Liam was locked in a maximum security cell the minute the shuttles returned to the Mothership. Two Volunteers were posted as guards at the entrance to the cell.
Sandoval was taken to the medical bay, also under guard; this had been clearly specified by a furious Zo'or.
He and Da'an had gone to the bridge where a meeting of the Synod was currently underway. The Volunteers on duty throughout the ship went about their duties quietly and quickly. Word had quickly spread throughout the great ship about the revelations on the planet. The humans working on the ship had no idea how this was going to affect them. If Zo'or's reaction was anything to go by, it wasn't going to be good.
Da'an had tried to moderate the response to the news, but the clearly enraged Zo'or was having none of it. He quickly cowed the Synod into obedience and the decisions made were for the interrogation of Liam and Sandoval and the immediate commencement of a severe regimen of tests on the rest of the humans on the Mothership to root out any more possible 'surprises'.
Da'an tried to protest, pointing out that Sandoval had had no knowledge of Liam's true identity and that Liam had done nothing to harm any Taelon under his protection. He even pointed out that the only reason that he and Zo'or were currently standing here debating this was because Liam and Sandoval had saved their lives that morning. Nothing worked.
Zo'or's final statement was that Da'an would be returned to the Embassy while the Synod considered what action would be taken for his part in keeping this secret from them. The meeting ended.
Just as the orders concerning Liam and the others were about to be implemented, a very nervous Volunteer interrupted the Synod leader.
"There is a message coming through, Zo'or. From the Secretary General of the United Nations."
"Put her through.
"Yes, Madame Secretary. How can I help you?"
"Zo'or, we require the immediate return of Liam Kincaid and Agent Sandoval to the planet."
"I'm afraid that is not possible at the moment. Our agents are about to undergo some routine questioning about this morning's incident." Zo'or's calm face was chilling to behold.
The Secretary said, "They are citizens of the United States and Earth. We would like them returned now."
Once again Zo'or refused.
"In that case, I have no further recourse than to inform you that a meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations has been called for tomorrow. The matter for discussion is the immediate cessation of ties with the Taelon race."
The connection was terminated. Once again silence descended on the bridge of the Taelon Mothership.
Zo'or's voice rang out across the bridge of the Mothership. "They are bluffing."
"And if they are not?" queried Da'an.
"It matters not. We are by far the superior race."
"A race that will die without them. They know this. You will take no action that affects Kincaid or Sandoval until this matter is resolved."
"You are in no position to give any orders, Da'an."
Da'an's voice was ice as he responded. "Yes I am, child! As the current North American Companion I am bound by the agreement you had me make after the debacle with Dr. Creighton. I am bound by the laws of the United States and all agents from that country that serve the Taelons are under my jurisdiction.
"Until this matter is resolved no action will be taken against either Major Kincaid or Agent Sandoval. Liam will be removed from his cell immediately. He will remain under Volunteer escort and have free access to visit his father in the medical bay whenever he wishes. For the sake of our own survival no harm will befall any human on this ship. We need them, they know this. We may have the greater resources, but if we destroy them we destroy ourselves."
Zo'or tried to respond, but was cut off again.
"You are leader of the Synod, act like it!"
The Volunteers escorting Da'an were surprised to hear this forceful command from the Taelon and though it went against all the training they had been given they were finding it very hard not to laugh at the stunned expression on Zo'or's face.
Da'an turned to one of the Volunteers on duty and told him to contact the United Nations, informing them that as North American Companion and as a result of the Creighton agreement he was requesting permission to attend the meeting.
"I will now go to see Liam."
With that remark made he turned and motioned his Volunteer 'escorts' to follow. None of the other Volunteers even dared look at Zo'or to see his reaction.
Da'an approached Liam's holding cell and found his protector sitting on the floor of his cell with his back resting on the wall. He looked up as he heard someone approaching, the expression on his face causing Da'an to misstep slightly as he went forward. It was an expression encompassing fear, worry, rage, resignation and so many other human emotions that the Taelon still had a hard time understanding.
"Is Sandoval all right?"
Da'an had been expecting the question.
"Yes, Liam, you stabilised him enough that he only required a brief scan to ensure that he had suffered no other injuries. He is resting in the medical bay, under guard."
"You know he had no idea about any of this; why is he under guard?"
Da'an did something that Liam had never seen before; he grimaced. It was such an unusual sight that he barely registered the single word response to his query, "Zo'or.
"Your actions, though laudable, have precipitated a level of events that both races may not recover from. The United Nations requested the return of you both to the planet, Zo'or refused, and there will now be a meeting tomorrow at the UN to consider the cessation of all ties with the Taelons."
Liam's face exhibited confusion, surprise and a touch of fear at the news. He knew full well the ramifications if the Taelons refused to give up humanity easily.
"If you give your word not to attempt an escape at this time you may leave this cell, under Volunteer escort, and visit Sandoval at your discretion."
A relieved smile touched Liam's features.
"I give my word, Da'an, but with one proviso. I will not allow anything to happen to Sandoval as a result of my actions. He knew nothing about me and I will not allow anyone to cause him harm now. Keep your personnel away from him, he - no, we - need time to deal with this morning's events by ourselves."
Da'an inclined his head in agreement. "For now I can agree to this, but dependent on the outcome of the UN meeting the situation may change; you know this."
"Then my word is good for as long as the agreement holds, no longer."
Da'an ordered the cell barrier dropped and Liam brushed passed him and speeded on his way to Sandoval. The Volunteers assigned to him had to hurry to keep up.
Liam located the medical bay where Sandoval was sleeping and entered, while his 'escort' took up position at the door. As he entered Liam's face darted to the figure lying sleeping on the bed. If he could have seen his own expression he would have seen fleeting glimpses of hope, fear and yearning cross his face.
Typically enough, there was nowhere to sit. Taelons, decided Liam, really needed to learn the benefits of furniture.
"Hope you don't mind, 'Dad', but I need my rest too. This has been a hell of a day."
He went to the end of the bed and sat lotus position, waiting for his future to wake up. Would it contain greeting or renunciation? He had no idea.
Liam had dozed for a while waiting on Sandoval to wake up. He'd had to get up eventually and wander round the room, though. The prospect of facing Sandoval had him full of pent up nervous energy.
In an effort to calm himself he walked to the most spacious area of the room and began to run through the basic forms of Tai Chi. He had accepted this part of his heritage from his human parents gladly. It was one of the few interests that Beckett and Sandoval had both shared. When he had decided to take up the discipline it had made him feel closer to his human parents, something that stabilised him, made him feel less alone, something he could share with them.
He hadn't noticed Sandoval waken. The implant had not taken his eyes from the room's other occupant. Nebulous expressions flashed through his eyes but otherwise his face retained his usual impassive expression.
Liam abruptly ceased all movement as he heard Sandoval speak. Nervously he approached the side of the bed. He looked at Sandoval, Sandoval looked at him, and neither of them could speak. The tension in the room was palpable.
Sandoval said quietly, "Why didn't you tell me sooner, Liam?"
"I have no idea how to begin to explain this."
Sandoval's voice was steel as he said "Try."
Liam's voice was hesitant as he started to tell his story. He told the story of how the Resistance had removed Beckett from out of the line of fire during the battle between Boone and Ha'gel. The discovery of the pregnancy, the speed at which he had grown in the womb, his birth, Beckett's plea, his first words, his unprecedented growth and development.
His voice grew stronger as he detailed his initial joining of the Resistance and his role as Da'an's new protector. It faltered briefly as he came to the death of his mother, the pain he was now free to express clearly evident in his voice, his narrative tailed off with that morning's incident...
"You were dying. I couldn't let that happen. I wanted to tell you before, please believe that if you believe nothing else. This morning forced the issue. Your DNA is contained within my own triple helix DNA structure. I hoped that if I acknowledged the fact that we were family in front of the press that there would be enough interest focused on you to ensure that Zo'or couldn't make you vanish into some interrogation cell without a lot of questions being asked. It was the only way to protect you I could think of at the time."
Liam's eyes focused on a spot on the floor once his explanation had finished and he refused to look up. He was desperate to hear Sandoval's reaction but at the same time terrified of what that reaction would be. Could he handle a rejection?
There were several moments of silence and Liam felt like his heart was breaking. Was the answer going to be no?
He felt Sandoval's hand touch his wrist; he looked up into Sandoval's eyes and for a moment he was sure he forgot to breathe.
Then he heard the words that eased his soul.
"I understand, Liam. I just wish I had known about my son sooner. I have missed so much."
Tears fell from Liam's eyes as he was pulled down so Sandoval could wrap his arms around his shoulders and give him a hug.
Liam felt like a piece of himself that he hadn't even realised had been missing was suddenly restored to him.
"Thank you, Dad."
Sandoval drifted back to sleep a few minutes later and Liam sat on the side of the bed, just watching him sleep. Things were far from all right. Humanity was under threat and Sandoval, his Dad, was still in danger. He had long resigned himself to the fact that his life would constantly hang by a thread so that wasn't really a concern.
For now though, he just wanted to take a few moments to bask in the acceptance of his Dad; he had a family and for now that was all that mattered.
Da'an approached the medical bay to check on Liam and Sandoval. He paused at the sight before him. They were sitting facing each other on the bed, talking quietly and laughing.
It was a sight that pleased him and that fact confused him. Why did it bring him pleasure to witness them together? Was it the fact that Sandoval looked like he had done when he had first met him, before his CVI had robbed his eyes of joy? As for Liam, his young protector seemed more settled now and more focussed. In his father's acceptance he had found peace and strength.
He entered the room.
"Agent Sandoval, Liam. I have arranged for you both to move to shared quarters. There is a Volunteer escort waiting outside.
"I will be leaving for New York tonight in preparation for tomorrow's meeting at the UN. Are there any messages that you would like passed on?"
Liam and Sandoval exchanged a quick glance. Liam gave Sandoval a questioning look; he hesitated and then gave an almost imperceptible nod.
As Sandoval dictated a message to his superiors in the FBI, it left Liam free to murmur some messages to Da'an.
Da'an looked at him and for a moment blushed and lost his human appearance. "I will pass the messages as required. Hopefully some of them will be unnecessary."
That final remark was directed at Liam. He then turned and left. Liam and Sandoval followed him out and the waiting Volunteers escorted them to their new 'quarters'.
As they walked through the ship's corridors the humans on the ship greeted them with a variety of expressions ranging from pity and sorrow to fear, the latter being directed more toward Liam than Sandoval.
The looks being directed towards him caused Liam's shoulders to slump a little. Sandoval, noticing his distress, placed a gentle hand on his shoulder offering reassurance. A brief smile of thanks graced Liam's features.
They entered what amounted to their new 'cell' and as soon as they were inside, Sandoval asked Liam what was wrong.
"They're afraid of me. I scare them. Why? I don't want to hurt them!"
Sandoval was surprised to feel the pain it caused him to see Liam so distressed. He tried to reassure him.
"Human nature is to fear what we don't know. Give them time and they'll come around. They'll see you for the man you are and remember the help you've always shown to those of them who needed it."
As he said this Liam had flung himself down on one of the beds in the room and curled up on his side. It seemed the most natural thing in the world for him to sit on the bed beside his son and to gently stroke his arm in reassurance. At first Liam resisted, but eventually the lines of tension eased from around his eyes, he fell asleep.
Sandoval sat there for most of the night, not sleeping, just keeping watch on his son.
Meanwhile, Da'an left for New York, highly troubled. He feared the outcome of this meeting, for both the Taelons and Humanity. His mind was plagued, too, by the messages he had been given. His loyalty was to the Taelons; why did the information Liam had given him on how to obtain help from the Resistance if he needed it make him feel more secure? How was it possible that he trusted the humans more than his own race?
The next day dawned and the time of the meeting approached. Outside the UN a crowd began to form, there was a sense of something momentous in the air. Everyone could feel it. There were supporters of the Taelons and the Resistance as well as just ordinary members of the public expressing their concerns over the day's possible outcomes. News crews covered the crowd outside as well as the building tension inside the UN as the scheduled meeting approached.
Da'an's shuttle arrived and a stir went round the crowd. As he exited the shuttle the first thing he noticed was the customary joyful greeting that he received was absent. Silence greeted him this time. The second thing was that he had an armed escort of police, not his usual Companion security. It gave him momentary pause as he realised for the first time that he was feeling fear of a human crowd. He missed Liam. He hadn't realised how reassuring it was to have the young man's protection.
Zo'or had miscalculated badly if he thought he could bully humanity into granting his wishes this time.
He went inside and assumed the seat of the Companion Representative. It had originally been his and had been one aspect of being the North American Companion that he had relished. Humanity's diversity was never more clearly expressed than in the many faces that made up the General Assembly. Zo'or's assumption of this role had caused friction; he was no diplomat. However, after he had assumed leadership of the Synod it was taken in turn by the other Companions to represent the Taelons. Not an ideal solution, but it had given Da'an time to try to heal some of the breaches Zo'or had caused.
What was going to be done this time?
The meeting was noisy, heated and determined. As Da'an sat and listened he could hear the same message in each voice, no matter the language being spoken. The message was not this time. The Taelons, for the first time in their dealings with humanity, were facing a united opposition to one of their proposals.
Da'an requested permission to address the Security Council in a closed session. After considerable debate permission was granted.
Da'an's address to the Security Council left them speechless. The proposal was a way out for all concerned and they just couldn't believe it had come from a Taelon. Over the recent months the Taelons' veneer of peace and compassion had been tarnished. Humanity as a whole was starting to have doubts, not just the Resistance movement. Here, though, was a Taelon proposing a way in which humanity could prevail, in this matter at least.
As the meeting ended Da'an approached one of his first human acquaintances, the American ambassador to the UN. They had a quiet conversation that left the American pale and clearly concerned. He excused himself from the meeting as soon as was permissible and was quickly in communication with his superiors as soon as he was in his own office.
Da'an's requests left them stunned. The fact that he knew how to contact the Resistance caused concern. That he knew about Operation Dark Knight they didn't even want to think about. That he had urgent messages for them from Liam was inconceivable. Then again, nothing about this entire situation had made sense since the revelations of the previous morning.
The messages were sent. Now all they could do was wait.
The second morning since the 'incident' dawned with a spectacular sunrise. Not that anybody at the UN noticed. The comings and goings of the Security Council behind closed doors had excited a great deal of speculation on behalf of the press and the rest of the UN. Something was definitely in the wind.
Meanwhile, behind those doors, a most unusual and unprecedented meeting was occurring. It was not every day that people who were active in a Resistance movement received a briefing from the UN in the presence of one of the very figures they were resisting.
"Liam and Sandoval accept that they are going to have to be questioned. Zo'or will never allow them to leave the Mothership until this has happened. What Liam wants to do is arrange it in such away that once the questioning is finished they will be able to return to the planet under the protection of the UN.
"Of course, we are all well aware that Zo'or will try something to keep them there. That is why Liam requested your help, Colonel Kincaid. We are going to arrange for the questioning to be monitored by a team of members from the Security Council. You will accompany them as part of their security detail. Not even Zo'or will attempt to harm Humanity's representatives, but Liam wants you there in case his father needs protection."
Colonel Kincaid never even glanced at his superior for authorisation, he simply said, "I'll be ready."
Da'an then turned to Augur. The computer wizard was - to put it mildly - perplexed at his inclusion in this meeting. He was ready to do anything to help get Liam back, though.
"Augur, Liam thinks that he may need an, 'ace up his sleeve', was the expression he used. He wants you ready to recreate an experiment."
Augur looked confused at this. "What experiment?"
"All Liam wants to say in public is to remember both myself and Be'lai. He wants you ready to do the same to Zo'or."
At that Augur looked shocked but he quickly agreed. The rest of the room just looked bewildered.
Da'an then contacted the Mothership to appraise Zo'or of the latest situation.
"I have managed to persuade them of the necessity of questioning Liam and Sandoval. However, there will be a team of five members of the Security Council, and their security officers, present at all times during the questioning. They expect to have the two men turned over into the protective custody of the UN when we have finished. I have agreed to this. We may have been able to hold them without worry if you had not so blatantly refused the UN. This way we will at least maintain our dignity and a semblence of control in this matter. The alternative is a full cessation of relations and armed resistance. They realise full well that they cannot win such a conflict, but they know that they can inflict severe damage, as well as the fact that if we destroy them we are committing suicide."
Zo'or agreed to the terms and the questioning was set for the following morning. The Security Council appraised the rest of the UN of Da'an's compromise and after the agreement of the rest of the General Assembly was given preparations for the next day began in earnest.
Da'an returned to the Mothership and after his report to the rest of the Synod he went in search of Liam and Sandoval to ready them for the day ahead.
Sandoval and Liam prepared to spend a second night in their 'cell', both trying very hard not to think about what the coming morning had in store for them. They had spent most of the day talking, this time with Sandoval talking about how his life had changed after his implantation. He admitted that he believed his MI had started to malfunction not long after his encounter with Ha'gel.
As he had recounted the things he had done while under its influence Liam could clearly hear the horror in his voice. He simply reached out and held him. Not talking, simply offering silent support.
All in all though they were both slowly getting used to their redefined relationship. It was certainly nothing Sandoval had ever expected, his son was unique, but he was his son and he loved him. Now there was a surprise, a surprise that gladdened his heart.
As they drifted off to sleep one question did spring to Sandoval's mind and he turned to his son lying on the other bed.
"Liam, why do you call me Dad and not Father?"
There was a momentary hesitation, and then Liam spoke.
"I met Ha'gel once in another dimensional plane when I was placed in a near-death state. Long story. Anyway, we talked briefly and I made peace with the fact that he helped create me and then abandoned me to a world where I was always going to be different. He seemed so solemn, though. To be honest, he kind of overwhelmed me. To me he always seemed to be Father, not Dad.
"Mom was mom. Simple as that and I loved her. You, on the other hand, I thought I'd never get to let you know who I was. You were always Dad to me, though; I don't think I've ever subconsciously called you anything else.
"In case you haven't figured it out yet, I love you."
Sandoval smiled, "And I you, my son. Never doubt that. I love you too."
With that they went to sleep. Tomorrow would come soon enough.
The UN representatives and their escorts got their first surprise on their visit to the Mothership when they were not shown to the bridge upon arrival. Instead they were taken, under Volunteer escort, to a large chamber that contained more Taelons than any of them had ever seen in one place before. These Taelons included many of the World's Companions as well as some of the oft mentioned but rarely seen Synod.
There was a strained silence between the two groups as they awaited the appearance of the two men to be questioned.
While waiting, one of the UN escorts seemed to be aimlessly strolling round the chamber. In fact, Colonel Kincaid was scanning the chamber's layout closely. He had been beyond surprised when he had eventually found out his namesake's secret; it had explained a great deal, though. The Resistance had a huge asset in his loyalty and humanity definitely needed him alive - his knowledge was desperately needed to help level the playing field. If Liam was more concerned about his father's safety than his own it would be taken care of. The fewer distractions Liam had just now the better.
A plan to protect Sandoval had actually been fairly easy to come up with; the difficult part had been getting the UN representatives and the rest of the escort to co-operate. With the one extra precaution he had taken, he was reasonably secure he could take care of his part of this risky plan. As for the rest of it, they'd just have to wait and see.
A Volunteer squad walked into the chamber then, Liam and Sandoval in their midst. The morning's drama was ready to unfold.
Liam quickly glanced over the UN's representatives and his eyes paused momentarily upon seeing Kincaid. His shoulders relaxed almost imperceptibly as he saw an ally he could depend on.
The questioning began with Sandoval; Da'an had arranged it that way. It didn't take long. Sandoval had genuinely not known about Liam. The fact that his loyalties had clearly shifted away from the Taelons was something that deeply upset them. If one of the longest serving implants could turn against them, then they could be vulnerable.
Liam's questioning took much longer. He surprised them with his openness. He freely talked about his birth less than a year before - in the Resistance headquarters, of all places! The fact that his human parents remembered nothing about him he made quite clear. His reasoning for assuming the role as Da'an's protector was questioned; surely placing himself so close to the Taelons had run the greater risk of his heritage being discovered? When he revealed that he was simply taking the place of the last Resistance operative to hold that post, Commander Boone, it caused a furor among both the Taelons and the UN representatives. How had the Resistance managed to obtain the loyalty of an implanted agent?
Liam briefly outlined some of his alien heritage, including the shaqarava. He also pointed out that it had been used in defence of Taelon lives more often than in his role with the Resistance. He made it clear that though the Resistance had helped protect the secret of his true identity he had joined because he had believed it to be the right thing to do.
Humanity's representatives were happy that all lines of questioning had been covered. Zo'or wasn't. At his order a group of Volunteers entered the chamber and attempted to remove Sandoval and Liam. Upon seeing this the humans in the chamber, who were not at all surprised by Zo'or's actions - unlike the majority of the other Taelons - quickly moved into action.
The UN representatives and their escorts quickly encircled Sandoval, placing a wall of bodies around him. To get to him the Volunteers would have to attack them. At that point Colonel Kincaid played his trump card. He displayed the hidden camera that he had been wearing that had broadcast the entire interrogation to the planet below. Would Zo'or proceed with his effort with the world watching?
Liam, who had once again been taken into close custody by Volunteers, addressed Zo'or.
"We expected you would renege on the agreement with the UN. You didn't disappoint us. My father and the others leave now. I'll stay."
At that last remark Sandoval gave a start and attempted to remove himself from within his protective cordon. Liam had not told him this part of the plan! Didn't he realise that Zo'or would never let him go? It was suicide! Colonel Kincaid had expected this and the two security personnel stationed on each side of him literally held him in place, the anguish in his eyes clear to see.
"Let them go and I'll stay. I have a few things left to say about matters concerning Taelon internal security anyway."
A seething Zo'or finally agreed and the humans were escorted from the chamber. Shuttles ferried them back to Earth.
They still had the hybrid. Zo'or looked forward to the rest of the interrogation that would continue without human meddling. If he had seen the glance that passed between Da'an and an entirely too confident Liam he might not have felt quite as sure of himself.
On the shuttle going back to Earth, Colonel Kincaid finally told Sandoval the rest of the plan. He explained that Liam had arranged it this way to get him out of the line of fire. The next part of the scheme was risky as it was, he couldn't concentrate on it if he had to worry about his father's safety. This did nothing to reassure Sandoval; what was Liam going to do?
Colonel Kincaid was silent on that. He simply opened the global he had been given and signalled Augur to be ready to proceed.
The attention of the Taelons in the chamber was now fully fixed on the young hybrid. The revelation of his true identity had rocked the very foundations of their existence. A Kimera hybrid was something to be feared; after all, they thought they had wiped out the entire race.
It had also badly compromised their relationship with the human race. For years they had enjoyed an exalted status, complacent in the awe and reverence with which humanity treated them. This one young man had destroyed that, practically overnight.
Zo'or ordered that Liam be placed in restraints, his hatred for Liam clearly evident in his voice.
Liam just smiled and said, "I really wouldn't advise that."
"As if you have any say in the matter!"
Although held by two Volunteers, Liam activated his shaqarava and said, "Just try!"
The Volunteers - training forgotten - abandoned their posts at his side.
Liam addressed all the Taelons in the chamber.
"This stops now. Zo'or has meddled in humanity's affairs once too often. If you don't have the will to stop him yourselves, we will."
Zo'or's disdain for that statement was clearly evident. He obviously believed that there was nothing that could be done to stop him. Most of the other Taelons, excluding Da'an, agreed with him.
"If you cast your thoughts back to a few months ago you will remember the catastrophe that befell Da'an. He reverted to his Atavistic state and you ordered him hunted down."
The Taelons in the room blushed blue at the memory, even Zo'or. They had thought that Da'an and the problems caused by his growing respect for humanity had been solved for them. The impossible had happened, though, and Da'an had been restored to the Commonality. It seemed that they were finally going to get an explanation for that; if Liam's expression was to be believed, they weren't going to like it.
"We in the Resistance know how to break a Taelon's link to the Commonality. We have the ability to sever the link in such away that a Taelon can be stabilised and linked to human volunteers to prevent reversion to the Atavisitic state. This link is far from stable and has to be closely monitored but it can be done. However, once the link is broken the Atavus takes over. At that point only one thing can save the Taelon."
"What?" asked Zo'or, although he feared he already knew the answer.
Liam gave a cold little smile.
"Me. Da'an was restored to the Commonality by me. He will confirm it for you if you would like. I've arranged proof for you, however. The main reason, apart from my father's safety, that the UN representatives left was to give the order for what is about to happen. The time frame I gave was specific enough."
Silence fell. Suddenly Zo'or gave a gasp. Da'an flinched upon hearing it. It was like hearing an echo of himself as the veneer of control offered by the Commonality was stripped away. Zo'or dropped to his knees in the chamber. The Taelons stared in disbelief as a nightmare took shape in front of them. Zo'or transformed to an Atavus before their horrified eyes.
"Humanity has the ability to identify the frequencies at which each individual Taelon is linked to the Commonality. If we know the frequency we can break the link. Remember that."
Then before the Atavus ran amok, Liam approached it with palms raised. Once again he used his abilities and restored a Taelon to the Commonality. Zo'or never said a word. He was too far gone in shock.
Liam addressed the Taelons.
"Zo'or is no longer acceptable to Humanity as leader of the Synod. While he remains your leader we sever all ties with you. Upon election of a new leader we will welcome new overtures of partnership. Remember that: partnership. Not servitude. You have pulled us into the middle of your conflict with the Jaridians; against the express wishes of one of your most revered figures, Ma'el, who warned you to stay away. We were not consulted either - a fact that does not sit well with us, I assure you.
"Ideally we would like to find a way for all three races to peacefully coexist. Thanks to your interference in human development the Jaridians may never be convinced.
"You may choose to destroy us and take your chances with them. The last act of the human race would be to shatter the Commonality and leave you to your fate. You now pay the price for your earlier arrogance. I alone can restore you and my place is with the human race."
Da'an ordered that Liam be taken to the shuttle bay and allowed to return to Earth. Before he left Liam turned to Da'an and held his palm out. Da'an lifted his palm to join his.
After a moment Liam said, "Choose wisely, my friend."
Then he left.
His shuttle arrived in New York a few moments later. A crowd of UN figures and press were awaiting his return. As was Sandoval. He ran forward as Liam exited the shuttle and hugged his son.
"Don't you ever do that to me again!"
Liam just smiled and hugged him back.
The next day word came from the Taelon Mothership that Zo'or had been removed from the leadership of the Synod and sent to one of the other ships in the Taelon fleet. Da'an had been named to replace him and the Taelons were formally requesting that relations between the two races be restored.