A/n: I'M BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chapter 29: Epilogue
A hand picked up a remote in a dim, abandoned house, flicking a button to play the video tape yet again. Static quickly gave way to a recording of a news bulletin.
"…Federal authorities confirmed today that negotiations are about to open with the transgenic community. However, we can exclusively reveal that their spokesperson is not in fact transgenic. A picture of Logan flashed up on the screen. This is Logan Cale Junior, only son of the founder of Cale Industries, inventors of the police hoverdrone…"
The finger hit fast forward, and the picture blurred for a few seconds and then resolved into what was obviously an interview.
"… Mr Cale, why have you decided to try to help the transgenic community?"
"You say that like it's a sudden change; but in fact I've been a supporter of transgenic rights for over two years. You see, what most people don't realise is that having transgenics in the community is nothing new. The first Manticore escape occurred before the pulse, in February of 2009. Admittedly only twelve X series managed to get away; and none of them were older than ten…"
The screen blurred again.
"… Do you deny that transgenics are dangerous? That they were bred and trained to be cold blooded killers?"
"Of course not. But there was one thing that Manticore couldn't write out of their DNA; couldn't torture or brainwash or threaten from them. Free will. Yes, if they chose, they could kill. They could follow the training that has been ground into them since childhood; and it would be easier than what they have chosen instead. They choose to try to live in harmony with ordinaries like you and me, to discover all the things that were denied them at Manticore. Their human rights, rights that all of us have taken for granted since birth. The right not to be dissected because they were sick, not to be tortured or killed because they disobeyed an order. The right to love, and be loved; to be more than just a soldier…"
The picture blurred again, resolving into another interview segment. This time, Logan had a baby sitting on his lap as he addressed the camera.
"This," he announced, sitting the baby upright in his lap, "is Loganna. She is the daughter of a transgenic named Gem and another X5. After Manticore lost its DNA lab, they were forced to try and produce their next generation of supersoldiers the old fashioned way. None of the transgenics had any choice in the matter; those who disobeyed were tortured and brainwashed into submission. Little Lala here was born in the middle of a siege, in an abandoned office above the Jam Pony messenger service; but her mother would rather she was born in a gutter in freedom than a sterile lab in captivity, taken from her parents and subjected to rigorous military training almost from birth."
"These people will die before they allow their children to be raised as they were, without love, or family, or any kind of humanity. Can any parent honestly say they wouldn't do the same if their child was threatened? Would you condemn this little girl to death because her DNA is a little different to yours and mine?"
"All transgenics want is to be accepted, not persecuted; to live their lives without fear that there'll be a lynch mob at the door in the morning. Is that too much to ask in what used to be the land of the free?"
The finger flexed and the picture blurred once again.
"… It was announced today that the negotiators have reached a consensus. All transgenics are to be awarded birth certificates and social security numbers; they will have the right to live unmolested among ordinaries, to seek employment, to join the military only if they wish and apply for passports, sector passes, drivers licences; even marriage licences..."
"... This morning saw the first transgenics move back into Old Terminal City to rebuild and re-establish their community there..."
"...Today it was announced that Max Guavera, leader of the transgenics, and Logan Cale, their chief negotiator, are engaged and intend to marry on the first anniversary of the destruction of the mysterious Familiars..."
The next section was clearly the outside of a large official building; Max and Logan emerged hand in hand, followed by Alec, Jondy, Bling, Original Cindy, Sketchy, Catalina, Mole, Dix, Luke, Gem, Normal and even Bennett and Marianne. Max wore a simple, elegant white dress copied from a dream and Logan a smart grey suit; a glowing aurora of happiness seemed to surround them. Flashbulbs immediately began popping all around as the media clamoured their questions at the couple. Logan held out his free hand for silence.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please. This is our wedding day; we'd really appreciate some time with our family and friends."
"How does it feel to be the first ordinary to marry a transgenic?" One of the reporters yelled out.
A shadow crossed Logan's face, dimming his joy for a moment. He turned instinctively to Max, who wrapped an arm around his waist and met his gaze, her eyes filling as she remembered the sister who hadn't lived to see her wedding.
"I'm not the first," he replied cryptically. "But I can honestly say today's been the best day of my life; except the day Max dropped into it, three years ago tonight."
"Logan and I also have an announcement to make to you all," said Max, a huge smile breaking over her face; and that of her new husband. "We're going to have to take some time off from our official duties in a few months time." The hand Logan still held moved down to cover Max's slightly swollen stomach.
"We're pregnant," he said softly, his voice almost overcome with joy.
There was a long, stunned silence. If it had been less complete, the microphones would never have picked up the whispered words.
"We?" Asked Max, raising an eyebrow. "You're not the one who has to do all the work; you just get the fun parts."
"Yeah, but I'm also going to move heaven and earth to fulfil your every whim for the next five and a half months. And I'm anticipating at least one broken bone in the delivery room." Max's expression went unmistakably girly (something she later blamed on her hormones).
"I love you, Logan Cale," she said softly.
"I love you too, Max Cale." They kissed tenderly, oblivious to the new barrage of flashbulbs and questions; all they cared about was each other… until the finger flexed and blurred them again.
"...A new amendment to the constitution has been proposed to include all genetically modified humans born in Manticore as US citizens, with the same rights as any ordinary…"
"...We interrupt this programme to bring you breaking news. We now go live to our transgenic correspondent, Ursula King, outside the Terminal City Hospital. Ursula, I understand we've finally had a statement on the status of Max Cale."
"Yes, Clint; the head OB/GYN Doctor Gem Regan made the announcement only minutes ago. She confirmed that Max gave birth to a healthy baby boy early this morning and despite some initial concern over her health, is now doing well. The baby's birth weight was seven pounds two ounces and new father Logan Cale was at his wife's side all the way, along with several other friends and transgenics. Max is now resting but it is expected that she or her husband will make a further statement later today."
"Has any announcement been made about the baby's name, Ursula?"
"Not yet, Clint, but we anticipate that coming in the next few days along with the first pictures of the most eagerly awaited child in Seattle history. Back to you in the studio."
"Thank you, Ursula; keep us informed of any more developments. Ever since Max announced her pregnancy at her wedding five months ago, we've all been dying to meet the newest member of the Cale family…"
The finger moved to flick the stop button and the figure in the chair leaned forwards, the light from the screen illuminating its features as it smiled coldly. "Oh, yes," it rasped, in a voice worthy of a terminal lung cancer patient. "I'm simply dying to meet the son of 452 and Logan Cale…"
Appalling scars covered the whole left side of the once beautiful face, pink and shiny. The red hair that had once hung almost to her waist was short and scrubby now, growing back patchily over the burns on her scalp where the hair had burned down to the follicle. She rubbed absently at her chest with her left hand; the bullet wound that would have killed a normal human still ached when she remembered the man who had inflicted it.
"You should have chosen me, Logan," said Thula, wistfully. "We were meant to be together; you belong to me, and I will have you, my love…"
She smiled, contentedly. "And this time, I will not let your pet freaks get in my way."THE END …?
Oh, come on! I'm EVIL CLIFFHANGER WOMAN; not Fluffy Happy Endings Woman. I couldn't resist the urge to cliff the last chapter; and maybe next summer I could even be tempted into writing a sequel…
I want to thank everyone who has ever reviewed any of the chapters as well as those who've just read and enjoyed all my hard work. (Now's an ideal time to leave a short message, though, guys.) Particular thanks goes out to Dark Angel's Blue Fire, my very first reviewer, who has stuck with this story and reviewed almost every chapter. Also a big hug to Maria 656, who has nagged, threatened, and generally kicked me up the arse to get her cliffs resolved. Thanks, hun, I couldn'tve done it without you. And of course, not forgetting my Apprentice of Evil, Reilynn.
Well, guys, there it is. The final chapter of my first ever posted story; now finally complete after 18 months at 97 pages and almost 49,000 words (and the longest author's note in history). It started in a hospital waiting room, probably took ten percent off my A-level results and has weathered through sick parents, builders knocking out the power with the walls, my first year of university, discovering NCIS and six months of absolute hell, hence the recent hiatus.
Remember; they cancelled our show, but they can't cancel our imaginations or our love for the characters.
Long Live Dark Angel! And All Who Fanfic In Her!