Gen X-6 (5) - Once Promise

Rated: PG-13

Disclaimer: (Takes a deep breath) Dark Angel and the concept of Manticore and all that belongs to James Cameron but the rest of the characters and the whole storyline, which really picks up at S1 BBWW and from that point on is totally mine and original is once again mine so don't use it without permission or anything like this and since I'm not going for monetary gain don't bother to sue unless you want a '97 Saturn with a blown head gasket that is about to be run through the nearest car crusher I can find. (Smiles) Got it? Good.

A/N: Well, ladies and gentlemen, here we at the final chapter in the X-6 saga. And yes, when I say final, I mean seriously, not going to be an X-6 (6). It's been an awesome ride and I thank everyone who has stuck in here with me for the last couple of years and enjoyed reading this series as much as I have enjoyed writing it. But hey, don't bid everyone good-bye yet, because we still have one last wild ride to go....

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Jhondie sat in her office behind the large desk that was covered in paperwork. She frowned at the columns of numbers in front of her, making small notes with her pen and occasionally turning to her computer to make a few corrections. The corrections tended to cause the frown to increase rather than decrease. If she had to name the one thing that she absolutely hated most about her position as chief of staff, it would be the yearly budget. It was vital to the well being of the hospital. She knew that. But there was nothing more boring than looking over every financial figure for the hospital from salaries to new machines to the number of band-aids that were estimated to be needed for the next year.

And then she was going to have to present the budget to the Board of Directors and listen to them whine about how the raise she was trying to get for the nurses was going to take away from the profitability of the hospital. A bunch of silk suits trying to tell a doctor that they knew more about the needs of a hospital. Medical administration, Jhondie thought disdainfully. What did they know about the importance of a good nurse? They had never relied on someone trained to react instantly to an order so that a patent's life could be saved. They knew the numbers on the paper, never the broken and battered bodies that came through the door in hopes they would be able to leave whole once more. None of them had ever had to tell a family that a loved one didn't make it. None of them had ever told a family that a loved one had made it despite impossible odds.

Jhondie would admit that as much as she enjoyed being the top dog around the hospital; the day-to-day duties were really starting to annoy her. Maybe it was just because it was budget season. Maybe she wanted to go back to just being a surgeon. It had actually been a couple of weeks since she had scrubbed in for a surgery. Two painfully long weeks of budgets and analyses and planning and meetings. Everyone wanted their say in how the money was going to be distributed and no matter how much a department got, it wasn't going to be enough. Jhondie had hung around late at nights just so she would be able to get into an OR, but as long as she was there a million little things would crop up that only the chief could handle. It was nice to be needed, but it would have been nicer to do what she really wanted to be doing.

And there was one other thing that had been bothering her in the last month or so. Daniel's article had caused quite a stir. That was the nicest way of putting it. At least three senior officials in the Pentagon had resigned, the president was insisting on a full investigation and everyone else was denying that they knew any of it. At first they had tried to deny that this was real and demanded that Dan Guevara give up his sources to prove the allegations. They didn't understand why they couldn't intimidate him in the slightest. It helped that "The Truth" and all of its wealth and power protected him. But the guy seemed to always know the right thing to say to sideslip any demands, including a Congressional committee. They threatened to cite him. He asked if that was a challenge and all of them got very quiet. The three members of the panel all had something that they would prefer to keep quiet and there was no doubt from the glint in Guevara's eyes that he knew exactly what those things were.

Jhondie was proud of Daniel sticking by his convictions, but she was more proud of him for other reasons when he didn't cave in. She had told him her whole story of Manticore and how it affected her life. It was all in the article but under a false name. And there was a lot of speculation on who these people really were. Jhondie wasn't sure what would happen to her career if it were found out that one of the pseudonyms belonged to her. Probably get flushed down the nearest toilet. Maybe she should have been ashamed of herself to keep hiding and denying, but this was her life and nobody was going to take it from her.

The phone rang, taking Jhondie out of her speculations and back into the here and now. The call panel said that the call was from the ER. That perked her up a little. Dr. Adams, the trauma surgeon, hadn't been feeling very well the day before. Maybe he had to go home and they needed to know if she was up to doing a surgery or two. Jhondie picked up the phone, at any rate grateful for the distraction from the rows of numbers that never seemed to end.

"Dr. Carter!" an excitedly terrified voice cried out in response to her greeting. She recognized Dr. Perkins' voice. He was one of the new interns with the ink barely dry on his M.D. "We have a major problem in the E.R," he cried out breathlessly. "Two GSW's were brought in and one won't let us touch the other!"

"Have security restrain him," Jhondie replied calmly. God, it sounded like World War III was starting in the E.R. Where was Dr. Ricker? He was the head of the E.R. He should be handling this, not her.

"We tried!" Perkins answered quickly. "But they can't touch her! I swear to God, Bruce was a foot from her and then he was halfway across the room."

Jhondie's stomach dropped to her feet and she really regretted the breakfast burrito she had consumed an hour before. Her? No. Oh, hell no. Please no.

Her cell phone rang. Jhondie picked it up and hit talk without saying a word.

"Jhondie," Heather practically sobbed from the other end. "We're in the E.R and they're trying to give him blood and oh, God, they won't listen, you...oh God..."

There may have been more. Jhondie never knew if Heather tried to explain more or not. Her office door wasn't able to swing shut again by the time she hit the stairs, her lab coat flying out behind her like the tail of a comet.