An Emergency Change of Command
by pari106

Code: M/Z; Rating: PG-13; Disclaimer: Dark Angel and everything related belong to Cameron, Eglee, and

Summary: AU post-AJBAC. If certain circumstances of the raid on Manticore had been different, would
Max have gotten her dream ending? (Well, most of it, anyhow ;)

A/N: Title is still under consideration (I so suck at titles). If you have any suggestions let me know. And,
please, feedback lots!

An Emergency Change of Command
by pari106

"This is stupid."

Zack stood in the phone booth, shifting from one foot to the other, hand poised over the receiver. Zane had
to smile at his uncharacteristic ambivalence.

Then Zack turned and walked away, hands in the air.

"This is crazy!"

Zane's smile disappeared.

"Uh, uh, uh. No way, big brother," he said.

He used those superfast reflexes of theirs to intercept Zack, mid-retreat, catching him by the arm. Zack
gave him a glare that, coming from Zack, would have put the fear of God into a lesser man.

But this was Zane, after all. Zack's brother. And, to Zack's way of thinking, just one x or y short of a
Manticore cocktail, anyhow.

Zane smiled.

"No one gave the order to abort, soldier. So get back there and complete the objective."

Zack glowered.

"Ha," he drolled. "Look, Zane, this power trip of yours was real amusing for all of five seconds. But now
you'd better back off."

Some bystanders servicing their cars at the nearby gas station were watching them with concern, but Zane
just gave them a reassuring smile. Then he turned back to his brother with a raised brow, feigning

"Wow. Somebody's grumpy when they don't get their triptophan in the morning," he said.

Zack kind of huffed and started to walk away again. But Zane was right there in face once more.

"Hey, come on. This isn't just some power trip and you know it." He met Zack glare for glare, really
starting to get angry himself now. "I'm trying to help you, man. So stop being so…well, you, and, for
once, just do what you're told."

Silence followed. And then Zack smiled. He actually smiled. And raised a brow, crossing his arms.

"Ain't much fun being CO for you pack of losers, is it?"

"Temporary CO," Zane reminded him. "Just until you get your shit together."

Then Zack's smile disappeared. His eyes wondered off into the distance over Zane's shoulder.

Admittedly, he felt a little sheepish about the whole thing. He knew his brother was just trying to help.
But the situation was just too absurd.


He didn't mean to seem ungrateful. Besides, what did he have to lose by humoring his bro's crazy scheme?

Zack huffed again.


Just because Manticore seemed to be out for the count, that didn't mean that any of them were off the hook.
Not yet. It was way too soon after the raid to be changing protocol.


Zack eyed the phone booth behind him like a hunter eyes its prey.

"I don't know if this is such a good idea," he said.

Zane slapped him on the back.

"Trust me," he said, slowly walking Zack back to the booth. "I trust you to handle all the contact number,
escape and evade stuff, right? 'Cause you're good at it – the whole business of making war."

Then Zane reached over and picked up the receiver.

"Well this, bro," he told Zack with a grin, "This is the business of making love. It's a whole different
battlefield." Zane threw Zack a look and wagged his eyebrows. "One on which I happen to have a hell of
a lot of log time.

Zack just rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, only because you aim at any…hey, Ow!"

Zack frowned, raising one hand and rubbing at the sore place that had just developed on his head. Zane
frowned, too, replacing the phone receiver, his current weapon of choice, back in its place.


"Alright, alright…"

Zack looked from his brother, to the phone…back to his brother, and sighed.

"What do I say?"

Zane chuckled. "You, bro, say nothing at all. Because I'm doing all the talking." He shook his head.
"You need more help than I thought," he said. Then he picked up the receiver once more, only to have
Zack put his hand over the hook.

"What? You can't do that."


Zack gave his fellow X5 a long-suffering look. "Because everyone expects a call from me," he explained,
carefully. "If you pick up, they'll think something's wrong."

"Damn right, something's wrong," Zane said, shooing Zack's hand away. "Big brother, the heartless
wonder, is in love. If that doesn't constitute an emergency change of command, I don't know what does."

Zane dialed the first number.

Zack shook his head. He was so, so going to regret letting his brother talk him into this.

"Try to be quiet over there," Zane ordered, putting his hand over the mouthpiece. "Oh, and try to look a
little more cheerful. If nothing else, revel in the thought that you'll have everybody worrying over your
sorry ass for the next day and a half it takes them to get here.

You've always wanted vengeance on our disobedient, ungrateful hides, right? Well, here's your shot.
Enjoy it."

Zane turned back to the phone, and Zack thought about what he'd said.

He'd never thought about it that way. Maybe his brother had a point.

Let them worry about him for a change. And with that happy thought, Zack's mood improved