|Arcanum 5: Permanence
Author: Designation PM
He could forget, and it wouldn't make a difference. That's how it is when you're on the outside. Zack centric 5th fic in the Arcanum series, takes place just after Interloper.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Zack & Max - Words: 1,354 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 09-01-04 - Status: Complete - id: 2040078
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I don't presume to own Dark Angel or any of it's characters. I gain no profit from this fiction, other than pride and joy and hopefully reviews. crosses fingers
Author's Note: This is the fifth fic in the Arcanum series, but it takes place just after Interloper. If you want to understand what's going on, be sure to check out Interloper. You may also wish to read the other fics in the series, Something Else That Didn't Fit, Catalyst and Almost a Memory. They may help you to understand and confirm some of Zack's thoughts in this fic. Almost a Memory will be especially helpful. Plus they're a good read. ;)
Both of their heads snapped up to his face behind the bars at the deep and bitter sound. "Interlopers," he accused with a sinister and yet amused grin. He kept his voice low, so as not to raise any attention save theirs.
They eyed him with surprise, wonder, and suspicion. Perhaps a little fear. Good. They were right to be afraid. For since noticing their presence, he held their life in his already bloodstained hands. Fear was quite appropriate.
At first, Zack had been sure that it was all over. Their intel had been wrong, and now they were screwed. At any moment they'd be surrounded. There weren't many soldiers left in the quiet building, but he and Max would still be outnumbered. By soldiers with 10 years of training on them.
But that wasn't how it was.
After revealing himself to them, the transgenic had returned to the darkness. Then the two of them had moved on to continue their mission.
The transgenic remained silent, Logan reported that they were clear, and the two of them went undetected for a little longer.
So he couldn't really understand why Max was so shaken up.
As far as he was concerned, they could forget it had ever happened and it wouldn't make a difference. Had the transgenic wanted to alert the rest of the facility, he would have done so immediately. It would have been a huge tactical mistake to let them go on and then set off the alarms; by that time they could have planted the charges and been on their way out. It didn't matter that the transgenic wouldn't know exactly what they were doing.
It was a complete idiocy to remain silent altogether, but that's what the transgenic in the cell was doing. What the hell was he thinking? If the Director found out that he had known the rogues were in the building and had said nothing, he'd be thrown in Psy. Ops faster than he could say 'interloper.'
It was a stupid move, no doubt. But Zack had read it in the transgenic's eyes: It was a stupid move, and he was making it.
Max was afraid; he could smell it. By the way she kept glancing over her shoulder, he knew it was more than just their location that she was afraid of.
She was quiet, she was nervous.
Either she hadn't properly analyzed the situation, which was unlikely, or she had realized something that Zack himself had missed. Her fear disturbed him.
The two of them made their way silently to the DNA lab. Upon approaching the door, Zack removed a small jar from his pocket. "Guess there is an eye in team," Max muttered as he scanned in their stolen optical key. "It worked, we're in," she spoke into her communicator.
The door opened, and Zack walked in. He glanced back at Max, to see her staring off into the dark corridor behind them. It was as if she were trying to work something out. She tilted her head to the side, isolated from what was going on around her.
Zack reached out and touched her shoulder. "Come on," he whispered.
Max nodded and followed him in.
Perhaps she wasn't afraid. Somehow, that was harder to understand.
Because even if she wasn't afraid, she was still transfixed. Like the face had been familiar, but she couldn't place it. The transgenic couldn't have been from their old unit. If he had been, Zack would have recognized him.
Perhaps she had seen him on the outside while he had been on a mission? No. If she had, she would have realized it by now. There was no recognition in her gaze, just confusion and wonder.
She could be simply wondering why the transgenic hadn't spoke. But X5's were very efficient multitaskers, and she could wonder all she wanted without being distracted like she was.
None of it added up.
This meant that there was something he was missing, for sure.
It made him feel blind. It made him feel almost stupid.
But it was more than something he was overlooking. There was so much more. More in her gaze than some trivial fact. It wasn't as simple as a misplaced object or a mysterious door; there was something about that transgenic that was speaking to her.
He felt like an intruder in a private moment. He was a misfit, he was an outcast, his presence was alien. He was the interloper. But worst of all, he was insignificant.
There was something here. Something big and mysterious. It may have been important, it was more likely inconsequential, but it was important to her. And it had overlooked him completely.
Zack had always been one who needed to be in the know. He was the CO, and it was always necessary that he hold all the cards, or at least know which ones were out there and who did have them.
He had needed to know everything about his siblings in order to keep them safe. That was how it had started out, anyway. Zack had become accustomed to knowing all the secrets. It was in his nature to desire knowledge. It was a soldier's nature to have all the intel before going in.
Zack had most assuredly gone in, but the intel had changed. He was no longer privy to all the details.
But now was not the time.
They had a mission, and it was not to chatter.
He'd ask Max about it later. He'd ask her when they had the time; when they were out of this war zone. When they had returned to base, so to speak.
He couldn't wait, but he would have to.
When we get out of here, he promised himself. It'll wait.
Sunlight was streaming through the curtains when he awoke. Normally he'd be up by now, but he seemed to have slept right through his alarm.
He could understand why; he felt as if he were finally within grasp of some knowledge. Maybe he had chosen to remain asleep to gain it. For so long now there had been nothing.
It was frustrating; now more so than it had ever been. Perhaps if he had been able to sleep a little longer, he would have remembered something. Anything. But Buddy was calling to him, and sleep was no longer to be had.
The information he so desired was just out of reach. It was this that frustrated him the most. Adam had discovered within himself a deep longing for knowledge. Knowledge of his surroundings, of how to do things . . . And, of course, knowledge of himself. It was this last that plagued him every day.
But there had been something. . . . There had been something in his dream that beckoned to him more than his own lost identity. He had never thought it would be possible, but there it was.
The dream had left him upon waking. He didn't even know the questions to which he so desperately desired answers. But he remembered one thing; he remembered thinking, When we get out of here. It'll wait.
He must have waited too long. Now it seemed he would be permanently in the dark.