|"Epiphanies 1: The Ties that Bind"|
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters except Josh; they are owned
by Melinda Metz and the WB (or whomever!)|
Summary: This story involves all characters, but centers around Max and Liz. This takes place a couple of months after Destiny. The Pod Squad meets someone with some answers, Liz is in danger, Mrs. Evans has a shock.
Authors Note: Thanks to Sheldon and Dee for some valuable feedback, and for the support of my listserv, who really encouraged me! I love this show in an unprecedented way: It feels right--it feels right like nothing has ever felt in my life before.
|At 8:30, Josh stood in Michael's living room dressed in the dark suit Max had
worn as his Men in Black character during the Crash Festival. In his breast
pocket was the crude but serviceable "official" ID that Isabel had bought for
Max as a joke when she had first seen his costume. Its badge was similar to
the real ones that Valenti had seen, and they didn't expect Milton to
scrutinize it too closely. Maria and Isabel each had their cars gassed up and
ready to go. Alex was at the ready with the video camera. The preparation by
Max, Kyle, Michael, and Tess had been largely emotional. Max and Michael were
each struggling to stay focused. For Max, beside himself with worry for Liz,
the problem was staying emotionally detached enough to handle an
unpredictable situation; for Michael, who had worked hard to learn to control
his powers, the challenge was to be calm and in control--they couldn't afford
another "accident" like Pierce. Kyle was just nervous. He had been a team
player for years, but there was a lot more at stake this time and he didn't
want to screw it up. Tess had the hardest job. She didn't want to be there;
she didn't want to help. But she had to win the trust of the group, and she
knew if they didn't rescue Liz, she would be alone-permanently.|
Valenti stuck his head in the door and surveyed the faces. Tense, but alert and ready. "Let's go," he said, and they filed out of the apartment. Michael hopped into Isabel's car with Tess; he wanted to keep an eye on her. Alex slid in next to Maria. Max, Kyle, and Josh got into the squad car. They headed toward Milton's house, dousing the headlights as they turned onto his street. Valenti pulled behind a line of trees dividing Milton's property from the neighbor's. Max and Michael took positions off to each side of the house, and Kyle crept around to the back. Alex crouched behind a parked car across the street and adjusted the camera. Isabel and Maria kept their engines running, one heading in each direction. Tess hid behind a bush near the front door.
When all were in position, Josh approached the front door. He placed a small microphone between the wrought iron posts of Milton's porch railing and rang the bell. Milton opened it immediately, but his smile changed to confusion when he realized his guest was not Max, but another government type.
"Good evening, sir," began Josh. "I'm agent Johnson and I've been asked to relieve the agents downstairs." He flashed his badge while still in the shadows and put it away quickly. "May I come in?"
"Uh, of course," stuttered Milton. "I wasn't told you were coming."
"I'm sorry to disturb you. If you'll just show me the way, I won't bother you any further."
Milton led Josh to the basement stairs. "They're down there."
"Thank you." Josh trotted down the steps quickly; he didn't want to give the two agents any more warning than necessary. He knocked on the door to the vault. When no one came to open the door, he knocked again. "Agents! Pierce is outside. He's asked me to relieve you briefly so he can talk to you. He's waiting."
The door opened slowly. "Who are you? I've never seen you before."
"My name is Johnson and I was assigned to work with Pierce in Washington after the bungled fiasco out here. I understand you two were involved in that. Pierce is not happy. I suggest you get outside."
The two agents exchanged glances and slowly moved toward the door. "I'll stay with your prisoner," Josh told them. The men climbed the stairs, clearly nervous about what they were about to face.
Josh entered the small, crowded room and found a lovely young woman curled in a fetal position on a cot in the corner. So this is Max's Liz, he thought. She must be something to inspire that passion and loyalty. I hope this works. He sat down to wait for the rest of the plan to play out.
When the agents came out the front door, Tess went to work. The image of Pierce stood before them, looking very angry. "What are you two thinking to conduct an investigation without my authorization? This is grounds for dismissal! I will not tolerate insubordination on the part of my agents. I want to hear an explanation."
Alex aimed the camera and checked that the microphone was working. Although it looked as though the agents were speaking to no one, he could hear them clearly. "Sir, we knew you were disappointed in the outcome of the original investigation. We thought if we could talk to the Parker girl, she could give us the information we needed to get it opened again."
"Has she cooperated?" asked Pierce.
"Well, not yet. She seems quite loyal to the Evans boy. But we've been working on her and we're hopeful."
"Working on her? What does that mean?"
The two agents glanced nervously at each other. They knew their drugs and equipment had been illegally obtained and they didn't want to add to Pierce's anger, but the evidence would be found easily enough. "We took some essentials from the supply locker. We're trying to loosen up her tongue."
"You're drugging her? Are you aware of the penalty for illegal interrogation, let alone theft of narcotics?" Sheriff Valenti walked toward the front of the house. The front porch lights illuminated a wide circle, and as he stepped into it, the agents looked panicked.
|Part 11 | Index | Part 13|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|