Mr. Washington looked over at Maria. "I had hoped that Michael would come with you, but maybe it's better this way."
"What about Max and Isabel?"
Mr. Washington smiled. "They're not the ones who need the answers. Michael, and even you, are the ones who need to know."
"I am not from your planet... I am... one of your friends' species. We were on an exploration trip when we crashed. We were going to integrate ourselves into Earth's culture to see if you were ready to know that you weren't alone in the universe. There were five of us. Two couples, with two children each, and the one you know as Nasedo."
Maria was listening in silence. This man could have all that Michael ever wanted to know.
"The children were in incubation pods. That's often done when children are moving to a new planet. It's easier that way for both the children and the parents. When we entered the planet's atmosphere, something happened, and we crashed. Nasedo and I were the only ones who survived-- not counting the children in the incubation pods. We dragged the pods away from the crash site, one at a time, and hid them. When we went back for the last pod, we were nearly caught, and had to hide the pod in a different place.
"After we had hid the pods, we ran. We knew that the pod's would open automatically in 40 years. Nasedo and I split up, and made plans to meet after 40 years. I traveled around, learning how to fit in. In 1987, I went back to retrieve the children, but they had already hatched, and Nasedo never showed. I was almost caught again that time, so I left. Last year, I finally found out that three of the children were still here. I watched them for a while, and saw them make friends with you, Liz, and Alex. I knew that they would be okay then, so I continued searching for the fourth alien. Before I could find her, I was contacted by Nasedo, who told me that Michael, Max, and Isabel were in danger. Nasedo had changed. He would do anything to protect the children, even kill. I started this shop about a month ago, and continued to observe. Max and Isabel are settled in their home, but Michael is different. His longing for a family could put all of you in danger. Nasedo killed Hank to protect Michael." Mr. Washington shook his head. "I told him not to do it. Michael had broken away on his own. Even then, Michael still wanted to find Nasedo. I don't know where Nasedo is now, but I suspect that he's nearby. When you came in here, with Isabel and Liz, I knew that it was time to warn you. And I think that's all you need to know."
Maria was silent, taking it all in. So many questions were answered, yet so many were left unanswered. Suddenly, something occurred to her. "Wait, if there were five adults and Nasedo was the only one without children, then--"
Mr. Washington nodded solemnly, and attempted to smile. "Yes, I am Michael's father."