JAKE sat up on the rooftop watching the men work on the bridge in the distance. The bridge was completely illuminated on the northern side, allowing them to work 24/7 until its completion. He heard his skylight window open and turned to see Liam watching him.
"Are you all right?" Jake nodded his head and returned to watching the workers. "Listen," Liam said as he walked over, "I'm really sorry. I…" Jake shrugged his shoulders and smiled.
"Don't worry about it. You didn't know who they were. I understand, but did you have to raid her mind?" Liam rolled his eyes and sat down next to him.
"I tried to, but I failed." Failed? Jake looked at him puzzled.
"What do you mean? She passed out right in front of me." Liam looked out onto the bay.
"Something forced me out. I don't know what it was, but my connection was severed. It was as if something was protecting her." Jake looked over at him confused.
"Could her father have protected them somehow? So that they couldn't be controlled or whatever?" Liam laughed and tapped his mind.
"Odinians don't have the ability to connect with their own race like we do. They use machines called dream portals. It's…like a torture device, but also something we use for training. If you return to Ithaen to complete your training," Jake shifted uncomfortably, but Liam didn't notice, "you will use one of them. Well, if you make it to an upper academy." Jake nodded.
"So then what do you think it was?" Liam shrugged.
"I really have no clue. I doubt someone was protecting her. Maybe she was just overwhelmed with the situation and blacked out." Jake nodded.
"Good. I don't want her hurt." Liam crossed his arms against his chest and sighed.
"Are you and this human…"
"Her name is Emily."
"Okay…Emily. Are you guys a couple?" Jake didn't meet his eyes, but nodded slightly. He heard Liam take in a sharp breath. "Jake, I must caution against," Jake snapped his head toward Liam and gave him murderous look.
"No. It's not happening." Liam met his gaze, and studied him.
"Hmmm. I'm just giving some advice." Jake stood up and walked away from him. "Jake, I'm not saying that you should leave her. I am giving you a warning. This is not uncommon." Jake turned around.
"I'm listening." Liam stood up and walked to his side, staring out into the bay.
"Ithaens and humans are, for the most part, biologically compatible. I've done studies." Jake looked at him with a concerned look. Studies?
"So there are half human half ithaens out there?" Liam shook his head.
"As far as I know, no. All we have done is see if our genetic material can be fused with theirs to create offspring, and it works. We have the same genetic structure, and reproductive methods. But, this is my warning to you." Jake nodded and held his breath. "You are different. I do not know what you are, but it cannot be fully Ithaen. You are…special. Have you guys…had…ummm..." Liam made weird hand motions with his hands. Ugh. He is so awkward.
"Liam…stop. I get that you are like a sort of big brother, but not right now." Liam laughed nervously.
"I only ask, because with us Ithaens…it can be…well…" Jake felt like he was going to die.
"What! I'm just trying to help you!" Jake put his head in his hands. This is not happening. "I'm just saying that with us it's more…intense. Things can get pretty carried away. I don't want you to…well…hurt someone." Jake pointed to the skylight window.
"Off the roof. Now." Liam laughed and put his hand on Jake's shoulder. He looked over at Liam and rolled his eyes. "So you want me to throw you?" Liam narrowed his eyes.
"I'd like you to try." Jake shrugged his shoulder and moved backwards.
"Don't tempt me." Liam laughed and turned, walking back into the house.
"I'm just warning you. Falling in love with a human…it's uncharted territory." And with that, Liam dropped back down into the house, leaving Jake alone. Brothers.
"Hey Jake?" He turned and saw Olivia's head poking up through the skylight. "She's awake."
EMILY woke with a splitting headache. When she finally opened her eyes, Olivia just said 'oh' and burst out of the room. Nice to know she's being talkative. Emily mustered the strength to swing her legs over the bed she was in, and stood up. Well. I'm guessing the light headiness isn't a good sign. She fell back down onto the bed and looked around the room. She guessed that it must be a spare bedroom. It looked like it hadn't been touched at all. The door opened and her father walked in. He looked good, for having to deal with a war and all.
He held out a glass of water and some Tylenol. "I'm guessing you might need these." She swallowed them before she could even reply. "Looks like I guessed right." She smiled and took another sip of water.
"Thanks." He sat down next to her and squeezed her leg.
"Are you feeling okay?" She nodded, but squirmed uncomfortably.
"For the most part." He looked at her sadly.
"Cassie told me what Liam could do. He is…well. He is sorry. I think he wants to talk to you." Well, maybe this conversation will go better. He laughed at the look on her face. "Remember. They are good guys."
"Sure didn't feel like it." He rubbed her shoulder, and kissed the top of her head.
"Everything will be okay." She sighed and leaned her head into his shoulder. I wonder where Jake is. It was almost as if he could read her mind. A soft tap came from the door, and Emily looked up. He stood up against the doorframe, just staring at her. Looking perfect as always. I don't understand how someone always looks like that. He arched his eyebrows and she nodded her head. Yeah, I'm all right. Her father cleared his throat and stood up. "I will leave you two alone." He nodded as he walked past Jake, and closed the door behind him.
They both didn't move for a long time. Finally Jake closed his eyes and sighed. "I'm sorry," they both said at the same time. He smiled and moved to her.
"Why are you sorry? I'm the one that pretty much barged into your house and verbally assaulted some aliens." Jake cringed a little but smiled.
"Yeah. Probably not the best thing to do, but it was pretty bad ass." She smiled and laced her arm around his.
"Bad ass? I don't think anyone has every described me as that." He laughed and fell back onto the bed.
"Nope. Probably not." She lay down next to him, and they both stared up at the ceiling. She glanced over to him, and studied his expression now that she was close to him. He looks tired, like he hasn't slept at all. "Wait…how long have I been out?" He looked over at her and thought about what she had said.
"Uhh…maybe like ten hours or so?" Ten hours! She closed her eyes. It felt like minutes.
"Oh…so that's why you look so tired. Why didn't you go to sleep?" He reached over and grabbed her hand.
"I couldn't." She blushed and looked back up at the ceiling, through the skylights.
"You guys have a lot of skylights in your house." He laughed and pointed up to them.
"I made my parents put them in every room. I like the open air, and the stars. It helps me sleep at night."
"Ha! So Jacob Gray does have a weakness…the dark." He rolled his eyes.
"You got me." She squeezed his hand a little, and leaned up against him. Emily groaned from the pain in her head. "Don't worry I'm here." He wrapped his arms around her. "How are you doing though?" She closed her eyes and rested her head on his chest. She could feel his heart beating against her ear.
"Better, now that you're here. But, I feel weak. I'm not really sure why."
"It's understandable. This is all a lot." She nodded her head.
"Yeah, the whole intergalactic war thing. I can't believe that you knew about all this. The Ithaens and the Odinians, and you actually know them." She felt his breathing get shallower. "How long have you known?"
"Not that long. Around the time when school started." Emily was shocked.
"Really?" Jake nodded.
"Yeah. It's my parents that work for them. They just told me, because…well…I guess some things happened." I wonder what he is talking about.
"What do you mean?" He breathed in deeply, and muttered 'now or never.' What does he mean by that? Jake sat up, and let go of her, moving to the attached bathroom. He turned on the sink, and came back with a glass of water. Oh no.
"Emily…I'm…it's better if I show you." He sat down next to her, holding the cup between them.
"Jake…" She looked at his face, but he wouldn't meet her gaze. He held up his other hand placed it over the cup. She watched in amazement as the water floated effortlessly up, and around his hand. He moved his hand away, and set the cup on the bed. All of its water was floating around his hand. Emily didn't move, or breathe while he moved the water through the air. This is…impossible. I…how can… He blew lightly on the water that was floating in between them. It froze in a perfect sphere, and then he let it drop back into the cup.
They sat in silence for a while, until he finally looked up at her. "I wanted to tell you, but…" She shook her head.
"No. No, I…I understand. This is where you've been. Learning how to…do…all this." He nodded. She looked him in the eyes, studying his expression. Jake almost looked ashamed. "I think I knew the whole time."
"What?" She laughed and thought back to the times they had been together.
"Your eyes would change color for one. A girlfriend notices those kinds of things." He smiled and nodded his head. "And you seemed to be…too perfect."
"Thanks for the compliment." She playfully hit him on the shoulder.
"You don't…I don't know how to explain it. You aren't like anyone else I have met. You moves are different. But not like a true Ithaen." Jake nodded seriously and held his hand up in front of him and clenched it.
"That seems to be the problem. No one knows who, or what, I am." Emily glanced at his face, and could see the sadness in his eyes. "It just sucks. I love my parents, but there is just this feeling…I don't know. It's just hard." She moved in closer to him, and grabbed his clenched hand. His grip is hard. I guess that comes with the territory. She laced her fingers around his, and tried to loosen his grip. Once he opened his fist, she traced her fingers along the lines on his palm.
"I know who you are. Don't forget that." She looked up into his eyes. He smiled and leaned his forehead against hers.
"So…you want to stay with a alien boy?" She closed her eyes.
"Yes, you are my alien boy," she whispered. His lips lightly touched hers, and she smiled.
"Good, because I wasn't going anywhere."
LIAM sat down next to Cassie and laid his palm on the tablet. "Welcome, Liam Star." He was the last one to arrive at their little meeting. Around the large computer sat himself, Grace on his left, Cassie on his right, Arthur right across from him, and Richard and Olivia on either side of him. It troubles me that so many outsiders know of what is happening. Especially the girl.
"Now that we are all here, I think it's time to call the others. Ivan, initiate the meeting please."
"As you wish, Mrs. Gray." One by one, the holograms of the other trainers around the world appeared. Liam only noticed five appear.
"Cassie…we are missing one." She looked at the empty spot, and frowned.
"Ivan, when was the last time Tom, Marissa or Mary logged into the system?"
"Yesterday ma'am." She shifted nervously in her seat and glanced at Liam. This is not good.
"Ivan, please conduct a life scan on the apartment and the training room. Is there any sign of human or ithaen life at the New York training facility?"
"On moment please." Liam grabbed her hand, and she squeezed tightly. "Negative ma'am. No life forms have been detected. Security systems seem to be breached. From scanning the internal structure it appears that three bodies have been discovered in the living room, and one in a bedroom. All life forms have been deceased for approximately twenty hours." Everyone in the room seemed to release their breath at the same time. Cassie wiped her face with both hands.
"Thank you Ivan." The room was silent for a while. Liam glanced at the other trainers in the room, and wondered what they must be feeling. They know that they are being hunted one by one, and that there is nothing they can do to stop them.
"So they are coming. For all of us, correct? And they have already killed some of our best trainers, and Mary the krinia. I met her, she was a tough one." Liam looked at Craig across the table. He had a smug look, almost as if he enjoyed the failure that had occurred.
"Of course they are coming for you," said Liam. "You are the ones that are housing the krinia. We told you they were coming," he said cooly. Cassie held up a hand.
"It does not matter that they are coming. Ivan, can you access the surveillance feed of the building prior to the approximate time of death?"
"Of course. Two individuals seemed to have broken into the apartment. Pulling up the video now." Across the large tablet, a man and woman appeared, breaking down the apartment door. Grace gasped and pointed to the man.
"That's Ared. The leader of the four, and with him is Ninde. I have never actually seen Ared in person, but Ninde was aboard the ship that I destroyed. I narrowly escaped her." Liam nodded and sighed.
"They must have split up. Probably two going to each continent." Cassie nodded.
"So what is the plan of action? We have to keep the krinia safe, and they possess the exact locations of everyone of your krinia," said Arthur. "They have split up, and the two Ithaens possess a ship, so they are probably already in London." One of the other trainers spoke up in response.
"What do you mean they have our exact locations? How do they possess that knowledge?" Arthur shrank back into the couch, avoiding her eye contact. Liam stood and looked her in the eye.
"It does not matter how, but that they do. Cassie, what's the plan?" She looked at Richard, and he reached out his hand, grabbing her own. Cassie looked towards Arthur.
"How does the tracking work? Can you disable it?" Everyone looked at him expectedly.
"I could, but they would know immediately that I had disabled it. Only I have that kind of access. They don't even have that privilege. "
"So," Grace replied, "I believe that you have switched sides, correct? Disable it." Arthur put his hands up in defense.
"No Grace, he is right. We need him on their side, at least in appearance. It gives us the advantage." Liam looked at her and nodded. "Trust me." He looked over at Arthur and nodded. "I'm with you, but is there a way we can freeze the tracking signal? So that they have the location, but not a live feed?" Arthur thought about what he said.
"Yeah…yeah that could work. It would be quite simple to." Liam nodded.
"Good, so we can move the krinia." Cassie nodded and swiped the tablet to present a map of the world.
"We can move them all to Antarctica, at the main base. It was meant for threats like this. All of you need to leave immediately as in the next few hours. I want hourly updates on your progression to the Antarctic base. All of you are authorized to use deadly force against the Odinians. After this meeting, please inject yourself with your combat serum. You will need it." They all nodded in agreement, and one by one, the holographic images cut out. "I just hope we aren't too late like we were in New York." Liam nodded.
"Arthur, you should leave and freeze the tracking devices as soon as possible." He nodded and made his way to the elevator.
"I will contact you when it's finished." Liam nodded, and watched as the elevator doors closed on him.
"I don't like this." Liam was surprised to hear Olivia speak. "It seems to easy. I feel like we are underestimating their capabilities." He looked at her.
"What makes you say that?"
"Twenty hours ago they killed a krinia in New York. I bet that the other Odinians and the two other Ithaens are extremely close to the other krinia by now. They will track them, and could possibly follow them to Antarctica. All the krinia will be gathered there, and let's face it, even together they are no match for the Four." Grace smiled and nodded.
"She has a point, but this is our only plan. There is nothing else that we can do. We don't have access to other technologies like we do on our home worlds. We just have to trust that the other trainers will be as vigilant as you." Cassie nodded.
"They will be. They are trained for this." Liam glanced over at her and nodded. "So, that's everything correct? I'll stay…"
"Not quite," Liam interrupted her. "We have one more thing to discuss." At his final word, he pointed at Olivia.
"Me? What do you want with me?" Cassie looked at Rick and nodded.
"You are a risk. Non-trainers should not know about our world. You should have never been informed. That is the rules."
"And Earth should never have been attacked according to you rules. Just because you are a big bad Ithaen doesn't mean crap." This little girl, she knows nothing! How dare she talk to me like that?
"Liam." Cassie spoke softly. He jerked his head towards her. "I believe, I have a solution to our problem."
"What do you mean?" She looked towards Olivia and smiled.
"You remind me a lot of myself at your age. Strong willed, a little bit of an attitude, but good natured and warm at heart. You would do anything to protect Jacob, and your friends. It is something that I admire greatly about you." Olivia swallowed hard and shrugged her shoulders. "So me and Rick talked it over. As the heads of the krinia program, we would like to offer you a training position." Olivia's jaw dropped, and Liam stood up.
"What? You're going to offer it to a teenager?"
"I seem to remember a young telepathic krinia being trained by a teenager, Liam. I think that he turned out quite well. She is more than capable. And she has hand to hand combat experience already with her karate training." She turned back to Olivia and nodded. "This is a tough decision, so take your time. But, I hope that you highly consider it." Olivia sat frozen in her seat, looking from Liam to Cassie, not knowing what to say.
SITTING on the front porch helped Olivia clear her mind. The Gray's lived on a normal street, with regular people out walking their dogs, mowing their grass. It's not like those things have been taken away from me. I've just been exposed to so much. Her old life seemed a world away. That morning she was considering what undergraduate program she would choose to help her reach law school, but now she wasn't sure. Jake's dad did it, so I would be able to. But the question wasn't whether she could; it was whether she wanted to. "Having a hard time deciding?" Olivia turned to see Rick looking out on the street beside her. "Mind if I sit?" She nodded her head. He sat there just watching the world like she did for a while, not saying anything. Olivia finally couldn't take the silence, and cleared her throat. "Oh, I'm sorry. I got caught up in all the normal. I'm sure it's something you understand."
"Yeah. Everything is different now. I just…even if I said no, how would I even continue to live my pathetic life knowing what I know." He looked at her very seriously and shook his head.
"Number one, your life is not pathetic, and will not be no matter what you decide. Second, you don't. We can't erase your memory. I mean I'm sure we could, but I would never let them do that. What you have to decide is what role you want to play in the grand scheme of things. Remember though that no one will judge you for not playing one as well."
"But how do I decide? You guys are a major part of my life. A part of me just says to drop it all and train with you, and help the next generations, but after all this, will there be next generations?" He laughed and put his hand on her shoulder.
"Olivia. You aren't dropping anything. Hell, I was in med school when we had our second krinia. Look how I turned out." She laughed. That's right. He is still a doctor.
"Yeah, I guess. It's just…"
"I completely understand. Sometimes Cassie doesn't get it like I do. She was born and raised into this, her parents were the heads of the program before her, and so she was bred to do what she is doing. I, on the other hand, was only recruited after Cassie and I had been together for a while. Her parents thought they saw something in me and that was that. But I understand what you are thinking. All I will say is that no matter what you decide, you will still go to school, still live a normal life, and still do the things you want to do." She looked out onto the street and smiled. Maybe it doesn't change anything. Maybe I still can do everything I wanted to do. She stood up and looked at Rick.
"There is one stipulation I have." Rick raised his eyebrows questioningly.
"What? If its some sort of salary, trust me, you will be handsomely rewarded…" She shook her head.
"No, but that is nice I won't lie. It's about my family."
"No. They have to be informed. I understand that you think it is a risk, but…" He shook his head.
"Olivia, we can't. It's too many people."
"Why not? I don't understand these stupid rules! We are…I don't even know how far away from Ithaen, but I'm guessing it's pretty far. How would they even know?" He sighed and crossed his arms.
"This is a dangerous job. Letting them in would only make more problems for us, more liabilities. The fewer there are who know, the easier it is to keep tabs on everyone." Keep tabs?
"What do you mean? Are you saying you can't trust my family? You've known them every since all three of us kids were in kindergarten!"
"That's not what I meant. It's just…you don't get it. The Odinians, if they knew who you were, would try to use your family against you."
"And what does that have anything to do with it? If they want to use my family, they won't just say 'oh, can't use them as leverage, they don't know we exist.'" He seemed to be stumped with what she had just said. She decided to push her luck while she was ahead. "If you won't let me tell them, then at least let me tell Luke. He deserves to know, this whole thing affects him just as much as it does me." He met her eyes, and nodded in agreement, to her surprise. Oh my god, he is actually going to let me tell him.
"We will have to talk to Cassie, though I'm not sure she will say yes. She doesn't take these things lightly. But what you should really ask yourself is if Jake wants Luke to know." With that, he walked past her back into the house. She looked back and watched him go. She hesitated before she went back in with him. Olivia turned around and watched two parents playing with their child on their front lawn. I've made my choice. She turned the handle, and walked into the house, closing the door behind her.
EMILY sat crossed-legged on the bed, staring around the room. Jake had taken her down the hall to his own bedroom since she had asked. She was staring at the huge water tank that stood in one corner. How he sleeps in there, I will never know. Jake had left with his mother to go discuss something she described as 'utterly important.' When he kissed her goodbye, she thought she noticed a hint of fear in his mothers face as she watched. I was probably imagining things. She brushed it off, and stood up to observe the rest of the room.
It was, ironically, almost exactly how she pictured it: very modern, neat and almost void of personal belongings. He had some soccer trophies, photos of his family, and of Olivia and Luke, but nothing else. She opened the door to the bathroom and smiled. It smells like him. Again, everything was perfectly put away and looked as if he had cleaned it right before she opened the door.
"Ems?" She turned the light off and shut the door to the bathroom, greeting her father.
"What's up?" He sat down on the bed and pulled out his cellphone.
"I'm going back to the apartment to try and stall their progress by tinkering with the locator a little. I was wondering if you wanted to come?" Emily shook her head immediately. He chuckled and stood up. "I didn't think so, but I'd thought I would ask. I'll see you soon." Emily bit down on her lip lightly and played with her thumbs. I have him alone. This is the perfect time.
"Hey dad, wait up a second." He turned around and arched his eyebrows.
"What's wrong?" Emily sat down on the edge of Jake's bed, motioning for him to close the door. After he did, he sat down next to her, looking at her with a grave look. "Emily?"
"It's…nothing too serious. When Liam read my mind, and I passed out, I had a…well…a dream." He nodded, signaling for her to continue. "Mom was there. But…I don't know…it didn't seem like I was imagining it. She somehow entered my mind and said some weird things." Emily could see the tears stinging her father's face. I shouldn't have told him. "Dad I'm sorry…"
"There is nothing to be sorry about Emily. What did she say to you?" Oh boy, he's not going to like this.
"She said…well…she said that she was lost to us, and that saving the Ithaens is the right thing to do and that we should focus our energy on saving them. She told me that they were never going to return her, and she said something about her birth? That they would never return her because of it?" Her father looked away and rubbed him temples.
"Sounds like you mother. How she came to you, I don't know Emily, but I swear to you I will do everything to try and bring her back. I promise." Emily smiled and leaned into her father, giving him a light hug.
"Go on dad. Let's help these kids first." He hugged her back, and left the room. He really thinks that he will see her again. Emily forced back the tears that were beginning to build in her eyes. She wanted to believe that she would see her mother again, but how did that even seem plausible? She had been gone for so long, but Emily now knew that she was alive. How would we even go about saving her? She could be light years away from Earth! But something inside her told her that wasn't true; she was still a prisoner on Earth, somewhere, caught within the crossfires of a war they didn't belong in.
A soft tap came from the door that startled her. "Oh! Jake! You scared me." He smiled and slid down next to her.
"Sorry, just thought I'd come tell you the news; Olivia is going to be a trainer." Emily laughed and slapped her knee.
"You know, I'm not even really surprised one bit." He nodded his head.
"Yeah me neither." He stood up to go look out the window. She watched as his eyes followed what she presumed to be her father heading back home. He's doing it again.
"You know, to me, you're pretty much an open book. What's going on now?" He turned and flashed her his toothy smile, making her heart skip a beat. Really? You would think I would be over that by now. Before she knew it, his face was inches away from hers.
"What makes you think anything is wrong?" He put his right hand on her cheek and kissed her, pulling her closer to him with his other. She could feel the heat radiating from his body, his heart pounding in his chest like hers. It took everything she could muster up to pull away from him. He tried to follow her, but she turned her face and stood up.
"Nope. Not until you tell me what's going on." Even if I'm barely keeping myself from doing the same thing. Emily heard him laugh deeply in his chest and sigh.
"My mother has given me a choice; to either tell Luke about what is going on, or keep him in the dark. Naturally, I said it was now Olivia's decision, but they all agree I should make it."
"Really? That's it?" Jake looked shocked at what she said.
"That's it? I can either tell my best friend about a secret war that has been waged for centuries, or lie to him for the rest of our lives. Which sounds the least harmful?" Emily shook her head and put her hand on his shoulder.
"If you want my opinion, Luke can handle it. Hell, I bet he would even freak out. 'I have an alien as a best friend! Hell yeah!'" They both laughed at her rather poor impression of him.
"You may be right, but still. Exposing him to all of this seems unfair in a way."
"I was exposed to it." He looked at her seriously and shook his head.
"And if I would have had my way, I would have kept you out of it." This time she put her hand on his cheek, and he closed his eyes.
"You don't have to do this alone. You may be the most powerful, but you are still a kid just like us. Don't shut us out Jake, because that will only make you more lonely." He looked up at her and nodded.
"Thanks." She smiled and sat back down on the bed. He really does have a lot to deal with. "Sooooo…." She turned her head and gave him a curious look.
"What?" He smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
"Since we had our little talk…does that mean I can resume kissing my girlfriend?" She threw her head back and laughed, feeling her face get all red. He never ceases to surprise me.
"I think you've earned it."