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(Episode - Departure)
(Saturday, May 19th, 2001)
(The Pod Chamber)

"Go," Max spat at her. "This isn't over, Tess."

Tess felt tears welling up in her eyes. She didn't want to leave Max but she had no choice. She reached up to the Granolith, her only salvation, and when her hand met the cool surface a burst of power surged through her. For a moment she was disoriented, but when she could see again she was inside the Granolith.

Max was still watching her, no she corrected herself, Max was watching his son. He had made it perfectly clear he had no use for her. She had come so close to succeeding but that bitch Liz had ruined everything and Tess swore revenge on her, even if it was the last thing she ever did. Liz had taken everything that should have been hers. She, not Liz, had loved Max for two lifetimes, she had planned and sacrificed, she deserved him, not Liz.

Tess looked at Max with a sigh but then the chamber started to shake and she felt the power building in the Granolith. Max ran for the door and Tess was left alone. The shaking became more violent and the chamber started to collapse, rocks raining down from above as a door slid shut separating the rooms and the Granolith closed a protective covering around itself. For a moment, she was alarmed at being shut in, but the surface all around her illuminated, showing her what was happening outside.

The power built suddenly to a fevered pitch as the Granolith spun around faster and faster, and when she thought it couldn't possibly hold together any longer, it launched into the sky. The speed of the earth receding below took her breath away and she shut her eyes and sank to the floor to fight off the sudden vertigo.

They had never determined how long the journey would take and just as she was wondering what would happen, there was a sudden direction change. Tess reached for something to anchor herself, but her hands only met the smooth, cool walls and then the Granolith slowed and landed softly.

With her eyes still squeezed shut, Tess again felt the unsettling sensation of disorientation and knew the Granolith had spat her out. She sat for a few minutes trying to quell the nausea rising up within and then opened her eyes to see that she was in a kind of wilderness. The sound of several approaching footsteps made her lurch unsteadily to her feet but she collapsed to her knees immediately, the dizzy sensation in her head causing her to retch.

Quickly using her powers to erase all evidence of her weak stomach, Tess sat back to await the approaching group. She had been expecting more, but only three figures stepped out of the foliage and only one spoke.

"Welcome, Tess."


(Roswell UFO Museum)

"But if Tess isn't Ava," Isabel gasped, "what happened to Ava?"

A look of confusion passed over Larek's face. "You don't know? How can you not know?" he asked, as he looked around the group. "She is Ava," Larek said, and he pointed to Liz.

"What?" the group asked in unison.

Larek continued to motion to Liz, "I don't understand how you couldn't know this girl is Ava. She was with you both of the other times you contacted me." He shook his head. "Who did you think she was?"

Max shook his head, "It's impossible, Larek. Liz is human. She has human parents. She was born on Earth."

Larek turned to Liz and studied her for a moment. "I don't know how it's possible but she is Ava. She has Ava's soul."

Kyle spoke up, "Of course, it makes perfect sense. All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. To die there and to be born elsewhere is the round of existence." He noticed the blank looks on the faces before him and quickly clarified. "Ava died and her soul was reincarnated into Liz. Simple."

"But my memories from my other life," Max argued, turning back to Larek. "I remember seeing Tess for the first time when you and I were swimming together. And you introduced us at a party."

Larek nodded, "Those memories are real and they are of Chanya. You met her and dated for a time but you ended it long before you met Ava. Chanya was never your wife." He motioned again to Liz, "only Ava was married to you."

"Then how did Chanya get sent to Earth in Ava's place?" Michael asked.

"I don't know," Larek said. "It could have simply been a mistake. The events from the time when you were sent to Earth are largely unknown to me. There is plenty of propaganda that Khivar has released but I think we can assume most of it is lies."

Larek shook his head, trying to remember, "Everything happened so quickly; Khivar's attack on the capitol city, you all fled the palace, Khivar searched and recaptured the survivors. Then it was reported that Zan had killed Ava and himself. Of course no one believed it. We all knew Khivar had ordered your execution, but it really didn't seem to matter at that point. All of you were dead and Khivar had declared himself King. Then the rumors started that you had been sent away to be reborn and take back the planet."

"I wonder if Tess knew who she really was?" Isabel gasped. "If she knew she wasn't Ava?"

"Does it really matter?" Michael grunted. "She betrayed us either way."

"Well Nasedo couldn't have known," Isabel argued. "He kept pushing her at Max, so maybe she didn't know either. He raised her, telling her she was Zan's wife, Ava. Why would she think she was anyone else?"

"But she told us she remembered her other life," Michael said. "She must have realized she wasn't Zan's wife. Wouldn't she remember someone else being married to him?"

Max shrugged. "Tess told me she only had a few clear memories, so maybe she didn't realize, but maybe she lied about that too." He shook his head, "I can't even tell you how many times Tess tried to use the argument that she was my wife to try and get us together. Even in the pod chamber before she left in the Granolith..." he trailed off. "I don't know what's worse, her pretending to be my wife and betraying us, or thinking she was my wife and doing the same thing."

"And if she lied about Nasedo betraying us, she did the whole thing alone," Michael pointed out, "all of it, even the book and Alex."

"But how is that possible?" Isabel asked. "We all saw her here when Alex was away. How did she keep the mind warp going? And at least some of the time she was working with us. We didn't all imagine her being kidnapped and almost killed by Whitaker. And Tess killed all of the skins when they captured us at the school. Why would she rescue us if she was just going to hand us over to them later?"

"Maybe it was because she wasn't pregnant yet," Michael said softly.

Isabel shook her head, "But Liz said that the Tess in the other time left. If the plan was to get her pregnant why would she leave just because Max married Liz? She could have mind warped him to make him have sex with her but she didn't."

Michael shrugged, "I don't know. Something must have been different between the two timelines."

Maria groaned and sank down onto a chair. "This is giving me a headache. Who cares what happened? Tess betrayed us. She killed Alex. She's evil. End of story."

Liz stepped forward and spoke for the first time. "It's not that simple. Isabel's right, we need to find out what was going on, what changed. It could be important. It could be the answer to saving the Earth."

Max nodded, agreeing with her. "And the first thing we need to do is find out what the book says." He turned to Larek, "There's a book written in our language but we can't read it. Can you help us translate it?"

"Sure," Larek agreed. He motioned to Brody's body that he inhabited, "Let this body get some rest and bring the book with you tomorrow, around this same time."

"There's one other thing Larek," Max said. "Tess is pregnant with my son and she took the Granolith back to Antar. Can you keep a look out and tell us when she arrives?"

Larek nodded, "I'll alert my men to be watchful for anything unusual."

Max nodded, "And Larek, I'm sorry, but Tess knows you helped us. I think we should assume she'll tell Khivar. I just hope it won't cause any problems for you and your people."

Larek frowned. "It's possible that Khivar could retaliate because I helped you, but if he did attack us, he would have to state a reason and admit what has been going on here."

"But at the summit," Max pointed out, "Kathana said I have made a lot of enemies. Maybe the other worlds wouldn't care if Khivar attacked you."

Larek shook his head, "Don't worry Max. After seventy years of war, it was bound to come to this. I do support your position and everyone knows it."


Tess rose shakily to her feet, "Somehow I was expecting a larger welcoming party."

Nicholas stepped forward with a shrug, "I don't know who you were expecting. The soldiers you didn't kill in Roswell last year are now all living on the ship because their skins have failed. But this," he motioned to the Granolith, "will certainly lift their spirits. When Lonni called and said she would have a surprise for me today, I certainly never expected this."

Rath stepped forward, "Where are Max and the others, Tess?"

Tess shook her head, "I couldn't bring them. That bitch Liz came rushing in at the last minute and told them that I killed Alex and I lost control over them."

Lonni slapped Tess across the face with the back of her hand, sending her to the ground, "You lost control? I thought you said you could handle them. That is the reason we set a twenty-four hour delay on the Granolith so I could contact Nicholas and tell him when and where to meet us. We could have given Nicholas the Granolith and Max, Michael and Isabel with a big bow on top, but you screwed that up."

Tess gingerly touched her face where Lonni had hit her and Nicholas put a hand on Lonni's arm. "There's no reason for this squabbling, girls," he said smoothly. "You delivered the Granolith, that will buy you a trip home. As for the others, we'll see what Khivar has to say. But for now, let's get this thing loaded on the truck and to the ship."


Max waited until they were outside the UFO Center before he turned to the others. "We all need to have a talk but I think we should wait until tomorrow after we see what Larek can tell us."

"But Max," Isabel pointed out, "what if the Granolith take-off destroyed the book? It was in the pod chamber."

"There are scans of all the pages in the translation that Liz found," Max reminded her. "If the original has been destroyed we still have the copies to work from."

Isabel nodded and Max continued. "Tonight everybody go home and try to act normal. If we're lucky, the Granolith taking off didn't attract too much attention, but I think Michael and I should go back to the pod chamber when it gets dark and see about the book and the orbs and destroy anything else left. We don't want to lead the FBI or anybody else to us."

"We should all go," Isabel said. "In case anything happens."

"It'll be okay," Max assured her. "You need to keep Mom and Dad occupied and I'll be home as soon as I can."

Isabel nodded her ascent.

Max glanced at Liz and noted that she was looking at the ground. She hadn't looked at him once since Larek's revelation and he was starting to worry. The others turned to leave and Liz did the same, but Max reached out and gently took her by the arm. "Liz we need to talk too."

Liz nodded. "I know," she agreed, with only a quick glance at his face. "How about tomorrow after the meeting?"


(Copper Summit, AZ - onboard the Leptes)

The Granolith was heavier that Nicholas could have possibly imagined, and it had taken hours and several abandoned plans before it was finally loaded onto the ship. At one point Nicholas had joked that it didn't want to put aboard. But now it stood in the propulsion room attached to the ship.

Corporal Raltos was standing-by and Nicholas waved a hand over the communications' array to signal Khivar. Nicholas watched as Khivar's essence took control of Raltos and he noted with amusement when Khivar realized they were not in Nicholas' office as usual.

"Why are we here?" Khivar asked.

Nicholas smiled, "I have a surprise for you, your Majesty." He motioned behind Raltos and Khivar turned the borrowed body.

"The Granolith," Khivar said, with satisfaction. "How?"

"This was the plan Lonni was working on," Nicholas admitted. "Somehow she turned the young Queen, and they delivered it to us this morning. Apparently the plan was for Tess to bring Max and the others to us as well but that fell apart at the last minute when one of the humans exposed Tess' betrayal."

Khivar turned to Nicholas, "What exactly has been going on?"

Nicholas shook his head. "I don't know. I didn't hear from Lonni for months, but then last night, she gave me some coordinates just outside of Copper Summit and told me to meet her there early this morning and she would have a surprise for me. She didn't say anything more and I was just as surprised to see the Granolith as you. We got it to the ship as quickly as possibly and I didn't take the time to question Lonni or Tess thoroughly yet, because I wanted you to see it."

Khivar nodded, "I can't imagine how Lonni was able to turn Tess against Max. On Antar, Zan and Ava were so much in love, they were inseparable. Lonni must be very clever or very devious."

Khivar turned away from Nicholas as his thoughts automatically turned to Isabel. Lonni was a part of Vilondra but Isabel was the real thing. Khivar had originally been drawn to Vilondra by her beauty and intellect but surprisingly, he had cherished her sweetness and loving personality even more.

Nicholas had provided him with pictures of Isabel when they had discovered her last year, and Khivar always kept one with him. He had repeatedly tried to contact her through her dreams as they had done on Antar but he'd never been successful. The wise men that he had consulted, told him it could be the distance that was preventing contact, or possibly because they had never contacted physically. Khivar had been so patient for so long, but now that the Granolith was in his possession he yearned for an end to their separation. Just as an idea came to him, Nicholas interrupted his thoughts.

"Sir, what do you want to do?"

Khivar headed toward the door, without a backward glance, "I will contact you in the morning."


Tess waited until she was alone with Lonni in the house Nicholas that had assigned to them, "So what now?"

Lonni shrugged, "If you hadn't screwed up we would be headed home, but now I don't know. The

Granolith was our biggest piece of collateral, but we had to give it to Nicholas. We didn't exactly have another choice." She looked calculatingly at Tess, "But we do have something else."

Tess automatically crossed her arms protectively over her stomach. "You're going to tell Nicholas that I'm pregnant."

"I will if I have to," Lonni threatened. "Any child of Max's is sure to be worth a lot, no matter who the mother is," she said with a sneer. "But we'll keep those little tidbits of information to ourselves for now and I will try a little negotiation first."


(Liz's Balcony)

Liz sank down onto a chair on her balcony and pulled the necklace out of her shirt. She couldn't believe that Max had given it to her just last night. So many things had happened since then, it seemed like a lifetime ago. She smoothed her finger over the raised, swirling pattern, wondering what meaning it had held for her in another life.

It was all so unbelievable that she was the reincarnation of an alien Queen, but somehow when Larek had spoken the words, it had felt true. She just couldn't believe her soul and Max's had found one another across time and space.

When Max had healed her, Liz had been so sure they belonged together. So many things seemed to be against them but she had been ready to face anything to be with Max.

But now, there was proof they did belong together and Liz was suddenly scared. It should have cleared the way for her and Max but there were things that still stood in their way, not the least of which was the fact that Max had slept with Tess and gotten her pregnant. It was the cruelest irony, but as her Grandmother had told her, if it isn't complicated, he probably isn't a soul mate.

And they were soul mates, of that Liz had no doubt. She had suspected it when Max had first connected with her, and the feeling had only solidified as their relationship had grown. But they might never have known any of it if she hadn't been shot and Max had healed her.

Liz's thoughts automatically turned to what Ava had said. When Max had healed her, he had changed her. Liz had never really thought about it before, somehow it had been pushed to the back of her mind, but now she wondered exactly what Ava had meant.


(The Evans House)

Isabel easily convinced her parents that Max was hard at work studying with Michael and went into the kitchen to get a drink. She opened the fridge and reached for the orange juice carton but suddenly stopped and pressed her hand to her face as the tears threatened. It was a different brand than her mother usually bought and it was Alex's favorite.

She turned to see Alex standing next to her but wasn't surprised. "I keep thinking I'm over the worst, that I'm handling it, and then something happens. Some little thing just sets me off."

Alex smiled, "But it's getting easier. What they say is true. Time heals."

"Then why am I still crying and why are you here? I thought once I found out what happened to you, who killed you, that I . . ." she trailed off and looked away from him.

"That you wouldn't need me any more?" Alex prompted.

Isabel shook her head, quickly denying Alex's statement. "No! Of course not."

"Isabel, it's okay," Alex soothed. "You know you won't need me once you overcome your guilt about my death."

"But I am guilty," Isabel insisted angrily, as tears rolled down her face. "I should have seen something was wrong. I should have seen what Tess was doing to you."

"How?" Alex asked. "Tess carefully hid was she was doing and mind warped anyone who saw or suspected anything. There is no way you could have saved me."


(Copper Summit, AZ)

Nicholas entered his room in the Crawford house and stopped with a smile when he saw Lonni. He shut the door behind him and leaned against it, "I would say this is a nice surprise, but actually I did expect you."

"Yeah, cut the crap Nicholas," Lonni sneered. "I want to know where I stand."

Nicholas shrugged and stalked purposefully toward her. "I told you I had to consult with Khivar, and he hasn't made a decision yet."

Lonni stood her ground as Nicholas stopped inches away. "What does he have to decide?" Lonni asked angrily. "I delivered the Granolith, like he wanted."

Nicholas ran a hand down her arm. "Khivar wants Max dead or in custody, that hasn't changed, and you and your circus freaks failed to deliver."

Lonni put her finger to his lips, "Not too loud. To get Tess to play, we had to tell her she and Max would live happily ever after on Antar."

Nicholas smiled, "I wondered how you turned the little, genocidal tramp. Why don't you tell me the whole story?"


Michael stopped the motorcycle near the pod chamber and he and Max climbed off.

They had waited until it was dark to go back, and Max took off his helmet and pointed his flashlight at the jutting, rocky structure that housed the pod chamber. "When the Granolith was taking off, it looked like the rocks were melting or something but I don't really see any damage from here."

Michael nodded, "Yeah, let's go check it out."

They climbed the path and Max passed a hand over the locking mechanism, remembering that he had left the door open and figuring it must have automatically closed that afternoon. Max pressed his hand to the glowing print and the door slid slowly open. He and Michael stepped inside and he panned the flashlight around the room expecting it to be in ruins, but a warm glow came from the pods, which were still intact, and the room appeared to be the same as when they had left.

Michael pointed his flashlight to the door dividing the pod chamber from the Granolith room, "The door must have closed between the two rooms, saving this one."

"Yeah," Max agreed as he grabbed the orbs and the book and stuffed them into his backpack. "Let's see what's left of the Granolith chamber."

As they approached the door, it automatically slid open. A cool breeze rushed over them and the light of the stars poured into the room, illuminating it. There were piles of rubble on the floor and of course the Granolith was gone, but the room looked relatively intact except for the hole in the ceiling where the Granolith had obviously burst through.

Max was really surprised. "All of that silver stuff bubbling out of here must have been like smoke or exhaust from the Granolith warming up. It was all just a big show, nothing was really damaged. This isn't half as bad as I thought." He motioned to the hole above them, "Let's just seal this up and it will be good as new, we won't have to worry about it being discovered."


(Liz's Balcony)

Maria climbed out Liz's window and sank down on the lounge chair next to her. They wrapped their arms around one another and Maria sighed, "How are you, Liz?"

Liz sat back, "I really don't know. It's all so weird."

"And Max?" Maria asked. "What about you two?"

"So much has happened," Liz said with a sigh.

"But you are supposed to be together," Maria prompted. "You know that for sure now and you still love him."

"Love isn't always enough," Liz said softly. "Max slept with Tess and now they have a child together. And no matter how much I love him, I don't know if I can ever get over that." Liz shook her head, "But it's not fair to blame him either. I was the one who broke up with him and pushed him to Tess. He really didn't do anything wrong. We weren't together so he was free to be with anyone he wanted but I just thought that somehow . . ."

Liz trailed off and took a deep breath to stop the tears that were threatening. She continued in a whisper, "I thought he would somehow know the truth. I thought he loved me so much that he wouldn't want to be with anyone else, especially Tess."

Liz looked down at her hands clasped in her lap. "But even though I know it's wrong, I do blame Max. I blame him for not being strong enough and believing in our love enough to wait. I blame the other Max who came back and started this whole thing. I blame all of us because we weren't strong enough to stop Khivar in the other reality. I blame Tess for taking advantage of Max when he was hurt."

Liz sighed, "But most of all I blame myself. I should have forced the other Max to tell me more and maybe we could have done this whole thing another way. I blame myself for not telling Max the truth sooner. There were so many times when I wanted to. Times when I thought it would be okay."

Liz shook her head. "And if I hadn't become so obsessed about finding Alex's murderer maybe I wouldn't have pushed Max into Tess' arms."

Maria grabbed Liz by the shoulders and forced her to look at her. "Liz, none of this is your fault. Everyone makes their own choices, and just because you weren't with Max doesn't mean that he had no other choice than to sleep with Tess." She shook her head. "I still can't even believe it's true. I mean they were getting to be friends but that's a big step from . . ." she trailed off. "He's just a big jerk."

Liz smiled, "Thanks for trying to cheer me up."

"It's just the truth babe," Maria drawled. She paused, wondering if it was the right time to tell Liz her news.

But Liz could see Maria had something on her mind. "Okay Maria, spill."

Maria smiled, "Well with everything that happened, it just didn't seem like the right time to say anything."

"Say anything about what?" Liz encouraged.

"Okay, okay. I guess I'll just say it. Last night Michael and I, um, got together."

Liz nodded, "Yeah, you were with Michael and . . ."

Maria raised her eyebrows and nodded.

"Oh!" Liz exclaimed, suddenly understanding her friend. "You were with Michael."

Maria smiled dreamily, "It was so perfect. He made dinner and he finally let me see him, you know. He finally opened up and I got flashes."

"And . . ." Liz prompted.

"Michael was so sweet and caring. It was perfect. And today when I figured out he was going to stay on Earth to be with me . . . Liz, I'm just so happy."

Liz pulled Maria into a hug. "I'm happy for you too. You deserve it."


Max and Michael finished the repairs on the pod chamber quickly and as they sealed the door behind them, Max turned to Michael, "I still can't believe you choose to stay on Earth."

"Yeah a lot of things have changed in the last few months." Michael smiled, "Just last night Maria and I took a big step in human, alien relations."

Max studied him for a moment, "You and Maria . . ."

"Yeah," Michael nodded. "I never thought I could be that close to another person. And I'm not talking just physically, but spiritually. It was better than I could have imagined because it was with Maria. Even though it was different than you described your experience."

Max frowned, "How was it different?"

"Physically the um, sensations didn't last an hour, like with you, and I really didn't feel like I was floating but I figured it was probably because Maria is human and . . ." Michael trailed off.

"And Tess is an alien," Max finished softly.

Michael nodded and continued, "I've been spending a lot of time with Maria and Amy and it was starting to feel like I was a part of their family. And when we were in the Granolith chamber about to leave, it just occurred to me what I was giving up. I mean what if I didn't have anything like that on our planet? I just couldn't take the chance. Everything I've ever wanted is here on Earth."

Max smiled grimly, "I know what you mean. I would never have chosen to leave if it hadn't been for my son."

Michael could see the pain in Max's eyes, "And what about Liz?"

Max shook his head. "I never stopped loving her and I wouldn't have turned to Tess if I thought I had a chance with Liz. But it just seemed so hopeless, and Tess was always there, always saying exactly what I wanted to hear." Max sighed. "I thought I was in control but I made the biggest mistake of my life and it has changed everything."

"Well Maximillian," Michael said with a crooked smile, as he cuffed Max on the arm, "it's nice to know you're not perfect. You can screw up just like the rest of us."


A figure watched from the near-by shadows as Max and Michael walked down the jutting rock formation that housed the pod chamber, climbed onto the motorcycle and disappeared into the night.


It had been a long couple of days, and soon after Isabel climbed into bed, she fell into a deep sleep.

She dreamed that she was walking along the bridge in the park near their house, where she and Max used to go when they were children. The night was warm and there was a slight breeze and Isabel could see the bright stars peeking through the leaves of the trees above. She stopped in the center of the bridge and looked down into the water.

The light of the stars above was reflected in the water, sparkling like diamonds, but as Isabel watched, the surface of the water seemed to dim and dull. She realized the night had suddenly turned cold and a fog started to rise from the stream. With a shiver, she stepped back from the railing as the fog rose up and poured onto the bridge.

It seemed to reach out to her and she backed a few steps more until the rail stopped her. The fog followed and surrounded her, and as she felt its icy touch on her legs, she turned and ran. And just when she thought she was safe, a voice hissed her name. "Issssabel."

Immediately she woke up, gasping for air and shivering. She looked quickly around and sank back into her pillow, glad to find herself in her own room. The dream had been fairly innocuous as nightmares go but it had been very disturbing to her in a way she couldn't define.


(Sunday, May 20th, 2001)
(Copper Summit, AZ)

"So Lonni says she convinced Tess to help them by assuring Tess that she and Max would live happily ever after," Nicholas reported to his master.

Khivar nodded, "Because Max had refused to be with Tess and chosen the human girl instead?"

"Apparently," Nicholas said with a pensive nod. "Last year in Roswell when I tried to search Max's mind to get the location of the Granolith, he was mostly able to keep me out, but several times I saw images of the human girl, Liz."

"I remember you reported that Max was particularly concerned for Liz when they were in Copper Summit. He ran after her when she left the Crawford house, and at the funeral he tried to get Greer to let her go."

"Yes," Nicholas confirmed.

"It is interesting that Max would choose a human over his former wife. You did say they had no memories of their past lives, but Zan and Ava were so much in love and I can't imagine her betraying him."

Nicholas stayed silent while Khivar was thinking. He had not interacted with Zan and Ava as Khivar had and he trusted his master's opinion.

Khivar changed the subject, "So Lonni expects a trip home as a reward for handing over the Granolith?"

"Yes," Nicholas said. "I did tell her if she gave us the Granolith, she would get a trip home. Of course it is contingent on your agreement, my liege."

Khivar shook his head. "I have no desire to have that abomination on my planet. But stall her for a while, she might be useful to us yet."

"And Tess?" Nicholas asked.

"Since Max knows about her betrayal, Tess has nowhere else to go," Khivar mused. "In her last life Ava had the power of prognostication and if Tess retained that power in this life, she might be useful to us. Even if she doesn't still have the power, it is possible as Zan's wife and the former Queen, Tess could persuade Max's followers to stop their rebellion." He focused on Nicholas, "Without giving away our plans to her, see if you can get Tess to agree to help us. Let her know I have all the power now, not Lonni, and I can guarantee her future life with Max."


(Roswell UFO Museum)

Max went to work as usual but asked the others to wait outside until Larek made an appearance, afraid that Brody might become suspicious if they all kept coming to the museum. But as the time approached, the gang eagerly gathered outside Brody's office waiting for Larek's arrival.

When Larek took over Brody's body, Max motioned the others inside. He took the metal book from his backpack and handed it to Larek.

Larek turned it over in his hands, "This was sent with you?"

Max nodded, "But none of us remember how to read it."

Opening the book to the first page, Larek scanned it with a frown.

"What's wrong?" asked Isabel.

Larek shook his head, "I can't read this."

"Why not?" Michael asked belligerently.

"Because it's gibberish," Larek said. "The words are in the Antarian language but they don't make any sense. It must be written in one of your codes."

Maria stepped forward, "Codes? They have codes?" She turned to Michael, "You have codes?"

Michael shrugged.

"Yes," Larek explained. "Zan's family had several codes, some for battle orders, some for secret communications with the leaders of the other planets, and some just for messages between the most trusted household staff. And there was one super-secret code known only by the Royal Four."

"And this book is in one of those codes," Michael deadpanned.

Liz sighed, "That's why Tess needed Alex and the computer in Las Cruces to decipher it. She may have known the language but she didn't know the code."

Max nodded agreeing, "And that's where we'll be heading too."

Larek handed the book back to Max. "I'm sorry I couldn't help more and I don't have any news about Tess or the Granolith arriving either."

"How long would it take her to get there?" Max asked.

Larek shrugged, "I don't really know but I would have thought only a few hours at the most. She is traveling alone in the Granolith and it is very powerful. It's possible she arrived and we simply missed her, but if Khivar had recovered the Granolith, I think he would announce it to everyone to help secure his position."

"Maybe Khivar has a reason to keep quiet," Michael suggested.

"Or maybe Tess hasn't arrived yet," Isabel pointed out.

"Larek, whatever is going on, will you let us know if you hear anything about Tess or the Granolith?" Max asked.

"Of course, Max," Larek agreed.

"Thank you," Max said. "I really appreciate all of your help."

Larek smiled, "That's what friends are for, Max."


(Copper Summt, AZ)

Nicholas motioned to the chair across from his desk as Tess entered his office, "Have a seat."

Tess sat gingerly, looking warily at the soldier standing behind Nicholas.

Nicholas noticed the direction of her gaze and motioned to the Corporal, "This is Corporal Raltos, my personal aide."

Tess relaxed a little and turned back to Nicholas, "What do you want?"

"Right to the point," Nicholas nodded. "Okay Tess, you're not stupid, you must see who has the upper hand in this little game of chicken between Lonni and Khivar."

"What does Khivar want?" asked Tess.

Nicholas smiled, "Your special abilities are somewhat unique. Khivar feels you might be useful to us in the future."

Tess nodded, "And what's in it for me?"

"Passage to the home world."

"We were guaranteed that already, for the Granolith," Tess pointed out. "What else?"

"Who says we owe you anything?" Nicholas challenged

"I say," Tess said. "I could just go back to Max. He is mad right now but I could convince him to forgive me." She shook her head, "There's no reason for me to help you unless you can guarantee more."

"And what more do you want?" Nicholas asked.

"Give me Max, guarantee our safety and return us to Antar. We keep the titles of King and Queen, in name only of course, and a suitable home and income for our position."

"You betrayed him," Nicholas pointed out. "What makes you think Max will want you?"

"Just leave that to me," Tess said cryptically.

"Okay," Nicholas agreed, "Max and the rest, for your future help."


(Capitol city of Roistar - formerly Tageonon)
(The Royal Palace)

Khivar brought his consciousness back into his own body and sat at his desk, deep in thought. After a moment, he passed his hand over a blank document, causing several names to appear.

"Colonel," he called out.

The door was opened instantly and the Colonel entered the room, bowing formally, "My Liege."

Khivar held out the document. "Find out everything you can about these people, and don't let anything stand in your way."


Max waited until they were all gathered in Michael's apartment before starting the meeting. "We need to get the book translated, that has to be our main priority. It's Sunday and we can't leave until tomorrow, but there are other things we need to talk about."

"Yeah," Isabel said, "like why Tess hasn't arrived on Antar yet."

"Maybe she did," Michael said, "and Larek's people just don't know."

"I don't know," Isabel continued. "Something just seems wrong about this whole thing. Like if Nasedo wasn't involved, then how did Tess even come up with the idea to betray us to Khivar and how did she know how to contact him?"

"Maybe she didn't," Liz said. "She was helping us against the skins at first, and she didn't try to influence Max to take Nicholas' deal at the summit in New York. They must have gotten to her afterward somehow."

Isabel nodded, "But that wouldn't have left much time. The summit was at Thanksgiving and Alex left in January."

"Unless the whole thing was a set up," Max pointed out. "Maybe they made it look like she was helping us until she could get what they wanted. She mind warped us to think she killed the skins and the summit was just to throw us off."

"Either way," Michael said, "we have to assume Tess has told the skins everything about us."

Max nodded in agreement. "And she was awfully quick to confess everything in the Granolith chamber before she left. It makes me wonder if she wasn't hiding something."

"Like what?" Kyle asked.

Max shrugged, "Maybe the truth about her plan or others who were involved. We already know she lied about Nasedo. I don't know what else there could be, but I have a feeling we'll find out when we get the book translated. It must contain something very important for her to risk everything she did."

"So how do you want to do it?" Michael asked.

"Liz has made contact with the computer professor at Las Cruces, so she and I will go down tomorrow and talk to him." He turned to Liz, "Is that okay?"

Liz nodded.

Max gave her a crooked smile. "Okay, the rest of you go to school like normal and cover for us the best you can."

Maria shook her head, "Do you think it's a good idea for you two to go down there alone? I mean we don't know who might be waiting for you. And what about Leanna or Jennifer or whatever her name is? She might not be an alien but she was involved."

"I don't think she was involved," Liz said. "She ran from Maria and me the night she saw us but when Max and I were there on Friday, Jennifer didn't recognize me."

"So what does that mean?" Kyle asked.

"Maybe she was possessed by an alien," Max speculated, "like Larek does to Brody, or maybe it was a shape shifter posing as Leanna."

"Or maybe she wasn't there at all. Maybe it was a mind warp," Liz suggested.

"Okay," Maria said, "but are you sure it will be safe? Maybe we all should go."

Max shook his head, "No. All of us being gone would be too suspicious and I doubt anyone would care if we translate the book now. Tess has everything she wanted." He glanced at Liz but looked quickly away, not wanting to see the pain in her eyes.

He took a deep breath, "I want to apologize to all of you for the way I have acted lately. I don't know what I was thinking or why I treated you all so badly, I hated what I was doing but I couldn't seem to stop."

"You were acting out of character," Michael said. "Maybe it was another of Tess' mindwarps. She made you do things you didn't want to do before."

Max shook his head. "Even if that's true, it's no excuse. I should have been able to control myself. I've been a jerk and can only say, I'm sorry."

Max looked at each of them. "But now we all need to put our differences aside and work together. We need to develop our powers and keep our eyes open. And let's all make a promise to each other not to keep any more secrets. We need to have all the facts if we are going to make informed decisions and survive this. So do we all agree?"

Everyone looked around the group nodding.

Max continued, "Michael, you worked with Tess the most, improving your powers. Would you set up and take charge of a training schedule for us? Including Liz and Kyle. And pick a place where we won't be seen."

Michael sat up a little straighter, "Sure Max."

"School will be out next week. We'll start then." Max turned to his sister, "And Isabel will you be in charge of a schedule for memory recovery? Work with Michael to coordinate."

"Yeah," Isabel agreed, a little surprised. She had never seen Max so decisive and commanding. Just a few days ago she had found him crying behind the house by the trash cans. She didn't know what had happened to change him so quickly but she suspected it was due to Liz. It was still so overwhelming to think that Liz was the reincarnation of her brother's wife, but with everything Max and Liz had been through for one another, it really didn't surprise her.

When Max and Liz had first gotten together it had scared her, and for a time she had even tried to keep them apart but she had quickly seen they belonged together. They had a bond she envied, a closeness and understanding she craved. And even when it had been revealed in the message from their mother, that Max belonged with Tess, and Liz had left him, Isabel couldn't imagine anything coming permanently between them.

The world had seemed to fall apart for Isabel, and the rest of the group, as the gap between Max and Liz had widened, and when Max had told her he had slept with Tess, Isabel had been horrified. If a couple like Max and Liz couldn't make it, she had asked herself, what chance did she have of finding happiness? But now that Tess was gone, it was like a dark cloud had lifted from their lives, like they were all awakening from a bad dream.

Suddenly a thought occurred to Isabel. "Tess mind warped us to stay away from Brody, and Kyle to forget Alex's death, and now we think maybe she manipulated Max's actions. Do you think she could have done other mind warps to us that we don't know about?"

Max nodded. "It really wouldn't surprise me."

"But how would we find out?" Isabel asked.

Liz spoke up. "In the Granolith chamber Tess could have simply mind warped all of you to go with her but she didn't. There must be a reason why."

Max nodded. "Remember when Tess mind warped Nicholas and Ida, hiding us in the Crashdown bathroom, she practically collapsed afterward, and the same thing happened when she mind warped all of those people at the University when I changed the bones in the cyclotron to save Michael."

Liz nodded. "So if Tess was too exhausted to mind you to go with her, that means she must have been doing a lot of mind warping, and not just on Alex, Kyle and Amy. I think she wasn't strong enough to make all of the mind warps permanent. They started wearing off of Alex and Kyle and even Maria's mother, so it makes sense if she mind warped us to do other things, they will eventually wear off too."

"Maria's mother?" Kyle asked. "What does she have to do with this?"

"Oh no," Liz gasped. "With everything else that was going on, I completely forgot. Amy started to tap on the counter just like Kyle and Alex, and then she started to remember what happened with Brody. That's how I figured out Tess must have mind warped them too."

"Yeah? So..." Kyle encouraged her to continue.

"So my Mom is starting to remember Brody holding us hostage," Maria blurted out. "How are we going to explain that to her? We can't just mind warp it away this time."

"Oh," Kyle realized. "What are we going to do? She could make a lot of trouble."

"If we're lucky," Liz said, "we won't have to do anything. Amy will have two versions of that night in her head. Maybe she will just think the hostage situation was a bad dream she's remembering. I mean, how else would she explain it to herself? She's certainly not going to jump to the conclusion that aliens are involved."

Max nodded, "Let's hope Liz is right, but if not we'll deal with it when it happens."

Max looked around the group, "The final thing I have to say, is for everyone to be careful. We don't know what is coming but we need to be prepared for anything. Let's meet here tomorrow after Liz and I return from Las Cruces and we'll read the translation, together."


Michael shut the door as the others left and slumped down onto the couch. He still couldn't believe Liz had turned out to be Ava. He had just started to accept the fact that Tess was going to be a permanent part of their lives, but unlike Tess, he had liked and respected Liz almost from the beginning, and he was relieved at how things had turned out.

Tess had bugged him from the start and even when they found out she was the fourth alien, Michael had been disappointed. She knew little more than they did, and she always seemed so secretive and shifty, like she was hiding things from them. Tess has used her powers to manipulate them and she was constantly throwing herself at Max. She seemed to have no opinions of her own, only echoing what Max said. It was like her only identity was being Max's wife.

But Liz was totally different. She was strong and smart and always tried to do the right thing. Liz had her own opinions and never worried about if they conflicted with Max's. When she had first found out about their otherworldly origins, Michael had tried to intimidate her several times, but Liz had never backed down. Michael had started to respect her then, and over the months his respect had quietly grown each time she helped them.

And when Alex had died and Liz believed it was murder, she stubbornly pursued her investigation even against Max's wishes, until it had almost ripped them all apart. But it was exactly because Liz had been so determined that Michael had believed her, and his faith in her had been justified.

He'd had a crush on Liz when they had been children and he'd even imagined himself to be jealous of Max when they had started dating. But as he and Maria had gotten closer, Michael admitted to himself that the feelings he'd had for Liz had been nothing more than an infatuation. He still respected and liked Liz, but long ago it had grown into more of a brotherly affection, and now she was his Queen.

Liz continually surprised him with her strength and insight but he could never imagine being close with her like he was with Maria. He smiled thinking of the feisty blonde. With Maria he had found everything he had been searching for his entire life, a family, a home, and love.


Song Playing: Everlasting Love by U2

Max stopped his mother's car near the edge of the quarry and he and Liz sat in silence. He was nervous, more nervous than he ever remembered being around her and he wasn't sure where to begin. Now that they knew they belonged together he should have been free of doubts but he was scared the revelation might push Liz permanently away from him.

"Liz," he started slowly, "I can't imagine what you must be feeling about being Ava. I mean, it must be such a shock to find out like that."

Liz turned to him, "Kind of like you, Michael and Isabel finding out that you were different."

Max shook his head, "I don't know. I always felt different. Figuring out we were aliens wasn't really that weird, I guess. But for me, finding out you are Ava, actually explains a lot of things."

Liz smiled encouragingly, "Like what?"

Max felt his heart jump and he longed to reach out to her, but he knew it was too soon and he tightened his hands on the wheel. "Well it explains why I fell in love with you at first sight and why I haven't been able to get you out of my head since then. It explains why I would risk my life, all of our lives, to heal you in the Crashdown and why we have such a strong connection between us. It explains why I couldn't stop loving you or let you go, even when I thought you had slept with Kyle. And it explains why loving you has always seemed like the best part of me, because it is. Loving you is not only in my heart and soul, it's in my genes, my very being."

"I feel the same way," Liz whispered, as a tear rolled down her cheek.

Max reached up automatically to brush the single tear from Liz's velvety cheek, but before he touched her, he shakily withdrew his hand. "So you aren't sorry to find out who you used to be?"

"Sorry?" Liz asked surprised. "No I'm not sorry. I just wish we had known sooner. It would have saved a lot of heart ache."

Max nodded in agreement and looked down, his guilt making him unable to meet her eyes.

Liz continued, "The other Max didn't say anything about it. Surely he and his Liz couldn't have known."

"I don't know," Max said. "Maybe he did know and just wanted to spare you the additional pain."

Liz nodded, "It's possible, but I would like to think if they knew they were meant to be together, they would have done anything not to be separated."

Max's head jerked up at her words and met her eyes. He could tell she hadn't realized her words applied to their current situation but it gave him the first sign of hope for their future.

And suddenly he wanted to know everything. "Liz, I know it's a lot to ask, but would you let me see him? My older self?"

Liz swallowed hard and felt more tears welling up. It had been one of the most difficult times of her life and she was more moved than she could express that Max wanted to share it with her. And as she nodded her assent, she felt a part of the burden she was carrying, lighten.

Max reached up and took Liz's head gently in his hands, and shut his eyes as the familiar connection slid easily into place. He carefully sorted through the rush of images until he found her memories of his older self, and with them Max could feel the full force of the emotions she had experienced. When Liz had first seen his older self, she had been scared but when he had convinced her who he was, she had been curious as to why he had come. Then Max felt the crushing sorrow she had experienced when the other Max had told her what they had to do.

Through her eyes, Max saw the times Liz had come to him, each lie she spoke killing her inside a little more. He saw her clinging to the few moments she spent with his older self, knowing it would be all she ever had of him. And when the other Max disappeared, he felt her hopelessness and despair.

Max carefully memorized everything that had happened, every word, every image, every feeling. He noted vaguely that his forehead was touching Liz's and he felt tears on his cheeks. He didn't know if they were hers or his but he didn't stop the connection.

He sifted through her memories of the months afterward, seeing himself through her eyes and he almost despaired. He had been so cruel, so selfish not to see she had been going through hell, and he began to think he would never get her back. He certainly didn't deserve her.

But as soon as the thought was finished, he heard an answering thought.

You can't blame yourself Max. I didn't let you see how much I was hurting because I knew it had to be that way.

Max was surprised but he didn't break the connection. He was almost afraid to ask the question, wondering if it was just his own wishful thinking. What did you say, Liz?

I said you can't blame yourself... Liz stopped with a mental gasp. Max we are talking through the connection. Did you know you could do that?

I can't do it with anyone else. When Iz and I were kids we had sort of a mental shorthand, passing feelings to one another, but as we got older it went away. We could never speak or hear thoughts, in a connection. The only way was when Iz would dream walk me.

Why do you think we can? Liz asked. Because we were married in our other life, or maybe because you healed me?

Or both, or maybe it is destiny, Max said. I used to hate that word, but we are meant to be together. Our souls are connected. You found me across the galaxies and over the years. I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

I'm scared Max, Liz admitted. It's a lot to take in.

Max felt a shiver of fear race through him. He could almost feel Liz slipping away. I know it is, but if you decide you want to take your place with us, I will, we all will help you any way we can.

I know you will Max and I never even considered there was a choice. Even though I didn't know who I was, I have been a part of this since you healed me.

But this is bigger than hiding what we are from our parents and the Sheriff, Liz. This is a war on another planet and I would never force you to do anything you didn't want to do.

I know, Max. But since I learned what you were, nothing else has been as important to me. And like I said, I am a part of this.

Thanks Liz. I never would have made it this far without you.

You don't have to thank me. I'm right where I wanted to be, with you, helping you, loving you. And I do want us to try again, Max. It seems like such a shame to throw it all away when our souls went to so much trouble to be together, but... Liz trailed off.

Max felt her pain and continued for her, But I have said and done things that can't be taken back and I need to work on rebuilding our friendship and regaining your trust first.

It's not that I don't trust you Max. I know you wouldn't have turned to her if I hadn't pushed you to do it. Oh Max, my Grandmother was right. If only I had listened to her. She said I should follow my heart, and it told me we belonged together but I let my head get in the way.

No, Max said softly. I won't let you blame yourself. You did what you thought would save us.

Liz sighed. I'm just glad we will have a chance to put things right between us.

Max broke the connection and spoke aloud, "So am I, Liz." He watched her eyes flutter open and he gently smoothed the back of his hand down her cheek. He felt a shiver of reaction rush through her as he held her eyes and wanted nothing more at that moment than to kiss her, but he held himself in check and sat back in his seat.

Then he noticed the stunned, dreamy look on Liz's face and leaned toward her again. But suddenly an image he had glimpsed in Liz's mind became clear, and he frowned in concentration, trying to see it in its entirety.

"What's wrong?" Liz asked.

Max looked at her. "Tess mind warped you."

"What?" Liz gasped. When?"

"I saw it in your memories. It was right after we came back from New York. She put a compulsion in your mind so you wouldn't want to know about your powers and she even told you how to control them so you wouldn't develop them."

"Why would she do that?"

"I don't know," Max admitted. "But she must have been scared you would ruin her plan somehow."

"Maybe she thought it would bring us close again," Liz suggested, "you know, you and me working on developing my powers. Like she used the memory recovery sessions to get close to you."

Max nodded, "Yeah, maybe."

Liz searched her mind for memories of that time but she had been so glad Max had returned, she really hadn't focused on anything else. "It's funny. I thought there would be a weird feeling or missing time or something but I don't remember anything unusual."

Max related the circumstances. "Tess approached you behind the Crashdown when you were taking out the trash. She said she was walking and you asked if she always walked in the alleys."

"Yeah," Liz said after a moment. "I remember the conversation. I was really tired and I think I zoned out for a minute or two."

"That's when it happened," Max said. "Try to remember."

Liz concentrated on the memory, trying to see every detail and remember every sound. At first, nothing happened but then she had the sensation of someone else in her mind, and suddenly the whole thing came rushing back to her. She could hear Tess' suggestions in her mind, replacing her will, telling her how to control her burgeoning powers. But it didn't end there. Three other occasions pushed their way to the front of Liz's memory, times when Tess had reinforced the mind warp, the last one just a couple of weeks ago, and Liz gasped at Tess' unfeeling use of power. Tess had known her mind warps had killed poor Alex but she had continued recklessly using them.

Anger rose up within Liz and she turned to Max. "Tess mind warped me four times that I can remember."

"What?" Max asked angrily.

"She did the original one and then reinforced it. One of them was just a couple of weeks ago."

"After she knew too much mind warping was dangerous," Max realized.

Liz shook her head, "I don't know why she didn't just kill me too if she saw me as so much of a threat."

"One death was suspicious enough but it could be accepted as an accident," Max said, "but if you had died, I would never have stopped investigating until I found your killer. I would never have left Earth without finding out what happened. No matter what had happened between us, I never stopped loving you. Tess must have known that."

Liz reached out and took his hand in hers. "Thank you."

Max shook his head, "It's just the truth." He squeezed her hand. "Liz, I have been so resistant to what I am and my destiny mainly because I knew it wouldn't include you. And I didn't want to live any life you weren't in. But now that we have found out the truth about you and us, everything is different."

Liz nodded, "We've never really talked about this, how you felt about who you were and your destiny. I knew you weren't happy but I really didn't know why."

"Yeah," Max said with a grim smile, "we haven't really been close since I found out. I wanted to talk to you about everything, but you left town, and then I was trying to get you back, and then the whole thing with Kyle..." he trailed off.

He shook his head and continued, "I was scared that I was being forced into this role of leader and I didn't know what I was doing. Everyone kept reminding me that millions of lives were at stake and I worried that one wrong move would mean the end. I tried to focus on us, keeping us alive and hidden and developing our powers, but Michael was a constant nagging reminder I wasn't doing enough. Tess was complaining I was spending too much time trying to get you back, and Isabel, to give her credit, was trying to be the peacemaker but she was keeping secrets too."

He sighed, "I was doing okay until I thought you slept with Kyle and then everything fell apart. I wanted to just curl up and die but I had people counting on me. Then the harvest happened and the skins came to Roswell, then the summit. I tried to focus on our problems and push everything else aside. I was almost glad for the distractions because whenever I stopped, all I thought about was you. I didn't have anyone to talk to who would understand what I was going through. In Vegas, Michael accused me of being a robot and I realized he was right. I felt like a piece of me had died and a lot of the time I was just going through the motions of living."

"I'm sorry Max," Liz whispered. "I knew you had to follow your destiny but at the same time I didn't want you to because it would mean you would be with Tess."

Max shook his head, "Not anymore."

Liz met his eyes, "Yeah, not anymore."

"And with you supporting me, I'm not afraid of anything."

"Max, you had my support the whole time, even when it seemed you didn't."

"I know that now and I should have known it all along. In my heart I should have known you would never turn away from me, never betray me. I've seen your soul, you just aren't capable of it and I will never doubt you again."

"And your destiny?" Liz asked and then quickly corrected herself. "Our destiny?"

"I know technically I have been the leader since that day at the cave last year, but there were only two times I really felt like a leader. One was the day we went to kill Brody because we thought he was a skin, and the other was at the summit in New York. Both were bad experiences and I didn't feel ready for either of them. But you were right, Liz. I can't change what or who I am and I can't escape my destiny. Today, with you at my side, it felt familiar. It was like I could feel your strength and support, and for the first time I know I'm ready for whatever comes our way. I am the leader, right or wrong, but I'm not scared of what that means anymore because I know together we can do anything."


Isabel walked slowly through the dark woods. She didn't recognize the area and was afraid she was lost. Suddenly she had a flash of Grant dragging Laurie in the body bag, and then another of finding Laurie in the grave. She squeezed her eyes shut trying to block the pictures but when she opened them, she was on hands and knees at the edge of the empty, open grave.

She looked around expecting someone to be there but the area seemed to be deserted. A dull glow drew her eyes back to the hole and she noticed a cluster of blue crystals. The light grew in intensity and suddenly the crystals melted into a puddle of goo and then turned into a thick fog, which rapidly filled the grave. The fog continued to expand and it drifted up over the side of the grave, creeping steadily toward her and she watched, unable to move, as it reached her hands.


Surprised, she scrambled backwards until she hit a tree, but the fog quickly closed the distance.

"No," she called out as she struggled to her feet. "Stay away."

"Isssaaabel," the fog hissed again.

She turned to run but something was blocking her way. It was cool and soft and as she struggled, she woke up to find that she was wrestling with her pillow.



Part 2
Book 10 Main
Book 10 Timeline
Alpha & Omega
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