Title: The Mission

Author: Ashantai

E-Mail: ashantai@hotmail.com

Archive: Please ask!

Category: Zack/All his Siblings relationship

Rating: G

Spoilers: Pretty much every episode that contains a flashback or anyone talking about Max and her siblings' lives. :)

Summary: Zack's thoughts from just before the escape from Manticore up to just before AJBAC. Since only 9 of the 12 original escapees from Manticore have been revealed on Dark Angel, I have only included those people in this poem.

Author's Notes: I'm not quite sure about this one... Please R/R!

Disclaimer: I don't own Zack, any of his siblings, or Dark Angel (I wish!!) but I like to watch them on tv. :)



THE MISSION



This is the mission: we all escape.

Gather my brothers and sisters,

Escape the barracks, watch them now.

Don't let them slip away.

There are lots of us, I don't know how many will make it.

I'm down, I'm shot, I can't feel my legs and now it's black.

I'm back at Manticore.

I have to change the mission now; it's failed.



This is the mission: I escape.

Escape and join the others.

Look out for them; keep them safe.

Escape the barracks, out into the grounds.

It's a quarter past midnight but I'm not afraid of the dark.

Climb the perimetre fence, shimmy down the other side.

I'm almost out, I'm almost out, I'm out, I'm free.

I'm in the real world now.

I have to change the mission now; I've completed my escape.



This is the mission: find them all.

Find my brothers and my sisters; track them down.

But I'm only twelve, and suddenly I'm not the leader anymore.

I'm better than everyone I meet, but they don't know that. They think I'm just a kid.

They try to put me in homes, to give me parents.

What are those?

I want my siblings but when I describe them they shake their heads.

That's an Oriental girl you're describing, and a Hispanic boy; they can't be your siblings.

What's Oriental, what's Hispanic? They're my siblings, check their necks.

I'm out of here. This world is crazy but they're in it and I have to find them.

And we'll be on top when everyone's sane.

I have to change the mission now; it was too broad. It's failed.



This is the mission: find Ben.

Ben, who made shadow puppets on the wall and talked about the Blue Lady.

He always tried to be a good soldier, and he always was, though he doubted himself sometimes.

He was sweet, he was loyal, and he always wanted everyone to be happy.

But he was afraid of the nomlies, and everyone out here is like them.

Will he be okay?

Find him, find him. Only I can make him safe.

Done. His faith is still strong, but there's something strange in his eyes now.

He's realized the world doesn't make sense like we thought it would.

I try not to listen to my instincts that are whispering: Watch him. There's something wrong.

I make sure he's safe from Manticore and then I move on.

I have to change the mission now; I've found Ben.



This is the mission: find Brin.

Brin, who used to watch everyone with an amused look and smiled even when the occasion didn't call for it.

She was always brave, always sure, always understood when anyone was upset, never judged.

But she won't be able to handle the fact that everyone does judge out here.

Will she be okay?

Find her, find her. Only I can make her safe.

Don't let this angry world take away her sweet outlook on life.

Done. She's still brave, but she's scared, too.

She's realized we're only children here.

I try to comfort her, a girl who's used to comforting others, but she only smiles.

I make sure she's safe from Manticore, and then I move on.

I have to change the mission now; I've found Brin.



This is the mission: find Tinga.

Tinga, who always giggled and made us think with points of view we never had.

She was always grinning, always happy, always serious when the need arose.

But I'm worried that this dirty world will take away her spirit.

Find her, find her. Only I can make her safe.

Don't let her spark die out in this crazy world.

Done. She talks too much about babies and families and sentimental lies.

I try to set her straight but she thinks I'm the one who needs to check my priorities.

I make sure she's safe from Manticore, and then I move on.

I have to change the mission now; I've found Tinga.



This is the mission: find Zane.

Zane, who never stopped laughing at life or loving it, who always saw the good in any situation.

He always had our backs covered, and he didn't think it was odd to make up words.

He was always a jokester, always thought everything was put on Earth just for him to ridicule.

But sometimes he laughed even when he shouldn't, and life out here was not as kind as he was.

Find him, find him. Only I can make him safe.

Don't let his humour get trampled or his self-esteem be squashed.

Done. He's still fun-loving, but a bit jaded now, though he thinks that's also a joke.

I try to make sure his smile is real but he only shrugs and says he loves me but I should get a life.

I make sure he's safe from Manticore, and then I move on.

I have to change the mission now; I've found Zane.



This is the mission: find Syl.

Syl, who always stared intently but never let you know what she was thinking, only that she was right.

She was always so strong-willed, so certain in every action and every word.

She took that little bit of extra time to evaluate and re-evaluate a person, even when she didn't have to.

But sometimes she looked too deeply into a person's soul to see the flaws that were on the surface.

Find her, find her. Only I can make her safe.

Get her away from that uncle who looks at her in a way they never taught us about in Manticore.

Done. She still has eyes that could bore through you, but she doesn't realize she's not the only one who cries.

I try to make her feel better, this girl who's been my rock our whole lives, but I find it hard to handle tears.

I make sure she's safe from Manticore, and then I move on.

I have to change the mission now; I've found Syl.



This is the mission: find Jondy.

Jondy, who always smiled and hardly ever slept, who never kept you in the dark about what she felt.

She was the only one I could trust to handle the most important missions, and she never once let me down.

She always had a back-up plan; she was the one who thought of the thing that no one else did, even me.

But sometimes she tried too hard, and I don't think she saw herself succeeding as much as she really did.

Find her, find her. Only I can make her safe.

Don't let the outside world take advantage of the insecurities she didn't show and never had the chance to dream away.

Done. She still knows what to do even when I don't, but I don't know if she understands it's okay not to.

I try to tell her she doesn't have to live up to anyone but herself, but I think she knows I don't believe that.

I make sure she's safe from Manticore, and then I move on.

I have to change the mission now; I've found Jondy.



This is the mission: find Krit.

Krit, who was the toughest out of all of us, who never hesitated to do what was necessary.

He always had our backs, would jump in for any of us if we needed him to help us fight our battles.

But sometimes he went too far, and he didn't know how not to be ruthless if the situation called for mercy.

Find him, find him. Only I can make him safe.

Don't let this insane world trap him in a cage so he'll have to fight back. These people will just lock him up, I know.

Done. He's still tough as nails, strong as anything, but he doesn't find life quite as fun as he used to.

I try to help him fit into the world; he wonders if I've gotten soft but that only leads to more fighting.

I make sure he's safe from Manticore, and then I move on.

I have to change the mission now; I've found Krit.



This is the mission: find Max.

Max, the littlest, who would smile up at me with a sweet expression and touch my face with her soft hands.

"Your eyes are so blue," she used to say. "Is that the sky in there?"

She was the one we all wanted to protect, our baby sister, who was shaking the night we ran away.

She was the reason we escaped. We'd seen what they did to shakers, and Ben was afraid of the nomlies.

But she was more afraid of losing us, and I didn't know what splitting everyone up would do to her.

Max was the last mission I gave to Jondy- get her out of here, please.

Find her, find her. Only I can make her safe.

Don't let the outside world take away the shine in her brown eyes like she had the nights she smiled at me.

Done, the last one I found. She's still all thoughtful looks, and she still thinks I hung the moon.

But she misses everyone terribly, and I worry about her. She wants to know where they are.

I try to make her forget her wishes, try to explain to her the importance of staying apart.

She's angry at me; I'm angry at her. She's not listening to me. She isn't thinking objectively.

But she was only nine when we escaped, and she's been running from what she is every day since then. Why couldn't I find her before now?

Leave her, leave her, before you can't focus anymore.

I make sure she's safe from Manticore, and then I move on.

I have to change the mission now; I've found Max.



This is the mission: remember Jack, remember Eva.

Jack, who was the first of us to shake and the first one they killed, who Max saw used as a science project.

Eva, who took the initiative even I couldn't the night we escaped and who Lydecker shot in cold blood.

Remember, but don't dwell on the past. What's done is done, and I must protect the ones who are still alive.

I will keep them out of Manticore with my last breath.

I will make them see that they can never forget where they came from.

It's better to know your enemy, and forgetting will only get you killed.

I will teach them that we must remember what they taught us even as we hate them.

I won't allow them to have the luxury of false security.

I won't lose any more of them.

But suddenly I have to change the mission; it's failed.



This is the mission: I'm too guilty to think of a mission.

Ben is dead.

I knew something was wrong.

Max killed him.

That's going to destroy her; his shadow puppets were always for her.

I can't let her see anyone else ever again. I have to protect her from the chance that they might die.

But I have to change that mission now, too; it's failed.



This is the mission: I'm too angry to think of a mission.

Brin has been recaptured, reprogrammed.

She would have died but I didn't want to abandon her.

It was Max's fault. But she only wanted to see her sister again.

She went against my direct orders. But her eyes are so sad.

She cried with me in the van after they took her.

It was my fault.

I'm going to change the mission now; I don't know what else to do.



This is the mission: I'm too tired to think of a mission.

Tinga is dead.

They did this to her.

I failed to save her and they got her back.

I didn't fulfill my promises.

That's my fourth dead sibling, and Brin may as well be a fifth.

It was my fault.

I wasn't a good enough leader, and I couldn't save them all.

I have to change the mission now; I can't go on without one anymore.



This is the mission: don't stop fighting.

Jack, who was the first of us to shake and who Max saw used as a science project, is dead.

He was the reason I started seeing them as the enemy even as they taught me to fight for them.

Eva, who took the initiative even I couldn't the night we escaped, is dead.

She was the symbol of our quest for freedom, and became the reason why we couldn't fail.

Ben, who made shadow puppets on the wall and believed so much in the Blue Lady, is dead.

I knew something was wrong, but I did nothing, and so he became a nomlie, the thing he feared most. But I'll shoot anyone who says he isn't in the Good Place.

Tinga, who used to watch everyone with an amused look and smiled all the time, is dead.

I couldn't save her. I'd tried, come so close, but fell short of my responsibility.

Brin, who always giggled and made us think with points of view we never had, no longer exists.

The last thing she'd done was cry that she didn't want to die, and I'd sent her off to hell.

Zane, who never stopped laughing at life or loving it, is too caught up in his life to help me deal with mine.

He says he's weary of hearing the word Manticore.

Syl, who always stared intently but never let you know what she was thinking, still understands me best.

She believes I should take a break and not be so hard on myself, so she doesn't understand enough.

Jondy, who always smiled and hardly ever slept, who never kept you in the dark, just looks at me.

She won't tolerate any talk of fault on my part.

Krit, the toughest out of all of us, treats Ben only as the nomlie he became and not as the faith-filled, good brother that he was before.

He says our dead siblings are too hard to discuss.

Max, the littlest, who used to smile up at me and touch my face with her soft hands, is now a rogue.

She's a tactical risk and I can't trust her; she won't listen to me and leave Seattle.

She wants to stay and I'm terrified I won't be able to protect her.

And Jace, who we found only later because she escaped ten years after the rest of us, is in Mexico, happy with her baby named for Max, soaking up the sun.

She is the only one truly safe in my eyes, because I do not love her.



This is the mission: I have lost four siblings to death, and a fifth to Manticore.

It was my fault.

I was not a good enough leader.

It is still my fault. I couldn't save them, and loving them wasn't enough.

I could barely handle losing those brothers and sisters.

I cannot stand the thought of losing another.

So I will die before I allow any more of them to perish.

That is the mission.

And I will not fail.