Soaring With Angels - Part 11







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PART 11


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(Monday - August 20th, 2001)
(Roswell UFO Museum)

Max pulled several books off the self of Brody’s library and rearranged them, putting them in the proper order.

“Max,” Brody called out from behind him.

“Hey Brody,” Max said turning, but immediately he could see that something was different.

“It’s Larek,” his old friend confirmed. “I just wanted to report that Khivar still has not announced the return of the Granolith or anything about your son.”

Max shook his head. “That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Perhaps Khivar is waiting for the birth of your son to make the announcement,” Larek suggested.

“My son has already been born,” Max said. “Exactly one month to the day of the conception.”

“One month?” Larek asked incredulously. “No Max, it couldn’t possibly have happened that soon. Antarians are complicated beings and so are humans. And while I’m not a genetics expert, I’m sure a hybrid pregnancy would take at least the normal human term of nine months, but I would expect it to be longer.”

Max took in the information with a distracted nod. “Tess lied again.” He started tapping his fingers on the bookshelf and focused on Larek. “Would it be possible for my son to contact me while he’s in the womb?”

Larek nodded. “It is possible but very rare for a child to contact his parent before birth. And if your son is contacting you from Antar, he must be exceptionally powerful. But I would expect nothing less of your son.”

Max nodded as thoughts raced through his mind. There was something bothering him, but Max couldn’t quite focus on what it was. It was as if every time he was close to remembering, the thought slid back into the obscurity of his unconsciousness. With a shake of his head, he refocused on Larek. “Thank you Larek, you’ve been more helpful than you could imagine.”


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


(Roswell Mall)

Maria and Liz had spent the morning shopping and they walked out into the parking lot with their purchases.

“I can’t believe Max bought you a car,” Maria whined jealously.

Liz smiled. “He’s worried about me. He never liked me walking places by myself and now that the Skins are here, he feels better knowing I have a car.”

Suddenly the air around them shimmered and they were surrounded by Skin soldiers.

“Speak of the devil…,” Nicholas said, trailing off with a chuckle.

Liz and Maria dropped their bags and Maria grasped Liz’s arm.

“What do you want?” Liz asked shakily.

“Well Mrs. Evans,” Nicholas said, “we want you, not to put too fine a point on it.” He walked toward her smiling. “Do you think your husband will surrender himself to us to keep you safe?”

Liz shook her head and looked around them nervously. There was no way she could take them all on but she couldn’t let herself be used as bait. She raised her head stubbornly and outstretched her arm, putting as much authority into her voice as she could. “Stay away from us, Nicholas.”

Nicholas chuckled again, and then started to laugh. “I saw you use your fledgling powers the last time we met, Liz. But you don’t seriously think you stand a chance against us.” He took another step closer. “Just surrender peacefully and you won’t get hurt.”

Suddenly there was a blast of power, and several of the Skin soldiers were lifted off their feet and thrown into the surrounding cars.

The Skins looked around for the attacker and Liz used the distraction to propel herself and Maria behind a car. She pushed Maria ahead of her but before she could follow, Liz felt a searing pain rip through her shoulder. She was knocked off her feet by the impact of the shot and sent rolling.

When Liz stopped, she was well away from the fight and shook her head trying to clear it. She heard a roar and saw Michael rush forward with his arm outstretched sending blasts of power into Skin soldiers. His shots were terrifyingly accurate and he was quickly diminishing the Skins’ ranks as they disintegrated into a shower of flakes.

Michael ducked behind a car near where Maria was hiding, and traded shots with Nicholas and the few remaining soldiers.

From her vantage point Liz could see Nicholas motioning to his troops and she was afraid that he would outflank Michael. But before she could warn him, there was suddenly a Skin soldier behind him. “Michael!” Liz shouted.

Everything seemed to be going in slow motion and Liz watched horrified as Michael turned. But the Skin soldier behind Michael was already raising his hand and Liz knew Michael would never make it in time. She watched helplessly as a ball of energy came from the Skin’s hand and flew straight at Michael.

“NO!” Liz cried out.

But at the last second before it hit him, Maria leapt in front of Michael. Her body took the force of the energy ball and it slammed her back into Michael, throwing them both to the ground.

Liz screamed with rage when she saw Michael and Maria go down. They could both be dead and it was her fault. She threw out her hand, automatically reaching through the connection for Max, and instantly he was in her head. Their bond allowed him to immediately see what was happening and she felt his fear and fury rushing into her along with his power.

Michael reached around Maria and used a burst of power to take out the Skin soldier. Maria’s limp body sagged against him but he was too scared to look at her injuries. She was certainly unconscious or worse, but they would all die if he didn’t take out the rest of the Skins. Vaguely he thought he heard Liz screaming and he rolled Maria off of him, and spun back around to face their enemies.

He turned just in time to see power burst from Liz’s outstretched hand and slam into several Skin soldiers. It was green like Max’s shield but she wielded it wildly, lashing out at the Skins, missing some and smashing others against the cars.

Nicholas spun toward the new threat, looking at Liz with wide eyes. Fury radiated from her and he thought he could see a soft golden glow emitting along her skin. He stumbled back, making a noise and Liz’s eyes were instantly on him. Nicholas saw her raise her hand toward him, but the golden light burning in her eyes scared him even more.

He dove aside as she lashed out and the green energy hit the car next to him, leaving an impact dent. Instantly Nicholas was on his feet and he ducked behind a car and raced to the waiting van that Tess had cloaked nearby. Throwing himself inside he shouted out, “Drive!”

Liz followed Nicholas but suddenly he was simply gone, disappeared from her sight just as quickly as he had appeared. She heard the screeching of tires, and even though she couldn’t see a vehicle, she sent a blast of Max’s power toward the sound. She was rewarded with the sound of an impact and for a moment she saw the outline of a van shimmering, but it disappeared around the building before she could fire again.

Behind her Liz heard the sounds of several more blasts and turned and ran back to the fight, but by the time she got there Michael had just killed the last soldier.

“Where’s Maria?” Liz asked him woodenly, fearing she already knew.

Michael shook his head, tears already starting to prick his eyes, and simply pointed. Liz followed the direction of his hand and together they walked to where Maria was lying.

There was a scorch mark across Maria’s chest that burned almost all the way to her spine and it was obvious she was dead. But Liz fell to her knees next to her best friend. “No, she’s okay,” Liz said, shaking her head. “It’ll be okay. I used Max’s shield, I can use his powers to heal Maria too.”

She pressed her hand to Maria’s wound and tried to push Max’s power into her, but she couldn’t form a connection. Liz changed the position of her hand on Maria’s chest and tried again, but again nothing happened. What’s wrong? she asked Max through their bond as tears started to gather in her eyes. Why can’t I heal her?

Liz could feel Max’s grief through the bond. I’m sorry Liz, he said softly, but Maria is gone. In his mind she saw flashes of the night he had tried to save Alex but couldn’t, and he was reliving the same thing again, but this time through her.

“NO!” Liz shouted. “Max you have to come here and save her!”

I’m already on my way, Max said. But there is nothing we can do.

“No,” Liz insisted. “Maria’s not gone. We can save her!” Her voice dropped to a whisper as tears started to spill down her cheeks. “Max, you’ll save her when you get here.”

Michael knelt next to Liz and touched her shoulder. “Liz, Maria is gone,” he said, his voice choked with tears.

Liz pounded at his chest. “No, don’t you let her go. She’s not gone. She not!”

Michael wrapped his arms around her pulling her into a tight embrace and they collapsed into one another crying.


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


Max had tried to heal Maria when he arrived, but she was gone long before he got there, and in the end the only thing he could do was change her wound to make it look like she had been killed in drive-by shooting.

Max healed Liz’s shoulder before the police arrived to avoid her being examined by the paramedics, and he and Michael cleaned up the area. When the police arrived there were endless questions, and through it all Max held Liz’s shivering form. It seemed to take forever but finally it was over and the police left, taking Maria with them.

Liz was inconsolable, sobs wracking her small body until she was gasping for air. Max embraced her fiercely wanting to take her pain away more than anything, but in the end he settled for using his powers to lull her into a dreamless sleep.

He carried her to his car and laid her on the back seat, and then turned to a grief-stricken Michael. “I’m so sorry Michael.”

A tear escaped Michael’s eye as he concentrated on the ground. “Maria did it to save me.”

Max nodded. “She loved you.” Max clasped him on the shoulder. “And you probably don’t want to hear this now, but thank you for protecting them.”

Michael grimaced. “Yeah I really did a hell of a job.” He shook his head. “I would have done it even if you hadn’t asked me to, and I’m glad I was here or we might have lost them both.” He glanced at Liz in the car. “But I guess Liz doesn’t really need my protection any more now that she can use your shield. You don’t really need me at all.”

Max could hear the desolate tone in Michael’s voice. “Why don’t you stay with us for a while Michael?” he suggested.

Michael shook his head. “I’ll be okay. I just need to be alone for a while.”

“Michael, you’re not going to Copper Summit,” Max said. “And that’s an order. Maria wouldn’t want you to get yourself killed trying to avenge her.”

Michael flinched and Max knew that’s what he’d been thinking.

“Come on Michael,” Max coaxed. “We’ve got two empty bedrooms at our house where you won’t be disturbed. And I’d really feel better having the extra firepower in the house in case the Skins attack again. Liz can use my power but she can’t control it. We still have to make sure Liz and Isabel are safe, and I don’t know if I can do it alone.”

Michael raised his head for the first time and met Max’s eyes. “Okay.”


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


Nicholas changed the color and make of the van several times as they drove away from the mall, and even then he had the driver drop him around the corner from where he and Khivar were staying.

“Take Tess back to the house,” he ordered the two remaining Skins. “Keep the amplifier on and don’t let her out of your sight.”

“How are we supposed to protect ourselves with the amplifier blocking our powers?” Tess asked anxiously.

“We haven’t been followed,” Nicholas said as he got out of the van. “You’ll be perfectly safe.”

Nicholas took several detours before he finally approached the house.

When Nicholas entered the house, it was obvious to Khivar and Isabel that something had gone wrong.

“What happened?” Khivar asked.

Nicholas shook his head. “What didn’t?” He took a seat. “We had Liz and Maria surrounded but Michael followed them. He took out half of our troops before we even realized what was happening. In the confusion Liz was shot in the shoulder and thrown behind us. I didn’t consider her a threat and concentrated on eliminating Michael, but that was a mistake.”

“Why?” Isabel asked.

Nicholas shook his head again. “Somehow Liz accessed a tremendous amount of power. She wielded a mass of pulsing green energy similar to what Max used that night in the Crashdown.”

Khivar shook his head. “No, it wasn’t similar to Max’s power, it was Max’s power.” He looked at Nicholas and Isabel. “I didn’t realize the truth when Isabel told us about Max pushing power into Liz, but it’s obvious that they’re sharing power.”

Nicholas frowned. “I never would have even considered that it was possible, but you’re right. It explains everything.”

“What is sharing power?” Isabel asked.

“It’s very rare,” Khivar explained. “Among our people bonds are often formed, sometimes between members of families, or close friends, but most often between lovers. Some bonds are stronger than others. The strongest bonds allow not only for the sharing of thoughts and emotions between the pair, but also the sharing of power. Basically it means that they can pull energy from each other and use one another’s power, like Liz used Max’s shield.”

Isabel nodded. “Were we able to share power, in my other life?”

Khivar smiled. “Yes, we were able to share power, but we couldn’t use each others’ gifts like Max and Liz can. Since I have been pushing energy into you we’ve both felt you become more powerful. We could attempt sharing power.”

Isabel was about to ask another question when her phone rang. She noted it was Max as she answered, figuring he was calling to tell her about the attack.

“Isabel,” Max said.

Max’s voice was choked and harsh and Isabel could instantly tell something was wrong. “Max?” she asked.

“The Skins attacked Liz and Maria,” Max said.

“Are they okay?” Isabel asked automatically.

“No,” Max said softly. “Maria…” he trailed off. “Isabel, Maria’s dead.”

“What?” Isabel gasped, and she dropped her phone.


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


(Tuesday - August 21st, 2001)
(Evans’ House)


Song Playing – Satellite by Collective Soul


Liz came awake with a gasp.

For a moment she thought it had all been a terrible dream, the Skins’ attack, Maria’s death, but when she turned to Max and saw the concerned look on his face, she knew it was all real.

Tears pooled in her eyes, “Oh Max.”

He took her in his arms, hugging her fiercely. “I’m so sorry.”

Liz grasped at him desperately as she started to cry.

Max stroked her hair. “Shhhhh. I’m here for you, Liz.”

After a moment Liz pulled back far enough to place her lips on his, kissed him fiercely, devouring his lips.

Max was somewhat surprised but he took her head in his hands and kissed her back. They made love every morning, both of them craving the joining. And if they pushed enough power into each other, most of the time they were able to go the entire day without being together.

Liz’s hands roamed over Max’s naked chest and back as she continued kissing him, pushing power into him, arousing him instantly.

Max kissed a line down her chin to her neck, sucking and nipping her sensitive skin.

Liz gasped. “Make love to me Max.”

Cradling her head, Max reclaimed her lips, devouring her mouth and thrusting his tongue inside. Liz’s tongue met his and they dueled together as he reached down to cup her breast. He continued to kiss her as he brushed her hardening nub through her shirt.

Max started to slide his hand under Liz’s shirt but he stopped when he felt her tears on his cheeks. He broke the kiss, pulling back concerned. “Liz?”

She shook her head, spilling more tears down her cheeks. “No, Max don’t stop. Kiss me. Make love to me.”

She reached for him kissing him desperately, but he pulled back and looked into her eyes. “Maybe we should wait,” he said softly. “It’s so soon after…”

Liz shook her head. “No, you have to make love to me,” she said. “You have to help me get a vision.”

“A vision?” Max asked.

“Yes,” Liz said. “I need to see if the rest of us are in danger. I need to see how to save us.”

“No Liz,” Max said shaking his head. “I won’t let you put this kind of pressure on yourself. You just started getting the visions we don’t even know if you can control them. And even if you got another one, we don’t know it would be anything useful.”

Liz shook her head as more tears trailed from her eyes. “No, we have to try, Max. This is all my fault.”

Max cupped her cheek, forcing her to look at him. “Liz, none of this is your fault.”

“It is,” Liz insisted. “I listened to Future Max, I did what he said and something I did killed Alex, and your parents, and Maria.”

Max shook his head but Liz continued. “He told me Max. He and his Liz got married at nineteen and Alex and Maria helped them celebrate.” She gasped as a sob tried to escape her lips. “Don’t you see, they would have been alive another year at least? So something I did killed them.”

Tears started in Max’s eyes as he experienced Liz’s pain through the connection, and heard her feelings of guilt expressed. “No Liz…”

“And Tess,” Liz continued, “in Future Max’s time she just left, but in our time she betrayed us and she’s working with Khivar because of something I changed. She killed Alex, and she helped to kill Maria.”

“You don’t know that,” Max said.

“I saw it,” Liz said. “I saw the Skins suddenly appeared around us out of thin air. I saw Nicholas disappear into that cloaked van. It was a mind warp. Tess mind warped us to hide them.”

Max stroked her cheek. “Okay,” he agreed. “But that doesn’t mean it was Tess,” he said gently.

“It was her,” Liz asserted. “I know it was.” She looked into his eyes. “Max the vision I had, I didn’t understand it before but it must have been about Maria’s death. Don’t you see? If I had pushed to try and figure it out, maybe I could have saved her.” Tears poured down her cheeks. “Help me get another vision Max. Overload me with power like we did before, it might be the only way to save us.”

Max couldn’t say no when Liz was so desperate, but he was afraid of how much she would blame herself if it didn’t work. “Okay,” he said reluctantly, “I’ll push power into you to see if we can trigger a vision, but not while we’re having sex. We can’t both be out of it, it’s not safe. I need to stay alert to protect us.”

Max saw her take a deep breath, and he could tell she was already more at ease. He laid them back on the pillows and turned on his side, rising up on one elbow so he could look into her eyes. Gently he stroked her cheek. “Liz, if this doesn’t work…”

Liz shook her head. “It will work, I know it.”

He nodded, knowing he wouldn’t be able to convince her otherwise. Softly he placed his lips on her forehead and kissed a line down her nose finally reaching her lips. I love you Liz, no matter what, he said through their bond. And I don’t blame you for any of this.

Liz wrapped her arms around him, deepening the kiss. I love you too Max, and I know you don’t blame me, but I have to do this. I know you’re worried about me, but I have to try.

Max placed his hand on her neck, as he continued to kiss her and started to push his power into her. He built the power quickly, knowing exactly how much to use, and so slowly smoothed his hand down her body. Liz arched into his touch, her body instantly aroused and the soft golden glow followed the path of his hand. And feeling Liz’s desire through the connection made Max instantly hard.

When his hand reached the juncture of her thighs, Max increased the amount of power, pushing it into her feminine core as he wanted to thrust his aching cock into her. Liz gasped and he saw her hips buck. He brushed her clit through her panties, pushing even more power into her and she automatically parted her legs and arched into his hand.

The sweet, smoky scent of her arousal met his nose and Max felt his whole body clench with desire. He knew she was wet and ready for him and he was throbbing with need.

Liz was wearing a t-shirt and underwear, but it felt as if Max’s hands were caressing her bare skin everywhere at once as his energy slid over her, and into her. She could feel his power pulsing inside her feminine core as if they were making love, but it didn’t just stop there. Liz could feel him inside her whole body too, under her skin, in her mind. Max’s power joined with her own, drawing it out, expanding it, urging it to reach its full potential. Their combined power filled her and she knew she was glowing with it everywhere.

But she could also feel Max’s desire and she knew how much he was holding himself in check. Max, she gasped through their bond, I want you so much. Make love to me, please. I won’t push power into you but I need you inside me.

For a moment she could feel the conflicting emotions inside him. Max wanted her so much, but his need to protect her was practically overwhelming.

Through the connection he could feel Liz’s physical need for him and suddenly he decided. It was useless to try and hold out against their combined desire. Max didn’t even bother to remove their clothing, he simply freed his rigid shaft and moved aside her panties, and with a powerful thrust he was inside Liz’s welcoming heat.

Because of the power Max had pushed into her, Liz was so close that she came with just a few of his powerful strokes. But Max didn’t stop. He continued to brush his hand over her breasts and down to her clit and back again, pushing even more power into her, as he set a quick pace surging into her.

Liz wrapped her legs around him, causing him to brush across the sensitive spot within her with every stroke. Almost immediately she was caught up in desire again and she shuddered with pleasure as electric sensations pulsed through her. “Max,” she whimpered.

Max thrust into her again and again, quickly building to orgasm as he felt Liz’s pleasure through the connection. He slid his hand into her panties rubbing her clit in circles as he pushed even more power into her

Liz gasped and thrashed beneath him, her whole body glowing incandescently with energy, and with only a few more strokes she came again. Her inner walls pulsed around his shaft and Max exploded into her.

The power rushing through Liz’s body flowed across her skin, reaching out for him, but Max channeled it back into her. Her body spasmed around him as the orgasm continued to wash through her. Liz’s eyes were shut and she had a bemused expression on her face, and through their connection Max could feel her floating on the electric sensations of their power.

Max pulled out of her and cleaned their bodies, pulling the blanket over Liz as he took her in his arms. He cradled her against his chest, gently stroking her hair. He wanted to run some experiments to see how hard it was to wake her, but he couldn’t risk disturbing her in the middle of a vision, so he simply held her.

It took almost two hours for the energy rushing through her to subside, and finally Liz started to stir in his arms. “Liz? Are you okay?”

She turned to him and nodded. “Yeah, and I had a vision.”

Max was surprised, he didn’t think it would work. “What did you see?”

“I’m not really sure,” Liz admitted. “There were so many pictures in my head and I couldn’t focus on all of them. I saw Nicholas and the other man, who I think is Khivar. I saw us, me and you and Michael. We were sad, I think.”

“Why?” Max asked. “What were we doing?”

Liz shook her head. ‘I don’t know. I couldn’t tell where we were.”

Max wanted to ask her more, but he didn’t want to put any pressure on her. “That’s good, Liz.”

“I didn’t see anything useful,” she said.

“Maybe, maybe not, but at least we know it wasn’t just a one time thing.” He placed a kiss on her head.

Her brow creased. “Maybe if I concentrated on it, I could figure out more.”

Max nodded, glad that she was fighting and not blaming herself. “I’ll help you any way I can.”


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


(Friday - August 24th, 2001)

Maria’s funeral was hard on everyone. None of them could believe that they had lost another friend.

Jim had his arm around a softly weeping Amy. Kyle and Michael stood stony-faced, and next to them Isabel wiped at the tears running down her face.

Max clasped Liz’s hand all through the service and the burial, but Liz didn’t shed a tear. All she could think of was revenge. The Skins had killed Maria, and Liz wanted them all dead.

Finally it was over but Liz suddenly felt as if she couldn’t move. How could she turn her back on another life-long friend and leave her in the cemetery?

Max felt Liz’s overwhelming sorrow and wrapped his arms around her letting all of his love pour through their connection. Liz sagged against him, and for a moment he thought she was going to pass out. He gripped her tighter and looked into her face. “Liz?”

She could feel Max’s concern and shook her head. “I’m okay. It’s just first was Alex, and then your parents, and now Maria, all in a few months. So much loss for all of us. Is this our destiny? I…” she let her voice trail off as she met his eyes. “I don’t want to be here anymore. Please take me home.”

Max placed a kiss on her head, and with his arm still around her led her toward the car.

But as they reached the parking lot, Liz’s parents approached them.

Jeff spoke up. “Max, can we talk to Liz alone?”

Max looked at Liz concerned but she nodded. “I’ll wait over here for you,” he said.

Nancy hugged Liz. “I’m so sorry about Maria,” she said.

Jeff nodded. “We both are. She was like a second daughter to us.”

“Yes,” Nancy agreed, “and that’s why we’re so worried about you Liz. We want you to come home with us, to move back in to your room.”

“What?” Liz asked.

“Well,” Nancy started, “first there was Alex. A suicide was so out of character for him, and now there’s this drive-by shooting. Liz that is practically unheard of in Roswell.”

Liz brow creased in confusion. “What are you talking about?” she asked.

Jeff sighed. “Max, Michael, even Alex, they’re all involved in drugs, aren’t they?”

“What?” Liz shook her head. “No.”

“We’re not stupid, Liz,” Jeff said. “Alex’s uncharacteristic suicide must have been drug related, and this drive-by, it was some kind of gang war, wasn’t it? And Maria just got caught in the middle.”

“You’re crazy,” Liz said, her anger building with every word. “Max and Michael aren’t involved in anything like that. How could you even think they were? I know you’ve never liked Max but you’re totally wrong about him. Max is a good man and I love him.” She held up her hand, showing them her wedding ring. “And that’s why I married him.”

“No!” Nancy gasped. “You’re so young, maybe we can get it annulled.”

“Why would you do this?” Liz asked her parents. “On today of all days.”

Max could feel Liz’s distress through their bond and rushed to her side, sliding a comforting arm around her shoulders. “Is everything okay?” he asked, looking closely at Jeff and Nancy.

Tears started in Liz’s eyes and she reached for Max, shaking her head. “Take me home Max.”


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


Khivar took Isabel into his arms when she returned from the funeral. “I’m sorry Isabel,” he said softly. “I wish I could have been there with you.”

Isabel nodded causing tears to spill from her eyes.

“I know Maria was a friend of yours,” Khivar said. “It was terrible what happened to her.”

A voice in the back of Isabel’s mind continued with the nagging reminder that she had set up Maria and Liz. Maria was dead because of her.

Isabel shook her head, pushing her feelings of guilt aside and wiped at the tears on her cheeks. She really was sorry that Maria was dead, but it had been an accident. “It was Maria’s choice,” Isabel said softly. “She put herself in danger trying to save Michael. And it’s like you said, Khivar, sometimes sacrifices are necessary.”


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


Max lunged forward and used a mighty blow of his sword to cut the head off one attacker. Then he struck low, plunging the sword into the next attackers’ stomach. He twisted the blade, pulling upward with a jerk, eviscerating his opponent, spilling blood and guts everywhere.

The palace was littered with the bodies of his loyal troops and the rebels who had broken through their defenses. There were so many rebel troops, more than he ever thought possible, and he was covered with their blood. Max still couldn’t believe that they had been so easily overtaken, but they had been sabotaged from inside.

Max tensed when he heard running footsteps coming from several directions. A group of five rebel soldiers came around the corner with blasters raised and Max used a negligent flick of his shield to throw them hard into the wall, shattering bones and bursting internal organs.

Another group of ten men came in behind him. Max lashed out with his shield, crushing two of them against the wall, but the remainder of the soldiers spread out around him. He was bombarded from every direction with laser shots and energy blasts, and he raised his shield around him.

More men poured into the room, twenty, he counted. He was powerful, but even his power had limits, and he was getting tired. Max sent his shield out around him, attempting to clear a path through the enemy soldiers. He threw them back, slamming them into one another, but they continued to push in on him, using their weapons and their powers.

Max reached deep inside himself and built his power, again lashing out with his shield. This time he cleared a path down the hall and slowly backed away from his attackers.

Suddenly the ground beneath his feet seemed to tip and Max fell to the floor, his shield dropping in his surprise. Instantly several soldiers were on him, grabbing at his hands to subdue his powers. Max roared with rage, and even with his hands secured he threw his shield out around him, extinguishing the life of every soldier it touched.

The rebels fell back gasping in surprise and Max took the opportunity to scramble to his feet to face his attackers.

And as he waited for the next onslaught, Max could still hear the voice of his servant echoing in his head, the voice that had heralded their doom.

“Your sister has betrayed you, Your Majesty. Vilondra has betrayed us all.”


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


(Sunday - August 26th, 2001)
(Evans’ house)

Kyle put down an armload of boxes in the room that would now be Michael’s, and he had never felt so alone in his life. Michael was moving in with Max, Isabel and Liz, and Kyle had to admit he was a bit jealous. It was like they were moving on without him, and he was being forced out of their lives by the horrible things that had happened to them. He’d hoped it would bring them all closer but it only seemed to be pushing them apart.

But even though his four friends were living under the same roof, Isabel was slipping away from them too. She rarely spent any time with them and continued to skip practices. Isabel was just as alone as he was, but even their shared loneliness didn’t bring them closer.

When he and Alex had been trapped in the cave with the Ganderium crystals, Alex had told him how glad he was to have been included in the aliens’ lives. And Kyle had agreed with him. But with everything that had happened since then, he just wasn’t sure any more.

Kyle turned to find Isabel watching him. “Oh, I didn’t know you were there.”

She looked at him carefully. “Something’s wrong.”

Kyle met her eyes. “I just don’t know if I can do this anymore.” He shook his head. “Alex, and Maria and your parents…” he trailed off.

“Kyle,” Isabel said, getting his attention. “I think you should stay away from us, for your own protection. Max, Michael, Liz and I, were in this no matter what, but you don’t have to be. You don’t have any powers, you can get out. You and your father can be safe.”

Kyle shook his head. “How can I just leave you? You’re my friends.”

Isabel nodded. “But you don’t have to die for us.”


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


Khivar strode into the house where he was keeping Tess and found her waiting for him. “You wanted to see me?” he asked. “Something about Max?”

Tess nodded. “I wasn’t sure before,” she said, “but the last time I mind warped Max, I could definitely feel the difference.”

“What are you talking about?” Khivar asked.

“Max,” Tess said, “he’s getting more powerful and it’s happening fast. It was difficult to get past his natural defenses to do the mind warp.”

Khivar’s eyes narrowed. “Is this some kind of plan to go back on our deal?”

Tess shook her head. “No Khivar. I thought you should know about Max, that’s all.” She looked down, scared to meet his eyes. “I think maybe the mind warps are somehow bringing out his power. He gets so angry when I send him the visions, he feels so helpless and the power builds up inside him.”

Khivar nodded. “How often are you sending the visions?”

“Twice a week,” Tess said, “as you instructed.”

“Send them every day,” Khivar ordered.

“But his powers…” Tess protested.

“Perhaps we’ll drive him insane or overload him with power he can’t control,” Khivar said. “But this will be over soon regardless.”


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


(Michael’s apartment)

Max picked up a box and looked around at the empty space that had been Michael’s home. “Is this everything?” he asked.

Michael nodded. “Not much to show for a life is it?

“Michael…” Max started, but Michael continued.

“But it’ll be good us all living together where we can protect each other. It’s what I should have been doing all along isn’t it? I’m your second in command and I should be keeping you and Liz safe. That’s my job.”

Max tried again. “Michael, I know I asked you to…”

Michael shook his head. “No Max you were right. You, Liz and Isabel are the only things that really matter in my life. You are the only family I have and I’m going to protect that no matter what.”


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


Isabel dialed Khivar’s number and he answered on the first ring. “Khivar,” she said softly, “Max has scheduled a practice for tomorrow at the quarry at eight o’clock.”

“Perfect,” Khivar said. “Tomorrow it will all be over.”


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


TBC






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