(Episode Equivalent - Pilot)
(Sunday, September 19th, 1999)
(Crashdown Cafe)

Liz approached the couple at the table with two plates, "Okay, I have got one Sigourney Weaver, that's for you. And one Will Smith. Can I get you guys anything else? Green Martian Shake? Blood of Alien smoothie?"

"No, thanks. We're good," replied the man.

Liz took in their appearance. Out-of-towners, she thought to herself, and alien nuts. "Are you guys here for the crash festival?"

"Yeah, can't wait," said the man. A speculative gleam entered his eye and he rapidly followed with, "So, does your family come from Roswell?"

Liz smiled. Definitely alien nuts. "Just four generations," she replied innocently, knowing exactly the subject that interested him.

"Uh, well, does anyone in your family have stories about the UFO crash?" asked the man eagerly.

"Well, I guess it would be okay to show you guys this," Liz said. Looking around furtively, she took a photo out of her pocket depicting a fake alien and showed it to them.

Maria walked past with a coffee pot, shaking her head and smiling at the gullibility of the public.

Liz continued with her tale, "My grandmother took this picture at the crash sight right before the government cleaned it up." The tourists, she noted, were definitely hooked.

"Do people know about this photograph?"

"Well, I know about it, and now you know about it." Liz turned to leave but added mysteriously, "I'm gonna be right back, don't show that to anyone."

"No." they quickly agreed.

Liz and Maria walked sedately to the cash register but as soon as they were out of earshot Maria burst, no longer able to contain her laughter. "You are sooo bad, girl!" She looked over Liz's shoulder. "Oh, and Max Evans is staring at you again."

"No way, Maria," Liz said. She took a quick glance in Max's direction, they locked eyes briefly and he looked away. "That is so in your imagination." Liz shook her head, certain that someone as smart and handsome as Max would not be interested in her. "Max Evans?" she said, gesturing to her face. "This? No, uh-uh."

Maria jokingly pinched her cheeks. "And with those cheeks! Preciosita tan linda!"

"Maria!" Liz laughed at her friend, "And, and even if it were, I'm going out with Kyle. I mean, he's steady and loyal, and he appreciates me."

Maria frowned. "Sounds like you're describing a poodle."

Their attention was diverted to two large men who were arguing loudly.

"I was here to get my money today not tomorrow," yelled one man as he stood.

The other man jumped to his feet, pulling a gun. "You won't need the money if you are dead," he shouted.

The first man grabbed the gun and they struggled for control.

Gasps of surprise and screams echoed through the diner and everyone dropped to the floor. The men, surprised the argument has gotten so out of hand, and fearful of being arrested, quickly left the diner.

Everyone, still stunned, slowly got up from the floor. Max looked toward Liz to see if she was all right, but she was already trying to calm some of the patrons.

Michael grabbed his arm. "Max, let's get out of here. The police will come and we don't want to be here when they start nosing around."

"Yeah, you're right," Max agreed. They quickly headed for the door but Max took one last look behind him at the girl he loved.


(Episode Equivalent - Monsters)
(Wednesday, October 13th, 1999)
(West Roswell High School)

Song Playing: Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls

Max watched as Kyle straddled the bench next to Liz and covered her eyes with his hands. She leaned back into him laughing, and Max looked away, feeling jealousy twist in his gut like a knife. He had loved Liz since he had first seen her in third grade but because of his differences he knew they could never be together.

He had often wondered what it would be like to be with Liz and live a normal life, fantasizing about what it would be like to spend time with her. He envied Kyle and any other guy who was lucky enough to experience the simple joys of laughing and talking with her, smelling the fresh scent of her hair, touching the soft skin of her cheek and kissing her sweet lips.

Max turned his attention back to where Liz and Kyle were sitting. He hated watching Liz with another man but he could never be with her in the way he wanted. He would have to be satisfied with being her friend and dreaming of what could have been if he were a different person in a different lifetime.


(Episode Equivalent - Leaving Normal)
(Friday, October 22nd, 1999)
(West Roswell High School)

Max glanced at the empty chair next to him again. It was unlike Liz to miss class. Yesterday she had seemed distracted, detached and he had wondered if something was wrong. He had asked her if she was okay and she had told him she was fine. The tone of her voice had told him she wasn't really fine but he didn't feel they were close enough for him to question her further.

The bell rang and Max was the first one out of the door, immediately heading for Maria's locker. She wasn't there when he arrived and he used the time to come up with a plausible excuse for his curiosity. He opened his notebook and waved his hand over a blank page, copying the notes he had taken in Biology class.

He tore it out of his notebook just as Maria approached her locker. He took a deep breath and walked over. "Hey Maria."

Maria looked somewhat surprised to see him but she greeted him warmly. "Hey Max. How's it going?"

"Good," Max said nodding, not quite sure how to start. "Fine. I'm fine." Maria was looking at him expectantly and he continued nervously. "Um, Liz wasn't in Biology today and I thought she would want the notes," he said, thrusting the paper in her direction. "You'll see her later and you could give it to her. I mean if you're working."

Maria took the paper from him with a smile. "Thanks Max but you could have given it to her yourself. You are coming to the Crashdown after school like usual, aren't you?"

Max stuffed his free hand deep into his jeans pocket and suddenly became interested in the spot on the floor he was scuffing with the toe of his shoe. "Um, yeah but I though she might be sick or something."

"Oh, you didn't hear," Maria said softly. "Liz's grandma had a stroke, and it doesn't look like she'll make it. Liz has been spending a lot of time with her at the hospital."

Max's eyes snapped back to Maria's face. "I'm sorry. I didn't know. Is Liz okay?"

Maria shook her head. "She and her grandma are really close and Liz is taking it pretty hard."


(Later that night)
(Roswell Memorial Hospital)

Song Playing: Higher Love by Steve Winwood

Max wasn't sure why he had come to the hospital that evening, he just needed to be near Liz. He watched unseen as Liz and her parents emerged from the room in intensive care with tears in their eyes and he knew Liz's grandmother had passed away. He longed to comfort her but they didn't have that kind of relationship, they were barely more than acquaintances.

Liz's parents left with a doctor while she stayed alone in the waiting room and turned toward the window to look out into the night. She couldn't believe her grandma was dead. It seemed so unfair that someone who loved life so much could be taken away so quickly.

Liz felt guilty that she hadn't spent more time with her grandmother on this visit but she was grateful for the time they had been together. Just before the stroke, she and her grandma had talked and Liz would cherish that time for the rest of her life. Her grandma had given her a piece of advice that she intended to live by, 'Follow your heart.'"

Max could see that Liz needed to be alone and he felt as if he were intruding. He quietly moved to go past her and toward the exit, pausing to take one last glance at her.

Liz saw a movement in the reflection in the window and turned expecting her parents, but instead she was surprised to see Max. She pushed a strand of hair behind her ear and managed a small smile. "Hi Max."

Max winced at the pain that was evident in her voice. "Hi Liz."

"What are you doing here?"

He quickly searched for an appropriate answer. "I uh, I'm visiting a friend." he said, not wanting to lie to her. "Um, Maria told me about your grandmother."

Liz nodded, tears filling her eyes again. "She just passed away."

Max stepped forward his hands extended, aching to comfort her. "I'm sorry Liz." Realizing what he was doing, he stopped a couple of steps away and stuffed his hands into his pockets.

Liz smiled at him sadly. "Thanks. It's just... it was so sudden."

"Maria said you were close."

"Yeah," Liz nodded. "She was one of my best friends."

"Really?" he asked softly. "What kinds of things did you to do together?"

"She is the one who introduced me to science." Liz smiled remembering. "She encouraged me to be whatever I wanted to be. She said the possibilities were endless." Liz met Max's eyes. "She was an incredible woman and I hope I can be like her."

Max smiled, "She has a pretty incredible granddaughter."

Liz searched Max's face as if seeing him for the first time. "Thank you Max." She impulsively closed the distance between them and wrapped her arms around him pulling him into a quick embrace. "Thank you for what you said. I'm glad you're my friend."


(Episode Equivalent - Independence Day)
(Wednesday, February 15th, 2000)
(Hank's Trailer)

Michael walked into the trailer, noting that Hank was drunk and quickly ducked into his room to avoid a confrontation. He collapsed onto his bed but Hank followed him, looking for a fight. "I told you to do the wash," Hank ordered.

"I'll do it later," Michael said dismissively.

Hank came further into the room, standing over the bed threateningly. "Today."

"I'm not your maid," Michael snapped.

"Oh, you're right. You're good for nothing. Do the wash now."

"Go to hell, Hank," Michael said as he left the room.

But Hank was warming to his topic and followed him. "No wonder your parents left you out in the desert. Who'd want ya?"

"Who are you, father of the year?" Michael sneered. "You're a man who keeps me around just to collect the monthly check!"

Max and Isabel stopped the Jeep in front of the trailer and heard raised voices from inside. Worried for Michael's safety, Max burst into the trailer followed closely by Isabel.

Michael was surprised to see them and a bit embarrassed that they had caught Hank at his worst. "What are you guys doing here?"

Isabel eyed Hank suspiciously. "We heard some yelling."

"What's going on?" Max asked.

"Just get out, all right?" Michael said, not wanting them to get involved.

Hank looked Isabel up and down. "Well hello dolly."

Michael came to her defense, "Shut up, Hank."

Hank ignored him. "Wanna have a drink with me?"

Michael stepped closer to Isabel. "She doesn't want a drink."

Hank's gaze turned toward Michael. "Who the hell are you, her lawyer?"

Michael tried to calm the situation, hoping to keep Max and Isabel out of it. "Leave her alone, Hank, all right?"

But Hank, fueled by the alcohol, was eager to fight. "I asked her a question. I'm waiting for her answer."

"Here's your answer," Isabel answered sweetly. She took the drink that he offered and threw it at him. "If you ever touch Michael again, I will kill you!"

Hank was enraged and grabbed his gun, pointing it at Max and Isabel. "You're gonna kill me? I don't think so!"

Max raised his hands and tried to calm the irrational man. "Just take it easy. We're going."

Michael stepped between Hank, Max and Isabel, raised his hand and unleashed his untamed power toward Hank. For a moment, a chair wobbled and then slid across the floor and slammed into a wall, shattering it to pieces. The refrigerator doors opened and closed, the lights dimmed and brightened, and a wind swirled loose papers around the room. Hank's gun started to shake, jerkily it pointed away from the three and discharged.

Hank was stunned by what had happened. "What the hell?!?" He turned to Michael, "Oh, you little bastard. You're a freak. I always knew it. You're a freak!"

Max turned toward the door. "Michael, let's go."

Isabel grabbed Michael by the arm. "Michael, we have to go. Now, Michael!"

Michael looked one last time at the only home he had ever known and reluctantly followed them out the door. And once they were outside he turned to them accusingly. "Congratulations, you made it worse. Now he knows."

Isabel tried to make him see reason. "Michael, Hank was so drunk, he's not gonna know what he saw and he sure as hell isn't gonna remember it in the morning."

"Isabel, I can't go back there," Michael said, trying to explain.

"Good," Isabel countered.

"You just don't get it, do you?" Michael asked, getting angrier. "I know Hank's a jerk, but that's the only thing I had, and now you guys screwed that up for good."

Max spoke up for the first time. "Look, just come back with us for now."

Michael shook his head, "Max, for how long? I mean, two days, three days. What's that gonna do? I..."

Max cut him off, "We'll figure something out."

"Max, I don't belong there. I don't belong there. I don't belong here. I don't belong anywhere." He got out of the Jeep and started walking away.

"Where are you going?"

Michael kept walking, without looking back he called over his shoulder, "Doesn't matter."


(Episode Equivalent - Independence Day)
(Thursday, February 16th, 2000)
(West Roswell High School)

The next morning Michael's concentration was suffering as he tried to take an exam and he let himself be distracted by the sound of the door opening. He was surprised to see a deputy enter the classroom, who spoke in a low voice to his teacher, and more surprised when his teacher looked in his direction.


The deputy motioned for Michael to follow him and they walked down the hall to a room where Sheriff Valenti was waiting.

The Sheriff motioned for him to have a seat and Michael complied nervously. He shifted in the chair trying to make himself more comfortable. "What is this about Sheriff?"

"Last night some of your neighbors reported hearing gunshots."

"I don't know anything about that," Michael denied a little too quickly.

"But you were there last night?" the Sheriff asked.

Michael shook his head, "No, but I went home to get some stuff."

"What time was that?"

"Um," he said thinking, and then realized what the Sheriff was asking. "Does it matter?"

"Well, not really," said Sheriff Valenti. "We have Hank in custody for illegally discharging his firearm in a populated area. I just wanted to make sure that you were okay."

"Thanks for the concern Sheriff," Michael said, "but I'm fine."


Later that night Michael met with Max and Isabel but things were still strained between them.

Max spoke up attempting to be the peacemaker, "So, everything's okay?"

"Oh, yeah, great," Michael replied sarcastically. "Hank is in jail, probably for a while."

"So, what did Valenti say?" Max asked.

"Well, he said he was gonna find me a new foster situation. Not a home, a situation."

Max sighed in frustration, "I'm sure he meant... "

Michael cut him off, "No matter what home I get, it's a substitute for the real one."

"We don't know anything about our real home," Max pointed out.

"No we don't," Michael agreed, "because all we have ever done is sit on our asses and wait for someone to find us. Well I'm sick of it. I'm going to start looking for them."

"Michael, you can't just leave," Max said.

"Watch me."

Isabel stepped forward, concerned that part of the only family she had ever known was leaving her. "Where are you going to go?"

"Anywhere but here. You two can stay in your nice little world with your pot roast and your monopoly games, cuz it's pretty clear to me you're not interested in finding our real home. But I'm going to. I'm going to find my real family."

"And what are we?" Isabel raised her voice, her fear making her angry. "You want to know what I think, Michael? I think it's time you either put up or shut up."

Michael turned to her, "Very poetic, Isabel."

"You act like a five-year-old," Isabel said. "When are you going to grow up and stop blaming everybody else?"

"Is that what you think, Max?" Michael asked.

Max thought carefully for a moment, afraid the wrong word would send Michael running. "I think it's not safe out there. We need to stick together now more than ever."

"You're wrong, Max," Michael said dismisively.

Isabel was practically in tears but refused to let Michael see how much he was hurting her. "Go on and run Michael, it's what you do best."


(Later That Day)
(The Evans House)

Max used his powers to open Isabel's door and walked in.

Isabel turned to him, "I thought I locked that door."

"Uh, yeah. Yeah, you did," Max smiled, looking guilty. "What're you doing?"

Isabel turned back to the window. "I was thinking about our home. We don't know anything about it and it's hard to think of it as real. Our planet, our family, our home. It's more like a dream. But sometimes when I look out at the stars it's like I realize that we had a home somewhere, a real place. But even if we found our family tomorrow, it wouldn't mean anything, not without Michael."


(Hank's Trailer)

Max entered the trailer searching for Michael. He heard noises coming from the back room and watched for a moment as Michael stuffed clothes into a bag. "Packing?"

Michael turned to him briefly before resuming. "You could call it that. Everything I have fits in this bag."

"You have me. You have Isabel."

Michael scoffed, "Say goodbye, Max."

"I can't."

"We'll keep in touch, all right?" Michael said dismissively.

"It's not good enough."

"Well, it's gonna have to be, all right? So say goodbye."

"I can't."


Max cut him off, "I know what you're scared of, Michael."

"No, you don't," Michael responded heatedly.

Max shook his head. "You keep telling me how lucky I am, to have a great home, great parents. But in one way, it's harder for me, because when I screw up, I have no excuses. But you, you can do and say anything you want because you have Hank, and you can blame it on that. But what happens without him? It'll all be on you, that's what."

"Well, leave it up to me to still screw it up, huh?" Michael asked.

"It's okay Michael," Max continued, "because if you do, we'll still be there for you. Maybe you have to start thinking about someone other than yourself, Michael. The three of us belong together. There's a reason that we're together. We're family. So, go if you want to, but no matter where or how far, we will always be connected."

Michael heard his words, but they weren't enough. He picked up his bag and pushed past Max. "See ya."


Michael walked down the side of the road for over an hour before anyone stopped. Finally a truck with three guys pulled over. The guy sitting by the window rolled it down and yelled out, "Where are you headed?"

Michael indicated the road with a jerk of his head. "As far as you're going."

"We're headed to Texas for a gig."

Michael nodded. "Texas is just great."


(Episode Equivalent - Sexual Healing)
(Sunday, February 20th, 2000)

Song Playing: Collide by Howie Day

Max stood transfixed in the dark outside the Crashdown as he watched Liz in the restaurant. She had just finished coring a bowl of strawberries and he felt his throat tighten as she raised a succulent, red berry to her mouth. He swallowed hard as he imagined her sweet lips pressed against his, her small frame enfolded in his arms. Max had wanted to be with Liz since he had first seen her, but in the last week the feelings inside him had grown in strength until they were an undeniable force. He thought about her every moment of every day and had a difficult time concentrating on anything else.

He had fought against going to the Crashdown that evening, but in the end he hadn't been able to stop himself. Max didn't know exactly what had brought him to her tonight but he figured it was just his hormones kicking into overdrive. He knew being with Liz was impossible but he had loved her since they were children and he wanted nothing more. All he could think of was taking Liz in his arms and kissing her senseless.

Max took a couple of steps toward the door with his hand outstretched, but stopped himself when he realized what he was doing, and shook his head to clear it. He couldn't act on his impulses no matter how much he wanted Liz. Coming here had been a mistake. Instead of dampening his feelings as he had hoped, seeing Liz had only made them stronger. With a final look at the girl he loved, and supreme will of effort, he turned away, climbed into the Jeep and drove home.


(Episode Equivalent - Wipeout)
(Sunday, October 29th, 2000)
(Copper Summit, AZ)
(The Crawford House)

Ida walked into the living room where Nicholas was playing Mortal Kombat. "Sir?"

Nicholas ignored her, concentrating on his game.

"Excuse me Sir," she said a little louder.

"Not now mom," he yelled. "I'm at a crucial part." His fingers furiously pushed the buttons on the controller but his character fell to the ground in a puddle of his own blood. Nicholas threw the controller to the floor as he leapt to his feet, "Damn it mom," he bellowed, "How many times have I told you not to interrupt me?"

"I'm sorry Sir."

"Well what is it?"

"The last of the troops have gathered for the harvest."


(Sunday - November 5th, 2000)
(Copper Summit, AZ)
(Onboard the Leptus)

Nicholas winced as he watched the body that Khivar possessed continue to rant. He had been pleased the harvest had gone well but he was frustrated they had been on Earth for so long with no clues to the location of the Royal Four.

"Nicaron the situation is intolerable. According to Jensto, the pods have surely hatched by now and every day that passes is one more day I am without Vilondra."

Nicholas wondered if Khivar would blame him for failing to locate Vilondra, and if he did, what he would do to him. Nicholas knew being on Earth wouldn't save him from his master's wrath and he made a bold inquiry. "What would you like us to do?"

Khivar considered the question for a moment. "I will send four legions of troops to Earth to help you locate them. Then if it is necessary we will give the humans an example of our superior power and make it clear to them it is not in their interest to harbor the Royal Four."


(Episode Equivalent - To Serve & Protect)
(Friday, January 26th, 2001)
(The Evans house)

The year without Michael had been difficult for Max and Isabel and they had grown closer than they ever had been. At first Max had been lost without Michael, his best and only friend, but as the weeks passed he came to rely on Liz's companionship. She had broken off her relationship with Kyle not long after her grandmother had died and she and Max had grown closer. They spent a lot of time together studying, going to movies and just hanging out, sometimes with Maria and Alex but most of the time it was just the two of them.

Max was happy just to be around Liz and he knew he should be satisfied with their friendship but he often found himself wishing for more. Sometimes he thought Liz wanted more out of their relationship too but he was careful to keep his distance. Max glanced at his sister next to him at the table where they were watching television. Isabel had tolerated his friendship with Liz but he knew she would loudly voice her disapproval if he allowed the relationship to progress.

Isabel had always known her brother loved Liz Parker but she had never suspected he would act on his feelings. At first when he had started spending time with Liz, Isabel had been resentful, but the more she saw them together she realized that around Liz, Max could relax. His whole demeanor around the Liz was different. He was more open, he laughed more and he seemed to truly be himself.

Isabel had wanted to keep Max only to herself but she knew Max was lonely without Michael and she couldn't bear to see him so unhappy. So even though she disapproved of his friendship with Liz and often reminded him to keep it purely platonic, she didn't have the heart to tell him to end it. And as Isabel interacted more with Liz, she came to respect and accept her as a friend too.

As Isabel and Max sat in front of the TV on the kitchen table, she had used the remote to surf around the dial at least three times. "There's nothing on."

Max shook his head incredulously, "We must have fifty channels."

Isabel continued to press the channel button commenting on each program, "Crap. Crap."

"Uh huh," grunted Max agreeing with her.


"Uh huh."

Isabel rose from her seat and dropped the remote on the table. "I'm going to go to bed."

The glazed look left Max's eyes momentarily. "Good night Iz."

Isabel quickly got ready for bed and collapsed into her pillow. She wasn't really tired and laid in the dark contemplating her ceiling, but eventually she drifted into a light sleep.

Suddenly she was standing in a clearing in the woods and she felt confused and frightened. She could hear a girl screaming and looked around to find the source but all she could see were trees and blinding flashes of light. She stumbled forward toward the trees that seemed to be rushing around her, but she stopped when a man came into her line of vision. At first she couldn't tell what was happening but then her vision cleared and she stared in horror at what she was witnessing. The man was dragging a body bag but the struggling person inside was obviously still alive.

Isabel jolted awake. "No!" she shouted, before realizing she was safe in her room. She swung her legs over the side of the bed and buried her head in her hands trying to catch her breath.

Max raced into her room and skidded to a halt, seeing nothing out of place. "Iz? What's wrong?"

She shook her head trying to clear the vision. "I don't know. I got a vision or something."

Max sat on the bed at her side. "What kind of vision?"

"There's a girl in trouble. Someone is hurting her."

"How could you know this?" he asked skeptically.

Isabel shook her head again, "I don't know but we have to figure out how to help her."

"It was a dream, Iz," he tried to reassure her.

"No, Max it was real. I could feel her fear. We have to help her," she pleaded.


(Saturday, January 27th, 2001)
(The Evans House)

The next evening, Isabel was scared to go to sleep. All day she had questioned herself. Last night the vision had seemed so real but she had received no additional visions after she had finally gotten back to sleep. Max had adamantly insisted the whole thing was just a bad dream and as the day had progressed Isabel had started to believe it herself. But now that it was time for bed, Isabel dreaded what her dreams would reveal to her. She flipped on the television in the living room and turned to a bad sci-fi movie hoping to stave off sleep, but after only a few minutes, her heavy eyelids closed and she drifted into sleep.

Immediately she was transported back into the vision. She watched as the girl was attacked walking to her car, once again feeling the terror the girl was experiencing. Isabel received a flash of drugs and a syringe and then suddenly she was back in the woods watching as the girl was dragged in the body bag by her attacker. Isabel cried out as she came awake, the other girl's fear still running through her, causing trembles to rack her body.

She was now positive the visions were real and she was determined to help the girl even if she didn't know how it was possible. Maybe if she tried to make contact she would be able to see more details.

Isabel went to her room and climbed into bed, and taking deep breaths she tried to open herself to the visions. It was different than dream walking, where she knew her target and controlled the situation. She wasn't sure it would work, but after a few moments she was pulled back into the woods. Again she saw the girl being dragged through the woods but this time she concentrated on trying to see the attacker's face. He was backing toward her, dragging the body bag and almost as if she had willed it, the attacker turned and she got a good look at his face. It was dark but she quickly ran her eyes over his face, memorizing every detail.

The girl's terror washed over her once again and she rushed forward to help but the vision dissolved as she came awake. Max was shaking her and calling her name. She clung to him, shivering in reaction. "I saw it again Max. The girl was kidnapped and drugged and then he took her into the woods." A sob escaped her and she continued in gasps, "I saw him. I saw his face."

Max pulled back from his sister to study her face and he could see her determination. "Okay Iz, what can we do?"

"I got more from this last vision. I think I should try again."

A concerned look crossed Max's face. "I don't know. It was like you were in a trance. This could be dangerous."

"Max the visions come to me whether I want them or not. I can't stop them."

"Okay, but they seem to be getting stronger. I had a hard time waking you out of the last one."

Isabel nodded, "Somehow I'm being pulled into her. I can feel what she was feeling."

"That's what I'm worried about. We don't know what's going on."

"Well then you'll just have to be close the next time it happens and hopefully when we rescue her, the visions will go away."


(Sunday, January 28th, 2001)

Isabel had not been able to sleep the rest of the night and after a full day of worrying she was exhausted. Just after dark she climbed into bed and fell into a fitful sleep. Once again she was back in the woods.

She looked around wildly, "Where am I?" She saw a shed with markings she recognized. Then she saw the girl again and suddenly the attacker appeared.

The girl screamed, "No, please don't!"

Isabel could feel the other girl's terror as if it was her own and called out, "Max, Max! No, Max! Max!"

Isabel watched as the attacker took out a syringe and she screamed. She was connected so closely to the other girl, it felt as if it was happening to her and she struggled, desperate to get away. "Help me!"

Max ran into Isabel's room and shook her trying to wake her. "I'm here, Isabel. Isabel wake up."

But Isabel was still in the control of the vision. "No, please!" she begged the attacker. "Don't do this. You don't have to do this. No!"

Max shook her harder, crying out to her and finally she came back to consciousness. "Isabel, are you alright?"

Isabel looked around and when she saw she was safe she allowed herself to collapse into him. "Oh my God." She allowed Max to hold her shivering form for a few moments before pulling away from him. "Max, I know where she is."


(Frazier Woods)

Max stopped the Jeep in the clearing by the shed and looked at Isabel in the seat next to him.

She nodded, "This is it."

"Okay," Max said, "we're here. Now what?

Isabel shrugged, "I don't know. She's here. She's here somewhere."

"Okay, let's start looking around but be careful. The attacker could be around here too."

Max and Isabel headed off in different directions, searching the clearing for any signs or clues.

Isabel walked toward the line of trees and stumbled. Using her flashlight she looked down at a mound of earth that extended in a straight line in both directions. "Max, come over here."

"What did you find?" Max asked as he approached.

"Look at this. What do you think it is?"

Max looked both directions, "I don't know. Let's follow it and see where it goes."

They walked for a few minutes and where the mound ended, a plastic tube emerged from the ground and twined around a bush where it attached to an oxygen tank.

"Oh my God," Isabel said, realizing what it meant.

Max grabbed the tube and started to follow it back the other direction. When Isabel didn't follow him he yelled back over his shoulder, "Come on."

They quickly followed the tube until they reached the other end, where it disappeared under ground.

Isabel dropped to her knees and started digging. "Oh God, she's under here."

They dug frantically with their hands until they uncovered the girl, her head incased in a clear plastic box.

Isabel sat back, shocked when she saw it. "Oh my God. What did they do to her?"

"I don't know," Max said softly, shaking his head.

Isabel carefully lifted the girl's head. "We've got you. What did they do?"

The girl started to convulse.

Max continued to dig out her lower half. "Isabel, there's something wrong with her. Can you get this thing off?"


A shot rang out, hitting the ground close to them. Both Max and Isabel looked in the direction the shot came from, trying to see the danger. They both heard the click of the hammer as the gunman pulled back on the trigger and then the explosion that launched the bullet toward them.

Max held up his hand instinctively as if to ward off the bullet and a glowing green shield appeared between them and the gunman. The bullet hit the barrier, slowed and finally bounced off in the opposite direction. Isabel gathered her power and shot it toward where the gunman was concealed.

"Isabel, hurry!" Max called out. "I can't keep this up much longer!"

Two more bullets were fired in rapid succession, bouncing harmlessly off Max's shield and Isabel was able to get an accurate position on the man.

"I see him Max!" Isabel fired again as the gunman moved and the blast glanced off his shoulder. The gunman dropped his rifle to clasp his hand to the wound and ran.

Max dropped his hand and the shield dissolved. He looked down at the girl in the ground, who was now still. "Let's get her out of here," he said wearily.

"I've got it," Isabel said, pulling the box off of the girl's head. "Max, is she alright?"

Max placed his hands over her to feel her energy. "She isn't really hurt, just dehydrated and a little malnourished. I think she just passed out."

Isabel studied the girl for the first time. "She's a human isn't she?"


"Then how did I get the visions from her?" Isabel asked. "It's like I know her, I'm connected to her."

"I don't know, Iz."

"What are we going to do with her? And why did that guy do this?"

Max carefully lifted the girl out of the ground. "I don't know but maybe we should get her to a hospital."

"Maybe but this all seems so..." Isabel paused, waiving her hands, "I don't know, so otherworldly."

Max nodded his agreement, "We should report this to the police but if it does turn out to be," he paused, "otherworldly, and it gets connected to us...," he let the sentence trail off not wanting to consider the possible consequences of being exposed. "Maybe we should take her to our house until we can figure out why this is happening."

"And what was with that shield?" Isabel asked, as she followed Max back to the Jeep. "Did you know you could do that?"

Max shook his head, "It just happened."

As Max set the girl down in the back of the Jeep, she came to, struggling for her life. Max released her immediately and Isabel rushed forward attempting to calm her. "It's okay. You're safe now. I promise."

The girl's eyes flicked between Max and Isabel and the tension left her body. "How did you know to find me out here?"

"I heard you cry out for help," Isabel said.

"Who are you?" the girl asked.

"Isabel. And this is Max."

"I'm Laurie. You saved my life," she said, as she took Isabel's hand. "Thank you."

When their hands touched, Isabel received a flash. It was like she was seeing into the other girl's cells but what she saw she didn't recognize from her Biology class and as she released Laurie's hand, the vision dissolved.

Max walked around the Jeep and started to climb in but stopped when he saw his sister's faraway look. "Ready to go?"

Isabel glanced at Laurie and then back at Max. "There's something about her, Max."

"What do you mean?"

"It's like I know her."

Max turned to the girl in the back seat, "Laurie, you can stay with us if you want to but I think tomorrow you need to see a doctor."

Laurie shook her head vehemently, "No, no, no. Th-they get into hospitals."

Max looked quickly at Isabel and then back at Laurie. "Are you talking about the person that did this to you? Was there more than one?"

Laurie shook her head again, "It wasn't a man. It was a them. They're not from here."

"What do you mean they're not from here?" asked Isabel, suddenly afraid of the answer.

Laurie looked at her. "They're aliens," she said simply.

As they drove back to the house, none of them noticed the truck following at a discrete distance.


(The Evans House)

After Isabel had settled Laurie into the guest room, she found Max in his room looking out the window at the stars. "She's asleep already."

"It's a good thing mom went with dad on this trip," Max said. "That way we don't have to make up any awkward explanations."

"Max, what are we going to do? What if aliens did this to her?"

"It's all I've thought about since she said it. You always hear stories about alien abductions but I never really believed they were true, even though...," he let his sentence trail off as he gestured to Isabel and then himself, "you know."

He took a deep breath, "It has always been a possibility that there were other survivors out there from the crash. Maybe one or more of them did this to her." He shrugged, "Or maybe she is just crazy. I mean if we were anyone but us and she talked about aliens, what would we think?"

Isabel nodded. "You're right, but because we are who we are, I think we have to consider the alien possibility."

Max nodded agreeing with her. "We should go back to the site in the morning and look around." He shrugged, "Who knows what we'll find."


(Episode Equivalent - We Are Family)
(Monday, January 29th, 2001)

The next morning Max and Isabel drove back to the sight and left Laurie at their house. They recovered the rifle and oxygen tanks but were unsure what to do with them.

Max looked at the items they had gathered, "Maybe we should save them in case we need to turn them over to the police."

"Max," Isabel said exasperatedly, "where would we keep them? In your room? I can see it now, mom is digging through your closet for dirty socks and she comes across a sniper rifle complete with scope. How do you explain that? 'Oh mom, that's just my new hobby?' I don't think so."

She turned and walked toward the hole where Laurie was buried to get the plastic cube that had encased Laurie's head.

Max sighed and called out to his sister. "Iz, we have to make a decision."

Isabel stopped at the hole and bent down to get the cube but a glint of blue caught her eye. "What is that?" She knelt down to get a better look, "Max, come and take a look at this."

Max trotted to where his sister was kneeling near the hole. She pointed to a cluster of blue crystals in the hole. "What do you think these are?"

Max shook his head, "I've never seen anything like them." He thought back to the previous evening. "I'm pretty sure they weren't here last night. Maybe they have something to do with why she was buried here." He motioned to the Jeep, "There's a bag in the back seat. Let's take it with us and see if we can figure out what it is, and maybe it will tell us what's going on."


As they walked from the Jeep to the house, Max turned to his sister. "I think I have my old microscope in my closet. I'll take a look at this," he held the crystals up to the light, "and you check on Laurie."

Isabel nodded as she opened the door. There was no sign of the other girl in the living room or the kitchen and Isabel called out, "Laurie, it's Isabel and Max."

The door to the pantry slowly opened and Laurie emerged, picking at her bloody hands. Isabel rushed to her side and took the other girl's hands, "Laurie, stop. Your hands are bleeding."

Laurie snatched her hands away, "No, no, I have to get them out. They put them under there. That's what they do to me."

Isabel gave Laurie her full attention, "What do they do?"

"Put needles in me. Put stuff inside." She held out her arms to show Isabel, " See?"

Isabel examined her arms and hands carefully, "I don't see anything."

"It's there. I'm not crazy. They put me in a mental hospital, but I didn't belong there."

"Who put you in a mental hospital?"

"The aliens took my grandfather and now they are after me."

Isabel took Laurie's chin in her hands and forced her to meet her eyes. "What do the aliens want?"

"They want to kill me."


Isabel left Laurie in the kitchen with some lunch and went up to check on Max's progress. He was checking a book against information on a web site. Isabel sat on his bed, "Are you getting anywhere?"

"I think we're dealing with some kind of, uh, bacterium, or something." He motioned to the computer screen, "I was just cross checking some sites on the internet to try and categorize them. The really weird thing though, it looks like they're pulsating."

"That's not normal?"

"I don't think so, but this is not my best area."

"Maybe you should ask your lab partner," Isabel suggested. "She's the science whiz."

"Liz?" Max asked consideringly. "I don't know Iz."

"Max, we need help and it's not like we can take this to a lab and have it analyzed."

Isabel was right, they did need help and he knew he could trust Liz. "Okay," Max agreed after a few moments, "I'll call her."


(Episode Equivalent - We Are Family)
(Monday, January 29th, 2001)

Liz examined the substance under the microscope. "It looks like they're a type of negleria filarae. Water-borne parasites found in the blood cells of certain species of fish, but these are like nothing else on Earth." She looked back into the microscope, "This is an amazing discovery. They are in crystal form but they're comprised of cells, and the pulsing, I have never seen or heard of anything like it. I can take them to the Biology lab at Las Cruces University and they can probably tell us more about them."

"No," Max said, nervously looking to Isabel for help. "We can't show this to anyone else."

"Oh," Liz said with a laugh, "you want credit for having discovered them."

"Something like that," Isabel answered.

Max rose and pulled his sister with him, "Excuse us Liz. We'll be back in a minute."

"Sure," Liz answered distractedly, her eyes still glued to the microscope."

Max and Isabel walked down the hall out of earshot. "Did you hear what Liz said?" Isabel whispered urgently. "They are like nothing on Earth."

Max nodded, "She also said they were parasites. That implies they need something to feed on."

"Like Laurie?"

"I don't know," Max said with a shrug. "Someone put her in that hole. Maybe it's just a coincidence the alien crystals were there too," he said hopefully.

Isabel rolled her eyes.

"I know," Max admitted, "too big a coincidence. We can ask Liz to keep researching, we can trust her to keep quiet, but I don't know how far she'll get with only half of the facts."

Isabel took a deep breath, not believing what she was about to suggest. "Max, this will sound crazy but I think we should tell Liz the truth."

"The truth," Max repeated in a dead, even tone.

Isabel nodded, "We need help and you said it yourself, we can trust her."

"Yes, but Iz..."

Isabel cut him off, "What else are we going to do? We can't just leave these parasites lose on the Earth. What if they are harmful to humans? We have to stop them."

Thoughts were flying through Max's head faster than he could interpret them. He had dreamed of telling Liz the truth over and over, and now that he was confronted with the reality, he was unsure of what he should do. In his fantasies, of course, she had always accepted him for what he was, but in reality he was scared of losing the tenuous friendship he had with her. But she was their only chance at figuring out the true nature of the crystals. He had no other choice. He just hoped she didn't hate him.

Finally Max nodded reluctantly. "You go and keep Laurie upstairs and I'll tell Liz."

Song Playing: Give Me Strength by the Alarm

Max waited until Isabel disappeared around the corner and then slowly walked back into his room. His eyes roamed over Liz's small form seated at his desk and he felt a wave of possessiveness wash over him. He had always imagined spending time with her in a romantic way, and having her in his room, surrounded by his things just felt right.

He had loved her for so long and he had often fantasized about telling her the truth, running through dozens of scenarios of how it might happen, but now that he was faced with the reality, all of the rehearsed words fled from his mind.

He sat on the bed behind her and took a deep breath. "Liz," he whispered but she was so engrossed in her studies, she didn't hear him. "Liz," he croaked, his throat suddenly dry.

"Yes?" she answered over her shoulder, her concentration still on the specimen before her.

"Liz," he said a little louder, "I need to tell you something." He watched as she turned questioning eyes to him and he looked down at his hands, "I..., um, I'm not sure how to say this."

Liz could see Max's nervousness and she wondered if he was finally going to take their relationship from friendship to the next level. Liz smiled encouragingly, taking his hand, "It's okay Max, you can tell me anything."

He looked into her soft, accepting eyes and swallowed hard, trying to dislodge the lump in his throat. He decided to start slowly, "Well, the thing is... um, I'm not from around here."

"Oh?" Liz asked, the surprise evident in her voice. Max had told her that he and Isabel were adopted, and they didn't know anything about their real family. "Did you discover something about your past?"

"In a way," Max admitted.

"Where are you from?"

Max voice suddenly faltered and he simply pointed his finger straight up.

"Up north?" Liz asked, misunderstanding him.

Max shook his head, realizing he wasn't getting his point across. He lifted his finger higher.

Liz followed his finger with her eyes and her sense of humor kicked in. "You're not an alien," she said with a laugh.

At her words, Max's head snapped up and his eyes held hers. He lowered his pointed, up-turned finger to his khakis and the beige color swirled away into a deep blue.

Liz's face paled and she looked at him with large eyes. "I mean, are you?" she asked breathily.

Max tried to lighten the mood, "Well I prefer the term not of this Earth." But when he saw Liz flinch, he immediately apologized. "Sorry, it's not a good time to joke."

Max watched as Liz looked around his room, her eyes darting from one thing to another, trying to process the information. Finally she looked back at his newly blue pants and then at his face. "Yeah, I am," he said softly. "Wow, it's weird to actually say it."

Liz got to her feet and nervously started to gather her things. "Um, I have to go because I'm late and I, uh, have to go."

Max followed her up and stood between her and the door. "Liz, please wait," he said, his hands raised in placating manner, careful not to touch her.

She looked into his face and slowly settled into the chair again.

He took a deep breath when she sat down and regained his seat opposite her. "I can't imagine how you must feel right now, I mean, I've thought about telling you a thousand times.

"You have? Me?" she asked unbelievingly.

Max nodded and an idea struck him. "Sometimes I can make, I don't know, a connection with people and I get a rush of images. I've never tried this before, but maybe I can make the connection go the other way. So you can see, you know that, that I'm still me."

He watched her absorb the information and then continued softly, "I have to touch you."

Liz looked into Max's handsome face. No matter what else he was, he was her friend and she trusted him. She nodded her consent.

Max exhaled the tension-filled breath he had been holding. He had been scared that Liz was rejecting him but he could feel the trust and the acceptance growing in her. He gently took her face in his hands, rejoicing that he was finally able to tell her the truth and she hadn't turned away from him. "Now just take deep breaths and try to let your mind blank out."

Liz tried to relax as Max instructed and at first nothing happened, but then a rush of images and feelings deluged her. In her mind, she saw Max and Isabel. They looked about five or six and they were walking down the road, completely naked and she could feel Max's fear as a car approached them. Next she saw herself through Max's eyes, on the first day he and Isabel had come to school. He had loved her and watched her from afar since that day. He admired her intelligence and her beauty but he was scared to let herself or others really see him. He feared rejection and discovery so he separated himself from everyone, but his loneliness was staggering. Suddenly the connection was broken as Max started to remove his hands, and the images and emotions stopped.

Max watched as Liz slowly opened her eyes, less than a foot away from his own, and their gazes met and held. He was filled with the overwhelming urge to kiss her but a rational part of his mind screamed out for him to stop. He looked down, breaking contact with her eyes. "Did it work?"

Liz was still too moved by Max's feelings and her reaction to them to speak, so she simply nodded.

Max took advantage of her silence to continue. "Liz, listen to me. You can't talk to anyone about this. Not your parents, not Maria. No one. You don't understand what'll happen if you do. Liz please, my life is in your hands."

Liz could hear his pleading tone. "Max, who else knows this?"

He shook his head, "No one."

Liz pressed, "What about your parents?"

Max shrugged, "We don't tell anyone. We sorta think our lives depend on it."

Liz sat up straighter her natural curiosity kicking in. "We?"

"Isabel and Michael are also...uh..."

Liz nodded accepting. "Where did you come from?"

Max shook his head, "I don't know. When the ship crashed I wasn't born yet."

"So there was a crash?"

"All I know is it wasn't a weather balloon that fell that night."

Liz's brain was on overload but still functioning. She shook her head. "The ship crashed in 1947. You're sixteen."

"We were in some kind of incubation pods," Max explained.

Liz motioned to Max's formerly beige pants. "Um, what powers do you have?"

Max smiled. Liz the scientist in action. "We can connect with people, as uh, you know. We can manipulate molecular structures, and...we can...."

Liz cut him off, "Wait, what does that mean?"

Max ran his hand over his pants again, changing them back to khaki. "Um, that's how I changed the color."

"So why did you tell me?"

"Because I knew I could trust you and because we need your help," he said motioning to the microscope.

Liz caught his drift immediately, "The crystals are alien?"

"I don't know, but you said yourself that they were like nothing else on Earth."

"Where did you get them?"

"That is a long story." He took a deep breath and proceeded to relate the events of the last few days to Liz. He started with Isabel's visions and how they located Laurie, continued with Laurie's rescue, and the gunman, and finished with that morning's discovery of the crystals, and the discussion with Isabel that had led up to telling her.

Liz shook her head. "So somebody kidnaps a girl and buries her in the ground so a bunch of alien parasites can..., can do what to her, we don't know. And..., and then how does he know about these parasites? Is he human, or is he alien?

Max shrugged, "We don't know."

Liz nodded. "I'll do anything I can to help." She paused, seeing the relief evident on Max's face. "And Max? I'm glad you told me."

Max smiled, feeling a great weight lift from his heart. "I'm glad too. I just wish it were under more normal circumstances." His eyes met Liz's and they held. Liz was attracted to him, Max had seen that when they connected, and for him it was a dream come true. Max suddenly felt as if eveything he ever wanted was within his reach, but he knew it was only an illusion. The reasons he and Liz couldn't be together were still true and Max reluctantly looked away, getting back to the subject at hand. "Where should we go from here?"

Liz had felt the intensity in Max's gaze breifly, before he looked away, and it was as if her heart had come alive for the first time. But Max was withdrawing from her again, acting like the moment hadn't happened. Liz smiled. Now that she knew his secret, she felt like it was only a matter of time until they got together. And there were more important things to concentrate on, like the alien crystals. Liz cleared her throat and answered Max's question. "Well both you and I have been handling the crystals and nothing has happened, so it sounds like they're not interested in terrestrial organisms."

"Well, except Laurie," Max pointed out.

Liz nodded, "So, maybe there's something unique about her, something the parasites are looking for. Maybe a difference or genetic defect of some kind, but there is no way we can test for that. I think we should concentrate on finding a way to kill these things. But even if we do that, it still leaves one big problem."

Max nodded following her line of thinking. "Who is the kidnapper?"


Liz went back to her house and packed a bag, telling her mom she was spending the night at Isabel's. When she returned to the Evans' house, she and Max started to run experiments attempting to figure out a way to kill the parasites. She suggested various household cleaning products including ammonia, drain cleaner and bleach, but nothing they did seemed to affect the parasites. Then they switched to antibiotics, insecticides and anti-fungal medication with no luck.

Max rose from the table in frustration. He glanced out the window and noticed the sun was going down. He could see Liz reflected in the glass of the window. He had always admired her, but today she has shown him a deep inner strength he had only guessed existed. After all of the shocks she had received, she not only trusted him but also was doing everything in her power to help him. She was incredible, and even though he hadn't thought it possible, he loved her even more.

Suddenly the tantalizing scent of food drew Max toward the door and he started down the hall.

Isabel met him near the stairs. "How's it going?"

"Well we've eliminated a lot of things that don't work," Max said with a shrug.

"So no luck."

"No," Max admitted.

"I made dinner," Isabel said, motioning toward the kitchen. "Why don't you and Liz come and eat?"

"Yeah. Thanks Iz."

Max re-entered his room just after Liz's latest failure. She sat back into the chair dejectedly and rotated her shoulders. Max came up silently behind her and started to gently rub her neck, using his healing ability to ease the away the soreness. Liz sighed and leaned back into him. He bent down and spoke softly in her ear, "Liz you've been at this all day. Isabel made dinner. Why don't you take a break and we can get back to it later."

Liz nodded, noticing her growling stomach for the first time. "Yeah, I guess I am hungry."

The four ate dinner with little chitchat. Liz made an attempt at a conversation with Laurie but the other girl was not very responsive and Liz didn't want to upset her with talk of the experiments.

After dinner Isabel suggested hot chocolate and reached for the kettle, as she turned on the gas burner. Liz's attention focused on the flickering, blue flame and it was as if the pieces of a puzzle suddenly slid into place. "That's it," she said jumping out of her seat. "That's it! Fire!" She turned to Isabel. "Do you have a metal or Pyrex bowl or container of some kind?"

Isabel fished a Pyrex bowl and lid out of the cabinet. "Will this do?"

Liz took them from Isabel, "It's perfect."

Max went to his room, broke off a small crystal shard and he and Liz took it into the garage. He removed the lid, placed the bowl on the work surface and put the shard in the bowl. Liz tore a match out of a book and used it to light the whole book on fire and dropped it in the bowl too. They watched as the matches burned for a moment uneventfully, but suddenly the crystal shard started to glow. It vibrated and then jumped, bouncing off the side of the container and Max and Liz stepped back as it started to move more vigorously.

Afraid it would jump out of the container, Max grabbed the lid and covered the bowl. The shard flipped around the bowl violently as the matches continued to burn, but suddenly it stopped moving and the glow extinguished.

After a moment, Max removed the lid. "It looks dead."

"Yeah," Liz agreed but her scientific instincts took over. "Let's check it under the microscope though."

They took the shard back into Max's room and prepared a slide. Liz closely examined it and saw no movement. "It's dead, take a look."

Max fitted his eye to the lens. "You're right," he said turning toward her with a smile. "You did it Liz."

Liz shook her head, "I'm just not sure why it died."

"The fire..."

Liz shook her head again, holding up the deceased but immaculate crystal shard. "Look, it's not burnt or even singed." She sat back in the chair, thinking aloud. "Fire not only burns, but also produces heat, or it could be some kind of gas that was released when the matches burned, a dye or chemical. Fire also consumes oxygen." She stopped and looked up at Max. "I bet that's it. The parasites can live in water and in the open air and one thing they both have in common is oxygen. The fire consumed the oxygen in the bowl because you covered it, and the parasites suffocated."

"I'm sure you're right," Max agreed.

"Let's test it to be sure."


Max had climbed into his bed more than an hour ago but he had been unable to sleep. His mind was occupied with too many things. He was worried about how to stop the parasites but that was just an annoying buzz in the back of his mind. Uppermost in his thoughts was the dark-haired girl he was in love with, sleeping on his sister's floor, just across the hall.

He had always dreamed of telling Liz the truth and in his fantasies they had admitted their love for one another and lived happily after. But faced with the actual fact of Liz's acceptance, Max was unsure of what to do. He longed to advance their friendship into a romantic relationship but he feared what he was, would somehow harm her.

The problem of Laurie and the parasites just reinforced his caution. If an alien, one of his kind, had done this to Laurie then what would they do to Liz if his relationship with her were discovered?

A creaking sound outside his door drew his attention and somehow he knew it was Liz. She had been as restless as he, since the adrenaline of their success had worn off, and she had probably been wondering what his revelation meant for their relationship too.

Max pulled on shorts over his boxers, donned a t-shirt and headed down the hall after Liz. He caught up with her in the dark kitchen where she was heating a cup in the microwave. "Couldn't sleep either?" he whispered.

She shook her head, not surprised by his presence, whispering in return, "No, there's too much running through my head. I thought some tea might help." She moved a little closer to him. "Do you want me to make some tea for you?"

Max took a step closer to Liz and reached out to slowly run his hand down the soft skin of her arm, exposed by the tank top she was wearing. He could still feel her emotions running through him from when they connected, and uppermost in his mind was the fact that she wanted a relationship with him too. Again their eyes locked and Max was overcome with the urge to kiss her. He leaned in closer, leaving only inches between them. "Liz, I..."

He was interrupted by a sound coming from outside and suddenly his whole attention was focused on the door.

"What is it?" Liz whispered urgently.

"I don't know, but stay behind me." Max was sure he had locked the door but he watched in horror as the knob wiggled for a moment and the lock popped open. He grabbed Liz's arm and pulled her with him behind the island, as the door swung open. They ducked out of sight and Max peered around the side to size up the intruder.

The man was dressed entirely in black, with a bag slung over his shoulder, but there were no visible weapons. Max decided to use the surprise to his advantage and ran toward the intruder, ducking his head in a football block.

Liz screamed as he made contact with the other man and she grabbed a frying pan off the counter.

Isabel jolted upright in bed at the sound of Liz's scream. For a moment she was disoriented but the sounds of a fight propelled her out of bed and down the hall toward the ruckus. She stopped in the doorway of the kitchen just as a black-clad intruder pushed Max away and turned on Liz, who was rushing at him with a frying pan.

Liz swung her weapon at the intruder's head but he anticipated her, catching the blow on his upraised arm, and struck out, knocking her into the wall. Liz hit the wall hard and slid to the ground.

"No!" Max screamed and turned his fury on the intruder.

As the man turned toward her, Isabel saw his face for the first time and gasped in recognition. She saw him draw a gun from his pocket as he turned toward her brother and instinctively she quickly built her power and aimed a blast of energy at his chest.

The intruder staggered and dropped the gun as he fell to the floor. Max moved forward, grabbed the gun and checked the intruder as Isabel flipped on the light. The energy blast had seared completely through his chest near his heart, and Max could see with a glance he was dead.

Max dropped the gun and ran to where Liz was sitting on the floor. He cradled her head in his hands and released the breath he was holding when he saw she was alive. He nodded to Isabel who had knelt beside them, and he continued to check Liz for injuries. She was fine, but gasping for air because the blow had knocked the breath from her lungs. Max gently encircled Liz in his arms and with his hand on her back, eased the tension out of her lungs, allowing her to breath normally.

Liz desperately clutched at Max's chest as she sucked gulps of air into her lungs. "Max," she whispered, quickly taking another breath. "Max, look."

Max released Liz, and he and Isabel turned toward the intruder as his chest opened and a mass of blue crystals parted and jutted out of the cavity. Isabel gasped as a creature resembling a jellyfish, rose out of the midst of the crystals. It hovered in the air momentarily and then sped toward them.

Max instantly erected a shield, separating himself and the girls from the alien creature. It slammed into the barrier, knocking him backwards but he kept the shield in place. Isabel built her power and aimed at the creature around Max's shield as it came at them again. She hit it squarely with a blast of energy but it seemed to have no effect and again it threw itself against the shield. This time the shield faltered momentarily and Max knew he would not be able to keep it up much longer.

Liz spoke to him from behind. "Max, can you make the shield into a sphere?"

"I guess," he said over his shoulder. "I've never tried it."

"When it hits your shield again, fold the shield around to trap it. Then empty the air and make it airtight. It needs oxygen remember?"

Max nodded his head, "I'll try."

Once again the creature flew toward them. Max tensed, waiting until it was almost on top of them and then he encased it in the shield as Liz had suggested. The creature threw itself against the sides when it discovered it was trapped and Max quickly vented the air and sealed the surface to make it airtight.

The creature grew more frantic as it realized there was no oxygen. It battered the shield repeatedly and Max concentrated all of his energy into strengthening the barrier. Finally the creature gave a final effort, lunging into the barrier with its full strength behind it, and it exploded into a gooey mess.

Max dropped the shield and sagged into the wall, exhausted. "What was that thing?"

"I don't know," Isabel said with a haunted tone, "but that is the man I saw in my vision. He's the one who took Laurie."

They all looked at each other and said her name in unison, "Laurie!"

Max attempted to rise but Isabel pushed him back down. "Stay here for a minute and rest. I'll go check on her."

Liz rose from his side, wet a dishcloth and knelt back down beside him. She ran the cool cloth over his heated face and neck. "Max you saved all of us, thank you."

He shook his head, "No Liz. Your experiments saved us. Without you, I wouldn't have known how to kill it."

Liz moved in closer, eager to recapture the earlier mood between them. "We make a good team," she said softly.

Max looked into her eyes. He wanted nothing more than to kiss her. He had meant to before they were interrupted, but the events of the last few minutes had changed his mind. He had been right to worry about what could happen to Liz. His heart had nearly stopped when she had been thrown into the wall. She easily could have been killed and Max felt cold just thinking about it. He couldn't take the risk. He had to keep the distance between them to protect her.

Max took the dishcloth from her hand and pushed a wayward strand of hair behind her ear. "Liz, it's not safe. I mean, for you and, and me to..." he trailed off and shook his head. "It's not safe."

Liz met his eyes. "I don't care."

Max sighed. Pushing Liz away from him was breaking his heart, but he continued with a sad smile, "Liz I really, really wish that this could be something, you know, more. But it can't. We're just..." he let the sentence trail off searching for the right word.

But Liz finished the sentence for him. "Different."


Liz motioned to the intruder. "Look Max. The crystals are dying." They watched as the crystals melted into a thick, blue goo. "We should check the ones in your room."

They raced to his room and Max flipped on the light. The crystals on his desk had also turned into goo.

Liz thought for a moment. "The creature we killed must have been the leader, the brain of the group, like the Borg on Star Trek. There is one queen who makes all of the decisions and the others are just drones, workers who do what she tells them. When we killed her all of them died."

"I think you're right," he agreed. "That means Laurie is out of danger."

Liz nodded, "We should check on Laurie and Isabel."

They met the other girls coming out of Laurie's room. Liz explained. "The crystals are all dead. We think it's because we killed the creature downstairs. It must have been the queen of the group and when it died, the rest died too. So there is nothing left to harm you, Laurie. You're safe now."


(Tuesday, January 30th, 2001)

The next day they saw Laurie off at the bus station. She had decided to visit her grandfather in Arizona. Laurie hugged each of the three, "Thank you for what you did. I'll tell my grandfather that we don't have to worry about aliens anymore."

Liz went back to the Evans' house to help clean up, but Isabel took care of the damage in the kitchen with one wave of her hand.

They waited until dark to load the intruder's body into the Jeep, then they drove deep into the desert and burned the body. At Liz's suggestion, Max and Isabel used their powers to super-heat the flames to make sure there was nothing left.

As they stood watching over the flames, Isabel voiced what they were all thinking. "We don't even know who he was, and no one will know what happened to him. His family and friends will just think he disappeared." She shook her head. "Whoever he was, he didn't deserve to die like that."

Max wrapped a comforting arm around his sister. "No one deserves to die like that."



Part 2
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Alpha & Omega

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