Title: Mud

Time Frame: Series 1, post Haven

Disclaimer: I do not own Dark Angel; I just like to write about it.

My many thanks to my beta, Alaidh.

Chapter 1

Matt Sung turned his coat collar up against the biting cold, and thrust his hands deep into his pockets, looking about him with a sigh.

The disused wharf where he had planned to meet Logan Cale, his contact with Eyes Only, was a depressing testimony of what Seattle had once been - flourishing and affluent. Now, like the wharf, much of it was seedy and run- down, and it was becoming increasingly obvious that much of the town would have to be gutted before the city could reclaim it's former beauty and style.

The early morning fog hung damp and heavy in the air, swirling it's long tendrils around the line of disused warehouses, permeating all that stood in it's way, just as the evil permeated Seattle. Somewhere in the distance came the muffled sound of a foghorn, lonely and desolate, as if in mourning for the wreck Seattle had become.

With a quick glance at the time, he watched warily as a car slowly headed up the wharf, his hand going to the inside of his coat in a gesture of ever- present vigilance. Relieved, he could now make out the car to be a rather dirty blue Aztec. Turning to his own car he pulled out a folder and headed towards Logan.

"Hey, Matt. What have you got for me?" asked Logan as he drew alongside Matt, his car window down, ready to talk.

The two men were a complete contrast: the one clean shaven, immaculately groomed, eyes bright regardless of the early hour, whereas the driver of the blue Aztek was unshaven, hair every which way, eyes slightly bleary behind a pair of steel framed glasses, and on the whole, decidedly scruffy even though the quality of his clothes would indicate him to be a man of considerable means.

"Sorry about the early hour," apologized the Asian detective, a contrite look on his face when he saw Logan's disheveled look, "but I can only let Eyes Only have these files for a short while."

"That's fine, Matt. Eyes Only sure appreciates the effort you've gone to on this," answered Logan, taking the file handed to him through the car window.

Matt watched him quietly for a moment while he scanned the sheaf of papers, then turned his attention to their surroundings, searching the wharf for any indication they were not alone.

Logan gave a low grunt of disgust. "Well, here's another example of one of Seattle's fine upstanding citizens." Logan voice was heavy with sarcasm.

"Yeah, a real solid guy," agreed the detective.

Logan threw the file onto the seat beside him in a gesture of disdain; as if the loathsome nature of the crimes within the file permeated the very paper they were written on.

For a moment, a feeling of helplessness and frustration swept over Logan, as he stared out at the dismal buildings before him, in his own mind the seediness of the wharf reflecting the seedy life of the man in the file. It seemed that for every criminal Eyes Only exposed, there was another one as bad or worse, to take his place. Would it ever end?

Sensing a little of what he was feeling, Matt Sung eyed him with empathy. "It never ends, does it? Welcome to a policeman's lot." With his green eyes still surveying the dismal scene, Logan frowned, "Don't you ever feel like putting all the scum in one large room, with some C4 to keep them warm."

"Ah, but then I'd be a vigilante, not a policeman."

"Sometimes I feel the idea has merit," responded Logan, darkly.

"What would Eyes Only say to that?"

Logan thought for a moment then, not entirely answering the question, replied, "I think he'd say you're a good man, Matt."

"And a busy one," replied the detective, not ungrateful for the compliment. "I'd better get going."

With a nod towards the file Logan said, "I'll pass this stuff on to Eyes Only. I know he's thankful for all you do."

"Well, I hope he appreciates the sleep you miss on his behalf as well."

Logan smiled at him easily. "Nothing a shower and breakfast can't fix. I'll be in touch." With a nod towards the file he added, "How soon do you want these back?"

Matt looked at the files, considering things for a moment. "Tomorrow night at the latest," he finally said.

"Can Eyes Only run a copy of it?" asked Logan hopefully

Matt shook his head emphatically. "No way. They'll scan for that."

"Fine," agreed Logan, musing inwardly that he'd be very busy for the next two days.

"I'll be seeing you then." Matt gave a small wave and hurried back to his car.

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Bling had arrived by the time Logan got home.

His trainer eyed him with surprise. "You're up early."

"I had a meet with Matt Sung," answered Logan, wheeling through to his desk and dumping the file next to his computer before heading to the kitchen to make some breakfast.

"You look like you could do with this," Bling remarked, handing him a cup of coffee.

Logan accepted it gratefully. "There's an awful lot going down at the moment." With a shake of his head and a worried note in his voice he added, "I sure hope Eyes Only can keep up with it."

"Only one way to deal with any problem," Bling answered him, the hint of a smile on his face.

Logan looked up at him suspiciously. "You aren't going to mention the 'P' word are you?"

Bling merely looked at him.

"Well I'm not up to that lecture on an empty stomach," grimaced Logan.

"Watcha doin'?" said a voice from the entrance.

"About to have breakfast," answered Logan, thankful for Max's appearance.

"I was hopin' you were gonna say that," she smiled at him, then noting his jacket she asked with some surprise, "You been out already?"

"Had a meeting with Matt," Logan threw over his shoulder, as he rummaged in the refrigerator for their breakfast. "You want eggs on toast?"

"Sure. Sounds good." Max knew that Logan's idea of eggs on toast was far more exotic than the name implied. "And I was right." she mused to herself sometime later, a satisfied smile on her face, her stomach comfortably full. "So, who's the latest scumbag to make the Seattle top ten list?" she asked Logan.

"More like top one thousand," was Logan's reply.

Max thought he sounded a bit down. With a tentative look on her face she said, "We've got a thing happening at Crash tonight. It's Sketchy's birthday. You wanna come?"

Logan pushed himself away from the table with his hands, heading towards his computer. "I've only got this file for the next two days. It's gonna keep me busy."

"Well," thought Max, "it was as good an excuse as any other he'd come up with it." She stood up from the table, following him to his computer. Putting her mouth close to his ear she predicted, "One day you're gonna say yes." And then with a sassy backward glance at him, she made her way out.

"One of these days she might just stop asking," warned Bling, who'd passed by at that moment.

Throwing a look at Bling and muttering "Suits me fine," he booted up his computer and, with a certain amount of reluctance, picked up the file.

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Logan worked steadily on the file all that day. It never failed to amaze him, when he worked on these Eyes Only cases, the ingenuity of the criminal mind in evading detection with the most intricate of plans, eventually to be tripped up on a small detail overlooked, as had happened in this case - in an unusual twist Logan was going to be able to nail him because of an overdue bill. It afforded him some sense of satisfaction.

Unfortunately, the following day, things didn't run as smoothly for Logan: for some reason the phone ran hot with calls from others on the informant net which, while important, were a constant interruption to the work he was doing on the file.

Anxiously trying to process the file, Logan could sense the day slipping away from him, and he had to meet Matt at 9pm.

Midway through the day, Bling insisted he come away from the computer for a while and do his reps, telling Logan he'd have trouble finding the time to assist him later as he had to go out and wait in one of the now inevitable lines for gas, as the Aztek was almost on empty.

Less than enthusiastic, Logan applied himself mechanically to the task at hand, earning little praise from his trainer.

"Well, no danger of you burning out on today's effort," was his comment to Logan at the end of the session.

"Yeah, whatever."

"Now computer burn out, that's another matter."

"Well, I'just gotta get this done," was Logan's terse reply, returning to his computer.

"I'm off to get the gas," Bling stated, knowing it was a waste of time arguing with him.

"Fine," commented Logan, not taking his eyes from the screen.

With a shake of his head, Bling let himself out.

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Logan forced himself to stop for a quick dinner, which he hardly tasted, then headed straight back to the file. By his calculations, he should just have enough time to complete all he had to do before giving it back.

Unfortunately, the hand of fate conspired against him when the network crashed for 50 minutes, then there was a short brownout, leaving him staring at the computer in frustration.

Bling's day had been no better - after standing in line for an hour and a half at one gas station, they were all informed that the gas had run out and to move on to another, which he did, but it meant he didn't get back to Logan's with the gas until nearly 8pm, and he was meant to be meeting a lady friend 15 minutes ago.

By this time, the power had come back on, the net was working again, and Logan was furiously trying to finish off his work.

Glancing at his computer clock, he was surprised to see Bling returning so late. "What happened to the date?"

"Nothing I hope," responded the trainer. "I couldn't get much gas; they were rationing again, but it should last a few days. You're not planning any long trips are you?"

"Not that I know of," Logan relied dryly - his last trip to Cape Haven only a week ago hardly inspired him to repeat the process, and he still had the bruise on his body to remind him of that memorable weekend - one he would now rather forget.

Bling looked at his watch.

Seeing the gesture, Logan said, "Get going."

Bling hesitated. "I haven't filled the car yet."

"I can do that. You've done more than enough for one day," Logan said, highly appreciative of the time Bling had spent standing in line on his behalf.

Seeing Bling still hesitating, Logan said, "Go!" with more force.

"Okay," Bling finally agreed. "I'll leave the cans here by your desk so you don't forget."

Logan nodded, already with his head down in the file.

"You goin' by yourself to meet Matt Sung?" asked Bling, as he put the can down.

"Uh huh," was Logan's distracted reply.

A look of dissatisfaction crossed Bling's face, but he merely said, "Take care."

Logan murmured something in reply, which Bling took for a yes and, grabbing his coat, left the apartment.

Some time later, Logan, with a glance at the clock and a sigh of relief, dumped the file in his lap and pushed himself away from the desk. His thoughts flashed back to when he was at Yale, and the number of times he'd had to work through the night to get a paper finished, managing to hand it in only minutes before the cut off time, usually the cause being some distraction of the female kind. 'If only,' he thought, ironically.

He was in his bedroom putting his jacket on when his cell phone rang. With an annoyed grunt, he wheeled back to his desk where he'd left it, almost deciding not to answer it as time was so tight and he knew Matt had to get the file back, but then thinking it might be Matt, he changed his mind and picked up.

As it turned out, it wasn't the detective, which, thought Logan, pretty well summed up the way his day had gone so far. Cutting the caller on the other end short, Logan said, "I'm sorry Paul, I gotta go now. I'll call you back."

Putting his phone on top of the file in his lap, and then his keys there as well , Logan hurried to his car, musing that you could never do anything fast in a damned wheelchair.

Getting to his car he hauled himself inside, irritated that the tricky process of getting his wheelchair in didn't run smoothly, and he was sorely tempted to damn the thing to hell and leave it there, but then figured knowing his luck today the thing would be stolen or he'd be caught out without it, so he struggled on, and with several curses eventually got it stowed.

Feeling like a volcano about to explode, he roared out of the parking garage, thankful at last to be on his way to the meet, and hopefully not too late for Matt.

The traffic was light, and for once it wasn't raining. Perhaps things are lookin' up, was his hopeful thought.

The beeping of his phone interrupted his thoughts and, with an exasperated sigh, he realized he hadn't put the phone on 'hands-free', which meant he'd have to stop the car to take it. Tempted to ignore the call entirely, he pulled the car over and quickly checked who the incoming call was from. It was Matt.

"Hey Matt, what's up?"

"Logan. We need to change the meet locale. I've been held up the other side of town. Can you make it back to the wharf?"

"Sure, but it will take me another 15 minutes to get there, as long as I don't get held up by any sector police."

"Good. I'll see you there," Matt hung up, sounding a little harassed himself.

"Must be one of those days for everyone," Logan mused to himself.

He was about to pull back into the traffic, when his phone rang again. With an irritated glance he saw it was from one of his more paranoid informants. Feeling like that was the last person on earth he wanted to talk to at that moment, he did something he rarely did - he turned the phone off.

Relishing the quiet for a few moments, he pulled out and turned the car in the opposite direction, now on his way to the wharf.

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"Hey Bling," greeted Max, surprised to see the trainer. "What happened to the hot date?"

Bling smiled at her ruefully, looking up from Logan's computer. "We both got held up, so she made it for tomorrow night instead. Logan's out on a meet with Matt Sung," he continued, anticipating her next question. "I thought I'd just hang out here till he got back, makin' sure everything went down okay."

Max frowned a little. "I wish he wouldn't do these night meets by himself."

"I'll make you a coffee if ...." he was about to say if you like, but the words died on his lips, and instead he said, "Damn!"

"What is it?" asked Max immediately.

Bling motioned to the two cans of gas. "Logan was meant to put this in the car. He must have forgotten." With a shake of his head he muttered, "I knew I should have done it."

"Has the car got any gas in it at all?"

"It's got a little." Seeing the look on her face he added, "Should be enough to get to the meet and back."

"What time was the meet?"


Max looked at her watch. It was a little after that now. "I'll give him a call."

Bling watched her as she picked up Logan's home phone and dialed his cell. A look of frustration crossed her face. "He's turned it off. He never turns his cell off," she added, the look of frustration replaced by one of concern.

"He's probably fine," Bling persuaded her, and seeing the look on Max's face wondered for the thousandth time why the two of them couldn't admit to each other what the rest of the world could so clearly see.

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The wharf was even more depressing at night than it had been in the morning, and Logan was glad to see the last of it.

The meet with Matt had gone without hitch. He'd handed the file over; neither had bothered to get out of their cars, Logan simply passing the file down to Matt through their respective windows.

The detective hadn't wasted any time in pleasantries. "Great. Gotta run," was virtually his only comment, his main concern to get the file back before it was missed.

Watching him drive off, Logan was a little worried for him, hoping he'd make it back in time.

Logan had just turned off the wharf when his glance fell on the fuel gauge. With a sinking feeling he realized that the now lit fuel light had caught his attention.

He glared at the light in frustration, and then looked outside with a resigned look and said to no one in particular, "Well, everything else has gone wrong today." He stopped the car for a moment to consider his options: he knew he still had some time before the car was really out of gas, with any luck he could push on home and make it - but then, seeing how his luck had been running so far, he didn't feel particularly positive about that idea; Bling was out on his date, and Max .. well, he didn't really want to page Max to advertise his stupidity.


In that moment a thought came to him: if he cut through the back way, he could save at least ten minutes of driving time, and that just might be enough to make the difference. There was only one thing about this scheme that made Logan hesitate - it meant driving through the gang area, the most notorious part of Seattle, and he could imagine what Max or Bling would have to say about that. What other option did he have? None that he could think of.

With a decisive nod, he pushed hard on the accelerator, and headed the car in that direction.