Disclaimer: I do not own Dark Angel, or any of its characters. I am not in any way profiting from this – it is merely for my own enjoyment and that of others.

Rating: T (for now)

Timeframe: Set right before 411 on the DL. AU

Summary: What if it hadn't been Zack who walked into Jam Pony, but X5-494, gone rogue after the Berrisford mission had gone wrong?

Pairing: MA

A/N: Yes, I realize that it is incredibly stupid of me to be starting a new fic when I still have to finish Evalasting Trouble (it WILL be finished), but I can't seem to get this idea out of my head and I don't think it's been done often. So, here I am, trying to get it out of my system. I will warn you that it might take me a while between updates as I have a health condition, but I hope you guys will enjoy this and please give me some feedback so that I can improve my writing. :)

And nothing's going to change the way we live
Cos' we can always take but never give
And now that things are changing for the worse,
See, it's a crazy world we're living in
And I just can't see that half of us immersed in sin
Is all we have to give these -

Futures made of virtual insanity now
Always seem to, be governed by this love we have
For useless, twisting, our new technology
Oh, now there is no sound - for we all live underground

Virtual Insanity - Jamiroquai

Hot run, 466 Beech Crescent!" Normal shouted. He frowned when no one moved. "Oh great, I'm talking to myself. Bip, bip, bip people! This is a running establishment, not a café! Get your asses moving!"

A young, scraggly haired man ran past him, and Normal stuck out his foot, effectively tripping him. The man lay sprawled on the floor for a second before getting up and glaring at him.

"What the hell was that for, Normal?" Sketchy barely had the words out of his mouth before a package was plopped into his arms.

"Hot run. Beat it." Normal turned to walk away, and then paused. "And where's Max?"

Sketchy fumbled for an excuse, looking around helplessly as if the answer would magically appear out of the air.

"Her, um, aunt died," he stammered. Normal looked at him blankly.

"And this would be... the 3rd time she died?"

"This one's from her father's side."

"I see. Well, you can tell Max that she's no longer working here if she doesn't get here in the next 60 seconds. You got that?" He rolled his eyes and moved behind the counter.

"Degenerates. All of them. Good for nothing, stupid – "

"Excuse me, but I was wondering if there was a position open?"

Normal didn't even look up. "Nope. I've got enough low-lives to last me until the cows come home.

"Well sir, if a position ever opens, could you let me know? I'm not afraid of hard work, and at my last job I even put in extra hours than was needed."

Normal froze, something finally registering in his mind. He looked at the young man standing before him. "Did you just call me sir?"

The young man grinned. He was a little over 6 feet, with dark blonde hair and sparkling hazel eyes. He was of a light build, but still well toned and muscular. He looked to be around 20 years of age, judging by the youthful look of his face. Normal's mouth dropped open. The man looked like a swimsuit model.

"Yes sir," the man responded. "If you could just give me an application?"

Normal looked him over. "No need. You're hired. We could use a good strong man like you here."

The man shot him an easy smile. "Well, thank you sir. You won't be disappointed."

"Please, call me Reagan. And your name is?"

The man's face blanched for a moment, and then smoothed over just as quickly. "Alec. My name is Alec."

Max hurriedly walked into Jam Pony, checking her watch for the fourth time.

"Shit," she muttered.

The night before, Max had done a little Eyes Only work for Logan. Pasha Asimov was the resident bad guy of the week with 14 counts of murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, and countless other things under his belt, but no one had any proof to put him away. She had done her thing, and swung by Logan's in the morning with enough evidence to put the guy away for years. She hadn't meant to stay long, but he had convinced her to stay for breakfast, not that he had to try very hard. Man, the guy could cook.

"Boo, where have you been?" Her best friend, Original Cindy, shot her a look as she opened her locker. "Normal is on the warpath today."

"Got caught up somewhere," she replied. Cindy raised her eyebrows.

"Mmhmm? And would this somewhere be the apartment of a rich boy with glasses?"

Max shot her an amused look. "It was just breakfast."

"Whatever boo, but 'just breakfast' becomes 'just dinner' and then 'just wild sex after the just dinner'. I'm just saying."

"O.C.!" Max laughed. "We're not like that."

"Sure sugar." Cindy took out a sweater and slammed her locker shut. "Anyways, you hear the news? Normal hired someone."

"He did? Thought he didn't want to add to his growing pile of slackers," she responded.

"This honey is damn fine. Almost makes me want to bat for the other team."

"No way. That good?"

Cindy nodded conspiratorially. "I'm telling you girl. He is sweet as sugar."

Max chuckled. "I gotta meet this guy."

Cindy nodded over her shoulder. "Go ahead. He's right over there, talking to Sketchy." She grabbed Max's arm and dragged her over to where the two men were standing.

"Move aside, fool," she ordered, smacking Sketchy upside his head. Wincing, he did as he was told, revealing the other man standing beside him. Max's breath caught in her throat.

Cindy was right. The guy was gorgeous. He had perfectly set features, tanned skin, and full, strong lips. But that wasn't what made her stare.

His eyes. Hazel eyes, with brown flecks around the iris. They seemed so familiar to her, but she couldn't quite place where she had seen them before. It was strange. Even though his face seemed open and light-hearted, his eyes told another story. They were more serious, with a hint of knowledge beyond his years. They reminded her of...

"Tell us a story, Ben," Max said.

"Which one do you want to hear tonight, Maxie?" he replied.

"Tell us about the Nomalies," Zack said. Normally, he would give the orders, but storytelling was Ben's department, and when it came to that, he called the shots.

"No," interjected Jack. "Tell us about the Blue Lady."

Ben smiled, his hazel eyes lighting up at the chance to talk about his favourite subject.

"Well, the Blue Lady..."

"Ben," Max whispered. The man looked at her, confused.

"No, my name's Alec," he told her. He ran his eyes up and down her body and grinned. She was a looker, that was for sure. "And tell me, honey, what's your name?"

The hopeful look that had come into her eyes vanished instantly, and Max berated herself for being so stupid. What are the chances he would show up here anyway? She bristled at the pet name.

"The name's Max. And I'm not your honey," she retorted. A surprised look came over him at her reaction. He had never had a problem with women before. What was her deal?

"Alright," he said, putting up his hands. "No need to bite my head off. Geez."

How could I think this guy was Ben? Way too cocky.

"Well, look who decided to show up for work. It's too bad, Missy Miss, that you are no longer employed here," Normal said.

"Aw, come on Normal! My –"

"Aunt died, again. Yes, this idiot over here told me. My sympathies. Now go."

She put on the saddest look she could manage, and softened her voice. "I'm really broken up about it, Normal."

"Save it for someone who believes you. Besides, now we've got Alec working for us. He's my Golden boy. We don't need you."

"Let's not be too hasty, Reagan," Alec interrupted. "I wouldn't want to be responsible for this nice young lady losing her job."

Normal hesitated for a moment, deliberating. Finally, he sighed, grabbed a package off of the counter, and threw it at her.

"Fine. But you're in charge of showing Alec the ropes. You two are working sector 4 today. Scram."

Alec smirked at her. "Aren't you gonna say thank you?"

"No," she said flatly. "I don't need your help, pretty boy."

"Sure looks like you did."

"Well, I didn't. And I sure as hell don't want to spend the rest of my day with you."

He looked at her incredulously. "What is your problem? Or are you this friendly to every new person you meet?"

"You just seem to bring out the best in me," she said sweetly.

"Didn't your mother ever teach you any manners?"

"Don't have one. I was cooked up in a test tube."

Sketchy chuckled at that, but the laugh that Alec gave was strained. He looked at her more carefully now, and she shifted uneasily. She'd meant it as a joke, because she knew that no ordinary would ever think that she was actually telling the truth. But from the way he was looking at her now...

He couldn't be from Manticore, could he?

X5-494 was tired, stressed, and trying to erase the past two months of his life from his mind. His first deep-cover solo op for Manticore, and he had blew it.

Your target is Robert Berrisford.

You will be posing as his daughter's piano teacher, Simon Lehane.

He knows too much. Take them both out.

I'm not who you think I am.


An explosion.

He knew he had to get away after that. Manticore was already there. He could see the standard black Hummer outside. They had set off the charge. They had killed her.

No. He did.

He couldn't let them take him back there. He knew what would happen. Reindocrination and Psy-Ops, if they didn't just decide that he was a defect and kill him on the spot. One part of him didn't care, felt that he deserved to die after what had happened to Rachel, but another part, the part bred for survival, made instinct and the need for self-preservation take over. His mind was gone, and his body was in control, his legs pumping as he ran away from the house. Ran away from Manticore. Ran away from the whole situation.

He had ended up in an alley somewhere, exhausted and half out of his mind, and he just passed out. The moment he had woken up, he knew he had to find a place to stay and think things over. He pocketed the cash left over from the mission, grabbed a newspaper, and found a rundown apartment to hide out in. He knew Manticore would be scouring the city looking for him, so he moved stealthily, hiding his face and keeping to himself. Eventually, he realized he would need some sort of job to get a sector pass and make some cash – he knew Manticore would find it suspicious if there was suddenly a string of robberies in Seattle. He was counting on the fact that they would think he wasn't stupid enough to stay in the city and had moved on elsewhere.

He had found this place Jam Pony by accident. He had seen some guy on a bike making a delivery get through the sector checkpoints pretty easily, and had followed him back to the place. He knew all it would take to get the job was to turn on the charm, and just as he had anticipated, it worked.

Ordinaries. They're so predictable.

The people seemed nice enough. The guy he had followed turned out to be named Sketchy. He was alright to talk to, if not all there. And then there was this Max girl. Damn, but she was gorgeous. She had a hell of an attitude though, but there was something about her... he liked her fire.

"Don't have one. I was cooked up in a test tube."

That was a strange thing to say. It almost made him wonder...

She couldn't be a transgenic, could she?

A/N: So, it's a little short, but I felt it was an appropriate place to end it. I think I did something weird when I changed over to Alec's perspective, but I hope it's not too awkward feeling. Anyways, let me know if I should continue this.