Edit: This is the final chapter. There was a chapter six but it was bad, and time passed and I realized this. I also realized that this story was really done here. So I edited this chapter, making it an ending so that while sad- it ends on a hopeful note and a happy one.
In the Seattle/Dark Angel version the dream Max had in AJBAC was what happened.Chapter Five- Other Places
Black has never been a colour I would choose to wear all black, all the time, because it seems to be death's uniform. It's what the black Manticore ops wear, so it's no wonder I feel that way.
This feels worse than before, an eight and a half year old really can not understand what death means-no matter how enhanced they are. And I understand now, with Eva I thought she could get up again like a jack in the box. I didn't think she could be really dead, but with… him there is a horrible finality to it- and I just can't cry.
Piper tugged at her black plain blouse hard. It was stuck between two of the crates, and it would be too much effort to unpack every thing in this jumbled stack of her stuff in the corner in her room next to the door.
With one hand Piper wiped away the tears that gathered at her eyes again. She was going to get that top if it was the last thing- it slipped free and the two crates fell over and the entire pile collapsed. Piper looked at the increased mess and then the blouse in her hand. A weird urge to laugh bubbled up with in her and she giggled. The door opened and Rae came in looking around in concern.
"Is everything all right in here?" There was a hollow edge to her voice, her green eyes were flat and her hair was unkempt. Piper laughed shrilly, and she looked up at Rae.
"It's all sunshine and glitter, it's… great… it's fine, oh god". Then she burst into tears , Rae leaned down and held her tightly. The loss was so painful then, Rae wanted to cry with Piper so badly, but no tears came.
So she just stayed there and looked up. A picture frame of one of Piper's experimentation period with glass and sticks was hanging there.
The photo was at least four years old, and Rae found herself looking at her younger self, fifteen with a badly painted bright pink butterfly painted on her face. Piper in the photo was sitting with an evil grin and a paintbrush in her hand. Scott had his arms over the pair of them and there was a pink streak of paint on his nose.
For the first time in her life, Rae wished that she had never escaped Manticore.
Dr William Larson had never thought he would be going to the funeral of one of his young, healthy residents. Treating them yes, with Larter and Cameron's insane bike races, or Winter's finally getting bashed up for his stupid obsession with science fiction.
But Will Larson never had thought it would come to this. Some punk takes a wrong shot aiming at another loser and it takes out someone with everything to live for.
He could not forget the look on Cameron's face, the devastation while the medical examiner had told them exactly how the bullet had made one of his lungs fill up with blood and how it had puncture his heart on the way through.
Seeing someone close to you die as a doctor it felt worse-like you had failed them and although Larson would never admit it Winter, Larter, Cameron meant a lot to him. Hell even that intern that had bonded with them Krieghen, was okay.
But this was why he didn't get close to people, Will knew a truth that a lot of other people denied. Eventually, despite friendship, family everybody left you.
You could scream and fight as much as you were able but you could not change this. And that was why life just sucked.
"When we get up there" Jaye said warningly to Alec. "There isn't going to be any of your usual smart mouthed wit". Alec gave him a look as if to ask did Jaye think he was completely without feelings.
"I get it okay?" There was a note of aggravation in his voice. Jaye looked him.
"Are you alright?"
Alec busied him self with a spot on the car dashboard. Jaye had gotten a new car last night, somehow it seemed to be as run down as the last one. "It's my fault isn't it, I m the one who tried to sell you guys out to Lydecker".
"Yes but the Colonel recognized me, if I hadn't followed you, you two would have returned without any problem and Scott wouldn't be dead"
"Then its everybody's fault". The quip let out the tension, Jaye was feeling. Sure Scott and him had not been close but they had become friends. Just another life destroyed by Lydecker and he was probably gloating about it.
There are no funerals in Manticore. They just put you in a cheap wooden box and lower you into the ground, putting a plaque with your barcode.
It all felt wrong, the plain black dress she wore, the black, all the black everywhere it just made Rae feel wrong. The day too bright, the sun too shiny, the sky too blue, the grass was the wrong green and just everything was off.
A crow's call, and a brother falls to the ground. Rae looked up at a tombstone in a nearby row at the statue of a crow. That stupid crow. Piper was sobbing into her shoulder and she was impassive.
Rae could not feel a thing, no laughter, no sadness, nothing. It was like she was an empty doll.
How many people had been lost? Too many.
"Colonel Lydecker? The helicopter will be ready in fifteen to take you back to Manticore". Lydecker nodded as the aide left the room and returned the man to his thoughts.
Last week had been just a complete failure, and in front of Elizabeth Renfro no less. He could still remember the pain, the grief in her eyes and the absolute hatred that Rae had held for him. It had hurt to see one of his kids in that much distress but Lydecker knew that what he had tried to do was for her own good.
If he had more time he would tear Miami apart and find her but Zack was waiting for him at Manticore. And he knew where the others were. Once he had succeeded in retrieving the others he would come back to here to finish the job.
Still, it impressed him how the former strategist's had turned disadvantages into advantages, tricking his men, he still could not understand how she had entered the sealed door to the infirmary and the cells.
From all evidence it made no sense, and there was no sign of an electrical failure which left only one explanation. Someone had let her enter, which meant someone here had helped the rogue.
But who would have the incentive not to mention the absence of rationality to help the girl?
Lydecker's cold ice blue eyes narrowed and he strode out of the office. He could never prove it but he knew this much for certain.
He would have to keep a close eyes on Renfro.
I am at a wake, the wake of my best friend and I feel nothing. Am I just a inhuman soldier that can't feel anything? Is Lydecker, Manticore right and no matter how hard I try or want to be human I can never be?
I am a danger to everyone around me, if I had not been there Scott would still be alive. May be I should just-
Someone stumbled and their hand slipped spilling some drink on the front of her dress, returning her focus.
Scott's oldest cousin, Carson muttered an apology and she heard herself tell him it was okay. Absentmindedly, she walked to the bathrooms, and someone stepped out. Rae entered finding herself alone.
For a second, the mirror seemed to trick her, show an ordinary girl with a drink spilt on her dress.
But she was not ordinary, by any leap of the imagination. Rae looked at the mirror suddenly hating it, her face seemed sculptured, made like a doll's, as did her body.
She was made, not a person just an assemblage of animal and human DNA. Some scientist had spliced her and cooked her up, a complete freak of nature whose only strength seemed to be to destroy everything she touched.
A doctor, and Rae looked at her hands as a slight seizure went through them and passed.
Who was she fooling, a killer can not save lives- they took them. Rae would loseeveryone else as time went on and it would be her fault.
She took her cellphone out of her black shoulder bag and looked at it. It was a scrambled cell, untraceable. 3-0-4-2-7-1-9-4-4-0-6-8-2-9-4. That was Lydecker's number, Alec had given it to her when they had still been holding him prisoner, before he had switched sides.
He, and Rae doubted believing this, thought if she ever came to her senses and smartened up, that was the number to call. When he had spat it out, Rae had tried to put her fingers in her ears. It hadn't worked.
Tracing the surface of the number pad, Rae's breathing became shallow. Unconsciously she pressed in the numbers and held the phone to her ear.
Rae felt her mouth go dry and swallowed. "Do you always sound so normal after killing somebody or is it just me?"
There was a long pause and Rae struggled to keep her breathing normal.
"His death was a complication, one that you could have avoided" Rae didn't answer, and closed her eyes slightly.
"Rae" Lydecker's voice seemed to have a trace of curiosity in it now. "Why did you risk exposure by contacting me?"
Rae answered his question with a question "I do not know, why do I feel this hollow?"
"You know, devoid of all emotions and can not feel a thing. Kind of like an android now that I think about it".
"We will go easy on you if you turn yourself into Manticore" Lydecker seemed to sound almost calming. "It would not be that hard, all you have to do is let go"
"I'll meet you at what used to be the main police station before the pulse at midnight then".
There was an even longer pause now, as if Lydecker was not sure of what he had heard.
"I am serious" Rae disconnected and looked at herself in the mirror. This was for the best.
Lydecker put the phone away from his ear and looked at the solider telling him they were ready to go.
"We are not going anywhere, and in eight hours, X5 478 will be in our custody". Lydecker returned to the building and the soldier gaped at him.
Rae lay on the sofa, her breathing was steady. Had she made the right call? It didn't matter now.
The feeling of hardness underneath was the first thing that Rae felt as she woke up. She blinked hazily and then her eyes snapped open.
Rae sat up slightly, grimacing as she wiped the gravel off that was stuck in the side of her face. Where was she? Not in her apartment that was for sure. Some very pathetic joke that Alec had pulled off in some attempt to cheer her up. Cheer him up more likely.
Rae looked around in confusion, she seemed to be in the very heart of the Vercetti gang syndicate. But it was deserted completely, the buildings looking empty and abandoned. This made no sense. She stood.
"Hello, anybody, anyone here?" The silence answered her, and her voice seemed to echo. This was starting to weird her out, this was just beyond normal in any sense of the word. She began to walk down the street and looked around, a newspaper stuck in a doorway fluttering in the wind. Rae picked it up. 21st of January 2025. Miami Declared Government Land: People forced to Vacate. Rae rubbed her eyes and looked at the date again, this was insane!
She began to run around the street.
Rae walked up to her apartment building and stared in shock. It was a blackened out husk and only the first floor remained.
A noise made her turn and a solider ran at her from his jeep with a gun and she blurred throwing him backwards.
He was out like a light and Rae stared at the vehicle. She was still not convinced that Lydecker hadn't caught her and was now laughing at her drug induced delusion. None of this seemed to make any logical sense at all and she got into the truck, starting it.
16TH of August, 2025Seattle, Former Fogle Towers Apartment Building, New Manticore
Time barely seemed to have touched Donald Lydecker, although there was nothing to make him age prematurely. Only two of his kids were still out there, Zack and Rae and the latter was presumed dead after the accident in Miami. She had never turned up for that meeting and, it seemed she was dead.
The very choice of location came from where they stood. He had been too late to save Max from herself, she and her cyber journalist lover had killed themselves rather than face reality. The other captures had been much more effective, combining tactics with X5s he had already caught. Manticore's office was based here, at the very spot as a testament to all the transgenics- no matter how far you got or how far you ran, you would never really leave.
Renfro had been taken out years ago, killed by Zack, ironically giving him the power base he needed to affect the changes he knew would bring the kids in.
"Director Lydecker?" Sandoval came in, completely bald. " Series X 10 have the main trials for the specials ops unit tomorrow and we have a report from Florida, Miami- a photo actually that doesn't make much sense". He passed the file to his superior.
Lydecker looked at the photo. Outside an abandoned building was a full colour photograph of Rae, dated at the bottom as yesterday. But the girl in the photo looked as if she was still nineteen, she should be twenty-four and at least look twenty-one like the others. He gave the photo more inspection, there was a graze on her forehead and the young transgenics clothes didn't look in that fine a state.
"Regardless, we now know she is alive so we will find her".
Sandoval nodded. "Very good sir" He left leaving Lydecker to his thoughts and he reached for the phone and picked it up punching the second button on the top.
"This is Lydecker, deploy X5 734 and 210 to sweep Seattle".
Rae had been to Seattle from what seemed like two years ago for a teaching medical conference. But according to everyone else, it was eight. The tired look on her face as she exited the train showed quite clearly. She had ditched the truck at Los Angeles, taking a train the rest of the way.
It was if nothing she remembered existed anymore. A large bulky jacket covered her shape and the dirt on her body looked out of place her in a world that seemed to have recovered from the pulse.
Kids ran into the train past her in uniforms and out. This reminded her of just after the escape. The way America had been before.
She broke off her contemplations when a hand stirred her into a corner and Rae looked up. "Jaye?" The man had a scar across his face, marring what had once been great features. He shook his head.
"Have you lost it Rae or had ops sec left your mind completely?" It was Zack. Rae didn't care at that moment and hugged him tightly. " People are staring sister, stop it, what wrong with you" Zack said pushing her away and looking around intently.
"You are not going to believe me". Zack just looked at her.
"Okay, let me get this straight" Zack said in a tone that clearly showed he thought that Rae was not in right state of mind. "Yesterday it was six years ago and now you are in the 'future'". Rae resisted the urge to scream in frustration.
"I know it sounds crazy, well impossible" Rae said crossing her arms. "But it may be that some organization took me and I have just been in some sort of stasis, but believe me when I say I am out of my depth".
Rae sat on a bench and Zack leaned against a metal post, trying to look normal as a hoverdrone flew past.
Zack spoke after a minute. "That makes more sense, okay Lydecker has killed or caught everyone but us a long time ago".
"Everyone, look Rae it is great you are still free, we can go to Canada, and then somewhere far away where Lydecker will not find us". Rae looked confused for a moment.
"Then why are you not very, very, very far away? "Rae asked quietly and Zack looked away. "You were going to attack Lydecker and hope you both died". Her older brother was unapologetic here. Rae could not speak; she was considering turning herself over to Lydecker. Unsure now, but still…
"So what? I failed all of you, nothing matters or did, but I can still save you".
Rae slapped him across the face hard and then spoke, her voice lowered. " What about the others, we are just going to let them do this?" The words seemed those of an idealist, not her own anymore.
"Get it together Rae, the others are them now" Zack looked away, a muscle in his jaw working. Then he froze. "Sister, get up, slowly". Rae stood slowly and followed his line of direction. Brin and Jondy got out of a humvee and men poured out, scouring the surroundings.
Then Jondy's gray blue eyes narrowed at them. "Go, Rae, I'll hold them off".
"I am not leaving you". Zack glared at her.
"You have to". Rae began to walk away, and looked back as Zack drew the attention of the Manticore soldiers and they zeroed in on him. All except for Jondy who was heading straight for her.
She watched in horror as the TACs surrounded Zack and he looked across the road at her. Run he mouthed, and Jondy came into full view, her expression hardened.
Rae leaped up to the apartment metal fire escape, and smashed through a window. An old lady stared at her in shock.
"I'm sorry" Rae said quickly as she undid the door and Jondy's face appeared at the broken window. She sprinted down the apartment hallway, blurring as she ran and came face to face with Brin.
"Brin" Rae said taking a step back in horror. It was like one of her nightmares, only this time it was real. Brin was the loyal Manticore solider, a mere automatin. What Rae was considering surrendering herself to become... Her older sister threw up a leg to hit Rae's side and she blocked it.
"You might as well give up 478, 599 is already in Manticore custody". Rae shook her head and threw herself down the stairs. Her hands caught on a step and she somersaulted to the landing and continued running down the stairs.
Pulling the door open, Rae found a fully armed TAC team and every one of their tazers were aimed at her. She swallowed hard and threw herself out of the door, leaping to try to go over them
Almost instantly they fired the tazers at her and stars went off behind her eyes and she fell.
The feeling of cold metal restraints was the first thing Rae felt when she woke. Restraints seemed to pinning down her entire body and fear filled her at that moment. There was a plastic gag in her mouth, harshly placed to stop her from speaking.
Fighting panic, Rae tried to rip her left arm up to break the restraints. It didn't budge a single inch.
The sound of a door opening from the far side came to her and two pairs of footsteps sounded. Rae tried to turn her head but that seemed to be restrained as well.
A scientist took the gag out of her mouth and Lydecker leaned over her.
"Welcome home Rae".
The young woman glared at him, her thoughts racing. This can't be it, after everything. I don't want this, I do, what do I want?
"I will not go back to what I was before". Lydecker's eyes were practically ice and what small heat was in this room left and a complete fear set in. His moth opened…
Lydecker froze and so did everything else. Rae looked in shock as everything went blank and then she was unrestrained in the centre of the Miami hospital, right near the patients lounge. It was completely empty.
"Rae". She turned around at the sound of the famillar voice and Scott stood there as if ready to get to work. Rae held him then tightly and felt weird as he pulled away.
"I have to go". Rae shook her head violently.
"No, you have to stay". Scott looked out into the lounge.
A young teenager with dark brown curls piled on her head spilt a can of soda over the girl next to her. A young intern stood next to them and laughed, causing both girls to glare at him.
"You are leaving".
At this Scott smiled at her and there was tears in his eyes. "I wish I could stay, believe me if I could stay I would. But that's not the way it works". Swallowing hard, Rae reached out and touched his face.
"I am so sorry". Scott shook his head.
"It isn't your fault, no one made him kill me".
Rae found her hands shaking and for the second time in her life it was not because of her seizures. "I should let him take me tonight, I am a danger to everyone around me". Scott rolled his eyes.
"For crying out loud" Scott started his usual sci fi tone from Stargate. " You can't believe that for a second. You are the reason the bastard can't find Jaye let alone yourself. I have never met someone with more of a drive to protect the ones she loves. Did you want it to be Piper here instead?"
"I wanted it to be no one".
"In a perfect world it would be, you have to get on with your life. You have to let me go"
The young transgenic looked up. "Is this the future, is this inevitable". Scott held her and whispered.
"Only if you let it be".
Rae woke up groggily and kept her eyes closed for a moment. "Scott?" She was pushed off the lounge and she opened her eyes. Rae made no effort to get up off the floor.
Piper was looking slightly apologetic and her usual humor was absent. There was no sign of Scott. Rae burst into tears, not delicate little sobs but ones that took her breath away. Piper slid down on the floor next to her and held her hand.
"Let it out". Rae had held back the pain so long that it physically hurt to cry and it felt as if she was watching Scott die all over again.
It seemed like too much but now the floodgates were open Rae could not stop it and it was not so much the tears but that physical pain that seemed to come with them.
"Promise me, promise me you are not going to leave me too". A tear fell down Piper's face.
As Rae pulled off the helmet, she looked up at the stars, there was no tracks where the tears had fell but slightly red eyes. Piper pulled her bike up next to Rae's and looked around in confusion.
"Why are we at the graveyard?"
"I have to show you something".
The two survivors walked silently, the small crescent of the fading moon shone brightly. Markers lay in a disorganized fashion and Rae maneuvered past them to the one she seeked, the one she had been at this morning.
"Why are we here?" Piper asked, knelling down and touching Scott's grave lightly and smiling at what the people had engraved, 'to the final frontier and beyond'.
Crossing her arms, Rae leaned on a near by gravestone. "Because, I want to tell you about something I believe in, that, how I know… he is okay and I wanted to tell you both". Piper came over and put an arm around Rae's shoulder and looked at the direction Rae was- the stars.
"There is a beautiful, angel, spirit, whatever you will and she is called the Blue lady and she watches over us from the good place".
Piper blinked back tears. "The good place?"
"Where good soldiers go. Where no one gets yelled at, there is no drills, no one disappears… no one gets shot…" Rae broke off for a moment her voice full of raw emotion.
"Scott's there" Piper said tightening her grip on Rae. "And in the good place parents don't die and children don't get hurt" she smiled at the stars. "Look after my geek okay Blue Lady?" Rae looked at her, her eyes shining from the tears.
"I thought you were an atheist".
"Scott just can't end like that".
When Rae spoke it was so quietly that Piper could barely here it. " No, he can not". She turned to Piper. "I have to go do something".
Piper nodded and then grabbed Rae's shoulder. "You know what you made me promise, the same goes for you too".
Rae stood on a high office building, and looked across two streets, using her vision to see Lydecker and his men milling around.
There was still a small part of her that felt she had to go down there, to protect the people she cared about. But Piper, Jaye and Alec needed her.
And Scott's death was not her fault. Lydecker had been the one to pull that trigger, not her. If she had not had that dream, or whatever it had been, she would be down there, handing herself in.
Rae tilted her head up strong and pulled out her cell, smiling. Never again.
"I am sorry Lydecker, ".
From all the way over there, the little figure standing away from all the rest which Rae assumed was Lydecker turned around and she closed the cell. The young woman walked away.
I got this close to throwing everything away. Scott, thank you. I am not alright, okay or even slightly better. Actually I may feel slightly worse here.
But that does not matter somehow.
I have to keep on living, and doing the best I can to make up for the lives you can't save.
And Brin? Please hold on big sister, because one of these days I am going to walk into Manticore, head held high and rescue you.
Just wait and see.
Things may get messed up sometimes- but this is my life. I'm not 478 anymore. I never was. That's what Manticore does- they make you nothing, make you believe it. Sometimes they screw with me out here. But that's okay- because in the end people cared about me. I don't take lives, I save them. Because in end I decided who 'me' was going to be.
Anyway extra cast,
Miguel Sandoval/Agent Sandoval, Nicole Bilderback/Brin, Ashley Scott/Jondy, George Eads/ Carson, Scientist/ Peter William, Aide/ Tom Wansey
Chapter completed 23/9/2006 or 9/23/2006 for Americans.
Chapter revision/Added Ending completed 1/2/2009 or 2/1/2009, year of the Pulse.