Discipline Malfunction (M/L Mature) [COMPLETE]

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Post by greywolf » Tue May 08, 2007 4:07 pm

"See-no technology....?" asked Jeff Parker.

"That's Xeno-technology...with an 'x'," said Jim Hawthorne. He noted the puzzlement on the faces of the Parkers...and the quick look of apprehension that went between Diane and Phillip. Apparently Max's sister had finally told her parents after all. Even so, he didn't want to be the one to break the news to the Parkers that their new son-in-law wasn't from around here...he wasn't sure they were handling the news that they had a new son-in-law all that well, without extraterrestrial complications. He looked at Laurie and saw her smiling back. The trick, they both knew, would be to reassure Max's folks without alarming Liz's folks....all the while not lying to anyone...exactly.

Laurie chimed in, trying to help. "You see, we are engaged in studying the wreckage of the spaceship that crashed here in 1947....trying to discover...or to reverse engineer the technologies of that craft. We are only the latest in a series of researchers that have been doing this for the last half century....but at last we are making real progress."

"So how does this involve our children?" asked an obviously apprehensive Diane who suddenly had Philip's hand in a death-grip. The fact that these people were from Area 51 had frightened her badly...only their talk about Max and Liz being a part of their upcoming wedding party...their obvious love of one another, and the way they smiled when they talked about either Max or Liz...only those things were keeping her from being totally freaked, ...from envisioning her son and daughter in some cold sterile room somewhere being vivisected.

"It appears your son, Mrs Evans.., has had a lifelong interest in xenotechnology and xenobiology....your daughter-in-law," he was trying hard not to chuckle...,"..a more recent interest in xenobiology...albeit an intense one." He managed to get the grin off his face only because Laurie had surreptitiously kicked his shin under the table.

"As a matter of fact," Laurie continued, "the night this all started...well, the reason they were out all that night was that they discovered a part of the spaceship that had been...well, lost, I guess would be the best word for it...prior to moving the spacecraft to Nevada. They found it out by the old radio tower and recognized that it was clearly an alien artifact..and since it was such an important find...well, I can understand them getting carried away discussing it, and with the myths that have always gone along with the Roswell saucer...well, I think they needed some time to decide what to do with it. When you started talking about separating them....well, I think they might have just flipped out a little there...not that they don't really care for one another...they certainly do...but I think they wanted to decide what to do with that artifact together before anything else...in any event, they originally hid it in Arizona but now that they realize that the Air Force doesn't really don't have any malicious purpose in doing research on the spacecraft, well they've not only retrieved the missing part, but actually decided to work with us on our mission."

Philip looked suspiciously at both Air Force Officers. "I guess I don't understand why your program would need to be secret..or what contribution two sixteen year old kids could make to it," he said, still holding Diane's hand.

"Those are fair questions, Mr. Evans," said Jim. This program has always been somewhat controversial, and the rationale for secrecy has been debated many times...most recently by the President and Congressional Leaders only a couple of days ago. The secrecy is for a number of reasons. The first really, is that there are a lot of people who just aren't ready to accept the existence of life on other planets. For some, this springs from their religious beliefs...we are still debating Adam and Eve versus evolution in this country...for others it springs from the same kind of xenophobia that gave us the Holocaust and ethnic cleansing. In fact, some people came to the ridiculous idea that your new daughter-in-law was...would you believe...an alien? These people went so far as to threaten Liz and Laurie here, before the Nye County Sheriff's department came to their aid...apparently they are real fond of Max and Liz...they saved one of their officers who was shot by some drug smugglers not too long ago...I think you would actually be amazed at the number of people in Nevada and elsewhere that think quite highly of your kids. And as for their capabilities...they are really quite amazing kids. Liz and Laurie recently collaborated with a Dr. Hip who worked with us and have prototyped some adaptations of alien technology that may revolutionize the field of molecular biology...produce cures for cancer...other things as yet undreamed of."

"But Max and Liz haven't even finished high school....what kind of careers could they have, without a proper education?" asked Nancy.

"Well, they have both been hired in sort of a work-study program. Both have been enrolled in something called the Community College of the Air Force for their basic requirements, then they'll progress to the Air Force Institute of Technology. I have been made an adjunct faculty member of the Harvard Graduate School of Molecular Biology, and I'll be proctoring Liz in getting an advanced degree, mostly through correspondence, but she'll eventually have to take a few classes in residence. For right now though, we have lab facilities that are at least the equal of those at Harvard...both of your kids are brilliant...in four or five years I'd imagine they will both have completed their PhDs."

"But...but...where would they live? How would they afford this?" asked Jeff.

"Well, the correspondence courses they could take over the internet...so they could certainly live part-time in a lot of places, if they wanted to visit. They have been hired as subcontractors...although we'll be bringing them on next fiscal year as Civil Service employees, once the authorizations are finalized. Currently Liz is the equivalent of a GS-12 and Max is a GS-14 equivalent...although we have had two recent...well vacancies...in our Senior Executive Service ranks. Once they have their degrees, those are the positions that I would envision them filling...until then, they'll have to scrape by on the GS-12 and 14 pay."

"How much is that?" asked Nancy.

Laurie looked at Jim and shrugged her shoulders. "I'm not just too sure," he said, ".....a heck of a lot more than we make, I'd imagine.."

Philip's training as a lawyer had convinced him that when a situation looked to good to be true...well, it wasn't. "So our kids are free to come and go from your facility as they please?" He felt his wife's hand start to grip his more tightly as Jim started to explain...then seemed to relax as he continued. "Well, right now they have a guard with them...a bodyguard for Liz, actually, because of the ...uh...threat.against Liz. It doesn't really appear like a guard would be needed for Max....and probably not for Liz either very much longer. In fact, we hope to have the three men involved back in custody shortly."

"Back in custody?" asked Philip

"Well, it seems like a judge was misinformed and granted them bail...but that's been reversed. The US Marshal's Service is looking for them quite aggressively, and in the meantime Sandman.....that is, Mr. Stevens, will hang out around Liz until we round up those three loco guys. I don't think I can put this strongly enough, Mr Evans...nobody in the military...or in the federal government, is mad or upset with either of your kids. We owe both of them quite a lot, actually. There was a...well...a mishap...an employee who has since been...terminated, anyway he inadvertently used an orb...the twin of the device that Max and Liz found, and it activated...well, I guess you'd consider it like a scuttling charge on submarines, a fail-safe device by the aliens to protect their homeworld from having their culture destroyed by people THEY would regard as evil aliens...anyway, because Liz had seen the similar device and recognized what it was...because she'd...well, collaborated with Max on some xenobiology would be the best way of putting it," Jim said, drawing another swift kick to the shin under the table from Laurie, who was trying hard to keep a straight face, "..she was able to activate the device herself and shut it down. This is not to leave this room, but that was the 'earthquake' we had in Nevada not too long ago. Had it not been for Liz...well, we wouldn't now have a base...Laurie and I wouldn't be alive...it would have had repercussions even here in Roswell, actually." Someday after the kids had filled them in, he'd be glad to tell the Parkers that their daughter had saved the world, but they seemed to be just holding it together themselves right now.

"So this is what....gratitude for what Max and Liz did...is that it?" asked Philip asked.

"Mr. Evans," said Laurie, "I can assure you..those kids are earning every dime they are getting. The advances we have made in the program in the short time since they've been there...not just Max, but Liz too...let me tell you, this isn't about gratitude, although both the Air Force and the Nye county Sheriff's office are grateful to those two, but it's about the contributions they both are making to the program. In theory I'm proctoring Liz, but the reality is that I'm learning from her as well.."

"...and I'm learning from Max, too," said Jim. "We are making great strides not just in spacecraft design, but in power systems, computers...artificial intelligence. It's not just that Max and Liz saved our bacon, but as our commander said, we are finally getting value out of the half-century investment we've made in this program. And that's not just our opinion at Area 51...as I said, the President and the Congressional leadership have been briefed about this, and fully support Max and Liz being in our program. They aren't some kind of mascots...they are respected members of our team."

Diane Evans wanted to believe so badly what the young Air Force officers were saying....Max had always been such a loner, and she'd always wished he could feel more accepted. Well, Liz certainly accepted hm, and if these two could be believed...well the Air Force did too. They had to know about his being 'not of this Earth'... probably Isabel and Michael as well. But she really needed to hear from her son's own lips that this was true.

"So when do we get to see the kids?" she asked.

Laurie and Jim seemed to look back and forth at each other..finally Laurie spoke. "Well, I guess I have to ask you four a question then....what do you plan on doing about their marriage?"

"What do you mean," asked Jeff Parker.

"Mr. Parker," Laurie said, "I really like Liz, Max too. They are good kids...but...well, they aren't really kids anymore. Maybe four weeks ago...if nothing had happened...maybe then they might have just been teenagers having a normal romance...waited until graduation or college to get married. But what happened happened...there's no turning it back. Liz told me that marrying Max was the smartest thing she'd ever done in her life...and she'd never even planned it. Max...well, he just idolizes her. They love and miss all of you...want to see you...but they aren't going to give each other up to do it. If you four are going to try to annul their marriage...well I can tell you right now, Liz has already said that she'll hide out in Area 51 until she's eighteeen. So the decision is really kind of up to you folks. If you accept their being married...well, they can be here tomorrow. Otherwise, well it's going to be quite awhile..almost eighteen months."

"We had already decided...at least Jeff and I, that we couldn't really break them up, Lieutenant Del Gado. While we certainly have our doubts that it can work out...while we still think they are too young, well..if we were the ones that tried to break them up, they'd never forgive us, whatever happened. We had already kind of decided that we had to give them a chance to make it work out...at least if we do that, they can't blame whatever happens on us. We just figured to help them out...with an apartment..medical insurance...their education, you know."

Laurie had to smile at that. 'Whatever happens?' Almost certainly a happy ever after,she figured. Nothing was separating those two.

"Well, they have more than adequate economic resources to make it work out," said Jim, "..as well as medical benefits. I imagine they'd like an apartment here for when they visit, but they will probably be spending most of their time at the site or in college classes. But I have to give you my opinion...I don't think anything could separate those two. I think you are making a wise decision, not trying to interfere. I know both of them miss you...miss Roswell, ...miss their other friends. I think everyone will be happier when you can all sit down and just talk this out. So...how about we bring them here tomorrow?"

Diane Evans started to tear up...remembering Liz's note to them. 'It would give me great joy if someday I were to hear you introduce me to your friends, saying ‘this is Liz…our other daughter.’

"I think it would be good if we had a little reception for the...newlyweds...just the family and a few close friends, maybe off at a park somewhere.."
Nancy Parker was tearing up too, remembering her son-in-laws comments, 'All I can do is promise both of you that, as long as we live, I will take care of her and cherish her and provide for her.

I hope someday you can come to accept me, but no matter what I will always love and honor you for creating Liz and raising her to be the kind and loving woman that she is,'

"Diane, I think that would be great. We still have time to set that up..I'd like to help you. I'm looking forward to knowing my...son-in-law..a little better."
All four parents smiled. After almost a month, the kids were coming home......
Last edited by greywolf on Wed May 09, 2007 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by greywolf » Thu May 17, 2007 2:24 pm

7:00 PM The DeLuca Residence, Roswell New Mexico

It had never really been formalized as a date, but sort of happened by unspoken agreement. Having a very adult romance while trying to not give similar ideas to two teenagers was always a challenge for single parents, and it was no different for Amy and Jim. But with Maria going to a sleepover with Isabel Evans and that new girl...Tess, something or other, and Kyle going to a team building overnight sleepover followed by a pancake breakfast for the West Roswell Basketball team, it was one of those rare nights when the stars were in alignment and the two single parents could do more than steal an hour or two away together in some motel room, fearful of getting caught by one or the other kid if they tried anything more involved. Jim really hadn't said anything, and neither had she, but Amy had packed an overnight bag as soon as Maria had left the house, and was fairly certain that Jim would be showing up at their usual meeting time...7 PM. He didn't disappoint her.

"So where do you want to go this time?" she asked coyly.

"Well, the ultimate destination is the bed and breakfast out on West Pine Road, but we need to make an intermediate stop along the way."

She saw the four police cars parked beside the small chapel, and wondered what could possibly have happened there. Roswell was a small town, and fifteen years ago everyone left the keys in their cars and rarely locked their doors whether they were home or not, but things were changing she knew. As they entered she recognized the four policemen, friends of hers and Jims. She was surprised to see their wives there, she knew them through Jim and through her work, they often would get together an socialize.

"Is this the bride?" asked the smiling minister.

"I certainly hope so," said Jim Valenti. "Of course, that depends on what she says when you ask her to take the vows..."

8:15 PM Piney Ridge Bed and Breakfast

"Why, Jim?"

"What do you mean, why? We had talked about doing it... you'd accepted the proposal."

"Well, why now, I guess the question is."

"Well, to tell you the truth, Mrs. Valenti..., I felt a little embarassed that Max Evans married the girl he loved immediately after they'd spent the night together...even though nothing had happened, and we've now been going together for...well, too long. We wanted a quiet little ceremony, and I know...it would have been nice to have the kids there..."

"Maybe not, Jim. Maria believes that anyone over thirty is an old fogey, and the thought of old fogeys being romantic...that is, having sex, just makes her roll her eyes. I imagine my new son feels about the same way. This way we don't have to argue with them, it's just a fait accompli. Kyle has a new mom, Maria has a new dad, as simple as that."

"So what does Mrs. Valenti think about old fogey's having sex?"

"Well, let's give it a fair sampling....and I'll have more information to form an opinion. Ask me again in the morning..."

9:59 PM The Crashdown, Roswell New Mexico.

It was almost closing time at the Crashdown, and there were only five customers, four of them waiting for Michael and Maria to finish closing. Kyle had done the team-building exercise and needed to get back to the gym for the sleepover at 11PM, but in the meantime he'd taken Tess to the Crashdown for a milkshake. Tess had had a bad day, what with hearing about the death of her uncle. Apparently she was going to be OK economically, but since she was not yet legal age, there'd be a trustee appointed to take care of her and to supervise the estate for a couple of years, probably Diane Evans.

Tess had become good friends with Isabel, and she and Maria were going to have a sleepover at the Evans' house. Tess had been talking about that all afternoon, the first time she'd looked anything but unhappy since she'd gotten the news about the death of her uncle in the explosion. Kyle wasn't quite sure why she wanted to meet Liz so bad, but she'd wangled an invite for the two of them to the reception tomorrow afternoon and asked him to come along.

Alex and Isabel were sitting there making goo-goo eyes at each other, looking like they were having a hard time keeping their hands off each other. Kyle looked at Tess, wanting desperately to have a relationship like that with her, not really sure what was holding her back. She seemed to want him as badly as he wanted her, but it was like she had some deep dark secret that she was afraid would turn him off. Of course, that was silly. It wasn't just that she was awesome to look at, and a lot of fun to be with, but she was caring and obviously was trying hard to learn about the sports he played and other things he was interested in. He envied Michael and Alex...envied Max even more. Yeah, you could toss Kyle Valenti in that briar patch in a heartbeat...at least if Tess would ever get over her skitishness about whatever she was afraid of.

When the closing time came, Michael had already cleaned the grill, and he quickly turned the sign on the door around to 'closed,' as he got ready to help Maria with the rest of the cleanup. Maria had just finished wiping the front tables when the takeout order phone rang, and she picked it up without breaking stride.

"This is the Crashdown takeout line. We're sorry, ..the Crashdown has closed for the night. It will reopen at 7AM. This...is a recording."

As she was putting the receiver down she heard the voice.

"Ria? Is that you?"

Maria quickly put the phone back up to her ear.

"Liz! Omigawd, Liz...it's great to hear your voice. It's been so long."

"It sure has. Max and I are really looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow. How has everyone been doing?"

"Well, Alex is engaged...."

"ENGAGED?? Alex??? To who?"

"Would you believe...your sister-in-law?"

"Isabel? No way..."

"Yes, way...and guess what. I'm wearing an engagement ring too.."

"You too? But.....who?"


"Michael Guerin? You...and Michael Guerin?"

"Yeah, well, he's a diamond in the rough and...."

"Well you watch how much you are polishing him..."

"Like you should talk..."

"Hey, I'm an old married lady,...I'm entitled. But congratulations to everyone involved. I need all the details tomorrow when we get home. Uh Ria...are my folks really handling this OK? I mean, I know what Jim and Laurie said but...you really think they are going to be OK with Max and me being married."

"Well, there's a little apprehension and some doubt that it'll last, but it sound like they are going to be so glad to get you two back, they are willing to give it a try. More than that, they rented the clubhouse out at the Desert Springs tennis club to give you a little reception...just close friends and family. We'll all be together at 2 PM for a little celebration, the Evans' welcoming you to their family, and your folks welcoming Max to theirs. They sound like they are trying hard to make it work."

"That's so cool...but they needn't worry, Max and I ...well, we're in this for life."

"OH...Kyle's going to be there too, and his girl friend Tess. She's really looking forward to seeing you. She's living with the Evans' for now, just lost her only relative..her uncle. You might want to not mention her parents or relatives right now. She's sure looking forward to meeting you though, you're almost all she talks about."

"Well, I've got to go...one more telephone call to make. See you tomorrow afternoon, Ria."

"That's going to be so great, Liz. See you then..."

As the customer who had been sitting in the corner paid his check, he was glad he'd chosen the seat nearest the phone. It wasn't that Maria had exactly whispered about what the plans were for the next day, but still, his hearing wasn't that great. Both eardrums were broken.

2215 Pacific Standard time, Visiting Officer's Quarters, Travis Air Force Base California.

She was doing fairly well for someone out on pass from a cancer ward. Sandi had beaten her husband two out of three tennis matches. The Slammer had evidently not been playing much...or he was letting her win.

She had come back to the room while he ran his usual two miles. The track went right by the medical center, and Sandi didn't think it would be wise for the staff to see her running by the cancer ward windows just yet. So she was back in the room when the telephone rang.


"Hello...Sandi? This is Liz...Liz Evans...I'm afraid the Ship kind of...well, took the initiative without really discussing it,...and we need to talk. It appears that....well, she used Laurie and me as a template for what human females ought to be like, and our fallopian tubes didn't have any fibrosis, so she decided yours shouldn't either..."

It was ten minutes later when Slammer returned hot and sweaty to the room, to find his wife on the phone, a big smile on her face. She held her hand over the phone for a second whle she told him, "Uh...go ahead and start the shower....I'll be in in five minutes or so, as soon as I get off the phone. Maybe you can scrub a few areas that it's hard for me to reach." Slammer didn't have to be told twice...it was going to be a fun night.

As the door to the bathroom closed, a smiling Sandi turned back to the phone.

"Liz...I really couldn't be happier...this is great...wonderful... We've both always wanted...but never thought it could happen. And when you move every two or three years in the military, you never do get to the top of the list of people waiting to adopt....
By any chance can the nanorobots tell....is it a boy or a girl?"

11:00 PM A Special Unit Safe House 28 miles northeast of Roswell.

The three men studied the map on the table for long minutes. The dry creek bed led up to the patio of the country club clubhouse from the South. The early afternoon sun would be to their backs as they approached it, making it difficult for anyone to spot them before they were in position, perhaps not even then.

"Listen up," said Agent Anderson. "We are all that's left...just the three of us. If we don't stop them...stop them tomorrow, they win. They'll all be in one place...all at the same time. We need to hit them there, and hit them hard....everyone has to die...every single one of them, and we need to use overwhelming force. If they see us coming, they can take us out with their powers. We'll come in from the dry creek bed, and fire as soon as we can get good shots. We aren't messing around with guns, we are taking them out.....screw the collateral damage."

He put the AT-4s on the table.

"These are the antipersonnel variant. We should be able to come up here," he said, pointing to the slight rise just south of the patio area, "..which will put us only about three hundred feet from them. Just one round into the center of the patio area will destroy them all, but we'll each be firing, just to make sure. Doctor...you haven't been trained in these, and we can't have you fire one without drawing attention to us, so the two of us will train you tonight...have you simulate firing. If we are lucky, they'll never know what hit them, but even if they should get two of us, one will be enough."

Doctor Schreiber nodded grimly. He didn't know much about weapons..but he could learn. Tomorrow, he was sure, the alien threat would finally be eliminated. "Yes," he said, looking at the three AT-4s, "these will be our final solution to the alien threat. I'm looking forward to seeing that."
Last edited by greywolf on Thu May 17, 2007 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by greywolf » Wed May 23, 2007 10:15 pm

2225 Pacific Standard time, Visiting Officer's Quarters, Travis Air Force Base California.

The couple lay in a damp bed, snuggled against each other. They had gone from a shared shower to shared slippery passion...getting into bed without even the formality of toweling off, only to have the sweat and secretions of passionate sex add to the wetness of their bodies. In fact, the shower had done little for either of them but arrouse their passion. Now, as they lay in bed enjoying the afterglow of their lovemaking, it was a time for gentle talk and gentle caresses.

"Slammer, did you ever wish we had been able to have children?"

Slammer did, but he'd made his peace with it a decade ago, more than happy to have Sandi as his wife on any terms, and he'd rather do anything...even lie, than to make her feel that she had left his life unfulfilled in any way.

"Sandi....I'm just so glad I've got you...so happy that the two of us will have more tomorrows, the thought of children doesn't really matter to me. If you'd like, we could certainly try to adopt again. Maybe this time we'll get to the top of the list before we move."

"So you really don't have strong feelings about having children one way or another?"

"Sandi, as long as I have you I'll be hapy...happier than I deserve to be. Hell, sometimes it seems like my troops are my kids, and Lord knows they'll keep me busy enough.'

"Yeah, well those two of your 'troops' I met seemed like kids, are either of them seventeen yet?"

"Well, with Max that's a hard call, since his birthdate is kind of arbitrary, but Liz....? Not yet. But they are kind of different, those two. They have a maturity that goes well beyond their years."

"I noticed that...they really are very responsible...not just responsible for their ages, but really responsible. That was Liz on the phone calling about a little ...well, I certainly wouldn't call it a mistake that was made...kind of an oversight in the informed consent process."

"But you are going to be alright, aren't you?" Slammer asked with sudden alarm.

"Of course," Sandi said smiling, "I'm just going to be going through a few changes for awhile..but nothing pathological, it's all perfectly natural."

Slammer kissed her and slid his feet off the side of the bed, going to the small refrigerator and producing a champagne bottle. "I stopped by the Class Six store today to get this to toast your cure, and to celebrate what those two gave us. I'll never be able to repay them for this...not in my entire lifetime."

Sandi smiled and her eyes twinbkled as she shook her head. ""I'm sorry dear, but you'll have to finish the bottle yourself I'm afraid. Not being able to drink alcohol for awhile...well that's one of those changes I'm going to be going through."

"A side effect of the treatment?"

"Not exactly dear. A side effect of....well...you, not to put too fine a point on it."

"Me? What did I do?"

"Well, not just you...we, actually. According to the nanorobots...it's twins...both boys."




"Well of course babies,...were you expecting nanorobots?"

"Omigod....are you ok? Do we need to get you seen by an OB doctor? Should you be on vitamins or something? I mean...should we have done this?" he asked indicating the damp sheets.

"Of course we should have, silly..., that's how I got pregnant, Slammer, that and the Ship having the nanorobots clear the fibrosis out of my tubes. Liz and Laurie had let themselves be scanned as a template, neither of them had fibrosis so the Ship just automatically assumed that my fibrosis ought to be fixed and the nanorobots did it....it's OK with you, isn't it? I mean about me being pregnant. I sort of assured Liz that it was OK. Actually, I told her I was overjoyed,...and I am, Slammer, I really am. This isn't the sort of sideeffects you usually expect from cancer treatment though...I wish it was. The embryos are perfectly OK though, the nanorobots have analyzed them...and they are just fine. "

'Twins?' thought Slammer. "That's better than alright, Sandi, that's great.."

"Well, you are going to have to do the celebrating for both of us tonight, I'm off alcohol for at least another nine months."

"Well don't go away, I'll be right back. I'm going to go get you some sparkling grape juice. We'll still have that toast, to the future, to the Ship, and most especially to Max and Liz Evans."

It was fifteen minutes later that they toasted.....ten minutes later they were back in bed, celebrating their happiness in yet another way.....
Last edited by greywolf on Thu May 24, 2007 6:03 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by greywolf » Fri May 25, 2007 4:04 pm

11:35 PM The Parker Residence, Roswell New Mexico

At first Jeff thought she was just relieved that she’d see Liz tomorrow. The last month had not been a time for romance…both had been worried sick over their missing daughter until they had gotten the email, and even then they’d had long pillowtalks over how they needed to ‘handle’ the situation…eventually realizing they had few options to handle it at all. It had been an emotional month, but hardly one conducive to romance.

The first time he thought it was her happiness that she would soon see her daughter that led to her aggressiveness…but when it happened again only 25 minutes after their first union, the experience of twenty-one years of marriage made him recognize the pattern. Something was worrying Nancy, and she wanted him in the best mood possible before she discussed it with him. But he knew she wasn’t going to be hurried…and besides…he was enjoying the process.

Eventually they lay there side by side on the pillow, and he waited expectantly, knowing that whatever was bothering her would soon be the topic of their conversation. At last it came….

"Jeff, …about Max.”

“Yes, dear?”

“I know we were both upset with him…well, with both him and Liz,…but we need to give Max a chance.”

“We’ve already sort of talked about that I thought…we really don’t have much of a choice but to give him a chance. If we try to break them up, well…somehow it will end up being all our fault. If that happens we will lose her. Whatever doubts we may have…well, it seems the die is cast…and we need to make the best of it.”

“I’m still…worried …about you and Max.”

Jeff could sense there was something here that she wasn’t telling him…that she was assessing whether or not she could tell him, and he really didn’t understand why. In such cases, he had found, just telling the truth was generally the best policy.

“I’ve got to give Max credit,…although I wish this had never happened, Max did the…honorable….. thing, I guess you could say. And the two of them have made this work out far better than I would have ever imagined, responsible jobs…continuing their educations…they’ve obviously earned the respect of not just their coworkers, but the local law enforcement, the local people there in Tonopah. I guess what bothers me is just how quickly this all came up. They scarcely even dated before they ran off and got married.”

“But you heard what Isabel said…Max loved her since the third grade, and you read her diaries…she has wanted him since junior high, it really wasn’t all that sudden.”

“But it was, Nancy…whatever fantasies Max may have had, he never did anything to get close to Liz…or us…until recently. If he really cared for her all that much, you might have thought he’d overcome his shyness before now.”

He knew from how she reacted to that that this was what was troubling her…that somehow she knew the answer to that riddle, and that she was debating in her own mind whether or not to tell him. She looked almost desperate as she said….

“If I can explain that to you…will you give Max a chance?”

“I’d give the boy a chance anyway, Nancy. But if you know why….well…I’d like to know.”

Nancy stared at the ceiling as she started to talk…

“When she left…I couldn’t go in her room…I tried it twice and the sadness of thinking I’d lost her…it was just overwhelming. This afternoon after talking to those two Air Force officers….well, I was thinking they’ll need a place to stay tomorrow…that with that poor girl who lost her uncle…that Tess staying at the Evans…well, I wanted to ask you if we could have them stay here. I was cleaning Liz’s room, the window had been ajar and the four weeks and probably the last dust storm had let it all get pretty dusty in there. I stripped the sheets and was dusting the place down while they were in the wash, and I found this loose brick. I thought you could re-mortar it or something, so I got it out and I found another diary behind it…a journal Liz called it. I spent an hour reading it, and it sort of explained a lot..and maybe it should frighten me…but it doesn’t, I’m just not too sure how you’ll take it….how you’ll feel about Max….afterwards.”

“I don’t know what to tell you, Nancy. I’m not altogether sure how I feel about Max right now…I guess you’ll just have to trust me.”

Even in the darkness, he could see her head nod, as she started to speak.

“Max loved her..but he was afraid. I don’t think he was afraid of Liz, although he was afraid of just about everyone else. But even after she learned the truth…he tried to protect her…tried to keep a relationship from developing with her so nothing would happen to her….well, like eventually DID happen to her, with those men going after her thinking she was an alien. But she wouldn’t take no for an answer….once she knew he did love her…it was Liz that sort of forced the relationship, despite Max’s misgivings.”

“But why would Max think that people might mistake her for an alien? That doesn’t make sense.”

“What he was afraid of was that people who hated or feared aliens would be after him…and she’d somehow get caught in the crossfire, and apparently that’s sort of what happened.”

“Why should Max think alien hunters would be after him?” Jeff asked, but even as he said it a dozen things fell in place…his memories of the Evans children being found naked walking down a desert road…dozens of whispered conversations between Maria and Liz…the looks the Sheriff had given the two Air Force officers…a dozen things that were said …or were left unsaid, that all suddenly made sense…but only if Max were….but that wasn’t possible. But as he looked at Nancy’s face in the dim light of the bedroom, he knew the answer, even before the words left her mouth…

“Because Max IS an alien…or at least part alien….as is his sister….and Michael Guerin. They’ve been hiding for ten years, not telling anyone…not even Diane and Philip. That was why Max never acted on his feelings….never asked Liz out in junior high, when she really hoped he would…”

“But….but if that’s true…why the sudden change? Why did he start to date her?”

“I told you…Liz sort of pursued him…wouldn’t take no for an answer, ..once she knew.”

“He told her?”

“He didn’t have much choice. He had to tell her something….and apparently the truth was the best he could come up with on short notice.

You see, Jeff….our daughter really wasn’t destined to marry an alien…she was apparently destined to die in a stupid senseless shooting accident.

She did stop that bullet that the Sheriff never found…and it would have killed her, except Max couldn’t let it happen. Even a lifetime of fear, even his promises to his sister and Michael to never reveal the truth about them,…it wasn’t enough to allow him to let Liz bleed to death on the floor of the Crashdown.

So Liz found out…Maria found out…Alex found out….,I guess the whole epidemic of teenage engagements as well as Max and Liz’s marriage is all tied in to that one secret. Max laid everything he’d always valued on the line, put aside everything he’d feared all of his life, and he healed Liz. He dissolved the bullet and healed her wound, right there on the floor of the Crashdown. Those two crazy tourists…well, they were the only ones telling the truth.

Since then, well…Max did his best to keep away from Liz…to protect her from the alien abyss, as he calls it. But she wouldn’t hear of it. Then, after they ran off, well I guess that profiler was right. Max is the kid his parents raised him to be, just as Liz is the kid we raised her to be.”

“But…if he’s an alien…I mean… are they even compatible?”

“Well, from the sound of their emails and the twinkling in the eye of that young Lieutenant Delgado, Max and Liz are compatible enough….whether or not you and I will have grandchildren…God this is so bizarre….yesterday we would have been upset as anything if we thought Liz was pregnant…now we are hoping it will someday be possible for her to get pregnant. But what I’m worrying about is you…and Max.”

“He saved my daughter…and he loves her….and she loves him. Yeah, Nancy….I’ll give him a chance….I owe him that…and more. When we get them alone we’ll talk to them…tell them that we know…that we are alright with it. It explains a lot…although I’d still rather they would have waited.”

“I think Diane was right, Jeff. I think they would have waited…if we hadn’t over-reacted. But what’s done is done…I want my daughter back in my life…and my son-in-law as well.”

He hugged her close and ran his fingers through her hair, kissing her forehead. “Me too, dear, me too…..”

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Post by greywolf » Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:22 pm

0800 Roswell Municipal Airport

As the C-12 pulled to a stop on the tarmac at Roswell Municipal Airport, Max looked at Liz. "well, babe...it's show time. How do you think they are really going to act when we show up? I mean, even without them knowing about all the not-of-this-Earth business, ...do you think they will really accept that we are married...that it's forever?"

She squeezed his hand gently, then smiled. "Well Max, you spirited me off in your Jeep four weeks ago....I guess you could do it again if you had to.."

"Just listen to you two...," said Sandman. The Captain and the Lieutenant said they thought your folks were OK with it...besides, the old Sandman is here to look after you. If it doesn't work out we get back in the plane and you two disappear in Dreamland until you're both eighteen. We can make a fortune, having Max manufacture cammies in his spare time..." When he saw them both smile at that, Sandman got serious. "It'll work out, really...they love you, you love them...those things always work out."

The Sheriff had brought the two couples to the small conference room at the airport by van. He was still somewhat concerned about security. They hadn't yet found the three missing men, so here he was, the morning after his wedding night, determined that nothing bad was going to happen on his watch, he'd already devoted way too much time and effort to Max and Liz and their parents to let anything go wrong now. He went out to the tarmac to meet the aircraft and usher the two in to see their parents.

As the first person stepped into the doorway of the aircraft Jim had little doubt that this was the bodyguard. He surveyed the area quickly, his eyes scanning behind the sunglasses he wore. He was wearing some unconventional but highly effective cammies...Jim wondered where he might get a set...but the man carried himself like someone who knew his business, and more to the point, he was in protective mode. Jim had still worried somewhat that the two teenagers were captives of the military rather than employees. The man's obvious protectiveness clearly put an end to that worry. When the man OK'd it, Max and Liz came down the airstair behind the bodyguard and as they approached, the Sheriff could almost feel the eyes of the bodyguard on him and the sidearm he carried, at least until Liz said, "Hi Sheriff."

He tipped his hat, "Liz...Max...been awhile. I guess congratulations are in order, Max...," as he held out his hand

As Max smiled and shook the hand, Sandman did not noticeably relax, but Jim noticed that his scan now excluded the Sheriff who he now evidently classified as one of the 'good' guys.

"Your folks are in the conference room...I thought the six of you could talk things over there." He looked at Sandman as he continued, "I've already checked the conference room, it's only got the one door, and there is a Deputy out front of the terminal as well." Sandman nodded in acknowledgement...he appreciated another professional.

"They're just through that door," Jim saidwalking to the small antechamber outside with Sandman. "The two of us can probably wait out here until you get the family stuff out of the way. Sandman nodded....this was going to work out, and he wanted a chance to talk to the Sheriff about security for the duration of the visit.

"Max...Liz...take your time. If you should need me...I'll be right out here."

As the two teenagers went through the door, Jim Valenti looked at Sandman. "So how serious is this threat against Max and Liz?"

"I'm not sure, but when you are dealing with wack-jobs, you take no chances. Normally, I wouldn't worry much about Max...the first time we met he handled me with embarassing ease."

"Max fought you?"

"It was a misunderstanding...he thought the US government had kidnapped Liz...was ready to fight the whole damn government."

"I'm glad it got cleared up, he really isn't a bad kid, ..I wouldn't want him to get hurt."

Sandman gave a snort, "Hell..he was holding his own when he got to me..and took me easily enough. But I think if the commander hadn't talked him down...Lord, I don't know what he might have done. He really loves that young lady...I hope her folks realize that. But anyway, despite his capabilities...and Liz is getting pretty good herself, I've found when you get around friends and family you get distracted..lose your focus...drop your vigilance...that's why I'm here.

They really aren't prisoners, Sheriff. As soon as we get those wack-jobs taken care of, the US Government doesn't care if they come and go as they please, it's just that they are too valuable...too important to the whole friggin world, for anyone to take chances with their welfare right now. That's why I'm here..."

Valenti nodded. He actually liked this intense young man. "So where did you get the neat cammies..?"

Sandman smiled, "Funny you should ask..."

It would be twenty minutes before the six people in the conference room would emerge. Long before that, Jim Valenti and Sandman were friends.

The four parents watched as the door opened and first Liz and then Max came through, holding each other's hands and looking at their parents with obvious apprehension. Diane and Nancy were the first two out of their seats, Diane hugging Max while Nancy hugged Liz briefly. By the time they broke the hug, their husbands were also at their sides. Diane spoke first as she smiled, the tears trickling down her cheeks ignored by her, "So finally I get to hug...my OTHER daughter...," she said as she embraced Liz while Philip hugged Max. As Philip finished, Max looked up to see Jeff and Nancy standing in front of him.

"Max...," said Jeff, "Nancy and I have been doing some interesting reading recently...about the shooting incident in the Crashdown...about when you saved Liz's life. We owe you more....more than we can ever repay you.." As Max reached out to shake the hand that Jeff was offering, a tearful Nancy shook her head in exasperation.."Men...you don't shake hands with family...family you hug..."

It took about five minutes for the Parkers to stop hugging on Max, and the Evans' to stop hugging on Liz, but eventually the two teenagers were sitting side by side. Max tried to explain to his folks about the not-of-this-Earth business, but Diane held up her hand. "We already know, ...Isabel told us...but I think your dad knew all along, or at least suspected..maybe I did too. I can't believe that either of you thought that it would make a difference...that we might not accept you."

"and that goes for us too, Max," said Jeff Parker. "You are Liz's choice...that's obvious, and the alien business...well, if it doesn't bother her, it certainly isn't going to bother us. And...you know, your parents didn't have kids of their own..they adopted, and got two pretty great kids. You can too."

Max and Liz looked back and forth at each other with sort of puzzled looks on their faces...before they got it.

"Oh...uh...it's not like that," Liz said. "I mean, Max is an alien...that's true...but we all are. We're the same species...the Earth is just a lost colony of Max's people...I mean," she started blushing," ..we'll be able to have children...lots of them...or at least...well, that's the plan."

Max nodded his head in agreement, no doubt not quite understanding what Liz meant by 'lots'

"Uh..yeah," he said, "...I mean..not anytime soon..but eventually," he continued, looking somewhat defensively at Jeff Parker.

Diane saw the slight smile on the face of her daughter-in-law. 'Why is it I get the feeling that the statements of the man of the house might not be totally binding on the management?,' she thought to herself. But she really didn't care. Diane Evans was truly happy for the first time in a month. She had her children back...a new daughter...and the promise of grandkids eventually. It didn't get much better than that.

Jeff Parker looked at the two, blinking his eyes to try to hold back the tears. He'd always known that Liz wasn't really his, that he was just caring for her until she found the REAL man of her life..he just hadn't expected it quite this soon, or quite in this manner, but there was no doubt the two loved each other...that Max would die rather than let any harm come to Liz..and that somehow, even though they were so young...the two were very good for each other. He was more than content.

Philip looked at the happy couple...and at Jeff Parker. He empathized with old Jeff, ...he was about to lose a daughter of his own...but you never really lost them...the family just got bigger.

"I don't know if you two heard, but we got up a wedding reception for you two...since you ran off and got married without us we never really did get to celebrate with you so...well, now's our chance. Let's get over there and meet your sister..your friends...it's time to party."

Nancy nodded her head enthusiastically, not really letting go of the hands of either her daughter or her new son-in-law. "It's time to party,' she echoed, "...today is a beautiful day, and nothing is going to spoil it for us..nothing at all."

Of course, she wasn't ENTIRELY accurate in that.
Last edited by greywolf on Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by greywolf » Thu Jun 07, 2007 3:49 pm

2:00 PM Desert Spring Tennis and Country Club, two miles East of Roswell
"I would like to introduce my new son-in-law and my daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Max Evans," said Jeff Parker as he lead the two down the winding pathfrom the clubhouse to the large patio. It was a small reception, hosted by both sets of parents. Just the Parker's, The Evans's, the Valenti's (whose own marriage was still a secret), Maria, Isabel, Tess, Michael, Alex, and Kyle.

But it was a joyous time for Max and Liz....their greatest wish had been to have their families accept their marriage...and both sets of parents had made it abundantly clear that they had. They'd gone to breakfast with their parents, under the watchful eye of Sandman, and as Jeff and Nancy got to know and love their new son-in-law, Diane and Philip got to know Liz. The young couple explained what had happened over the last four weeks as accurately as they could, leaving out most of the more explicit details. It was clear to their parents that this was not just some sort of a fling. Liz even showed them some of her nascent powers...explaining they were still weak, but she was starting to get control of them. Max and Liz loved each other..but neither had ever stopped loving their parents, and they couldn't imagine being much happier.

But as they joined with their friends...friends they hadn't seen in over a month...friends with stories of their own to tell..about their own engagements, their happiness was truly complete.

"So Ria, you caught him, huh?" Liz said.

Maria smiled broadly. "I did indeed. Spaceboy here is off the market."

"Yeah, but she's still going to have to finish paying off the ring," Michael kidded, earning a punch on the arm from Maria. Max turned to talk to his sister, only to find her and Alex in the ocrner, lost in each other's eyes. He nudged Liz and nodded toward them, shaking his head. "The Ice Princess and Alex," said Liz. "Who would have ever thought..?"

The party continued on for almost half an hour before Liz felt a tap on her shoulder, turning to find a curly headed blonde looking at her. "Liz...we haven't met...I'm Tess...I came with Kyle."

"I'm pleased to meet you Tess. Take good care of Kyle...he's an old friend."

"That's sort of what I needed to talk to you about..could we talk by ourselves for a minute?" Liz and Tess found a quiet spot on the edge of the group, away from the music, and Tess started whispering in her ear. Liz smiled. "Sure I'll help, Tess, but I can't imagine it really being a problem. The guy hasn't taken his eyes off you all night."

"Yeah, well...it wasn't just his eyes I had in mind," whispered Tess, starting to blush. Both started to giggle...then to laugh. Just that quickly, they were friends.

Jim Valenti didn't want to bust in to Max and Liz's celebration with his own news, but he also wanted his son and new daughter to share his and Amy's happiness as well. "Kyle, Maria..., would you come in to the clubhouse for just a minute?"

Jim and Amy found an empty room, and stood there together holding hands as Kyle and Maria entered, wondering suspiciously what was going on. Maria saw it first...the ring on Amy's finger...and her eyes shot quickly to Jim's hand, to see the matching one on his...


Kyle was a little slower on the uptake, his eyes going from a squealing Maria to his father and Amy's joyous faces...but eventually he got it too. He went over to Amy and asked, "So do I call you Mom now....? That's great." Then as he looked at Maria he continued, "...but I have to put up with a sister now too? So much for watching TV in my underwear..."

Maria went up to her mom and to Jim and held both their hands..."Seriously, you two...I couldn't be happier...couldn't be happier for either of you."

"Me too, Dad...Mom," said Kyle.

"Well Kyle," said Maria, "..what we have to do next is get you engaged to that little blonde thing...Tess is it. Then when we move out, these two lovebirds won't need to feel inhibited by our presence."

"Kyle doesn't need to rush into any relationships," said Amy. "You kids have all the time in the world."

"Actually, I would be tempted but Tess seems somehow worried anytime I get too close...like she doesn't think we'd really be compatible somehow."

"Oh, I'd talk to Liz about that, Kyle. I think you may be misreading Tess altogether."

"Enough talk about marriage...we have two recent ones to celebrate, that ought to hold us for awhile. Why don't we go back to the party now, we'll have our own family celebration later," said Jim Valenti.

As they started back toward the patio Jim looked at Maria in a new way...she was now his daughter. Sandman had told him about Liz's powers...how she had gotten them...told him that according to the Ship even Alex would someday get powers from close contact with Isabel...the body fluid exchange female to male was cerrtainly slower, but it happened. He needed to talk to Maria...it would be her choice but she had to understand that if she went through with her marriage to Michael the change would occur..and it would be a permanent one. He doubted it would make any difference to her, but life might be easier for her in the future if she married someone who wasn't an alien...like Kyle would do. Jim really did like that young blonde girl he was dating. He could see how happy Tess made the boy. Maybe Kyle would be lucky enough to get her to say yes to him...and live a totally normal life. Jim could see where the alien abyss was not an unmixed blessing, and that was reinforced when he stepped out of the building and saw Sandman there, Liz's bodyguard.

They had timed it well, the three of them. The sun was to their backs as they came out of the arroyo. No one on the patio was looking at the three of them and they were perhaps a hundred meters from the targets, easily within the kill range of the At-4 antipersonnel rounds. "Let's do it," said the agent, and all three prepared their launchers for firing. The two agents were practiced...Schreiber less so, as he clumsily prepared his launcher.

As Jim stepped out of the building with his wife and two children, the movement caught his eye..and he recognized the danger instantly. The three men with the launchers were directly up sun from Slammer, he'd never see them in time. There was no possibility the men were there for innocent purposes...those weapons weren't even legal in civilian hands, and they were obviously preparing to fire. A hundred yards was a long shot for a pistol, but he had no other options. He drew his .357 magnum knowing it was a difficult shot from that distance even to get one attacker...that it would be almost impossible to get all three...at least before one fired his weapon. But it wasn't like he had a choice really...

Sandman's eyes saw Valenti stiffen and the hair went up on the back of his neck. Before the Sheriff's gun had cleared it's holster he was moving..the threat came from up sun, and he threw himself laterally to be able to see it. His gun was already coming up as he saw the three men, two of them almost ready to fire. As his gunsights approached the one who seemed most nearly ready to fire he started to squeeze the trigger...then stopped as the man's head snapped back sickeningly...a kill for the Sheriff...he quickly moved his sights toward the second man, praying that the Sheriff would take out the third who was still fumbling..not quite ready to fire.

The firing of the Sheriff's gun pulled the eyes of everyone toward the clubhouse...everyone but Sandman. It had been a party...they had all been happy..surrounded by friends and family. All the aliens had let their guard down, Liz and Tess enmeshed in strategies of how to break the news to Kyle...they were all sitting ducks. This would be over before anyone on the patio would get off a single powerblast.

Jim had aimed for the center of mass, but he'd fired too quickly, his mind on the other two attackers. The shot had gone high, ..it had been just luck it had struck the man's forehead. But the second man was almost ready to fire. Jim brought the sight onto the center of the man's chest, and fired.

The .357 and the 9mm went through the second attacker's heart almost side by side, and Sandman swore under his breath. The Sheriff was good...but by shooting the same guy, they'd made it almost impossible to stop the last guy...but he had to try.

The Sheriff knew what had happened instantly..he swiveled his gun and fired...but even as he felt the recoil..he saw the missile launch.

Schreiber died almost instantly as the .357 hit him in the face and the 9mm hit him in the brain. Perhaps he didn't even know that he'd been able to launch the antipersonnel round, but his aim was nonetheless true..it went straight for the patio carrying it's cargo of lethal destruction.

Time seemed to stand still for Jim Valenti. The AT-4 round travelled at 950 feet per second and the quarter second he watched it seemed to stretch on into minutes. He saw Sandman continue firing...hoping for a miracle...actually hitting the rocket propelled grenade in flight. But it wasn't going to happen. The scene had gone from total happiness to imminent doom so fast. He sensed rather than saw Kyle step in front of Amy trying to shield her with his body...and Jim had time in those fractions of a second to feel a father's pride that his son would do that. He took a step towards Maria trying to shield her...she too saw death coming...her hands raised as if to somehow ward off destruction. He tried to get in front of her but was unsuccessful...he was thrown back by the blast before he could get very close.

The grenade had travelled two hundred fifty feet at 950 feet per second. The powerblast had travelled 100 feet at the speed of light. The grenade exploded as the powerblast hit it...the warhead disintegrated...even the fragments forced back out into the desert mere yards short of their intended target. The only one who had been injured was Jim Valenti..tossed to the ground by the edge of the powerblast. He looked up to see a very frightened Maria...the golden glow only just fading from her right palm, being comforted by Michael. 'Well what's done is done,' he thought, smiling beside himself.

"Maria...Michael...back in the clubhouse. It's apparent that the two of you have a wedding to plan...or do I have to get the shotgun out of the squadcar, Michael?"

"Uh...no Sheriff...uh...married...that'd be good," said Michael.

They'd be married a week later, with Liz Matron of honor and Isabel and Tess as bridesmaids.

And they would ALL live happily ever after.

The end.

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Post by greywolf » Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:47 pm

Six years later

The pain was coming again....boy had this been a bad idea...coming up range right now. She could have been in a hospital in Las Vegas...somewhere they did epidurals....

Liz had just wanted to finish up a couple of details on the paperwork...the new drug had passed phase II trials easily, and while FDA approval for phase III studies was all but guaranteed anyway, Liz had wanted to take no chances...not once she'd seen the faces of the kids whose refractory leukemia could be cured by the drug that she and Laurie and Ship had bioengineered. Some of them could die if the phase III trials were delayed, so she'd come up range to Area 51 anyway, just to make sure everything was perfect.

Sandi had warned her that labor often came early with multiple births. She ought to know...the twins were almost five now, and little Salli was almost two. Fortunately Sandi knew about these things, she'd left the active Air Force when the boys had been born, done a nurse midwife program at UNR, and generally worked in the hspital down at Nellis when not uprange with the General. Slammer had turned down the Tactical Fighter Wing, Space research and power technology was where it was at now. In fact, Laurie and Liz's program was just a sideline...albeit an important one. But fortunately Sandi was here now, because the contractions were three minutes apart, and medevacing Liz down to Nellis was no longer an option.

"Keep the breathing up, Liz..," said Sandi, but in a minute or two I'm going to tell you to push.."

"Yeah...keep breathing," said a worried looking Max. "That's always a good idea...breathe in...and out...in....and out."

Liz almost laughed despite the pain. Max was normally so imperturbable...but he freaked when she was in pain like this. Then the next contraction started..and suddenly nothing seemed all that funny any more. "MMMMnngg!!"

"OK Liz, go ahead and push....push...work with the contraction....push."

Max watched his wife strain...feeling helpless. Damn...there had to be some easier way to do this. Hatching from a pod...for instance. He didn't even want to think of what was going on down at Sandi's end of the table...just look in Liz's eyes...hold her hand...his was being crushed...and she wasn't even using power to do it...just her own grip...but given what she was going through, he thought it best not to comment..just to endure the pain himself.

He patted her on the forehead with the damp towel. Even if he wanted to do more, he wouldn't have dared. Sandi had told him he'd done quite enough eight and a half months ago, and that if he got off the stool one more time she was going to send him out to boil water with his powers until it was all over. He wanted to use his powers to heal her...but she wasn't hurt...this was natural. He still thought it was horrible engineering.

"Here comes the head....keep pushing Liz...a little more..just a little.....got it." said Sandi. "The first one's a boy."

"It's a boy," repeated Max. Liz smiled and nodded, grateful for the rest before the next contraction. Sandi suctioned it and a lusty cry issued forth, then she handed Max Jr. off to the technician who swaddled it and put it in the crib on the odd looking six-wheeled machine that was the ground mobilizer for Ship01, the first of the offspring Ship had the nanorobots create after her FTL programming exchange with the courier Ship.

Little 01 hummed merrily, driving it's wheels forward and backward slowly, to rock little Max, while assuring enough heat was produced to maintain the infant's temperature. 01 and its siblings had been anticipating this for nine months, and had amply prepared themselves. Little Max was in good hands...so to speak.

"OK, Liz, the crown of the second one is engaged,...you need to push again with the next contraction,"said Sandi. Liz nodded tiredly. Max was pretty sure she'd be less tired if she stopped using so much energy crushing his hand..but he didn't say anything. He could heal it later if she actually broke it...which he thought likely if this kept on much longer.

"UNNGGH!," said Liz. 'That can't be good,' thought Max fearfully...but he was reassured by Sandi's voice. "That's the way, Liz, you're doing just great. Hold that push as long as you can...got the head out ..here it comes....Ok relax...breathe...breathe...it's a little girl and she's beautiful...just look at all that brown hair." 02 actually crowded up to Sandi, edging the technician out of her way in her enthusiasm, before earning a mild reproach from Ship through the orb beside Liz.

*I was just trying to help* said 02.

*You'll have plenty of time to bond later..*Ship reassured her. *Many decades of time*

Ship02 knew that, and to an AI, decades were long indeed. But the 8+ month wait had been a long time too, and 02 had nearly empty databanks and loads of fuzzy logic, giving it the exuberance of the young. This was going to be fun, thought 02...and Aunty Liz was right...Baby organics were so cute.... After the baby was suctioned and dried off Maria Isabel Evans was placed gently in her cradle, 02 cooing softly to it and gently rocking back and forth.

"OK, Liz...almost done here now...just one more...give me a real hard push with the next contraction.."

Max wasn't sure what was contracting harder..Liz's uterus...or her hand. The good news was his was becoming numb... He found himself hyperventilating..breathing in time to her breathing...and then the contraction came...

"Unhhhh," said Liz...and the head of the third baby emerged slowly with Sandi controlling it, rotating to deliver first the right, then the left shoulder. As Liz finished her pushing, the baby fairly popped out into Sandi's waiting hands. After suctioning and drying Sandi placed little Tess-Laurie in the crib on Ship03 which had managed to sneak forward in all the excitement, anxious for a real visual view of its new friend. Ship03 too was quivering with excitement.

"Well, I've just got some housekeeping details down here," said Sandi. "If you could give me another push, I'll have the last of tthe afterbirth out, then we can let you get some rest Liz."

"That'll be great," said a happy smiling Liz, looking at the three infants being gently rocked by their cribs. Max thought so too...he could probably heal his hand any moment now..although as he saw his son and two daughters the pain of crushed fingers really didn't matter, although by now Max was fairly certain Liz had actually used some Power as her hand had gripped his.

She was much better at controlling her power now, but at times of great emotion she'd sometimes lose control. It happened, ...hell, the guys still kidded Michael about Maria powerblasting the ceiling of the bridal suite on their wedding night.

"Well, I'll give you each one of these to cuddle for a few minutes," said Sandi, "..then we need to get them out to see the rest of the world."

Michael and Laurie were waiting out in the lobby. Michael was employed at the Area..the number two guy in charge of security...under Sandman.

Maria...well, Maria technically didn't even have clearance into this part of the range, but when she'd heard that Liz was in labor, she'd driven in from Las Vegas where she was singing at one of the casinos. When she'd gotten to the gate she hadn't stopped...just driven by the guards...who of course knew her because they worked for Michael.

"Uh...I have to live with her..I'm not stopping her," he'd told Sandman. "Well, the last time I tried to stop someone with Powers, I ended up in sand handcuffs," said his boss. "I'm not going to do it again...it was embarassing enough the first time...."

A call to Major General Slammer got the authorization..Maria was now cleared for entry to the site and, presumably to know that aliens existed including her husband and the twin 18 week fetuses she was carrying..

As 03 brought little Tess-Laurie out into the lobby it scanned the faces of the people there and instantly identified them as Uncle Michael and Uncle Jim and Aunt Laurie. This was a very secure area, but 03 was still vigilant...it intended to spend 80 years or so with little Tess-Laurie. But these people were OK...in fact were...family. 03's small LASER remained safetied as it ambulated over to Michael and Laurie...both of whom started oohing and ahhing immediately at the baby it was carrying. 01 and 02 soon came out, carrying their young charges while Max and Sandi wheeled the gurney out with a very tired but happy looking Liz.

"We need to tell Mom and Dad...and your parents too, Max," said Liz.

*I have a videolink set up in your room* said Ship through the orb. *The grandparents will be online in about five minutes and the Kids are getting the babies all lined up to show the grandparents. Oh....and Maria-Isabel has poopy pants...*


"I'll take care of it...," 'as soon as I get done healing my hand that is...'

Two of the technicians came to attention as Major General Randolph entered the room. He waved them to be at ease as he looked at the three babies, giving Sandi a hug. "Well, it looks like everybody did good....congratulations you two...welcome to parenthood." His radio beeped once on the security channel and the voice of Sandman came over the speaker.

"Sir..we have two more intruders, through the north gate. It appears that 'Aunt' Isabel and 'Uncle' Alex are the culprits this time. Isabel is driving and she seemed disinclined to stop at the gatehouse."

Slammer chuckled. "Let them pass. There's no stopping Isabel, and even if you tried, Alex would figure he'd have to do something. He still really hasn't figured out his powers..and someone would almost certainly wind up sorry. We might as well program brief both of them, it's not like there's much they don't know already anyway."

Slammer and Max had been busy too, preparing a presentation for the Cabinet and senior Congressional officials about the new fusion powerplants derived from Ship technology. They promised safe, clean, and abundant electrical power for the US now, and soon for the whole world. But he could see that his senior scientist was going to be tied up with new dad duties for awhile. Peter had retired, but still lived in the area and had been involved in the program. No doubt he could be coaxed into coming back for three months...he certainly would if Slammer asked him. And as the father of twin sons...and now a daughter, Slammer knew Max and Liz were going to have their hands full, even with the able assistance of Ship's offspring.

"I suppose you need a few months off to get to know your new little ones, Max," said Slammer.

"Uh...yes, I'm not sure I really considered the possibility of triplets when Liz talked me into doing this....," said a smiling...but already somewhat harried appearing Max.

Maria's car came squealing in to the parking lot and she opened the door with her powers as she ran into the lobby, squealing herself as she saw the babies riding on top of the carriers. Ship01, 02, and 03, did quick scans and verified this was Aunt Maria..and made no attempt to stop her as she approached the babies babbling "Omigawd...omigawd..they are just so precious...."

Michael looked with some apprehension at Maria...she was starting to show too. He clearly saw where this was going....

Just then, another car came wheeling in to the parking lot, it's tires squealing. Aunt Izzy and Uncle Alex were there. Izzy was starting to show as well...the ultrasound had said twins as well....

"There sure do seem to be a lot of multiple births around here," Michael remarked.

Ship's mechanical voice came through the orb... "Oh, that's a side-effect of the symbiotic virus...it sort of predisposes to multiple egg pregnancies. Single births...well they are sort of the exception rather than the rule."

"And how long have you been keeping THAT information from us," asked Michael.

"Ooops," said Ship.