FanFic - Max/Liz
"Epiphanies 1: The Ties that Bind"
Part 15
by Carol
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.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
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.
"Let me start with a little background," Josh explained. "Our people call themselves voyans. As a people, I guess you would characterize us as explorers-philosophical, intergalactic, scientific. We are curious and somewhat aggressive about it, too. We have been visiting Earth off and on for about 150 years, learning as much as we could because there was such a similarity between humans and us-a basic value system, a desire to control our environment for the benefit of all, and that same persistent curiosity. For a while, we were taking people aboard for a time to run tests-nothing violent or terribly invasive, just the kind of thing that happens to any human during a physical. We returned them with their memories of the event erased, or so we thought. Once we learned that some humans had been traumatized by the process, we stopped immediately. We intended no harm. But in the meantime, we had learned invaluable information about human anatomy.

"Well, again like Earth, there was dissent on our planet about a lot of things. A planetary civil war broke out and for a while, it looked like the more violent faction was gaining the upper hand. Our scientific and political communities cooperated on a plan to send our leaders and some of the best scientific minds to Earth. The idea was that we could reorganize there, do intensive research, and keep our civilization alive in some form, at least, until it was safe to return. Each ship was to carry a combination of teachers, scientists, and leaders so that they could form a functional team. Ideally, the teams were formed from within families and/or close friends to enhance the chances of compatibility in a stressful environment. Some ships had already left when a coup was staged against our highest leaders."

At this point, Josh stopped speaking and closed his eyes. He breathed deeply and hung his head. His next words were barely whispered.

"You four were killed in that attack." He turned to Max. "You were our leader. They came after you and Tess first. Then they immediately followed with Michael, your second in command, and Isabel. They thought if they could wipe out your family, your side would not recover from the blow."

He paused again to let this information sink in. Max spoke up. "We knew this part, Josh. It was in the message the orb's hologram delivered. Was that really our mother?"

Josh was surprised, but relieved he had not been the first to deliver this shocking news. "Well, it was a human representation of the female who gave birth to you. It's a slightly different process that I'll explain later, but let me get back to the background.

"At that point, it was decided to use a recently perfected process to create a voyan/human hybrid of those leaders and others who were to be sent to Earth. The downside was that this process only took the hybrid to an embryonic state. After that, they were implanted in incubation pods. It was anybody's guess how long those pods would take to grow beings that could exist independently in Earth's atmosphere. There was no time for experimentation; they just executed the plan as quickly as possible and got as many ships launched as were available.

"We think there were about 20 in all. As far as we know, 18 landed safely. The first to crash was in a remote part of Africa. They were able to clean up the wreckage and honor our dead without being discovered. However, when word of the crash here in Roswell reached the world news, they were horrified. The military was on top of it from the first, and they couldn't intervene. Besides that, you were our leaders. The master plan for our work here was in your ship, and they were demoralized to find themselves here without your guidance."

"You keep saying 'they,'" Michael interrupted. "You weren't here then?"

"Well, no. Think about it. I'm not much older than you are. I emerged from a pod just as you did, although a few years sooner, I'd say. I've been taught this history from others on my team-the older members. They are like your Nasedo-not a voyan/human hybrid. They have shapeshifted into human form for their work here."

"Oh my God," breathed Isabel. "How many of us are there?"

"We're not completely sure. A little over a hundred, I think. It's complicated because of deaths, marriages and births, . . ."

"Marriages . . . ?"

"Births . . . ?"

Josh looked around the room. Wide-eyed faces watched him intently. "You want to know about the physiology, don't you?"

There was only silence, but a couple of heads nodded.

"The other day, Tess made clear that she thought the ship's personnel digest dictated some sort of preordained destiny. Evidently, that is what Nasedo had taught her. Well, I can tell you that there is no predestination involved here. Of those who came to Earth, any of the older, non-hybrid forms who decided to take a mate stayed with their own kind. However, those of us who are hybrids have been emerging from the pods at different times for almost 30 years. We're still not sure why they mature at different rates, but we're working on it. It's quite possible you were the last; I think the others are accounted for. Perhaps it was the trauma of the crash. Anyway, those of the hybrid generation have taken different roads on this one. Some have chosen to stay with their own kind, and some are even matched as they were as voyans. However, quite a few have taken human mates. What's interesting is those relationships-at least so far-appear to be remarkably stable. The offspring of these marriages seem healthy and well-adjusted, although we're not sure where they stand with their "powers," or whatever you want to call them. I'm assuming there will be differing results in that area."

"Are you married?" asked Liz.

"No," Josh answered, a little embarrassed. "Haven't found the right woman yet." He cast a sidelong look at Isabel, and Alex shifted to put his arm around her. Josh looked away.

"So, this is what we know now. As of our last communication with our home planet, the tide had shifted and we were regaining control. However, Earth's atmosphere corroded our ships and much of our equipment and we've had no contact for years. That is one of the things we are working on as a community. But we have also built personal lives for ourselves here on Earth. Most of us don't expect to see home again."

Valenti looked over at Tess. She had been sitting alone against the wall. Tears were trickling down her cheeks. His heart went out to her. When everything you've believed turns out to be a fantasy, you feel as if your world is falling apart. He remembered feeling that way when his wife left.

"What about those 'Star Chamber' meetings you mentioned?" asked Isabel.

"We dreamwalkers meet that way every month or so. There's one on every team. We exchange anything we've learned or heard, ask questions. It's just our way of staying a community and working together toward our goals, the main one of which is to contact our planet again."

"But you mentioned danger," Isabel reminded him.

Josh sighed. "Yes, I'm afraid we brought some of our problems with us. Once our enemies realized what we were up to, they began to send their ships here, too. We don't think they had the hybrid technology, so we assume they are all shapeshifters. They do what they can to sabotage our work, and in some cases, I think they have shifted some of their focus to taking control on this planet, too. That is another of our goals-to identify these people and keep them from wreaking havoc here. Unfortunately, they look and act like everyone else. It's hard to tell who they are."

"You will know them only by the evil within," mumbled Tess.

Everyone turned to look at her. "That's what the hologram said."

Josh nodded. "That's one way of putting it. They sometimes try to invade our Star Chamber meetings, but we are able to sense them there. Isabel, I can work with you on that." Alex shifted uncomfortably again, but Isabel smiled at him and winked. She turned back to Josh, "I'd like that."

"That's about it. I'm sure you have plenty of questions, so fire away."

They talked for hours, asking more questions about their home planet, their culture, their previous lives. There were embarrassed questions about mating and birth, and funny anecdotes about things that had happened to the others during their time on Earth. When they had run out of energy, if not questions, they fell into a companionable silence. The three couples were holding each other, digesting the reality of a whole new world of possibilities. Valenti's head was spinning with this detailed confirmation of everything his father had always believed and that he, himself, had ridiculed.

Kyle stood. "Well, gang, I've had all the Twilight Zone I can handle for one day. I'm hungry." Suddenly, everyone realized that they hadn't eaten all day.

"To the Crashdown!" ordered Maria, and everyone rose to leave. Except Tess.

"You go on. I'm not hungry."

Max left Liz's side and walked over to Tess. He pulled her gently to her feet. "Tess, we are a team. We need all of us working together. I haven't had a chance to thank you for last night--what you did to help free Liz. I will always be indebted to you for that. Please. Come with us. You are one of us."

He looked into her face, and although what she saw there was not love, it was feeling. He did want her there, just not the way she had planned. She nodded slowly. Max looked back over to Liz. She was smiling at him. He was a leader. He was an alien. He was hers.

Part 14 | Index | Part 16
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