(Thursday - September 16th, 2004)
They had been driving for almost three days straight and Nicholas knew they must be approaching their destination. They were running out of country.
At first, Nicholas had only meant to capture the shape shifters but he had become increasingly curious as to their destination and decided to follow them. Nicholas’ driver had caught up to the shape shifter’s car after a couple of hours, by pushing the speed limit, and had kept them in sight ever since. Nicholas ordered his driver to periodically drop back and change the color and model of the car in case the shape shifters were checking for tails.
As they continued to drive west, Nicholas had the skin soldiers from each city they passed join the pursuit, and now there was a long line of cars following them at a discrete distance.
Nicholas figured the shape shifters must be going either to the remains of their ship, if there were any, to meet the other shape shifters, or to the Granolith. And since the Granolith was the only thing on Earth of value to them, Nicholas was betting on it as the shape shifters’ destination.
Nicholas looked out the window. They had been driving through the desert for hours. There was nothing but sand, rocks and scrub plants. He let out a sigh and sank back into the seat.
"General," said Grester from the front seat. "It looks like the shape shifters are slowing down."
Nicholas sat forward and watched in amusement as the shape shifters' car pulled off the highway and headed into the desert on a dirt road. "Roswell," he said aloud with a laugh. "It's brilliant. They left the Granolith in Roswell."
(Near the Pod Chamber)
The sound of a car woke Kaldar and he watched as it drove straight to the rock formation that housed the pod chamber. He slipped into a blind at the base of the rocky slope and as they drew closer, he was relieved to recognize Cuerena and Sodan.
Sam stopped the car in front of the rock formation that housed the pod chamber and climbed out, with Cuerena close behind.
She grabbed two handfuls of sand and using her powers, fashioned them into a rough six-sided crystal almost a foot long.
Sam watched with curiosity. "Any crystal will work?"
Cuerena nodded, "Crystals are crystals. It's simply an interface device, like a zip disc or a CD in a human computer. The key is to tell the crystal what to do, like programming a computer."
Her voice dropped as she remembered the King they had just lost, again. "On Antar, Zan and Ava didn't need a crystal interface, they were able to link directly to the Granolith."
"And they will be again," Sam assured her, pulling her to her feet. "We just have to stop this whole thing from happening."
Kaldar watched as Cuerena and Sodan passed within inches of him to climb the rocky path up to the pod chamber door. He had heard their words but he couldn’t make any sense out of what they were saying.
They reached the top and Sodan passed his hand over the rock to reveal the glowing handprint to activate the door. He placed his hand on the mechanism and the rocky panel slowly moved aside and they disappeared into the chamber.
The sound of another car drew Kaldar's attention and he quickly scrambled to a higher vantage point on the rocks. There was a single car coming rapidly toward them but a couple of hundred yards farther back, fifteen to twenty more cars were converging on them as well.
Kaldar jumped out of the blind and sprinted toward the pod chamber door, shouting out a warning, "Sodan, the enemy is coming!"
The other two shape shifters looked out the door just as he arrived. A nearby blast almost knocked Kaldar to the ground and he instinctively dove inside for cover.
Sodan recognized Kaldar's voice when he called out, and as much as he wanted to ask him where he had been all of these years, their first priority was the enemy. Sodan couldn't imagine how the skins had followed without him noticing, but they had. He took a quick look around the side of the pod he had ducked behind, toward the door. He could see Cuerena sitting on the floor just inside the opening, and he called to her. “Cuerena?”
She didn't move but yelled in a ragged voice over her shoulder. "I am hit and injured beyond repair." She put the crystal on the floor and pushed it toward him, using her powers. "The crystal is prepared. Just insert it into the base of the Granolith and it will do the rest." She gasped for air. "You must complete the mission. I will try to hold them off."
Sodan felt a twinge of emotion for one of the few times in his life; sorrow. He would miss Cuerena. "You are a good soldier. I am proud to have served with you."
"I will defend her," Kaldar volunteered.
"No," Sodan ordered, "you will come with me."
Sodan turned without another glance in Cuerena’s direction and motioned to Kaldar to enter the Granolith chamber with him. The door slid open and they both stopped just inside.
Sodan had not seen the Granolith since they had installed it there and he had forgotten how it had always instilled a feeling of awe within him. But the sound of another blast propelled him into action and he quickly inserted the crystal into the opening at the base of the Granolith and stood back as the extraordinary machine whirred to life.
For a moment Sodan became disoriented. He felt as if he was floating, falling, and then he realized he was inside the device. He had not expected that, and he reached out curiously to touch the barrier separating him from the chamber. The surface was solid, like rock or metal but it pulsed with a force, an energy that neither of those substances had ever possessed. Then he could feel the energy pooling around him, straining and building to an impossible level.
Sodan turned slowly, movement becoming increasingly difficult, and saw Kaldar standing beside him, and felt relief that he was not going alone.
Suddenly Sodan felt the energy peak, and it was redirected into him, them, pushing, propelling, and just before they were thrown into the past, he saw Nicholas run into the Granolith chamber and fire an enormous blast of energy that hit the surface between them.
(Episode – Pilot)
(Sunday, September 19th, 1999)
Sodan had watched her through the window of the diner before as he had considered the best way to detach her from his King. Liz Evans. No, he corrected himself, still just Liz Parker at this point in her life; the bane of his existence, the woman for whom his King had thrown away a kingdom and all of their lives.
He had always disliked her but as he and Kaldar entered the cafe and took a seat, Sodan felt hatred rising up in his chest like an unquenchable fire. Max had forsaken everything for this human with no powers or abilities. Without a second thought the boy-King had cast aside his kingdom, his people, and his true love. This human, this child had so enthralled his King that Max had not been capable of rational thought, and he had sacrificed everything for her.
It had been easy enough to find Liz when they had arrived two days ago, Sodan thought. The Max he had known had only been eager to talk to him about one thing, Liz. And like the good soldier he was, Sodan had listened and retained any information he could about his enemy. Max had told them how he had been drawn to her as a boy, how he had worshipped her from afar. He had told them of the countless hours he had spent in the same booth in the Crashdown, the café her parents owned, just to see her, to be near her.
Sodan glanced at the booth two over. Max was there of course. Where else would he be when Liz was here?
From outside Sodan had seen Max sitting with Michael, and he and Kaldar had donned the guises of an elderly couple before entering the diner. The Crashdown was busy that day and they had been forced to take the only available booth, two away from Max and Michael.
Sodan watched as Liz approached a couple at the next table with two plates. "Okay, I have got one Sigourney Weaver, that's for you, and one Will Smith,” she said, setting the plates on the table. “Can I get you guys anything else? Green Martian Shake? Blood of Alien smoothie?"
Tuning out the inane conversation Sodan glanced back at his King, who was watching Liz move around the diner. Even as a girl she had held Max's attention completely, his eyes rarely left her.
Sodan shook his head with disbelief. He and Kaldar had discarded one idea after another about how to approach Max and the others. He had thought it would be easy to show Max his true destiny, but he’d been surprised to learn the date when they had arrived. Even though he and Cuerena had never discussed an actual date, Sodan had expected to be transported back to before the pods had hatched. But for some reason he and Kaldar had been sent back to this time when Max already knew and loved Liz, making their job infinitely more difficult.
Sodan felt they had to do something quickly before Max was lost to them forever, and then suddenly the perfect solution occurred to him. It was so easy, so simple; he wondered why he hadn’t considered it before. With Liz Parker dead, his King would have no choice but to accept his destiny.
Sodan spoke up to get Kaldar's attention. "We've got to get rid of her."
Kaldar leaned in and spoke softly so Max and Michael wouldn't overhear. "How do you want to do it?"
"No silver handprints this time," Sodan whispered, motioning toward Max. "If he discovers what we have done..." he let the sentence trail off and redirected his thoughts. "We will have to make it look like a human did it, a robbery gone bad perhaps."
Kaldar nodded, "Tonight?"
"Yes. The sooner the better." Sodan indicated Max and Michael with a jut of his chin. "Let's adjourn to somewhere less public and put together a plan."
They started to rise, but their attention was diverted by two large men, who were arguing loudly.
"I was here to get the money today not tomorrow," yelled one man as he stood.
The other man jumped to his feet, pulling a gun. "You won't need the money if you're dead," he shouted.
The first man grabbed for the gun and they struggled for control.
Sodan watched the escalating argument with interest and immediately decided to use this turn of events to their advantage. It would be a simple matter to use these humans as their weapon. Liz would be dead of non-alien related causes, Max would take his place as their leader and Alyssa's husband, and everything would turn out the way it had been intended. Sodan concentrated his powers on the gun and turned it in Liz's direction, while holding her in place.
Gasps of surprise and screams echoed through the diner as everyone dropped to the floor, everyone except Liz. As the gun turned toward her, she struggled to move, but an unseen force held her in place. Time appeared to be moving very slowly as every microsecond passed before her. With wide eyes, Liz watched the gun, seemingly trained at her for an eternity before the man pulled the trigger, but she didn't hear a sound when the bullet left the muzzle, traveling toward her.
She had all of the time in the world to move out of the way of the deadly projectile, but paralyzed she watched as it came infinitesimally closer and finally pierced her flesh. A searing pain lanced through her abdomen briefly and then she slowly floated to the ground as a welcoming blackness engulfed her.
Sodan smiled with satisfaction, their task completed, knowing his King was finally freed from his obsession with Liz, the girl who had led them all down the path to ruin.
But as he and Kaldar dissolved into nothingness, Sodan did not see Max rise from his seat and rush to the side of the girl he loved.
END OF BOOK 6 - CAUSATIVE RELATIVITY (THE PROBLEM OF LIZ)
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BOOK 7 - THE INTRUSION OF SHADES
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