FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"A Few Degrees Shy of Heaven"
Part 29
by Christina
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing.
Summary: ***If you haven't read Road Trip, much of this will not make sense***
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Maria stepped out of the jeep with determination. She was standing outside a sort of road-side shop on the reservation and she had only one purpose in mind. She had to find River-Dog.

She walked towards the shop which seemed to be empty and called out. "Hello? Is anyone here?"

No one answered her, causing her to frown. She heard a noise behind her and jumped with a small cry. "Hello?" she called louder, her eyes darting around cautiously. "Who's there?"

She still received no answer and her uneasiness grew. She was positive she was being watched but there was nothing she could do about it if they wouldn't show themselves. It gave her some comfort to think that if anyone tried to attack her or anything like that, she could always use her powers. She may kill the person but that wouldn't be the first time she killed, nor the last. Her entire intention was to kill her father that night. Granted she didn't mean to kill Hank, she hadn't even been herself when she had done it but the truth remained that she had still killed him, despite the fact that the body had mysteriously disappeared.

"If someone is there, please show yourself! I need to find someone and it's important!" she called, looking back towards the store-front. She heard another noise behind her, like the sound of a snapping twig and whipped her entire body around. She cried out when she came face to face with a man. "Oh my god!" she cried again, stumbling backwards. "Who are you?"

The mans narrowed eyes studied her for a moment, without answering. "Who are you?" he asked.

"I'm Maria," she said hesitantly. "I'm looking for River-Dog. Who are you?"

The man shook his head. "I'm Eddie."

"Eddie! You know my friends Liz and Max!"

"I should of figured," he muttered, shaking his head. "Why can't you kids leave River-Dog alone? He's told you everything he knows and still you come to bother him. Why are you here?"

Maria walked closer to him. "Eddie, it's very important that I speak to him. He's the only one who has had contact with Nacerro and I need to know what I can about him."

"But he's told you all about Nacerro and what the others are."

"You don't understand Eddie. The others are not like him. Their a different race....but I'm not. I'm half of what Nacerro is and he is positively evil. I need to know his weaknesses and River-Dog is the only one who can tell me that. He's spent time with him. Please Eddie, it's very important. My life and my friend's lives depend on it. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't a dire situation. Please?"

She searched his face and her heart dropped. He didn't look like he was going to lead her to River-Dog but he surprised her when he finally nodded and said, "I'll take you to him but only if you promise you nor your friends will ever bother him again."

She nodded fiercely. "I promise. This will be the last time."

He sighed. "Come on then."

***** (From Last Part: Max glanced over at him and said, "It's dangerous, it could even get us all killed, but if we all agree, we can....")

...suddenly the van ran over a pot-hole and the entire group cried out as they were jolted out of their seats, making Max trail off. "Everyone okay?" he asked.

"It was just a pot-hole Max. We're all fine," Isabel reassured him. But she could see why something like that may concern him. They were all a little jumpy from their nervousness and it wasn't making any of them feel better with Michael raving like a lunatic.

"What can we do?" Michael prompted, impatiently, when Max didn't continue.

Max glanced at him again and said, "We can make the link stable."



"I heard what you said Max. I'm not stupid," Michael growled. "What I wanted to know is how we could possibly make a link stable?"

Max sighed. "To make a link stable, you need a larger group. It has to do with stable geometric patterns and in a stable geometric pattern, we can all form a link that will make us be able to communicate with Maria, no matter how far away she is. This is all in theory of course because there is no substantiated evidence that this has ever happened but I think that we can do it."

"So do I," Dinah's soft voice agreed from behind them. "And I know that Ashtar would agree. He's always marveling at how strong the bond between you six is. But you should probably tell them all the risks and consequences of doing this before they decide."

"I don't care!" Michael argued. "I'll do it! Whatever it is!"

"But you should really listen to this, Michael," Max said calmly and then continued when Michael began to shake his head. "At least let me tell the others what could happen. All of us need to agree to do this because it's dangerous and everyone has to make the choice for themselves if they want to take this chance."

"Fine," Michael stubbornly grumbled, turning his head to stare out the dark window. It was too dark to see anything but that really didn't matter to him. He wasn't looking for anything anyways.

"There were many things that the book said about the links but I only remembered the most notable. The first is that a stable telepathic link can only be broken with death and distance has no affect on it at all. You all could be in Antarctica and I would be able to hear your thoughts here in Arizona. We will probably learn how to block out each other's thoughts as we become more comfortable with them but they will always be there. Now, listen up, this is the dangerous part. When the link is first formed, it can be extremely over- whelming. You have to remember that this is a stable link between six people, that's a lot of thoughts happening all at once and all those mental voices can drive another person insane. Also, when we first bond in a link, physical damage to one person can affect all the others. An example would be, say one of us was being tortured or hurt immensely, we would feel all their pain because the shock of the link to all our systems would make us extremely vulnerable. A torturous death to one, where a lot of pain is involved could cause any of us to actually die because of the pain, depending on how receptive or sensitive we are to the situation. It would be different for all of because we're all different people with separate distinct tolerances. On the upside, as we become more comfortable with the link, we can learn how to do things that others in our link can do because we will be able to experience for ourselves how a person does things."

"You mean that Alex and Liz could learn how to change the molecular structure of things like us?" Isabel asked, fascinated by the idea.

"I don't know," Max replied. "Probably not, but..."

"No, it is possible," Dinah argued. "If you think about it, we're like the human race in most ways, just advanced several thousand years. Our bodies are the same, we have the same genetic make-up, we need to eat and drink, we have emotions. The only distinct difference are that our blood is different and we have seven senses instead of five. Besides the ability to see, touch, taste, hear and smell, our people have a, for lack of better word, psychic-power sense and a spiritual sense. Spiritual only meaning that our ability to connect with others of our kind is natural to us. Our people could not always do these things. It was just part of our evolution. As our technology grew, we began to develop new powers. It is very possible that both Liz and Alex could learn to do these things, making them more advanced than the rest of the human race. It's very likely that in a few thousand years, their race will be able to do these things anyway."

"That would be cool," Isabel breathed, looking at Alex. "Don't you think?" He nodded in agreement.

"So, now that everyone has heard the risks and possible repercussions of a stable link, you have to decide for yourselves if you're willing to chance that," Dinah said, getting the conversation back on track. "There is no half-way here and once it's done, you can't go back so you have to be absolutely sure before you make your choice. If you have any doubts, you should not commit to doing this because it will bring weakness to the group and can put everyone else in danger."

"I'm in," Michael said immediately.

"Yeah, we kinda figured that," Max sighed, knowing that the possible outcomes would be no obstacle for Michael because of his love for Maria. Then again, if it were the same situation with Liz at risk, Max would do the same thing, so he couldn't blame him. He looked into the rearview mirror at the others and said, "What about the rest of you?"

"I'm in too," Liz said without hesitation. He had felt her thinking about it in their link but could tell right away that she would do it."

"I'm game," Alex said next.

Isabel nodded. "Me too. That only leaves you Max. What do you say?"

He pulled the van over to the side of the road and turned the engine off. "Let's get started."

"You mean here?"

Max just nodded. "Yes Isabel, here. We have to get this started now before she gets there. She could be there now and we have no time to waste."

"How do we get Maria in our link if we're here and she's there?" she questioned.

"That's going to be up to Michael. He not only has to share his thoughts but what he knows of Maria's as well. That puts more pressure on you Michael."

"That's the story of my life. I've done it before, I can do it again. Now, let's get going."


"What can I do for you child? I've told you everything I know already."

Maria shook her head at the old Native American man. "No, there is something you haven't told us. I didn't know this before when I came to you but I am Nacerro's daughter." She stopped to search his face, wanting to see his reaction.

He didn't waver, but instead nodded. "I sensed something like that before, but I couldn't be sure because you didn't seem to be aware of it. Go on."

She nodded and glanced at the ground. "We're not like the others. Max, Isabel, Michael, they're a different race than us. Nacerro was sent here to create two spawns to kill them. That would be me and my brother Kyle. Sadly, Kyle is on Nacerro's side, not by will but by some kind of mind control. I, on the other hand do not want to follow my father. I want to protect my friends and destroy Nacerro before he can do any more damage. That's where you come in."

"But how? I have nothing else I can tell you."

"I need to know his weaknesses."

The man looked thoughtful. "The only true weakness I ever witnessed was during the sweat. I know nothing more of his weaknesses."

Maria nodded. She expected as much but she didn't take that as a bad sign. If the sweat was the only way to weaken him, she would take advantage of it. "So, what about the sweat weakened him. It's just smoke in an enclosed room right?"

The man began to shake his head but then stopped. "To my people, it is much more. During the sweat, we go into a trance as our soul cleanses itself of impurities. The heat of the fire removes those impurities from our minds, bodies, and souls."

"And how could I simulate a sweat to bring on his weakness? You see, I have this," she opened her purse and pulled out the dagger, showing it to him. "This is from my planet and it has the power to drain him of all of his powers. The only problem is that I am a terrible shot and I can't get him on target if he's still at his strongest so I need to either catch him off guard or weaken him before I drain his powers. He's very sharp, very alert so catching him off guard won't work. I also have the feeling that he can sense my thoughts which puts me at an extreme disadvantage, so if there is anything you can help me with, I would be eternally indebted to you."

"Where will you meet him?"

She shrugged. She hadn't thought of that yet. "I don't know. I would like to bring him to me. I think it would give me an advantage if it were on my turf."

"Yes, it would be advantageous. In that case you could use trickery. Have you ever heard the stories of Raven?"

She shook her head. She was familiar with the name and knew that Raven was part of Native American legends but that was the extent of her knowledge.

He pointed over to a row of solid wood masks on one wall. "That's Raven in the middle. He was the master of trickery. He was always doing things for his own benefit, like when he stole the sun, but in the end, his actions always benefited others."

"Stole the sun?" she asked.

River-Dog nodded. "Long ago, people lived in complete darkness because Eagle kept the sun for himself. His dislike for humans and other creatures prevented him from sharing the sun with others. He kept it locked up in his house where only he and his daughter could bask in it's warmth and beauty. Raven knew of this and he was jealous because he wanted the sun for himself. Using some trickery, he was able to convince Eagle's one and only daughter to let him inside the house and immediately he grabbed the sun and flew off with it. Eagle found out about it and chased him. Raven was scared of Eagle because Eagle was larger and more powerful than himself so he accidentally dropped the sun and it fell in the sky lighting the world. So you see, he stole the sun for his own reasons but it benefited everyone in the end."

"I think I've heard that before," she said, realizing that the story was some-what familiar to her. "It's a nice story," she offered, not sure how it related to her situation.

River-Dog smirked in amusement. "Yes, it's a nice story but that's not why I told it. I told it to make you aware that not all trickery is bad."

"So, how do I trick Nacerro?"

"That is up to you. You will know how when the time comes."

"And what about the sweat? Can I simulate it?"

Nacerro looked doubtful. "I'm...I'm not sure. I don't know if it was the chant or the fire that weakened him. Maybe you should ask your friend Michael."

Maria's eyes widened and then she looked away, ashamed.

"Did I say something wrong?" he asked.

"No," she replied. "I just...I can't ask him because I left him. I left them. They wanted to fight with me but I wouldn't let them because I don't want them to get hurt. I made them think I was just leaving the house we were in and really I closed off my thoughts to Michael and took the jeep. I'm all alone here."

"Then no matter what action you take, it will still benefit the others. You have more Raven in yourself than you think."

"We'll see," she muttered under her breath and then stood up. "Thank you for your help. I should probably get going. I have to take care of this as soon as possible and there are some things I need to get before I go to fight."

River-Dog stood up as well and led her out of the house. "You'll be okay?" he asked.

She shrugged. "I don't know about that but I'll make sure that the others will be. I won't die without protecting the others first. Thank you."

He nodded. "You're welcome. Good luck."

"Thank you. Good-bye," she replied and then began to walk towards the car.


She turned. "Yes?"

"If everything works out, please come back to see me. I have another story to tell you."

"If I live, I promise to come back."

"Just remember this child; If your intentions remain pure, you will triumph in the end. Stay strong and don't let yourself fall under the influence of your father. I will see you soon Maria."

She smiled. He seemed so confident about her success. A new feeling of certitude washed over her. "Bye," she whispered and then hopped in the jeep and sped away, knowing that she had to get some things before she met him.

She knew now how to defeat her father. She also knew that she would probably perish with him but that was a chance she was willing to take.

Some sacrifices were necessary to secure the safety of others.

Part 28 | Index | Part 30
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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