BOOK 7 THE INTRUSION OF SHADES
(THE CLANDESTINED DISCLOSED)

 

 

 

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PART 5

 

 

 

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

 

 

(Friday, April 14th, 2000)

(Congresswoman Vanessa Whitaker's House)

(Washington, DC)

 

Vanessa watched Daniel from across the table.  It never ceased to amaze her that a man who had been appointed as the head of the super-secret FBI special unit less than a year ago could be so free with the information.  Yes, they had been dating for almost a year and she had given him no reason not to trust her.  She even appeared to share his concerns about an alien invasion, but the first rule every good soldier knows, was captured perfectly in a quaint Earth colloquialism - 'Loose lips sink ships.'

 

She listened intently as he told her about the interrogation of Agent Topolsky.  "She’s had first-hand contact with this creature, posing as a teenage boy, and maybe it has used some kind of mind-control on her but she actually believes it doesn't pose a threat."

 

Vanessa was not totally convinced the FBI had actually discovered one of the Royal Four and she pressed for more information.  "What did she say about this creature?"

 

"She said it seemed like a typical, confused, even shy teenager."  He barked a brittle sound resembling a laugh.  "Can you believe it?  This thing is here to decimate the population and take Earth for its own purposes, and she thinks it's cute."

 

"What are you going to do?" Vanessa asked, as she moved around the table toward him.

 

"I will finish getting all of the information I can out of Agent Topolsky and then I will go to Roswell to check this thing out for myself."

 

Vanessa threaded her fingers through the wispy tendrils of hair brushing his neck.  "Will you keep me informed?"

 

He pulled her roughly to him and took her mouth in a hard kiss.  "Of course."

 

 

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

 

 

(Saturday, April, 16th, 2000)

(Bethesda Psychiatric Institute)

(Bethesda, MD)

 

Kathleen Toplosky waited until the nurse had left her room and then she spit the pills into her hand.  She didn't know how long she had been in the mental hospital because she had been drugged when she had been brought in.  Pierce had finished with her for the time being and putting her in a psych hospital was a convenient way to get rid of her, but still keep her handy in case he still needed her.

 

As soon as the drugs had started to wear off enough for her to be conscious of what was happening, Kathleen had started palming the pills that were given to her, and finally she felt confident the drugs were out of her system. 

 

While she had bided her time, she had conceived a plan to escape.  In the evenings, the nurse was a slight woman with blonde hair.  Tonight Kathleen would overpower her and force some of the drugs into her.  Then she would trade clothing with the nurse and just walk out the front door.

 

It would probably be hours before anyone discovered she was missing and by that time, she would already have retrieved the orb from the Special Unit vault and be halfway to Roswell.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Crazy)

(Wednesday, April 19th, 2000)

 

Tess flipped through the channels on the TV but none of the programs held any interest for her. 

 

"Tess," she said aloud, the sound of her new name somehow making it more real.  She had been called many names over the years, but she liked this name.  Somehow she felt it fit her.

 

She used the remote to turn the TV off and started to pace around the room, finally ending up by the window.  Roswell, she thought, as she looked at the buildings out the window.  Just another town like so many others where she had lived, but this time her family was here; Michael, Isabel, and most importantly Max.

 

She and Ed had only arrived in town that morning but she was anxious to be reunited with her family.  Her 'father' had made her promise she would stay in the hotel room today while he went to take care of some business for his new job, but it was frustrating to be so close to them.

 

Tess abandoned the window and sank back into the couch, opening the box containing the pictures of Max and the others, and lifted out the one on top.  It was a picture of Max sitting at a table studying.  With her finger, Tess traced the line of his jaw, continuing up the side of his face, and over his hair. 

 

"Max," she intoned, drawing his name into several syllables, as if speaking it would conjure him before her.

 

Many times her eyes had greedily devoured the pictures of him.  Max was so handsome, he was everything she had ever expected and more.  She brushed her finger over his lips in the photo and then touched her own.  He was waiting for her.  He had been waiting for her his entire life.

 

Ed had told her that they had arrived in Roswell at the perfect time.  The planet Venus was in the correct position to start their biological drives and Max would be drawn to her more than ever.

 

"Max and Tess," she whispered.  Once they were together, she knew they would never be parted.   

 

 

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

 

 

Kaldar had watched the girl, he had seen with Max in the desert, for the last month and he had discovered a lot about her.  Her name was Liz Parker and she attended the same school as Max and the others.  She was a good student and especially talented in science.  She was dating Max and they were often together.  Her parents owned the Crashdown Cafe where she worked, which explained why Max was there so often.  Liz seemed like a normal human but Kaldar had the continuing impression that she was something more, but he just couldn’t seem to pinpoint what it was. 

 

He followed Max and Liz when they left the Crashdown, intending to observe them further.  He drove behind them at a discrete distance and when they stopped, he drove past them and parked a few yards away.  He climbed out of the car and looked around.  Kaldar didn't recognize the place and he carefully crept through the trees until he had a good vantage point where he could observe them. 

 

He had noticed the other cars in the area and paid little attention to them, but now he could see that each car contained a pair of amorous teenagers.  It was what the humans called a make-out spot.  Kaldar smiled as Max and Liz climbed into the back seat of the Jeep devoiuring each other’s lips hungrily, and he decided to leave them to themselves, feeling like he was intruding. 

 

Kaldar had almost made it back to his car when he saw someone emerge from the woods and head straight for the Jeep.  He ran forward ready to defend Max and Liz, as the person knocked on the window of the Jeep, but stopped just a few feet away as he heard her words. 

 

"You're in danger, all of you."

 

"What are you talking about?" Max asked.

 

"The best way to protect yourselves is to just act like normal kids," the woman said.

 

"We are normal kids," Max said.

 

"Okay," she said looking around, "I think I was followed.  Don't trust anyone.  I'll find you again."

 

"Topolsky," Liz said.

   

Kaldar watched undecided as the woman retreated into the trees.  He didn't know who she was or why she thought the children were in danger but the Max and Liz obviously knew her. 

 

Instantly Kaldar decided to follow the woman Topolsky and find out what she was up to.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Crazy)

(Thursday, April 20th, 2000)

 

Ed handed Tess some money for her lunch.  "Remember Tess, the others have been living as humans, among humans.  Max is especially entrenched in his human existence."

 

"I know," Tess said exasperatedly.  "You’ve already told me." 

 

She started to brush past him and out the door, but he stopped her with a hand on her arm.

 

"I just don't want you to go charging in like a bull in a china shop, so to speak.  Be patient.  Give them some time to get to know and accept you before you reveal yourself to them.  They haven't had the benefits of the memory recovery techniques.  It is probable they don't remember anything about coming out of the pods or about their other lives on Antar.  If you just spring it on them, you might turn them from us."

 

"But they are my family," she argued.  "They will accept me."

 

"What if they don't?” Ed asked.  “We don't want to scare them away."

 

"Okay, okay" she agreed reluctantly.  "I’ll do what you say."

 

"Approach Isabel first,” Ed suggested.  “She would be more likely to welcome a new friend than the boys.  Use your powers subtly and she will accept you."

 

 

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

 

 

Tess saw Isabel sitting with a boy across the quad.  Isabel was the first one of her family Tess had seen, and she intended to make use of the situation.  Tess focused her powers on Isabel as she approached the table.

 

"Can I join you?" she asked.

 

The guy with Isabel glanced in her direction.  "Actually, we were in the m, the middle of something."

 

"You're the new girl, right?" asked Isabel.

 

Tess frowned at the guy and used another burst of power on Isabel.  "If you're busy, I could..."

 

"No," said Isabel enthusiastically, "have a seat.  Join us.  Sit down."

 

"Thanks.  I'm Tess."

 

"Isabel," she introduced herself and motioned to the unfriendly guy beside her, "This is Alex."

 

"Hi," Tess said to Alex, already not liking him.

 

"Hi," he answered.  "So, welcome to Roswell."

 

Tess focused her attention on Isabel, her main goal.  Alex was merely a human, a distraction.  "I always hate the first day at a new school."

 

Isabel immediately caught her meaning, "Done this before?"

 

"Only about a hundred times,” Tess said.  “Everyone's always so nice."

 

Tess noticed that Alex frowned as he asked, "Is that a bad thing?"

 

"Well," she explained, "the guys are usually nice because they want to jump my bones.  And the girls are usually nice because they want to find out if I want to jump their boyfriends' bones."  She focused on Isabel again, "You must get that a lot."

 

"Yeah," Isabel admitted, "How about the girls who hang out with you to meet a better class of guys?"

 

"Or the guys who say they understand you and really just want to be your friend, but all they really want is fifteen minutes alone with you in the janitor's closet."

 

"We have an eraser room," Isabel said with a smile.

 

"Thanks for the warning," Tess said, as she absent-mindedly poured a packet of sugar into her yogurt.

 

Isabel noticed at once, "Oh, my God.  I do that, too."

 

"Good," pronounced Tess, "I can't stand people who use fake sugar.  Nothing can ever be too sweet.  Don't you think?

 

"Let me see your schedule," Isabel said, "I wonder if we have any classes together."

 

Tess smiled, mission accomplished.  Isabel was already hooked and Michael and Max would soon follow.

 

 

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

 

 

Kaldar sat in the alley outside of the hotel where he had followed Topolsky last night, and popped a few Tic Tacs into his mouth.  So far he had not discovered anything new, but when the woman left her room, he would search her possessions for clues.

 

 

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

 

 

Isabel invited Tess to her house after school, and Tess eagerly accepted.  They entered Isabel's room and put down their things.  Isabel motioned toward the hall, "The kitchen is that way.  Help yourself to a drink or whatever.  I'll be there in a second."

 

As Tess approached the kitchen, she could hear male voices within.  She stopped just outside, to listen, somehow knowing Max was speaking.

 

"Um, try taking her out,” Max said.  “Someplace nice.  And, uh, surprises.  They love surprises.  Like, you know, little things.  Like a note in her locker, or a flower in the middle of the day."

 

Tess walked into the kitchen, calling out, "How do you know women so well?"  She smiled at the stunned expressions on the guys’ faces.  "Don't let me stop you.  This is fascinating."

 

Max’s eyes narrowed.  "Who are you?" he asked suspiciously.

 

Before Tess could answer, Isabel came in behind her.  "She's my friend."

 

"How come we've never met her before?" Michael asked belligerently.

 

"God, Michael," Isabel said, "could you be any more rude?" 

 

Tess smiled, remembering their earlier conversation.  "Actually, it's kind of refreshing."  She focused her attention and powers on Max, drawing him to her, "I'm Tess."

 

When neither Max or Michael responded, Isabel broke the silence, "This is my brother Max and our friend Michael."

 

"Nice to meet you," Tess said, noticing with satisfaction that her powers were affecting Max.  He hadn't been able to take his eyes off her the whole time.

 

 

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

 

 

Kaldar had not found anything in Topolsky's room other than a couple of changes of clothes, and he had waited for her to return determined to follow her.

 

He trailed her at a discrete distance, but almost lost sight of her when she ducked into a restaurant.  Kaldar entered the restaurant and looked quickly around, spotting Topolsky almost immediately.  She was sitting with her back to him in a booth and he was surprised to see a frightened Liz with her.

 

Immediately behind Topolsky stood a large aquarium, and Kaldar slipped behind it to hear their conversation, noting the fear in Liz's voice as she whispered urgently to Topolsky.

 

"Why are you following us?” Liz asked.  “We haven't done anything wrong."

 

"You can play that game all night, or you can listen to me and maybe save all of our lives," answered Topolsky.   "You're smart.  I knew you were the one I could get through to.  They don't know I'm here.  If they did..." she let the sentence trail off, not wanting to consider the consequences.

 

Liz wanted clarification, "Who is they?"

 

"The people I work for," Topolsky said.

 

"The FBI," Liz intoned, the fear robbing her voice of any emotion.

 

Topolsky shook her head, "It's more complicated than that.  I've learned things, seen things that no one would believe.  Sometimes I don't even believe them myself."

 

"Where have you been all of this time?" asked Liz.

 

"To hell," Topolsky said simply.  "And I've come out to warn you." 

 

She leaned closer to Liz and lowered her voice, and Kaldar had to strain to hear. 

 

"There's a hunter, an alien hunter.  He's buried deep inside the FBI.  Even the president and the director are on a need-to-know basis only.  Do you understand what I am saying?  He answers to no one, and he will stop at nothing to get what he's looking for."

 

"What is he looking for?" Liz asked breathlessly, afraid she already knew.

 

"Max Evans, and anyone he thinks is involved with him.  All six of your names are on that list.  You have to believe me."

 

"I believe you," Liz said softly.

 

Kaldar could see that Topolsky was obviously relieved.  "I knew you would,” she said.  “We can't be seen together, do you understand?  Meet me tomorrow night, behind the theater at eight o'clock.  I'll know more by then."

 

Kaldar waited until Liz left the restaurant before he emerged from behind the aquarium.  He had no idea how the FBI knew about the kids but he had to make sure they were safe. 

 

He walked a few blocks down the street and slipped into the alley behind the local computer store.  It was closed for the evening but he used his powers to let himself in and disarm the alarm.  He had often used the computers in the store's office after hours, to search for the children.  The computers were top-of-the-line Earth equipment, but compared to the technology on Antar they were like toys.

 

Easily Kaldar hacked into the FBI secure mainframe and retrieved all information about Topolsky.  He quickly scanned her bio and list of assignments, noting that she had been assigned to 'special duty' over two years ago. 

 

Those files were behind additional security but he circumvented it easily.  The Special Unit, as her current assignment was called, appeared to be mainly concerned in the existence of extraterrestrials on Earth.  Kaldar scanned her reports from her assignments, stopping on the final one, code-named - West Roswell High.

 

He read the e-mails and reports submitted by Kathleen Topolsky about Max and his friends, learning that Max had healed Liz in September when she had been shot in an altercation at the Crashdown, bringing them to the attention of the FBI.  He also found that Kathleen’s reports had been submitted without her knowledge to an Agent Pierce who seemed to be in charge of the Special Unit.

 

Pierce had personally written a report detailing Kathleen Topolsky's exposure by the children whom she had been assigned to watch.  He concluded that her feelings for them had caused her to become careless and she had allowed herself to be exposed.  She had returned to FBI headquarters and told her immediate superior of her failure, and Pierce had blamed the fiasco on the two of them.  Kathleen had tried to resign but Pierce told her that she was theirs for life.

 

Then she had been gruelingly debriefed but Pierce had obviously not liked her answers because he had finally consigned her to Bethesda Psychiatric Institute under the care of a Dr. Malcolm Margolin.  According to the report, Pierce had told the doctor Kathleen had suffered a breakdown that caused her to believe she was part of a secret group within the FBI who hunted aliens.  There was also an additional report from the doctor briefly outlining his initial examination of Kathleen and his recommendations for her treatment, including heavy doses of anti-psychotic drugs.  

 

Finally Kaldar found Pierce's report of Topolsky's escape from the mental hospital and his supposition she would return to Roswell to warn the aliens.  Included in the report was an order that caught Kaldar's attention.

 

 

 

The broadcast from the camera in subject Guerin's apartment will be kept under constant surveillance for evidence of contact by Agent Topolsky.

 

 

 

Kaldar sat back in the chair.  Topolsky was telling the truth.  Max and the others were in danger.  He would have to find a way to protect them while being careful not to expose them any further.  His first inclination was to go to Michael's apartment and destroy the camera but he immediately rethought the impulse.  He needed to consider his actions very carefully, the lives of his charges depended on him.

 

He typed in a search for the Bethesda Psychiatric Institute to find a photo of Dr. Margolin.  It might just come in handy, he thought to himself, to be able to resemble Topolsky's doctor.

 

 

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

 

 

Pierce listened as one after another of his agents reported no progress in their search for Kathleen Topolsky. 

 

"This is not acceptable," he said softly.  "Roswell is a small town, there are only so many places she can hide."

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Crazy)

(Friday, April 21st, 2000)

 

Kaldar arrived early behind the theater for the meeting Topolsky had set up with Liz, but after waiting more than an hour, it was obvious Liz wasn't coming.  By nine o'clock Kathleen had obviously come to the same conclusion and she left the alley.  Kaldar followed her and was surprised again when he saw who she was meeting.

 

He listened to Kathleen's conversation with Sheriff Valenti and wondered about his role in the children's lives.  Kaldar had noted in the FBI reports that it had been the Sheriff who had initially alerted the FBI to the children, but it sounded as if he'd had second thoughts and even killed to protect them.  

 

A plan started to form in Kaldar’s mind and he thought the Sheriff might be just the right man to help.  First he would take care of Topolsky and then he would turn his attentions to Pierce. 

 

 

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

 

 

Returning from the Evans’ house, Tess let herself into the hotel room and sank down onto the sofa.  She glanced at the note Sodan had left on the table for her. 

 

 

 

Working late.

 

 

 

Brief and to the point.  That was typical, she thought with a sigh.  He was never around when she wanted to talk.

 

She had been so excited to spend the evening with Isabel at her house, hoping to also spend time with Max, but her first disappointment had been that Max had not been there.  He had gone on a date with Liz.

 

Tess grabbed a pillow from the sofa and squeezed it in frustration.  She had thought it would be so simple.  She would just have to show up and Max would immediately know they belonged together.   She hadn't counted on him having a girlfriend he was so loyal to.

 

She had also been disappointed that evening to discover Isabel's mind was somewhere else all evening.  Surely, Tess had asked herself, Isabel couldn't be in love with the geek Alex.  Isabel was supposed to be with Michael, not a human.

 

Sodan had told her many times over the years, that the four of them belonged together, they were the only hope for their planet's salvation.  But, Tess reminded herself, Max, Michael and Isabel didn't know that.  She would have to show them they had a purpose and they needed to be together. 

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Crazy)

(Saturday, April 22nd, 2000)

 

Kaldar popped a handful of Tic Tacs into his mouth as he watched from Michael’s balcony, while Kathleen searched Michael's apartment.  Kaldar had been using his powers more than he should in the past couple of days but he'd had no choice.  The safety of the children was more important than the pain in his head. 

 

He wasn't sure what Kathleen was looking for in Michael's apartment but he tried to keep her in sight so he could see anything she discovered.  She finished in the kitchen and started toward the living room and his hiding place.  He stepped back into the shadows and used his powers to change his outward appearance to blend into his surroundings, effectively hiding himself from her.

 

Kathleen searched the living room frantically, tossing things off of shelves and overturning furniture.  Finally she entered the bedroom and started emptying drawers.

 

Kaldar's attention was drawn away from Kathleen by Michael's arrival, the sight of the devastation briefly stopping him before Kathleen stepped into the room to confront him.

 

"If I give you proof, will you believe me then?" Kathleen asked.

 

"Get out of my house," Michael commanded.

 

Kaldar got a look at what Kathleen had been searching for when she held up the orb to show Michael. 

 

"I know what this is," she said.

 

"That's a paperweight," Michael said as he grabbed it from her.

 

"It's a communicator,” she said confidently, “and there's another one just like it.  I took it from the special unit evidence vault back in Washington.  Now, I know they only work when they're together, so if I bring you the other one, if I risk my life for you, I need to know that you will take me with you when your people come to get you."

 

"You're crazy," Michael tried to dismiss her.

 

"No, Michael.  Look.  We are all going to die and it's not going to be pleasant.  We only have one chance.  I will meet you tomorrow night at Buckley Point with the other communicator.  If you ignore me this time, there won't be a next time."

 

Michael considered her for a moment.  "If I decide to come, what time?"

 

Kathleen smiled in relief, "Anytime you want.  Is midnight okay?"

 

Michael nodded.  "I'll think about it."

 

 

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

 

 

Pierce smiled as he watched Michael and Kathleen on the monitor.  "Buckley Point tomorrow, midnight."

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Crazy)

(Sunday, April 23rd, 2000)

 

Kaldar stood in the alley behind the Crashdown, knowing sooner or later that Michael would come out.  He had donned the guise of a homeless man he usually wore, and waited patiently for his master, attempting to ignore the pain in his head. 

 

He did not know if Michael or the others would go to meet with Kathleen but if they did, then he and the Sheriff would be there to watch over them.  If they didn't go, then he would proceed with the rest of his plan without having to worry about Michael or the others.  One way or another it would end tonight.

 

At five o'clock, right on schedule, Michael pushed open the door, hefting two large bags of trash, and headed for the dumpster.

 

Kaldar emerged from the shadows.  "Guerin?  Michael Guerin."

 

Michael swung toward him with a suspicious expression, which softened immediately when he took in the other man's appearance.  "What do you want?"

 

"A lady told me to give you this," Kaldar explained, holding out a folded piece of paper.

 

Michael looked at the paper but didn't touch it.  "What lady?"

 

Kaldar shifted from foot to foot, feigning nervousness.  "A blonde lady, don't know her proper name.  She just said Topolsky.  Said she'd give me five dollars if I brought it here."

 

Michael quickly ran his eyes over the homeless man before him.  "Thanks," he said as he took the paper and stuffed it into his pocket.  "Wait here and I'll get you a hamburger and fries."

 

Kaldar nodded and gave his master a toothless grin.

 

Michael quickly bagged the hamburger and fries he had made for himself and took it out to the man.  "Go and tell the lady you earned your five dollars."

 

He waited until the man had disappeared around the corner before opening the note. 

 

 

 

9pm instead of midnight.

Same place.

 

 

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

 

 

Wearing the guise of Dr. Malcolm Margolin, Kaldar walked into the Roswell Sheriff's office, with an outstretched hand.  "Sheriff Valenti, I am Dr. Malcolm Margolin.  I work at the Bethesda Psychiatric Institute in Maryland."

 

Sheriff Valenti shook his hand, "Nice to meet you doctor.  How can I help you?"

 

"I’m here about one of my patients who escaped a few days ago, a Kathleen Topolsky."

 

Jim couldn't keep the surprised expression off his face, "Kathleen Topolsky is a patient of yours?"

 

"I discovered you knew her when she was working here at the high school.  She had a nervous breakdown and was sent to us, and I have been treating her for the last six weeks.  She has come to believe there is a conspiracy in the government to cover up the existence of extraterrestrials, who live right here in Roswell."

 

"Is she dangerous?" Jim asked.

 

"No.  As a matter of fact I have already taken her back into custody.  But this morning when I found her, she was raving about aliens and an orb.  She told me that she convinced some of your local kids to meet her at a place called Buckley Point tonight at nine o'clock and I was worried something might happen to them.  I just wanted to explain to them what had happened and make sure they were okay.  She was very upset but I think I made out the names Evans and Guerin."

 

Jim nodded, "I know them.  Kathleen has caused trouble for them before.  It’s nice of you to be so concerned about some kids you never met."

 

"It was our fault Kathleen escaped and I would feel responsible if anything happened to them."

 

Jim sat back in his chair.  "You don't mind if I check this out, do you?  There have been a lot of strangers around here lately that aren't what they claim to be."

 

"Go right ahead,” Kaldar said.  “Although it is Sunday, there will be someone at the institute who can verify my identity and also my photo and bio are on the institute's website."

 

 

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

 

 

Kaldar, in the form of Dr. Margolin, stopped his car on a fire road just a few hundred yards from the meeting place at Buckley Pont.  He and the Sheriff had successfully convinced the kids that Topolsky was crazy, and sent them home.  Now all he had to do was get rid of Pierce and the Special Unit.  He emerged from the car and shifted into the guise of a hiker. 

 

Kaldar started into the woods, heading toward his truck that he had left earlier near the meeting sight.  He intended to get a look at the FBI men who came to meet Topolsky and follow them to their headquarters.  Then he would destroy them all. 

 

Suddenly he stumbled and caught himself on a tree, and after a moment, pushed himself to continue. 

 

After he eliminated the threat to the children, he could rest and recover his strength, but now it was too important.  He made the trip through the woods as quickly as he could, falling three more times before he reached the camouflaged truck and slipped inside.  He sank into the seat and let his head fall back against the headrest. 

 

According to his watch he would have to wait an hour before Topolsky was due to arrive.  He popped the entire contents of the box of Tic Tacs into his mouth, the pain in his head making it hard for him to see clearly.  For a moment he thought he saw a shimmering light and then it was gone.  He closed his eyes, trying to shut out the pain and reached into his pocket for another box of the little mints.  He attempted to open the box but it felt strange in his hand and when he opened his eyes, he stared at his hand for a moment in disbelief.

 

The hand was not human as he expected, but the grayish-pink, mottled skin of his true form.  He had reverted to his true form once before when he had over-used his powers but this time it was too important, there was too much at stake.  Sodan didn't know where the children were and the FBI was too close to them.

 

Kaldar concentrated on shifting back into human form but the more he tried, the greater the pain in his head became.  He continued to push through the pain but it felt as if something inside him snapped and then the pain welled up from within as if he were literally on fire.  A scream was torn from him as the pain became unbearable and he tried to stop but his powers escalated wildly, consuming him from within. 

 

His last thought was overwhelming sorrow that he had failed his master. 

 

Kaldar's body slumped onto the seat and after a moment, disintegrated into a pile of dust.    

 

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Tess, Lies & Videotape)

(Sunday, April 30th, 2000)

(Crashdown Cafe)

 

Tess had been frustrated by Max's lack of reaction to her in the last week.  The only time he had paid any attention to her was when she had used her powers on him.  She just wasn't getting through to him.  He should be reacting to her presence instinctively but things were not happening as quickly as she had anticipated.  It was obvious Max and the others didn't remember anything about their past.  They were fumbling around for any scrap of information they could get.

 

She had wanted him to recognize her and come to her and she had been afraid if she used her powers on him too much, he would be angry when he found out.  But seeing Max with Liz over the last few days had made her change her mind.  Max was giving Liz the attention and love that rightly belonged to her and Tess decided she would use her powers to get him to notice her, to speed things along.  They were meant to be together and she decided anything she had to do to make Max see it would be worth it.

 

She looked through the window of the Crashdown.  It was just as she thought, Max was there with Liz and the others. 

 

Tess focused her powers at Max making herself seem alluring, desirable.  Then she opened the door and walked toward the group, but they were so engrossed in their conversation they didn't notice her.  Typical, she thought.  She stopped just behind them as Max spoke.

 

"We don't even know what it is."

 

"What is?"  Tess asked, drawing Max's attention to her.  She knew she had walked into an important discussion when everyone went quiet.  "Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt anything."

 

"No, no," Isabel rushed to reassure her.  "Hey we were just, um...," she let her sentence trail off when she couldn't think of anything and quickly changed the subject.  "Why don't you join us?  Have a seat."

 

"Thanks," Tess said brightly, trying to keep up the illusion of innocence.

 

"Sure," Isabel said.

 

"So, what were you guys talking about?" asked Tess.

 

Liz tried again to change the subject, "Can I get you something to drink, Tess?"

 

"Oh, thanks," Tess responded, letting herself be distracted because they were obviously not going to bring her into their confidence.  "Uh, Cherry coke with lime."  Instead Tess turned her attention to Max, increasing her powers.  She glanced at him to make sure she had his attention and when she saw that she did, she planted images in his mind.

 

She let the images swirl around him for a few moments before bringing him out of it.  "What's the matter?" she asked, directing her question at Max.  "Do I have something in my teeth?"

 

"What?" Max asked, obviously still confused.  "No."  He turned to Liz, "Let me help you with that."

 

Tess watched as Max and Liz went into the back together, angry that he would turn to the human.  Through the window she saw Max pull Liz to him for a kiss and sent him another image, replacing Liz with herself. 

 

She changed the size and shape of the Liz's body in his arms, to her own.  She changed the texture of Liz's skin and hair in Max's hands, to her own, and finally she changed Liz's scent and the shape of her lips, to her own.  Tess felt Max pull away from her as he realized the differences, and she let the images slip away.

 

Tess smiled, knowing Max was looking through the window at her.  She had his attention now.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Tess, Lies & Videotape)

(May 1st, 2000)

(West Roswell High School)

 

Tess watched Isabel as Alex passed them in the hall.  He could be a problem if Isabel decided to be with him instead of Michael, and Tess decided to see exactly what kind of hold Alex had on Isabel.  "He's got it so bad for you," Tess said.

 

"He's sweet," Isabel answered vaguely.

 

"Sweet as in nice guy, or sweet as in potential love connection?" Tess pushed.

 

"Sweet as in I don't know."  Isabel quickly changed the subject.  "What about you?  You've been here a couple of weeks.  You must have somebody on your radar."

 

"Still soaking it all in," Tess started.  She had to make sure Isabel accepted her destiny and it wouldn't hurt to start laying the groundwork now.  "Although I have to admit, I'm a little bummed your brother is unavailable.  I'm sort of into those serious, wounded guys."

 

"Yeah, well, you can forget it," Isabel laughed.  "He's a total goner.  You should hear him talk about her.  Oh Liz is my soul mate.  I never felt like this before," she said in a mocking tone.  "It's enough to make you want to gag."

 

Tess was hurt by the words but continued.  "That's weird.  I thought I felt him..." she let her sentence trial off, letting Isabel make of it what she would.

 

Isabel was intrigued, "What?"

 

"Nothing," Tess dismissed, "I'm sure it was nothing."

 

 

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

 

 

Max stumbled out of the classroom unsure of what had happened.  The visions he'd been having of Tess were getting more vivid and he couldn't control them.  The one he had just experienced had been so real he had actually caught on fire and not been aware of it.

 

He wasn't attracted to Tess that way but there was something about her that was familiar.  It was like he recognized her somehow, had known her in the past, but the feelings of attraction he felt for her were wrong, false.   And the most disturbing thing about the situation was that he didn't feel in control of himself.  Something was happening, changing within him, and he didn't know what to do.

 

Max saw Michael down the hall and ran to catch up with him.  Michael knew him better than anyone, they could figure it out together.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Tess, Lies & Videotape)

(Tuesday, May 2nd, 2000)

 

Tess watched Max and Liz talking through the door of the Crashdown as the rain poured down.  She couldn't hear what they were saying but she could tell by their body language that things between them were strained.  She smiled, her plan was working already.  They just needed another push or two and Max would be hers.

 

She waited until Max had exited the building and walked past her car, before alerting him to her presence.  "Max!" she called to him.  "My car broke down.  Can you believe it?"

 

"No," Max said suspiciously.

 

"No?" Tess asked.

 

"No, I don't believe it."

 

"What are you talking about?" Tess asked, amazed he could see through her trap.

 

"You planned this," he realized.

 

"I planned what?" she asked innocently.

 

"To be out here."

 

Tess started pushing her power into him.  This encounter was getting out of her control.  "Max, you sound a little crazy."

 

Max could feel something happening, feel his will being taken away from him.  "You're doing something to me," he accused.

 

Tess continued to influence Max with her powers, trying to calm him down.  "Max, my car broke down.  I'm waiting for somebody to help me.  I didn't plan anything."

 

Max could feel the false emotions welling up in him, drawing him to closer to Tess.  "I'm with Liz," he blurted out, as if saying it aloud would banish the other emotions.

 

Tess leaned closer to Max, while holding him in place, "I know you are."

 

He tried to leave but he couldn't move.  "We belong together," Max continued, his voice the only thing he still had control over.

 

"I'm sure that's true," said Tess, moving closer.

 

Max moved closer to Tess, against his will, with hesitating steps, and fought it with everything that was in him.  "I don't want anyone but her." 

 

"I'm sure you don't," Tess agreed as she tightened her psychic hold on Max and brought him to her for a kiss. She glanced at the Crashdown and saw Liz move toward the door. This was the perfect opportunity. Tess willed Max to take her in his arms, to hold her like he loved her. She sent him a barrage of images, showing him that they were intended to be together, then she let herself get caught up in Max's kiss for a moment.

 

When she looked toward the Crashdown again Tess knew her victory was complete.  The look of complete horror on Liz's face told Tess everything she had wanted was now hers, she just had to sit back and wait for Liz and Max's relationship to destroy itself.

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Tess, Lies & Videotape)

(Former Eagle Rock Military Base)

(Wednesday, May 3rd, 2000)

 

Pierce watched the tape of the final broadcast from the camera at Michael Guerin's apartment, carefully studying Max's words. 

 

 

 

I kissed Tess.

 

It was like something was controlling me.

 

 

 

Pierce stopped the tape and turned to the Agent next to him.  "Who is Tess?"

 

"I don't know sir, but we will get on it immediately."

 

Pierce fast-forwarded and started the tape where Michael was speaking.

 

 

 

Why come to me?  Why not go talk to your new buddy Valenti about it, all right?

 

Max attacked him verbally, "Would you leave it alone, already?  He gave us back the orb.  Maybe he isn't just out to get us."

 

 

 

Pierce stopped the tape again, "They have the other orb and it looks like Sheriff Valenti is right in the middle of this whole thing."

 

"Do you want me to put someone on the Sheriff?" the Agent asked.

 

"Yes," Pierce said.  "Keep someone on him and report to me immediately if he discovers anything."

 

 

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

 

 

(Episode - Tess, Lies & Videotape)

(Sunday, May 7th, 2000)

 

Agent Marley stopped the van just down the street from where the Sheriff parked his cruiser.  He watched out the back window as Sheriff Valenti attempted to keep the children, he was following, in sight.  The kids were congregated around a house looking in a window. 

 

The Agent reached for his radio, "Control, this is Marley."

 

"This is Control."

 

"The Sheriff is observing the subjects, who are staking out a house."

 

"Whose house?" control asked.

 

"Unknown, but I can give you the address."

 

 

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

 

 

Ed waited until the front door had closed behind Max and Liz before crossing to the window.  He carefully drew back the curtain just enough to see Max and Liz meet Michael and Isabel and the humans, outside.  It was just as he had suspected, the whole thing had been a setup, an information-gathering mission. 

 

He smiled.  He had to admire Liz.  She had obviously come into their house suspecting they were aliens.  Anything could have happened to her but she had come alone.

 

As the kids walked down the street and climbed into their cars, a movement in another vehicle caught Ed's attention.  The figure slumped down behind the seat in order to avoid being seen, but Ed was able to make out who it was.  Sheriff Valenti.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

TBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




BOOK 7 - THE INTRUSION OF SHADES
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