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Area 51, Nevada

Malcolm Locklear watched his daughter turn her back on him and walked away. He didn’t go after her, didn’t try to stop her in any ways. She was right, he knew nothing about her, there seemed little chance of success if he started now. She wasn’t even part of this planet, this solar system. It was all getting too much for Malcolm to handle, once he lost sight of Avis down the hallway, he turned in the other direction and found a door. It was some side or back entrance, and there didn’t seem to be anyone around and Malcolm too this opportunity to find a dark corner of the base to scout out before he made a dash for freedom. He doubted getting off the base would be any easier than breaking in, the fence itself was enough of an obstacle for the middle-aged man. Thankfully he was smart enough to grab one of the hand guns from the storage room, he just hoped he wouldn’t have to use it.

In the darkness, Malcolm waited for Rhel’s ‘sign’, annoyance and anger flowing over him over and over. Anger at Avis’s attitude, at how she chose the side of a criminal over her own father. He never trusted Rhel, and he worried that Avis was blinded by her opportunity to go off into space to see the danger she was in. And he just left her, let her go off like that… what sort of father was he? Was she really an alien as both Anna and Rhel claimed she was, even Avis seemed to believe it… but Malcolm couldn’t see it. Besides her unusual ability, something he was still trying to come to terms with, he didn’t want to believe she was an alien… that would me Nyria was one too. At that moment, Nyria’s face floated to the front of his mind, her bright red hair, green eyes that seemed to sparkle with gold dust. She had such a fierce independence in her, but when he found her in Vegas there was such a vulnerability to her that he couldn’t ignore or forget, even now. She had looked so human, maybe a bit crazy at times, but human.

Yet how was he to explain the ship he saw, the same ship that Avis and Rhel were heading towards now. Obviously there were things out in the galaxy that he was unaware of, ignorant of, but Malcolm knew deep down he wasn’t ready for that giant leap.

Malcolm let out a sigh, and turned his head northward just in time as a blinding explosion of red light erupted towards the sky. It looked like a volcano had just exploded out of the earth beneath them. So this was Rhel’s signal… Malcolm thought with a disapproving look. Flashy, but productive. Malcolm could hear faint shouts and motors running in the distance, all were now focused on the bright red light. Now would be his chance to escape.

“Shit.” Malcolm said with a final look to the south before turning and heading towards the north hangar. He couldn’t leave her like that, he doubted if he’d ever see Avis again. He’d at least see her off.

***

The controls for the hanger’s domed door clearly wasn’t on the main level, Rhel discovered after a quick walk around the floor. He made sure all doors and entrances were blocked and secured. He had blasted his way in but he knew it wouldn’t take long for the rest of the base to centre in on the hanger and force their own way inside. He didn’t know how long it would take Avis to download the AI and other memory back into the ship, not to mention if the crystals would even work at getting enough power to lift off this god-forsaken planet. He was relying a lot of Wyess intelligence and the teenager currently on board.

Above Rhel there seemed to be a catwalk that ran around the second floor of the hanger, with what looked to be offices and hopefully the controls. He was about to fly up there when the ship began to put out a small hum. So the girl did it, Rhel said impressed.

The second he looked back at the ship, the main double doors of the hanger were blown off, a violent shockwave hit Rhel in the chest, knocking him over. Gun fire erupted and filled the space as Rhel dove and ducked for cover behind a pile of metal crates. Loaded his gun, popped back up and fired several shots at the darkened shapes of bodies that began to enter.

Stuck between a ship that wasn’t ready to launch, and an entire military base full of soldiers, Rhel weighed his options carefully. He had enough ammo that could last him a possible fifteen minutes, depending on his aim and how many took the first initiative to try to rush him. But the air base housed more men than he had ammo, and his own energy level was getting low, especially after that showy display. He could push himself for another few energy blasts, but once his energy was completely drained he would be in a very vulnerable position. He’d be like any other human at that point. He wasn’t that desperate yet.

Rhel’s eyes glanced above him, then narrowed in on one office window. There was movement inside. There wasn’t enough light for him to see clearing but he feared that the soldiers were going to damage the controls that could force them to remain on this planet. Not good… Rhel thought as he jumped out again and laid down a heavy line of fire.

***

Malcolm had followed all the traffic, the soldiers and trucks towards the large hangar on the north side of the base. With all the commotion going on, and the several civilian scientists still working on the base, Malcolm managed to squeeze through without much hassle. There was an explosion, something like a bomb that opened the drive doors and allowed the start of the forces to move inside. They were met by gunfire from what must have been Rhel who stood between them and the alien space ship. Malcolm studied the layout and realized the only way for the ship to disembark was through the ceiling, which meant there had to be controls to open it.

Clearly Rhel was going to have his hands full with holding off the American Air Force, and he didn’t want to see Avis be forced into the fire fight any more than she already was. Well, Malcolm thought, this would show Avis that she did need him, if only to help her fly out of there. As the soldiers engaged Valentine, Malcolm found a staircase up to the second floor and rushed to find the controls. It took him breaking open a couple of doors before he found the right office that held a desk full of controls. Fiddling around with the buttons and levers, the roof began to ease open at an incredibly slow pace.

“Don’t move Locklear.” Anna’s voice filled the room, along with the sound of a caulking gun. Malcolm sighed and placed his hands up in the air. “You’re going to close that roof, now.”

“No, I’m not.” Malcolm turned to face the Lieutenant Colonel.

“What the hell Locklear? This is the find of the century, as well as the technology we need to make our mark in the galaxy. I thought you were in to all of that?”

“I am… but this is different…”

“Why because you’re so called daughter wants to go to her mother’s home planet?” Anna asked with a harsh, sarcastic laugh.

“She is my daughter! And you’re not going to get in their way.” Malcolm said, pulling his gun on her. Anna stopped laughing but the look on her face said she was ready to play a game of chicken and Malcolm wasn’t sure if he’d win.

“So now you get the fatherly instinct? Bad timing.” Anna said taking a step towards the controls.

“No! Don’t move!” Malcolm said. Without realizing it, he pulled the trigger, the gun fired but so did Anna’s. For a second Malcolm wondered if they both missed, but he looked down and saw the blood seeping through his white dress shirt.

“Step aside.” Anna said, pushing Malcolm away from the controls.

Knocked to the floor Malcolm looked up at Anna, trying to stand despite the pain only to see Rhel’s face glaring at them from the other side of the window. His right hand was glowing red with that unusual energy. Their eyes met, an unspoken message was passed through them, that followed with Malcolm nodding his head. The red energy filled the control room, it felt like the heat of a thousand suns as the room exploded around them.

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