Disclaimer: Dark Angel belongs to Fox et al. I claim any original characters, should they decide to present themselves.

A/N: This takes place post Freak Nation, which is mentioned in passing during this chapter. It's just a story that's been rolling around in my head and I finally decided to post it. We'll see where it goes and how long it takes to get there. Feel free to let me know what you think, but don't hold your breath (passing out from a lack of oxygen is generally considered a bad thing) for long chapters or fast and frequent updates unless I get extraordinarily inspired.

Chapter 1 - Alternate Exit

Taking a sip of her drink, Max started a mental "to do" list. Joshua could help distribute supplies while Mole and Dix continued to gather equipment for their information systems and computer network. Logan even got some of the lower-end extra equipment to rebuild his Eyes Only system. The castoffs from headquarters provided him with a better setup than he had before, and with the help of his dedicated assistant EO was reestablishing himself as the voice to rescue the helpless and disenfranchised.

Max sighed and her gaze wandered across the room to where Alec and Sketchy played pool. At least, Sketchy tried his best to win, and Alec appeared to be keeping the game moderately interesting for himself by coming up with his own personal challenges. At the moment he alternated shots, making one right-handed and the next with his left. Her thoughts drifting back to leadership responsibilities, Max decided that Alec would help the most by continuing to organize the new transgenics that flooded Terminal City every day. He had been able to satisfy almost everyone as he assigned quarters and matched up partial units according to their skills, personalities, and compatibility.

"Y'know, you could go over and talk 'stead of just mooning over him," OC interrupted Max's thoughts as she sat down with another pitcher. Max watched Alec pat Sketchy's shoulder before walking toward their table and realized she had been staring.

"I'm not mooning," she answered irritably, scowling at her friend. "I'm trying to figure out how to organize a city with no resources and a tenuous relationship with the surrounding public and national government."

"Mmm-hmmm." Cindy sounded less than convinced. Max started to defend herself when Alec arrived at the table and plopped into a chair.

"Hello ladies." He poured himself a drink and turned to Max. "So, Logan have a hot date tonight?"

"Maybe. I didn't ask. Not exactly the kind of conversation to bring up with an ex-boyfriend if you really think about it." She rolled her eyes.

"But you're still friends, right? Friends know about each other's love lives." Grinning slightly he leaned an elbow on the table and sat with his chin in his hand, as if waiting for a story about her relationship.

"Friends also know when to give each other space," she retorted. "I don't know what Logan's doing tonight, and obviously I should have gone somewhere else to think."

"Why not be honest, Max," Alec prodded, leaning back in the chair and crossing his arms. "You're here because you can't stand to let me out of your sight." He smirked as she sputtered in indignation. "Nothing about that pool game was exciting to watch, but you couldn't seem to keep your eyes off me."

She punched his shoulder. "You'd like to think that, wouldn't you? Maybe I was just deciding whether or not we need to find any alternate sewer exits from Terminal City," she answered, knowing Alec hated the subterranean tunnels of Seattle, with good reason. She looked at him innocently. "Since your game's over it seems like you have some time on your hands at the moment." Standing before he had a chance to respond, she called over her shoulder, "Catch you later OC. I've got work to do tonight."

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Feet pounded the pavement and breathing started coming in ragged gasps. The chase sped blindly through the dark maze of streets without streetlights to provide direction. Even the moon and stars stayed mostly hidden behind a rolling blanket of clouds. The pursuers closed the distance from behind, faster than a human should be able to run. Suddenly, the slick, windowless brick walls joined one another, bringing the dark tunnel to a dead end.

"That's it. Put your hands behind your head," a cold voice commanded, accompanied by the click of a gun. "Turn slowly and get on your knees."

Chilly water shocked skin, soaking through the cloth covering knees that dropped to the pavement. Dim silver reflections glinted in the small ripples of the puddles. The hard surface made wet fabric grind into knees and shins as the surrendering figure turned slightly in the direction of the speaker. A sudden shot caused larger ripples to slosh away from the body as it slumped to the ground.