BOOK 10 MAJESTY'S MORASS
(WHAT HAPPENS NOW, MAX?)

 

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

PART 17

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Saturday, June 8th, 2002)

(Copper Summit, AZ)

 

Nicholas stood before the troops, “Today is a glorious day.  Today will see the destruction of the Royal Four and the end of the war.”

 

Cheers rose up from the group and Nicholas motioned for silence, waiting until they were quiet again before continuing.  “Today is also our last day on this stinking planet, because tomorrow we are going home.”

 

Another, even louder cheer raced through the troops and this time Nicholas let them celebrate.  He turned to Walt and Greer, who stood at his side.  “You two take the lead and I’ll bring up the rear.  We’ll meet at the rendezvous.  Just be sure to keep the troops in line.  We don’t want any screw-ups.”

 

“Yes Sir,” they said simultaneously.

 

Nicholas motioned to Walt.  “Take command.”

 

Nicholas turned and walked quickly away, the sound of Walt’s orders fading in the background.  This was the last chance Nicholas had to spend time with Lonni, since they were leaving without her when they returned.  Nicholas was surprised to discover that he would actually miss her but Khivar would never tolerate her presence on Antar.

 

Khivar had ordered Nicholas to take all the information from her mind before he left.  Nicholas didn’t know if she would survive but if she did, she was doomed to spend the rest of her life on this planet she hated.  At least, Nicholas thought, if she does survive, she will still have that fool Rath to keep her company.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Willcox, AZ)

(City Clerk’s Office)

 

 

Take me as I am

put your hand in mine

now and forever

 

darling here I stand

stand before you now

deep inside I always knew

 

it was you

you and me

two hearts drawn together bound by destiny

 

 

 

Max thought he would burst with happiness as he watched Liz coming down the aisle toward him.  He had insisted on using his powers to alter their clothing to the wedding attire he remembered from his vision in Las Vegas.  Liz was wearing the frothy, white wedding gown made of satin and lace that bared her shoulders, and long gloves, and she held a bouquet of her favorite white roses.  And he stood before her in a classic tux.

 

 

 

it was you

and you for me

every road leads to your door

every step I take forever more

 

just say you'll love me for the rest of your life

I've got a lotta love and I don't wanna let go

will you still love me for the rest of my life

cause I can't go on

no I can't go on

I can't go on

if I'm on my own

 

 

 

Their friends had gotten into the spirit of things too, happy for one last celebration, and altered their clothing to wedding attire.  Max was glad because except for being in a court house and their parents not being present, it was almost like the wedding he had always pictured.

 

 

 

take me as I am

put your heart in mine

stay with me forever

cause I am just a man

who never understood

I never had a thing to prove

 

there was you

you and me

and it all came clear so suddenly

how close to you that I wanna be

 

just say you'll love me for the rest of your life

I've got a lotta love and I don't wanta let go

will you still love me for the rest of my life

cause I can't go on

no I can't go on

I can't go on

if I'm on my own

 

 

 

Max barely heard the words that were spoken, he was so captivated by Liz, but when it was time to speak the vows he said them solemnly.  “I, Max Evans, take this woman to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, for richer or for poor, in sickness and in health, for time and all eternity.”

 

Liz smiled at his alteration but used the same wording in her vows.

 

 

 

Do you believe a love could run so strong

Do you believe that love could pass you by

there was no special one for me

I was the lonely one you see

but then my heart lost all control

now you're all that I know

 

just say you'll love me for the rest of your life

I've got a lotta love and I don't wanna let go

will you still love me for the rest of my life

cause I can't go on

no I can't go on

I can't go on

if I'm on my own

I can't go on

I can't go on

no I can't go on

 

 

 

Max had also gotten matching wedding bands made with Liz’s engagement ring and they slipped the platinum bands onto one another’s fingers.

 

“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” the clerk said.  “You may kiss the bride.”

 

 

 

cause I can't go on

will you still love me

no I can't go on

just say you love me

I can't go on

without somebody to call my own

 

cause I can't go on

will you still love me

no I can't go on

just say you love me

and stay around

 

cause I can't go on

will you still love me

no I can't go on

just say you love me

can't go on

if you can say your love

 

cause I can't go on

will you still love me

no I can't go on

just say you love me

stay around and never be alone

 

 

Max pulled Liz into a gentle, almost reverent kiss, automatically strengthening the connection between them.  Their minds and souls joined eagerly and they both felt a new, stronger bond form, sealing them even more closely together.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Willcox, AZ)

 

Max’s phone rang just as they were finishing a quick celebration lunch and he answered it immediately.  “Yeah.”

 

“The last bus just pulled out of town,” Rath said.

 

Max nodded, “Thanks Rath.  Stay put and we’ll get back to you.” 

 

He hung up and turned to the others.  “It’s time.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Copper Summit, AZ)

 

Nicholas stroked Lonni’s arm absentmindedly as he glanced at the bedside clock.  It was after noon and he had to leave soon.

 

When he returned to Antar he could have his pick of women, but none of them interested him like Vilondra, Isabel, Lonni.  They were the same woman but each of them uniquely different.  Khivar had claimed Isabel, and Lonni wouldn’t be returning to Antar, and Nicholas doubted he would ever have the pleasure again.

 

With a mental shrug, he rose from the bed, only to be stopped by Lonni’s hand on his arm.  “When are we leaving for home?” she asked.

 

“When we have killed them all,” he said vaguely.

 

Suddenly Lonni forced a burst of power through him that propelled him into the wall.

 

Nicholas hit hard and fell to the floor, with a grin.  “Like it rough, huh?”

 

Building her power, Lonni summoned a black, crackling ball of energy, throwing it at Nicholas’ exposed chest.

 

Nicholas had only a moment to react, but with an outstretched hand, he slowed the approaching energy ball and stopped it inches from his skin.  Then he motioned it aside, causing it to strike the wall.

 

He stood and slowly approached Lonni.  She propelled another energy ball at him but Nicholas could tell it wasn’t as powerful as the first and he easily diverted it with a careless flip of his hand.  “You’re tiring,” he mocked.  “You haven’t come into your full powers yet and you thought you could take me on?”

 

Lonni growled, launching herself at him but she didn’t even touch him as he easily controlled her with his powers, forcing her to her knees, before him.

 

“Khivar ordered me to search your mind before we left,” Nicholas said, as he placed his hand on her head.  “I was having some regrets, considering how close we have become, and believe it or not this little tantrum has heightened those regrets.  We would make a fine pair, you and I, but Khivar doesn’t want you on Antar, so there is nothing more to be said.”

 

Lonni tried to shake his hand off her head but her thrashing was only a minor annoyance, and as Nicholas pried the information from her mind, she started to scream and then slumped forward.

 

Nicholas dressed quickly, feeling the press of time, but he paused as he reached the door and turned back to Lonni’s limp form and blew her a kiss.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Copper Summit, AZ)

 

Following Ryan’s directions, they took the back road bypassing the town, and drove directly into the woods where the ship was hidden.  Michael stopped the van near the small building at the ship’s entrance, and he, Max and Serena got out.

 

One of the skin guards stepped forward.  “This is private property.  You’ll have to leave.”

 

Michael put on his best yokel act to keep them busy while Max and Serena took up their positions.  “Oh we’re real sorry, but somehow we took the wrong road.  Can you guys give us some directions?”

 

“Where you headed?” asked the skin soldier.

 

“Phoenix,” Michael called out loudly.

 

That was the signal and Max, Michael and Serena quickly took out the soldiers with well-placed energy blasts.

 

Ava, Ryan and Sean got out of the van and Ava started a mind warp, hiding them and the van, and replacing the guards, while Sean went to work on the lock.

 

Liz anxiously looked out the van’s back window at the few houses just visible at the edge of town.  She was getting a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach but she wasn’t sure if it was danger or just nerves.

 

She glanced back at Sean, silently urging him to hurry, and as if her thoughts had provided the key, Sean popped the lock open.

 

Serena swung the door wide and went into the building first.  She passed her hand over the hull of the ship, making a glowing handprint appear.  And pressing her hand to the mechanism, the door slid open with a swish.

 

Serena, Ryan and Michael went into the ship, and after a moment Michael came jogging back to the entrance.  “Everything is locked down and Serena is starting up the ship.”

 

As Max motioned to Liz and the others and they left the van, he could hear the soft hum of the ship’s engines.  He turned to Ryan.  “Stay with Ava until Rath gets here.”

 

Kyle, Alex, Maria and Sean followed Michael into the ship but Liz stayed with Max while he quickly dialed Rath.  “This is Max.”

 

“Yeah,” Rath said.

 

“Where are you?” Max asked.

 

“At the Crawford house,” Rath said.

 

“Get to the ship as fast as you can,” Max said.  “You’ve earned a trip home.”

 

“Damn!” Rath said.  “I’ll be right there.”

 

Max wrapped his arm around Liz and she moved into him.  Taking a deep breath, Liz looked carefully around.  She was still nervous but everything seemed to be turning out as they had planned. 

 

Michael emerged from the ship again.  “Serena says we’re ready to go.”

 

The sudden screeching of tires drew their attention toward town.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Nicholas slammed the door noisily behind him.  He had learned nothing useful from Lonni except the fact that she had intended to use their relationship to steal the Granolith.  He actually admired her for that but he had hoped to uncover some big secret she was hiding.  Lonni remembered a lot from her other life but not everything, and what she knew about this one, he or Khivar had already discovered. 

 

With a sigh, Nicholas crossed to the car in the driveway where Ida was waiting, and got in.

 

She started the engine but the sound of a rapidly approaching car caught their attention. 

 

“What the hell?” Nicholas asked.

 

They watched as the car drove past and Ida turned to Nicholas.  “It was Rath, Sir.”

 

“Where is he going in such a hurry?” Nicholas asked, as he watched the car race up the road.  The car skidded to a stop next to the ship and Rath jumped out.  He stood and appeared to be talking to himself for a handful of moments, but then the scene started to waver, like heat rising off a desert road.  The guards disappeared and a large van was revealed along with Max, Liz and a few others.

 

“Damn it!” Nicholas yelled.  “It’s a mind warp.  They’re stealing the ship.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

The car skidded to a stop next to the ship and Rath jumped out.  He motioned toward Max.  “Heisting Nicholas’ ship!  That is the freaking bomb!  I always said, you’s the man, duke, and you’s a man of your word.”

 

“We’re ready to go,” Max said.  “Are you sure you don’t mind leaving Lonni?”

 

“She sold me out and she’s been knockin’ boots with Nicholas.”  Rath shook his head.  “The bitch deserves what she’s gettin’.”

 

Max nodded, “Okay Ava.”

 

Ava dropped the mind warp and Rath noticed her for the first time.  “Ava, baby.  Whatssup?”

 

Ava shook her head, “Don’t even bother, Rath.”

 

Rath shrugged, “Just being friendly.”  He motioned to Ryan, “Who’s this?”

 

Max spoke up, “Let’s get going, we’ll do the introductions later.”

 

Rath slung an arm around Michael’s shoulder and walked with him onto the ship.  “You think our family on Antar will be surprised to see two of us?”

 

Max nodded to Ava, “Sorry about Rath, but we did make a deal with him.”

 

Ava smiled.  “I know, and I understand.”  She and Ryan went onto the ship next.

 

Max took Liz’s hand, “Ready?”

 

Liz nodded.  “Let’s go.”

 

They walked into the building and through the door, onto the ship.  Max stopped long enough to seal the door of the ship with a wave of his hand, before they continued. 

 

The hallway was metallic, sterile, just as Liz had pictured and it curved around, following the shape of the hull. 

 

Michael led them through the winding passageways and onto the bridge where they took seats next to the others.

 

A light flashed on the panel and an alarm sounded.

 

“What the hell is that?” Kyle asked.

 

Serena passed her hand over a series of controls.  “The outer door wasn’t properly sealed.  I’ve re-sealed it and closed the bulkhead doors at the ends of the hallway in case the main door is damaged.”

 

“Are we okay to go?” Max asked.

 

Serena nodded, “Everything is ready.”

 

Max nodded and motioned forward with his hand, “Engage.” 

 

Everyone turned to him surprised, and he smiled. “I couldn’t resist.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Using a burst of super speed, Nicholas and Ida reached the ship before it lifted off.  He opened the door and they scrambled inside.  The alarm sounded, alerting the bridge that the outer door was open and Nicholas quickly punched in his override code, but it didn’t work.  “They’ve changed the door codes,” he told Ida.

 

The bridge had obviously gotten the alarm and the bulkhead doors started to close.  Nicholas grabbed Ida and dragged her through into the next compartment before the door sealed. 

 

It was a diagnostic station and he went directly to the computer.  Nicholas tried to log on but the codes for the computer had been changed too and he was locked out of all of the command functions.  He could only access some of the diagnostics and the outside view of the ship.  He turned to Ida.  “I don’t know anything about these computers, do you?”

 

Ida shook her head, “Sorry, Sir.” 

 

Nicholas slammed his hands down onto the console and then an idea occurred to him.  He turned to the room’s other door but it was solidly sealed.  “I could get out through the ventilation system,” Nicholas mused, “but I wouldn’t have access to the bridge, it runs on it’s own systems.  And undoubtedly that’s where they all are.  I could probably get into the engine room but if I tampered with the systems and we dropped out of hyper-speed, the ship would disintegrate.” 

 

“That wouldn’t be my first choice,” Ida said.  “I guess we’re just stuck here.”

 

Nicholas shrugged, “It might not be such a bad thing anyway.  It’s obvious where they’re going.”

 

“Where do you think they’re headed, Sir?” Ida asked.

 

“To Antar,” Nicholas said.  “That’s where Isabel is.”  He slumped down onto a chair, “So we get a free ride home a day early, complete with the remainder of the Royal Four and the Granolith.”

 

“What about the troops still on Earth?” Ida asked.

 

“If Khivar cares, he’ll send the ship to get them,” Nicholas said.  “If not…” he let the sentence trail off with a shrug.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Serena piloted the ship expertly, using the shields to cloak it from radar.  Even though the four busses transporting the skin army had left Copper Summit almost an hour ago it only took a few minutes for the ship to catch up to them.

 

As Max had predicted, the highway was almost empty except for the busses, and they only had to wait a moment for the other cars on the road to get far enough away.

 

Max stood over Serena’s shoulder. “Can we do this without hitting the road?  There won’t be any bodies to find and it will probably look like sabatoge, or a bomb.”

 

Serena nodded.  She targeted the busses, and hit the first one with a couple of well-placed shots.  The other busses braked, trying to avoid the first bus, and skidded wildly, and a huge chain-reaction accident was caused, making the busses slam into one another. 

 

Serena fired a rapid series of shots into each of the other busses, causing an enormous explosion, quickly finishing the task.

 

Max nodded grimly and took out his cell phone, dialing Valenti’s number.  Serena routed the signal through the ships communications systems and it only took a moment for the phone to be answered.  “It’s Max.  Everything is okay.  Will you call the others?”

 

“Sure,” Jim said.  “Are you leaving now?”

 

“Yeah,” Max said.  “We’ll let you know when we get back.”

 

“Have a good trip and good luck.”

 

Max could hear the Sheriff’s voice tightening.  “Bye,” he said softly.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Nicholas leaned back in his chair with his feet up, as Ida continued to try the computer.  He had almost dozed off when her voice woke him.  “Sir, we haven’t left the atmosphere.  They’re closing in on the busses that are taking the troops to Roswell.

 

He leapt from his chair and rushed to the console, silently watching the rapid destruction of the troops.  It was over in a matter of moments, and the ship hovered for a handful more, and then shot into space.

 

Nicholas turned to Ida.  “I guess Khivar won’t have to bother sending a ship.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

The gang split into two groups and systematically searched each room on the ship.  They had discovered that the walkie-talkies worked and kept in constant contact, but so far neither group had found anyone.

 

Max, Liz and Kyle entered the diagnostic room near the main door.  It was a small room and a quick glance inside was enough to determine it was empty.  Max and Kyle continued down the hall, but Liz remained just outside the open door.

 

She couldn’t have explained her feeling but something was not as it appeared.  Liz felt like there was something just on the edge of her vision and if she concentrated hard enough, she would be able to see it.  Looking around, she studied each item in the room carefully.  There were a couple of chairs against a desk near the far wall and a computer interface with a large console extending up the wall behind it.  Nothing appeared odd but she still had a nagging feeling. 

 

She was about to step into the room when Max came back. 

 

“Michael just called.  They found something on the other level.”

 

Liz nodded and Max re-locked the door.

 

The console on the wall shimmered briefly and shifted into Nicholas and Ida stepped out from behind him.  He rushed to the door but wasn’t surprised to find it locked.  “Damn,” he said, turning back to Ida.  “I guess we’re stuck here for the whole ride.”

 

Ida motioned to the door, “I thought Liz had seen us.”

 

Nicholas nodded, “So did I.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Max, Liz and Kyle followed Michael’s instructions through the passageways and finally arrived where he, Ava and Ryan were waiting.  They stood around an older man fastened to a chair with what appeared to be a futuristic type of handcuffs.

 

Max motioned to the skin soldier.  “Who is this?”

 

Ryan stepped forward.  “He is Raltos.  Khivar uses him as a communicator.”

 

Max and Liz looked at one another and Max spoke through their bond.  He might have some of Khivar’s memories stored in his brain, like Brody had Larek’s.

 

If we can retrieve them, it might be the first break we’ve had, Liz said.  We might see Khivar’s plans or other secrets.

 

Max motioned to Raltos, “Is he secure?  We don’t want him killing himself before we can question him.”

 

“He’s secure,” Michael said, motioning to the handcuffs.  “We stopped by the armory and picked up a few things.”

 

Raltos shook his head, “I won’t try to kill myself.  I’ve had a pretty easy time under Khivar because of my duties but I’ve seen how others are treated.”  He looked at Max.  “You must be Zan.  I’ll tell you anything you want to know.”

Max nodded and looked around the room for the first time.  It was richly furnished, not sparse and antiseptic like the rest of the ship.  “What is this room?”

 

“Nicholas’ personal quarters,” Ryan said.

 

Max motioned to the others to search the room and turned back to Raltos.  “Why are you on the ship?”

 

“I am assigned to the ship so I’ll be close to Nicholas when Khivar wants to contact him,” Raltos explained.  “I was supposed to go to Roswell with the others but I didn’t want to, so I stayed on the ship.  I kept thinking someone would come looking for me but no one did.”

 

Liz walked to a cupboard and opened the door, gasping at what was revealed.  She stepped back calling out, “I found Hale.”

 

Max crossed to her, quickly taking in the incubation chamber that held Hale’s body.  He reached out, calling over his shoulder to Raltos.  “Is he alive?”

 

Raltos shrugged, “In a sense, yes it is alive, like our skins are alive.”

 

Michael turned to Raltos, “Wait a minute, Hale is a skin?”

 

Raltos shook his head.  “No, it was created to be more like you, a hybrid, but it possesses no mental faculties or soul.  It must be taken over and controlled, otherwise it is just a mound of flesh.”

 

Max felt a cold shiver race through him.  “Who was controlling it?” Max asked, fearing he already knew.

 

Raltos looked at him strangely, “Didn’t I say?  It was Khivar, of course.  He had it made when we returned to Antar, so he could move around outside of Copper Summit more easily.”

 

A thousand thoughts rushed through Max’s head as he tried to remember everything they had revealed to Hale; to Khivar.  They had confided almost all of their secrets to him only holding back the few things Liz had suggested.

 

And as if his thoughts had conjured her, Liz was in his mind.  Max, Khivar knows almost everything about us.  But maybe Khivar made a big mistake leaving the Hale skin on the ship.  Maybe we can search Hale’s mind for Khivar’s memories too. 

 

Max nodded solemnly. Let’s hope that Raltos’ or Hale’s mind holds something important, or the advantage will be all on Khivar’s side.

 

Michael shook his head.  “I can’t believe it.”  He motioned to the Hale skin, “I actually liked the guy.”

 

“So did I,” Kyle said.  “But I guess that explains why he took off after Isabel disappeared.”

 

“Yeah,” Michael said with a huff.  “He actually did disappear off the face of the Earth.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Ida shook Nicholas awake, “Sir, we’ve dropped out of hyper-speed and we’re approaching Antar.”

 

Nicholas rose and stretched.  “This will be the perfect opportunity to end the whole thing.  I’ll get out of here through the ventilation system.  When we land, I’ll transmit the location to Khivar and the troops we’ll take them all.  Then there will be a nice public execution.”

 

“Why don’t you contact him now?” Ida asked.  “With the trithium amplification generator.”

 

Nicholas shook his head.  “The signal won’t penetrate the hull of the ship.  I’ll have to get out first.”

 

He motioned to the ventilation shaft covering, using a small burst of power and it fell to the floor.  Then he shifted into a small dog and Ida lifted him into the exposed shaft.  In his new form, Nicholas traveled quickly through the shaft and arrived at an opening in the main corridor.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Antar)

(Capitol city of Roistar - formerly Tageonon)

 

Max and Liz stood hand-in-hand in front of the others, but behind Serena and Michael, as the ship’s main door opened onto the landing platform.  It was a busy, bustling place with every manner of creature going about their business.  They were simply one in a sea of ships landing and being unloaded, nothing making them stand out among the others.

 

A tall humanoid being stood at the ship’s door and Max quickly took in his appearance.  He could almost have passed for human, but he was taller, slimmer, almost delicate looking.  His skin was pale and creamy, almost translucent but it was his eyes that set him apart the most.  They were slightly larger than human eyes and had a deeper, richer, multifaceted color, almost like a jewel.

 

“Cuerena?” asked the man.

 

She nodded, “General Toaks, it’s good to see you again.”

 

He glanced at the others briefly and motioned behind him, to what appeared to be a large bus with no windows.  “Please this way, quickly,” he said in English.

 

Max glanced around, picking out several people in the crowd who seemed to be watching them.  He stepped forward and spoke to Serena over her shoulder.  “You know this guy?”

 

“Yes,” she said.  “You appointed him your second in command after Michael’s other self was killed.”

 

Max turned to the others and nodded. 

 

They had disconnected the Granolith when they reached Antar’s orbit and put it in a cargo crate.  For it’s size, it was surprisingly light and Ryan and Kyle brought it forward, using their powers to easily load it aboard the bus.  Michael followed and loaded the crate containing Hale’s body.  The others climbed aboard, Ava attending to Raltos, who had been hastily covered in a cloak to conceal his restraints. 

 

Max turned to Rath, “I’ll offer you the same deal I offered Ryan.  You can come with us if you want, but consider yourself a prisoner of war until I am sure I can trust you.”

 

Rath nodded, “That’s fair and I think I will come along for the ride.”

 

Max motioned for Rath to enter the vehicle and he and Liz brought up the rear.

 

As Liz stepped onto the conveyance, the same bothersome feeling washed over her again and she paused, turning back toward the ship.  Again, nothing seemed out of place, and with Max’s guiding hand on her back, she stepped aboard.

 

When they were settled, Toaks motioned to the driver and the bus started forward, pulling into the heavy traffic.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Nicholas raced through the ship’s metal corridors, finally reaching the main door.  The ship had been on the ground for mere minutes but Nicholas didn’t think they would wait around long.  He emerged from the ship just in time to see a windowless conveyance pull away from the landing platform and into traffic.

 

He had no proof, but he was sure Max and the others were aboard with the Granolith.  As he ran attempting to keep it in sight, Nicholas pulled out his pentagon-shaped trithium amplification generator, switching it to a secure frequency.  “This is General Nicaron, put me through to Khivar immediately.”

 

When he emerged from the ventilation system, Nicholas had taken the appearance he usually wore as the General, complete with his uniform in Khivar’s livery.  He pushed through the crowd, growing more frustrated as the conveyance he was tailing disappeared into the rush of traffic.  He looked around frantically for a transport of some kind and finally his eyes fell on a hover-scooter, similar to an Earth motorcycle.  He ran to it, throwing the rider aside with a flip of his hand and mounted it, quickly following the path of Max’s conveyance.

 

As he sped after it, Khivar finally answered him.  “Nicaron?  Are you on Antar?”

 

“I’ll explain later.  Are you on a secure transmitter?”

 

“Of course,” Khivar said.

 

Nicholas continued, “I am just leaving the landing docks, following a conveyance carrying Max and his party and they have the Granolith.”

 

“Where are you exactly?” Khivar asked.

 

Nicholas quickly gave him the coordinates and a description of the conveyance. 

 

“Keep after them,” Khivar said.  “I have men closing on your position.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Once the conveyance pulled into traffic, General Toaks approached Max and Liz, bowing formally.  “Your Majesties, welcome home,” he said in English.

 

“Thank you,” Max said.  “Please rise.”

 

Toaks held out a hand, offering Max and Liz two shiny, paper-thin, clear objects that were less than half the size of a dime.

 

“What are they?” Max asked.

 

“Translator devices,” Serena explained.  “Just put it behind your ear and you will hear everything in English.  Everyone wears them,” she said, putting one behind her own ear.  “We couldn’t possibly learn all the of the languages of all of he people we deal with.”

 

Max and Liz took the devices and Toaks passed them out to the others.

 

Max motioned to Raltos.  “This man is our prisoner.  He has served as a communicator for Khivar and his mind may hold valuable information, but he is to be treated with respect.”

 

“Of course, my liege,” Toaks said.  “But we must cover his eyes when we arrive or Khivar could learn of our location.”

 

Max motioned to Rath, “He is also to be considered a prisoner.

 

The others looked at Max with surprise and he explained.  “Rath asked to come with us and I told him the terms.  If he decides he wants to go, he will be taken away and released.  I am not forcing him to do anything but I can’t have him giving us away either.”

 

Max had already told Michael that Ryan was his responsibility and he met Michael’s eyes with an understanding nod.  Then he turned tack to Toaks, “How long will it take to get there?”

 

Toaks moved in closer, lowering his voice, “It is not far but we are taking a long, winding route, to make sure we are not being followed.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Nicholas spotted the conveyance ahead and accelerated, quickly closing the distance between them.  He was just pulling alongside when Khivar’s men reached him.  Nicholas motioned for them to surround the conveyance and force it to the side of the road.

 

The conveyance stopped and the door opened immediately.  A soldier Nicholas recognized stepped out, “General Nicaron?  What is the problem?”

 

Nicholas shoved him aside and climbed onto the conveyance, quickly looking around.  It was a military issue conveyance carrying soldiers, but the outside had been altered to look like the one leaving the docks.

 

With a grim expression, Nicholas turned to the soldier in charge.  “Do a thorough search of the surrounding area,” he ordered, but he had no doubt the search would be useless.

 

Max had escaped with the Granolith.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

After an hour on the roads, with many turns and changes in color and shape of vehicle, the driver called back to Toaks.  “General, the scouts report that the way home is safe.”

 

“Scouts?” Kyle asked.

 

“Didn’t you see those guys in the crowd at the dock?” Max asked.

 

Toaks nodded, “You’re right, my liege.  They have been creating decoys to draw attention from us in case we were tracked.  But it appears it is safe to return to headquarters.  We’ll be there in a matter of minutes.”

 

Max was disappointed not to be able to see out of the vehicle but he understood the need for the added security.  He turned to Ava and with a jut of his chin motioned to Raltos.  With her powers she created a thick blind-fold and secured it over Raltos’ eyes.

 

A few minutes later, the conveyance pulled to a stop and Toaks motioned for the others to wait while he checked outside.

 

He came back inside after a brief moment and bowed formally.  “Your Majesties.”

 

Max and Liz clasped hands, and together they exited the vehicle.  They were inside a building that kind of resembled a parking garage, and there was a small group of people gathered around.

 

As Max and Liz stepped into the open, the crowd dropped to their knees, except for one woman who stood the closest to them.  She was tall and slender like the other Antarians, but she glowed with a golden beauty that nearly took Max’s breath away, and he knew instantly she was his mother.

 

Max remembered Isabel’s remark in the pod chamber when they had first received their mother’s message and tears gathered in his eyes as he realized that in a way, the woman before him really did resemble Isabel.

 

His mother rose to her full height and called out, “Hail, Zantor and Avalynd Tageonant, the true King and Queen of Antar.”

 

“Hail Tageonant,” the crowd repeated.

 

Max was unsure of what to do, but followed his instincts.  “Please rise.”  He stepped forward, with Liz at his side.  “Mother.”

 

Nedra smiled and he saw a trail of tears on her cheeks and then she wrapped her arms around them both in a tight embrace.  “It is so good to have you home again.”

 

Max hugged her back and felt the twinge of a memory trying to come forward. 

 

Nedra released them and wiped at her cheeks.  “You’ve had a long journey and you must be tired and hungry.”

 

Max shook his head, “We have a prisoner and a hybrid husk Khivar has used for communication that might have valuable information, and we need to get the Granolith set up as quickly as possible.  Liz and I want to try connecting with it.”

 

Nedra nodded.  “Of course, Toaks will see to it but it will take a while.”  She motioned behind them to the others.  “Come and let us eat and you can introduce your friends.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Earth)

(Roswell, NM)

(Roswell UFO Museum)

 

Brody was just starting to doze off at his desk when a flashing blue light and the sound of static attracted his attention.  For a moment he was disoriented, but with wide eyes, he turned toward the octagonal-shaped, alien device, the source of the light.  The symbols on the face flashed in sequence and a bright blue light shot upwards from the center.

 

A small gray-pink alien being appeared in the form of a hologram and spoke in English.

 

 

 

Greetings Brody.  We are sending you this message to thank you for the help you have given us over the years.  You were abducted because your brain contains a rare abnormality that allowed us to use you as a communicator between our planet and a group of our beloved children who were sent to Earth for their protection from our enemies.

 

Now, because of your help, our children have been safely returned to us.  We hope that the healing of your disease and that of your child, along with this explanation will settle any debt for the use of your body.  Perhaps in the future, if we return, we may thank you in person.

 

 

 

The image faded as the light flickered and died, and the octagonal device disappeared in a puff of smoke.

 

For a moment Brody sat stunned and then a smile crossed his face.  His first thought was to tell Max or Maria and he rose from his seat only to remember that they were gone.

 

Memories of them rushed through his head.  Max confronting him about his abduction, the late night and early morning meetings in the museum, Isabel’s claims of psychic powers, Maria joking that she was dating an alien, all of the times Max had been by his side after he had been abducted, Max telling him they were going to help a friend in trouble who lived ‘out of town.’ 

 

And suddenly the pieces clicked into place.  Max, Maria, Michael, Liz, they had all left town in the same time frame that the aliens had returned home. 

 

Brody grabbed for the phone, meaning to call his monitoring center but then replaced it on the cradle. 

 

He sat down and used the computer to call up all of the radar readings for the last twenty-four hours and quickly scanned them for abnormalities.  Unsurprised, he smiled as he saw one that occurred a little after noon, just outside the town of Copper Summit, AZ.

 

Again he reached for the phone and quickly punched in a familiar number. 

 

“This is Brody.  I’m shutting down the monitoring center and research team.  Let them know I’m sorry we didn’t make any definite progress but I’ve decided to concentrate on running the museum and spending time with my family.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Antar)

(Capitol city of Roistar - formerly Tageonon)

(Secret Headquarters of the Resistance Loyal to the Tageonants)

 

Max and Liz held hands as they entered the chamber where the Granolith had been set up.  It seemed to flicker and pulse as if it anticipated the contact and Max squeezed Liz’s hand to signal his readiness.  Together they sat on the floor, their knees touching base of the enigmatic machine, and they allowed the connection between them to open fully. 

 

They both experienced the rush of images and emotions that were typical of their connection and felt their minds and souls yearning to become one.  The urge to complete the connection and lose themselves in each other was strong but they controlled the link so their minds and souls were just touching. 

 

At the edge of their combined perception, they sensed the energy of the Granolith and together they widened the connection to include it.  For a moment nothing happened, but suddenly an additional rush of images and emotions slammed into them.  The images flashed through their linked minds faster and faster, like a movie on extreme fast forward.  There was so much information and they tried to comprehend what they were seeing, but the intensity of the emotions accompanying the blurred images was so overwhelming that tears flowed down both their cheeks.  There was extreme joy, debilitating sorrow, betrayal, and terror. 

 

And as suddenly as the images had started, they stopped. 

 

Max and Liz were breathing hard as if they had been physically pushed to the edge, and gasped for air trying to catch their breath.  For long minutes there were no other sounds in the room as their overwhelmed minds tried to decipher what they had seen.  But gradually, one by one, the pictures started to form in their linked minds and become clear.

 

Liz gasped as she realized what she was seeing.  More tears spilled down her cheeks and she spoke to Max through the connection.  Max, I remember you.  I remember everything.

 

 



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~





The End of Book 10





BOOK 10 - MAJESTY'S MORASS
Book 10 Main
Book 10 Timeline
BOOK 11 - DESTINY'S DESIGN
Alpha & Omega
Main

Back to Main
Contact