put together. And I really think you might need that."

Max stared at her for a few moments before he finally nodded.

"Okay," he agreed. "But you stand anywhere but right behind me and I'm making you go back."

"Deal," Maria nodded.

"Do you really think he might start shooting?" Philip sounded worried.

"He might," Max nodded. "But don't worry. He won't hit us."

"How can you be so sure?" his father frowned. "I mean, he's been trained, Max."

"He only gets to hit me with paint balls," Max gave a wry smile.

He found the boulders, almost right away. He could see the soldiers taking defensive positions behind them. There was even a sniper, very well hidden at the back. Max could feel the red dot on his forehead. He made a quick check to make sure Maria was still pressed up behind him and both his father and Jim were close.

"Jeff?" Max stopped about fifteen yards away from the boulders. "What's going on? What have you done to Liz?"

"She couldn't come quietly," Jeff called back. "We had to use chloroform on her. She's okay, don't worry."

"You did what?" Jim snapped. "Jeff, do you know..."

Max reached across and placed his hand on Jim's arm.

"Will you let me check her over, Jeff?" he called back. "Make sure she's okay?"

"I don't want your filthy hands on her ever again!" Jeff replied. "We're taking our daughter away, Max. We're taking her to safety, where you can't control her anymore. And you can't stop us."

"The fact that you used chloroform suggests that Liz didn't want to go," Max shook his head. "This is not what she wants."

"It doesn't matter what she wants!" Jeff yelled through gritted teeth. "She doesn't even know what she wants. We are her parents. And how do we know that you're not controlling her? Telling her what she wants?"

"What?" Max sounded surprised.

"Max," Maria spoke from right behind him. "Let me say something."

"Sure," Max nodded.

"Mr. Parker?" Maria called out. "Mrs. Parker? Why are you doing this?"

"Because we want our daughter back, Maria. We want to get her away from that 'alien'."

"That 'alien' is Max," Maria pointed out. "Max, who Liz has fallen in love with in two lifetimes. The Max whom Liz is totally in love with and who is alive today because he's totally in love with her."

"So we keep hearing, Maria," Nancy responded. "How do we know that she would have died? Because he told us? Maybe the..."

"Can you even hear yourself?" Maria groaned. "Have you not been listening to Liz when she tells you that she totally loves him? Whether he really saved her life or not, Liz is in love with him. And you have drugged her, and probably bound and gagged her like she's some kind of criminal? Max never treated her like that."

Richard Madly stepped up to Jeff's side and whispered something. Jeff looked across the gap and nodded.

"Go away, Maria," he sighed. "You're being controlled, too. So what you are saying has no meaning. I only wish I could have taken you to safety, too."

"Jeff," Maria tried one last time. "Max won't let you take her anywhere. She means too much to him."

"He can't stop us," Jeff laughed. "Legally, she's still a minor and as such, she is under parental control."

"Oh, god," Philip shook his head. He looked at Max. "I really hope Liz forgives me for what I'm about to do. And I hope that one day, Jeff and Nancy will, too."

"What are you about to do?" Max's face took on a look of near panic.

"He wants to talk legal?" Philip gave a wry grin. "That's my field, I think." He looked back at Jeff. "Jeffery Parker," Philip called. "Okay, you win. We'll let you take Liz there to safety."

"Dad!" Max's disappointment was plain to see.

"Thank you, Philip," Jeff nodded, the relief on his face a stark contrast to Max's rising anxiety.

"Of course," Philip continued. "I'll make sure that warrants for the arrest of you and Nancy get issued. And once you cross the state line, well, it becomes federal, then. You will all be arrested by the Federal authorities and stand trial. You'll both be going to prison for a long time."

"What are you talking about, Philip?" Jeff snarled.

"If you want to argue the Law with us, Jeff, it would do well to remember that Max has a lawyer in the family. Now, will you let us come and get Liz, or shall I tell you what will happen to you if you don't?"

"I think you're going to have to tell me, Philip," Jeff was almost laughing. "Because short of the chloroform thing, which you would find hard time proving we actually used any, I fail to see in what way I might have broken any law."

"Jeff," Philip sighed. "Your daughter, Elizabeth Parker, died on September18th, 2006. She was twenty two years old. We were there for her funeral, Jeff. We were there when she died in that car crash. The girl you have abducted is Julia Cartier, born in Miami, 1990. She has a birth certificate to prove it. Her parents are currently residents of Siesta Key, in Florida, and she has been given their permission to join in the struggle against the alien invaders, which she is doing from Max's side. Legally, she is the ward of the senior military commander in this district, which is neither you, nor Madly. The person you have abducted, Jeff, is not your daughter. You are not her parents and you are not her guardians. Now, if you do not release her, then you will be charged with the abduction of a minor and eventually, taking her across the state line against her wishes. Jeff, do you really want me to tell you how long you can go to jail for this? Not to mention that the crime will be considered... sexual?"

They could see Jeff and Nancy talking together. Richard Madly joined them, waving his fingers and pointing in their direction.

"What?" they heard him cry out. "You can't."

"We're coming out, Philip," Jeff's voice was heavy with defeat. "We're bringing Liz."

"No, they're not," Richard Madly intervened.

He pushed Jeff Parker out of the way and pulled out a pistol. He pointed it at Jeff Parker's leg and fired; one bullet into his upper thigh.

"Jeff!" Nancy cried, dropping to her husband's side.

Max started to move toward them but Philip grabbed his arm.

"They have us outgunned, Max," he warned.

"Out gunned?" Max turned to his father with a look of credulity. "Dad, last night, two thousand Bloodguard took over six thousand prisoners. Almost all of them aliens. I have here five Bloodguard and myself."

"And me," Michael announced his presence as he rounded the bend. "Sorry I'm late, traffic was hell."

"Michael," Max nodded, relieved that he would have his friend at his side.

"Hey, Spaceboy," Maria grinned and flew to his arms.

"Barynt's bringing them all back," Michael shrugged at Max's unasked question. "Aren't those ships just the best things to play with? Man, I felt like Will Smith. I have got to get me one of those. So, what's the score?"

"Evans!" Richard Madly called out, interrupting the reunion. "You're going to pull your men back and let us go. Otherwise, the Parker's here might not live much longer."

"You're not going anywhere, Madly." Max shook his head. "Not with Liz. And if you do anything to her parents, then I think you might be surprised at just how capable she is of exacting revenge."

"But you forget, they're not her parents," he laughed. "And when she comes to, I'll just tell her you killed them."

"Then you 'really' don't know Liz," Maria laughed. "You really don't know what you are up against, you asshole."

"You might as well give up now, Madly. Because even if I let you go, like my Dad said. You'll be guilty of the abduction of a minor."

"Except I have permission from her father."

"But you don't have her permission," Philip replied. "She will attest in any court of law that she did not want to go with you. And that is the legal definition of abduction. Taking away illegally by force, or deception. You are taking Liz by force. That's enough."

A couple of Madly's followers approached him. They started talking in earnest. A few more joined in, all of them adding in their own opinion. Max's mind started to spin. He had to find a way through this. He had to resolve this, quickly, before Jeff Parker bled to death. As much as Liz would be angry with her 'parents', she would not want them to pay for their misdeeds with their lives.

"Tell you what I'll do, Madly," Max finally announced. "You think you are the military genius? A brilliant tactician?"

"Damn straight!" came his response.

"Okay, then. I'll challenge you."

"Maxwell..." Michael started, only to be silenced my Max's raised hand.

"A game of capture the flag, just like back in Sarasota. You capture my flag, you, your friends and Liz will be free to go. We will not press charges. Of course, you'll have to deal with Liz yourself. But if I capture your flag, if I capture Liz... Then you guys have to surrender."

"You want to take me on?" he sounded amazed. "Using real bullets?"

"Would you prefer paint guns?"

"No aliens!"

"Just me, my second, Michael, and three human soldiers."

"Against the thirteen of us?" Madly started to laugh. "It's your funeral. Okay. I accept."

"I hope you know what you're doing, Maxwell," Michael stared hard at him. "Thirteen of them against five of us?"

"Trust me," Max grinned. "There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard."

Everyone asked the same question at once.


* * *
Last edited by WR on Fri May 04, 2007 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.