Other Fan Fiction ❯ KISS Next Generation ❯ Gene and Paul's battle ( Chapter 15 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]


Tiara
Ladies Room II
Part 5
By Starbearer TM
Disclaimer: KISS belongs to themselves, as do the terms
of the Elder, and the likenesses of their makeup and persona. The concept of the Four who are One
belongs to Psycho Circus. Mona, Elliot, Tyler and Jeannie are my own creations, and are my attempt
to create a next generation of KISS. This means no harm to the organization or the band, and
represents a tribute to a rock and roll legend.

Jeannie's cloak swirled about her ankles as she strode out into the courtyard with her father and
the others. Her amber and scarlet stood out against their monochromatic black and silver. It felt
odd to be accompanying them on this quest, but she knew they had chosen her to join them. She, being
the only other besides KISS who had the power of flight.
With relative ease, Gene hurled himself into the air, Ace and Peter behind him. They simply
levitated upwards like characters from Dragon Ball Z, one of her favorite animes. Glancing at Paul
she threw back her long black cloak and took three steps forward to launch her into the air. Behind
her, Paul chuckled, simply rising into the air with a much less dramatic pose.
"You took off just like superman," he joked.
"Hey it WORKS, doesn't it?" she asked. Flying gave her a sense of freedom that she could get no
other way. Tensely Gene kept to a narrow course, not far from Ace and Peter. He looked pensive and
nervous, and Paul and Jeannie knew just why.
He hated heights.
"Damn good thing that chick's spell wore off," Peter commented to Ace. The spaceman held a
small-circuited box in his hands, peering at it occasionally as he flew along.
"What's that gizmo?" Paul asked.
"Scanner, of course," Ace said matter of fact.
"This savant thing is really taking off," Jeannie said. "You've been inventing all sorts of
things..."
"Hey, what can I say? Piece of cake," Ace shrugged.
"Man I'm smelling that weird chikara, the same as that Vanessa chick let off," Peter shook his
head.
"Who needs scanners with Peter's senses?" Jeannie laughed. "Or Paul's telepathy?"
"Sometimes you need a backup," Gene told her. "It never hurts to be cautious..."
A strange tingling buzzed in the bottom of Jeannie's skull, and she wondered what it was. Until she
remembered, Elliot's senses moving into hers. What a comic book would have called a telepathic
rapport, she realized.
*It is me, he telepathed to her, thoughts moving through hers with relative ease yet a
strange detachment. Relaying Peter's senses and my own to all of us.
A brain trust? Jeanie pathed back to him, focusing her thoughts in a way that was clear, and
exceptionally easy for Paul to receive. He had forgotten she had developed the rapport with Elliot.
The movement of her thoughts was jumbled, hidden and complex, like those of his friends, and
although there were similarities between hers and her father's, there was uniqueness that struck him
even now.
Gene suspects nothing, Paul pathed to her. Nothing at all.
*Perhaps we should tell him, Jeannie threw back to Paul.
*I don't know. I still say he'll kill you and me if he finds out!
*But surely he must know that you and I were together years ago in the past. Why would it be
different now?
*Because, Jeannie, then you were just a groupie. An encore, little more. At least on first
blush. But I knew then that SOMETHING was different about you. As did Peter.
Jeannie fought the momentary pang of anger surging inside of her. Paul glanced over, his apology
spilling into her thoughts. I should not have come, Paul. I'm compromising your ability to
concentrate, she thought to herself.
*It is my free will to say yes or no, Paul pathed back. *I am aware of the risks involved...
and because our love is true, I cannot deny its force or its passion...
*Why are you now less hesitant? She couldn't help but ask
*Because it's all starting to make sense now, Paul answered. *If we are to survive, then
we must forget some of our inhibitions...

"Shannon!" Shandi screamed when she looked in the mirror. "Shannon!"
"What's wrong?" her friend asked, rushing in from down the hall. KISS had been gone for nearly four
hours, and Shandi had lay down for a nap, while leaving her child with Jennie. "You almost woke up
the whole damn house with that scream!"
"Look!" Shandi cried, pointing to her image in the mirror. "I have a REASON to scream..."
Until this point, Shannon had failed to look her friend directly in the face she was so weary from
being ripped from sleep. However as she pushed glasses up onto her nose she gasped. Shandi turned to
look at her, eyes wide.
However, it was not Shandi, was it? Shannon's eyes widened and she gasped in shock. So did Shandi, when she looked Shannon in the face. Both women let out cries of fear, backing away from one
another. Shandi threw up her hands, whimpering in fear.
"What the hell?" Shannon got out.
"You... too..." Shandi squealed. "Oh my fucking GOD!"
"How did this... happen?" Shannon demanded, glancing at herself in the mirror, running fingertips
over smooth white skin. Dark lined eyelashes framed her blue eyes, her red hair suddenly transformed
to jet-black curls, ruby lips pursed in fear.
"It looks just... like that album cover... from love gun," Shandi shivered. Silvery glitter seemed to
shimmer on their eyelids with a violet undertone, their necks encased in the choker collars bestowed
on them by Ace. While their clothes remained unchanged, this sudden shift to whiteface and black
lined eyes was totally alien and indescribable. All features were the same except for the china
whiteface.
"I am going to get some ANSWERS," Shannon gritted, rushing out of the room. She raced downstairs to
find several other figures already gathered there, their babble of voices reaching fever pitch.
"I don't know HOW it happened; I just know I woke up like this!" Nathan shouted.
"What does this mean?" Susan answered. "We look..."
"I know but if it HAS happened to us why don't' we look like DAD?" Nathan demanded.
"What's going on here?" Jennie shouted, holding baby Kiara in her hands.
Tyler and Mona rushed in, each holding a baby in their arms. They noticed the entrance of
Shannon and Shandi, and stopped cold. When Nathan' eyes fell on Shannon, he shivered.
"Not you too," he said. Shannon stopped stunned, realizing the transformation in Nathan hair and
face.
"Oh god... Nate..." she got out, rushing over to him and fingering the distinctive patterns on his
cheek. While hers and Shandi's were plain whiteface, Nathan and Sofia's patterns were much like
Genes, with several major differences. Nathan's patterning was not exactly identical to his
father's, with fewer points, but decidedly draconian. Sofia's markings were crimson and yellow
flames patterned in the Demon design, her lips red, long hair spilling down over her back. Jennie
had the orange and black stripes like a white tiger, her hair wild and curling.
"It happened when we woke up," Nathan said grimly. Susan held the silvery purplish egg, wrapped
in its blankets, close to her chest. Dark eyes fixed in fear on her brother, towering a full head
and shoulder over the rest.
"I smell chikara, loads of it," Tyler said, sniffing them all up and down. "Identical to that of
the talisman..."
"You mean to say, that we've also been changed by its power then," Nathan asked grimly.
"Why not earlier, if that's the case?" Mona asked. "I mean..."
"Hard to tell anymore..."
"Take my kid, I'm going to run some scans," Mona said, handing her other twin to Tyler. She
rushed up into her father's computer room, leaving the other sin mutual confusion. Jennie handed
Kiara to Shandi, and sat down numbly.
"I don't think I can take much more of this," Jennie complained. "It's too much..."
"Well you don't feel sick do you?" Sofia asked. "I mean... other then the freaky face changes I feel
okay... don't you?"
"I feel all right... in fact I feel BETTER than I have for a long time," Nathan murmured. "It's as
if power is flowing through me that haven't been before..."
"That sounds familiar," Tyler muttered.
"How so, bro?" Jennie looked up at him.
"When we were first exposed to the talisman, we gained an influx of power unlike anything we had
ever experienced before," Tyler explained.
"So what you mean is that the talisman energy has finally transformed us then?" Nathan guessed.
"But I ask again, why now?"
"You must have been exposed to the power gradually over a long period of time," Shandi guessed this
time. "And maybe somehow your body... reached a point where it sucked up enough to change..."
"So... because you and I were close to the guys, we changed too?" Shannon asked. "I mean hell we
even SLEPT with them..."
"Direct sexual contact would probably trigger a change...' Nathan said. "But if that was the
case... then why wouldn't they have transformed every groupie or person who ever was in their
presence?"
"Timing perhaps?" said Mona, rushing downstairs. "Shandi is right. My sensors are detecting that
your body tissues are saturated with chikara. Nathan, you, Sofia, and Jennie have been exposed to
low levels of it your entire lives. But the last bunch of activities was the capper. And you Shan,
and you Shandi, well since you've been sleeping with the guys continuously, it's affected you
quickly... not to mention you've probably become more open to it because your bodies were possessed
by spirits from the same planet as the talisman's original source..."
"Heavy," Nathan shook his head. "So... does that mean we have the same powers as our fathers?"
"Hypothetically, yes," said Mona, glancing over the handheld instrument. She brought it within a
few inches of each transformed person. Jennie shied away from it as if were a poisonous snake, while Nathan and Susan looked at it with great interest.
"It is what you said," Tyler nodded, sniffing each one in turn.
"Great, another surprise for our dads, right?" Nathan asked.
"These readings tell me that each of you has similar powers to your fathers, but with some
differences... I think it will only become apparent in time what those differences are..."
"You mean like powers?" Nathan asked. "Just like Jeannie..."
"But with differences," Mona said.
"Will we need to keep taking recharges from the talisman?" Jennie asked. "Like you said you and our
dads did..."
"So many questions, and so few answers," Mona sighed. "I think I'm gonna have to do some
research..."
"Meantime maybe we should check in and see if they've found anything," Nathan said, reaching for
the KISS army dog tag around his neck. He held it for a moment, and concentrated.
"That you, son?" came his father's voice.
"Yeah dad. I think you'd better come home. Something's happened..."
"What kind of something?"
"Something Big... we've all changed," said Nathan.
"Changed how?" Gene demanded.
"We've been transformed... all of us dad," Nathan continued to explain. "Have you found the
runaways yet?"
"Nothing... they've totally disappeared," came Peter's voice. "I think we should pack it in and get
our asses home..."
"Agreed," Gene said. "Hang on, we're on our way home..."

"Here we go again," Peter commented. "Shit..."
"What is this about them CHANGING?" Gene demanded.
"I had theorized a possible saturation,' Ace said out of nowhere.
"Why haven't you told us about that till now?" Gene grumbled at him.
"Well, it was only a theory," Ace protested.
"Next time you HAVE a theory, share it," Gene snapped.
"Easy on him Gene," Paul suggested. "We're all on edge..."
"If your son called and told you he'd been CHANGED..." Gene started, but shut up at the pained look
upon Paul's face.
"Dad... I'm sure it's no big deal. If they WERE at risk or dying, they would have told us, right?"
Jeannie said practically.
***
Again they landed, rushing quickly into the house as Ace deactivated the defensive perimeter. As
quickly as it had fallen, the barrier resumed behind them. Jeannie noted the advance of more
technology rebuilding her father's home. How much more would they add to the already advanced
features like food synthesizers, solar panels, collecting UV rays that could penetrate the haze of
thick midnight clouds, or the force fields that kept all intruders out?
Nathan rushed out to meet them first, Gene's eyes in shock as he took in his son's appearance.
Grasping Nathan chin he turned his head from side to side, regarding the demonic patches of black
intertwined with crimson that framed the dark eyes. His spiky hair was starting to grow longer as if
before his eyes.
"Hi dad... you can see WHY we called..."
"Shit..." Gene answered. "I'm sorry..."
"It's not that bad. In fact I feel better than I have..."
"In ages," Jeannie completed.
"I didn't realize the chikara could build up like this," Gene muttered. "We could always control its
flow... but..."
"Since you kept them in this home... maybe we were exposed slowly over time without knowing it...
that's what Mona says..."
"Sweetheart are you okay?" Gene asked Susan. Jeannie took her sister's shoulders, looking at her
strangely transformed face.
"I'm okay... I just LOOK weird," she muttered.
"I'm sorry..." he apologized again, hugging both his children. "I never thought..."
"No you didn't," Peter answered, hugging his daughter. "But we can't change it, can we... ace?"
"They've bonded to the power..." Paul announced, his eyes glowing purple with the crackling of his
mental probes.
"A biochemical change," said Ace. "I suspect they won't even need to recharge much... another
hypothesis of mine was that while we need recharging on a regular basis... now our bodies are
automatically tapping into the talisman... and anyway, they don't appear to be consuming as much
power as we do... so..."
"It doesn't make much sense what you just said;" Nathan scratched his head.
"You guys have powers, but not as strong as ours, at this point," Paul explained. "From what I can
gather from the changes in your psyches, it's just enough to give you some of the abilities we
share... including the ability to draw energy as we do..."
"Or else there's a lot of latent chikara, unleashed from someplace else," said Paul. "Don't you
smell it Peter?"
"Yes... that outpouring. Someone's opened a door... and this is just a symptom..."
"Shit... what next?" asked Gene.
"That's what I'd like to know..."
"I need some sleep," Peter muttered. "If it's okay with you, I'm gonna crash..."

Paul sighed deeply as he sat on the edge of Jeannie's bed. Like Susan's, it was a perfect princess's room, dripping with ruffles and pink lace. The bedspread was spare, the other having been shredded when Jeannie attempted to make a nest during her blood fever.
He slowly tugged at his boots and slipped off his jacket, while Jeannie sat next to him. She leaned
over and breathed softly into his ear, "You can will it away, you know..."
"I know,' he answered. "But I still like to have some control, of being human... and taking off
clothes...is human..."
At these words he winked saucily, and Jeannie purred. Her tongue flickered over his ear, reaching
around to rub his chest from behind. He sighed softly, leaning his head back onto her shoulder. They
sat in silent appreciation for that moment, reveling in their close physical contact. Till Paul
turned around, and brushed his lips over hers for a sweet moment. Growling, Jeannie seized his face
and kissed him hard. Paul leaned over, pressing her under him as he kissed her in return. With but a
gestured she willed away her armor, and Paul shook his finger, "Tsk Tsk, leave SOMETHING to the
imagination, little girl..."
"Of course... I love to imagine the feel of your hands on me..." she whispered hoarsely. Her
fingernails traced lightly over his bare back, her touch driving him insane.
"Oh Jeannie," he whispered, kissing a path to her now bared chest. She arched under him, moaning his
name.
"Paul... Paul my love," she moaned. "Make love to me..."
"What the HELL is going on here?" someone roared. Paul's head whirled around, and Jeannie
broke her kiss, sitting half up to see who had so rudely interrupted them.
"Paul... what ARE you doing!" came the voice again, dark e yes stunned as they took in what was
transpiring.
"Didn't anyone tell you to knock?" Jeannie asked irritably.
"Jeannie... what's going on here..." said Gene, his eyes wide, his mouth hanging open with sheer
shock.
"Uh... Gene... I didn't see you there," Paul said, quickly pulling the sheets over Jeannie and
hiding her behind him.
"You son of a BITCH!" Gene roared, crossing the room in two steps. Grabbing Paul by the shoulders he
wrenched him off of Jeannie and hurled him across the room. In the nick of time Paul twisted and
levitated, avoiding a nasty fall.
"Dad, STOP!" Jeannie cried.
"I'll teach you to take advantage of my daughter!" Gene roared, eyes flaring crimson. "How COULD
you...."
"Gene... calm down... she WANTED me here..." Paul said feebly as Gene opened his mouth to breathe
fire. A quick optic burst from the black star diverted the flames, sizzling past Gene.
"I'll TEAR you from limb to limb... you DARE call yourself my best friend...how LONG has this been
going on..."
"DAD STOP!" Jeannie cried, as Gene pounce don Paul, hands around his neck to throttle him.
Paul aimed his vision into Gene's, his power reaching out to try and pacify Gene. However so hot
burned Gene's rage that it had no effect. Slowly the Demon began to squeeze him to death.
"Gene...I didn't mean... gasp... to hurt... she and I... love each other..."
"How could you seduce my OWN daughter DAMMIT!" Gene roared. "I ought to KILL you..."
"Stop!" Jeannie roared, throwing herself onto her father and grabbing his hand. She wrenched it free
from Paul's neck, and yanked him backwards. Paul held his neck as he saw Gene and Jeannie facing
off.
"Jeannie... don't interfere," Gene said, brushing her aside firmly,
"Leave him ALONE!" Jeannie roared. Suddenly she grabbed Gene, who had turned his attention on Paul,
and hurled him halfway across the room. He landed hard, smashing through the wall to leave a gaping
hole into the hallway.
For a moment, he lay there stunned. Jeannie rushed over to Paul, and helped him sit up. "Are you all
right?" she asked.
"Jeannie..." he choked, rising. "You..."
"Oh god..." Jeannie gasped. "Dad... I didn't mean to..."
"You... hit me..." Gene gasped, shaking his head and slowly climbing to his feet. The force of the
fall had not hurt much in reality. Something far greater had wounded him.
"I had to stop you, or you would have killed Paul..." Jeannie said, pushing Paul behind her.
"You... attacked me... your own father," Gene said, shaking his head in disbelief.
"You almost killed your best friend, I had to stop you..." Jeannie said in return. "And I will not
hesitate to defend him if you DARE attack him again...'
"My own daughter.... He seduced you..."
"No dad, you're WRONG. Paul and I love each other. And we didn't tell you because we KNEW you'd blow
your stack like this..."
"How could you... he's like you're freaking UNCLE!" Gene shook his head.
"He's the man I love..." she retorted.
"He seduced you... why with those powers of his he's capable of anything! You're not in your right
mind!" Gene got out, axe flashing into existence in his hand. She growled in return, summoning a
sharp sword, which she brandished before him.
"NO! Haven't you heard a WORD I said, father?" she asked. "I LOVE him! DEAL WITH IT!"
Gene's blow was blocked by her sword, her boot flashing out to kick him. Her dragon boot connected
with a sharp crack to his midriff. He had not expected her to counter his attack, rather hoping she
would move out of the way in fear. Collapsing to the floor, he lay stunned.
"Dad... I didn't mean..." she got out. "Oh god..."
"My own daughter... hit me..." Gene stammered, stunned. As she moved to try and help him up, he
backed away. Taking one look at Paul and one look at Jeannie he clattered to his feet. Before either
of them could stop him, he swung his axe at the wall, and smashed the window apart. In another
instant, he was gone into the night.
"FATHER!" she cried. "Don't leave..."
"GENE!" Paul cried. "I'm sorry... please don't go!"
All that answered their cries was an anguished roar that echoed on the ruinous landscape. The
defensive perimeter opened to let Gene fly up, spiraling into the night. Within seconds, he was
gone.
"Oh no... Oh god..." Jeannie cried, falling to her knees. She began to force back hot tears.
"Jeannie... I'm sorry..." Paul got out, taking her shoulders. "I didn't think..."
"HE shouldn't have attacked you... it was both our choices... why couldn't he understand?" Jeannie
asked.
"Because you're still his little girl," said Paul sadly. "Give him some time. He'll deal with it in
his own way..."
"But out there... alone?" Jeannie cried, turning to Paul with tears in her eyes.
"Yes..." Paul said, taking her shoulders. "But I don't regret being with you for a moment... I love
you Jeannie... and not even your father is going to keep you from me..."
"But my dad..."
"We'll look for him... I have a feeling he just needs to sort this out for himself. But if anyone
can survive out there I'm sure it's your dad... he's just got to accept that you are a woman, with
your own feelings..." said Paul, turning her toward him and embracing her. "But don't worry, he'll
be back..."
"I hope you're right Paul," she sighed. She rested her head on his chest and he stroked her back,
both of them staring out the hole that Gene had made, worrying about their future. Had they
compromised the safety of the team, and their future by succumbing to their passion?
***

On and on Gene flew, not sure not caring of his destination, and the only fact of what he was sure was his anger at the betrayal of his best friend and his own flesh and blood. What could have possessed Paul to claim Jeannie Simmons as his lover, Gene growled. Worse yet, what could have possessed Jeannie to hurt her own father, Gene? These questions swarmed in the fires of his rage, and the Demon growled ever louder as he surged full force against the
heat.
The distant screams and cries of battle resounded, perking Gene's interest. Grateful for the misery
to remove his attention from his misery and rage, Gene wheeled and flitted to the source of the
disruption. Anger surged when he saw a woman fighting off strangely clad figures, who sought to
throw herself upon her. Hair streaked with auburn and gray was short cropped as the woman; standing
near the ruined beach parried and kicked her attackers off with only an ice axe. Her body was sturdy
and well generous, her eyes flashing with rage. One of the attackers, clad in strange tattered
clothes hissed ferally and pinned her arms behind her back.
"Give us food!" howled the other creature, which advanced upon her.
"You MUST!" "Leave me alone!" she hissed, slamming her hiking booted foot on top of the first, who
released her. Anger burned in Gene, for the woman was human, unblemished in comparison to her two
attackers. Rage flooded his judgment and he swooped down from the sky to land in the midst of them,
his fangs bared and his armor surging over him as he transformed into a form of greater bulk and
size. Long ago KISS had learned of a more powered evolutionary form that readied them for battle.
Only under intense emotions could the Demon trigger this power, and rage was more than sufficient to
transform the Demon into his blood and thunder nemesis, the God of Thunder.
"Release her!" the God of Thunder roared. Both mutants turned, and Gene saw the scaly skin and
yellow eyes widen with fear as they be held him in all his glory. One of them had taken hold of the
woman again, she couldn't be more than five foot four, his sinuous hands clad in shredded garments
that hung loosely around his serpentine body. The other, almost the height of six feet flicked a
forked tongue from scaly lizard lips and hissed at Gene. His back was ridged like that of a
tortoise, a long tail with dorsal spikes protruding from the base of his spine and curling over a
green scaly pair of legs ended in massive talons. For a ludicrous moment it reminded the Demon of
Godzilla. However instinct overcame shock as the Godzilla man hurled himself at the Demon. Quickly
an axe flared into existence in his hand, and it wasn't long till Godzilla hissed with greenish
ichors from a wound in his chest. The shreds of cloth had been swept aside, revealing a scaly skin.

"YEEAAAHHH!" he screeched, and opened his mouth to spew a strange blue lighting on the Demon. It
slammed against the silver armor, not even scratching it. The other released the woman, and raised
his arm, sending an array of spikes that spouted from his forearm. Blasting fire the Demon reduced
them to mere ashes.
"She is OURS! OUR FOOD!" the second hissed. "Find your own." "
Share in ours," the other, Godzilla hissed. "And we will let you have the woman's flesh if she
refuses food."
"Leave her ALONE!" the demon roared, blasting fire at both. Quickly they scattered, and the woman
gasped up at Gene with a strange light in her green eyes.
"She is ours!" Mr. one-track mutant hissed again, and shot another bevy of spikes. The Demon circled
and slashed again with his massive battleaxe, sending the offending arm off in a spurt of black
ichors that dribbled form its shoulder. The monster had a goofy look of shock before the spiked
dragon boot slammed into him. Godzilla man screeched with fury, glancing Demon with a hail of
electric plasma. Demon fanned the flames back with his massive wings, and blasted his own fire at
his opponent. Snarling, Godzilla Man grabbed the woman and raised her over his head.
"She's YOURS!" he hissed, and threw her at the Demon. While the Demon rushed to catch her, both
reptilians slunk away into the ruined mass of beach houses. In his arms, the woman lay stunned, and
the Demon looked down at her. Slowly he shrunk in size to Gene in massive armor, his more human form that resembled the Demon onstage. She was breathing shallowly, and he smelled a familiar scent.
While the creatures had been clad in the remnants of what had once been human clothes, she was still
mostly dressed in a ragged T-shirt, short canvas shorts and a hiking vest. Slowly the Demon carried
her away to find a place where he could lay her down and await her recovery. However when she moaned in the silent and he saw her face, he was almost startled enough to drop her.
"How in the hell?" he growled, when a pair of green eyes flickered open behind glasses, and the
woman, who must be in her sixties looked up at him.
"I must be dreaming," she moaned, glancing up at him. "Radiation… poisoning…"
"Don't be scared, Ma'am," the Demon growled, still holding her off her feet. "I'm not gonna hurt
you…"
"Demon… Gene…" she whispered, her hand reached up to trace the curve of his face.
"How… I thought everyone had died in the impact…"
"I thought you were dead," he whispered, suddenly dropping to one knee and cradling her in his arms
more delicately then his massive form belied. "In a volcanic explosion…"
"No… I was at NASA, trying to make sure the missile trajectory was right," she said,
confused. "And then the comet hit, and all hell broke loose… we all went into the
bunker… but only I survived… and then I heard a radio signal… and got in my
truck and drove here…"
"You're alive…" the demon growled. "How is it possible…" "Gene, is that you?" she
asked, tenderly tracing his mask with her finger.
"Marcie… Dr. MacLaren," he whispered.
"It's me," she whispered. "Ray. Don't you know me Gene?"
"But…" he growled. "The name wrong…"
"I was only Marcy when I was onstage… how could you not know me Chaim…"
***
Familiarity of his name bristled and he licked his lips. Loneliness filled him, and he crushed her
body in his arms. She gasped as his lips closed over hers, and he kissed her passionately. Demon
fire surged over his body, channeling energies into her that he could not stop.
"Gene," she whispered. "I had hoped against hope you had survived… the others…"
"Are alive…" he whispered as they pulled from the kiss. Was it his imagination or did a few
of her gray hairs vanish before his eyes? She should be as old as he should, but she was slowly
melting and blurring like wax. Could the Demon aura of his powered form restore her youth, he
wondered? Even though KISS had been restored by a backfired spell by the Golden Princess, he
wondered.
"Shannon is dead," he whispered. "But Jeannie… the others are alive."
"Oh god, they are? Who else survived?" she asked.
"I don't' know… Mar… Ray…" Gene gasped, choking on the emotions of Shannon's
death he'd held back for so long. Gathering her in his arms he kissed her hungrily, and she moaned
under his lips as he held her in his arms and wrapped her close. She felt him tugging instantly at
her clothing, and carried her into one of the ruined beach houses. There was no place to safely do
what he desired.
"Gene… how did you… the talisman?" she asked.
"Are elsewhere," he whispered. "Damn… so much has happened… how long…"
"Two weeks," she whispered. "I tried to find survivors… hoped against hope…"
"I need you now," he growled, and lifted her up as he transformed into his demon mode. "Got to take
you to the others… it's not safe here…"
"Gene…" she gasped as he spread his wings and leapt into the ruined gray air, leaving the
ground behind. Raina MacLaren, Geologist for the us geological survey gasped as she saw the ruined
landscape of LA stretch under them, the Demon bearing her aloft as he had so many years ago. Her old
body, though fully strong, ached. Strangely a red mist surrounded them both, and the Demon licked
his fangs. She gasped to realize he had looked scarcely older then when she had first met him all
those years ago. Could the talisman reverse age? Why had he presumed her dead, and why had he called her Marcy. The demon wondered internally if history had changed, because as he recalled, Marcy
should have died, and yet perhaps had Mona and Jeannie's tampering of the past changed the outcome.
Why did he remember, and why were the memories shifting and blurring?
"Where are we going?"
"Home, no… wait… I can't go back there… my own daughter, our own
daughter… betrayed me…"
"What on EARTH are you talking about? Gene?" she asked. "You have to start from the beginning! Tell
me how…"
"Damn I want… I need," the demon growled, and then fused his lips to hers. She sighed under
the kiss, gasping as he spiraled in mid air, and suddenly plundered her breast with his claw. Before
she knew it he was tugging at the fastenings of her clothes, and she quickly shifted in his arms
realizing what he wanted. A hunger for human companionship twanged her, and as their kiss broke, she
loosened her belt and shorts and let the Demon undress her.
"Careful, those are the only clothes I have," she cautioned him. Still he seemed on the edge of
sanity, and she remembered well how the talisman power could overwhelm him most of all the others.
Tucking the shorts into his belt, she reached down and started to work at the spiked codpiece,
knowing what he wanted. What he needed.
He shifted her legs around his waist, and she nodded as he looked longingly down at her, growling,
"I hunger… I must have you NOW…"
"You have me, always," she whispered. "Easy…" Ray put her arms around his neck, kissing along
his jaw.
Above the massive scared radiation ground and the quiet eternity of heaven they made love, the Demon
roaring in the thin are of the mid atmosphere, the stars overhead pulsing in the thin veil of
atmosphere. By all rights she should be freezing to death, unable to breathe. Yet his hot kiss
shared the breath in their moth as his lips sealed hers off and they soared on massive black spans
of his wings. Their souls merged as one, and Ray saw the pain and fear in their shared bond that had
been severed so many years ago. Her eyes sprouted hot tears as the flutters shut, and the smell of
brimstone and fire filled her nostrils. Their passion was all consuming in hot fire that seared her
flesh but did not burn, its soothing heat flowing over her like hot wax. Her screams were not heard
as she saw his eyes flare crimson, and felt his hot seed spurt into her body's core.
Then he dropped back towards earth, plummeting as he pushed in deep; his wings wrapped around her
like a shell, the air whistling like a sonic boom. This forced them deeper together, and they were
as one before his wings spread and arrested their fall. His roar and her scream echoed over the
ruined city, her nude form clutched in his massive spiked arms, body still thrusting into her. Ray's
mind blasted to infinity in back as she felt the full power of the demon in her body that he shared
with her. When she came to her senses they were lazily gliding over the city, the disastrous red
dawn heralding a new day on ruined Earth. Ray panted as her heart slowed, and the Demon carried her
tenderly along. She shared another soft kiss and looked up at him, arms around his neck.
"I know, and I see," she whispered. "Damn…"
"Been so long since I shared," he whispered into her ear.
"So much pain," she reflected. "But you are the only hope that this world has…"
"How do we win against a foe like him?" Gene asked.
"We find the others…" Ray whispered. "There must be other survivors… other bomb
shelters… and you MUST take me back to the others… swallow your pride…"
"Are you the only one that still lives?" he asked. "In the bunker," she sniffled as the Demon soared
over what had once been Beverly Hills.
"I can't go back, not after Paul slept with our daughter…" he hissed.
"You must swallow your pride, Chaim," she scolded. "Extreme measures must be taken, to insure the
human race survives…"
"But… Jean…"
"Is an adult, she can make her own decisions," Ray chided him.
"But still…" Gene growled.
"Why was she with him?" Ray asked.
"Because, Elliot died, and I suppose they became close," Gene growled softly.
"We have to go back," she said slowly. "If for nothing else then to let them know we are
alive… and we need their help to find the bunker, where others survive…"
"And where is that?" Gene demanded to know.
"It is where I was, when I was trying to find help…" she said. "The shelter at the university
geological building, but I think… it links up to other shelters. I managed to find a way
through the subway system…"
"Tell me where," Gene said slowly.
"WE can fly back there," she whispered. "I'll direct you…"
"Hold on," Gene growled, picking her up in his arms carefully and spreading long dark wings as he
leapt up into the ruined atmosphere again.
***
Jeannie looked down at the egg laying in its jest. Slowly she picked it up, and held it to her body.
She looked to Paul and said, "YOU must find him. He's out there all alone, and it's my
fault…"
"I'll go find him," said Paul.
"I don't think we she be together like this," Jeanie whispered. "It's not good for the
team…"
"But Jeannie, I love you…"
"I know, but it's not right," she sniffled. "God knows I care for you too, but I can't afford the
pain… can you not somehow remove the memory of our relationship from our mind?"
"Would you really think that is necessary?" Paul asked.
"It is the only thing that will keep us together. When you find Gene, you must wipe his mind
clean… and I beg of you, please erase our relationship from his mind."
"Jeannie why?"
"For the greater good. I can't have my father away if we are to survive… and I must deal with
the loss of Elliot… in my own way. You shall remember for both of us…"
"Don't you have faith in our love?" he sniffled.
"It is for the greater good. I must let you go. And you must let me go. Perhaps there is a way to
bring Eliot back… that we have not yet thought of… perhaps Ace can go back and somehow
prevent him from dying…"
"What would that do?" Paul gasped.
"Prevent the pain of a father losing a daughter, and his best friend," she whispered.
"Jean, are you sure?"
"Yes, for the sake of my father and you and the trust you shared, you must," she said softly.
"Jeannie… please don't ask me…"
"Can't you see this is KILLING me?" she cried. "I MUST. To save the future you and my father MUST
harbor no ill will. Perhaps it's the coward's way out, but if we have any chance in HELL of
surviving, we must not be selfish…"
"Jeannie…" he cried.
"I let you go. You must remember for both of us… make it seem as if Elliot reached out from
beyond to be with me in dreams, and that is what I saw… for he WAS inside of you…"
"I will always love you," Paul whispered as he moved up to Jeannie, and slowly put his hands to her
temples. Closing her eyes, she let his mind slip into hers, and slowly caress her thoughts with his
love. A slight alteration was all that was needed, to lock the precious memories away. Tears rolled
down his cheeks as the Star Child sent his purple radiance into her mind, slowly locking away the
love and duplicating it with the memory implants that would keep things safely stowed away. When at
last the radiance faded, Jeannie blinked, and yawned.
"Sleep my dear, sleep," he whispered, and lay her down on the bed. He proceeded to touch the minds
of all the others in the house that knew, including peter, relieving them of the offending memories.
When he had done this task, he reached out to find Gene's mind and slowly readied himself for the
battle. With a last kiss to Jeannie he left, tears flowing like rain.
***
Paul raced ahead, flying as fast as a shooting star after Gene's mind trace of anger. It was easy to
scale in the darkness, a streak of rage wide. AS he approached he sensed another mind in close
proximity, that of a female. He frowned, realizing it was familiar, and one he thought was dead.
History must have changed, for he sensed the mind of the lead singer of Sweet Revenge, now a
scientist. How much had chanced with the children tinkering?"
Expertly he veiled his mind from Gene, suddenly feeling a series of frightening cries for help. They
blared out in fear and terror, begging to be released. Clamping down his mental barriers, he sought
to expunge them in his solitary search for Gene. They were not far from the arena, now, heading in
the opposite direction TOWARDS Gene's home. Readying himself, he saw the distant streak of crimson
fire that haloed the winged figure, bearing another aloft in its arms.
Purple energy blurred as he masked perceptions, slipping into the recesses of Gene's mind. At first
the Demon would sense nothing, as something briefly touched his thoughts and he kept it away. His
nostrils flared as he approached, and growled low in his throat. In his arms, the scientist asked,
"What is wrong?"
"I sense… I sense something… familiar… chikara… I feel it," he hissed
slowly as he circled.
"An enemy or a friend…"
"The fool, does he THINK he can mask himself from me?" Gene growled as he suddenly forced back the
illusion. Paul cried out as he flared purple and in a feedback of explosion he was apparent.
"Gene, wait!" he cried, appearing before him.
"You miserable traitor!" Gene roared, heading toward him at full force.
"Gene STOP!" Raina shouted, but he placed her gently down on a rooftop, before summoning his axe in
a blaze of fire, and hurtling full headlong at the approaching Starchild.
"NEVER!" Gene roared, transforming into his second evolution, which was the massive God of Thunder.
Paul recovered his wits, and knew he had to reach deep inside. Summoning his chikara, he reached for
that secret place and unleashed the power of the Star Bearer within.
"YEAHHHHHH!" he shrieked, as purple energy blazed like a supernova, and he transformed into his
second form, a purple robe flowing up and down his form. It would take up more chikara, but if he
was to do the task Jeannie had asked, he had to risk it.
As the Demon reached him, he raised his hand, a purple laser blaring forth from his eye to glance
off the volley of fireballs thrown his way. It was followed by a swing from the Demon's axe, and
Star Bearer formed a sword of pure energy, blocking his blow. Raina gasped as the two Elder met blow
for blow, power sparking back and forth as the Demon was pelted with rose petals in the face.
"LIAR, Traitor, I will feast on your heart and trample your bones in hell!" the demon roared.
"I must make you forget,' he said.
"STOP this madness!" Raina shouted, as she stared up at the two fighting. Fire wreathed over the
Star bearer, whose astral laser buffeted the hail, and steam rose as the two streams of energy met.
Star bearer reached inside his mind, trailing out a beam of pure purple force toward the Demon. He
deflected it easily.
"What are you doing, you'll KILL him!" Ray shouted. "CHAIM, stop it! Paul!"
"You must help me," came the Star Bearer's plea. "I must distract him… erase the memory from
his mind. It is Jeannie's choice, the only way to restore harmony."
"You can't just…"
"Please, for the sake of him and your daughter, you MUST!" came his plea, as the axe swung over his
head and he dodged, circling around and around in wider arcs with the Demon blasting fire at his
heels. As the demon flipped up and over, his boots sailed off his feet, hurtling toward the Star
Bearer as they wrapped around him, slowly squeezing the breath from his body.
"I'll CRUSH you, like the worm you are!" the Demon roared.
"NO!" Ray shouted. She reached at her pocket, and whipped out something. As the Demon whirled around
for another pass, she cried out, "GENE HELP ME!"
He turned his gaze to see her suddenly topple off the building. Rage turned to fear for her well
being, and he sailed toward her, his arms poised to catch her. But she stopped short, suddenly
suspended on a long thin wire clipped to the climber's belt. In that split second, his concentration
was broken, and Star bearer reached out, lazing off the constricting snake boots as he hurled a beam
toward the confused Demon.
"What is this?" the demon growled. "AHHHHH!"
He roared, his eyes flaring crimson as the ray hit him from behind. Marshalling all his strength,
Star Bearer sailed forth, increasing his concentration to a narrow focus. He slid into Gene's mind,
as the Demon burst with rage and confusion while Ray watched, biting her nails. Fingers closed over
his head, as the Star Bearer hit him with the full force of relaxation. In that moment he slid
inside the Demon's raging mind, plucking out the memory that caused the most pain and warping it.
While he could not erase it, he could at least soften it to something else. However the Demon soon
recovered, desperately and animalistically bucking and whirling in a mad flight as a berserker rage
took over.
"Gene, Paul no!" Raina shrieked, rappelling down on her rope as star bearer screamed, and the Demon
hurled him away. Into the forest of ruined buildings he fell, crumpling to the charred earth. The
Demon gasped, and turned to see her, blinking in confusion as she ran screaming his name.
"Ray… what…" he gasped as he landed, and powered down, blinking as he sank to his
knees.
"Gene, oh Gene," she whispered, rushing to him. "Paul… he's been hurt…"
"Where is he?" the Demon asked, as Ray helped him stagger to his feet. "What… I thought he
was back at the base… what are you and I doing here...Ray?"
"It's me Chaim, it's me, and it's all right…" she soothed. "But we MUST help Paul…"
"How did I get here?" he demanded, and it registered that the Star Child's memory block was a
success, but at what cost? So fiercely had the Demon fought against it, Ray guessed that it must
have taken its toll?
"I'll explain later. We MUST help Paul…" she said, as he stumbled with her arm around his
waist.
***
Paul felt the chikara drain from his body, slowly, leaving him in a weakened state. It had been
enough to bear the brunt of the fall, but he still ached all over. Slowly he turned over, and looked
around him. He had fallen through the roof of one of the ruined buildings, and he sensed no more
anger from Gene. In fact he sensed he had been successful, though the effort had cost him
dearly.
"Gene," he called in his mind.
"Where are you?" gene called out. "Paul!"
"Here…" he gasped, slowly standing, and falling forward on his hands and knees. He was weaker then he thought, and bitterly shook aside the ringing in his head.
"We're coming," Gene called out.
"I'm here…" he gasped, feeling the energies slowly seeping out of his body. He had not been so weakened, and he was far from the Chikara and the talisman. They had to get him back to recharge
and soon.
"Who goes there," came a low growl. He perked up his mind to see someone standing there, and
remember who it was.
"No… not you..." he gasped as he saw Darryl standing there, in full fox makeup.
"You are the enemy… I must find you… take you back to her… my mistress."
"I mean no harm," Paul gasped as he stumbled away, Darryl after him.
"But I must take you to her… you must be captured…" Darryl said.
"No…" Star child gasped, summoning his last chikara as he blasted the Fox with a relaxation ray. Darryl crumpled unconscious. Groaning, Paul felt the energy leach out of his body, leaving him in his most vulnerable state. The radiance faded from his mind, and he suddenly caught sight of his face in an antique mirror, shattered. In the whirling midst of the shards he saw human skin, and no sign of the star face he had known.
"What… no powers,' he gasped, feeling his face. He resembled himself at age 30, young and strong in simple jeans and a white vest, and a pair of boots. Groaning, he felt his head pounding, and stumbled on, desperately hoping that Gene would spot him on the ground. As he stumbled as far as he could from Darryl, he felt his vision swimming as he stumbled down ruined streets of an old neighborhood. He gasped as he heard the shouts and cries of someone soaring overhead, and saw a
woman floating in a golden halo, shouting Darryl's name.
"Shit," he gasped. There was no power to yell mentally for Gene. Desperately he rushed, seeing the
blaze of light from Vanessa, the Golden princess, scanning for Darryl, and for any chikara. He
blundered into what looked like a public library, and realized he had reached a university. UCLA's
campus, where Raina had once been a professor. Stumbling in through the half open main door, he
blundered into darkness, searching with his hands amongst the ruined stacks of books. He rushed as
far as he could, his mind swimming as he realized he must have a concussion. Further into darkness
he crept, till at last he felt the floor give way under him, and blackness surrounding him as he
plummeted into it. Perhaps a ruined floor or a basement, his mind reasoned before he struck his head
and knew no more.
***
"We can't find him," Gene said slowly. "I don't know what happened…"
"Shit," Ray sighed. "We'll need help…"
"I'll take you to the others," Gene said slowly as he circled around, and bore Ray back in the direction of the mansion. IT took a matter of an hour to reach there, but she gasped as they circled the mansion's plot, seeing the strange technological metal mingled with the California design, and the shimmer of an energy barrier overhead. She gripped Gene's shoulder as he reached at his throat and pressed a button on his choker. A hole spread open in the top of the barrier, and he dropped through, holding Ray in his arms. They landed in the back yard, and Gene carried her inside the home.
"What's going on?" asked Nathan as he rushed out, his face patterned with the Demon markings. "Who is... wait…"
"Daddy?" Susan cried. "We heard a bang, and screaming… what happened?"
"I found someone," he said, putting Ray down. "You remember Dr. MacLaren…"
"Yes… Jeannie's mom… but we thought you were in a volcanic eruption…" said
Susan as she rushed up to Ray. Shannon rubbed her eyes as she rushed downstairs and saw Ray
standing there in battered hiking shorts and a T-shirt with her vest and hiking boots.
"Gene what… who is that?"
"Dr. MacLaren…" said Gene. "This is um… Shannon…"
"Pleased to meet you,' Dr. MacLaren said, glancing at Shannon. She looked at Gene with a question in
her face, and he held out his arm to her. Raina shook her head and chuckled, guessing this red head
was Gene's latest squeeze, and walked a discreet distance away.
"Damn it's been forever since we saw you," said Nathan as he walked up, and shook Dr. MacLaren's
hand. Susan went up to her and accepted a hug from Jeannie's birth mother.
"Nice to see you all alive… where are the others…"
"I heard an explosion what on earth…" said Ace as he teleported down, with Shandi at his hip. She looked at Ace with a smile on her lips.
"Dr. MacLaren… you know Ace… and the others," said Gene. "Something's happened to Paul… and we HAVE to find him…"
"But I heard you blew a hole in the wall…" Ace said, scratching his head.
"I don't' know what the hell happened…" gene said. "But this lady… she has answers. She says she knows where there might be survivors…"
"Yes…" Ray said. Peter Criss bounded inside, his sleek body gleaming with moonlight as he
bounded up to Ray, and sniffed her ankles. Purring he rubbed against her, and she scratched his
ears.
"Raina…" he purred, and streaked up to his humanized form. "You are alive?"
"Yes Peter," she smiled. "Where is Jeannie…"
"Save the pleasantries for later, we HAVE to find Paul," Gene growled.
"What happened…?" Peter asked.
"I thought you flaked out, Dad," said Nathan. "Cause I saw you fly of… and then saw Paul fly after you…"
"I don't know WHAT happened, but we HAVE to find him," Gene growled.
"Okay," said Nathan. "But what…"
"Where s Jeannie?" asked Raina.
"She's upstairs…but I warn you…" Gene said.
"I want to see our daughter," Ray said.
"You do that. Peter, Ace, I need you to come search for Paul with me. Nathan, you're in charge
till Jean wakes up. We have to find Paul. And Ray, please work with Mona. She has some technology
gizmo. If you can give her the locations of the bunkers where survivors are."
"Will do,' Ray nodded. She didn't seem fazed by Shannon or Shandi's weird appearances.
"But should we ALL go?" asked Ace.
"Good point. You stay here Ace. If we need you, we'll holler," said Gene. "Protect the
others… and work with Dr. MacLaren…"
"Go Gene," said Ace as Peter and Gene bade Shandi and Shannon farewell. Shannon gave Gene a brief
kiss as he waved goodbye, and took a look at Ray.
"Ray…"
"Don't' worry about it, I understand," she smiled, with a laugh. Gene nodded his thanks and rushed
out, peter behind him as they took to the skies. Ace opened the barrier to let them out, and Ray
rushed upstairs, shown by Susan to where Jeannie's room was.
***
Susan opened the door to Jeannie's room, where the girl lay curled up on the bed, wrapped around
something. Raina slowly followed her stepdaughter as she indicated the strange object, and Raina
peered at it with a scientific eye. She turned to Susan and asked, "Is that… an EGG?"
"Yes," Susan said. "She laid an egg…"
"Figures," Ray said as she reached down and ran her fingers over the smooth shell, orange with purple
blotchy stars, warmth from within. It had a pebbly texture, hard like an ostrich egg, and Jeannie
let out a low growl as her eyes blinked open, and she whirled onto her back, clutching the egg
protectively between her breasts. Her eyes flared crimson momentarily, but then the glow faded when
she saw Susan and the strange woman standing over her bed.
"Sis, it's okay, it's someone we know," said Susan. "It's your mother…"
"Jeannie… baby…" Raina held out her hands to her daughter. "I know it's been a while
since we visited…"
"Momma?" she asked, wiping tears away at the sight of her birth mother, who had died in her reality.
Here was another strange bonus. For even though her adoptive mother had died, her birth mother was
there, alive and well, and looking hardly a day over forty years old, perhaps even only thirty five,
her auburn hair shoulder length and layered, her eyes an identical shade to Jeannie's own.
"Yes honey… it's me," said Raina MacLaren, sitting on the edge of the bed. "Your father found
me… I was the only one who survived from JPL after the comet hit… I went searching for
survivors…"
"Mom!" she sobbed as she collapsed in Ray's arms, sobbing. Ray gently held her daughter, as Susan
stood by, and wiped at her own tears. She smoothed her hand over the eggshell.
"My grandkid?" she asked, rubbing the shell affectionately.
"Yes… I… Oh mom… I…"
"It's okay, shhh," said Raina, rocking her back and forth. "I'm here… I know about Elliot…"
"Elliot… but Elliot…"
"Elliot was his nickname. It's Elliot," she whispered.
"He died, it was my fault… and now… Dad…"
"It's all right… your father is looking for Paul. For some reason…" Ray said, unsure if Jeannie remembered or not.
"I don't know what happened. Paul was sitting here on the edge of the bed, Dad came in and he went
berserk, as if he was going to kill Paul, and I hit him, and he went through the wall…"
"Damn," said Susan.
"It must have been the Golden Princess. She must have put him under a spell," said Jeannie. Susan
nodded, knowing nothing of what had transpired.
"Who is this golden princess?" Ray asked.
"She… um… oh god…" Jeannie sighed.
"I need to know what has been going on… and you need to rest," said Ray. Susan reached for the egg, and took it from Jeannie, who lay down and curled up.
"I don't want to sleep…" she sniffled.
"C'mon, then you can tell me the whole story as I work with Ace to find the survivors," said Ray, as
she helped Jeanie to stand.
"But you're so young," said Susan.
"The Demon's avatar must have reversed my aging," said Ray. "It has that effect… as it has
obviously had upon Susan and Nathan… and the two women…"
"Shannon and Shandi," said Jeannie as she stood up, and took the egg from Susan, who held her hand
to support her, while Ray steadied Jeannie on the other side. With her birth mother and half sister beside her, she walked downstairs.
***
"Where is Elliot?" asked Ray.
"Elliot?"
"Paul's son… Elliot… I guess that is what he liked to be called,' Ray said,
confused.
"He…we put his body in the freezer… we were going to bury it,' Jeannie said slowly.
"But we couldn't bring ourselves to do it…"
"In the freezer?" Ray asked. "You mean… after he died… you didn't bury him?"
"Jean thought there might be a chance to revive him using Leader's science," said Susan in a
whisper. "Ace has a computer subroutine working on a possible way to revive him…"
"I see," Ray said as she joined the others in Ace's lab. He sat behind a terminal, with Shandi
overlooking his shoulder. She glanced up at Dr. MacLaren in question, recognizing the one time lead
singer of Sweet Revenge, turned scientist.
"Are you really a geologist?" asked Shandi. "That's what your bio in the latest SPIN magazine about
Sweet Revenge past and present said…"
"How did you survive?' Ace asked. "I thought a lot of people at that space port were blown away by
the earthquake…"
"Yes, and we were working on a series of satellites to track the comet before it hit. I was working
on a space probe to knock the comet out of orbit, but something went horribly wrong," Ray said.
"Instead of blowing it up, it diverted its path to hit somewhere down in China, and it totally
vaporized, throwing the cloud of dust into the atmosphere. I was the only scientist at NASA JPL to
survive the earthquake… I was trapped under a pocket of fallen debris, and there was just
enough air for me to survive. I dug my way out, but I found everyone had either been vaporized or
crushed. I was trapped in that pile of rubble for at least a day or two. But I dug my way
out… only to find that I was the only one to make it…"
"OH god," gasped Shandi.
"Damn," said Shannon, coming up. "We were waiting for the KISS concert, and then the sirens went
off, and we were all headed into the bomb shelter under the stadium. Unfortunately Shan and I almost
got crushed, and we hid in a closet backstage. Someone said a nuclear bomb was gonna
hit…"
"When the comet hit Mongolia, the Chinese thought it was a nuclear warhead from America," said Ray.
"They retaliated by pushing the button. A warhead hit the central US, and we all had only minutes to
try and divert its course… and then all hell broke loose… by the time failsafe was
declared, and they said it was a comet, the power to every major city went off, and luckily the
nuclear warheads were stopped from detonating in any other country… My guess is that we have
to find what bunkers could exist in the basements of buildings…"
"Were you part of a disaster plan?" asked Ace.
"I know where all the shelters are," she said as he indicated the computer, and she sat down. She
began to type, and he watched as she called up every possible bomb and comet shelter location from
her memory.
"Hey Jendell, lay out a grid where the comet bits fell," Ace said to the computer. It did so, and he
looked at Ray.
"That's pretty much what we hypothesized if our warhead hadn't diverted it… damn…" Ray
sighed.
"If YOUR invention was supposed to STOP the comet, why didn't `it work?" Shannon asked,
suspiciously.
"Because, something must have jammed the coordinates at the last minute. A team of engineers was
working till the last second to keep it on course manually… but I managed to call up the logs
on my laptop, which wasn't damaged too badly, and found a virus in the JPL flight
computer…"
"She's right," Ace said, glancing at the comet fragments. "I was on the NET when they were doing the
rocket launch, and I saw there was some abort thing going on. Jendel here says that you were only
off by a degree or two…"
"Enough to divert the comet to hit Mongolia… but enough of an impact to cause the earth to be
blanketed by the dust, and the warhead hit the central US causing a massive earthquake… and
tidal waves," Ray mumbled, looking at Jendel's analysis of the impact. "California was one of the
few places to survive. You were lucky…"
"But we tried to CHANGE the past,' Jeannie said frantically. "And we failed… and because I
tried to tinker… Elliot… Elliot died. And we didn't find the right focal
point…"
"It was my fault," Mona sobbed. "I was TRYING to pinpoint the points in history the talisman were
showing me that would lead to a future without this happening…"
"You tried changing the past?" Ray asked. "When were the focal points?"
"1976, and when we tried to go to the next one… we were stopped…"
"By those freaked out nutcases from the future," said Ace slowly.
"Jeannie told me." Said Ray. "And that's why you haven't tried time travel anymore?"
"No," said Jeannie. "It was feared that any other attempt to try to change the past would erase us,
and cause more problems…"
"I was the one who was supposed to die," Mona sniffled. "And Elliot… Elliot did…"
"Wait," said Ray, closing her eyes. "Wait a minute… did you TRY to revive him? As I recall,
the chikara from the talisman should have given you all resistance to damage from energy
weapons."
"He had a HOLE in his chest. His HEART stopped!" cried Jeannie. "And the EMTS couldn't bring him
round."
"Jendel has been working on a way to possibly reverse the cell damage from the energy weapon,' Ace
said soberly, as he held up the discharge ray from the Destroyers that Darryl had captured "But it
caused irreparable damage to his heart and lungs… they were turned to jelly…"
"There must be something you can do," Ray said slowly. "If he's frozen… you must have had
SOME hope of reviving him. I seem to recall one of the things the talisman can do, is if all four of
your are brought together, then your powers can link to heal one of the injured."
"Yes, but that could risk the lives of the others," Ace said slowly.
"What, why didn't you TELL us?" asked Jeannie, outraged.
"We've only done it once, to save Gene," said Ace slowly. "And even though we rapped about it, we
thought it would be too dangerous to try on Elliot… and anyway, his heart was badly
damaged…"
"Was it?" Ray asked. "I want to see the body…"
"Why, what would that do?" asked Ace. "The medical computer did a FULL exam on the body… what
makes you think…"
"I just have a hunch," said Ray slowly. "I want to see the body…"
"All right," said Ace slowly. Ray sighed as they took her downstairs to where the large meat freezer
was.
**
As Jeannie brought out the body of Elliot, wrapped in a black body bag, Ray asked that it be put on
the small cot she set up. They were in Ace's lab, which also doubled as an emergency crash unit for
any possible injuries. Slowly she unzipped it, and the frost bitten features of Elliot were revealed
his star face still present. Jeannie sobbed as she saw him lying there, and Ace had the medical
scanners from the craft there.
"Tyler…" said Ray. "Can you sense any life?"
"He's dead," said Tyler. "What good…"
Ray slowly leaned over, dragging her hands over Elliot's body, examining the cold stiffness of his
chest. She pointed to the strange purplish mark there, and looked up at Ace. "What is THAT?" she
asked. "The wound is in the arm and on the RIGHT side of the body… not over the
heart…"
"Wait a minute…" Ty said slowly, looking at Elliot's body.
"Dad… I sense… `Mona gasped as she put her hands to hear head. "I… I
can't… something's happening…"
"Bring me some water, lukewarm, and slowly increase the temperature…" Ray said, as she
motioned to Ty. "Pick him up and take him into the bathroom…"
"What are you getting at?" asked Ace.
"Your stupid medical scanners don't' know anything," she said firmly, as she pointed to the burn on
his chest. "His heart was missed ENTIRELY… there may still be a chance…"
"But I could SWEAR the wound was on his heart…" Jeannie said.
"Come with me all of you," said Ray. "Ace, run ANOTHER scan with that piece of shit, Tyler you carry
Ell, and Jeannie, be ready to use your powers to slowly increase the temperature of the water, just
enough to slowly thaw him out…"
They did so, in a flurry of activity, as Ace began the next scans, scratching his head as Mona
clamped hands to her head, slowly groaning. Shandi and Shannon glanced at one another, as Shandi
held Kiara in her arms, and the baby was crying softly. Ray turned on the water, till it was
freezing cold, and Tyler lay Ell's body in the liquid. Jeannie stood over her mom's shoulder, as her
mother told her to slowly raise the temperature of the water with her power of fire.
"Tyler, I want you to see if you can sense ANY life signs," said Ray slowly. "Mona… what's
going on…"
"Temporal flux… something's going… weird… and it's centered around the
body…"
"Wait a minute," Ace gasped, looking at the portable medical scanner. "The body… the damage
is only to one lung… while the heart is FINE… how is this possible…"
"What are you doing?" asked Nathan and Susan in confusion.
"Watch the kids, and get that baby out of here," said Tyler. "You want me to see if I can use my
powers to sense life is that it?"
"Yes," she said. "Peter's ability of nature gave him the power to sense wounds. You can do the same.
Tap into your chikara. Send it over his body. Jeannie slowly increase the temperature. Mona, you can
sense electricity. When I tell you, you have to send a small jolt into his body…"
"You can't be serious!" said Mona.
"Wait, it's like a cardiac defibrillator!" Ace cackled.
"What does you medical scanner say?" Ray asked as Jeannie slowly began to raise the temperature of
the water surrounding Elliot's body.
"There's only damage in the one lung,' he said. "But the heart is untouched…"
"Slowly… raise the temperature… does that thing indicate ice crystals?" asked Ray of
Ace.
"Nope… just a slow even thaw…"
"Keep going Jeannie… Tyler do you sense anything?"
"No… but the smell of death isn't here… it's somewhere between…"
"All of you listen to me. Reach out, join your powers together…" Ray said slowly.
"But if they do that, they could all die," Ace cautioned.
"Not if what I suspect is true," Ray said firmly. "Trust me…I KNOW what I'm doing… for
I have known about what the FOUR are capable of, just as long as YOU have Ace…"
"What does a geologist know about medicine?" Ace wondered, but stood back as the three surrounded
Elliot's body in the water.
"You are the four who are one… reach out, feel the power of your chikara, and send it into his body," Ray said slowly. "Compliment each other. You ARE each other… Jean, restore the fire to his body, Tyler, sense the life returning… Mona, send the electricity of life through him… you ARE one… and his soul will return…"
Energy built slowly to a climax as a gate opened in their mind. Mona saw the last moments before her
eyes, the fatal blow. But her awareness shifted as the strange energy signature surged, and she saw
a shifting of the time streams. Elliot threw himself before Jean, in a last ditch effort to save her,
but the force only hit the other side of his chest, for Marcy, a.k.a. Raina had twisted his body
just out of the way for major damage. But what was that silver radiance that appeared behind Ray,
pulling her and Elliot out of harm's way?
"History, is changed," she gasped. Ray looked up at Ace, who did not meet her gaze.
"We are FOUR, who are one,' Jeannie chanted as the warmth flowed over his body. "I know your soul
and your fate… I am you…"
"I restore the electricity of life to this body," said Mona slowly.
"And I restore the kiss of healing, the power of the fractured earth, sent to his body, may it taste
life," Tyler whispered as his green chikara wafted over. The medical scanner began to beep wildly in
Ace's hands as he backed away and the tricolored radiance surged into a bright rush of chikara. Eyes
blazing ruby, emerald and beryl, the three stood over him their fingers not touching as they
channeled their energies into their fallen companion.
"Stop, now!" Ray shouted. They broke their link, blinking in confusion as Ray suddenly pushed in,
and started to push down on his chest. She shirked as the power surged over her, and she breathed
into his lips. A rush of power surged, and suddenly purple chikara slammed through him as he
convulsed.
"Hlllgrh!" Elliot gasped, his eyes widening as he blinked up into the eyes of the others. He choked
and gasped, writhing as he splashed in the water.
"STAN!" Jeannie cried as she grabbed him in her arms, and he clung to her, breathing his first
rasping breaths as his heart started, and he shivered in the cold.
"Oh MY GOD, he's ALIVE!" Tyler gasped.
"Jeannie… my name is Elliot," said Elliot in confusion. "I thought you knew that…"
"Wait a minute… you are Elliot…"
"I prefer Elliot my love," he blushed, as he held her around her neck.
"Oh shut up and kiss me," Jeannie sobbed as she kissed him hard, and carried him into the bedroom to
warm him up.
"How did you know?" Ace asked Ray as she stood there in the bathroom, looking at his medical scanner
in confusion.
"My memory of what happened, and what Jean told me happened back when he died differed," she said to him as the others fussed over Elliot, who looked up in confusion.
"I… Jeannie!" he gasped, blinking up into her eyes. "I'm alive… I'm ALIVE. I heard you three calling me … out of astron tellar…"
"How is this possible?" asked Mona. "The time signature… the wound…"
"Ask your father," Ray said slowly.
"Who me?" Ace asked, blinking.
"Chikara…" Mona said, slowly scanning his body, and waving her hand over Elliot, who was shivering in Jean's arms. Tyler grabbed a towel, and helped wrap it around him as Jeannie lifted him out of the tub, and he shivered. She wreathed him in her chikara, slowly warming his cold body. He breathed in ragged gasps, slowly gasping as his heart beat, and he glanced around in confusion.
"You changed history," Ray said, pointing at him. "Didn't' you? And the question remains WHY you didn't do ANYTHING to bring him back till now… I sorely DOUBT that you, Gene and Paul using your powers would have done anything to DRAIN you, as these three youths have brought him back without a hitch… and plus you yourself probably were the one who went BACK into the past and insured
that he wasn't hit with a mortal blow, but only one that would have stunned him…"
"Dad?" asked Mona. "What is going on…"
"Um…" Ace stammered as everyone glared at him, including the others who had been shooed out of the bathroom. "There's a logical explanation…"
"It had BETTER be a good one," said Mona angrily.
"Now WHY should you believe HER over me?" Ace asked defensively.
"Because, she saved Elliot… Ell's life?" Mona demanded.
"The memories that Jeannie revealed about Elliot… Ell's death don't coincide with mine," said
Ray.
Ace sighed deeply, and looked at the expectant faces, Shandi's among them. Finally he said slowly,
"well, there is a logical reason. Because we interfered so much already, I was studying the impacts
of our time tinkering… and even though I did kinda SOFTEN Elliot's death blow, I wanted to make
sure I studied all the impacts of my actions… in order to make sure we didn't do any FURTHER
damage…"
"Wait, you could have freaking TOLD me," Jeannie growled angrily. "Then Sean wouldn't have gained
his powers…"
"I only did the alteration after I realized what was going on… I didn't DARE try sooner till I consulted Jendell…"
"You made me go through ALL that emotional shit…" she gasped.
"It was because… I wanted to make SURE it was the right thing," said Ace, stammering.
"Please… don't fault me for WANTING to be careful. The fact remains that he is with you now… and we can start again…"
"Can we? Because you WAITED to do your deed, we created four MONSTERS with Sean and Darryl, and we almost lost ME!" Jeannie shouted.
"Wait, don't fault him," said Elliot, slowly limping in, wearing a purple bathrobe. "Jeannie, this happened for a reason. And it ALL has to do with the ELDER…"
"Wait… you mean to tell me this was PLANNED?" Jeannie growled.
"They needed me… to do a deed in their world, before I left," said Elliot weakly. "The whole thing of separating us… was another damn TEST to see how strong our love and devotion was. They were training me… to be a Champion, so I could better use my powers here. Because they know Blackwell has a toehold on your world…"
"Say WHAT?" Ray asked.
"He's correct," said Ace slowly. "I… um… well he and Jeannie aren't the only ones who can slip into that reality in dreams. Because I heard about you guys having been there, I um… asked Paul to help me cross over… and I had a LONG talk with Celestial… they were trying to make sure we can fix things here in our world…"
"Why did you wait till NOW to cross over?" Jeanie demanded.
"You think I LIKE being in that tripped out world?" Ace cackled. "Look, they were doing what they did to escape detection. And that Golden Princess is Blackwell's mind receptacle. He's using HER as a vehicle to do his evil work. And she was ABLE to tap into anyone crossing over and somehow SPY on them using that guy Sean's powers. So I had to wait for the RIGHT time when I could slip in undetected… when Sean's powers were weakened from fighting all you guys. Then Celestial gave me the lowdown. That baby… Kiara, she's the key to reversing all this damage. And you Elliot, were the last hope for teaching her how to use her powers… and those of everyone else. They told me what to do, and I did it, so there?"
"So Jeannie, he was acting under instructions from the elder," said Elliot, taking Jeannie's hands.
"And I had to remain in Astron Tellar to learn enough about how to use my powers in a different way, to give me an edge when we next fight those other four kids… and defeat Blackwell…"
"So… let me get this straight, you HAD to stay there, away from me?" asked Jeannie slowly.
"Yes love, it killed me. I wanted to come back so bad, but NOW I have the knowledge I need, we all need to stop them, and to save everyone, and our world…"
"Wait a minute," Ray said, forgotten till now. "You say that because you were in some DREAM world, you suddenly have all the answers?"
"Yes, Dr. MacLaren," he said slowly. "I don't know how much you know about Astron Tellar…"
"Enough from my mind link from the Demon," she said. "I know that I wasn't supposed to live in your world, because you four changed history…"
"In so doing, you prevented a worse disaster," Ace said. "Jendell computed if you hadn't gone back, the world would have been destroyed to the point which would have resulted in the Destroyers. And the human race wouldn't exist as they do now…"
"Gene and I met some weird characters that looked like ancestors of Leader and her gang," said Ray. "But my guess is that since KISS have the talisman now, we were able to stop that reality from happening. But in so doing, you created an alternate time to exist, where I am alive, and where more humans survived, then just you four kids."
"And we were alive," said Ace. "In the other reality, Peter and Ray here didn't survive. That's what Jendell computed, and I never knew I had a daughter. "
"I wondered about that," said Jeanie slowly.
"And you're Mona, not Mona, and Ty is Tyler, not Tyler," said Ace. "And you're Jeannie still…."
"This is too much," Jeannie sighed as she rubbed her head. "So what do we do now?"
"WE must find Paul, my father and rescue him," said Elliot, a.k.a. Elliot. "And to do that we need to figure out WHY Gene ran out in a huff."
"I have no knowing of why," said Jeannie slowly.
"Whatever it was, it was probably that Vanessa person," said Mona, who cut off what Dr. MacLaren was about to say. Only she knew the real reason, and she kept her mouth shut, knowing it would cause more harm than good.
"Are you strong enough to fight?" Jean asked Elliot.
"I have to rest… this body… is still recovering…"
"You should all rest," Ace said. "I'll continue to scan for anomalies. Peter and Gene will look for Paul. If they fail, they'll need US as a backup. And in the meantime, Dr. Mac and I can continue to find places for survivors…"
"But once we find them, how can we help them, and what is this about you knowing something about my daughter?" Shandi asked, silent till now.
"She has a great power," said Elliot. "She is the hope of the future. She alone has the power to restore your world, But she is still an infant, and I must teach her to use her powers correctly. She and the other children, William, Katharine and Leo, will be the NEXT four… but we all will have to figure out how to survive till Kiara learns the full potential of her powers…"
"If only there were a way of getting the blanket of smoke away from the earth," said Ray slowly. "I guess preventing the comet's impact through time travel is out of the question?"
"That's not a good idea," Ace said.
"But you do get power from somewhere?"
"The generator from Leader's ship," said Ace.
"We had been working on some satellites that transferred solar energy from orbit," said Ray. "But they weren't launched. Perhaps they could be used as a power source for the city, and in building places for the survivors… they'll need food and shelter…"
"Which we'll have to provide," said Jeannie slowly. "More mouths to feed?'
"We have to try," said Raina. "T he future of the human race rests on our shoulders…"
"Then Let's make a plan," said Ace.
"Agreed," everyone chimed in. They moved up to greet Elliot, and give him hugs and pats on the back as he was walked down to the living room. He hugged Raina, who slowly slipped something into the pocket of his robe, and he smiled meaningfully as he met her gaze.
"It's time that you made an honest woman of her," she whispered, and he patted his pocket as Nathan and Susan hugged him and Shannon and Shandi rushed downstairs with Ace and the others behind them. Mona hugged Elliot, the emotions running out of her that were bottled up for so long as he kissed her cheek, and Tyler even hugged him, slapping his back.
"Welcome back kid," said Ace. "Cause we forgot to say something…"
"Better late than never," Elliot smiled, as Jeannie caught him up and insisted on carrying him downstairs, giving him a sound kiss as everyone rushed to sit down and hold their meeting for their action plan.
***
"So let me get this straight," Shannon said as they all sat in the living room. "Shandi and I were taken over by beings from another world?"
"That's right," said Jeannie. "And they used you to convey information. But unfortunately that Golden Princess bitch ended up finding out…"
"And the Elder knew they had to change their strategy…" said Elliot, now going by Elliot said. He ate slowly, his damaged body slowly healing through the efforts of Tyler's powers. A faint green aura radiated from Tyler as he sat by Ell, and sent his healing energies into his friend.
"What do WE have to do with all this?" Shannon asked, looking at Dr. MacLaren. "And does it have anything to do with why we've changed?"
"Yes. You are the Concubines of the four," said Elliot. "Your duty is to provide your emotional support to them as they need. And you Shandi are the mother of Celestial's child…"
"It isn't ours?" she looked at Ace.
"It's my kid," said Ace. "And yours. I'm practically like Celestial. When he and I talked, it was WEIRD. Remember that KISS was once in that whacked out world, years ago."
"That's where you got inspired, or at least Gene did to do the Elder album," Ray cringed.
"It was a big assed mistake," Ace cringed. "Bunch of shit. You understand WHY I didn't want to go back… but considering what's going down now…"
"So what all did you talk about?" asked Shandi, taking Ace's hand as she held her baby in her arm.
"Kiara. She's got this reality altering power or something. Not just that, but she's a huge telepath. She can literally remake the world in her image. So she's our one hope to reverse this mess…"
"How can magic exist in our world?" Ray asked slowly.
"Good question," said Elliot. He sat by Jeannie, taking her hand in his and slowly stroking it. "I
think the doorway was opened when the comet hit, and when Leader started time tinkering. The barrier between worlds has broken down… and Blackwell got in through the cracks."
"So that's how he possessed that Vanessa chick?" asked Tyler.
"That's right," said Elliot. "And Ace here was instructed to take one last trip back in time, to prevent my death, so I could return. The other Elder were against it, but Celestial insisted. And Ace did it. But they knew there would be risks. And Dr. Mac here was the last piece of the puzzle. She knew that the risks would be great to reuniting my body and soul… but she was the only one with the determination to do it. Ace was RIGHT when he said there would be a risk doing it… but since we're younger… we could manage it. Whereas KISS even though they're aged backwards, might be caused considerable damage."
"Why?" asked Ray.
"Because, it diminishes the overall life force by the amount donated. But we've got chikara to spare. Each of you three donated a piece to restore me, so your powers are a tad diminished. But you Dr. MacLaren, gave the last piece… because you received a massive infusion from the Demon to make you younger… it was enough so it wouldn't significantly impact our power loss…"
"Does that mean I'll end up aging again?" Ray asked.
"You came here looking like you were thirty, and now you've aged five years. You're probably in the body of a thirty five-year-old woman now…"
"I can live with that," said Ray slowly. Still she was attractive, even if she was in middle age.
"At least its better than being sixty… not that there is anything wrong with that."
"So what's this PLAN about?" Shannon asked her.
"We find Paul, and then we find the survivors," Ray said. "And in the meantime Ace and Mona will work on getting the satellites launched, so we can start beaming solar energy. The robotic servos will start converting some of the ruined buildings into shelters for the survivors. And Tyler, you're going to have to go to the nearby university, and we're going to have to make some greenhouses to grow food. And we'll start rounding up any animals we can use for food…"
"We have food synthesizers from the future," Ace said.
"But these people will need real food. It's only a stopgap measure," said Ray. "And it takes so much energy to make that thing work. Who wants to live on diet bars forever? And after we make a settlement camp, it's up to all of us to protect the people and provide order…"
"Who's going to lead them?" asked Jeannie.
"Some of them might regard you as their leaders," said Ray slowly. "But we'll need an election for a president and some sort of government… by the people and for the people…"
"Democracy like the old USA," said Shannon.
"Yes, and we'll have to make sure people can do their part. We're rebuilding society as we know it," Ray said. "And we must be prepared for a huge responsibility…"
"How can WE do it?" Shannon asked.
"We have no choice," said Ray slowly. "It's not every day you get to rebuild a society and a country…"
"We're pioneers," chuckled Tyler. "Like the old west…"
"Exactly. We're all Americans," said Ray with a wry smile. "And do we want to keep it going?"
"Hell yeah,' Shannon said, seized with a new resolve.
"Hello, that's heavy," Shandi gasped.
"Yes, but what choice do we have?" Ray asked.
"None, except to ignore them, and worry about ourselves," Ace said slowly. "And I'm thinking that's not a popular choice…"
"Let's sleep on it," Ray said, getting up. "I have dibs on the sofa…"
"We could let you have a room, there is a guestroom…" said Jeannie. "C'mon Elliot, let's go to bed."
"I thought you'd never ask," he smiled as he took her hand. Everyone yawned and started to go to their respective sleeping quarters for a good long rest. It had been an eventful day, and Ace turned Jendell's security monitoring on so everyone could truly sleep. The alarm would go off if any unknown chikara were to be detected or any other dangers.
***
Upstairs, Jeannie led Elliot, after showing Ray one of the empty rooms where she could sleep. Jeannie handed her mother a KISS T-shirt and a pair of her father's shorts which fit Ray like a pair of capris, and where the shower was. Because of the mods made by the bots, they had a water recycler, and running water, so she moved off to take a much-needed shower.
Elliot, formerly known as Elliot seemed much more sure of himself, even older then before as he took Jeannie's hand and walked with her into her room. She had remade the bed with fresh sheets, and had cleaned up the remains of the `mess' she had made. They closed the door, and she walked slowly over to the bed, and looked at him expectantly. Smiling he said, "I have waited so long to touch you Jean…"
"How long WERE you in Astron Tellar?" she asked.
"For months. It seems time flows differently there then here…" he whispered, walking up to
her in the purple robe. It came past his knees, looking like a mage's outfit from that world, his
hair glowing a soft blue black as h is eyes took on a violet tinge.
"Do you feel… as if you can… you know?"
"I'm not sure, but I'd love to find out. Ty's power has just about restored the injuries… I can feel the power of the talisman radiating into me…"
"You need one of these," Jeannie said, holding up a diamond-studded choker. "It contains a communications device… Ace made them…"
"They look like the servitude collars," h e mumbled.
"You're my love slave," she laughed, as he put it on, and sat down next to her on the bed. She stroked his hair, and realized that there was hair covering his chest, growing over the scar that was there on his right side, and streaking his arm. Slowly he untied the robe and let it slide from his body to the floor, revealing him in tight spandex pants with gold stars down the sides, and tall platform boots, with gold toes and gold heels. A gold and black studded belt girded his waist, his body a bit more slender then Paul's, but well rounded with youth, and his own tattoos on his arm and his back.
"I want to please you Jean," he whispered as he came toward her, and sat by her on the bed. She willed away her robe, till she was in nothing, and slid under the sheets, demurely. Lying on the bed, he pulled off his boots, and slid toward her, his hands seeking her face. She felt tears in her eyes at his soft touch, wreathed with lavender chikara. Elliot leaned forward and met her black lips with his ruby ones, and Jeanie sniffled, savoring the soft wet kiss he bestowed on her. Their lip parted and tongues caressed, her hunger increasing as she growled softly.
"The egg?" he asked her.
"Here," she said, slipping off the pouch that she had made, an improvised sling that kept the egg close to her body. Elliot took the egg, slowly cradling it and singing softly as he held his child for the first time. A soft glow surrounded it as he placed it between them, and Jeannie looked up at him with tears in her eyes.
"I'm sorry I wasn't here Jean… I'm so sorry…"
"I'm so glad you're here now… I slept with Sean…"
"I know. I touched you then, but now… I am whole, and I'm me… this is no dream my love…"
"My love," she sighed.
"I have something for you…" he said. "Raina gave it to me… she said it belonged to her grandmother. She had it on a chain around her neck…'
"When did she give THAT to you?" Jeannie asked.
"When we were downstairs. I sensed what was in her mind, and she slipped it into my hand," he confessed, dangling a diamond solitaire hanging from a chain. "I wanted to ask, will you be my wife, as well as my mate."
"But there is nobody to marry us…"
"In our hearts we are married," he smiled softly. She gasped, looking at the ring.
"Oh god… this is so much…"
"Will you marry me, Jean?" he asked her. "And be my wife forever?"
"Yes… oh yes… I hope you don't mind me wearing it around my neck. IT might get damaged
in battle…"
"Then you accept my proposal, Jean?" he asked caressing her cheek.
"I love you Elliot… Ell, and I want you with me always," she said, choking back a sob. Taking the chain he hung it around her neck and fastened the clasp so it hung at the hollow of her throat.
"Make love to me," he whispered.
"Are you sure you can?" she asked as he stood up and slowly pulled down his pants. He ran his hands over her body, slowly caressing it as if for the first time. Her eyes flashed crimson with desire, a low growl escaping her lips.
"I can try," he smiled. Slowly he placed the egg in its nest of four pillows, the solar lamp poised over it to one side of their bed, so it would be safe. She moved the covers aside for him to climb in next to her, and he lay on top of her, kissing her softly as he rubbed his bare skin to hers, and she moaned through their deep kiss. Her hands ran up and down his back, her chikara slowly warming between them. He met it with his own energies, their power surging. As he grew stronger in his love, they touched and caressed one another.
"I love you," she sniffled as he held her close.
"I love you too Jeannie, my mate, and my wife…"
"Always," she sniffled, as they remained joined, and slipped into sleep. It was tender, not savage, their second and third times before they slipped into slumber, wrapped in one another's arms.
***
Shannon came out of Gene's room as she saw Ray passing by, and slowly stopped her in the hallway. Ray asked, "Something I can do for you Shannon?"
"I was wondering, were you and Gene still lovers? You said you mind linked to the Demon…"
"We did have sex yes," she said. "But I know you're his interest now… and I won't stand in your way if that's what you're worried about…"
"I just… well…"
"I'm not bothered," said Ray.
"HE might want both of us," she said softly. "I guess that won't bother me… I mean since we ARE the last women so far on this world…"
"It won't bother me either, if it doesn't bother you," she said softly.
"Thanks," Shannon sighed. "I just don't' want to be a jealous type…"
"You can wait till he comes back and then we'll see," she said. "Besides, you have dibs on him first. I'm going to be VERY busy to keep him company when we start finding survivors…"
"Thanks for understanding," she said.
"Hey, I've lived with that for years," she smiled. "Shannon, I know he's going to have other women. And hell, he was with Shannon Tweed, not me. WE both live in different worlds and it's not like I'm not used to his appetites…"
"I guess," Shannon laughed awkwardly.
"I know. Don't let it bother you. I think he needs any distraction, and I can BET you're a pleasant one for him…"
"I love him," Shannon whispered.
"Good, he needs someone,' Ray whispered back.
"Then we agree to share?" said Shannon.
"Yep," nodded Ray, shaking her hand and then hugging her.
"Have a good night," Shannon smiled as she went back to bed to wait for her Demon, and Ray went to her own room. They closed their doors; much relieved that matter had been settled. Ray sighed as she readied for bed, and lay down on a soft mattress. She closed her eyes, and let herself slip into sleep, the first complete sleep she had in weeks. She prayed that Gene could find Stanley with Peter's help.
****
Ace sighed as he lay in bed next to Shandi, after having disrobed into a comfortable T-shirt and boxes. He sighed as he cuddled up to her, and she had Kiara in their makeshift crib made out of a dresser drawer. He rubbed her breasts from behind and she giggled, feeling his hands over her body.
"Want to rocket ride?" he whispered.
"Sure," she smiled, turning over and kissing him. Ace kissed her softly, and his hands roamed her body.
"You don't mind… that it isn't mine do you?" he asked her after he cuddled her into his arms and she rubbed his smooth muscular chest.
"No, it IS yours as far as I'm concerned…"
"You're right. That kid will have me for a dad, and the prettiest mom in the universe…" he cooed into her ear as Shandi sighed and kissed him. They moved into another frantic lovemaking session before she was satisfied and Ace echoed her sigh, wrapping his thin muscular arms around her. He would love and protect her and the baby with all of his skills.
Kiara began to cry, and Ace got up to slowly pull on his boxers. Taking the baby in his arms he slowly sung to her and rocked her. She gurgled and looked up at him, and he pulled faces at her to calm her. Taking a bottle of formula, he sat down on the bed and began to feed her, memories of his own children surfacing to help him. She quieted as he rocked her and bounced her in his arms, feeling content to protect her and give her what a father should.
"I'm here for ya kid," he promised. "You're like my own. I swear it. You're gonna be a Frehley…"
Kiara gurgled as Ace put her over his shoulder to burp her, and she lay her head against his neck, blowing bubbles. Ace laughed and remained with the baby in his arms, quieting and rocking her as he continued to minister to her needs. In all the ways that counted this baby was HIS, as much as Mona was.
***
Slowly Paul moaned as he came to, and looked around. He felt someone gently sponging his brow, and looked up into a girl who had long blonde hair, and blue eyes. She couldn't have been more than thirty, her fingers rubbing his aching head as several others spoke softly.
"It looks like Paul… but it couldn't' be…"
"Where am I?" Paul moaned.
"Shh, easy there. WE found you when we were foraging for food… and brought you
here…"
"I'm Paul," he said.
"You look like him… it's amazing," said the girl.
"What's your name beautiful?" he asked.
"Leeta. Leeta Jones," she said with a smile. "He's coming round everyone…"
"Who?' asked Paul, shifting.
"Another mouth to feed," mumbled a male voice. Paul groaned as Leeta helped him to sit up, and he
realized he was in an enclosed space, with multiple people clustered around Coleman lanterns. They
wore KISS T-shirts and jeans most of them, and several were children.
"Mommy?" asked a little blonde girl who toddled up.
"Angel, this is Paul… Paul this is my daughter…"
"Paul?" asked someone as he moved over. He recognized Bruce Kulik as he slid into view, and gasped.
"Bruce?" Paul asked.
"Wait a minute, it can't be him," said another man, in blonde hair. Eric Singer. "No freaking way…"
"He looks like Paul," said Bruce. "But damn he's too young…"
"I am Paul, but the talisman made me young," Paul said slowly. "Bruce, Eric…"
"Now wait a minute…" Bruce held up his hand. "You ARE Paul? For real?"
"Yes, what are you doing in a bomb shelter?"
"We were doing a guitar clinic," Bruce said. "And then we heard the public alarms. Me and the KISS fans from the clinic hid in an old bomb shelter. WE kept down here till the radio went dead, and took a look-see. "
"Since nobody passed out, we figured there was not radiation," Eric said.
"Holy shit, how long have you been here?" Paul asked.
"For two months," said Eric. "We've found food here and there, but nobody else…"
"How many of there are you?"
"Now wait, are you REALLY Paul?" asked Bruce, a bit skeptical.
"Yes," he said. "The others are alive… and at Gene's place…"
"Figures GENE would be around," Eric laughed. "The lucky SHIT."
"There's room for all of us at the mansion,' Paul said, struggling to sit. "How many are there of you?"
"Including kids, about thirty five," said Eric.
"Kids, how many?" Paul asked.
"About fifteen… seven girls and eight boys ranging in ages 1 to 19," said Bruce. "And their parents…"
"Damn… so there are twenty adults?" asked Paul.
"Including us, and Tommy…"
"Tommy is here?" asked Paul, in surprise.
"Yes, he's here, but he's out with some of the men foraging. How in HELL can you explain yourself if you ARE Paul?" asked Bruce.
"It's the talisman, they really DO exist," Paul said. "And we're in terrible danger. WE have to leave here…"
"Now WAIT a minute, START from the beginning," Eric said. "This is HARD to swallow…"
"How can you prove you're Paul?"
"Give me a chance," said Paul.
"If he IS Paul, then maybe he's had more surgery?" said Eric.
"Shh," said Leeta. "Let him explain…"
"Okay, shoot, and make it good," said Bruce patiently.
Glancing up at them all, he sighed, "Well it all started when we were flying in for the concert, and the news said a comet was going to hit…"
"A comet…" gasped Leeta. "No wonder…"
"Damn…" said Bruce slowly. "That's what happened, at least the radio said the same thing…"
 

Chapter 14
Chapter 16
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