The Importance of Being Elizabeth (CC,M/L,MTURE) (Complete)

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WR
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The Importance of Being Elizabeth - Book 3

Post by WR » Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:01 pm

Part 17

She had killed Zan.

If she had been asked, Taysha would not have been able to explain what had happened to her after her flight from the cathedral. Dimly, she recalled the soldiers rushing past her, and the cries of dismay as the rumour that King Zan had been killed preceded her.

Killed by her!

She recalled that there had been fighting in the streets, and groups of people milling around, direction-less. She could not remember which route she took to return to the palace, and she could not even recall if there were guards on the gate. She did, however, remember one thing.

She had killed Zan.

He was dead, and it was by her hand. She had been hiding behind a large stone pillar when the fighting started. She glanced out into the great chamber, and was both frightened and sickened by what she had seen. Tears had been rolling down her cheeks as she watched people, her people and Zan's, killing each other. This had not been what she wanted, not in her name. She had decided that if perhaps she appeared at her beloved Zan's side, the fighting would stop.

She had killed him instead.

As she stepped from her hiding space in the cathedral, she had caught Ava's glance, and was surprised to see that she held no fear. Was she that confidant of Zan and his abilities? She saw Vilondra caught by the blast, and she saw Zan's shield disappear. Things were running out of control now. One of K'Var's guards appeared behind Zan, with his sword poised to strike at his back. With a cry of warning, she threw a blast at the man.

Taysha had never used any of the powers she held, her blast felt wild, undirected. When her sight returned, momentarily blinded by the white light she caused, there was no sign of the guard, but Zan was on the ground. Ava was looking between Zan and her, with a sickening look of confusion on her face. What had she done? She had to get away from her crime. She turned and ran towards the small door behind the huge altar to the Universe. She burst out into daylight, just as Nikolas's soldiers were rushing through every door into the Cathedral. With tears pouring down her cheeks, Taysha fled.

She had killed Zan.

She sat in her room, waiting for the guards to come and take her away. It was no more than she deserved; being thrown to the waiting clutches of Captain Kishan.

She had killed Zan.

Her name would go down in history, one that would never be handed to another child again. It would become a name synonymous with treachery! She could never rule as Queen now, no Perdreian would ever trust her. Any minute now, she thought, the pounding on the door would signify that the soldiers had arrived. She removed her dress, now tattered and torn, and replaced this with simple utility suit. She was not surprised when she heard the soldiers. She was, however, completely surprised when she heard thousands of voices call into her mind.

"Hide!"

Taysha jumped into the wardrobe, and the door sealed shut behind her. When she heard the soldiers in her room, she berated herself, for surely this would be the first place they would look. Then the soldiers were gone. She was just thinking about leaving when she heard voices she recognised.

"Where has she gone?" K'Var demanded.

"I don't know," her father answered. "Perhaps she has been captured by the Perdreians. Everyone saw her kill Zan, after all."

"No," K'Var yelled. "She's alive, she has to be."


"I don't understand," her father said softly. "He was so kind to her, to us. She liked him. Why did she do that? Why did she kill him like that?"

"Because she did not know she would kill him," chuckled K'Var. "She though she was saving him."

"What are you talking about K'Var?"

"Because I am surrounded by such incompetents, I had to alter my plans. Fortunately, I foresee such problems and plan ahead. I simply had Lady Ava make Taysha believe that one of my men was about to strike Zan from behind. She did the rest." K'Var spoke with awe in his voice. "Rather well, too. She has much power. Of course, she will doubtless be devastated, but that will make her all the more malleable. Call it a punishment for falling for that dog in the first place. You should have prevented that, Talbuth."

Taysha's heart fell lower than before. She had not only killed Zan, she had been tricked into doing it.

"How ironic that Zan has been betrayed by every woman he has ever cared for," K'Var laughed. "His sister let in the very guards who were sent to arrest him, Ava helped his biggest enemy to defeat him, and now Taysha, who he showed such kindness to, killed him. He will forever be known as Zan the Gullible."

"Why would Ava betray him?" Talbuth asked.

"Because she believed the Kalithens were trying to force Zan into a marriage with Taysha," K'Var said smugly. "She believed she was helping to prevent it."

"Why would she believe such a thing? Especially on her wedding day?"

"Because I told her," K'Var laughed. "I told her about the Earthling concept of divorce, and how Zan was planning to introduce it."

There was a pause in the conversation and Taysha wondered if they had gone.

"But the Mind Warp has never appeared in Lord Servetrius' family." Talbuth said, breaking the silence.

K'Var laughed, almost demonically.

"I was once a Medical Technician," K'Var spoke quietly. "I was there the night Lady Taysha was born. I was also there the previous night when Lady Ava was delivered. Xandor and Servetrius betrothed Ava to Zan the moment she was born. They called for a Star Seer, who compiled her star-chart straight away. They were both ecstatic when the results proved Ava was Isozilde. For some reason, they believed Zan was Traznor."


"But that's impossible." Talbuth interrupted. "You yourself were present when we had Taysha's star-chart produced, just after you came to us. You know no two living people have the same results. If you knew Isozilde had already been found, why would you suggest that? Unless... unless ..."

"Yes, Talbuth? Are you too showing signs of intelligence? It seems to be contagious today."

"But that's monstrous!" Talbuth exclaimed. "How could you have done such a thing?"

"I have been leading all of you stupid people by the nose since the day she was born."

"Yet you do not sit on the throne K'Var," Talbuth informed him. "You have not married Taysha, and have not been proclaimed the King."

"All in good time, Talbuth. All in good time," K'Var chuckled. "I have been planning this for so long now, another few days will not matter."

"All these years of friendship... of guidance. You... you're no friend." Talbuth spat disgustedly.

There was a shriek of agony, and a muffled thud. Taysha knew that K'Var had just murdered her father.

"A friend?" laughed K'Var. "I'm not even Kalithen."


There were sounds of movement, of K'Var moving a body.

"Yes, what is it?" K'Var called, to an obvious interruption.

"We have Denbers, the King's Chamberlain."

"It's about time," K'Var snarled. "Has Nikolas returned yet?"

"Yes sir," came the response.

"Good," he replied. "Send them both in. And clean this up. Spread the rumour that the Perdreians have butchered Lord Talbuth and his wife."


"It's about time, Denbers," K'Var snapped, when Taysha heard the two men enter the room. "Nikolas, is it over?"

"No sir," Nikolas answered. "Servetrius and his family are dead, but Lady Layene has escaped, as have Hanar, Sero, Kathana and Larek."

"Well, I had hoped to claim more than one throne today, but one is enough... for now."

"Also, we did not encounter many of the Perdreian forces. It's as if they just... vanished."

Another silence followed, clearly K'Var was thinking about the situation.

"There is no way the Perdreian soldiers would be out of the capital while their King is getting married," he snapped. "Especially as it was a fulfilment of a prophecy of theirs. Unless..."

"Unless what, sir?" Nikolas asked.

"Unless he knew," K'Var said hoarsely. "He said he knew! Damn it! Nikolas, what did you do with the bodies?"

"Well, we were going to impale them, like you said, but..."

"But what?" he screamed. "But what?"

"When we went to retrieve the bodies, they were gone."

"Denbers?" K'Var exploded. "What do you know of this?"


"I... I... I... couldn't come, I mean, not sooner, sir." Denbers stammered. "Zan... he gave me orders, and I had to do them or he would have suspected me."

Taysha was shocked to think that Denbers had been a spy all this time. Here was another addition to the growing list of Zan's betrayers. Her name was at the top.

"What were your orders, Denbers?" K'Var hissed. "What was it you did?"

"I... I... I carried... orders, sealed orders, to all Perdreian garrisons, and all the Kalithen Garrisons loyal to Perdreia."

"What were in those orders?" K'Var demanded.

"I don't know sir," he gulped. "But those are the least of your problems."

"What do you mean?"

Taysha listened carefully as Denbers explained how he listened in on Zan's plan to have the Perdreians send Zan and others to Earth, reincarnated as clones of Earthling bodies.

Reborn, thought Taysha. Zan would be reborn!


"Nikolas, I want you to take a detachment of soldiers, and secure the ship on the Holy Sea."

"They already have it." Denbers told them. "Zan had it moved two months ago."

"Damn him!" shouted K'Var. "How is our own ship?"

"Not nearly as good as the other, sir. Our Star Drive is not nearly as powerful as the Perdreians'. It would take us five years to go through the wormhole. We would arrive three years behind them."

"Nikolas, I want you to take a detachment on our ship to Earth. Find them, and destroy them."

"But sir," Denbers interrupted. "Our ship is small. We would not be able to send many men in the ship. The fuel rods take up too much room."

"How many men could he take if they had only enough fuel to get there?"

"About one hundred, comfortably."

"Can we squeeze in one hundred and fifty?"

"Yes, but the journey would be a nightmare, and how would they get home?"

"By then, we will be in control of the Granolith. We can harness its power to build a new space ship to come for you."

"Uh, sir?" Denbers interrupted again. "They are taking the Granolith with them."

"Does this get any worse?" shouted K'Var.


"Actually, sir," Nikolas said, "It does. The Earth's atmosphere, it's too harsh for us. We would die in days. How can we search the whole planet with a handful of men, in just a few days?"

"Somebody give me some good news for change!" K'Var bellowed.

"Actually, I have two items of good news," Denbers added. "We have someone who may be able to destroy the mission before it starts. If by some miracle, the ship reaches Earth, he will be able to identify the location to Nikolas' men."


"What other news do you have for me?" K'Var demanded anxiously.

"Our Technicians have developed a special husk that will allow Nikolas and his men to move freely on the planet, without dying. It will be like a second skin, one that should replenish itself."

"Skins?" asked Nikolas. "Will they work?"

"Yes. They have been tested in a mock up of the Earth's atmosphere. It draws upon the water in their atmosphere, and cleans itself of the nitrogen that it filters out. The bonus is, they can make you look like Earthlings, so you can move about freely. You can create your own community, and base your search from there."


"Denbers, collect two husks for you and your spy. Make sure you are on Zan's ship." "Me?" Denbers asked, clearly startled. "But I thought..."

"You thought wrong, Denbers. This is not over yet. Do what ever you can to prevent their mission from succeeding. Try and perform it with the ship intact. That way, I will not have to send another ship to collect you. I need that ship to conquer the other planets," K'Var ordered. "Nikolas. Go to Earth. I want that Granolith. I want Zan destroyed. And if it is at all possible, I want Vilondra returned to me."

"Vilondra?" Nikolas asked with surprise, and not without a hint of jealousy. "Will you not be marrying Taysha?"

"Perhaps." K'Var added. "Vilondra is quite a woman, don't you think, Nikolas? Besides, a king needs a mistress, as well as a wife. I will have the two most beautiful women in all Antar."

K'Var paused in thought.

"Denbers," K'Var asked. "What do you know of Mind Conditioning?"

"A little sir." Denbers replied, sounding confused. "Like hypnosis, only far more deep seated. The subject will obey the conditioning implanted upon them, without realising what it is they are doing."

"In your opinion, would any mind conditioning implanted on Ava... remain in her new life?"

"I fail to see why not."

"What's this?" asked Nicholas.

"Just a precaution," K'Var added. "In case she did not go for the plan, I had her programmed to have an overriding desire to mate with Zan. While he is asleep on her breast, she will kill him."

"When was this done?"

"A few hours after her birth," K'Var laughed. "When I switched her with Taysha."

***

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WR
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The Importance of Being Elizabeth - Book 3

Post by WR » Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:12 pm

Part 18

Taysha's head was reeling with the information that she had heard. She ordered herself to calm down, and not to think about the implication she had discovered about her birth. Although dead, Zan was in trouble because of her. Their life together might be over, but clearly, he had a chance at another. She held it in her power to save him from a final act of treachery, and was determined to do so. But how? She did not know where he was. Where would his followers have taken him? As night fell, the voices seemed to urge her to leave her hiding spot. She was glad that she did not see the body of Talbuth in the room. She did, however, shed a few tears for the people she had thought were her parents.

She crept through the gardens, expecting at any moment to hear the call of a guard. Once outside the grounds, she mingled easily with the refugees fleeing the City, and K'Var's rule. She sought shelter in the ruins of a farmhouse a few kilometres outside of the city and fell asleep wondering how she might find Zan. She had a dream that night. She was standing next to the handsome young Earthling she saw in her vision when she touched Jervad. He was looking at her with such love and devotion in her eyes; it made her knees go weak. They were standing on a mountaintop, watching a great space ship approaching a purpose built platform. She knew that she was watching King Zan's return a few months ago. When she woke up, Taysha knew where to go.

A passing Kalithen refugee with room in his vehicle gave her a lift. He was talking of fleeing to the Perdreian colonies in New Dredni to start a new life. He was doubtless hoping that a beauty such as she might stay with him, if only for her own safety, but she crept away that evening after they had arrived at the Holy Sea. There were so many refugees, clearly hoping for the same miracle that fables claimed happened to the H'Manz here thousands of years before. A fable she had seen in another vision, when Zan had stepped from the space ship. A short while later, that miracle occurred. An armada of small boats arrived, and started to load the refugees on board. They had clearly come from New Dredni, for they were crewed by Perdreians. Just how much had Zan planned?

Despite the danger of being recognised, Taysha joined a line to board one of the ships. She had little doubt in her fate there, but she would be out of K'Var's reach. A movement at the base of the huge pyramid shaped mountain caught her attention. Making his way towards an old woodsman's hut, with a loaded hover-sledge, was Geltar.

Taysha instinctively knew to follow him. She knew now that his abandoning of Zan was a ruse, that he was involved with Zan's plan. She carefully prepared what she would say to Geltar, for she knew that when she entered the hut, his first reaction would be to kill her. Taking a deep breath, she stepped into the hut. It was empty. Taysha's heart sank. She noticed that one of the walls was solid rock, so Taysha waved her hand across the wall. Zan had told her of the Perdreian trick for creating secret doors. Unless you were authorised, you would never get in. A silver hand appeared, surprising her. She placed her own hand into the imprint, and the door opened. With a rueful smile, she realised that somehow, Zan had been expecting her.

Inside the chamber, Taysha hid in the shadows along the walls, following them as she came upon the empty chambers that were once some kind of laboratories. Eventually she came to another, very large chamber. There she found Geltar, talking to two other men, one of them a Kalithen. The three were looking at a small, sleek space ship, almost a miniature version of the big ship she had been to Earth on.

"Yes," said the other Perdreian. "I finished building it last year."

He was old, older than her father, or rather, Lord Talbuth.

"I spent years studying the space ship," he chuckled.

"During travels through the worm hole, I changed my shape to a Kalithen so I could continue the studies. It was painful, but it was worth it."

"Did Zan know you did this, Glister?" Geltar asked.

"No." laughed Glister sadly. "I heard that he did the same thing, not change, I mean. I miss him."

"He will return, Glister." stated Geltar. "But I wish I could have been by his side. It was my duty."

"This is your duty now, Geltar." Glister said quietly. "So Ren, can you fly this?"

"I believe I can, Sir." Ren confirmed.

"Apart from the fact that it is so much smaller," Glister continued, "It is the same in almost every detail. In place of the Observation Chamber, is just a simple chamber we can use as our laboratory. There are a few private chambers, but these will house our equipment. It will not be a comfortable journey, especially as the Perdreians will not be changing."

Taysha had heard both names before. Glister was his favourite tutor, and Ren was the flight technician who had been with him on Earth. She now knew that Zan had long known trouble was coming. He had made such detailed preparations. She wished she had been able to share this burden with him. Instead, she had killed him.

All day, equipment and supplies were loaded onto the craft. At last, all seemed ready. Taysha had watched, hoping for the chance to sneak on board the ship, so she might be able to somehow warn Zan, but no opportunity arose. She was shocked when she saw Denbers arrive, and she remembered he and another spy would be on board. She also knew Nikolas would be following in another ship. Finding a small console hidden from everyone, she typed out a personal message to the one person that she believed would take it seriously. Lady Layene.

The crew was lined up, waiting for something. Taysha saw that Geltar was among them. She knew he would not let his King down. Zan's mother entered the chamber, wearing a crown, and the others bowed to her, as if she were a Queen.

"Today, you embark on a journey of salvation. Not just ours, but that of the Kalithens and Tanbo-ens also. It may even be that the other four planets will also be saved. Be ever vigilant, for we do not know if K'Var has heard of our plans. Let us assume he has, but remember that Kalithens will not survive for long on the hostile atmosphere of Earth. Good Luck, loyal subjects of Antar. May you forever be remembered in the annals of history."

It was Taysha's only chance. While they were intently listening to Lady, or rather, Queen Layene, she seized her opportunity, and crept onto the ship. She found a small space amongst the equipment, and hid. Soon, the Engines fired up, and she felt motion as it eased from it's hiding place inside the mountain. As she felt the pressure of the acceleration, she knew they were leaving Antar behind. Tears fell from Taysha's eyes as she remembered her arrival, a few short weeks ago, watching Antar approach, at Zan's side, when he had told her that he would have chosen her, if he could. But she had killed him.

Taysha hid in the storeroom for a few weeks. It took her some time to realise that she felt no pain from the Star Drive, just as she had not felt pain on her return journey. Was Zan reaching to her from beyond his grave? She sadly realised that she did not know his final resting-place. Be quiet, fool! she admonished herself. He is not dead, he will be reborn. The door opened, causing her to push herself back into the shadows. Glister and Geltar entered the storeroom, and carefully closed the door.

"Damn this pain!" Geltar cursed. "How did Zan cope with it?"

"We do not have time for that, Geltar." Glister said urgently. "What did Queen Layene's message say?"

"Someone left a message on a console at the launch site." Geltar said, quietly. "She doesn't know who left it, but it warned that there were at least two spies on board. It didn't say who they were. Much of the note was babble, about Taysha taking Ava, and how he isn't Kalithen, or something. No one could understand it. It was as if someone hysterical wrote it."

"So we have spies on board?" Glister asked.

"Ah, there's more. K'Var knows about the mission. He is sending a contingent of Kalithens after us, about a hundred and fifty. They have special Skins that allow them to survive the atmosphere. We are to take whatever steps are necessary."

There was a silence, while Geltar played with a small silver orb. Taysha saw it had the same symbol as her pendant Zan had given her. She pulled the pendant from under her tunic, and held it for comfort. She felt that it somehow brought her closer to Zan.

"Put that down, Geltar," Glister snapped.

"What is it?" Geltar asked.

"Very important, is what it is. That must definitely not fall into the wrong hands," Glister said quietly. "I have heard of these Skins. They seem to imagine that the Earth's atmosphere is more wet than it is. I do not think they will last as long as they hope. My belief is that they will last for only forty to fifty years. If we hide them where Zan went, where it was hot and dry, they may not even last that long."

"Fifty years is a long time for them to search for us."

"Ok, I have an idea. I will create eight clones."

"Eight?"

"Yes, two sets of them. The first set will be the genuine royal party. They will be born with an inbred mistrust of others. They will seek to avoid large groups, always staying away, keeping to themselves. They will be reluctant to use their powers. They will learn nothing of who they truly are until they are old enough to understand. They will do nothing to draw attention to themselves. When it is time, we will teach them how to use their powers then."

"And the other set?"

"They will be the decoys. Expendable. Although they too will be wary, so as not to draw undue attention to themselves, we will make this set more aggressive, more self serving, and we will tell them of their past from an early age. Those knowing what to look for will find them, eventually, and will waste valuable resources trying to kill them. When they are dead, they will believe they have succeeded."

"Can we do this, split their essences?"

"I hope so, Geltar." Glister sighed. "I hope so, for all our sakes."

"What if they find the duplicate set quickly, and become suspicious that there may be an additional set?"

"If we delay their births, then each year we delay will be a year less for them to find us." "How long can we delay?"

The pods should hold them for forty years"

"Should?" Geltar asked with a hint of nervousness.

"Ok, I will programme the pods to open in thirty-five years from when we implant them. By then, the Kalithens will be so desperate to complete their mission, they will stop when they find our duplicates. Although that does not cover us if K'Var sends fresh units out."

"I will ask Queen Layene to prevent this." Geltar smiled, and the two men left the chamber.

***

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The Importance of Being Elizabeth - Book 3

Post by WR » Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:20 pm

Part 19

A year had passed, and Taysha was quite weak with hunger. She had been able to steal some food from the stores, but always had to be careful not to leave any signs of a stowaway on board. At last, though, she had clearly left some evidence behind.

"You can come out now!" an angry voice demanded.

Someone knew she was hiding there.

"Please, don't kill me!" Taysha whispered, emerging from her hiding place.

It was Ren who had found her. Zan trusted him, so surely he would hand her over to Geltar. She knew what fate would befall her at his hands.

"Lady Taysha?" he exclaimed, a look of surprise in his eyes. "What are you doing here? K'Var is frantic!"


Taysha could not believe it. Ren was a spy. Everyone that Zan had helped in some way had turned against him. Including her. Why would this be? Why would a man, who owed his life to Zan, be involved in a plot to take his. A question that Taysha could not answer.

Ren smuggled Taysha to his private quarters, a privilege because of his duties. During his time off duty, they talked together about the situation on Antar, with Ren sharing his meals with her. She had begged him not to tell Denbers.

"K'Var tore the planet apart." he told her, when she was recovered from her hunger. "Looking for you and the body of Zan both. Everyone believes that you had died. You should let me inform him of your safety. I'm told he was broken hearted."

"I did not think the time was right, Ren." she told him. "I had to be sure, you know? Then I heard of this mission. I think K'Var is overlooking something, and I want to be sure. Please let this be a surprise for him. You may present me as a wedding gift upon our return."

When he could, he took Taysha around the ship. She found it fascinating to look through the window on the bridge, at the strange 'tube' through which they were speeding, the wormhole. Then he showed her the chamber to which only Geltar and Glister had access.

"I do not know exactly what they are doing in there, Lady Taysha. Denbers says they have Zan in there. Do you think that he is still alive, only seriously wounded?"

"No, Ren." she whispered. "He is quite dead."

"He has many lives, Lady Taysha." Ren informed her. "I tried to kill him on Earth. I risked my life in that atmosphere, and followed them. When they dropped into a ravine, I tried to cause an avalanche. I killed one of them, but Zan and Geltar survived. When he returned, and saw my injuries, I told Zan I thought I heard someone outside. He gave me a medal."

Ren was laughing.

"He is dead." Taysha confirmed.

I killed him. I killed Zan.

***

All too soon, Ren informed her they were approaching the end of the wormhole.

"We have a plan, Taysha." he told her.

"What is your plan?" Taysha asked, her heart sinking.

She must save Zan, if only to redeem herself.

"There are three of us, not including yourself. As we approach Earth, and the Perdreian minds are distracted, the other two will rush the doors when they emerge for a break. There are only six of them, and one is an old man. Only one is a warrior, the others are only technicians. Once inside the main room, all we have to do is destroy whatever it is they find in there. A few well-placed blasts of energy should destroy things. The Perdreians will be reluctant to fight if their cargo is so precious."

Zan, Rath, Vilondra and Ava, she thought. How could she warn Geltar?

"What is it you will be doing?" she asked. "Can I not help?"

"No, You must remain safe, my lady." he smiled. "As for me, I must ensure we land the ship safely. Lord K'Var has need of it. Then I must send a message to K'Var so he knows where we have landed, and that you are safe."

***

Assuring Ren that she would wait in his quarters, Taysha crept to a suitable position in the corridor where she could see the main doors to the private chambers. She saw Denbers, and the other traitor hiding behind a panel. At last the doors opened. As the first Technician stepped through the door, Taysha shouted a warning, and fired a blast of energy into the wall. She knew Geltar would react instantly. The doors sealed shut immediately, trapping the poor technician outside, as the two traitors fired energy blasts at him. Taysha leapt from her position, and rushed to the bridge. She had to stop the message. As she had hoped, Geltar had another exit, and had the other two pinned down. They could not follow her.

Ren was plotting the landing points onto the transmitter, ready for his transmission. Through the window, she saw Earth looming, but there was no time to admire the view. She noticed that they would be landing during their night. Without pausing to think, she fired a blast at Ren. Her aim was off, and she missed. Why could this not have happened that terrible day in the Cathedral, she asked herself ruefully? Ren quickly ducked, and rolled away from the transmitter.

"Lady Taysha!" he cried out in surprise. "What are you doing?"

"You will not send that message," she hissed.

"But I have orders. What is this? What game do you play?"


"You will not send that message!" she repeated with a shout.

Taysha fired more energy at the transmitter, which exploded in a shower of sparks, causing her to fall backwards. It saved her life. Geltar stormed into the room, and saw Taysha destroy their transmitter. He fired at her, but her fall carried her to safety, his blast only caught her side. Badly injured, she quickly scrambled into a sheltered position.

"Is this how you repay King Zan's kindness?" he roared. "I knew you were a traitor. I warned him you were no good. For his treatment of you and your father, you murder him in cold blood?"

"You don't understand, Geltar." she cried. "It is Ren. He was trying to signal K'Var with the landing positions."

"She lies!" Ren called from his own position, firing his own blast towards Taysha.


There was a sudden roar from the space ship, and an ugly red glow lit the bridge.

"Oh No!" Ren cried, and leapt for the controls. "I need help, or we will burn up. We are entering their atmosphere at the wrong trajectory. We will all die!"

"Is this what you want, witch?" Geltar shouted.

"No, of course not" Taysha wailed.

"Now that we have agreed we all want to live, will you help me here please?" Ren screamed. Geltar and Taysha nervously rose, and went to assist Ren. Following his instructions, they manipulated the ship's controls, gradually changing their trajectory so that they would not burn up, but they still entered the atmosphere too fast. Frantically, Ren called out more orders, while Taysha and Geltar changed the settings. Ren seemed less panicked now, even though the ground was approaching rapidly.

"We will stop in a moment." he sighed confidently.


The bolt of lightening happened in slow motion. They watched as a tiny tendril of electricity reached upwards from the ground. They clearly saw each individual path of the charged ions in the atmosphere that split out, searching for the path with least resistance discharged down the connection, clearly from the bottom of each fork first, rapidly rising towards them, and then through them. In a shower of sparks, as every element of their machinery exploded, the ship went strangely quiet, it's engines extinguished. It was as if only the whistling of the wind outside could be heard. Three faces cried out in terror as the ground raced up to meet them at a frightening velocity, and then there was an impact.

***

End of Book 3
Last edited by WR on Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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The Importance of Being Elizabeth - Book 4

Post by WR » Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:22 pm

The Importance of Being Elizabeth Book 4

Disclaimer: I, in no way, am associated with the actors, writers, producers, etc. of Roswell. The rights to the show belong to: 20th Century Fox, Jason Katims, the WB, Melinda Metz, etc.

Summary: Just why was Max so attracted to Liz from the first day he saw her, and why IS she so important? Please be sure to read the Prologue, Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3 first.

Category: Max/Liz - honest

Rating: PG

Authors Note: My thanks go to all members of the RBI for their theories, and for their opinions of mine. My special thanks go to three very special people, Qfanny, Shapeshifter and Bluecornmoon, without whose help, kindness and encouragement this would have never appeared.

Book 4

Part 1


June, 1947.

In her last lecture before her lunch break, Claudia White sat towards the front of the lecture hall, listening intently to the lecturer, Professor John Stukely. He was explaining the latest findings that a team of archaeologists had discovered amidst the ruins found in the Chaco Canyons. Some one had come up with a theory that perhaps the way the walls were aligned with other buildings, many miles away across very uneven terrain, would map to the rising and setting of the sun at certain times of the year, such as the equinoxes. It had been speculated that this might even also apply to the moon. Claudia was fascinated by all this, but knew that they would never truly know why this was done. The fun was in speculating a theory and trying to find evidence to prove this. Why would it be so important to have buildings tell you that an equinox had occurred?

When the lecture was over, the students vacated the room, with the exception of half a dozen of them, including Claudia. Presently, another dozen joined them. Professor John Stukely addressed the assembled group concerning the next field trip that they would be embarking upon, at the end of the semester, in a few weeks. They would be visiting one of the Chaco ruins to test the latest theory during the summer solstice, June 21st. He handed out their assignments and work details, and told them what they would need. The students furiously scribbled down their notes, with Claudia scribbling more furiously than most. She did not notice the careful glances from one or two of the other students, all directed longingly at her, or if she did, she ignored them. She had no desire for any romantic entanglements.

After the expedition meeting, Claudia adjourned to the refectory, where she sat eating her lunch, alone. Claudia had managed to obtain a bit of a reputation for herself. It was not a bad reputation; she was just seen as... unapproachable. In the three years she had been attending the University of New Mexico, she had rejected every offer of a date. In fact, no one had ever seen Claudia with a guy, other than the fellow students or professors that attended the archaeological field trips. She was an exceptionally attractive young lady. She had long dark hair, a smooth, pale complexion and beautifully blue sparkling eyes. She was a very friendly person, and treated everyone with kindness. She had even remained friendly to the students and professors who had hit on her during the long nights of these trips. She just made sure that they realised that they were not the right men for her.

During her meal, she studied the diagrams of the pueblos that they would be visiting. The buildings themselves were a marvel of engineering for their time, but there was the problem with the alignment itself. How had they built such huge walls, so far apart from each other, with no line of sight, that matched perfectly? You could draw a straight line along one wall, and it would continue along the length of the other. It was as if someone had been aloft, high in the sky, plotting the lines for the builders. Not for the first time in the past four years, her thoughts drifted to Zan, and of the time he had left Earth.

***

After Zan had left that early February day in 1943, Claudia had sat against the wall of the khiva to which she had accompanied him, and cried her heart out. She had returned to a hungry and very concerned Borad late that evening. Sensing her misery, Borad had cheered her up with stories of their people, and of Zan from his youth. As she listened, she came to realise that Zan sounded more human than Perdreian. Borad had laughed at this.

"Do not worry, Claudia White," he smiled at her gently, "If Prince Zan said you will meet again, then you will meet again. Of that I am sure."

"But when, Borad?" she asked through fresh tears. "When?"

"That I do not know, Claudia White," he sighed. "But even I, a lowly guardsman, can see that somehow, you are tied into Prince Zan's destiny."

"As more than a friend?" she asked hopefully.


He looked at her carefully, not wanting to hurt her tender feelings.

"Perhaps not in the way you hope for," he replied gently. "But I think you will be far more important than you could ever imagine."

"How is it you know this, Borad?"

"My mother was a seer," he smiled, "a person who could read the future in the stars. She told me that the Universe was more than a collection of stars and space. It has a purpose, it has a plan, and that it is trying to... achieve something. I cannot believe that it was a mere coincidence that you turned up in our hour of need, in the middle of nowhere, that you were camped in the very area that called to Prince Zan. Do you not find it... odd that a young woman stumbling upon three strange men in the desert would show no fear, no hesitation?"

They both stared into the fire, while Claudia felt a sense of awe that somehow; she was tied up in some great plan. That she, a simple small town girl, was someone who would be important to Zan. Yeah Claudia, she thought to herself. I will be an important person to Zan when the moon turns blue.

As Zan had predicted, Borad had healed quickly, with no signs of his injuries-- well, except for one. Claudia had brought a magazine for Borad to look at, to study the human shapes. They carefully selected an image that would not bring undue attention to Borad, a bystander from a picture taken in Great Britain. No one would recognise him here. Borad lifted his hand up, and concentrated. A blue light suddenly flared up from inside him, and his features changed from distinctly alien to those of the human in the picture.

Even as Claudia stood there in stunned amazement, Borad had collapsed to the ground, holding his head in agony.

"What's wrong?" she cried in alarm, instantly leaping to his assistance.

She tried what she could to ease the pain, but knowing nothing of what had just occurred, she was powerless. Finally, after what seemed hours, but was actually only ten minutes, Borad released his grip on his head, and stopped his groaning.

"Are you Okay now, Borad?" she asked quietly.

"I... I'm not sure." he gasped. "I feel so weak."

"What happened?" Claudia asked.

"It felt like my head exploded. Perhaps my injuries are more severe than we had thought."

"I'm sorry, Borad. That I can't do anything more for you."

"You have done enough, Claudia White." he smiled through his pain. "Thank you."

"Sugar!" Claudia suddenly exclaimed, snapping her fingers.

"Pardon?" Borad asked with a smile. "Sugar?"

"Yes. Sugar," she laughed. "What you just did, the changing. That light. Does that burn up energy?"

"Yes. I'm sure it does," Borad answered looking confused. "What of it?"

"Suppose your injuries did something inside. Suppose that aliens, oh... sorry, Perdreians store energy somewhere. Energy that you use to do that stuff. Suppose that it is now damaged. Maybe what you did emptied what little you had, and caused the pain, and your weakness."

"It is possible, I suppose," he considered, narrowing his eyes.
"Though I am no Medical Technician."

Claudia rummaged in her pack, and produced a bag of mint candies. She pulled one from the bag, and handed it to Borad.

"Eat this," she commanded.


He took the candy from her, and examined it carefully, sniffing at it.

"What is it?" he asked suspiciously.

"Basically, it's boiled sugar, with flavourings," she urged. "Not the best way, perhaps, but sugar can be converted into energy. It certainly won't hurt to try."

Gingerly, he placed the sweet into his mouth, and started to crunch it with his teeth.

"Well, that will work just as well," she chuckled.

Almost instantly, Borad seemed more comfortable, less weak.

"It is working, Claudia White," he smiled. "The pain is receding, and I feel a little stronger than a moment before. It tastes good, too."

Claudia handed the bag to him.

"Keep them. You may need them."


At last, Claudia had to return home. Between them, they decided that it would be best if Borad accompany her until he got used to humans, and the human way of doing things. As they drove in the Jeep, Claudia explained how they would pass Borad off as a stranger Claudia had found on the side of the road. They made up a story that he had lost his memory, and that his identification papers had been stolen, along with his wallet. They would start at the Sheriff's office, and once they convinced him of the story, the rest would fall into place.

"What is this place, Claudia White?" he asked as they entered a small town.

"Roswell," she replied. "Roswell New Mexico."

***

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The Importance of Being Elizabeth - Book 4

Post by WR » Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:42 pm

Part 2

June, 1943.


Integrating Borad, who now took the name of Brad, into the Roswell society, was easy. Everyone was considerate to 'that nice young man that Claudia had rescued from the Desert.' Everyone, that is, but Deputy Jim Valenti. He was suspicious of the stranger from the first day. At first, he was convinced that Brad was a German spy, here to sabotage the 509th Bomber Group at the nearby military base, due to leave for England in a few months. Because everyone knew of Jim's infatuation with Claudia, his suspicions were written off to his petty jealousy. At Claudia's suggestion, Brad had 'inflicted' himself with a physical disability, making one of his legs slightly crippled. This would prevent his having to answer the questions as to why he was not serving his country.

After allowing him a few days of simply finding his feet, and getting to understand the humans, and their strange customs, Claudia decided that it was time for Brad to find a job. The best place, she decided, would be away from Jim, and his suspicious nature. She drove Brad out of town, to Pete Parker's bar out by the air base. He was always looking for new staff, especially as any one he employed often quit after the first fight they witnessed when the flyboys from the base cut loose every Saturday night. Peter had hired him, simply because Claudia had recommended him.

"Hello, Claudia," a young man, only slightly older than Claudia said, as she was leaving with Brad.


The young man looked Brad up and down, as if he were perhaps sizing up a competitor.

"Oh..." Claudia responded, momentarily lost for words, " Dave... hi."
"Haven't seen you for a while. You've missed some school."

"Uh, yeah," she replied. "You know, I found this, uh, I found Brad here, and helped him."

"Yeah, I heard," he commented, staring at his feet. "You got him a job with my dad, huh?"

"Oh, yeah. He needs one, and your dad, I heard the other guy quit, so I figured...."

"Sure. Sure. That's good," he stammered.

"Uh, Claudia?"

"Yes, Dave?" Do you have a date? For the dance this Saturday?"

***

"He likes you, Claudia White," Brad teased as they drove back to town to collect his few belongings.

Mr. Parker had not only given Brad a job, but was letting him stay in one of his spare rooms. Claudia had been pleased, because this solved a number of problems, not the least of which was where he would live.
"Who? Dave?" she asked, "No, we're just friends. Good friends actually."

"Nevertheless, he likes you."

"Uh uh," she shook her head. "We're buddies. He's my lab partner, in science, and stuff. No, he doesn't like me that way."

"If you say so, Claudia White," he laughed. "If you say so."
"Besides," she sighed, staring up at the sky.


Brad looked at her, and followed her upward gaze. He gave a silent laugh, and looked back at her with a rueful smile.

"Claudia White," he said softly, "it will be two years before Prince Zan arrives on Antar. When he does, I have no doubts that he will marry Lady Ava. It is, after all, what has been prophesied on our planet. He would not want you to live in limbo, clinging to the false hope that he might come back for you. Even if he did, it would take an additional two years to return. That's four years, Claudia White. In the meantime, it would do you no harm to be with your own kind. Dave Parker appears to be a nice young man, and you obviously like him. It will not hurt to go to the dance with him."

Claudia looked at Brad, her eyes rimmed with tears. She nodded, wiping the tears from her eyes away. What Brad had just said made sense to her, but she could not give up on Zan like that.

***

Claudia had attended the dance with Dave that Saturday night. She had a wonderful time with him, even though Jim Valenti had tried to cause trouble for them. He went out of his way to make Dave angry, wanting him to throw a punch so Jim could arrest him. Dave did his best to ignore him, and even kept very quiet when Jim flagged him down on the way home, with the intention of setting him up with a violation of some kind. Brad happened to be passing, giving Dave a witness, and preventing Jim from doing something he might truly regret at a later date. It was fortunate that Jim's attempts to get Dave in trouble ended when it became obvious that Claudia was not dating Dave.

She graduated from High School the following year, and was accepted into the University of New Mexico, where she would follow her heart and study Archaeology. Jim and Dave almost came to blows in their attempts to be Claudia's date for the Prom, but after initially deciding not to go to the event, it had been Brad who convinced her that she should attend.

"Prince Zan would want you to attend such an important function," he told her bluntly.

She thought it fitting that she attend the Prom as Dave's date, partly because of the help they had been to each other over the years, but mainly because Brad had told her she should go with him. She should go with anyone but that annoying Deputy who didn't even attend their high school.

During that summer, and at almost every opportunity she had, Claudia was out in the desert, studying the petroglyphs that she had found, carefully copying them down into notebooks, in the exact sequence that she would find them. Although there were many symbols that she could not yet translate, there were a few that she could. Slowly, she learned that as she translated some symbols, she could best guess others. She knew in time, she would learn more.

What excited her the most, though, was that she was slowly uncovering the edges of some ancient native 'fairy story'. It seemed that there was a chief of a very important tribe, who was forced to flee his ancestral home, and hide in a cave from the evil chief who stole his position. There was more, much more to this tale, she knew, but she could not decipher anything else. It was enough, though. Claudia was well and truly hooked now. Her excitement was short lived however, for when she returned home for Easter, during her second year at college, she had discovered that Brad had left town. There had been no goodbye, no explanation and no note. Her only link to Zan had left her. Her tears returned.

***

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The Importance of Being Elizabeth - Book 4

Post by WR » Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:46 pm

Part 3

July 1947

The cold night wind blew across the desert floor, lifting small clouds of dust to dance among the dried bracken and sage brush that had long since given up the search for water. Far away in the distance, a lone coyote howled its indifference to a moon, slowly rising above the mountains to the Southeast. It was a lonely, plaintive cry, one that somehow seemed to mourn the loss of an entire race, of an entire planet. Perhaps the coyote truly understood what it was that had recently happened.

As the moon rose above the crest of a ridge, its pale, luminous light shone through the receding storm clouds and reflected from a large metallic disc like shape. A groove had been scratched into the earth behind it, leaving a short trail of debris, also reflecting in the moonlight. There was no movement; there were no sounds, just the eerie whistle of the wind, and mournful howl of the coyote.

The stillness was shattered by a sharp cry of pain, which came from a dark bundle off to one side of the large scar in the earth, a bundle that was covered with a shield of shiny metal. With each new movement, the bundle whimpered. Clearly, it was in pain. Slowly, the shield of metal was pushed back, and a dusty shape stood with a cry of agony. The way the shape's arm hung limply at its side gave mute evidence of a broken limb. There was more to this person's pain, though. Much more.

The shape turned to face the large silver disc, and upon seeing the wreckage, started to cry out in mournful anguish.

"Zan!" it called, knowing now that nothing else could have survived the crash.

It was a miracle that she had. Taysha, one time daughter to Lord Talbuth, betrothed to K'Var, and murderer of King Zan, stared at the wreckage with tears streaming from her eyes. It was not enough that she had killed her beloved Zan with her own hand, she had destroyed the spacecraft that had promised his rebirth, ending all hopes of her redemption. She felt that the pain she would now endure as the atmosphere of this planet slowly killed her was simply to good for her crimes.

There was no motion anywhere, no signs that anyone else had survived the impact. Taysha limped to the craft, looking for some way to enter it, that she might find someone, anyone, alive. In the distance, she heard the noises of approaching vehicles. She turned, looking for the source, and saw the small points of the yellow lights, some distance away. She would simply await them. Perhaps they might put her out of her misery, though it was not what she deserved. She deserved the misery to be prolonged, for a lifetime, no, a thousand lifetimes. Taysha started to cry again.

"Hide!" the voices called in her head.

"Hide!" repeated a single voice.


Dazed, and confused, Taysha looked around the barren wilderness for a place to hide. Some distance away, she saw a cluster of large rocks that might afford some shelter. If not from the atmosphere, at least from the vehicles approaching the crash sight. Her leg hurt, but she limped across the broken terrain, falling over often, jarring her whole body with pain as her broken arm fell against the ground. Yes, punish me, I should be punished! she cried in her heart. At last, the shelter had been reached, and in the hollow of some rocks, Taysha crawled into its welcoming darkness. To die, she hoped. Tears continued to flood her eyes.

Taysha watched the sunrise, a kaleidoscope of colours, the like of which she had never seen before. In spite of her excruciating pain, Taysha felt humbled by the intense beauty of it. A memory played in her mind.

"I went down there, Taysha." Zan had said to her. "Remember that night, when you showed me? I visited that same spot. It's beautiful Taysha. I would love to share it with you, one day."

Remember that night? She could never forget it. It was such a wonderfully bittersweet night. It was the night she realised that Zan, well, Jervad held feelings for her, and had wanted to kiss her. It was also the night she knew that she would never receive a kiss from him. She had been right.

"It is beautiful, Zan." she whispered to the spot in her heart where Zan still lived. "And in your own way, you have shared it with me, at last."

***

All day, the strange warrior looking beings bustled around the space ship. She had a good view from her hiding spot, and watched as they scurried around collecting the chunks of debris, and loading them onto their vehicles. Two teams of men, strangely clothed in suits of white that completely covered them, emerged from the wreckage of the space ship, each carrying a cluster of what looked like giant seedpods. There were four pods to each cluster, and looked big enough to hold a small child. Zan! she cried deep in her soul. She knew without a doubt that Zan was in one of those Pods. She made to get up, to help her Zan.

"No!" cried the voices. "Hide!"


The day passed slowly, while the men continued with their salvage operation. Two more men arrived and after milling around for a while, they climbed into the vehicle in which the pods had been loaded and drove off. Taysha, her flesh burning, wanted to follow, for Zan might need her, but she could not move. As darkness fell, and the Earthlings brought in artificial lights, Taysha finally drifted off to a troubled sleep.


'Beep... beep... beep.' The sound woke Taysha up. Night had long since arrived, but the first tendrils of dawn were streaking across the distant horizon. She concentrated on the darkness, from where an annoying beeping sound was emanating. Was this some Earthling device, trying to find her? Dimly, she was aware of the steady pain of her broken arm, her hurt leg, and the burning sensation that covered her skin. To add to this, the strange pain of the beeping sound assailed her ears. There was something about this beep. A bit further away, she saw soldiers carefully approaching her. They too heard the sound, and appeared to be searching for its source.


As the growing light of the rising sun started to pick out the features of the ground, Taysha noticed the strange object that seemed not to belong there, half buried in the dirt. It was just an edge of a silvery blue metal, with a smooth curved edge. It looked like the device, the orb that Geltar had played with while talking to Glister on their journey to Earth.

"What is it?" Geltar had asked.

"Very important, is what it is." Glister had responded anxiously.

"That must definitely not fall into the wrong hands."


The soldiers were heading straight for it, and Taysha saw an opportunity to gain some minor redemption.

Giving little thought to her own safety, Taysha eased herself from her hiding spot, and scurried to the object. With her one good hand, she pulled it from its dusty covering, and tried to return to her shelter.

"Hey!" someone called, dashing her hopes that she would not be seen. "You there, stop!"

She had been spotted. With a quick glance over her shoulder to see the soldiers now hurrying towards her, Taysha took off, running as best she could towards some hills further behind her. Her heart was pounding, her breath was coming in short gasps, and she was in complete agony, but she would reach the hills before the soldiers would get her. Where she had found the strength, she never knew.

As she scrambled through a small gap, she cried in pain as she lost her footing and fell down the hill on the other side. Every part off her was demanding an end, to be released from her nightmare. She knew that she could not let the soldiers find the orb. Behind a rocky outcrop, she saw a metal tower. Behind those rocks, where she would be out of sight, she thought, she could bury the orb and then keep on running. The soldiers would chase her, missing the orb. As she had hoped, she made the rocks before the soldiers arrived. Concentrating through her agony, she willed a hole to appear, near to one of the tower legs here she hoped the metal below the ground would thwart their searching devices. She quickly filled the hole with the loose dirt, and willed the surface to appear firm. Happy with her efforts, she leapt up and started to run again. The soldiers, who had just crested the ridge high behind her, followed.

Time was a blur for Taysha. She did not know for how long she had been running. It might have been hours, but it might have been only minutes. The pain was so intense, she could no longer concentrate on listening for the soldiers, only on the steady movement of putting one foot in front of the other. She was having trouble seeing clearly now, it was as if a mist had descended. She was constantly accompanied by a strange smell. At last she could move no more. As she crested yet another rise, she collapsed, and tumbled down the slope, and into a hidden ravine below. Everything went dark. Had death come to claim her at last?

***

"Ren, Ren" a voice called to him. "Come on Ren, wake up."

Ren groaned, feeling himself being pulled.

"Come on, Ren." the voice urged. "Get into your Skin, or you will die"

Although racked with pain, Ren managed to climb into the skin the other man, a human, was offering him.

"Who are you?" he groaned, noticing that the Skin was now easing his pain.

"It's me, Denbers." the figure smiled. "Come on, let's get out of here. There are some vehicles coming."

"Wait!" Ren resisted. "What about Lady Taysha? What about Zan and the others?"

"Lady Taysha is here?" Denbers demanded incredulously.

"Yes." Ren confirmed. "She stopped my transmission. K'Var won't know where we are."

"Can't be helped." Denbers said. "If she did not die in the crash, she will not live much longer down here. As for Zan and the others, I doubt anyone else lived. There are two Perdreian corpses over there. I doubt the others are any better off. The Earthlings will be here soon. They will take Zan and the others, if they were not destroyed.

"What if they cause their re-birth?"

"That is Nikolas' job." Denbers called, pulling at Ren to leave. "We must get used to these skins, because when we seal them, our senses will be dulled. Then we will search for the one ally that Zan has down here. We will find the woman you saw them with, and we will kill her."

***

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The Importance of Being Elizabeth - Book 4

Post by WR » Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:52 pm

Part 4

July 1947


For the first time since she had started to go on these expeditions, Claudia was bored. That was not the right word, perhaps, but she certainly felt that she did not want to be here. Of the twenty-two males on the trip, sixteen of them made some kind of pass at her. It was frustrating to her that she would never be taken seriously. They all saw her as some form of conquest, not as a fellow student wanting to learn. They had been here a while now. After seeing that the long straight wall did indeed line up with the point where the sun rose on the solstice day, they had remained to check on some other ideas. Seeking a little solitude, Claudia had left the group at the fire and had gone for a walk. She had found a sheltered nook that looked away to the South. Towards Roswell, home.

As she always did, Claudia found herself staring up into the sky, watching the stars. Out in the desert, the view was always so spectacular. She idly wondered which of the many pinpoints of light was the star around which Antar orbited. She remembered that Zan had been disappointed that he could not see it, suggesting that he thought he would be able to do so. Four years had passed. Brad had said it would be at least four years before he would return.

"Oh Zan." she whispered, a single tear trickling down her cheek. "Where are you? Are you even alright?"

She saw the shooting star, and was about to make a wish, when she realised that it was not a star, it was too big. It was racing in from her right, a long streak of blue-white light. Her first reaction was that it was a meteor, but she was sure that it would burn red, not blue. The vapour from the object cast a blue veil across the rising moon, half hidden by clouds. A bolt of lightening suddenly struck the object, sending a shower of blue-white sparks. Silently, the object crashed into the ground at an angle of about 25 degrees from the ground. Surprisingly, there was no explosion. It was some distance away, close to Roswell, she figured. For some reason, she felt that she had to get there, fast.

She hurried back to her tent, and was relieved to see everyone else still seated around the campfire, singing risqué songs. To most of them, this was just a game. She grabbed her sleeping bag, pillow, and flashlight, and threw them in the back of a jeep. She hurried back to her tent, where she grabbed her pack, and a large container of water. Remembering the last time she felt an urge to be somewhere, she grabbed the large first aid kit. After leaving a note on her tent explaining her sudden need to go home, she fired up the jeep, and raced off into the dark stillness.

It took her the rest of the night and all the next day to get anywhere near the area she felt the meteor, or whatever, had come down. She was sure it was near, or on the Pohlman Ranch. There was a delay on the highway where an army checkpoint had been set up. The soldier on duty was telling everyone that a weather balloon had come down, that they would have to detour while the authorities collected the delicate equipment. Some folks thought it more sinister than that. Regardless, they were turning people away, but Claudia knew this area like the back of her hand. She turned her jeep around, and planned to come in on some back roads. It was now two days since the event and it would be morning by the time she would get to her destination.

High on a ledge, hidden amidst rocks and brushes, Claudia peered down on the great scar torn into the Earth's crust. What ever had caused it had long since gone by now, but a few soldiers patrolled the perimeter, still looking for something. Over by the radio tower, she saw a team of soldiers with metal detectors combing the area. Something much bigger than a weather balloon had come down here. Claudia slid back down the hill from her vantage point, and stopped in some shade. What ever had been here, she was too late now. She returned to her jeep, wondering if she should return to the expedition, or to go on home. She felt the sudden need to be alone, so decided to head for Roswell.

As she drove around the corner, a few miles down the ridge from the tower, she thought she saw a flash of reflected light coming up from the ravine. She knew there was nothing down there, except an old cave. She remembered this cave, because it had a huge wall of petroglyphs, none of which she had been able to interpret yet, except one, 'Heart'. Parking the jeep behind some bushes, she climbed down into the ravine. What she found there staggered her beyond belief.

She found a young woman, well, it closely resembled one, anyway. In so many ways, she looked like Zan, but there were slight differences. She was definitely alien. Had the crash been a space ship? That would explain the military interest. Was this the rescue mission, sent to recover Borad? Was Zan on the ship? Her mind was brought back to the current situation by a quiet groan of pain. The young woman obviously had a broken arm, and was covered in burns. From what she had heard, they were acid burns. There was a powerful smell, one Claudia could scarcely endure, and the open wounds wept a whitish substance. The young woman had difficulty in breathing, emitting a kind of wheezing. She was clearly dying.

Think Claudia, think, she urged herself. How do you treat burns? Water, of course! Yes, she had a large container in the Jeep, she would go back and get it, and use it to help the poor woman. No, you clutz! Not water. This is acid, not fire. What? Think! Think! She would have to get the girl to hospital. But then would they cure her? She was, after all, an alien. What might they do to her? Aloe! That would help. She could get Aloe from the Cacti. Idiot! How long would it take you find enough? Think! When was the last time you saw a cactus plant? This isn't the movies.

Claudia sat down and started to cry. She was helpless. All she could do was try and make this poor woman comfortable for her last few hours, and watch her die. Taking a couple of dried twigs, and some bandages from her first aid kit, Claudia bound the broken limb. She new the poor woman would never get to use it again, but she still took great care while treating it. At the sound of Claudia's weeping, the young woman opened her eyes, giving Claudia a fright. Her deep brown eyes were covered with a milky white film, her dark pupils barely discernible.

"I am so sorry, Miss," she sobbed. "I don't know how to help you."

"No," the woman sighed. "This is my punishment. It's okay."

"Punishment? For what?" she asked through her tears. "What are you being punished for."

"For my crimes."

Claudia looked at the woman sympathetically.

"I'll be right back." she whispered. "There are some things I need to get."


When Claudia came back, she thought the woman had died, she was so still. As she neared, she heard her wheezy breath. Very gently, Claudia lifted the woman's head, and inserted her pillow beneath it. She then trickled some water onto the woman's lips, keeping a slow, gentle flow to allow her to drink.

"Thank you," she wheezed.

"Were you in a crash?" Claudia asked. "Did your space ship crash?"

The woman nodded.

"Are you Perdreian?" Claudia asked.

The woman looked sharply at her, confusion on her face. It then relaxed, and she gently smiled.

"Are you Claudia White?" she asked.

"Yes," Claudia answered, a little startled, "how did you know?"


With her good arm, the woman reached into her tunic. Her blistered hand pulled out a pendant with a familiar shape. It was the same pendant that Zan had found in the khiva, four years ago. A tear came to her eye, and a pang to her heart. Zan had given that pendent to this girl. Claudia suddenly knew who she was.

"You are Lady Taysha, aren't you?" Claudia whispered.

"Just Taysha," she brely nodded, hardly able to speak, "don't deserve the Lady."

"How is Prince Zan?" Claudia asked quietly.

There was a moment of silence while Taysha seemed to struggle with something.

"King-- King Zan now," she sobbed, "but he is dead."

Claudia was stunned. Dead? Her heart broke, shattering into a million pieces. Zan was dead? When? How? Through her own tears, she saw Taysha crying too. She just knew that the salty tears would be causing her extra pain.

Claudia had sat with Taysha until they had both quietened down. She was sleeping now, if a little uncomfortably. Claudia opened her journal, and found the message that Zan had left for her. Nothing else marked the page; she had left it as it was. Follow your heart. How could she do that, when her heart was now a pile of dust somewhere in her chest? Follow your heart. Tears rolled down her cheeks, while she set about preparing some soup to share with Taysha.

The sun had long since set, and the moon had not yet risen. Some distance away, a lone coyote howled out his warning. A single high-pitched tone that signified for someone, that the end was at hand. Claudia became aware of Taysha's sobbing.

"Claudia White?" she called out. "Claudia White?"

"Yes Taysha," she answered, "I'm here, what is it?"

"Can you forgive me?" she asked.

"What for Taysha?" Claudia asked. "What for?"

"I loved him, Claudia White," Taysha murmured, "even when I found out he was Zan, I loved him so much."

"He loved you too, Taysha." she replied.

"As he loved you also, Claudia White."


Claudia suspected how much Zan had loved this woman and she could sense how much love this woman returned. She had heard of this sort of thing before. They were Soul Mates. To hear Taysha admit that Zan also loved her made her feel very warm inside.

"Thank you, Taysha," she whispered with tears raining from her eyes.
"When I die, take my pendant," she sobbed. "Zan would want you to have it."

"Don't be silly Taysha," Claudia tried to smile. "You won't die."

Claudia knew otherwise, as did Taysha. Claudia suspected that she would welcome her death, so that her soul might follow Zan's.


"He was on the ship," Taysha managed to say. "Zan."

"Zan? On the ship?" Claudia demanded. "Taysha, what are you talking about?"

"They wanted him reborn." she struggled to say. "Try again."

"Zan is going to be reborn?" she asked "Here on Earth?"

"No." Taysha sobbed. "He's dead. The warriors took him. It's all over. My fault!"

Taysha suddenly burst into a deep uncontrollable burst of hysterical sobbing. Unhesitatingly, Claudia carefully pulled Taysha to her breast, offering comfort, and gently rocking, as though soothing a baby. She ignored the pungent odour.


"Shhh, its okay, Taysha." she cried. "Don't be afraid. Zan is waiting for you."

"You don't understand, Claudia White. That is why I'm afraid."

Claudia leaned back, and looked into Taysha's white-filmed eyes. Despite the film, Claudia could see the beautiful brown eyes beneath.

"What ever do you mean, Taysha?" she asked, shedding as many tears as Taysha.

"I betrayed him," she sobbed. "Oh Claudia White, he loved me, and in the end I betrayed him."

"How did you betray him?" Claudia demanded going cold inside.

But Taysha was hysterical again, the wheezing sounds giving a rough edge to her crying.

"I killed him," Taysha whispered through her tears, with her final breath.

For the first time in her life, Claudia heard the death rattle. It was a sound she hoped that she would never again hear in her life.

***

Claudia held Taysha for another ten minutes, crying all the time for lost love. Not just her own, but the love that Zan had lost, and the love that Taysha had lost. Brad had once told her that the Universe had a plan. What kind of plan inflicted such suffering on people like Zan, and Taysha? Why could they not be allowed to share that love and be together? They both seemed such wonderful people. Surely, the universe would be a better place if people like that were allowed to be together.

Claudia retrieved a trenching tool, and the sleeping bag from the Jeep. She was going to dig a grave, but had no luck finding anywhere in the ravine that was just soil. It was all bedrock. Finally, in the cave, she found that at some point, someone had excavated a hole among the rock. It was rectangular, and filled with soft soil. Hoping she did not uncover another corpse, Claudia dug into the soil revealing a perfect grave. She pulled her sleeping bag over Taysha's body, remembering to take the pendant from her first, placing this with her journal. At last, Taysha lay buried.

"I can't forgive you Taysha," she whispered through her tears, "I'm sorry. But I am sure Zan will. God speed you on your journey to be by his side."

***

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The Importance of Being Elizabeth - Book 4

Post by WR » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:01 pm

Part 5

July 1947


Of the six Perdreians that started the journey, only three remained. One had been killed when the Kalithan rebels made their failed attempt to destroy the lab, while two others died in the crash. Geltar had helped Glister and one of the assistants, Satuma, away from the wreckage. Alone, he had worked hard and fast, and had managed to retrieve the Granolith and the healing stones that Glister had suddenly brought with him on a whim. The Earthling warriors arrived in their vehicles before he could rescue the vital pods. Now it was too late, the warriors had already loaded these most important items onto one of their vehicles. He had no doubts that they would soon take them away. Angry with himself for not rescuing the pods first, both he and Satuma were devastated, and not a little irked at Glister's apparent indifference.

"This is what we will do," Glister commanded suddenly. "Geltar, take the Granolith, and the healing stones, and find a cavern suitable for our needs. Store the Granolith, and make sure the cave is covered. Seal it with a portal, and allow access to we three, and the four Royals."

"But the H'Manz have the Royals!" Geltar barked.

"Satuma and I will rescue them," Glister said carefully. "We will follow their vehicle, and watch for an opportunity to take them back."

"But that is a task for a warrior!" Geltar informed him abruptly.

"Let me rescue the Royals, while you set up the chamber."

"No, Geltar." Glister smiled. "Suppose something is wrong with the pods? We might need to repair them. No, it is better that Satuma and I go."


As darkness descended, Geltar watched them leave.

"If we come into contact with any of them," he heard Glister say to Satuma, "use your energy to start glowing, Perhaps we can frighten them."

When they were out of sight, threw a stone at the darkness out of sheer frustration. At every turn, events seemed to be conspiring against his King. What had he done to deserve such a fate? He hoped that the traitorous Taysha was still alive, so that she would suffer under the hostile atmosphere of this planet. Finally, Geltar looked at the strange artefact, the Granolith.

"How am I supposed to move this on my own?" he asked no one in particular.

As he approached the Granolith, he was surprised when the unit suddenly levitated a few feet above the ground. Tentatively, he gave the Granolith a gentle push, and it moved slightly.

"Well," he grunted hoarsely. "Aren't you helpful?"


Geltar headed away from the crash site, towards a large outcrop of rocks on the horizon. He walked all night, leaving mental markers for Glister so that he would find him, if his mission succeeded. At last he found a place that seemed suitable, just as the first tendrils of dawn started to light up the morning sky. By mid-day, he had the Granolith securely stored at the back of a large cavern he only had to modify slightly, and had fashioned the secret door that Glister has asked for. He sat back to await his colleagues. For three days, he waited. It seemed an eternity. At last he sensed them approaching, but he also sensed their fear. Geltar hurried down the mountain to meet them.

"Soldiers are coming," Glister informed him. "Hurry. We must get the Royals inside, and then one of us must take the decoys away.
Working together, they soon had the four Royal pods secured to the wall, making the square shape of their unity. Linked by a common bond, these four would return to Antar one day, and save them all.

"Now what do we do?" asked Geltar.

"We must continue!" Glister stated. "We must get the decoys away, and stored somewhere that they might complete the task for which they are designed."

"What about the warriors?" Satuma asked. "What if they find this place?"

"They must be lead away." Glister said. "They must not find them."

"Satuma and I will leave," Geltar spoke authoritatively, "we will go different directions. When the soldiers have gone, following us, then you may make your escape with the decoys. It might be best if you wait till darkness."

"What if you are both caught? Who will bring up the Royal four?"

"Even if I am caught," Geltar stated, "I will find a way to be here for my King!"

***

August 1951

The repercussions from that summer reverberated throughout the community of Roswell. For some, it was the ideal opportunity to attract money from a new source, since the nearby military base was closing down. With carefully spread rumours, it became the popular belief that the crash - confirmed by the authorities as a weather balloon - was really an alien space ship. Restaurants and gift shops all vied with one another to attract the curious tourists as they all claimed to have something from the crash site.

For Jim Valenti, it was a kind of epiphany. After having been involved with the military roadblocks, and having heard the rumours of two soldiers being found dead with strange markings on their shoulders, he knew there was more to this story than was being told. Initially, he kept quiet about it, especially as strange things were going on with people he knew. First, there was the mysterious death of that journalist, Betty Osario. And then there was the discharge of Hal Carver; one of the laziest sorry-assed sons of a bitch Jim had ever met. The man never stuck his neck out for anything, so what had pushed him this time? Worst of all was the strange disappearance of Claudia's older sister, Yvonne, a nurse at the military base, a disappearance that seemed to affect Claudia far more than Jim would consider normal. Jim was secretly convinced that the alien story was true. He vowed to himself that he would find out.

Jim's attempts to court Claudia had failed. Overnight, it seemed, she had become an empty shell, and a mere shadow of the woman she used to be. The whole family took Yvonne's disappearance hard, but none more so than Claudia did. She never spoke, unless asked a direct question, and she always had a look of deep sadness. She had dropped out of University, and had taken a job in town waiting tables. She seldom received any tips, because of her attitude. So Jim turned his attentions to the next best girl in town. Eventually, he found someone who was as impressed with him as he was, and in 1950, Roswell celebrated the marriage of Deputy Jim Valenti. The following year was a double celebration for the Valenti household, as Jim announced the birth of his son, Jim Jr., and his promotion to the position of Sheriff, the youngest in Roswell's history.

Claudia had been waiting the tables all day, and she was tired. She was good at her job, quick, efficient; it's just that she was not very enthusiastic. She scarcely noticed whom it was that she served, it was just a table number as far as she was concerned.

"Can I take your order now?" she asked the young man sitting alone at table five.

"Sure, can I have five minutes of your time, please Claudia?" the man asked.

She looked at the man in surprise, seeing Dave Parker in the booth. She had not seen him since High School. Dave had joined the Air Force as soon as he was old enough, and had seen action in skies above Germany. He had only recently been discharged.

"I'm a bit busy," she said, simply.

"Actually, the boss says it's okay," he smiled. "I'm a bit of a hero now."

After a glance at her boss, she slid into the booth opposite Dave.


They talked, well Dave talked while Claudia listened, about Dave mostly, about his experiences in the war, and his work after the war in the destruction that was Europe. Finally, Dave moved the conversation to Claudia, and how she did not seem to be herself these days. He had heard about her sister, but tried to make her see how Yvonne would not like for to be this way. She would have wanted her sister to live her life as full as possible.

"They're showing 'Singing In The Rain' at the cinema," he said. "Would you like to go with me?"

"I'm sorry, Dave," she sighed. "I can't."

Dave looked at Claudia for the longest time, and after a deep sigh, stood up from the booth.

"If you change your mind, Claudia," he said gently, "you know where I am."


Claudia stared at the Formica table top, tears forming in her eyes.

"You should go with him, Claudia White." the man in the booth behind her said, quietly. "He would not want you to be like this either."

There were only two people who called her Claudia White on this planet. She had buried one of them.

"Brad, is that you?" she exclaimed, spinning around.

But the man in the seat was not Brad. It was someone else; it was a Native American from the reservation.

"Oh, sorry," she said quietly, "I though you were someone I knew."

"I am someone you know, Claudia White," he smiled. "Don't let this face fool you. I left Brad behind a long time ago."

With her first smile in five years, albeit a sad one, she moved from the booth and sat next to her old friend.


With great sadness, she told him the story of her finding Taysha, and how she died in her arms. She was not surprised to feel the pain, as though it had occurred only yesterday. She would tell no one, but the death of Zan was the real reason for her heartache. Her sister's disappearance, while painful in itself, gave her an acceptable reason to show such grief.

"Zan will be pleased that you cared for her, Claudia White. From what I remember, he was very fond of her. It sounds like their friendship did not end on his return to Antar."

"He loved her," Claudia said quietly. "And she loved him."

Claudia wiped her tears from her eyes, and looked at her friend.

"She killed him," she said quietly. "She told me she killed him, and she asked me to forgive her. I couldn't."

"With Zan dead, the Kalithens will rule Antar now," Brad told her gently. "Lady Taysha would have been treated as their Queen. Had she remained behind, she would be ruling now. Instead, she chose to follow Zan. What love she must have had for him."


"But now they are both dead," Claudia whispered.

"And so are you, Claudia White," Brad stated.

"What are you talking about?" she demanded.

"Zan, I am sure, will forgive her, Claudia White," he said. "And you know that Zan would ask you to forgive her also. He would not want you feeling this way about her. You are better than that. It is true, they are dead, but they will live on, in our memories. They will only truly die if we allow everything they stood for to die with them. You have much to give, Claudia White. There is a life out there for you to live. Live your life - for Zan, if not for yourself."

Claudia considered this for a while.

"Do you think I am still important to Zan, even though he is dead?" she asked quietly.

"I am sure of it," he smiled, "now, more than ever. If the Universe went to all that trouble to bring you and Taysha together, it had good reason to do so. Never doubt your importance."

***

With her tears stinging her eyes, Claudia drove out to the ravine where Taysha lay buried in the cave. She knelt beside the spot she knew covered the unfortunate woman, but was surprised to see that the floor had somehow developed a hard crust, as solid as the surrounding rock. In the centre, looking as old as the other symbols, was the petroglyph for Heart. Claudia smiled, with her tears falling from her eyes. Had Zan somehow reached from beyond his own grave to protect his beloved? Carefully, Claudia laid a bouquet of white roses over the symbol.

"I am sorry, Lady Taysha," she whispered. "I treated you badly, because I believed you had taken Zan away from me. But he was never really mine, was he? He was yours. I bring you these roses, as a symbol of my forgiveness of you. They represent reverence and humility. It is my reverence for you, and my humility in comparison to you. They also represent innocence and purity, your love for Zan. Finally, they stand for secrecy and silence. I don't yet fully know what that has to do with you, but inside, I know it means something. Zan promised me that we would meet again, Taysha, he and I. I shall believe!"

Claudia stood, and looked down at the flowers.

"You asked me for my forgiveness, Lady Taysha." she sobbed. "It is I who should be begging for yours."

***

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The Importance of Being Elizabeth - Book 4

Post by WR » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Part 6

June 1954


The man picked up the lamp, and hurled it across the room.

"Shit!" he screamed at the top of his lungs. "Shit! Shit! Shit!"

Behind him, another man entered the room and glanced at the destruction.

"Yeah, that's it!" he shouted. "Trash the place, why don't you."

They had both been in foul tempers when they discovered that the Pods that had been brought to Earth, the ones containing Zan and the others, had been rescued by a Perdreian who had survived the crash, with the collaboration of an Earthling. They suspected that it had been Zan's Earth woman, and that when Nikolas found out about this, they would be in trouble. They were no nearer to finding her now, than when they first arrived.

"Shut up, Denbers!" the first shouted. "We have been on this hell hole of a planet for eight years, and we are no nearer to finding her than we were back then."

"We keep going over this, Ren," Denbers shouted back. "Get the image on paper, and I can help you look."

"Oh, you would like that, wouldn't you?" Ren sneered. "Then you wouldn't need me. Then you could go skulking off to Nikolas, and say how it was all you. And how come you won't tell me where Nikolas is?"

"Because I don't know!" he yelled. "Do you think that if I knew, we would still be wandering around alone, living in these bug ridden dumps they call habitation? It's using up our resources too fast."


There was a momentary silence.

"Get me some paper, and some drawing implements," Ren said quietly. "I will draw the woman's likeness."

"We will have to obtain more money," Denbers informed him. "There are never any shortages of people willing to pay us to kill one of their enemies. Perhaps we should use their own tools to kill them. The marks we leave must surely cause some curiosity. I can do without being chased by their authorities."

"You know that the people who hire us like the calling card we leave. But you might be right," Ren sighed, waving a hand over the shattered lamp, restoring it to it's original form. "Where do you think Nikolas might be?"

"If he has any sense, he will have set up a base somewhere with more moisture in the air," Denbers moaned. "This arid heat is destroying our Skins."

"How long do they have left, do you think?" Ren asked.

"Another forty years," Denbers said quietly, "plenty of time."

***

Claudia sat among the other students, younger than herself by five years, watching the procession of students in their gowns and mortar board hats as they approached the speaker, accepted their scroll with handshake, and moved the tassel from one side of their cap to the other. She idly played with her pendant, hidden beneath her own gown, a pendant she had never removed since she put it on when she finally forgave Lady Taysha. Things had gone well for Claudia during the past three years. Very well, indeed.

After her visit, to Lady Taysha's grave, when she had finally forgiven her, Claudia had called Dave Parker.

"Are we still on for that movie?" she had asked.

She could sense his joy down the telephone wires.

"Yeah," he exclaimed, "Sure."

"OK. What time will you pick me up?"

"Would seven o'clock be convenient?"

"Sure, Dave. Seven it is," she smiled at his excitement. "Uhm, Dave? The thing is... is this like, a... date?"

"Do you want it to be one?"

"Yes Dave. I would like that."


Their courtship was slow, and tender, but a bond had grown between them. As their relationship grew, and became stronger, Dave had helped her to return to college, and finish her Archaeology degree.

"Claudia Parker," the speaker called, amongst the other names, "Archaeological Studies. Honours degree."

As she rose to join the others, she thought back to her wedding day, just less than a year ago. Everyone had been glad to see the original Claudia White back, and had been thrilled when she agreed to marry Dave Parker. As part of their wedding present, his father had built a diner next his bar, complete with its own private apartment.

"Running a bar is no job for a family man," Pete had grinned, hopefully. "Best you raise a family in a more appropriate environment."

Dave took to the diner business like a duck takes to water, and decided to copy the alien theme that other local businesses were following. He named it Parker's Cafe, hoping the touch of French might give it some class. He had loved the cafes that he had seen in Paris, and in the small towns around Frankfurt where he had been stationed. Claudia, however, warned him that she would not allow herself to become a married waitress. She had to be allowed to continue her work, although she would help out when she could. They were happy together, and any quarrels, of which there were many, were always patched up by bedtime. Dave never stood between her and her dreams.

And finally, she was graduating. She would receive her diploma, and accept the applause from the crowd, which contained many friends and family from Roswell. This was a historic event. Not too many people from Roswell graduated from college, with honours no less. There would be a very public party back at Parker's, where neither she nor Dave would touch the food. This was because that night, they would attend the highest-class restaurant for miles around where they would have their own private celebration.

***

Claudia laughed softly to herself as she gazed at Dave snoring beside her. Normally, he was such a considerate lover, but tonight, for some reason, right after they had finished their lovemaking, he had fallen asleep. It had been the most intense, most satisfying union they had ever shared. Surely this must mean something.

"There's a first," she smiled ruefully at the sleeping figure of her husband.

Still feeling the warm glow of her fulfilment from their sexual union, Claudia rose from her bed, and slipped on her dressing gown. She went out to their veranda, like she had done so many times over the past few years and looked up to the stars. Now that her archaeology course had finished, she was considering taking astronomy. As much as she loved Dave, and she did love Dave very much, she could never forget Zan.

With a sudden fright, Claudia realised that she was no longer alone. She turned to face her new companion, thinking it might be Dave. A tall, slim Native American, wearing the full regalia of an Anasazi Medicine Man stood carefully looking at her.

"Brad?" she asked, quietly. "Is that you?"

She had not seen Brad since that day when he had helped her to forgive Taysha, although she was sure she had seen him in the crowd at her wedding.

"No," he said gently, taking a step towards her.


Claudia wanted to scream, but she felt immobilised. She grew very frightened when he reached for the top of her dressing gown. He slipped his hand inside and fearing that she would be raped, Claudia was surprised when he withdrew his hand, holding her pendant.
"It is time," he said.
Lifting the pendant from her, he held the stone in his fingers. With a sudden jerk, he snapped the stone, breaking a small segment from the bottom.
"No!" Claudia cried out, reaching for the pendant.

That stone was her only remaining link to Zan. She felt suddenly dizzy, and collapsed into one of the chairs. She was suddenly seeing an image. It was of a handsome young man, with short, dark hair, and deep brown eyes. The eyes held a sort of other-worldliness about them. She had never seen him before, but she knew he was important. He was looking at her with concern, and care, but all his feelings were directed at someone else, unseen by her. She knew she was seeing Zan, and that the other person was Taysha. She was somehow helping to bring them both together. Everything went black momentarily, and when she recovered her sight, the Native was gone, and so was her pendant.

The days passed, and merged into weeks. Claudia made occasional forays into the Chaco Canyons, and started to study the petroglyphs again. She felt sad at the constant reminders of Zan, but she was determined to use the great gift he had left her. Each time she returned, she would write up her notes, and carefully file away her findings. The weeks passed, and Claudia did not know where the time went. She awoke one morning, feeling very strange. She bolted for the bathroom, slamming the door shut. Behind her, a very worried Dave looked on in confusion. After a check-up with her doctor provided her with the confirmation she did not really require, she broke the news to Dave. They were going to have a baby.

***

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The Importance of Being Elizabeth - Book 4

Post by WR » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:15 pm

Part 7

July 1970


"I've found her!" the man shouted into the telephone.

"What? Where?" Ren exclaimed. "Where are you Denbers?"

"Over by Roswell," Denbers said, his voice filled with excitement. "I was in some dump of a general store, getting some stuff, and she came in."

"OK. Where are you staying?" Ren urged. "I'll be right over."

"Starlight Motel, on Highway 285. A little South of Roswell."
"I'll be there this afternoon."

"Right. I'll keep an eye on her."


The two men followed the car as it headed out of town. The couple inside seemed to be quite excited. Earlier, the two men had seen the man purchase some fireworks to celebrate their country's Independence Day. They knew that the woman had been with the doctor earlier. They both seemed to he in high spirits about something. Pehaps they had news of Zan. The car had pulled into the parking lot in front of a roadside diner. The neon sign announced that it was called 'Peppers'. The man stepped out from the car, and headed for the diner, leaving the woman in the car. Immediately Ren and Denbers pounced. A swift strike with a sharp knife, and it was over.

***

It had been a while since Geltar had been this way, not since the days he spent on the reservation. Those had been the days that he tried hard to trust the humans, like Zan had done. True, that young native boy, River Dog had saved his life when he had foolishly involved himself in one of their tribal rituals. River Dog was a nice kid and had even given him a nickname, Nacedo. Geltar believed it meant visitor, for that was what he had told the young boy he was, a visitor. But the other humans he had tried to befriend had deceived him. Like that man Atherton. He had even given Atherton the broken medallion that River-Dog had passed on to him, the one River Dog said his grandfather had found somewhere. It had the symbol of Geltar's galaxy on it, making him wonder just where it had come from. Unable to divine any purpose, he had given it as a token of friendship to Atherton, like he had learnt among the inhabitants of the reservation. Atherton had betrayed him in the end, and he had been forced to kill him, and the man that Atherton had brought with him. They had wanted him to use his alien knowledge to help develop better weapons to use against their enemies. When he had initially refused, they had produced a primitive weapon, and had tried to take him against his wishes. So he had killed them. How had Zan known to trust the woman, Claudia White?

As he rounded the corner of the remote diner, he saw the car pull up. It was incredible to think that no sooner had he thought of Claudia White, then he should practically run into her, for surely, in the car was none other than Claudia White herself. When the man who was with her left to go into the diner, Geltar started towards her, to say hello. He saw the other two men approaching her, so he stepped back into the shadows. He saw the knife blade strike Claudia White, and as the two men ran from the car, he ran to her side.
"It's OK, Claudia White." he gasped, placing his hand over her stab wound, high on her chest. "It's me, Geltar. One of Zan's guards."
He made the connection instantly. During his years on Earth, he had managed to turn his skills to many things. He believed he could heal her. He fixed the damage, and closed the wound, but could not connect to her mind. Too late! She was dead. But Claudia White must not die, he thought to himself despondently.

"Hey!" the shout came from behind him. "What are you doing? Get away!"

The man that was with Claudia was returning from the diner. How could he explain to him what had just happened, what he had tried to do? He had to flee. He ran back around the corner, and once hidden in the shadows, held his hand up, palm outwards. A bright yellow light shone from within him, and he took the form of one of the many drifters he had seen wandering about. He ran off into the night, unaware that the man, having found his wife dead and given chase, had just witnessed Geltar's changing.

* * *

Geltar sat in the quietness of his room, and sighed. He truly hated this. There were another twelve years to go before King Zan and the others would emerge from their Pods. He once again thought of Glister, and how he had left eastward with the four duplicate pods. They should have remained in closer contact. Glister would have known what to do.

"I have let down my King." he sighed.

He knew how King Zan had felt about Claudia White. When he was reborn, he would want to find her. But why was Zan drawn to her? Would she come between him and Ava? Without their union, the prophecy would never be fulfilled. Perhaps the humans, being descendants of the H'Manz would seek to prevent this prophecy themselves.

Of Course!

Why had he not seen this earlier. It was far too coincidental that a young Earthling woman would turn up when they were all injured, and show no fear at finding three 'aliens'. She had been expecting to find them, she had been tasked with the mission of thwarting King Zan's union with Ava, and so preventing the prophecy. The H'Manz were in league with the Kalithens! No more would Geltar trust a human, under any circumstances. He would not tell Zan of Claudia White's death. He would allow Zan to believe she had forsaken him.

"When Zan is reborn, I will make sure he has nothing to do with a human," he confirmed to himself. "No matter how friendly they are, how much help they provide, I will prevent Zan from ever befriending another human. They only bring trouble and will seek to betray him."

During that long afternoon of despair, Geltar's whole outlook on the human race changed. As far as he was concerned, they were as but insects beneath his feet, that must he trod on to reach his destination.

***

Claudia carried the laundry up from the basement to their apartment beside the Cafe, where she started to sort it out. Humming a tune to herself, she picked up each garment, shook it with a snap, and carefully folded it. After lunch, she would iron it all, hopefully completing it before her fifteen-year-old son, Jeff, returned from High School. But first would come lunch. Over the years, it had become a custom that she would have her lunch with her husband Dave. They always ate in their own apartment, and never ate the greasy burgers and fries that had become such a hit with the customers.

"Proper food, for us," she had laughed.

Not that Jeff agreed. Although Claudia made him take a properly packed lunch to school, and he ate well-balanced meals in the evenings, he would spend the weekend demolishing the most unwholesome food imaginable with his friends, in the diner.

"Isn't it great that Jeff brings his friends here all the time?" she mentioned to Dave over their lunch. "You know, we get to see his friends, and we know that he's not out there causing trouble, like some other boys his age."

"I can't imagine Jeff causing trouble. He's a good kid. Talking of other boys, did you hear about Jim Valenti's son? He's a deputy now himself," Dave smiled.

"They have a family business too," Claudia laughed. "But you're right. Jeff's a good boy."

"We can see who he's sweet on too," laughed Dave. "I think he has his eye on Claire, you know, Martin Troy's girl. After all, Jeff hangs with her brother."

"Well David Parker," Claudia chuckled, "That's just where you are wrong. If you can't see that our son has it bad for Nancy Jefferson, then you are as blind as a bat."

"Nancy?" he asked, surprised. "Isn't she kind of young?"

"Well, that age gap will seem smaller in a few years. Give it some time."

"But he never speaks to her," Dave smiled "Every time she comes in, he won't even look at her."

"Oh, he looks," she laughed. "He looks."


With the ironing complete, Claudia made herself a cup of coffee, and sat at the breakfast bar with that morning's newspaper. The main story sent shivers down her spine. Next to the headline 'Young Wife Murdered.' was a picture of someone who seemed very familiar to Claudia. Just then, Dave entered the kitchen, singing 'Downtown'.

"Dave, who does this look like?" she asked, holding her hand over the headline.

Dave looked at the photograph; his face kind of screwed up, like he was carefully considering something.

"Well, hon," he smiled. "It looks a little like you, when you were her age."

Claudia had to agree. Over the years, Claudia had filled out a little bit, and she kept her hair much shorter these days. Of course, looking after two children, Jeff and Dave, had ensured that her hair was no longer such a dark colour, she was now seeing streaks of grey.

"Its such a shame, isn't it?" Dave asked. "She was only twenty three."

"Who is it?" she asked.

"Her name's Sheila. Sheila Hubble. Some drifter killed her outside Peppers. There's a rumour that she had this silver hand mark on her. You remember, like those soldiers back in '47?"

***

April 1979

Claudia sat in the church pew, and watched with a sad pride as her son married his childhood sweetheart, Nancy Jefferson. The sadness was for her husband Dave who had not survived a heart attack last year. Sadness that she was no longer able to have him in her life. Sadness that he would not see the son he was so proud of finally married. Sadness that he would not see how well he ran Parker's Cafe, a job that become his labour of love. Sadness for the secret she had harboured for their entire married life. The pride she felt was the pride that they should turn out such a fine son, and that he would choose such a wonderful wife as Nancy.

As a tear slid down her cheek, her mind drifted back to that terrible night when Dave finally passed away. His last words to her were "Follow your heart." Two of the dearest people in her life had both given her that advice, and she fully intended to follow it. When the machine finally sounded the steady monotone that indicated he was gone, she whispered a silent prayer.

"Look after him, Zan." she had begged silently. "I love him."

Her loss reminded her of something, a feeling she had suppressed from her mind ages ago, a feeling that she had never wanted to discuss with anyone, for fear of what that person might think. The day that her son Jeff was born, she had felt an intense loss, like something important to her had forever left her life. If it were not for the fact that Jeff was a difficult baby, and required a lot of her attention, it might easily have caused her melancholia from all those years ago to return.


At last, the priest announced that her Jeff and Nancy were husband and wife, and Claudia finally had a daughter, something she had desperately wanted all her married life. Strangely, it always felt to her that the time was never right. Claudia officially welcomed Nancy to the family. She and Jeff had been dating for so long now, that she had considered Nancy part of the family years ago. After a honeymoon in Florida, staying in a hotel owned by family, Jeff and Nancy returned to take over the running of the Cafe from Claudia. As Jeff laughed to her on their return from their honeymoon, his mother had her rocks to study.

***

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