Okay, I wanted to explain a few things about this story before I continue. I really like Max, and although she's not my favorite, I'm not really writing "bitchy Max." I mean, she totally treats Alec like crap on the show, but I think she really cares about him, on some deep down level. So she wasn't just being a jerk leaving him there, as I explain in this chapter. If you have any questions about anything, feel free to PM me or leave it in a review. Thanks so much to everyone who reviewed my first chapter.
"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." As soon as Alec spoke, he saw something shift in Max's expression. It was a familiar change; he had seen it many times back at Manticore. It was a reaction that had been programmed into them, coded into their DNA and pounded into their heads from day one. When things became too painful, you shut down, forgot it. Apparently Max had reached her limits after the events of the last day.
The door opened and the guard walked in. "Time's up," he said, moving toward Alec. Alec looked at Max quickly, trying to catch her eye. He knew it was probably too late, but maybe he could get through to her. Come on, Maxie. Please. I need your help.
His fellow X5's eyes remained empty and hard. "I'm sorry, sir. There's nothing I can do for you." Alec watched Max leave with a sinking heart. She had been his only chance of escape, and she was gone. He couldn't blame her, not really. But he couldn't help the feeling of betrayal that welled up inside him as the guard escorted him back to his holding area. It was only a matter of time until White discovered he was being held there and came to kill him.
Alec was left alone in his cell the rest of the night and well into the next day. He was fed once, sometime between breakfast and lunch. He was beginning to suspect they had left him to rot in jail for the rest of his life when he heard footsteps coming toward him down the hall.
He looked up when his door was unlocked and slid open. "Miss me already?" he asked, expecting to see the same guard who had dealt with him since his arrest. Instead, he looked right into the face of Ames White, enemy of anything transgenic.
"I can't stand to be away from you," was the wry answer. White turned to the guard and nodded. "That's him alright. Can I take him now?"
"He's all yours, sir. Would you like some of my men to escort the prisoner to your vehicle?"
Alec was beginning to panic. He had known this was coming, of course, but he hadn't expected word of his arrest to reach the man so soon.
"No need. We have other ways of… subduing our guys." White motioned to the man behind him, who stepped forward wielding a high-power tazer. He pressed it roughly against Alec's side and let the electricity course through the X5. Alec was unconscious in seconds.
"You did what?" Cindy asked incredulously when Max had finished telling the story of her visit to the prison. She shifted on her bar stool and took a drink of her beer.
"I left him," Max replied, her voice emotionless. "He's a murderer, OC."
"You really believe that, Boo?" Cindy eyed her curiously, trying to read her for any emotions.
"It's Alec. I believe he's capable of anything." Max was staring straight ahead, ignoring her beer and answering her friend automatically. OC's brow creased in concern.
"Max. You okay?"
The other woman's head swiveled to face her. "What?"
"Are you alright? You seem... distracted." Cindy eyed her friend, wondering what had happened at the jail to make her act so strangely.
"I'm fine. Just... I feel like I've forgotten something important. Something I was supposed to do or... something."
Cindy nodded. "It's been a stressful couple days. You're probably just tired. You should go home and get some rest."
Any reply Max might have made was cut off when Sketchy plopped onto the bar stool next to OC. He looked stunned and more than a little drunk. "You hear about Alec?" he asked, and Cindy was hit with a vague sense of déjà vu.
"You already told us Sketchy. He's in jail, we know," Max stood to leave, grabbing the keys to her motorcycle.
"No, not that. He's a murder; a serial killer, actually. And there's more; this guy White showed up at the jail earlier today and demanded to see Alec. He takes one look at him and takes him into his own custody." The Jam Pony messenger leaned closer and lowered his voice conspiratorially. "Turns out he's one of those Manticore transgenics. White's been hunting them down and killing them, and evidently he has some sort of history with Alec. Can you believe it? All that time we had one among us. And he seemed so… normal." Max sunk back onto her stool, looking dazed.
"And where'd you hear this? You can't believe everything you hear, Boo," Original Cindy said, her guard immediately going up.
"I have a buddy who works at the prison. We have a… business arrangement. Anyway, it's real." He stared off into space for a minute, seeming to consider the whole thing. "You know, it really makes you think. If Alec could seem so ordinary while really being a psychotic freak, I wonder how many others there are just blending in with the crowd. We gotta be careful, girls. They could be anywhere." Sketchy left the bar without another word, and Cindy turned to Max.
"This is bad, Max. If White already has Alec it's only a matter of time until he talks." When Max didn't answer Cindy turned to look at her. The X5 was leaning on the bar, her head buried in her arms. "You okay, Boo?"
Max lifted her head, and she had a haunted look on her face. "I can't believe I left him," she said, her voice barely above a whisper. She seemed to only now be realizing what she had done. "It wasn't him, OC, and I left him."
Cindy's brow furrowed in confusion. "But you said…."
"I... I thought he did it. The officer said...." Max trailed off, eyes closed in concentration. "I didn't remember until now. Alec told me that the man's teeth had been pulled out. And the murder was committed more than a year ago. It wasn't Alec; it was Ben. I… I didn't want to deal with that, so.... Oh god, Cindy." Her eyes flew open. "I must have... with everything that happened to Logan, and then Alec... I must have isolated it in my mind, pushed it away. Like they taught us at Manticore. And now… now we're all going to be found. Me and Joshua… Logan…."
"Max. Max," OC interrupted. She was looking at her friend intently. "It ain't your fault. You didn't know what you were doing."
"That doesn't make it okay. Who knows what they'll do to him...." Max's voice was barely above a whisper, and Original Cindy could tell she was almost drowning in her guilt. Again. Like this was all she needed after what had happened with Logan.
"Just call Logan. He'll help you track the boy down. You have to get Alec away from White before he talks."
Logan answered the phone on the second ring. "Yeah?" he said, and Max thought he sounded distracted.
"Logan, it's' me."
It was a moment before he said anything. "Max. This is a surprise. What's up?"
"Did you hear about Alec?" she asked, trying to keep the dread from her voice.
"That he's in jail? Yeah. You get him out?" She heard him working at his computers, typing something.
"No. That's the problem. White has him." All background noise stopped.
"White? Do you know where he is?" She could tell she now had his full attention.
"No; I was hoping you could find that out for me. We have to get to him before he talks. He knows too much."
"Yeah, I'll see what I can do." He paused for a minute. "How did this happen? Cindy told me you were going to get him."
Max frowned. "I, uh… it didn't work out. Look, can you get the information or not?" She didn't mean to sound so hostile, but she was still feeling guilty about almost killing Logan and then leaving Alec to certain torture and eventual death. She didn't need Logan making her feel worse.
"Yeah, I'll have it as soon as I can." Logan sounded cautious and a little defensive. "I'll page you as soon as I know anything."
"Thanks Logan," Max said, trying to sound sincere.
"Yeah." Max hung up the phone and sighed. This was going to be a long night.