A/N: I decided not to put Renfro in this as the only reason she was in the show was to introduce the cult/White/Sandeman plot which I'm not gonna use. So expect no lovey dovey Lydecker either. Also this chapter is also not betaed as neither me or my beta has had time so all grammar and spelling mistakes are my bad. You have been warned. Anyways, on with the show.

Much love for the reviews as always =)

The fact that she was fighting her way back into consciousness was her first clue that she had been drugged. Her eyelids were heavy and she had a severe case of cotton mouth but she ignored it more concerned with the cool metal restraints that she could feel biting at her wrists and ankles. Closing her eyes she assessed her situation. She was on her back, on a metal table if the cold seeping into her bones was any indication but the question now was how she got there. All she could remember was silence, the suffocating darkness of the truck and the slight but relentless shifting of the vehicle as it sped down the road she could not see. It had just been her and her thoughts for hours and they ran in a constant loop remembering the horrors she was returning to and the joys she was leaving behind. She couldn't remember slipping out of consciousness which meant that they had probably pumped sleeping gas into the back of the truck without her noticing. Cowards. She made another attempt at opening her eyes but the glare from the white light above her soon had her shutting them again. Turning her head to the side she tried again, blinking a few times to clear her vision and allow her eyes to adjust to the light. As soon as they focused she fought the urge to close them again as she once again came face to face with the man that had haunted her for the last eight years. He stood no more than five metres away from her, behind a sheet of glass mounted in the wall for observational purposes and Max longed to knock that sanctimonious smirk right off his face. An angry scowl immediately lit up her features as her body arched up off the table as she fought against her restraints. If anything her reaction fuelled his satisfaction, his smug smirk pulling that much tighter at his lips. Repulsed she turned away from him, opting instead to take in her surroundings searching for any means of an escape just like they'd taught her. The room was square and couldn't be more than fifteen metres across and its solid grey concrete walls were unadorned except for the camera mounted in the right hand corner. The metal table she had been strapped to was the only piece of furniture and its base disappeared into the concrete that made up the floor below her. The ceiling was as uninspiring aside for the three long neon bulbs that bathed the room in unrelenting white light. Having no other option her gaze returned to her left. The only entrance to the room was the door to the left of the glass panel and above a speaker, no doubt for communicating with her without direct contact. Almost as if he had heard her thoughts Lydecker's voice crackled through the speaker and echoed around the room.

"Welcome home, 452. Comfortable?" He asked sarcasm colouring his tone.

Max ignored him. The cold table wasn't exactly a tempur mattress but they had taught her to deal with worse. For the first time since she woke up she examined herself. The comfortable baggy clothes she had been captured in had been replaced with a non-descript grey gown that stretched to just above her knee and underneath that she felt the tell tale grip of elastic which told her she was at least wearing underwear. This knowledge left her unaffected, years of being forced to share showers with her entire unit, male or female meant any shame she should have felt at being naked in front of the opposite sex was non-existent, when she escaped she had learnt there were boundaries but only observed them for the sake of appearing normal. She also knew Lydecker would have not let anything non-regulation occur to his trophy so doubted that anything other than a decontamination of her person had occurred as the hair that fell around her shoulders was damp as well. What worried her however was else had they done to her while she was out if she had apparently been showered and changed without her knowledge. That was the thought that brought a slight shiver to her spine. Lydecker, misinterpreting her shudder spoke again.

"Not exactly the Orange County lifestyle you're used to but I'm sure you'll survive." He sneered. "After all, this will be your home for the duration of your assimilation."

He paused then, seemingly waiting for a reaction from her but when no response was forthcoming he continued his taunting.

"Oh and psy-ops can't wait to get their hands on you 452. Dr Maitland is especially eager for a new subject to test his neural transmitter on. Said something about none of his other test subjects having enough cranial capacity or some such nonsense, I don't pay attention to the details. Of course if you just told us all you know about your fellow escapees I'm sure cranial intrusion can be avoided and trust me 452 you'd want to avoid it."

Again she did not answer which sparked his annoyance, his smirk faltering for the first time. Her gaze remained focused on the ceiling above her and if he was not mistaken she was whistling.

"I'm warning you 452. Tell me what you know about your unit or things are going to get very, very ugly."

Her whistling stopped as her head slowly turned until she faced him again. A feral smile pulled at her lips and her brown eyes flashed dangerously before she offered her reply.

"Fuck you Old Man!" She said forcefully, "Throw whatever you have at me you Rat Bastard, I ain't telling you shit!"

Smirk now nowhere to be seen Lydecker shook his head almost in regret. Max had expected no less; this was just a price she promised herself she would pay. They would get nothing out of her but that wasn't going to stop them trying their hardest to do so, using whatever means possible. They would see exactly what she was made of now, the amount of will power that could come from protecting what you cared about, the strength of the human spirit, for that was what she had now thanks to her friends and family, and nothing could change that.

"You're going to live to regret this 452." He said a snarl in his voice now.

She chuckled as his holier-than-thou attitude crumbled around him. The years had changed him, normally nothing would faze the ever stoic form of her former commander and Max liked to think their escape had something to do with it. Her chuckle became a full out laugh just to irk him.

"Trust me Don, you're the only one who's gonna live to regret anything." She said with a smile that left even the great Donald Lydecker feeling a little uneasy, not that he would ever show any sign of it. "And the name is Max, Ass Wipe."

Chuckling again her gaze returned to the ceiling, ignoring his presence once more. With one more disappointed shake of the head Lydecker left the observation room through the door to his left. He had known things weren't going to be that easy, he was not that naive but the fact that 452 held the key to at least one other X5 made him antsy. He was eager to put the last eight years behind him as they had consisted of nothing but fighting for the continuation of his funding because of failure after failure and defending himself and his worth not only as a soldier but as a leader fit to run the Manticore Project. It had all started with the X5's and he was going to make damn sure it was going to end with them and as far as he was concerned the sooner the better. Now all that stood in his way of coming that much closer to his goal was an extremely cocky genetically enhanced teenager. His moment of introspection over his smirk returned to his lips. She would soon be changing her tune, they all did eventually and he would enjoy watching this one break.

Monday Night Harley High gym 21:00

The group of dejected students gathered around the circular table looked out of place among the festivities despite their formal attire. The boys looked strapping in well tailored suits while the girls looked immaculate in extravagant but flattering evening gowns and well planned hairstyles but the misery that was reflected on each face stood out against the laughing and dancing that continued around them. Prom and graduation no longer held any excitement for the group and the only reason they had actually attended was to avoid their parents' suspicion. As far as the adults knew they were all going on holiday to the Caribbean for the duration of the summer, a sudden announcement but one they had all eventually agreed to. In reality Logan was setting them up in a safe house along the coast, their base of operations for however long it took to get Max back. Logan spoke in hushed tones about what he knew and what they had to do and the whole table listened intently, nodding when appropriate, Raz or Corrin throwing in a question now and then. The two hours that they had promised to spend at the teenage right of passage were drawing to a close when the doors to the gymnasium burst open drawing the attention of most of those in attendance. Krit stood on the threshold most of his person covered in mud, his body shaking with unrestrained fury as his eyes searched the stunned crowd. When his brown eyes landed on Logan an enraged snarl erupted from him as he angrily pushed his way through the crowd.

"You!" He screamed. Charging forward his threatening stride turning into a predatory lope as his pace quickened. The room was silent now watching the drama unfold between the two stars of the basketball team.

Logan stood having expected this, what he did not expect was Sketchy, Herbal and Bailey moving to stand between him and the charging X5. None of them looked particularly confident they could control an angry genetically enhanced killing machine but the gesture was touching none the less.

"Let him through." Logan told them as he watched the second angry X5 in as many weeks looked at him with murder in their eyes. They all turned to stare at him incredulously.

"Logan, he'll kill you." Bailey pointed out.

"If you don't move he'll kill you first." Logan rebutted.

Sketchy looked from Krit who was gaining speed by the second to Logan and back again and nodded sadly.

"You make a valid point." He said as he stepped back. "Good luck man."

"Thanks." Logan said swallowing thickly as Krit reached their table. "Krit listen..."

Logan had expected Krit to stop once he reached the table so he could at least try to talk him down, what he didn't expect was Krit launching himself over the table with an furious roar and crashing into him with the force of an eighteen wheeler. Krit's momentum threw them both backwards crashing into the table behind them which buckled under their weight. At this point the party around them had come to a complete stop and all eyes were glued to the scene unfolding. The shocked Harley High seniors let out sympathetic groans of pain as Krit landed a right then a left punch across Logan's jaw while the blonde boy made no move to defend himself.

"You let her go!" Krit screamed again as he lifted Logan of the table's wreckage by the lapels and slammed him back down forcefully, "You let her go back there!"

"I tried to stop her." Logan gasped only to have Krit slam him down again. Logan's head swam and Krit's furious face came in and out of focus. Just as he thought he was going to pass out a female voice echoed around the room and stilled the rabid X5's movements.

"Let him go, Krit." She ordered and the entire audience swung in her direction, the whole thing having turned into one of those car crash situations that everyone could not look away from.

The new arrival did nothing but add more mystery to the already baffling situation. This girl looked to be around nineteen but that was anyone's guess as she was not a student at Harley High. She like Krit was, for reasons unknown, was also covered in mud. It caked her blonde shoulder length hair and dappled her pale skin but despite the patches of dark earth her blue eyes were vivid and intense. Her mud stained leather jacket squeaked as she walked dutifully ignoring the stares she was receiving.

"No," Krit said as he turned to look at her still set in his menacing crouch with Logan hanging limp from his lapels. "He let her go back there, Syl."

"He's got a plan, Krit." Original Cindy announced and the audience's attention swung to her like they were watching a tennis match.

At this revelation Krit's eyes swung back to Logan whose dazed blue eyed gaze regarded him warily.

"Will it work?" Krit asked, the look in his eyes signalling that only an honest answer would not lead to more pain.

Logan swallowed thickly again before he nodded. Krit looked at him for a long moment before he gave a slight nod himself even though his breathing was still laboured. Syl seemed to be the only one brave enough to approach the still angry but considerably calmer Krit. She grabbed him by the arm and hauled him off of Logan whose left cheek was already starting to swell. If their audience had been confused before, they became absolutely dumbfounded when Krit offered Logan a hand up and Logan took it without complaint with a hint of a smile pulling at his lips as if the last ten minutes had never happened. Apparently satisfied that it was now safe to approach them, Bailey, Herbal and Sketchy moved to Logan's aid, letting him use them as a crutch as they began to make for the door. Krit and Syl turned to follow, with Raz, Corrin and Original Cindy bringing up the rear. The crowd parted wordlessly as the group of teens moved through it and watched open mouthed as they exited the building offering no explanation as to what had just transpired.

"What the hell was that all about?" Nicole Tanner asked fellow cheerleader Samantha Willis, stunned expression still in place.

"No clue?" Samantha replied as the DJ decided to break the tension by restarting the music.

The drama over, the seniors returned to the dance floor and continued to consume copious amounts of spiked punch until the unexpected fight was the last thing on their minds and the reason for it unimportant.

Ok, so Krit is back and he brought a friend, I'm sure we all remeber Syl right? Details on how these two hooked up and why exactly they are covered in mud will all be in the next chapter =)