FanFic - Max/Liz
"A Stitch in Time - Revised"
Part 1
by Lynda
Disclaimer: Dear Ms. Metz and Mr. Katims, can Max and the others come to my house to play? I'll try to have them back in time for dinner. Thanks, loon.
Summary: AU Fic. No spoilers. Max had thought just being an alien would fulfil the 'weirdness quotient' for his whole life, but now he had to cope with the concept of aliens from the future. And not just 'good' aliens from the future. There was a whole organization of 'bad' aliens from the future and he, Isabel and Michael had been recruited to help stop them.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Dedication: to Addison, my first fan.
Three years later.

"Max, you are going to love the speed of this new computer I just set up for you." Alex loved his computer business; people paid him lots of real money to play with his favorite toys. And today he was helping two of his best friends upgrade their office computers. They had an extensive database of Al'Centran genealogy records. The Internet had allowed many of the far-flung Al'Centrans to keep in touch and they had begun to centralize their records with the Star Detective Agency's help. (The name had been Maria's idea.)

The detective agency had been successful in locating many of the lost ones. And when the lost ones were troubled, Maria and Isabel were able to offer counseling help they couldn't get anywhere else. Confiding in a human counselor would just get them committed to an institution and being able to talk openly about their troubles was essential. Maria and Isabel could offer unique help as they worked through their troubles and made peace with their situations.

The Star Detective Agency had regular detective work too, work that paid actual money. And that kept their doors open. Their professional reputations were growing nicely and their personal lives were going smoothly.

Then they were contacted by a new client who would only give his name as Gregory and things got strange. Max had thought just being an alien would fulfil the 'weirdness quotient' for his whole life, but now he had to cope with the concept of aliens from the future.

And not just 'good' aliens from the future. There was a whole organization of 'bad' aliens from the future who had mutinied and planned to hijack the present day Al'Centrans' generation ship that was still parked out in the Asteroid Belt. Max felt like a character in an episode of The Twilight Zone. He kept expecting to hear Rod Serling's voice start explaining things any moment. What Max would love to hear him explaining was just how the future Al'Centrans got back here in the present and just how long they had been there. However, neither Gregory nor Rod was forthcoming with that piece of information.

Given the present day Al'Centrans' necessary efforts at remaining anonymous they couldn't go to the authorities and even if they could it would be too risky because it was suspected that the dissidents had infiltrated many of these organizations. This situation had to be solved by the present day and future Al'Centrans and it had to be done quickly. He and Michael had agreed to help Gregory stop these dissidents before they could do anything that would alert the present day authorities of the presence of Al'Centrans among them or seriously alter the future timeline. Strange concept, that.

Gregory's plan was for Max and Michael to do some infiltrating of their own. They would go along with the dissident's plan to kidnap full-blooded and blended Al'Centran women from the Denver area. Then, when they had transported out to the generation ship, Max and Michael would set off a location beacon and the future Al'Centran's space ship would travel there and capture the dissidents.

The dissidents were counting on several powerful pieces of future technology to help them. The most incredible of these was the long-range matter transmitter. This device would open a portal between earth and the Al'Centran's generation ship out in the Asteroid Belt. It used immense amounts of power but it would hold the portal open for 18 hours. There were serious limitations, though. It took approximately two weeks to recharge it enough to open the portal again.

They also had stolen genetic scanners from the medical center on the ship and planned to use them to isolate the Al'Centran women. Another handy theft was from the ship's security department; they had acquired stun guns that caused extreme submissiveness. This was how they planned to subdue the women.

The idea of the dissidents kidnapping Al'Centran women to use as unwilling wives in a misguided plan to colonize another world infuriated Isabel to the bottom of her feminist soul. Although the others felt it was too dangerous, Isabel had insisted on helping. Alex and Maria knew about the situation but they could only help in minor ways because their human heritage would be too easily discovered. Isabel was in special danger because her heritage would make her a prime target but she persisted in her demands to help. Eventually they agreed to let her provide peripheral help on the condition that she not allow herself to get any where near the action.


It was late August and Max's shirt stuck to his back as he stood in the grassy field outside of a Denver area racquetball club. It was dark outside and the mosquitoes had decided they liked his alien blood. But these weren't the only reasons he was uncomfortable. He was uncomfortable with this whole mission. Gregory was rather hard hearted about the possibility of innocent people being involved and that had Max concerned. Both that innocents would be involved and that it didn't seem to bother Gregory. But he was committed and would see this through.

His job was to watch for any unusual activity and report it to Bart, the leader of the dissidents. Michael was back at the base camp, assigned to other duties. The dissidents had rented panel vans and fixed the inside with restraining straps to hold their captives. The unwanted human women and miscellaneous bystanders would be shot with the stun gun again. On a stronger setting it caused a memory blackout. They planned to use this setting to erase the knowledge of their activities from anyone they didn't take.

Isabel hid the scout ship the future Al'Centrans had loaned them in a small nearby forest exactly where Max told her. This ship was their ace in the hole if something went wrong and they had to make an escape. She was concerned for her brother and friend but was confident that they could complete their mission.

She had completed the limited assignment they had given her in plenty of time so she decided to walk through the racquetball club. The club had two levels. The lower level contained the locker rooms and allowed access to the courts. The upper level was the observation area where spectators could observe the games in progress. The lobby was on the upper level at one end of the hall and the other end of the hall had a door to the outside. This door opened onto an exterior staircase. Isabel planned to go in there and do a quick walk-through and make her exit through the lobby door.

She walked up the exterior staircase and into the observation level. There were not many people up there, but one woman standing alone and watching the games below caught her eye. She was a short, almost too slim woman with very long dark hair in a braid down her back. Isabel watched her and wondered why her aura was so incredibly melancholy. It seemed so out of place among the happier auras the other spectators displayed. She felt sorry for her because the chances were very good that life was going to get rougher for this woman. Suddenly the woman's head flew up and she looked around in concern. With a panicked look on her face she started walking rapidly toward the rear door.

Isabel looked at the woman in confusion. What was wrong with her? No one else was reacting like she was.

Without warning the dissidents burst into the upper lobby area of the racquetball club! \\Oh my god, they're early and I'm in trouble,\\ Isabel thought. She didn't see Max. He must be outside. He was going to skin her alive. There was no way she wouldn't be chosen; the genetic scanner would point her right out.

The dissidents shot everyone they saw with the stunners. Isabel was stunned with the rest of the people there on the upper level. Bart, the leader of the dissidents, shouted, "Stay where you are!" It was all over very quickly and with very little fuss. Bart directed the others to go down to the courts to stun the rest of the people.

Isabel stood there stunned in more ways than one. She couldn't believe she messed up so badly. She was kicking herself mentally when she noticed movement where there should be none. The sad-eyed woman was running. \\How can she be moving??!!"\\ Isabel wondered. Isabel could do nothing but watch as the woman escaped toward the door. \\Hope she makes it before they see her.\\

But it was not to be. Bart caught her movement and shouted. She dashed for the door as fast as she could but couldn’t outrun the stun bolt the Bart directed at her. When she was unaffected Bart was startled, but recovered quickly. "Leon! Go get her. No, you idiot!" Leon had fired his stunner at the running woman. "Run! She's getting away."

Leon chased after her, still firing the stunner ineffectually as he ran. The woman made it through the door and half way down the outside stairs then vaulted over the railing to land on the ground below. Her sudden appearance from above startled Max who was on guard at the lower door. She pushed him off balance and ran away through the field.

Max's first impulse was to just let her go, but Leon barreled down the stairs and ordered Max to help chase her. Hiding his expression, Max joined Leon as he ran after the small woman. He had to keep up his act or he would be discovered. But maybe if he was careful he could 'accidentally' not be able to catch her, he thought.

Realizing she couldn't outrun them over the rough ground, she ducked down in the tall grass just as Leon was about to grab her. He tripped over her and she jumped up and dashed off at a tangent. Unfortunately, she ran right into Max's arms and he was forced to capture her because Leon had gotten to his feet and was headed in their direction.

Max had a difficult time holding onto her as she twisted in his arms and inflicted painful kicks on him. He lifted her off the ground so she couldn't get leverage for more of those kicks and was considering his options when Leon came up behind her and hit her with the butt of the stun gun. She slumped unconscious in Max's arms. Leon was furious and intended to take it out on her for making him look so foolish. He raised the stun gun and was about to hit her again when Max moved her out of reach.

Max realized this could get ugly fast. He had to stay in character and still find someway to prevent the beating that this bully obviously intended to give the poor woman he held. "Oh no you don't!" he said fiercely to Leon. "Finder's keepers, this one is mine! You know the rules as well as I do." Max hoped that Leon was not so far gone in anger that he would jeopardize the mission and he judged correctly, because Leon stopped.

Leon growled, "Take her to the vehicle and secure her. For some reason the stun gun didn't work on her so tie her tightly. Then get back inside; you still have work to do." Then he trotted back to the club's lower door and went inside.

Max signed and shifted his poor captive to a more comfortable position in his arms. She was such a slight thing she was no burden. Max signed again. He knew that innocent women would be captured in this raid; he knew that Gregory considered it unavoidable. Later they would be rescued and returned to their lives with a slight memory loss, but Max hadn't realized it would be so hard on him emotionally. He felt like such scum to have helped, albeit reluctantly, take this woman's freedom. He had to concentrate on his job and hope that this could be corrected later.

But as he headed toward the vehicles his thoughts focused on his captive. Because he was stationed outside he didn't know how she came to avoid the stunner and genetic scanner. He assumed that she saw the dissidents burst in and made her escape before she could be stunned. But wait, hadn't Leon said something about her not being affected by the stunner?

As he walked towards the hidden vehicles he suddenly realized that he had not gotten any hint of emotional feeling from her when he first grabbed her. Max was a strong telepath and a contact empath and he should have been able to sense her emotions. Thinking back he was shocked to realize that he had received nothing at all from her even though she was visibly panicked. Even now as she lay unconscious in his arms he could receive nothing from her. How strange. He could pick up his sister's emotions without contact, but if he was touching anyone else he could choose to 'read' them.

What was going on here? Could this situation get any more screwed up? He looked down at her unconscious face. She looked so small and helpless and he felt like such a creep for doing this to her. It couldn't be helped, he realized. He gently placed her in the vehicle and secured her with the restraining straps. Her long braid was in the way so he moved it so it draped over her shoulder. He marveled at the heavy silken length of it. \\Focus,\\ Max sternly told himself. What in the world was going on here? Why was she affecting him this way? He felt drawn to her. He felt like he should protect this unknown woman.

He returned to the racquetball club just in time to see the dissidents lead their captives toward the vehicles. Their hands were tied in front of them then secured to the captive ahead of them. The stunner left them in a submissive state of mind but still able to walk, making the dissidents' job so much easier. It would have been so very obvious that something was amiss if they'd had to carry all these women instead of having them walk under their own power.

Max stopped in shock, then recovered quickly. What was Isabel doing in that line of captives? She didn't look up as she was led past him and he could feel her frustration at how wrong things had gone for her. **Izzy!** he started to 'path her.

**Shut up, Max! Don't even start with me.**

Whew! And Max thought he was upset. Iz was pissed! The dissidents didn't realize how lucky they were she'd been stunned. It took all his control to stay in character. \\Remember that this can be corrected,\\ he thought to himself. Remember that all he had to do was go along with the dissidents until they 'ported back to the generation ship and when he signaled the future Al'Centran's space ship all would be rescued. \\Remember that and stay in character,\\ he reminded himself again. Damn, guess he really wasn't cut out to be a dissident.

In short order all the captives were secured and the vehicles moved off up the mountain to the building the dissidents had rented. They planned to hold the captives there and go out for more. They wanted to get as many as they could in the 18 hours they had before the portal closed.

The isolated building was only about two miles away, up a steep mountain road. The captives were unloaded and taken inside. Max hoped he would be assigned guard duty so he could contact Isabel, but he was instructed to get back into the vehicles and take part in the next raid. All he could do was hope that Michael would not blow their cover when he saw Isabel. When he was younger Michael was not known for 'think first' behavior, but as he had matured he had gained more self-control. Max just hoped the shock wouldn't cause him to revert.

Max looked around and noticed that Leon was not in any of the vehicles heading out on the next raid. A very cold feeling settled in the pit of his stomach. Leon must be on guard duty. Max was sick with worry for both Isabel and 'his' longhaired captive.

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