"Whitney Mann, Public Defender's Office. I'll be handling your case," Max announced as Alec's shackled form was escorted into the room.

The other X5 quickly masked his surprise at seeing her. "Pleasure," he replied.

The guard shoved Alec into the chair roughly and looked up at Max. "You need anything, I'm right outside. You got five minutes."

"Thank you." The guard left the room, closing the door behind him.

Max sat down and faced Alec, who immediately began talking. "Max, I'm sorry. I was on my way to the hospital…."

"Shut up," she interrupted harshly. "I came down here to bail your sorry ass out cuz I figured you got grabbed up off one of your scams going sideways. But the officer just told me you killed somebody."

"I didn't do it," he protested, his expression one of someone who was stating the obvious.

Max didn't buy it. "You got IDed. There's a perfect DNA match."

Alec looked slightly surprised. "No, I'm telling you…."

Max interrupted him again. "Don't tell me anything, alright? I'm sorry I let you out of Manticore, I'm sorry I inflicted you on the world." Now Alec looked genuinely surprised, and a little hurt. But Max continued. "Screw exposure. I'm leaving you here for White to deal with."

She stood and began to gather her things. Alec quickly stood also, leaning toward her as he tried desperately to convince her that he was innocent. "Max, I swear I'm innocent…."

Max refused to let him speak. "Oh, tell that to Ames. And, uh, give 'im my regards."

She walked around him toward the door, and Alec turned to follow her. "You really think I could do it; you think I could murder someone in cold blood?" He looked disbelieving, incredulous. Max was unmoved.

"Yes, Alec, I think you could."

"Guy's teeth were pulled from his head for god's sake." Alec was desperate, and Max could tell.

"Ben…," she whispered as she flashed back to Ben murdering those men and ripping out their teeth.

"Come on, Max. You know, no matter what you think there's no way it could have been me. That guy was killed over a year ago; I was at Manticore."

The door opened and the guard walked in. "Time's up," he said, moving toward Alec. The prisoner looked at Max, his eyes pleading with her to believe him, to help him.

"I'm sorry, sir. There's nothing I can do for you." With that, she turned and left the room, then the prison, leaving Alec to his fate.


This is just the prologue; the chapters will get longer after this. I just wanted to set up the rest of the story without giving too much away in the very beginning. Please let me know what you think so far; I should have more posted soon. Thanks!