The meeting in the UFO Center continued as Max told Zan and Ava how they had grown up among humans, and had only found their protector Nasedo a few months ago. Then he explained about the Granolith, Nasedo's death, their run-ins with the Skins and how Tess had killed a large number of them.
Zan nodded. "Well that explains why they are suddenly asking for a summit. Khivar has lost most of his troops on Earth, so he has to do something else to draw us out." He scratched at his beard. "But what about this Granolith? I've never heard of it. Why does Khivar want it? What does it do?"
"We don't know," Max said. "We'd never heard of it either, not until the Skins tried to get it from us."
"Do you know where it is?" Zan asked.
"Yeah," Max said hesitantly. "It's in a safe place."
"There's the book too," Michael said.
"Book?" Zan asked interested.
"It's a book our protector had," Isabel explained. "It's in our language, but none of us know how to read it. Maybe it tells about the Granolith. If you knew…"
She trailed off as Zan shook his head. "We never learned the language either," he said. "I guess our protectors thought we'd know it when we got our memories back from our other lives."
"So what's your plan?" Max asked, getting impatient. "What kind of trap do you have in mind?"
"It's simple really," Zan explained. "Ava and I won't go back to New York, and eventually Lonnie will start to panic because she can't find us. She needs a king to get into the summit, so she'll have to come here to get you to go. When they show up, we take them out."
Michael stepped forward eagerly. "And what about Nicholas and whatever Skins might be left?"
"I'm sure they'll come after you eventually," Zan said. "So we'll be ready for them."
"And how do we do that?" Michael demanded. "We don't know who they are, what they look like."
Zan raised an eyebrow. "We make sure we are in control of our powers so we're ready for anything."
He motioned to Ava and himself. "We've been trained since we were just out of the pods, so I'm sure we can show you a few things. And we got a place we can practice."
Max nodded. "How long do we have until Lonnie misses you?"
Zan shrugged. "A month, maybe a little more if we're lucky. Then she'll come here looking for a replacement."
"How does Lonnie know where we are?" asked Isabel.
"I didn't know," Zan said, "until you said that the Skins already knew you were here. Lonnie is definitely working with them."
"So when do we start?" Michael asked.
"Tomorrow," Zan and Max said together.
They looked at each other with a nod.
"We need to get in as much practice as possible," Max said. "We need to be ready."
When the meeting ended the nine of them walked out of the UFO museum.
"Okay," Zan said, "you've got our address, so we'll see you tomorrow."
The Roswell group stood together watching Zan and Ava walk down the street and get in their car.
When they were safely inside, Max spoke up. "So what do you think?"
Michael stepped up beside him. "I'm glad they're here. With Nasedo gone we've been fumbling around, but Zan seems to know what's going on."
Max felt a jolt of annoyance. Michael had been criticizing his leadership for months. But, Max admitted, he was honestly glad Zan was there too. Zan knew much more about the alien situation, and he'd been trained in using his powers.
"Michael," Isabel chided. She put a hand on Max's shoulder. "They seem really nice. I think they can teach us a lot."
Max watched Zan drive the black Mustang down the street until it disappeared around a corner, before he turned back to the others. He looked at Michael, Isabel, Tess, and then Liz, thinking about how they had barely escaped the Skins in Copper Summit, and then again in Roswell. They'd been so lucky, and might not have gotten away at all if it wasn't for Courtney's help.
"I'm glad they're here too," Max said. "I think we can use all the help we can get."
(Saturday, October 21)
The next morning Zan awoke early. Earlier than he'd been up in a long time.
He was excited for the day to begin because he'd be seeing his Liz again.
All night he'd dreamt about her, touching her hair, looking into her deep, dark eyes, and kissing her sweet lips. He couldn't wait until the practice session to be close to her again.
He showered and dressed and went into the kitchen and started to cook. Rarely did he bother making a meal, but today he felt like doing something special.
Humming, he fried bacon and eggs, pushed pieces of bread into the toaster and poured orange juice and hot coffee. He was just setting the table when he looked up to see Ava in the doorway, still rumpled from sleep, with an incredulous look on her face.
"You're cooking?" she asked sounding almost horrified.
"Sure," he answered with a grin. "Come sit down, it's almost ready."
Ava took a seat and continued to watch him. "I didn't even know you could cook. And what's the occasion? You seem,.." she trailed off, looking for the right words, "almost happy."
Slathering butter on the toasted bread, Zan shrugged. "I don't know. I guess I like it here."
A small chuckle escaped Ava. "It's so cornball, but I do too. They're really nice," she said referring to the group they'd met the night before. "They're like a real family, even the humans."
Zan nodded, placing a plate in front of her. "Yeah," he said thoughtfully.
As they ate they discussed how to start in training the Roswell group, what equipment they needed to create, and where to set up everything.
They'd finished eating by the time they'd figured out all the details and Zan stacked the dishes on the counter, cleaning them and the rest of the kitchen with a swipe of his hand.
He went downstairs to set up while Ava got showered and dressed, and when she came down, Zan could hear the sound of a car pulling up outside.
His heart thumped loudly and he rushed to the door, opening it eagerly, hoping to see Liz.
He was disappointed when he saw only Max and Isabel in the old Jeep, but tried not to show it. Going out to greet them, he examined the Jeep.
"This is an actual army surplus Jeep," he said knowledgeably.
Max nodded. "Yeah, the military was practically giving them away a few years ago, but it's a pain to keep it running."
"It sounded a little rough when you pulled up," Zan said. "Want me to take a look?"
Max seemed surprised, but nodded.
Zan put his hand on the hood and concentrated.
Isabel came to stand beside him. "Don't you even have to open it?"
"No," Zan said confidently. "I can feel what's wrong and fix it like this."
After a moment he removed his hand. "It's old, and still has a lot of old parts, but I cleaned out everything and fixed a small leak in the oil pan. It should run better."
Max sat back in the driver's seat, started it up, and it roared to life, sounding a hundred percent better. "Thanks," he said, turning off the engine. "Can you teach me how to do that?"
"Sure," Zan said with a nod. "There's so much you can do with your powers, and you've barely even scratched the surface."
Just then another car pulled into the lot, a small, white SUV with Tess driving, and behind her a motorcycle with Michael aboard.
Pulling off his helmet Michael called out. "Great, everyone's here, let's get started."
"Hi, to you too Michael," Isabel said, rolling her eyes.
Zan's brow creased. "The humans aren't coming?"
Tess stepped forward. "Why would they? This is alien business."
Zan shrugged, trying to hide his disappointment. "Well they were at the meeting last night."
"They'd probably be bored," Isabel said, "since there's nothing for them to do."
"No," Michael said, "Maria would be bugging us. I don't need her hanging all over me while I'm trying to learn stuff."
At the same time, Alex, Liz and Maria were sitting together in a booth at the Crashdown eating breakfast.
"Wow," Alex started, "was that freaky or what, last night seeing them? I thought I was going to have a heart attack."
Liz nodded. "I never even considered there might be two identical sets, but I guess it makes sense. A back up set in case someone gets hurt or killed."
"But which set is real?" Maria asked.
Alex's brow creased. "What do you mean? They're all real."
"Nooo," Maria said, drawing out the word. "One set is the real royal four, and the other set are the backups. Not all of them can go back to their planet and rule." She smiled. "It would definitely explain why Michael is such a defective if he isn't the real one."
Liz shook her head, "And you want the other Michael and Isabel, what's their names, who betrayed Zan to be the real ones?"
"Oh," Maria said disappointedly. "I guess you're right."
"Besides," Liz said, lowering her voice, "our aliens have to be the real set. They have the Granolith. They wouldn't just risk leaving that laying around."
Alex looked at her. "No one even knows what it is."
"It's got to be important," Liz said, trying to sound casual. "The Skins were ready to kill to get it."
For a moment they sat in silence, eating.
"Well," Maria said, "I thought they seemed nice," she said, referring to Ava and Zan. "Ava is a lot better than the hussy. And Zan and Max," she giggled, "seemed almost the same, except for the clothes and tattoos."
Liz shook her head. "Zan is a lot more confident and cocky than Max, but I'm sure that's because Zan knew who he was from day one. You can almost feel the power in him."
Maria shared a smirk with Alex. "Someone got a crush on Zan," she teased.
Liz's head snapped up, genuinely surprised. "What? No. I just meant…"
Maria cut her off. "You just did a lot of observation on someone that you have no interest in."
"Yeah, Liz," Alex joined in. "You can 'feel the power in him', or is it a spark of interest?"
"No," Liz said, rolling her eyes. "I mean, of course he's attractive…"
"Hah!" Maria pounced on her words. "You do like him."
"No," Liz blushed, trying to explain. "No, I just mean he's identical in appearance to Max, so of course I find him attractive, but…"
"And," Alex added, "he's got that whole bad boy thing going. I know girls love that."
"No," Liz started again.
"Oh yeah," Maria said, "tattoos and piercings. It just makes you wonder where else he has them that you can't see."
Maria and Alex laughed, and Liz gave up trying to explain.
After a moment Alex leaned forward. "I wonder what's going on at the training session," he whispered.
"Me too," Maria whined. "I wanted to go so bad."
Liz was disappointed not to be included too, and it hurt her terribly because at one time she'd been so close to Max that he'd told her everything. But, she told herself, it's how it was meant to be. Max, Isabel, Michael and Tess belonged with Ava and Zan. They were family, and humans had no place.
She sighed softly, picking at her food. "I'm sure they'll tell us later."
"So what are we supposed to do," Maria asked heatedly, 'while they are out there learning to save the world? Just sit here? It seems like we're always just sitting here while they're out doing," she lowered her voice to a whisper, "alien things."
"There's nothing we can do," Alex soothed. "We don't have any powers."
"Well," Liz said, getting up, "I have to work for a couple of hours, so I'm going to get ready. You guys want to do something later?"
"Can't," Maria said. "Going over to Spaceboy's."
Liz looked hopefully at Alex.
"Sorry Liz," he said. "Family thing."
She nodded, gathering their plates. Suddenly she felt so alone.
Max was amazed as the lesson progressed. Zan and Ava were telling them all kinds of things he'd never even thought of before. They really were beginners when it came to using powers, and Tess wasn't much better. What had Nasedo been teaching her, anyway?
Max turned his attention back to Zan who was speaking.
"Basically everyone can do the same things, just some people are better at some things than others. Like some people sing or play basketball better," he explained. "Usually there are one or two talents that you can do better than anyone else, and sometimes, in rare cases, someone will get a really unusual power."
"Like what?" Michael asked.
Zan nodded. "Like I have the power to sense powers in others."
"What does that mean?" Isabel asked.
"When I connect with someone," Zan explained, "I can tell what their special talent is."
"You can do that with everyone?" Tess asked.
Zan shrugged. "So far, but it's not like I've been around that many other half-alien hybrids."
Michael stepped forward, holding out his hand. "Try it on me."
Grasping Michael's hand, Zan barely had to sense the connection to feel it. "You have a killer blasting power."
Michael snatched his hand away, looking it like he'd never seen it before, and mumbled. "That's right."
Isabel was next, offering her hand to Zan. He took it without a word and the connection sprang to life instantly. "You can go into other people's heads," he said, "into their dreams to see and feel what their thinking."
Zan dropped her hand and looked at Max.
Max didn't offer his hand, but held Zan's eyes. "I heal, and I've got a shield."
"Wow," Ava gasped. "Never seen one. Can you show us?"
With a small push of power Max expanded his green, shimmering shield, and Zan stepped forward, putting his hand against it. He leaned his weight on it, and it held him.
"Very cool," he said, stepping back. "How strong is it?"
Max let the shield dissolve. "I don't know. I've never tested it."
Zan nodded. "Well that's something we'll have check out."
He turned to Tess and she kept her hands at her sides as she explained. "I have a mind warp. I can make people see and feel what I want them to."
She demonstrated by making them see several copies of herself appear around them briefly before they winked out of existence.
"Awesome," Ava said.
"What about you?" Michael demanded, speaking to Ava.
She raised an eyebrow. "I'm an empath. When I'm close to someone I can tell what they're feeling and sometimes I hear thoughts."
Isabel frowned. "So right now you can tell what we're all thinking?"
"No," Ava assured her. "I have to be close to someone, and it's clearer if I'm touching them. But if the person is powerful, it's like their power blocks me out. Usually I just get random words or feelings."
"What about Lonnie and Rath?" Max asked. "What can they do?"
Zan grimaced. "Rath packs a hell of a power, energy balls that can knock you on your ass, and shock the piss out of you. I'm sure he could kill with them when he lets loose. And Lonnie can plant suggestions in your mind that are so subtle you'll never know it wasn't your own thought to begin with. But her power is limited too. She can plant the suggestion but she can't make you act on it unless you are being really unguarded."
"So how do we get started?" Michael asked.
"Well," Zan said, "I think we should test you out and see what you can do." He motioned to Ava, "After that the girls can work together because Ava knows a lot more about controlling mental powers. And we," he motioned to Max and Michael, "can work on my specialty, the physical powers."
"But you don't have a physical power," Isabel pointed out.
"Didn't I say?" Zan asked. He raised his hand and a burst of power shot out. It looked like heat shimmering or ripples in a pond as it rocketed across the room and shattered the windows.
Lonnie waited in the alley, leaning against the wall. He was late, but she was usually the one to keep him waiting, so she didn't mind.
A sound behind her made her turn and she smiled as Nicholas came strolling up the debris-strewn alley.
She knew he had a lot of power, probably more than she did, and he was dangerous, but that was part of what made the meetings exciting.
"Nicholas," she purred.
His eyes raked over her. "Are you ready for another session, Princess?" he asked huskily.
He stopped before her, meeting her eyes. "The more I help you regain your memories, the more I remember how good it was between us."
Lonnie smiled. She knew she would have to gain his confidence to get him to open up to her, and it was just a lucky coincidence that they'd been lovers in their last life. She was using their past to her advantage, getting him to help her recover her memories, and soon she'd have him eating out of her hand.
"I want to remember too," she said, grasping the front of his shirt and pulling him into the abandoned building. "Show me how it used to be."
As Liz moved around the Crashdown, taking orders, delivering food, clearing tables, she couldn't help glancing at the clock every few minutes.
Max and the others had gone to meet with Zan and Ava hours ago, and she wondered how it was going, and when it would be over. She had no doubt that no one would be stopping by to tell her anything, and all she could do was wonder.
She'd have to wait until late in the night when Maria got home from her date with Michael to hear about it.
Once again she glanced at the clock. It was after three now, the restaurant only had two customers who were almost finished, and she was off in about twenty minutes. She wiped down the entire counter, gathering the used dishes and took them into the back.
When she pushed the door open to go into the dining room, she paused. Seated in one of the booths was Zan.
Smiling, she approached him, wondering if he would remember her. "Hey," she greeted.
His mouth curved in a smile. "Liz," he said, his voice almost a purr.
She felt an unexpected jolt of pleasure that he remember her name, but almost immediately it turned to apprehension. She leaned in. "Are you sure it's safe for you to be here?" she asked softly. "How would we explain it if someone thought you were Max?"
Zan's smile widened. They had discussed the possibility at the training session, but of course Liz hadn't been there. "I guess we could tell them that I'm Max's long lost brother or something. But it's not like we're going to hang out at your school, or go to Max's house."
He motioned to his tattoos and hair, winking at her. "And do you really think anyone's going to mistake me for him?"
A nervous feeling settled in Liz's stomach and she wasn't sure why. "Ummm," she hummed, letting her eyes rake over him, "Maybe not."
She looked at the empty seat opposite him. "Are you waiting for Ava?"
"No," Zan said smoothly. "I'm alone."
"Okay," she said, deciding to treat him like any other customer. "Can I get you a drink while you look at the menu? Or are you ready to order?"
He held her eyes. "I know what I want."
Liz's heartbeat increased and she swallowed nervously. Was he flirting with her? She didn't know what to do, but she realized she had been silent too long.
"What's that?" she asked breathlessly.
He looked at her for a moment more, and then smiled and cocked his head. "A burger and fries," he said finally.
She looked down, concentrating on writing it on the pad so she didn't have to meet his eyes. "And a cherry Coke?" she asked automatically.
He shrugged. "Sure."
Without another word she left, turning in the order, and then got his drink. She felt uncomfortable and she wasn't sure why. She filled a glass with ice and soda and grabbed a bottle of Tabasco to take to him.
When she placed it in front of him, he smiled again. "A girl after my own heart."
Liz felt herself blush and hurried back to the counter, pretending to be concentrating on cleaning as her mind rushed.
She wasn't really attracted to him, she told herself. It was just because he looked like Max, and that stupid comment Maria had made about his tattoos. Normally she wouldn't have wondered if he had others but now she found herself doing just that.
Her eyes roamed quickly over him. Last night he'd been wearing a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, and she'd seen three tattoos on his muscular arms. She hadn't really looked closely at them but the one on his shoulder had caught her attention. It was the symbol of the four square.
Today he was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, but he'd pushed the material up so the tattoo on his forearm was exposed. It looked like a red circle, or maybe it was the rising sun, and it had lines through it, maybe they were supposed represent water, or wind, or possibly claw marks. She wondered briefly what it was and if it had a meaning.
Moving her gaze up, she noted a short, scruffy beard outlined his strong jaw, emphasizing the shape. His chin was pierced just below his lips, a simple stud that drew attention to his mouth, and another glint of silver was a ring in his eyebrow.
At that moment his eyes met hers, and she looked away quickly as she blushed furiously. She rubbed the counter harder, pretending to be concentrating on a spot that wasn't there.
Of course he was good looking, she told herself, but he wasn't her type at all. He was a bad boy, a rebel, dangerous, even if he did look really good in leather pants.
And even if she was interested in him, he was with Ava, and she was in love with Max.
Zan's food was ready in what seemed like no time, and she took it to him, noting that the other two customers were ready to pay their bill. Liz put the plate in front of Zan with a forced smile and turned gratefully to the cash register. She was glad to have an excuse to move away from him.
The couple paid and left, and Liz moved quickly back to the counter, thinking she'd escaped.
Zan's voice rang across the room. "Why don't you come sit down and talk to me?"
Liz looked up, startled. "I can't," she said. "I'm working."
With a smile Zan deliberately looked around the dining room. "No one's here." He motioned to the seat across from him. "Come on, you can always get up if someone comes in."
Liz couldn't help smiling. "Okay," she relented.
Crossing the room, she sat down, and again felt the sensation of power she'd mentioned to Maria and Alex.
"So," he started, popping a Tabasco-covered fry into his mouth, "how long have you worked here?"
"Umm," she said nervously, "my parents own the restaurant, so pretty much my whole life."
He nodded. "And how did you find out about all this alien stuff?"
She met his eyes. "Max didn't tell you?"
Zan cocked his head. "I didn't ask Max."
"Well," Liz said, motioning to the back of the café. "It was right over there. I was working, and, Max was sitting at that booth." She pointed again. "And, um, someone brought in a gun, and it kinda went off, and I got shot."
She looked down as her hand went to her stomach. "I was dying, but Max brought me back."
"What?" Zan asked, sounding completely surprised. "He brought you back?"
Liz met his eyes. "Yeah, he risked his life to save me. He…" And then she realized how surprised Zan was. "Why? What's wrong?"
Zan was shaking his head. "Max brought you back from the dead. You've been changed."
Liz's brow creased. "What do you mean by changed?"
"You'll become like us," he said. "You'll get powers."
"No," she denied. "That can't be right. It's been over a year, and I haven't…"
Zan cut her off. "So nothing has happened? No weird things you couldn't explain?"
"No," she said instantly, but then paused. She had the connection with Max, and she'd had gotten flashes, visions when they kissed.
Watching her closely, Zan saw her reactions. "You have noticed something."
"Umm, maybe," she admitted.
He smiled. "You'll have to be trained or you could lose control and expose yourself."
She looked down at her hands, staring at them like she'd never seen them before. "You mean come to the training sessions at your place with the others."
Zan nodded. "You'll need extra attention for a while until you can control your powers. You should come every day, so Ava and I can work with you separate from the others too."
"It's crazy," Liz said. "I can't…" she trailed off.
With an understanding smile, Zan reached out and touched her hand. "What about this whole thing isn't crazy?" he asked softly. "Aliens, an intergalactic war, a cloned royal family."
He shrugged. "You having powers is a side-effect of your healing. And it's not so bad is it, in exchange for being alive?"
"I guess not when you put it that way," she said.
He squeezed her hand and released it. "I think you should start tomorrow."
She met his eyes, still reeling from the unexpected revelation. "I work until two," she said hollowly.
"Okay,' he said. "I'm going to run some errands tomorrow, so I'll pick you up then."
Never Underestimate Destiny|
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