BOOK 7 THE INTRUSION OF SHADES
(THE CLANDESTINED DISCLOSED)

 

 

 

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

 

 

PART 2

 

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Leaving Normal)

(Tuesday, October 19th, 1999)

(Liz’s Balcony)

 

Liz opened her journal and started to write.

 

 

 

It's October 19th.  I'm Liz Parker and this is what I've been thinking.  Can life ever go back to normal?  Part of me wants safety, wants to go back to how things were, to a life that I could predict, where I know how life is going to be.  And the other part of me wants to go somewhere else, into the unknown.

 

 

 

Liz put her pen down.  She had been growing more restless over the last week.  It had only been a month since Max had healed her, but now it seemed as if her life was in constant turmoil.  She'd had set-in-stone plans for her future; a clear, straight path filled with goals that would lead her to the desired destination.  But now everything was different. 

 

Knowing the truth about Max had made her question many things including the importance of her life plan.  Max, Michael and Isabel were searching for answers to their past that might hold a significance beyond anything they could imagine.  Everything she had considered important in her life faded into the background when compared to that. 

 

Sometimes she wished she didn't know Max's secret, she could just lead a normal life like the other six billion people on the planet, but those thoughts only ever lasted a few seconds.  What she had gained by getting to know Max was worth the all of the trouble and self-doubt.  But when it was quiet and she was alone with just her thoughts, like she was now, she wondered where the future would take them.

 

Over the last few weeks she and Max had grown closer and most of the time she wished their friendship would grow into something more.  Sometimes it seemed as if Max did too but then he would back off, push her away.  She sighed.  It seemed as if they were doomed to exist in a limbo that neither of them was sure how to escape, never moving forward, but unable to go back because they were connected by the secret they shared. 

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Leaving Normal)

(Crashdown Cafe)

(Later that day)

 

Max slid into a booth and watched as Liz served a table of men he assumed to be dentists, attending the orthodontist's convention.  His suspicions were confirmed when she smiled widely to show them her teeth.

 

She glanced in his direction with a smile and walked toward him, and Max felt a sense of profound satisfaction.  Now that they were friends and Liz shared his secret, it seemed as if everything was perfect.  He was able to talk to her whenever he wanted and when he came into the Crashdown he didn't have to pretend it was just to eat.

 

Liz stopped at his table and motioned over her shoulder.  "It's an orthodontist convention."

 

Max couldn't help but smile, "Apparently."

 

"So, are you waiting for Michael or..." she trailed off and finished the sentence in her head, or are you here because you wanted to see me as much as I wanted to see you.

 

"No, no." Max said, looking at the menu.  No, he said to himself, I am here to see you.  He continued aloud, "I'll just have and Alien Blast."

 

Liz knew he was referring to an item on the menu but his choice closely echoed the overwhelming feelings she had for him.  "Me, too," she mumbled, unaware she had spoken aloud.

 

"Excuse me?" Max asked, wondering if she had really spoken or if his fantasy was intruding into reality again.

 

"Nothing," Liz said, feeling the heat of a blush climbing up her face.  "Okay, one Alien Blast."

 

 

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

 

 

(The Evans House)

 

Max examined his bruises and cuts in his mirror.  It had been just over an hour ago that he had been so happy, but somehow things always went wrong.  He thought he could be satisfied with just being around Liz, just being friends with her, but obviously Kyle and his buddies had not seen it that way.

 

Kyle had not been with the guys who had attacked him, but Kyle had either spoken to them or they had noticed the extra time Max had been spending with Liz.  Either way it could easily turn into a dangerous situation.  Kyle was the Sheriff's son and the last thing they needed was another reason for Valenti to become suspicious of them.

 

As much as Max hated his decision, he knew what he had to do.  He had to stay away from Liz.

 

 

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

 

 

(Washington, DC)

 

Pierce threw Agent Stephen's report onto his desk.  Stephens had actually suggested that Max Evans might not be dangerous.  Pierce skimmed the words on the page.

 

 

 

Considering the results of Agent Topolsky's psychological evaluation, I believe we should examine the possibility that the subject may not be the same entity the Unit has been pursuing. The subject's reactions to the tests are typical of a human adolescent, and I suggest using more subtle means to determine his exact nature.

 

 

 

Pierce rolled his eyes; Stephens was getting soft.  Even if Max Evans was not the same creature they had been chasing for the last fifty years, he was an alien and all of them were cold-blooded killers.  But Pierce didn't believe Max was a different creature.  He had been on Earth long enough to learn how to use human gullibility to his advantage, and Max obviously had Topolsky and Stephens wrapped around his little, green finger. 

 

Pierce picked up the phone and punched the number angrily.  When it was answered, his words were clipped, "Stephens may be a problem.  Keep an eye on him."

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Leaving Normal)

(Wednesday, October 20, 1999)

(Roswell Memorial Hospital)

 

Liz was restless waiting for the doctors to tell them what had happened to her Grandma.  She was with her parents and Kyle had even come, hoping to comfort and support her, but his presence wasn't helping.  Her mind kept straying to Max.  Just the thought of him sent a warm, calming feeling through her, and she wished he were there to tell her everything would be all right.

 

She glanced at Kyle.  He didn't have to be there but he had come.  He really was a nice guy.  Suddenly Liz realized that Kyle deserved better than she was capable of giving him.  It wasn't fair to him she was always thinking of Max.   She knew this wasn’t the time or place, but she would have to let him go, soon. 

 

Liz got up and mumbled, "I'll be right back."  She walked down the hall to the soda machine, deposited her money and pressed a button.  As she picked up the can, she noticed the phone, just inches away.  She knew it was silly, Max couldn't do anything, but she just wanted to hear his voice.  She dialed the phone and felt a pang of disappointment when his machine answered.

 

"Hi, Max," she started, not knowing quite what to say.  "Its Liz.  I'm at the hospital.  Something happened to my grandmother.  We don't know if it's serious, but it seems really bad.  I'm just scared.  Look, I don't even know why I'm calling you.  I guess I just wanted to hear your voice or something.  Now I just feel completely stupid.  Look, don't come here or anything because everyone is here.  I'll just see you in school tomorrow.  Sorry for the weird call.  Bye."

 

She replaced the phone with a sigh, somehow feeling better even though she had only heard his voice on the machine.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Missing)

(Monday, October 25th, 1999)

(West Roswell High School)

 

When Kathleen had seen Liz in the dark classroom earlier, she had known something was wrong, but now that she had stumbled across an upset Alex too, she suspected the strain of the secret was starting to get to the group of friends.  She invited Alex into her office to talk, and he surprised her by getting right to the heart of the subject.

 

"No, it's just, you know, things change.  People change.  You accept it and you move on."

 

"Who's changed, Alex?" Kathleen asked, hoping for a break in his loyalty.  "You?"

 

"No, not me," he denied.

 

"Your girlfriend?" she asked, hoping to play on the crush she suspected he had for Liz.

 

"No," Alex denied, "I don't have a...  No girlfriend, Ms. Topolsky."

 

"Well, that doesn't surprise me. Teenage girls can never spot the good ones," Kathleen flattered him, but then quickly turned the discussion back toward her main interest. "I mean, look at Liz Parker, dating Kyle Valenti. He's a little obvious, don't you think?"

 

"Yeah, well," Alex defended his friend, "you know, apparently Liz is going through some stuff right now, so..."

 

"Stuff?" Kathleen interrupted, trying not to sound too interested.

 

"It's stupid.  Liz loses her diary, and the next thing I know, Inspector DeLuca tells me that they have me pinned as the main suspect.  These are my good friends, you know?"

 

Kathleen listened and commiserated with Alex for a few minutes longer and when it was clear he wasn't going to divulge any secrets, she let him go. As he closed the door, she picked up the phone and dialed.

 

"Control," Stephens answered.

 

"7 - 3 - 2 - 9 - 0," Kathleen spoke into the receiver.

 

"What have you got?"

 

"Something interesting has happened," Kathleen said.  "Any chance of sending me the backup I requested?"

 

"You will have two Agents in the morning."

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Missing)

(Tuesday, October 26th, 1999)

(Crashdown Cafe)

 

Kyle followed his friends into the Crashdown and immediately spotted the one person who he didn't want to see.  He didn't know what Max Evans had done to Liz but it was obvious he was partly to blame for Liz breaking up with him.  Kyle liked Liz a lot, maybe even loved her, and he'd had moments when he had considered marrying her when they graduated, but Max had ruined that.

 

His dad had told him to stay away from Max but Kyle would be damned if he was going to.  He didn't care what Max was into, he was going to get him back for breaking up his relationship with Liz.  He made a detour to Max's table, "I'm onto you, Evans," he said, sure Max would get his meaning.

 

 

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

 

 

Max acted like Kyle’s words didn’t mean anything but as soon as he was able, he excused himself from Isabel and Michael and rushed upstairs to see Liz.  "Kyle stole it," he blurted out, "Kyle stole your journal."

 

"No, Max,” Liz said.  “Don't go Maria on me, okay?  It's not stolen, it's just, it's misplaced."

 

"I'm onto you.  Just now, he looked right at me and said, I'm onto you.  It means he read your journal, Liz.  It means he knows about me."

 

"No, Max," Liz denied.  "It's not about the journal.  It's about us, okay?  Kyle thinks that you had something to do with our breaking up.  And he's not a thief.  You know, the journal has only been missing for one day.  Kyle hasn't been in my house in over a week."

 

"And the Crashdown?" Max asked, his suspicions not laid to rest.

 

"No, not there either."

 

Max calmed down somewhat and looked around Liz's room. He noticed a CD on her table. "Good album," he said as he picked it up. Suddenly he had a vision. Kyle had been in her room, recently. He had left her the CD.

 

Max turned to Liz, "He was here."

 

"Who was here?" Liz asked, confused by the sudden topic changes.

 

"Kyle," Max said simply.

 

"No, Max.  I told you Kyle hasn't been here for over a week."

 

"I saw him."

 

"You saw him," Liz repeated, still confused.

 

"I had a flash, Liz," he explained.  "When things get intense, heightened, sometimes we feel things, see things.  He was here, Liz." 

 

Max wondered briefly if that was why Michael got a flash from the key in Valenti's office.  Michael had been worked up since the shooting, and he had to have been especially nervous about breaking into the Sheriff's office.  And Michael was especially attuned to anything that could lead them home. 

 

Or maybe it was just another power Michael was manifesting.  Michael the touch psychic, Max thought.  That would not be good.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Missing)

(Wednesday, October 27th, 1999)

 

Kathleen met the two agents that Stephens sent to her, in a field outside of town.  "I think Liz Parker's diary provides one of the most compelling leads I've ever encountered since I joined the unit."

 

"Wait a second." Agent Harris said.  "I cut my vacation short for a diary?"  But when he saw the look that Agent Topolsky gave him he backtracked, "Okay, sorry."

 

Kathleen continued with her explanation, "This is not just a diary, Agent.  This is potential proof of alien contact.  Not from a crackpot farmer or a drunk somewhere, but from a straight-A student.  Treasurer of the Roswell science club."

 

"So, uh, any idea where this diary might be?"

 

Kathleen smiled, "I think I do.  This is where we should get started.  She's been having a problem with her boyfriend.  His name is Kyle Valenti.  The only problem, he is the son of the local Sheriff."

 

Agent Harris shook his head, "It won't be a problem."

 

 

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

 

 

(Two Hours Later)

 

Agents Harris and Adams met Agent Topolsky in the same field. 

 

"We didn't find the diary," started Agent Harris, "but we did find something of interest."

 

"And what was that?" asked Kathleen.

 

"Apparently we aren't the only one's who thought Kyle might have taken the diary.  Liz Parker and Max Evans were at the Valenti house looking for it too."

 

Kathleen smiled, "Then they do have something to hide don't they?"

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Missing)

(Thursday, October 28th, 1999)

(Hank’s Trailer)

 

Michael pulled Liz's diary out from underneath the false bottom in the drawer where he had hidden it. He had finished reading it the day he had taken it and put it in the drawer for safekeeping, but then promptly forgotten about it until Max had mentioned it.

 

When Michael had discovered Liz was keeping a diary, he had been angry that she would risk revealing their secrets. He had broken into her house the next morning when she was at school and taken the diary, but when he read it, he saw they had nothing to fear.

 

But he also had to admit to himself that there had been another reason he was so curious.  He'd had a crush on Liz when they had been in elementary school.  She was cute and smart, if not a little too serious, and part of him still admired her.  But he'd never admitted it to anyone, even his best friend Max, because he'd known that Max had loved Liz even back then. 

 

Michael knew he never had a chance with Liz for several reasons, the main one being his otherworldly status, but he still felt a tinge of jealously that she had fallen for Max, and he envied the connection they shared. 

 

And when he had read her diary, he could see she would have never turned to him.  The qualities she had fallen for in Max were exactly the same qualities Michael himself admired and he didn't think he would ever possess them.     

 

Michael tucked the diary in his pocket and headed for the Crashdown, and his thoughts turned back to the day just over a month ago that had started this whole thing.  His lingering admiration for Liz had made him hesitate when he could have stopped Max from healing her, but he didn't regret it.  He had been scared at first, but Liz's acceptance of what they were, made him feel a little less like freak, and reading her feelings for Max made Michael feel it might be possible for someone to care for him that way.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - 285 South)

(Tuesday, November 9th, 1999)

 

Michael was frustrated that they had made so little progress about the mystery of the key. He had tried to get more information on James Atherton beyond what the book jacket had said but he couldn't find anything. There had to be something somewhere that would give him an idea to where the dome house was located. He paced around his room trying to think. Where would you go to find info on a UFO nut, as Max had called him?

 

UFO - Max.  It suddenly clicked into place; the UFO museum.  Max had told him that his boss kept all kinds of files, surely there was something on this Atherton guy.  Michael glanced at his watch.  It was after closing time.  He shrugged, it might be better that no one else was around anyway.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - 285 South)

(Wednesday, November 10th, 1999)

(West Roswell High School)

 

Kathleen waited until all of the kids had left the classroom before she entered.

 

Mr. Sommers greeted her, "Thanks again for your suggestion. These, these questions are so insightful."

 

"My pleasure, Steve,” she purred.  “As you know, I did my graduate thesis on the importance of oral history in psychology.  So, did you pair up the students the way I suggested?" she asked innocently.

 

"Oh, yes, yes. It should prove quite interesting," he replied excitedly.

 

"Sometimes you end up with the most revealing details, just by putting the right people together."

 

Kathleen smiled as she walked down the hall toward her office.  It had been very easy to persuade Steve Sommers to give the kids the assignment.  He had a bit of a crush on her and she had used it to her advantage. 

 

She had seen signs of strain in Max's group and she’d created the assignment not only hoping to gather information but also to try and cause more stress by pairing the more volatile people together.  Kyle paired with Max; she shook her head to keep from laughing aloud.  That had been the most inspired pairing.  Anyone could see they were both interested in Liz and clearly Kyle blamed Max for his break up with Liz. 

 

Yes, she thought to herself, now was the time to keep them under a constant surveillance.  Something was bound to break soon and she would be there when it did.

 

 

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

 

 

(Crashdown Café)

 

Liz watched as Max and Isabel walked out of the diner without saying a word.  Something was going on and it involved Maria.  Liz grabbed her bag and ran after them.  She caught them just as they reached the Jeep.  "What is going on here?"

 

"The less you know right now, the better," Max said, his main desire to protect Liz.

 

"Max, no!" Liz protested, she was not going to let him push her away again.  "Not when Maria's involved."

 

"Maria?" he asked, wondering what she had to do with it.

 

"It would be her car with her in it," Isabel drawled, tired of the trouble Michael had been causing.  "Going South on 285."

 

"We better hurry," Max said, as he climbed up into the Jeep.  When he saw Liz about to climb in, his first reaction was to stop her, and keep her out of their mess.  "Hey, no.  You can't come."

 

Liz turned hurt eyes to him and Max didn’t know what he would have done but suddenly Kyle was there.

 

"Trouble in paradise?" Kyle sneered.  "So soon?"

 

Kyle’s words angered Max.  No one treated Liz that way.  He spoke to her without taking his eyes off Kyle, "Get in."

 

 

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

 

 

They left so quickly that they almost ran into the man who had been watching them. 

 

Agent Jensen called Agent Topolsky.  "I'm outside the Crashdown.  Parker and the two Evans kids just left, in a hurry."

 

"Let's find out where they're going." Kathleen said.

 

"Yes ma'am."

 

Kathleen was thrilled.  Finally it looked as if something were happening.  She quickly typed an e-mail message.

 

 

 

Special Investigation Unit,

Code Name: West Roswell High...

 

Tension in the Ranks.

Waiting for them to slip up.

Will happen soon.

 

 

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

 

 

Agent Jensen looked at the flat tires on his car and then at the Jeep pulling away.  Obviously he had not been as careful as he had thought.  The kids had spotted him.

 

He pulled out his cell phone and called Agent Topolsky again.  "They made me and I lost them but they are still headed south on 285."

 

"Understood Agent," she replied.  "I am following a lead that will take me right to them.  Let me know if anything else turns up."  She turned off the phone and checked to make sure the Sheriff's cruiser was still in sight.

 

 

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

 

 

(Max’s Jeep)

(Heading south on 285)

 

Liz was getting worried.  She, Max and Isabel had been driving a long time without any sign of the Jetta.  Liz didn't really know Michael, didn't know what he was capable of, and he had Maria.  "It's getting so late.  You know, maybe we should just call our parents."

 

"No," Max said automatically.  They had always handled everything themselves.  They had never even considered asking for help.

 

"They could help find them," Liz pressed.

 

Isabel could hear the worry in Liz's tone and she was worried herself.  She and Liz had come to a bit of an understanding earlier and she felt that Liz only had their best interests at heart.  "I hate to say this, but maybe she's right, Max.  I mean, I never liked the idea of Michael going into this place without us checking it out first."

 

"No,” Max said stubbornly.  “Nobody can know about this."

 

"Max, I'm really worried about Maria," Liz protested.

 

Isabel knew what her brother's tone meant, but she tried to reason with him.  "I'm worried about Michael, and all you seem to care about is what's inside that dome, right?"

 

"I didn't say that," Max argued.

 

"You didn't have to!" Isabel said.

 

Max was frustrated.  He had never really wanted to find out about their past, but now it was important.  Now that Liz knew their secret it seemed as if all of his dreams were only a step away.  "Isabel, we're close to something," he said, willing Isabel to understand. 

 

Maybe finding out about their past wasn't as scary as it had always seemed.  More and more Max believed that there was nothing out there for them.  Because of Liz, he wanted to believe they were sent to Earth to make a life, and maybe they could find proof of that in Texas. 

 

 

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

 

 

Kyle pulled up outside the motel where he saw Max's Jeep parked.  A motel, he thought to himself, Liz was not that kind of girl.  Maybe she didn't realize what she was getting into.  Maybe she was in over her head.  He had a chance to offer her a way out of this mess and if he did, she might turn to him again.

 

He walked down the row of doors trying to determine which room they were in, but the shouts coming from the open door ahead was a dead give-away.  As Kyle approached, he was just able to make out the words,

 

 

 

they're gonna find out about us, and when they do, everybody in this room...

 

 

 

Intrigued, Kyle pushed the door open, but the talk stopped when the occupants spotted him.

 

"Kyle!" Liz gasped, obviously not expecting him.

 

"Everyone in this room is what?" Kyle asked.

 

"Get out," Michael snarled.

 

Kyle wasn't intimated by his bravado.  "Why don't you go ahead and finish what you were saying?  Or are you afraid that I'll find out what your little secret is?  Are you afraid that I might find out what the hell you guys are doing out here?  In the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night?"

 

"I said get out!" Michael yelled, advancing on Kyle.

 

"Michael, don't," Max warned.

 

But in his rage, Michael pushed Kyle and sent an uncontrolled burst of power into him that pushed him across the room.

 

Kyle was a little surprised Michael had that much strength.  "Who the hell are you guys?"  He picked himself up off the floor.  "What's going on here?"  When he didn’t get an answer he turned to Liz.  "And what are you doing here?  I'm gonna get you out of here," he said as he grabbed her arm and started pulling her toward the door.  "Come on."

 

At the sight of Kyle touching Liz, Max's possessive instincts surged forward and he tried to disengage Kyle's hand from Liz.  "Leave her alone."

 

"Get off of me!" Kyle said, his temper rising.

 

Liz knew that a fight was just moments away.  "Just stop it, both of you, okay?  This has gotten so out of control!"  She turned to Kyle, sorry for the words she had to speak, knowing it would cause him pain.  "I am not your girlfriend anymore, Kyle."

 

Kyle shook his head.  "Liz, I don't know what's going on here, and I don't care.  I just want you to come back with me."

 

Liz took a deep breath.  She wasn't getting through to him, she would have to be more plain.  "You don't belong here, Kyle.  This is none of your business."

 

Kyle was shocked.  He thought Liz was just confused, that she would welcome a way out, but she had obviously made her decision.  She was obviously with Max now.  Kyle shook his head, "I don't know, I don't know what I ever saw in you."

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - 285 South)

(Thursday, November 11th, 1999)

(Atherton’s House)

 

Kathleen silently followed Sheriff Valenti into the geodesic dome.  Obviously he was following in his father's footsteps investigating aliens, but she couldn't let him get to any information the kids uncovered.  And he was already too close.

 

She waited until his back was turned and delivered a surgical hit to the head that she knew would render him unconscious.  Then she turned to examine the room.  The kids had obviously come in and then disappeared. 

 

There had to be a secret room somewhere.  She spotted the keyhole on the wall almost immediately and quickly used a lock pick, causing the trap door to spring up from the floor.  As she opened the door wider, she could hear scuffling coming from the room below; the kids had obviously heard her. 

 

She ran down the stairs into the small room and followed the sounds to a pipe where the kids had escaped. Scrambling through the pipe, she emerged into daylight just in time to see the Jeep disappearing in a cloud of dust.

 

Kathleen slammed her hand on the pipe in frustration. She had been so close.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - River Dog)

(Thursday, November 11th, 1999)

(Washington, DC)

 

Agent Stephens slumped into his chair.  He had been followed to work again this morning.  Obviously he was on Pierce's list, and people on that list had a habit of disappearing, or worse.  The case in Roswell was not proceeding as quickly as Pierce had wanted and Topolsky's latest report left a lot to be desired. 

 

Stephens grabbed the phone and called Topolsky.  He listened as once again she related the events of last night.

 

"Things are very much under control, Sir."

 

Stephens grabbed his head in disbelief.  "Agent Topolsky, do you understand the assignment that was given to you?"

 

"Yes, sir, I do," she said confidently.

 

He practically groaned aloud, "Repeat it."

 

"I'm sorry?"

 

"Your assignment," he said, his patience wearing thin.  "Repeat it to me."

 

"The assignment is to observe the subjects and determine whether or not the theories about them are substantiated."

 

"You're forgetting something, Agent.  The word covertly.  To covertly observe the subjects to determine whether or not the theories about them are substantiated.  Covertly!"

 

"I've been acting covertly," Kathleen assured him.

 

"Drop-kicking the Sheriff.  You call that covert?"

 

"The Sheriff was endangering my operation," Kathleen said.

 

"Your operation?" Stephen roared.

 

"Our operation," Kathleen quickly corrected.

 

"Wrong again, Agent.  Not your operation.  Not our operation.  My operation!  Mine!"  Stephens put his hand to his throat.  "I think I have a piece of my bagel permanently lodged in my esophagus." 

 

He needed to show Pierce that he was making progress on this case to get himself out of this mess.  He was the one who would get the credit if it went right and the axe if it went bad.  He took a deep breath, "New orders, Agent Topolsky.  See if you can follow them this time.  Whatever those kids took from that house, I want it.  Get it.  Whatever those kids are doing right now, I want to know about it.  Do you understand, Agent Topolsky?"

 

"I understand."

 

"By any means necessary, Agent."

 

"Yes, sir."

 

 

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

 

 

Pierce waited until they hung up, before speaking to the man seated across from him.  "Do you see what I mean?  Stephens is running a circus down there.  I want you to send two of your best men to the Evans house this morning and get what the kids recovered from Texas.  I am afraid that Stephens and Topolsky will screw it up, again." 

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - River Dog)

(Friday, November 12th, 1999)

(Mesiliko Reservation)

 

River Dog watched from the trees as the dark-haired girl Liz, drove away. When the lights of the car disappeared into the night, he turned and headed toward the cave where it had all begun. It had been more than thirty years since Nasedo had left, and in that time River Dog had only returned to the cave once. He had known Nasedo was a visitor from another world but he had never been frightened of him until he had witnessed what Nasedo had done to Atherton.

 

River Dog had often wondered why Nasedo killed the man but he had been too afraid at the time to ask. Finally he had come to the conclusion that Nasedo's people just didn’t have the same respect for life that his people did. They killed without conscience, without remorse.

 

After all of these years he had hoped no one would come and that would be the end, but now this girl had come forward.  He reached the entrance to the cave and after lighting a torch, ventured inside and down the corridor into the chamber Nasedo had used.  Glancing around briefly, he noted that it appeared the same as the last time he had been there.  He moved the torch close to the writing on the rocky wall, illuminating it.  The message was still intact, he noticed with disappointment.  He would have to keep his promise to Nasedo.

 

At first he had worked to keep the village children away from the cave, fearing for their safety, but as the years had passed he eased his watchfulness, hoping the writing on the cave would be destroyed, and there would be nothing for another visitor to find. 

 

He thought about Liz and wondered if she were a visitor as well.  She had seemed like a scared kid but he knew appearances could be deceiving.  He would send his nephew Eddie into town to invite the girl to the cave.  He would have to test her as Nasedo had instructed and if she passed, his promise would be fulfilled and he would finally be free.

 

 

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

 

 

(Monday, November 15th, 1999)

(Washington, DC)

 

Pierce shoved the file away from him.  They were the last in the box the kids had taken from Atherton's house but there was nothing useful in any of them.  Reading the journals and files it was easy to see that Atherton had been unbalanced.  He had gone looking for survivors from the '47 crash to prove his outrageous theories and had maintained his views about the inferiority of their intellect until the end when the notes just ended.  Pierce shook his head.  More than likely Atherton's beliefs had caused his death. 

 

How could Atherton believe a race capable of constructing a ship able to reach Earth could possess the limitations he had written about?  The guy was truly a nut. 

 

Among the delusional rantings however there had been a very carefully kept journal about Atherton’s discovery of a drifter he had found living in a cave just outside the Mescalero reservation. If Atherton were to be believed, this man was an alien that survived the crash. Most people would have dismissed his theory as more fantasy but Pierce knew from the Special Unit's records that it was likely. The dates of the time the man lived in the cave matched the time that the alien had escaped from Eagle Rock Military Base.

 

Pierce had carefully combed through every paper but there was nothing that would lead him to the alien's current location or even a description.  The only thing he had learned was the name the alien had used forty years ago.  Nasedo.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Blood Brothers)

(Thursday, November 17th, 1999)

 

Kathleen dialed Agent Moss.

 

"Hello?" he answered.

 

"Get to the hospital," Kathleen ordered.  "Now. We might have an opportunity."

 

 

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

 

 

(Roswell Memorial Hospital)

 

Isabel smiled briefly as Nurse Susan left Max’s beside.  It always surprised her Michael could turn on so much charm when he wanted to.

 

Michael turned back to them, "I'll get the blood."

 

"They can't get that blood," Isabel voiced her fear aloud, trying to figure a way out of this mess.

 

Liz turned to Isabel, "So I don't get it.  What have you guys done before?"

 

"Nothing like this has ever happened before," Isabel said simply.

 

"But what about when you guys get sick?" Liz persisted.

 

"We don't get sick," Isabel answered distractedly, her mind still on their immediate problem. 

 

She or Michael could change the composition of the blood to make it look human, well, she conceded, Max could if he were conscious.  She and Michael didn't have the exacting control the change would take, somehow Max's gifts were more attuned toward healing and physiological manipulations.  She and Michael could both heal simple things but the more difficult and delicate healing was much easier for Max.  If she or Michael messed up changing the blood it could look like Max had all kinds of things wrong with him and the doctors would take more blood.  She sighed with exasperation, they had to do something quickly. 

 

Suddenly an answer came to her and Isabel turned to Liz.  "We need blood. We'll take some of yours and replace Max's with it."

 

Liz shook her head, "It can't be mine. They can tell male from female blood."

 

"Then we need to find a guy."

 

 

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

 

 

Liz glanced at Alex who was waiting patiently for an explanation.  He trusted her and she had to let him down.  Even if she were able to tell him the truth, she didn't know if she wanted to drag another person into their mess.  She felt the regret well up within her.  Alex was already involved, even though he didn't know it.  She had used him, trading on his trust but she didn't feel as if she'd had any other choice.  She would do anything to save Max.  She sighed inwardly, there was no point in putting off the inevitable, "Alex, maybe you should go home."

 

Alex was dumbfounded.  "Liz, what I just did I could get arrested for.  And that's all you have to say to me?"  He looked toward Maria, "Any of you?"

 

"Alex..." Liz started, attempting to come up with an explanation, but she was cut off by Michael.

 

"She said go home," he barked.

 

"Great new friends you've made, Liz," snapped Alex.

 

Liz watched for a second as Alex started to leave but she couldn't just let him go, and hurried after him.  "Alex, wait..."

 

"I've been waiting, Liz," Alex cut her off angrily, "And apparently I'm not going to get an explanation."

 

Liz didn't know what to say.  "It's complicated, okay?"

 

"No, no. It's not okay, Liz.  None of this is okay."

 

Liz tried to explain.  "Alex, look, you've gotta trust me."

 

Alex shook his head.  "What is it?" he asked, and then the truth of the situation suddenly came to him.  "Drugs?  Is that what this is?"  He knew he was right.  What else would they have needed his blood to cover up?  He was getting angrier with each word, imagining what could have happened to Liz, and she was still trying to protect Max.  "You and Max go out for a drive.  He gets wasted, almost kills you both.  That's what I'm covering for, isn't it?"

 

"Alex," Liz started but Alex's words silenced her again.

 

Alex was warming to his topic as he continued, "You can't use Michael's blood because he's just as high." He was disgusted with himself for saying these things to Liz but she had used him and he felt betrayed and hurt. "So who do you call? You call on your buddy Alex. Stupid, straight Alex who does everything you say cuz he's such a loyal friend that you lie to and you use whenever you can."

 

"It's not true," Liz whispered.

 

Alex could see the pain in her eyes and felt a small sense of satisfaction, he had gotten through to her, hurt her.  He could see his old friend looking through her eyes again.  He took a breath, "Then tell me the truth, Liz.  For once."

 

Liz wanted desperately to tell Alex the truth but there was nothing she could say without risking Max.  There was no choice, she knew what she had to do.  "You're right,” she said softly.  “It's drugs."

 

 

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

 

 

Kathleen watched as Agent Moss walked away. He said that he thought the kids had switched blood samples in the hospital and if they had used Alex's blood, it would be easy enough to find out. She pulled out her cell phone and dialed her friend in the FBI lab.

 

"Kelso," said the voice that answered the phone.

 

"Jeanie, it's Kathleen."

 

"Kathleen, how have you been?  It's been a while."

 

"Yes, sorry.  I have been kinda busy but actually that's why I called.  I need a drug, easy to administer and it would cause a nosebleed quickly."

 

"Right to the point.  That's what I like about you," Jeanie said with a laugh.  "And I happen to know just the thing you want."

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Blood Brothers)

(Thursday, November 18th, 1999)

(West Roswell High School)

 

As she talked with Max, all Liz could think of was that she had almost lost him.  And it hadn't been because a spaceship had come or because the government had discovered him, it had been because of a stupid accident.  It made her realize Max could be taken from her at any time. 

 

And she couldn't hold her feelings inside any longer, she had to let him know.  "When I saw you in that car, I thought you were..." she let her words trail off not even able to speak her thoughts.  "It was like I couldn't breathe, you know?"

 

Max knew exactly what she meant because he had felt the same thing that day in the Crashdown when he had realized she had been shot.  But being around him was more dangerous than ever and he steered the conversation in another direction, "I never got a chance to thank you for what you did at the hospital."

 

"It was Alex who did it," Liz reminded him.  "He really came through.  He always does."  She didn't think she was convincing Max but she had to try.  "Max?" she asked, her single word conveying her meaning.

 

Max knew how badly Liz wanted to tell Alex but they just couldn't take the chance.  "We can't tell him."

 

"I know," Liz said, trying to hide her disappointment. 

 

"But we have to tell him something," Max said.

 

"You mean lie," Liz stated blandly.

 

"Isabel saw him talking with Kyle today," Max said, trying to make her see why they couldn't trust anyone else.

 

Liz wasn't listening to his reasons though, she could only think of Alex and how much his friendship meant to her.  "He saved your life, Max."

 

"Look, I know it's hard, but..."

 

Liz stopped him before he could finish his sentence.  She knew why they couldn't tell Alex and she didn't need Max to tell her again.  "I already told him that it was drugs, at the hospital."

 

"Did he believe you?" Max asked softly, knowing what it had cost her to lie to her friend.

 

"I think so," Liz said sadly.

 

Once again Max could see how his being involved with Liz was ruining her life.  "Liz, I am so sorry.

 

"I guess these are the things you do when…" Liz paused, not sure if she should press the point when Max so obviously did not want to talk about it.  But a sudden image of him in the hospital made her continue, "When you feel a certain way about someone."

 

"I guess," said Max. 

 

He waited until she had disappeared into the classroom before turning to walk to his own class.  He had never imagined that Liz would have to go to such lengths to keep his secret.  It had seemed so simple at first, but the more deeply involved they became, the more he was hurting her.  He wanted so desperately to be with her but he had to keep reminding himself of what could happen to her.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Blood Brothers)

(Friday, November 19th, 1999)

(Crashdown Cafe)

 

"Thanks for coming," Liz greeted Alex, glad that he still believed in her enough to come.

 

"I've met you here a thousand times, but it just doesn't feel the same," he said wistfully.  He could feel his world changing around him and he was afraid of what it was turning into.  "You know?"

 

"Yeah, I know, Alex.  You've been my friend since Ms. Elmer's class in the fifth grade."

 

"No, no, no," he corrected her.  "We actually met in fourth, but you didn't notice me till fifth."

 

"Yes," Liz agreed, "and I've come to you with every problem I've ever had."

 

"Until now," he said, the reality of the situation pressing in on him again.

 

"No, even now," Liz asserted.  "What happened at that hospital with Max, that was like the most important thing I ever had to do in my life.  And I called you."  She paused looking for the right words.  "Alex, this is the hardest thing I have ever asked anyone to do.  Look, I need you.  I need you to believe in me, even though I can't, I can't tell you what you want to know."

 

"Because of Max," Alex said.

 

"No, forget Max, Alex," Liz insisted.  "This is between us.  Look, I told you before this was complicated.  Well, maybe it's not.  There is a right side, and there is a wrong side.  And if you choose the wrong side right now, Alex, something really terrible is going to happen, to all of us.  I am begging you, Alex, if five years of friendship have meant anything to you, please trust me.  I swear to you, I am on the right side."

 

Alex studied Liz's face, he could tell she was scared.  Maybe she was scared of being exposed or maybe she was scared of Max being exposed, but she was scared, and he couldn't stand to see her like that.  Maybe after this was over he could convince her to tell the truth, but she was his friend and he had to help her now.  "What do you want me to do?"

 

"Ms. Topolsky isn't who she says she is."

 

"What do you mean?" Alex asked skeptically.

 

"We don't really know, but I am hoping you can help us find out.  I thought I could keep her distracted while you snooped around her computer."

 

Alex nodded, his mind already made up.  "What are we waiting for?"

 

 

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

 

 

(West Roswell High School)

 

Kathleen hung up the phone with a smile of satisfaction.  The blood they had recovered from the hospital matched the sample she had gotten from Alex.  The kids had substituted Alex's blood for Max's.  This was her first big break and she would use it to her advantage. 

 

She reached for the phone and buzzed her secretary, "Find Alex Whitman and ask him to come to my office."

 

 

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

 

 

Alex turned to Liz after Ms. Topolsky had left.  This had not turned out at all like he had expected.  The FBI?  What had Liz gotten mixed up in?  "Okay.  All right.  You are going to tell me exactly what has been going on with Max and Topolsky and the actual FBI or I swear Liz, this is the end of you and me being friends."

 

"No Alex, don't say things..."

 

Alex cut her off, "What?  Something that I won't go through with?  Liz, I'm not kidding, all right?"  He had made the threat, hoping to shock her enough to see what she was doing, but he realized he had to be prepared to go through with it.  "Now either you tell me the truth, or I walk."

 

Liz was dumbfounded.  She couldn't believe it had come to this, a choice between one of her best friends and Max.  If only she could tell Alex the truth, everything would be okay again, but she had to keep Max's secret.  She opened her mouth and had to force out the words that would end their friendship.  "Alex, I can't."

 

Liz felt the tears welling in her eyes as Alex walked away from her. 

 

 

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

 

 

Kathleen went straight to her rented house and placed a call to Agent Stephens.  "I have been exposed by Liz Parker and Alex Whitman.  They hacked into my e-mail.  What are your orders?"

 

"Damn it," Stephens swore.  They had lost their advantage and Pierce wasn't going to like it.  Stephens knew he would have to do his best to place all of the blame on Kathleen or he was finished.  "Return to Washington on the next flight Agent Topolsky and I want a full, very detailed, written report."

 

Stephens hung up and then dialed Pierce immediately to fill him in.  "Agent Topolsky was careless enough to get herself exposed.  I have ordered her back to Washington to answer for her actions."

 

Pierce's voice was deadly quiet when he answered.  "Yes.  We must make sure that everyone gets what they deserve.  Bring her here immediately when she arrives."

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

TBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




BOOK 7 - THE INTRUSION OF SHADES
Part 3
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