Summary: A mission goes sideways, resulting in the worst night of Max's life. Keen on vengeance, she begins unraveling the mystery of the night her life was destroyed and embarks on a journey to distribute her revenge. When she thinks all is lost and everything done, the real truth surfaces.
Disclaimer: I, in fact, do not own Dark Angel. I know you must be so shocked at that. Mr. Help the Boat Is Sinking and Friends own Dark Angel. I own nothing, really - except for my imagination and some CD's.
A/N: This is a bit of an experiment for me. Honestly, it's not finished, but I've only got a few more chapters to write and I don't abandon my stories, so you can feel perfectly safe in reading this now. A few more things - 1. It's going to get darker. 2. Go listen to the song "Winter" by Bayside.
Timeline: Season one. Somewhere.
Chapter One - Miss Stone and Mister Blythe
Sylvia Stone was the picture of professionalism as she rode the elevator to the nineteenth floor. An elegant cream business covered every curve and a pair of sleek glasses subdued the fire in her cinnamon eyes, while her hair was swept into the most sensible of ponytails with only a few stray curls betraying her appearance. Clutched firmly in her right hand was a polished black briefcase that seemed very ordinary, but was in fact, holding every important piece of her life.
There was one trouble with her life, however: it was completely fabricated.
Sylvia Stone was no one. Sylvia Stone was a name picked from the air and screened onto fake ID cards. Sylvia Stone was a complete work of fiction, fashioned from the imagination of a very clever man.
Sylvia Stone was Max Guevara.
She smoothed a wrinkle in her jacket with her free left hand then let it fall to her side. She tried to embody Sylvia Stone and be the confident woman comfortable in her own skin and a business suit, but truthfully, she was itching to throw on a pair of jeans and head to Crash.
She looked to her left and examined David Blythe, her partner in Cranton Industries and crime.
David Blythe was Sylvia Stone's perfect match. His perfectly gelled hair and clean shave accented his immaculate suit and silk tie. At his side sat a mahogany briefcase that held all the details of his life.
There was just one problem. David Blythe was also a work of fiction.
David Blythe was Logan Cale.
Max's eyes flitted to the elevator door then back to Logan.
"So, you're sure this is all going to work out?" she asked. She couldn't help a small grin.
"Positive," Logan replied and looked up at her.
Logan had researched every aspect and inch of the Maconick Chemical Corporation and every bit of it was corrupt. Company president Thomas Maconick inherited the industry-leading business from his father and proceeded to use the company as a front. Thomas didn't care who he dealt with as long as they paid. He had connections ranging from overseas billionaires to the mob to small-operation gangs all over the city. The company would have been untouchable… except from the inside.
With the help of an informant and company mole, Logan had gained enough inside information that he could use to bring the company down. He made his cover company, Cranton Industries, look real enough. If anyone dug, they would find all sorts of information on the company - except for the fact that it was only six weeks old and imaginary.
When Max had agreed to infiltrate the company with him, everything was cemented. Now "Sylvia Stone" and "David Blythe" were regular visitors to the Maconick Chemical Corporation and were about to seal a very important deal.
A delicate ding announced the elevator's arrival at the nineteenth floor.
The elevator doors opened to reveal a plush and perfectly pristine white carpet and a large glass slab with Maconick Chemicals elegantly etched on it.
Logan placed his briefcase on his lap then followed Max out of the elevator.
They took a familiar path down a long, stark hallway that led to a large circular room with lots of windows and a grand L-shaped oak desk. Behind the desk, sitting behind a plague marked "Dorothy" was a primly dressed woman in her late twenties with a smile that would paralyze elephants.
"Miss Stone, Mr. Blythe," the woman said, her smile never fading. "What can I do for you today?"
"Hello, Dorothy," Max said, offering a glittering smile of her own. "We have an appointment with Mr. Maconick."
"Of course," Dorothy said. She picked up a telephone and punched in a few numbers. She chirped into the receiver, "Mr. Maconick, Miss Stone and Mr. Blythe from Cranton Industries are here to see you."
After a moment she hung up the phone and pointed to a door at the end of the room. "Mr. Maconick is ready to see you."
"Thank you," Logan said.
They made their way to the door. Just as they reached it, it swung open to reveal yet another stylishly dressed person. Thomas Maconick, with his hundred-dollar haircut, casual-yet-perfectly-business black button-down shirt, black vintage Armani slacks, and perfectly polished shoes, oozed debonair charm. His smile was flawless, warm, and inviting. If you weren't aware that he was selling arms to thugs, cheating cancer victims, and laundering money for the mob, you would have thought he was a great guy.
"Wonderful to see you both again," Thomas said and waved them into the room.
"Lovely to be here," Max said and offered a winning smile. She and Logan entered the office.
Thomas Maconick's office was just as charming as he was. An ornate pine desk with a black veneer was the centerpiece, fit snugly between two soon-to-be-towering palm plants. Two plush leather chairs were set in front of the desk for the use of visitors and clients, while another more stately leather chair was behind the desk, reserved for Thomas and Thomas alone. The only things on the desk were a computer and a covered tray.
"Please," Thomas said and gestured to the chairs.
Max sat in the chair on the right and kept close to the edge. She wasn't feeling the whole situation, no matter how many times Logan assured her everything would go their way.
Logan transferred from the wheelchair to the other chair and sat back. He had to admit he was a little nervous, but felt he was prepared for anything.
Thomas took his seat behind the desk and smiled at them. "This is exciting, isn't it? The acquisition of Cranton Industries is something I've been looking forward to since the very moment you stepped into my office for the very first time."
"Well, Sylvia and myself have also been looking forward to this," Logan said. "This is a great opportunity for us all."
"I look forward to the future," Max added.
"Let's get down to business then, shall we?" Thomas said. He opened a desk drawer and pulled out a thick contract. He pushed the contract and a pen to the edge of the desk. "If you'll both sign on the dotted line, we can celebrate."
Max signed the paper first then handed it to Logan. After they had both written down their aliases, Max set the contract back on the desk.
"Excellent," Thomas said and smiled. He pulled the cover off the tray that sat on the desk, revealing a bottle of champagne on ice and three glasses. "I thought this would be appropriate for the moment."
"I think we all deserve it," Logan said and winked.
Thomas chuckled and opened the bottle of champagne. He poured them each a glass then handed one to Max and Logan. "Yes, yes, we're all in a very important business together now. To success!"
The clink of glasses filled the air for a moment then silence as they each drank.
"If you don't mind," Thomas said, "now that everything's official and we're all equals here, I have just a few questions and concerns I'd like to air out."
"Please, go ahead," Logan said. He finished his glass of champagne and placed the glass back on the tray.
"They are only trivial matters, I assure you," Thomas said and placed his half-finished glass of champagne on the tray. "I was just wondering, for instance, what exactly does Cranton Industries do?"
Max swallowed her mouthful of champagne quickly. "We manufacture microchips used in -"
"Data entry equipment and services to furnish blah blah, I know," Thomas interrupted. "You see, I thought that was all rather good and quite dull, hence why I wanted to snatch up the little podunk company. I need some legitimate businesses on the files to make the operation run smoothly, but… Cranton Industries isn't a legitimate business. In fact, it's not even a business at all."
Max set her champagne glass down and cleared her throat. The only thought that ran through her head was a simple expletive. "Mr. Maconick, you are mistaken. Cranton Industries has been in business since -"
"Six weeks ago," Thomas said. "You see, I have some very top notch people working for me. I know all about Cranton Industries - about how some documents were forged and smudged to make the company look older than it is, to make it seem as if real revenue was generated and transferred, to make it blatantly clear that Cranton Industries was a real company with real people running it. In fact, it is a very false company."
Logan's jaw clenched.
"I was very curious about all of this, naturally," Thomas continued. "After all, who, I wondered, had figured me out? Who was the mastermind behind all of this? I'll admit I have not found that piece of the puzzle, but from I could put together, I knew I couldn't let the two of you leave my office today."
"Try and stop us," Max growled.
Thomas waved her comment off. "I'm not afraid of any threats you may make, Miss Stone - if that is even your name, which I sincerely doubt. You see, I'm not afraid of anyone or anything. I am above the world. Nothing can stop me from doing just what I like."
"That's just because you haven't dealt with me yet," Max said and stood.
"Yes, you are very intimidating," Thomas said dryly. "I will admit that you two are the closest I've ever come to being a bit threatened. You're the first ones to get this close to really infiltrating me, to almost bringing me down, but like the others you have failed. I would sit down, Miss Stone, before you stumble due to the miracle chemical that is currently coursing through your veins as we speak."
"What?" Max snapped.
"I suppose I forgot to mention that your glasses were laced with sodium declorotoxin," Thomas said. "You see, it's a very nasty chemical that some of my brilliant scientists have created. Any moment now you should experience shortness of breath and loss of muscle control then you'll slip into peaceful unconsciousness. Normally the toxin would just wear off and you'd awaken hours later a little worse for the wear but, ultimately, alive, but in your case, you won't be waking."
Max felt suddenly dizzy. She dropped into her chair. She looked over to Logan and saw his head drop to his chest. She wanted to cry out, but held her words in. She was getting dizzier. The office was beginning to blur.
Thomas got up from his chair and walked over to Max. "You are of particular interest to me, Miss Stone. Do you know why?"
"I'm pretty," Max bit.
Thomas chuckled. He pulled down the back of Max's shirt and brushed her hair back from her neck. He bent down to whisper in her ear, "You've got a marvelous tattoo."
Max's eyes rolled into the back of her head.