Julie looked at the huge shuttle bay doors in wonder. Willie
and Mike stood with her. After a short pause, Mike looked back at Julie.
        "I hope he knows what he's doing.", he said.
        "Yeah", Julie sighed, also turning her eyes away from the doors. 
"And I hope we know what we're doing, too. What're we going to do now, 
until we hear from them again?"
        "Perhaps Philip can tell us what to expect from the Leader. In
the meantime, perhaps we should look into what we'll be doing with LA.
No one's heard from any of the State or Town officials for months, and
we might be the only organized group out there.", Mike said.
        They turned around and walked up to where Philip was standing
in front of Diana and James. Philip turned toward the small group of
resistance people when he heard them approach.
        "You're welcome to join me on the bridge, as soon as I see
these two to their cells. We'll not be able to work out all the details 
of the peace negotiations until the Leader is done talking with Elizabeth, 
but we should be able to discuss some matters.", he said.
         Just then a Visitor trooper shouted an alarm.
        "Commander! The Leader's shuttle just disappeared from the
Flight control screen."
        Philip turned around as if stung. The resistance also started,
looking at each other and at Philip, who went over to the nearest
screen and requested the full information.
        "What happened?", he asked the trooper.
        "It just disappeared. I was monitoring its flight, but when
it reached the dark side of the planet, just before it'ld fly out of
our range and I'd have to give it over to one of the other ship's
Flight Control, the signal went off the screen.", the Visitor stammered, 
catching the mood of his Commander and the others looking over his 
shoulder at the monitor.
        Philip spoke to the Visitor trooper. "Contact the Mother ships
on that side of the planet and ask if they saw anything. I want to
know what is going on."
        The trooper typed a few commands on the computer console, then
looked up at Philip. "The Rome ship reports seeing a disturbance in
the sky, possibly an explosion, at the time the shuttle disappeared,
        Philip swallowed hard. "Get them back on line and give me any
details they got. I need to know exactly what happened out there."
        Diana's voice, coming from across the shuttle bay, made them
all turn around.
        "I think it's pretty obvious what happened out there. The
resistance and the Fifth Column traitors have blown the leader's
shuttle out of the sky. Seize them!", Diana ordered the few troopers
in the bay.
        Most of the troopers hesitated, obviously not quite following
what was happening, but a few immediately pulled their firearms and
advanced on Philip and the rest. Diana had made sure she had some of
her people at hand.
        Philip's face and voice were hard as stone. "You arranged all
of this. You actually assassinated the Leader. How can you possibly
think you'll get away with this?"
        "How could I have assassinated the Leader?", Diana asked
innocently. "I was standing there under guard, because you and your
traitorous friends set me up by blowing that first shuttle. But YOU
are definitely not gonna get away with it." she said.
        The Visitor troops, knowing she'd indeed been nowhere near the
shuttle and pulled along by the ones who'd been Diana's all along,
closed in on the small group standing around the monitor.
        "This is ridiculous,", Julie cried. "You can't really believe
we'ld blow up the Leader's shuttle, definitely not with Elizabeth
aboard. Of course Diana didn't get near the shuttle, but she's the one
who's behind it!"
        The troopers were not impressed. Mike, Julie, Willie and
Philip backed slowly up against the computer console.
        "Looks like it's time for plan B", Mike said softly. "If we
only get the slightest opening, we'll make a break for it."
        "Got you", Julie whispered back. She didn't see an opening
coming any time soon, though.
        Then, from somewhere to the left, a laser pistol was fired and
took one of the troopers out.
        "Thelma", Willie said, while they all ran for the door,
which fortunately was right next to the console.
        The troopers were taken by surprise, and they all made it out
into the corridors. They heard shouts behind them, but they managed 
turn the corner and barricade the next door before Diana's troopers 
could catch up. They ran for the nearest weapon's locker and armed 
themselves with laser pistols. Then Mike turned to Philip.
        "We've got a landing craft in bay 3, you better come with us",
he said, but Philip shook his head.
        "Diana's got a large number of troops on her hand, but it's
still mutiny. I have to try and save as much as I can here.", he said. 
"If I can get the situation under control, I'll get in touch with you."
        Mike hesitated only a moment before nodding. "Good luck", he
said, then took off the other way. Julie, Willie and of course Thelma
followed closely.

        Diana obviously did not have control of the whole ship yet,
and they reached the shuttle bay on the third level without further
incidents. Then they were clear of the Mother Ship. When Diana took
control in the shuttle bay, there had been no time to really think
about anything but escape, but now what had just happened really hit
        "We'll have to go to the store and pick up some equipment,
but I think it'll be safer if we find another base for now. Philip
knows this one, and if Diana takes him prisoner...", Mike said.
"We'll keep an eye on the place, though we will probably be able
to tell what went down up there from what'll happen to the store."
he added.
        "Kyle was right after all.", Julie said softly.
        A moment of silence followed.
        "Kyle, and Elizabeth", Mike said. "Do you think there's any
chance they're still alive?"
        Julie shook her head sadly. "We all know Elizabeth has worked
miracles before, but I'm afraid they're gone. They blew the shuttle,
Mike. SHE blew it."
        No one had to ask who Julie meant. Silence fell again until
Mike put the shuttle down near the store that had been their latest

        Meanwhile, on a long abandoned field that grew corn once but
was mostly weeds now, Kyle and Elizabeth were taking shelter from the
pouring rain underneath the wreckage of the Leader's shuttle.
        Elizabeth huddled closer against Kyle, pulling him tight,
both for comfort and warmth.
        "You were great, flying the shuttle and setting it on the
ground.", she said admiringly.
        Kyle answered with a short laugh, "If you insist, it wasn't
so bad for a crash. But I couldn't have done anything if you hadn't
kept the power going in that thing."
        "But I couldn't keep her in the air any more than you could,"
Elizabeth said. "Now how are we gonna go back home?"
        "I don't even know where we are," Kyle answered. "As soon as
the rain stops, we'll have to find that out first. I'm afraid we might
be a long way from L.A., though."
        "You think we are in Europe or something?", Elizabeth asked.
        "That could be. It'd fit the time difference. It's hard to
tell exactly, but once it gets light, I can calculate about what time 
zone we're in by looking at my watch and seeing what time it is in L.A."
Kyle said.
        Elizabeth shivered, and they huddled even closer.
        "We should try to get a bit of sleep", Kyle said. "We can't
move about in the dark in this weather, but we don't know what we'll
find in the morning, what we're up against."
        Elizabeth laid her head against Kyle's chest and they were
silent, but neither had slept much when the first light appeared.

        The small group of resistance fighters quickly gathered most
of their gear from the Headquarters and loaded it into the van.
Willie and Thelma drove it off toward an abandoned insurance office
several blocks away, where they could set up a new HQ in case it was
needed, and Mike and Julie took up a position from where they could
see anyone coming toward the store. Several hours passed, in which
they sometimes exchanged a few words about the events of that day,
but mostly just watched the store and the surrounding area in silence.
        Then a man came walking quickly from the opposite direction,
scanning both ways before ducking into the doorway and knocking on
the door. Mike and Julie looked around, scanning the area for other
people, then crossed over to the store and called softly to the man.
        "Hey! Looking for us?" Mike said.
        The man turned around, and Julie recognized him.
        "Howie", she said. "What happened? Do you have news?"
        Then Mike also identified the man in human clothing as the
Visitor Fifth Columnist who had helped them several months ago when
Willie had been shot.
        "I can't stay long, but I had to warn you. Philip told me
where to find you. Diana has taken over the ship, she has arrested
Philip and Lydia on charges of treason. She's going to interrogate
them. Philip said he'll try to hold out as long as possible, but he
did warn you to be careful with any things or places he knows about.", 
Howie said.
        "We know something of Diana's interrogation methods." Mike
said grimly.
        "I guess that means the war isn't over yet." Julie said just
as grimly.
        "I'm afraid it isn't," Howie said. "There was still some
fighting aboard the Mother ship when I left, but almost everything
fell apart when Diana announced Philip and Lydia had been taken into
custody. She announced the charges over the ship's intercom system,
and all but the real Fifth Columnists went over to Diana. The Fifth
Column got hit hard - I'll be surprised if there's more than a handful
left after tonight."
        "Then you should come with us this time," Mike said.
        Howie shook his head. "I have to get in touch with our people
aboard the Paris Mother Ship, and warn them. I was one of two inter-
ship contacts, and the other contact got taken into custody today.
I must go right away and get to them before Diana interrogates her,
and gets the means of rounding up most of the Fifth Column on that
ship, too." Howie shook hands with Mike and Julie. "See you around
the galaxy, maybe.", he said.
        "Good luck.", Mike said, and Julie added "Be careful".
        Then Howie took off in the direction he had come from, leaving
Mike and Julie to take the bad news to Willie, Thelma and the rest of
the world.

        Julie took off for the insurance office which was to be their
new base of operations, while Mike stayed behind to see whether
anything else might happen to the store, and to make sure any people
who did not yet know all the events that had taken place those last
hours would not get caught in anything happening to it.
        The first thing Julie did when she got to the new base, was
curse. She had been keeping her emotions under tight control ever
since the first sign of trouble aboard the Visitor Mother Ship, and
once she pulled the door shut behind her, she had to let go of some
of it. Willie gave her a worried look.
        "I take it that means the news was no good.", he said softly.
        Julie gathered herself, let out a long breath, and finally
answered, "No, it's not.", and she proceeded to tell Willie what she
had just heard from Howie.
        When she was done, another moment of silence followed, then
she looked around and went over to where Willie had just started to
install the communications equipment. There still was no time for
feelings, she had to get on the air and tell the other resistance
groups out there what had happened. She already knew who she had to
contact first of all.
        Hearing the voice of Ham Tyler was a greater relief than Julie
had ever thought it would be. She might not like all of Tyler's
methods some of the time, but in the years of fighting side by side
against the Visitors they had got along well.
        "Am I glad to hear your voice," Julie said when they made
contact. And the same tough fighter, who never let his own emotions
show, heard the relief in her voice and asked, "What's wrong, Julie?"
        As every time before, a short period of silence followed when
Julie related the events of the day. They were, after all, some pretty
serious events. Then, Tyler came back on the air.
        "Chris and I will come to L.A. as soon as we get the news out
in the Chicago area. Is there anything you need over there?", he asked
        Julie answered, "No, not really, we still have everything,
except people. We could really use you guys here. We have no real
fighters left. There are a few new people who joined since you left,
but they just don't have the experience."
        She let out a long sigh, and added, "Looks like they're gonna
get it, though."
        Tyler replied, "You are a real fighter, you and Donovan. Just
don't tell him I said so."
        "Thank you," Julie replied. "Listen, do you know how I can get
a hold of Robin? I have to tell her...", she trailed off.
        "She was in New York until yesterday that I know of," Tyler
answered. "She might have wanted to come back if the war had really
been over, but I don't think she would be on her way yet. No one has
really started to move yet."
        "I'll try her over there," Julie said. "I better radio her and
get this over with. It'll take a while before everyone hears the news
anyway. Hopefully not too many people will be caught unprepared, but I
have to talk to Robin before she hears it through some other channel."
        "Chris and I are on our way," Tyler said. "We'll be a few days, 
under current conditions, but we'll get there by Thursday if we can. 
Take care. Out."
        With a "Thanks, Ham. Julie out." Julie signed off, too. Then
she sighed deep before picking up the mike again and radioing New York.

        It took not long for someone to find Robin, who had been at the 
Freedom Network broadcasting station since the cease-fire had started. 
Julie had told the woman who manned the radio in short what had happened, 
and Robin had obviously picked up on her mood, sounding worried as she 
came on.
        "Julie, this is Robin. What is going on?" 
	  Julie swallowed deeply, then said, "Robin, I don't know how to 
tell you this, but Elizabeth... I'm sorry, but we must assume that 
Elizabeth is dead.", she finished.
        She heard Robin's breath catch.
        "Dead? Elizabeth? But how? What happened?", she managed to get
out, and Julie told her what had taken place.
        Only when she had told the whole story it really started to
sink in by Robin what Julie was saying, and she struggled to keep her
voice steady enough to ask for the how and where, which Julie did not
know any good answers to. Julie could hear the woman who had been on
the radio, and another voice in the background, and knew Robin was at
least not alone.
        "Look, Robin, I am really sorry, but I don't know anything
else. Do you have anyone there you can be with for now?" she asked.
        "Yes, I, I think so," Robin stammered.
        Taking another deep breath, Julie said, "Listen, I have to
sign off now, there's people all over the world who need to know
about today, maybe we can talk later, okay?"
        Robin choked out, "I, I'll be okay.", but didn't sound it.
        Julie kept her own voice steady as she said, "Robin, if you
want to come back to us, you are always welcome, I want you to know
that. Think about it. Julie out."
        As she logged off, she took her head in her hands and sat for
a long moment. Then she took up the mike again and set to the long
and tiring job of calling all other resistance units she could reach.

        Slowly, other resistance members, sent by Mike as they came
to the old Headquarters, or informed by others who had gone there,
started to arrive at the new base. It did not take long to get
everything set up again, and it was not long before Willie came over
to where Julie was broadcasting.
        "Can I get you something to eat?", he asked.
        Julie did not feel like eating at all, but she knew this would
be a very long day and she had not eaten since going to the Mother
Ship that morning, so she answered, "I think I better. Just some
sandwiches or something, I'll eat here."
        Willie went to get them, and that was when Mike walked in.
        "How are they taking it?", he asked Julie.
        She looked up with a weary look.
        "Most people take it better than I expected, perhaps those
who've been in the resistance long enough weren't as sure it was true
to begin with. The setback and disappointment will be far worse for
the people who really believed the peace was for real."
        "It's a good thing Diana did not have everything together for
a really big strike right away, at least we got some time to warn
everybody, spread the news." Mike said.
        "Yeah," Julie said. "Especially the regular civilians and the
smaller groups would've been sitting ducks."
        Then Willie came in with the sandwiches.
        "Here they are. Would you like some, too?", he asked Mike.
        "I'll take some," Mike replied. "We're going to have to get
some more food before there's a renewed rush on the few stores that
are still open." he added.
        Julie agreed, and they decided to sent Jolene and Terry out
to get some supplies at first light. They were relatively new members
of the resistance, joining up after their home town was raided and
the people who were left scattered. They didn't have the experience
some others had, but they knew how to stay clear of trouble and they
were good at finding places to stock up on all those regular things,
like clothes, food, and other day-to-day items.

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