Author’s Note – One week later. The episodes ‘The Harvest’ and ‘Wipeout’ happened as they did on the show.
(New York City, NY)
(Tuesday, October 17th)
Zan was nervous, edgy. He was glad there was no one to see him pace back and forth in their underground home. Waiting.
He had watched the clock all day long. Each tick seeming to take twice as long as the last until he was sure time would stop completely and the event would never come.
Again he glanced at the red, digital numbers on the small clock.
He found himself holding his breath as he continued to pace.
His eyes darted away. How could it be so hard to look at the damn clock?
Adrenaline pumped through him, and he shook his arms as he walked, balling his hands into fists. He wanted to run, to fight, to do anything to combat the ever-growing feeling of dread and excitement.
Again his eyes found the clock.
And even though he knew it was coming, the burst of light that emitted from the communication orb, high on a dusty shelf, scared the shit out of him, made him feel like he’d practically jumped out of his skin.
He admitted to himself that he’d had slight doubts about the information, but now he knew everything his informer had told him was the absolute truth. He didn’t even have to listen to the message to know what it said, and it was proof that his sister Lonnie and his best friend Rath were plotting with his enemies to kill him.
A feeling of numbness spread though his body as he crossed the room, reaching for the orb.
Somewhere inside he knew it was true when the informer had told him of Lonnie and Rath’s treachery, but he hadn’t wanted to believe it. They were family, the only four of their kind . . .
Well, that wasn’t true either. His informer had also told him there were four others, identical to them in fact. And now he would have to warn them of what was to come.
With a deep breath, Zan blew the dust off the orb. He had never known its purpose until the informer had told him. Their protector hadn’t mentioned that vital fact to them, only telling them it was an artifact from their home world and to keep it safe.
Using a small push of power Zan activated the orb to hear the message.
Several balls of light burst from the familiar swirl shape on the top of the silvery orb and rose spinning into the air above him. The individual lights resolved into the shape of a ‘V’ and the bottom light flared briefly before they all disappeared.
Then a solemn voice filled the room.
“This is an official invitation from the Antarian system counsel requesting the presence of the Royal Four at a peace summit.”
“After years of war and treachery we hope to put an end to the hostilities that have plagued our planets and discover a way for the Royal Four to return so we can once again live together in peace and harmony.”
“To accommodate the Royal Four, the summit will take place on Earth in the city of New York, New York and is tentatively scheduled for the day of November twenty-seventh. Please contact the counsel as soon as possible with your answer. If we don’t hear from you in an Earth week’s time, we will issue the invitation again.”
With a sigh Zan put the orb on a table. The invitation was exactly as his informer had told him, and it was a trap. Khivar had pressured influential council members to set up the summit to discredit and hopefully murder the rightful rulers.
Zan’s informer had also told him that Khivar was already in contact with Lonnie and Rath, and planned to recruit them to commit the murders, to take all the blame off Khivar.
Zan knew what he had to do. He had to get to Roswell, and hope he had time to prevent the killings.
(In the desert outside Roswell)
At the same moment the two communication orbs in the pod chamber released twin shafts of light, signaling that they received the same message. But no one was there to see it.
Max couldn’t sleep.
His mind had been on overdrive for days now.
Something was really wrong.
He paced around his room as he had done every night for the last few days, thinking.
Of course, he said to himself, it had all started when he found Liz in bed with Kyle.
It was just wrong.
He’d seen it with his own eyes, but now he knew that it wasn’t real. Somehow Liz had known he was coming and set him up.
He’d been so hurt at the time that he hadn’t questioned it at first, but then the doubts had started creeping in. Even after she had told him she’d slept with Kyle in no uncertain terms, he’d had doubts, and they had only gotten more clear.
Liz wasn’t casual about sex. He knew that with every fiber of his being.
As close as he and Liz had been, they had never really gotten beyond making out and a few roaming hands. He’d felt she wasn’t ready. He’d known it. And as much as he wanted to make love with her, he’d held back, wanting even more for the timing to be right for her.
And now Liz wanted him to believe that she had given her virginity to Kyle.
It just wasn’t possible.
Not only was she not dating Kyle, but Max knew she wasn’t in love with Kyle.
She wouldn’t sleep with anyone she didn’t love. Max knew her better than that.
The thoughts churned through his head again and again, swirling together. He’d gone over this same ground in his mind so many times, and he kept coming up with the same answers. It was just wrong.
But, he reminded himself, Liz’s strange actions hadn’t really started that night he’d seen her with Kyle. They had started a few days earlier.
Liz had tried to set him up with Tess.
She had actually gone to Tess and made a plan with her.
That was also completely unlike Liz. She didn’t like Tess, didn’t trust her, and just days before had been jealous when she’d seen Max walking down the street with Tess.
It was one thing for Liz to stay away from him, but she had gone to great lengths to try and make him turn his affections from her to Tess. Yes, he realized, it was as if Liz was trying to make him dislike her, or even hate her.
Liz had come to his room and given him that awful, heartbreaking speech about wanting to be safe. About being in danger because of him.
And he’d bought the whole thing. He even wondered if she was right.
But then days later she had unresistingly risked her life for him again by going to Copper Summit.
He’d had doubts about her actions before, but on the ride to Copper Summit he couldn’t seem to stop thinking about all the inconsistencies, and his brain hadn’t stopped working since then.
Then when all the humans had disappeared from Roswell because of the Skin’s device, Max had seen the overwhelming relief and love in Liz’s eyes when she discovered he was still alive. And he’d seen the anguish and heartbreak in her face when she left him at the UFO Center to go with Maria and Kyle to destroy the device.
He thought that look would haunt him forever. It was obvious she’d wanted to say something to him.
She loved him. Of that he had no doubt. He could see it in every one of her looks, feel it every time he touched or kissed her.
And more importantly than anything else, Liz would never betray him. He should have realized it sooner, but he could see now why he hadn’t. Liz’s actions had been designed to cause him the most pain, to cut him to the bone and make him doubt her and himself. And he had.
He also knew Liz would never hurt him like that unless she was desperate, unless she saw absolutely no other way.
Yes, something was terribly wrong, and he was going to find out what was going on.
Zan told Lonnie, Rath and Ava about the invitation when they had gotten home, and they were ecstatic as he knew they would be. There had been a little discussion about attending, and Zan had pretended to be excited to go. Lonnie and Rath started the celebration after they sent their RSVP, and the party lasted late into the night.
It hadn’t been easy for Zan to act like he was enjoying himself, especially since he knew that Lonnie and Rath were happy to sell him out. But he’d put a smile on his face, turned up the music and thought about his plan instead.
He’d waited until the morning to talk to Ava.
He and Ava had been raised knowing almost from the beginning that they were destined to be together. The only problem was that Zan had never loved her.
They had been an on-again off-again couple since they were children, and had become lovers about six months ago, but Zan had been feeling more discontent and empty as the time passed. He’d been pulling away from Ava emotionally for months, and in his heart he had already ended their relationship. But she was still an important part of his life and he wanted to take her with him now that he was leaving.
He sat at the table drinking coffee, waiting for her to get up, and when she came into the kitchen a little after noon, he smiled at her.
“Hey,” he greeted. “Want to grab some waffles with me?”
Ava smiled back. “Sure.”
Together they walked out of the underground tunnels and down the block.
Zan wanted to get her away from where they might be overheard before he told her what was really happening.
They ate, making small talk, and Zan could see the hope in Ava’s eyes. He hadn’t expected to see it, but he told himself he should have known. Ava loved him and he had never actually told her their relationship wasn’t working for him.
He’d been a coward, not wanting to hurt her feelings. But the current situation made it clear to him that he needed to make a clean break from everything, including his waning relationship with Ava.
But that would have to wait until later. Now he needed to insure her safety.
They finished eating, the waitress took their plates and topped their coffee, and then Zan started explaining.
“I have to tell you something,” he said softly, “and it’s going to sound a little crazy, but you’ve got to listen to me.”
Ava cocked her head to the side in obvious confusion but nodded.
“We’re in danger,” Zan told her. “You and I.”
Ava’s brows drew together. “What do you mean, Zan? In danger from who?”
“From Khivar,” he said. “This summit, it’s a trap, and he’s planning to kill us.”
Ava’s eyes widened. “How do you know?”
“An informer came to me a few days ago,” Zan explained. “He told me Khivar was putting together a summit and he would use it to draw us out and kill us.”
“Well, how do you know it’s true?” she asked. “Who was it?”
“That’s not important,” Zan assured her. “What is important is that I trust him completely and we are in danger.”
“This informer,” Ava said softly, “he told you about the summit before you got the invitation.”
“Okay,” she said, trying to make sense. “So that part was true. Your informer must be close to Khivar, but it doesn’t mean we are in danger. And why would you trust him so completely?”
Zan shook his head frustratedly. “Ava, it doesn’t matter who the informer is, but we can trust him. And he told me that Khivar was in contact with Lonnie and Rath and plans to hire them to kill me.”
“What?” Ava squeaked, shaking her head. “They wouldn’t . . . “ her voice trailed off as the blood drained from her face.
Zan watched her steadily. “You know they would.”
She didn’t speak for a moment, her eyes flicking around the room as she thought. Eventually her gaze met his and he could see the desperation and pain in them. The terrible knowledge settled into her as she accepted the truth. When she finally spoke, her voice was rough. “What are we going to do?”
“I told them we’d go to the summit to buy some time,” Zan explained. “In a few minutes we’ll go back home and pack, and tell Lonnie that we’re going to Vegas for a couple of weeks to celebrate. She won’t question it. I’ve been talking about going to Vegas for a while.”
“And then what?” Ava asked.
“We’re not really going to Vegas,” Zan said. “We’re going to get help. We’re going to Roswell.”
“Roswell?” she asked, her brows drawing together again. “Where the ship crashed? What’s in Roswell?”
Zan took a deep breath. Along with everything else his informer had told him, this last part had been the hardest to swallow. He held Ava’s gaze. “What’s in Roswell?” he said repeating her question. “The real King.”
Ava looked even more confused, and opened her mouth, but Zan held up a hand. “Our protector never told us much, and now I know why,” he said, leaning in. “But the informer told me the truth about why we were sent here, the crash, everything.”
Ava nodded, and he started the story, telling her what he had learned. “Two sets of clones were sent to Earth,” he said, “and we are just the rejects.”
The bell rang and Liz gathered her books slowly, rising to go to her next class. She used to love school so much, but now she practically dreaded it.
She was so full of conflicting emotions.
Every moment she felt like she might collapse under the weight of the terrible secrets Future Max had forced upon her. The knowledge was more than any one person should have to bear.
Liz gave a few weak smiles to the people she passed as she walked through the halls. She used to be so happy, she used to look forward to the future, but now she felt like she’d never be happy again.
She loved Max so much, but it was impossible for them to be together. Just the thought that she’d never be with him again made her feel empty and hopeless.
She also felt incredible jealously for the woman who was meant to be with Max. Tess would know the happiness of being with Max, of being married to him, of having his children.
Liz felt a cold pit open inside her at the thought of Max with Tess. It just wasn’t fair.
She entered the classroom and drew-in a quick breath as she saw Max already seated at his desk. Would she always feel the rush of love and excitement when she saw him? Would it always hurt so much?
Max turned in her direction and Liz almost held her breath. He had been so cold to her and Liz braced herself, expecting him to simply look away. But instead he smiled.
Her heart leapt in her chest and she found it difficult to breathe. After a moment she gave Max a tentative smile and moved to take her seat.
Not for the first time she was glad that she sat behind him so he couldn’t see how much he was affecting her.
She let her eyes roam over his back, remembering the feel of his broad shoulders under her hands, the way the long tendrils of his silky hair slid through her fingers, the texture of the skin on his neck.
A shiver ripped through her. So easily she could remember the wonderful safety of being wrapped in his arms, the warmth of his lips pressed against hers.
With great effort she forced herself to look away from him with a sigh. Tears pricked her eyes and she quickly looked down at the book so no one would see.
Liz knew she would never love anyone like she loved Max, and she knew she would never feel complete without him.
When Zan and Ava returned from breakfast, they had hastily packed and said their brief goodbyes to Lonnie and Rath. The duo didn’t seem surprised by their departure, and Lonnie had even winked at her brother. Zan was sure she assumed that he and Ava were going to Vegas to get married.
Zan had turned some dollar bills into hundreds and purchased an old Mustang that barely ran. He pulled it down a deserted alley and used his powers to quickly fix it up. With a few passes of his hand the rusty, dented frame was reshaped and turned a glossy black. The interior was reupholstered, the color of the fabric returned to its original richness, the engine was repaired, and the convertible top was resealed.
Within moments the car looked like new.
As a finishing touch Zan altered the license plate to the New Mexico style.
Then he and Ava had driven for hours, putting as much distance between them and New York as possible.
They had finally been forced to stop for the night just outside St. Louis, and got a cheap room. After they checked-in, they ate a late meal at a nearby diner, and then started the short walk back to the motel.
Maybe it wasn’t the best timing, but Zan felt the need to set the record straight with Ava. He didn’t want any misunderstandings, and she deserved to know how he felt.
He stopped, leaning against a tree in a little park, looking at the small woman with him. She was a good person, a good lover, a good friend.
He wished he could love her. It would make everything so simple.
“I’m glad you came with me,” he said.
Ava came to stand next to him. “Of course I came with you.”
She reached up to touch his face. “I love you, Zan. I’d go anywhere with you.”
Zan cupped her hand in his, squeezing it lightly. Sometimes he wondered if she really loved him, or just the idea of the fairytale relationships they’d been told all their lives. He held her gaze. “Ava,” he started, but she shook her head, cutting him off.
Her eyes shinned with tears, and she gave him a sad smile. “Don’t say it, Zan,” she said softly, emotion choking her.
Zan was sad, but relieved. He was glad it didn’t come as a complete surprise to her.
“You are my best friend,” he said.
She nodded. “You’re mine too,” she whispered. “I just wanted you to be more.”
He gave her a sad smile. “I’m sorry,”
Shaking her head, she smiled back. “It’s not your fault. You tried,” her voice hitched as a small gasp escaped her, “but it just wasn’t meant to be.”
She took her hand away, wrapping her arms around herself as she looked down. “You deserve someone who makes you happy.”
Zan reached out, hugging her to him. “So do you.”
Never Underestimate Destiny|
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