Soaring With Angels
Alternate Ending #2
The end? Or is it?
How about a do-over?
I love the fact that the same event could be interpreted many different ways. That is what inspired to write this story in the first place. And like any good mystery I threw in a few red herrings to hopefully keep the reader off balance. But somewhere in the middle my mind started to explore some of those other possibilities.
Have you ever read a story and wished it would go a different direction or thought of a different ending? As a writer I often come up several different scenarios and endings even for my own stories, like a choose your own adventure if you will. I mentioned it to my beta Ellie and she suggested I should write the other endings for this story.
So here goes.
To quote the movie Clue - “That’s how it could have happened. But how about this…”
Summary: Everything in Soaring has happened up to this point exactly as it did in the original; Isabel joined with Khivar, Max killed Tess, Isabel lured Michael, Max and Liz to Antar, the war, Khivar and Isabel were executed, Liz killed Max and went back in time destroying everything that led to Max’s downfall. This ending starts in the next to the last scene of Soaring when Liz is in the pod chamber destroying the alien artifacts and herself.
(The Pod Chamber)
From her bag Liz emptied all of the alien artifacts she had gathered onto the floor of the Granolith chamber, the healing stones, Atherton’s necklace, the alien book, the chevron-shaped amplifier, and the orb, almost everything that had come from Antar. She knew there was another orb locked in the Special Unit’s vault but it didn’t matter. It would never see the light of day, and more importantly Max, Isabel and Michael would never know about it.
Liz passed her hand over the artifacts, using her powers to super-heat them, melting them into the floor. Briefly she wondered what her fate would be and a shiver of fear passed through her, but she pushed it aside. She had done terrible things to save them all, but she would do them all again. She had done what was necessary.
Max, Michael and Isabel would never remember their real past without help, they would never take dangerous risks to discover the truth, and no one would ever hunt them. She had given them a past, a history and a destiny. They would be content and feel free to live their lives and find happiness. And most importantly Max would grow into the good man that Liz knew he was destined to be.
And it was destiny, Liz believed that wholeheartedly. Something had caused her visions of how to save Max and somehow she just knew her plan would work. Technically she should have disappeared when she had destroyed the photo and key in Valenti’s files. That single act would have majorly altered the future, but she had known she would be able to continue. Whether it was intuition, or her powers, or destiny, Liz had believed in it enough to know she would be successful. It had taken three lifetimes on two different planets and the alteration of two different timelines, it had cost the lives of millions, and quite probably her own soul, but finally everything was as it should be.
Taking a control crystal out of her pocket, Liz inserted it into the base of the Granolith. Sighing with relief, she sat down on the floor and waited as the machine whirred to life. She had set the Granolith to self-destruct, and with it the pod chamber, herself, and any vestiges of the aliens’ past would be destroyed.
Liz could feel the power in the room building with every moment, and the glow from the Granolith increased in brightness until Liz was forced to close her eyes against it. The amount of power pressing against her was like a physical object and it was becoming hard for her to breath. It was only a matter of moments until it was all over.
There was a faint sound of pounding and Liz wondered what it was. Then she thought she could hear muffled voices, but of course that wasn’t possible. She opened her eyes briefly, and for just a split-second she could have sworn she was in the Granolith room in the palace on Antar. But then her vision cleared and she was on Earth in the pod chamber again.
Liz closed her eyes again and thought of her younger, more innocent self just a few miles away. Three years ago she would never even have considered doing half the things she had done. She knew Max’s past life and the Granolith had posioned her too, twisting her judgement. But she had to admit that the evil growing inside her had made it easier for her to do what was needed to save them all, to save Max.
She allowed herself to think about her Max for one of the first times since she had killed him.
Everything she had done, she had done for him.
Liz had vowed to Max again and again that she would do anything for him and she had proved it. She had done terrible things, killed innocent, good people, the Skin army, Ava and Zan. And it had all been for completely selfish reasons, but she didn’t care. It had all been for her love, for Max.
She had systematically destroyed everything and everyone who could possibly lead the aliens back to their past and into danger. And now she was destroying the source of all the evil.
Without the influence of the Granolith’s malignant energy, without the memories of his other life, Max would continue to be the wonderful, gentle man she had fallen in love with. He would never know the pain of betrayal, the sorrow of losing his friends and family, he would never have to go to war, and he would never have to make the decision to torture and kill to protect them.
None of them would.
And as if her thoughts had conjured him, suddenly Max was before her.
Immediately their connection flared back to life as they stood looking at one another, and Liz felt his emotions flood through her. She thought he would be furious because she’d killed him, but all she felt was his overwhelming love burning brightly.
Again the sound of pounding reached her ears. She could have sworn she heard someone call out “Your Majesty,” but she ignored it. It wasn’t real. It had to be just a memory and it didn’t matter. If she wasn’t dead already she would be in a matter of moments.
Max’s eyes met hers and he smiled as he reached his upturned hand out toward her.
Liz didn’t hesitate and placed her hand in his. At Max’s side was where she belonged, no matter where it led her.
There was the vague sound of a crash, the floor lurched beneath her and Liz knew the Granolith, the pod chamber and her body were being destroyed.
The guard pounded on the door to the Granolith chamber. “Your Majesty, are you in there? Are you okay?”
There was no answer and he pounded harder. “Your Majesty?”
He heard the sound of many running feet and turned toward them, his weapon drawn. A handful of guards he recognized came into view. “What’s the news?” he called out. “Why are the alarms sounding again?”
“They are saying the King is dead, assassinated,” the Lieutenant said, “but no one knows for sure.” He motioned to the Granolith room. “Is the Queen inside? We were sent to make sure she is safe.”
The guard shook his head. “The door is jammed. There is no answer, but the Queen was seen coming this way a few minutes ago.”
“We’ve got to get the door open and see if she’s still alive,” the Lieutenant said. He outstretched his hand and the other soldiers did the same. They aimed their powers at the door and it shook slightly but held tight.
“That won’t work,” the guard said. “The whole room is lined with metal that we can’t manipulate. Maybe I can override the door control.”
He entered a series of commands but nothing happened. “Damn I need higher access. We need a tech.”
Kasha, Jaetus and General Darius rushed down the hall with a large group of guards.
The men bowed low. “Your Highness.”
Kasha turned to the Lieutenant. “Is the Queen inside?”
He shook his head. “We don’t know your Highness. There is no answer and we can’t get through the door.”
The General stepped to the panel and entered a code but still nothing happened. “It’s been fused from the other side,” he said. He motioned to the door. “All of you build up your power and together we’ll aim for the middle of the door.”
They all outstretched their arms and General Darius counted down, “3, 2, 1.” Together they emitted an enormous burst of power that blew the door from the frame, sending it crashing to the floor. The guards surged forward into the room with weapons drawn but it was obvious at a glance that there was only one person inside.
The second thing that caught their attention was the whirring sound and the ever-brightening light emitting from the Granolith. General Darius surged forward and pressed his hand against several places on the base of the Granolith extinguishing the hum and the light as it powered down.
Kasha rushed into the room and fell to her knees where Liz lay on the floor her body completely limp. Liz’s eyes were open but stared straight ahead, unfocused, unseeing. Kasha reached out a tentative hand and pressed it to Liz’s throat, sagging in relief. “She’s alive. Liz is alive, but she’s in some kind of catatonic state. We need to get her to the healer.”
General Darius came forward and scooped Liz’s small body into his arms. He turned to the Lieutenant. “Get a squad down here to protect the Granolith and some men to fix this door.”
He and Kasha and the majority of the guards rushed down the hall toward the healer.
The Lieutenant stopped Jaetus. “Is it true the King is dead?”
Jaetus bowed his head. “The King has been assassinated by Khivar’s followers.”
Kasha and Jaetus waited anxiously outside the infirmary where Liz was being examined.
General Darius entered the room and bowed low. “Your Highness we are still searching the palace but so far we’ve found no one, and no sign of the intruders.
Jaetus gasped. “Who could have done this? It had to be someone very powerful.”
Darius nodded agreeing. “We’re still not sure what really happened. Liz had a vision and Max ordered the palace locked down. The guards outside Max and Liz’s chamber said they were in their room for a couple of hours and then Liz left Max asleep inside. A few minutes later I went to report to Max about our search but I found him dead in bed, his throat slit. I sounded the alarm and we started searching for Liz. Some servants saw her going toward the Granolith room but that’s the last we know for certain. Perhaps Liz felt Max die through their bond and locked herself in with the Granolith, or perhaps she was attacked and chased into the room.”
Jaetus spoke up. “Or perhaps Max was murdered in front of her and that broke her mind. She escaped somehow and went to the only place she felt safe.”
“It’s possible,” Darius said. “The guards outside her room said she seemed odd when she left, wooden.”
The healer emerged from the examination room and all three of them rose to hear his news.
Kasha was the first to speak. “How is Liz?”
The healer Seris shook his head. “Physically she is well, but her mind is completely detached from reality.”
“But you can heal Liz,” Kasha said. “You specialize in healing minds.”
“I am not sure,” Seris said, “and it may be better if she doesn’t recover.”
Surprise crossed Kasha’s face. “What do you mean?”
Seris shook his head again. “Because of her condition Liz has no defenses in place and I was able to access her entire memory, see everything that happened to her, and experience her feelings and intensions.” He looked at Darius. “You have found no trace of intruders or assassins have you?” But he continued without waiting for an answer. “That’s because there were none. Assassins didn’t kill Max, Liz did.”
Kasha shook her head. “That’s not possible. Liz loves Max more than anything. She would have sacrificed her life to protect him.”
Seris sighed. “She thinks she did.”
“You mean this was all a mistake?” Jaetus asked. “Liz accidentally killed Max because she was trying to protect him, and that broke her mind?”
Seris frowned. “In my examination I discovered that Liz has been experiencing periodic mental breaks. Most of the time she is perfectly well, but circumstances have pushed her mind out of reality occasionally.”
“No,” Kasha said. “Max and Liz were bonded. He would have known and gotten her help.”
“I don’t think Max could tell,” Seris said. “Liz’s delusions were so real to her that she incorporated them into her memories, or hid them from Max entirely. Max probably believed her delusions were the truth too. Max’s healing power is more physical. I don’t know if he could have detected the fractures in her mind. It was difficult for me to separate her false memories and delusions. And I was only able to do so because my powers are more geared toward healing the mind and I’ve had years of training in that area.”
Kasha shook her head in denial but Seris continued. “Liz experienced her first break because of her love for Max. She was with Max when he activated a message you sent them your Highness, in the orb. The message told of Max’s destiny with his former wife, and Liz felt she had to leave him to allow him to move on and complete his mission. She left town to put distance between them, but she felt so guilty abandoning him at that time of crisis.”
“Max had been taken and tortured by the FBI and she’d helped him escape, and that was when they had first declared their love for one another. And the next day they saw the message that caused her to leave. The whole summer she was away from him her mind teetered on the brink.”
Seris took a deep breath. “When Liz returned Max pursued her relentlessly. She loved him desperately and felt so much guilt for leaving him. But she still believed they couldn’t be together, so her mind came up with a solution. That was when she had the first breakdown.”
“She thinks that Max used the Granolith to come back from the future to see her. In the delusion he told her that the Earth would fall to Khivar if she didn’t make her Max follow his destiny to be with Tess. So Liz did everything in her power to make sure that Max fell out of love with her.”
Tears started in Kasha’s eyes. “Poor Liz, she told me about her visitor from the future and how much it had hurt both she and Max, but none of that was real. Liz never said anything about the Granolith being used as a time machine though or I would have known it wasn’t true.”
“Why is that your Highness?” Jaetus asked.
Kasha shook her head. “The Granolith is pure power but it isn’t capable of time travel. If it was we could have simply gone back before Khivar staged his coop and stopped him then.”
She turned her attention back to Seris. “What else happened to Liz? You said there were several breaks.”
Seris nodded. “Liz’s mind fractured a little more each time tragedy struck their group; the deaths of her friends Alex and Maria, thinking Max slept with Tess, her parents continual disapproval of Max. Each one caused a little damage but Liz was mostly able to hold herself together with the help of Max’s love. He also had an instinct to push incredible amounts of power into her which healed her somewhat even though he wasn’t aware.”
“Isabel’s betrayal had a profound effect on Liz though and caused another small break. Liz blamed herself for not seeing it earlier, for not being able to fix the rend in the relationship between Max and Isabel. That’s also when she started having the visions of Max’s death.”
Seris started shaking his head. “I’m not even sure if those visions were real or not. Maybe even then Liz’s mind was looking for excuses, reasons why Isabel would betray her brother.”
“The war horrified Liz even if she wouldn’t let herself admit it. The killing, the torture, it prayed on her mind, and when Michael died she had another break. Only Max’s love and power kept her together that time or she might have lost her mind then.”
“The war was over soon after that and Liz might have been okay with Max’s help, with his power supporting her, but then she went to see Khivar. Khivar tried to use his powers to persuade her that Zan had been an evil dictator and Max was becoming just like him. Liz fought Khivar, she unknowingly held back his powers and wouldn’t give in to him. But she made the mistake of touching him and Khivar took advantage of the extra boost the skin-to-skin contact gave him. He pushed an enormous amount of power into her giving her a false vision of Zan to prove his story, and he also left a suggestion in her mind.”
Kasha gasped, “What kind of suggestion?”
Seris grimaced. “Khivar forced a kernel of doubt about Max into Liz’s mind, knowing it would grow. He made her mind create visions and delusions to show her Max was evil. Half of what Liz has seen in the last few days has been creations of her mind dictated by Khivar’s power.”
“At first Liz wouldn’t believe, but her delusions showed her ever increasing horrors. But she still needed further proof and she went to the archives. She thinks she found a book of Max’s family line that showed his evil and atrocities. Only then did she reluctantly accept Khivar’s story.”
Kasha shook her head. “There is no book of our family line.”
Seris nodded. “I know, but in Liz’s delusion she thinks there was. She also thinks that she had a vision of Max’s past and future atrocities including corrupting their son with his evil. By that time Liz was absolutely convinced Max was beyond saving. But she believed that Max was destined to be a good man, and would have been if he hadn’t gotten involved in the alien part of his life. She convinced herself she could save him if she could stop any of it from happening. So she killed Max, thinking she was saving him from becoming move evil.”
“But killing Max caused her mind to break completely, the guilt of murdering her beloved husband driving her instantly over the edge. Liz went to the Granolith room and thinks she used the Granolith to travel back in time to Earth. She thinks while on Earth she killed everyone who could lead Max to his alien heritage, and she killed everyone who had ever hurt him, including his protector and former wife. She also thinks she collected every alien artifact and took them to the pod chamber where she intended to destroyed them and herself by setting the Granolith to self-destruct.”
Tears ran down Kasha’s face. “Where does Liz think she is now?”
“She thinks she is dead,” Seris said, “in some kind of afterlife with Max, and she’s content knowing that she saved the younger Max from the horror that would have been his life.”
“The poor girl,” Jaetus said.
Darius nodded sadly. “Even though Khivar is dead he still won.”
“Maybe not,” Seris said, shaking his head. “Liz is pregnant.”
Kasha gasped. “Max and Liz never said anything. Does she know?”
“I think some part of her did,” Seris said, “but she couldn’t admit it to herself and still continue with her plan, because basically it would mean she was choosing her husband over her child.”
“How far along is she?” Kasha asked.
“Only four days,” Seris said. “It happened after Khivar placed the delusions in her mind. Liz had a vision of a son and she was right.”
“You can change Liz’s memories,” Kasha said. “Erase from her mind what she did to Max and make her think he was assassinated by Khivar’s followers.”
Seris shook his head. “I may be able to fix her mind, to replace her memories temporarily, but she is very powerful, she even held off Khivar himself for a time. Her power would eventually allow her to see the truth and I don’t think she would be able to live with what Khivar forced her to do.”
More tears spilled from Kasha’s eyes. “Liz would want to be with her son, Max’s son, but you’re right, knowing she killed Max for no reason would destroy her. We will leave her in the reality her mind has created.”
“We could clone Max again,” Jaetus suggested. “If he were alive…”
Kasha shook her head. “He has already given two lifetimes to Antar. Let him rest. Let them both rest.”
Kasha wiped the tears from her eyes and looked at the three men. “We are the only ones who know the truth and we will take the secret to grave. Max and Liz will be celebrated as heroes martyred by Khivar’s treachery, and their son will rule Antar.”
The men nodded silently agreeing.
Seris spoke up. “Liz has a strong will to die and may not survive the pregnancy.”
Kasha nodded. “We will keep her alive until the child is born. Afterward we will allow her to fulfill her desire to join my son. After all, at Max’s side is where Liz was always meant to be.”
The strange noises Liz heard stopped when Max enfolded her in his strong arms and gently placed a kiss on her forehead. I love you Liz, he said through their connection.
Liz leaned into him sighing in contentment, finally home. I love you too.
They would probably go to hell for all of the things they had done, but at least they’d be together.
or is it?
Soaring With Angels |
Alt End #1 Part 3 - Alt End #3 Part 1
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