Max brushed a strand of hair behind her ear, more for the simple fact of doing so than for beauty reasons. She sighed as Normal handed her yet another package. He babbled off an address tediously and reminded her to get it back in a quick amount of time.
"Yeah, I love you too," she bit sarcastically. After wheeling her bike away from the counter, she shoved the package in her backpack and sped away.
The last couple of weeks hadn't been easy. Zack had come and gone, acting like an insane drill sergeant, more or less. Had to be safe, he kept telling her, had to keep on the move, Lydecker's out there. Yeah, she thought, maybe Lydecker is out there, but I just can't detach myself from everything…everything including Logan.
Logan. Max instinctively felt her hands go rigid on the rubber handles of her bike. He was irritable and moody lately, not exactly the kind of person you rush to with arms wide open. Yes, he was disappointed over the miracle for him to walk had failed, but that didn't give him any reason to start snapping at everyone like a martinet…especially at Max. Stay low, don't let anyone see you, yet go out and try to save the world for me it seemed like he was constantly telling her. Sure, whatever, she thought, shove it Logan.
Max hopped off her bike and rapped on the peeling wooden door and glanced around. The neighborhood was no different than her own. Poor and ragged, but humble and with a slight feeling of togetherness brushed about.
She handed the balding, beer-bellied man who answered the door his package, noticing the TV in the background. Even though it was chipped and broken and the reception incredibly terrible, she could make out the image nonetheless.
Eyes Only played and Max at first ignored it. Logan was the least of her worries. She began to turn and ride away, back to Jam Pony, when she heard the words, "X-5". Immediately, she turned around and looked up. "Excuse me," she told the startled man as she entered his house.
The message was choppy and came in clips. Each word was a separate staccato note. The film was fuzzy and Max couldn't be sure if the TV was causing the poor reception or something else. The message played, stating that all those known as "X-5" were to meet downtown. The address was given in a rapid speed so fast that normal humans wouldn't have caught it. An emergency situation had been called and it was of great importance. Max's breath caught in her throat and the man stared at her. "You ok?" She nodded mutely and dashed out of the house and zoomed off. Something was wrong, a whole sense of something being askew...but with what?
The courtyard of where the meeting was called was large and hollow. The walls were high concrete, decorated in gang graffiti. A single door through which Max had entered was the only way in-and out.
Her footsteps echoed in the room large enough to fit the entire Jam Pony station and then some. She glanced around the room, a tight knot forming in her throat, and realized she was the only one here. There were bad vibes in the air. Yet, there was an emergency…or so Logan had said. She couldn't leave now.
Max heard the swoosh of someone moving. She turned and immediately jumped, putting one foot out, ready to kick. The person stared, not flinching and a look of defense clouded their eyes. Slowly, the glaring look softened. "Max?"
Max relaxed a little upon hearing the kind word, but still was able to pop, like a coiled spring, if needed. She examined the person standing before her and realized whom she was staring at. "Zane? Is that really you?"
He smiled, smashing the harsh features he had painted on his face. "Yeah, it's me." Max ran to him and threw her arms about him. "God, it's great to see you," he said, stroking her dark curls.
"You too," she replied and broke away as the door opened. And, like a dripping faucet, the other members of X-5 trickled in. Zack was the last to arrive.
He, of course, would not let his guard down. Not once acknowledge that he was human that he did have emotions. "Alright," he bit and the people snapped to attention, being the good little soldiers he had taught them to be. Even Max snapped at the whip in his voice. "Who called this meeting?" Nobody knew and nobody answered.
Suddenly a voice rang out, the echoing creating the illusion of being from heaven. Although, it most certainly would've come from hell. "I did!"