Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 64 4/2/23 (WIP)

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behrinthecity
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Part 64

Post by behrinthecity »

:D Thank you all so much for the check ins and tremendous patience. It has been a tough and anxious several months of not only health issues, but family related emergencies, and frustrations in job hunting. At least the first two are at a slightly better place so I finally could focus to finish this part.

dreamon, clueless, and MP- Thank you so much. I tried to put in some extra Dreamer moments for you all. Hope it helps compensate for yet another unintended delay!

Without further ado... enjoy Part 64.



Previously…

[From Part 20]
Liz snuggled under the warm covers ready for a deep, restful sleep. As she drifted off her hand settled lightly upon her stomach—just like it had when her stomach had once been graced with silver.

She saw a laboratory where various scientists were working and looking through microscopes. In the center she saw one talking to a general, smiles on both their faces. The scene suddenly changed, and she found herself staring at a bare chest. She slowly glanced up and saw a face, familiar to her dream world now… “Max” she breathed out, reaching a hand out to caress his face, but it remained unseeing, unmoving. Before she could touch him, the scene changed again, and suddenly she was surrounded by men in army fatigues, lined up at attention… men that all resembled…Max. That’s when she woke up gasping in shock.

[From Part 32]
“Do you have the equipment?” He did not bother with pleasantries, being out there was risk enough.

The agent calmly turned his head and glanced down at an insulated briefcase by his side. “It should be more than adequate.”

Nodding sternly, the general motioned towards his car. “Let’s take a look, then.”

The two men settled into the car, casually glancing over their shoulders for any possible lurkers. Handing over the case, Felding finally broached the true subject of their meeting. “Are you sure you won’t require any further samples?”

The general’s lips lifted slightly in a satisfied smile. “We’ve achieved our first goal. This should tide us over until we can cultivate more from the new specimens. Let him rest in peace.”

Felding, not one to show any emotion in front of the general, just raised an eyebrow at that news. Internally he celebrated, having wanted to end that miserable alien’s life from the moment it was revived. No matter what they did to it, as long as it survived it was a threat. Now that it had fulfilled all its uses, he could finally complete his mission.

With a quick nod, Felding held out his hand to the general. “By the end of the month it will be done.”

“Pleasure doing business with you,” the general responded as they shook hands. He tapped the case lightly. “The offer still stands.”

Felding stiffly turned, his cold eyes staring into the general’s expectant ones.

“The end of the month, sir,” he reiterated, his unyielding gaze and flat tone conveying his refusal. He intended to retire after this was over and had no desire to join the general’s project. Without a second glance he exited the car.

In quick strides he walked to his car, ignoring the brightening headlights of the general’s car starting. In the light and the grinding tires, Felding never noticed the glowing shadow that followed him. Nor did he notice the extra layer on the backseat of his car as he drove back to the facility.


[From Part 60]
After settling down by her, he quietly admitted, “I think… my alien side is trying to…” He looked up at her. “…takeover again.”

Liz instantly sat up straight. “What?” she gasped out. Immediately, she placed her hands on his face and scrutinized his eyes for any hint of pitch darkness.

Tenderly holding her hands, he elaborated, “The last two times I fell asleep… I dreamed about the seal. There was some force that seemed to draw me closer to connect.”

“And if you were to do that, you think your alien side would be completely in charge,” Liz surmised.

Max jerkily nodded. “It tried to do that when… I was in there. It kept wanting me to use my powers… to kill,” he confessed.

Liz started to rub Max’s back in comfort.

“The thing is… I’m not sure I can fight it anymore.” Holding Liz’s worried gaze, Max continued, “There’s information that could help us… protect us,” there was a desperate plea for her to understand why he was tempted to let his alien side finally win. Lowering his gaze, his eyelashes touching the crest of his cheeks, he revealed the catch, “but I won’t know until I… connect.”



“What do you think of being Mr. Jones?”

His arm having automatically wrapped around her pulled her closer as Max refocused at where she pointed— Jake Jones. With an appreciative smile that Liz had remembered his fondness for the Counting Crows, he replied, “that could work.”

Relishing the feel of her in his arms, he murmured, “What about you?”

“Well, there is a family of three—the Bakers—which likely would suit my parents,” Liz began. “The daughter is even named Eliza.”



Cal lifted his beady eyes to hold Jim’s pensive ones. “I will help protect all of you.”

Max and Michael’s eyebrows rose in unison. Max had only commanded that he not hurt any of their friends and family, but now he was volunteering to help them all?

Jim nodded solemnly in thanks. After a beat he asked, “Would that help extend to my father?”

“Of course.”

Clasping his hands to still a slight tremor, Jim’s eyes burned with emotion. “Thank you,” he softly uttered.

A soft smile graced Max’s face, appreciative of Cal’s willingness to help. He gave an imperceptible nod to the protector indicating his thanks. Glancing at Jim and Kyle, he saw Jim pull Kyle into a half hug.

[From Part 62]
A new interface opened. The strange lettering dissolved into English letters: AXUltra/Project Aegis.

Puzzled, she looked at Max, but he was equally flummoxed.

Beneath the name she saw an executive summary detailing the testing done on specimen A5.

“Oh my God…” she breathed out.

Skimming through the text she saw lines remarking on A5’s… on Max’s capacity to withstand extreme temperatures, hold his breath under water, subsist on minimal food and sleep, and that he would be a great asset in the field with his powers of telekinesis, forming an energy shield, and healing.

She raised both hands to cover her gasp. They had begun to shape their perfect soldier in Max.

The last paragraph discussed a control mechanism to wield the powers as needed, and that test-runs on A5 yielded promising results.

Max was right. This chip was meant to turn him into a weapon.



“The chip wasn’t meant to control you, Max.”

Max regarded Liz warily.

Liz took a deep breath bracing herself for what she had to tell Max.

“They cloned you. And when those clones are old enough, they’ll be a super soldier army.”



Liz regarded Max pensively. Her heart ached at knowing a physical symbol of his captivity remained in his body. But at least it was neutralized.

Reaching out, she pulled Max into an embrace.

She wanted to say it was over, but with the clones and Kivar’s army in their future, it was far from that.

Instead, her lips lightly touched Max’s cheek and she whispered, “rest now.”

In moments they lay on the bed, the computer put aside. As Liz traced her finger along Max’s hand, she soothed him to sleep. His soft breathing began to lull her into sleep. As her eyes started to shut, she made a mental note to talk to Cal in the morning.

[From Part 63]
“Are you saying this place isn’t safe?”

Turning the ball in his hands, Michael answered Max, “Maybe. I need to talk to Cal to confirm if the grounds staff here are trustworthy. Yesterday, one of them caught your little show. I talked to that guy— his answers didn’t make it clear if he really saw anything.”

Max tried to go through his memories to place who Michael was talking about. A shadowy man helped him to a bench. Soothing words were asked, “Are you all right? Is there anything I can get for you?”

Max placed a hand over his eyes berating himself for his loss of control.

He started at a sudden weight on his shoulder. Breathing raggedly, he registered it was Michael’s hand.

“I know I’m the last person who should criticize about losing control,” Michael began in a slightly indignant tone. “Just giving you a heads up on what I plan to talk to Cal about.”

Max was able to release his next breath more easily as he nodded.

He wondered just how much he should let Cal know regarding the chip and his potential clones. He chided himself for not discussing that with Liz first. When he woke up, he had instead quietly left the room to get Michael for their early morning basketball game.

Hoping he’d have a moment to check-in with Liz, he suggested, “Let’s get something to eat first and then we’ll go find Cal.”


PART SIXTY-FOUR

In the kitchen

Liz sipped a mug of tea, lost in thought.

“Good morning, Miss P—Baker,” Cal quickly amended his greeting.

Startled, Liz raised a finger to her lips to wipe away some excess liquid.

Placing her mug down carefully, she turned to greet Cal. “Morning, Cal. Already trying out the new names? You do know that you can call me by my first name.”

With a benign smile, Cal nodded. He began to make himself a cup of coffee.

Faking a casual tone, Liz asked, “so, where did you go last night?”

Eyebrows raised, Cal answered with a question, “Were you looking for me?”

“Oh no… just…” Liz stared into her tea, mentally berating herself for being so transparent. “…making small talk,” Liz ended lamely.

Cal busied himself with retrieving his coffee.

Moments later, he sat beside Liz.

“Anything you wanted to ask me?”

Surprise flashed on Liz’s face at Cal’s astuteness.

Taking a moment to collect her thoughts, Liz finally faced him.

“How much do you know about what they did to Max?” Her voice was steel as she said the word ‘they’.

Removing his hand from the mug handle, he placed both hands on the counter.

With a sad shake of his head, he confided, “not enough.”

Releasing a slow breath, Liz forged on with her questioning. “What happened after they collected samples from Max?”

Cal lifted his glasses and rubbed his eyes. Once the glasses were nestled back on his face, Cal looked at Liz with an aged weariness.

“Some they studied. Others… were transferred— I witnessed the head agent hand it over to a general.”

Liz shifted uncomfortably in her seat. Her vision had shown a general and lab technician smiling over their discovery.

Cal continued in a faraway voice, “I tried to follow where that general would go after the—” His voice adopted a hard tone edged with revulsion, “— transfer. But I couldn’t crack the security.”

Liz remained quiet in case Cal had more to say. But instead, he sipped his coffee, his tense features momentarily relaxing with each drop.

“What do you think they wanted with Max’s samples?” Liz did her best to infuse her question with naivety.

But Cal was no fool. He challenged, “you’re the future molecular biologist—what do you think?”

Liz thought out loud, not wanting to relay her vision to Cal. “Well, they knew Max could heal. So, it would follow that they would want to analyze their potential to treat or even cure illnesses.”

There was an extended pause as Cal appraised her.

Finally, huffing out a humourless laugh, he commented, “if only they were as noble as you, Miss Parker.” Cal forgetting to use her alias revealed how perturbed he was.

Ignoring his praise Liz continued, her voice adopting a tone of incredulity, “I know Max, Isabel, and Michael are hybrid clones, but we’ve only managed to clone a sheep.”

“Doesn’t mean they won’t try,” Cal remarked; his gaze becoming unfocused.

“Did you find any mention of plans… any indication,” Liz fished.

At Cal’s silence, Liz added, “I mean they could try to impregnate women with his sperm to study the possibility of alien-human procreation?” Though she tried to ask in a clinical, detached manner, her words were weighed down by her concern over how Max would react to that and her own deeper fear over what they would face when they tried.

Cal released a heavy sigh. Once more, he removed his glasses to rub his eyes.

Having caught on that Cal did this action when he was uncomfortable with what he had to say, Liz tensed waiting for what terrible revelation Cal would share next.

The silence stretched as Cal wiped at his glasses. Liz held her breath dreading Cal’s news. Glancing at his sparkling clean glasses, she knew he was stalling by pretending to wipe at some speck on his glasses. About to call him out, Cal finally confided, “I did come across some evidence of missing homeless women….” He finally lifted his eyes to meet Liz’s consternated ones.

“I haven’t verified the intel yet, but…” A ragged breath escaped him. “…forced recruiting, I presume,” Cal noted in disgust.

Liz’s eyes widened in shock before she closed them in resignation.

“It’s monstrous,” she heard Cal say.

Liz studied Cal for a moment wondering if she could trust him with the truth. Seeing how genuinely perturbed he was and acknowledging how much he’d helped them all, she decided that she could.

“We found a file that talked about an… Aegis project. It talked about a super soldier army based on Max’s DNA,” she revealed.

Well partially, at least.

Based on the stunned look on Cal’s face, he clearly had no inkling that the general’s project was going so far. But then his face turned contemplative.

“They did manage to sequence Max’s DNA… it is a logical step and on brand for the military.” There was a hint of sarcasm in Cal’s tone. Rubbing a hand over his head, he added, “I’ll keep sending out feelers, see what else I can find out. It’s probably too soon for them to talk openly about this project with a movie producer, but sometimes turning the truth into fiction suits their purposes more than secrecy.”

“Like hiding in plain sight,” Liz remarked.

“Exactly,” Cal affirmed.

As the two slipped into pensive silence they heard someone enter through the French doors. Turning in surprise, they saw Michael cradling a basketball in one arm.

Liz immediately greeted Michael, “Game over already?”

“Snack break,” he stated nonchalantly as he placed the ball on the table and headed straight for the fridge.

Expecting Max, Liz looked out the entrance. Seeing no one, she turned to Michael and asked, “where’s Max?”

Already holding a plate of cold cuts, Michael glanced towards the French doors. “He was right behind me…”

Needing no further response, Liz pushed herself away from the counter and headed out the door.

~ ~ ~ ~

Stepping out onto the patio, Liz pulled her robe tighter against the slight chill in the air. Languidly, she swept her gaze over the area until she saw Max. He stood at the pool edge oddly still, his eyes focused on the water.

Walking up to him, she called out his name in a soft, uncertain voice.

His head snapped towards her.

Instinctually, she stepped back. Her eyes roved Max’s face carefully looking for any signs of his alien side taking over.

With relief, Liz saw Max’s face soften. His amber irises sparkled in the morning light.

A shiver shot down her spine. It was the familiar electric sensation of whenever Max would meet her gaze as he entered the Crashdown. It was a force drawing her towards him.

“Are you cold?”

Max’s gentle voice broke through her hazy mind. Still feeling the morning chill, she once more pulled at her robe, but before she could utter a word, she felt a comforting warmth on her arms. Moments later Max removed his hands from her arms, tucking them into his pockets.

“Better,” he asked gently.

Filled with wonder at enjoying this benefit of Max’s powers, she wordlessly nodded.

At her response, the corner of Max’s lips lifted into a half smirk.

But the moment of mirth soon passed.

His expression turned serious as he sought visual confirmation. His eyes turned a dark amber as he intensely studied her to ensure she was all right.

She couldn’t help the blush that stole across her cheeks. Lifting a hand, she brushed a strand of hair back.

In the corner of her eye, she caught Max’s tongue peeking out to wet his lips. Facing him fully, she carefully studied him back.

He was sporting a black basketball jersey and baggy shorts. Despite the correct sizing, the style of the clothes only emphasized the loss of Max’s prior muscles.

She was pleased, though, to see there was more colour to his cheeks. His sweat-plastered hair completed the look of a good workout.

He self-consciously pushed his hair back as he greeted her with a soft hey.

Liz tilted her head and mouthed out a hi. Her lips curved upward in amusement. For a moment, she was transported back to West Roswell High, where her whole body would fill with nervous excitement at seeing Max after a P.E. class.

Her tongue darted out to moisten her lips.

Placing a hand on Max’s arm, she was momentarily distracted by the solid lean muscle there. A surprised smile sprang to her face. One game and Max was already gaining strength in his body.

“Feeling better after the game,” she asked hoping to confirm playing basketball had benefitted him mentally, as well.

Max regarded Liz’s hand; his head slightly bent. After a moment, he faced her. “Yeah,” he affirmed in a breathy voice. He gave an oddly emphatic nod signalling to Liz that there was more than he was letting on.

Searching his face carefully, she saw the same tension around his eyes and tightness of his jaw from last night.

She chewed her lip to hold back her forlorn sigh. She knew it was unreasonable to expect him to bounce back after one basketball game, but it physically hurt her to see him in such distress.

Observing Max’s stiff demeanour, she carefully reached for his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze in support.

“I got your note. It’s fine, I was thinking of suggesting something similar for you and Michael,” she assured him to pre-empt any unnecessary apology.

Max released a shaky breath before offering a small smile in gratitude.

“I… told Michael about what happened last night.” Max took a deep breath. “He made a good point that the clones may be helpful in fighting Kivar…”

Liz nodded, agreeing with the prudency of Michael’s suggestion.

Max continued, “but… if we did…” He huffed out a breath. “We’d be just as bad as the Unit—”

Liz had remained quiet as Max spoke, but his last statement compelled her to cut him off. “No,” she refuted firmly and shook her head.

Memories of what the Unit and military had done to Max flashed in Liz’s mind; her stomach threatening to rebel. Forcing out a slow breath, the nausea passed and allowed her to continue. “We’d give them a choice.”

Liz held back an additional thought that those clones would likely share Max’s moral compass and propensity to bear the world’s responsibilities, and thus, join their fight willingly.

Watching Max, she saw his face relax as he accepted her point with a self-deprecating smile.

“Thank you,” he uttered softly.

Liz smiled at Max in response.

She was considering how to broach telling Max what she had discussed with Cal when Max asked, “Should I tell Cal about… what we found?”

The timidness in Max’s voice revealed how much he was still reeling from their discovery.

“Share with him what you’re comfortable sharing.” She paused, observing Max as he processed her words. At his pensive nod, she shared, “I asked him what he had found out so far…”

Max’s face turned expectant. He held his body taut as if bracing for more pain.

Shaking her head sadly, she relayed Cal’s confession, “he hasn’t found much.”

Liz felt her stomach twist into a knot at the way Max seemed to deflate at her words. She knew Max would have been even more despondent if Cal had actually found something definitive. Cal's suspicion regarding the missing homeless women was already foreboding.

At Max’s sigh, Liz looked up at him.

The muscle in Max’s jaw twitched a few times before he stated in a resigned voice, “I guess we should show him the files.”

“Not necessarily,” Liz countered.

Max tilted his head in confusion and curiosity.

Forging on, Liz added, “he has some leads, but nothing definite. Let’s give him some time. If he manages to get inside information of what they’re currently doing, he won’t need to see the files.” Holding Max’s gaze, she asserted, “none of us do.”

Max slowly nodded his head, his eyes shadowed.

Liz reached out to Max’s hand again. Feeling the slightest tremor in it, she intertwined her fingers with his.

Weighing her words carefully to make sure Max knew that he had a choice in things, Liz reassured him, “Whatever you want to tell him is your decision.”

Holding his gaze, she reiterated, “we’re all here for you. You’re not alone. Whatever you need, we’ll help as much as we can… Cal included.”

Max looked off into the distance and released a long, slow breath. He blinked a few times, but she could still see a sheen of tears in his eyes.

With her free hand, she stroked his arm in comfort.

“He wants to help you…” She quickly amended her statement, “help all of us.”

Max faced Liz at that, his expression was still uncertain.

“I think we can trust him,” Liz declared.

Max stayed silent, but after a moment he lifted their intertwined hands to his lips. He lightly brushed her hand with a kiss and murmured, “all right.” His voice conveyed his unwavering trust in her.

She smiled up at him reassuringly.

Ever the scientist, Liz still harboured doubts. But right now, Max needed to believe… to know he was safe. She planned to discuss with Michael on keeping an eye on Cal to ensure he truly was on their side.

~ ~ ~ ~

Walking back into the kitchen they saw Michael and Cal at the table hunched over some paper.

At Max’s soft greeting, their heads snapped towards them.

“Max! Come have a seat,” Cal instantly greeted.

Still holding hands, Max pulled Liz along as he complied. She was reminded of how Max had insisted she be there as he and the others learned about their so-called destiny. At that time, she had realized it was far bigger than she had ever imagined, and that a small-town girl like her would only hold Max back. But the way Max held her hand now, showed his need for her to stay. And so she remained, quietly observing the three men.

As she settled into the chair, Liz noticed Michael nod slightly at Max.

She darted a sideways glance at Max, but his attention was already focused on the document spread out on the table.

It was a hand drawn map.

“Is this enough for your scouts?” There was a commanding edge to Max’s question.

“Yes,” Cal affirmed.

Again, Max and Michael shared a look to seemingly communicate.

Michael cleared his throat. “I’ll need the identities of those you’re sending.”

Liz watched fascinated at the authoritative personas Michael and Max had while talking to Cal. In the back of her mind, she wondered if this was a mild precursor to their alien sides taking over. At that thought, she squeezed Max’s hand willing that touch to keep Zan at bay.

As Cal nodded in response, Max addressed him. “Give your whole staff list.”

Liz’s stomach twisted with fear at the way Cal’s demeanour instantly changed. His casual stance was now ramrod straight. His face was tightened as his eyes glittered with resentment. The barely restrained fury chilled Liz to the bone and turned her grip around’s Max’s hand lax.

But then Max suddenly grasped at her hand.

Startled, she turned to Max as he added in a timid voice, “…please.”

Liz watched Max with concern. The quaver in Max’s plaintive plea suggested he may be having a flashback.

Her heart sank as she noticed Max’s downcast gaze. Her chest felt tight as she fought the images of Max’s time in the white room. Releasing a ragged breath, she was able to gather her scattered thoughts.

She exhaled slowly as she adjusted her hold on Max’s hand. Giving it a slight squeeze, she hoped it would help ground him and remind him that he wasn’t back in the white room.

A sharp gasp escaped Max. Blinking rapidly, he lifted his head. Focusing on Cal, he asked meekly, “if you could…?”

Liz could hear the strain in Max’s voice making her wonder if his gentle disposition was fighting his imperious alien side.

Wanting to present a united force, she too looked directly at Cal. Once again, she was disarmed by the amount of emotion in Cal’s eyes. But instead of anger, it was a mixture of unease, sorrow, and confusion. Regarding Max for a moment, Cal gave a slight nod and answered.

“I will.”

The sincerity of Cal’s statement rang out. It was a vow.

Max released a sigh in relief.

“As I told Michael, I assure you that everyone has been thoroughly vetted,” Cal stated.

Liz felt Max’s body begin to relax.

“And if they see me using my powers,” Max asked apprehensively.

“You have nothing to fear here, Max. None of you do.”

Max, Michael, and Liz all looked dubiously at each other. Her thoughts raced at the implications of Cal’s assertion. Were they aliens too?

With a soft chortle, Cal clarified, “They are all legally bound to protect you. Nothing that happens here can or will be disclosed.”

Max slowly nodded his head as he processed Cal’s words. Having picked up on some legal terms from his father, he murmured, “a non-disclosure agreement.”

Cal only smiled.

Liz looked at Michael. Like her, he too still harboured doubts. But ever the protector, he silently assured her that he would check it out. Breathing more easily, Liz offered him a small smile in gratitude.

Leaning against Max, she softly sighed.

She could feel the light laugh reverberating in Max’s chest. “Sleepy,” he asked gently.

“Kind of,” she replied as she stifled a yawn.

Max nuzzled Liz by her ear. His lips brushed her skin tenderly eliciting a soft moan from her.

Realizing Michael and Cal were still in the room, she began to blush at their marching smirks.

“My chefs are preparing a brunch buffet in the upstairs dining room. You will hear a notification on your room’s intercom when it’s ready,” Cal announced.

Michael perked up at the promise of hot food.

Before they all headed back to their rooms, Cal added, “Oh and if you’d rather not go to your rooms, feel free to explore the sauna and gym area in the west wing. It has an entrance directly connecting you to the basketball and tennis courts so you don’t have to take such a circuitous route back.” Looking directly at Liz, Cal continued, “oh and the east wing has a library.”

That certainly piqued Liz’s interest.

Sharing a contented smile with Max, Liz responded, “Thanks, Cal.”
totallizfan
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Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 64 4/2/23 (WIP)

Post by totallizfan »

Thanks for the update. Hope they stay safe.
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behrinthecity
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Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 64 4/2/23 (WIP)

Post by behrinthecity »

totallizfan wrote: Mon Apr 24, 2023 10:35 am Thanks for the update. Hope they stay safe.

Thank you for your comment totallizfan. (And welcome to the story, don't think I've seen you comment before.)
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dreamon
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Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 64 4/2/23 (WIP)

Post by dreamon »

Nice to have you back! I hope things get better in your life 🤞

And thank you for giving us another great part.
I have a few dreamer challenges in mind if you are looking for ideas so pm me!
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MP
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Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 64 4/2/23 (WIP)

Post by MP »

Thank you for the update and I hope things get better!
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