The new centre was due to be opened in just a few minutes. A large crowd was milling about waiting on the arrival of the Taelon shuttle carrying Zo'or and Da'an to the opening ceremony. It would be the first appearance of the two Taelons together since the Presidential election and the subsequent crackdown. As such, there was a large press contingent present, too.
Overhead the shuttle flared into view and landed near the main entrance. Sandoval exited the shuttle first, and when he did so the assembled Volunteers braced to attention. Da'an came next, followed by Zo'or, with Liam, the pilot, bringing up the rear.
Approaching the dais Liam noticed a familiar face amongst the assembled press corps. He smiled and nodded a greeting to Abby as he went past, his mind briefly flashing back to their adventure on the Mothership. She returned his greeting, a smile lighting on her face.
The ceremony was brief and the the Taelons allowed the press to ask a few questions.
Sandoval and Liam, still on either side of the Taelons at the dais, scanned the crowd for any sign of potential trouble. It appeared it was going to be an uneventful trip, until a noise in the crowd caught their attention. Moving in concert, they each turned to the Tealon closest to them to get them out of the line of fire. Liam pulled Zo'or to the ground, shielding him with his own body. On the opposite end of the dais Sandoval mimicked his actions with Da'an.
As they did so, the Volunteers quickly aproached the lone individual causing the disturbance. Seeing a weapon, they opened fire, injuring a few members of the crowd. They killed the man, but not before he managed to target the dais and fire.
The explosion rocked the dais and for a few seconds it was engulfed by smoke, obscuring both the Taelons and their protectors.
Liam rose to his feet, pulling a shaken but furious Zo'or to his feet. However, on the other side of the dais it became apparent that not all was well. Although Da'an was uninjured, Agent Sandoval was lying twisted on his back, with a huge bloody mark slowly appearing on his shirt.
Liam paled and quickly dropped to his knees at Sandoval's side. He could hear in the background the excited news reports of the journalists as this latest story whisked its way around the world.
All that concerned Liam, though, was the fact that from the severity of the wound and the expression on the face of the Volunteer medic on the opposite side of Sandoval was that Sandoval would never survive the journey to receive medical help.
Liam knew there was one thing he could do, but he also knew what would happen if he did. He took a deep breath, looked up and spoke to Da'an. "Please, Da'an, keep everyone back. I know what will happen when I'm done, but no interference till then."
Abby looked round as she heard the tone of his voice and motioned for her camera crew to focus on the group at the dais. She saw Da'an's face at this request and had the sinking feeling that she knew what was coming. Zo'or simply looked confused as Da'an quickly ordered all Volunteer personnel to await further orders but to do nothing to interfere with the Major until he was finished.
There was an audible gasp from both the Taelon group and the milling journalists as Liam activated his shaqarava and leaned over the injured Sandoval. Silence descended as they saw the young man place one hand on the wound, the other on the injured man's forehead. Disbelief was the reaction as they saw the wound stabilise and begin to heal before their eyes.
Zo'or started to order the Volunteers forward, but Da'an placed his hand on him and restrained him.
"You will wait until this healing has been accomplished."
A sigh followed. "Yes."
Liam finished and leaned forward to whisper something to Sandoval. The other man at first shook his head in disbelief but then slumped back as he accepted the truth of what Liam told him. He bowed his head for a moment and then gently placed his hand on the other's cheek.
Liam stood and as he did Zo'or spoke and two Volunteers quickly stepped forward and stood on either side of him restraining him.
With a resigned expression on his face Liam turned to Da'an and said simply, "Thank you for waiting."
The Volunteers tried to move him to the shuttle, but the journalists, sensing the huge story, refused to be moved and yelled question after question.
Liam held firm and started to speak. "First, I want to say I mean no one any harm. I never meant for humanity to find out about me like this. You have given me the only home I have ever known and I love it dearly. With the coming conflicts I knew my true identity would have to come out eventually, but I never expected it to be like this."
"Why now?" asked one journalist.
Liam looked at him with a sad smile on his face. "Sandoval is my only surviving parent. I couldn't lose him too."
The Volunteers had finally cleared a path to the waiting shuttles but Liam fought against them to turn and deliver one final statement to the cameras present.
"To the Resistance movement, I say I'm sorry I couldn't do more. I'll hold out as long as I can. Scatter, my friends, and hold firm to the belief that one day we will be free again."
He was then dragged into the shuttle and seconds later it disappeared from view.
The journalists just stood and stared. Some cried. All knew things wouldn't be all right again for a very long time.