The Crashdown. Aliens within and dark skies without, daylight retreating incrementally from what looks like will be a soaking rain. Liz sits with Izzie at the counter working on the history project while Max sits at a table across from Kyle working at the same tired nonsense. There is thickening enmity at the table along with an untouched, cooling plate of french fries.
So what’s your favorite all-time TV show, Evans? Kyle says, affecting a barracudan grin.
I’ve never watched much TV, Max says.
My favorite show was America’s Most Wanted, Kyle says. I used to watch it with my dad.
I’ll bet, Max says.
I loved how that guy on TV would deputize everybody who watched the show.
Turned them into snitches, you mean, Max says brightly.
Never mind, Kyle says. Let’s get to the good ones. Oooh…what’s the best thing that ever happened to you?
Max realizes he has little self-control. He cannot stop looking over at Liz. He looks back quickly at Kyle and says tonelessly, Getting adopted by the Evanses, i guess.
I’m going to shed a tear, Kyle says.
What about you, Holmes? What’s the best thing that ever happened to you?
Winning the statewide junior rifle competition, Kyle says.
Across the room Izzie has asked Liz her favorite ice cream flavor.
Your favorite flavor’s vanilla? Izzie says.
Uh-huh, Liz says, stealing a look over at Max.
Angrily Izzie says, Why dont you and Max just get a room? Or at least take those two some catsup?
Just bringing you guys some catsup, Liz says, putting the bottle next to the fries, trying hard not to look at Max. So how’s it going? She says.
Fine, Max says, folding his arms in front of himself.
Yeah, we’re really bonding with each other, Kyle says, full of intense dislike of them both.
That’s nice, she says.
I’m glad you came over, Kyle says, ’cause i was hoping we could skip down to question number 8. Have you ever been in love, Max?
Kyle laughs. Max looks him right in the face and says, No.
Liz’s phone rings and she walks away and answers. It’s Maria. Maria says, Well, here we are.
Maria? Liz says, scowling. Is that you? What…
It feels a little bit strange, you know? Maria says in a strained voice. Very strange, being alone in a car with you.
In a car alone with who? Liz says.
Not knowing where we’re going, Maria says. When we’ll be back.
Do you always talk so damn much? Michael complains.
Was that Michael? Liz says.
Liz says i talk a lot when i’m nervous. Very nervous.
So you’re nervous about being alone in a car with Michael? Liz says.
So, Maria says, glancing at Michael. How far will we be going? South on US 285, huh?
South on US 285? Liz says into the phone.
WTFRU doing…Michael says, then breaks off as the truth dawns on him. He looks over at Maria’s open purse and see the phone and that it is transmitting.
Great, Michael says. He takes the phone and tosses it out the window.
Maria? Liz says into the phone as it goes dead. Maria?
What’s going on? Izzie demands.
That was Maria. She’s in a car with Michael. IDK, she sounded strange.
Izzie digests this for a moment, then gets up and walks over to Max and seizes his arm and drags him up. She says, Come on, Max. We gotta go. Now.
But things were going so well, Kyle says, laughing.
Outside, Izzie says, He found a car.
Max is hoping that for once Liz will keep her nose out of this but she grabs him by the arm and demands, What is going on here?
Stay out of it Liz, Max says gravely. The less you know the better.
Max, no. Not when Maria’s involved.
Maria? Max says resentfully.
It would be her car with her in it. Going south on 285, Izzie says as she buckles into the driver’s seat and starts the engine.
We better hurry, Max says. No, Liz, you cant come.
Max and Liz stare at each other. Kyle saunters over and says, Trouble in paradise? So soon?
Max glares at Liz, hardly able to contain his rage. Then get in the goddamn jeep, he hisses at her.
Just before Izzie pulls away Max notices a guy in a JC Penney suit inside a nondescript late model sedan. As they drive away the man looks at them and starts talking frantically into his cell. Max makes a mental note of it and wonders if his imagination is working overtime.
Parker and the two Evans kids just left in a hurry, the man says.
Let’s find out where they’re going, Topolsky says to him.
Yes, ma’am, the agent says.
Topolsky then gets busy typing an email to an entity called the Special Investigations Unit. It reads: Tension in the ranks. Waiting for them to slip up. Will happen soon.
And with one click it is encrypted and with two it is sent.
In the jeep Izzie drives and Max broods and Liz talks on the phone to her mother. …and it’s a pretty big test so look, if i spend the night at Maria’s then i can get maximum studying time in. And mom, if you need me call me on my cell, okay? ‘Bye.
Liz is a terrible liar. Bad liars embroider their lies unnecessarily and say too much.
The perfect Liz Parker lying to her mother? Izzie says contemptuously.,
Yeah, well at least she knows what species i am, Liz spits at her.
Ooh, Max says. Catfight, catfight. Kitty has claws.
Izzie and Liz maintain a stony silence. Max says, Liz, we had to lie from very early in our lives. I hated it at first; i wasnt brought up to lie. But i got past that. Izzie and i are good liars because we had to be. Izzie hates it. I dont like it but i accept it as necessary. Another reason it’s not good for humans to hang around us.
Izzie fumbles for a CD and plays it in her hand. It’s Rhapsody in Blue.
So now it’s Gershwin, Isabel? Max says. What’s it going to be next? Irving Berlin? A little bit of Cheek to Cheek?
Irving fucking Berlin, Izzie says. Eeeww.
Alright, Max says. Let’s just find them and bring them home.
What RU not telling me about this? Liz says suspiciously. You know Michael’s the kind of guy who could be involved in some pretty shady stuff.
Max and Izzie are silent. Finally Liz says, You guys know exactly where they’re going dont you?
Marathon, TX? Maria says to Michael. That’s like in another state.
It’s only another three hours, Michael says stolidly.
UR going 2B arrested, Maria says.
For driving to Texas?
Across a state line with a minor in a stolen vehicle. There are laws, you know. And that-that cell phone you tossed…vandalism of personal property. God, i just knew you had criminal tendencies. You even drive erratically.
What exactly is wrong with my driving?
I told you not to go over 80. The engine just wont take it.
Maybe it’s just tired of listening to your mouth, Michael says.
Oh! So, what? What’s in Marathon? Drugs? Weapons grade Plutonium? What?
You wouldnt understand, he says. You dont understand anything about us.
I already know more than i want to.
See, Maria? It’s all about you, isnt it? This could be the most important day of my life and all you care about…
Michael breaks off as he hears a siren and sees flashers behind him.
RU happy now? He says viciously. Go ahead. Tell em i kidnapped you and stole your car. I mean, what’s one more bust on my record, huh?
Michael pulls the car over and stops and the cop pulls over behind him.
What do you mean this could be the most important day of your life? She says.
Forget it, Maria.
You have about 20 seconds to convince me, she says.
Michael hands her the picture of Atherton’s house. See the place? He says. It’s the first real connection we’ve had to finding out where we came from. It’s in Marathon, Texas. If i dont get there or if somebody else gets there first the only link we’ve ever had to what we are will be gone.
The cop stops outside Michael’s window and removes his sunglasses. License and registration, he says.