Retribution ~ (Seq to S&M/H&N) ~ {COMPLETE}

Finished Canon/Conventional Couple Fics. These stories pick up from events in the show. All complete stories from the main Canon/CC board will eventually be moved here.

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Diehard
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 7:25 pm

Post by Diehard » Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:57 am

CHAPTER FORTY


Two hundred people packed the High Hall on the morning of the Nuptials and Coronation; the courtyards thronged with twice as many anxious citizens. All had waited so long for this day to arrive. The white and gold Adian flags flew high once again over Leoch on this day of all days.

Every man in the groom’s party was dressed to the nines in the full dress uniforms of the Adian royalty, pure white suits with gold appellates at their shoulders. The freshly scrubbed boys cleaned up amazingly handsome, Maria thought as she peeked out from the small side room. She fussed with her hair absentmindedly, as she checked out her handsome man standing by Larek out on the ballroom floor.

She sighed as she remembered their conversation of a few nights before. He had surprised her by dropping down on one knee in front of the luxurious oversized bathtub, just as she was about to shave her legs. She laughed again now still feeling the shock of that moment all over again. “Michael, what the hell are you doing?” she had laughed at him in her surprise.

“I’m think’n that it’s about time that I came through for you… ya know? So, will you… ahh... will you marry me?” He had looked so cute kneeling there on the wet floor before her. To say she was surprised to hear the question at that moment had been an understatement.

Since settling in at Leoch, there had been so very much going on that sometimes she didn’t have time to think straight at all. She and Nicole were in complete charge of all the kitchen staff and did most of the cooking or supervising themselves. It was a full time job. But she loved it, even though it had left her with little time to think about much else.

His question had caught her off guard, especially at that particular moment, razor in hand. But then this was her Michael she was talking about, and she should have seen it coming… somehow.

Instead of doing all the obvious excited screaming and dancing that months before would have come so easy, she slowly shook her head at him. “Michael, I love you more than just about anything. You know that. But… my head’s still reeling from everything that we’ve lived through in the past eight weeks… oh hell… the last four years of my life.” Suddenly her expression changed, sensing there might be a problem he wasn’t telling her. She guardedly and anxiously asked, “We’re still going home right? You promised…”

He shook his head quickly back at her, “Yes…Yes, we’re going home… I already told you that. You, me, Serena, John and Kal. Yes. we’re going home,” he repeated emphatically.

She smiled and then shook the razor at him, “Then you better ask me this again the minute we step foot on Roswellian soil, Space boy.”

“But, I thought... with Nicole and Larek... and Zan and Ava being here?? Don’t you want Max and Liz at the wedding?” he asked with a confused look.

Maria frowned. “I knooow. I’m hoping maybe they’ll get some royal vacation time off and be able to come home for the wedding, ya know for a visit?”

Michael rolled his eyes. “Yeah, Maria,” he said sarcastically. “They’ll hail a cab and skip across the galaxies. Don’t get your hopes up, the chances of that happen’ are nil to none.”

Maria hadn’t given up hope though. She had talked to both Liz and Max about the possibility. And despite her objections it didn’t look promising. There was so much that still had to be done here, and the sad part was that she understood. She couldn’t dismiss the importance and necessity of them staying here… here where they were needed. Milinga and Frasate were already on their way to replenishing and rebuilding, as were many small cities on Trinity. But it couldn’t be done overnight.

Liz tried her best to convince Maria to make it a triple wedding. Afterall, why not? Everything else in their lives recently had been over the top. So why not one huge wedding? But Maria had stuck to her guns on the whole issue. It just wasn’t what that younger full of dreams little girl had always pictured in her mind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serena came through the chamber door now and snapped Maria’s mind back to attention and to the present. “I’ve just come from the brides, and they are looking incredibly beautiful,” she sighed.

“And did you see our men out there? Hot, babe…purely hot,” Maria winked and wiggled her body with excitement. “There are some mighty gorgeous men out there, Serena. Of course most of them are taken…but...” she rolled her eyes. “Whether he knows it or not, Michael’s keeping that uniform on all night,” she swooned, “and I do mean all night.”

Each of the women in the bridal party were dressed in pale variations of a gold color fabric; long dresses with small trains and gloves above the elbow to match. Even Emily and Sierra’s gowns matched that of the bridesmaids, and it was so obvious that both young girls were just as animated as the happy couples to be.

“Are they nervous?” Jessie asked giggling herself with anticipation.

“Well,” Serena grinned. “Nicole is tripping over herself, and Liz is worried that she’s going to fall on her face with the shoes she’s wearing; but... basically… they’ll make it.”

As the church bells of Rochell, Milinga and Frasate rung out from a distance, the pipe organ in the High Hall began to play an enchanting tune.

“Okay that’s our signal. Let’s go meet our public,” Katain laughed nervously, as she fussed with the pins holding her hair in an upsweep. “Leave it alone,” Maria scolded, smacking at her hands. “It’s fine. Michel Chavez will be absolutely charmed,” she winked at her, knowingly. “Trust me… you look maavelous… we all look positively smashing.”


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The trumpets blared out a welcome as a gentle harp began to play the soothing strains of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, an earlier special request of both the brides.

The bridal party stood together next to a silk lined pulpit, before the throne that soon would be returned to the true King of Adia. Brother Jasper stood tall and proud, watching as the first two figures began the long journey down the center aisle to join with the others.

John and Liz walked slowly down the aisle. Her hand raised slightly before her, John holding onto it tightly. Her dark hair was piled high in ringlets around a small tiara holding a paper-thin veil cascading softly at her back.

Max gazed down the long white carpet that ran the entire length of the High Hall. A apparition of incredible loveliness approached him slowly, step by step. A vision in delicate white Adian eyelet. The train of the demure gown flowed elegantly behind her as she walked with a confidence she hadn’t realized she had until just moments before. All eyes were on her, but it was Max’s eyes that drew hers like a magnet to the alter. To her they were the only eyes in the room.

A respective distance behind them, Kal walked by Nicole’s side. Her dress was the softest muted shade of pale pink, and she wore a band of soft white flowers in her red hair that perfectly matched the bouquet in her hand. She was not as well known to the people of these worlds, but no one present at this moment could doubt her importance. Afterall, she was marrying one of the most heralded soldiers in their midst… the Commander of their gallant Federalist forces. The overall consensus was that since he was their hero, anyone he graced with his love could not possibly be anything short of a heroine herself. Both women beamed and blushed at the attention the event was drawing from every person attending. All those present craned their heads to catch the slightest glimpse.

As John released Ava’s hand into Zan’s, a hush fell upon the crowd. He had never seen her look more beautiful.

Kal silently finished counting the steps from the entrance as he and Nicole also approached the alter. Thirty small… slow steps… in time with music, he thought to himself. He never did understand this particular wedding tradition. Why slowly? Why not race on down there and get the formality over with? He sighed, and kissed Nicole on the cheek and placed her hand into Larek’s. “Thirty one small steps to a new life,” he whispered to her, as Nicole returned a kiss on his cheek.

A smile spread across Larek’s face as Kal quietly stepped aside. He looked down at Emily standing by her mother’s side and winked.

Looking up now into Nicole’s bright green eyes, he saw his future. He saw it now in much the same way he had felt it that very first night at John’s ranch when she had stood at the top of the stairs looking down at him. “Nervous?” he asked casually bending down to her ear.

She shook her head, “Not now. How bout you?” she whispered back keeping her head down so as not to have their brief conversation disrupt the service beginning before them.

“How could I be? I have found you,” he kissed her tenderly on her cheek. His pale blue eyes looked longingly into hers. With a second of embarrassment they both pulled their attention back to the vows being exchanged before them.

It had been discussed and agreed with Brother Jasper earlier that the wedding ceremonies of first Zan and Ava, and then Larek and Nicole be completed before the Coronation of King would begin. The room bubbled with anticipation on such an exciting day as Adia had not witnessed for a very long time.

Liz handed her bouquet of Astrias over to Sierra, who stood by her left side. The little one curtsied and graciously stepped back as Liz joined hands with Max.

Brother Jasper began. “We come to this place with great spiritual pride today to join together the hands of Ava, Lady of Adia and Zan, Prince of Antar in holy matrimony.” He could hear the words being spoken in the great Hall, but Max could see nothing but the light shining up from Liz’s face into his own. Her hands now felt so warm and tender in his, and his heart reacted to her presence as it always had from the time she was a young child. He wondered just how many times he had lived this day over and over in his mind... in his dreams. He had lost count.

Brother Jasper cleared his voice. “In the name of Brother Ambrose, let us now begin. Will you, Prince Zan, take the Lady Ava. To honor, protect and keep her, in goodness and joy, in the dark and in the light of all of your days?” Jasper lowered his eyes, smiling. The huge room was so quiet you could almost hear the gods sighing.

“I Will,” Max replied softly, his eyes never leaving hers as he spoke the two words directly to her.

“Will you, Lady Ava, take Prince Zan. To honor, protect and keep him in goodness and joy, in the dark and in the light of all of your days?” Jasper smiled at the angelic look on the young woman’s face now before him. There appeared to be an aura surrounding her…surrounding them both now.

“I Will,” Liz answered looking back so deeply into Max’s eyes, as he gently caressed her hand in his.

Brother Jasper now turned to Michael who was standing directly behind Max beside Maria. “Rath, may I have the ring.” Michael stepped forward placing the glittering small object into the monk’s hand. After blessing the ring he then passed it carefully down to Max.

Turning nervously to her, he placed the ring gradually onto her finger and her breath caught as a small gasp just barely escaped. Instead of her own gold wedding band which they had agreed to use for the ceremony, the tip of her finger now held the most beautiful ring she had ever seen. Lights danced off the many facets of the oversized stone sliding onto her finger. Her mind raced back to their first small ceremony outside of Lovell months before. She remembered how Max had said that he wished he could give her something that was more fitting for the woman he loved, but at the time they both knew they couldn’t afford much more than the plain gold band. She sobbed now with surprise, as he proudly grinned down at her.

Max cleared his throat. “With this ring,” his voice was full of emotional, but clear and certain with every word, “…I thee wed.” He slid the ring all the way on now, as he finished, “for all of our eternities .”

Maria blinked away the tears as Michael took her arm to steady her. Behind them both Larek stood next to Nicole holding his breath, listening to Max’s words. Listening to the vows that his King and Queen were now finishing in the place they had begun so very long ago. There was no doubt that every one else in the huge hall was sharing the very same thoughts.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Diehard
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 7:25 pm

Post by Diehard » Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:12 am

CHAPTER FORTY ONE

Chapter Banner



Both Max and Liz were now kneeling before Brother Jasper as he placed a hand atop each of their heads. “I bless this union in the name of the heavens and of the Gods who reside there. What they have brought together, may no one put asunder.” Max carefully helped Liz up to her feet as her dress rustled around her, and the two stepped aside hand in hand.

“Lord Larek and the Lady Nicole,” Brother Jasper announced as he motioned to the front of the crowd where the others stood together. Nicole handed her flowers to Emily, as Larek took her hand leading her forward toward the alter.

The two couples now stood side by side. Larek smiled happily at Liz and tears came to her eyes. Max nodded to him and then Nicole, who curtsied to them both.

Brother Jasper began once again. “Do you, Larek, take the Lady Nicole to be your wife in the covenant of the Gods? To cherish and protect all the days of your life in accordance with Adian laws?” Jasper asked, his hand on his shoulder.

He took her hand in his. “In the presence of the Gods, I Will,” his voice was faint as he spoke now only to Nicole.

“Do you, Nicole, take the Lord Larek to be your husband in the covenant of the Gods? To cherish and protect all the days of your life in accordance with Adian laws?” Jasper repeated, placing a hand then onto her shoulder as well.

“In the presence of the Gods, I Will,” she answered. Larek took a second as she answered to kiss the back of her hand tenderly.

Down at the front pew, Maria sighed heavily. “That’s so sweet,” she whispered to Michael, who couldn’t help but smile back at her. “It’s an Adian thing,” he explained to her. “But I think that Rath can work it into our ceremony if ya want.” She hugged onto his arm, “See Michael, that’s why I love you. You are always think’n.”

Larek placed a small gold band onto Nicole’s finger, and she in turn did the same for him. Brother Jasper took their hands together then into his. “By the powers of the Navirs Order in the kingdom of Adia, I pronounce you husband and wife.” Larek’s arms wrapped tightly around her. They shared a passionate kiss, temporarily forgetting the presence of the crowd behind them. A loud cheer suddenly rang out, as Emily and Sierra cheered out with excitement. The two little ones broke with Adian tradition by sharing a high five, much to the slight confusion of the crowd. Everyone lost their composure for a moment, laughing at their obvious joy.

“Zan and Ava,” Brother Jasper began again, turning to them both. Again the room returned to it’s former reverent silence. “On this day of glory, in the kingdom of Adia, it is with great honour that I as head of the Order of Navirs do indeed pronounce you to be husband and wife. Soon to be my King, my Queen.”

As Liz’s smile spread across her face, Max’s lips brushed gently onto hers. He hesitated pulling back only for a second and then looking down at her again as if soaking in the very moment; and then again his mouth found hers.

For endless seconds a complete quiet continued in the room around them, then suddenly there was a loud whistle from Michael, followed by huge cheers from every direction. The trumpets blared and iridescent confetti fell softly from the ceiling of the High Hall in celebration of a destiny fulfilled.

Maria and Michael were the first to approach Liz and Max, as the rush of the crowd began to gather quickly around them. Maria was so excited and caught up in the moment. “Lizzie..Ava..whoever the hell you are right now..I love you!” Maria screeched out above the noise around them, jumping up and down as she hugged her best friend close. “That was the most beautiful ceremony I have ever seen. Even better than the first,” she added quickly.

Michael shook Max’s hand. “And so it is done, my friend,” Michael said patting him on the back, as Max finally had a chance to exhale. Michael chuckled, “So now..what should we tackle next?” Max rolled his eyes, punching him lightly in the arm, as he reached again to embrace Liz.

Liz looked around her and finally was able to catch his eye in the crowd. It seemed only seconds later that John was at her side. They shared their tears; each knowing what was taking place in both their hearts at that moment in time.

“John,” Liz started to somehow find the words. “How can I possibly tell you everything I need to tell you?” she smiled at him through her tears.

He nodded in proud acceptance. “You needn’t say a thing, Ava. My job is now complete.” She hugged onto him and sobbed, whispering, “Kolt, I love you.” He smiled back, “And I love you too, baby,” he answered and held her tighter.

Off to the side, Larek and Nicole were huddled with Emily and Sierra, as the girls rattled on a mile a minute not being able to contain their excitement. Kal came over and hugged them both, as John and Serena then joined him in relaying their love and congratulations.

A short distance away, Max looked at Michael, “I think the ‘next’ is coming now,” he said out of the corner of his mouth, he swayed back and forth to the soft playing music, wrapping his arms around Liz from behind. She grinned back over her shoulder at him understanding perfectly. Jasper went again to stand again on the rise. As things began to quiet down, he motioned to them both to again join him at the alter as the trumpets sounded once again, much louder this time.

The crowd grew slowly quieter as the anticipation of the final part of the ceremony quickly approached. “May I have your attention,” Brother Jasper raised his voice as the room slowly came to silence again. “Zan.”

Jasper took a brilliant golden scepter from the alter as Zan approached him. The crowd stood frozen in their places looking on with love and admiration for the moment that had been so long awaited.

Zan kneeled down on one knee before Jasper and closed his eyes. The head of the Navirs Order touched first his right and then his left shoulder with the scepter. Zan looked back over his shoulder and held his hand out to Ava who blushed and joined him, as all of their friends and subjects looked on proudly. “To our Lady of Adia, who in our hearts has always been our Queen. We welcome you home again,” Jasper stated as Ava knelt slowly to one knee beside Zan. The scepter touched first her one shoulder and then the other.

“Our King and Queen have returned,” Jasper made the official announcement almost in a whispered voice. The respectful silence that had held for the last few minutes was now deafened by an outbreak of whoops and cheers, as well as tears from just about all in attendance, some breaking down completely.

Max rose to his feet as Jasper handed him the Antarian scepter, the very same one once held by his father and his fathers before him. As he stepped down, scepter in one hand and Liz’s grasp in the other, his eyes met with the two people who had made this day possible. Kal and John simply nodded their head in respect of the moment, and the three exchanged understanding looks that ran so much deeper than mere words could ever say.

Together, Ava and Zan now walked through the crowd slowly. Liz nervously laced her fingers together tightly into his, as her thoughts traced back several hours right before the ceremony. Those few minutes replayed now in her mind exactly as they had happened.

~~ She had been in the anteroom perfecting last minute touches to her gown with Serena and Jessie, when a knock had come at the door. “Max! What are you doing here? You know you can’t come in here,” Serena said with surprise at the sight of his face on the other side of the open door. “It’s bad luck to see Liz now, remember?”

“I’ve got to talk to her,” he insisted. His face glowed handsome in his white and gold uniform but there was an urgency in his words.

“Max, what is it?” Liz said with alarm joining them both at the door.

“I just need a minute..just a minute with you before we go out there,” he pleaded breathlessly to her.

Serena and Jessie looked questioningly at Liz. “Okay,” she answered slowly and nodded to them, as they excused themselves to an adjoining room. “Max you’re scaring me. What’s going on?”

“No..no. It’s okay,” he said breathlessly and anxiously. “Everything is okay..it’s better than okay. But there’s something I have to say. Something I have to say before this Coronation begins.”

Her eyes looked into his. She couldn’t remember the last time they were as clear and sparkling as they were at this very minute. He led her to the window bench and took both of her hands in his. He drew in a deep breath and smiled touching her face for a brief moment. “Max?” she asked with a nervous laugh.

“This Coronation. I know how much it means to everyone out there..,” he motioned his head towards the door. He kissed her fingers tenderly trying to pull his thoughts together. “But, Liz, I’ve made a decision. A very crazy important decision." He took another gulp of air before he continued, his voice quieter this time than before as it begged her to understand. “It’s not important to me,” he confessed. Liz searched his eyes in confusion as he went on. “It’s never been important to me. Yes, we needed to come home, we needed to free our people, but,” he paused ever so slightly and then sighed, “it’s what we needed ..it’s what I needed to do; but not what I’ve ever wanted to be.”

She bit her lower lip, as he touched her cheek again with his now trembling hand, then cupped her face, as emotion filled all of his senses. “Liz Parker Evans, I would give up all that I have and all that I could ever have, just to feel your breath on my skin, to hold you for hours and not say a word, to wake up every morning with your face on the pillow beside mine. Through all the lies, you have been my one constant truth.” He kissed the tip of her nose as a tear spilled from her eye. “Your love has made me everything that I am. I do not need to be king of a far away galaxy to be the best I can be, or to be the happiest man in all worlds. All I have to do ..is look into your eyes, and I'm already there. Come home with me..Liz, I want to take my family home now. It’s time.”

By the end of his words she was trying hard to blink back the loving tears that continued to fill her eyes. “Don’t cry,” he said with a little laugh being careful to dab at the salty droplets just beginning to fall, “you’ll mess up your makeup,” he grinned jokingly.

Her arms flew around his neck as her thoughts connected with every one of his. “I think we leave this land in very good hands,” she whispered into his ear.~~


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The pomp and circumstance was at an all time high as together with Liz, Max now made his way through the throngs of congratulatory people.

And then he spotted him finally, a head above most in the room. Larek and Nicole were still standing with Serena, John and the girls. Max motioned over to Kal who then crossed the room to join the two.

The three of them approached Nicole and Larek who were full of smiles at spotting them. The smiles changed to wonder as Zan bowed formally to Larek. Ava curtsied and took Nicole's hands in hers. Glances exchanged only proved to be more confusing. The trumpets sounded yet once again, as the onlookers waited to hear what their King was about to say.

The scepter now lay across Zan’s hands as he held it out before Larek, who was still not sure at all of what was happening. Completely stunned by this unexpected and strange turn of events, his eyes met Nicole’s as he clearly heard Zan’s thoughts ahead of his spoken words.

”Larek, there is something we have yet to do to make this day complete,” Zan began. Larek swallowed and looked with wonder at Ava, who beamed back at him, as he continued. “I Zan, do abdicate my allegiance and my kingdom to you ..and to your lady.”

Larek wavered a bit on his feet, as Nicole’s mouth fell open in the greatest of surprise. He started to say something but stuttered, as Ava grinned up at him. When his words finally did come, they were said with astonished disbelief. “My friend.. My King.. why would you do this after everything we've fought for? I do not understand, Zan,” his emotions were so very close to the surface now.

Max shook his head sensing the connection now between the four of them. “I do this because ..it's right.. and it's just; and because the Lady Ava and I have another life ahead of us ..another world, one that's been waiting for us to return.” He grabbed at his arm in support, “I could not leave our world in better hands,” he then added, “..my King.” Nicole was crying now, as Ava smiled through her own tears. She kissed her on the cheek and embraced Larek, holding on tightly to the boy she had loved so, once upon a time.

There were no words to express Larek’s emotions. He finally stammered, “Lord and Lady,.. you will both forever be in our hearts,” his voice cracked as his eyes filled up.

Max put an arm around his shoulder. “And you will be in ours.”



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Diehard
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 7:25 pm

Post by Diehard » Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:16 pm

CHAPTER FORTY TWO


Saying goodbye is a most difficult thing to do. They come in all forms and all depths of emotion. They are never easy. Some are philosophical, as in saying goodbye to our childhood, our teen years or school years. But then there are other goodbyes that come at a greater cost in the overall picture of our lives. I’ve had more than my share of goodbyes in the last six months. Letting go is never easy. But few things last forever, as phases of our lives fade from one into another. Saying goodbye to family is the hardest of all. We may not have been blood relatives, but we were family, all eighteen of us. In some sense we were more family than some I’ve known of. We had been to hell and back again, together, after finding each other it would seem only on the whim of the gods.

The vehicle that would take us home again, the one we arrived in, was now mechanically sound and provisions had been restocked aboard, enough to last the six weeks we would need to get us home again.
Home. Which home is the more important in our minds at this very minute is difficult to say. We had been blessed in our lives with two.

Max and I had taken one last retreat back to Rochell. We needed the solitude that seemed to come hand in hand with knowing the importance of what had transpired here in this world. Many questions had been answered for us, a few remained a mystery. And maybe that was the way it was intended to be… for now. In my mind I knew only one thing, we had succeeded in what had seemed the impossible just a short six months back. We were a handful of graduating high school seniors who were preparing ourselves for the future; but none of us could have guessed that day what the future was to hold in store for us all.

We were content in the fact that things in this world were well on their way to becoming what Adia and Trinity had once been, before Kivar had made his appearance. Larek and Nicole had a firm grasp on what was important in this galaxy; as did the Duncans in their love of Trinity. We had no doubt whatsoever that we were doing the right thing.



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Liz stood with her hand pressed firmly against the now sealed wall before her. What remained on the other side was the icon… the granolith… the religious relic of no true name. It had given her life as a small fragile infant. It had allowed the prophecy to unfold, and now it was being protected for the future behind this wall. Whatever its powers, it had played a big part in the freedom of these worlds. If not for the icon, Serena’s search for answers would not have led them to France… and the Landaus and their two cherubs, which in turn had led them to the Duncans. And without the discovery of this band of merry men and women, she hated to think what would have happened here in this world, or anywhere else for that matter. Jared had held the power of the total destruction of life as we knew it in the palm of his hand, and they had defeated him simply because they believed they could.

But the future was uncertain, as all futures are, there are no guarantees. For now the icon was safe here, so here it would stay. Her hand touched with the distinctive movements within her stomach, knowing full well that this child she carried within her held the key to this relic of great mystery.

Liz Parker herself had never had a choice in the part she was to play in this intricate dance. From the night on her balcony when John and Kal had told her the truth of her identity, to just a few weeks past when the vision of Brother Ambrose and Ava as a child had unfolded in the observatory here on Adia. She had been given a path to follow and she never wanted her child to live the uncertainty and fear that she had lived in these last months of her own life. If and when the time was right, she and Max would sit down with their daughter and explain the extraordinary gift she had been given. Liz prayed now, for the sake of her baby, that the day would never come when that would be necessary.

She slowly removed her hand from the wall and backing up said a prayer, as the small torch flickered. Lifting it from its notch on the stonewall, she silently left the catacombs behind and walked up into the light of a new Adian day.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Michael stood outside the Horizon watching as the Hummer was carefully driven back into the cargo hull. “I guess you’re ready to go now,” Maria quipped, watching his face at seeing his toy preparing to make the trip back home. He put his arm around her as he looked at the world around him. “I’m ready,” he leaned down and kissed her on the cheek. “Me too,” she said with a tinge of sadness even now for what she was leaving behind.

Katain and Nicole joined them both. “Well, Rath, we’ll have to do this again sometime,” Katain joked affectionately and embraced him. Nicole and Maria were already sharing hugs. “I’ll miss you, Maria,” Nicole exclaimed as they both tried so hard not to cry. “Sure you don’t want to stay and help in the kitchen?” Nicole laughed trying to make light of the situation but not succeeding.

“Oh, Nicole... thank you so much, thank you so much for everything,” Maria finally let the tears come.

“Yeah, seriously, Nicole. Thanks for teaching her how to cook,” Michael grinned as he too hugged the new royalty of Adia.

“You take care of yourself and my nieces. You remind them that their Aunt Maria and Uncle Michael love them so,” Maria sniffled. Nicole nodded back silently, wiping her own tears away.

Max and Liz stood with John and Larek as the finishing touches were put to the Horizon. “I so hate goodbyes,” Larek said softly, reaching for her hand.

Liz grabbed him and held on tight. “Larek, I would do it all again if just to see you.” He kissed her hand, as his eyes shown down bright into hers. “I so agree with you, Sparrow. But maybe one day you may want to visit this world for peaceful reasons,” he winked and touched lightly at her tummy. “You be sure to tell your little one of her Uncle Larek when she arrives.”

“You will always be her godfather… no matter where you are,” Liz said, the pain of the goodbye so obvious on her face.

"For all we once were and all we are yet to be," his eyes looked deep into hers as he swallowed hard and turned to Max. “What can I possibly say to you? You will always be my King,” he confessed as he held to Max’s arm and shook his hand.

“Hey, you have tons of work ahead of you. Tomorrow you may not be thanking me so much,” Max laughed.

“Let’s get this show on the road!” Kal yelled out from the walkway of the ship. “Everyone aboard who’s coming aboard.”

“Ava! Zan! Kal!” It was Sierra and Emily’s voices screaming out to them as the two small ones came running in their direction. Nicole looked surprised. “We asked them to stay in the runner, we should have known that was not going to happen.” Both little redheads flew into Liz and Max’s arms. They had already said their goodbyes to them earlier that morning, but it so obviously was not enough. “You will come back and see us, won’t you?” Sierra asked in innocent certainty, as Emily’s eyes stared back into Liz’s.

Max and Nicole shared a glance as Liz knelt down to the two girls. “One day… maybe… if we can,” she told a small lie and wiped a tear away from Emily's cheek. “We will think about you both everyday, and you must always remember that we love you very much,” her voice broke up as she spoke the words.

“I think maybe it best if you and the girls head on back before they go,” Larek suggested to Nicole as the emotion around them began once again to ebb. “Might be easier if they do not actually watch the ship leave," he said quietly. Liz nodded to Nicole, wiping at her eyes.

Katain gathered up the girls and challenged them to a race back to the runner, doing her very best to change the subject at hand. Looking back one last time, Katain forced a smile to the seven people she had come to know so well. Nicole reluctantly joined her in hurrying the children out of harms way as the engines were started on the Horizon.

“Coby,” Serena’s bottom lip began to quiver. “I’ll miss you.” They stood in each other’s arms. “Are you certain this is what you want?” she asked her protégé.

“Certain as I’ll ever be, Serena. You take good care of yourself and John. Go relax at the ranch. You two deserve to spend the rest of your days being the best damn ranchers you can be. You’ve both earned that.”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Once inside there was an unnatural quiet as they gathered on the bridge, Kal behind the controls. “Do we have everything?” he asked somewhat comically.

“All we need,” Max answered in a whisper enveloping his arms around Liz and smiling.

“Good, now go strap yourselves in. We have a long ride ahead of us.”

Within minutes the Horizon was hovering above the ground and then slowly gained altitude heading out over the Trinian horizon. Larek stood alone on the hill watching the ship as it left his world.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Diehard
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 7:25 pm

Post by Diehard » Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:18 pm

THE EPILOGUE


The first four weeks of the return trip had been relatively problem free. Somewhere around the half way point the ship had began listing slightly to the left, after making a few dashing moves through an unexpected asteroid field and suffering several minor collisions.

"How's it looking?¨ Max asked as he entered the bridge. Both Michael and Kal sat at the controls.

"Despite that little rock field a few weeks back, we're making excellent time now," Kal reported. "But something freak'n strange has come up. It seems the computers on board have taken the coordinates from our trip out to Adia and suddenly reversed and reprogrammed them, giving us what appears to be a more efficient way home," Kal leaned back in the captain's chair, checking the computers. "At least I think it's more efficient. There's no way to tell for sure, although our speed has picked up."

"That's great, we'll be home sooner then. That is what you're saying, right?" Max asked not completely sure if he was reading something else into Kal's statement.

"Well, yes and no," he rubbed at his eyes. "Yes it's faster, but it does present the problem of depending solely on the computer for direction. We don't have Larek with us like we did on the way out. He at least had some sense of the ship," Kal looked worried.

"Trust it, Kal. There's more going on with the ship than we could ever understand," Max said a sense of wonder in his voice. He looked at Michael. "Why don't you go get some sleep... both of you. I'll sit here. I can't seem to get to sleep anyway, and I'm afraid if I keep moving around in bed I'll wake Liz up. It's automatic pilot right? If anything looks to be going wrong I'll just signal to you."

Kal yawned before Max was completely finished talking, and Michael was already out the door. The two of them, along with John had put in many hours on the bridge in the last five weeks of the trip, even eating most of their meals there.

The bridge grew still, with just the quiet humming of the engines. Max hit the switch turning off the interior lights in the control room, and a soothing blue glow shone in through the observation window just barely lighting the cabin. He settled back in the captain's chair, propping his feet up and watched as the faint flashes of silver light streamed by outside. Stardust, he thought to himself with a smile. He checked the gauges one at a time, all looked well. He slid down in the chair resting his head against the back and closed his eyes.

It was a bright and sunny day, a park of some kind. He stood watching his young daughter as he pushed her from behind on the swing. She was a tiny thing, just like her mother; and as the little one turned around to smile up at her daddy, he saw the depth of her mother's eyes looking back at him. A peaceful wonderful vision, he smiled to himself. Liz was there too, sitting sideways on the swing next to his daughter. Her face glowed with pride and love. A crackling noise broke through his daydream and he quickly sat straight up almost falling out of the chair.

"..er -son. This is -em¡-i. Over." The voice was breaking up badly, but there was no doubt it was a human voice… a human male voice.

Max spilled papers and notebooks onto the floor as he raced to pick up the microphone. "This is the Horizon. This is the Horizon, do you read me?" His heart was beating out of his chest.

More crackling and static filled the bridge.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Both Liz and Kal flew into the control room only to see John and Michael sitting and grinning next to Max. "What's wrong?" Kal yelled. Worry turned to confusion at seeing their expressions.

"We've just received a message from Gemini," Max said with a proud shake of his head.

Liz's mouth fell open as she ran to him, grabbing him from behind around his neck. He swung around and pulled her down into his lap. "Gemini? What'd they say?" her excitement was bubbling over. "Oh my god! Gemini!"

"Apparently they've been running signals and an occasional voice message out into space for the last few weeks. This was the first time we were close enough to pick anything up," Max explained.

"It's not crystal clear," Michael added. "Transmission keeps breaking up, but it'll improve now as we get closer."

"They're going to try again at 1800 hours," John fidgeted with a few gauges on the control panel. "Max sent a response to let them know that we have no idea of time… or the day for that matter. They didn't respond back, so we're not sure they received it."

"It's okay, I'm not going anywhere. I'm not moving from this spot. I'll bring you all in as soon as I hear a peep," Max said smiling up at Liz. "We're staying with you," she said without hesitating, rubbing at her now more than obvious bulge of a stomach.

Michael got up quickly, "I'm waking Maria up."

"We'll all want to be here for the next one," Kal remarked. "Buzz us. And don't let them off the line until we're all up here!"


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Once the others had left in a bustle of excitement, Liz again flipped off the lights and snuggled in close, sharing the chair with Max. Laying her head on his chest, he sighed and she nodded. "I know, me too. I am so excited. There's just no words for what I'm feeling right now," she said quietly. "Who was it that you were talking to? Evan? Fannel? Or somebody else?"

"It wasn't Fannel or Prost. I don't know who it was. Doesn't matter. Definitely Gemini. We're almost there, darlin'," he pulled her hand up to his lips, "We're almost home again," he repeated as he twirled the brilliant stone ring around on her finger.

"My Dad is going to be sooo excited! Just wait ‘til he hears he's going to be a grandfather," she declared proudly grinning from ear to ear. "You know, I've tried so hard to imagine what he must have thought when Evan gave him my journal."

"I've thought a lot about that too," Max exclaimed. "Wonder what kind of reception we'll get?"

"Oh, your Mom and Dad will be so happy to see you, Max," she reassured him. "And Kyle… and Sheriff Valenti! Oh Max, I can't wait to see everyone!" Her voice grew more excited with every word.

"You know, home is where the heart is, and mine will always be right here," he laid his finger at her chest.

"I want to sit in a booth at the Crashdown and do absolutely nothing at all," Maria's voice came from behind them making them both jump. Liz laughed as her friend danced into the room with Michael close behind. "Lizzie!" The two girls jumped up and down hugging and spinning each other around.

"Yeah and then there's Amy," Michael said with a frown. "I'm the man who abducted her daughter," he said with a strange somewhat worried look on his face. "I think I'll have some atoning to do."

Maria snuggled into his arm. "Oh Michael, you know she loves you, she has always loved you. Besides I'll come visit you in prison," she grinned at him playfully.

The two couples settled into two of the commanding chairs and waited in silence in the semi darkness of the bridge. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop as the lights softly flashed around them outside, painting a picture that could never be captured on canvas.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


As the hours passed, the four dozed off, each in their own warm versions of their soon to be homecoming. Max was the first to wake again, trying to stretch the kink out of his leg, he shifted Liz gently. She opened her eyes just as the sweet sound of home came through once again to them.

"This is Gemini. Do you read me? Calling the Horizon, this is Gemini."

Michael jumped up, catching Maria just before she hit the floor, and ran to the intercom pounding on all twenty buttons there and alerting the three others downstairs.

"Yes," Max said loudly into the mike. "This is the Horizon. We read you. Go ahead. Stay with us!"

"Max?" A familiar voice now came through a bit clearer than the previous voice. "This is General Evan Prost, my friend. It is so good to hear your voice!"

"Evan! Same here, man, same here," the relief was so clear in his voice. "We have no idea how far out we are. The ship has instituted an automatic navigation of some kind. We're not in complete control at this point."

"No problem. Once you're close enough, we'll bring you into Kirtland, in much the same way as you left."

Maria was now frantically pointing out the front observation window at a very bright star just above the horizon level. "Oh.my.god.," her words were barely audible. "Is that it?" Liz shrugged as she joined her at the window. Suddenly Serena, John and Kal were running into the room as John threw on the overhead lights once again, temporarily blinding them all.

"It's Prost," Michael exclaimed excitedly.

"And the mission?" Prost's voice continued hesitantly, with a tinge of obvious concern.

"I'm ecstatic to say our mission was a complete success," Max answered proudly grabbing at Liz's hand as she returned to his side at the console. A cheer from many was heard from the other side through the speakers.

"We are now tracking you. Sit back and relax. How many of you are there?" he asked hesitantly.

"Seven," Max replied clearly. "Seven and a half," he corrected with a wide smile. "Why?"

"We'll need to quarantine you all for a short time once you arrive. Half?" his voice was thoroughly confused.

"I'm going to be a Daddy, Evan," he beamed into the microphone.

"Woah, holy shit!" was the response. "We'll make arrangements accordingly. Congratulations! As far as your navigation, when you get a bit closer we'll try to take control from this end, if it's necessary. Got some preparations to make over here, so I'm signing off for now. Don't go away," he chuckled. "Over and out."

"How much longer?" Maria asked impatiently. "Does anyone know? Hours? Days? Weeks?"

"I'd guess that Yucca Flats originally picked up our signal. They have some pretty sophisticated tracking equipment there, highly classified stuff." Kal shrugged again.

"Maybe a day. In case you haven't noticed the ship has been at Mach three for the last few hours. I could hear the difference in the engines," John explained.

"Wow, Mach three felt a whole lot worse than this when we made that jump into hyperspace on the way out," Michael questioned. "How come we don't feel the G's now like we did then?"

John shrugged. "We've just spent close to twelve weeks in space and three weeks on another planet, Michael. Something like that has got to effect our bodies… our entire sensory perception. That's probably part of the reason for the quarantine."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The crew tried their best to keep to the familiar routine of the last five weeks. There were other things to do now as well. Each one packed up their belongings, as well as checking the cargo hull to be sure that everything was stabilized for their landing. But most of the time, each and everyone had had a difficult time dragging themselves away from the vision now within view. The Earth, a large blue and swirly white sphere hanging out there in space, becoming larger by the hour.

At 2100 hours on the day after they had first made contact, the last message was received by the Horizon as Liz and Max sat in the control room after finishing their last meal aboard.

"Leave the navigation controls on automatic, Max. Don't touch a thing. In approximately two hours and forty-two minutes, you will be in Earth's atmosphere. Within seventeen minutes of that time, you will be approaching a landing at Kirtland. Just sit back now and enjoy the ride."

"Evan," Liz couldn't help asking as she laughed. "What's the weather in Albuquerque?"

"Well, it's very dark right now and sixty-five degrees, but the skies are crystal clear." Evan laughed back to her.

"Gotta love New Mexico," Liz commented with a grin as her heart warmed to the thoughts of home.

"So we just sit and do nothing?" Max asked questioningly into the mike. "Isn't there something we need to do on this end?" He was so full of nervous energy.

"Not a thing, Max. See you soon. Over and out."

"Wait! Is that it?" Max asked nervously still in disbelief.

"It's time for you and your crew to relax now," the voice on the other end added with complete understanding. "You've already done it all, and words do not begin to express our gratitude... the world's gratitude. Let us take it from here. You're in good hands, Horizon. Welcome home." The transmission crackled, as Liz settled comfortably once again in Max's lap.

"By the way. Thought you might want to know," the voice came across again. "It's the 24th."

"24th?" Liz repeated. "Evan, what month is it?"

"It's December. From Project Gemini to the crew of the Horizon. Merry Christmas."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The End.



Author's note: To all the loyal friends old and new who shared this journey with me, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Hope you all had as much fun with it as I did. :)
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