Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 60 Pg 21 - 6 / 12

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Misha
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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 59 Pg 20 - 6 / 2

Post by Misha » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:01 pm

(in case you didn't notice, this is the third chapter I've posted in two weeks :D )



All right, let's see what our favorite aliens have been up to :mrgreen:



September 10th, 2011 – Day 1792 and counting…


Change is a scary thing.

Is not scary because of the things to come, of the new future that is just out of your grasp, or for the unknowns that come with new things to try.

No, change is scary because you have to let go. You have to let go of the familiar, of the routine. Of the places you’ve seen for so long.

Of the people that have filled your life for better or worse.

Change is a scary thing, indeed, especially when you’re standing right at the edge of what you’ve wanted for so long and what you’ve known all your life.



Chapter Sixty
Lion’s Den



Max had come up with a perfectly reasonable plan. Sure, it depended on a few lucky events to happen in a certain order and had a lot to do with Frank and Maggs still being around and willing to help. It also included him either willingly staying back at the base or being gunned down at some point. But it wouldn’t matter because at the end of it all, John would be free, Anne would get her husband back, Whitman would go back to Norway, and Parker—well, Parker would go on having the life she was supposed to have before meeting him.

He’d seen no other way, especially since he was still powerless.

John had a better plan. A much better plan that only needed one or two things to fall in place. After much debate and ironing details yesterday, Max found himself today driving back to the base, boldly walking into the base as if everything was normal. He still gripped the wheel a little harder, though, swallowing on a dry mouth.

“I hope you know what you’re doing,” Max whispered to no one as he slowed down the car and stopped in front of the base for the first guard, one Private Connors.

They knew each other in the way two office people knew about each other, in which area they worked, maybe even say hello in the elevator. He was a familiar face who opened the gates after each mission.

It was surreal to get a pang of nostalgia about Connors, but this was the last time they were meeting, after all.

“Private,” he greeted.

But Connors was not having any fussy feelings about this moment in time. He stared at Max for one second—and then pointed his weapon at him.

“Get out of the vehicle and get on the ground, now!”

At least the man wasn’t shooting him.

In his mind, he heard John’s amusement as Max was handcuffed. The lack of his powers didn’t mean John’s connection was diminished. And we haven’t even started this freak show yet.

Max grunted as he was unceremoniously dragged into standing. Connors had called for backup and was having one hell of a time convincing them that the prisoner that they had in custody was actually standing right in front of him.

“Ask for Frank—I mean, Dr. Davis. He’ll know what to do.”

Suspicious, Connor did as he’d been told. Soon, Frank was on the other side of the radio.

“Frank? It’s me, Max. I don’t know who you have in there, but I’m not happy about coming home to find a gun pointing at my face.”

“Max? Is that really you?”

“Yes.”

Ten minutes later, a concerned Frank was meeting him down a corridor. Max was still handcuffed because his guards had no idea how useless chaining him was on a regular day, and he looked at his friend with tired eyes.

“How?” Frank asked in awe. “How did you survive without your fix?”

“I’ve been wondering the same thing myself. It almost killed me, that much I can tell you. I certainly wished it had at many points of my withdrawal hell. But now that I’m finally back I’m told I’m a prisoner? What’s going on?”

Frank motioned for the guards to free his hands, which they reluctantly did.

“We need to run tests. We need to prove which one of you is Max and which one is John.”

Max didn’t bother with playing dumb. Frank knew—or at the very least strongly suspected—John had switched places with him at least once. But that wasn’t part of the plan. Not yet, anyway.

“Why would he be here?”

“He says the ship called to him. He says—my goodness, he’s been telling us so much about the ship, and the symbols, and everyone’s going crazy with speculation. We thought he was you. Well…that’s what he claimed, we had no wish to shut him up, as you might imagine, so I didn’t contradict him.”

When the ship had collapsed, John had taken Max’s identity again. It was virtually impossible to distinguish them, and John had played his best card: Antarian knowledge.

He hadn’t told them about being a king, he’d changed the translation here and there, and was still withholding much on their history. But one wave of his hand could make the ship come alive, and everybody wanted him to keep waving it.

“Where is he?”

“Sleeping. He’s been saying he’s getting headaches from interacting with the ship. Maggs is with him.”

In Max’s mind, John smirked. He’d been building this plan since the moment he realized the ship was not going to fly. It was almost time to act so John was gathering his concentration. For that, he needed peace and quiet.

Frank opened the door to his office—to his oh so familiar desk, couch, and coffee mug—and ushered him in.

“Why the hell did you come back?” he asked, serious.

“I’ve just survived without the drug and it cost me my powers. I need them back—”

“Stop it. I’m done playing games. I know you’re Max, I can tell you two apart as day and night. I believe you’ve just survived the drug’s worst effects, I can see it in your eyes, but the Max I know would have stayed gone, powers or no powers. You’re here for John, aren’t you?”

After a tense moment, Max barely nodded once.

“What the hell, Max? The whole base is in lockdown. Your arrival is going to make things worse. There’s no way to escape here, you know that. Just give up before you attempt any idiotic rescue plan and accept the consequences. They will leave you alone—eventually.”

See? This is why I liked Summers best. He always wanted me to push through my limits. Frank here is blind to the possibilities.

Max looked at Frank, really looked at him, and his heart ached.

“Frank. Thank you.”

“What?”

“You’re right. The Max you know wants to stay gone, so I’m here to say good-bye. I’m here to thank you for looking out for me. For guiding me. For giving me an identity and a sense of myself despite what everyone else wanted from me. Under other circumstances, I’d have loved to have you as a friend.”

“Max, don’t do anything stupid.”

Max hugged him, briefly getting flashes of their lives together, of the labs and the tests, but also their laughs and their talks, his cheering him on and his words of comfort after particularly hard missions. Frank was the closest thing Max had had to a father, and this was the last time he would see him.

“Max?” Frank said, hugging him back, unsure at first, and then fiercely.

“I’m going to be okay, Frank. But I need you to get out, okay? Things are going to get very confusing in a moment. Just keep going. No matter what you hear, no matter who you hear it from. Just get out.”

“Are you sure? Max, are you sure about this?”

“Yes. Now, go.”

Frank looked at him with fear in his eyes and then, nodding, took his coat and his keys and left the office.

“Okay, where are you, exactly?” Max asked out loud.

John showed him the room, the door, the halls to get there. I’m going to be mostly blind to the real world while I do my thing. So you get here and get me out as fast as you can, okay?

“Okay. I’ll get two floors below so I can take care of the cameras. Once I get there—”

I’ll start the show. Go.

With one last glance to the room where he’d spent so much of his life, Max left Frank’s office for the last time.

The halls grew impossibly long. As much as Max tried to avoid looking at the cameras, he couldn’t help himself. He was uncharacteristically fidgety and he wondered if this had anything to do with John. That his older brother’s mind was intruding in his more than it should.

Maybe, John said. You’re the only person I’ve ever had a telepathic connection with. It’s not like I’m the expert on these things.

“Get a grip on yourself,” Max muttered, as he entered the elevator connecting with the five floors below. On any other day, he would have overridden the need for a code and the security system by placing a hand and doing his tricks. Now, he needed help.

Try 5-9-8-2-4, John instructed. Max had no idea how he’d known, but he pressed the numbers and the elevator moved down.

For the hundredth time since he’d seen John doing things beyond his own bag of skills, Max wondered how many powers he had that he was unaware of.

I’ll teach you all of them—if Anne doesn’t kill me first.

“Don’t be so sure about that…” Max said as the doors opened and he reached sub-level two. John was still two levels below, but the main security systems were easier to access from here.

He turned right and walked by a large double glass door. He’d spent a lot of time in that lab when he was a kid. Every single wall was made of glass so everyone could see what he could do. For a myriad of twisted reasons, he’d actually had a lot of fun in those days, back when everything was a game.

Further down, the lab where Summers’ had loved to test him was sealed. It was also Summers’ office and the place he’d died by Max’s hands. That was one place he’d never missed.

Beyond that, was Max’s goal.

The server room where the data of Max’s biometrics and experiments were stored was no larger than a closet. Black rectangular servers blipped with green and white lights, and thick black cables snaked their way into the wall. He’d deactivated security systems hundreds of times during his lifetime, but this one felt different. This one felt final.

“Okay, Whitman, it’s your turn,” he said under his breath as he placed a small device into one of the servers. Without his powers, he was useless for this part of the job, but Alex was more than up for the task. He couldn’t talk to Whitman, but he knew the hacker was waiting for his little Trojan horse to get him into the camera system. Soon, the servers were blipping more than usual.

Max looked up at the camera on the hall, waiting for the red light to go off. Once the main system was deactivated, Whitman would proceed to kill the backup systems, but that was still a few minutes into the future.

It was time to go pick John.

I’m ready. Remember, reality is about to get warped for everybody else. Don’t pay attention to them.

With one last look to the servers, Max walked back to the elevator and pressed sublevel four. John had estimated they had about twelve minutes before he ran out of energy, so the countdown started in Max’s head.

When the elevator doors opened again, guards and scientists alike were shouting and running in one direction, completely ignoring him. He held his breath as they came closer and then he moved stealthily down the halls. He might be invisible to their senses, but if they bumped into him, John’s mindwarping techniques would collapse.

It was the scariest power he could think of. Making people see things that weren’t there. Even John was weary of this power, to the point he’d seldom used it, leaving them with the uncomfortable questions of how many people and for how long he could really hold it.

Fifty-four seconds later, Max reached John’s room. The door opened and Maggs stood there, defiant and ready for a fight, apparently. She looked at him, and then frowned.

“I thought you were not going to mindwarp me,” she said, turning back. Sitting on a bed against a wall, John had his eyes closed and was breathing deeply.

“I’m not,” he said.

“It’s me,” Max added, looking at another scientist who ran past him without a second glance.

“Max?” Maggs said, now looking at him with hope in her eyes. “Is it really you?” She tentatively reached to touch his face, and her demeanor changed slightly as she looked at him—at his red eyes and the circles beneath them. “You’ve barely survived that dreadful drug, haven’t you?”

“Can we have this conversation somewhere else?” John said, standing up with some effort. “I can only keep this going for so long.”

Both Maggs and Max went to aid him. “I’m randomly sending people back to the ship. It’s easier if all the minds are in one spot, but it’s getting complicated for some reason.”

“That ship makes everyone nervous,” Maggs said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if people were panicking.”

They walked out of the room and down the hall, where a couple of soldiers ran past them. The ship was on this level, so the floor was getting crowded. On the ceiling, the camera’s red light was off. Whitman was doing his part.

“Not everyone is coming,” John said, closing his eyes again as the three of them entered the elevator. “A little chaos might actually help us a bit.”

“What are you talking about?” Max asked, while Maggs inserted the code to make the elevator move. 5-9-8-2-4, the exact numbers John had given him not ten minutes ago. Her code.

John didn’t answer his question, so he turned to Maggs. “You know the plan?”

“Of course I do. Why do you think John is not locked up in another lab far away from here? I certified him as Max, much to Frank’s chagrin. We both still are the medical authorities over your health. Your last line of defense, remember? Now tell me someone’s waiting outside to take you both somewhere safe. John wouldn’t tell me anything about that.”

The doors opened again, but no people were around. Max took most of John’s weight and half dragged him out. His eyelids were shut tightly and sweat permeated his forehead.

“Yes, they’re waiting for us outside. You should come, too.”

“Nonsense, I have to stay behind and—”

“Well, crap,” John said as he opened his eyes while they were walking down the corridor. “There are too many minds,” he whispered. “It’s too hard to control panicky minds.”

“What are they thinking?” Maggs asked.

“I don’t know, I’m not a mind reader,” John said, chuckling darkly. He could do a million things, but telepathy with human minds was not part of the menu.

“We’re almost there, just shield us from anyone watching,” Max said, coming to the main hall that led to the main entrance. John leaned on him heavily, as if his legs were about to give up.

“John!” Max said, not letting go off him.

“I don’t think I can keep—”

“Stop! Hold it right there!” a guard shouted behind them. The three of them froze.

“Is he seeing us or seeing something else?” Max whispered, his back still to the soldier.

“I’m pretty sure he’s seeing us,” John said, sweat running down his face.

“He needs medical attention!” Maggs said, turning to the soldier. “We’re evacuating from sublevel four. He needs a doctor.”

“Hands where I can see them!”

This is going to take too long, Max thought. They needed to get out now, before the whole charade blew over. Slowly, he lowered John down to the floor.

“We really need to get him to a hospital,” he said, raising his hands and facing the soldier. “Can you help us?”

Indecision filled the man’s eyes and Max lost no time. On a regular mission, he was well equipped with his powers to deal with this kind of situation. But more than that, he’d been trained as any other special forces operative. Hand to hand combat was not a problem.

The soldier saw him coming, but even powerless, Max was too fast—and too determined not to fail. He hit the guard’s wrist, making him drop the weapon, and went for the elbow, shoulder, and rounded the man from the back, putting his arms on his neck, chocking him.

“Max!” Maggs shouted, appalled.

“I just need his lights to go out,” Max said through clenched teeth, as the man tried to reach Max’s head while oxygen was being cut off from his lungs.

John wiped the sweat off his forehead and tiredly looked at Max. In Max’s deadly grip, the soldier finally passed out.

“I need to get their attention somewhere else,” John said, almost panting, “before more of them come out this way. But I can’t walk and mindwarp at the same time, it’s dividing my attention too much.”

Max looked at John and then at Maggs. “Okay, stay here, get us a diversion. I’ll get a car to the door once the perimeter is cleared.”

“I’ll hold them as long as I can,” John said, which to Max’s ears sounded hurry, before it’s too late.
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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 60 Pg 21 - 6 / 12

Post by clueless » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:47 am

I definitely noticed! And I’ll notice it even more when you post another part soon :wink:

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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 60 Pg 21 - 6 / 12

Post by keepsmiling7 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:24 pm

Finally you really are back with this story.......
We've got lots of problems and situations to be solved.
Thank you for being here.

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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 60 Pg 21 - 6 / 12

Post by dreamon » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:37 am

I’m loving these updates, keep them coming!!!!
I have a few dreamer challenges in mind if you are looking for ideas so pm me!

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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 60 Pg 21 - 6 / 12

Post by SmileeUk » Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:39 pm

clueless wrote:I definitely noticed! And I’ll notice it even more when you post another part soon :wink:
I can’t agree more :lol:

Love these updates and please come back with another chapter! I am hanging by my seat :roll:
~~~~~~ ###### Smiling is a Gift ###### ~~~~~~

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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 60 Pg 21 - 6 / 12

Post by dreamon » Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:22 pm

SmileeUk wrote:
clueless wrote:I definitely noticed! And I’ll notice it even more when you post another part soon :wink:
I can’t agree more :lol:

Love these updates and please come back with another chapter! I am hanging by my seat :roll:
Same!
I have a few dreamer challenges in mind if you are looking for ideas so pm me!

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Re: Of Journals & Journeys (AU M/L, YTEEN) Ch. 60 Pg 21 - 6 / 12

Post by dreamon » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:49 am

Just waiting for more...
I have a few dreamer challenges in mind if you are looking for ideas so pm me!

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