Timeframe: A couple of month after Freak Nation. Logan can of course walk.
AN: Hey everybody who is still reading. I know I told you I would post every Thursday but I changed the ending (again), meaning adding about 30 pages. That way I have the possibility to do a sequel if I want to or leave it as a finished story. I promised to post the last chapter before Christmas. So here it is.
As for the whole fic. It started out in the year 2001 as a little one or two chapter fic which I didn't intend to have a plot. All I wanted to address was that after being holed up for a while in TC hormones would get involved and complicate things. But it turned out differently. I made up a plot and decided to finish it no matter how long it would take. I moved 3 times during this fic. Had 2 boyfriends. Had 4 jobs. Watched Season 1 DVD about 7 times and Season 2 about 3 times. But I enjoy writing this and I enjoy that people read it. Love it or not. So here is the end. It took years. Mostly delayed due to something I call the bitch of a real life. I hope you enjoyed reading it. I thank everybody who reviewed and those who just read it without reviewing.
A big "Thank You" goes out to Sammi for being a great beta. I look forward finishing 'Facing Death' with you. Let's see where this fic leads us to.
I wish you a merry, merry Christmas and a great start for 2005. This is my present for you. Here we go guys. This is the last chapter:
Reposting – this time beta-read
Chapter 25: Acapulco heat
They hadn't even taken off but at this moment they felt like they had made it. They smiled at each other for a few seconds, happy to see each other again. Then they reminded themselves that they shouldn't even know each other and looked away.
"Not at all Miss." Logan – or Jack – replied.
"Thank you. You are just too kind." Max – or Diane – answered sweetly and walked passed Logan to get to her seat.
Logan watched her stow her bag away and sit down – and he was happy.
It was almost 4 am when Syl arrived at Terminal City Headquarters. Besides Dix and Luke, who were busy going through the Manticore files, there were only a few transgenics there monitoring the Terminal City fences.
"Hey guys. Care for a break?" Syl asked, sitting down in a chair next to Dix and Luke.
"Hey Syl. How did it go?" Dix asked and swiveled in his chair to face her.
"Well, Victor made the call and Renfro pulled the search-teams from Vancouver to head towards Queensborough. That's good news. Max and Logan are on their way to New Westminster airport. In fact," Syl said checking her watch, "they should already be there by now. Their plane is leaving at 4:20 am. Can we check if the plane left with them on board?" Syl asked. "I have their aliases. Jack Mellencamp and Diane Couger. Think you could hack in?"
"No problem. Give me a minute." Dix replied and turned to his computer again, happy to do something different and something he knew he could do.
Warehouse, outside of Seattle
"Give me an update." Renfro said to no one in particular after rolling out of her chambers.
"Yes ma'am." Thomas answered and turned to pull up the latest information on his screen. They all had the same rank in the command center, but it seemed that Thomas had taken Victor's place while he was gone. And no one objected to that. Having to deal with Renfro was not something anyone really desired.
"The troops from Vancouver airport are already past Richmond moving closer to Queensborough. The troops from Vancouver harbor are close to Tilbury ma'am. We have 5 teams already in Queensborough. They have already checked 7 motels. So far nothing ma'am. The 3 troops that are coming in from east are almost in Queensborough and start to search on the east side. We have 3 more teams coming from the north and 2 from the south who should be there in about 20 minutes. Ma'am." Thomas finished showing director Renfro the screen and pointing to the search-teams he was talking about.
"Get more search teams. The faster we find the motel they were staying at the faster we can hunt them down." Renfro said, turned and disappeared again.
New Westminster airport:
"…and we hope you have a nice flight. Please turn to your monitors for further safety instructions. Take off will be in 10 minutes. We will serve a light breakfast and you have 25 music channels available to enjoy your flight to Vancouver airport. Expected arrival time is 5:30 am. If you have a connecting flight, please see your flight attendant. We hope you enjoy your flight." The flight attendants announced through the loudspeakers.
10 minutes till take-off. And nothing unexpected had happened yet. But Logan was still tense. He wouldn't be able to relax till they were finally on their way. The safety instruction started on the monitor in front of him, but he didn't pay any attention. He frequently checked the entrances and exits waiting for a military task force to storm the plane and take his Max from him. His hands were sweaty and his heart was beating like he had just run a marathon. Between his hectic glances towards the doors he kept checking on Max. He could only see her arm but that was enough for him.
Max was more relaxed. Getting through the security check and onto the plane had calmed her down. She was sure nothing would happen now. They would definitely make it to Vancouver. But what then? Would Manticore be waiting for them? Would everything be over? Could she take care of herself, her baby and her Logan at the same time? She took a deep breath. No need to worry about that now. One step at a time.
They heard the engine start and saw the flight attendant close the doors. So far so good. But it still didn't calm Logan down. All he focused on was that elbow. The elbow he could see from his seat. Max's elbow. She was there. With him.
The plane started to take off. It made its way faster and faster on the runway until it finally lifted off. Max let out a sigh of relief. They would make it to Vancouver. She concentrated on that and pushed all worries on what would or could happen there aside. She turned around and looked at Logan. Their eyes met and they shared a smile. But she quickly turned back, not wanting to show that she knew him.
She rested her head on the back of her seat and closed her eyes. The last time she had boarded a plane was with the intention of solving the Terminal City situation with Clemente. That turned out in the disaster she was momentarily in. The plane crashed, Logan got injured and she was on the run again – maybe for the rest of her life. But the flight itself was something she would never forget. She and Logan had made a baby. The baby she was now carrying under her heart and would protect and love for the rest of her life. And because of that she would never regret getting on that plane.
Logan also visibly relaxed after taking off. Who would have thought that this trip that was about solutions, about peace, about reunion would turn out that nasty. Logan thought with frustration but then had to smile. Because it wasn't all bad. Hell it was even great if you dismissed the fact that a lot of people wanted to kill them. He was going to be a Dad. He was going to have a baby with the woman he loved. It couldn't get better than that.
How he would have loved to drag her to the closest bathroom right now to relive the moment again. But he knew that it would be inappropriate. Even risky. So he settled for the recollections of the last time they had shared a bathroom on a plane and looked over to where Max was sitting. Just at that moment Max turned her head to look at him and their eyes met. It wasn't like before. Their gaze held no sign of worry, relief or doubt. It was pure longing, leaving no doubt that Max was thinking about the same thing Logan was. The realization that both were thinking about the same thing brought a huge grin on their faces – neither caring who saw them. Logan raised his eyebrows and Max gave him a wink. Then they sat back in their seats and concentrated again on pretending to be strangers.
Even though it was just 4:30 in the morning the streets of Queensborough were packed. Black vans, black jeeps, black hummers crowded the main streets. All the search teams had arrived in town, and were now searching motel after motel.
They had already searched 18 motels with no sign of their target. They knew that they were searching for an X5. Trained to be invisible. Trained to leave no clues behind. Trained for exactly this. Escape and evade. But the search teams were trained for that. Finding the unfindable.
They were in constant contact with the command center in Seattle and also communicated among each other. If there was the slightest trace on the whereabouts of 452, they would find it.
"Got'em." Dix yelled.
Syl, who was taking a nap on one of the couches in the command center, jumped up and almost ran over to Dix and Luke.
"What do you have?" She said alert and awake.
"Here." Dix said and pointed to the screen. "It took a while but now I hacked into the mainframe of the airline. They are on board and will be arriving in Vancouver in about 10 minutes."
"Have all troops been pulled from Vancouver airport?" Luke asked.
"From what Renfro ordered yes. But we can't be sure. Still a waiting game. There's nothing we can do now. We will have Victor call in again in about half an hour to see if they have found the motel. Then he will head back to Renfro and Co. to make sure everything is clear for Max and Logan in Vancouver." Syl explained.
"We'll keep monitoring the airline. But there's not a lot we can say or do until we know the plane has left Vancouver at about 6:25 am. Go catch some z's and we call you when we know more." Dix said and turned back to his computer.
"No. I'll wait till after Victor's phone call to Renfro. I better give them a wake up call." Syl said and headed in the direction of the phone.
"…till the plane has arrived at its final position. Those who have an international connecting flight, please leave first. You can pick up your luggage at claim number 5. Then check-in again at the counter stated on your ticket. We hope you have enjoyed your flight and hope to see you again." The flight attendant announced while the plane descended.
It took 10 more minutes for the plane to come to a stop and Logan got up to retrieve his cane and carry-on bag. He quickly checked on Max, but she had already left her seat. He made his way out of the plane as quickly as he could, so he could get to the baggage claim in the hope of seeing Max there.
They had 45 minutes to board the plane to Mexico. He somehow felt like those 45 minutes would show if he was going to life his life in happiness or in unbearable pain. If he had been able to run he would've. For he couldn't wait for his life in happiness to begin.
"Location?" Thomas asked.
"Last stop inn Motel. We've just arrived. On our way to the reception." Trooper 8 answered.
"That's motel number 28. Search thoroughly. Check in after interrogations." Thomas said and turned his attentions to the other search teams that checked the last 4 motels on their list.
"Possible hit." Trooper 8 proclaimed only 15 minutes later.
"What do you got?" Thomas answered.
"Receptionist recognized picture of target. We're checking the room they were staying at. Luckily they haven't cleaned it yet. But only two people checked in. From the pictures we showed the clerk, one of them was 452." Trooper 8 explained while heading towards the room the receptionist told them to go to.
"Be careful. Check for every detail." Thomas unnecessarily ordered.
"Some blood on the sheets. Nothing in the trash. No phone calls. Notepad next to the phone has been used. But they tried to cover it by ripping off several sheets. Trying to figure out what they wrote down by chemically testing it. Takes 5 minutes." Trooper 8 explained to Thomas while waiting for the chemicals to reveal what had been written on the notepad.
"Got it. New Westminster. No address but it says '2nd left after entering New Westminster'. That should be inside the woods. Await further instructions." Trooper 8 revealed and waited for orders.
"How fast can you get there?" Thomas asked already feeling Renfro's presence but not acknowledging it.
"25 minutes." Trooper 8 answered, having already motioned for his men to return to the SUV.
"Send them there immediately. Have 4 more teams get to this location. The rest of the troops circle New Westminster. If they are still there make sure they won't get out." Renfro ordered and moved back to her office to monitor the progress from there. She sat close to the screen, not wanting to risk things to going sideward again. She was close and she needed to be in control.
"You heard her." Thomas said into the intercom knowing that all search teams had heard what director Renfro just said. Knowing that all search teams would do what she said – fearing for their lives.
Without any hesitation they all headed for their vehicle and raced their way towards New Westminster.
Warehouse outside of Seattle
Victor arrived back at the warehouse and quickly entered. He walked inside and shut the door noisily to announce his presence. All heads turned to look at him, but, seeing that Thomas was already on his way to Victor to give him an update, they quickly went back to work.
"Sir. We found the motel in Queensborough about 10 minutes ago. We recovered a note that indicated that the suspects are in New Westminster. Somewhere in the woods. 5 search-teams are on their way there, the other teams will circle New Westminster to make sure they can't get out. Sir." Thomas explained.
Victor nodded briefly and headed towards the computers to check the locations of all the search-teams. He knew Max and Logan must've landed in Vancouver already, heading for their plane to Mexico.
His eyes quickly scanned the screen. Good. No teams anywhere near the airport. Victor thought and headed over to his desk to take over coordinating the teams. He knew that Renfro would come out sooner or later too, not only expecting an update but also expecting a very dead body. He would have to think of something till then. But right now he was busy trying to make sure that everybody was busy searching for the transgenics in New Westminster where he knew they had left hours ago.
After picking up his luggage and checking back in for his flight to Mexico, Logan went to the waiting area, sitting there nervously. He hadn't seen Max since leaving the plane and he was extremely nervous and worried.
The boarding would start in about 25 minutes and Max should have been there already. He didn't like it. He sat there fidgeting in his seat willing for Max to come through the gate. He imagined what could have happened to her and he felt sick to his stomach.
Little did he know that Max would've been at the waiting area long ago if there weren't so many men surrounding her, hitting on her, attempting to help her. After she had left the plane and made her way to the baggage claim about 5 different guys had offered to help her with her luggage. Trying to fit her role as the blond bimbo, Max accepted the help and let them carry her bags. Every time one of her 'bell-boys' tried to get closer she managed to get away. But the last one was really clingy. And now she sat in a restaurant drinking a cup of coffee with Eddie while all she wanted to do was go to the waiting hall to see if Logan was there. But she had to play her part.
"…Passengers rows 15 to 35 boarding now." Came the announcement. Logan looked at his boarding pass and noticed with discomfort that he was in row 35. He didn't want to board the plane without knowing if Max would be there. But he couldn't risk drawing too much attention to himself. So he slung his bag over his shoulder and made his way towards the tunnel that led him to the plane.
"Gotta go and catch my plane." Max said after downing her coffee.
"Too bad. We were just getting to know each other." Eddie said and moved closer to her to receive a kiss he thought he deserved after spending 15 minutes of his precious time with her.
"Sorry." Max said after dodging his kissing-attempts. "But I have to catch my plane to Mexico where I will meet up with my boyfriend who is the father of this little wonder we call life." Max said and touched her still flat belly.
Eddie backed up faster than a bullet after that and Max made her way towards the gate. She couldn't believe that everything had gone so well. Used to being disappointed all her life, she had expected some complications. But after passing the gate, checking in and making her way to the plane she wasn't so sure that everything was bound to go sideward when it comes to her. Maybe she was the lucky one for once in her life.
The flight attendant greeted her and showed her where to sit. A 36. It was a long way through the plane and Max grew more and more uneasy the further she walked. No Logan.
The flight attendant finally came to a stop and stored Max's carry-on bag in the over-head compartment over her seat when Max noticed the cane that stuck out into the aisle.
After the flight attendant left Max was finally able to move further. And there he was.
There he was. Sitting in his seat. Sweat beading on his forehead and pale as hell. Their eyes met and his face lit up. She smiled back at him feeling relieved and feeling happy. Hopeful. She walked passed him and sat down in her seat, glad that Logan was sitting so close to her. Sitting there smiling like a fucking idiot. Only 15 more minutes and they would be on their way to Mexico. The little voice that kept nagging on her, that nothing is going to be easy was clearly shut up. They were gonna make it – she was sure of that.
"Well. It's all on schedule. The plane to Mexico left at 6:30 am and the passenger list shows a Jack Mellencamp and a Diane Couger are on board. It looks like Max and Logan made it." Luke explained to Syl.
"Yeah. Looks like. I just talked to Victor before he left Cindy's crib. He's going back to the warehouse to monitor the search troops. He just has to convince Renfro that he didn't have to kill Cindy. Other than that we're back to the waiting thingy." Syl said and poured herself some more of the un-drinkable TC coffee.
"Better call OC to tell her that Max and Logan made it." Dix said and reached for the phone.
"It's 6:45. She might be still asleep." Luke interjected.
"She said to call her and let her know her gurl is alright." Dix defended his actions.
"Alright. Call her." Luke gave in and turned back to the Manticore files while Dix dialed Cindy's number.
Original Cindy's crib:
Cindy woke for the second time that night. This time it was the phone. She knew it was Alec who was hugging her from behind. She knew what had gone down while she was sleeping. A regular day with her un-regular roommate, or ex-roommate now. She untangled herself from Alec's strong grip and stumbled to the phone.
"That betta be global." Cindy answered the phone already heading in the direction of the coffee.
"Hey your grouchiness. Just thought you wanted to know that your Boo and Logan made it to the plane to Mexico without any trouble. Victor went back to his bitching bitch. Guess we'll have to wait a couple hours till they've landed in Mexico and get in touch with us. Just thought I'd give you the 411." Syl reported in a playful tone, still imagining the picture of Alec and OC in bed.
"Thanks boo. You make sure that Original Cindy is being kept well informed. Later." Cindy said and hung up the phone.
She poured herself another cup of coffee. The third that night. She really didn't feel like staying up right now but it was already 7 am and she still had a day job. Not that she really wanted to go there.
"Fuck." Was all she heard. But it was all she needed to hear to know that Alec finally woke up. She poured another cup of coffee and walked towards her bedroom that, under some strange circumstances, had become her and Alec's bedroom.
"You among the living again." Cindy stated and handed Alec the coffee.
"Are you gonna fill me in on last night? Cause I'm sure at a loss." Alec said taking the cup from Cindy.
"Let's just say Original Cindy knows what's bugging ya." Cindy said sitting down next to him.
"What did I say?" Alec asked sitting up himself, now clearly uncomfortable.
"The truth." Cindy simply answered.
"The truth being?" Alec responded, having no clue what he had told Cindy the night before, but fearing that he had said too much.
"Well you said a lot. But what Original Cindy picked up was the essential. You envy what Max and Logan have because that is what you want for yourself. But you would rather die, joke or kill yourself than admit it. Alec. There ain't nothin' wrong with wishing to have someone to love you the way you are. The way you really are. You ain't Manticore anymore. You're gonna find your way around. Just like Max did. You have the chance and the potential to live a normal life. Don't go killing yourself on stuff like that." Cindy said looking at him sympathetically.
"I know." Alec answered taking a big gulp of the coffee. The events and their pretty one-sided conversation slowly came back to him. He knew he had said too much to Cindy. There was no way of talking himself out of it. And she was right.
"I'm the playa. I'm the one to turn to when you wanna have fun. I mess everything up. I'm a yapper. God knows this whole Max and Logan thing is making me sick. God knows that I can't stand them together. God knows that I can't stand Logan for writing down things, feelings that I had for Rachel. They are just sickening me. They have it all – and what do I have. Shit." Alec confessed knowing that he could say those things to Cindy after last night.
"Yeah. They have it all. First Max's death. Then a killer virus that prevented them from getting' it on. Then a cure that lasted only 12 hours. Then him almost dying because he touched her. Eventually they cured the virus after a long hard fight. Please tell me Alec how those two don't deserve to be together cause Original Cindy don't see it." Cindy said, not believing that Alec felt that Max and Logan had it easy.
"I don't say that they don't deserve to be together. I'm just saying that WE. The transgenics. We can't have it all. Can't have the happily ever after. And if one of us is being tricked into it that we can have a normal life, than that person – Max – has to get her head set straight. We don't belong with them." Alec defended his opinion.
"How do you know all of that? Haven't you read Logan's poems? Didn't he make sure that he loves Max? Didn't he express how he feels? Don't he say that he don't care who, or what she is? What makes you think that Max can have that but you can't? What makes you think that you cannot be as happy as Max is? As happy as Max and Logan are? It's easy to make fun of something like that. But only if you're ignorant. No matter what you do in your life, no matter what hidden, awful thoughts you think, no matter what you think you deserve yourself, love is always possible. It's always there to happen. You just have to let it happen." Cindy preached, hoping to get through to Alec.
"I know all of that Cindy. I had all of that. But I lost it. And it was my fault. You think I can have that feeling again?" Alec almost yelled. "You think I could just forget? The way you see it there's that one person. The only person. Well. I had mine. And I blew it. Literally." Alec said laying back down on the bed.
"There might only be that first love that you have. The one true love that I had with Diamond and you had with Rachel. But what are we gonna do? Live celibate for the rest of our lives? You gotta believe that there is someone else out there for you too. Cause I sure as hell think that there is someone else out there for me." Cindy tried to cheer him up but ended up feeling depressed herself.
"Whateva. So you're gonna switch teams for me?" Alec asked with a smirk.
"You think I'm the perfect gurl for ya?" Cindy asked incredulous.
"Well. You get me." Alec answered smiling at her. Not a smirk but a genuine smile.
"Still no reason to do the dirty with you. But I'm there for you. You know that, right?" Cindy said, feeling that the conversation was at an end. She couldn't help Alec with his self-hate, his jealousy towards Max and Logan. But she could be a friend for him. Maybe the only friend he had where he could be truly himself.
Safe house, New Westminster
"Looks deserted. Entering now." Trooper 8 reported.
They didn't expect them to be there anymore but they still took all precautions and had the building surrounded by troops. McGee – the leader of Trooper 8 – carefully made his way up the stairs. It was unlocked. He turned the knob and entered the room with his gun drawn.
He motioned 4 other soldiers in and after a few short moments it was clear that the safe house was vacant. Even though they found a lot of signs that someone had been there just a few hours ago. It was still warm even though the heat had been turned off and the water tank was only half full indicating that someone had taken a shower in the last 8 hours.
"No one is there. But we can tell that someone has been here in the last 8 hours." McGee informed Victor.
"Try to find a clue on where they have gone." Victor ordered "They can't be too far."
"5 Search troops are taking the place apart. If there is a clue on where to find them. We will." McGee answered.
"Good. Keep on searching." Victor said and turned to Renfro who had been listening to everything in her chambers and had now come out. Victor didn't know why but he doubted that she wanted to congratulate him.
"It was quite easy to figure out that they stayed at a motel at Queensborough. Wasn't it? It was quite easy to figure out where they went next. Wasn't it? Don't you think it was a little too easy? Now wasn't it too easy to find that oh so hidden note on the notepad?" Renfro rasped and Victor swallowed cotton. She knows something. Victor thought.
"You think they are playing us, ma'am?" Victor asked trying not to show how busted he felt.
"Yes. And I intend to find out how. I intend to find out where they are. I intend to catch them and kill them. They can't hide forever. I won't let them." Renfro said and looked intently at Victor.
"We'll find them, ma'am." Victor assured her.
"What's with the roommate? Didn't see you dragging her body in." Renfro asked with slight amusement.
"She's tied up in her apartment, ma'am. I figured that she could be useful in case we don't find 452. Sooner or later 452 will contact her and I plan on sitting right next to her when that happens." Victor explained, not knowing what else to do to explain the absence of Original Cindy's dead body.
"Hmmhm." Was all that Renfro replied before she turned abound and disappeared again.
That was close. Maybe too close. She knows something is up. Does she know that it was me who set her up? Victor thought and busied himself checking on the search progress.
"So they made it?" Alec asked after arriving at Terminal City.
"Yes. The plane left Vancouver airport heading to Mexico about an hour ago. And Max and Logan are on board. Don't think Renfro knows about that." Luke explained.
"I know it sounds good but I won't celebrate until I know they made it there alright." Syl said and moved over to check the screen.
"So what are we gonna do after Max and Logan made it to Mexico alright?" Alec asked feeling thoroughly unappreciated.
"Don't know. Enjoy the sun. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the fact that they are having a baby." Syl said thinking of a lot of great things to do.
Warehouse outside of Seattle
"Here's the list sir." Thomas said and dropped the paper on Victor's desk.
"That's all the flights that left New Westminster airport in the past 6 hours?" Victor asked, surprised that the list was so short.
"Yes sir. It's a small airport." Thomas explained and waited for Victor to check the list and tell him what to do next.
"There's one to Calgary, Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto." Victor said more to himself than to Thomas.
"You think they went east sir?" Thomas said, wondering why Victor had only mentioned the flights going east, when there were also flights to Vancouver or directly to the US.
"I think so. They came from Vancouver. They must know we have the airport under surveillance." Victor said hoping he sounded believable. He had to make sure that they checked Vancouver airport last and concentrated on checking the airports further east until Max and Logan had made it to Mexico without being detected.
"Check the passenger lists of those flights east first. Look for anything suspicious. Check each and every single name if you have to. I don't suspect they made it easy for us to find them." Victor said and dismissed Thomas to check the flights he knew Max and Logan were definitely not on.
Thomas left and did what he was told, not questioning his orders. Victor was relieved. That bought them time, he thought. He was in charge so he didn't need to ask for Renfro's approval to his decision. But he knew that she was watching him from her chambers. He could almost feel her eyes on him. That didn't feel too good. He knew that Renfro was suspicious. He knew that she was waiting for him to make a mistake only to act on it immediately and kill him. Right there in front of everybody to demonstrate to the others that it wasn't a good idea to betray her.
He wondered briefly if he should sneak out to make a phone call and check on Max and Logan, but he thought better of it and stayed put in front of his computer screen, waiting for Thomas to return with a result, for a search-team to find a clue or for Renfro to kill him. Whichever came first.
After sitting still for 5 hours Max couldn't take it anymore. She had stopped being nervous about two hours into the flight and started to relax. She had listened to some music, flipped through the offered channels and ended up watching Logan's reflection in the monitor. But now she grew restless. She needed to stretch. She needed to run. She needed to kiss the man sitting behind her. But that wasn't an option, so she decided to get up and walk up and down the aisle for a bit.
Logan saw her get up and his body tensed. He quickly checked the aisle expecting some beefy guys dressed in black running towards Max. But other than the stewardess and some passengers there was nobody suspicious to see. Max saw him tense and saw the panic in his eyes so she quickly took a step towards him.
"Stretching my legs." She said by way of explanation.
"Oh. Yeah." Logan replied feeling stupid to have panicked. "It's a long flight Miss."
"It is." Max replied and walked past him like he was an ordinary stranger that she just had a quick chat with.
She walked towards the bathroom in the back of the plane to do some stretching – at least as much stretching she could do in that confined space there. She felt all eyes on her and wished she could take the wig off, wash her face and put on some comfortable jeans, a shirt and her boots. But she knew she couldn't do that yet. She quickly made her way over to the bathroom. She locked the door and leaned against it with her back, taking a deep breath.
"I hate this." She mumbled, watching herself in the mirror. She couldn't even splash water on her face, because that would ruin her artfully applied make-up. So she settled for washing her hands and stretching her back and legs. She would have stayed in there for another hour or so but a knock on the door kept her from doing so. Reluctantly she opened the door, smiled sweetly at the intruding passenger and walked back towards her seat.
The flight attendants were busy getting the lunch ready and Max watched for a while. Then she noticed the cart with drinks standing next to her. She quickly checked if the flight attendants were all busy, then opened a drawer and grabbed a few of the little bottles with Whiskey, Vodka and Rum. She stored most of them in her purse and with a smile walked back towards her seat.
She made a quick stop next to Logan's seat, checked if the two people next to him were asleep and slipped 2 little bottles in his breast pocket. He looked up in surprise. Max just winked at him and moved to her seat where she plopped down.
Logan smiled when he saw Max getting one of the small bottles out of her purse, opened it and turned in his direction to toast to him. Logan smiled brightly, retrieved one of the bottles from his breast pocket, and without looking at it opened it and toasted back. The strong liquid burned in his throat and warmed his insides. He leaned back in his seat and felt totally relaxed. He was tired and now he felt like taking a little nap. He was absolutely content. The only thing that was missing was Max in his arms. Soon. Very soon. Logan told himself and closed his eyes, deciding that if he couldn't have her in his arms right now, he might as well dream about it.
Warehouse outside of Seattle
After 3 hours all passengers on the flights to east Canada had been checked and nothing suspicious had come up. Victor hadn't expected things would go so fast and ran a hand nervously through his hair. Even if Max and Logan had made it to Vancouver and were on the plane to Mexico, they still had about 4 hours left before they would land in Mexico City and about 2 ½ hours in US air-space.
"Now what sir?" Thomas asked and ripping Victor out of his thoughts.
"Try the US flights next. Then move to the flights going west." Victor ordered. "We don't even know if they have already left New Westminster. We should check the motels there. Also the woods near the safe house. They might be closer than we think."
"Yes sir. Right away." Thomas said and rushed to the intercom to coordinate the search teams in New Westminster, while his fellow soldiers started to check the flights to the US for any suspicious passengers with no known background.
Alec strolled out of the mess hall after grabbing some lunch. He wasn't really sure what to do with himself. Everybody seemed to have something to do. But for some reason he had been left out of it. Maybe because he hadn't been around a lot in the last few days. Or maybe because they had left him alone, figuring he needed to relax after his adventure in Canada. Or maybe it was simply because not a lot of the guys were talking to him after his fight with Mole. He had no idea what it was but it started to piss him off.
If only he had kept his mouth shut on the plane. Then none of that would have happened and he'd be the hero for bringing everybody back and out of the line of fire. But no. It seemed that he was talking quite a bit lately and it only got him in trouble or left him vulnerable.
Why am I still hanging around here? Apparently nobody needs me or even wants me here. And I could certainly do without them. It's time to move on. I should have done that in the first place. How did I get so involved here? Alec thought and quickly changed directions to go to his crib, pack his stuff and get the hell out of there.
Warehouse outside of Seattle
"I got something sir." Thomas yelled across the room to Victor.
"What is it?" Victor said while moving towards Thomas' desk.
"Here sir." Thomas pointed to his screen. "Two passengers on a flight to Logan Airport, Boston. Departing from New Westminster at 7:30. Jerry Palmer, 35, works as product manager for a medical device company. And Lucy Reed, 23, a law student at Harvard. Checked in 10 minutes prior to boarding. Passports brand new. Not much luggage. They bought the tickets directly at New Westminster airport prior to check-in." Thomas reported.
Victor was surprised to hear that. Positively surprised. "When's the plane arriving at Logan airport?" Victor asked.
"In 5 hours sir." Thomas answered. "Request permission to investigate further sir."
"Granted. But check the search teams in New Westminster first." Victor said then turned to the others. "You go and check the rest of the flights. Call me if you find anything."
"Yes sir." The soldiers replied obediently and went back to check the remaining passenger lists while Thomas checked in with the search teams in New Westminster and surroundings.
Logan was asleep on his seat. He had a smile on his face and once in while a small sound of pleasure escaped his lips. Max watched him with amusement and could only imagine what he was dreaming about.
"Oh Max. Hmmmmm." Logan moaned, this time a little louder. Max face broke into a huge smile after having the confirmation that he was indeed dreaming about her. And from the sounds he made it was quite the naughty dream. She looked at him for another minute, but reached over and poked him in the shoulder before another moan could escape his lips.
His eyes opened instantly and he looked around in confusion. Such a nice dream. What in the world woke him up?
"Excuse me sir. You were talking in your sleep." Max said in a sugary voice that left him with no doubt that she knew what he was dreaming about.
Logan looked at her and saw the beautiful woman from his dreams sit in front of him smiling knowingly and letting her eyes drop into his lap.
He shrugged his shoulders and blushed lightly. "Sorry." He rasped, but his eyes belied his words. He wasn't sorry in the least.
"S'okay." Max said and turned away from him, still smiling. If dreaming about me has such an effect on him, just wait till you have the real thing. She thought looking forward to it.
Logan fidgeted in his seat, still excited from the dream. He too had enough of sitting around and willed the plane to go faster. He checked his watch. 2 more hours to go. There was no way he could go back to sleep again. He was not in the mood to watch TV or listen to music. If only he could talk to Max.
He reached inside his breast pocket and retrieved the last small bottle. He opened it and drank it. He enjoyed the feeling of the strong liquid for a minute but found himself bored again after that. Everybody in the plane seemed to be asleep and the flight attendants sat in their area not really paying any attention. He grabbed his cane and slowly got up. He stood in the aisle in front of his seat for a minute to stretch his soar back.
Max heard something move behind her and turned around. She saw Logan stand in front of his seat, stretching his back and trying to put some weight on his leg. Suddenly Logan turned around looked at her and signaled with his head towards the back of the plane, then grabbed his cane and dragged himself towards the bathroom.
Did he want me to follow him there? Max thought unsure what to make out of his gesture. She decided she'd give him a few minutes and then follow him if he wasn't back.
Warehouse outside of Seattle
"Sir. I checked on the two passengers on the flight to Boston. They both are scheduled to board a plane to Germany leaving at 6:25 pm. Sir." Thomas said, just stating the facts and not giving any judgment on what to make of it.
"How many other passengers from that flight to Logan airport are on the plane to Germany?" Victor asked trying not to sound to eager about the findings.
"4 more passengers sir. But they all had booked the flight weeks in advance sir." Thomas answered not able to hold back the urgency in his voice that this was something they should act upon immediately.
Victor knew Renfro was watching and that the only reason she hadn't come out yet was to see how he reacted. "Okay. We follow up on that. Check how many troops are available in Boston. If it's them – they're ours." Victor said to Thomson who hurried to the computer to check how many troops they could get to the airport within the next 3 hours.
"Anything else suspicious on the other flights?" Victor asked the rest of the soldiers. He hoped that nothing else would come up and Max and Logan made it without being detected. But he needed to ask or Renfro would get suspicious that he jumped at the first clue and not investigate further.
"There were two passengers on the flight to Vancouver airport departing New Westminster at 4:25 am, arriving in Vancouver at 5:30 – Jack Mellencamp, 30 and Diane Couger, 25. They both booked the flight on-line only a few hours before boarding." Carls explained.
"So? What about their backgrounds?" Victor said and pretended to be unconcerned.
"Nothing suspicious. He's been working for an insurance company since graduating from Columbia University. She's the ex-wife of a rich oil mogul from Texas. No college education. Once arrested for prostitution but the charges were dropped. Sir." Carls informed Victor.
"So the only thing unusual is the time they bought their tickets?" Victor asked looking at Carls with disapproval that he alarmed him for something as trivial as that.
"Yes sir. Should we investigate any further sir?"
"Can't hurt." Victor replied knowing that it was Max and Logan they were talking about. "But don't invest too much time in it. We need all the man power we have to coordinate the raid on Logan airport." Victor said and moved over to Thomas' desk. "What do we have?"
"We have 25 men in the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine area who are already alerted and on their way to Logan airport. We have 3 teams coming in by helicopter from New York and New Jersey. Sir." Thomas explained.
"Not good enough. We need more men and better equipment. 452 is smart. We can't let her escape again. Bring in more teams." Victor ordered and moved back to his desk to organize some more manpower himself.
After stuffing some clothes in his bag, Alec left Terminal City through the sewer systems. He didn't even check Headquarters again. Let them deal with their shit themselves. This has nothing to do with me, he thought as he made his way underground towards the fence.
He needed transportation to get out of the city. And since Max would either be killed or captured or spend the rest of her life raising little chicas in Mexico with Logan, Alec figured that she wouldn't be needing her baby anymore.
So it was for him to take it – he figured. And since Cindy was still at work he wouldn't even have to explain it. He would be out of there in no time.
"How long till they land in Mexico?" Jesse asked.
"Just a second." Dix said and moved to the only computer that wasn't being used for checking Manticore files. "A little less than 2 hours." Dix replied.
"Anything on the Manticore files yet?" Syl asked stepping up next to Jesse.
"Unfortunately not. There are too many files. But we keep working on it." Dix answered.
"Can we help?" Jesse offered.
"Actually yes. I've downloaded some files on this disc. You can search them on this computer." Dix said and handed Jesse a laptop and the disc.
"On it." Jesse simply said and disappeared to find a comfortable spot to go through the files.
"Syl. You can use this computer. I need to stretch my legs and grab something to eat." Luke said and moved from his chair to make room for Syl.
"I have a question." Dix said.
"Shoot." Syl answered while trying to make sense of what Luke left her on the screen.
"Supposing. Just supposing we find something about 'Project unicorn' in the files. What do we do with it?" Dix asked her.
"Good question. I don't know. I guess that depends on what we find. Let's figure it out then." Syl said not really having an answer and hoping she would have one by the time they found something.
"Father." Came Joshua's voice from behind them.
Surprised both, Syl and Dix turned around to look at Joshua. "Father?" they both asked.
"Father can help Max. Father knows the answers. He bring little fella back. And Logan. And baby fella." Joshua said as if it was the most logical thing in the world.
"We don't know where father is Josh. And even if we did, this is a secret project. Father is long gone from Manticore. He wouldn't know about it." Syl said looking gently at the giant dog-boy.
"Father will help little fella." Joshua said again with more force and left the command center, determined to find Father.
"Poor Joshua. He'd take it bad if Max doesn't return again." Dix said and after not hearing anything from Syl lifted his head to look at her. She seemed to be deep in thoughts staring intently at nothing in particular.
"Syl?" Dix tried but didn't get a reaction. "Syl? What's wrong?"
"Lydecker." Was all Syl whispered.
"Lydecker." Dix repeated and knew where she was with her thoughts. Maybe Lydecker could help. Maybe not. But it was a plan. Now they only had to find something in the files.
Logan emerged from the bathroom and almost tumbled in Max' arms.
"Hey watch it mister." Max said quietly, steadying Logan from falling.
"Sorry miss. Didn't see you." Logan replied and stepped back to put some physical distance between him and Max.
"Don't worry. I'll live." Max said and leaned against the wall opposite the bathroom.
"About time we land. My back is killing me." Logan said and smiled at Max. To anybody watching they looked like two strangers who bumped into each other while stretching their legs.
"Yeah. I hate to sit still for so long. I wouldn't mind some physical action now." Max said in a low voice so only Logan could hear her.
"Yeah. I know the feeling." Logan replied returning her sultry smile.
"So what are you doing in Mexico sir?" Max asked.
"Call me Jack." Logan said and extended a hand.
"Diane." Max introduced herself and shook his hand, happy to feel just any part of his skin on hers.
"Nice to meet you Diane." Logan said and reluctantly let go of her hand. "I'm gonna meet up with my girlfriend in Mexico City. Then we plan a nice long vacation in Acapulco. What about you?" Logan asked.
"Acapulco, huh? That sounds nice. I'm just visiting some relatives in Mexico City. I do that every year. But I've never been to Acapulco. Is it nice there?" Max asked hearing for the first time about their plans once arriving in Mexico.
"Yeah. It's beautiful. Nice long beaches. White sand, blue water, palm trees and great company." Logan said and leaned in closer to Max.
"Your girlfriend is a lucky girl Jack." Max stated and held his intense gaze.
"No. I think I'm the lucky one." Logan replied. The urge to lean forward and kiss her was unbearable. Max felt it too and on instinct they leaned forward to seal this moment with a kiss.
"May I ask all passengers to return to their seats and fasten their seat belts. We will start descending shortly. Thank you." The flight attendant announced and interrupted the moment between Max and Logan.
Busted they both drew back and looked around to see if anybody witnesses their private moment. Relieved that their kissing attempts had gone unnoticed they reluctantly stepped further back.
"Guess we should go back." Logan whispered.
"Guess so." Max replied equally silent and together they made their way back to their seats for the final time. The next time they would get up it would be to exit the plane. It would be to enter their future. It would be to seal their fate. Winning or losing. All or nothing.
Warehouse outside of Seattle
"We have 4 more teams coming up from North Carolina. They are on the plane right now. Fully equipped sir." Thomas reported.
"Good. We need to cover every exit. The gate they are gonna land. Have the security personnel on the airport replaced with our guys. I don't want them to see you too early. Go in armed but as civilians waiting to pick up relatives. If 452 sees you she's gonna run. Then we lose. Stay low and only act if they know they have her trapped." Victor ordered wondering who those poor individuals were that they were hunting down.
"We have something on the other two." Carls informed Victor.
"What is it?" Victor asked.
"They boarded a plane to Mexico City this morning at 6:25 sir. They should be landing in Mexico City in less than an hour sir." Carls explained.
"So they're in Mexico already?" Victor yelled. He knew that now that Max and Logan were in Mexico there wasn't much Manticore could do to capture them. So he figured he could yell a little to demonstrate that he wasn't okay with it. "Why do we just hear about that now? They are in fucking Mexico already. What do you suggest went wrong?" Victor said and stepped closer to Carls.
"Sir. I'm sorry sir. We found them too late. By the time we detected them they were already long gone and on their way to Mexico sir." Carls explained, sounding a little defensive – it was Victor who told them to check the flights to Vancouver last.
"Alright. There's nothing much we can do now. Do we have any troops down there?" Victor asked, not sure how far Manticore jurisdiction went.
"No sir. But on the border to Mexico sir." Carls answered hectically typing away on his keyboard.
"Not good enough. They will never make it on time. Let me call Mexico City airport police to see if they can arrest them and keep them until our guys get there. Get in touch with them and make sure they leave as soon as they have packed their equipment." Victor said moving to his desk to make a call he knew would get Max and Logan into trouble. But he figured that they could manage to get away from the airport police and lay low. He couldn't let that one slide or Renfro would get even more suspicious than she already was.
"Yes sir." Carls replied and got on the phone to alert the troops near the Mexican border.
"I think I got something." Syl said and gestured for Dix, Jesse and Luke to come look at her screen. "Here." She said and pointed to the paragraph in question. They all were silent for a second and quickly read the text.
"Well. That's pretty much the same that Victor told us. Who wrote the report?" Jesse asked.
"Lemme scroll down." Syl said and moved back to the keyboard. "Surprise, surprise. Director Renfro."
"Go figure. Now what? What do we do with that proof?" Jesse asked and looked at the others.
"Lydecker." Dix and Syl said in unison.
"Lydecker?" Everybody who cluttered around the monitor asked incredulously.
"Yeah. Who has more knowledge and more connections? Who wants to bring down Manticore and Renfro as much as we do?" Syl challenged.
"Lydecker." They all said in unison now.
"How do we contact him?" Luke asked.
"I know that Logan had contact with Lydecker. I'm sure we find something on his computer. Now that we have the passwords we should be able to track him down." Dix said and moved over to Logan's computer.
Mexico City, Airport:
"…till the plane has arrived at its final position. We hope you have enjoyed your flight and hope to see you again. Enjoy your stay in Mexico." The flight attendant announced while the plane descended.
After sitting nervously in their seats for over an hour, the plane finally started its landing to Mexico airport. It was only a 10 hour flight but to Logan it seemed like a life time. One more landing. One more time getting the luggage. One more time wondering if Max would make it. But he could worry about this when the time was there.
Right now he had enough to do to make his way out of the plane and to the baggage claim to pick up his bags. Then he only had to pass the ID-control and he would be there. In Mexico. He only hoped that he would have Max there with him. Were she belonged.
He stood at the baggage claim waiting for it to start spitting out bags. He spotted Max on the other side of the claim and when she looked over at him he gave her a warm and reassuring smile. Once they were outside they could climb in a cab together and drive to a nearby motel. Once they were outside there was no reason to pretend not to know each other.
The baggage claim started to bring in the first bags and Logan stepped closer to it, keeping an eye on Max. He could see that she had switched into Manticore mode, registering every movement around her. On alert.
He saw his bag coming and stepped even closer to the claim, elevating his weight to be able to pick up the bag without losing his balance and tumbling to the floor. He was just about to lean down waiting to fetch his bag, when heard Max shout.
"Logan." She yelled having noticed the 10 police men that made their way towards their claim.
Logan looked up and searched for Max. He panicked for a minute because he couldn't see her anywhere. Then he saw her slowly making her way towards an emergency exit while waiting for his eyes to find hers.
When she finally saw him looking at her she gestured with her head for him to follow in her direction. Logan quickly glanced around and saw the police force approach. Slowly, without a care in the world he made his way in Max's direction. The policemen uncoordinatedly combed through the passengers, apparently not sure exactly what they looked like. Logan figured they only had a picture of Max, since they had obviously been sent by Manticore. So that should give them time. But there was no way they could make it through the passport check, since the police had probably gotten their names from the passenger list.
Max continued towards the emergency exit, keeping an eye on the policemen and one on Logan. If she were alone she would have just run them over and be gone. But she was with Logan – a quiet immobile Logan. So she had to do it the 'normal' way. She looked again at Logan and saw the beads of sweat on his forehead. She didn't know if it was the physical exertion or because he was nervous, but she willed him to move faster. Willed him to have him close, to be able to protect him.
Logan saw the worry in Max' face and pushed himself harder. His leg hurt like hell but he wanted to get over to her as quick as possible. He raised his right hand to wipe away the sweat on his face and before he knew it, he bumped into a police man who was searching the crowd for their suspect.
"Whoa. I'm sorry." Logan said trying not to panic. Max eyes widened in shock as she saw Logan come face to face with the cop.
"You okay sir?" The police man asked with a heavy accent and helped to steady Logan.
"Yeah. Thanks." Logan said and made an attempt to move further when the police man stopped him.
"Do you need some help sir?" He asked and Logan was relieved that he didn't point a gun at him.
"Yeah. Thanks. I just need to sit down for a little after the long flight. I'm alright. But thanks." Logan said and turned around again moving towards Max. This time the police man let him go and continued his search. Both Max and Logan breathed in relief. That was close, they both thought.
Logan took this as a motivation to move even faster and within 2 minutes he finally reached Max.
"I guess we have company." Logan joked once he was close enough to her.
"Yeah. We need to get out of here. We won't make it through the passport check." Max replied moving closer to the emergency exit.
"What's your plan?" Logan asked.
"Wait here. I'll go over to the bathroom. Once you see smoke coming out from under the door you activate the fire alarm. If necessary scream 'fire' first. We need a mass panic here. As soon as everybody is freaking out, you open the emergency exit and leave the door. Take your money from the wallet and leave the rest behind. They can't arrest you for dropping your passport while escaping a fire. I will follow as soon as everybody is streaming out. Okay?" Max said, formulating the plan as she spoke.
Logan didn't like to separate from her but knew it was the only option. He stepped closer to her and kissed her passionately, leaving no doubt that he intended to carry out their plan to live happily ever after.
"It's gonna be okay Logan. Trust me. I'll meet you outside. Try to make it to the cabs. I'll join you in no time." Max said and before Logan could answer she planted her lips on his for a desperate kiss. They both knew that this could be the last kiss they would share. But they pushed that awful thought aside.
Logan grabbed Max's face with both hands, caressing her cheeks with his thumbs. "Just go."
Without another word Max gave him one last kiss, then left towards the bathroom without turning around.
Warehouse outside of Seattle
"Sir. The troops at Logan airport are in place. The plane is arriving in 30 minutes. Sir. The plane in Mexico has landed and we forwarded a picture of 452 for the policemen to identify her. They search right now." Thomas informed Victor.
"Good. So we're all set. All we can do is wait." He said dismissing Thomas with a nod and walking to director Renfro's door. He knocked and a few seconds later the sliding doors opened. He stepped in, looking more confident than he felt.
"Ma'am. We have two pairs of suspects. One in Boston and one in Mexico City. Search teams are already located at Logan airport – if it's 452 there's no chance for her to get out. Teams are on their way to Mexico City but we have airport security and Mexico City police search the arrival area for 452. Ma'am." Victor reported.
"Where do you think she is?" Renfro asked confused a little about the mixed signals she received from Victor. He seemed suspicious before but now he did everything he could to capture her. But she still was unimpressed and suspicious. Maybe he was playing her too.
"From the evidence we have I believe she's in Boston. But considering your hunch that she is playing us we might be better off concentrating on Mexico, ma'am." Victor said hoping he wouldn't endanger Max and Logan trying to out-logic Renfro.
"Maybe. But maybe that's what she wants us to think. Go for Boston." Renfro said taking Victors answer for a way to make her call off the search efforts at Logan airport.
"Yes ma'am." Victor said and turned to leave. Better not risk and question her order or she might be realizing that I'm trying to mislead her. Victor thought and stepped back outside observing the soldiers coordinating to capture 452 at Logan airport.
Max had been gone for almost 10 minutes and Logan grew impatient. He tried not to imagine what could have happened to her, and failed miserably. Then he saw it. A thick layer of smoke fought its way through the crack of the bathroom door. He fought the urge to yell fire just now and waited for the smoke escape more into the baggage claim area.
He only had to wait 3 minutes before the first person started to shout 'FIRE, FIRE'. He reacted immediately and activated the fire alarm. The shrill sound of the sirens filled the area and people started to run aimlessly and screaming through the windowless hangar to find a way out.
5 minutes later the mass panic that Max had hoped for broke out and people stormed to the nearest exit doors. Logan took one last look at the bathroom door, knowing that the smoke wouldn't harm Max, but sill worried, and finally opened the emergency exit and stepped outside followed by about 50 other screaming and panicking people.
The airport personnel apparently weren't trained properly for that kind of emergency. Everybody from security to cop to customs personnel left their positions to help everybody out of the area. Logan used that time and, without being noticed, walked as quickly as he could towards the back entrance of the main building, where the restaurants and shops were located. He finally reached the door and opened it. As he suspected the alarm went off and he found himself in the kitchen of the steakhouse restaurant.
"What the fuck." The guy on the grill yelled at Logan as he entered the kitchen.
"There's a fire in baggage claim area. Everybody is out there trying to get away. I'm sure there's gonna be a bunch of people coming through here." Logan said and walked towards the exit.
"A fire? Hey Gonzales. Go outside and check." The grill master said, too shocked that there was a fire at the airport to pay a lot of attention to Logan who had already made his way outside.
Slowly, as not to appear suspicious he made his way through the arrival area and outside to where the buses and cabs were waiting. He moved to sit down on a bench between the exit and the cab stand and settled in to wait for Max.
"The plane landed in Mexico City about half an hour ago." Luke informed the transgenics who were waiting in the headquarters. Momentarily they forgot what they were doing and a round of cheers and applause filled the room.
"That's good news. Let's make sure they can make it home again." Syl said and urged Dix to keep on working.
"Stop pushing me Syl. I'm almost there. I left messages for Lydecker to contact us on every e-mail address I found. I'm sure he's gonna get back to us once he reads them." Dix said and kept on typing.
"We need a phone number." Syl said, not sure if those e-mail addresses were still current.
'INCOMING MAIL' came the automated voice from Logan's computer signaling new messages. Dix stopped what he was doing immediately and opened the mail.
'MEET ME IN 2 HOURS ON THE SPACE NEEDLE. L.' Was all it said, but it was enough. It was Lydecker and he seemed to be in Seattle. Go figure. He was never too far away from the action.
"I'll go." Syl said and moved over to Luke's computer. "Print out what we have."
"I come with you." Jesse said.
"No. Lydecker knows me. He'll get suspicious if someone else comes. I go alone." Syl said and walked over to the printer to grab the papers that proofed that Renfro was up to something really bad.
Warehouse outside of Seattle
"We have a problem sir." Thomas said approaching Victor's desk.
"What is it?" Victor asked.
"There's a fire in the baggage claim area in Mexico. The police are busy evacuating all the passengers and apparently have lost track of who got out and who didn't." Thomas explained.
"Damn. That can't be a coincidence. Either it's them or they're trying to draw our attention from Boston airport." Victor thought out loud.
"What do we do sir?" Thomas asked clearly at a loss.
"We can't do anything right now in Mexico. Let's hope they'll still be able to perform the passport check. If not then we have to wait till the troops arrive to search the area. Let's focus on Boston for now. They'll be landing in 20 minutes." Victor said and ran a frustrated hand through his hair.
"Yes sir." Victor said and moved back to his desk.
"Care to share a cab sir? I'm kinda low on cash." Max said as she approached Logan from behind.
Logan smiled brightly. She had made it. He had made it. They had made it. He couldn't be happier.
"That depends on miss. What do I get if I pay for the cab?" Logan asked matching her playful tone, as inappropriate it might be in their situation.
"Hmmm. Let's see." Max said and sat down next to Logan on the bench. "How about I let you pay for the hotel room too and I'll rock your world for as long as you can come?"
"Mmmmm. Sounds good. But isn't that illegal?" Logan replied pretending to think about what to do about that.
"No it's not." Max said quickly.
"Why is that?" Logan asked just as quick.
"Because it's only illegal if the woman you take with you to your room does what you ask her to. But I had 10 hours to imagine what I want to do with you. And I intend to do all that and more. So technically I would have to pay you. Basically it's a zero-sum game." Max said and nudged Logan.
"Okay. Now that it's clear shall we go?" Logan said and got up.
"Might as well." Max replied and followed Logan to the cab, not knowing if Logan knew where to go but not caring at all.
Warehouse close to Seattle
"Sir. Flight 625 is landing right now in Boston. All troops are in position. Sir." Thomas informed Victor.
"Good. Everybody knows what to do. Keep communicating." Victor said in the intercom and waited for all the troop leaders to confirm their position.
"What's with Mexico?" Victor asked after all the Boston troops had come in.
"Turned out to be a fire in the bathroom. Nothing serious. Everybody returned to the baggage claim area and are in the process to pick up their luggage. We know that some passengers panicked and ran out without picking up their luggage and without passing the passport check. Sir." Thomas explained.
"When are the troops arriving there?" Victor asked hoping Max and Logan were among the once who got out.
"About an hour and a half sir." Thomas replied.
"Well. Not much we can do till then. Let's focus on Boston." Victor said and nobody questioned his order as there was clearly nothing they could do in that moment.
"The first passengers are exiting the plane right now." Bradly, the soldier – dressed in civilian clothes – closest to the arriving area reported.
"If you identify 452 and she is within your reach grab, her. If you don't then let her get out and the other troopers will capture her in customs or the passport check." Victor ordered and hoped to drag this capture out as long as he possibly could. If they arrested the two passengers in question they would see right away that it wasn't 452, therefore proving that it was indeed Max and Logan in Mexico City.
After 20 minutes all the passengers had left the plane. 452 hadn't been identified, so the soldiers joined the ones outside and hoped the troopers at customs or at passport check would capture her.
"Where did you get this?" Lydecker asked Syl after reading the papers she had handed him.
"We hacked into Manticore files after they opened the hunt on Max." Syl said.
"Renfro is dead." Lydecker remarked.
"Nope. I heard her on the phone. She's up and doing evil. What can we do about that Deck?" Syl asked and stepped closer to Lydecker.
"Don't know yet. Let me check some contacts and I'll get back to you." Lydecker said and with a quick nod left.
"Great. Good ol' Deck." Syl said and waited a few minutes before heading back home.
"Can you send us their picture?" Victor asked the security officer who had the suspects standing in front of him tightly hand-cuffed.
"Give me a second." The officer said, took the pictures and entered the e-mail address to send the pictures to Victor.
The pictures slowly showed up on their screen and everybody in the room could see that it wasn't 452. Not even one of her affiliates.
"Damn. That's not her." Victor said and angrily cut the connection. "Let's focus on Mexico. What have we got there?"
"Nothing so far. People are still picking up their luggage and haven't moved to the passport check. But things are under control again. If they are still there we'll find them sir." Thomas said sounding more convince than he actually was.
"Yeah. Let's see." Victor said and moved over to his desk. He tried to look like he was about to explode because the Logan airport number went sideward, when in fact he was about to burst from happiness because he knew Max and Logan had made it and Renfro wouldn't be able to follow up on her evil plan.
La Hacienda Hotel:
Max opened the door and entered their room with Logan trailing after her. By the time he closed and locked the door, Max was already in the bathroom, throwing her blond wig on the floor and starting to wash the make up off of her face. That done she kicked off her uncomfortable shoes and strolled back out to see Logan spread out on the bed.
"You already asleep? I was hoping you would join me in the shower." Max said and lay down next to him.
"Hey look who got de-blonded." Logan said and drew her close to him. Max snuggled up to him and enjoyed just being close to him, finally being able touch him again. "Hate to break this cuddly moment but I really need to take a shower." Max said, detangling from him.
"I'll be back before you know it." Max said gave him a quick kiss and hurried to the bathroom so she could hurry back to bed and to Logan.
"Hey. Thought you wanted me to join you. Help me undress and get up at least." Logan yelled after her.
"Undress you and get you up? I thought that was kinda the same thing." Max said, emerging naked from the bathroom. Logan swallowed hard, the combination of time spent apart, what she said and what she looked like in all her naked glory turning him on faster than ever before.
"Lift your hips," she said after unbuckling his pants. He did as he was told and she rid him of his pants, leaving him naked from the waist down. "Do I have to do all the work?" Max asked, starting to work on his button down shirt while he just lay there and stared at her.
"I paid for the room." Logan said and lifted up so Max could slide the shirt off of him.
"I don't have to carry you to the shower, now do I?" Max said after finishing undressing him.
"No. But let's make it a quick shower. My leg really needs some rest. And so do I." Logan said and brought some seriousness into their conversation.
"No problem. Let's go." Max said and almost dragged him to the shower.
Syl strolled in and climbed the stairs to the command center. All eyes were on her, expecting to hear how her meeting with Lydecker went.
"So?" Dix asked after Syl had sat down.
"Nothing. It's Lydecker we're talking about. Did you really expect I'd come back with all the answers?" Syl said still annoyed from her meeting with Deck.
"So he's Mr. Mysterious again?" Jesse asked, having had his own experiences with Lydecker back at Manticore.
"Yep. He says he'll get back to us once he looked over the files." Syl explained and everybody got back to what they were doing. Disappointed but not surprised.
"Anybody seen Alec?" Jesse asked not having anything to do now and feeling like having a beer and talk shit with his friend.
"No. Haven't seen him in the last few hours." Dix answered.
"Fine then." Jesse said and shrugged his shoulders. "You up for a beer Syl?"
"Sure. Been looking forward to one since we got here." Syl said and followed him to the makeshift bar in the next building.
Warehouse outside of Seattle
"Sir. All passengers from the baggage claim have gone through the passport check. The ones who left when the fire broke out came back and retrieved their bags. All of them except Jack Mellencamp and Diane Couger. Sir. I think we found them." Thomas reported.
"Great. So they're gone and are somewhere in Mexico City. They could be anywhere. I think we have a problem." Victor said but what he really meant to say was that he might have a problem. Renfro had made it clear what would happen to him if he didn't capture 452.
"When will the troopers arrive in Mexico City?" Victor asked.
"About three hours sir." Thomas answered.
"Well. There's nothing we can do now. I'm gonna go and have a word with 452's roommate. Maybe 452 has already contacted her. Or maybe she will soon. You can reach me on my cell phone." Victor said and put on his jacket.
"Sir. Where should the troops start once they arrive in Mexico City sir?" Thomas asked not sure what to do and not in the mood to consult Renfro.
"Start at the airport. See if anyone has seen them. Then check public transportation. Busses, trains, cabs. Check the rental car booths. Also check with security to see if any stolen cars have been reported. Then we go from there. Checking hotels and motels. See if you can get more troops down there as soon as possible." Victor said and left.
La Hacienda Hotel:
"So how long do we stay here?" Max asked after cuddling up next to Logan in bed after they had finished their quick shower.
"Let's just grab a couple of hours of sleep and then we can go pick up the car one of my informant's friends has organized." Logan explained drawing her closer.
"You really have everything under control don't you?" Max said and couldn't hold back the rush of love that overcame her. She hugged him tightly and placed little kisses on his chest.
"I love you Logan." Max said and was surprised by how easy those words came out. Surprised at how good and how right it felt to say it.
"I love you too Max." Logan mumbled as he drifted off to sleep. Exhausted but incredibly happy.
After an awful day at work Cindy finally was home, had a shower and was getting ready for a night at Crash with Alec.
"Hello. Cindy?" Victor yelled as he opened the door and carefully walked inside.
"Not you again." Cindy replied and walked out of her bedroom to send Victor away.
"Oh I feel so welcome." Victor said and closed the front door, glad that Cindy was home.
"Maybe because you ain't welcome here." Cindy stated and walked closer to him. "Look. Original Cindy appreciates you helping her boo. But that don't mean you can come in here and spoil all the fun Original Cindy has planned." She said still not moving an inch back to let him come even further into the room.
"Well. Sorry. But your friends have made it to Mexico alright. But we already know that. Troops are on their way there to look for them. And even though Mexico City is big it isn't wise for them to stay there. Tell them that when they contact you or Terminal City." Victor told her.
"Fine. Original Cindy will do that. Now if you'll excuse me, this girl is 'bout to go out and have some fun." Cindy said and was about to show him out when he stopped her.
"There's one more thing." He said and could see how annoyed she was by that. "I told Renfro that the reason why I didn't kill you the last time was so I could come back and get more information out of you. See if Max had contacted you or stay here and wait till she does." Victor told her.
"Here goes another night of fun." Cindy said and started to walk towards the couch. "So what do you wanna do? Sit here and wait till the phone rings?"
"I don't know yet. I guess I will be hanging around here till I've figured out what to tell Renfro." Victor said and sat down next to her.
"Great. Just great." Cindy said and got up from the couch. "Might as well slip into something more comfortable."
"Knock, knock." Syl and Jesse yelled and opened the door.
"Great. Now we're having a party." Cindy said and walked past them to her bedroom to get changed.
"What's with her?" Syl said to Jesse, not noticing Victor sitting on the couch.
"Guess that has something to do with me." Victor said and got up from the couch to greet them.
"Oh. Hey. Lemme guess. You're here to grill 452's roommate some more?" Syl said to Victor.
"Something like that. Renfro knows that they are in Mexico and figures that they would contact Cindy. Troops are already on their way, but I wouldn't worry too much. Mexico City is huge and everybody who wants to stay off the radar can do that." Victor explained while sitting back down on the couch.
"So what are you gonna do?" Jesse asked Victor.
"He's hanging 'round Original Cindy's crib till his light bulb goes off." Cindy said and joined the others on the couch, not in the mood to play the host again and offer drinks.
"Ever thought about skipping the country yourself?" Syl asked him.
"Of course. But I want to finish my job here first." Victor answered. "Quitting my job is not exactly an option. You either leave your position in a body bag or not at all. As soon as I know Renfro's plan has been stopped, then I'm on my way to Australia. I've always wanted my own farm there. Far away from civilization. And from Manticore."
"Technically your job here is done Victor." Syl told him. "Max and Logan are safe and as soon as they contact us we tell them to leave Mexico City. We have contacted Colonel Lydecker – he will take care of Renfro. Don't get me wrong. We all hate him too. But if there is one guy to stop Renfro it's him." Syl continued.
"I have to agree with Syl." Jesse commented. "You risk your life if you go back there. Again with no answers and no dead Original Cindy. If Renfro gets only a little suspicious you're dead." Jesse told Victor.
"If I don't come back she knows for sure that it was me who played her and helped Max escape." Victor argued not agreeing to just give up and leave.
"What do you care? You'll be on your farm in Australia. Max and Logan will be somewhere in Central America playing mom and dad. Lydecker and everybody in Terminal City will do everything to stop Renfro." Syl explained. "So again, what do you care?"
"Well. I guess you're right." Victor said agreeing that what Syl and Jesse said made sense. There was nothing left for him to do.
"We are." Syl said and got up from the couch. "I'll call Dix and have him arrange everything to get you out of the country."
"So you have any family or a squeeze here suga?" Cindy asked after Syl left to call Terminal City.
"Nope. Free as a bird." Victor said and smiled as he realized that for the first time in his life he would be free.
"You will be suga. You will be." Cindy said, feeling strangely happy for this guy who had ruined all the fun nights she had planned lately.
La Hacienda Hotel:
"Rise and shine sweety." Max said softly shaking Logan's shoulder. After a few hours of sleep she had woken up because she was hungry. So she decided that it was about time for them to leave and grab some food on their way to the car.
"What time is it?" Logan groaned and turned over, not ready to get up yet.
"Past midnight." She said and sat down on the edge of the bed gently stroking his back. He looked really tired, but she had a bad feeling about staying there any longer. The security guards were definitely looking for her at the airport. That meant Renfro knew they were close. The sooner they would leave the safer she would feel.
"Five more minutes." Logan said, sounding like a little boy who didn't feel like going to school.
"We're hungry." Max said and gently touched her still flat belly.
The WE in her statement made Logan open his eyes and roll onto his back to look at her. She wore the slutty clothes from the plane, as they had left their bags behind. But she had her hair out and it fell naturally over her shoulders. She wasn't wearing any make-up and to Logan she never looked more angelic than at this moment. Sitting there looking down on him with so much love in her eyes and a glow in her face that he figured only an expectant mother could have.
"Well in that case." He said and sat up and put his hand over the one that rested on Max's belly. "Don't want my babies to starve."
"Good. So get going." Max said, giving him a quick kiss and moving off the bed to allow him to get up and move to the bathroom.
Only ten minutes later he came back out. Dressed, shaved and looking extremely delicious. Max got off the bed where she was waiting for him and moved closer to him. She lifted one hand to touch his cheek, without the scruff for the first time since she had known him. Her other hand circled around his waist.
"You like it?" Logan asked when she didn't speak.
"I love it." Max replied and leaned in for a passionate kiss, testing how it felt without the beard.
Reluctantly she broke the kiss after a minute. "As good as this is Logan, we should get going."
"You guys are hungry. I remember. Let's go then." Logan said and slowly made his way out of the hotel room.
"Aren't we gonna check out?" Max asked him when she saw him walking towards the main road instead of the reception.
"We only checked in a couple of hours ago. It would look suspicious if we checked out again so soon." Logan explained and having reached the busy main road, hailed a cab.
"How long till we're at your friend's place?" Max asked after Logan gave the cab driver the address.
"Only about 10 minutes. We pick up the car and new papers and then we can go grab something to eat. I only hope the car is an automatic or I won't be able to drive it." Logan said and nervously fiddled with his cane.
"If not then I'll drive. Don't worry 'bout it." Max told him and reached out to hold his hand. Only a few more hours and they would be out of Mexico City and heading for Acapulco. She had never been there but from what Logan had told her it was close to paradise. But with Logan on her side anywhere they went would be like paradise to her.
Original Cindy's crib:
"Dix is taking care of it. This time tomorrow you'll be close to landing in Australia." Syl said as she came in after calling Terminal City.
"So I'm leaving today?" Victor asked in shock. He hadn't expected that things would move so quickly.
"The sooner the better. You can contact us from a secure line and we'll keep you updated on the Renfro problem." Syl said and sat back down.
"Jesse. Can you drive him to Terminal City?" Syl asked.
"Sure." Jesse asked and got up.
"We have to stop by a bank. I need to get my money. Other than that there's nothing I need." Victor said and got up aswell.
"Guess that's goodbye." Original Cindy said and got up moving closer to Victor. He held out his hand but Cindy pushed it aside and held her arms open for a hug.
"Bye Cindy. You take care. Feel free to visit me on my farm whenever you want to." Victor said and hugged her close. Then he turned to Syl and, without even trying to shake her hand, evolved her in a tight hug. "You take care of Cindy alright. Renfro knows where she lives and will come after her." He whispered in her ear.
"Got it covered. Thanks for your help. Take care of yourself. We'll keep you updated." Syl said and ended the hug.
"Bye." Victor said, then quickly turned around and followed Jesse to his motorcycle.
"It might sound strange, but Original Cindy will miss that beefhead." Cindy said and sniffed a little, trying to hide the tear that was rolling down her cheek.
"Oh Cindy. I knew you had a soft spot." Syl teased and walked over to hug her. Then it was time to get serious again.
"Ahm Cindy." Syl started carefully, knowing that what she had to say would end up in an argument.
"What?" Cindy asked sensing that something was about to come that she didn't like.
"You need to pack some stuff and come with us to Terminal City. You're not safe here. Renfro sent Victor here to get some answers from you. If he doesn't come back she'll send someone else. And I'm sure it won't be such a sensitive guy as Victor was." Syl said trying her best to convince Cindy and to avoid an argument.
"I guess you're right." Cindy said not even trying to argue. Syl was right and even though Cindy hated to move to Terminal City she agreed that it was saver there. Max would want her to do it. Would want her to trust her family. And as Max was her family too Cindy obliged and started to pack some stuff to spend the next few weeks in Terminal City. Or however long it would take to end this Renfro situation.
Guillermo's Taco House:
"Aren't you hungry?" Max said after finishing her third soft shell taco in record time.
"I'm not exactly used to this kind of food. Plus the water they use for washing the lettuce and the tomatoes in the taco can make a normal human's stomach very sick. Believe me. I've had food poisoning in Mexico before. Not an experience I want to repeat." Logan said, munching on some fries while trying to fish the ice cubes out of his coke.
"Suit yourself. I never had a problem with food. Plus I'm pregnant and will have to throw up frequently very soon anyway." Max said while grabbing her fourth taco.
"Alright. Then eat up so we can get moving. We can drive through the nights and sleep during the days." Logan said finishing his fries.
"How long till we're there?" Max asked almost done with her meal.
"I don't know. Two, maybe three nights." Logan said and got up.
"If you drive during the night and I during the day, then we can make it in 30 hours." Max suggested.
"We have time Max. We don't need to rush." Logan explained, getting in the car and starting the engine.
"I just want to get there as soon as we can. I hate being on the run." Max said, looking at him with pleading eyes.
"Whatever you want. I'll drive tonight. You'd better climb in the back and get some sleep." Logan said and nodded towards the back of the car.
"Great. But let me stay here for a while longer. I'm not really tired right now and when do I get a chance to see Mexico City again." Max said and busied herself looking out of the window. Logan said nothing, turned on the radio and drove on.
Warehouse outside of Seattle
"The troops have arrived at Mexico airport, sir." A soldier informed Thomas.
"Good. Adjust the frequency on the intercoms so they'll be able to hear me." Thomas ordered and wondered briefly if he should call Victor. He hadn't heard from him for a while, but figured he would be busy beating information out of 452's roommate.
"Troopers. You hear me?" Thomas said into the intercom.
"Yes sir." Came the reply.
"Split up. Trooper 1 check the arrival area. Restaurants etc. Trooper 2 you check the buses, trains and cabs. Trooper 3 check the rental car companies. Troopers 5, 6 and 7 check with passengers and airport personnel if they have seen 452. Then report back immediately. Over." Thomas ordered and turned off the intercom.
"Give me a list with all motels and hotels that are close by." Thomas ordered the soldiers in the warehouse. This is gonna take a few hours. He thought and hoped Victor would be back then to help him coordinate the troopers and deal with director Renfro.
"Welcome to your new crib." Syl said after opening a door in the sleeping quarters.
"Nice. Very, uhm, spartanic. But nice." Cindy said after taking in the room's interior. A cot with a small pillow and an old scratchy looking blanket. A chair, no table and a drawer that had seen better times.
"It's Max's crib." Syl said. "She wasn't really there a lot. She spent most nights with Logan."
"Okay." Cindy said still less than pleased with her new digs. "Original Cindy would say she'd unpack and get settled in. But that won't take too long. So show me where you guys hang out here." She said, dropped her bag and followed Syl to the headquarters.
5 hours later:
Warehouse outside of Seattle
"Sir. No sign of 452." The last trooper reported in.
"Damn." Thomas cursed under his breath. What the fuck am I supposed to do now? And where the hell is Victor? He thought as he looked at the huge list of hotels and motels in the area of Mexico City.
"Okay. We start checking the hotels and motels in the area. Adjust your intercoms to the frequencies 1 to 7. I'll hand you over to your individual handlers." Thomas said and the soldiers that were supposed to coordinate a team switched on their intercoms and started to direct their teams to the first 7 motels in the airport area.
Pleased that he had the situation under control, Thomas started to check out the possibilities where 452 could have gone when a raspy voice interrupted him.
"I see you have everything under control." Renfro rasped.
Thomas jumped up from his chair and stood at attention. "Yes Ma'am. We just started to search the hotels ma'am."
"Check in with Victor. See if he has something." Renfro ordered already sensing that something was wrong with Victor staying away for so long without checking in. He had left at 2000 hours and now it was 0700 the next morning.
"Yes ma'am." Thomas said and quickly dialed Victor's cell phone number. After only a few seconds his mailbox picked up.
"It's his mailbox ma'am." Thomas explained and looked expectantly at Renfro, not knowing whether to leave a message or not.
"Tell him to check in immediately." Renfro ordered and moved back to her chambers.
Max stirred on the backseat as the bright sunlight shone on her face. She blinked a couple of times then sat up and checked her watch.
"Jesus Logan. Why didn't you wake me? It's broad daylight. My turn to drive." Max almost whined from the backseat.
"You don't sleep a lot. So I figured now that you are I'd let you sleep." Logan said and turned around.
"Where are we anyway?" Max asked as she climbed back on the passengers seat.
"We left Cuernavaca about 20 minutes ago." Logan explained and looked for the next exit so they could switch seats. He was really tired and could use some rest.
"I don't know where that is but I guess that's good. Let's switch so you can stretch out in the back for a few hours." Max said. She would also be glad to use the restrooms once they were at the exit. Some food and some water wouldn't hurt either.
"Yeah. I'm pretty spent. Just follow the 95. It leads us straight to Acapulco." Logan said after pulling off the road.
"I'm gonna jump to the ladiesroom. Why don't you get us some food?" Max said and jumped out of the car once Logan had turned off the engine.
"Ladiesroom." Logan laughed at her use of words. "Must be the hormones."
Terminal City Headquarters:
"I need some manpower." Lydecker's voice echoed through the headquarters.
All heads turned and the room fell into silence while the atmosphere turned icy.
"How did you get in?" Syl asked, getting up and leaning against the railing, looking down at him.
"I taught you everything you know." Lydecker replied in that arrogant voice of his.
"I doubt that." Syl fired back then turned all business. "What's your plan? What do you need manpower for?"
"We're gonna handle this situation the old fashioned way. How many men are located in that warehouse?" Lydecker said, keeping his answers short and simple.
"About 10 soldiers and Renfro. No guards according to Victor. But video surveillance." Syl replied just as curtly.
"10?" Lydecker asked incredulously. "Then why did you come to me?"
"Because killing those 10 soldiers and Renfro won't solve the problem. We don't know who else is involved." Syl answered.
"This is a secret project. It was cancelled by Manticore after our first raid. I don't think a lot of officials are involved. And if so they won't make a big fuss about it. Renfro acted on her own. No one will take her side." Lydecker replied, sounding pretty sure of himself.
"If you say so. Lets get a team together." Syl said and turned to Jesse. "Where the hell is Alec when you need him?"
"I don't know. But we don't have time for that. I'll get some guys together." Jesse said and left in search for some eager volunteers.
"Mole. You go and get the equipment." Syl said and with a quick nod Mole left to go to the warehouse where they kept their guns and ammunition.
5 hours later
Warehouse outside of Seattle
Thomas was starting to get nervous. And not to mention frustrated. The troopers had checked about 35 motels already. They had a lot more to go and they didn't even know which direction to move in. Nobody had seen them. Not even anyone who looked similar to them. They were wasting precious time and he knew Renfro was growing impatient. She waited for results and as Victor hadn't come back or even checked in it was Thomas' head she would go after.
"Sir. The teams have finished searching the next 7 motels." A soldier reported and waited for an order on how to go on.
"Send them to the next 7 motels." Thomas ordered, not sure if it still made sense to look for them. They are probably not even in Mexico City anymore, he thought, but couldn't think of another way to try and catch them. He just hoped Renfro wouldn't show up again any time soon.
Outside of the Warehouse:
"Are you ready? You know what to do?" Lydecker asked his 'soldiers' as they crept closer to the warehouse.
"Yes. Ready." Came the reply from all of them. Jesse had assembled an army of 8 including him and Syl. Mole had equipped them with machine guns and nightvision goggles – for those who needed them.
"Move in quickly. They have surveillance cameras on the building. We have to be there and bust in before they even know someone is coming." Lydecker said and checked the warehouse one last time for guards.
"Wait." Syl said and crept closer to Lydecker. "We can't just bust in there and kill everybody in cold blood. That's not the way we handle things."
"What do you wanna do instead Syl? Send them home and tell them to forget everything they have seen and done in the past days?" Lydecker replied sarcastically totally disappointed that one of his 'kids' despised murder.
"No. We could just knock 'em unconscious. If the Manticore officials are really trying to keep this secret side-project under wraps as you said, then they will do what they have to do to stop them from spilling anything." Syl reasoned and even Lydecker couldn't argue with her logic. He still found it easier and much more practical to just bust in there and kill them all, but if that's the way Syl intended to handle this then so be it.
"Okay. You heard her. Don't try to kill them all." Lydecker said half heartedly, but the Terminal City team had heard Syl and was relieved that they weren't forced to commit murder. At least not in cold blood.
After hours Max was still driving and, thanks to the lack of traffic and her quick reflexes, could drive on top speed. Once in a while she would see another car but passed it quickly, pushing the car to its limits.
Logan, who had been peacefully sleeping on the backseat for the past 6 hours, slowly woke up and began to sit up. He blinked a couple of times and then reached for his glasses, still not fully awake.
As soon as he had put on his glasses though he became wide awake and his eyes widened and his hands dug into the seat.
"MAX!" He yelled from the backseat.
"Oh hey sleepyhead." Max said, turning around slightly to give him a quick smile before focusing on the road again.
"Would you slow down Max? You're gonna kill us." Logan pleaded; still terrified at the speed she was driving.
"Relax baby. I'm supergirl remember?" Max said, but had already slowed down a bit after seeing Logan's panicked face in the mirror.
"You are pregnant supergirl who has been driving for the past 6 hours." Logan corrected her but was relieved as he noticed that she was already driving slower. Still fast, but not as fast as a speeding bullet anymore.
"I just can't wait to get there." Max said and smiled as she caught his eyes in the mirror.
"I know. I just want us to actually get there." Logan teased and relaxed a little more.
"Why don't we grab a bite to eat and then we'll switch again. It's my turn." Logan suggested and Max eagerly accepted.
"Food sounds great." She said and looked for the nearest exit.
Outside the Warehouse:
"Okay move in." Lydecker said and everybody got moving crawling closer to the warehouse.
Syl and Jesse were leading the team. The six other TC residents crawled behind them, gun drawn and ready for some action. Lydecker stayed behind, not wanting to be in the line of fire just now.
Syl heard the surveillance camera move and gestured for everybody to crawl quicker. Once they were at the entrance to the warehouse they got up and with their backs pressed flat against the wall. They waited a minute to see if someone would storm out, but it seemed that nobody knew of their presence. Always good to have the moment of surprise on your side, Syl thought and looked at her fellow team-members to confirm that they were ready.
4 of the team stood on the left side of the door and 4 of them on the right side. They knew that if they would storm inside there was no way to avoid using their guns and killing them all. If they would battle them outside they could take one after the other as he left the door.
Syl extended a hand and, as if she was doing the most natural and logical thing in the world, knocked on the door. A few seconds later they heard footsteps approaching. Syl listened closely and could make out two pairs of footsteps come to welcome them. She signaled to the others that two guys would approach and everybody got in fighting stances.
The door flew open two soldiers dressed in black stood in the doorway. Before they could manage to raise their guns Syl grabbed one and Jesse grabbed one and dragged them out and pushed them over so the others could deal with them and knock them out.
It only took a few seconds until 3 more soldiers came running out, their gun already drawn and shooting at the intruders. Dodging the bullets quickly, those 3 soldiers soon joined the previous two unconscious on the floor. 5 down. 5 to go.
They knew that the other 5 Manticore soldiers wouldn't be stupid enough to storm out and suffer the same fate as the others. So Syl and Jesse opened fire and shot repeatedly into the warehouse while the other 6 dug down and quickly got in, located the Manticore soldiers and taking cover behind the huge command center.
Syl and Jesse stopped shooting, giving the Manticore soldiers an opportunity to come out of their hiding place, presenting a target for the transgenics to shoot at instead of blindly firing into the room. There was silence for about 2 minutes. No one was moving. But as soon as the first Manticore soldier got up from behind the desk he was hiding behind, Syl and Jesse opened fire again, killing the man. Within seconds everybody came out of their hiding spot and the air filled with bullets.
And just as soon as it had started it was over. Silence again. Syl and Jesse entered the warehouse, gun drawn. The other 6, unharmed TC soldiers, already moved around the room, checking if anyone was moving and still able to shoot. After locating the 5 Manticore soldiers and divesting them of their guns, they dragged them out of the warehouse and dropped them next to the 5 unconscious soldiers that lay outside in the grass.
"Good work." Lydecker said, studying the pile of unconscious and dead bodies.
"Oh. Look. Deck decided to join us." Syl said her voice dripping with sarcasm.
Lydecker gave her a hard look, then turned and addressed everybody. "Go in and check what progress they have made. Then destroy the equipment and all the evidences."
"And what are you doing while we do all the work?" Jesse asked, annoyed with Deck's arrogance.
"I'm having a little chat with director Renfro." Lydecker said and smiled. It wasn't a genuine smile. It was a sadistic smile that reminded Syl of her years at Manticore. A smile that showed her that Lydecker didn't just go in there to talk to Renfro. He wanted to kill her. She wouldn't stop him – but the thought still made her shiver.
"God my back is killing me." Max said as she finally got out of the car after driving for 7 hours straight.
"Go stretch you legs a little. I'll go get something to eat. We can eat out here if you want to. The weather is great." Logan suggested.
"Sounds great. Hurry back." Max said and started run up the little hill to get rid of some of the excess energy. Logan sensed that Max needed some time to move, and so he took his time. He went to the bathroom to brush his teeth. Then he ordered some food, bought a newspaper and some bottles of water and slowly made his way back to the car. His leg felt much better but he still struggled to carry everything to the car.
"Here let me help you." Max yelled and started running towards him. She took the heavy bottles from him and carried them to the car. Then she took a large blanket and spread it on the grass so they could eat.
"Tell me about Acapulco." Max said to Logan after taking a huge bite of her sandwich.
"I've never been there myself. But from what I know it's a great place. Long sandy beaches, water as clear as the sky. Not the sky in Seattle though. The sky in Acapulco. The sun always shines. It hardly rains and it's always warm. There are places with lots of tourists and nightlife. And then there are places where you can be all by yourself and have your peace." Logan explained enjoying his food.
"What are we gonna do there?" Max asked.
"I don't know how long we're gonna stay there. I guess at first we'll find a nice hotel. Near the beach. Then we're just gonna enjoy ourselves and have a much deserved vacation. How does that sound?" Logan answered, finishing his sandwich and moving closer to Max.
"Sounds perfect." Max said and lay down next to him, throwing an arm over his torso and caressing it softly.
"Mmmm. I could stay like this forever." Logan said as he wrapped an arm around Max and closed his eyes.
"Hey. We don't have time for a nap. Besides. You just slept in the car. It's your turn to drive." Max said and nudged him so he would open his eyes again.
"Where are we anyway?" Logan asked, realizing that he had no idea how far Max had come on her shift.
"We're just after Zumpango." Max informed him.
"Wherever that is." Logan smiled.
"We have about 9 hours to go. The way you drive probably 15." Max teased.
"Hey. I'm not that slow. I just don't have a deathwish." Logan defended himself.
"Whatever. I give you 10 more minutes to relax. Then it's time to go." Max said and got comfortable in Logan's arms.
"10 minutes. That's an awful long time. What do you suppose we could do with all that time?" Logan said as he turned Max on her back and, without waiting for a reply, kissed her passionately.
Warehouse outside of Seattle
Lydecker pressed the button to Renfro's private chambers and the doors slid open. He walked in slowly, a gun in his hand just in case. He closed the door behind him and turned on the lights.
There she was. Director Renfro. Sitting at her desk expecting someone to come in and not able to do anything. She was surprised to see Deck but hid it well.
"Lizzy. Good to see you." Lydecker said albeit without any sincerity in his voice.
"Deck. I wasn't expecting to see you." Renfro returned.
"Trooper 5. We checked the hotel. No signs of target. What's the next hotel? Over." Came a voice from one of the intercoms on a desk. They all looked at each other in confusion. Now what?
Jesse moved over to the desk and took the intercom. "Abort mission. Targets have been located and captured. Move out. Do you copy Trooper 5?" Jesse said in his best military manner.
"Copy sir. We will return to base." Trooper 5 answered and cut the connection.
"That was easy. Now let's do the same for the rest of the troopers and then blow this joint." Jesse said and moved to communicate the same to the rest of the troopers.
"What brings you here?" Renfro said and maneuvered her chair from behind her desk to approach Lydecker. She motioned with her head for him to sit and he sat down in the chair in front of her.
"I think you know why I'm here. Give it up Lizzy. You can't win. Game over." Deck said, holding her intense gaze.
"You have no idea what you're doing Deck. Think about it. If this project succeeds you can resume your position as a leader of an army. But this time it would be an army that won't disobey you. An army that won't question your orders. An army that wouldn't run away. An army that would give its life for you. You could be somebody again Deck." Renfro said, hoping she would spark his interest by offering him power and influence.
"I never wanted such an army. That wasn't what I was trying to achieve back at Manticore. I never wanted my kids to be machines. I never wanted them to be mindless, coldblooded killers. I wanted to prepare them as well as I could for all eventualities that could occur in a war. I wanted them to be intelligent, strong and efficient. I wanted them to be the best they could possibly be. To use their potential and their given genetics and make the best out of it. I don't want an army of look-alikes without personality who don't care if they die or not. That's not the way to win a war. If I have learned anything from my past mistakes it's that." Lydecker said disgusted by her offer and that she really thought he would accept.
"There won't be a lot of wars to win if my plan succeeds. There will only be worthy people left in this world. Worthy to live under my regime. Worthy to life in the new world. My world." Renfro tried again.
"Unfortunately most of them will look like you. And no offense Lizzy. But I wouldn't wanna life in a world like that." Lydecker remarked dryly and pulled out his gun.
"Are you that naïve to think that killing me would stop this from happening? Are you that dumb Donald?" Renfro said and tried to laugh, a move which her burned features didn't allow.
"I guess you'll never find out Lizzy." Deck said and shot her in the head.
"And this time you're not coming back." Deck said to the corpse in front of him, stored his gun away and left the room.
"Burn the place." He said to Syl and Jesse and walked out the door. Job done.
10 hours later
It was early in the morning and, after driving all night, Logan and Max had finally arrived in Acapulco. It was Logan's turn to drive and, without thinking about it, he ended up pulling into the parking lot of the first beach he spotted.
He killed the engine, grabbed his cane and got out of the car. Max eagerly followed. They walked in silence to the nearest bench on the boardwalk and sat down. The sun began to rise and the air was fresh and smelled like salt and water and sand and freedom.
"God Logan this is beautiful." Max whispered and took his hand in hers. She had never seen anything as beautiful as this. The sun rose and the light reflected in the clear, blue water. The white sandy beach lay undisturbed in front of them. The only sound that was to hear was that of waves rolling in and breaking on the shore and the sound of seagulls flying unimpressed about the sky.
"Yeah. Beautiful. Never thought I'd be sitting here with you." Logan said and hugged her closer to him, treasuring this moment. Thanking the almighty that they had made it here alive.
"Let's never leave this place." Max said and couldn't remember when she had ever felt this happy, this complete in her life before.
"Would be a nice place to raise our kids, that's for sure." Logan said and smiled lovingly at her.
"Kids?" Max said, ripped out of her daydreaming after hearing his words.
"One is a lonely number Max." Logan said by way of explanation.
"We're not lonely anymore Logan." Max said and, tired of talking, pulled his head down to seal this perfect moment with a perfect kiss.
"So Lydecker left?" Dix asked after Syl and Jesse told everybody what went down at the warehouse.
"Yep. Said he'd be back if this bitch isn't over yet." Syl replied.
"Well is it over yet suga?" Cindy asked, still in shock after hearing the whole story.
"Don't know. Deck thinks it is. Let's just wait and see." Jesse answered.
"Original Cindy don't trust this. She's staying here until she knows for sure, if that's aiight wit you." Cindy said, addressing the whole room.
"Stay as long as you want. You know you're always more than welcome here." Syl said and placed an arm around her shoulder.
"Thanks. Appreciate it boo." Cindy said and leaned into the hug.
"So Lydecker just killed her?" Luke asked, still wanting more information.
"We haven't seen it. And you know Deck. He's not big on words. But yes. He shot her and we burned the place down. She's dead alright. Let's hope it stays that way this time." Jesse replied.
"What do you think Max and Logan are doing, now that they are safe?" Syl wondered out loud.
"Little fella and Logan getting busy." Joshua called from the back of the room which caused everybody to laugh hysterically. Though he could be right.
"Voila." Logan said as he opened the door to their hotel room. This time they hadn't settled for a cheap motel room. No, they had arrived at their destination and opted for a middle class room in a nice hotel with a great view of the beach and the Pacific.
"I'd carry you over the threshold but I think I'll save that for later." Logan said and let Max step in before going after her, closing the door and locking it.
"Don't worry Logan. This isn't our honeymoon." Max said, checking out their new quarters.
"Yet." Logan said and went to open the balcony door to let in some air. Max just smiled at that and sat down on the edge of the bed watching Logan.
"You think they worry about us back home?" Max asked while still eying Logan.
"Guess so. We should give them a call as soon as we can." He answered and turned around to look at her after having accomplished his task opening the doors.
"Let's not worry about anything and anybody for now Logan. We're finally here. We're finally alone. Let's forget about the world outside of this room." Max said smiling at him with so much love and desire in her eyes that Logan doubted there existed anything else in this world but her and him.
He made his way over to the bed where Max sat as fast as his cane allowed him to move. Once there he stopped in front of her. He threw his cane away without caring where it landed, and motioned for Max to get up.
She stood in front of him. He stood in front of her. They weren't touching just yet. They just stood there looking at each other. Then, as if something had snapped in her, Max reached over, grabbed Logan's shirt and ripped it open. She pulled it from him and carelessly threw it in the general direction the cane had gone.
"I need you Logan." She rasped and that was his undoing. He took a quick but shaky step toward her and pressed his lips on hers at the same time that she pressed her body against his. The kiss didn't start out soft and gentle and wasn't going in that direction any time soon. Lips sucked, teeth nibbled, tongues battled and all the while hands roamed and bodies pressed.
Sensing that Logan was having a hard time standing upright on just one leg, Max carefully pushed him down so they were laying on the bed with her on top. She didn't wait for Logan to help her out of her clothes; instead she ripped her shirt off of her body along with her bra.
Logan's hands flew to her breasts the second they were free of constraints, kneading them, caressing them. Max let out a groan when he started pulling on her nipples and attacked his pants. With shaky hands she unbuckled his belt and undid his button. It was a little tricky to pull the zipper over Logan's immense arousal, but somehow she managed and was frantically trying to pull down the pants when she remembered his leg. Trying to calm down a little, she managed to carefully remove the pants and his boxers without hurting him.
She knew that Logan loved to undress her. To kiss and caress every inch of skin he revealed. But right now all she wanted was to feel him inside her. So she pushed his hands aside, quickly shimmed out of her pants and panties and joined him back on the bed. Attacking his mouth with pent up passion and rubbing herself shamelessly against his hard body. She couldn't get enough of this. Couldn't get enough of him.
Logan felt the urgency of this moment too and wished he could spin her around and thrust into her over and over again. But his leg would allow only her on top so he grabbed her hips and positioned her over his errection. He pushed his hips upward, needing to be inside of her. He wanted to tell her that but Max's mouth was fused on his and he was lucky that he could still breathe let alone say anything.
Max noticed the urgent pressing of his hips and his strong grip on her hips and broke the kiss. She sat up, positioned herself over his errection and, while staring deep into his eyes, slowly sank down on him. That was it. That was heaven. They both let out satisfied groans. But it wasn't enough. Not nearly.
Logan sat up, needing to feel her skin on his, while Max build up a steady rhythm moving up and down on him. His hands left her hips to caress her back while his mouth moved down to her breasts, kissing, licking and occasionally biting.
Max sped up her movements clutching his back with one hand while pressing his mouth to her breasts with the other hand. Nothing in this world felt better than having Logan buried deep within her and his mouth working wonders on her breasts.
Logan knew he wouldn't last much longer. The intensity of their love making was too incredible and too stimulating. He braced one hand on the bed so he could thrust up to meet her moving hips while he bit her nipple hard. That did it for her and Max screamed out, lost in her climax, lost in Logan. Hearing her scream out in ecstasy was enough to send Logan over the edge too.
He stopped thrusting up and brought his arms around her while she rode out her climax, still grinding and circling her hips slowly. After a minute her movements stopped and Logan lay down on the bed, taking Max with him by keeping his strong arms wrapped around her.
He closed his eyes and listened to their pounding heartbeats and their heavy breathing. Never had it been this good. They lay still for a few minutes until they regained the strength and the breath to speak again. But neither could come up with anything to say that would come close to express how happy, how content and how loved they felt. So they were quiet. Holding each other while the sea breeze cooled their sweaty bodies and the sound of the ocean lulled them to sleep.
Free at last.
AN: This is the end my friends. Do me a favor and drop a review just so I know you have finished this fic with me. In case you have a dysfunctional family just like I have, I hope reading this will cheer you up a bit. I sure will use the time my family fights this year around the Christmas tree to write another 'Facing death' chapter. That's what is cheering me up. So merry Christmas everybody. Thanks for reading. I do really love you. No kidding.