Prologue

'What do the heroes of war do after the war is over?' Julie sat in her and Mike's bedroom wondering about all the people she met and "served" with in the Resistance during the war. In the 18 months since the war had ended, Mike and Julie had kept in touch with only a few of their friends. She missed many of them and Julie found it difficult in the first few weeks after the war ended. It was just too quiet in their house. They lived with so many people in the hideouts that their new house seemed so empty. Eventually she got use to the quiet, but there were nights when she longed for the camaraderie they had all shared.

Robin had become a very close and dear friend. She seemed to have grow up tremendously after the war ended, shedding the whining and adolescent attitude. There were still times when she could be a bit of a high maintenance friend, but that didn't bother Julie too much. Seeing her take such amazing care of Elizabeth really made Julie respect her more. The two women usually talked every few days or so, and tried to meet for coffee each Thursday. Julie even had Elizabeth stay the night when Robin needed a break. Julie remained Elizabeth's "doctor" in private, hoping to preserve some of the child's privacy. No one knew exactly how much of Elizabeth was human and how much was Vistor and Robin was afraid to take her to see any other doctor. Especially now that Elizabeth began shedding her skin again and has grown into a teenager. With Julie's help she has been learning how to use her "powers" more productively, but they keep them a secret and hope to protect Elizabeth from becoming known to the general public.

Robert, Robin's father, decided to move he and his younger girls to a more remote location in Wyoming. He had tried to talk Robin into coming with him, but she didn't want to be too far from Julie in case Elizabeth needed her. Robin also loathed the idea of living in the middle of nowhere, she needed to be around people. Robert and Julie had the rights to the Red Dust and Robert took over the tough job of getting production of the chemical up and going. He would consult Julie when a big decisions needed to be made, but she was so busy with other things that Robert was the one doing most the work. He didn't mind because he had the time, and it felt good to use his education for something worth while.

Martin lived with Mike and Julie for eight months after the war ended. He had no relatives on earth and Mike was his closest friend here. Martin had it rough though, as did all the Visitors who ended up stranded on Earth after their people were run off the planet. Many people didn't care that Martin was one of the few who saved the Earth from mass destruction when Diana armed her Mothership. All people saw was a Visitor and they wanted him gone. Having Martin living with them made Julie feel like Martin was safer because she knew Mike would fight off anyone who tried to harm him. There were threats in the beginning, but those seem to fizzle out as time went on. They even got some mice from the local pet store and kept them in a cage out in the backyard for Martin. Julie wished they could provide Martin with more variety, but most edible rodents and small animals were taken by the Visitors, and they were hard to find. Mice reproduced so fast that they were easier to come by.

There was a new compound built north of Los Angeles for the remaining Visitors. It was a group of buildings that were connected and filtered of the Red Dust, making the environment safe for the Visitors. Not many of them liked the idea of being stuck in one place all the time, but most realized that not only was the compound safe for their health, it was a place to keep them safe from anti-Visitor violence. After the compound was finished, Martin decided to go live there.

Martin and the other visitors had a prescription of the medication Julie created to protect the Fifth Column, but they only used it when they ventured out, which was seldom. There was not a lot of the medication left to go around, so it was only used on rare occasions. There was a manufacturer that was making the medication in much larger quantities, but they were getting so much grief for the production that they cut back drastically. Julie was working to get someone else to manufacture it, but so far no one was willing. Julie knew how to make the formula if needed, but getting the ingredients was proving much harder than she expected. There was a rumor going around that a group was trying to get it illegal for anyone to make the medication. They wanted the Visitors to be forced to live at the compound so they were monitored more closely. Someone had to make this medication though, or the Visitors left on Earth would eventually die off from Red Dust exposure. Julie felt personally responsible for this and wanted to do everything she could to make sure that didn't happen.

Willie also moved to the compound up north and Julie would see him when she and Mike came up to visit Martin. After Harmony died, he did not have anyone special on earth, so he though it was best to move up there to be around his people. Willie was a favorite among many of the Resistance. He was so quirky with his rough English and light personality. He could always make Julie smile, even when she was not in a very good mood. The trip was worth the two hour drive, and she seem to always go home happier than when she came. They ended up making the trip about once a month, and it was nice to reconnect with both men.

Ham is also a very close friend now. He ended up staying in L.A. and started a new life there. He was contracting himself out to companies that needed to reestablish their security features. Julie was always amazed at how busy Ham stayed. She knew he would rather be out fighting for some cause, but Ham was getting older and really needed to slow down. He and Mike liked to hang out together, and they were learning how to put their differences aside. It was rough for Ham at first, because of Martin living with them, but after getting to know the Visitor, Ham ended up coming over every Sunday for dinner, sometimes bringing his new girlfriend Jolene. It amazed Julie that Ham actually came around about Martin, but many things about Ham had changed. Julie smiled at the thought of Ham and what a hard man he use to be. He could still be very stubborn and irritating, but she loved him like a brother and knew that wasn't who he was anymore.

The rest of the group dispersed and Mike and Julie hadn't heard from them or only talked to them once in a blue moon. They occasionally saw an article in the newspaper about someone, but that was about as much as they heard. There was word that a get together was being planned, but nothing ever seemed to come of it.

Mike and Julie decided to stay in L. A. They quickly became well known for their role as leaders in the crippled government left in the quake of the Visitors gave them a house that had been left vacant after the war as a thank you. Because of her work during the war, Julie was given the Doctor of Medicine degree she had been working on by the college she was attending. Julie then was offered a residency program at a local hospital and began the tedious task of becoming a doctor once again. Mike was asked to come work for a private film/photography company that went into foreign countries taking pictures of the mass chaos left by the Visitors. Julie was not very happy with the job, but Mike enjoyed being in the action again and liked to be able to make a good amount of money. High wages were not very common in the post-war economy, and it fed his ego to know he was getting paid more than most. Julie was able to not worry about money while she finished her residency, and Mike liked that. Julie was a strong person, and Mike liked her being dependent on him in this way. He never told Julie that, he didn't have to, she knew Mike well enough to know what he was thinking. His job was the center of a lot of arguments between them. Julie kept asking Mike to find another job because of the danger associated with his, but he didn't think she was being realistic, so he ignored her requests.

Julie thought about Mike and their relationship. They had been so close and happy those first six months after the war ended. The longer Mike was at his job though, the more stressed she became about it. Julie loved Mike, but seeing him go into danger often, and being gone for longer and longer periods of time was putting strain on their relationship. Julie was hoping to sit down with Mike and have a long talk with him, but it didn't seem like he was home long enough for them to do that recently. "What do war heroes do after the war ends?" Julie murmured the thought out loud, "keep fighting, but with each other instead I guess." Just then, Mike walked into the room.